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Showing posts from 2020

Extracting from Pachamama's womb

Leyla Noriega has been active for more than 20 years, campaigning and reporting on injustices against indigenous people and the natural environment across the northern regions of Chile. The newly independent state had conquered the area around 1880 to access mines and natural resources that had previously been under the rule of Peru and Bolivia, and before then, by Incas and Aymaras who called the area Qullasuyu. One day the mining companies which Leyla had seen tear towns apart before in the area arrived at her mother and grandparents' town of Belén, at around 133 km from the city of Arica and at an altitude of 2800m and it was a very different feeling. Mining laws in Chile were created specifically to easily sell land and water to private companies, during the Pinochet dictatorship, so that any private company that finds an element in the mountain can claim it for their own, and exploratory machinery can be installed up to a total of 39 machines without requiring any specific pe…

Decolonising the andean third gender

When getting into indigenous cultures one of the main fear is this underlying idea that they are going to be soon revealed to be backward or somehow savage, and you won't figure it out until you are tied up being slowly roasted with no white tarzan there to save you. Same goes for Aymara culture, often criticised by feminists who for example see the Chacha Warmi concept as reducing the genders to just male and female, and it's then used as the foundation of an idealised perfect community life made of people who bring out opposing complementary aspects and roles which work together to build a society. Sexist and patriarchal attitudes are evident in indigenous circles, but also present in the countries that now exist across where andean cultures evolved before the conquest. This is perpetuated by the strong syncretic belief in Christianity and by national laws that generally favour men over women or LGBT rights. But it's important to decolonise the binary gender which was a …

La Mitma Migrante

...Consideraciones en búsqueda de un punto de contacto y coordinación entre la gente del pueblo Aymara y entre pueblos originarios...El Ayllu VirtualDesde las protestas de George Floyd he podido experimentar un acercamiento a mis raíces Aymara, quizá dada la ola de información que se ha visto llegar desde toda la gente está divulgando la información que ahora se hace más presente entre las protestas de BLM, la destrucción de monumentos coloniales y su legado ya es algo que concierne el mundo occidental. También con mi familia extensa de la parte de mi padre y abuela Aymara, culpa de la cuarentena hemos comenzado a reunirnos y poder compartir cuentos, canciones, saludos, chistes y un poco de todo, y al crecer el conocimiento de la plataforma zoom, hemos podido presentar de manera más ordenada lo que sabemos de la cultura Aymara. Al pasar los meses, las conversaciones se han ido convirtiendo muchas veces en una especie de clase intensiva de historia y cultura propiamente Aymara de nuest…

Aymara Hip Hop

A quick collection of links about Aymara hip hop, which was mainly active during the life of Abraham Bohorquez who is considered one of the founders of this type of music. During the time of Evo Morales´s government it then seemed to fade a bit as maybe it´s major impetus was the time leading up to the massive mobilisations which brought Evo´s party MAS to power, but there are various writings about it.http://upsidedownworld.org/archives/bolivia/rapping-in-aymara-bolivian-hip-hop-as-an-instrument-of-struggle/https://rebelion.org/el-rap-en-aymara-el-hip-hop-boliviano-como-instrumento-de-la-lucha/Known as Wayna Rap or Nacion Rap, it does manage to fuse a lot of sounds I love but Abraham´s girlfriend Nina Uma does mention it was certainly not a feminist movement for the most part, and it was not linked via a big industry so it could spread to other countries or continents, so remained limited to the El Alto area. Fortunately there are also female artists like Uma herself and Sdenka Suxo…

How could Scotland have a more resilient food system?

The question that's led me to write this has been how do we adapt long term, specifically here in Scotland, where I live now, to coronavirus and the idea that pandemics are here to stay if we stay this industrialised and globalised. How does a society look if it's to be resilient long term, sensible and ecologically regenerative? We do know a few things about this novel coronavirus that we seem to be slowly figuring out as it evolves and spreads, and I have almost a picture of how it might look in my head. Here is the closest I can get so far to it, on a regional scale at least:

In the picture, each block is a community of several households and work spaces, and each green space is where they grow crops, or graze animals. So why this system?

Around the time when it was obvious a lockdown was coming, I read a community organisation manual that mentioned how graph theory applies to limiting the spread of something like Covid-19. It advocates getting together with your closest ne…

When all this was over

Who would have known that all the old men, the old women, all their knowledge and experiences, all the people with asthma and diabetes, all the poor people and the indigenous people and disabled, the doctors, nurses and the ill would suffer and die so much from one moment to the next?

But by the time all the waves, all the quarantines and thousands dying every day, we had changed our society. We had been forced to reorganise, if we wanted to enjoy a life even a little bit like the life we had before the pandemic. We wanted to go out, we wanted to have some comfort, but we wanted to have food, to be able to offer some hope to our children, we needed a basis on which to build our lives.

But we dealt with it, back in the 20s. We rebuilt into a new society, and the names of those who suffered and died, of the doctors and activists, whistleblowers and rent strikers are now the names of our streets.

I am standing outside a replica of an urbanisation, a block of flats in hexagonal shape, ty…

An app for mutual aid groups against coronavirus in Glasgow

After a bunch of mutual networks formed over the weekend of the 14th of March in Glasgow and as I can see from the internet, are still forming around the world, I started to look into the tech side of the response to coronavirus. A lot of things happening, with Tech companies giving away free access to their content, data bundles and services, during the crisis, On the other hand the governments plan and in some cases already carried out intrusive policies that violate many established privacy rights. Many people have also lost their jobs and the capacity to renew their data packages, so have gone offline, just at a time when online forms and services become a far more attractive format than going in person to somewhere that with the lockdown is probably now closed.

So many things can be solved: a neighbour can open their wifi network for others, a group of techies can help build a local wifi network that might cover all of Glasgow and beyond, coronavirus makers on telegram have alrea…

Stories of exile

My granddad helped set up the telegraph line that once ran across Chile, from Santiago to the south.

When he was up a pole in the middle of the 1940s forests of the south, did he ever look at the green landscape to the next place, the next pole ahead, and imagine what would happen when all of Chile was connected?

My grandparents, aunts and uncles ran the post office in La Pintana where my mother, one of the younger siblings would wander. They did regular post office work and received telegrams for the people in the vicinity, which was part of their income after he bought his 1 Acre of farmland there.

The 12 kids would play around with the telegraph between messages on their shifts, chatting in morse to other operators across Chile.

When we finally returned from exile and spent a first Chilean winter at that farm, they had pigs and had once had horses and cows, but still had geese, ducks, chickens and all sorts of other animals, a small enclosed herb garden that said fowl couldn't …