We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Indigenous Struggle, Ecology, and Capitalist Resource Extraction in Ecuador

from Socialist Project. This is a transcript of an interview conducted by Jeffrey Webber of the University of Regina (Canada) with an indigenous leader of Ecuador. It confirms much of what I believe it to be true about the so-called "leftist" regimes of South America.
Indigenous peoples are not seen as being a part of this process. Rather, indigenous peoples and other sectors are seen as a disturbance. Because we're opposed to IIRSA, for example. It's going to have a negative impact on indigenous territories and indigenous rights. Just imagine it, from Manta-Manaos Brazil to the Ecuadorean Amazon they're going to build a giant highway. For what? To exploit oil, minerals, and forests. And the countries that are going to buy these primary products – Japan, Brazil, and Europe – are the same capitalist countries as always. At the moment, Peru and Colombia are negotiating new trade agreements with Europe.

It is simply the case that the mask has changed. Because capitalism continues in Latin America. Socialism of the Twenty-First century is not a communitarian socialism that respects indigenous rights. It's a copy of Western capitalism, which was clearly a failure. It's a new type of capitalism in Latin America. And it too is going to prove to be a failure.
See also yesterday's post where I made the following comments:
This is an interview with Alberto Acosta, ex-Minister of Energy and Mines, and ex-President of the Constituent Assembly [Ecuador], in his Quito office on July 8, 2010. In the interview he makes some very interesting comments about the dependence of his country and others to sell their resources on the world market. I'm inclined to think that he is correct when he states,
Socialism of the twenty-first century has absolutely no meaning. It has no meaning. We need to rescue socialism from the errors of the last century, but we can’t do this by promoting some kind of “new age” socialism. For me, twenty-first century socialism has no meaning, it is pure rhetoric. 
It appears to me that leftist leaders of South America are following the lead of China and Brazil by instituting more government control over their capitalist economies to serve national interests instead of merely the Empire's, and providing some concessions to minority participation in decision making.