Week of November 18-24, 2019
A lot has happened in the world of foreign policy in the last week - and it's only our second newsletter! A coup in Bolivia brings a right-wing women president into power while Indigenous women throughout the country fight back against military forces. Palestinians living in Gaza have been suffering under Israeli airstrikes in the past weeks. In times like these the need for an openly anti-imperial and pro-peace feminist foreign policy becomes clearer and clearer. Our future will be feminist and to us, feminist means a future without war, imperialism, racism and all forms of oppression.
- Jeanine Añez declares herself president of Bolivia following Morales' resignation Jeanine Añez, a conservative Christian senator, has declared herself president of Bolivia following Evo Morales' exile in Mexico. Añez is a Christian extremist and has repeatedly expressed anti-Indigenous beliefs. She has since declared that "the Bible has returned to the presidential palace" and issued a decree stating that the military will be exempted from criminal prosecution. For more news from Bolivia, including explicitly feminist perspectives, see our section "Updates from Bolivia" further down.
- Israeli airstrikes have killed 34 Palestinians in Gaza within the past week, leading to international outrage. Half of those killed are civilians. A Palestinian family say eight relatives killed in the airstrikes, five of them children. The Israeli military has said that it will investigate the "harm to civilians" committed in these airstrikes.
- Ayanna Pressley releases criminal justice reform plan; calls for decriminalizing border crossing, ending military-police weapon exchange programs Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley has released a sweeping plan at criminal justice reform which includes decriminalizing border crossings and calling for an end to the transfer of military equipment to local police departments. The plan, compared to the Green New Deal in its scope and vision, includes other important issues as reparations for the descendants of enslaved peoples, decriminalization of consensual sex work and many more.
- Trump pardons three US soldiers convicted or accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq
President Donald Trump pardoned three US soldiers last week who had either bee convicted of or accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Clint Lorance was released from his 19-year sentence after he ordered troops to shoot unarmed Afghan motorcyclists. Mathew Golsteyn had not yet seen a courtroom when Trump pardoned him; he was accused of murdering an unarmed Afghan man. Eddie Gallagher had his title restored by Trump after it had been stripped from him due to accusations of multiple war crimes. The Pentagon advised Trump to not pardon the soldiers.
Like many others, we have been deeply concerned with the situation in Bolivia. The rise of Jeanine Añez has been labelled a "win" for feminist causes in Bolivia but we firmly reject this. There is nothing feminist about right-wing power grabs. We have collected several articles and perspectives on Bolivia's current political situation for your reading below.
Maria Calindo is a Bolivian anarcha-feminist, psychology and one of the co-founders of Mujeres Creando, an anarcha-feminist collective that does direct action anti-poverty work. Galindo is one of Bolivia's few outspoken lesbian voices.
"As feminists we have many critiques of Evo Morales, because of his economic framework, because of extractivism. We have questioned his machismo. But we also understand that having a president in whom we can see ourselves, even if he is a machista president, is not the same as having a white, corporate, oligarchic president…. We understand the difference. We understand it in our beings, not just through reason. For us it was important for Evo to be president. It was parallel to the process that we as social movements have carried out in transforming daily life, being able to look at ourselves in the mirror, recognize ourselves, name ourselves. The coup d’état is against all of that. That’s why they degrade. That’s why they punish. That’s why they burn the Indigenous wiphala flag."
"But the Trudeau government stopped short of calling for the departure of President Morales. Like other governments in the hemisphere, Ottawa could only watch as events in Bolivia rapidly spiralled out of control — street battles between Morales supporters and opponents, followed by a pro-opposition uprising by police in Cochabamba, and finally a video statement by the commander of the armed forces in which he "suggested" that Morales step down for the good of the country."
“This is definitely an anti-indigenous government,” said María Galindo, founder of the Mujer Creando feminist movement. “It’s not just racism but also the issue of the plurinational state,” she said.
Thank you to our fellow feminists who have offered to share their writings on feminist foreign policy and related issues with us for this weekly newsletter! If you have a piece that you would like to share, please send it my way so that it can be included in the next newsletter. We encourage you all to cite fellow feminists in all of your work.
ABSTRACT: The Silk Roads Ethos (SRE; Ling, 2014) animates the idea that India and China must draw from the legacy of historical exchanges for future cooperation. Mainstream scholarship on the subject employs and relies predominantly on a state-centric rivalry-oriented framework to study the issue, in which a standard focus on demographic comparisons, growth rates, GDP, FDI, energy-security complex, and cognate connotations of “hypermasculine war games” demarcate India-China relations in mutually distinct and discrete “boxed” categories (Banerjee and Ling, 2010). It also does not engage with the growing body of historically attuned, critical scholarship that focuses on the nuances of exchange, collaboration, and conflict between India and China. If scholars working on China-India are serious about offering a counter-hegemonic alternative to the current work-manuals, then our research approaches in understanding one another must also employ a counter-hegemonic epistemology. Drawing on insights from two recent collaborative projects, one on hydro-power projects in India and China, and a second, larger project on India-China relations, this article outlines the specific ways in which the wisdom of the SRE carries with it unequivocal empirical and pedagogical possibilities.
Find out more about Dr. Banerjee and her research here.
"I am not ready to say to other progressive/socialist women, in particular, what they should do, but I am asking us to think deeply together about what we are doing, seeing, and valuing and maybe ignoring. To other anti-racist socialist women I am asking us to see and think newly—recognizing that we are in uncharted waters. That maybe Elizabeth Warren will bring a deeper understanding of patriarchy to the climate crisis agenda than Bernie will, and in doing so she will be able to destabilize the vulturism of capitalism and its racist economic excesses."
Read more about Dr. Eisenstein's new book, Abolitionist Socialist Feminism: Radicalizing the Next Revolution here.
"Today’s mainstream population control advocates offer full-throated support for reproductive rights. They point to a happy coincidence that women’s freedom to limit childbearing is also a key solution to climate change. Win-win propositions are inherently appealing, but we should be skeptical of solutions that ask little of those who have caused the problem."
Yifat Susskind has written extensively on many of the issues that our collective has been talking about. Be on the lookout for more of her work feature in this newsletter!
Re-Thinking Rights: RFK’s Legacy in the United States Today
Moderated by collective member Dr. Nimmi Gowrinathan, this panel will examine the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy with Kerry Kennedy, C. Richard Allen and Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom. This event is based in New York City and has been posted on our collective feminist foreign policy event calendar.
RSVP at this link.