Host state says climate marches will not take place, all outdoor events cancelled
France is hosting the UN Conference on Climate Change from November 30 to December 11 in Le Bourget. The Conference is the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11).
In the wake of the November 13 attacks in Paris, the French Presidency announced on November 19 that as the host country France “has decided to not allow the climate marches planned in the streets of Paris and other cities throughout France.” Also banned are all school trips to the venue where the COP21 Conference is being held from, even to inside events.
The French Presidency says “global mobilization for climate and civil society” will have to play their role “on-site at the venue Le Bourget, where the ‘[Climate Generations Areas]’ will host, for the whole duration of the Conference, more than 300 events, debates and conferences.” The Climate Generations areas are described on the COP21 Conference website as “Open to the general public, and also to observers and negotiators, the Climate Generations areas’ 27 000 m² will be a place for debate and knowledge.”
The French Presidency explains that the reasons the host state has banned outside events and demonstrations are “the heinous attacks on 13 November and the investigations carried out since then.” The Presidency says the host state does not feel confident in its ability to secure outside venues from attack, adding, “This is a difficult decision to make but in the current context, safety requirements prevail. This decision does not, in any way, put into question the need for COP21 to widely welcome civil society and its organizations, who will play a major role at the conference.”
The COP21 Conference restrictions form part of an extended state of emergency declared by the French government. Measures attacking the rights of the people include those imposed in 1955 during the brutal French colonial war to occupy and control Algeria. The police have the power to act and even kill with impunity. They can search people and places without judicial warrants and detain people without charges. Anyone the police suspect of posing a threat to the state can be placed under house arrest indefinitely. Even if the house arrest is lifted, suspects can be prevented from meeting others the police identify. Electronic tagging will be used to ensure house arrest is not violated and to track individuals. State authorities will block Internet sites they deem dangerous. All public demonstrations are banned and groups the police want to target can be dissolved.
Police power throughout France is the open face of the imperialist state in defence of class privilege and the ruling elite. Armed soldiers and police are patrolling the streets and engaging in raids on apartments and other sites. The governmental representative of the host state through the COP21 Presidency expresses regret at having to display the police power so openly, and excuses it as the unfortunate norm now in France and throughout the imperialist system of states.
The peoples of the world are taking note of how the French state and others have once again cast aside their façade of bourgeois democracy and reverted to open forms of police power, called Nazism, fascism and militarism in the 1930s.
CPC(M-L) in response to the Paris violence says,
“Measures which further deprive the people of their rights in the name of protecting the security of the French state are not an acceptable answer.
“The reactionary violence displayed in Paris is directed against the working people who are not to blame for the instigation of state terrorism but are its victims. Attempts to protect the French state which deprive the people of their rights and, furthermore, target sections of the people for attack, are self-serving and create an even more dangerous situation.
“All of it shows the anarchy and violence which has been unleashed by the U.S. striving for world domination in which the NATO bloc is doing its utmost to isolate Russia and not permit a political solution to problems which have emerged.
“CPC(M-L) reiterates its opposition to the use of force to settle conflicts. We reiterate our opposition to the use of the state to suppress the rights of the people in the name of security. All of it shows that political solutions are not on the agenda of the U.S. and European powers, as well as Canada. Instead, civil wars and state terrorism are fomented to get an upper hand. It must not pass!”
The people gathering for the COP21 Conference are now expected to deliberate calmly and critically in an atmosphere of state terror. Some raise the demand of changing the venue to one where issues can be debated openly without the broad intimidating interference of an imperialist state.
Others remark that the biggest single institution in human affairs causing pollution and climate change remains the war machine of the imperialist states and their police power. One widely reported response of the French state to the Paris violence has been to escalate its bombing campaign against Syria. Within the atmosphere of state terror surrounding the COP21 Conference, the participants will be directed not to speak out against U.S. imperialism’s military striving for world domination and ongoing predatory wars and war preparations. Yet, the U.S. military is the single greatest polluter in the world, not to speak of the waste of resources and human work in the preparation for war, the building and maintenance of its worldwide war machine and mobilization of tens of thousands of youth for war. The presence of the U.S. military and its agents and spies throughout the world inhibits the peoples and nations from resolving international and even national problems peacefully without resorting to force.
The response of the French state to the Paris violence reminds Canadians of the declaration of the War Measures Act in 1970, said to be necessary because of an upsurge in the movement for Quebec sovereignty and the staging of numerous police-organized terrorist events. Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the infamous father of the present Prime Minister, in a fit of bravado declared, “Just Watch Me!” in speaking of how he would unleash open police power on the streets of Quebec. He dropped any pretense of the democratic right of Quebeckers to choose, without interference from the Anglo-Canadian colonial state, whether to exercise their sovereign right to be independent or not.
The people must draw the warranted conclusions from these events and prepare themselves and their organizations to defend their rights against an imperialist state that has police power at its core and will use it against the people whenever events, whether exceptional or not, warrant its use according to those in control.
The security measures surrounding the COP21 Conference remind everyone that all issues and problems in the world, from climate change to the direction of the economy, are dominated by the question of control. Who controls the decisions that are made surrounding the issues and problems confronting humanity: the people or those who possess great social wealth and class privilege?
The representatives of great social wealth and class privilege are going to gather in Paris at the Leaders’ Forum and make dubious statements about pollution, climate change and the need for security, all bundled up in nice sounding policy objectives that mostly serve the business interests of this or that monopoly. The issue of humanizing the social and natural environment will be left to the vagaries of unprincipled pragmatism serving narrow private interests.
The peoples of the world have to themselves raise their voices for pro-social change and an alternative through organizing themselves to defend their interests and the general interests of society. Only the independent politics of the people outside the control of the imperialist state and upholding human-centred principles can lead to humanizing the social and natural environment and an anti-war government. The people have the right to bring into being a pro-social, anti-war alternative, as they possess rights by virtue of being human, which no imperialist state can negate. The terrible violence in Paris and the extremist response of the French imperialist state prove the thesis that the people’s security lies in the organized and determined struggle to defend the rights of all and to deprive the imperialist state of the power to deprive the people of their rights.
(With files from UNFCCC)
Source: TML Weekly, November 21, 2015 – No. 36