LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social and ecological injustice

Posts from the ‘Activism’ category

Wally Menne with Ana Filippini of World Rainforest Movement in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, 2007. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

Cross-posted from Global Justice Ecology Project

Wally Menne: A Lion Among Men

The Loss of a Giant

Wally Menne in Kuna Yala 2010. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

My partner Orin Langelle and I were shocked and saddened this morning to learn of the death of friend and colleague Wally Menne who passed away on Thursday 26 October.

We had known Wally for many years and his loss was like a dagger. I had met Wally when he organized the founding meeting of the Durban Group for Climate Justice in his hometown in 2004.

Orin met him a couple of years later at a gathering of the Global Forest Coalition.

The loss of this important South African activist was sudden and surprising. Wally was a powerhouse, a giant. His force was impossible to ignore. He was dedicated and uncompromising with a seemingly endless supply of energy despite his years at the grindstone. Even now, it is difficult to imagine a movement without him.

I heard from Wally only a few days ago with information on a possible volunteer for GJEP—someone whose writings he had come across who impressed him with her no-nonsense critique on the problem of industrial tree plantations—his personal crusade.

The Durban Group for Climate Justice. Wally with arms folded, far left.

Anyone who knew Wally knew this about him. He was passionate about ridding the Earth of the scourge of timber plantations and was one of the most knowledgeable on their extensive social and ecological impacts. He had no qualms about laying the blame for this devastating problem squarely at the feet of those responsible–not merely the corporations whose plantations they were, but the agencies and organizations who laid their groundwork and made up excuses to enable their expansion. In particular he targeted the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The FAO won Wally’s wrath through their insistence on promoting a definition of “forests” that included industrial timber plantations. This despite the obvious fact that forests support communities, biodiversity, clean water and climate stabilization; and plantations destroy forests, communities, biodiversity, clean water and the climate. 2 + 2 will never equal 5 no matter how many reports the FAO puts out claiming it does.

Wally Menne, in center with hands above head, during a protest against a SAPPI pulp mill in South Africa. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC/photolangelle.org

The FSC was dogged by Wally’s incessant criticism due to their support and legitimation of the timber plantation model. The FSC became a multi-billion-dollar brand by giving corporations sustainability certification for their timber monocultures, enabling them to sell their plantation-derived products as “green,” despite the real, on-the-ground consequences of that model.

On October 22nd, Wally wrote the piece below, promoting a new blog on the problem of plantations. I think it is a wonderful example of the anger and passion that Wally wielded with such skill, and of his ability to address not just the problem of plantations, but all of the issues connected to them. In this case, wood-based bioenergy. A timely post, given the upcoming UNFCCC Climate Convention early next month.


“The debate around the negative impacts of burning tree biomass to generate energy or to manufacture liquid biofuels has been escalating over the past ten years, with ample evidence having been presented of the harmful effects of government and UN policies that promote this false solution to climate change.

“However, the extremely greedy and powerful land-grabbing industry has managed to capture most of the international institutions that are supposed to act as the protectors of our planet, its people and its biodiversity. The prime example of this is the FAO. The FOOD and AGRICULTURE organisation of the United Nations, which has been co-opted by big bad business through tireless propaganda campaigns to undermine and to weaken the outcomes of political processes and to promote false promises under the guise of projects and programmes such as the Green Economy, REDD+, renewable energy targets and even targets to reduce biodiversity loss and deforestation.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that these efforts are highly unlikely to bring about their intended results, and that instead they are only creating a false sense of there being no urgency for governments and individuals to take the initiative and to act decisively on their own in implementing the changes that are needed. In other words, all the hot air being pumped out at meetings of the CBD, UNFCCC, FAO, UNFF and the rest, is only serving to delay the implementation of real solutions, so that the owners of the industrial corporations that benefit from these long drawn-out processes can continue to profit at the expense of the majority of the people on our planet.”

—Wally Menne, Timberwatch, South Africa


We will miss Wally and the huge hole left by his absence. We hold his wife Rose and son Adam in our hearts at this terrible time.

Rest in peace Wally. You’ve earned it.

We miss you.

Anne Petermann (Orin Langelle and the staff and Board of Global Justice Ecology Project)

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NEWS on Chile delegation investigation

An international delegation from the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees arrived in Sanitago, Chile on 20 March 2017 to document the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the recent wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history.

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This above a one minute trailer for a short video we recently completed about the struggle of Brazil’s MST (Landless Worker’s Movement) against the vast expanses of industrial eucalyptus plantations in the country.

The trailer and the full video is in Portuguese, with Spanish spoken translation and English subtitles.

The video is an interview with an MST militant, Eliane Oliveira, that we conducted in March during a delegation of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees in Chile.

We were there investigating the social and ecological impacts of industrial timber plantations on people, water, wildfires and ecosystems, as well as the potential for GE tree plantations to worsen these already severe impacts.

We brought Eliane Oliveira and two other organizers from Brazil to speak with the Indigenous Mapuche and other rural communities in Chile about the campaigns waged against eucalyptus plantations and GE trees in Brazil and the overlaps with the struggles against tree plantations in Chile. Eliane spoke about the MST campaign that is taking back land from the plantations to give to landless peasants in Brazil.

This interview emerged from that delegation and those conversations:

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UPDATE: The international delegation from the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees (CSGETREES) completed their journey in Chile to document the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the recent wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history.

Reports such as this from Biofuelwatch: Stop GE Trees Delegation Investigate Expansion of Wood-Derived Bioenergy in Chile are starting to be filed. Also posted was a radio interview with Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) and CSGETREES on Pacifica’s flagship station, KPFK, in Los Angeles: GE Trees and Plantations in Chile.

Expect new postings several times a week. GJEP is going to release a video soon of a MST militant who was ob the delegation from Brazil. She speaks about land use, tree plantations, political prisoners and much more.

Please stay tuned to the Chile Blog

Photo of Chilean flag in front of some of the fire devastation. Photo: Langelle

Chile: Water is Life

(Posted while in Chile on the delegation.)

MAPU [Chile]-An international delegation from the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees arrived in Sanitago, Chile on 20 March 2017 to document the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the recent wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history.

The delegation also traveled to Mapu, the ancestral lands of the Indigenous Mapuche (People of the Earth) to investigate the depletion of water caused by the timber plantations and how this loss of water is impacting Mapuche sovereignty and the ability of the people to stay on the lands they have occupied for thousands of years. Only 13% of Mapuche people still live in the countryside, largely due to the loss of water on their lands.  The delegation also examined the impacts on other communities’ water rights, climatic disruption, repression, as well as gender issues and effects on women. Please view the ongoing fact-finding trip on the Chile Blog.

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(Rio Cautín near Temuco, Chile) Before an early morning water ceremony, Alfredo Seguel from Red de Defensa de los Territorios, an Indigenous Mapuche organization, speaks about the significance of this river to the Mapuche and the importance of water to all life.  Photo: Orin Langelle

From Santiago, the delegation traveled to Concepción where it visited communities devastated by massive wildfires.  It also traveled into the countryside to see the impacts on the people and the ecological damage caused by industrial monoculture pine and eucalyptus plantations. Members of the delegation visited several universities and were involved in presentations and community discussions. The delegation was sponsored by OLCA (Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales).

Due to the water required to grow pines and eucalyptus in the plantations, the communities' water supply is scarce. Photo Orin Langelle

Due to the water used by industrial monoculture plantations of pine and eucalyptus trees, there is a serious lack of water in rural communities, and some communities have no water at all.  Photo Orin Langelle

The community members that the delegation spoke to blamed the timber industry for starting the forest fires for insurance money. Many of the trees were heavily infested by insects and the fires provided insurance money to the industry for their lost trees.

All signs point to the potential in Chile for future plantations of genetically engineered trees, which would make these impacts much worse.

There will be a full report of the findings of the delegation’s investigation.


Additionally on 22 April there will be a gathering and march in Concepción called for by social movements with the theme Water is Life. This is prior to the International Union of Forest Research Organization’s (IUFRO) Tree Biotechnology Conference from 4-9 June in Concepción. Most of the scientific and industry people going to the IUFRO conference are pro-GE Trees.

For more information about the fact-finding trip to Chile with the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees on the Chile Blog.

 

 

 

 

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I am running Standing Rock news on the Langelle Photography web page for many reasons. LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY is part of the Social Justice Media Program of Global Justice Ecology Project and we Stand With Standing Rock. Even though I am not in Standing Rock taking photographs, as a concerned photographer, my goal is to document and expose the reality of social and ecological injustice—much of which is linked with the struggle for the land— and to educate and change the world, not just to record it. For more up to the minute news please go to our ally’s site: Indigenous Environmental Network’s Standing Rock – Orin Langelle

PRESS CONFERENCE

Source: RT

Standing Rock activists said they would continue to stand their ground in the fight against the crude oil Dakota Access Pipeline, in defiance of a US Army Corps notice which stated that the location of a protest camp will be out of bounds from December 5.

Supporters of indigenous tribes oppose the 1,172 mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois over water contamination fears and its proximity to the Standing Rock Indian reservation.

In a press conference held at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp, members of the indigenous community gave a united response to a letter sent to Standing Rock tribal chairman Dave Archambault II informing of possible evictions north of the Cannonball River.

Protesters, who call themselves water protectors, are currently camped on federal land alongside North Dakota’s Highway 1806 and the Missouri River.

On Friday, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to close the portion of federal land occupied by the water protectors due to “violent confrontations” and risks of serious injury due to the “harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”

In response, Dallas Goldtooth, a member of the Indigenous Environmental Network, described the Army Corps of Engineer’s letter as a “disgusting continuation of 500 years of colonization and systemic oppression”.

“It’s absurd for us to see such a declaration a day after Thanksgiving but that’s the state of affairs that we are in,” he told reporters at a press conference on Saturday.

He added that all tribes concerned with the pipeline will “stand strong”.

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langelle-killsme_dsc_02761Featured Langelle Photography home page slider (right) was taken by Langelle during a protest march in Durban, South Africa during the United Nations Climate Conference in 2011. Langelle has six photographs in this touring show

 

Critical Information Collective Exhibit – World Social Forum 2016

Indigenous protesters at UN climate negotiations in Cancun 2010) Photo: Luka Tomac

Indigenous protesters at UN climate negotiations in Cancun (2010) Photo: Luka Tomac

Montreal, Canada – A photographic exhibit, Climate Change: Realities and Resistance, will be shown at the World Social Forum 2016 in Montreal from 9 – 14 August. This is the Canadian premier of Critical Information Collective‘s touring exhibition.

The World Premier took palace in Paris, France during the United Nations Climate Conference in 2016 and the North American debut was at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art in Buffalo, New York, 1 March through 29 April 2016.

CIC’s photos in Buffalo, Climate Change—Realities and Resistance, were part of the show Climate Change, System Change, Personal Change. Langellle Photography and ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery Director, Orin Langelle’s portion of the show in Paris, Buffalo and Montreal is entitled Struggles for Justice.

The exhibition in Montreal will include new panels focusing on the theme of industrial livestock farming and its impact on climate change and biodiversity.

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Volunteers Needed for the !Buen Vivir! Gallery

The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art at 148 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo NY, is currently seeking volunteers to help with staffing the gallery during open hours on Fridays 6 – 8 p.m. &  Saturdays 1 – 3 p.m., as well as helping with special projects. Our educational gallery with free admission hosts 3-4 shows per year and was founded to present an historical look at movements for change, struggle and everyday life. If interested please email Carolyn Lansom, Gallery Manager, <carolyn@globaljusticeecology.org> or call 716.931.5833.

Our current show runs through, April 29th Climate Change, System Change, Personal Change features two exhibits:

1. Climate Change—Realities and Resistance, photographs by Critical Information Collective (CIC)
2. Black on the Ground, White in the Air, artwork by Ashley Powell
This multi-faceted art and photographic show is designed to challenge viewers to think about what type of changes are necessary to effectively confront the root causes driving the extreme weather that is occurring globally.

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In 1990, Earth First! occupied Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest’s Fairview timber sale area for 79 days – at that time the longest occupation in EF! history. The area slated to be cut was rich in biodiversity, a haven for songbirds and loved by the many locals who went there to watch the birds, camp or enjoy nature.

The major daily newspaper in Springfield, IL, the state’s capital, called the Earth First! occupation “a popular uprising.”

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The Biscuit (1990)

Woman with monkey wrench atop buried Chevrolet Biscayne, nicknamed “The Biscuit,” in a car blockade of the Fairview timber sale in the Shawnee. The car blocked the entrance to the Shawnee National Forest during the EF! occupation. The car blockade was a replica of a photo taken during the then-ongoing “Oka Crisis.”       Photo: Langelle

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia,

The Oka Crisis was a 78-day standoff (11 July–26 September 1990) between Mohawk protesters, police, and the army. At the heart of the crisis was the proposed expansion of a golf course and development of condominiums on disputed land that included a Mohawk burial ground. Tensions were high, particularly after the death of Corporal Marcel Lemay, a police officer, and the situation was only resolved after the army was called in. While the golf course expansion was cancelled, and the land purchased by the federal government, it has not yet been transferred to the Kanesatake Mohawk community.

EF!ers in the Shawnee publicly stood in solidarity with the Mohawks and also with Redwood Summer, a major national mobilization to save the last of the ancient redwoods. Earlier that year, EF! Redwood Summer organizer Judi Bari was almost killed when a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of the car she was driving.

From the photo exhibit Struggles for Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights

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Note: This comes from The Public, a widely read weekly in the Buffalo, NY region. I want to point out that Climate Change: Realities and Resistance is an international exhibit first displayed at the UN climate negotiations in Paris last December. The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery is pleased to host it’s first viewing in North America. The photography exhibit was curated by the Critical Information Collective.  – Orin Langelle

Events

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Photo: Luka Tomac [Croatia] Indigenous protestors at UNF climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico (2010)

Photo: Luka Tomac [Croatia] Indigenous protestors at UNF climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico (2010)

by Evan James

[ART] The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery presents a thought provoking look at some of today’s most troubling issues in Climate Change, System Change, Personal Change. Intended to explore the causes of climate change, and how racism, classism, and environmental destruction play into it, this show contains Climate Change: Realities and Resistance, a national exhibit featuring pictures from climate photographers, and Black on the Ground, White in the Air, an exhibit from artist Ashley Powell who made national waves with her “White Only” art project at UB. This exhibit opens Friday, March 4 running from 6pm to 9pm, but the exhibit will be on display until April 29.

When:
Fri Mar. 4, 6:00pm

Where:
Buen Vivir

148 Elmwood
Buffalo, NY

This article can be found in The Public here.

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This Sunday, 31 January, Orin Langelle will be in Toronto for a  Learning Activism launch party with the book’s author, close friend and colleague, Aziz Choudry at ‘Another Story Bookshop.’ The book was published by the University of Toronto Press.  Langelle will give a slideshow of his photographs that illustrate the book, including the cover, as well as photos exhibited at Buffalo, NY’s ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery, which he directs. Langelle will explain history behind the photographs and the struggles they represent. Following the discussion by Choudry and Langelle, there will be a question and answer period.

Aziz Choudry is Associate Professor in the Department of Integral Studies in Education at McGill and Visiting Professor in the Center for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg. He has been on the Board of Directors of Global Justice Ecology Project since its its founding in 2003 by Langelle and Anne Petermann.

The launch party is free and open to the public.  RSVP for the event on the bookstore Facebook page.

Below the poster is UTP’s description for the book followed by a paragraph about Langelle written by Choudry that appears in the book.

**Choudry at Another Story Poster

Described by the University of Toronto Press:

What do activists know? Learning Activism is designed to encourage a deeper engagement with the intellectual life of activists who organize for social, political, and ecological justice. Combining experiential knowledge from his own activism and a variety of social movements, Choudry suggests that such organizations are best understood if we engage with the learning, knowledge, debates, and theorizing that goes on within them. Drawing on Marxist, feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial perspectives on knowledge and power, the book highlights how activists and organizers learn through doing, and fills the gap between social movement practice as it occurs on the ground, critical adult education scholarship, and social movement theorizing. Examples include anti-colonial currents within global justice organizing in the Asia-Pacific, activist research and education in social movements and people?s organizations in the Philippines, Migrant and immigrant worker struggles in Canada, and the Quebec student strike. The result is a book that carves out a new space for intellectual life in activist practice.

Choudry from Learning Activism on Orin Langelle:

The photographs that illustrate this book are another important example of preserving movement histories. These photos by US activist and photojournalist Orin Langelle transcend the sometime clichéd “protest” images that we often see. Integrating photography into organizing/education initiatives, especially around climate justice, anti-globalization, food sovereignty, and Indigenous resistance struggles, his work is a historically informed look at social movements, struggle and everyday life. In Langelle’s words, his photographic work aims to ‘counter the societal amnesia from which we collectively suffer—especially with regard to the history of social and ecological struggles. This is not merely a chronicling of history, but a call out to inspire new generations to participate in the making of a new history.’ Langelle writes that he strives ‘not just to document and expose the harsh reality of injustice—much of which is linked with the struggle for the land—but to inspire viewers to participate in changing the world, while helping empower those striving for justice because they know that photographs of their struggle are revealed to a larger audience.’ As Langelle says, in contemporary struggles for change,we cannot afford societal amnesia.

Special Note:

Seven photographs from Orin Langelle’s last exhibit, The End of the Game – The Last Word from Paradise, Revisited are included in a show at the Gordon Parks Foundation in Pleasantville, NY. Langelle’s photos document Peter Beard’s first one-person show at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan in 1977.

The exhibit at the Parks Foundation, Gordon Parks: Collages by Peter Beard, features artwork made by Beard over the course of the long friendship between him and Parks. The exhibit is open through April 23.

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I’ve known my friend David Rovics for so long… We’ve shared many a campfire together and we were in small affinity group of three at the G8 meetings in Rostock, Germany during a huge march in 2007. David played “Kiss Behind the Barricades” for Anne Petermann and me when we were married in 2002 in Vermont. At the end of this post is a video of David singing the song in France – nice action shots. I could go on about David… But please don’t miss David during his 2016 World Tour if you have a chance. Read how you can help and be a part of it below. – Orin Langelle

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Please go to David’s Thunderclap sites:

Whether or not you sign up for the Thunderclap, please be encouraged to tell people in your own words about the show on the web, and about the tour, especially if I’ll be playing somewhere in North America or Europe where you know people!  Just click that link for the most up-to-date itinerary…

Hope to see you on the road and in the streets!

Organizer

David Rovics
@drovics

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Below John’s photograph and caption is an email I received from Global Justice Ecology Project board member and a long time personal friend, Karen Pickett. I think Karen expresses beautifully what many of us will remember for quite some time: R.I.P. John Trudell.
Trudell (Santee Sioux) was a spokesperson for the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971 and served as Chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1973 to 1979. In 1982, Trudell began recording his spoken word poetry with music. An example of his spoken word poetry is in Mike Mease’s video “Buffalo Wild,” below.

Trudell (Santee Sioux) was a spokesperson for the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971 and served as Chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1973 to 1979. In 1982, Trudell began recording his spoken word poetry with music. An example of his spoken word poetry is in Mike Mease’s video “Buffalo Wild,” below.

We have lost one who was wise beyond his human form.  A shining light when he talked, or recited his poetry, getting the brain synapses whizzing around, evoking tears, laughter, pens scribbling in a scrap of paper so you could come back to it and think about that one later…these ideas about energy, power, coherence.  I really latched on to his breaking down of power and what it really is when you’re a human being.

He was only 69.
On this same day 35 years ago, we lost John Lennon.
The sky is dark tonight—no moon

How did he shine after all he had been through? Subject to the FBI’s COINTELPRO tactics, and all the rest a radical thinker and activist bucking the system might be subject to. He came to Berkeley years ago, a year or 2 before the Judi Bari vs FBI trial and we had a ranging conversation about strategy, response, carrying on. It was very valuable for me…he was someone who was not only attacked himself, but lost his partner and children in a fire of questionable cause while he was in Washington DC burning the American flag.

In recent years, I was fortunate enough to see John and interact with him when he joined the Buffalo Field Campaign for their Bay Area road shows, which I was always involved with.  A little more than a year ago, he wrote a poem—Buffalo Wild—that is now in a video produced by Mike Mease, co-founder of BFC with the poem put to music by Goodshield and Mignon, who also tour with BFC. I include this link from You Tube:

As I write, I am listening to John’s CD released this year: Wazi’s Dream.
In “Earthling”, he not only says
“I am no more important nor less important in spiritbeing than any other of the species…”

but also
“I carry the energies of
the suns and universes
from the time before time
into the beyond beyond beyond
from where stars get their light”

Perhaps that’s where he’s gone, into the beyond, beyond beyond.
Blessed travels, John.

 

Please visit http://johntrudell.com

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