[WSMDiscuss] [climate justice now!] Please support Ecuadorian progressives contesting extractivist politics (from Quito to NYC) - an Open Letter sign on if you have a moment
jai.sen at cacim.net
Sat Feb 27 01:52:15 CET 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
Thanks for posting this sign-on letter, Patrick. Agreed, it’s a good letter, about important issues, and therefore worth signing, and I have tried to do so.
But I’d like to use this opportunity to raise a small issue of everyday practice in such politics : In short, when the letter even announces itself as being “an Open Letter”, why is it framed in such an exclusive, brahminical manner that to sign on, you have to declare your affiliation to an ‘institution’ ? And so, implicitly, to have the necessary ‘credentials’ and ‘legitimacy’ to be included in the list of signatories ? And where it’s therefore in reality “open” only to some ?
Yes, those interested in signing can – if one tries - work our way around these portals (as I have tried to – let me see if that works), but I’d guess that it’s almost certainly not a coincidence that as a result, the vast majority of those who have signed… are professional academics, and not activists, let alone unaffiliated, free individuals.
This is a pity, for a letter that seeks to stand for the important principles that it spells out. Yes, this could well be a function what the software used for the sign-on demands or dictates – but then why did the organisers of this letter decide to use this software ? (And to boot, why have they also chosen to use software created by one of the world’s largest corporations – despite all that they say in their letter ?!)
It’s time that we all paid a little more critical attention to such ‘smaller’ issues, and practices, of everyday life and politics. Just ease of use is not reason enough. And where some more of us, including those institutionally affiliated, could also consider rebelling against such strictures, and refuse to give this kind of information.
> On Feb 26, 2021, at 3:57 AM, Patrick Bond <pbond at mail.ngo.za> wrote:
> (This is a good letter to sign on to, so our close comrades in the U.S. left ezines Jacobin and MR Online get a sense of problems caused, when their writers take up a misleading line of argument that denigrates so many important activist struggles in the Ecuadorian Andes and Amazon. From there, over the past few decades, we've all benefited from inspiring community-building, concrete work against extractivism and climate catastrophe, indigenous and eco-feminist - and eco-socialist - ideological advances, anti-racist politics, and ecological stewardship.
> For example, their mass protest in Quito on Wednesday - here's <https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2021/2/24/in-pictures-ecuadorean-indigenous-protest-elections> AlJazeera's report with stunning photos - keeps the democratic struggle alive, over concerns that votes for the Pachakutik party in the recent presidential election were not properly tallied in the majority of districts.
> Please click here <https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdnmLqU5WOHwE5FKE4ps00TbmtCSCz_MwSAkwQGBrdnXOe23g/viewform?fbzx=-9118106535556794191> to add your name, if you agree: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdnmLqU5WOHwE5FKE4ps00TbmtCSCz_MwSAkwQGBrdnXOe23g/viewform?fbzx=-9118106535556794191 <https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdnmLqU5WOHwE5FKE4ps00TbmtCSCz_MwSAkwQGBrdnXOe23g/viewform?fbzx=-9118106535556794191>
> Thanks, muchas gracias!)
> Open Letter to Editors of Jacobin Magazine and Monthly Review:
> Stop Racist and Misogynist Attacks on the Emergent Indigenous, Eco-Feminist Left in Latin America, and Address the Crisis in Today's Ecuador
> We, the signatories of this letter, have to come together to demand the retraction or clarification of two recent articles that smear political movements and leaders in Ecuador. The gains of Yaku Pérez and the coalition around the Pachakutik party in the 7 February 2021 elections represent an exciting and emergent new left comprised of Indigenous organizations, eco-socialist politics, feminist and LGBTQ+ activists, anti-racist movements, and anti-extractivist causes. On 24 February 2021, these movements came together in the streets of Ecuador, to demand that every vote be counted.
> Silencing and discrediting Ecuadoran voices as well as new popular movements—while demanding fealty to state capitalist leaders associated with the extractivist “left” in Ecuador and across the region—must end. Ben Norton’s “How Ecuador’s US-backed, coup-supporting ‘ecosocialist’ candidate Yaku Pérez aids the right-wing,” (republished by the Monthly Review on 8 February 2021)  and Denis Rogatyuk’s “Ecuador’s Election Was a Massive Repudiation of Neoliberalism” (published in Jacobin Magazine on 18 February) do not reflect the traditions of Monthly Review—the “longest continuously published socialist magazine in the United States.”  Both articles contradict Jacobin’s founders goal to develop a “product of a younger generation not quite as tied to the Cold War paradigms that sustained the old leftist intellectual milieu.”  The editors’ openness to new generations is at odds with the sustained offensive against a new Indigenous eco-socialist and feminist political left in Latin America.
> Rogatyuk’s article in Jacobin condemns the eco-socialist candidate Pérez and his partner, Manuela Picq, pointing out they “have for years attempted to portray Correa as an anti-Indigenous, anti-environment leader that pursues an ‘extractivist’ model of development.” Yes, they have, as have most independent social scientists who have looked at the wreckage of the Correa legacy.  There is a vibrant, Indigenous, and youth-led coalition of leftists who have critiqued Correa’s misuse of “el buen vivir” principles in his policies. These policies nourished new extractive industries. Under Correa, the state criminalized Indigenous groups, LGBTQ+ populations, and exploited new mining resources and areas such as Yasuní.
> Rogatyuk mocks the new left in Ecuador as a “ragbag” and “surreal” group who “absurdly” make claims about the partiality of electoral commissions. Rogatyuk overlooks the extensive and historic struggles of Indigenous identity, genocide and sovereignty, as well as the multiple battles against extractivism and ecological devastation, gendered injustices, political/social misogyny,  and homophobia. The article willfully ignores the organizational and social momentum and innovation that fueled Pérez’s electoral success. It ignores these movements’ critiques of extractivist statism and monolithic personalism. Rogatyuk suggested that “Pérez’s political record suggests he is a Trojan horse for the left’s most bitter enemies.”
> Similarly, Norton’s Monthly Review article disdainfully dismisses environmentalists, whose critiques of extractivism or racist policies of the statist left he portrayed as “opening up space for the right.” The author singles out “Extinction Rebellion” as a right-wing tool. He rages against the language of “decoloniality” and the eco-socialist left’s critique of statist leaders’ complicity with whiteness and colonial-economic and social legacies. In a typically authoritarian thrust, the article demonizes anyone who allies themselves with NGOs, branding them as supporters of imperialism.
> Norton’s widely circulated Monthly Review article aimed at fracturing the left and eroding social movement support for Pérez as an alternative. The piece was published at a crucial moment in the Ecuadorian presidential election. Conventional media outlets have used it to discredit and damage a candidate of the eco-socialist/Indigenous/feminist left. Norton’s article wove together a series of Pérez’s tweets critiquing the statist and extractivist left. Of course, many members of the progressive left, including some of us writing this letter, disagreed with these proclamations as well as Pérez’s support of neoliberal candidates as a strategy to defeat authoritarian elements. But we contextualize these positions.
> The Monthly Review article spotlights Manuela Picq, Pérez’s partner, in a misogynist and homophobic diatribe that mocks and attacks her feminist, queer studies, and eco-social politics. Generating absurd conspiracy narratives, this article designates her body as evidence of Pérez’s imperialist complicity. It stinks of rumor-mongering, noting that she took classes at Princeton in a building named after Ronald Reagan, as if this would prove that she was a stooge of the Reagan administration. At age 25, Picq was part of a civil society dialogue in the FTAA negotiation process where she organized critics of the FTAA. Instead of mentioning this history of radical praxis, she is accused of being a “CIA cutout” and an agent of “billionaire George Soros,” a familiar anti-Semitic accusation. She is also incriminated for teaching classes in queer studies and feminist theory. The author claims that because Picq teaches “Latinx Studies” and “Queering Notions of Modernity,” she is an enemy of global class struggle and complicit with imperialism. Norton does not acknowledge the long list of Picq’s other publications on queer theory, international relations, social movement struggles, or resistance to authoritarianism. Most tellingly, the author does not mention that Picq was arrested and deported from Ecuador by the Correa government for having participated in united Indigenous, feminist, and anti-extractivist protests.
> These two articles do not explore in detail the context of Pérez’s political momentum in the organization and revitalization of CONAIE—the Indigenous confederation that led the largest set of protests in Ecuadorian history in October 2019, uniting Indigenous groups, feminists, students, and workers movements to fight back against the imposition of a wrenching IMF accord and to demand the end to ecocidal plunder and land dispossession. This moment consolidated the leadership of a younger generation. CONAIE’s legacy, of uniting movements in October 2019, lent popular and movement support to Pérez’s candidacy and might bring him perhaps to second place in the polling. The article does not mention the historic October 2019 uprising or CONAIE and Pérez’s roles in it.
> We are concerned that a significant number of today’s left-wing actors, across the Americas and the world, align themselves with extractivism, agrobusiness, authoritarian statism,  and stand against Indigenous, anti-racist, and anti-patriarchal movements, ideas, and leaders. We worry that the former is acting to eject the latter from the conversation by labeling them as right-wingers and allies of imperialism. We should not be distracted from the wave of violent, ultra-racist “populism,” and military and parliamentary coups that have swept the region in the past years. It is exactly these authoritarian developments that make it irresponsible and dangerous to brand those who critique the extractivist left as allies of Yankee imperialists or sympathetic to Bolsonaro-type populists who are encouraging genocide, femicide, racial exterminations, and homophobic assassinations.
> We stand against authoritarian statism focusing on individual male populist figures and armed, militarized “machocratic” patriarchy. Against this model, a new progressive alternative for the left has been emerging—led by Indigenous, Black, and feminist as well as class and worker-identified justice movements—to advocate redistribution of wealth, land, and autonomies to forge new modes of collective, bodily, and eco-social participation and rights.
> After Ecuador’s 7 February 2021 election, civil society groups across Ecuador raised concerns that an effort was underway to “find votes” needed to bring Lasso’s totals above Pérez’s. This would serve both sides of what Chilean writer Andrés Kogan Valderrama has labeled the “binary” political equation  of extractivist left and neoliberal right. Both sides saw Pérez as the most threatening opponent, for he might win and, more than that, dismantle the binary political equation that has been making true redistribution and eco-social justice unimaginable.
> The Ecosocialist Feminist Network stated, “We reject the role that ‘Correismo’ [Rafael Correa’s regime] has played in this moment, exacerbating racism and delegitimizing social struggle through media campaigns…We know that the struggle continues and what will be the mobilization and unity of the popular field will permit us to sustain the gains accumulated in October  and resistance against this system of death.” 
> We deplore the demonization of both Pérez and movements that brought him so close to the run-off election. A left-wing global community deserves better, and we call on the editors of Monthly Review and Jacobin to reject these simplistic and dangerous analyses which feed right wing structures of hate in Latin America.
> Paul Amar, Professor, Director of Orfalea Center, University of California, Santa Barbara
> Sonia Correa, Co-Chair, Sexuality Policy Watch
> Ghaitai Paul Males Castañeda, Comunidad Indígena de Compañía, Líder Espiritual Cristiano-Andino de Jóvenes
> Macarena Gómez-Barris, Professor, Pratt Institute
> Mara Viveros Vigoya, Profesora Titular, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, LASA President (2019-2020)
> Lisa Duggan, Professor, New York University
> Cristina Yépez Arroyo, McGill University
> J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Professor, Wesleyan University
> William C. Smith, Professor Emeritus, University of Miami
> Rita Laura Segato, Professor, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina
> Pamela Martin, Professor, Coastal Carolina University
> Mario Pecheny, Professor, University of Buenos Aires
> Cruz Caridad Bueno, Assistant Professor of Black Studies, SUNY-New Paltz
> Javiera Barandiaran, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
> Michelle Artieda, Florida International University
> Mieke Verloo, Professor, Radboud University, The Netherlands
> Lena Lavinas, Professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
> Sherene R Seikaly, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
> Gita Sen, DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era), Fiji
> Gloria Careaga, Facultad de Psicología, UNAM, Mexico
> Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Hunter College &The Graduate Center, CUNY
> Rina Pakari Marcillo, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador
> Steve Stein, Senior Professor, University of Miami
> Markus Thiel, Associate Professor, Florida International University
> Dominique Chiriboga, Activista Feminista y LGBT, Ecuador
> Flavio Carrera V., Project Coordinator, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
> Daniela Cabascango, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Ecuador
> Kiran Asher, UMass, Amherst
> Carolina Benalcázar, Concordia University
> Fernando Luz Brancoli, Associate Professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
> Diana Coryat, Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Ecuador
> Bila Sorj, Professor, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
> Pablo Ospina Peralta, Docente de la Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, Ecuador
> Antonia Carcelen-Estrada, Profesora investigadora, Universidad San Francisco de Quito/Northumbria University
> Jennyfer Masaquiza, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
> Claudia Sofía Garriga-López, California State University, Chico
> David Paternotte, Université Libre de Bruxelles
> Carlos de la Torre, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
> Miriam Lang, Professor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador
> Carmen Diana Deere, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of Florida; LASA President (1992-1994)
> Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
> Guilherme Leite Gonçalves, Professor, Rio de Janeiro State University
> Johannes Waldmüller, Research Professor, Universidad de Las Américas, EPN
> Sylvia Cifuentes, University of California, Santa Barbara
> Larry Lohmann, The Corner House (Environmental and Social Justice), UK
> Gareth Dale, Brunel University, UK
> Patrick Bond, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
>  https://mronline.org/2021/02/10/how-ecuadors-u-s-backed-coup-supporting-ecosocialist-candidate-yaku-perez-aids-the-right-wing/ <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://mronline.org/2021/02/10/how-ecuadors-u-s-backed-coup-supporting-ecosocialist-candidate-yaku-perez-aids-the-right-wing/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNH6DSLbbnioE2TajcNcPkRKg783FQ>
>  https://jacobinmag.com/2021/02/ecuador-election-arauz-hervas-perez-neoliberalism <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://jacobinmag.com/2021/02/ecuador-election-arauz-hervas-perez-neoliberalism&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNFATFqPvmTD8G-MpaSfaihES-4Ciw>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monthly_Review#:~:text=The%20Monthly%20Review%2C%20established%20in,magazine%20in%20the%20United%20States <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monthly_Review%23:~:text%3DThe%2520Monthly%2520Review%252C%2520established%2520in,magazine%2520in%2520the%2520United%2520States&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNH5vNizEqnQR5yBg5peEM9SG5Nl4A>.
>  https://web.archive.org/web/20190711101435/ <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://web.archive.org/web/20190711101435/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNHyI-hUSJ_cJWNFuftzznKs39YbSg>
> http://idiommag.com/2011/03/no-short-cuts-interview-with-the-jacobin/ <https://www.google.com/url?q=http://idiommag.com/2011/03/no-short-cuts-interview-with-the-jacobin/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNGs-u1-QLXbues5YjlXPtSrW3m9Tg>
> There is extensive literature that examines how the period of Rafael Correa's government as a time of impunity and human rights violations. See: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8675.12117 <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8675.12117&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNGPnGGU8S0OLSO1Ivdi4tMQfK-qBA>
>  In 2017, CONAIE fought to get amnesty for all activists of the indigenous movement who had been prosecuted and sentenced for protesting Correa’s government and Chinese mining companies, and defending water resources. The government misused anti-terrorism laws dating from the 1970s military dictatorship to incarcerate indigenous leaders protesting extractivism. At that time, 98 individuals faced criminal prosecutions for resistance to authority, terrorism, sabotage, etc. See: https://www.planv.com.ec/historias/politica/conaie-la-lucha-la-amnistia <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.planv.com.ec/historias/politica/conaie-la-lucha-la-amnistia&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNGH9FzyaNixXps6Cs4JrL8MgzP3ew>
> and https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-22656374 <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-22656374&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNHi01lc6HNqxwiFlQFqeB-c-gnlDQ>
>  See: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2013/oct/15/ecuador-president-misleading-yasuni <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2013/oct/15/ecuador-president-misleading-yasuni&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586706000&usg=AFQjCNHQz1eOO-S4MVqRK9MQrxr7xVDNqQ>
>  Correa’s sabatinas, weekly speeches televised in different locations around the country on Saturdays, were spaces which could last up to three hours. There he presented his visions and proposals, and attacked citizens, journalists, human rights activists, academics, and environmentalists. The Media Observatory of Ecuador (OME) has counted 95 grievances against women and for sexist language in the 152 Correa’s weekly speeches between 2013 and 2016.
> See: https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/05/23/planeta_futuro/1495560980_079621.html <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/05/23/planeta_futuro/1495560980_079621.html&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNGY4tqopUGkPYiVQY6WsLi8X_mWcw>
> On Saturday December 28, 2013, one of the last during Correa’s first administration, the former president criticized "gender ideology." On the same occasion, Correa affirmed “defending the traditional family” and declared opposition to abortion "has nothing to do with the left or the right," but are simple “moral issues.” See full video here: https://youtu.be/ODXFdqtGsyo?t=6341 <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://youtu.be/ODXFdqtGsyo?t%3D6341&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNGts6kNZWonKqefH8DuK6vQ7Cs7vA>
>  See: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-manuela-picq <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-manuela-picq&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNHOHQ7nBgmPkOD2009IlNF21_R-uw>
>  In 2013, Rafael Correa issued Executive Decree No. 16 to control NGOs and establish limitations on the independent and autonomous functioning of unions and social organizations. The decree was harshly criticized by local and international organizations. https://sobrevivientes.planv.com.ec/decreto-16-y-las-amenazas-a-las-ong/ <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://sobrevivientes.planv.com.ec/decreto-16-y-las-amenazas-a-las-ong/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNGAdJkmotUu_c_Moe1_IylpaYJhQA>
> Correa arbitrarily punished journalists who did not agree with him and actively attacked indigenous environmental activists who opposed oil and gas extraction or open-pit mining on their lands. https://rsf.org/en/news/what-future-free-speech-ecuador-after-presidential-election <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://rsf.org/en/news/what-future-free-speech-ecuador-after-presidential-election&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNG8ImNkwCk0rXvwRJBrdPGFpFTqEA>
> https://amazonwatch.org/news/2018/0418-new-report-shines-light-on-dark-days-for-amazon-earth-defenders-in-ecuador <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://amazonwatch.org/news/2018/0418-new-report-shines-light-on-dark-days-for-amazon-earth-defenders-in-ecuador&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNHj_akYz_M9_A1A8n2Fa_NMGvWUYQ>
>  https://oplas.org/sitio/2021/02/14/andres-kogan-valderrama-yaku-perez-y-el-fin-de-los-binarismos/ <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://oplas.org/sitio/2021/02/14/andres-kogan-valderrama-yaku-perez-y-el-fin-de-los-binarismos/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNHNmSheRwkDSAfxJaSL96SxkiPe7A>
>  https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7033 <https://www.google.com/url?q=https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7033&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614312586707000&usg=AFQjCNHSu_nLbOaXY48wKdh6lRjTI8xbIA>---
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Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa
jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net> & <mailto:jsen at uottawa.ca>jsen at uottawa.ca <mailto:jsen at uottawa.ca>
Now based in Ottawa, Canada, on unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) and in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325)
Check out something new – including for copies of the first two books below, at a discount, and much more : The Movements of Movements <https://movementsofmovements.net/>
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