This statement was approved by DSA’s National Political Committee (NPC).
As land grabbers and plantation owners set fires now raging across huge expanses of the Brazilian Amazon, three national formations of the Democratic Socialists of America – the Ecosocialist Working Group, the Immigrants’ Rights Working Group, and the International Committee – issue our unequivocal condemnation of the colossal and coordinated brutality inflicted by capitalists on the ecosystem and its people, so integral to the prospects not only of our species, but of all life on our planet. The damage is inextricable from Jair Bolsonaro and his political allies’ explicitly genocidal targeting of Indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilians and landless workers.
We demand an immediate cessation to this capitalist arson and the restoration of the self-determination of water and planet protectors in Brazil, in the United States, and in every land scarred by extractivist domination.
The Amazon and its peoples are critical to our planet’s health, and the stakes grow sharper by the day as forests and peoples are exterminated while greenhouse gas emission levels continue to rise. If another fifth of the Amazon burns we could witness the release of “a doomsday bomb of stored carbon.” Jair Bolsonaro has emboldened land grabbers and illegal miners through categorical attacks on Indigenous peoples’ and Afro-Brazilians’ constitutionally-guaranteed right to the land, as well as landless workers’ right to occupy lands that have fallen into disuse. Influenced and coerced by wealthy and politically powerful interests that include publicly traded multinational corporations and agribusinesses, they are determined to exploit the land to its final depletion.
According to this infographic, large landowners are even organizing “Burn Days,” igniting tracts of forest that have been cut down while intentionally allowing the flames to burn out of control. Indigenous territories and areas under conservation have been frequent targets of attacks this year, with an 82% jump in the number of fires breaking out so far this year compared to all of 2018. Bolsonaro and his core allies make their intentions clear with open praise for brutal tactics as well as proposals such as a constitutional amendment allowing Indigenous lands to be appropriated by agribusiness and mining interests. They are open agents of white supremacy and settler colonialism.
The burning of the Amazonian rainforests is an exceptionally clear case of human activity triggering immediate and catastrophic environmental consequences, and it is only one from a bottomless vault of proofs that without ecosocialism, we are condemned to barbarism. Thousands of migrants approach the southern border to the U.S. from countries across the Global South that already suffer the effects of climate-induced drought and conflict. The cruelty of the U.S. response to their plight in the form of proliferating concentration camps and indefinite detention is mere preview of what more there is to come without a transformational change in course.
There is a nauseating symmetry between Bolsonaro’s brutal violations and the growing chances of ecofascism as a despicable settler-colonial strategy for adaptation. In ominous confluence, October 2018 marked Bolsonaro’s election victory, the release of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the certain consequences of exceeding a 1.5 degree celsius increase in global temperatures, and the White House’s publication of a report demonizing socialists. The lines of struggle could not be more clearly drawn.
The Democratic Socialists of America stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilians, rural workers in Brazil such as those agitating through the Landless Workers’ movement (MST), and the masses everywhere threatened by this accelerant of our global climate emergency. In the interest of nothing less than a future for all species, we demand an immediate halt of the plunder and destruction of the Brazilian Amazon consigning millions to misery.