Fair Trade Rebels

Fair Trade Rebels: Coffee Production and Struggles for Autonomy in Chiapas

Copyright Date: 2019
DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Fair Trade Rebels
    Book Description:

    Reassessing interpretations of development with a new approach to fair trade

    Is fair trade really fair? Who is it for, and who gets to decide? Fair Trade Rebels addresses such questions in a new way by shifting the focus from the abstract concept of fair trade-and whether it is "working"-to the perspectives of small farmers. It examines the everyday experiences of resistance and agricultural practice among thecampesinos/as of Chiapas, Mexico, who struggle for dignified livelihoods in self-declared autonomous communities in the highlands, confronting inequalities locally in what is really a global corporate agricultural chain.

    Based on extensive fieldwork, Fair Trade Rebels draws on stories from Chiapas that have emerged from the farmers' interaction with both the fair-trade-certified marketplace and state violence. Here Lindsay Naylor discusses the racialized and historical backdrop of coffee production and rebel autonomy in the highlands, underscores the divergence of movements for fairer trade and the so-called alternative certified market, traces the network of such movements from the highlands and into the United States, and evaluates existing food sovereignty and diverse economic exchanges.

    Putting decolonial thinking in conversation with diverse economies theory,Fair Trade Rebels evaluates fair trade not by the measure of its success or failure but through a unique, place-based approach that expands our understanding of the relationship between fair trade, autonomy, and economic development.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-6246-7
    Subjects: Agriculture, Economics, Development Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.2
  3. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    (pp. ix-ix)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.3
  4. Maps
    (pp. x-xii)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.4
  5. Introduction: A “Window to Better Money”
    (pp. 1-22)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.5

    From under the brim of a straw cowboy hat, a rebel campesino looked up at the delegation of students and teachers that had come to his community in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, to learn about rebel autonomy. “We are in resistance,” he declared. “We were obligated to rise up for liberty, democracy, dignity for the world. But the government doesn’t want to recognize the indigenous.” I sat on a wooden bench at the back, observing and making notes. His words echoing in my ears, I flipped back to my notes from a few days prior. I had spoken with...

  6. 1 Fair Rebels, Fair Coffee? Challenging Capitalist Narratives
    (pp. 23-54)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.6

    We are living in an era that has produced rapidly increasing global inequality. The multiscalar stratification of people by gender and sexual identity, race and ethnicity, and wealth has created a hierarchy that privileges a very small group of people as global citizens. Through our political, social, and economic practices, many of us are implicated in this stratification. Our actions from the grand to the mundane exist within this hierarchy of people and our earth (nonhuman) others. Indeed, we are so deeply embedded in it that the seemingly simple act of producing or consuming a cup of coffee does not...

  7. 2 Coffee “Fixes”: Decolonizing Development
    (pp. 55-98)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.7

    In late December 2012, I traveled outside the highlands to visit communities in Northern Chiapas near the archeological site of Palenque. I was assisting with translation and interpretation for a group that had come to learn about rebel autonomous education. They were visiting a new school that was being built with the support of a U.S.-based NGO. I was not aware at the time of our visit that the Zapatistas would shortly be closing their government offices and staging a mass mobilization in cities and towns across Chiapas. This mobilization was timed with the coming of the Sixth Sun, a...

  8. 3 Fair Trade Exploitation and Empowerment: Unsettling Narratives
    (pp. 99-130)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.8

    When I started my preliminary examination of fair trade coffee in Chiapas and was puzzling through some of the contradictions that I saw at work in the highlands, I would describe the use of fair trade as a market that had been harnessed in the service of resistance by social movements. In a conversation about my nascent work, a colleague asked, “Do you really think you are going to go to Mexico and find that people aren’t being exploited [by fair trade]?” And in this question, all agency was removed from the people with whom I was working; my colleague...

  9. 4 Fair Trade in Movement: The Possibilities of Being in Common
    (pp. 131-174)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.9

    The former colonial city of San Cristóbal de las Casas is a rich tapestry of activity and exchange. Quartering the center of the city are two main pedestrian roads populated by shops and restaurants and awash with global expats and tourists. At the conjunction of these pedestrian streets, indigenous men and women traverse the throngs of city-goers, attempting to sell steamed elote and chayote, handcrafts purchased on credit from larger-scale sellers, and Zapatista dolls, balaclavas, and shirts (whether they are affiliated with the movement or not). At the southern end of the north–south pedestrian walkway sits the Maya Vinic...

  10. 5 Resistance as Agricultural Practice: Rethinking Food Sovereignty
    (pp. 175-208)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.10

    Sometimes the complexity of activities, affiliations, and solidarity relations felt to me as though they were vast and stretched over an endless network in which campesinos/as in resistance maintained nodes. Although I went to the highlands to learn about fair trade coffee production as a site of indigenous resistance, what I continued to learn about were the processes of building dignified livelihoods and sites of mutual aid. In 2012, I participated in a meeting of Maya Vinic members and a group that was visiting from Europe to learn more about the coffee-producing cooperative and provide support for the struggle of...

  11. Conclusion: Other Worlds Are Possible
    (pp. 209-214)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.11

    The twenty-fourth anniversary of the Uprising of the Zapatistas was celebrated on January 1, 2018. Incidentally, 2018 is the thirtieth year since the first fair trade label was put into place. The close proximity of these events is not coincidental. They were, among many others, an outcry that the system is uneven, that colonial–imperial relations of power are violent and ongoing, and that there are other ways to know and understand the world. They shouted truth to power. The dissonances between these moments more than two decades on are deafening. I went to Chiapas in an attempt to understand...

  12. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 215-220)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.12
  13. Notes
    (pp. 221-230)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.13
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 231-256)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.14
  15. Index
    (pp. 257-262)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.15
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 263-263)
    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctvsn3nps.16