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International | Environment & Forest Defense | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism

Gold campaign moves to accept Bitcoin: "More than ever, we need an alternative currency"
by Sakura Saunders
Sunday Aug 28th, 2011 11:06 AM
Gold's current price of almost $1900 will certainly mean more abuse, corruption, militarization and the erosion of indigenous rights around the world. This article describes the reasoning behind one gold mining campaign's reasoning for supporting bitcoin, an alternative currency.

With gold prices reaching a record high this month, ProtestBarrick – an all-volunteer campaign against the world's largest gold mining company – has decided to accept the new currency. Bitcoin is an electronic payment system that operates as a "decentralized digital currency", where information about every Bitcoin resides on every computer within the Bitcoin network. Much of Bitcoin's appeal is based in the fact that the number of Bitcoins produced in the world is limited by an open-source algorithm as opposed to the whims of a central government. Initially created in 2009, there are now over 6.5 million bitcoins in existence with a value of about $10 US each.

"We have seen currency insecurity lead to sky-rocketing gold prices, leading to the rapid destruction of indigenous and rural communities around the world,” stated Sakura Saunders, the co-founder and editor of ProtestBarrick.net. “Even in areas where human rights abuses are well-documented, gold mining is allowed to continue due to its huge profit margin. Now more than ever before, we need an alternative currency."

Since 2005, annual investment demand for gold has risen from 594.8 tonnes to a whopping 1,487 tonnes in 2010 – a 250% increase – according to the World Gold Council. This spike in demand has led to increased exploration, the exploitation of lower grade ore, and more coercive tactics being used against communities resisting this inherently destructive industry.

Just this summer, the body of Francisco Durán Ayala, an anti-mining activist in Cabañas, El Salvador was found with a single shot to the head. He is the fourth targeted assassination in the past two years in Cabañas after local activists were able to push Pacific Rim out of the area. Meanwhile, the Canadian gold miner is suing the state of El Salvador for hundreds of millions of dollars under the provisions of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), because El Salvador refused to grant mining extraction permits to the company.

The ProtestBarrick campaign is itself a strategy against the industry as a whole.

"We have over 750 articles about Barrick Gold, the world's largest and supposedly most 'socially responsible' gold mining company, doing bad things in over 10 different countries," explained Saunders. "The point is to show that this is not the case of a 'few bad apples', but that human rights abuses, corruption, and environmental devastation are in fact the status quo for gold mining all over the world."

Approximately 89% of gold annually is used for either jewelry or investment purposes. Meanwhile, basic human rights, such as the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), or the right for a community to say no to a mine, is not respected. Additionally, countries such as Canada, where the majority of mining companies are headquartered, have no laws to prevent their companies' human rights abuses abroad.

With almost 40% of gold supplied by recycled sources, the need for more gold mining has questionable social value, especially in light of the systemic issues related to the industry.

In turbulent economic times, gold's appeal to the investor centers on the fact that it's supply is limited and not subject to the political decisions of a country's leadership. Bitcoin presents the same appeal, while not causing abuses, rewarding corruption, promoting militarization and eroding indigenous rights around the world.
§Gold has no social value
by Sakura Saunders Sunday Aug 28th, 2011 11:06 AM

Less than 11% of gold is used for anything other than jewelry or investment. Additionally, it is the most recycled metal on the planet. We could actually never mine the stuff again, but instead it is the most explored for mineral on the planet, bringing with it guaranteed environmental destruction. What's more, basic rights are not protected, such as Free Prior and Informed Consent, or the right to say no to mining "development" and most gold is mined on Indigenous lands (i.e. those with the least amount of political power within their nation-state.)

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Union Jack
Monday Aug 29th, 2011 2:07 PM
Re-tool to the renewables and get out of the pollution fossil fuels.

On this question the Peoples Republic of China has set forth the suggestion that a new economy must be a practical function of 'Mutual Benefit' to all concerned.

That it must not pollute, means that the Industrial Revolution must be re-tooled to the renewables such as wind, tidal, and solar power that tranforms to electricity, which is more power than can be used by society. No more blackouts. That would tie the 'New Economy' to natures laws also that will be of 'Mutual Benefit' to the whole environment.

The new economy must not pollute, aggressively war, cause discrimination against the workers and their supporters, and end racist, gender, and religo discrimination, which under the dollar dictate all the worst sort of oppression does now occur, including a dysfunctional democracy, and the lie that describes freedom as the quagmire that society presently is found in.

The present politicians are bourgeois, and their version of free is not free. The big lie has been multiplied numerous times over, and the pollution of fossil fuels is really threatening the planets entire living web-of-life.

Such a situation results from the present bourgeois society making private monied dollar protifs for energy pollution, and investing in 'means of destruction such a war machines and their manufactury, which causes multiple debt fault throughout the Western world.

Hence democracy ordered this way to serve rich elites is not really democracy except for them--a tiny minority at the top. The vast majority in each and every nation is the constant majority--the working class and its supporters.

They are left holding the debt load, and forced by taxes and unjust wars, to pay the acrued debts which they did not create. Such a system globally is in acute and chronic crisis, and cannot return because the majority of the worlds peoples do not want such and unjust system to prevail.

The workers want democracy to serve the workers and their supporters---that would put the majority back into power, which has been gone since the empires conquored the workers, while defeating the matriarchy--50-50 electing of women to governance.

That defeat of the free lifestyle is contiguous with the last classicist society called the 'Bourgeois State'. It is the last most efficient exploiter of the planets life, plant, animal, and peoples.

After its overthrow, the workers state will end all exploitation of labour, restore the matriarchy to its correct place globally, thus liberating the entire planet, and its organic and inorganic matter-in-motion. Thus the state as a function of the irreconcilability of the classes will cease to exist.

The new economy based on mutual benefit will facilitate such a path of liberation. Whether is of Juan, or dollars or pesos is not but a quantitative evaluation, and because of the qualitative ceaseless 'Permanent Aggressive Wars' flowing from U.S. Imperialism, it appears to be most wise to move away from the Dollar hegemony and its wartime crisis debts, and into some other than dollar economy.

Gold does not solve the economy as pointed out by it decorative nature, and its pollution to get to mine it.

Most of all the peoples of the world want and need the end of aggressive wars as any nations economy, as it destroys plants, animals, and peoples, as it pollutes air, land, and water. Collective agree as democracy will be the new way forward.

This points to the need to hold new meetings on economics, to find the simple sollution that is suggested here by ending fossil Fuel consumption and re-tooling to the renewables. All economies must be measured, with the new main means of production, and its ownership and control by the public majority.

Viva socialist liberation. End pollution wars, not endless wars for more and more pollution. Organic agricultural communes , worker contolled, are part of the new economy, not prisons.