The Political Economic Thought of Art Manuel

Authors: D. Cochrane*, York University
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Canada, Natural Resources
Keywords: political economy, value, markets, finance, extraction, resources
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Bayside C, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Indigenous scholar and organizer Art Manuel passed away in 2017. With his passing, political economics lost an important outside thinker whose ideas challenge and augment our understanding of life under capitalism. Manuel had a deft understanding of the contradictions that exist for Indigenous people living “at the margin of the global economy” (Manuel and Schabus, 2005). On the one hand, Indigenous nations have their own economies that defy the valuations of capitalism. On the other hand, engagements with financial flows are necessary for survival within the settler-colonial order. These contradictions are found in the four-fold relationship that exists among Indigenous nations, the colonial state, extractive finance and the land. Manuel’s work shows that capitalist valuation poses a threat to Indigenous life. But, that same valuation can also be leveraged as a defence of Indigenous jurisdiction. With this paper, I want to honour Manuel by amplifying his economic insights and exploring what they can teach us about capitalist power, grassroots resistance and protecting non-market economies.

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