THE RIO+20 U.N. CONFERENCE
AN ECOSOCIALIST ASSESSMENT
Representatives of governments from all the world will be present at the Rio-20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, June 2012. What can we expect from this so-called “Earth Summit” from a social and ecological perspective? Nothing! Or, to be charitable, very little.
This is not only due to the narrow-mindedness, greed, corruption, ignorance and selfishness of most of those governments, and of the multinational enterprises who sponsor the Summit, but to a much more decisive factor: they represent the interests of a social and economic system, modern industrial capitalism, that is fundamentally contradictory with the declared aims of the Conference: to eradicate poverty and protect the environment.
The so-called “green economy” – the main proposal of the “Draft Zero,” elaborated by the organizers – is nothing but a greenwashed version of “business as usual,” a “green” fig-leaf hiding the naked ugliness of the existing capitalist market economy, which cannot function without destroying the environment, developing monstrous social inequalities, and moving, with increasing velocity, towards an ecological disaster of un-precedent proportions driven by global warming and the resulting climate chaos.
As ecosocialists we believe that humanity needs radical alternatives, that is, alternatives that deal with the systemic roots of evil, the capitalist paradigm of civilization. We need a new way of life, a new model of civilisation, based on values of solidarity and respect for “Mother Earth.”
The only “green economy” is an economy which has suppressed capitalism and the commodification of water, land, air, life, an economy where the means of production and distribution are in the hands of the people themselves, who democratically decide what is to be produced and consumed. An economy based on solar energy – instead of the ecologically disastrous fossil energies – which produces useful, worthwhile outputs and not commodities, and which establishes a radically new relation with our natural environment.
The seeds for a different future are already present in the contemporary struggles, in the indigenous and peasant resistance to capitalist multinationals and agro-business – in the resistance of women in particular, women who are the first victims of ecological disasters – from India to Peru, from South-Africa to Brazil, and from Nigeria to Canada; in the mass demonstrations for Social and Climate Justice, like those in Copenhagen 2009, or Durban 2011, and now in Rio 2012; and in the discussions of the alternative Counter Summits, like the People’s Summit being now organized in Rio.
We, as ecosocialists, have much to learn from those struggles and debates, from the multiple experiences and ideas being developed by those who resist and oppose the system, and especially from the ways of life and the harmonious relation to nature evident in many indigenous communities. We all share the belief that “another world is possible,” and that the fight for it begins here and now.
Hugo Blanco, Leigh Brownhill, Klaus Engert, Ana Isla, Wahu Kaara, Joel Kovel, Michael Löwy, Salvatore Engel Di Mauro (Saed), Pritam Singh, Pedro Ivo Batista, Joâo Alfredo Telles Melo, Terisa Turner, Esther Vivas, Vania Caus, Gabriela Barbosa, Carlinhos, Temistocles Marcelos, Mariana Almeida, Adilson Vieira, Samuel Gonzalez