Resources: Political strategy, Article

36 results
Some Lessons from Struggle
Larry Lohmann

13 October 2017

One of the biggest buzzwords in forest and land conservation today is “rights”. Environmental NGOs, legal activists, corporate consultants, international institutions and many others are championing “rights-based approaches” as key to effective environmental policy. But, argues this short article from the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin, the “rights” discourse can be a source of confusion.

Larry Lohmann

5 July 2017

Effective research and other action in the field of environment and law requires an understanding of how profoundly both have changed under neoliberalism. The growth of the neoliberal state amid productivity crisis and the move to a more financialized, rent-based global economy has been accompanied by sweeping legal innovations relating to property, trade, investment, rent and criminality as well as an expansion in the mass of written law and in the gaming of legislation.

Institutionalised Corruption and Development Finance
Nicholas Hildyard

13 December 2016

Many lawful, routine, accepted practices in today's economic system are regarded by the general public as corrupt. They have created a distorted, privatised vision of the “public interest” and represent a new trend of state capture by for-profit interests.

Nicholas Hildyard

13 December 2016

This presentation challenges the current rush towards mega infrastructure projects that are being planned the world over as a means of boosting economic recovery.

Nicholas Hildyard

28 November 2016

This presentation explores the connections between injustices carried out as part of the 'War on Terror' and against those opposing fossil fuels.

NIcholas Hildyard

5 November 2016

Understanding the processes whereby a shared understanding evolves of what constitutes a ‘good society’ is key to effective organising for social change.

Hendro Sangkoyo

30 August 2016

Activists occasionally allow themselves to treat stories of suffering or healing as “proto-political”, or to bracket the space and time in which people experience loss as politically empty. Why dwell on endless horror stories, they tell themselves, when what is needed is comprehensive action on a higher, more political level? “Don’t mourn, organize!” goes the well-known movement slogan. In reality, argues this article from the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin, this "emptying out of the space of loss" can undermine political work.

Expanding the Concept of Environmental Racism
Larry Lohmann

6 May 2016

Classically, environmental racism is defined in terms of the racialized distribution of pollution. But it's also about the ways people, ethnic groups, nature and pollution are co-defined in the first place. This aspect of environmental racism is perhaps even more visible in forests than elsewhere.

Some Questions from the Netherworld
Nicholas Hildyard

18 April 2016

This public lecture raises questions about the direction of mainstream discussions on energy, technology, finance, accumulation, and organising.

Nicholas Hildyard

18 April 2016

It is critical to recognise that energy is a labour issue if the shift away from fossil fuels is to do more than just help elites find new tools for exploiting the majority world.

Scarcity, Politics, Securitisation and the Green Economy
Nicholas Hildyard and Larry Lohmann

8 September 2015

Social justice, political organising and alliance-building were among the themes raised by The Corner House at an academic conference on Resource Politics.

Las injusticias de la ciencia del clima
Larry Lohmann

31 May 2015

People often talk about the unjust distribution of the effects of climate change, and analyze injustices committed in the name of climate change “mitigation” and “adaptation”. But, argues this brief piece in Paths beyond Paris: Movements, Action and Solidarity towards Climate Justice, edited by Joanna Cabello and Tamra Gilbertson, there are also injustices inherent in mainstream climate science, and in the ways that climate science shapes how we approach climate itself. How climate activists orient themselves with respect to these injustices has a great deal to do with how they build alliances.

¿Qué es naturaleza? ¿Tiene la naturaleza derechos?
Larry Lohmann

1 May 2015

Much of environmental politics is concerned with the question of what nature is, and whether it has rights. This is one contribution to an exploratory blog on these issues being started up in Ecuador, with a Spanish translation by Ivonne Yanez of Accion Ecologica.

Larry Lohmann

7 December 2014

The alternative to the demand “What's your alternative?” is to counter it with questions such as “alternative for whom?” “alternative to what?”, and to replace it wherever possible with the question “Whose side are you on?”

Larry Lohmann

20 September 2014

Climate change and other environmental campaigns often try to mobilize people around the idea of avoiding apocalypse. This short piece for Occupied Times explores some of the weaknesses of this approach.

Strategic Reflections on Climate Change and the "Green Economy"
Larry Lohmann

2 September 2012

This discussion paper sets out some lessons for political strategy suggested by the experience of climate change campaigning over the past 15 years. It outlines the dangers faced by advocacy NGOs of becoming "patzers" (blunderers) and clients of more sophisticated political actors. Comments on this work in progress, a shorter version of which was published in Development Dialogue No. 61 (September 2012), are welcome.

A Review and a Debate
Larry Lohmann

1 September 2012

This essay, published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Development and Change, reviews five recent books, four of them on climate change and one addressing what’s needed to spark the transition away from dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Included is a September 2012 reply by the authors of one of the books reviewed, Matthew Paterson and Peter Newell, and Larry Lohmann's rejoinder.

Derechos para la Naturaleza
Larry Lohmann

19 August 2012

The "rights of nature" debate is becoming increasingly important both in the Andean context and in the wider global political debate. This set of brief notes suggests ways of approaching the issue that may help connect it to the ongoing debate between commoners and neoclassical economists, as well as help avoid the exoticisation of the Andean concept of pachamama.

Larry Lohmann

1 March 2012

Building more effective climate movements is, in part, a continuous process of interpretation and reinterpretation. This chapter from a forthcoming academic volume argues that climate activists can benefit from putting the current fashion for carbon trading into the context of the other market environmentalisms with which it has evolved; from exploring the insights of actor-network theory about the genesis and limitations of commodity-ready environmental objects; and from seeing carbon trading and other current defences of fossil fuel use in the context of accumulation cycles.

Responses to Food Speculation
Nicholas Hildyard

20 September 2010

 Some 154 million people were reportedly driven further into poverty in Southern countries as a result of speculation-induced food price hikes in 2007-08. What are the best strategies for bringing about the structural change needed that progressive activists can lend their support to?

This workshop presentation, while endorsing regulatory measures including banning certain investment vehicles such as exchange-traded funds and vetting of derivative-based financial instruments, cautions against becoming focussed on regulation alone as an answer. Also crucial is the promotion of non-derivative, socially-based mechanisms to protect farmers and consumers from volatile food prices, as well as price interventions that do not pit Northern farmers against their Southern counterparts.

REDD with Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

30 September 2008

Many new schemes are afoot to allow the North to pay the South for conserving its forests in return for permission to continue using fossil fuels. But how would a market in pollution rights generated by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) play out in reality?

Activism, Expertise, Commons
Larry Lohmann

27 September 2005

Seeing social or technical change as the application of new "theory" to "practice" is one of the hazards of 21st-century middle-class life. Middle-class activists could take a leaf from both expert elites and grassroots movements, who both tend to know better.

New Tensions and Resolutions over Land
Larry Lohmann

31 January 2002

Multilateral agencies have been promoting the commoditization of land in the Mekong region. How is this project being advanced and resisted?

A Book Review
Larry Lohmann

15 December 2000

If the choice of whether and when to translate claims to water and land into other idioms shapes and is shaped by power relations, so too is the choice of how to translate them. The charges of “misunderstanding” and “misinterpretation” that ricochet around any conflict of interpretation are negotiating moves, not claims that can be settled once and for all by fixing on a meaning that floats free of the context of discussion and struggle.

Larry Lohmann

1 November 1998

Overconsumption is possible only by dividing different groups of people from each other. A different, more democratic pattern of political action will be required to lower consumption.

Nicholas Hildyard

6 June 1998

This talk is a reflection on the operations of power in decision-making. It raises questions about environmental degradation in the European Union: whose environment is being protected through European Monetary Union and the Single European Market -- and whose environment is being degraded, rubbished and trashed by it?

Nicholas Hildyard

1 June 1998

This talk looks at the politics of everyday life and its effects on the science lab; how the funding of science affects the view of the world that science portrays; and how the daily social and economic pressures of everyday life affect the direction and outcomes of scientific research.

Larry Lohmann

31 March 1998

All development projects follow a three-act dramatic plotline, as development agencies try to impose plans, meet local opposition, and improvise freely in an attempt to overcome resistance.

Whose Interest, Whose Rationality?
Larry Lohmann

31 May 1997

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is often regarded as a pure form of practical reasoning that can shift accountability onto supposedly impersonal mechanisms, summarize complex choices in a formulaic way, and transmute popular pressure, political debate and political conflict into quiet, office-bound operations performed on fixed and agreed-upon preferences. Yet CBA’s commensuration of things that no one has any experience in commensurating leads to odd new ways of treating reason, democracy, public opinion, space, time and personhood. And the more practical steps are taken toward its algorithmic ideal of decision-making, the more unforeseen political and social difficulties crop up, including popular resistance.

Contention and Resistance in Intercultural Space
Larry Lohmann

1 September 1995

Different actors -- transnational corporations, political and technocratic elites, their opponents and others -- contend with and influence what is loosely called “globalization” in different ways. Constructive and engaged understanding of the power struggles between them all and their resources, motivations, dynamics, strategies, effectiveness, and capacities for alliances requires coming to grips with the ways in which they interpret and present their own struggles.

Nicholas Hildyard

1 July 1995

Many activists have an image of power as something which the state and industry “have” and others “lack” They often believe that only by entering the “real world” and getting some of this “power” can social movements have any real hope of achieving change. Yet there are diverse kinds of influence operating in today’s world; we could learn much about "power" from working more closely with those who historically have proved most effective in protecting the environment and who are most capable of becoming lasting allies.

The Politics of an Image
Nicholas Hildyard

1 June 1995

A presentation looking at the forces which have degraded the earth and which now propose to manage its recovery through processes such as “sustainable development”.

Nicholas Hildyard, Larry Lohmann, Sarah Sexton and Simon Fairlie

31 May 1995

The commons is neither private nor public: neither business firm nor state utility, neither jealously guarded private plot nor national or city park. Industrial development has been possible only through dismantling the commons and harnessing the fragments to build up new economic and social patterns responsive to the interests of a dominant minority from which the great mass of humanity (particularly women) are excluded. Such enclosure has never gone unchallenged, however: resistance takes place in countless everyday ways in both the South and the North.

Interest Groups, Centralization and the Creative Politics of “Environment” in Thailand
Larry Lohmann

1 July 1993

Effective political struggle in intercultural space means creatively weaving in and out of all the cultures present.

Nicholas Hildyard

1 March 1993

“My enemy’s enemies may not be my friends . . . but they may be useful”. When groups campaigning for change make alliances with other groups without reference to specific struggles or grassroots groups involved, when they find common ground only by setting aside critical issues, and when none of the groups have to live with the consequences of their actions, such alliances can marginalize those for whom political struggle is not just another campaign but a defence of livelihood.

Larry Lohmann

2 January 1993

Relationships of power determine which truths can be spoken and when. Power is not a black box but a set of social meshes that we Western environmentalists must work within and against. This review of four books offers useful new tools for achieving a different political and self-awareness.