Monday, November 7, 2016

Political Violence of Global Capital - Lecture Recap


Annotated Notes

Political Violence of Global Capital: Dispossession and Repression in the Global South
- lecture by Jasmin Hristov

- explanatory limitations and conceptual barriers exist in literature and media
- paramilitarism is a transnational phenomenon
- paramilitary violence is in direct correlation to class domination

Major Explanations
·         1st argument: organized violence relation to economic equality
-          Poverty/inequality vs. a culture of consumption – no opportunities – involvement in gangs or other criminal activity
·         2nd argument: due to rural-urban migration
·         3rd argument: growth in illegal economies
-          Need violent regulatory mechanisms

·         4th argument: weak state institutions/corruption
·         4th argument: weak state institutions/corruption
World Bank Statement
-          1 in 4, 1.5 billion people, live in violent conflict outside of violent norms
-          Overcoming conceptual barriers
-          Non-state violence is not necessarily anti-state violence
-          Paramilitary violence can be carried out for politically dominant special interest groups
·         Major corporations have used paramilitary violence (Coca-Cola, Chiquita banana)
Definition of Paramilitary Violence
-          Armed citizens funded by sectors of economically/politically dominant classes with military/logistical support to carry out function
-          Paramilitary violence has political objective to preserve status quo, this enhances state institutions
Function of Paramilitary Violence
-          Repression
·         Suppressing popular movements
-          Dispossession
·         Land, agriculture
Colombia: Laboratory of Paramilitarism
-          Two waves (1960s + 1980s)
·         State-led effort, elite support (external enemy)
·         Elite-led effort, state supported (internal enemy)
Human Rights Impact
-          Over 6 million internally displaced, living in destitution (no institutions/infrastructure)
-           80% of union deaths occur in Colombia, unionists assassinated
-          3,500 labor unionists murdered since 1985
-          Massacres committed as tool of violence, fosters culture of fear
-          Unionization from 12% in 1988 to 4% in 2009
-          0.4% of population owns 46.4% of total land
-          81.5% of agricultural land used for mining, agribusiness
Paramilitary Violence in “Post-Demobilization” State (2006-2016)
-          2013, 27 unionists, more than 70 human rights defenders were killed
-          First 5 years, 1.5 million displaced, 205 unionists were murdered
-          2015, ONIC reported 35 killings and 3,481 indigenous displaced
-          Death threats reported
Three Principles of Paramilitary Violence
1.       Paramilitarism as a multidimensional phenomenon
-          Economic, political, military
2.      Structural social phenomenon
-          Offensive/proactive instrument
-          Requires violence to reproduce itself
-          Paramilitary group - dispossession/repossession
3.      Dialectical relation to state/paramilitary groups
-          Paramilitary would not exist w/o state
-          50 years of massacre created
Weak State Argument
-          If you have a country with paramilitary groups outside of state, it does not indicate a weak state
-          Who benefits from violence? Who are victims?
Paramilitarization Indicates Transnationalization of States
-          Making available resources for resources, labor, markets for global capital
-          2005 à 2016, mining boom
-          Peace and Justice paramilitary group
·         Murdered 122 and displaced 4000 people in Chiapas
Paramilitary vs. Cartel Violence
-          Political/economic model vs. singular illicit activity