Once more into the breach: Reclaiming Power at the frack pads and in the UNFCCC

by nathan thanki

This past weekend, while a massive group of [Earth]ies made the insane 15 hour journey to Pittsburgh for Powershift 2013, those of us who remained gathered together for Global Frackdown 2. Having recently sent over a dozen volunteers to canvass for Protect South Portland in their effort to block Tar Sands via a waterfront protection ordinance, and with half our group in Pennsylvania, our contribution consisted of hosting a screening of Gasland 2 for the COA community.

Fighting Tar Sands with Protect South Portland as part of Reclaim Power! Month of Action on Energy
Fighting Tar Sands with Protect South Portland as part of Reclaim Power! Month of Action on Energy

Although our writing at Earth in Brackets has been mainly focused on issues of environmental governance at global level (i.e. UN processes), the perils of extreme and unconventional fossil fuel extraction–tar sands, mountaintop removal, fracking for oil and gas, the list goes on–are not unknown to us. But the extent of this assault on the earth and the life it supports is not fully appreciated, even among our own community. Given recent events a few hours north of here in Elsipogtog, where the Canadian police, protecting fracking companies, violently confronted Mi’kmaq protesters, there couldn’t have been a more timely occasion to spread the knowledge about the industry and its tactics. All across the world, that is exactly what was being done on October 19th as part of Global Frackdown and Reclaim Power! Month of Action against Dirty Energy. Continue reading “Once more into the breach: Reclaiming Power at the frack pads and in the UNFCCC”

On the World Social Forum – Tunisia, March 26-30

The dust having finally settled following the first ever World Social Forum in the Arab world, we must ask ourselves some tough questions about the future of the Forum.

by nathan thanki

The dust having finally settled following the first ever World Social Forum in the Arab world, which took place at El Manar University in Tunis from March 26-30, we must ask ourselves some tough questions about the future of the Forum.

The event was highly anticipated, with many activists from a variety of social movements being drawn to and intrigued by post-revolution Tunisia, and procedures got underway on the 26th with a march through streets that just over two years ago bore witness to the start of the “Arab Spring.” The excitement on the streets was palpable, but it was immediately confined as the Forum took up its three day residence in the university campus.

Tunisian activists complained bitterly about the tight control of the space by the Tunisian government. As a result, many did not participate in the Forum. Graffiti on banners welcoming the Forum to Tunis displayed the mood: many are frustrated with the Forum for taking corporate sponsorship as well as for charging registration fees. And while the Forum was further criticised for lacking voices from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the university was buzzing with delegations from across the Middle East and North Africa who seemed to take advantage of the opportunity to have face to face meetings en masse to cross-pollinate strategies for their respective struggles.

Continue reading “On the World Social Forum – Tunisia, March 26-30”