Is fair trade really fair? Who is it for, and who gets to decide? Fair Trade Rebels addresses such questions by shifting the focus from the abstract concept of fair trade--and whether it is "working"--to the perspectives of small farmers. It examines the everyday experiences of resistance and agricultural practice among the campesinos/as of Chiapas, Mexico, who struggle for dignified livelihoods in self-declared autonomous communities in the highlands, confronting inequalities locally while participating in a global corporate agricultural chain. Fair Trade Rebels draws on stories from Chiapas that have emerged from the farmers' interaction with both the fair-trade-certified marketplace and state violence. The book addresses the racialized and historical backdrop of coffee production and rebel autonomy in the highlands, underscores the divergence of movements for fairer trade and the so-called alternative certified market, traces the network of such movements from the highlands and into the U.S., and evaluates existing food sovereignty and diverse economic exchanges. Putting decolonial thinking in conversation with diverse economies theory, the author evaluates fair trade not by the measure of its success or failure but through a unique, place-based approach that expands our understanding of the relationship between fair trade, autonomy, and economic development.
Naylor, Lindsay. 2019. Fair Trade Rebels: Coffee Production and Struggles for Autonomy in Chiapas. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.