Leveraging Law and Life
DOI link for Leveraging Law and Life
Leveraging Law and Life book
La Via Campesina (LVC) has foregrounded the “the criminalization of our movements” through the assassination, incarceration, and policing of activist leaders. After a brief overview of recent violence against LVC-affiliated leaders, the chapter contextualizes this issue within the divergences and convergences of historical peasant movements, neoliberalized environmentalist movements, and contemporary resurgences of agrarian mobilization. A longue durée lens helps trace the coloniality of this violence, while a discourse analysis demonstrates how focusing on the criminalization of agrarian protest expands the lens from seeing these instances as isolated conflicts to seeing them relationally—as broader state-sanctioned, industry-oriented modes of repression, vilification, and violence against agrarian movements. Violence has long been ubiquitous within the political economy of agro-industrialization, but subsumption within the process of rendering criminal “others” works to legitimate as well as tuck it away as a legal issue between the beneficent state and the individualized criminal. Calling out the tactic—and ruse—of criminalization helps to place the violence itself back into view. The chapter ends on a hopeful note: criminalization merely attempts to deploy the law against communities defending natural resources. Agrarian movements around the world are increasingly and proactively working through legal and political channels to seek justice and punishment of guilty parties. They are reclaiming the judicial realm—leveraging justice to call out the real criminality at work in violence against agrarian movements and communities.