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“The responses to the financial, economic, climate and biodiversity crisis are going to come from below, they are going to come through political organization, which is never easy. But it’s really the only choice that we have”, researcher Larry Lohmann from British organization The Corner House told Real World Radio.
Lohmann said he would urge people to see the example of the Occupy Movement in the US and in Europe, that came out as a result of the need to demonstrate against the crisis and structural adjustment measures. It is a movement from the grassroots, from the people. He also said that we should not spend too much time following the United Nations negotiations on climate or on biological diversity, since they are high level elite to elite negotiations, since change will not happen there. “The political force for change will really come from organizations from below”.
In its website it says The Corner House aims to support social, democratic and community movements for environmental and social justice. They carry out analyses, research and advocacy with the aim of linking issues, of stimulating informed discussion and strategic thought on critical environmental and social concerns, and of encouraging broad alliances to tackle them.
Real World Radio interviewed Lohmann on November 26, at the outset of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar, where he discussed different issues.
“I don’t expect anything positive in terms of the climate negotiations to tackle the climate crisis”, said Lohmann, who specified that in terms of climate finance there would be not be a positive outcome. After the conference ended, on December 7th, his predictions were confirmed. Lohmann clarified that the problem of the failed climate talks was not the result of the inaction of industrialized countries. They rather have plans to save the use of fossil fuels and accumulate capital, he said. “It’s a negative kind of action”, he said.
About the economic and financial crisis that began in 2008, Lohmann said he believes this is a special crisis, different from the previous crisis of the capitalist system and its solution is more difficult tan any previous one. “In Europe no one sees a clear way out of it”. He said that he does not believe there are many chances for the current economic system to get out of the crisis in a positive way.
He highlighted the power the financial sector continues to have after several years of crisis they provoked. “Basically the industrialized powers don’t really know what to do except to continue to turn to the banks and turn to the financial sector”.
Lohmann also made reference to developed countries, financial institutions and big transnational corporations to maintain the capitalist economic system. “I think this new ecosystem services markets, including the carbon market, which is dominating the United Nations climate negotiations are attempts not to get out of the crisis, because the crisis is much bigger than that, but they certainly are attempts to save certain pillars or certain fundamentals of the current system”, he said. The goal of the economic powers is to perpetrate the ruling system, extractivism and exploitation, he said.
He believes public control of the financial sector is necessary, as well as to strengthen radical and grassroots movements that take control over finances.
The researcher expressed his recognition of the Occupy movement because of its grassroots character and its self organization. He highlighted that one of the positive things that has come out of the current crises is that “a lot of the popular movements in Europe and in North America too have learned something from the Southern uprisings which have taken place in the past, (...) uprisings against the privatization of water, the privatization of other common goods in Latin America or Asia or other places”.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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