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Gloria Lucas, Part 3 of 4 : A Chicana Girl Leading Women to Colonize the Collective Body of Her People

****This part of the series was accepted for workshopping and presentation at the Public Philosophy Writing Workshop at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which took place between May 18-19th****
For part 3, I'm to redirect our focus a bit from Lucas and her Nalgona Positivity [Pride] by addressing concerns about the body positivity movement in general.
Imagine I drive a pickup truck, say, a 1998 Chevy, which requires the action of consuming more fossil fuels than most other types of vehicles. Now, assume I'm a member of a Late-model Chevy Truck Club, whose slogan reads: “Loving my truck means unapologetically filling it with as many fossil fuels as I want.” Clearly, mass consumption of fossil fuels is bad for the environment. However, assume my conscious intent is NOT to pollute the environment, but merely to have fun with my beloved truck. Yet also assume that I'm aware of the negative effects that mass consumption of fossil fuels has on the environmentPerhaps, I even take part in environmental causes. 
Am I not participating in collective action that is effectively harming the environment in spite of my self-professed intentions?    
Now, imagine a set of circumstances such as this being analogous to matters of global wealth inequality and consumption of natural resources. Imagine that we--individuals of rich nations--already hold a disproportionate share of the global supply of goods.[1] Imagine that most of these goods derive from the poorer nations' natural resources. Finally, imagine these unjust practices as made possible by likewise trade agreements between economically rich nations and (paradoxically) resource rich yet economically poorer nations, which make the former set of nations richer while merely appearing to make the latter set of nations wealthier. For example, a myriad of studies and media reports alike have shown how the North American Fair Trade Agreement or NAFTA has enriched foreign private interests (e.g., Walmart & Sam's Club, Coca-Cola, Nestle, et cetera), not the people of Mexico. [2][3] [4] [5] [6] Indigenous farmers in the southern part of the country have rightly called NAFTA a ‘death sentence’Many recognize these practices as an extension of colonialism or neocolonialism. Curiously, following a most basic economic principle ‘supply and demand’, it would seem continued weight gain from persistent overconsumption on one end stands to create increased demand for increase in supply on the other. 
That said, imagine one who claims to speak out for colonized people by calling for collective social justice via individual “decolonization” of the body. Yet, in the same vein, imagine she's also promoting a lifestyle that logically necessitates increased demand for a supply of products derived from the poorer nation's natural resources. How's one to aid decolonization of those she claims to advocate for while simultaneously calling for more of their resources including increases in labor under unjust conditions?
In relation (though not yet an obvious one—but do stick with me here), imagine something like a belief in a powerful entity or personification we'll call the Patriarch. Imagine this Patriarch as an entity complex enough to be considered an individual but ambiguous yet coherent enough to encapsulate a collective of even more complex and much less ambiguous individuals. For it is in things like collective solidarity or "joint commitment" upon which it holds collective intention(s) and thereby commits collective actions in ways similar to individuals at a most basic and fundamental level (May, 1987; Gilbert, 2002).[1] [2] For the sake of remaining consistent with this proposed personification, we shall also refer to the Patriarch as an individual entity by using the pronouns 'he' and 'him' and therefore also utilize the possessive pronoun 'his' when referring to his actions. 
If we are to acquiesce or, perhaps, capitulate, or maybe even less reluctantly surrender our credulity to this belief in the Patriarch, we should become aware of a couple very important facts.
First, inequality in the global economy is real, which means global wealth and global poverty each hold a place in reality. This is probably the only uncontroversial fact we’ll be dealing with here. Next, however, is a far more contested condition, which is that global economic inequality and therefore global poverty are effects emanating directly from neo-imperialism. Understand neo-imperialism as a system of neoliberal policies drafted by globally rich nations or private transnational corporations consisting of individuals from rich nations[3]. Understand neoliberal policies or neoliberalism as a system favoring ‘free market’ capitalism to the extent that things like natural resources from foreign nations are pursued and “liberalized” by (mostly) foreign private interests for individual capital gains. Natural resources are thereby liberalized from things like previously instituted domestic policies favoring peoples of these neo-colonialized/imperialized nations as a collective. In other words, natural resources are ‘freed-up’ in a manner that takes them out of the collective hands of the people by way of changes made in national policy, which were influenced by foreign interests, whether these be the interests of foreign governments, officials, corporations, or even all of the above.
Now, I want my reader to realize there are many upon many examples I can give of neo-liberalization. In fact, I argue that the current world paradigm and by extension its global economy are built upon these types of behaviors. Some call this colonialism or contemporarily neo-colonialism. To be clear, I agree! Most appropriate to our discussion concerning Gloria Lucas, NPP, and matters focusing on “decolonizing the body”,[4] is just one example from the situation in Mexico—the so-called North American Fair Trade Agreement or NAFTA.
But first, to the extent that we are talking about such policies as forms of colonializing or neo-colonializing bodies (whether individual or collective), I will—for now and strictly for the sake of argument—submit that the culprit for all of these injustices and inequalities is the Patriarch, if not something merely like him. If right, he is then guilty of crimes against humanity we’ll call his marks. Quickly, I’ve said elsewhere, his marks is a term I coined from what is oft called historical social markings in feminist scholarship (Haslanger, 2002; 2004), namely in feminist philosophical discussion.[5] [6]
To be clear, I think something not only like or similar, but something closely related to the Patriarch is guilty of these crimes of colonizing the bodies of people of color. Again, though, we’ll put the Patriarch on trial first by assuming his guilt, rather than any presumptions of possible innocence, beginning by an analysis of one of his alleged marks left on Mexico NAFTA.
The Patriarch and his ill-gotten gains
Legal scholar George A. Hernandez parses NAFTA as a kind of direct extension from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the “agreement” illegitimately forced on Mexico that gave the United States the former’s Western Territories inherited upon the ouster of Spain.[7] In a similar vein as the Treaties of Velasco, the Treaty of Hidalgo forced the illegitimate border along what is now the Southwestern United States (sans Texas). You may be asking yourself or me (perhaps), in what ways are the treaty and NAFTA similar? To answer, I shall provide a brief unpacking below.
The coercive way in which the treaty was “negotiated” is analogous to the manner in which Mexico seemingly acquiesced to the final draft of NAFTA. To be fair, Mexico did approach the U.S. about forging such an agreement—in a manner of speaking. Nevertheless, the environment in which the treaty was negotiated also proved analogous if not equal to that under which the U.S., Canada, and Mexico finalized the trade agreement. You may be asking: How so?
To begin answering, I want to gloss over the importance inherent for my reader to recognize and retain the method I am employing to state our case. I have been applying what we’ll call intergenerational unilateral acquiescence. Roughly, and to be clear, what I mean is that in order to understand the case being given here, my reader ought to recognize and retain in her memory a pattern of acquiescence on the part of Mexico as a people and even as a government to foreign influence. In the case of NAFTA, Mexico’s collective acquiescence is to what we’ll call Northern powers, that is, U.S. and Canadian power respectively. Particular to our discussion here, Mexican acquiescence and thereby assent to Northern power is performed solely by Mexico, which produces unjust affects via reluctant agreement felt only by Mexicans.
This brings us to what we are calling a unilateral pattern of temporal extension or, more concisely, ‘intergenerational extension’. This intergenerational extension appears to us beginning from old-world colonialism and subsists to this day of neo-colonialism. Specifically, the temporal extension of interest to our case here begins at the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and transcends beyond a century to the current paradigm of NAFTA. This transcendence is possible if and only if the same kind Anglo-centricism is what assumes the role of power and thereby acts on others as "Other" accordingly.
Now, I want to make clear that ‘power’ is not the only thing of essence here, that is, it is not that which transcends generations via subsistence. Instead, the possession of power is merely an effect from egoistic human nature. From this causal object emanates the human inclination of judging others as Other and to thereby be wary of Other to one of two extents if not both at the same time.
The first way is more ingrained in human psychology (among some other field) as its temporal extension is observable through an intergenerational timeframe, which even transcends us via our close chimpanzee cousins, the latter of which happen to be patriarchal. This innate behavior of adjudging others as Other is a tendency to tribalism or parochialism, a by-product of what is possibly a generic cognitive adaptation for categorizing or even codifying the world around us (McDonald et al, 2012, 671).[8] A concomitant of this natural kind adaptation is the mirror neuron, which roughly is a nerve cell that transmits when an animal (humans included) observes an animal performing a similar action, namely when said animal observes a kind of sameness in the other. Mirror neurons make it possible for us as individuals to empathize with other individuals. Yet, it also is said to make group based belief like racism possible.
Finally, the second way is via something like a social contract that one agrees to via consent to assimilate into the ways of the dominant group. On first appearance, one might be judged as holding or not holding intragroup status based on phenotypic traits. Nonetheless, a kind of honorary status can be afforded to one whose phenotype does not appear to match the collective image the group has in-mind, yet only insofar as s/he holds the ability and the will to parrot the sanctioned groupthink. While this second way could certainly be said to be related to the first, this latter way is conversely more of a cultural invention insofar as intragroup culture is of the essence upon judging who’s one of ‘us’ or not one of us (i.e., Other).
Enter the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Sans a necessary lot of detail to offer (read more here), Mexico was forced to concede its Northwestern territories as a result of violence and amid controversy about its alleged initiation of it through the Mexican military. That said, it lacked bargaining power when ‘negotiating’ the treaty (Martinez, 1998, 148). In fact, the U.S. took it upon them to ignore what Martinez calls ‘the Mexican perspective’, or Mexican purview, by omitting Article X, which was essentially a promise to treat the ‘new Americans’ as such according to the provision that they would be entitled as citizens to “free enjoyment of their liberty and property” (Ibid, 152). However, U.S. legislation subsequently went on to frequently subvert what were at this point Mexican- American property claims by imposing the onus of proof on the claimants to validate their deeds and bargain within a foreign bureaucratic system that like the language that set its conditions was entirely foreign to the new Americans or previously established Mexican property owners. NAFTA, Martinez argues, is no different.
The NAFTA Chapter 19 panel review procedure provides a striking illustration of how the United States imposed an American procedural superstructure on Mexico (Ibid, 160). The panel rules provide for an opening pleading stage and a later phase of briefing and an oral hearing that is based on American Federal Trial and appellate practice (Ibid, 160). Thus, the American common law tradition forms the conceptual basis for the Chapter 19 panel review process (Ibid, 160).
In addition, the rules provide that if the proceedings implicate legal issues that are of "general public interest or importance" or are conducted, at least in part, in both English and French, there must be simultaneous translation in both English and French. Despite what appears a concern for linguistic bipartisanship, the NAFTA does not expressly provide for the use of Spanish in panel reviews of Mexican judgments. Hence, perhaps a reason that private corporations have successfully sued the nation in recent the past. 
The invisibility of the Mexican purview as shown in the failure to provide for Spanish in the NAFTA signals an important parallel that is intergenerational since the time of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the perspective of Mexicans, Mexican-Americans or ‘Chicano/as, which has been rendered invisible at a fundamental level by virtue of a project of systematic erasure. Add in what the NAFTA has created in the need to immigrate illegally, or really what I mean is ‘dangerously’, so as to exploit the most valuable natural resource in Mexico, the Mexican people, all in the name of maximizing profits by driving down costs of production, even if that means devaluing the Mexican worker to a variable lacking in moral worth. Hence, invisibility of Mexican humanity is the unilateral pattern or intergenerational extension we see and experience transcending time. Invisibility of this kind cannot be solved via assimilation insofar as to assimilate is to assent to the idea that one ought to feel guilt about their humanity and its lineages, whether human or ethnic. This is especially true given the paradigm of unjust dominance by the dominant culture. Why assimilate to them? Though I don’t agree, Lucas herself speaks of invisibility as "violence". As we’ll see upon the eventual completion of this expose`, Lucas and NPP are purveyors for the continuance and exacerbation of this lack of visibility.
To be fair, NAFTA has also harmed American workers via the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico. Nonetheless, American bargaining power (as we’ll see) in the name of its people wielded by its elected officials and others (or et al) nullifies any conception of unjust affects via acquiescence on the part of Americans as a collective. And, as we’ll see, the U.S. benefits from NAFTA in spite of the job losses it incurs, especially when the jobs that left the U.S. did not actually go to Mexico or anywhere else for that matter, as these jobs simply ceased to exist (Delgado, 2006, 35; Delgado-Wise, 2006, 34).[9] The jobs Mexicans receive are sweatshop condition maquilladoras (Ibid, 2006, 34; Delgado & Fernandez, 13). [10] It’s no wonder so-called illegal immigration largely by Mexican people began peaking immediately subsequent to NAFTA’s implementation in 1994 before reaching its pinnacle around 2007. These timeframes are when many of your parents, perhaps even when you as a child, came to the U.S.
The indigenous Zapatista movement referred to NAFTA as a ‘death sentence’ to indigenous peoples, a sentiment that in concept inspired the uprising by this group (Laurell, 2015, 248).[11] This is a group, recall, from which Lucas is claiming her identity. NAFTA has proven a threat to what remains of their lands. This is especially true for indigenous farmers. The implementation cancelled out Article 27 of the Mexican constitution, which promised protections for Indigenous peoples and their lands, a provision extending from Zapata’s revolution in Mexico. On a reasonable interpretation of the facts, NAFTA is an extension of colonialism thereby colonializing the collective body of Indigenous Mexicans and the Mexican people as a whole. But then, what about the effects endured by the bodies of individual Mexicans?
Individually, Mexicans are gaining weight, which is an unfortunate side effect of NAFTA. The reason is simple when considering why impoverished people in Western nations are overweight, which is that cheap and fast food is more appealing to one who is living under a tight budget and working under an even tighter schedule. In other words, quick and easy trumps moderate time and effort for one who is in a bind. Though, to be fair, this is more of a choice for impoverished Americans (on the whole) such that labor conditions including wages (if nothing else) are better in the U.S. Why else would millions of people flee from one place, yet not the other when each one is right next door to the other?
The colonializing of the Mexican body reduces to basic economics in the form of (1) Supply & Demand, and (2) Lowering production costs in order to increase profits (Wise, 2009, 7).[12] Like in the Chevy truck example, demand especially excessive demand for natural resources from Mexico via NAFTA destroys it similar to how excessive demand for fossil fuels pollutes and depletes the environment. As for NAFTA, the outsourcing of reduced quality jobs from the U.S. to Mexico satisfies condition (2) while American demand for goods such as food satisfies (1), which also facilitates (2) insofar as supply is turned into capital gains for the neo-colonizing corporations. Imagine trends in American consumption (i.e., cause) and weight gain (i.e., effect) continue according to recent trends. This is what makes consumption of goods from NAFTA equal in comparison to the hypothetical consumption of goods in the Chevy truck thought experiment such that increasing demand for the supply of Mexican natural resources is precisely what destroys the environment known as the Mexican body.
Certainly, there is talk of an improving Mexican economy via NAFTA, which is true only to a narrow extent. The extent of which I speak is limited for reasons I’ll go into on a future post—probably this summer. For now, I think it is best to listen to the immigration patterns which began decreasing only subsequently to the U.S. economy crashed in 2008, and not coincidentally when Obama (followed by Trump) ramped up mass deportation efforts. Immigrants, namely those who migrate away from home in a way that risks bodily harm or even death, do not immigrate because things are good. What human being would? Reports that NAFTA improved rather than harmed Mexico and Mexicans is an insult to us all. This is a dehumanizing view that (yet again) perpetuates American exceptionalism through the story of the desperate immigrant envious and desperate to flee his savage homeland and come to ‘”America”, land of the free’. Personally, I trust the ability of my people to make sound judgments about the variables underlying their lives, namely in their own country. Also, the body positive or nalgona positive [pride] feminist would not want to commit to such an argument proclaiming NAFTA a success for Mexicans, not only because it is factually incorrect, because such an argument would invalidate her entire ideology, that is, her concept of decolonizing the body from the neo-colonialist Patriarch would be false in the first place. Not least, consider the answer to the question ‘who wins?’ when considering illegal immigration by Mexicans. Whereas the U.S. gains $395 billion into its economy via so-called illegal immigration, Mexico, on the other hand, loses consumer dollars in addition to having to train new workers to replace those who fled or were brain-drained to the U.S. (Wise, 2009, 40).[13] Arguably, considering how NAFTA was the cause of mass immigration leading to such economic disparity, the question appears all but answered in favor of the U.S. To be sure, other considerations render this all but incontrovertible.
In the end, the natural resource exploited most (above all) by NAFTA is the Mexican people and their bodies, for at very least, it is they who must risk their bodily safety to flee from these circumstances and venture across the border. Neither Coca-Cola nor Pepsi-Co or Nestle, or even Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club, the latter two of which facilitate profits for the aforementioned distributors, would be encouraged to profit off of Mexican natural resources without the necessary demand to supply in the first place. That is, NAFTA must be profitable in the way it is now or even increasingly so in order for these large corporations to neo-colonialize Mexico and its people. The sheer voracity of American consumerism and consumption in conjunction with American corporate greed and racism is what made NAFTA possible in the way it was drafted and implemented in the first place. Encouraging people to be or remain ‘unapologetically fat’ or to hold a sense of ‘nalgona positivity or pride’ is what will enable these colonizers and by extension the Patriarch to continue colonizing the bodies of the Mexican people, both collectively and individually. But then, if feminism in the form of body positivity is a contributing factor, much less one that stands to become a primary one, to the colonizing of Mexican bodies, then are we still justified in calling the main culprit the Patriarch? Insofar as doing so makes no sense, the answer is NO!
As we’ll cover in the next part of this expose` intersectional feminism and body positivity in particular stem from what is often called ‘white feminism’ and its ‘white savior’ project (Syed & Ali, 2011, 360). Lucas’s so-called “Nalgona Positivity Pride”, as I shall show, is steeped in white feminist rhetoric. In fact, sans her “small business’s” vulgar and grammatically redundant pseudonym, that’s all her activism is—white feminism. Based on the facts, Lucas is encouraging a movement that stands to further colonialize her people. Those who have given her a platform from which to spread her pseudo-intellectualism and pseudo-activism have a lot to answer for. We will be in contact immediately upon completion of this expose`. And we will be heard—loud and clear. Lucas’s punk rock style “if it feels good, then believe it and say” pseudo-intellectualism will not be shielded from our ‘shock-and-awe’ style assault. Lucas and those like her with their punk rock mode of activism are rendering the lives of many ranging from immigrants to young women at-stake. We’ll not stand idly by while they profit off the exacerbation of these dangers.
In the foregoing, I have demonstrated how NAFTA destroys the Mexican economy by way of (1) lower-quality jobs outsourced from the U.S. and Canada, (2) Through mass immigration, which forces Mexico to lose consumer dollars in its economy as well as trained workers in its workforce, (3) Foreign profits off of Mexican resources means Mexico losses out on profits off its own natural resources, and finally (4) Mexican peoples’ health declines as a result of readily cheap junk food alternatives to fresh food made available by foreign companies colonizing the Mexican economy.
As this pertains to consumption in the U.S., the [American] consumer necessitates a demand that is to be supplied equally if not beyond. Relative to obesity, demand for extra calories necessitates a collective demand for more food and therefore more natural resources abstracted from Mexican land in order to supply. As far as positivity or pride in such demand is practiced as some kind of virtue, trends in weight gain will continue. Weight gain necessitates extra calories and therefore demand for more food. Creating such demand for corporations participating in NAFTA is a sign of approval for their practices such that they are making capital gains at an increasing level. Internet activism is harmless banter in light of continuing profits, especially if said profits increase. Remember the idiom, “actions speak louder than words.” Willfully participating in these practices, which promote capital gains for NAFTA is equal to celebrating the ill-gotten gains of the Patriarch or “Patriarchy”. Saying #effyourbeautystandards is merely a tantrum in the distance when in the same breath the same “activist” is simultaneously promoting behaviors leading to more profit for the system she claims to decry. Profit = Motivation. By engaging in this kind of activism, you are not fighting the Patriarchy you conceptualize, you’re celebrating it and its ill-gotten gains that colonialize the collective and individual bodies of your people. In other words, Xicana/o, Chianx, or Chicana/o body positivists or ‘prideists’ promote ways of acting akin to La Malinche! So then, how could the Patriarch and his marks be the culprit of neo-colonialism? Obviously, as we’ll see in the final section, “he” isn’t.


[1] Larry May. 1987, The Morality of Groups: Collective Responsibility, Group-Based Harm, and Corporate Rights, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
[2] Margaret Gilbert. 2002. ‘Guilt and Collective Guilt Feelings’. The Journal of Ethics, Vol. 6, No. 2, , pp. 115-143
[3] Duménil, Gérard, & Lévy, Dominique. (2007). Neoliberalismo: neo-imperialismo. Economia e Sociedade, 16(1), 1-19. https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-06182007000100001
[4] https://www.nalgonapositivitypride.com/
[5] Sally Haslanger, “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them to Be?” Nouˆs 34 (2000): 31– 55
[6] Sally Haslanger. Future Races, Future Genders. Philosophic Exchange 34 (2004): 1-24
[7] George A. Hernandez. Dispute Resolution and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Parallels and Possible Lessons for Dispute Resolution Under NAFTA Southwestern Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1998
[8] Melissa M. McDonald, Carlos David Navarrete, Mark Van Vugt. Evolution and the psychology of intergroup conflict: the male warrior hypothesis. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2012 Mar 5; 367(1589): 670–679.
[9] Raul Delgado-Wise. Migration and Imperialism The Mexican Workforce in the Context of NAFTA, Translated by Mariana Ortega Breña Latin American Perspectives, Issue 147, Vol. 33 No. 2, March 2006 33-45
[10] Gian Carlo Delgado-Ramos & John Saxe-Fernández. The World Bank and the Privatization of Public Education: A Mexican Perspective
[11] A.C. Laurell. Three Decades of Neoliberalism in Mexico: The Destruction of Society: Neoliberalism and Its Impact on Quality of Life and Well-Being of the Populations. International Journal of Health Services 2015, Vol. 45(2) 246–264
[12] Timothy A. Wise. Agricultural Dumping Under NAFTA: Estimating the Costs of U.S. Agricultural Policies to Mexican Producers. GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT INSTITUTE WORKING PAPER NO. 09-08: (2009): 42
[13] Ibid, 40









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