I have been a camp counselor at all three Adobe Youth Voices Summits, and as a result I have become connected to incredible, life changing, work all across the world rooted deeply in people's movements. It isn't a goal of Adobe Youth Voices to intentionally connect these movements. Still, it is an outcome thanks to the deeply held values of struggle, liberation, and people-powered media that folks the world over show up with.
I have bore witness to personal stories about being Palestinian, born and raised in Jordan, currently living in Egypt, and never being able to visit one's homeland; of street theater in Lahore, Pakistan, educating passersby on HIV/AIDS, women's health, and child marriage; of the struggle to maintain water rights in India from multinational corporations stealing it from the people; of Polynesian pride in New Zealand and the significant impacts of the media stereotyping that community as criminals and miscreants. All over the world communities historically on the margins are struggling to get their stories out, be heard, and combat the globalized stereotyping of people's movements as violent, anti-democratic, and too idealistic.
These are the stories I rarely hear outside of my time at the Summit. But thanks in large part to a multinational company, I am able to continue the conversations beyond the brief moments we share at the Summit. I am able to hear about people's movements the world over.
So I am starting a small little column here on the 14 Black Poppies blog called, A People's Summit. These are stories from around the world about people coming together, joining forces, and taking on governments, corporations, and militaries that are repressing the poor and working class. There are many of these movements happening. They just never make it into mainstream media simply because mainstream media is concerned only about the promulgation of their corporate empire. These people and movements are not a part of their empire, and as such they are considered the enemy to mainstream media.
These are the stories I hear. (Please note, I am not a journalist by training. I am not a reporter. I am a portal to another perspective, another story, another life. These stories are personal. And they deserve to be shared.)
Colombia:: A people's movement is happening in Colombia as I type this. On Sunday, September 1st, there was a national strike. The purpose of this strike is to call attention to these three main areas:
- The disastrous effects of free trade agreements approved by the last two administrations
- The high prices of imports that raise production costs
- The absence of an agricultural policy that protects small and medium-sized farmers against multinational corporate imports who have absolute freedom.
Reports from mainstream media, call the protestors violent and unruly. They stain the movement by not mentioning the roots of this struggle: corporate control of food production and its devastating impact on poor and working class communities who historically have produced their own food.
Thanks to friends in Colombia, they are sharing the people's stories. Click here to read an account of what is happening, what the history is, and what the demands are.
And... if you know folks on the ground in Colombia please share their (or your!) stories in the comments