Unions, Native People Fight Mining “Reforms” and Police Repression in Argentina

For weeks now, the folks of Jujuy, Argentina, have been within the streets resisting right-wing political assaults on wages and the fitting to protest. Prior to now few days the battle has escalated with extreme police repression all through the largely Indigenous and impoverished province.

Stories from on the bottom present repression together with massive deployments of riot police, folks being chased within the streets and home invasions. Nevertheless, there are additionally many movies of resistance, together with huge marches, Native girls working together to expel plainclothes cops from their protests, and shows of solidarity from sugar employees and miners.

A lot of the on-the-ground reporting from Jujuy has come from the La Izquierda Diario Community, a community of socialist web sites I contribute to that features Left Voice and La Izquierda Diario. The community is affiliated with the Social gathering of Socialist Employees, which has not too long ago been a growing influence within the province’s political panorama.

In query is a partial reform to the provincial structure which opens extra land in Jujuy to useful resource extraction whereas criminalizing varied types of protest. Jujuy is a part of the “lithium triangle,” a area which holds greater than 50 p.c of the world’s lithium reserves. Within the context of a world competition for lithium, Jujuy and different components of the area are strategic targets for multinationals. This units the stage for better battle between the communities who stay and work within the area and capitalists looking for to increase relationships with overseas capital.

The best-wing governor of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales — whose social gathering Radical Civic Union (UCR) holds the bulk within the provincial legislature — shortly moved the reform alongside over the course of two weeks. In response, protests shortly mobilized outdoors the parliamentary compound and all through the province.

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The reform accommodates many factors which have angered the province’s employees and enormous Indigenous group, particularly the “prohibition of roadblocks.” Roadblocks are one of many main tactics of peaceable protest that the Indigenous group has been utilizing to make their opposition heard. On the similar time Governor Morales is working to impose the reform, teachers throughout Argentina are combating wage cuts. This has led lecturers in Jujuy to unite their wrestle with the motion towards the constitutional reform.

Police have used rubber bullets and tear gasoline towards the protesters. Mijael Lamas, a 17-year-old who misplaced an eye fixed when police shot a rubber bullet at his head, has develop into an emblem of the repression. Health workers, journalists and even an elected official have been arrested. A video reveals the police arresting Natalia Morales, a Jujuy legislator with the Social gathering of Socialist Employees, by dragging her by the limbs alongside an asphalt highway. She has since been launched, however dozens of individuals with decrease profiles stay detained or lacking.

The legislature handed the reform with bipartisan support from the UCR and the center-left Justicialista Entrance on June 20. Representatives of the multiparty left opposition, the Left Unity Entrance, together with Natalia Morales, have been denouncing the reform and joining the protests within the streets. Because of the protests, Governor Morales suspended two articles of the reform, 36 and 50, which eliminated language from the provincial structure codifying the rights of Indigenous folks to follow their tradition and stating that non-public property should not intrude with well being, security, freedom or human dignity, however the mobilizations have continued to demand a full repeal of the reform.

The motion is beginning to achieve assist on the nationwide stage. On June 22, marches have been held throughout the country in solidarity with the protests. All through the week, unions referred to as strikes in solidarity. A few of the largest calls included the first lecturers union in Argentina, which referred to as a national strike on June 21, and the Jujuy chapter of Confederación Common del Trabajo, the most important commerce union federation in Argentina, which held general strikes in Buenos Aires and Cordoba together with a number of different union federations.

A number of human rights organizations and main environmental activists have denounced the repression and amplified the wrestle, together with Amnesty International, Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg.

Governor Morales, who’s running for president within the upcoming 2023 election, is unlikely to again down with out intense stress. Whether or not or not he can efficiently cross the reform in Jujuy will probably impression how a lot assist he can get from sectors pleasant to the extractionist insurance policies he represents in Jujuy.

Whereas the stakes are excessive for Morales, they’re additionally excessive for employees and Indigenous folks in Jujuy and all through Argentina, who’re affected by a severe economic crisis. They’re unlikely to place up with even decrease wages and extraction by overseas capital. On this context, it’s no shock that Jujuy has develop into the epicenter of wrestle in Argentina, with no indicators of resistance dying down any time quickly.

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