24-26june:: National Consultation on commons

Anil Tharayath <anil> wrote:

‘Commons, Resources, Rights and Livelihood’

Invitation for a National Consultation

On Traditional Communities, Livelihood Rights

& Need for Strategic Alliances

National Park, Banjar

Himachal Pradesh

24th – 26th June 2011

For centuries, the conflict between people asserting their rights and the nation states that have tried to usurp those very rights of the people have been largely fought over the terrain called ‘Commons’. The struggles waged were not just over the right to administer; it was about the right to traditional ownership, thwarted by an incumbent governance system that tried to convert traditional commons to commodified property. As the neoliberal agenda unfolded across the globe, it became clear that the aim of the Structural Adjustment Programmes was not just to undermine state property, but that they were also devised both to destroy the basis of common property that has been struggled for and defended in the Third World and to prevent future common property rights from forming anywhere. This was manifested in the demand for reforms in various policies which also gave birth to the idea of privatizing land and creating land markets. Common property resources, such as forest, water, common land and minerals are being acquired by the state in the name of ‘development’ and are being handed over to capital for profit making. The crisis is also about a few usurping the rights and access of the vast majority of the disempowered over the commons – air, water, land, minerals and forests.

Neo-liberalism has faced its toughest resistance across the globe from communities protecting their rights over the commons. We witness today that struggles are decentralised, even delinked in many places and are no more led by middle-class activists or intelligentsia. With the resistances intensifying on the ground, both the Food and Agriculture Organization and many national governments were forced to recognize ‘common property rights’ over land in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Forest Rights Act passed in 2006, though came late, is part of this process of recognition. Communities across India have been resisting against “land grab”, private control over Commons, and forest peoples are relentlessly fighting for the implementation of FRA. While the thirst of capital for minerals and fossil-fuels magnifies, so does the resistance to protect these vast tracts of land that are under forest cover and inhabited traditionally by adivasis and other forest dwellers dependent largely on forest produce. Our forest peoples’ struggles are today at this historic juncture, where they have the affirmative and challenging FRA on the one hand and innumerable traps set in the form of REDDs and others, in the name of global climate change.

Nandigram, Singur, Raigad, Chengara and Sonbhadra struggles are remarkable instances of the growing consciousness of people taking the movements forward, at the cost of their own lives ensuring that the neo-liberals do not have an easy way forward. A remarkable feature of these movements is the emergence of gender consciousness and the need for women to play an important role in leadership. These struggles will definitely inspire and can give new directions to people’s movements.

The most recent of such eruptions against abusive and anti-people developmental projects has happened in Himachal Pradesh, the mountainous terrain of North India. We need to affirm, celebrate and support these movements from Himachal, from Renuka Bandha Vistapan Virodhi Sangharsh to anti – Ski village project and to struggles against the Jaypee Group’s cement manufacturing units and thermal plants, . The choice of Shimla, the capital of Himachal is therefore significant.

We would take this opportunity to invite you to this consultation from June 24 – 26th 2011 at Community Centre, National Park, Banjar, Sai Ropa, Kulu Dt which aims to bring together grassroots movements and enable the evolution of a collective process to address the impending crisis. Additionally, it also attempts to address issues of building solidarity within diverse movements. This consultation will also specifically look at national legislations such as PESA, FRA, NREGA in order to strengthen their implementation on the ground in order to empower communities, especially women and adivasis.

Kindly find the attached concept note of the consultation.

Looking forward to meet you and kindly confirm your participation.

How to reach the venue

The route is 560 – 600 km approximately from Delhi.

If you are planning to come by bus from Delhi

Take bus from ISBT to Kulu / Manali and get down at Aut pronounced as ‘ot’. From Aut take a bus to Banjar. The journey will take approx 10 -11 hrs. From Aut to Banjar it will take one hour approximately.

If you are coming by train

By train one should get down at Kiratpur/ Anantpur Sahib station and take a bus to Kulu/ Manali get down at Aut and take a bus to Banjar. This will take approxiamately five hours.

Please note that buses are availabe from Chadigarh too at any point of time.

In solidarity

Ashok Choudhary, Roma, Munnilal [NFFPFW]; Gautam Bandyopadhyay [Nadi Ghati Morcha]; Shantabhai [Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti]; Mamta Kujur [Aadiviasi Mahila Mahasangh]; Madhuresh Kumar [National Alliance of People's Movements]; Guman Singh, K Upmanyu, R.S Negi [Himalaya Niti Abhiyan]; Tarun Joshi [Van Panchayat Sangharsh Samiti]; Munni Hansda [Adivasi Kalyan Parishad, Dumka]; Sushovan Dhar [Sundarvan Van Adhikar Sangram]; Vijayan MJ [Delhi Forum]; Anil T Varghese [Programme For Social Action]


Programme for Social Action
F 10/12
Malviya Nagar
New Delhi – 110017

Phone: 011 26680883/ 26671556
Fax: 011 26687724

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