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A Call for Climate Justice: Against Ecocide* and Greenwashing** of COP29, in Solidarity with the People of Söyüdlü


*Ecocide, or mass ecological murder, is the deliberate and systematic destruction of ecosystems by corporations and states driven by capitalist greed and control, resulting in the severe destruction of both environments and communities.

**Greenwashing is a manipulative tactic used by corporations and states to destroy or appropriate genuine environmental movements in order to maintain their power and profits by making their exploitative and destructive practices environmentally compatible.


On the eve of the anniversary of the Söyüdlü protests, we rise in solidarity with the brave people of Söyüdlü village in Azerbaijan. Their courageous stand against the ecocide perpetrated by capitalist extractivist mining companies has sparked a moment that requires global attention and action more than ever. 


One year ago, the residents of Söyüdlü village rose up against the destruction of their environment by profit-driven Anglo-Asian mining company. These corporations, with the backing of the authoritarian regime of Ilham Aliyev, have devastated the land, poisoned the water, and exploited the labor of the local people. The regime in Azerbaijan brutally repressed the protests, beating up the protesting women and arresting their male family members by the police. The village was promptly put into blockade with the installment of police checkpoint, and to this date, this control and surveillance are continuing.

 

Despite this, the spirit of the Söyüdlü people remains unbroken. Yesterday, Sara Rahimova, a courageous member of the Board of Directors of the Workers' Table, hanged slogans of "#JusticeSöyüdlü" and "#FuckCOP29" to remind the cries of a community oppressed and ravaged by the insidious forces of capitalist extractivism and authoritarian rule. Her bold act of defiance faced the police immediately, raiding her house.  

 

The Impending Threat of COP29 in Azerbaijan

In November 2024, Azerbaijan is set to host COP29. This move is a blatant attempt at greenwashing by Aliyev’s regime, presenting itself as a champion of environmental causes while continuing its destructive practices. Hosting this conference will not only legitimize Aliyev's authoritarian rule but also facilitate further ecological devastation, both within Azerbaijan and globally. The culprits of this are the competing so called liberal-democratic hegemonic powers that market both fossil fuels and alternative energy for their own power and profit and subjugate communities like Söyüdlü to their authoritarian regimes.


Green capitalism  as a pronounced accumulation regime has the potential to unlock new investment opportunities. The "European Green Deal" (EGD), adopted by the EU in 2019, exemplifies this potential. In 2022, Ursula von der Leyen secured green energy contracts with Aliyev, highlighting a shift towards sustainable investments. However, the prospects for capital accumulation beyond extreme fossil dependence and the possibilities for addressing social and climate crises without coercion remain limited. Decarbonising the European economy by 2050 will significantly increase raw material consumption, despite the EGD's suggestion of abundant renewable energy. 


Therefore, they do not hesitate to provide the Azerbaijani government with a platform to cover up the true intentions through COP29. The façade of sustainability that COP29 will project hides the reality: the true cost of such conferences is borne by communities like Söyüdlü. These gatherings strengthen authoritarian regimes, giving them a veneer of legitimacy while silencing dissent and perpetuating ecocide.

 

 

Exposing Greenwashing and Capitalist Exploitation

We must not be fooled by the deceptive appearance of “sustainability” at COP29. The people of Söyüdlü, whose lands and lives are sacrificed for capitalist profit and state control, reveal the true impact of such events. The struggle of Söyüdlü is not an isolated incident but a symptom of a global system that prioritizes profit over people and the planet.


We understand that the fight for environmental justice is intrinsically linked to the struggle against capitalism, patriarchy, and authoritarianism. We also recognize that the exploitation of the environment is often accompanied by the exploitation of marginalized communities, including women, who bear the brunt of ecological destruction.


We must not forget that resource-rich countries of the global South, such as Azerbaijan, will have to bear the socio-ecological costs caused by the decarbonisation of the global North. The capitalist economy is dependent on an outside world and at the same time systematically tends to destroy it through appropriation. We have seen this in the example of the Söyüdlü protests. It is clear that the defeat of protests like the one in Söyüdlü is also in the interests of those who call themselves liberal-democratic and European. 

 

A Call to Action: Uniting for Justice and Sustainability

We call upon all activists, feminists, environmentalists, and allies to unite in support of the people of Söyüdlü and to expose the true face of COP29:

        

1. Immediate Justice for Söyüdlü: Join forcses to hold the mining companies and the Azerbaijani government accountable for the environmental and human rights violations in Söyüdlü and pressure to immediately stop the village's blockade. 

2. Global Solidarity Against Greenwashing: Expose the true intentions behind COP29 and mobilize international resistance against the legitimization of authoritarian regimes through such platforms.

3. Empowerment of Communities in Environmental Struggles: Recognize and support the critical role of local communities, particularly women, in leading the fight for environmental justice and sustainability.


The struggle of the Söyüdlü people is a powerful reminder that the fight for a just and sustainable world requires courage and solidarity. When communities are squeezed to the point of survival, they, in fact, have no choice but to struggle. However, this fight is not theirs alone; it is ours as well.  Let us honor their resistance by continuing the struggle for justice and liberation that is embodied in climate justice.

 

In solidarity and resistance!

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