02 Conferencia China Walter D Mignolo

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  41 The role of BRICS countries in the becoming world order: “humanity,” colonial/imperial differences, and the racial distribution of capital and knowledge Walter D. Mignolo Summary My oral presentation will be based on this summary. The narrative that follows the summary substantiates the main points I am putting forward to debate.In this paper I made two interrelated arguments and  present it in three parts. Members of Academy of Latinity are already familiar with the ideas exposed in Part I, so you can go directly to Part II. New participants in this confer-ence may be less familiar with some of the concepts, chief-ly that of “coloniality” as a constitutive and darker side of “modernity” and would like to read Parts I and II. This is the first draft, please read it as such.  42 Walter D. Mignolo In Part III  I develop the main argument that connects “humanity,” “difference” and the politics of “BRICS coun-tries.” The argument is this: BRICS countries have an im- portant role to play—and they know it—in balancing the  polycentric world in which we are already living and will further unfold in the near future. BRICS appear to be at the point of no-return. These countries have embraced the economy of growth, development and accumulation (that is, economic coloniality). That aspect is certainly a prob-lem. The politicization of the civil society that is already manifested in several spheres, from the World Public Fo-rum to the “  Indignados ” of Spain and the Occupy Wall Street, is mounting. At the same time, the decolonial lega-cies of Bandung are reviving in the uprising of Tunisia and Egypt, in the students movements in Chile and Colombia, among decolonial organizations among migrants in Eu-rope from the ex-Third World; among  Latinos/as  and Afro-Caribbean in the US; in the organization denouncing and stopping the open pit mining in South America and Africa; the continuing work of La Via Campesina and Sovereignty of Food, etc. etc. Dewesternization may or may not be able to change the course of history. This is an open question.For it is not clear how BRICS states will deal with the limited resources of the planet and the increasing competi-tion for natural resources of Western states (and their sup- porters) and BRICS states (and their supporters). Further-more, exploitation of labor and the drive toward consum-erism is an essential component of the economy of growth and development. To maintain a society upon the promises  43 The role of BRICS countries in the becoming world… of constant growth and that happiness consists in living to consume rather than in consuming to live, people not only need money and commodities to buy; they have to be con-vinced that this is the only way to live. There is faith in-volved in maintaining a market based on economic coloni-ality (“capitalism” in the liberal and Marxist vocabulary). The economic success of the BRICS countries comes from the fact that the leadership is engaged in epistemic economic disobedience vis-à-vis the IMF and the World Bank, two institutions of global scope and, until now, of lo-cal management. Secondly, the economic affirmation leads to the second step taken recently at the Delhi Summit in-dicates that the group is taking a leadership in global gov-ernance and global political coherence. In this respect, the fourth BRICS summit in Delhi was a turning point and a  point of no return, in the evolution of a group that had fo-cused on global economic governance issues, but the Del-hi Declaration stated that the goal is also to achieve great-er political coherence. The Declaration of the Summit, that touches and recommended dialogue to solve the problems in Syria and Iran, at the same time recommended that Iran should continue its peaceful nuclear investigations: We agree that the period of transformation taking place in the Middle East and North Africa should not be used as a pretext to delay resolu-tion of lasting conflicts but rather it should serve as an incentive to set-tle them, in particular the Arab-Israeli conflict. Part II  is devoted to the second argument. I argue that the commonality of BRICS countries goes beyond econom-ic and political interests. Although, to my knowledge, this  44 Walter D. Mignolo issue has not been made explicit, there is an ethical factor supporting economic and political orientations and deci-sions: the five BRICS countries are of and ruled by “people of color.” This is one of the legacies of the Bandung Con-ference and Sukarno’s clear statement: “This is the first international conference of colored peoples in the history of mankind.” The statement is true with the clarification that before 1500 there were people with different skin col-or and different communities of beliefs, ethical and/or spir-itual, but there was not “people of color” in the sense that expression has meant since sixteenth-century, and main-ly, since Linnaeus. In that regard, it was the first interna-tional meeting on planet earth since “people of color” were invented by Western men of knowledge and their inven-tion became hegemonic. Colonial and imperial differenc-es were precisely invented around “purity of blood” first, skin color later to which more recently language, religions and nationalities have been added to define the profile of “people of color.” Thus the bottom line, the non-said but I suspect deeply felt, is the colonial/imperial wound that connects the five countries in the history of the modern/colonial world. Nevertheless, and whatever you count, all BRICS countries carry the “stigma” of “people of color,” of non-Western people, even if their skin is white like Slavs in Russia or European migrants to Latin America from the second half of the nineteenth-century. I am myself a result of that migration. In Part I  I set the stage and offer the frame for the two arguments I just outlined. I address the topic of this meet-
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