Popular Protest and Repression in the 21st Century: The Indigenous Movements in Defense of the Earth, Territory and Human Rights in Mexico

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Fernando CASTAÑEDA SABIDO, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico
The relationship between repression and social protest is an issue that has been studied from various angles, both in its visible and direct dimension based on the exercise of violence that “legitimately” is carried out by the State, as in that which is not necessarily visible but which is exercised in order to nullify the threat to the status quo represented by contentious collective actions.

The paper proposes the study of social movements that are organized around the objective of the defense of land, territory and human rights, constituted in Mexico to face the implementation of "mega projects" of investment in extractive industries, energy and infrastructure, that are settled on indigenous territories. These projects are rejected by the affected communities, which are organized for the defense of rights acquired in the international and national level.

In Mexico, as elsewhere in the world, indigenous demands for recognition of their collective political, social, cultural and economic rights have been expressed through new forms of organization and social movements whose forms of protest are developed at local, national and international. The dynamics of its action usually combines fights and diverse repertoires of collective action, linking through networks with other collective actions that also defend human rights and participation in decision making, systematically confronting existing power structures.

In this context, this paper aims to analyze the use of prior consultation, free and informed, to obtain the consent of indigenous peoples regarding government actions, legislative measures and / or of individuals that affect their interests, as a defense mechanism, but at the same time as a containment of indigenous demands.