New Book by GJEP Board member Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements

This new book by the University of Toronto Press was written by GJEP Board member Aziz Choudry and illustrated by GJEP co-founder and Langelle Photography Director Orin Langelle.

To mark the recent publication of Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements, the author, Aziz Choudry, provides the following background, as well as thoughts on how the book might be used in the undergraduate or graduate classroom.

Learning-Activism-200x300Learning Activism
Learning Activism is primarily about the intellectual labour—the learning, knowledge production, and research—that takes place in the course of organizing and activism. Indeed, in this book I suggest that some of the most radical critiques, understandings, and theories about the world we live in, its power structures and dominant ideologies, and the fragility of the environment—and indeed the most powerful visions for social change—emerge from ordinary people coming together and working for such change.

For teaching purposes, I’m often drawn to books that incorporate, in different ways, narrations of the author’s everyday observations and experiences—to make their points as well as review and reference selective areas of scholarship. This book tries to balance insights derived from some of my own organizing and activist education practice with scholarship about activist learning, knowledge production, and research in sufficient depth to be helpful to both student and broader audiences. Drawing from a range of contexts, Learning Activism discusses the significance, dynamics, and politics of forms and processes of informal and non-formal learning, education, research, and other forms of knowledge production within social, political, and environmental activist milieus. Examples include anti-colonial currents within global justice organizing in the Asia-Pacific, activist research and education in social movements and people’s organizations in the Philippines, migrant worker struggles in Canada, and the Quebec student strike.

For the full article and ways to order the book, click here

Allentown First Friday Reception 11/6 for Langelle Photo Exhibit: The End of the Game – Revisted

GJEP’s ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery will host an Allentown First Friday reception on November 6th for Orin Langelle’s newest photo exhibit, The End of the Game–The Last Word From Paradise, Revisted  The reception will take place from 6-9 p.m. at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery (148 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201)



With the support of the Peter Beard Studio, ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery presents this exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of artist Peter Beard’s book, The End of the Game–The Last Word from Paradise.  Beard’s controversial views on ecology are just as relevant today as they were then.

Photo: LangelleThe exhibit features photos by Orin Langelle documenting the art scene in Manhattan in the 1970s.  The photos showcase Beard and the people that surrounded him (including Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote), prior to and during Beard’s one-person show at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan in 1977, and his 40th birthday party at Studio 54 in 1978.

Bear’d groundbreaking ICP exhibit, based on his book, documented the rapid decline of elephants and other wildlife in Africa caused by destructive conservation models that led to overpopulation and starvation.

The exhibit includes advance copies of the 50th Anniversary edition of Beard’s The End of the Game.

Wine and Hors D’oeuvres will be served.  Free and open to the public.

Exhibit runs through Friday December 17th, when it will close with a Solstice Party from 6-9 p.m.

Climate Victories: From Shell Arctic Drilling to China Policy

shell-156157_640In August, Global Justice Ecology Project’s Ruddy Turnstone was one of 13 Greenpeace protesters who repelled off the side of the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Turnstone hung 100 feet in the air above the water for almost 40 hours, blocking a Shell Oil icebreaker en route to the Arctic. Ultimately, Shell’s ship, the Fennica, would complete its journey, but only after a significant delay that drew the attention of international media to the protester’s point of concern — the reckless extrication of fossil fuels from the Arctic and the residual effects on global warming and pollution. This week, Shell announced that it will end oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. The Institute For Public Accuracy provides commentary on that victory and more.

DAPHNE WYSHAM,, @daphnewysham
In Portland, Oregon, Wysham is director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Center for Sustainable Economy. She said today: “Over the past few days, we have seen a cascading set of victories for the climate. The fossil fuel divestment movement picked up $2.6 trillion in pledges to divest. China joined numerous other nations and publicly financed institutions in agreeing to limit its ‘high-carbon’ financing. Brazil announced it would cut its emissions by 43 percent by 2030. And Shell announced it would withdraw from oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. All of these victories can be attributed the power of ordinary people taking extraordinary action — students divesting their universities, kayaktivists blockading ships en masse, thousands marching in the streets, all of us demanding change.”

Vice president of Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Edwardson said today: “We have 70-80 percent unemployment in our communities and the only way people can feed themselves is subsistence hunting; our main meat supply comes from the ocean, so drilling in the Arctic is a death sentence for our people. The lease sale area Shell was exploring is right smack in the middle of the North American salmon nursery — this is the last third of the world’s fish. We call for all oil companies to declare the Arctic off limits to drilling.”

A Yup’iaq biologist, Wassilie is co-founder and community organizer with Alaska’s Big Village Network. He organized against the Shell plans for Arctic drilling in Alaska as well as Portland and Seattle with “kayactivist” actions. He was just interviewed by The Real News: “We want to protect what we have left in the global nurseries of the Arctic Ocean that provide for life. Not only in the Arctic, but also the last of the wild salmon fisheries left on the planet as well as the fish production and the fisheries that provide for the Pacific Northwest, and is the last great American fishery. So from a national point of view this is a win for fishermen, this is a win for Native Americans, this is a win for environmentalists. And this is also a win for the planet.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

African climate negotiators urged to employ WTO Seattle strategy

(Originally published at



Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – African negotiators at the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference have been urged to garner support of activists to block the signing of the  anticipated new universal climate change agreement if it is perceived unfavorable to the continent.
Bearing the greatest proportion of risks and impacts posed by climate change, African countries have been asked to maintain unity with the support of activists and threaten a walk out as the only way to change the balance of forces in Paris, if they think they will get a raw deal.
Prof. Patrick Bond from the Centre for Civil Society, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa has said that Africa should  take a leaf out of the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organisation (WTO) protests that showed unity in diversity.
Bond who spoke on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Talks taking place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, told PANA in an interview that Seattle is an example of what can be accomplished when there is determination and unity from negotiators and activists.
He said African negotiators at the UN conference in Paris should follow as an example the 1999 WTO ministerial conference and not cut what they see as a bad deal for the continent.
Once it is clear that a deal, which will be nowhere near to 2 degrees Celsius will be adopted, “this is when we need African societies to demand that they don’t negotiate further”, Bond said, in reference to the global agreement on the emission reduction required to control global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius by 2050.
All evidence indicates, however, that for Africa and the Small Island Developing States, temperature increases above 1.5 degrees Celsius are already catastrophic.
“If they (African negotiators and the civil society) unite and decide to walk out, they will deny consensus and then force the next COP (Conference of Parties)  which is going to be in Africa, Morocco in 2016, to then change the power balance in the meantime,” Bond stated.
He noted that after the Seattle breakdown, when they met again in Doha in 2001, they had a huge gift for Africa which was free anti-retroviral medicines.
“Before that these drugs were costing US$10,000 to get a year’s treatment of AIDS medicines. But once the African negotiators with the support of activists won, the AIDS crisis is now simply a long term disease.  And in South Africa there is an increase in life expectancy of 10 years, from 52 to 62, as a result of that, so that is the kind of strength and unity we want to see in Paris.”
Bond who said the Seattle conference illustrated what could be done if African negotiators stop the signing of a deal which is perceived to be detrimental to the continent.
He was however quick to caution the elite negotiators who, he said, “are under pressure once they are identified by the US government and USAID.”
Also, significant for the continent at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, are questions surrounding the issue of loss and damage and whether Africa should pay for something they had no role in, arguing that the money should come from the North, as well as the issue on the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility.
Meanwhile, the latest round of the UN climate change negotiations ended Friday in Bonn,  Germany, on track to produce the first comprehensive draft of the new global climate change agreement that governments are committed to reach in Paris.
According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the draft will present clear options and ways forward on all elements of the agreement and the decisions that will operationalize it from 2020.
“What Parties are looking for now is a better basis from which to negotiate. This week, we achieved an enormous amount of clarity as to where we are going which makes this possible and allows us to speed up,” said co-chair Daniel Reifsnyder of the United States at the end of the meeting.

Declaration against REDD to be presented at World Forestry Congress

NO-redd-button-size-sticker-300x300We, local communities, peasants movements, Indigenous Peoples and civil society organizations from Africa and all over the world, call upon the United Nations, the World Forestry Congress, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank and states to reject top-down forms of development, including false solutions to climate change and forest and biodiversity conservation that only serve the dominant market economy.

We are united to oppose and reject the commodification, privatisation and plunder of Nature, which include REDD+1 and other market-based mechanisms including biodiversity and conservation offsets that put profit above the wellbeing of humanity and the planet.

These mechanisms include the “financialization of nature,” which commodifies, separates and quantifies the Earth’s cycles and functions of carbon, water, forest, fauna and biodiversity – turning them into “units” to be sold in financial and speculative markets. However, Mother Earth is the source of Life, which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a ‘natural capital.’

REDD+ is also the pillar of the Green Economy. REDD+ is being misleadingly billed as saving the world’s forests and climate and is the anticipated main outcome of the UN’s Paris Accord on climate change in December 2015. In addition, REDD+ is a false solution to climate change that is already including forests, plantations and agriculture in the carbon Reports show that deforestation and the related emissions continue, and that REDD+, instead of reducing them, is harming and vilifying forest-dependent communities and those who produce the majority of the world’s food – small scale farmers. Furthermore,

  • REDD+ promotes monoculture tree plantations and genetically modified trees
  • REDD+ increases land grabs and human rights violations
  • REDD+ restricts access to forests, threatening livelihoods and cultural practices
  • REDD+ causes violence against peasants, Indigenous Peoples, women and forest-dwelling communities
  • REDD+ is combined with other offsets including payment for environmental services (PES)
  • REDD+ imposes market driven neo-liberalism on forests, which undermines and monetizes community conservation and social/cultural processes and creates inequalities
  • REDD+ projects tend to force subsistence communities into the cash economy and exploitative wage-labor
  • REDD+ hinders and prevents much needed policies that support endogenous, bio-cultural approaches to biodiversity conservation and restoration.

Therefore, we join with the No REDD in Africa Network and the Global Alliance against REDD to demand that governments, the United Nations and financial institutions stop the disastrous REDD+ experiment and finally start addressing the underlying causes of forest loss and climate change!

1 REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a global initiative to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests and all other ecosystems to compensate governments and companies or owners of forests and agriculture in developing countries not to cut their forests or to reduce their rate of deforestation and forest degradation as a market mechanism to avoid GHG emissions. REDD+ expands REDD to develop methods for carbon sequestration through conservation of forest (and wetlands, agricultural systems) carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

Put forward by the No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN) and the Global Alliance Against REDD, with endorsement and support by the following. To be presented to the World Forestry Congress 2015, the UNFCCC COP21 and beyond:

  • No REDD in Africa Network
  • Global Alliance Against REDD
  • Indigenous Environmental Network
  • JA!/Justica Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique
  • All India Forum of Forest Movements/India
  • CENSAT Agua Viva – Friends of the Earth Colombia
  • Womin (Womens on Mining)
  • Foundation Help/Tanzania
  • Centre from Civil Society/University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
  • Democratic Left Front