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Indigenous struggles

Canada: National Farmers’ Union supports Idle No More

NFU-logo
April 4, 2013 -- This statement in support of the Indigenous protest movement Idle No More is published in the Spring 2013 issue of Union Farmer Quarterly, the official publication of Canada’s National Farmers Union (NFU), an affiliate of La Via Campesina. The text is taken from John Riddell's site.

 

* * *

Our common land, our common ground

With a January 15 media release, we made public our support for the Idle No More movement, saying:

The NFU is proud to declare its solidarity with Idle No More, which is bringing people together from across Canada to stop the Harper government from riding roughshod over our collective rights. We want a better Canada.”

'Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions': compelling contribution to our understanding of the 'pink tide'

Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First-Century Socialism
By Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes
Fernwood Publishing and Zed Books, 2013. Order Here

Review by Richard Fidler

March 11, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Latin America was the first region targeted by the neoliberal phase of capitalism, and it suffered some of its worst consequences. But it is in Latin America that neoliberalism has been most contested in recent years by new social movements of landless peasants, Indigenous communities and urban unemployed.

In a number of countries, this powerful democratic ferment has led to the election of anti-neoliberal, anti-imperialist governments — a process that started with the initial electoral victory of Hugo Chávez Frias in the late 1990s.

Kanaky: Politics heats up as independence supporters mobilise for 2014 election

Celebrating Kanak identity ... the Mwa Ka statue in Noumea. Image: Nic Maclellan.

Celebrating Kanak identity -- the Mwa Ka statue in Noumea. Photo by Nic Maclellan.

Click here for more on Kanaky.

By Nic Maclellan

February 25, 2013 -- Islands Business, posted at Links Intenational Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- New Caledonia's (Kanaky) next congressional elections will not be held until May 2014, but it seems like the electoral campaign has already begun. In recent months, politics in the French Pacific colony has been hotting up as supporters and opponents of independence prepare for next year’s electoral contest.

Since the Noumea Accord was signed in May 1998, there has been a gradual transfer of authority from Paris to Noumea. But the congress elected in 2014 will have a major decision.

Canada & Quebec: Idle No More movement -- the high stakes of Indigenous resistance

By Geneviève Beaudet and Pierre Beaudet, translated from the French original at Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme by John Bradley

January 25, 20133 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The blossoming of the Idle No More movement signals the return of native [Indigenous] resistance to the political and social landscape of Canada and Quebec.

With its origins in Saskatchewan in October 2012, this mass movement has taken on the federal government and more specifically the adoption of Bill C-45.[1] Its origins lay not in the work of established organisations such as the Assembly of First Nations (although the AFN supports the initiative), but in a grassroots mobilisation that has arisen in several parts of the country. This process echoes other recent citizen mobilisations such as the student carrés rouges in Quebec and the worldwide Occupy movement.

Evo Morales: Ten commandments against capitalism, for life and humanity -- 'Manifesto of Isla del Sol'

Click image for the original Spanish edition of the Manifesto of Isla del Sol. The cover shows Morales arriving at the Island of the Sun in a replica of the balsa rafts that Andean peoples used for centuries on Lake Titicaca.

[For more on Evo Morales and Bolivia, click HERE.]

January 15, 2013 -- Climate and Capitalism/Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- On December 21, 2012, at a solstice celebration in Lake Titicaca, high in the Andes, Bolivia's president Evo Morales introduced the Manifesto of Isla del Sol.  His talk, translated below, includes the full text of the manifesto.

Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon -- Patrimonial-Hacendado power and capitalist accumulation

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

December 2012 -- This essay first appeared in English in five parts at Richard Fidler's Life on the Left and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Álvaro García Linera is one of Latin America’s leading Marxist intellectuals. He is also the vice-president of Bolivia — the “co-pilot”, as he says, to President Evo Morales, and an articulate exponent of the government’s policies and strategic orientation.

In a recent book-length essay, Geopolitics of the Amazon: Patrimonial-Hacendado Power and Capitalist Accumulation, published in September 2012, García Linera discusses a controversial issue of central importance to the development process in Latin America, and explains how Bolivia is attempting to address the intersection between economic development and environmental protection.

The issues he addresses are of great importance not only in Bolivia but throughout Latin America, and in fact in most of the countries of the imperialist periphery. They are especially important to understand in the “First World,” where there is an increasing campaign in parts of the left to turn against the progressive and anticapitalist governments in Latin America on the ground of their alleged “extractivism.”

Canada: The creative potential of Indigenous social initiatives

Speech by Art Sterritt, introductory comment by John Riddell

December 15, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Johnriddell.wordpress.com -- Speaking in Toronto, on November 17, 2012, at a conference against tar sands pipelines, Art Sterritt (pictured above) of the Coastal First Nations in British Columbia gave a dramatic account of his peoples’ initiatives for ecological justice in the province. Sterritt is among the main spokespersons of the powerful campaign in B.C. against tar sands pipelines.

Sterritt’s talk (below) offers insight into three important issues in current Canadian social struggles:

Small farmers, Indigenous peoples condemn Doha climate talks: 'Governments produce blank pages for planet’s future'

Trade unionists joined a march in Doha for action on climate change to demand improved human rights for migrant workers. Photograph: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images.

Statement by the international peasant movement La Via Campesina,

December 7, 2012 – As the climate negotiations come to a close, the industrialised countries insist on inaction for the next decade, finding even more ways to escape their historical responsibility, create more carbon markets including one on agriculture and to keep business as usual of burning the planet.

While governments continue to prioritise the interests of industry and agribusiness, peasant farmers continue producing to feed the world’s people and the planet.

Rafael Correa discusses Ecuador's 'Citizens' Revolution' and answers his left critics

Rafael Correa speaks at a rally in support of his re-election in next year's poll, Quito, November 10.

By Federico Fuentes

November 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- While European governments continue to impose policies aimed at making working people pay for a crisis they did not cause, the Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa has taken a different course.

“Those who are earning too much will be giving more to the poorest of this country”, a November 1 Reuters dispatch quoted Correa as saying. He was announcing a new measure to raise taxes on banks to help fund social security payments.

Ecuador’s banking sector has registered US$349 million in after-tax profits, a November 8 El Telegrafo article said. “The time has arrived to redistribute those profits,” said Correa.

Reuters reported that by lifting the tax rate on bank holdings abroad and applying a new tax on financial services, the government hopes to raise between $200 million and $300 million a year.

The proceeds will fund a rise in the “human development bonus payment” from $35 to $50 a month. About 1.2 million Ecuadorians receive the payment, mainly single mothers and the elderly.

Aotearoa/New Zealand: Mana, a movement of the people

Grant Brookes.

By Grant Brookes

November 7, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The following talk was presented to a Socialist Alliance public meeting in Melbourne.

Tihei mauriora!
Ko Ranginui kei runga
Ko Papatūanuku kei raro
Ko nga tangata kei waenganui

Ko Grant Brookes ahau
Ko Helen toku mama
Ko Don toku papa
Na Ōtepoti ahau
Na Koterana oku tipuna
Ko nga kaimahi o te ao taku iwi.

When a Maori person rises to talk in formal occasions, they often announce their speech, with tihei mauriora! – translated literally, “sneeze of the life spirit”. It is then customary to recount one's ancestry and tribal connections. So I said, Ranginui the sky father above, Papatūanuku the earth mother below, the people in between. I am Grant Brookes. My mother is Helen, my father is Don. I am originally from Ōtepoti/Dunedin. My ancestors are from Scotland. Being Pakeha, or a New Zealand European, I have no Maori tribal connections, so I say, the workers of the world are my tribe.

Australia: Cuba's literacy program a success for Aboriginal community (+ photo essay)

Jose Chala Leblanch In Wilcannia, with his local footy jumper. Photo shared by Jose Chala Leblanch.

See also "Los! Hau Bele! -- `Yo! Si Puedo' comes to Timor Leste: Cuba assists the eradication of illiteracy". For more examples of revolutionary Cuba's internationalism, click HERE.

By Fred Fuentes

September 29, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sixteen Aboriginal adults in the remote Australian town of Wilcannia, in outback New South Wales, are the first graduates of a groundbreaking trial literacy program that would not have been possible without the help of a tiny Caribbean country — Cuba.

Bolivia: Who's the real 'outlaw'? Behind Bolivia’s nationalisation of a Canadian mine

By Paul Kellogg

September 5, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- For Canada's Financial Post, the actions of the Bolivian government in nationalising a Canadian mine this northern summer confirmed the country’s status as an “outlaw nation” (Grace 2012). But for less-biased observers, the reality was a little different.

Responding to pressure from local Indigenous communities the Bolivian government confirmed on August 2 that it would expropriate the operations of a Canadian-owned mining project. This represents, in the short term, the success of local social movements in putting an end to violence created by the tactics of the corporation, and in the long term, one small step towards ending 500 years of foreign powers stripping the country of its natural resources.

Ecuador: ¿Nueva izquierda o nuevo colonialismo?

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/2918.]

Por Federico Fuentes, traducido para Rebelión por Christine Lewis Carroll

25-06-2012 -- Rebelión -- La crítica a los gobiernos radicales de América Latina se ha convertido en moneda corriente entre gran parte de la izquierda internacional. Ninguno se ha escapado de la crítica, pero el gobierno del Presidente Rafael Correa de Ecuador ha sido un blanco significativo.

Pero el problema de la crítica dirigida contra Correa es que carece de cualquier base sólida y desvía la atención del verdadero enemigo.

Correa fue elegido presidente en 2006 después de más de una década de rebeliones, principalmente indígenas, en contra del neoliberalismo.

Durante la campaña electoral, el economista radical prometió reescribir la constitución del país, rechazar cualquier acuerdo de libre comercio con Washington, negarse a pagar las deudas externas ilegítimas y cerrar una base militar estadounidense en suelo ecuatoriano.

Los movimientos sociales habían hecho la campaña en torno a estas demandas, que es a su vez la razón del apoyo mayoritario a Correa en la segunda vuelta electoral contra Álvaro Noboa, el hombre más rico de Ecuador.

NO REDD+! in Rio+20: A declaration to decolonise the earth and the sky

“Against Amazonian Genocide. Xingu (Afro-Brazilian freedom fighter) Lives Forever.” Photo by Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project. This photo was taken during the People's March through Rio on June 20, 2012, and first appeared at Climate Connections.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

Introduction and notes by Chris Lang

June 19, 2012 -- REDD-Monitor -- Last week, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life held a press conference denouncing REDD and the green economy. The press conference was part of the People’s Summit, a nine-day event taking place in parallel to the UN Rio+20 conference.

Ecuador: New left or new colonialism?

Pro-Correa march in Quito on International Women's Day, March 8.

By Federico Fuentes

June 17, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Criticism of Latin America’s radical governments has become common currency among much of the international left. While none have been exempt, Ecuador’s government of President Rafael Correa has been a key target.

But a problem with much of the criticism directed against Correa is that it lacks any solid foundation and misdirects fire away from the real enemy.

Correa was elected president in 2006 after more than a decade of mostly indigenous-led rebellions against neoliberalism.

During his election campaign, the radical economist promised to rewrite the country’s constitution, reject any free trade agreement with Washington, refuse to repay of illegitimate foreign debts and close a US military base on Ecuadorian soil.

The social movements had campaigned around many of these demands, which is why most supported Correa in the second-round presidential run-off against Alvaro Noboa, Ecuador’s richest man.

Since then, Correa has largely carried out these election promises. This explains why he has an approval rating of more than 80%, a June 13 opinion poll found.

Left criticisms

Rio+20: Farmers, Indigenous peoples mobilise against green capitalism and the privatisation of nature

Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2012 -- La Via Campesina -- About 3000 people from around the world will mobilise to say NO to the commodification of life and nature at the "Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in Defense of the Commons", the parallel opposition activity to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20.

The peoples' summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements and peoples collective organisations. La Via Campesina -- the international organisation of small farmers -- has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that are now being dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is instead promoting peasants' sustainable agriculture as a true solution to the global climatic and environmental crises.

Photo essay: Guatemala -- Indigenous, peasant and popular march arrives in Guatemala City

Text and photos by James Rodriguez, Guatemala City, Guatemala

March 27, 2012 -- Mimundo.org, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- After nine days and 212 kilometres, the Indigenous, Campesino and Popular March for the Defence of Mother Earth, against evictions, criminalisation and in favour of integrated rural development, arrived to the centre of the capital city. According to members of the Committee for Campesino Unity (CUC), it is estimated that about 15,000 people participated in the ninth and final day of the march.

Bolivia: Challenges face Morales' goal of 'governing by obeying the people'

A march by indigenous group Conisur in favour of a controversial highway being built through Indigenous lands.

By Federico Fuentes

February 19, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- A new twist in the turbulent saga surrounding a proposed roadway through Indigenous land has reignited a debate raging throughout Bolivia since the middle of last year. The controversial highway ― which would cut through the Isiboro-Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) ― has been at the centre of protests and counter-protests. It has polarised Bolivian society and divided Indigenous groups that are the heart of the Evo Morales government’s social base.

Washington threatens reprisals against Nicaragua’s voters

Nicaraguans celebrate the re-election of Daniel Ortega as president.

John Riddell interviews Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

February 2, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, also available at http://johnriddell.wordpress.com/. First published in Axis of Logic -- In a fit of petulant anger, the US government lashed out on January 25 against the outcome of Nicaragua’s recent presidential election. To understand the context of the US threats, I talked to Felipe Stuart Cournoyer, a Nicaraguan citizen and member of Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).[1]

* * *

John Riddell: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that Nicaragua’s November 6, 2011, election “marked a setback to democracy in Nicaragua and undermined the ability of Nicaraguans to hold their government accountable”, but offered no particulars. What has roused Washington’s ire?

Hollywood: Glimpses of empire

Part 1: In the belly of empire

“There must be some way out of here’, said the
joker to the thief,
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, ploughmen dig
my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is
worth.”
-- Bob Dylan[1]

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