Subjects or Objects in Latin America

Recently on Facebook, Alberto Moreiras has initiated a series of threads in the wake of a rather bizarre Chinese interview with Walter Mignolo (posted on Mignolo’s blog) on the concept of “decoloniality.” In response, I would hazard to say that a debate over “decoloniality” is a non-starter and should be avoided. First, because most advocates of the concept are not participating in this group yet. And second, because “decoloniality” lacks rigor and suffers from a perverse hermeneutic circle of its own ideology. It’s only counter-offer is “You don’t agree with decoloniality because you haven’t properly decolonized yourself yet.” The far more important theoretical debate is one between new schools of subjectivism vs. new schools of objectivism. “Decoloniality,” such as it is, is a subjectivism grown passé: Simply validate the indigenous or subaltern subject-position (“locus of enunciation”) and everything will turn our OK. Where this kind of logic appears to have taken hold of the state (Bolivia? Venezuela?), however, political success is entirely subtended by the extraction of water and energy resources, flows of objects sustained by global networks/markets. (To paraphrase Susana Draper in her comments to Moreiras on Facebook, how to be anti-extractivist when your political movement is subtended by extraction?) Is the response for Latin America a renewed, militant Subject? Or is it an adaptation of Object-Oriented Ontologies? Are Subject or Objects even allowed, properly speaking, in Latin America in the first place, given its postcolonial condition? Or has postcoloniality been surpassed? The test-case may be Brazil, with redistributionist governments firmly entrenched for some time now, at the same time that it stands poised to become a central node in the global petroleum network…

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