Occupy's GlobalMay Manifesto Has Lots of Points Green Movement Should Get Behind

occupy wall street wake up sign photoMat McDermott/CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

You wanted a manifesto, a list of demands, a plan, out of the Occupy movement? Well now you have one (probably), and it's been published in The Guardian. I say probably because no doubt there will be some wrangling about how this manifesto was produced, does it really represent the movement, et cetera, et cetera.

In any case though, there's a lot of very good stuff in it, environmentally speaking. If you still have doubts that there's the aims of the Occupy movement and that of the green movement are largely in alignment, this should eliminate that.

Check out the full thing at the link above, but here's are the ecological minded parts, and some commentary on them:

1. The economy must be put to the service of people's welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit. Therefore, we demand: [...]

Food sovereignty through sustainable farming should be promoted as an instrument of food security for the benefit of all. This should include an indefinite moratorium on the production and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and immediate reduction of agrochemicals use.

Yes, full stop.

We demand policies that function under the understanding that our changing patterns of life should be organic/ecologic or should never be. These policies should be based on a simple rule: one should not spoil the balance of ecosystems for simple profit. Violations of this policy should be prosecuted around the world as an environmental crime, with severe sanctions for those convicted.

Wording is a bit weird here for sure, but taken in context the intent is solid.

Policies to promote the change from fossil fuels to renewable energy, through massive investment which should help to change the production model.

For how big this, there's a surprising lack of exposition. Am a bit surprised something about ending fossil fuel subsidies specifically isn't included, ditto carbon pricing. I wonder if those writing this actually realize the magnitude of difficulty and complexity in transitioning from fossil fuel dominance to renewable energy dominance. It must and can be done, but a mere 22 words here is a bit troubling.

We demand the creation of international environmental standards, mandatory for countries, companies, corporations, and individuals. Ecocide (wilful damage to the environment, ecosystems, biodiversity) should be internationally recognised as a crime of the greatest magnitude.

This is great. If you're scratching your head at the mention of 'ecocide', check out the work that Polly Higgins and co are doing, as well as her excellent book "Eradicating Ecocide".

We want democratic control of the global commons, defined as the natural resources and economic institutions essential for a proper economic management. These commons are: water, energy, air, telecommunications and a fair and stable economic system. In all these cases, decisions must be accountable to citizens and ensure their interests, not the interests of a small minority of financial elite.

Nice that there's specific mention of natural resources as global commons, not simply commodity, the notion of commons in general, as well as a nod to stakeholders not just shareholders.

An end to the legal personhood of corporations. Companies cannot be elevated to the same level of rights as people. The public's right to protect workers, citizens and the environment should prevail over the protections of private property or investment.

Yes. A central environmental issue, really.

All told there's lots of good stuff in this Occupy manifesto, well beyond the overtly environmentally-minded parts above. While I don't agree with every point to the letter of it, and have some serious concerns about how some it can be brought about, as well as wondering if those writing it recognize the difficulty in doing so, overall it's a great aspirational document.

For your ease of scrolling, here again is the original: The 'GlobalMay manifesto' of the Occupy movement

Tags: Environmental Justice | Genetically Modified Food | Occupy Wall Street


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