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Neo-extractivism vs. the comprehensive defense of territories

Neo-extractivism vs. the comprehensive defense of territories

Its presentations in potassium chloride and potassium nitrate are used as a base for fertilizers. And is that to achieve the goals economic proposals, the soy monoculture model needs to be further deepened, in the end this would position it as one of the the world's leading fertilizer producers. The mining project will be located on the banks of the Colorado River, which begins in the Cordillera, runs through five Argentine provinces and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, that is, it crosses all of Patagonia from West to East. From SURsuelo, Fabián Chiaramello comments that “the Potasio Río Colorado project will generate the fertilizer destined for Brazilian agribusinesses that will contribute even more to the deforestation of the Amazon. The equation is perverse: you build a mega plant that consumes abysmal amounts of water and energy, which can have very serious environmental consequences, to produce a fertilizer that will be used to continue deepening the soybean monoculture that evicts peasants and native peoples, pollutes with their pesticides, causes clearings, deteriorates the soil and increasingly concentrates production ".

Thus, while we are witnessing these legalized political complicities, in other parts of the world Monsanto is being sanctioned once again for its responsibility in the chemical poisoning of a French farmer. With this we do not want to reinforce those old ideas of a civilized and democratic “North” and a barbarous and corrupt “South”. These judgments only show us that corporations wear makeup for every occasion: while in the United States and Europe they already dyed their hair and talk about green economies Y environmental services, in Latin America, Africa and much of Asia the speeches of progress They still do not seem to be completely delegitimized and can continue to use them.

None of these views calls into question the purely economic foundations on which the system walks and instead they are framed within the neo-extractivism. Other neo plus? Most of the time the prefixes suit us well: re, co, alter, anti, goal, trans… But there are also the others, the ones we don't like and it seems that the neo tops the list while mega follows closely. It is a question of scales.


One of the main figures of this neo-extractivist model is the State, which according to the Uruguayan Eduardo Gudynas "plays a more active role, and achieves greater legitimacy through the redistribution of some of the surpluses through social policies." Neo-extractivism refers more than a specific activity to a form of extraction: all those activities that remove large volumes of natural assets and (almost) without any process are transferred far from the area of ​​origin. Mining, oil, gas, dams, monocultures (cereal or forestry), agribusiness, livestock or intensive fishing, etc. fall into this category and manage to continue increasing concentration. Among them mining is the one that can destroy the largest amount of non-renewable resources in the shortest time. It is the most unsustainable. However, this extractive activity is at the top of all Latin American political agendas: from Mexico to Argentina through Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay (to mention only the progressive). Only at this time is El Salvador considering a permanent ban on mining activities. In a small country, so densely populated and with a severe water shortage, such a ban would be the most appropriate.

It all depends, as we said, on the scales. Air, water, land and energy are the four fundamental elements of nature and also the four elements on which capitalism advances These days at full speed And it is that even if that redistribution were real Nor would the social and environmental damage that these megaprojects leave in the territories would be justified: (para) police and (para) military occupations, dispossession, pollution, abuses of all kinds against local populations.

By these times the concept of territoriality it is being used again as a base and support to defend physically and theoretically those spaces that we inhabit. Jean Robert says that “perhaps many do not know that, with this, they are inventing a powerful new analytical concept to speak of an old reality that has to do with cultivation, culture, customs and also hospitality and, therefore, subsistence, of course, a word dishonored by the misuse of it by linguists and economists 'from above' ”. A similar concept could be that of bioculture, same on which the Huichol peoples of Mexico are legally reaffirming the defense of their sacred center in Wirikuta against mining and agro-industries. And it is seen that in order to achieve a comprehensive defense of the territories we first need to recognize which are the territories in which these struggles are established. The ideological is perhaps the deepest of them. To quote Robert again, “what we live now is the effect of disproportionate dreams of power and omniscience unleashed from their traditional ties. By falling on the earth as waste, they threaten the common sense of the people, which is the perception of proportion, scale, the just importance of things and the limits of their own forces. (…) Today, this opposite of territoriality is called urban development and it is taught in universities as architectural design ”.

The resistance does not stop, does not rest and does not stop creating alternatives to these models. How not to do it when even international tribunals favor rights of the transnationals instead of making the collective rights of the peoples prevail? A quick glance at the most important of them can bring us closer to a conclusion: the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) was created in 1966 as a branch of the World Bank to promote the international flow of investment. It will not be very difficult to determine who will benefit in disputes.

Of the fallacies of neo-extractivism there is one that is still used today and does not stop drawing our attention: "they only oppose but do not propose." In this short time that we have been writing about common goods, we have presented several proposals (of those that for some do not exist). Without going very far, while in the XXI century small farmers are still the ones who feed the world, agroindustries -with a distorted discourse of ending the famines- have only managed to sow desertification, disease and financial speculation.

From Grain they remind us that "reencountering agriculture as an art, as a path to fruition and as the basis of the culture of our peoples is a key challenge for humanity." What dignifies us is ours ability to decide about our own lives everyday life and that is a bit of what is proposed by projects that seek to rediscover the harmony that once existed between humanity and nature. And you don't have to conjure up loincloth images to achieve those ends. The urban gardens and permaculture They are proposals that are being worked on in the cities and that value both purposes: sustainability and autonomy. A specific case occurs on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where a boom in ecological villages is witnessed. Already last year Boaventura de Sousa made a good summary of the conclusions reached from the Summit of the Peoples (the one that took place in parallel to the official River + 20). "First, the centrality and defense of the common goods of humanity in response to the commodification, privatization and financialization of life, implicit in the concept of 'green economy'. Between the common goods there are air and atmosphere, water, aquifers, rivers, oceans, lakes, communal or ancestral lands, seeds, biodiversity, parks and squares, language, landscape, memory, knowledge, calendar, Internet, HTML, freely distributed products, Wikipedia, genetic information, free digital zones, etc. (…) Second, the gradual passage from an anthropocentric civilization to a biocentric civilization (…) Third, defend food sovereignty (…) Fourth, a vast program of responsible consumption that includes a new ethic of care and a new education for care and sharing (…) Fifth, include in all struggles and in all proposals for alternatives the cross-cutting demands for deepening democracy and the fight against sexual, racial, ethnic, religious discrimination, and against war ”. A similar panorama was presented this year in the Declaration of the Summit of the Peoples of Santiago de Chile in which it was proposed to recover rights and natural assets, promote the paradigm of good living, work for self-management, self-organization and food sovereignty.

The struggles and resistance in the streets have been and are necessary to assert ourselves in the territories. Thanks to these types of actions, the Oaxacan people, in Mexico, managed to stop the Mareña Renovables mega-wind farm that wanted to install itself on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Thanks to the alliances that are woven with digital media, many of these struggles multiply. In recent times we attend every day to virtual demonstrations in support of legitimate claims in more or less remote territories (Dragon Mart Cancun cases, model cities in Honduras or Shell, guilty of contamination in Nigeria, etc.) Small actions, some that even come from public administrations and all of them seem welcome to us , once again by the scale in which they occur and by their replicability.

Each one from their knowledge spaces is contributing to the construction of possible, desirable and palpable alternatives of their ways of understanding Good Living: that broad and generous concept that we like to feel part of and that incorporates plurality, fullness, coexistence, harmony ... To begin to define (us) it always helps to remember what it is not. These proposals are not a patch on the "linear and infinite development". For Rebecca Hollender precisely “the viability of Good Living comes from its ability to go beyond economic growth as a synonym, mechanism and indicator of development and to accept the reality and physical limitations of ecosystems and the finite nature of our planet's natural resources. Its viability also comes from its ability to recognize that diversity is not only important in Nature, but in our societies and cultures as well ”.

All possible alliances are welcome. All complicities too. Achieving flexibility and respect as necessary parts of the equation helps us to build alternatives from the local, link it with the regional and reach the global. Returning to the examples cited above, if digital media are here to stay good, it will be then that we continue to promote the union and solidarity of those spaces that allow small actions to be reproduced geometrically with the loudspeakers of the Internet. click"We will save the world are not synonymous, but neither do we believe it fair to revile these actions that contribute to a (so many times) acclaimed amplification of legitimate demands. Today more than ever they are at our fingertips. Choosing where and what we consume or what we share on social networks are all political actions that, no matter how small, contribute to "that change that we want to see in the world."

If we return to this prefixes we are left with the micropolicies capable of influencing macrostructures for recreate alterlivable natives.

@SurSing


Video: Extractivism in Venezuela: Veins continue open English subtitles version (July 2021).