Last fall, I invited Hugo Salvatierra, a founder of the MAS, to speak in Toronto at a relatively small meeting of committed left-wing activists. I in particular felt that it was really important to introduce Hugo Salvatierra to the left here in Toronto.
Imagination has always been important to change but today more than ever. I just finished teaching an intensive course on social movements that changed the world and realized that nothing I did opened the minds of my students more than documentaries. Now in a struggle for survival of the planet a new film is in development that I think can open our minds and hearts to the kind of change we need and you can be part of helping it along
The global battle on climate change is heating up in the build up to Cancun including here in Canada. The statement below was written by a group of activists who met with Bolivian President Evo Morales at the end of September in New York City. There are a number of activities planned in Toronto to build support for a new approach to climate justice including:
Building a World Movement for Climate Justice, Teach In Sat Nov 13, 100 St. George St.
A powerful global movement for climate justice and the rights of Mother Earth emerges in the mountains of Bolivia
It's Earth Day and I wish I was in Cochabamba, Bolivia. More than 15,000 people from 125 countries, including a significant delegation from Canada, is meeting there for the first world people’s conference on climate change. The mostly Indigenous government of Bolivia is now playing a leading role in making proposals to save the planet from the scourges of greed. President Evo Morales is bringing two major proposals, first a global referendum on the measures needed to resolve climate change and second an international climate court to hold climate criminals accountable before world public opinion. But if my experience means anything, it will be the dynamic of the conference that will have most impact .
Today is the opening of the First World People's Summit on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Called by President Evo Morales after the failure of UN climate talks in Copenhagen, the Summit has attracted more than 50 countries and more than 10,000 delegates. Nevertheless it is likely the North American mainstream media will ignore it. You can follow the Summit live on internet tv, on alternative media rabble.ca and Democracy Now and in European media Guardian UK.
With the horror in Haiti, we could all use some good news that we will not hear about from the mainstream media. On Thursday January 21, Aymara elders and Indigenous people from across Bolivia and the Americas will gather at the inauguration of Evo Morales as leader of Abya Yala, the Indigenous name meaning Our America. On the following day, he will be inaugurated as President of Bolivia for the second time. Up until Evo's regime, Bolivia was the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti.
Another visionary in ending the scourge of industrialization and solving the problems of climate change is Evo Morales, President of Brazil. In a recent speech to the UN he outlined ten points for solving climate change. They are republished below:
By Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia
I first met Rosalia a couple of years ago at an environmental demo in front of City Hall in Toronto. She and two other indigenous women from South American women were holding a Wipala, the flag I came to know as a symbol of the struggle in Bolivia. As I was speaking, I talked about the meaning of the Wipala . They were delighted that I knew what it was and came to talk to me afterwards. Later we worked together in the Toronto Bolivia Solidarity and always had warm sisterly relationship. Below very near her death, she is at a small rally to honour the Stolen Sisters, aboriginal women murdered and disappeared in Canada. She was an amazing activist in many ways. Most powerfully she always brought an indigenous feminist perspective to all our events, explaining the deeper meaning of whatever we were discussing. She fully participating in the struggles she found in her adopted country as well as organzing solidarity with the struggles in Latin America. She brought a wisdom and richness to our events that will be greatly missed. She was an extraordinary woman.
Evo's hunger strike worked and the Senate passed the electoral law. "The people should not forget that you need to fight for change. We alone can't guarantee this revolutionary process, but with people power it's possible," he said before dawn, flanked by 13 union activists who joined him in the fast"
Bolivia continues to show new paths to the rest of the world in achieving progressive change. What a wonder that the media ignores this positive example of a marginalized people fighting for inclusion and equality.