Commoning Against ‘Resource’ Extractivism: Indigenous and Feminist Complementarity and Alliances in the Fight Against Extractivism and for a Life-Centred World

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Terran GIACOMINI, University of Toronto/OISE, Canada
This paper reflects on my research and activism as a non-Indigenous woman from North America/Turtle Island seeking to understand how the world’s people are moving beyond capitalist extraction and promoting alternatives grounded in feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist analysis and action. I suggest that there is a great deal of complementarity between specific Indigenous analyses and feminist analyses (by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women) that seek action on the basis of the three following recognitions (1) in North America/Turtle Island, Indigenous women and their allies amongst Indigenous men are at the forefront of action to challenge the root causes of interconnected social and ecological crises and defend and expand political economies and cultures that promote life through shared, non-hierarchical forms of control over and with Nature (also called commoning). (2) Capitalist accumulation and extraction of Nature is fundamentally patriarchal, racist, colonial and imperialist. The power and profitability of extractive corporations and the settler-colonial state depend upon access to Indigenous people’s territory and the ‘free’ labour power of all women and nature. Settler colonialism sets up the conditions for more extreme and more violent forms of exploitation and oppression of Indigenous women compared to non-Indigenous (especially 'white') women. (3) As the threats to land, water and human life intensify, Indigenous women are being joined by non-Indigenous women and men who are seeking to challenge extractivism and expand forms of commoning. Alliances between diverse Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and men to challenge extraction have tremendous power to transform capitalist relations and expand new and already existing life-centred political economies and cultures. The development of alliances depends, to a large extent, on non-Indigenous, especially white women and men, taking action to challenge the supremacy of the settler colonial state and seek justice for Indigenous women and men, both within and beyond state institutions.