It’s been just under 4 months since the Southern Africa Campaign was launched in Swaziland at the first Southern Africa Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) on Transnational Corporations (TNC’s). And in this short time, so much has happened. The first Tribunal brought overwhelming support for the campaign, and enthusiasm has only built since then. What has come since is amazing – Comrades from JA! visited Tete province including the communities who had presented on Vale and Jindal at the PPT, to update them on the Campaign and introduce it to other communities. They created a brief and reader-friendly pamphlet in Portuguese and translated into English. Activities like these are crucial to taking the campaign beyond the Tribunal. But it’s been a fraught year for the struggle against TNC’s – battles have been won, but lives have been lost.
Just a few days ago, activists in the US, mostly native Americans now living on poverty-ridden reservations, won the fight, through snowstorms and below-zero temperatures, against Energy Transfer Partners, who were planning to drill an oil pipeline under the Missouri River. The permit to drill was denied. But the year brought its tragedies as well – activist Siphokazi ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe who fought fearlessly against titanium miners Mineral Commodities Limited who attempted to mine in his beautiful home of Xolobeni on the Wild Coast of South Africa, was assassinated in March for his undefeatable spirit and the fear he caused the corporation. The day he was murdered, was 21 March, celebrated as Human Rights day in South Africa. In the same month in Honduras, activist Berta Caceres was killed in her home after receiving 33 death threats. The threats were linked to her campaign to stop the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam being built on indigenous Lenca territory. Around the region and the world, countless activists, artisanal miners and their surrounding communities remain in constant fear for their lives for standing up to the corporations and their support structures – government, police, security and military. In June, Global Witness released a report saying that 185 activists had been killed around the world, predominantly for anti-mining activities. And as the oppression, the theft and the violence by TNC’s increases, so will the strength of our struggle and our solidarity.
See the news letter here: