The Transnational Mining Justice Movement: Reflecting on Two Decades of Law Reform Activism in the Americas

In this article, I consolidate research that tracks the activism of the mining justice social movement from the late 1990s to present. As a starting point, I conceptualize this movement as a transnational political project that seeks to transform the terms of corporate resource extraction pursuant to the political and legal arrangements of neo-liberal economic globalization. In this context, I reflect on the movement?s most significant human rights-oriented law reform projects in the Americas: Indigenous right to consultation legislation in several Latin American countries, and a series of non-judicial grievance mechanisms in Canada, in response to the right to remedy norm in international law. Drawing on existing research, I conclude that in both cases the state has responded with law and policy reforms that fall far short of achieving advocates? objectives. I argue that these shortcomings are due in part to the persistence of three liberal/neo-liberal ideologies in the reforms in question: formalism, voluntarism and privatism. To better understand and explain these findings, I turn to three critical theories of human rights legal activism: pragmatism, left critique/critical legal liberalism and counter-hegemony. I examine the work of a range of scholars writing under the banner of each theory in order to identify key debates and insights that may be instructive as the mining justice movement, and related social and environmental justice movements, continue to aspire toward a law reform agenda capable of addressing pressing global environmental and social justice issues.

File Type: cfm
Categories: Corporate Accountability - Canada
Author: Charis Kamphuis