On Aug. 23, in the capital of Brasília, Indigenous peoples from regions all over Brazil will join forces with trade unionists, progressive groups, and Indigenous representatives from around the world in the “Luta pela Vida” (the Struggle for Life). Under far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, and at the urging of agribusiness lobbyists and other international, profit-seeking entities, deforestation of the Amazon has increased dramatically, prompting academics and environmental activists to warn that the Amazon rainforest “will collapse if Bolsonaro remains president.” This summer, coinciding with dire warnings that humanity is running out of time to prevent runaway climate change, scientists determined that the Amazon had made the environmentally devastating transition from a major “carbon sink” to a carbon-emitting source.
Moreover, the ramped-up destruction of the world’s largest rainforest is both a direct assault on the Indigenous peoples who live there and part of the Bolsonaro government’s larger attack on Indigenous rights. In fact, earlier this month, Brazil’s Articulation of Indigenous Peoples (APIB) filed a case with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague denouncing Bolsonaro’s “explicit, systematic and intentional anti-Indigenous policy,” and requesting that the ICC investigate Bolsonaro for “genocide” and “ecocide.” Upon filing the case with the ICC, Dinamam Tuxá, executive coordinator for APIB, stated that “The lives of Indigenous Peoples are linked to their territories and our lives are under threat. We will be mobilized in the communities, in the cities, in Brasília and in the court in The Hague to hold Bolsonaro accountable and fight for our rights.”
Among the progressive groups invited by APIB to join the “Luta pela Vida” demonstrations is a delegation from the Progressive International, which has joined the international alliance “to stop President Jair Bolsonaro’s assault on the Amazon, its peoples, and democracy itself.” As PI General Coordinator David Adler told The Real News, “Brazil’s indigenous people face genocide. The Amazon—the lungs of the earth—is on the verge of collapse. And Bolsonaro threatens to steal next year’s elections and take us past the tipping point. The stakes could not be higher. Bolsonaro, his corporate allies, and his imperial backers are united across borders. To win this fight, the fight for life, we must be, too.”
Below we are republishing in full the statement from APIB on the “Luta pela Vida,” provided to TRNN by the Progressive International:
We Unite in the Struggle for Life
On 23 August, we, Indigenous peoples from all regions of Brazil and progressive forces from around the world, will unite in the *Luta pela Vida*, the struggle for life—and we invite all those who share high concerns for the future of our planet and humankind to join us.
Our struggle is firstly and foremostly for Indigenous lives, the main victims of President Bolsonaro’s program of persecution, dispossession, and extermination. “The Indigenous person can’t remain in his land,” Bolsonaro has said. “Any [Indigenous] reserve that I can reduce in size, I will do so.”
With Bolsonaro’s encouragement, invasions of Indigenous lands increased 135% in 2019 alone, while recorded violence against Indigenous communities more than doubled over this same period. Now, Bolsonaro and his allies in Congress are moving ahead with bills like PL 490, PL 2633, and PDL 177 that will eliminate sovereign Indigenous territorial rights, authorize land grabs, and deny recognition of Indigenous peoples, respectively.
In short, Bolsonaro and his allies are preparing a new genocide of Indigenous life, requiring no less than our international struggle to join effort in defense of Indigenous peoples’ rights. APIB’s recently released International Dossier of Denounces tells the story of these unprecedented [threats] to the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil in clear detail.
Ours is a struggle for the life of the Amazon, too. The dispossession of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples goes hand in hand with the deforestation of their lands to serve the profits of the settlers that displace them. “Where there is Indigenous land, there is wealth underneath it,” Bolsonaro has said.
Under his presidency, deforestation of the Amazon has reached record highs: 11,000 kilometers cleared in 2020 alone. We are fast approaching the Amazon’s ‘tipping point,’ when the rainforest will no longer produce enough rain to sustain itself. At that point, the rainforest will become a savannah: trees will die, fields will burn, and billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide will be sent into the atmosphere.
Our struggle, then, is for all life across the planet. The death of the Amazon and other Brazilian unique biomes, such as the Cerrado and Pantanal, will not only impact its frontline communities; in the accelerating collapse of our climate, the extinction of the rainforest will endanger ecosystems everywhere. In this way, the fate of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples is entwined with the fate of our world.
That is why we are mobilizing to Brasília: to try to stop Bolsonaro, to defend the Amazon and the other Brazilian biomes, and to stand with its peoples. Our struggle takes as its target all governments that are complicit in Bolsonaro’s campaign of genocide, all corporations that seek to profit from it. And in doing so, it calls on citizens around the world: the fight against Bolsonaro extends far beyond the borders of Brazil.
As we prepare to arrive in Brasília, we ask you to join us: on the streets, at your jobs, in your statehouses. Our struggle is your struggle. Our struggle is for life.
You can support the Articulation of Indigenous People of Brazil in their struggle here.