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Women anti-mining activists’ narratives of everyday resistance in the Andes: staying put and carrying on in Peru and Ecuador

Women anti-mining activists’ narratives of everyday resistance in the Andes: staying put and... Gender, Place & culture, 2017 VOl . 24, n O. 10, 1441–1459 https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2017.1387102 OPEN ACCESS Women anti-mining activists’ narratives of everyday resistance in the Andes: staying put and carrying on in Peru and Ecuador Katy Jenkins d epartment of Social Sciences, lipman Building, northumbria university, newcastle upon t yne, uK ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY received 7 September 2016 This article explores the ways in which activism and resistance a ccepted 29 May 2017 are incorporated into the everyday lives and practices of rural women in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes, theorising KEYWORDS the nature of women’s everyday resistance in long running andes; everyday activism; social conflicts. Drawing on research with women anti- latin america; mining; mining activists in Peru and Ecuador, the article emphasises resistance; women that their resistance is rarely concerned with large-scale protests, transnational activism, and the spectacular, but rather depends on daily resistance and resilience in, often fractured, local communities. I explore how rural women make extraordinary circumstances, including facing lawsuits and accusations of terrorism, part of their everyday lives, and how they articulate their resistance and situate it in place through narratives of staying put and carrying on, drawing on emblematic notions of rural livelihoods to challenge large- scale mining developments in their communities. Introduction This article critically explores women’s anti-mining activism in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes, contributing to a renewed interest in understanding the gen- dered dimensions of struggles over natural resources (Elmhirst, 2011). In light of little existing research specifically focused on women’s roles in relation to mining conflicts, I analyse Andean women’s practices of resistance and how these are enacted in the context of prolonged social conflicts, recognising these practices as contingent, contested and rooted in the everyday (Maxey 1999; Martin, Hanson, and Fontaine 2007; Chatterton and Pickerill 2010; Askins 2015). The article begins with an overview of the context in which this activism occurs before reviewing literature theorising activism and the everyday. I then explore how resistance is conceived by rural Andean women activists, emphasising that this is rarely CONTACT Katy Jenkins katy.jenkins@northumbria.ac.uk © 2017 t he a uthor(s). Published by Informa uK limited, trading as t aylor & Francis Group. t his is an Open a ccess article distributed under the terms of the creative c ommons a ttribution license (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 1442 K. JENKINS concerned with large-scale protest, transnational activist networks, or the spec- tacular, but is instead firmly rooted in the women’s daily lives and experiences. I argue that a long-term engagement in anti-mining activism requires the women to incorporate quite unusual circumstances into their daily lives. Finally, I fore- ground strategies of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’ as important elements of long term resistance, which enable the women to construct particular meanings about their communities and the places that they seek to protect from the arrival of large-scale mining projects. The Andes are a key site in which processes of contestation are being played out in relation to large-scale mining (see, e.g. De Echave 2005; Kuecker 2007; Bebbington 2012; Moore and Velasquez 2012; Warnaars and Bebbington 2014), both in regions with established histories of mineral extraction and in areas not previously exploited for their mineral resources. In both Peru and Ecuador, suc- cessive governments have actively promoted mining development as a lucrative source of revenue, though from ostensibly different ideological starting points (Becker 2011; Merino 2012), developing favourable regulatory regimes and pro- moting large-scale investments (Reuters 2012; Emery 2015). Large tracts of land have been concessioned to mining companies, often in ecologically and culturally sensitive areas and without appropriate consultation with local communities. In Peru, the mining sector is well established with extensive operations across the country. Mining (including for silver, gold, zinc and copper) accounted for 12% of Peru’s GDP in 2015, and 57% of exports (Jamasmie 2016). In contrast, in Ecuador, the first operating licence was only granted around the time of this research, in March 2012. However, mining is expected to bring in around US$1,000 billion of investment into Ecuador in 2017, and the government is negotiating at least five large-scale mining projects, which it classifies as strategically important for the country (ANDES 2016). In the two areas that are the focus of this research, con- cessions have been granted and exploration is taking place but active extraction has not yet begun, due to extensive community opposition and protest, which has delayed both projects’ initiation. Research took place in 2012 and consisted of in-depth semi-structured interviews with 26 women activists, focusing on understanding their experiences of, and moti- vations for, anti-mining activism. The Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme (LAMMP), a campaigning and advocacy NGO concerned with the human rights of women anti-mining activists in Latin America, facilitated the research; and the project forms part of an ongoing dialogue and collaboration between LAMMP and the researcher. The research involved members of two grassroots women’s organ- isations, one in each location. Each organisation acted as gatekeeper in recruiting women to take part in the research. All women who were affiliated with the organ- isations were eligible to participate, and the research aimed to involve a broad range of women activists. Interviews were conducted in a range of locations over a three-week period, including the offices of one organisation, women’s homes, and my hotels, depending on the women’s preferences and availability. GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1443 The existence of separate women’s organisations contesting mining activities reflects tensions within the broader anti-mining movement (Velasquez 2012); women had organised their own groups in response to feeling marginalised within the mainstream social movement. These organisations were building networks with regional and national NGOs, but these were still quite patchy at the time of the research. Since the research, both organisations have continued to organise against large-scale mining. The Ecuadorian group is the more established and active of the two groups of women, and is better integrated into regional activist networks, whilst the Peruvian group has been more sporadic in its activities. Both groups are part of ULAM (Unión Latino Americana de Mujeres), an organisation bringing together women anti-mining activists from across Latin America. The two groups of women are in contact with each other as a result of their involvement with ULAM, and have jointly organised activities – most recently, in March 2017, a virtual workshop on the impact of mining on women, held concurrently in Cuenca (Ecuador) and Piura (Peru). The women activists interviewed were Spanish speakers between the ages of 20 and 70 years old, with the majority being older women over the age of 40. In both locations, the majority of the women were agro-pastoralists who identified as campesinas (peasants) and had relatively low levels of education, but a few younger women who were prominent in organising both organisations had more urban lifestyles and higher levels of education, though came from campesina back- grounds. The women interviewed had been involved in community organising against mining activities for up to 10 years. Around half of the interviewees were married, with the rest either separated, single, or in one case widowed. Most had children, though a significant minority did not. I conducted all interviews myself in Spanish and interview quotes that appear here are my own translations. In Ecuador, the research involved women from communities around the city of Cuenca, Southern Ecuador – primarily Molleturo and Victoria del Portete – that will be affected by several proposed developments. These projects are the ‘Rio Blanco’ gold and silver mining project (owned at the time by International Mineral Corporation (IMC) but now owned by Junefield Mineral Resources); and a gold-silver-copper mine, known as ‘Quimsacocha’ and owned by IAM Gold when this research was conducted, now called ‘Loma Larga’ and owned jointly by IAM Gold and INV Metals. The women’s organisation was established in 2008, and forms part of a coalition of regional and national organisations opposing large-scale mining. The two projects are opposed by the women’s organisation in relation to their location within a protected National Park, in an area of fragile páramo (high Andean) ecosystems and where several headwaters are located, as well as more generally in relation to the anticipated negative social impacts of the project, and the lack of economic benefit that they expect to accrue to affected communities. The group draws on both indigenous and peasant identities in their campaigning, and aligns itself with other prominent socialist peasant organisations campaign- ing on issues around land sovereignty and in relation to mining. The organisation 1444 K. JENKINS maintains a strong social media presence, and their activities include taking part in radio interviews, organising protests, disseminating information, and taking part in workshops and community meetings. In Peru, the research took place with women activists from Huancabamba in the Province of Piura, Northern Peru, where the proposed project (coincidentally also called ‘Rio Blanco’) is a copper mine owned by the Chinese Zijin Mining Corp Ltd, though previously owned by the British Monterrico Metals (see Bebbington et al. [2007] for detailed historical context). The project is currently on hold but expected to re-start imminently. The women’s organisation here was also formed in 2008, and consists of a small group of women focusing on resisting the development of large-scale mining projects in their region, as well as developing and disseminat- ing skills and knowledge to support and promote women’s rural livelihoods. The organisation is much less developed than its Ecuadorian counterpart. They are in contact with many other organisations working in this area but are somewhat less embedded than the group in Ecuador, in terms of accessing support and resources. The group does not have a social media presence but is integrated into broader networks via ULAM and LAMMP. Women in this organisation also draw on camp- esina identities, but their discourses are not as influenced by socialist principles, and overall their stance is less coherently articulated. They have been less active whilst the Rio Blanco project has been on hold, but continue to oppose the mine. The protest movement against Rio Blanco is calling for a no-go mining zone to be implemented in the region, given its fragile ecosystem and rich biodiversity, and for money to be invested in supporting alternative development based on eco-tourism and organic farming (Catapa 2017). Though each conflict has its own specific histories and contours, these are not the principal focus here, as I seek to understand women activists’ experiences and involvement in long-running community resistance and organising against mining developments. In order to ensure anonymity, where quotes are included I do not identify a woman’s community of origin, as often only a few women from a par- ticular community are still active in organising against the mine. As the emphasis is on the experiences of women activists, the data analysis ranges across Ecuador and Peru, and is not comparative in nature, whilst recognising the specificities of each context where relevant. The research does not aim for representativeness or generalisability, but rather to make audible the voices of these women activists, and to value these expe- riences in their own right, rather than in relation to men. A commitment to a feminist methodology foregrounding women’s own voices means I have some- times included long quotes to bring to life their experiences and struggle. The emphasis on women’s anti-mining activism is not to suggest that this is a women’s movement, or even that women play a dominant role within anti-mining activ- ism. Rather, reflecting a key concern within feminist political ecology (Rocheleau, Thomas-Slayter, and Wangari 1996), the research aims to explore the particular experiences of women as significant participants within the movement, who have GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1445 thus far not been widely recognised in accounts of resistance to mining develop- ments in Latin America (see, for example, De Echave 2005; Haarstad and Fløysand 2007; Gordon and Webber 2008; Bebbington 2012), beyond iconic figures such as Máxima Acuña de Chaupe, whose case has gained prominence in the media (Frontline Defenders 2016), and particularly social media. This lack of visibility reflects the situation of women more generally in relation to struggles over land and indigenous territories in Latin America (Radcliffe 2014), and the absence of a gendered analysis is increasingly recognised as a significant gap in the extensive literature on resource extraction (Bebbington, Bornschlegel, and Johnson 2013; Deonandan and Tatham 2016). Theorising activism: making space for the everyday This research began with the aim of making visible Andean women’s anti-mining activism, as an example of people, spaces and places where activism happens ‘below the radar’, largely unrecognised and under-theorised. In foregrounding activism that takes place beyond emblematic and high profile protests and away from the media spotlight, the article contributes to debates around ‘what counts’ as activism (Martin, Hanson, and Fontaine 2007), as well as deepening our under- standing of gendered activist practices and their role in constructing place, par- ticularly when these practices extend over a long timeframe. The article thus also engages with the rhythms and temporalities of activism, exemplified by Nelson’s (2003) notion of ‘sedimentation’, which emphasises the latent and sometimes contradictory ways in which activism and resistance extends within communi- ties over the long term, beyond the spectacular moments and spaces of protest. Embedded within the research is a recognition of the multiplicity of forms that activism – and activists – may take, emphasising the contingent and contested nature of such activism, and understanding activists’ identities as being ‘messy, complex and multiple (…) – always in the process of becoming and moving for- ward through experimentation and contestation’ (Chatterton and Pickerill 2010, 479). The example of Andean women’s anti-mining activism allows us to explore the more subtle and less high profile spaces where activism takes place, embedded and entangled in everyday practices and the patchwork of daily community life. The concept of ‘activism’ is itself always contingent and shifting, constituted by individual subjectivities and the extent to which individuals and groups them- selves recognise their engagements, actions and resistances as ‘activism’ (Maxey 1999; Bobel 2007). As Baillie Smith and Jenkins (2012) recognise, the activism of individual actors often manifests itself through a broad set of ‘politics and commit- ments to social justice [which] are embedded in their everyday practices’ (Baillie Smith and Jenkins 2012, 643). It is thus important to take a flexible approach to understanding activism in order to capture the broadest possible spectrum of prac- tices and discourses. This article particularly draws on Scott’s (1986) and Amoore’s (2005) theorising of everyday forms of resistance, arguing that the notion of the 1446 K. JENKINS ‘everyday’ is particularly useful in making sense of women’s anti-mining activities, especially in terms of understanding how such activism is sustained over time in often challenging and isolated circumstances. As Amoore emphasises: Though resistance is characteristically understood to be expressed through the politics of protest, demonstration, public statement or declaration, then, the more mundane gestures of everyday life reveal significant sites of political struggle. (Amoore 2005, 7) Scott characterises everyday resistance in terms of individual, largely covert actions that ‘require little or no co-ordination or planning’, such as ‘passive non-compliance, subtle sabotage, evasion and deception’ (Scott 1986, 6, 7). However, I argue that the women anti-mining activists provide an opportunity to conceptualise another dimension of ‘everyday activism’, focusing on more overt and organised instances of resistance but which nevertheless form part of the prosaic daily practices of community life. My use of the everyday therefore resonates with Zanotti’s (2013) characterisation of Kayapó women’s everyday resistance as embedded in daily life but involving ‘direct confrontations with authorities or external actors’ (Zanotti 2013, 348), as well as with Askins (2015) notion of ‘a quiet politics’. Theorising the everyday has particularly been associated with a feminist empha- sis on making sense of gendered practices and identities and recognising more subjugated knowledges and practices. It also foregrounds the importance of mak- ing visible local and household level practices: … taking a route through the routine, taken-for-granted activity of everyday life in homes, neighbourhoods and communities can tell us much about its role in supporting social, cultural and economic shifts – as well as helping us see how the ‘local’ is struc- tured by wider processes and relations of power. (Dyck 2005, 243) A focus on the everyday therefore places emphasis on the political and social significance of the seemingly mundane actions and interactions of women’s daily lives (Krauss 1993; Mollett 2017). In the case of Andean peasant women, their lives are often more circumscribed and confined to the local level than those of their male counterparts, with few opportunities to participate in public decision-making processes or take on community leadership roles, and a continued emphasis on their responsibility for the domestic sphere (Radcliffe, Laurie, and Andolina 2003; Cuadros Falla 2010). Though they often take on signic fi ant responsibility for small- scale agriculture, this may not be recognised by partners, community leaders and authorities (Radcliffe, Laurie, and Andolina 2003), and women may also underplay this contribution to their household economy (Cuadros Falla 2010). Additionally, in the communities in Ecuador where research took place, it was also increasingly common for men to migrate in search of work, leaving women with sole respon- sibility for maintaining reproductive and productive activities. In the discussion that follows, I emphasise the interweaving of gendered prac- tices of resistance and the everyday, foregrounding daily practices and small acts and their extension over time. As Amoore recognises, ‘the less visible practices of resistance are not meaningfully separable from the overt expressions, but rather they may form the language, structures and meanings that make the grand GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1447 gestures possible’ (Amoore 2005, 8). Such an approach also allows for engage- ment with ideas around activist ‘careers’ (Baillie Smith and Jenkins 2012), thinking through how the activism of individuals and communities is sustained and trans- formed over time and space. In the case of the women anti-mining activists, their resistance is a response to a very specific set of circumstances – the threat they perceive that large-scale mining poses to their communities and livelihoods – with clear resonances of Martinez-Alier’s (2002) ‘environmentalism of the poor’. For many of the women interviewed, their involvement in anti-mining resistance was the first time they had engaged in any sort of social organising activity, providing an important contrast with literature conceptualising activism as stemming from long term political engagement (Maxey 1999; Chatterton and Pickerill 2010; Baillie Smith and Jenkins 2012). This article draws on longstanding feminist theorising of everyday spaces as politicised and as intertwined with local, national and global scales and pro- cesses (Dowler and Sharp 2001; Staeheli, Kofman, and Peake 2004; Elmhirst 2011). Focusing on how resistance is enacted and rooted in local space and daily lives, also provides a counterpoint to debates that have often foregrounded the cen- trality of transnational spaces and connections in sustaining activism and activists (Moghadam 2000; Kaldor 2003). As Cowens and Story argue, in making the case for a focus on the intimate everyday, and its ‘entanglement’ with multiple spheres and scales, ‘Geopolitics does not simply permeate relations of care, familial forms and notions of the self, but forges them too’ (Cowen and Story 2013, 343). In the nar- ratives and analysis that follows, we can see how rural Andean women’s everyday actions shape, and are shaped, over a prolonged timescale, by the multiple scales and actors entangled in conflicts, debates and decision-making about large-scale resource extraction. The article uses the lens of ‘everyday resistance’ to theorise three facets of the women’s anti-mining activities. I begin by exploring how the women’s resistance is exemplified in everyday confrontations within their communities. I then analyse the ways in which these women incorporate extraordinary circumstances into their daily lives, before finally considering strategies of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’ as fundamental but often less visible elements of their activism, acting to maintain continuity in the face of ongoing economic and social upheaval and conflict. These three aspects come together to show the ways in which women’s everyday resist- ance and activist practices shape and re-make place and place-based identities over time in ways that strengthen and reinforce continued resistance to large-scale extraction. Everyday confrontations, divided communities and ‘small’ acts of resistance In the women’s discussions of their activism, narrations of occasional, high profile moments of spectacle and drama do play a prominent role, despite the infrequent 1448 K. JENKINS occurrence of such events, providing the women with an important sense of col- lective struggle and critical mass in their opposition to the mine. However, it is also important to recognise the role of less prominent but more common ways in which the women’s resistance is enacted. The mining conflicts in both locations have become sustained and drawn out processes, with fewer direct confrontations, and the pro-mining contingency has worn down initially widespread community opposition, leaving more isolated clusters of anti-mining individuals: Marlena (59, vice president of the women’s organisation, Ecuador): There were many of us when we started, almost half of the community, and since then it has dwindled to just a few of us, the others pulled out over time. Now it’s not so easy. People withdraw for economic reasons, we are poor and have few resources. Those who are in favour of the mine say it’s not worth fighting because the mine will provide for us. This is the strategy they use to convince people, and so people stop supporting us. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): It’s complicated, very difficult for people. Standing up to this has divided us [the community], it has made us fight with each other. Before we worked together nicely in the community, very organised, the people were united, but now there is disunity. It’s a terrible thing because now people just want to be paid, everything is about getting paid. A sense of community fragmentation is a prominent feature of the women’s accounts, underlining how community spaces, dynamics and power relations have been re-shaped over a period of many years of conflict within the women’s com- munities, reinforced by the divisive nature of mining company activities. Common to many of the women’s narratives was a discussion of how their activist identities were forged through everyday, low level confrontations within their communities, usually with members of the community who were in favour of the mine rather than with external actors: Florita (69, campesina, Ecuador): They call us liars, they say that we are stupid poor people, that we don’t know anything. (…) They humiliate us, in particular the women humiliate us most of all, it’s sometimes like that in the countryside, (…) We women are humiliated, they do not want us to speak at all, they say that we don’t know what we are talking about, that we talk rubbish, that we are ignorant. Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): The most difficult are the divisions between people, that is to say the buying of consciences, the deception of people. They say, ‘don’t get involved in this, you protest like mad people, they will ignore you, mining is development, it’s for the good of the community, there will be money’. Florita and Luisa’s comments allude to some of the challenges they face as women activists, and the gendered processes of social control at work within their com- munities that limit the types of actions considered appropriate for women to be involved in (see also Arana Zegarra 2012). The impacts of this are particularly notable in the context of fragmentation and isolation experienced by the women activists, with high personal costs for women who do get involved in activism. The women used their continued endurance of such confrontations to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to campaigning against the arrival of the mine, illus- trating the ways in which resistance is woven into the fabric of their daily lives GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1449 (Zanotti 2013), colouring all of their neighbourhood interactions regardless of whether these relate directly to the issue of mining, as Warnaars and Bebbington (2014, 120, 121) also observe: These disputes over land and resources not only affect how social actors relate to each other and the environment, but also seep into the mundaneness of daily life. As they are naturalized, territorial disputes shape daily choices, such as not to be seen talking with your pro-mining neighbour, receiving milk from cattle that pasture on land owned by the mining company, or going to Sunday mass given by an anti-mining priest. The issue of internal community and household divisions in relation to mining was very prominent in the women’s narratives, and this was clearly a source of tension for the women, who were very conscious of changed power relations within the community: Constancia (50, campesina, Ecuador): The community is divided in respect of the issue of mining, because the buying of consciences is going on, the community leaders have all more or less been bought off. For example, we have documents to show that every year the president of the council receives a budget from the mine. This year it was $82,000. So this divides the community. Ana (32, campesina, Ecuador): Socially it has affected us a great deal. For example, within one household there may be some who are in favour of the mine because they say it is going to bring work, while others in the same household are against it. Parents and children become enemies. Neighbours too. The community is divided. Those who are in favour of the mine look at us [women activists] badly, they insult us, they call us the ‘Pachamamas’. Pachamama is usually translated as ‘Mother Earth’ and is an important Andean indigenous female deity of the Earth, linked to sacred ideas about land and water. Here, the term is used pejoratively to denigrate the women’s environmental activ- ism, drawing on negative connotations of backwardness and ignorance that his- torically have been attached to indigeneity in the Andes. Women activists felt increasingly marginalised within their communities, as community members were either swayed by the promises of the pro-mining lobby, or as others’ energy and ability to actively oppose the mine had run out. The personal costs of continued activism in this context are high, and the women felt this keenly: Constancia (50, campesina, Ecuador): The president of the community council looks at us [those who oppose the mine] badly, at me, even though I am almost related to him, still they look upon us badly. They only allow those who share their point of view to speak, not us. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): I know that people follow me, watching what I am doing, what I am trying to achieve, they think I am campaigning for a political party. Despite the precarious position the women activists feel they are in within their communities, the women underlined how important it was to them to continue to find ways to demonstrate their resistance and integrity. One example of this was their determination not to accept gifts and bribes from the mining company, which they recognised as designed to undermine community opposition: 1450 K. JENKINS Esmeralda (54, campesina, Ecuador): They trick us by giving us so called gifts, but I have learnt not to take those gifts so that my conscience remains clear. By accepting gifts I would be selling my conscience. I can survive without anything from anyone, working the land, growing my corn, my beans, all the products that I have, in order to survive, I don’t need gifts from anyone. Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): I have raised seven children with my husband, working in agriculture, weaving, I have sent them to school, they are still young, I haven’t sold my conscience for 20 or 50 soles. And this is what is worrying now, because most people don’t have any money, they sell themselves for 50 soles and sign up so that the mine will provide for them. [NB 20 soles was roughly £5 at the time of the research] Whilst these stances might be characterised as ‘small’ acts of resistance, attracting little attention, it is important to realise that they may not be so small in the context of a rural, and largely subsistence-based, peasant community, where many people have succumbed to the allure of mining’s promised riches: Nuria (42, coordinator of women’s organisation, Ecuador): Lately they have been giving schoolchildren bags with the company logo on, and things that they should take home for their mothers. It is truly a disaster, and of course, there are people who, for such trivial things – because it isn’t even as if they are receiving things that are going to change their lives – for stupid things like a couple of plastic chairs, these people become supporters of the mine. Such examples illustrate the ways in which the women’s resistance structures their everyday interactions at the community level. Women’s continued opposition to mining activities can be seen as a ‘prosaic but constant struggle’ (Scott 1986, 6), with ‘rarely any dramatic confrontation, any moment that is particularly news- worthy’ (8). However, much of the women’s resistance is more overt, and more self-consciously ‘activist’ than the ‘foot dragging and evasion’ to which Scott refers (Scott 1986, 8). As the social conflicts extend over many years, and in the general absence of the mining companies themselves from spaces within the communities, such overt strategies form a modus operandi rather than an unusual exception (Adnan 2007). Thus these gestures and practices speak to Askins (2015) ‘quiet pol- itics’ and Staeheli et al.’s (2012) ‘ordinary citizenship’, through which ‘small actions, challenges, and the experiments to which they give rise can lead to varied forms of contact and engagement that hold the potential to nudge established patterns of control and authority and to anticipate new political acts’ (2012, 630). Making the extraordinary everyday Beyond incorporating an anti-mining stance into their daily lives and interactions, it is evident that the women activists have had to integrate very unusual circum- stances into their everyday realities. Circumstances that are definitely not quotidian or ordinary for most Andean women have become increasingly so. Thus, as Nuria (Ecuador) observes: ‘And here we have case of women comrades who are now elderly, they are grandmothers and accused of terrorism!’ Older women in their 50s, 60s and even 70s are prominent amongst the women activists, and several GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1451 recounted their struggles with police and the authorities, their arrest and impris- onment, in relation to protests they had been involved in: Luz (62, campesina, Ecuador): They kicked me, they damaged my head. Two enormous soldiers came up to me and said ‘kill her, kick her, finish her off, these daughters of whores, finish her off.’ I was on the ground unable to do anything. In 2005, following their involvement in a peaceful protest against the Rio Blanco project, two of the Peruvian activists endured kidnapping and torture over several days, as Luisa (aged 50) recounts below: Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): Many of us, men and women, went to listen to the dialogue that they [the authorities] fooled us with about Rio Blanco, and they took us by sur- prise… they shot at us, threw teargas, there were many injuries, they killed a rondero… and they took us hostage for three days, without anything to eat, without anything except beatings day and night. They accused us of being terrorists. The term ‘rondero’ above, refers to a member of the ronda campesina, a rural Peruvian form of local community organising and vigilance, that initially emerged in the 1970s. These organisations later became important local actors in combating the Shining Path armed insurgency during the Peruvian internal conflict in the 1980s and 1990s (Bebbington et al. 2007).The tensions and ongoing legacies of the sorts of experiences narrated above, are negotiated by the women on a daily basis as part of their continued commitment to opposing the mine. Over their years of engaging in activism against mining, experiences of conflict, and of actual and threatened violence have become commonplace, and elsewhere I have noted the toll this takes on women’s mental health (Jenkins and Róndon 2015). Their situa- tions require regular interactions with police, lawyers, and international human rights organisations, which have to be juggled with, and take place alongside, their everyday practices and routines related to subsistence and family life. As part of this, the women have had to teach themselves how to grapple with complex technical information, and deal with legal challenges and documentation, in the course of their struggles. Below, Nuria discusses the situation in 2009, a period when protestors occupied the mining company’s exploration camp: Nuria (42, coordinator of women’s organisation, Ecuador): In 2009, there was a strong mobilization against the mining project and there were some serious situations, various comrades were charged with terrorism, sabotage. (…) We had to confront everything that year, and for us it was very new: judgements, legal processes… and with serious charges … it was quite a difficult year. But it was difficult because it was like a permanent worry, we didn’t know what might happen, but then later we learnt a lot about judge- ments, about penal issues, all of that. Because it forced us to be there, get our heads around it, study all the proceedings, talk to the lawyers. Legal wranglings and lawyers have, through force of circumstance, become part of life for many of the women, an everyday outcome of the increasing criminalisation of protest in relation to extractive industries in Latin America (Bebbington and Humphreys Bebbington 2011; Arellano-Yanguas 2012). These experiences also feed into broader processes of the neoliberal professionalisation of grassroots 1452 K. JENKINS activism, as women’s initially informal activism is increasingly institutionalised in order to respond to such long term pressures, and transnational linkages and networks are forged to enable the women and their organisations to better deal with the challenges that they face (see also Laurie, Andolina, and Radcliffe 2003; Jenkins 2008). These challenges that come with the women’s activism are not separate from their everyday lives but rather structure their daily realities and the ways in which they are able, or unable, to exercise their citizenship (Staeheli et al. 2012). This is particularly the case in relation to the threats of violence, actual violence, and intimidation that activists reported had become a routine part of their lives: Eva (early 30s, coordinator of women’s organisation, Peru): in 2006 my personal life changed greatly, I began to be followed, threatened, it is a rather difficult life, but I think that they are personal decisions that I feel very happy with, it is something I believe in and I feel good doing it, even though I know that it is very risky because it also involves my family who always have to be cautious and worried, one cannot live a calm life. (…) I have changed my phone number at least four times, and now I hardly give it to anyone because they phone, they say I am a terrorist, they insult me, say that they know what I am doing, that I should keep quiet if I don’t want anything to happen to me. (…) So, of course, it is frightening because it makes me think that anything might happen. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): Some time ago they made death threats against me because I opposed the mine, they told me I should keep quiet. But I have not done so, I have carried on … but nevertheless there is a bit of fear, because I am risking my life… But it was probably all talk because nothing has happened and I carried on …. Such experiences are particularly concerning in light of recent events, such as the murder of Berta Cáceres, an Honduran environmental activist, in 2016 (Watts 2016), and the ongoing intimidation of Máxima Acuña de Chaupe and her family in Cajamarca, Peru (Collyns 2016), underlining the precarious personal situations of many women activists across Latin America. The lives of some of the women I interviewed had become very circumscribed as a result of their activism, with women describing how they were facing arrest warrants which meant they were unable to leave their village, or were involved in lengthy legal proceedings fighting criminal charges going back several years. Such experiences impact not only on the women’s daily routines, and those of their families, but also on their material circumstances, as livelihood activities may be curtailed or significant expenses incurred and time invested in gaining legal advice and travelling to obtain it. These ways in which the women’s ongoing resistance is embedded in their daily practices, highlight the extent to which it is overt and sustained, going beyond passive forms of resistance discussed by Scott (1986). However, other elements of the women’s resistance resonate strongly with Scott’s (1986) characterisation of resistance as constituting a set of more hidden and unorganised, and perhaps less self-consciously ‘activist’ practices, and these are discussed below. GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1453 Staying put and carrying on … Less self-evidently ‘activist’ practices also make an important contribution to long- term strategies of resistance. Here, I critically analyse the ways in which the wom- en’s narratives emphasise ideas of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’, resonating with what Anguelovski and Martinez-Alier (2014) characterise as a fundamental aspect of environmental justice mobilisation – ‘the defense of the right to place and ter- ritory and the right to stay without being displaced’ (2014, 173). The women use narratives of their rural livelihoods as an emblematic way of demonstrating their resistance to the notions of ‘progress’ being imposed upon them. Whilst there have been occasions when anti-mining activists have engaged in site occupations and roadblocks, forming a physical obstacle to mining developments, which might also be conceptualised in terms of ‘staying put’, here I focus instead on the way in which, not only has the women’s activism become a part of their everyday life, but the rhythms of their everyday life rooted in a particular place are deployed as part of their resistance. In the face of the threat of large-scale mining and its perceived negative impacts, the women draw strongly on motifs around working the land and continuing their rural way of life, to situate their ongoing opposition to mining: Sandra (47, campesina, Ecuador): I think that people shouldn’t sell their land and they shouldn’t pay attention to what the authorities say, but rather they should stay there on their scrubland, and fight and say ‘ this is our property’, and you are not going to make us leave, we have lived here with our animals and where are we going to go? And they should stay firm and fight instead of selling up and leaving so that the miners can come and do what they like and contaminate the environment. Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): My daily life is to work in the house, I do my weavings, I make my ponchos, my sweaters, my blankets. There are months when we sow seed, others that we harvest, and this is how we live, working day by day. This is our custom…. Because if the mine is allowed to open, everything will be finished. I know that the mine is development, but in our communities it is not, because they are agricultural commu- nities, we produce plenty of milk, plenty of cheese, plenty of potatoes, plenty of corn. Our communities produce everything, and this is why we defend them and we carry on. Luisa and Sandra’s comments reflect their determination to use their land pro - ductively, growing crops and rearing animals for subsistence and to sell locally. Through the meanings they attach to their daily practices, we can see how ‘the more mundane gestures of everyday life reveal significant sites of political strug- gle’ (Amoore 2005, 7). Their comments imbue specific livelihood strategies with cultural meaning, and elsewhere I discuss the ways in which these narratives draw on emblematic discourses and motifs of indigenous identity, such as ponchos, weaving, sowing seeds and connections with Mother Earth (Jenkins 2015). These women draw a stark contrast between what they frame as their current capacity for self-sufficiency and their ability to live off the land, and the threat that the mine will arrive and their lands and way of life will be destroyed: 1454 K. JENKINS Esmeralda (54, campesina, Ecuador): I can survive without anything from anyone, work- ing the land, growing my corn, my beans, all the products that I have, in order to survive, I don’t need gifts from anyone. But if the mine arrives, there won’t be any more crops, there won’t be livestock, we will have nothing. The activists deploy powerful symbolic narratives around continuity, tradition and ancestral links with the land, framing the threat of the mining development in a way which undermines and challenges the notions of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ that are promised by the mine (Jenkins 2015). The women’s narratives show how their practices of sowing seeds, tending livestock and harvesting crops come to embody a form of ongoing resistance to the mine, as these women occupy the land and represent it as a productive and sustainable resource to be protected. Indeed, several women particularly mentioned, as an example of their activism, activities involving promoting small-scale agriculture as a viable option for local people: Berta (24, University student from campesina community, Ecuador): We are opposed to all forms of mining. For example, there is the work on family smallholdings that we are doing with our comrades, enabling each comrade to have their own plot, not for them to sell the produce, but for food for their home, to subsist, for their family. So we have been supporting this initiative, smallholdings, organic, without chemicals. We have done this through communal working parties, everyone has taken part. One day we go to one plot, another day to the plot of another neighbour, this is the communal way of working that has gone on for many years but most recently has been lost. So we are working in this way and we would like to strengthen and continue this. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): To make people more aware, work with people, to carry out projects so that people know how important agriculture is, how important it is to look after our land, our trees, to have clean air, this is the thing … Practices of revitalising and promoting traditional agricultural methods, as well as enacting the Andean practices of community minga [communal work par- ties] and reciprocity to which Berta refers above, illustrate the ways in which the women’s activities give meaning to places in a way that produces community spaces that are physically and symbolically more difficult for mining companies to occupy or displace people from. Physically occupying the land and making it productive is therefore an important element of resisting the arrival of the mine, countering ideas of Andean spaces as empty and ripe for exploitation (Svampa and Antonelli 2009), and ex-President of Peru Alan García’s conceptualisation of ‘idle lands’ (Merino 2012). This also reflects strategies used elsewhere in Peru to contest mining developments, for example the emblematic use of the lime in the campaign against mining in Tambogrande, where the region’s important export-oriented production (particularly of limes and lemons) was constructed by those opposing mining as symbolic of Peruvian identity, particularly due to the lime’s use in national dishes such as ceviche and the famous pisco sour cocktail. This identity was thus framed as under threat from the proposed mining development (Haarstad and Fløysand 2007). As Escobar, Rocheleau, and Kothari (2002) assert, ‘Place is the anchoring point of many women’s lives’ (2002, 28), and the women activists emphasise the importance of their particular places as a source of both GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1455 their cultural identity and livelihoods (see also Jenkins 2015), underlining the ‘con- vergence of nature and culture, women and environment, ethnicity and ecology’ (Escobar, Rocheleau, and Kothari 2002, 29). These women’s narratives illustrate the extent to which their resistance to mining is intimately interwoven with the everyday (Cowen and Story 2013), as the women refuse to allow their valued ways of life to be disrupted. These strategies exemplify the way in which practices and narratives of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’ should be understood as important dimensions of everyday resistance. Despite their involvement in activism, and the associated challenges and upheavals that this brings, the women emphasise continuity in their daily lives, and their continued reliance on rural livelihoods and working the land. Their activism is embedded within these practices rather than being situated as a separate dimension of their lives. As Gabriela (40, campesina, Peru) comments: ‘It is a battle that is part of our life, because if the mine arrives we will not be able to survive’. Concluding thoughts The narratives of these anti-mining activist women exemplify the extent to which their resistance forms part of a mostly unspectacular but ‘constant struggle’ (Scott 1986, 6), a continual presence in their daily lives. Their resistance is embedded in the rhythm of their daily routines and in this context apparently quotidian practices and spaces become imbued with activist meaning and political significance. This blurs the boundaries around practices and spaces of activism (Fincher and Panelli 2001), emphasising the importance of recognising small acts which nevertheless make a significant and long term contribution to resistance and struggle (Amoore 2005). This ‘everyday-ness’ is also reflective of the often rather circumscribed nature of Andean women’s lives, making their long term engagement with anti-mining resistance all the more remarkable in the face of traditional gendered roles and expectations in rural communities. My contribution therefore foregrounds the need to look beyond overt and spectacular public acts of resistance, in order to capture the broadest possible spectrum of activist practices and discourses. This is not to suggest that women’s resistance is always ‘everyday’, or in any way mun- dane and unworthy of attention (Vaiou and Lykogianni 2006), nor to marginalise the intimate and everyday as local (Cowen and Story 2013). Rather I suggest that it is precisely its everyday character that makes women’s anti-mining activism in the Andes a rich example of the multi-layered and contingent nature of always evolving activist practices. In the face of powerful political and corporate interests, the women activists are re-shaping what it means to be an ‘activist’ in challenging circumstances, finding and creating spaces and opportunities to embed their resistance within their everyday family and community practices over the long term. Despite the David and Goliath nature of their struggle, the women activists display remarkable resolve to maintain their resistance and to be a constant presence; challenging 1456 K. JENKINS the form that ‘development’ takes in their communities. Like Cheru’s ‘army of ter- mites eating away at the wooden structure of a house inch by inch’ (2005, 74), Berta (Ecuador) asserts, ‘We will carry on being the stone in their shoe, annoying them.’ Berta’s comment exemplifies the tenacity of these women activists, and their determination to continue to contest mining in their communities, despite the ongoing personal costs of doing so. Framing their narratives and experiences in relation to the everyday is crucial in understanding the ways in which processes of resistance infuse community dynamics and work to re-shape places and identities over an extended timeframe. Acknowledgements Thanks are due to LAMMP for their support of this research, and to the women in Ecuador and Peru who generously gave their time to take part in this research. Previous versions of this article were presented at the Society for Latin American Studies Annual Conference 2014 and the Feminist and Women’s Studies Annual Conference 2013. The comments of the Editor and of three anonymous reviewers were valuable in shaping the final article. Disclosure statement No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author. Funding This work was supported by JISLAC (the Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean). Notes on contributor Katy Jenkins is Associate Professor of International Development and Co-Director of the Centre for International Development at Northumbria University. She completed a BA (Hons) Hispanic Studies at the University of Birmingham, followed by a Masters and PhD in Human Geography at Newcastle University. Her current research focuses on gender and mining, looking at wom- en’s anti-mining activism, and also exploring social transformations in communities impacted by mining projects in Latin America. More broadly, Katy is interested in activism, NGOs, profes- sionalization, and the changing trajectories of activists. She has a particular interest in feminist and participatory methodologies. Katy speaks fluent Spanish and has a longstanding inter - est in women’s community organising in Latin America, and has conducted research in Peru, Ecuador and Chile. Katy is a member of the Society for Latin America Studies committee, and co-convenor of the DSA Women and Development Study Group. References Adnan, Shapan. 2007. “Departures from Everyday Resistance and Flexible Strategies of Domination: The Making and Unmaking of a Poor Peasant Mobilization in Bangladesh.” Journal of Agrarian Change 7 (2): 183–224. GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1457 Amoore, Louise, ed. 2005. The Global Resistance Reader. London: Routledge. ANDES. 2016. “Ecuadorian Government and Canadian Company Sign Agreement to Exploit Fruta Del Norte Gold-Mine.” ANDES, January 14. http://www.andes.info.ec/en/news/ecuadorian- government-and-canadian-company-sign-agreement-exploit-fruta-norte-gold-mine.html. 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Women anti-mining activists’ narratives of everyday resistance in the Andes: staying put and carrying on in Peru and Ecuador

"Gender, Place & Culture" , Volume 24 (10): 19 – Oct 3, 2017

Women anti-mining activists’ narratives of everyday resistance in the Andes: staying put and carrying on in Peru and Ecuador

Abstract

AbstractThis article explores the ways in which activism and resistance are incorporated into the everyday lives and practices of rural women in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes, theorising the nature of women’s everyday resistance in long running social conflicts. Drawing on research with women anti-mining activists in Peru and Ecuador, the article emphasises that their resistance is rarely concerned with large-scale protests, transnational activism, and the spectacular, but rather depends on daily resistance and resilience in, often fractured, local communities. I explore how rural women make extraordinary circumstances, including facing lawsuits and accusations of terrorism, part of their everyday lives, and how they articulate their resistance and situate it in place through narratives of staying put and carrying on, drawing on emblematic notions of rural livelihoods to challenge large-scale mining developments in their communities.

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10.1080/0966369X.2017.1387102
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Abstract

Gender, Place & culture, 2017 VOl . 24, n O. 10, 1441–1459 https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2017.1387102 OPEN ACCESS Women anti-mining activists’ narratives of everyday resistance in the Andes: staying put and carrying on in Peru and Ecuador Katy Jenkins d epartment of Social Sciences, lipman Building, northumbria university, newcastle upon t yne, uK ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY received 7 September 2016 This article explores the ways in which activism and resistance a ccepted 29 May 2017 are incorporated into the everyday lives and practices of rural women in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes, theorising KEYWORDS the nature of women’s everyday resistance in long running andes; everyday activism; social conflicts. Drawing on research with women anti- latin america; mining; mining activists in Peru and Ecuador, the article emphasises resistance; women that their resistance is rarely concerned with large-scale protests, transnational activism, and the spectacular, but rather depends on daily resistance and resilience in, often fractured, local communities. I explore how rural women make extraordinary circumstances, including facing lawsuits and accusations of terrorism, part of their everyday lives, and how they articulate their resistance and situate it in place through narratives of staying put and carrying on, drawing on emblematic notions of rural livelihoods to challenge large- scale mining developments in their communities. Introduction This article critically explores women’s anti-mining activism in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes, contributing to a renewed interest in understanding the gen- dered dimensions of struggles over natural resources (Elmhirst, 2011). In light of little existing research specifically focused on women’s roles in relation to mining conflicts, I analyse Andean women’s practices of resistance and how these are enacted in the context of prolonged social conflicts, recognising these practices as contingent, contested and rooted in the everyday (Maxey 1999; Martin, Hanson, and Fontaine 2007; Chatterton and Pickerill 2010; Askins 2015). The article begins with an overview of the context in which this activism occurs before reviewing literature theorising activism and the everyday. I then explore how resistance is conceived by rural Andean women activists, emphasising that this is rarely CONTACT Katy Jenkins katy.jenkins@northumbria.ac.uk © 2017 t he a uthor(s). Published by Informa uK limited, trading as t aylor & Francis Group. t his is an Open a ccess article distributed under the terms of the creative c ommons a ttribution license (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 1442 K. JENKINS concerned with large-scale protest, transnational activist networks, or the spec- tacular, but is instead firmly rooted in the women’s daily lives and experiences. I argue that a long-term engagement in anti-mining activism requires the women to incorporate quite unusual circumstances into their daily lives. Finally, I fore- ground strategies of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’ as important elements of long term resistance, which enable the women to construct particular meanings about their communities and the places that they seek to protect from the arrival of large-scale mining projects. The Andes are a key site in which processes of contestation are being played out in relation to large-scale mining (see, e.g. De Echave 2005; Kuecker 2007; Bebbington 2012; Moore and Velasquez 2012; Warnaars and Bebbington 2014), both in regions with established histories of mineral extraction and in areas not previously exploited for their mineral resources. In both Peru and Ecuador, suc- cessive governments have actively promoted mining development as a lucrative source of revenue, though from ostensibly different ideological starting points (Becker 2011; Merino 2012), developing favourable regulatory regimes and pro- moting large-scale investments (Reuters 2012; Emery 2015). Large tracts of land have been concessioned to mining companies, often in ecologically and culturally sensitive areas and without appropriate consultation with local communities. In Peru, the mining sector is well established with extensive operations across the country. Mining (including for silver, gold, zinc and copper) accounted for 12% of Peru’s GDP in 2015, and 57% of exports (Jamasmie 2016). In contrast, in Ecuador, the first operating licence was only granted around the time of this research, in March 2012. However, mining is expected to bring in around US$1,000 billion of investment into Ecuador in 2017, and the government is negotiating at least five large-scale mining projects, which it classifies as strategically important for the country (ANDES 2016). In the two areas that are the focus of this research, con- cessions have been granted and exploration is taking place but active extraction has not yet begun, due to extensive community opposition and protest, which has delayed both projects’ initiation. Research took place in 2012 and consisted of in-depth semi-structured interviews with 26 women activists, focusing on understanding their experiences of, and moti- vations for, anti-mining activism. The Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme (LAMMP), a campaigning and advocacy NGO concerned with the human rights of women anti-mining activists in Latin America, facilitated the research; and the project forms part of an ongoing dialogue and collaboration between LAMMP and the researcher. The research involved members of two grassroots women’s organ- isations, one in each location. Each organisation acted as gatekeeper in recruiting women to take part in the research. All women who were affiliated with the organ- isations were eligible to participate, and the research aimed to involve a broad range of women activists. Interviews were conducted in a range of locations over a three-week period, including the offices of one organisation, women’s homes, and my hotels, depending on the women’s preferences and availability. GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1443 The existence of separate women’s organisations contesting mining activities reflects tensions within the broader anti-mining movement (Velasquez 2012); women had organised their own groups in response to feeling marginalised within the mainstream social movement. These organisations were building networks with regional and national NGOs, but these were still quite patchy at the time of the research. Since the research, both organisations have continued to organise against large-scale mining. The Ecuadorian group is the more established and active of the two groups of women, and is better integrated into regional activist networks, whilst the Peruvian group has been more sporadic in its activities. Both groups are part of ULAM (Unión Latino Americana de Mujeres), an organisation bringing together women anti-mining activists from across Latin America. The two groups of women are in contact with each other as a result of their involvement with ULAM, and have jointly organised activities – most recently, in March 2017, a virtual workshop on the impact of mining on women, held concurrently in Cuenca (Ecuador) and Piura (Peru). The women activists interviewed were Spanish speakers between the ages of 20 and 70 years old, with the majority being older women over the age of 40. In both locations, the majority of the women were agro-pastoralists who identified as campesinas (peasants) and had relatively low levels of education, but a few younger women who were prominent in organising both organisations had more urban lifestyles and higher levels of education, though came from campesina back- grounds. The women interviewed had been involved in community organising against mining activities for up to 10 years. Around half of the interviewees were married, with the rest either separated, single, or in one case widowed. Most had children, though a significant minority did not. I conducted all interviews myself in Spanish and interview quotes that appear here are my own translations. In Ecuador, the research involved women from communities around the city of Cuenca, Southern Ecuador – primarily Molleturo and Victoria del Portete – that will be affected by several proposed developments. These projects are the ‘Rio Blanco’ gold and silver mining project (owned at the time by International Mineral Corporation (IMC) but now owned by Junefield Mineral Resources); and a gold-silver-copper mine, known as ‘Quimsacocha’ and owned by IAM Gold when this research was conducted, now called ‘Loma Larga’ and owned jointly by IAM Gold and INV Metals. The women’s organisation was established in 2008, and forms part of a coalition of regional and national organisations opposing large-scale mining. The two projects are opposed by the women’s organisation in relation to their location within a protected National Park, in an area of fragile páramo (high Andean) ecosystems and where several headwaters are located, as well as more generally in relation to the anticipated negative social impacts of the project, and the lack of economic benefit that they expect to accrue to affected communities. The group draws on both indigenous and peasant identities in their campaigning, and aligns itself with other prominent socialist peasant organisations campaign- ing on issues around land sovereignty and in relation to mining. The organisation 1444 K. JENKINS maintains a strong social media presence, and their activities include taking part in radio interviews, organising protests, disseminating information, and taking part in workshops and community meetings. In Peru, the research took place with women activists from Huancabamba in the Province of Piura, Northern Peru, where the proposed project (coincidentally also called ‘Rio Blanco’) is a copper mine owned by the Chinese Zijin Mining Corp Ltd, though previously owned by the British Monterrico Metals (see Bebbington et al. [2007] for detailed historical context). The project is currently on hold but expected to re-start imminently. The women’s organisation here was also formed in 2008, and consists of a small group of women focusing on resisting the development of large-scale mining projects in their region, as well as developing and disseminat- ing skills and knowledge to support and promote women’s rural livelihoods. The organisation is much less developed than its Ecuadorian counterpart. They are in contact with many other organisations working in this area but are somewhat less embedded than the group in Ecuador, in terms of accessing support and resources. The group does not have a social media presence but is integrated into broader networks via ULAM and LAMMP. Women in this organisation also draw on camp- esina identities, but their discourses are not as influenced by socialist principles, and overall their stance is less coherently articulated. They have been less active whilst the Rio Blanco project has been on hold, but continue to oppose the mine. The protest movement against Rio Blanco is calling for a no-go mining zone to be implemented in the region, given its fragile ecosystem and rich biodiversity, and for money to be invested in supporting alternative development based on eco-tourism and organic farming (Catapa 2017). Though each conflict has its own specific histories and contours, these are not the principal focus here, as I seek to understand women activists’ experiences and involvement in long-running community resistance and organising against mining developments. In order to ensure anonymity, where quotes are included I do not identify a woman’s community of origin, as often only a few women from a par- ticular community are still active in organising against the mine. As the emphasis is on the experiences of women activists, the data analysis ranges across Ecuador and Peru, and is not comparative in nature, whilst recognising the specificities of each context where relevant. The research does not aim for representativeness or generalisability, but rather to make audible the voices of these women activists, and to value these expe- riences in their own right, rather than in relation to men. A commitment to a feminist methodology foregrounding women’s own voices means I have some- times included long quotes to bring to life their experiences and struggle. The emphasis on women’s anti-mining activism is not to suggest that this is a women’s movement, or even that women play a dominant role within anti-mining activ- ism. Rather, reflecting a key concern within feminist political ecology (Rocheleau, Thomas-Slayter, and Wangari 1996), the research aims to explore the particular experiences of women as significant participants within the movement, who have GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1445 thus far not been widely recognised in accounts of resistance to mining develop- ments in Latin America (see, for example, De Echave 2005; Haarstad and Fløysand 2007; Gordon and Webber 2008; Bebbington 2012), beyond iconic figures such as Máxima Acuña de Chaupe, whose case has gained prominence in the media (Frontline Defenders 2016), and particularly social media. This lack of visibility reflects the situation of women more generally in relation to struggles over land and indigenous territories in Latin America (Radcliffe 2014), and the absence of a gendered analysis is increasingly recognised as a significant gap in the extensive literature on resource extraction (Bebbington, Bornschlegel, and Johnson 2013; Deonandan and Tatham 2016). Theorising activism: making space for the everyday This research began with the aim of making visible Andean women’s anti-mining activism, as an example of people, spaces and places where activism happens ‘below the radar’, largely unrecognised and under-theorised. In foregrounding activism that takes place beyond emblematic and high profile protests and away from the media spotlight, the article contributes to debates around ‘what counts’ as activism (Martin, Hanson, and Fontaine 2007), as well as deepening our under- standing of gendered activist practices and their role in constructing place, par- ticularly when these practices extend over a long timeframe. The article thus also engages with the rhythms and temporalities of activism, exemplified by Nelson’s (2003) notion of ‘sedimentation’, which emphasises the latent and sometimes contradictory ways in which activism and resistance extends within communi- ties over the long term, beyond the spectacular moments and spaces of protest. Embedded within the research is a recognition of the multiplicity of forms that activism – and activists – may take, emphasising the contingent and contested nature of such activism, and understanding activists’ identities as being ‘messy, complex and multiple (…) – always in the process of becoming and moving for- ward through experimentation and contestation’ (Chatterton and Pickerill 2010, 479). The example of Andean women’s anti-mining activism allows us to explore the more subtle and less high profile spaces where activism takes place, embedded and entangled in everyday practices and the patchwork of daily community life. The concept of ‘activism’ is itself always contingent and shifting, constituted by individual subjectivities and the extent to which individuals and groups them- selves recognise their engagements, actions and resistances as ‘activism’ (Maxey 1999; Bobel 2007). As Baillie Smith and Jenkins (2012) recognise, the activism of individual actors often manifests itself through a broad set of ‘politics and commit- ments to social justice [which] are embedded in their everyday practices’ (Baillie Smith and Jenkins 2012, 643). It is thus important to take a flexible approach to understanding activism in order to capture the broadest possible spectrum of prac- tices and discourses. This article particularly draws on Scott’s (1986) and Amoore’s (2005) theorising of everyday forms of resistance, arguing that the notion of the 1446 K. JENKINS ‘everyday’ is particularly useful in making sense of women’s anti-mining activities, especially in terms of understanding how such activism is sustained over time in often challenging and isolated circumstances. As Amoore emphasises: Though resistance is characteristically understood to be expressed through the politics of protest, demonstration, public statement or declaration, then, the more mundane gestures of everyday life reveal significant sites of political struggle. (Amoore 2005, 7) Scott characterises everyday resistance in terms of individual, largely covert actions that ‘require little or no co-ordination or planning’, such as ‘passive non-compliance, subtle sabotage, evasion and deception’ (Scott 1986, 6, 7). However, I argue that the women anti-mining activists provide an opportunity to conceptualise another dimension of ‘everyday activism’, focusing on more overt and organised instances of resistance but which nevertheless form part of the prosaic daily practices of community life. My use of the everyday therefore resonates with Zanotti’s (2013) characterisation of Kayapó women’s everyday resistance as embedded in daily life but involving ‘direct confrontations with authorities or external actors’ (Zanotti 2013, 348), as well as with Askins (2015) notion of ‘a quiet politics’. Theorising the everyday has particularly been associated with a feminist empha- sis on making sense of gendered practices and identities and recognising more subjugated knowledges and practices. It also foregrounds the importance of mak- ing visible local and household level practices: … taking a route through the routine, taken-for-granted activity of everyday life in homes, neighbourhoods and communities can tell us much about its role in supporting social, cultural and economic shifts – as well as helping us see how the ‘local’ is struc- tured by wider processes and relations of power. (Dyck 2005, 243) A focus on the everyday therefore places emphasis on the political and social significance of the seemingly mundane actions and interactions of women’s daily lives (Krauss 1993; Mollett 2017). In the case of Andean peasant women, their lives are often more circumscribed and confined to the local level than those of their male counterparts, with few opportunities to participate in public decision-making processes or take on community leadership roles, and a continued emphasis on their responsibility for the domestic sphere (Radcliffe, Laurie, and Andolina 2003; Cuadros Falla 2010). Though they often take on signic fi ant responsibility for small- scale agriculture, this may not be recognised by partners, community leaders and authorities (Radcliffe, Laurie, and Andolina 2003), and women may also underplay this contribution to their household economy (Cuadros Falla 2010). Additionally, in the communities in Ecuador where research took place, it was also increasingly common for men to migrate in search of work, leaving women with sole respon- sibility for maintaining reproductive and productive activities. In the discussion that follows, I emphasise the interweaving of gendered prac- tices of resistance and the everyday, foregrounding daily practices and small acts and their extension over time. As Amoore recognises, ‘the less visible practices of resistance are not meaningfully separable from the overt expressions, but rather they may form the language, structures and meanings that make the grand GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1447 gestures possible’ (Amoore 2005, 8). Such an approach also allows for engage- ment with ideas around activist ‘careers’ (Baillie Smith and Jenkins 2012), thinking through how the activism of individuals and communities is sustained and trans- formed over time and space. In the case of the women anti-mining activists, their resistance is a response to a very specific set of circumstances – the threat they perceive that large-scale mining poses to their communities and livelihoods – with clear resonances of Martinez-Alier’s (2002) ‘environmentalism of the poor’. For many of the women interviewed, their involvement in anti-mining resistance was the first time they had engaged in any sort of social organising activity, providing an important contrast with literature conceptualising activism as stemming from long term political engagement (Maxey 1999; Chatterton and Pickerill 2010; Baillie Smith and Jenkins 2012). This article draws on longstanding feminist theorising of everyday spaces as politicised and as intertwined with local, national and global scales and pro- cesses (Dowler and Sharp 2001; Staeheli, Kofman, and Peake 2004; Elmhirst 2011). Focusing on how resistance is enacted and rooted in local space and daily lives, also provides a counterpoint to debates that have often foregrounded the cen- trality of transnational spaces and connections in sustaining activism and activists (Moghadam 2000; Kaldor 2003). As Cowens and Story argue, in making the case for a focus on the intimate everyday, and its ‘entanglement’ with multiple spheres and scales, ‘Geopolitics does not simply permeate relations of care, familial forms and notions of the self, but forges them too’ (Cowen and Story 2013, 343). In the nar- ratives and analysis that follows, we can see how rural Andean women’s everyday actions shape, and are shaped, over a prolonged timescale, by the multiple scales and actors entangled in conflicts, debates and decision-making about large-scale resource extraction. The article uses the lens of ‘everyday resistance’ to theorise three facets of the women’s anti-mining activities. I begin by exploring how the women’s resistance is exemplified in everyday confrontations within their communities. I then analyse the ways in which these women incorporate extraordinary circumstances into their daily lives, before finally considering strategies of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’ as fundamental but often less visible elements of their activism, acting to maintain continuity in the face of ongoing economic and social upheaval and conflict. These three aspects come together to show the ways in which women’s everyday resist- ance and activist practices shape and re-make place and place-based identities over time in ways that strengthen and reinforce continued resistance to large-scale extraction. Everyday confrontations, divided communities and ‘small’ acts of resistance In the women’s discussions of their activism, narrations of occasional, high profile moments of spectacle and drama do play a prominent role, despite the infrequent 1448 K. JENKINS occurrence of such events, providing the women with an important sense of col- lective struggle and critical mass in their opposition to the mine. However, it is also important to recognise the role of less prominent but more common ways in which the women’s resistance is enacted. The mining conflicts in both locations have become sustained and drawn out processes, with fewer direct confrontations, and the pro-mining contingency has worn down initially widespread community opposition, leaving more isolated clusters of anti-mining individuals: Marlena (59, vice president of the women’s organisation, Ecuador): There were many of us when we started, almost half of the community, and since then it has dwindled to just a few of us, the others pulled out over time. Now it’s not so easy. People withdraw for economic reasons, we are poor and have few resources. Those who are in favour of the mine say it’s not worth fighting because the mine will provide for us. This is the strategy they use to convince people, and so people stop supporting us. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): It’s complicated, very difficult for people. Standing up to this has divided us [the community], it has made us fight with each other. Before we worked together nicely in the community, very organised, the people were united, but now there is disunity. It’s a terrible thing because now people just want to be paid, everything is about getting paid. A sense of community fragmentation is a prominent feature of the women’s accounts, underlining how community spaces, dynamics and power relations have been re-shaped over a period of many years of conflict within the women’s com- munities, reinforced by the divisive nature of mining company activities. Common to many of the women’s narratives was a discussion of how their activist identities were forged through everyday, low level confrontations within their communities, usually with members of the community who were in favour of the mine rather than with external actors: Florita (69, campesina, Ecuador): They call us liars, they say that we are stupid poor people, that we don’t know anything. (…) They humiliate us, in particular the women humiliate us most of all, it’s sometimes like that in the countryside, (…) We women are humiliated, they do not want us to speak at all, they say that we don’t know what we are talking about, that we talk rubbish, that we are ignorant. Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): The most difficult are the divisions between people, that is to say the buying of consciences, the deception of people. They say, ‘don’t get involved in this, you protest like mad people, they will ignore you, mining is development, it’s for the good of the community, there will be money’. Florita and Luisa’s comments allude to some of the challenges they face as women activists, and the gendered processes of social control at work within their com- munities that limit the types of actions considered appropriate for women to be involved in (see also Arana Zegarra 2012). The impacts of this are particularly notable in the context of fragmentation and isolation experienced by the women activists, with high personal costs for women who do get involved in activism. The women used their continued endurance of such confrontations to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to campaigning against the arrival of the mine, illus- trating the ways in which resistance is woven into the fabric of their daily lives GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1449 (Zanotti 2013), colouring all of their neighbourhood interactions regardless of whether these relate directly to the issue of mining, as Warnaars and Bebbington (2014, 120, 121) also observe: These disputes over land and resources not only affect how social actors relate to each other and the environment, but also seep into the mundaneness of daily life. As they are naturalized, territorial disputes shape daily choices, such as not to be seen talking with your pro-mining neighbour, receiving milk from cattle that pasture on land owned by the mining company, or going to Sunday mass given by an anti-mining priest. The issue of internal community and household divisions in relation to mining was very prominent in the women’s narratives, and this was clearly a source of tension for the women, who were very conscious of changed power relations within the community: Constancia (50, campesina, Ecuador): The community is divided in respect of the issue of mining, because the buying of consciences is going on, the community leaders have all more or less been bought off. For example, we have documents to show that every year the president of the council receives a budget from the mine. This year it was $82,000. So this divides the community. Ana (32, campesina, Ecuador): Socially it has affected us a great deal. For example, within one household there may be some who are in favour of the mine because they say it is going to bring work, while others in the same household are against it. Parents and children become enemies. Neighbours too. The community is divided. Those who are in favour of the mine look at us [women activists] badly, they insult us, they call us the ‘Pachamamas’. Pachamama is usually translated as ‘Mother Earth’ and is an important Andean indigenous female deity of the Earth, linked to sacred ideas about land and water. Here, the term is used pejoratively to denigrate the women’s environmental activ- ism, drawing on negative connotations of backwardness and ignorance that his- torically have been attached to indigeneity in the Andes. Women activists felt increasingly marginalised within their communities, as community members were either swayed by the promises of the pro-mining lobby, or as others’ energy and ability to actively oppose the mine had run out. The personal costs of continued activism in this context are high, and the women felt this keenly: Constancia (50, campesina, Ecuador): The president of the community council looks at us [those who oppose the mine] badly, at me, even though I am almost related to him, still they look upon us badly. They only allow those who share their point of view to speak, not us. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): I know that people follow me, watching what I am doing, what I am trying to achieve, they think I am campaigning for a political party. Despite the precarious position the women activists feel they are in within their communities, the women underlined how important it was to them to continue to find ways to demonstrate their resistance and integrity. One example of this was their determination not to accept gifts and bribes from the mining company, which they recognised as designed to undermine community opposition: 1450 K. JENKINS Esmeralda (54, campesina, Ecuador): They trick us by giving us so called gifts, but I have learnt not to take those gifts so that my conscience remains clear. By accepting gifts I would be selling my conscience. I can survive without anything from anyone, working the land, growing my corn, my beans, all the products that I have, in order to survive, I don’t need gifts from anyone. Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): I have raised seven children with my husband, working in agriculture, weaving, I have sent them to school, they are still young, I haven’t sold my conscience for 20 or 50 soles. And this is what is worrying now, because most people don’t have any money, they sell themselves for 50 soles and sign up so that the mine will provide for them. [NB 20 soles was roughly £5 at the time of the research] Whilst these stances might be characterised as ‘small’ acts of resistance, attracting little attention, it is important to realise that they may not be so small in the context of a rural, and largely subsistence-based, peasant community, where many people have succumbed to the allure of mining’s promised riches: Nuria (42, coordinator of women’s organisation, Ecuador): Lately they have been giving schoolchildren bags with the company logo on, and things that they should take home for their mothers. It is truly a disaster, and of course, there are people who, for such trivial things – because it isn’t even as if they are receiving things that are going to change their lives – for stupid things like a couple of plastic chairs, these people become supporters of the mine. Such examples illustrate the ways in which the women’s resistance structures their everyday interactions at the community level. Women’s continued opposition to mining activities can be seen as a ‘prosaic but constant struggle’ (Scott 1986, 6), with ‘rarely any dramatic confrontation, any moment that is particularly news- worthy’ (8). However, much of the women’s resistance is more overt, and more self-consciously ‘activist’ than the ‘foot dragging and evasion’ to which Scott refers (Scott 1986, 8). As the social conflicts extend over many years, and in the general absence of the mining companies themselves from spaces within the communities, such overt strategies form a modus operandi rather than an unusual exception (Adnan 2007). Thus these gestures and practices speak to Askins (2015) ‘quiet pol- itics’ and Staeheli et al.’s (2012) ‘ordinary citizenship’, through which ‘small actions, challenges, and the experiments to which they give rise can lead to varied forms of contact and engagement that hold the potential to nudge established patterns of control and authority and to anticipate new political acts’ (2012, 630). Making the extraordinary everyday Beyond incorporating an anti-mining stance into their daily lives and interactions, it is evident that the women activists have had to integrate very unusual circum- stances into their everyday realities. Circumstances that are definitely not quotidian or ordinary for most Andean women have become increasingly so. Thus, as Nuria (Ecuador) observes: ‘And here we have case of women comrades who are now elderly, they are grandmothers and accused of terrorism!’ Older women in their 50s, 60s and even 70s are prominent amongst the women activists, and several GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1451 recounted their struggles with police and the authorities, their arrest and impris- onment, in relation to protests they had been involved in: Luz (62, campesina, Ecuador): They kicked me, they damaged my head. Two enormous soldiers came up to me and said ‘kill her, kick her, finish her off, these daughters of whores, finish her off.’ I was on the ground unable to do anything. In 2005, following their involvement in a peaceful protest against the Rio Blanco project, two of the Peruvian activists endured kidnapping and torture over several days, as Luisa (aged 50) recounts below: Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): Many of us, men and women, went to listen to the dialogue that they [the authorities] fooled us with about Rio Blanco, and they took us by sur- prise… they shot at us, threw teargas, there were many injuries, they killed a rondero… and they took us hostage for three days, without anything to eat, without anything except beatings day and night. They accused us of being terrorists. The term ‘rondero’ above, refers to a member of the ronda campesina, a rural Peruvian form of local community organising and vigilance, that initially emerged in the 1970s. These organisations later became important local actors in combating the Shining Path armed insurgency during the Peruvian internal conflict in the 1980s and 1990s (Bebbington et al. 2007).The tensions and ongoing legacies of the sorts of experiences narrated above, are negotiated by the women on a daily basis as part of their continued commitment to opposing the mine. Over their years of engaging in activism against mining, experiences of conflict, and of actual and threatened violence have become commonplace, and elsewhere I have noted the toll this takes on women’s mental health (Jenkins and Róndon 2015). Their situa- tions require regular interactions with police, lawyers, and international human rights organisations, which have to be juggled with, and take place alongside, their everyday practices and routines related to subsistence and family life. As part of this, the women have had to teach themselves how to grapple with complex technical information, and deal with legal challenges and documentation, in the course of their struggles. Below, Nuria discusses the situation in 2009, a period when protestors occupied the mining company’s exploration camp: Nuria (42, coordinator of women’s organisation, Ecuador): In 2009, there was a strong mobilization against the mining project and there were some serious situations, various comrades were charged with terrorism, sabotage. (…) We had to confront everything that year, and for us it was very new: judgements, legal processes… and with serious charges … it was quite a difficult year. But it was difficult because it was like a permanent worry, we didn’t know what might happen, but then later we learnt a lot about judge- ments, about penal issues, all of that. Because it forced us to be there, get our heads around it, study all the proceedings, talk to the lawyers. Legal wranglings and lawyers have, through force of circumstance, become part of life for many of the women, an everyday outcome of the increasing criminalisation of protest in relation to extractive industries in Latin America (Bebbington and Humphreys Bebbington 2011; Arellano-Yanguas 2012). These experiences also feed into broader processes of the neoliberal professionalisation of grassroots 1452 K. JENKINS activism, as women’s initially informal activism is increasingly institutionalised in order to respond to such long term pressures, and transnational linkages and networks are forged to enable the women and their organisations to better deal with the challenges that they face (see also Laurie, Andolina, and Radcliffe 2003; Jenkins 2008). These challenges that come with the women’s activism are not separate from their everyday lives but rather structure their daily realities and the ways in which they are able, or unable, to exercise their citizenship (Staeheli et al. 2012). This is particularly the case in relation to the threats of violence, actual violence, and intimidation that activists reported had become a routine part of their lives: Eva (early 30s, coordinator of women’s organisation, Peru): in 2006 my personal life changed greatly, I began to be followed, threatened, it is a rather difficult life, but I think that they are personal decisions that I feel very happy with, it is something I believe in and I feel good doing it, even though I know that it is very risky because it also involves my family who always have to be cautious and worried, one cannot live a calm life. (…) I have changed my phone number at least four times, and now I hardly give it to anyone because they phone, they say I am a terrorist, they insult me, say that they know what I am doing, that I should keep quiet if I don’t want anything to happen to me. (…) So, of course, it is frightening because it makes me think that anything might happen. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): Some time ago they made death threats against me because I opposed the mine, they told me I should keep quiet. But I have not done so, I have carried on … but nevertheless there is a bit of fear, because I am risking my life… But it was probably all talk because nothing has happened and I carried on …. Such experiences are particularly concerning in light of recent events, such as the murder of Berta Cáceres, an Honduran environmental activist, in 2016 (Watts 2016), and the ongoing intimidation of Máxima Acuña de Chaupe and her family in Cajamarca, Peru (Collyns 2016), underlining the precarious personal situations of many women activists across Latin America. The lives of some of the women I interviewed had become very circumscribed as a result of their activism, with women describing how they were facing arrest warrants which meant they were unable to leave their village, or were involved in lengthy legal proceedings fighting criminal charges going back several years. Such experiences impact not only on the women’s daily routines, and those of their families, but also on their material circumstances, as livelihood activities may be curtailed or significant expenses incurred and time invested in gaining legal advice and travelling to obtain it. These ways in which the women’s ongoing resistance is embedded in their daily practices, highlight the extent to which it is overt and sustained, going beyond passive forms of resistance discussed by Scott (1986). However, other elements of the women’s resistance resonate strongly with Scott’s (1986) characterisation of resistance as constituting a set of more hidden and unorganised, and perhaps less self-consciously ‘activist’ practices, and these are discussed below. GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1453 Staying put and carrying on … Less self-evidently ‘activist’ practices also make an important contribution to long- term strategies of resistance. Here, I critically analyse the ways in which the wom- en’s narratives emphasise ideas of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’, resonating with what Anguelovski and Martinez-Alier (2014) characterise as a fundamental aspect of environmental justice mobilisation – ‘the defense of the right to place and ter- ritory and the right to stay without being displaced’ (2014, 173). The women use narratives of their rural livelihoods as an emblematic way of demonstrating their resistance to the notions of ‘progress’ being imposed upon them. Whilst there have been occasions when anti-mining activists have engaged in site occupations and roadblocks, forming a physical obstacle to mining developments, which might also be conceptualised in terms of ‘staying put’, here I focus instead on the way in which, not only has the women’s activism become a part of their everyday life, but the rhythms of their everyday life rooted in a particular place are deployed as part of their resistance. In the face of the threat of large-scale mining and its perceived negative impacts, the women draw strongly on motifs around working the land and continuing their rural way of life, to situate their ongoing opposition to mining: Sandra (47, campesina, Ecuador): I think that people shouldn’t sell their land and they shouldn’t pay attention to what the authorities say, but rather they should stay there on their scrubland, and fight and say ‘ this is our property’, and you are not going to make us leave, we have lived here with our animals and where are we going to go? And they should stay firm and fight instead of selling up and leaving so that the miners can come and do what they like and contaminate the environment. Luisa (50, campesina, Peru): My daily life is to work in the house, I do my weavings, I make my ponchos, my sweaters, my blankets. There are months when we sow seed, others that we harvest, and this is how we live, working day by day. This is our custom…. Because if the mine is allowed to open, everything will be finished. I know that the mine is development, but in our communities it is not, because they are agricultural commu- nities, we produce plenty of milk, plenty of cheese, plenty of potatoes, plenty of corn. Our communities produce everything, and this is why we defend them and we carry on. Luisa and Sandra’s comments reflect their determination to use their land pro - ductively, growing crops and rearing animals for subsistence and to sell locally. Through the meanings they attach to their daily practices, we can see how ‘the more mundane gestures of everyday life reveal significant sites of political strug- gle’ (Amoore 2005, 7). Their comments imbue specific livelihood strategies with cultural meaning, and elsewhere I discuss the ways in which these narratives draw on emblematic discourses and motifs of indigenous identity, such as ponchos, weaving, sowing seeds and connections with Mother Earth (Jenkins 2015). These women draw a stark contrast between what they frame as their current capacity for self-sufficiency and their ability to live off the land, and the threat that the mine will arrive and their lands and way of life will be destroyed: 1454 K. JENKINS Esmeralda (54, campesina, Ecuador): I can survive without anything from anyone, work- ing the land, growing my corn, my beans, all the products that I have, in order to survive, I don’t need gifts from anyone. But if the mine arrives, there won’t be any more crops, there won’t be livestock, we will have nothing. The activists deploy powerful symbolic narratives around continuity, tradition and ancestral links with the land, framing the threat of the mining development in a way which undermines and challenges the notions of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ that are promised by the mine (Jenkins 2015). The women’s narratives show how their practices of sowing seeds, tending livestock and harvesting crops come to embody a form of ongoing resistance to the mine, as these women occupy the land and represent it as a productive and sustainable resource to be protected. Indeed, several women particularly mentioned, as an example of their activism, activities involving promoting small-scale agriculture as a viable option for local people: Berta (24, University student from campesina community, Ecuador): We are opposed to all forms of mining. For example, there is the work on family smallholdings that we are doing with our comrades, enabling each comrade to have their own plot, not for them to sell the produce, but for food for their home, to subsist, for their family. So we have been supporting this initiative, smallholdings, organic, without chemicals. We have done this through communal working parties, everyone has taken part. One day we go to one plot, another day to the plot of another neighbour, this is the communal way of working that has gone on for many years but most recently has been lost. So we are working in this way and we would like to strengthen and continue this. Cristina (39, campesina, Peru): To make people more aware, work with people, to carry out projects so that people know how important agriculture is, how important it is to look after our land, our trees, to have clean air, this is the thing … Practices of revitalising and promoting traditional agricultural methods, as well as enacting the Andean practices of community minga [communal work par- ties] and reciprocity to which Berta refers above, illustrate the ways in which the women’s activities give meaning to places in a way that produces community spaces that are physically and symbolically more difficult for mining companies to occupy or displace people from. Physically occupying the land and making it productive is therefore an important element of resisting the arrival of the mine, countering ideas of Andean spaces as empty and ripe for exploitation (Svampa and Antonelli 2009), and ex-President of Peru Alan García’s conceptualisation of ‘idle lands’ (Merino 2012). This also reflects strategies used elsewhere in Peru to contest mining developments, for example the emblematic use of the lime in the campaign against mining in Tambogrande, where the region’s important export-oriented production (particularly of limes and lemons) was constructed by those opposing mining as symbolic of Peruvian identity, particularly due to the lime’s use in national dishes such as ceviche and the famous pisco sour cocktail. This identity was thus framed as under threat from the proposed mining development (Haarstad and Fløysand 2007). As Escobar, Rocheleau, and Kothari (2002) assert, ‘Place is the anchoring point of many women’s lives’ (2002, 28), and the women activists emphasise the importance of their particular places as a source of both GENDER, PLACE & CULTURE 1455 their cultural identity and livelihoods (see also Jenkins 2015), underlining the ‘con- vergence of nature and culture, women and environment, ethnicity and ecology’ (Escobar, Rocheleau, and Kothari 2002, 29). These women’s narratives illustrate the extent to which their resistance to mining is intimately interwoven with the everyday (Cowen and Story 2013), as the women refuse to allow their valued ways of life to be disrupted. These strategies exemplify the way in which practices and narratives of ‘staying put’ and ‘carrying on’ should be understood as important dimensions of everyday resistance. Despite their involvement in activism, and the associated challenges and upheavals that this brings, the women emphasise continuity in their daily lives, and their continued reliance on rural livelihoods and working the land. Their activism is embedded within these practices rather than being situated as a separate dimension of their lives. As Gabriela (40, campesina, Peru) comments: ‘It is a battle that is part of our life, because if the mine arrives we will not be able to survive’. Concluding thoughts The narratives of these anti-mining activist women exemplify the extent to which their resistance forms part of a mostly unspectacular but ‘constant struggle’ (Scott 1986, 6), a continual presence in their daily lives. Their resistance is embedded in the rhythm of their daily routines and in this context apparently quotidian practices and spaces become imbued with activist meaning and political significance. This blurs the boundaries around practices and spaces of activism (Fincher and Panelli 2001), emphasising the importance of recognising small acts which nevertheless make a significant and long term contribution to resistance and struggle (Amoore 2005). This ‘everyday-ness’ is also reflective of the often rather circumscribed nature of Andean women’s lives, making their long term engagement with anti-mining resistance all the more remarkable in the face of traditional gendered roles and expectations in rural communities. My contribution therefore foregrounds the need to look beyond overt and spectacular public acts of resistance, in order to capture the broadest possible spectrum of activist practices and discourses. This is not to suggest that women’s resistance is always ‘everyday’, or in any way mun- dane and unworthy of attention (Vaiou and Lykogianni 2006), nor to marginalise the intimate and everyday as local (Cowen and Story 2013). Rather I suggest that it is precisely its everyday character that makes women’s anti-mining activism in the Andes a rich example of the multi-layered and contingent nature of always evolving activist practices. In the face of powerful political and corporate interests, the women activists are re-shaping what it means to be an ‘activist’ in challenging circumstances, finding and creating spaces and opportunities to embed their resistance within their everyday family and community practices over the long term. Despite the David and Goliath nature of their struggle, the women activists display remarkable resolve to maintain their resistance and to be a constant presence; challenging 1456 K. JENKINS the form that ‘development’ takes in their communities. Like Cheru’s ‘army of ter- mites eating away at the wooden structure of a house inch by inch’ (2005, 74), Berta (Ecuador) asserts, ‘We will carry on being the stone in their shoe, annoying them.’ Berta’s comment exemplifies the tenacity of these women activists, and their determination to continue to contest mining in their communities, despite the ongoing personal costs of doing so. Framing their narratives and experiences in relation to the everyday is crucial in understanding the ways in which processes of resistance infuse community dynamics and work to re-shape places and identities over an extended timeframe. Acknowledgements Thanks are due to LAMMP for their support of this research, and to the women in Ecuador and Peru who generously gave their time to take part in this research. Previous versions of this article were presented at the Society for Latin American Studies Annual Conference 2014 and the Feminist and Women’s Studies Annual Conference 2013. The comments of the Editor and of three anonymous reviewers were valuable in shaping the final article. Disclosure statement No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author. Funding This work was supported by JISLAC (the Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean). Notes on contributor Katy Jenkins is Associate Professor of International Development and Co-Director of the Centre for International Development at Northumbria University. She completed a BA (Hons) Hispanic Studies at the University of Birmingham, followed by a Masters and PhD in Human Geography at Newcastle University. Her current research focuses on gender and mining, looking at wom- en’s anti-mining activism, and also exploring social transformations in communities impacted by mining projects in Latin America. More broadly, Katy is interested in activism, NGOs, profes- sionalization, and the changing trajectories of activists. 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Journal

"Gender, Place & Culture"Taylor & Francis

Published: Oct 3, 2017

Keywords: Andes; everyday activism; Latin America; mining; resistance; women

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