Three Ways to Repress Native Struggles

catatumbo-protests-jun-2013-300x199from Root Force

Indigenous peoples seem to be a  continual thorn in the side of the moneyed interests seeking to  expand global trade infrastructure and cement their domination of the planet and its people. Given that indigenous communities have been standing in the way of earth-destroying profits for hundreds of years on this continent alone, it’s no surprise that the powerful have many time-tested techniques for trying to neutralize them, as these recent stories illustrate:

1. Racist Front Groups

Anti-Indian Hate Groups and the Gateway Pacific coal export terminal

In Whatcom county, Washington state — the Northwest corner of the United States bordering the Salish Sea — white power is no longer expressed through cross-burnings; it is demonstrated by overt attacks on tribal sovereignty, combined with covert assaults on environmental protection, the Growth Management Act (GMA), and Indian treaties. In the Wall Street/Tea Party convergence supporting the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) coal export facility at Cherry Point, white power has emerged as a threat not only to endangered species like the Orca whale and Chinook salmon, but as a threat to the continued existence of democratic functions of governance.

2. Criminalization

Lawfare: Ecuador’s New Style of Governance?

This article pays particular attention to the government’s targeting of indigenous anti-infrastructure activists and movements.

Ecuador has achieved what most Latin American societies have been dreaming of for decades: a stable leftist government. Yet things did not turn out the way social movements had imagined them. … Ecuador’s legal crackdown against all forms of political dissidence is so systematic that lawfare, the abuse of law as a weapon of war, is becoming a new style of governance. It unveils a government that is less popular than it claims and that feels threatened by the escalating contestation of civil society.

3. Naked Force

Colombia: Paramilitary Group Threatens Indigenous Protesters with ‘Social Cleansing’

There are serious ongoing concerns for the safety of indigenous protesters in Colombia amid escalating violence against them by the security forces and after their leaders received a death threat from a right-wing paramilitary group, Amnesty International said.

Dozens of indigenous protesters, including many children, have already been injured when Colombian security forces appear to have used excessive force against the demonstrations, which started on 12 October and continue in several regions of the country [demanding respect for their rights which are increasingly threatened as mining, oil and other economic interests encroach on their traditional lands].

Fears of further violence have been compounded in the past week after the Rastrojos paramilitary group called for “social cleansing” of indigenous leaders and groups involved in the protests.

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