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From 12th to 14th November, international activists will converge at Trades Hall in Melbourne to call for an end to the power of huge companies to exploit people and our planet.

“We will be building alliances and global resistance against the actions of Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, Fonterra, Chiquita Brands International, Monsanto, Drummond, BP” said Rebecca Harrison from the Latin American Solidarity Network. “To protect the rights of workers, indigenous peoples and the environment we need to hold corporations accountable for their exploitative practices,” added Ms Harrison.

International representatives from grass roots organisations from New Zealand, West Papua, El Salvador, Bougainville, Philippines, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia, as well as Australian indigenous and union representatives will be speaking at the gathering.

“Monsanto controls 80% of Brazil’s seed market”, says Paola Masiero from the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil, who represent an estimated 1.5 million members. “Its promotion of genetically modified crops impacts the environment, cost of living and undermines food sovereignty through the creation of a monopoly and the destruction of biodiversity.”

“Multinational corporations such as Coca Cola, Nestle, BHP Billiton and Kraft are benefiting from deteriorating working conditions and paramilitary violence in Colombia,” says Fredy Sepulveda from SINALTRAINAL, the Colombian Food and Agro-Industry Workers Union. “This repression of labour struggles has resulted in the murder of more than 3000 trade unionists in the last 20 years and 38 in the year 2010.”

The conference will examine corporate support or complicity with the exploitation of the poor of the world, the increasing undermining of workers’ rights and union-busting, the displacement and forced assimilation of Indigenous communities, and the destruction of our natural resources and environment.

Other speakers attending the Gathering include:

  • Jaime Deluquez from the Miners Coal Workers Union and Colombia Cut in Colombia.
  • Wilman Palmezano from the Wayuu Indigenous Community in Colombia.
  • Miguel Suarez from the Mining Workers Federation in Chile.
  • Manuel Morales, a Bolivian factory workers representative.
  • Juan Contreras, Coordinator of Simon Bolivar in Venezuela.
  • Santiago Punina from the CONAIE Indigenous National Council in Ecuador.
  • Claudio Tranamil Ñanco from the Mapuche indigenous community in Chile.
  • Cristina Fermovich, from Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in the Philippines.
  • Clive Porabou, a representative of communities in Bougainville resisting Rio Tinto.
  • Barbara Shaw, a spokesperson for The Intervention Rollback Action Group.
  • Uncle Larry Walsh, Tauwurrung Elder, Kulin Nation.
  • Robbie Thorpe, Krautungalung people of the Gunnai Nation.
  • Uncle Chappi, Aboriginal leader from the Lake Cowal campaign.
  • Uncle Kevin, Aboriginal leader from the anti-BHP Billiton campaign.

 

PRESS CONFERENCE

A press conference will be held at 5.30 pm on Friday 12th November in the New Chambers Council in Trades Hall. Interviews, including with Miguel Suarez from the Chilean Mining Workers Federation, will be available. Please contact: Marisol Salinas 0413 597 315 or Rebecca Harrison 0439 503 839.

Email: lasnet@latinlasnet.org Website: www.solidaritygathering2010.wordpress.com

Conference program: https://solidaritygathering2010.wordpress.com/program/

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Defending workers and Indigenous Rights

“Building bridges and global resistance against Multinational Corporations”

November 12-14, 2010 

For three days grassroots activists and Indigenous representatives from a range of organisations, communities, movements and countries will share ideas, experiences and stories of struggle against global capitalism. 

The abhorrent business practices of many Multinational Corporations, and the struggles against them, will be the central focus of this gathering. Space will be created for discussions on the implications of Free Trade agreements (Australia-Colombia and others), the imposition of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), the implementation of US plans for Central and North America, and more broadly, the problems raised by capitalist globalisation. Our purpose in coming together is to educate ourselves and one another in order to build new, global models of solidarity to combat the forces of an economic system dominated by corporate interests.

Corporations around the world act as a law unto their own.  We see this play out in our myriad struggles.  In coming together at this conference, we hope to share our experiences from Australia, Asia Pacific and Latin America. 

We are operating from the perspective that Multinational Corporations and the above mentioned initiatives serve only to benefit the privileged few at the expense of the majority. We see this in corporate support or complicity with the exploitation of the poor of the world,  the increasing undermining of workers’ rights and union-busting, corporate collaboration in terrorism and the murder of union activists, the displacement and forced assimilation of Indigenous communities, and the destruction of our natural resources and environment.

While many activists have long lists of complaints against the Multinational Corporations, we are focussing the conference on the following companies: BHP, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, Coca-Cola, Fonterra, Chiquita Brand, Monsanto, Drummond, Nestle, and BP, whose crimes are well known.

We acknowledge the proliferation of local struggles for workers rights, community power, autonomy and self-management and for freedom from corporate domination. In order to learn from these struggles and celebrate their achievements, we have secured speakers from:

Speakers attending the Gathering include:
• Jaime Deluquez from the Miners Coal Workers Union and Colombia Cut in Colombia.
• Wilman Palmezano from the Wayuu Indigenous Community in Colombia.
• Fredy Sepulveda from SINALTRAINAL (Food and Agro-Industry Workers Union) in Colombia.
• Miguel Suarez from the Mining Workers Federation in Chile.
• Manuel Morales, a Bolivia Workers Factory representative, from Bolivia.
• Juan Contreras, Coordinator of Simon Bolivar in Venezuela.
• Santiago Punina from the CONAIE Indigenous National Council in Ecuador.
• Claudio Tranamil Ñanco from the Mapuche indigenous communities in Chile.
• Paola Masiero from the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil.
• Cristina Fermovich, from Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in the Philippines.
• Clive Porabou, a representative of communities in Bougainville resisting Rio Tinto.
• Barbara Shaw, an NT anti-intervention campaigner and spokesperson for The Intervention Rollback Action Group.
• Representatives from the Australian Trade Union Movement.
• Representatives from New Zealand, West Papua and El Salvador.

 However, we also must acknowledge the limitations of locally defined struggles.  In order to realise their objectives, these campaigns must grow in such a way that they can challenge Multinational Corporations on a scale that is global in its scope and aspirations, just as the aspirations and actions of these Corporations are. In an economic system that seems to lack even a basic sense of morality, we must construct a power and system of ethics of our own. 

Therefore, the conference will commit itself to building new, practical models of solidarity that are global in scale.  It is insufficient to come together and merely recognise or sympathise with one another. The schedule of the conference will be designed with this practical goal in mind: moving beyond building awareness and towards creating effective and empowering models of global resistance. 

We desire your involvement both at this gathering and in assisting to organise it.

 Objectives of this Gathering:

 To share experiences of struggle to inform and build solidarity.

  • Achieve a clear resolution on united and internationalist action against corporate tyranny.
  • The explore developing a popular/community tribunal/ watchdog to monitor and disseminate publicly the behaviour of Multinationals.

 We acknowledge that struggles are won when oppressed peoples regain control over their everyday lives. 

We, therefore, desire the creation of an inclusive international network focused on achieving these results. If you want to be part of this discussion come with a model or ideas.

Hope to see you at our next organising meeting- every Tuesday, 7 pm at the Greek Democritus League, 583 High St. Northcote

Organised by: LASNET, MADGE, Greek Democritus League, Friends of The Earth, Ace Collective, Indigenous Communities NO mining NO forestry, Salvadorian Community, AAWL Loop Hole, Humanitarian Hub, GM Cropwatch’s and various individuals.

For more information please contact Marisol 0413 597 315, Michael 0438 496433, Rebecca 0439 503839, James 0417 732698, Tully 0410 388187, Sam 0422 507758 or visit www.latinamericansolidaritynetwork.org. Email: lasnet@latinlasnet.org.

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