Americas

Bolivia: Contribution of Indigenous people to fighting climate change hanging by a thread

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Earth’s forests oxygenate the atmosphere and store vast quantities of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO₂). But research suggests that the health of these vast ecosystems in large part depends on the work of indigenous people.

Indigenous territories and protected areas cover 52% of the Amazon forest and store 58% of its carbon. A recent study found that these areas had the lowest net loss of carbon between 2003 and 2016, with 90% of net emissions coming from outside these protected lands. read more

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Toward Freedom: a progressive perspective on world events.

Toward Freedom

22 hours 6 minutes ago

We just translated this powerful reflection on colonialism, capitalism & patriarchy by Mixe linguist Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil.

"The world as we know it today is organized by three systems: colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism, all of which were consolidated in the midst of this catastrophe. Capitalism needs the colonial order, colonialism wasn’t installed by a matriarchy. These systems are deeply imbricated. Racism, which orders and classifies bodies, is the son of colonialism, as machismo is of the patriarchy and classism of capitalism.

The complex, three headed system imposed by the colonial order was perfected with the establishment of nation states. The nation state is the structure that provided a legal framework for these systems. It is therefore not surprising that racism has been legalized and institutionalized, that when nations were born women were excluded from citizenship and voting rights, and that the state is the protector of capital.

The legal framework of the world’s democracies has given shelter to the patriarchy, to capitalism and to colonialism. If we look at reality this way, we can understand that seemingly disconnected phenomena came up from the same root of oppressive systems and subsystems within an overarching system."

Toward Freedom

1 day 21 hours ago

Sharing a new interview with Kwakwaka’wakw artist and writer Gord Hill on the ongoing actions in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

"This movement wouldn’t exist without everything that preceded it. So the [campaign against the] 2010 Olympics, the anti-tarsands campaign, the anti-Northern Gateway Pipeline campaign, Idle No More, the Elsipogtog anti-fracking struggle in New Brunswick, Six Nations in 2006, I think all these things inform the present and what this movement is. All those different movements contributed to the movement that we’re seeing on the streets today. All the work that was done by Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people building solidarity and all this work that’s been done over the years.

I would even go back to Oka, because you still see the Mohawk unity flag, the warrior flag, flying all across the country at these rallies and blockades. Oka really set the tone for the 1990s and it continues to today. You even have federal ministers referring to this spectre of Oka and Ipperwash, this spectre of intense, high level social conflict, armed resistance, Indigenous insurgency, this spectre it still resonates from Oka and I think that’s another important part that’s contributing to this movement, even though its totally unarmed and its really more like a civil disobedience campaign."

Toward Freedom

3 days 1 hour ago

The Ontario Police raided the Tyendinaga rail blockade this morning. Here's a backgrounder from The Conversation on the blockades & other actions to #shutdowncanada.

"If the Canadian government does not have sovereignty over Indigenous lands, then it does not have the right to grant access. Corporate incursions, even with permits from Canadian governments, become illegitimate and illegal.

The Wet’suwet’en refused to allow Coastal GasLink access to their lands. Therefore, it is the land defenders that are upholding the appropriate law: Wet’suwet’en law.

Rather than deal with the actual titleholders, corporations have sought protection from Canadian courts via injunctions. Injunctions are used to mitigate the uncertainty associated with Indigenous jurisdiction. However, for the Indigenous communities and their supporters, the issues are too important and too urgent for automatic compliance.

The refusal of Indigenous land defenders and solidarity protesters to accede to injunctions sends a message to all of Canada: if Canada will not comply with Indigenous laws, then they will not comply with Canadian laws."

Toward Freedom

6 days 1 hour ago

Sharing a piece originally published on openDemocracy that looks at the need to decriminalize & unionize sex work, and the power of the women's strike.

"In Europe and across the Americas we are witnessing the emergence of an international movement that is experimenting with and struggling for a feminist future. The feminist strike is at the centre of this movement. Each time we strike, each time we assemble, each time we take to the streets we confront the patriarchal ideas of what it means to be a woman today. It is in the feminist strike that we are able to exceed the narrow categories of womanhood forced upon us and make good on our promise to make feminism a threat again.

For too long, a reactionary and conservative vision of women’s rights has dominated feminism, especially in relation to the question of sex work and sex workers’ rights. Many feminists have been happy to allow the police and immigration officials to do the dirty work of trying to abolish the sex industry. At the same time, neither neoliberal ‘lean-in’ feminists nor so-called ‘radical’ feminists have had much to say about the changes to social security benefits, introduction of zero-hour contracts, or the housing crisis, all of which have ensured a steady stream of people looking for work in the sex industry. When we talk about the red feminist horizon we are sketching out the kind of feminist future that we want and, crucially, how we get there. The red feminist horizon demands that we have full and final say on the meaning of our lives, how we labor, and what is done to and with our bodies."

Toward Freedom

6 days 22 hours ago

Sharing a story by two researchers originally published by The Conversation that looks at Indigenous autonomies and climate change in Bolivia.

"By granting autonomy rights to indigenous people, the state would effectively recognize their right to govern themselves in matters related to the land and natural resources. Without this, people have no real control of their territories, and there is little that indigenous people can do to control environmental degradation.

Out of 33 claims for territorial self-government that were raised between 2009 and 2019, only three have been approved by the Bolivian government. Our research suggests that the main reason so few have succeeded is the new laws enacted during the Morales era, which make autonomy claims a complex and cumbersome process.

We’ve been working with the Monkoxi Indigenous Nation from the Bolivian lowlands since 2013, to help advance their claim to political autonomy in their territory. The Monkoxi belong to one of the 30 groups that are still waiting for their rights to be recognized, having initiated the legal claim in 2009."

Toward Freedom

1 week 18 hours ago

Important background on the history of Canada's colonial police force, originally published in The Conversation.

"The RCMP have long had the disdainful role of enforcing the Indian Act, restricting the movement of on-reserve status Indians, arresting Indigenous people for using ceremony, and for the kidnapping of Indigenous children from their families to the internment camps known as 'residential schools.'"

Toward Freedom

1 week 1 day ago

Sharing a short blog post from Dawn Marie Paley that goes beyond the headlines about #ShutDownCanada.

"The WaPo article states that protests began February 6 with the beginning of the RCMP raid which later saw matriarchs dragged from their territory while in ceremony. But the fight against land theft & extractive industries in so-called British Columbia goes back much further.

Wet’suwet’en land defenders have been maintaining a presence and building infrastructure along the proposed path of the pipeline since 2010, fighting (successfully) for recognition of their title over the land for decades (see Delgamuuk’w vs. British Columbia), and standing up to settler colonialism and so-called Canada for over a century."

Toward Freedom

1 week 1 day ago

Sharing a new piece reported from Oaxaca, Mexico, by journalist Shannon Young. A federal court ruling in October, 2019 revokes concessions in Zapotec territory, which local authorities are celebrating. This piece looks at at the structural unfairness of the USMCA (the new NAFTA), and considers how this could impact grassroots struggles.

"For all the local optimism, the October 2019 ruling to cancel the concessions in Capulálpam is not the final word. The mining companies involved and the Secretary of the Economy are mounting legal challenges.

The ruling occurred as international treaties governing Canadian business operations in Mexico were in flux. In 2019, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was scrapped and renegotiated, it is now called the US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). Among the provisions to go was NAFTA’s Chapter 11 Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which allowed private companies to sue governments if legal changes could adversely affect their investments.

International trade watchers say ISDS is central to the expansion of extractive industries. 'The industries that really need this are not most of the industries of the world; they’re specifically for natural resource projects,' said Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. ISDS mechanisms have been heavily tilted against nations in the Global South. 'It really is a terrible legacy, a terrible colonial legacy, that now has been used against developing countries,' said Dey, in a phone interview from Montreal.

Even the threat of Investor-State Dispute Settlements could coerce regulators to walk back environmental protection policies, according to Dey. While the U.S. and Canada removed Chapter 11 liabilities for themselves in the USMCA, U.S. energy companies successfully lobbied to keep a modified ISDS mechanism in place for Mexico in the new version of NAFTA.

Under the USMCA trade agreement, Canadian mining companies cannot sue Mexico for lost profits. However, Dey points out, they can use the ISDS mechanism under the terms of a different trade agreement that the US backed out of, but that still includes Mexico and Canada: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)."

Toward Freedom

1 week 3 days ago

Sharing a story by Dr. Alexander Dunlap on efforts to promote traditional architecture following the 2017 earthquakes in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

"The privatization of communal land has also impacted access to traditional building materials. Efforts to privatize and grab the 68,112 hectares of communal land by private industry around Juchitán have been persistent and taken to another level with new wind resource valuation. This has affected how locals respond to earthquakes.

'Even though we know traditional modern palm houses are better against earthquakes, we cannot just go and get the raw material anymore because the two wind companies set up the wind park industrial zones where we use to gather those resources,' explained Mariano López Gómez, another Zapotec land defender. 'The few remaining trees left are not accessible anymore because the companies have land-leasing contracts that prevent people from building mud and palm houses.'

Toward Freedom

1 week 5 days ago

Sharing a story from The Conversation about Turkey’s foreign policy in Africa.

“Turkey’s African drives started in 2003 when Recep Tayyip Erdogan was Prime Minister, a position he held between 2003 and 2014 before becoming president. He has overseen a significant growth in interest, making about 30 visits to African countries.

Turkey’s entry into Africa drew most attention with its drive into Somalia in 2011. At the time few countries supported the Somali government. This was partly because it remained a semi-collapsed state, unstable and since 2015 was even lending support to the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen just across the Gulf of Aden.

Turkey’s presence in Somalia was initially premised on trade and economic support followed by security related matters. In 2016 it opened what is said to be the largest overseas Turkish embassy in Mogadishu.”