Hegemony or emancipation?

Hegemony or emancipation?

By Ana Esther Ceceña

Starting from the world in which all worlds fit, proclaimed by the Zapatistas from the deepest depths of denied diversities, to the Andean-Amazonian revolts that call for re-founding the relationship with nature and reestablishing the integrity of Pacha Mama, it has been a conceptual path from which a transformed, subversive and libertarian politicity emanates whose power can only be measured in the time and space of the broad horizons, in which the emancipatory movements that grow in all corners of the world are found and to which they contribute .

Libertarian springs

If a decade ago the American spring airs flooded the rest of the planet, today they return refreshing but enigmatic from Arab lands to our continent.

The American revolts inaugurated a cycle of struggles for decolonization and de-alienation; by the deobjectivation of the subjects; by complementarity and diversities; for the recovery of intersubjectivity; for humanity and against the suicidal race of an unsustainable and perverse system. Starting from the world in which all worlds fit, proclaimed by the Zapatistas from the deepest depths of denied diversities, to the Andean-Amazonian revolts that call for re-founding the relationship with nature and reestablishing the integrity of Pacha Mama, it has been a conceptual path from which a transformed, subversive and libertarian politicity emanates whose power can only be measured in the time and space of the broad horizons, in which the emancipatory movements that grow in all corners of the world are found and to which they contribute .

The present moment can very well be defined as one of opportunity and danger, as one of catastrophe and hope. Considering the high systemic instability that characterizes it, the possible bifurcation routes are open and invite that subjective creativity with which people reinvent their history. There is not only a rejection of the perpetuation of the system but also an outcropping of alternatives that are building new imaginaries and their consequent ground cables, whether they appear as public policies, as new institutions or as autonomous and community constructions.

Challenging, daring, audacious, convinced and multiple, the libertarian movements sprout up everywhere seeking to materialize old and new utopias and place the system as a whole in trouble, almost ignoring its internal contradictions. That all the representatives of this outdated and self-destructive order leave wherever they are is no longer an Argentine aspiration but a global one, already ruminated by the colonized from all continents and replicated a few years later by the indignant and insurgents that sprout even in the heart of the system. And all means looters, creators and defenders of the established order, whether they are legislators, repressors, financiers, investors, educators or civilizers, under any of its modalities. No more oppression; no more alienation. Capital is at risk.

Ten years later, in Tahrir Square the echoes of the Plaza de Mayo are heard: all of them go. Emblems of Che Guevara, Subcomandante Marcos and Hugo Chávez wave among the protesters, demonstrating that the struggle is one, regardless of its nuances and temporal and situational differences. It is an uprising against capitalism that is just beginning to show itself, fueled by evidence of the unsustainability of a system that is consequently becoming increasingly militarized.

The peaceful voices of Enough or No More that mobilize against looting and that open up new daring and hopeful imaginary are becoming the main enemy of that obsolete, but bloody and ruthless system, which extends and deepens the colonial war with the one he started more than 500 years ago, and with which he will surely dig that grave, to which he wants to drag us all.

Two-way geopolitics

Control of homeland

If America is considered a vital space for the United States due to its insular nature and its conditions of self-sustainability, the Middle East, Central Asia and some regions of Africa are among its neuralgic locations. In a game that is maintained by two, three or five bands, one on each continent, the United States, as an expression of the world's greatest power, tries to live up to the Pentagon's claim to achieve full-spectrum domination.

With different rhythms, but always maintaining the principle of counterweights; using different mechanisms but applying them simultaneously; engaging actors that in other circumstances could claim to be competitors but clearly maintaining control from the top of the pyramid of power; Keeping an impeccable continuity of its hegemonic policies despite the changes of government and the rearrangements of forces, the United States is deployed around the world reinforcing or conquering positions that constitute strategic nodes of a global framework of domination and discipline aimed at material appropriation of the essential elements of reproduction of the system, called in a simplified way natural resources, and to the deterrence or confrontation of any initiative of territoriality, social organization or vision of the world different from the western capitalist one that it leads.

In Latin America, despite the complicity of many of the region's governments and the launch of large and ambitious projects that combined economic interests, territorial reorganization, and direct and indirect police-military control, it was not possible to maintain pre-eminence in all areas. . Almost all of these projects have been questioned and have raised an opposition that is sometimes scattered, always multiform, and at times articulated sub-regionally or even at the continental level. Because of its symbolic importance, for having allowed the creation of a platform of struggle in which very different movements converged and also governments committed to the self-determination of the peoples of Our America, the militant rejection and finally the defeat of the Free Trade Area of ​​the Americas (FTAA) in 2006 marked a culminating moment for the regional decolonizing force and at the same time a call to reinforce the counterinsurgency strategy to stop it.

From that moment on, a reinforcement of the hegemonic policy on the Continent can be observed that plays simultaneously on all fronts, seeking at the same time to penetrate and envelop, encircle and dismantle.

The starting signal, which marks both changes in shape and a clear acceleration of the pace of intervention, was given in Sucumbíos, ratifying Colombia as a point of internal irradiation, the center of a star capable of launching its rays in all directions and linked to the Pentagon forces, active since their implantation at the Manta base in Ecuador at that time.

Indeed, Colombia is the main seat of this new offensive cycle, with an important change in nuance with the departure of Álvaro Uribe from the Presidency.

After a set of relatively imperceptible movements throughout the Greater Caribbean area, the Manta base is multiplied in Colombian territory through an agreement that admits 7 new occupations - previously there were 6 - of military installations in conditions of total immunity, both for the US military personnel as well as their contractors, who may well be engineers or war mercenaries, spies, communications experts, biotechnologists or anything else that serves the immediate and strategic ends of the world leadership under the Pentagon's representation.

Without detracting from the importance of the new positions reached in the center of the continent, with the capacity of rapid projection not only towards the poles but towards other continents -particularly Africa-, one of the plays with the greatest consequences in continental geopolitics was the extension of the Plan Colombia for now to the north.

The projection to the south, with its nodal point in Paraguay, has had some ups and downs. It went from freedom of movement for US military personnel throughout Paraguayan territory, with total immunity (2006), to a relative withdrawal and a new agreement by virtue of which a Base of Operations has been installed in the north of the country (2010) , to train on this occasion the police forces, which are those who have taken the lead in the fight against insurgency and protection of transnational capital (which includes displacement, violent expulsion, criminalization, imprisonment, assassinations and territorial reordering). However, it has not yet been possible to explicitly establish a Paraguay Plan similar to that of Colombia, as has happened in the north.

The Mérida Initiative (2008), the name by which Plan Mexico has been disguised, sets a precedent that will be repeated in all subregions where previous security agreements have been scaled up, creating a new institutional framework in the field.

Both the regulations (before Plans, now Initiatives), as well as the direct locations (bases), and indirect (IV Fleet); some aimed at enveloping and others at penetrating, some unidirectional and others shared, have managed to modify the geopolitical balance, in permanent redefinition.

The United States managed to reverse the upward emancipatory trend that marked the turn of the millennium, but it has not managed to defeat the resistance, which is being rebuilt from different places and with different modalities. The occupation and territorial control (which includes the seas), achieved through a combined set of cooperation commitments, media work, cooptation, injection of resources and ideology into civil society and deployment of physical forces, determined a change of balance in the second quinquennium of the XXI century. The inevitable contradictions and dilemmas of resistance and an alternative construction, which does not end up detaching itself from capitalist imaginary and practices; who does not quite dare to "walk on his own feet"; that he has not just detached himself from the ways of thinking, of conceiving, of doing that have been imposed on him by the colonizers; that it is not yet able to specify the conditions of irreversibility of the systemic dislocation that it is attempting; they support the terrain of reconquest.

The undermining spearheads of the emancipatory project have a concrete seat in Colombia and Mexico, along with Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and now also Guatemala. Haiti is a painful and paradigmatic case within this board in which successive coup attempts or coup d'état redirect the dynamics with a hegemonic sense.

On the other hand, the stubbornness of peoples in defending their territories and cultures, their histories and horizons, their worldviews and ways of life, coupled with efforts to build institutions tending to disconnect from the capitalism (sumak qamaña, sumak kawsay, bioplurality), the recognition of diversities (plurinational states, autonomies), counter-hegemonic (ALBA) or, at least, promoters of self-determination, decolonization, or new South-South understandings ( CELAC), are the footholds of a non-suicidal and, consequently (but not only), non-capitalist future. All this provided that confluence is achieved, not unification, between the different subjects and processes in search of an integral emancipation.

The stakes of planetary control

Understanding that the control of the house is an absolute priority, it occurs in parallel and in consonance with that of areas or spaces of strategic importance in terms of their endowment of fundamental resources, their political-cultural rebellion, their specific historical roots (in this case non-Western), or its ability to form an alternative hegemonic articulation (1).

The oil corridor of Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa is undoubtedly the second priority of hegemonic politics, not only because of its wealth but also because of the power games present in it.

From the search to impede the relationship between China and the oil supplying countries; that of China and Russia or of each with their networks of regional alliances; Up to preventing the formation of non-Western articulation nodes such as Libya and, above all, Iran (2), the pieces have been settling in the area for some time and are a benchmark of balance with respect to America.

In Africa the Gulf of Guinea, Sudan and Libya mark a triangle of greed that is inserted in the line Libya, Syria, Iran, in a way that tends to cover almost the entire region that the Pentagon considers to be the "critical gap", both for his wealth and his alleged indiscipline, disorder or insubordination.

Simultaneous, counterpoint and fundamental scenarios, for which different policies are designed and specific actors are mobilized, but which only together guarantee the maintenance of hegemony and, what is infinitely more important, of the systemic order.

Now, as in any strategy game, a movement always implies several effects. The move then also tests allied forces such as NATO, supplanting without risk of competition because they require association, and moves the internal relations of the European Union in a way that can result in a general weakening of its relative strength. In this way the costs of war are expelled and the benefits are shared, leaving the immediate ones in the smallest hands and the strategic ones at the top of the pyramid of power.

In some way, the counter-hegemonic oil corridor led by Venezuela in Latin America, previously by Libya in Africa and by Iran in Central Asia, sets the guidelines for the movement of geopolitics and lights the warning lights.

Obviously, popular involvement in the construction of counter-hegemonic or alternative processes is the basis of its solidity and the mismanagement of differences can lead to situations in which they turn into contradictions, even antagonistic.

The fate of the region and the possibilities of building a different future, which allows us to walk out of this system of war and predation, are largely found in the wisdom with which these processes generate consensus and invent their reality, which that does not happen in all cases and that, of course, is the most difficult to achieve.

Both Libya and Syria show social fractures that have been very well exploited by hegemonic interests. However, in geopolitics nothing is written in a definitive way and the balance can once again be oriented towards the systemic bifurcation, towards what many today already call living

Ana Esther Ceceña, Mexican economist, is a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and coordinator of the Latin American Observatory of Geopolitics

This text is part of the Latin America in Movement Magazine, No. 471, December 2011 whose central theme is "Of indignations and alternatives" (


1) In the case of America, this place corresponds to Venezuela.

2) Iraq at the time was destroyed for the same reasons.

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