International declaration / Amazon fires: it's not the fire, it's the system

Since the beginning of 2019, the Amazon is suffering a multiplication of fires. It is an unprecedented catastrophe. In Brazil there have been about 75,000 epicenters of fire throughout the year. Almost 40,000 were verified in the world´s largest rainforest. This year, the outbreaks in that region of the world’s key climate regulator grew 85% inter-annually. Currently, the situation is critical and still out of control. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the causes of this dynamic, identify responsibilities and proposesolutions from the point of view of anti-capitalism and militant, revolutionary and internationalist eco-socialism.

With Bolsonaro, landowners and corporations are emboldened

The direct, immediate cause of the fires in this jungle is the geometric growth of deforestation. The landowners of Brazil, the great seed pools and mining companies, want to replace the forest with grazing area and transgenic soybean fields. In addition, of course, mega-mining corporations reinforce their presence in the area. Indeed, with the rise to government of the proto-fascist Bolsonaro, the forest devastation, measured in square kilometers, grew by 285% according to the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). Additionally, it must be added that, with the current right-wing government, the illegal occupation of land, for speculation, reserve of value and future sale in the Brazilian jungle has increased. Landowners are emboldened by the statements of the reactionary president, who said “that the environmental demands are an obstacle to the development of the economy of Brazil.” To add more data, this time released by the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB): this institution denounces the deforestation of 4,565 square kilometers in the first 6 months of this year, 15% more than in 2018. Satellite images cross-examined with field information is conclusive: since Bolsonaro took office, for every minute that passes, an area equivalent to the Maracana, the famous football stadium, is lost in the Amazon.

It is not an accident: they are capitalist businesses

The current catastrophe in the world´s main jungle, reserve of the greatest bio-diversity on Earth and oxygen “lung”, is not at all accidental. There is a pattern of behavior of agribusiness and mega-mining corporations in the region, which is to use fire to clear areas that have already been deforested, to enable airstrips or prepare land for soybeans. Improvisation, illegality and business senselessness, often spread fires to unforeseen areas and thus multiply rapidly. The alteration of the climate throughout the years and the lack of natural barriers of containment encourages fires and expands them. That is, we have the following criminal combination:

  • The predatory action of soybean and mega-mining extractivist capital, that uses fires as part of its process of dispossession.
  • The forced, violent displacement of entire peasant and native communities that have inhabited the Amazon for millennia by the landowners and hitmen of the mega-mining companies.
  • The accumulated climate change of years does not favor the natural defenses of the ecosystem against a threatening danger. There is less wet vegetation and rainfall.
  • Deforestation and the retreat of the jungle, releases huge volumes of carbon dioxide contained in plants into the atmosphere, which reinforces global warming and thus, a spiraling cycle that deepens.

In summary: the logic of capitalist accumulation is not only responsible for the leap in the super-exploitation and the precariousness of millions of workers, but also increases the conditions of socio-environmental catastrophe on a worldwide scale with agribusiness, mega-mining and different forms of extractivism. All to feed a systemic modality based on the superproduction of “things” to sell, the stimulus of artificial over-consumption and the purpose of obtaining higher levels of private profitability. We have to stop them, it is urgent.

International mobilization, anti-capitalist and eco-socialist organization

In this jungle, the fire spreads at ground level, but that is enough to kill very large trees. Dead trees lose their leaves, which causes sunlight to penetrate more into the jungle, which makes vegetation more flammable. In the best case, if the fire is stopped, optimistic estimates indicate that it will take several decades to recover vegetation density. In some burned areas, the space is invaded by plant species from drier areas that prevents previous vegetation from returning. Regarding the regional consequences, with the damages that have already been caused, drifts that affect the rainfall regime in the rest of the country are expected. In addition, increased flooding, desertification, the impact on the peasantry, extreme winds, invasion of coastal areas by the sea and heat waves constitute an anticipated drama. That is the picture of what is happening in Brazil. All the capitalist governments of the world exercise hypocrisy and “make themselves available” to the country, lament the catastrophe and utter other phrases of commitment. They are polluters, predators of the ecosystem, and responsible for the disaster.

Immediately, it is essential to develop an intense and sustained international, unitary mobilization to force the Brazilian government and all the governments of the world to intervene to stop the fire. In this, the fundamental thing is to invest all the resources necessary for that objective. Simultaneously a thorough investigation is necessary, in order to clarify everything. The socialists of the ISL and other signing organizations, pose a demand for an Independent Investigative Commission to be formed, composed of representatives of the native peoples and poor peasants of the area, activists and socio-environmental fighters of recognized trajectory, talked with making the whole truth known to Amazonian inhabitants and the world, because a common resource and heritage of humanity is being violated. We also demand the trial and punishment of political and business leaders. And at the same time, that they take care of all the remediation expenses in the area. This is most urgent.

And we raise other programmatic approaches:
• Prohibition of logging, burning of trees and native forests.
• Prohibition of the polluting mining of gold and other metals.
• Labor and professional restructuring with guarantee of continuity of wages for all workers affected by these activities, at the expense of the prohibited companies.
• Declaration of a Socio-Environmental Emergency throughout the region, constituting a Special Fund to finance plans of control and early warning based on the expropriation of the assets of the corporations involved.

This set of slogans are basic proposals to intervene in the emergency and prepare the conditions for a transition to another way of producing and interacting with nature. This reorganization of the economy and the relationship with planetary ecosystems must be without capitalism, without accumulation and “production for production´s sake ” as a parameter. To the current modality, we oppose, as an alternative, the democratic planning of all social production based on real social needs, with the direct intervention of the working class and oppressed sectors. That solution is socialism with real democracy for the majority that works and is feasible with mass mobilization, the internationalist militant organization in defense of these banners and a strategic horizon: that those who have never governed govern : the workers and poor peoples of all the world. The International Socialist League, and the organizations that sign this declaration, also propose to articulate in the broadest unity of action, initiatives to intervene in the global week of action against climate change from September 20 to 27 of this year, including the international student strike called for the last day of that week.

International Socialist League (ISL)
Turkey, August 26, 2019