Kämpfe um Bergbau und die Möglichkeiten demokratischer Transformation
Der Fall La Colosa in Kolumbien
The article explores the political effects of popular consultations as a means of direct democracy in struggles over mining. Building on concepts from participatory and materialist democracy theory, it shows the transformative potentials of processes of direct democracy towards democratization and emancipation under, and beyond, capitalist and liberal democratic conditions. Empirically the analysis is based on a case study on the protests against the La Colosa gold mining project in Colombia. The analysis reveals that although processes of direct democracy in conflicts over mining cannot transform existing class inequalities and social power relations fundamentally, they can nevertheless alter elements thereof. These are for example the relationship between local and national governments, changes of the political agenda of mining and the opening of new spaces for political participation, where previously there were none. It is here where it’s emancipatory potential can be found.