Caitlin H. Schroering recently won the Global Division 2017 Student Paper Competition through the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Below is the Abstract from her winning submission.
“La Vía Campesina and Standing Rock: Possibilities for Food, Water, and Climate Justice Amidst Global Expulsions?”
Saskia Sassen (2014) writes that we live in a time of “expulsions” of people and the biosphere, caused by advanced capitalism and speculative finance. In this paper, I conduct a preliminary examination of two movements: La Vía Campesina and the resistance efforts at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. These two movements are each fighting for an alternate knowledge system—a different world. Drawing from the website and position papers of the transnational movement La Vía Campesina, I observe that their efforts show a convergence of food sovereignty, water justice, and climate justice. The movement asserts that they are in a struggle against corporations and states which seek to destroy the right to self-determination and lifeways. Drawing from mainstream and alternative/activist news sources, I begin a preliminary examination of how the resistance at Standing Rock is an example of a transnational social movement for human rights and the right to self-determination, as well as for environmental and climate justice. Both La Vía Campesina and the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock are reactions to a world-system that dispossesses people and destroys the environment; these are environmental social movements that challenge the existing order and offer examples of what a new system could look like. Utilizing Mangala Subramaniam’s work on water privatization, David Harvey’s concept of “accumulation by dispossession,” and Oscar Olivera's chronicle of the opposition against water privatization in Bolivia, I assert and demonstrate that this is an example of a movement emerging from the “spaces of the expelled” to counter the systemic forces of expulsion that Sassen describes. I also apply Karl Zimmerer’s (2015) concept of “not-quite-neoliberal” to examine how resistance movements can arise out of oppressive or marginalizing policies to form new types of political ecologies that advance possibilities for climate justice. I submit that these movements present new prospects of global solidarity networks for food, water, and climate justice.