Contact details, for enquiries : Jai Sen, CACIM, @

CACIM and fellow-travellers @ Dakar Forum, Event 2 :

Confronting the Consequences of Climate Change : Conflict, War, Resistance, and Movement in the Coming Half Century – Looking Ahead : What Do We Need To Do ?

Workshop being organised on February 9 at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, February 6-11 2011

Event Outline

February 5 2011 version

Name of registered organisation : CACIM - India Institute for Critical Action : Centre in Movement

Names of co-organisers :

CACIM - Critical Action : Centre in Movement (India);
ABN - African Biodiversity Network (Kenya);
Climate SOS (USA);
GGJ - Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (USA);
IEN - Indigenous Environmental Network (Turtle Island : Canada/USA); and –
NFFPFW - National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (India).

Day requested : Day 4, February 9 2011

Time requested : Shift 1 – 8:30-11:30

Names of already confirmed panellists :

  • Anne Wanjiku Maina (ABN - African Biodiversity Network);

  • Ashok Chowdhury (NFFPFW - National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, India) [has finally not been able to make it to Dakar];

  • GGJ representative (USA) [TBC];

  • Jai Sen (CACIM, India);

  • Mohamed Elmeadawy (Sweden);

  • Rachel Smolker (Climate SOS);

  • Roberto Espinoza (Red Ubuntu, Peru);

  • Stellan Vinthagen (War Resisters’ International); and –

  • Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island : Canada/USA.

Discussion Note 1

Background : We are not yet 100% sure of what the future is going to look like, but a definite possibility – because of evident inter-governmental inability to make the necessary policy decisions with respect to climate and to implement them – is the onset of cataclysmic changes within the next few decades. As a consequence of this, human beings as a species are almost certainly going to be faced with what Mary Kaldor has called “new wars”, as a consequence of a race for progressively scarce resources in most regions of the world (Europe, as well as Africa, Asia, and Latin America) and then the aggressive exercise of ‘national self-protection’, by countries across the world but with imperial powers also exercising their regional or global economic and military power in terms of their perceived national interests.. The result will be totally new manifestations of both state and social disorganisation and breakdown, the weaponisation of human rights, and in turn widespread social conflict, war, and violence : Forms that will cause the breakdown of all known forms of social organisation and government – and also of social movement, and where all these institutions, born during the 18-20th centuries under very different conditions, may no longer be relevant, in presently known forms.

As ocean waters rise and the atmosphere warms up, and climate change escalates, and critical resources such as land, water, and food are depleted, we will move – in this likely scenario - into a historically totally new stage of unpredictable non-linear system collapse, in turn unleashing forces in equally non-linear combinations that we as yet know nothing about and therefore today, as yet, have no ways of addressing; for the so-far somewhat linear, predictable systems and processes of social organisation, planning, government, and decision-making that we so far know and depend on are likely to be completely inadequate. In a context where they already play major roles in the military-industrial complex that runs the USA and other military ‘powers’, corporations - backed by consumers and the elite in both the North and the South - will also become active in the new, unregulated scenario, with private militias; as will neo-feudal gangs and warlords that already exist in many parts of the world. The emerging situation will require our completely rethinking our understanding of what constitutes ‘war’ and ‘violence’ – and social organisation.

But if the world is indeed allowed to proceed into the stage of general outbreaks of resource and ethnic-political wars/conflicts due to the climate-energy crisis in this way, then it will be too late to stop as it would have proceeded with too much momentum, and the climate and the man-made dimensions of destruction will by then have such unstoppable force as to wipe out the very foundations of a survivable planet. So it is not enough to simply anticipate this possibility; we have to begin to focus all our energies from now to stop it from taking place. (In short, if we are all going to die anyway, why bother planning how to die, or how to die a little later or a little more prepared ?)

Given the key roles that they play in all societies in protecting and promoting social interests, it is obvious from this scenario that it is essential that social movements and all other concerned social actors to both anticipate this possible future - and to just to ‘understand’ this future but also to see what has to be done to stop what is coming, looking at least several decades ahead. We must not wait any more for governments to do this. This must include stopping current militarism and wars and the domination of the world by the US and its allies, including the supporters and beneficiaries of economic globalisation, for the purpose of maintaining the current world order; addressing existing production and consumption patterns; and it must include proposing and urgently building historically new social institutions that can cope with the enormous flux that is coming.

Workshop description : This workshop aims to be both an exploratory and reflective, self-critical space where participants at the WSF in Dakar can draw on their wide range of experience in different parts of the world, across experiences and interests, and critically and collectively explore this subject; but where we will also aim to come up with concrete proposals for how we can take forward in and from our respective home locations, and collectively.

The workshop will also be strongly participatory, where we will expect all participants to help articulate both the key questions that need to be answered and also some answers – at the workshop, and after.

The session will end with planning on how to take forward these ideas and those generated during the Workshop.

Proposed Structure for Workshop, and our hopes for it :

Participants at this Workshop will come from different parts of the world with different conditions and futures, and will also be ‘located’ in different ways within their local and national contexts, and will therefore have different perspectives. We must therefore all attempt to listen carefully and to learn from each other, and also to speak from our hearts and with respect for each other; and to give others the opportunity to speak openly.

To achieve this, we propose to use the following open workshop format :

8:30-8:45 Welcome and introductions (including allowance for late start !)

8:45-9:15 4 speakers at first, who open up and critically discuss the issues at hand (30 minutes in all – 7-8 mins each) ;

  • Jai Sen (CACIM, India);

  • Rachel Smolker (Climate SOS);

  • Roberto Espinoza (Red Ubuntu, Peru);

  • Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island : Canada/USA.

9:15-9:35 Open discussion (20 minutes)

9:35-10:05 Return to a second set of four speakers, who also critically discuss and open both the first set of ideas and the ideas coming from the audience (35 minutes in all – 7-8 mins each) :

  • Anne Wanjiku Maina (ABN - African Biodiversity Network);

  • Mohamed Elmeadawy (Sweden);

  • GGJ (Grassroots Global Justice Alliance) representative (TBC); and -

  • Stellan Vinthagen (War Resisters’ International).

10:05-10:35 Second Open / Plenary discussion OR Breakout groups (30 mins) :

(Depending on the number of people attending the event, the meeting will either continue in the plenary or will break up into breakout groups for 30 minutes. If over 50 people, we break out into groups – 8-10 people each, by language; if less than 50, we stay as a plenary.)

Our objective in this part of the event will be to come up with very specific issues and proposals, responding to specific issues that have come up in the discussions so far and that come up in this session. Please also address the questions posed in the text below.

Breakout groups must select rapporteurs to briefly (3 mins only !) summarise and report group discussions back to the plenary.

In either case, we will have meeting rapporteurs working in parallel to prepare a draft synthesis of issues.

10:35-11:05 Feedback and proposals to the plenary from breakout group rapporteurs and from Workshop rapporteurs (if breakout groups, 30 minutes in all; each report gets 3-4 minutes. If plenary session, then 15-20 minutes, and balance 10 mins added to final plenary.)

11:05-11:30 Full panel of speakers responds to and summarises the proposals and issues, and makes proposals and as far as possible, commitments for following up this Workshop (25 minutes – about 3 mins each).

Details of co-organisers / co-sponsors :

CACIM (India) -
ABN - African Biodiversity Network (Kenya) -
Climate SOS (USA) -
GGJ - Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (USA) -
IEN - Indigenous Environmental Network (Turtle Island : Canada/USA) -
NFFPFW - National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (India) -

Issues for Break-out groups or for Second Open session :

To stimulate thinking, the Workshop Organisers propose the following questions to the meeting :

One : How do we see the basic propositions of this Workshop : The possibility, as a result of the serial impacts of climate change (migration, escalating competition for resources, protectionism, even more aggressive exercise of imperial power than till date), of totally new forms of social disorganisation and breakdown; and in turn, widespread social conflict, war, and violence : Forms that will make irrelevant all known forms of social organisation and government – and movement ? And, in a new development, conflict between movements representing different constituencies – a situation that will pose entirely new challenges ?

Do we agree / disagree / see other possibilities ?

Two, the forces that are primarily responsible for the climate change and crisis that Planet Earth is today facing at first sight seem to primarily corporate in nature, driven by profit and greed; but behind this is also escalating material consumption, in which all middle and higher classes are complicit. How do we address – resist, arrest, slow down, disrupt - both forces ? How can we build forces in our societies to do this ?

And :

Three, how do you plan to follow up this Workshop, in your own context ? And how should we, collectively, follow it up ?


1 Personal note, Jai Sen of CACIM : With thanks for comments to Maggie Zhou (Climate SOS and Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities), Stellan Vinthagen (War Resisters’ International), and Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network).

CACIM @ WSF 2011