They fight and win 'Each person does their work'
The current issue of New Internationalist is superb.
It focusses on the resistance of indigenous people to capitalism.
It has a special emphasis on Peru and on those like my friend and mentor Hugo Blanco, the Quechua leader active since the late 1950s and Aidesep.
Dig deep and subscribe to New Internationalist, this is excellent and inspiring.
I think I am more positive about Humala, imperfect as he is, he defeated a hard right candidate, the indigenous backed him and he went to Bagua and pledged his allegience to the forest people.
In the UK the idea of even an imperfect Prime Minister would be utopian, lets face it they are rubbish and serve only vested interests, I am reluctant as an English citizen to comment on the imperfections of the left abroad where we have such poor leaders with such poisoned visions as Miliband, Clegg and Cameron.
Left leaders open space and the social movements/indigenous are in charge in parts of Peru, their militancy is key to ecosocialist victories. They have pushed for Humala's victory and they will push further.
Any how buy a subscription and buy this copy, in a wicked world where much environmentalism is irrelevent this show cases those in the vanguard for ecology and social justice.
A man with a deeply lined face comments: ‘We are the true conservationists. We don’t do big deforestation. We conserve our territories, our trees. Each person does their work.’
Some communities have gone along with a government conservation scheme called the Forests Programme, but he doesn’t believe in it. This is Peru’s contribution to an international initiative to save a million hectares of Amazonian forest. Peru is losing 150,000 hectares of tropical forest a year. The scheme is intended to save 300,000 hectares. The indigenous communities engaged in the programme are paid 10 soles (about $4) for each hectare conserved. The idea is to provide the communities with an alternative to selling the wood in their forests to logging interests.
The scheme is voluntary but many Asháninka communities are wary of it. Leonel explains why: ‘They fear that the government will turn round later and say “we gave you this money, now we will take the land we have paid for”.’
Many Western environmentalists, too, are suspicious of such market mechanisms for mitigating climate change. They see them as moneyspinners for those who can exploit the system, but failing in their core environmental objectives.
Araldo concludes the meeting: ‘We are not poor, we are rich. We want to work and to save our culture. We want to live like our grandparents lived. Take that message to your people. This is not an empty space. We live here. We don’t want Pakitzapango or Tambo 40.’
But what if the community is offered money or other enticements? It is common practice to divide indigenous communities in this way. I ask two of the younger men this question. They are adamant. ‘We won’t accept anything,’ says one. ‘We will prevent them from entering,’ adds the other.
How?’ I ask.
We will meet them in the traditional way.’
They both look a bit sheepish and then reply.
With arrows… we don’t want to… but this is our land, the land of our grandparents and great-grandparents. We have to defend it.’
I am reminded that two years ago, when police tried to dislodge indigenous protesters near the northern jungle town of Bagua, 33 lost their lives, 23 of them police.