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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Octobre - Americas: Decolonial feminism is organized in Abya Yala (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 4 Nov 2017 09:53:12 +0200

In anti-racist political circles in France, the decolonial approach may be used in a way that seems to contradict feminism. Yet in Latin America, from which decolonial thought comes, there is a whole decolonial feminist current. ---- Decolonial thought refers to a trans-disciplinary Latin American trend, including philosophers, sociologists, semiologists and pedagogues. One of the main figures of this current is the Peruvian sociologist Anibal Quijano who theorized the coloniality of power. This notion is based on a rereading of the history of modernity since 1492. ---- Feminist criticism of decolonial thought ---- With this theory, it modifies the classical Marxist critique. It highlights the fact that capitalism was constituted on the basis of a process of racialization. Capitalism and racism are therefore indissociable. But this is not all: the state and the modern Eurocentric episteme are also constituent elements of this regime of power. The colonial power of power designates a reality that does not end with the declarations of independence of the colonies. It is still being pursued in the economy, politics and the production of knowledge.

Decolonial feminism is a continuation of Quijano's thought at the same time that he criticizes it. The Argentine philosopher Maria Lugones is at the origin of this inflection. It is based on both queer theory and black feminism. She reproaches Quijano for failing to show how colonial modernity has also built gender on the basis of male / female dysmorphism. As a result, capitalist modernity does not only include racialization of the workforce, but a sexuation of it.

It is in some way in a more historical form, the thesis that is also defended by Françoise Vergès in her book Le Ventre des femmes [1]. It shows the importance of the racial control of motherhood in the capitalist economy. As an example, it can be recalled that in the Portuguese Empire, up to the law of the " free belly ", children born of a slave, even if their father was a free and white man, remained slaves.

But decolonial feminism in Abya Yala [2]is not just an intellectual movement, it is articulated closely with a feminist social movement whose intellectual and militant figures are among others Yuderkys Espinosa and Ochy Curiel. They are women who have the distinction of being from popular backgrounds and being Afro-descendants.

The decolonial feminists are part of the filiation of what is called autonomous feminism in Latin America as opposed to institutional feminism. That is to say, it is a current which puts forward the organization of social movements, rather than relying on state intervention.

This leads decolonial feminists to be critical of the populist and governmental strategies of the Latin American left. Yuderkys Espinosa stated in his interview in 2016: " One of the problems we face with the various forms of populist governments, such as those experienced in the last decade in various Latin American countries, is that they produce a weakening of social movements, a dependence on the State and an androcentric policy, which dilutes all forms of radicality, which suspends criticism under the logic of the common enemy, and therefore if you are not with us, you are on the side of the enemy forces attacking us . "

Another interesting aspect of decolonial feminism is how it integrates ecological thinking. Indeed, Latin American decolonial thinkers and thinkers rely on Amerindian thoughts to reflect on an alternative lifestyle to that imposed by the coloniality of power. Thus the decolonial pedagogue, working in Ecuador, Catherine Walsh developed an action and a critical discourse against the developmental orientations and the broken promises of President Rafael Correa. Despite a constitution that proclaims the " buen vivir" (A concept derived from Amerindian thought), the President later chose developmental orientations that did not respect the relationship to the Mother Earth of the Indian communities. The interest of decolonial feminist thought is therefore to propose an intersectional framework of thought that integrates different dimensions: the criticism of capitalism, racism, the gender system, the state and Eurocentric epistemology; and to incorporate the ferments of an ecologist thought [3].

An intersecting framework of thought

The problem in France of the reception of the term " decolonial " "Is the fact that many people who use or criticize this notion are unaware that in reality it refers to a transdisciplinary Latin American thinking that constitutes a political, historical and philosophical criticism of colonial modernity and the development of racial categories in Latin America. Decolonial thinking implies a profound reflection on the social discrimination still suffered today by indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants in the American subcontinent. Nevertheless, we must beware of a too mechanical transposition of the racial categories elaborated in the Americas to the European situation. In fact, European racial history did not begin in 1492. As Jean-Frédéric Schaub showed,For a political history of race [4], the Iberian Peninsula has developed a racialization based on religion against Jews and Muslims, called the policy of " purity of blood ." This policy could also be applied to Gypsies.

Decolonial feminism decentrates decolonial thought polarized around capitalism and race, introducing issues of sex and sexuality. It thus allows an intersectional approach to all of these questions which avoids reintroducing the idea of a main front that would be constituted by political antiracism.

Irene (AL Friend)

[1] Françoise Vergès, The Ventre des femmes, Albin-Michel, 2017.

[2] Term adopted by Amerindian organizations to designate the Americas.

[3] To go further on decolonial feminism, read the article by Jules Falquet on Contretemps.eu of April 2017

[4] Jean-Frédéric Schaub, For a political history of the race, Seuil, 2015

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