Call to strengthen international alliances for water and to support the struggles against mega-basins in France !
More than 300 peasant, indigenous, environmentalist, feminist and trade union organisations from all over the world invite to support the struggle against megabasins and the struggles for water as a common good in France and all over the world, and to denounce the repression of the French government!
On the initiative of members of the Global Convergence of Struggles for Land, Water and Peasant Seeds West Africa, MODATIMA in Chile, the Ethnic Commission for Peace and the Defense of Territorial Rights in Colombia, the Ecological Movement for Mesopotamia in Kurdistan, La Via Campesina, the Confédération Paysanne and the Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, this unprecedented international appeal is set to be published on Al Jazeera, Le Monde, Brasil de Fato, Common Dreams, during this month.
The international appeal remains open for signature by organisations around the world
On 24, 25 and 26 March 2023, more than 25,000 people gathered in the Marais Poitevin, the second largest wetland in France, for an international mobilization against the “mega-basins” projects. These huge craters of about ten hectares filled by drawing on the groundwater embody the maintenance at all costs of an agroindustrial model that crushes farmers and destroys ecosystems. Already implemented in Chile for a few decades, their effects are devastating: billionaire owners of avocado crops grab water to fill mega basins while the surrounding villages are supplied with tanker trucks. “No es sequia, es saqueo!”, as sums up the popular slogan that resonates from Chile to Mexico – It’s not a drought, it’s a looting!
Pollution, overexploitation, commodification, hoarding, disruption of water cycles: the situation is critical all over the world.While water scarcity affects 40% of the world’s population, food giants like Danone, Nestlé or Coca-Cola are appropriating spring waters, for example depriving the indigenous peoples of Mexico, the United States and Canada of their waters to sell it at high prices in plastic bottles. Elsewhere, in line with the capitalist injunctions to “decarbonize” economies, mines and large dams are also multiplying, destroying territories still populated by peasant and indigenous communities.
Despite the revolt of the “water war” in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2000, the counter-summits and the recognition of the right to water by the UN in 2010, the privatization and financialization of water have continued to progress. In 2020, water was even listed on the stock exchange. In the face of this ecocidaloffensive on water, land and our livelihoods, our struggles for water continue to swarm and connect across the globe.
Some of us were therefore physically present in Sainte-Soline, France, on 25 March, to make our fight resonate and become international. We, activists from Chile fighting against the destruction of our ecosystems by authoritarian neo-liberalism; activists from Mali and West Africa fighting to reclaim our land against land grabs; activists from Kurdistan opposing to the relentless war waged by Erdogan’s regime in Turkey, using water as a weapon; Yukpa indigenous activists from Abya Yala and Mohawk activists from Turtle Island fighting for the self-determination of our nations in the face of a colonial and extractivist system; activists from the Lakota Nation in Mexico; activists from the social centers of North East Italy or NoTAV; activists from France and Europe involved in hundreds of territorial fights against destructive projects in France and Europe. And many others were present via the warmth of our hearts and thoughts.
Faced with this unprecedented mobilization, the French government decided to ban the demonstration and deploy more than 3200 armed police to protect this deadly mega-pool project. More than 5,000 grenades were fired at the demonstrators in less than 2 hours (i.e. one grenade every two seconds), injuring and maiming nearly 200 people, several dozen of them seriously. Today, one demonstrator is still in a coma between life and death. The French government then announced the “dissolution” of “The Earth’s Uprisings”, one of the organizations behind the demonstration.
These very brutal scenes remind us of the sad reality that we are experiencing in our territories and
continents, to different degrees: we are witnessing everywhere the resurgence or reinforcement of
authoritarianism, repression and criminalization of those who oppose the ongoing destructions, as well as the capitalist, imperialist and colonialist logics that preside over it.
But we cannot dissolve the water peoples’ movement, we cannot dissolve a vital revolt that grows and resonates across borders and languages!
This is why, we, actors of the struggle for life, peasants, human rights and environmental defenders, public figures, trade unions, collectives and organizations from different continents, call for massive international support for the struggle for water and against mega-basins in France. We call to denounce the French government’s repression towards social and environmental movements.
Our support extends to all those who are struggling around the world against water grabbing, privatization and pollution, and for the fair sharing and protection of water as an inalienable common good!
In this perspective, we therefore also call for the respect of the UN declarations on the rights of indigenous peoples (UNDRIP) and on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP).
From the water that flows through our veins, the rivers of the watersheds that sustain our territories and that connect our geographies, we call for the strengthening of internationalist alliances to defend water, land and the commons that sustain life. In the face of all forms of repression and authoritarianism, our solidarity is like flowing water: it brings life and freedom, and knows no borders !