yourfriendlycomrade

nextyearsgirl:

ohhitumblr:

nyulocal:

zoeschlanger:

Oy vey this guy.

Can’t take back the hashtag, bro. #truth

Wooooooow what a scumbag

Not shocked he’s an evolutionary psychologist.

Evolutionary psychology is make-believe non-science that serves to support the status quo for all things problematic like: sexism, racism, gender roles, fat-hate & more!

It takes features of our current oppressive culture and comes up with somewhat-plausible (although completely improbable) explanations for why those social features are a result of evolution. It explains such phenomena as why men cheat & impulsively rape, why women are submissive,etc. These comments are a PERFECT example of the type of thinking that comes out of this bizarre field.

This man should be forcibly removed from teaching at any University (although he may be eligible for a segment on the O’Reilly factor). 

Please get on twitter & tweet him AND NYU (& contact them in various other ways as well) suggesting as much. If you see or know this man in person, please tell him how you feel. He needs to know. 

Racist anthropologist publishes more problematic racist nonsense; other anthropologists outraged
March 3, 2013

It became one of the fiercest scientific arguments in recent times: are the Yanomami Indians of the Amazon rainforest a symbol of how to live in peace and harmony with nature or remnants of humanity’s brutal early history?

Now a debate that has divided anthropologists, journalists, human rights campaigners and even governments has been given a fresh burst of life by the publication of a lengthy memoir by outspoken US anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon.

Chagnon has spent decades studying and living with the Yanomami (also known as the Yanomamö) and wrote the best-selling – and hugely controversial – Yanomamö: The Fierce People. In that book, which came out in 1968, he portrayed the 20,000-strong tribe, who live in isolated jungle homelands in Venezuela and Brazil, as a warlike group whose members fought and battled each other in near-constant duels and raids. He described Yanomami communities as prone to violence, with warriors who killed rivals far more likely to win wives and produce children.

His analysis was criticised as a reductive presentation of human behaviour, seen as primarily driven by a desire to mate and eliminate rivals. Opponents of that view believed the Yanomami were still pursuing a lifestyle dating from mankind’s early past, when people lived mostly peacefully in smaller communities, free from modern sources of stress and far more in equilibrium with their surroundings.

Chagnon’s new 500-page book, Noble Savages, is set to reignite the argument. In it he launches an impassioned defence both of his work and life among the Yanomami and an equally spirited attack on his critics and fellow scientists. The book’s subtitle perhaps sums up his attitude to both groups: “My life among two dangerous tribes – the Yanomamö and the anthropologists.”

Chagnon describes life in the rainforest spent constructing villages, hunting for food, and, as shamans take powerful hallucinogens, bloody raids on rival groups. “The most inexplicable thing to me in all of this was that they were fighting over women… I anticipated scepticism when I reported this after I returned to my university,” he wrote. He was not wrong. His research created a huge storm and accusations that it allowed Amazonian tribes to be depicted by governments and outside interests as bloodthirsty savages who deserved to lose their land to the developers.

Chagnon defends himself from that charge, using much of the book to attack fellow scientists’ conclusions and saying that too many anthropologists are ignoring the pursuit of pure research in favour of becoming activists for the civil rights of their subjects.

"In the past 20 or so years the field of cultural anthropology in the United States has come precipitously close to abandoning the very notion of science,” he writes.

But Noble Savages has prompted a fresh wave of attacks on Chagnon. Last week a group of prominent anthropologists who have worked with the Yanomami issued a joint statement.

"We absolutely disagree with Napoleon Chagnon’s public characterisation of the Yanomamö as a fierce, violent and archaic people," they said. "We also deplore how Chagnon’s work has been used throughout the years – and could still be used – by governments to deny the Yanomamö their land and cultural rights."

One of the signatories, Professor Gale Goodwin Gomez of Rhode Island College, who has also spent several decades studying the tribe, told theObserver she was dismayed that Chagnon had published a new book. “This is just another attempt to grab attention. I have lived in Yanomamö villages and have never needed a weapon,” she said.

Human rights organisation Survival International, which campaigns on behalf of indigenous peoples, has also attacked Chagnon. “Chagnon’s work is frequently used by writers… who want to portray tribal peoples as ‘brutal savages’ far more violent than ‘us’,” said Survival’s director, Stephen Corry.

The group also published a statement from Davi Kopenawa, spokesman for a Yanomami group in Brazil, that was critical of Chagnon’s core conclusions. “For us, we Yanomamö who live in the forest, the anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon is not our friend. He does not say good things, he doesn’t transmit good words. He talks about the Yanomamö but his words are only hostile,” he said.

Source

I hate that this is even framed as a debate. Publishers should be more responsible with the work they publish; there’s no excuse for racist anthropologists. 

randomactsofchaos

it is so unbelievably fucked up that capitalists have altered the perception of our own humanity so profoundly that injustice and exploitation is justified as “human nature”

I think about this all the time. Like, that definitely isn’t my nature. The ‘human-nature’ argument is so bizarre and off-the-rails, and simultaneously insulated/isolated from any cultural context outside of our present historical/cultural moment. 

Anthropology courses should be mandatory learning, just so people can stop saying this. Once more people can spout off a dozen or so cultures that defy this ‘human nature is to do evil shit and so that’s why I won’t bother not being a bad person’ argument, I think we’ll be making some real progress.

Every time I hear a libertarian or ‘anarcho-capitalist’ or whatever nonsense start to say…”but it’s human nature”:

Who are the Tuareg? Background amid conflict in Northern Mali
February 19, 2013

FOR COSMOPOLITAN music lovers, the Tuareg people burst onto the scene in 2001 when their most prominent musical group, Tinariwen, kicked off an internationally acclaimed music festival outside of Timbuktu in the Malian desert. Ten years later, after playing over 700 shows in the U.S. and Europe, Tinariwen won a Grammy for “Best Foreign Language Album.”

But Tinariwen has an important history that dates back before 2001. Its members were part of the Tuareg resistance to the Malian government up until the 1990s. Most grew up in refugee camps after theishumar generation was forced out of the traditional Tuareg lifestyle by government action.

They became critical of their ancestors’ strict social hierarchies. But as Tinariwen became an international sensation, its members donned traditional Tuareg dress and helped to recreate images of a romanticized past.

With the crisis in northern Mali and the French government’s military intervention in its former colony, the Tuareg have become a focus of attention in the West in a new way. In both the mainstream press and in United Nations resolutions, they have been wrongly conflated with Islamic jihadists, while their legitimate grievances against the Malian government have been ignored.

A court in the Malian capital of Bamako issued arrest warrants last week for Tuareg leaders from both the Mouvement National de Liberation de L’Azawad (MNLA), the most prominent political Tuareg group, and Ansar Dine, an Islamist group, imported into northern Mali from Southeast Asia, with a particularly evangelical and sectarian Salafist history. These two groups are completely different in aim, origin and strategy, but the Malian state paints them with one brush.

The UN has already ducked the pressing economic and political questions facing residents of northern Mali by denouncing the right of the Tuareg to independence. France can’t be allowed to claim that military intervention is the solution to the “problem” in Mali—while it ignores the dire economic conditions at the roots of the discontent among the Tuareg.

THE TUAREG speak Tamasheq, part of the Berber language group. They are a majority Muslim group of a million-and-a-half people living in Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya and Burkina Faso. Historically nomadic and pastoralist, the Tuareg dominated the vast desert areas of these countries.

Now, because of a series of droughts in the Sahara, forced sedentariztion, restrictive land policies of the Malian state and state repression, they have become a migrant workforce in northern Africa. Some still practice pastoralism, but many more rely on urban jobs, remittances and state aid. Before the fall of the Muammar al-Qaddafi and his regime in Libya last year, some found employment in the Libyan state machine, including its military and security services.

Since military control of the Tuareg was never feasible because of the problems of desert combat, the Tuareg maintained a great deal of autonomy. They were exempted from mandatory military service and didn’t pay taxes. The colonial masters effectively allowed the practice of slavery to continue among the Tuareg.

For this reason, sub-Saharan Malians in the South resented the privileged position that the Tuareg were afforded by the colonial state. According to the historian Baz Lecocq, most of the Tuareg view French colonialism as a better alternative to administration by the central Malian government since independence.

The Tuareg are the dominant ethnic group in the desert and in Kidal, but are a minority even in the two biggest Northern cities of Mali, Timbuktu and Gao. Although they make up less than 10 percent of the Malian population, the nomads have had a disproportionate impact on the fortunes of the Malian state since its founding in 1960. (details in full article – link @the bottom of this page)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

TO CATEGORIZE a group of nomads as a “nation” may or may not be appropriate. It is an especially complicated question in post-colonial Africa, where colonial meddling in territorial boundaries forever changed power relations between indigenous groups.

Nevertheless, the Tuareg share a language and a history, and see themselves as a coherent group. They are unquestionably oppressed by the Malian state. Between 1964 and 1967, they were subjected to a fierce campaign of forced sedentarization, away from their traditional nomadic lifestyle. In the tradition of the colonial masters, the Malian state continued to appoint Tuareg chiefs and leaders, overturning democratic choices made by Tuareg clans. The use of Tamasheq was forbidden in schools.

During the Tuareg rebellions of 1962-63 and 1990-94, the Malian army meted out brutal collective punishment. It was accused of poisoning wells and mass killings of both civilians and livestock. The Malian state declared certain desert areas “forbidden zones” and threatened to shoot anyone in those areas—a particularly damning policy against a people who depend on grazing livestock.

The Tuareg have always claimed a right to self-determination in the Azawad, the desert region of Mali, Niger, Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. If part of this right rests on the claim that they have historically dominated the area, though, then that claim is complicated by the question of slavery.

The Tuareg practiced certain forms of slavery—very different, it should be noted, than chattel slavery in the New World—until Malian independence. Noble Tuareg families kept house slaves (“iklan”) and demanded tribute from “slave” agricultural villages. Historically, they had also been involved in trafficking slaves across North Africa. One element that spurred the Tuareg to rebel in 1962 was their desire to control their social hierarchies (and slaves) without intervention by the state in Bamako—which, unlike the French, undertook a serious effort to end unfree labor.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THERE ARE at least four forces fighting in northern Mali.

Beginning in November 2011, a series of high-profile kidnappings of Westerners took place in northern Mali. These kidnappings were either carried out by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) or by forces affiliated with the Algerian secret service. (Anthropologist and United Nations consultant Jeremy Keenan believes Algerian forces have quite likely participated in high-profile kidnappings in the Sahara since 2003.)

Then in January 2012, probably emboldened by a new flow of arms to the region after Qaddafi’s downfall, Tuareg fighers began a series of skirmishes with the Malian military. Their chief aim was seemingly to wrest economic concessions from the state.

Into the fray jumped the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). These two jihadist groups have been joined by Ansar Dine, which is made up of ethnically Tuareg people, but should not be called a “Tuareg” group—it has its origins in Southeast Asia. After recruiting the prominent Tuareg leader Iyad ag Ghaly following the decline of the political Tuareg movement, Ansar Dine gained a significant Tuareg following. But its aims aren’t about overcoming the historic oppression of the Tuareg people, but rather a larger agenda of gaining dominance for Salafist Islam.

The total number of fighters between the three Islamist groups is probably about 2,000 people. The MNLA, the largest political Tuareg group, is now staunchly in opposition to these groups.

The Tuareg, like any other “nation,” is not a uniform group. Since the first uprising in 1962, it has been divided into factions—some want to take the claim of “self-determination” to its logical conclusion of political secession by any means necessary, and others want some type of autonomy, gained through negotiations with Malian state.

The latter forces won out. The MNLA that is dominant today claims the mantle of the Mouvement Frente Unite de l’Azawad, one of the most important groups that negotiated peace with the Malian government in 1996.

In 1996, the Bourem Pact ended the second Tuareg uprising. The Malian state, with the support of the international community, both states and NGOs, devoted some $9 million for a Disarm, Demobilize, Reintegrate (DDR) program that provided cash for weapons to the rebels, credits for small businesses and increased funding in infrastructure. Schools and health care centers were built, and an additional $150 million was pledged for reconstruction. The city of Kidal got electricity for the first time in 1996.

In return for their agreement to lay down arms, Tuareg administrators gained greater powers of self-governance. In addition to the DDR program and investment in infrastructure, several thousand Tuareg fighters chose to integrate into the Malian army. In exchange for giving up the armed resistance, the Malian army took them in as soldiers and paid them a regular salary.

With this history no doubt in mind, the MNLA today is fighting, in practical terms, for more economic aid and an end to state repression. In an obscure part of its website and in French, there is a demand for “sovereignty” and “self-determination.” But in a document called “The renewal of the Armed Struggle in the Azawad,” intended for an international audience, the MNLA emphasizes more pragmatic and practical demands: dialogue with the Malian state, an end to military killings and the intervention of the “international community.”

It is this “pragmatism” which has led the MNLA to accept French military intervention in northern Mali. According to Canadian socialist Roger Annis, the MNLA “entered into talks with the Mali regime in December for autonomy in the northern region. A January 13 statement on the group’s website acquiesces to the French intervention, but says it should not allow troops of the Mali army to pass beyond the border demarcation line declared in April of last year.”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THE TUAREG question is an international one. More Tuareg live in neighboring Niger than in Mali, and there, too, they have organized a movement against state repression—their most recent uprising ended in 2009.

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said, “The threats in Mali constitute a domestic security problem for Niger”—and sent 500 soldiers to the international peacekeeping force in Mali, imploring the international force to disarm the MNLA. The Niger government signed a deal with the U.S. to host a base for surveillance drones.

Niger, like Mali in the period before the latest crisis, had adopted a strategy of trying to assimilate the Tuareg, integrate them into the state (a Tuareg was appointed Prime Minister in 2011) and grant limited economic concessions. Large uranium mines in Niger represent huge potential profits for French companies, as well as geopolitical power. Thus, France and Niger’s ruling elite both want stability.

Despite incredible mineral wealth, Niger’s gross domestic product per capita is around $374, according the World Bank. Mali’s is around $669, despite huge gold reserves.

So while it is right in a sense to talk about a “nationalist insurgency,” it is important to note that Tuareg poverty is, more than anything else, the driving impulse for a people who have learned that armed struggle works in wresting economic concessions from the state.

This is important to recognize because Western governments and the UN have spent a lot of time “rejecting” the Tuareg’s right to self-determination. In July 2012, UN resolution 2056 stated, “reiterating its categorical rejection of statements made by the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) regarding the so-called ‘independence’ of northern Mali, and further reiterating that it considers such announcements null and void.”

By pretending that the Tuareg are simply focused on the creation of a separate state, Western governments can ignore their more immediate demands. They can ignore the real crisis—that 400,000 northern Malians have been displaced from their homes.

Source/Full Article (parts were removed for reduced Tumblr sizing)

A liberatory education isn’t really just an education for the oppressed or the working class or people of color. It’s a form of education that is humanizing and liberatory for everyone involved…[it’s] a way of life. It’s a form of culture and politics that engages the entire community in processes of learning and transformation and with an openness always toward making life better, never thinking that we can get it all right or get it all done… If we can wake up to [our capacity to produce knowledge, culture, and history] and begin to become intentional and insert ourselves in history intentionally, then we can transform ourselves and transform the world.

Many people want to reform education. Paulo Freire sought to revolutionize it; he wanted to put learning in the service of liberation and social justice. The Brazilian educator and thinker laid out many of his ideas and strategies in the classic volume Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Source

Going beyond the Western gender binary - unlearning our backward cultural conditioning 

In Western colonial society (which dominates many aspects of the globalized, capitalist world today) we operate under the presumption that there are only two genders, male and female. But gender is a social construction. One’s options for what gender they identify with are shaped by the culture they are born into. Biological factors are most-often the primary driving forces that choose among the available socially-constructed gender categories.

Cultures around the world have different ways of talking about, thinking about, and identifying gender. It’s often a challenge for (particularly cis-sexual) Westerns to think about other ways gender can be socially constructed. Westerns have the false equivalency of gender and sex drilled into their eternal psyche from the time they are very young, and re-enforced through examples in popular culture. There is no biological reality to gender. Many Westerners have the bizarre belief that one’s XY-sex-determination should also inform one’s gender identity, a socially constructed role in society.

In some cultures, there is no distinction made between gender and sexual orientation and the same can be said for sexual orientation - our culture socially-constructs the options and our biology helps us identify which socially-constructed option feels most ‘right’ and best resonates with us.

I’ve attached some photos to offer some examples of non-colonial, non-Western construction of gender. They’ve all been uploaded onto our Facebook page photostream in case you’d like to ‘like’ or ‘share’ them there. There are literally hundreds of ‘third-gender’ identifying peoples around the world. The eight I’ve chosen are mostly examples I remember from some of my anthropology courses but if you google ‘third genders’ you can find many lists and examples.

Who cares? Why it matters.

The most obvious reason to care about the way our culture has constructed gender and sexual orientation is to deepen one’s capacity for solidarity with people who identify as transgender, transsexual, and others whose gender or sexual identity exists outside of binary Western culture.

But there are other reasons as well. Western culture’s binary nature often creates non-sensical, problematic binary identity constructions that are inherently problematic. For example, I believe that Western masculinity (dominance, aggression, lack of communication, lack of emotional expression, etc) is inherently problematic. I believe that to be the reason why most acts of large-scale-violence and terror are committed by men (see: 100% of the mass school shootings in the United States), and I believe it fosters a degree of internal misery within people who heavily adopt these particular ‘masculine’ traits.

In the age of information, and the age of global connectivity, there is no longer any reason (particularly for young people) to feel isolated or restricted to Western definitions of gender, sexual orientation and identity in general. I think the social ramifications of a generation where more and more people begin to identify outside of the gender binary would be tremendous, and I think we should all consider how we can unlearn our cultural conditioning to embrace other, perhaps less exploitative and dominating identities.

Background information on the identities depicted in the above images:

Hijras
Hijras are male-body-born, feminine-gender-identifying people who live in South Asia (mostly in India & Nepal). Many Hijras live in well-defined, organized, all-Hijra communities, led by a guru.

Although many Hijras identify as Muslim, many practice a form of syncretism that draws on multiple religions; seeing themselves to be neither men nor women, Hijras practice rituals for both men and women.

Hijras belong to a special caste. They are usually devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata, Lord Shiva, or both.

Nandi female husbands
Among the Nandi in Western Kenya, one social identity option for women is to become a female husband, and thus a man in society’s eyes. Female husbands are expected to become men and take on all of the social and cultural responsibilities of a man, including finding a wife to marry and passing on property to the next generation through marriage. Female husbands may have lived their lives as women and may even be married to a man, but once she becomes a female-husband, she is expected to be a man. Women married to female-husbands may have sex with single men uninterested in commitment in order to become pregnant, but the female-husband (who is often an older woman, often a widow) will father the child of said pregnancy and treat the child like her own.

Two-spirited people
Two-Spirit is an umbrella term sometimes used for what was once commonly known as ‘berdaches’, Indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations communities. The term usually indicates a person whose body simultaneously manifests both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Male and female two-spirits have been “documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America.”

Travesti
In South America (with a large presence in Brazil), a travesti is a person who was assigned male at birth who has a feminine gender identity and is primarily sexually attracted to masculine men. Therefore, sometimes the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is not made. Travestis have been described as a third gender, but not all see themselves this way. Travestis often will begin taking female hormones and injecting silicone to enlargen their backsides as boys and continue the process into womanhood.

The work of cultural Anthropologist Don Kulick (a gay male by Western definitions) in Brazil demonstrated that gender construction in Brazil is binary (like Western gender construction), but unlike Western gender construction, instead of having a male-female binary, there is a male-notmale binary.

In this particular construction of gender:

  • Males include: men who have sex with women, men who have sex with Travestis but are never on the receiving end of anal sex, men who have sex with men but are never on the receiving end of anal sex.
  • Not-males include: women, men who receive anal sex from ‘male’ gay men or from Travestis.

Fa’afafine
Fa’afafine are the gender liminal, or third-gendered people of Samoa. A recognized and integral part of traditional Samoan culture, fa’afafine, born biologically male, embody both male and female gender traits. Their gendered behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to mundanely masculine

Waria
Waria is a traditional third general role found in modern Indonesia. Additionally, the Bugis culture of Sulawesi (one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia) has been described as having three sexes (male, female and intersex) as well as five genders with distinct social roles.

Six Genders of old Israel
In the old Kingdom of Israel (1020–931 BCE) there were six officially recognized genders:

  • Zachar: male
  • Nekeveh: female
  • Androgynos: both male and female
  • Tumtum: gender neutral/without definite gender
  • Aylonit: female-to-male transgender people
  • Saris: male-to-female transgender people (often inaccurately translated as “eunuch”)

Kathoey 
Australian scholar of sexual politics in Thailand Peter Jackson’s work indicates that the term “kathoey” was used in pre-modern times to refer to intersexual people, and that the usage changed in the middle of the twentieth century to cover cross-dressing males, to create what is now a gender identity unique to Thailand. Thailand also has three identities related to female-bodied people: Tom, Dee, and heterosexual woman.

-Robert

EDIT: So let me clearly say that in no way am I intentionally encouraging white people (or anyone else) to appropriate these identities.  Rather, I hope that this post and conversations like this will lead to an understanding of cultural diversity and other gender constructions/identities and an understanding that there is no biological reality to gender, and that gender manifests itself in many beautiful ways across many cultures.

AM encouraging people in colonial society to have a less-binary, more nuanced approach to gender that doesn’t lead to so much domination and exploitation.

I also understand that in order to talk about these things, words like ‘male-bodied’ or male are inherently western concepts. Each of these societies and cultures have other ways of talking about these identities. Although I wasn’t born in the U.S. I have spent most of my life and the entirety of my adult life in the United States. I speak no languages other than English. There are concepts that I can’t understand, that my language limits me from even talking about, and in order to communicate these ideas, I am restricted by the only language I have available to talk about these concepts with. My perspective is etic. I do not belong to the above cultures, so when I talk about these things and use the English language to describe them, I am limited in my options for describing a concept as abstract as gender. The very categories of gender and sexuality belong to the cultural lens through which I view the world and I could not possibly provide a comprehensive emic analysis of the way the things we call ‘gender and sexuality’ actually are understood (if at all) within these cultures. In that way, mine is a very limited perspective. But it is geared toward other people living in Western society and it is aimed at changing this culture, not to appropriate these others but to not be so terrible toward gender and sexual variant people in this culture and to begin to question the implications of how we define gender and sexuality both personally, and as a whole culture. 

Also, there’s some problematic stuff in the way I framed this and some of these only have one source.

-Robert

Guatemala: Indigenous village declares internet access a human right
August 03, 2012
In the indigenous village of Santiago Atitlan, Internet access has been declared “a human right” by both their inhabitants and local authorities. Authorities are also implementing a plan to provide free community Wi-Fi to the entire population so that everyone can benefit from it and exercise their rights.
The concepts of community and sharing are entrenched into the daily life of indigenous people in Guatemala. Common spaces, open doors, collaboration and sharing are the main characteristics of communities, specially among small linguistic communities such as the Mayan Tzutuhil indigenous group in the Highlands of Guatemala. As cultures evolve and adapt to the new discoveries of science and technology, indigenous cultures are embracing new technologies and adapter their use with their traditional principles. That is the case of Internet access.
The youth of Santiago Atitlan pro-actively use digital tools. Their programme I respond! and you? (Yo Respondo, y Tu?) [es] is broadcast via the Internet and local cable TV and promoted throughout social networks. There they host dialogues discussing local problems, such as recycling and other ecological issues.
The group dedicated a show to the community Wi-Fi project once the first phase was ready. During the episode, called “Internet… my human right”, Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, was invited to launch the community Wi-Fi. The Special Rapporteur congratulated the community and celebrated that Internet access is recognized as an effective tool to exercise and enforce other rights.
As described by Radio Ati, the community Wi-Fi project is a result of the joint efforts of the population and local authorities:

Tomás Chiviliú, mayor of the city, points out that one of his purposes is to bring transparency to local public information, therefore they developed a network allowing the free circulation of information between different local government offices. That led them to install all the necessary equipment and offer Internet to the entire neighbourhood. He added that it is important to guarantee access to information in general, because it is of benefit to the youth, local companies and tourism.

While Santiago Atitlan is one of the poorest villages in Central America, it is leading the way by providing communal Internet access. However, the network is password protected: the password, “I am Atitlan” (Yo soy Atitlan), seeks to strengthen local identity and remind its users that the people accessing the network are located next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Atitlan Lake. The Municipality of Santiago Atitlan is also very active on Facebook [es] and Twitter with the account @atitlanmuni [es].
Santiago Atitlan and its people are teaching the rest of us three important lessons: Internet is a rights enabler, since it makes the exercise of other rights possible, such as, the right to know; community Wi-Fi, as described by the mayor, has many benefits; and finally, new technologies are of extreme importance for indigenous cultures, as they enable indigenous youth to share their millenarian cultures with the world, spread their ideas, and invent a future without borders.  The future is now, and you can live it in the village of Santiago Atitlan.
Source
In my Virtual Anthropology class, we studied the way indigenous communities use the internet around the world. It was really interesting the way website design could create spaces on the internet that honestly reflected the culture and communities’ values. In another life, that would be an awesome thing to dedicate the next ten or so years to - design anthropology for internet spaces created for indigenous communities.
In related news, last month the U.N. affirmed that Internet freedom is a basic human right. In another twenty years, the fact that this was ever a question will be openly acknowledged as an absurdity.

Guatemala: Indigenous village declares internet access a human right

August 03, 2012

In the indigenous village of Santiago Atitlan, Internet access has been declared “a human right” by both their inhabitants and local authorities. Authorities are also implementing a plan to provide free community Wi-Fi to the entire population so that everyone can benefit from it and exercise their rights.

The concepts of community and sharing are entrenched into the daily life of indigenous people in Guatemala. Common spaces, open doors, collaboration and sharing are the main characteristics of communities, specially among small linguistic communities such as the Mayan Tzutuhil indigenous group in the Highlands of Guatemala. As cultures evolve and adapt to the new discoveries of science and technology, indigenous cultures are embracing new technologies and adapter their use with their traditional principles. That is the case of Internet access.

The youth of Santiago Atitlan pro-actively use digital tools. Their programme I respond! and you? (Yo Respondo, y Tu?) [es] is broadcast via the Internet and local cable TV and promoted throughout social networks. There they host dialogues discussing local problems, such as recycling and other ecological issues.

The group dedicated a show to the community Wi-Fi project once the first phase was ready. During the episode, called “Internet… my human right”, Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, was invited to launch the community Wi-Fi. The Special Rapporteur congratulated the community and celebrated that Internet access is recognized as an effective tool to exercise and enforce other rights.

As described by Radio Ati, the community Wi-Fi project is a result of the joint efforts of the population and local authorities:

Tomás Chiviliú, mayor of the city, points out that one of his purposes is to bring transparency to local public information, therefore they developed a network allowing the free circulation of information between different local government offices. That led them to install all the necessary equipment and offer Internet to the entire neighbourhood. He added that it is important to guarantee access to information in general, because it is of benefit to the youth, local companies and tourism.

While Santiago Atitlan is one of the poorest villages in Central America, it is leading the way by providing communal Internet access. However, the network is password protected: the password, “I am Atitlan” (Yo soy Atitlan), seeks to strengthen local identity and remind its users that the people accessing the network are located next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Atitlan Lake. The Municipality of Santiago Atitlan is also very active on Facebook [es] and Twitter with the account @atitlanmuni [es].

Santiago Atitlan and its people are teaching the rest of us three important lessons: Internet is a rights enabler, since it makes the exercise of other rights possible, such as, the right to know; community Wi-Fi, as described by the mayor, has many benefits; and finally, new technologies are of extreme importance for indigenous cultures, as they enable indigenous youth to share their millenarian cultures with the world, spread their ideas, and invent a future without borders.  The future is now, and you can live it in the village of Santiago Atitlan.

Source

In my Virtual Anthropology class, we studied the way indigenous communities use the internet around the world. It was really interesting the way website design could create spaces on the internet that honestly reflected the culture and communities’ values. In another life, that would be an awesome thing to dedicate the next ten or so years to - design anthropology for internet spaces created for indigenous communities.

In related news, last month the U.N. affirmed that Internet freedom is a basic human right. In another twenty years, the fact that this was ever a question will be openly acknowledged as an absurdity.

Climate change destroys lives of Ecuadorian village farmers
July 23, 2012
Frosts aren’t on time for the 960 people living in this tiny, remote village, hidden on a chilly, windswept mountain ridge in South America.
A minor problem? Maybe for some. But in the Andean community, 8,800 feet above sea level, frosts - and their impact on crop cycles - are kind of a big deal.
In this agricultural community, crops are planted during the full moon, a tradition meant to help ensure a full harvest. But these days, the harvests aren’t as full.
Village residents say it’s the mark of climate change descending upon the Ayaloman people.
"In Ecuador, we’ve really experienced a sudden change in our climate," said Ana Loja, a professor at the University of Cuenca, in the Andes of southern Ecuador. "We cannot say, ‘Maybe this is not happening,’ but I think everyone is aware it is a real problem."
Ecuador isn’t alone. Since the early 20th century, global average temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The warming is caused by atmospheric heat-trapping emissions, primarily carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, development experts say climate change is slowly but surely showing its effects. By 2050, the world’s expected temperature rise of about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit will cost the region more than $100 billion annually, according to a recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank, which finances research and development efforts in the region.
Source
Photo source

Climate change destroys lives of Ecuadorian village farmers

July 23, 2012

Frosts aren’t on time for the 960 people living in this tiny, remote village, hidden on a chilly, windswept mountain ridge in South America.

A minor problem? Maybe for some. But in the Andean community, 8,800 feet above sea level, frosts - and their impact on crop cycles - are kind of a big deal.

In this agricultural community, crops are planted during the full moon, a tradition meant to help ensure a full harvest. But these days, the harvests aren’t as full.

Village residents say it’s the mark of climate change descending upon the Ayaloman people.

"In Ecuador, we’ve really experienced a sudden change in our climate," said Ana Loja, a professor at the University of Cuenca, in the Andes of southern Ecuador. "We cannot say, ‘Maybe this is not happening,’ but I think everyone is aware it is a real problem."

Ecuador isn’t alone. Since the early 20th century, global average temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The warming is caused by atmospheric heat-trapping emissions, primarily carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, development experts say climate change is slowly but surely showing its effects. By 2050, the world’s expected temperature rise of about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit will cost the region more than $100 billion annually, according to a recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank, which finances research and development efforts in the region.

Source

Photo source

Chief Minister speaks out about racist media drawing negative conclusions about the totality of Assamese society from heinous crime
July 18, 2012
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday lambasted a section of the  media for allegedly trying to paint a “negative picture” of the greater Assamese society in the wake of molestation of a girl in the city on July 9.
"I am unhappy and angry and this is most condemnable. The media (national) wanted to blame and project a negative picture of the Assamese society by giving the impression that women are not safe here”, Gogoi told reporters in Guwahati.
"This is the reason why the people of the North Eastern region feel alienated…I want to make it clear that the entire Assamese society is not responsible for this heinous crime. The government is firm to bring the culprits to book”, a visibly angry chief minister said at the end of the second day of the monsoon session of the assembly.
Declaring that 12 of the 14 identified as being involved in the incident had been arrested, Gogoi said, “I take the responsibility and have taken action against erring police officials. The entire episode is disgusting.”
Source

Chief Minister speaks out about racist media drawing negative conclusions about the totality of Assamese society from heinous crime

July 18, 2012

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday lambasted a section of the  media for allegedly trying to paint a “negative picture” of the greater Assamese society in the wake of molestation of a girl in the city on July 9.

"I am unhappy and angry and this is most condemnable. The media (national) wanted to blame and project a negative picture of the Assamese society by giving the impression that women are not safe here”, Gogoi told reporters in Guwahati.

"This is the reason why the people of the North Eastern region feel alienated…I want to make it clear that the entire Assamese society is not responsible for this heinous crime. The government is firm to bring the culprits to book”, a visibly angry chief minister said at the end of the second day of the monsoon session of the assembly.

Declaring that 12 of the 14 identified as being involved in the incident had been arrested, Gogoi said, “I take the responsibility and have taken action against erring police officials. The entire episode is disgusting.”

Source

The birth and growth of Occupy Belo Monte!

July 11, 2012

The indigenous-led occupation of Pimental Island on the Xingu River started on June 21st. Steadily-growing groups of indigenous inhabitants of the Xingu are demanding that construction of the Belo Monte dam be halted until the dam-building consortium and the government can put in place effective measures to address the effects of the dam such as loss of fishing and hunting resources, loss of river navigation, and increased incidence of diseases.

More than 300 people from 21 indigenous villages and 9 different ethnicities are represented at the occupation so far. Many tribal elders have expressd outrage seeing how the initial earthen dam is now blocking a large part of the flow of their mighty river. On one side of the coffer dam, the river comes to a sudden halt; on the other side, there is no flow, just pools of stagnant water.

Source

Introducing The People’s Record Kickstarter ProjectJuly 5, 2012When we began The People’s Record in December, we had a much bigger project in mind. As we built our blog as a reliable leftist site focused on international news and movement struggles, The People’s Record also began preparing for a citizen journalist-based print publication that would take us to all corners of the United States and Canada to meet the communities of resistance who are working to create vital political and social transformations in the world.On August 31, The People’s Record – made up of Robert Cunningham and Graciela Razo – will hit the road to meet these communities in person & to amplify their stories to the wave of leftists all over the world. We will document the provoking efforts of anti-war activists, racial justice advocates, environmental and co-op organizations, women’s rights crusaders, anti-capitalist movements and many other groups that are spearheading this revolutionary era of protest across the world.The People’s Record will travel to the countries’ hotspots of direct democratic action, including:
    San Francisco, California
    Oakland, California
    Portland, Oregon
    Seattle, Washington
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    Denver, Colorado
    Austin, Texas
    Dallas, Texas
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Chicago, Illinois
    Washington, D.C.
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    New York City, New York
    Montreal, Quebec
Each city will have its own story of struggle told through first-person accounts, photo essays, livestreamed protests and in-depth analysis pieces. We are currently looking for people in tune with their local activist communities to introduce us to the area’s political landscape, so if you think you can help, email or message us!In addition, we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund our trip. We have both been working hard to eliminate as much of the cost of our project as possible, but given the scope of this endeavor, we need your help! We’ve listed some neat prizes in exchange for your support, too.But if you’re not able to contribute to our crowdsourcing fund, we’ve also launched a Google ad on our blog that you can click once daily. It’s a simple way to support us & to ensure that we will be able to cover these activist groups as comprehensively as possible while continuing to publish international news, political analysis, our leftist book club and many other resources on ThePeoplesRecord.com.We need your help to get this campaign to reach as many potential supporters as possible. Understandably, not everyone is in a position where they can financially support this project, but your excitement, enthusiasm and sharing of our project will mean a lot to us too! Thank you so much for following our blog and participating in this exciting time of shifting political consciousness. We hope that our project documenting the new North American left will drive others to continue the fight for a truly democratic world.  
So please visit and share our Kickstarter campaign. We’ll also be archiving updates to the project’s progress at ThePeoplesRecord.com/theproject.In solidarity,The People’s Record

Introducing The People’s Record Kickstarter Project

July 5, 2012

When we began The People’s Record in December, we had a much bigger project in mind. As we built our blog as a reliable leftist site focused on international news and movement struggles, The People’s Record also began preparing for a citizen journalist-based print publication that would take us to all corners of the United States and Canada to meet the communities of resistance who are working to create vital political and social transformations in the world.

On August 31, The People’s Record – made up of Robert Cunningham and Graciela Razo – will hit the road to meet these communities in person & to amplify their stories to the wave of leftists all over the world. We will document the provoking efforts of anti-war activists, racial justice advocates, environmental and co-op organizations, women’s rights crusaders, anti-capitalist movements and many other groups that are spearheading this revolutionary era of protest across the world.
The People’s Record will travel to the countries’ hotspots of direct democratic action, including:

  •     San Francisco, California
  •     Oakland, California
  •     Portland, Oregon
  •     Seattle, Washington
  •     Vancouver, British Columbia
  •     Denver, Colorado
  •     Austin, Texas
  •     Dallas, Texas
  •     New Orleans, Louisiana
  •     Madison, Wisconsin
  •     Chicago, Illinois
  •     Washington, D.C.
  •     Baltimore, Maryland
  •     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  •     New York City, New York
  •     Montreal, Quebec

Each city will have its own story of struggle told through first-person accounts, photo essays, livestreamed protests and in-depth analysis pieces. We are currently looking for people in tune with their local activist communities to introduce us to the area’s political landscape, so if you think you can help, email or message us!

In addition, we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund our trip. We have both been working hard to eliminate as much of the cost of our project as possible, but given the scope of this endeavor, we need your help! We’ve listed some neat prizes in exchange for your support, too.

But if you’re not able to contribute to our crowdsourcing fund, we’ve also launched a Google ad on our blog that you can click once daily. It’s a simple way to support us & to ensure that we will be able to cover these activist groups as comprehensively as possible while continuing to publish international news, political analysis, our leftist book club and many other resources on ThePeoplesRecord.com.

We need your help to get this campaign to reach as many potential supporters as possible. Understandably, not everyone is in a position where they can financially support this project, but your excitement, enthusiasm and sharing of our project will mean a lot to us too! Thank you so much for following our blog and participating in this exciting time of shifting political consciousness. We hope that our project documenting the new North American left will drive others to continue the fight for a truly democratic world.  

So please visit and share our Kickstarter campaign. We’ll also be archiving updates to the project’s progress at ThePeoplesRecord.com/theproject.

In solidarity,
The People’s Record

African women have traditionally used their bodies as a form of protest for generations. Many have used the threat or actual act of nakedness/undress as a form of effective political protest for centuries. In Nigeria for instance, most believe that their mother’s bodies are to be revered. As such, it is taboo for a woman, and particularly a married or older woman, to choose to disrobe in reaction to a social/political situation. In the 1930s, members and supporters of the Abeokuta Women’s Union walked naked in protest of the Alake of Abeokuta’s political actions and forced him into exile. In 2001, a team of scientists abandoned their research after naked Kenyan women descended on their facility. Similarly, in 2006, female South African prisoners staged a setshwetla - naked protest - to prevent their relocation to another prison facility.

African women have traditionally used their bodies as a form of protest for generations. Many have used the threat or actual act of nakedness/undress as a form of effective political protest for centuries. In Nigeria for instance, most believe that their mother’s bodies are to be revered. As such, it is taboo for a woman, and particularly a married or older woman, to choose to disrobe in reaction to a social/political situation. In the 1930s, members and supporters of the Abeokuta Women’s Union walked naked in protest of the Alake of Abeokuta’s political actions and forced him into exile. In 2001, a team of scientists abandoned their research after naked Kenyan women descended on their facility. Similarly, in 2006, female South African prisoners staged a setshwetla - naked protest - to prevent their relocation to another prison facility.