Resisting Extractivism (2012 Conference)

At this year’s conference, entitled ‘Resisting Extractivism: Lessons and Inspiration from Front-Line Communities and Fellow Activists’, attendees learned about the work of communities in Canada and around the world that are resisting the negative impacts of Canadian mega-mining projects, shared ideas, and collaborated on resistance strategies in solidarity with community members who suffer at the hands of Canadian mining corporations, which confuse “development” with exploitation and environmental degradation.

This year’s conference theme was simply “Resistance”, and highlighted the struggles and victories of peoples living in mining-affected communities by hearing from speakers from Barriere Lake, Attawapiskat, Ontario, Quebec, Guatemala, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, the Philippines, Tibet, and more, as well as keynote speakers Avi Chomsky and Francisco Ramirez.

Particular themes discussed this year included:

  • Resistance to global and Canadian Mining
  • Extractive industry struggles
  • Labour issues
  • Policy and law development in mining
  • Water and well-being
  • Corporatization of education and NGOs
  • Bill C-323

Some workshop facilitators included:

  • Amani Mustafa Mhinda
  • Aniseto Lopez
  • Bob Lovelace
  • Bodia Macharia
  • Chris Cosack
  • Clayton Thomas-Muller
  • Cory Wanless
  • Daniel Tubb
  • Elizabeth Babin
  • Kevin Best
  • Mark Rowlinson
  • Maria Pia Silva
  • Michael McClurg
  • Michel Thursky
  • Rene Chimbo Grefa
  • Sergio Campusano
  • Stepan Wood
  • Stuart Trew
  • Todd Gordon
  • Ulises Garcia
  • Walter Lindstone

Keynote speaker bios:

AVIVA CHOMSKY: Aviva Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Her books include A History of the Cuban Revolution (Blackwell, 2011), Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class (Duke, 2008), They Take Our Jobs! And 20 Other Myths about Immigration (Beacon, 2007), and The People Behind Colombian Coal: Mining, Multinationals, and Human Rights (Casa Editorial Pisando Callos, 2007). She has been active in Latin America solidarity and immigrant rights organizations for over 30 years. She is currently working with Appalachian and Colombian communities affected by coal mining.

FRANCISCO RAMIREZ CUELLAR: Francisco is the former President of SINTRAMINERCOL, the union that represented workers in the Colombian state-owned mining company MINERCOL. Currently, he’s Secretary of FUNTRAMIENERGETICA, the federation of Colombian energy sector unions including the oil industry workers union USO. He is a lawyer, a human rights activist and an expert on the proliferation of multinational and Canadian corporate control of Colombia’s mining-energy extractive industries (mainly gold, coal, oil and gas). In 2005 he co-authored the book The Profits of Extermination: Big Mining in Colombia with Avi Chomsky.