Tag Archives: food sovereignty

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity and the Zapatista Solution

Zapatista women standing with raised fists in January, 2014. (Photo: Visual Research)

By Levi Gahman, Solutions, via TruthOut:

The battle for humanity and against neoliberalism was and is ours,

And also that of many others from below.

Against death — We demand life.

 — Subcomandante Galeano/Marcos

One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering. The consequences of neoliberalism are so acutely visceral that the Zapatistas called the 21st century’s most highly lauded free-trade policy, NAFTA, a ‘death certificate’ for Indigenous people.[1] This is because economic liberalization meant that imported commodities (e.g., subsidized corn from the U.S.) would flood Mexican markets, devalue the products of peasant farmers, and lead to widespread food insecurity. As a response, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), primarily Indigenous peasants themselves, led an armed insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994 — the day NAFTA went into effect.

The Zapatistas, primarily Indigenous Ch’ol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolobal, Mam, and Zoque rebels, were rising up against 500 years of colonial oppression. For this piece, I draw from my experiences learning from them, not ‘researching’ them. Importantly, I neither speak for the Zapatistas nor do my words do them justice. In a sense, then, this piece is nothing other than a modest ‘suggestion’ that the Zapatistas may offer us some ideas about solutions to the problems of the food systems we find ourselves in.

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A Political-Ethical Stance For Decolonizing Movements

As Decolonial movements seek to decolonize the Occupy Wall Street Movement(s), a political-ethical stance inspired by two already existing movements is worth sharing

By Chris Rodriguez, Decolonial Food For Thought

The ethics of decolonizing food movements rooted in indigenous principles. I originally published this piece with a generalization of this dynamic autonomous movement of movements by calling it the food sovereignty movement. After a series of critical reflection I engaged with my compañera on the differences between decolonization, self-determination and sovereignty I realized that the ethics discussed here go far beyond sovereignty. Taiaiake Alfred, Gustavo Esteve & Madhu Prakash offer important critiques on sovereignty and universal human rights (among other topics) that provoked me to clarify the language used in this piece. In a nut-shell, I am not here to promote sovereignty since it implies the reaffirming role and rule of Western thought, governance, state/nation-hood, and heirarchal control over the land. This is an offereing of some lessons i’ve gained in decolonzing movements and decolonizing food movements which are inclusive of all of our relations—people, plants, animals, water and the land.  It is how we defend and give voice to the land. The Zapatista initiated Other Campaign. Because it is the one and only movement with the political trajectory and international solidarity that articulates the idea of creating another way of doing politics from below and to the left…in other words a decolonial political-ethical stance.

These two movements of movements can teach us how not to be co-opted while providing us with guiding examples of how to stay on the course we are already on. That is, on the path of assembly and encountering the other—los de abajo—as we seek to decolonize. One way to actually experience decolonization live in the flesh is by eating a plant-based local indigenous diet that is ecologically and geographically specific to where one lives.

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Decolonial Food For Thought third space food sovereignty project delinks from the colonial matrix of food domination by not engaging with it, silencing it to an oblivion by becoming the living embodiment of the intellectual spirit of our ancestors.

Our relatives, the slithering two and four legged animals (humans included) and cosmological earthly relations and ecological communities, the atmosphere, land, water, plants & seeds have been mortally wounded.

Restoration, Revitalization, and the spiritual act of Re-membering create a natural ecological equilibrium–balance.

We engage in this political project rooted from the ground up by Decolonizing our Diets