Friday, December 19, 2008

Latin American Perspectives: Call for Contributions to Special Editions/Issues

Latin American Perspectives: Globalizing Resistance-The New Politics of Social Movements in Latin America

Issue Editors: Richard Stahler-Sholk, Harry E. Vanden, and Glen Kuecker

A first issue on this topic was published in the March 2007 issue; manuscripts are now being solicited for a second issue

The last two decades have seen an upsurge of Latin American social movements, challenging the neoliberal paradigm and the governments that impose it. Movements such as the indigenous mobilizations of CONAIE in Ecuador, the cocaleros and mobilizations against water privatizations and gas pipeline investments in Bolivia, the Zapatista movement in Mexico, the landless rural workers of the MST in Brazil, Afro-Colombians resisting displacement in a region coveted by investors, and the piquetero eruptions of workers and the urban poor in the wake of Argentina's financial crisis, are contesting the region's political and economic systems.

These phenomena defy the expectations of the mainstream "transitology" literature, which saw social movements as a temporary outgrowth of the suppression of conventional politics by bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes, a trend that would fade again with the return of electoral democracy. The intensification of social movements appears to be not only an outgrowth of the traditional resistance and mobilization of the masses, but a response to the advance of neoliberal globalization. This resistance is, however, by no means exclusively manifested in class-based organizing. The global spread of free trade/market forces involves a rollback of the state, yet the neoliberal state has new functions of structuring and policing the new conditions for global capital accumulation. In this era of increasing globalization, pressure to integrate into global markets threatens a heterogeneous group of social subjects who are coalescing into new resistance movements.

These new movements seek to define a novel relation to the political realm. Unlike traditional guerrilla movements or electoral expressions of the left, they are not fundamentally organized to seize state power. Yet they have contributed to destabilizing and in some cases ousting governments (e.g. Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, and arguably Mexico's PRI), while coexisting in awkward relationships with left parties and guerrilla movements (e.g. Brazil's PT, and Mexico's PRD party and EPR/ERPI guerrillas). Parallel to the increase in social protest movements is the development of movement-based politics of a populist variety, such as Lavalas in Haiti and chavismo in Venezuela. From the Argentine cry of "que se vayan todos" to the Zapatista concept of "mandar obedeciendo," these movements are struggling for a radical redefinition of politics.

This issue of Latin America Perspectives will explore the roots and implications of social movement formation and their resistance to neoliberalism. Articles might examine the common explanatory elements of this phenomenon; the strategic elements of social movement confrontations with the neoliberal project of global capital; specific country or sectoral examples that illustrate aspects of this phenomenon and its political impact; how these new movements are different from previous popular mobilizations; or regional and transnational forms of social movement organizing.

Some of the questions that might be addressed in the issue include:

  • What is new about Latin American social movements since the 1980s?
  • What are the new spaces and modes of organizing against the neoliberal project?
  • Are these movements necessarily more internally democratic or progressive than other forms of organizing?
  • What strategies are effective in forging solidarity and counteracting the atomization produced by the uniform application of neoliberal programs?
  • Can these movements effect the policy changes they want without taking power or being part of a coalition that does?
  • By concentrating on society and not on the political organization of state power, are such movements capable of winning and defending lasting change? What should their relationship be to political parties and other institutions?
  • Is social movement resistance forcing adaptations in the "Washington consensus" on neoliberal economics, and/or in the politics of counterinsurgency?
  • Is there an emerging new popular economy, a model of local self-sufficiency that represents viable alternatives to the logic of global capitalism?
  • What is the relation between the politics of identity (race, ethnicity, gender) and class in organizing resistance against neoliberal globalization?
  • Are social movements vulnerable to cooptation by the new "civil society" projects and discourse purveyed by international financial institutions and NGOs?
  • How are popular movement strategies affected when left-leaning governments come to power and face the discipline of global financial markets?
  • What is the relationship between the resurgence of social movements and the various new populisms (left and right variants) that also seem to accompany the neoliberal era?
  • Do transnational social movement networks compromise the autonomy of local forms of resistance to neoliberalism, or are they essential for confronting global capitalism?
  • What is the potential of regional social movement solidarity (such as the Latin American women's movement, Vía Campesina, or the Mesoamerican coalitions against Plan Puebla Panamá)?

Prospective contributors should feel free to communicate with the coordinators of this issue:

Richard Stahler-Sholk, Eastern Michigan University:
Harry E. Vanden, University of South Florida:
Glen Kuecker, DePauw University: gkuecker[at]

Manuscripts should be no longer than 25 pages of double-spaced text in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. If possible, submit two copies along with a cover sheet and basic biographical information. With these items, we also require that the manuscript be sent on a CD-R, by e-mail, or on a floppy disk if the other formats are not available. The LAP style guide is available on request or online.

Please send any manuscript submissions to:

Managing Editor, Latin American Perspectives¸ P.O. Box 5703,
Riverside, California 92517-5703

Latin American Perspectives: Ecological Struggle in Latin America: Development, Scarcity and Environmental Justice in the Wake of Globalization

Issue Editor: Pamela Stricker

In its second special issue on the environment, Latin American Perspectives examines the continuing environmental crisis in the wake of globalization and popular responses to the crisis. In doing so, we are looking for articles in five general categories: a) examination of conflicts (neoliberal and/or domestic) over resource scarcity (oil, water, timber, arable land, etc.); b) Latin American state responses and/or alternative visions to the environmental crisis; c) popular movements and activists struggling for environmental justice; d) analyses of causes of the ecological crisis (particularly those resulting from capitalist accumulation, globalization, neoliberal development), and e) analysis of the relationship between consumerism and materialism, resource use, pollution, neoliberal economic restructuring, and global distribution of wealth in Latin America.

States often respond to questions of poverty with environmentally destructive models of economic growth that exacerbate resource degradation and fail to bring about social justice for the poor, often under the threat of neoliberal economic restructuring. However, popular movements are attempting to reformulate the development debate by linking basic human needs and limits of nature. Further as natural resources decline or are appropriated by global capital forces, the resulting development fails to sustain either the local populace or the country’s natural resources.

Again, popular movements (and some states) have struggled against the neoliberal forces seeking to appropriate their natural resources. Finally, Latin Americans know that a “Better World is Possible,” that is, where environmental justice concerns of the populace are addressed.

In that spirit, we seek pieces that critically analyze the environmental crisis in one of the areas. We also welcome articles documenting and critically analyzing the struggles of Latin Americans struggling for environmental justice against the forces of global capital.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

1) Conflicts over resource scarcity

---Critical analysis of Latin American petroleum politics and the global quest for oil.

---Critical analysis of privatization of natural resources (e.g. water and Cochabamba)

---Critical analysis of conflicts over natural resources (imperial and/or domestic)

2) Alternative Visions and the Environmental Crisis

---Theoretical pieces recasting development to consider both human needs and sustainable conservation of natural resources (local, national or regional levels).

3) State Policies and Programs in Response to the Crisis

---Critical analysis of state policy and programs in response to the environmental crisis.

---Critical analysis of role of non-governmental organizations, international governmental agencies, etc. on development and environment.

4) Popular and Social Movements and Struggles around Environmental Crisis

--Theoretically grounded case studies of environmental activists and their struggles around the environmental crisis;

--Critical analysis of ecotourism efforts (failures and successes);

--Critical analysis of interconnectedness between indigenous peoples, indigenous knowledge, and environment, again placed within a theoretical framework and the realities of the Americas.

5) Sources of ecological crisis in Latin America

--Critical analysis of globalization and/or neoliberalism and the exacerbation of the ecological crisis

-- Critical analysis of environmental impacts of natural disasters on traditional development strategies (particularly those exacerbated by global warming)

--Critical analysis of impact of environmentally-destructive activities on health and well-being of population, (e.g. pollution, farmworker pesticide poisoning, global warming, destruction of rainforest, etc.)

6) Consumerism, pollution, resources and globalization

---Critical analysis of consumerism and materialism and environmental degradation in Latin America

---Critical analysis of neoliberal economic restructuring and resource use and/or access in Latin America.

Latin American Perspectives is a theoretical and scholarly journal for discussion and debate on the political economy of capitalism, imperialism, and socialism in the Americas. Therefore, we hope that potential contributors will situate their analyses of environmental issues within critical literature as well as those works seeking to push the literature in new directions.

Pamela Stricker is coordinating this issue. Prospective contributors should feel free to communicate with her at the following address:

Pamela Stricker, Ph.D.
Political Science Department
California State University, San Marcos
San Marcos, CA 92096-0001

Manuscripts should be no longer than 25 pages of double-spaced text in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. If possible, submit two copies along with a cover sheet and basic biographical information. With these items, we also require that the manuscript be sent on a CD-R, by e-mail, or on a floppy disk if the other formats are not available. The LAP style guide is available on request or online.

Please send any manuscript submissions to:

Managing Editor, Latin American Perspectives¸ P.O. Box 5703, Riverside, California 92517-5703

Peruvian Migration in a Global Context

Issue Editors: Ayumi Takenaka, Karsten Paerregaard, and Ulla Berg

This issue of Latin American Perspectives explores contemporary Peruvian migration by examining how relations of inequality and structures of domination in Peru drive people to migrate - both internally and internationally - and how migration, in turn, affects such relations and structures. Historically, migration in Peru has been spurred and shaped by a complex set of racial, ethnic, and class relations, but it has also shaped and altered these categories in significant ways. During the colonial period, African and European immigration contributed to the country’s ethnic diversity whereas rural-urban migration in the context of 20th century capitalist expansion and rapid urbanization led to important changes in the country’s class and power structure. More recently, the economic and political crisis that Peru experienced in the 1980s, 1990s and the first half of the new millennium has prompted an exodus of Peruvians from almost all the country’s social classes and ethnic group to the extent that migration today is regarded as the principal means to achieve social mobility not only by working-class (some of indigenous descent) but also middle-class Peruvians. This issue addresses from various angles how the close link between class and a racialized geography within Peru has generated the notion that geographical mobility is a primary mechanism to achieve social mobility.

Currently, Peruvians are dispersed around the globe to more than 25 countries, and the rate of emigration is still accelerating. Peruvian migrants also represent diverse racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds. The diversity and intensity of the various waves in Peruvian migration history cannot be understood independent of hegemonic structures based on class, ethnicity, and geography. Upper-middle class Peruvians from Lima tend to concentrate in certain areas of Miami, whereas those of the urban working class migrate mostly to places including Paterson (NJ), Barcelona, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. Andean villagers congregate in Hartford (CT) and Washington DC, and migrants in Japan are mostly urban middle-class of Japanese descent. While all migrants leave their country hoping to achieve upward mobility, this pattern of migration also reproduces Peru’s social structure abroad where migrant communities are socially segmented based on these “pre-migration” social and economic hierarchies.

Based on ethnographic, demographic and historical research in Peru, the US, Japan, Spain, Italy and Chile, the articles in this issue empirically show how exactly migration relates to, and potentially transforms, dominant social and economic structures in Peru. They do so by examining the strategies that Peruvian migrants from different class and ethnic backgrounds use to mobilize resources necessary to migrate and adapt to the receiving context. They also analyze the power relations affecting these strategies--how migrants and their relatives in Peru negotiate and reconfigure these relations during the course of migration, and how this process is shaped by new forms of exploitation and domination to which migrants submit themselves in their efforts to establish new lives in Peru’s urban centers and foreign destinations. Finally, the issue discusses the local, national and global mechanisms that alternately propel and thwart migrants to engage in transnational activities in their regions of origin in Peru and scrutinizes the institutions and networks, including the tensions and conflicts emerging from these, that migrants draw on or produce to carry out these activities.

A thorough and comparative examination of Peruvian migration will shed light on a number of important questions for the study of the economic and social forces that drive to people to migrate, internally as well as transnationally. First, it allows us to understand the relation between physical and social mobility in the Peruvian context and analyze how already ongoing rural-urban migration processes shape current patterns and experiences of transnational migration. Second, it provides us with a productive lens to study the class structure and relations of domination that shape the livelihood strategies and migration practices of hundreds of thousands of Peruvians. Third, it instigates us to explore the new forms of dependency and domination that migration processes produce in migrants’ regions of origin and to examine the tensions and conflicts that they generate between those who access important migrant networks and those who do not. Finally, this perspective allows us to examine how migrants’ absence and their remittances may transform – symbolically or materially - relations of inequality and existing power structures in Peru.

Transnational migration has also recently become a key political issue in Peru. According to the Peruvian state, close to 10% of the total population now live abroad, and popular media opinion polls have recently indicated that 75% of youths, including well-educated professionals, aspire to emigrate in the near future if they had the option to do so. Indeed, Peru currently has one of the highest rates of out-migration in Latin America. Acting upon its newfound realization of the economic and political importance of Peruvian migrants abroad, the Peruvian state has recently created several policy initiatives to include Peruvians abroad in a new imagined Peruvian nation spanning the geographical borders. While such initiatives are well known and documented for other Latin American states including Mexico and Haiti, Peru deserves special attention, as it is currently negotiating new state-migrant relationships. These negotiations are also affecting citizenship practices and claims of belonging of Peruvians abroad.

The proposed issue is thus a timely and valuable contribution given its interest not only to an academic audience, but also to a number of political and activist constituencies in assessing and managing the impact of Peruvian migration on Peru’s economic, political, and social structures. The articles included in the special issue speak to the impact of transnational migration on economies and societies in the global south, and also to current debates about immigrant incorporation in the US, Europe and Asia. In sum, the proposed issue provides not only new empirical findings of Peruvian migration through in-depth case studies. It also contributes to an understanding of the relations of inequality and power that expel millions of Latin Americans from their home regions and cities and force them to migrate both internally and internationally.

Manuscripts should be no longer than 25 pages of double-spaced text in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. If possible, submit two copies along with a cover sheet and basic biographical information. With these items, we also require that the manuscript be sent on a CD-R, by e-mail, or on a floppy disk if the other formats are not available. The LAP style guide is available on request or online.

Please send any manuscript submissions to:

Managing Editor, Latin American Perspectives¸ P.O. Box 5703, Riverside, California 92517-5703

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 10-16, 2008: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of December 10 - 16, 2008

Nigeria: Death, Tears, Blood as Days of Rage Envelop Jos

For two days, Jos, the capital of Plateau State, boiled with rage. Like the crisis that erupted in September 7, 2001, the November 29 conflagration that rendered the once peaceful city impotent was not anything different.

It first started like a normal political exercise. A local government election was conducted and the results were being awaited. Instead of the results, what the residents witnessed was burning, killing and looting. And for two days, the city laid prostrate. The result was that after the two-day mayhem, 200 people, going by official figures, lay dead, over 150 cars and an unknown number of houses were burnt to ashes. The home of peace and tourism had acquired a new epithet as thousands of people left the town in droves.

The last time a local government election was held in Jos North was in 1999. Since then, attempts by successive administrations to hold a local government election in the area were frustrated. Former Governor Joshua Dariye avoided the pitfalls of Jos North politics by appointing sole administrators in the area. Reasons given by the dramatis personae in the recent mayhem are varied. While the Hausa/Fulani claimed that the indigenous people were the aggressors, the indigenous people said the Hausa/Fulani were the cause of the crisis. Read more about Nigeria and Jos here....

Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Groups Ask Church Help in Fight for Their Rights

Indigenous people (IP) groups sought the help of the Catholic Church in fighting for their dignity, self-determination and the preservation and conservation of their ancestral lands.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website said the Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas made the latest such appeal.

"We have become squatters in our own lands. Our communities continue to be militarized, and our brave brothers and sisters, harassed and summarily killed by State armed forces. Our sacred culture is commercialized. We fall prey to unwarranted discrimination. We are denied or neglected of the State's basic services," KAMP spokesman Himpad Mangumalas lamented.

He said indigenous peoples in the Philippines are at "war" to fight for their lands and the recognition for their inalienable rights to self-determination as a people.

Also, he said IPs’ lands are being pillaged with mining and logging of multinational companies, and the aggressive construction of dams on their domains.

Even their culture has not been spared because of commercialization, he said.

He noted one proof of state harassment against the tribal peoples in the Philippines was the case of the missing Kankanaey-Ibaloi tribe leader James Balao.

Balao disappeared last September 17, even as several residents suspect the military was behind the incident. Read more about indigenous rights in the Philippines here....

Colombia: Indigenous Populations March for Growing Rights Infringements

Thousands of indigenous Colombians marched in October and November, a protest hike of more than 500 kilometers from a southwestern corner of the country to Bogota, to call attention to generations of rights abuses against indigenous Colombians.

Protesters said these centuries of rights abuses has not eased in modern times and have even worsened under the government of President Álvaro Uribe.

“Since Uribe came to power, 1,253 indigenous have been killed, and we have 18 groups that are disappearing, among them the Juhup, Yari, Yamalero and Nukak people,” said Sen. Jesús Piñacué, a lawmaker for the Cauca department and a member of the Paez ethnicity, citing figures from the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, or ONIC.

The indigenous marches again highlighted the land problem that ethnic Colombians are living with, an issue that was “maliciously handled by Uribe,” according to Piñacué.

On Oct. 18, Uribe said in a Communal Government Council — joint meetings with community authorities — that the Colombia´s indigenous population, which comprises just over 2 percent of the national population of 44 million people, has 27 percent of the country´s land. Read more about indigenous issues in Colombia here....

Brazil: CAFOD Delighted Court Rules to Protect Indigenous Brazilian's Land

CAFOD has welcomed a ruling by Brazil's Supreme Court to uphold the rights of indigenous people to remain on their ancestral land. The decision was made last night - a momentous day for such a positive outcome as yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Brazilian Constitution and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For decades, five indigenous peoples have called on the Brazilian government to protect their land, Raposa Serra do Sol, in the state of Roraima, in the north of the country.

The Brazilian President, Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, officially recognized the land as belonging to the Macuxi, Ingaric, Taurepang, Patamona and Wapichana groups in 2005 - but powerful farmers, who occupy a significant part of it, refused to leave the area.

The indigenous communities have been subjected to violence and intimidation from famers for many years, and tensions have increased in recent months.

More than 2,000 CAFOD supporters signed a petition to protect the indigenous communities' land following a visit to the UK by Jacir Jose de Souza and Pierlangela Nascimento da Cunha, in June.

Jacir and Pierlangela, who are from the Makuxi and Wapichana groups, toured Europe in a bid to gain international support for their campaign to save their Amazon forest home, and met the Holy Father at the Vatican. Read more about Brazil's ruling and CAFOD here....

New Zealand: PMA - Indigenous Rights Petition to Parliament

The first signatures on the national petition calling on the government to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be presented to parliament at 1pm on Human Rights Day - Wednesday, 10 December.

Human Rights Day this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global statement expressing the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings. The theme of the year-long UN celebrations to mark the anniversary is 'Dignity and justice for all of us'.

"Unfortunately the New Zealand government appears to have little commitment to dignity and justice for all, as it remains one of only three governments around the world opposed to the most recent international human rights Declaration - the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", Edwina Hughes, Peace Movement Aotearoa Coordinator, said today.

"This places NZ in a tiny minority of states that are ignoring their obligations under international law, and it makes a mockery of the government's claims to be a principled defender of human rights and a credible candidate for the UN Human Rights Council."

"We are calling on the new government to distance itself from the previous government's unprincipled position on the UN Declaration", Tracey Whare de Castro, Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust Trustee, added. "The Declaration sets minimum standards for the recognition and protection of the human rights of indigenous peoples around the world. What kind of message is the government sending if they continue to oppose it? That indigenous peoples cannot have the same human rights as others? Clearly that viewpoint is completely unacceptable." Read more about New Zealand and the indigenous petition here....

Last weeks Five Key Indigenous People's Issues can be found here.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Survival International, Climate Change, and Indigenous Peoples

Representatives from indigenous tribes and nations at the recent United Nations conference on climate change in Poznan, Poland, have declared the proceedings as non-conforming to U.N. regulations. In excluding indigenous peoples voices, UN representatives have refused to recognize indigenous peoples’ rights to the environments they live in, subsist upon, and steward.

According to Survival International the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada acted together to delete all reference to tribal peoples’ rights in a draft agreement prepared for the conference. These are the same four countries that have refused to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as all having failed to ratify the International Law for Tribal Peoples, known as ILO 169.
Indigenous Peoples Protest Climate Talks, Poznan
The Poznan draft agreement sets out how an international scheme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) could be implemented. It had initially referred to ‘noting the rights and importance of engaging indigenous peoples’, but rights are not mentioned in the amended version.

The REDD scheme, where rich industrialized countries pay less industrialized countries to keep their forests intact, is rapidly becoming a centerpiece for global action on climate change, and is expected to form a large part of whatever agreements replace the Kyoto Protocol when it runs out in 2012.

Survival International is the only international organization supporting indigenous peoples worldwide. They were founded in 1969 after an article by Norman Lewis in the UK's Sunday Times highlighted the massacres, land thefts and genocide taking place in Brazilian Amazonia.

Today, as we near the 40th anniversary of Survival International’s founding, they have supporters in 82 countries. Working for indigenous peoples' rights in three complementary ways - education, advocacy and campaigns - Survival International is a leading organization working to make sure such draft agreements as REDD do not pass public opinion.
Survival International
As I believe, and as Survival International states, public opinion is the most effective force for change. Its power will make it harder, and eventually impossible, for governments and companies to continue to oppress indigenous peoples and exclude them from such talks.

Survival International provides a platform for indigenous representatives to talk directly to the companies which are invading their land. They also disseminate information to indigenous peoples, using both community radio and writing which informs them about how other indigenous peoples are faring, as well as warning them about the threats posed by various corporations.

Survival International also runs worldwide campaigns to fight for indigenous peoples. They were the first to use mass letter-writing, and have orchestrated campaigns from Siberia to Sarawak, Canada to Kenya. Today they are leading the fight in making sure indigenous peoples voices are heard at such forums as the UN. Although Poznan is over, because of organizations such as Survival International there is still hope for indigenous peoples.

Since the ending of the 20th Century, the “developed” world’s attitude to indigenous peoples has dramatically changed. Then, it was assumed that they would either die out or be assimilated; now, at least in some places, their experience and values are considered important. For the past 40 years Survival International has pushed indigenous issues into the political and cultural mainstream, and it is important that they continue to do so for the next 40 years.

Please visit Survival International to learn more and to help.

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