Decolonial Matters | Indigeneity and resistance to mining
Indigenous protest, Quito, March 2012, after a 15-day march
demanding an end to open pit mining and new oil concessions.Photo credit: Links Journal
Devon Peñas note: Over the years I have covered local and global struggles against extractive industries because these represent one of the most destructive forces of environmental violence on the planet. This violence is the result of colluding forces involving corrupt neoliberal states and their brutally efficient corporate partners.
On occasion our coverage of indigenous struggles against extractive colonialism invites a thoughtful theoretical intervention and so I present the work of Manuela Picq, a Latin Americanist at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, who presents a compelling argument for the privileging of Indigeneity as a category for the articulation of human and ecosystem rights. Her principal argument is that indigenous resistance is a threat to the established Westphalian order that is the basis of state sovereignty in Latin America. Picq states:
Indigeneity disrupts state sovereignty…because the expansion of Indigenous rights is intrinsically related to issues of state authority over territory. Rights to self-determination entail the recognition of plural forms of territorial authority in competition with states.
Indigeneity is thus also a barrier to the spread of neoliberal enclosures – the privatization of territories that mining and other extractive industries require in order to operate. This resistance may also be seen as disruptive of the second contradiction of capitalism – the tendency to destroy the environmental and human sources of its own productivity.
We must support indigenous peoples in their resistance to mining because in doing so they are helping to preserve the planetary stock of biocultural diversity and the capacity for ecosystem resilience. This is the real challenge that Indigeneity presents to the normal course of discourse in the field of International Relations (IR).
Picq’s analysis reveals that Latin American post-neoliberal politicians are just as likely to kowtow to corporate interests as any “liberal” American version like Obama. She reminds us that “[o]pening Ecuador to mega-mining financed much of President Correa’s third re-election.” Sounds very “American”.
This article was originally published in E-International Relations' free-to-download Edited Collection, Restoring Indigenous Self Determination: Theoretical and Practical Approaches. Republished under a Creative Commons License; the article appeared on –line on June 2. 2014.
Self-Determination as Anti-Extractivism
HOW INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE CHALLENGES WORLD POLITICS
Image credit of Earth warriors rising
Manuela Picq | Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton | June 2, 2014