Social outbreak in latin america and the caribbean: breakdowns, resistance and uncertainties. COVID-19’s challenges

Reception: August 13, 2020

Acceptance: September 7, 2020

2019 was a year of perplexities; we experience an intense reality whose complexity shakes our certainties and opens us to wonder. Various conflicts broke out in our region that we already saw coming, but where the predictions reasoned and systematized by social thought were widely exceeded. We took it for granted that the structural adjustments inherent to market reforms, promoted by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, generated growing social discontent that was limited to mere economic demands.

However, the impact of the increases in gasoline prices (Ecuador, Haiti) or in the price of transport (Chile) triggered outbursts, various social anger, which showed multiform ruptures against the "packages" of financial austerity, against the Dominant narratives of "development", against regimes of political subjection that are exclusive of any deliberate, participatory or communal democratic form. From the street and from multiple rural community spaces, millions of subjects emerge who become collective actors against the government's authoritarian imposition, in the face of which the outbreak of anger does not mean chaos but rather the configuration of multiple organizational processes from collective action.

Indeed, this massive discontent led to paradigmatic collective actions that expanded mobilizations towards unpublished organized and organizational repertoires. Social outbreaks that made visible antisystemic or spontaneous resistances that challenge a wide range of public, political, electoral, government and public policy issues related to multidimensional spheres of the global and systemic crisis that we are suffering.

They are massive demands sustained from innovative forms of resistance, which simultaneously question neoliberal economic and social policies as well as the supposedly democratic ideology on which they are sustained, betrayed by impunity, corruption and authoritarian drift supported and fostered by American conservatism and its national and regional anchors. Thus, various types of violence are provoked that generate cracks or ruptures that threaten the values of civilization and coexistence, peace and social justice that are demanded from organized collective action:

  • chili. Millions of Chileans express their discontent, break against the rise in transport in the capital metro. Their demands are amplified against the privatizing impact of the “successful” neoliberal version in education, health, social security, the speculative management of pensions, which attracts the fight against the privatization of water, led by Mapuche movements. New resistance grows in the streets and in the countryside; They also demand a new Constitution that expands political rights and new legitimacies against the repressive, exclusive and racist heritage of the Pinochet patriarchy.
  • Ecuador. For weeks, from the streets and from the Ecuadorian countryside, the social outbreak floods the public space with demands that question internal colonialism and the racism associated with the International Monetary Fund and its adjustment-austerity policies. Around the National Indigenous Confederation of Ecuador there is a broad social movement that questions the bias of government policies that promote extractivism and the territorial dispossession of indigenous peoples.
  • Bolivia. The social outbreak revolves around electoral fraud linked to the reelection of Evo Morales and its derivation in the military coup that dismissed him; here, the social rupture contrasts the relatively successful immediate past of a "progressive" government, and a conservative, racist and patriarchal project supported by the Catholic and neo-Pentecostalist prosperity theology, which the Donald Trump government supports. It is committed to deepening neoliberalism in other parts repudiated. Resistance is woven at the community level and part of its expression is around the new presidential electoral process scheduled for April 2020 but postponed until the sanitary confinement can be de-escalated.
  • Colombia. Days of massive resistance create a social outbreak that combines the national strike against non-compliance with the 2016 Peace Accords, notably in terms of the persistent massive violence against impoverished sectors of the city and countryside, and the fight against violence focused on the repression of community leaders. Resistances arise that agglutinate; in addition, criticisms of the "neoliberal" economic reforms that the government of Ivan Duque intends: pension, labor, against the privatization of health and education.
  • Haiti. Here, too, there were social outbreaks during 2019. Discontent against rising fuel prices of between 35 and 51 percent revived resistance against long-standing colonial racism. Starting in 2018, millions of Haitians regrouped in an unconventional anti-systemic movement that raised two demands: the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse and the transformation of the system that reproduces social inequality based on racism and discrimination.
  • Puerto Rico. it also registers unprecedented social outbreaks. Seven massive marches in mid-2019 achieved the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. They repudiated the bipartisan system of Puerto Rico for its manifest corruption and for the death of more than 4,500 people due to severe cyclones and earthquakes; Labor improvements and measures were demanded to reactivate the economy of the Caribbean island. A resistance that challenges the coloniality of American power.

Our region is fragmented by the intensification of civilizational conflicts of an (inter) cultural, political-ideological and fundamentalist religious order - conservative sectors of the evangelical and Pentecostalist churches - that threaten our peaceful coexistence; War grows and various forms of violence are worsening, including gender violence, and necropolitical practices that encourage insecurities and manipulation of feelings and emotions in the service of death and the suppression of the Other, of the and of the different.

There are other massive social outbreaks: international, atomized and politicized migratory movements (such as the Migratory Caravans of the Northern Triangle towards the United States and their passage through Mexico) and forced displacements of populations torn apart by their internal conflicts, which affect the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean. .

The Latin American and Caribbean social explosion provokes ruptures, resistance and uncertainties in the battle to orient the moral and intellectual direction of our societies. In 2020 we were assaulted, leaving us even more perplexed, by the covid-19; The conjunction of the health crisis as the center of the global and systemic crisis in which it arises showed that the “normality” inherited by these conflicts deepens the social, economic, cultural and geopolitical inequalities of a historical-civilizational nature: colonial, patriarchal, racist and environmental.

In this edition, the Discrepancies section aims to address the triggers of the social outbreak, its scope or limitations in the formation of the social subject, its instituting, dismissing or constituent processes, under various collective-community imaginary about parties, social movements or political regimes. It is about understanding whether systemic or anti-systemic responses are built in the face of the social outbreak, and whether the confinement of resistance and rebellion expressed in the streets and on all ecoterritorial scales, ranging from the body to the local, the national, the global, is in latency and is about to redefine its scope in the political transformation. Three issues are raised for discussion between three prominent social researchers in the region: Maristella Svampa (Senior Researcher at Conicet, Argentina, and tenured professor at the National University of La Plata:; Heriberto Cairo (researcher at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology, Complutense University of Madrid); Breno Bringel (Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Social and Political Studies of the State University of Rio de Janeiro).

The social outbreaks against inequality and social and environmental injustice, are they anti-neoliberal or anti-capitalist? Are systemic changes proposed that link the State, social movements, democracy and government?

ANDIn the first place, it must be said that during 2019 the tectonic plates moved on a global scale; that is, we are witnessing social outbreaks and popular uprisings all over the world, from Hong Kong, Egypt and Catalonia to different Latin American countries, such as Ecuador and Chile, among others. To a large extent, these uprisings operate in a context of increasing social inequalities, as well as the decline of progressive governments and the notorious expansion of the extreme right. From my perspective, we have witnessed what the collective action literature calls the process of cognitive liberation, which "alludes to the transformation of the consciousness of potential participants in collective action."1 The most illustrative case of this process of overcoming fatalism and broadening the horizon of expectations is Chile, when a specific protest unleashed a general wave of civil disobedience, which put inequality at the center of the discussion and questioned the neoliberal model as a basis. , very rapidly expanding the demands to indigenous Mapuche sectors, anti-extractivist groups and feminists. The slogan "Chile woke up" fully illustrates the process.

Secondly, at present, in Latin America there are no left-wing political-party forces capable of becoming the articulators of the new anti-neoliberal social processes. The case of Chile, again, is illustrative. An important part of the left is exhausted, if not discredited, after the experience of the really existing progressivisms, whose balance - ambivalent and unequal, according to the countries - is still being debated in the region. Even the overthrow of Evo Morales took place in a context in which a great dissatisfaction of society towards a personalized leadership that sought to force the institutions to perpetuate itself in power was reflected. In any case, neither the experience of amlo In Mexico (very disconnected from the previous progressive cycle), not even the return of Kirchnerism to the government of Argentina (with a more moderate leader) can simply be interpreted as the advent of a second progressive wave.

Finally, what is new in Latin America is the fragility of the emerging post-progressive political scene, which is accompanied by the threat of a backlash, of a virulent reaction against the expansion of rights, of the return of the repressed, capable of unfolding itself through dangerous chains of equivalence, which links both with the new traditionalist rights and with religious fundamentalisms. Along these lines, the vertiginous rise of Bolsonaro repositioned Latin America on the global political scene, in line with what is happening in the world, where anti-system parties are expanding, hand in hand with the xenophobic, anti-globalist and protectionist extreme right. The most recent case is Bolivia, where the overthrow of Evo Morales raised a series of questions about the speed with which the political transformations took place. Not only have the political times in the world accelerated, but in their dizziness they threaten abrupt and violent mutations, irreversible, in the image and likeness of the current climate crisis. Within the framework of a generalized anti-progressive reaction, the extreme right in its populist, or rather quasi-fascist version, emerges as one of the available offers, conveying an anti-corruption discourse through which other demands are made visible, from those that proclaim the defense of the traditional family against the State, anti-indigenous racism, criticism of the guaranteeism and human rights policy, the “gender ideology” and sexual diversity, even those that even enable the defense of the military dictatorship or the justification of torture.

Thus, it is possible that we are entering an extraordinary time, in which the cognitive liberation of the crowds and the awareness of the damage move “the tectonic plates of the transition”, but certainly, in such an ideologically rarefied context, much more as a result of the pandemic of covid-19, we do not know what transition we are heading towards.

close answer

ANDIn the first place, I would like to point out that my vision of the contradictions, dominations and resistance in Latin America is a cosmopolitan perspective within a space of cultural affinity, topics on which I have been working with Breno Bringel for more than ten years (Cairo and Bringel, 2010a and 2010b; 2019). I believe that social outbursts cannot be interpreted without reference to the structural conditions of the region. In general terms, not specifically in Latin America, social unrest is positively correlated with unemployment, according to the report on World employment and social prospects of 2019 prepared by the oit (2019), although it is not the only factor, far from it, and it even behaves differently according to each country. Said report states for Latin America that there are no prospects for improvements in the labor market proportional to the strong economic recovery, which is aggravated in the region by the high rate of informal employment (from around 30% in Chile, Uruguay or Costa Rica up to about 90% in Bolivia, El Salvador or Guatemala), which is associated with multidimensional poverty. A good part of the social outbursts are related to these economic situations and / or to measures that cause a negative economic impact on the working classes (the “package” of Iván Duque in Colombia or the “30-peso revolution” in Piñera's Chile ). But there are also other demands for political reforms that cannot be postponed (Chile, Haiti, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico ...) and / or support for political processes that benefit the entire community (the continuation of the Peace Accords in Colombia, for example).

The indices of social unrest prepared to guide investments, for example that of Verisk Maplecroft, show that all the countries in the region were at least at high risk at the beginning of 2020, except Argentina, Panama and Cuba, which would be at risk. medium, but the risk would be extreme in Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela and Honduras. The pandemic of covid-19 would put Chile, Brazil and Ecuador in the worst perspective (Blanco, Schiaffino and Machado, 2020) due to the economic crisis, the anticipation of drastic reductions in social spending and the potential collapse of the health system. It is no coincidence that the governments of the three countries have tried to dismantle the social and political advances of previous progressive regimes, and now face a more uncertain future than in 2019.

On the other hand, I believe that we cannot include the reactionary mass movements that supported the coups, "soft" or "hard", in countries like Brazil and Bolivia - which have given rise to the governments of the populist-nationalist right - in the same category than the aforementioned struggles for a better quality of life. It is as futile an intellectually — but politically very useful — task as identifying the communist and fascist movements of the 1930s as "anti-democratic" movements. The social class to which the activists belong and the political objectives of the outbreak matter, and it is not advisable to put them all in the same bag, because they respond to very different contexts and objectives, in particular when it comes to neoliberalism and capitalism.

Finally, regarding the character of the social outbreaks induced by the aggressions of the dominant classes in the economic field, I believe that they are oriented against inequality and social injustice, but they have, above all, an anti-neoliberal character; They try to oppose the worsening of their living conditions. Despite the efforts of activists and intellectuals to place them on another plane of struggle, it is difficult to find a radically anti-capitalist project in the outbreaks (perhaps because these projects cannot originate only from street action). The majority of the population, in the opinion of polls and political barometers, still only seeks to improve their quality of life, to be able to live with dignity and to access good public social services.

close answer

It is important to begin with discussing the character of social outbursts. A bang is something that erupts with a roar and causes an extraordinary noise. I would say that they are cries of challenge, which resonate throughout society in these times of widespread discredit of political systems. They are massive and usually mark a before and after, since one can support them or not, but not remain indifferent. The notion of outbreak –as well as other similar but different ones, such as uprising, revolt, rebellion, mutiny or insurgency– contributes, therefore, to capture the collective uprising against the status quo and the instituted powers.

Taking into account the heterogeneity of cases, demands and subjects, it is not easy to capture the meaning of the outbursts. Some are mainly signs of exhaustion against the governments and / or some specific measure and have a more destitutive character, without greater continuity after the initial mobilizations, whether or not they achieve their objectives. Others, such as the Chilean one, which began in 2019, put the system as a whole in check, going beyond the initial events and conflicts to consider a broader change in the social, political and economic configuration. In these cases, the capacity to interpellate is much more powerful, generating an instituting and even constituent movement.

It is important then to distinguish between the moment of the outbreak and the process in which it is immersed or may unleash. To do this, we have to associate the event itself (the cycle of protests) with broader temporalities, be they political or economic cycles. Only in this way will we be able to capture the senses that guide the protests, but also their sedimentation, appropriations and possible impacts, which are not only political-institutional and visible, but also, many times, cultural and underground.

Be that as it may, all recent outbreaks in the region were caught off guard by the pandemic. This also happened in other parts of the world, with emblematic cases such as the democratic protests in Hong Kong. Faced with this context, we begin to see an intense creativity of social movements to face the new scenario. On the one hand, seeking that the construction of a process of social protest and political alternatives does not decline, even if the mobilization cannot take place in the same way in the streets. On the other, trying to find answers to the health crisis, but also to the other crises (political, eco-social and civilizational) that it exacerbates. Thus, a more immediate dimension of survival is combined with the search for broader paradigms and horizons of transformation.

close answer

Resistances that social outbreaks inherit, regarding the coloniality of power and its racist and patriarchal implications. What horizons of meaning do indigenous, Afro-descendant, socio-environmental or feminist social movements confront?

The second question is more incisive, because it wants to find the meaning of the social outbreaks described above and specifically asks about the role of indigenous, Afro-descendant, feminist and socio-environmental social movements.

Starting with the former, it may be important that we have a good understanding of the context in which indigenous or Afro-descendant movements have to act. A good part of the native and Afro-American populations still do not identify themselves as such in the censuses, which means that the coloniality of power is still absolutely in force and the racial classification continues to operate, no longer in legal terms, but in practice, and camouflaging himself - even if only for himself - as mestizo or white is still an option. The denunciation of the coloniality of power is further complicated by a certain intellectual tendency to displace the contradiction (structural racism) within Latin American societies at a global level, reducing it to imperiality (Cairo, 2009) and thus legitimizing political action of the Creole bourgeoisie. It is obvious that formal or informal imperialist interventions are an intrinsic part of capitalism, but what Aníbal Quijano (1991) pointed out is precisely that, even if political ties were suppressed - as happened after independence at the beginning of the century xix-, the social forms that had been built endured hand in hand with the national ruling classes.

With regard to feminist, anti-patriarchal movements, the centrality of their struggles in the task of social transformation is already undeniable. In Latin America (and in many other regions of the world) they have become, along with the movements lgbti, at the center of the anger and the attacks of the groups of the populist-nationalist right, which here show their reactionary character, hand in hand with the ultraconservative Christian groups that encourage a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. But there is no going back in the conquests, nor in the role they play in the whole.

Bringel (2020) speaks of a “new return” of places in social resistance in times of coronavirus, without this implying that deglobalization takes place. The struggles with an anti-extractivist emphasis are a good example of this fact, they develop more slowly, but unstoppably, especially in those cases in which the environmental damage of the projects is questioned, without distinguishing whether the proposals come from conservative or progressive governments. and without transcending other areas, such as, for example, the organization of the economic system. These approaches, which we can qualify as more pragmatic, allow the development of alliances with local actors, particularly indigenous people, which enable democratic triumphs against extractivism, as in the case of the popular consultation against mining in March 2019 in the Girón canton (Azuay, Ecuador).

But the return of places does not prevent the regional dimension from being maintained as one of the key scales to overcome the present state of affairs. The recent presentation of the Ecosocial Pact of the South, Latin America and Caribbean (2020) for social, gender, ethnic and ecological justice is a good example of how activists and intellectuals are clear about the need to address the issue in regional terms and not only nationals. The struggle of the progressive Latin American governments for autonomous regional integration was not merely formal: one of the first measures of the neoliberal governments that have succeeded them has been to get out of autonomous schemes, and even to abolish, as far as possible, the institutions created.

I would like to end this answer with a reflection on the importance of the wave of social outbursts, largely horizontal, continuous and constant, but which do not cease to exhaust themselves. Nathan Heller (2017), in a relatively recent bibliographic essay, posed well the contradictions of the new street protests, effectively constructed through mobile phones and social networks, but which do not radically change the course of things: are the protests productive in political terms or remain only a theatrical expression of individual feelings? The politics in the street does not seem to have the effectiveness that we can continue to observe in the politics made from the parliaments. It may be a good time to find a new balance in particularly difficult terrain.

close answer

The community-territorial struggles and social movements have denounced for several decades that ecosystem imbalances - caused by a destructive model of development based on permanent economic growth, on the speed of capitalist globalization, and on unbridled consumption - would lead us not only to a global deterioration that would lead to many risks to health and life, but also to an accelerated route to collapse. This diagnosis, however, becomes more visible during the pandemic and begins to be appropriated by other urban and rural struggles.

Along these lines, it is very interesting to observe how in several of the outbreaks of 2019 there was a confluence between historical subjects of our region (peasants, trade unions and indigenous people) with youth, feminist and environmental movements, which bring new breath. On the one hand, we cannot deny the existence of tensions in terms of practices, languages and horizons. On the other, there are also feedback and collective constructions under concrete proposals for a different world that come from the struggles of the last decades and now gain a lot of centrality.

In terms of paradigms of social change, I would mainly highlight the care agenda led by feminist movements; food sovereignty cultivated mainly by peasant movements; socio-environmental justice and tax energy sovereignty, above all, of environmental movements; and also good living, driven by indigenous movements. These constructions are no longer typical of a single movement or of a subject, but have spread and transversalized, shaping the struggles of the present with the aim of seeking alternatives to capitalism and the dominant power model.

close answer

In my answer I would like to point to the new horizons of meaning. Contrary to what is affirmed due to ignorance, indifference or bad faith, it is not true that there are no other paradigms or alternative proposals to the dominant extractivist and patriarchal model. Debates of this type have been held for years both in the global South and in the North, which aim to reformulate the links between politics and society, nature and culture, in the context of the current crisis.

Among these approaches, I would highlight two, deeply anchored in the struggles in Latin America: on the one hand, the post-development narrative around the rights of nature; on the other hand, the ecofeminist key or popular feminisms. Both have in common the valuation of a relational paradigm that emphasizes interdependence and the sustainability of life. These languages built from below constitute the inescapable starting points in the process of building a democratic conviviality, of other ways of inhabiting the earth.

More recently, with all the human and social drama brought by the covid-19, the crisis and the collapse opened an opportunity from which to dispute meanings and horizons of transformation. In this line, different global and national proposals began to circulate, which in the South adopted the name of Ecosocial and Economic Pacts, and in the North, Green New Deal. The main thing is that it is not exclusively about “green” proposals, but about comprehensive agendas that articulate social justice with ecological justice, ethnic and gender justice.

In Latin America the Ecosocial, economic and intercultural Pact (2020)2 It was launched in June 2020 and signed by more than 2,000 intellectuals, activists and social organizations. Far from being an abstract proposal, the transformation agenda that it proposes reflects the accumulation of struggles, the processes of re-existence and the concepts-horizons that have been forged in recent decades in the global South and in Latin America in particular, such as such as Rights of Nature, Good Living, Just Transition, Paradigm of Care, Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, Posextractivisms, Alternatives to Development, Autonomies, among others.

close answer

How is it that the COVID-19 pandemic modifies conservative or transformative devices, discourses and practices, already present before the social outbreak? Do liberating practices emerge, or do reproductive conformist practices predominate - many of them of religious origin - opposed to the communal democratic social transformation that prefigure social resistance?

The pandemic has made visible and reinforced the best and worst of our societies. On the one hand, struggles to defend the public and common, support networks, solidarity initiatives, dynamics of recomunalization of social life and diverse territorial and anti-capitalist experiences were expanded. But, on the other hand, egoism and utilitarianism, racism, machismo, social control, permanent social and state surveillance and the politics of fear have also proliferated.

That means that there is no one-size-fits-all meaning and that the pandemic is both an opportunity and a threat. The dispute of meanings about the world to come is ongoing and intense, although asymmetrical, as always. I visualize three main scenarios that have to do with the geopolitics of power and resistance in these times of covid-19.

The first of these would be that of predatory developmentalism and business as usual, which seeks new market niches and the commodification of nature in the crisis. Its implementation would imply a strengthening of militarized globalization, the biopolitics of authoritarian neoliberalism and a model of plunder that would predictably lead to catastrophic scenarios, including more wars, food crises, forced displacement and the deepening of the eco-social crisis. The “return to normality” discourse is a tribute to this type of scenario and is based on the anguish of a large part of the population to recover their sociability and / or their work.

The second one, which is gaining more and more strength, is that of the "green economy". This is a series of very diverse proposals that range from the commitment to a Green New Deal to new coexistence between capital accumulation and environmental imaginary, which go along the lines of adapting capitalism to a “cleaner” model, although not necessarily more socially just. It is still difficult to predict the directions of this scenario which, although it may contain environmental degradation in some places, it may also deepen North / South inequalities, the financialization of nature and environmental racism.

Finally, we also have a third scenario based on proposals for a paradigm shift towards a new economic and eco-social matrix. They are diverse transition scenarios proposed by territorial struggles, social movements and various anti-capitalist sectors that build agroecology, food sovereignty, climate justice and defend the rights of nature and the right to life. Although it has a global deployment, the importance of Latin America is fundamental here and perhaps the most decisive element for it to advance is the ability to articulate territorialized resistance with broad political platforms of regional connection and political incidence.

close answer

It is necessary to read the devices and discourses of patriarchal domination from a procedural approach. Let us bear in mind that progressive Latin American populisms fed a dynamic of political-ideological polarization. What at the beginning was considered as a more or less frequent simplifying mechanism of politics (the configuration of binary schemes), in a certain field of conflict and interaction, by becoming more or less permanent, would gradually become a framework of general intelligibility of politics and society. The polarization not only involved different social actors and political groups that cross and make up the conflict field, but it would also acquire a more ontological than political significance, by generating opposing identities that are conceived as irreconcilable and irreducible. Consequently, it must be recognized that not only progressive populisms forge chains of equivalence 3 in the heat of virulent confrontations, but also the political, economic and media opposition that occupies the public space, elaborating repertoires of collective action, mobilizing different demands, constituting and redefining identities.

A large part of the progressive governments of the region were trapped in this polarizing dynamic that opened up new political opportunities for their opponents, legitimizing other discourses and political-social positions, that is, installing new social borders that tend to reconfigure our perception of the facts already establish new consensus. The Brazilian sociologist Breno Bringel (Bringel and José Domingues, 2018) develops a processual approach similar to the one I propose, through the concept of “fields of action”, which he defines as “socio-political and cultural configurations, which express societal orders in which the actors interact with each other and with other fields ”, which include not only social movements, but political parties and other groups in dispute. This conceptualization proposes going beyond the notion of rebellious socio-political matrices to analyze the dynamics of social mobilization, and include right-wing and even extreme-right movements and groups in a broader field, especially in the heat of their global expansion.

For example, in Argentina there is a powerful feminist movement, which has become massive in the last five years, triggering important cultural changes, visible in the process of deconstruction of the dominant masculinity. Certainly, there was also a conservative and furiously anti-abortion reaction, a backlash. Thus, the discussion on legal abortion in 2018 divided society into two camps: on the one hand, the liberal-democratic camp and the radical-feminist camp; on the other hand, the conservative liberal camp and the reactionary-authoritarian camp. The latter developed a great capacity for mobilization, hand in hand with Pentecostal sectors and ultraconservative Catholicism, exerting open pressure on national legislators to reject the abortion bill in the Senate. Thus, in the north of the country, where Catholicism and conservatism have deep political roots, actions began to hinder non-punishable abortions (since 1921, Argentine legislation allows abortion in cases of rape, and when there is danger to life or women's health). False “parent groups” (organized groups against abortion) also emerged to mobilize in rejection of the Comprehensive Sex Education law in schools, a norm whose progressive nature is undeniable. Finally, the most novel data was the presentation of anti-abortion candidates in the 2019 elections, both at the provincial and national levels.

Undoubtedly, all this is part of a more global phenomenon, illustrated not only by different variants of religious fundamentalism, but also by new groups of the extreme right that oppose what their leaders call “cultural Marxism” to combat both feminism ( considered as “gender ideology”) as the groups that promote sexual diversity, guaranteeism in relation to the excluded popular sectors and, of course, native peoples.

close answer

Ccertainly the covid-19 has come to paralyze most of these social outbreaks, but I understand that momentarily. In fact, the way governments such as Brazil are tackling the pandemic will not fail to encourage new and old resistance movements to the populist-nationalist right that practices an ultra-liberal economic policy.

But my impression is that in Latin America what has happened is that forms of social solidarity that we knew for a long time have been reactivated (collection and delivery of food to the needy, community care and assistance groups, etc.) organized by old actors social: community government systems, traditional authorities, neighborhood associations, unions, etc. This is the case of the reaction of the indigenous and native Bolivian authorities to the “visit” of the Khapaj Niño Coronavirus (see the wonderful text by Pedro Pachaguaya and Claudia Terrazas, 2020), or the calls for solidarity and the fight against the pandemic made by indigenous leaders in the Amazon that are collected in “Vozes da Re-Existência na pandemia” (2020) or so many and so many other examples of self-organization to face the multifaceted crisis that the pandemic has brought with it.

The role of women in all these forms of solidarity is fundamental, in particular in the reappearance of common or community pots, which once again feed multitudes impoverished by the crisis of the covid-19 as in times of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, or when the war between the Shining Path and the State in Peru, or when the economic crises in Argentina and Uruguay in 2002. There are innumerable initiatives throughout the region and it is very difficult make an estimate of the population served, but it has been a very important element in dealing with the crisis. The initiatives also incorporate new nuances, such as the pots promoted by collectives lgbt in the Houses of Peace in the Colombian Caribbean (Caribe Afirmativo, 2020). Consumer cooperatives have also grown a lot, such as the Popular Subsistence Market (mps) in Uruguay (Zibechi, 2020).

These are forms of “boring” solidarity, as Lois and González (in press) call it, of a collective nature and of little interest to the media and some intellectuals, who prefer to focus on “spectacular” social activism, such as the demolition of statues, which is possibly more comforting from an individualistic perspective, but which, as we said before, is exhausting in itself. Are they liberating practices? I think so, because they allow broad communities to escape hunger and face disease. Transformers? Of course, because they allow alleviating dependence on the employer or the State. All are forms that associate solidarity with self-management and dignity, and the least of it is knowing if they are “revolutionary” or “reformist”, the important thing is that they have transformative objectives.

close answer


Blanco, Jimena, Karla Schiaffino and Mariano Pablo Machado (2020, June 22). "Latin America in Line for Huge Surge in Civil Unrest", Verisk Maplecroft. Retrieved from, accessed August 14 2020.

Bringel, Breno (2020). "Geopolitics of the pandemic, scales of the crisis and disputed scenarios", Geopolitics (s). Journal of Studies on Space and Power, no. 11, pp. 173-187.

Bringel Breno and José Mauricio Domingues (2018). Brazil. Change of era: crisis, protests and political cycles. Madrid: The Books of the Waterfall.

Cairo, Heriberto (2009). "Coloniality and imperiality in the world-system." South wind, no. 100, pp. 65-74.

Cairo, Heriberto and Breno Bringel (2010). "Articulations of the global South: cultural affinity, solidarity internationalism and Ibero-America in counter-hegemonic globalization", Geopolitics (s). Journal of Studies on Space and Power, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 41-63.

Cairo, Heriberto and Breno Bringel (2019). Critical Geopolitics and Regional (Re) Configurations: Interregionalism and Transnationalism Between Latin America and Europe. Abingdon: Routledge.

Affirmative Caribbean (2020, June 2). "Community pots: A bet on reconciliation in the midst of covid-19". Retrieved from, accessed on August 14, 2020.

García Montes, Néstor (2013). "Theoretical approach to the study of collective action of protest and social movements", Cimas Network. Retrieved from, accessed August 14, 2020.

Heller, Nathan (2017, August 21) “Is There Any Point to Protesting?”, The New Yorker. Retrieved from, accessed August 14, 2020.

Lois, María, and Silvia González Iturraspe (in press). "Only the people save the people: mutual support, solidarity and neighborhood networks in Madrid", in Paulo R. Baqueiro Brandão and Cláudio J. Moura de Castilho (ed.), Trends, perspectives and challenges in the non-context of post-covid-19. O Sul Global and other territories.

International Labor Organization (ilo) (2019). World Employment and Social Outlook - Trends 2019. Geneva: oit.

Pachaguaya Yujra, Pedro, and C. Terrazas Sosa (2020). An individual quarantine for a collective society: The arrival and dispatch of the Khapaj Niño Coronavirus to Bolivia. La Paz: Departmental Association of Anthropologists of La Paz / Research and Action Institute for Integral Development (iiadi).

Ecosocial Pact of the South, Latin America and the Caribbean (2020). Ecosocial Pact of the South, Latin America and the Caribbean. Retrieved from, accessed on August 14, 2020.

Quijano, Aníbal (1991). "Coloniality and modernity / rationality", in Indigenous Peru, vol.13, no. 29.

Svampa, Maristella and Enrique Viale (2020). “Ecosocial and Economic Justice. Our Green New Deal ”, Amphibian Magazine. Retrieved from, accessed August 14, 2020.

Vozes da Re-Existencia na Pandemia (2020). Vozes of Re-Existence in the Pandemic. Manaus and Sao Paulo: Observatório da Violência de Gênero no Amazonas / ufam and cpas-1 / usp. Retrieved from, accessed August 14, 2020.

Zibechi, Raúl (2020, June 5). "Movements in the pandemic: self-management of food and life", The jump. Retrieved from, accessed on August 14, 2020.

Jaime Preciado is a doctor in Latin American Studies, Institute of High Latin American Studies, University of Paris iii. Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the National System of Researchers level iii. Field of specialty: geopolitics of development, globalization and Latin American integration; democracy, geography of power and electoral processes. Around his research topics, he has published seven books of personal authorship and participated in innumerable national and international collective publications. Coordinator of the Doctorate in Political Science, cucsh, University of Guadalajara. Co-editor of the magazine Spiral. State and Society Studies (1994 to date). President of the Latin American Sociological Association (2007-2009).

Maristella Svampa She is a sociologist and writer. Live in Buenos Aires. Senior Researcher at Conicet, tenured professor at the National University of La Plata. He received the Platinum Konex Prize in Sociology (2016) and the National Prize for Sociological Essay (2018). She defines herself as an amphibian intellectual and a Patagonian who thinks in a Latin American way. His themes are the socio-ecological crisis, social movements and social theory. He has written numerous essays and novels. His latest books include Farm 51. Return to Patagonia in the times of fracking (2018) and The frontiers of neo-extractivism in Latin America (2018), published in Spanish, English, Portuguese and German, and recently The ecological collapse has already arrived. A compass to get out of (bad) development (together with Enrique Viale, September 2020).

Heriberto Cairo He is a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology of the Complutense University of Madrid, of which he has been Dean. He has been a visiting professor at several Spanish and foreign universities. He is the founding director of the magazine Geopolitics (s), edited by ucm. He develops his research in the field of political geography, with special emphasis on the study of the geopolitics of war and peace, political identities and territorial ideologies and borders. Its regional areas of expertise are Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. He was Chairman of the Research Committee 15 “Political and Cultural Geography” of the International Political Science Association. Co-founder of Trama Editorial, dedicated to publishing texts related to geopolitics and political geography (

Breno Bringel is a professor at the Institute of Social and Political Studies of the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (iesp-uerj), where he coordinated the Doctoral Program in Sociology. He has published extensively on his lines of research: social movements, transnational activism and Latin American thought. Active member of the International Sociological Association, where he was President of the Research Committee "Social Classes and Social Movements" (isa rc-47). Editor of Open Movements, publication that is part of Open Democracy ( His most recent publication is Critical Geopolitics and Regional (Re) Configurations (Routledge, 2019). He is currently a member of the steering committee of the Latin American Sociological Association (at).

Inline Feedbacks
See all comments


ISSN: 2594-2999.

Unless expressly mentioned, all content on this site is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Download legal provisions complete

EncartesVol. 4, No. 8, September 2021-February 2022, is an open access digital academic journal published biannually by the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, Calle Juárez, No. 87, Col. Tlalpan, C. P. 14000, México, D. F., Apdo. Postal 22-048, Tel. 54 87 35 70, Fax 56 55 55 76, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, A. C.., Carretera Escénica Tijuana-Ensenada km 18.5, San Antonio del Mar, No. 22560, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Tel. +52 (664) 631 6344, and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, A.C., Periférico Sur Manuel Gómez Morin, No. 8585, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Tel. (33) 3669 3434. Contact: Director of the journal: Ángela Renée de la Torre Castellanos. Hosted at Responsible for the last update of this issue: Arthur Temporal Ventura. Date last modified: September 29, 2021.