The Revival of Indigenous Movements

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Marisol de la Cadena argued that Latin America's turn to the Left away from neoliberalism in the past few years has been in part due to the revival of indigenous movements (indigenismo) in the Andean countries of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Modern politics on the Left can accommodate these movements when they are concerned with capitalist exploitation, protection of the environment, cultural autonomy and land reform, although it shares the same modernist and rationalist assumptions as the liberals and supporters of free trade and laissez faire capitalism. If modernity as defined by John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim means science, technology, industry and urbanization, with human beings removed from the state of nature, then there is hardly any room at the table for belief in earth spirits, sacred mountains an invisible sky and water gods. Most modernist thinkers have rejected such beliefs as 'primitive', 'backward' and unscientific, a relic of the past, although relativists and cultural realists like Clifford Geertz have always been able to accept cultures and ways of life on their own terms rather than trying to fit them into rigid laws and frameworks of social and economic development. Even Durkheim and Marx, who regarded urban, industrial capitalism as producing a society of anomie, alienation and isolated individuals did not advocate a return to traditional religion or the feudal or tribal past, but instead for progress toward socialism or
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