Social movements fascinate me. Everything from the one we had here at Colgate earlier in the semester to the one Nicole Fabricant talked about last week. Movements bring about change. They right a wrong; open eyes and raise awareness; restore an identity; and give life a little glimmer of hope.
Last week Nicole Fabricant came to talk to us about El Movimiento Sin Tierra (MST), or the Landless Peasant Movement. This movement rose out of resistance to Bolivia’s ever-growing large-scale export-oriented agriculture (much which is based on soy production). Landless, displaced peasants joined together in the face of privatization, globalization, and neo-liberalization. MST activists strive to revive a sense of indigeneity. They started by seizing unproductive lands and building farm collectives on those lands. The Bolivian constitution states that indigenous people have the right to take back and redistribute land, which does not serve any economical or political purpose. In this way, Native peoples started to regain back some political, cultural, and human rights. In 2005, indigenous leader Evo Morales became president, presiding over three revolutions involving water, gas, and land. These three “commodities” were taken out of the hands of the agro-business elites and rightfully put back into the hands of the indigenous.
The displacement of indigenous people due to economic, environmental, and political domination is ubiquitous. It’s present and pervasive in places like the United States, the Artic, Australia, and Chile. Last semester, I did research and made a mini documentary on the indigenous movement in Patagonia, Chile called Patagonia Sin Represas, or Patagonia Without Dams. Click on the link below to check out my video!!!