Mining culture wars escalate in Oaxaca

January 23rd, 2020

by SAMANTHA DEMBY

Oaxaca PHOTO/Punto y Aparte/Flickr

Tourism is on the rise in the picturesque city of Oaxaca, known for its smoky mezcal, activist art scene, and diverse patchwork of Indigenous cultures. This year, visitors to the tiny airport in southern Mexico—where traffic is up 34 percent—were greeted by a billboard depicting smiling miners in a verdant field. “Welcome to Oaxaca,” the sign read, “where progress and nature coexist. Cuzcatlán Mining Company.”

Cuzcatlán is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines, a Vancouver-based company that operates a gold and silver mine an hour south of the airport. Fortuna says it contributes to the economy of the impoverished region. But native Zapotec residents accuse the multinational of inciting violence that has killed five activists. Last year, they say, a spill at Fortuna’s San José mining project unleashed toxic waste into the Coyote River, leaving one town without drinking water.

In October, affected residents gathered to protest Fortuna in an unexpected setting: the posh Fortín hotel in downtown Oaxaca City. There, hundreds of largely foreign guests were gathered for the awards ceremony of the annual Oaxaca Film Festival. Fortuna Silver Mines was a sponsor.

“We didn’t come to boycott this event,” said one activist in a skeleton mask and construction cap; “We came to express our firm rejection of the Fortuna Silver Mines company…which with just a few pesos tries to fool us into thinking it’s giving us development and social benefits, when in reality it’s taking the wealth of our subsoil and polluting our communities.”

The FilmFest responded to the protests by canceling its alliance with Fortuna. But the mining company continues to occupy strategic spaces throughout Oaxaca. From advertising at the airport to its sponsorship of the annual mezcal fair, the company has launched an intensified marketing campaign in areas that are a priority for the state’s growing tourism sector. As the Oaxacan government spends more on tourism, so too does Fortuna, which is a telling case study of the strategies used by extractive companies to co-opt state institutions, in Mexico and beyond.

A Record of Violations

The rugged sierras and tropical forests of Oaxaca are home to the greatest biological diversity in Mexico. They also produce some of the highest quantities of gold and silver in the country and contain the largest iron reserve in Latin America. Overall, mining companies with mostly foreign capital have secured rights to explore or exploit hundreds of square miles of this southern Mexican state.

Even as the state boasts one of the highest rates of industrial growth in the country, more Oaxacans live below the poverty line today than 10 years ago.Yet Oaxaca’s remarkable wealth is not shared with the majority of its residents, who are among the impoverished in Mexico. Even as the state boasts one of the highest rates of industrial growth in the country, more Oaxacans live below the poverty line today than 10 years ago. Experts point to San José del Progreso—where Fortuna has mined gold and silver mine since 2011—as emblematic of this phenomenon.

Fortuna Silver Mines advertises its contribution to the economy of this Indigenous Zapotec town: 70 percent of employees hail from the region, and the company has invested roughly $1 million a year in social programs. Yet opponents of the mine say the company’s investments in the community pale in comparison to its profits.

In 2017 alone, Fortuna’s Mexican subsidiary, Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán, reported a net income of $66.3 million. The company is among the top three silver producers in Mexico, which is in turn the top silver-producing country in the world. Meanwhile, in San José, the majority of residents lack basic services such as potable water and access to medical care. 88 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, with nearly half living in extreme poverty.

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Human rights hypocrisy: Critical analysis of Hong Kong protests

January 23rd, 2020

by ERICA CAINES

Human Rights Hypocrisy: Critical Analysis of Hong Kong Protests

Why do corporate media love Hong Kong dissidents while neglecting protests in Haiti, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Honduras and Bolivia?

Hong Kong protestors engage in activities that in the U.S. would get them killed by the police or long prison sentences.”

Before adjourning for the Thanksgiving holiday, the US Senate unanimously approved HR 3289, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (417-1) to send the legislation to President Trump for his signature and in a rare bipartisan move, the bill was signed into law. The term “bipartisan” is a mere farce as both major political parties always seem to agree on funding and agitating wars.

Trump signed the bill into law, along with another bill that prohibits the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd-control munitions to the Hong Kong police. When we think about how this country handles its own protestors, from Ferguson to Baltimore to Standing Rock (many still imprisoned), and the inability of the U.S Congress to end the 1033 program, it is both laughable and insulting to see the “unity” in support of this bill. This bipartisan decision highlights many contradictions— The U.S. continues to out itself as a dangerous right-wing state and a threat to the world.

“Both major political parties always seem to agree on funding and agitating wars.”

We are witnessing global uprisings against state powers that, as colonized people within the U.S, we can (and are) finding inspiration in. Many confused “radicals,” however, have passionately jumped on the bandwagon of international protests offering uncritical support. All uprisings are not the same and the best way to distinguish that is understanding the class character of the uprisings. 

For months the public has been bombarded with images from protests in Hong Kong against the PRC/China. Unfortunately, many have supported the Hong Kong protests without analyzing the implications of what is being protested, what the protestors are asking for or even why mainstream media covers it so thoroughly while blatantly ignoring Haiti, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, and most recently the coup d’etat in Bolivia. 

While there are mixed and valid concerns that shouldn’t be minimized in the midst of the mass protests in Hong Kong, the overall character of the protests is right-wing. How do we know? Let’s consider the ultra-nationalist elements that are a fixture of the protests. 

Hong Kong’s current political crisis was sparked by protests against an extradition bill meant to ensure Chan Tong-kai’s prosecution on murder charges for killing his girlfriend in Taiwan. This erupted in sovereignty claims and mass protests across Hong Kong complete with nostalgia for British colonialism, waving the U.S flag with praises and odes to Trump.

The movements to ‘recognize Hong Kong autonomy/independence’ had leaders of the allegedly “leaderless movement” touring Washington, D.C., while claiming to be repressed, with the likes of Senator Ted Cruz, urging the US Congress to pass the Human Rights bill and impose sanctions on their own state. 

“The overall character of the Hong Kong protests is right-wing.”

US support of Hong Kong is significant. We have witnessed Hong Kong protestors engaging in activities that in the U.S. would get them killed by the police or long prison sentences. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress’ unanimous decision to support the Hong Kong Human Rights Act serves as another example of the hypocrisy from a country universally recognized as the greatest human rights violators on the planet. 

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The 10 most read science articles of The Hindu online in 2019

January 23rd, 2020

by ASWATHI PACHA

2019 was a happening year for the world of science — scientists shared the image of a black hole, proved superconductivity at room temperature, and even investigated a space crime.

Here is a list of the most read articles on our website this year.

10)Black hole image

On April 10, astronomers unveiled the first image of a black hole. A dark core encircled by a flame-orange halo of white-hot gas and plasma looks like any number of artists’ renderings over the last 30 years.

9) Universe’s first molecule detected in space

In a paper published in the journal Nature in April,researchers from The Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Germany wrote that they had detected Helium hydride ion (HeH+) in space. It was one of the first molecules that formed when, almost 14 billion years ago, falling temperatures in the young universe allowed recombination of the light elements produced in the Big Bang.

8) 4,500-year-old language family

Based on new linguistic analyses by an international team, including researchers from Germany and India, the Dravidian language family was found to have originated about 4,500 years ago. The findings, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, match earlier linguistic and archaeological studies.

7) Mountains under Earth’s crust

In a study published in the journal Science, scientists used data from an enormous earthquake in Bolivia and were able to find mountains on a layer located 660 km straight down, which separates the upper and lower mantle.

6) Superconductivity at room temperature

Putting to rest all doubts and criticism, a team led by Prof. Anshu Pandey from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru confirmed that their material exhibits major properties of superconductivity at ambient temperature and pressure.

5) ‘Crying’ snake of Arunachal

A new snake species with a dark spot under its eyes that lookis like a black tear, caught the attention of our readers. The discovery of the non-venomous crying keelback, whose zoological name is Hebius lacrima, was published in Zootaxa in February.

4) Explained | How litchi toxin is causing the deaths of undernourished children in Muzaffarpur

The Hindu’s explainer on acute encephalitis syndrome and on whether the litchi fruit was responsible for the deaths of more than 400 children in Bihar, garnered a lot of attention.

3) Solar eclipse: The ‘ring of fire’

Parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu witnessed on December 26 an annular solar eclipse, where the Sun appears as a ring (annulus) around the Moon. Our explainer on the phenomena was read by over 4.5 lakh users.

2) Cracking a space crime

U.S. space agency NASA started investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, The New York Times reported in August. Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife’s private financial records while on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.

1) The charm of Chandrayaan-2

When NASA’s orbiter captured images of Chandrayaan 2 Lander Vikram’s attempted landing site, it also captured the attention of our readers. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft snapped a series of images during its flyby on September 17, 2019 of Vikram’s attempted landing site near the Moon’s uncharted south pole.

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Corporate media find all the wrong lessons for US left in Corbyn’s defeat

January 22nd, 2020

by ALAN MaCLEOD

Conservative leader Boris Johnson swept to power in the UK’s December 12 elections, winning 365 of a possible 650 seats. Labour’s socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his resignation, after a bitterly disappointing night for his party.

Across the spectrum, corporate media all came to the same conclusion regarding the election: Corbyn’s loss spells the end for the US left and a “crushing defeat” (New York, 12/13/19) of the discredited policies of socialism. The press was filled with variations on the same reflexive warning to the Democrats: Don’t go left.

Indeed, CNN published three near-identical articles with that message in one 24-hour span  (12/12/19, 12/13/19, 12/13/19). The first, written even as polling stations were still open, suggested that “the Democratic Party may see a cautionary tale for the US 2020 presidential race,” as Corbyn “promised revolutionary change, a fundamental overhaul of society, heavy new taxes on the rich and a far bigger role for the state in the economy. Sound familiar?” It claimed he “took his party way to the left, leaving the more moderate ground where many voters feel most comfortable.” Going on to attack Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders specifically, it suggested that proposing a “state-run healthcare system” like Britain’s is a “vote killer,” and that Corbyn’s imminent loss implies Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg would be a better candidate.

Only a few hours later, John Avalon claimed (CNN, 12/13/19) the election was a “fierce repudiation” of leftist politics, presenting a “cautionary tale about the perils of polarization and the predictable dangers of embracing a far-left leader” who would nationalize key industries. CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza (12/13/19) offered exactly the same opinion, claiming Johnson’s victory should “make 2020 Democrats nervous,” insinuating that embracing progressive politics and Medicare for All was political suicide, and recommending a more “moderate” or “pragmatic” candidate than Warren or Sanders.

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Mirza Athar Baig’s surreal Urdu novel in translation will be the first wild ride of fiction in 2020

January 22nd, 2020

by MIRZA ATHAR BAIG

Author Mirza Athar Baig.

An excerpt from ‘Hassan’s State of Affairs’, translated from the Urdu by Haider Shahbaz.

The terrible event happened to Hassan Raza Zaheer after a lifetime of displaced sightseeing.

Taking full blame for this cumbersome formula (“displaced sightseeing”), if we try to find out when, why, and where Hassan got the habit of displaced sightseeing, then we will have to walk for a little while alongside Hassan down the path of his life…in fact, more importantly, we will have to see with Hassan, because the whole problem is that of seeing, and what needs to be seen is what kind of seeing this will be.

Hassan Raza Zaheer got the job of an accountant at a chemical factory after finishing his studies in finance at the age of twenty-four. The factory was located fifteen kilometres outside of the city. It was an accommodating and appropriate job: the pay was decent, there was the prospect of annual promotion (given compliant and industrious work), meals were free and, most importantly for Hassan, there was the benefit of a company car that picked up the employees every morning from different parts of the city and dropped them back at their houses in the evening.

Hassan always sat next to the window towards the middle of the car, which, in reality, wasn’t a car, but a large van that could seat up to twenty employees. Within a few seconds of sitting down, his neck would turn to the right and, with the van beginning to move, the displaced sightseeing would begin too. The familiar houses of the neighbourhood, shops, then other neighbourhoods, bakeries, auto-workshops, barbershops, schools, colleges, hotels, corner shops, alleys, markets, office buildings, petrol pumps, bridges, rivers, railway lines, grubby dirty neighbourhoods, farms, rural mud houses, public places for gathering, wrestling rings, streams, innumerable kinds of trees, factories… and other than these static targets: moving bodies, pedestrians, animals, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, rickshaws, buses, tractors, trucks… The factory’s parking lot, “Time to get off, sir.”

On the way back, the same series would repeat for the left-hand side of the predetermined route. There was nothing outwardly unusual about Hassan’s act of watching. Any person looks at the world in front of him and to the world on his right and left in much the same way when moved from one place to another. We can say that the feeling of being unconnected to the sight is a prerequisite to displaced sightseeing and is an essential component of our training in “world-watching”.

Then again, it is not at all a matter of training or learning, since we already know from the moment we begin to use our senses that if, in the process of seeing, we get stuck on something that troubles us and forces us to halt, the sensible thing to do is to forget the troublesome scene and keep moving from one sight to the next.

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The Crown, the Queen and their colonies

January 22nd, 2020

by HAMID DABASHI

Netflix displays a costume from ‘The Crown’ series at an exhibition in Los Angeles, California, US, May 6, 2018 PHOTO/Lisa Richwine/Reuters

“Let us start with the unrest in Egypt, where anti-colonial passions continue to run high, and where our soldiers continue to come under fire from nationalist insurgents.” This is UK Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, as depicted in a scene in the first season of the widely popular Netflix original series The Crown. The reference is, of course, to the anticolonial uprising led by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956 that eventually led to the nationalisation of the Suez Canal. 

It is both jarring and curiously entertaining to see how historical events of monumental importance for the world at large are depicted in a biopic mostly about the private life and palace intrigues of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.    

“It is vital that we remain and successfully defend the Suez Canal,” Churchill continues to huff and puff and report to Her Majesty the Queen, “a point that I will be making in person to the Commonwealth heads, when I host them for the weekend at Chequers”.  

Both in this episode and in the rest of the series such references to British colonialism abound. Though they are entirely tangential, almost prop-like, to the actual plot of the biopic, such references give us a clue as to how the British public at large cares to recall their colonial atrocities around the globe. The prose and politics of the series are drawn entirely to the queen’s personal and public traumas; her colonial possessions serve for a bit of narrative seasoning.

At the epicentre of the series is also the predicament of the British monarchy during Queen Elizabeth’s long and troublesome reign. Tommy Lascelles, Private Secretary to both King George VI and to Queen Elizabeth II, portrayed superbly by Pip Torrens, epitomises the radical sentiments of the British monarchists.

Monarchy is God’s sacred mission

The central theme of The Crown is the survival of British monarchy as an institution in a fast-changing world. Queen Elizabeth, played so far with astonishing versatility by Claire Foy (seasons 1–2) and Olivia Colman (season 3), is depicted as initially more interested in her “egalitarian” husband Prince Philip than her duties as queen, but eventually she grows into her role as the monarch of the United Kingdom, the head of the Church of England, the Defender of the Faith, and the head of the British Empire.

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The hunt for human nature

January 21st, 2020

by ERIKA LORRAINE MILAM


Artwork from the Look and Learn series of children’s books c1970. PHOTO/© Look and Learn

We still live in the long shadow of Man-the-Hunter: a midcentury theory of human origins soaked in strife and violence

The Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz embodied the ideal of a white-maned sage. Acclaimed by readers in German and English alike for his books King Solomon’s Ring (1949) and Man Meets Dog (1949), he enjoyed worldwide renown as an expert on the behaviour of fowl, fish and beast. These delightful popular introductions to evolutionary theory and animal behaviour circulated through the publishing world accompanied by photographs that depicted Lorenz surrounded by imprinted goslings at his rural research institute at Seewiesen in Germany. At the age of 60, Lorenz published On Aggression (1963). Readers again loved it, although the stark warnings it offered differed from the cheerful tone of his earlier books.

Lorenz asked readers to imagine the perspective of an unbiased observer on another planet – perhaps Mars. He specified that the observer should possess a telescope of sufficient power so as to perceive the ‘migration of peoples, wars and similar great historical events’, but weak enough that it couldn’t identify individuals. What would this Martian naturalist think of the behaviour of humans on Earth? Lorenz insisted that his imagined observer ‘would never gain the impression that human behaviour was dictated by intelligence, still less by responsible morality’.

In the decades following the Second World War, scientific discussions about human origins took on great moral weight. Reckoning with the aftermath of the Holocaust and the popularity of eugenic theories of race around the world, many anthropologists and zoologists embraced an intellectual framework that united all human beings into a common biological order. They sought to reject theories of brutal domination, hierarchical racial taxonomies, and worse. A closer look at evolutionary origins, they argued, would affirm human commonality.

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The “collateral damage” of the U.S.’s unofficial war in Somalia

January 21st, 2020

by AMANDA SPERBER

Nurto Mohamed Nor Issak’s son, Liban, died in a 2016 U.S. air strike near Janale, Somalia ILLUSTRATION/Matt Rota

“Surgical” U.S. air strikes destabilize villages, drive displacement and fuel al-Shabab recruitment.

Nurto Mohamed Nor Issak, 59, doesn’t want to talk about the coconut trees she lost after the U.S. air strike three years ago. She wants to talk about her son who was killed. Who cares about her trees? 

Based on Issak’s recollections, the strike was likely one of two carried out April 1 and April 2, 2016, near where Issak lives, in Janale—about 60 miles southwest of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates as many as 29 people were killed by the air attacks. The Pentagon claims the April 2016 strikes were self-defense against fighters with the militant Islamist group al-Shabab who “posed imminent threats to U.S. and partner nation forces in Somalia.”

Issak is adamant that her son was not with the militants and that she told him “not to mix with al-Shabab.”

The reason I’m speaking with Issak, though, is that—regardless of her son’s alleged association with al-Shabab—her coconut trees are still decapitated and her income depleted, three years hence.

Issak says the strike hit her sugarcane and coconut tree plantation, which stretched about 7 acres. Al-Shabab bans smartphones in the villages it controls, but Issak managed to use one to take photos of the damage. “The coconut trees lost their heads,” she says. In the pictures, the tree trunks are stark against the blue sky, masts without sails.

Before the strikes, Issak had 240 coconut trees whose biweekly harvest brought her about $250—roughly $6,000 a year. Livestock and crops are the main sources of livelihood in Somalia—as they are for Issak, who says less than a quarter of her trees survived. U.S. Africa Command (Africom) generally uses precision-guided munitions—often Hellfire missiles with a 20–80 pound warhead, not large enough to cause mass destruction of a farm. But Issak says the strike set the grass under her trees on fire, causing the trees to decay (which coconut tree experts tell In These Times is plausible).

Issak has lost much with the decimation of her trees, but it’s her son she misses most. He was a strong, supportive son with business plans, she says. He could have done so much with the farm. She still has the bloody T-shirt he was wearing when he died.

The United States began its campaign of “precision” strikes against al-Shabab (and, more recently, ISIS-Somalia) in 2007. In the past three years, Africom says it has carried out 148 strikes, killing between 900 and 1,000 people. Africom long maintained that all of the deaths were targeted “terrorists.” This year, Amnesty International has investigated six U.S. air strikes and concluded they caused 17 civilian casualties. Africom has since admitted that one strike (not one covered by Amnesty) did result in two civilian deaths.

Such strikes—often referred to as “surgical”—can target a specific room in a house from thousands of feet away. But a bomb is still a bomb, and the impacts reverberate physically, psychologically and politically.

Following my own findings that U.S. air strikes were contributing to civilian displacement, along with informal reports from Somali sources and NGOs who said strikes were spurring al-Shabab recruitment, I travelled to Somalia for In These Times to investigate the strikes’ civilian impacts.

I spoke with Somalis living in territories controlled by al-Shabab whose property or villages were hit by air strikes, as well as analysts, activists and policymakers. I found that U.S. air strikes in Somalia have damaged farms, homes and livestock. Strikes have also created a climate of uncertainty and paranoia within the communities they hit, as civilians start suspecting each other of being targeted members of al-Shabab. Al-Shabab has reacted to the strikes by harassing villagers, accusing locals of being U.S. spies or forcing them to choose between fighting for al-Shabab and fleeing home.

“Our research has found that when a Somali’s farm or property is the scene of an air strike, that person is seen as suspicious and can be targeted for reprisals,” weapons investigator Brian Castner, who worked on Amnesty International’s Crisis Team to report on civilian casualties from U.S. air strikes in Somalia, tells In These Times.

U.S. air strikes have driven recruitment for ISIS and the Taliban, and experts say al-Shabab is likely to use them in the same way. Roselyne Omondi, the associate director of research at the HORN Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, told Public Radio International that air strikes feed into al-Shabab’s claims that it is defending the country against foreign invaders. “If this continues, we can expect more radicalization,” she said.

“Air strikes are without a doubt used as a recruitment tool,” concurs Bill Roggio, a former soldier and senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank. He says the air strikes are a “staple” of jihadist propaganda he has seen, including al-Shabaab’s. 

Thirteen people told me they lost property, lost assets or were forced from their homes after U.S. air strikes. Some of the displaced had fled because al-Shabab tried to recruit them, sometimes cornering them for hours and returning numerous times over days or weeks. Others felt they could not return because al-Shabab would accuse them of spying, putting their lives at risk.

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The runaway train of cognitive enhancement

January 21st, 2020

by NAYEF AL-RODHAN

PHOTO/ Getty Images

How far can we “improve” our mind before we lose our sense of identity and authenticity?

Facebook recently announced it had acquired CTRL-Labs, a U.S. start-up working on wearable tech that allows people to control digital devices with their brain. The social media company is only the latest in a long string of firms investing in what has come to be termed “neurotechnology.” Earlier this year Neuralink, a company backed by Elon Musk, announced that it hopes to begin human trials for computerized brain implants.

These projects may seem like science fiction, but this drive to get more out of our brains is nothing new—from tea, caffeine and nicotine, to amphetamines and the narcolepsy drug Modafinil, drugs have long been used as rudimentary attempts at cognitive enhancement. And in our tech-driven world, the drive to cognitively enhance is stronger than ever—and is leading us to explore new and untested methods.

In today’s hypercompetitive world, everyone is looking for an edge. Improving memory, focus or just the ability to work longer hours are all key to getting ahead, and a drug exists to improve each of them. In 2017, 30 percent of Americans said they had used “smart drug” supplements, known as nootropics, at least once that year, even if studies repeatedly demonstrate that they have a negligible effect on intellect.

For some, however, nootropics are not enough, and so they turn to medical-grade stimulants. The most famous of these is Adderall, which boosts focus and productivity far more than commercial nootropics. A well-established black market thrives on university campuses and in financial centers, supplying these drugs to people desperate to gain a competitive edge.

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Elections or autonomy? Notes from a Trawün Mapuche in Chile

January 20th, 2020

by RAUL ZIBECHI

Street art in Santiago, November 2019. PHOTO/Sandra Cuffe.

The first proposes participating in elections for the Constituent Assembly. But parties that signed the agreement refused to allow the possibility that Indigenous people would have their own electoral districts, with 15% of the elected, similar to the percent of Indigenous people that live in Chile. There is a lot of discussion, then, about how to proceed.

This position has been gaining ground during the uprising, though it was born nearly 20 years ago, under the name of “plurinationalism.” As the Mapuches do not want to be elected within existing parties, some participants (including some women) propose the creation of a Mapuche electoral party.

This stream of thought appears to be more common in the cities, especially in Santiago, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Mapuche people. But its nucleus of support is among those who emigrated from Wall Mapu to the city to study at university. Their discourse is powerful and well reasoned, and they argue that there is “not much time” to get started, as the process of electing constituents will begin in April. 

The second current defends self-determination and autonomy, which are the traditional positions of the Mapuche communities in the south of Chile. They are those most affected by state repression and by the militarization of their territories, as well as by displacement by forestry companies. It is their communities who resist and take back lands, and above all, who keep the flame of the Mapuche nation and identity alive. 

“We have our own government and our own parliament, we don’t need the politicians,” stated one middle aged woman. Another young man asked: “Do we really want a seat inside winka (white) politics?”

If it is true that the uprising in Chile that began in October 2019 closes a cycle that was opened on September 11, 1973 with Pinochet’s coup d’etat, it must also be true that a new cycle is opening, though we still don’t know what its key characteristics will be.

But from what we can see in the streets of Santiago, this cycle will have two key protagonists: the police state, the armed wing of the dominant classes; and the popular sectors in urban neighborhoods and in Wall Mapu. The pulse between these two forces will determine the future of Chile. 

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