The French government is seeking to shutdown protests at the Paris Climate Change talks next week. But the issue is too important to allow world governments and their corporate allies to hold sway - because they have consistently failed to adequately tackle an issue that threatens the very future of the planet.
FROM THIS MONDAY (NOV 29) world leaders will be in Paris for the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change, or Conference of the Parties (COP 21). But ordinary people from around the world won't be able to have their voices heard. Ostensibly in reaction to the Paris terrorist attacks, the French government has extended the state of emergency by three months and banned all demonstrations.
But the French government, expressing its desire to see normal life continue, has allowed football matches, Xmas-related festivities and other large public gatherings to proceed. But not political activity - that is deemed to be a potential terrorist threat. Under the emergency measures, a meeting of two people can be classified as a demonstration - and the individuals arrested.
The incoherency of the French government's actions exposes how it is cynically using the terrorist attacks to shutdown political dissent.
Writing in The Guardian Naomi Klein, the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, has commented:
"..frontline voices do not have enough of a platform in the official climate meetings, in which the microphone is dominated by governments and large, well-funded green groups. The voices of ordinary people are primarily heard in grassroots gatherings parallel to the summit, as well as in marches and protests, which in turn attract media coverage. Now the French government has decided to take away the loudest of these megaphones, claiming that securing marches would compromise its ability to secure the official summit zone where politicians will meet."
And, with the voices of ordinary people silenced, it will indeed be the corporate lobbyists and the corporate friendly approach of most Green NGOs that will dominate proceedings and the news stories.
But world governments and their corporate allies have consistently failed to adequately tackle climate change - as the failures at Kyoto and Copenhagen have amply demonstrated. And as Naomi Klein states "when governments and corporations fail to act in a way that reflects the value of all of life on Earth, they must be protested."
The future of the world lies with a political movement that understands that capitalism is driving the world to barbarism. Any real solution lies beyond capitalism. But it is exactly this movement that the French government is seeking to silence in Paris.