Revolutionary Organizing with Ahjamu Umi

Revolutionary Organizing with Ahjamu Umi

Ahjamu Umi is a revolutionary organizer/activist, adviser, and liberation literature author. He is vastly concerned about the current state and future of this planet. Ahjamu has worked with the All African People’s Revolutionary Party for decades.

His latest book, a manual of revolutionary community defense, is titled “A Guide for Defense Against White Supremacist and Fascist Violence.”

This episode features the track “Therapy” by Alas.

Subscribe to The Green Flame Podcast

About The Green Flame

The Green Flame is a Deep Green Resistance podcast offering revolutionary analysis, skill sharing, and inspiration for the movement to save the planet by any means necessary. Our hosts are Max Wilbert and Jennifer Murnan.

Alarm As Exploratory Drilling For Oil Begins In Northern Namibia

Alarm As Exploratory Drilling For Oil Begins In Northern Namibia

This article was written by on 28 December 2020

By Jim TanMongabay

  • Reconnaissance Energy Africa, an oil and gas company with headquarters in Canada, has recently begun exploratory drilling in northern Namibia.
  • Conservationists and local communities are concerned over the potential environmental impact that oil and gas extraction could have on such an important ecosystem.
  • Northern Namibia and Botswana have a number of interconnected watersheds including the Okavango Delta – the potential for pollutants to enter watercourses and spread throughout the region are a particular concern.

On December 21, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (Recon Africa) announced that it had begun exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Namibian portion of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA). The move has alarmed environmental campaigners and community groups who are concerned about the impact this could have on the region’s watercourses, people and wildlife.

Recon Africa is the holder of a licence to explore a 2.5 million hectare area (6.3-million-acres) of northeastern Namibia, granted to a predecessor company in January 2015. The majority of the area covered by Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 73 sits in the KAZA, a conservation initiative covering 520,000 square kilometres (201,000 square miles) of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The company also has a licence to prospect for oil in another section of KAZA, 1 million hectare area (2.5 million acres) of northwestern Botswana, where it hopes to begin drilling in 2021.


The KAZA conservation area is home to the largest remaining population of African elephants and is one of the last remaining strongholds of the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). Recon Africa’s exploration areas in both Botswana and Namibia fall largely within the Okavango River Basin which flows into the richly-biodiverse Okavango Delta — a UNESCO World Heritage site. Conservationists are particularly concerned by the potential impact drilling for oil and gas here could have on the interconnected watercourses of the river basin.

There is a serious lack of knowledge on groundwater resources in the target oil and gas extraction area,” said Surina Esterhuyse, a geohydrologist at the University of the Free State, South Africa. “In Botswana, the Okavango river basin is still relatively pristine, but the planned exploration and extraction could have serious impacts on the [Okavango] delta.”

Recon Africa is drilling into a 9,000-meter-deep sedimentary basin known to geologists as the Kavango Basin to establish whether there is actually oil beneath the KAZA, and if these resources can be economically exploited. Daniel Jarvie, a geochemist consulting for Recon Africa, estimates that the basin holds a similar potential quantity of extractable oil and gas as the Eagle Ford Basin in Texas, USA. Since production there began in 2008, over 20,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled at Eagle Ford.

Use and contamination of water.

“The possible impact that oil and gas extraction would have on the water resources in Namibia and Botswana is the biggest concern,” says Esterhuyse, whose research focuses on the impact of oil and gas extraction on groundwater resources. The two main areas of concern are the use of water, particularly in areas such as northern Namibia, where water is a scarce resource, and possible contamination of water sources through oil and gas extraction.

The risks posed by oil and gas extraction are greater if unconventional hydraulic fracturing techniques, commonly known as fracking, are used.  Regular references to “unconventional plays” in Recon Africa’s marketing material and the hiring of experienced fracking engineers have led to concerns that this may be the company’s intention.

Both Recon Africa spokesperson Claire Preece and the Namibian government have denied that there are any plans for fracking to take place.

Assessing impacts

So far the Namibian government has only approved the drilling to two test wells approximately 55km south of the town of Rundu. Any further activity would require additional environmental impact assessments and approval from the Namibian government, which has a 10% share in the oil exploration venture through the state oil company, NAMCOR. Whilst they await the outcome of the current operations, communities in the region are growing increasingly concerned.

“The local community are in darkness, they don’t have clues on what is going on,” said Max Muyemburuko, chairperson of the Muduva Nyangana Conservancy that lies in PEL 73. “They want their voices to be heard.”

Muyemburuko says they have not been contacted by Recon Africa or the Namibian government about potential plans for oil and gas production in the region. Residents of the Muduva Nyangana Conservancy rely on tourism income and natural resources from the land. Muyemburuko fears these could be jeopardised by pollution from oil and gas production.

“Kavango is the only land that we have,” he said. “We will keep it for the generation to come.”

The ministry of mines has said that proposed oil exploration activities will not harm the Okavango ecosystem in any way and highlight the potential economic benefits of a major oil discovery. The ministry also says that no oil and gas exploration will be allowed in national parks, but this does not include the KAZA conservation area which does not enjoy the same level of environmental protection as parks.

Recon Africa’s carefully crafted responses to challenges over environmental questions strike a sharp contrast to the company’s bold claims of an “unprecedented opportunity” in its marketing materials. If the Kavango Basin proves to have the lucrative potential that Recon Africa’s shareholders are hoping for, the Namibian government will face difficult questions over how to balance the allure of oil dollars against environmental protection for one of the world’s most important ecosystems.

This article was originally published in Mongabay, please find the original article here. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Featured image: Derek Keats via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Shale Must Fall: Global Day Of Action Against Fracking

Shale Must Fall: Global Day Of Action Against Fracking

Shale Must Fall: Global day of climate actions uniting sites of extraction in the Global South and beyond with their counterparts of consumption in the Global North.

Friday Dec. 11th, on the eve of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, a diverse group of environmental movements from 20 different countries are mobilizing together to bring visibility to the environmental destruction of fracking.

The movement is mobilizing to highlight the damage caused by European multinationals that do abroad what they are banned from doing at home (in this case, fracking) with the complicity of their governments that subsidize the industry.

The day of action highlight how those government policies completely undermine the Paris Agreement, as Europe is simply “outsourcing” its emissions to the rest of the world.

The actions around the world are focusing on some of Europe’s largest climate criminals which are also shale oil companies—Repsol, Total, Wintershall, Shell, BP—by connecting the dots of their operations around the world.

It is outrageous that Europe is on one hand committing to emissions reductions and the Paris Agreement, yet on the other it is allowing and even subsidizing companies based in their country to frack the rest of the world, causing enormous harm to human health and to the natural world, and dooming future generations—including their own people—to climate chaos.

Local and grassroots movements from the frontlines of extractivism in the Global South are mobilizing against the operations of these multinationals from the Global North demanding climate justice and an end to this international ecocide.

Solidarity is Strength

Each of the environmental resistance struggles at the frontlines in the Global South is usually not strong enough, if isolated, to defeat a threat so disproportionately larger. But as our struggles begin to come together as we are doing today, we can present a united multinational resistance against a threat that is multinational in nature.

The Harms of Fracking

Science has shown fracking to be responsible for more than 50% of all of the increased methane emissions from fossil fuels globally and approximately 1/3 of the total increased emissions from all sources globally over the past decade. Methane is 87 times more harmful than CO2 in its global warming impact on the atmosphere during the first 20 years, and thus the fracking industry is a major cause for accelerating global warming.

This also makes shale gas the fossil fuel with highest greenhouse gas emissions among all fossil fuels.

After having banned or imposed moratoria on fracking in their home countries, European governments are not only allowing their companies to frack the rest of the world, but they are also subsidizing the import of fracked gas with billions of euros of taxpayers’ funds, by building LNG import terminals across the region that will lock the EU into decades of dependency into this fossil fuel.

They are selling the fossil fuel with the worst carbon footprint of all as a clean form of energy that will serve as a bridge to move away from coal. A transition away from coal with something worse than coal? This is insane and we have to stop it. Clean gas is a dirty lie!

 For more information on Shale Must Fall, check out their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Organizer Do’s and Dont’s – 101

Organizer Do’s and Dont’s – 101

This article, published November 5, 2020 is written by Ahjamu Umi, an author and revolutionary organizer with the All African People’s Revolutionary Party.

By Ajhamu Umi/Hood Communist

My license to speak about this comes from the fact I’ve been involved in organizing work since 1979 when I joined the Pan-Africanist Secretariat (Brother Oba T’Shaka for those that know) at 17 years old.  In 1984, I heard Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) speak and I joined the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).  I’ve been an organizer/member of the A-APRP ever since.

That means decades of working with people, all types of people.

I’ve worked in organizing efforts in Africa.  In Europe.  In the Caribbean.  I’ve worked with African street organizations (what you would probably call gangs), church groups, women’s collectives.  I’ve worked with students.  I’ve worked with African people from every segment of society and I’ve also worked with European allies, Indigenous people, Asian allies, and Palestinian comrades.  I’ve done significant work with organizations as broad as the Nation of Islam to White Women against Imperialism.

My political organizing work created the opportunity to work as a paid organizer for the labor movement which I do as well.  In that work, I work with right-wing workers.  Workers who have no experience interacting with African people.  I’m still responsible for moving these folks.  So, with all that outstanding experience, if there’s one thing I know about, it’s how to work successfully with people.  I’m not saying I know everything because the more work I do, the more I realize I need to learn, but I am saying, I have at least learned some valuable lessons that some of our newer organizers would do well to pay close attention to.

Dont’s – No nos in organizing work 101:

1.  Make sure you are in an organization.  If not, your message is you don’t seriously believe what you are spouting because you don’t think enough of it to create a plan and work to bring it into existence.

2.  Don’t criticize other people’s work.  It makes you look like a hater and opens you up to questions about what you are doing (which is usually not too much if you have time and the lack of focus to criticize other people’s efforts).

3.  If there is a problem with another organizer and/or organization, take that problem directly to the people involved and engage them in principled ideological struggle around the problem.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, talk about people behind their backs.  It will come back against you and will make you look cowardly and dishonest, the crippling ingredient for anyone attempting to become a respected organizer.  Plus, principled struggle creates a stronger movement.

4.  Do not permit yourself to see the struggle simply as an extension of your personal experiences.  You are just a speck in this work.  Remember that and carry yourself with humility at all times.

5.  Do not view the struggle as the flavor of the week.  Get a focus people and stick to it.  If you change what you are doing every other week you send a clear message that you are not serious, about anything.

Do’s – Great things in organizing 101:

1.  Make sure your organization has a dedicated study process where you can rotate facilitators, everyone is required to participate, and you have a praise/criticism process to properly assess your work.

2.  Use the praise/criticism process to challenge yourself honestly around improving your weaknesses

3.  Practice your writing skills by putting together articles, leaflets, etc, that address the problems you are fighting against.  Getting people to read is a critical component of this struggle so help out by developing your skills while contributing relevant material.

4.  Develop strong habits in your organizing work around study and work.  Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there.  Don’t be late and don’t make excuses.  If you are always consistent, the message you will be sending out is that you are serious about your work and there is an urgency to make that work happen.  If you are always late and disorganized, the message you send is that you say it matters, but you really don’t believe it.  A credibility problem again.

5.  Lastly, base your personal behavior and your organizational work around one principle – what’s right and just.  An African proverb is “even a dead fish can swim with the current.”  Don’t be a dead fish.

If you heed these do’s and don’t’s you are guaranteed to be an effective and respected organizer.

Everyone won’t like you because waging principled struggle, being consistent, and making things happen challenges those who desire to function without accountability, but just remember Sekou Ture’s correct statement that “if the enemy isn’t doing anything against you, you aren’t doing anything.”  Do the dos and don’t do the don’ts and you will become stronger.  You will also realize that all work is important and should be respected (I always know someone doesn’t know what they are talking about when they start talking about work that isn’t relevant).  Even standing on a street corner with a sign saying “ORGANIZE!” is good work and anyone who does this work seriously knows that.  So, take these and use them.  They don’t belong to me, they belong to humanity.  And make sure to share them.

Good organizing to you!

You can access the original article here.

A Malagasy Community Wins Global Recognition For Saving Its Lake

A Malagasy Community Wins Global Recognition For Saving Its Lake

This article was written by Malavika Vyawahare and published on the 18 November 2020 in Mongabay. Malavika describes the work undertaken by a community association to improve the health of the ecosystem of a wetland.  The organization won the Equator Prize in the category “Nature for Water.”