After nine years of research and illustration, the Beehive Design Collective launched their latest graphic campaign, Mesoamérica Resiste, in December of last year. Mesoamérica Resiste is the third installment in a trilogy about globalization in the Americas (following earlier graphics about the FTAA and Plan Colombia). This graphic campaign was directly researched with communities from Mexico, Central America, and Colombia who are impacted by the Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project, a neoliberal regional development plan formerly known as Plan Puebla Panama. Since fundraising for a big initial print run of posters and banners last year, the Bees have been actively buzzing across the hemisphere using these illustrated popular education tools to pollinate resistance in communities facing resource-extraction industries, militarization, and forced displacement.
Since late last year, pollinators involved with the project Polinizaciones have been facilitating workshops of Mesoamérica Resiste and sharing posters with communities from Petén, Guatemala to Caquetá, Colombia. In February 2014, the Beehive was invited to participate in an artist residency with the Museo de Antioquia of Medellin, Colombia, as part of Contraexpediciones(Counter Expeditions).
Following the artist residency, the pollinators of Polinizaciones toured and brought Mesoamérica Resiste to a variety of rural and urban communities living the realities depicted in the graphic. In Medellin, weeks before the city hosted the World Urban Forum,we painted murals and shared with communities suffering the impacts of gentrification. In the Department of Caldas there was a showing in the city of Manizales, and we also spent a week visiting different schools and community spaces in the Indigenous Reserve of San Lorenzo of the Embera Chamí People.
In the city of Cali, Bees presented the Mesoamérica Resiste graphic in different public settings including the University of Valle and the San Antonio hill. In the Agua Blanca District of the city, a workshop was held with the youth of the Theatre Circus Capuchini. In the north of the Department of Cauca, pollinators visited the indigenous Nasa communities of Toribio and Tacueyo. In Tacueyo, the Bees were present for the swearing in of this year´s Student Indigenous Guard and in Toribio, at the CECIDIC educational center, numerous workshops were done with students. In the area of Silvia in Central Cauca, Mesoamérica Resiste was shared in schools of the Kiswo People and Misak People, as well as at the Misak University and community radio station.
Repression in Spain. A call for international solidarity
”What originally happened was that a huge demo blockaded the park in Barcelona where the parliament is situated on the morning the severe health, education and social security cuts were to be voted through in the new budget. The demo was organised by the 15M movement which at the time was very pacifist, activists on the blockade were controlled with chants of NO VIOLENCE. There was a huge police presence but they deliberately let some Deputies walk unescorted through the crowd, where they were booed and one had his jacket sprayed. Really, I was there and nothing much happened. The video was used in a media campaign against the ‘violent anti democratic thugs’ in an attempt to divide and rule any opposition, and 20 people were hunted down and charged. Now finally they’re up for trial in a highly repressive climate. Meanwhile the important politicians were flown into the park by helicopter, in an unnecessary media stunt, heroically evading the pacifist thugs and passing the budget for the predator banks. That was 3 years ago… now the support demo has the slogan: ‘I WAS ALSO BLOCKADING PARLIAMENT.. AND I’D DO IT AGAIN’
During the last three years Spanish society has witnessed a period of intense social protests against austerity, corruption, unemployment and so on. As in other times in history, the greater and more radicalised the protest the bigger the repression that the state organises against it. Since the general strike in September 2010, a common trend of this repression strategy is been a kind of ‘laissez faire’ in the streets but followed by ´selective´ detentions months later. Police have been literally knocking doors down of those who continuously take part in different actions and demonstrations, and consequently dozens of people have been arrested.
On June the 15th 2011, ten thousand people surrounded the Catalan parliament in Barcelona. That day the government wanted to approve a vast austerity cut in health and education, and the idea was to block politicians from getting into the building. “Inexplicably” the police did not protect some politicians, which caused direct confrontation with protesters, and of course that fact was used by the media as an example of violence against democracy. After that, people were violently dispersed, and the MPs could do their job.On October the 4th 2011, 22 people were arrested in their homes. They have been accused of a crime against the state, using a law designed for coup leaders and that had never been used before in Spain. They now face a penalty of up to 8 years in jail, whereas some of them have been also accused of different crimes related to other demonstrations.
The trial will start in March the 31st 2014 and it is expected to last four days.There will be a national day of solidarity in Spain on March the 29th with demonstrations in several cities. So we also call for international solidarity.You can call, email or block different Spanish embassies or institutions. Or you can do whatever you consider appropriate…
“That day we tried to block the Catalan parliament to combat the drama of many lives immersed in poverty, layoffs by cuts, suicides by evictions, etc. Because many of these atrocities are approved behind the walls of that building. We were pointing at the guilty, and because of that we would do it again without fear.
“We know this is a political trial, a farce to scare those who choose to stand up and take action against those responsible for such precarious living conditions. In fact, we reaffirm it to find that both direct action against the powerful and generate alternative lives bothers them a lot. For this reason, and because we understand the power that we can have as we organise ourselves, we do not want to bow to their intimidation and we make a call to extend solidarity to those suffering the daily repression and violence of this economic system, in its myriad forms”.
…in a palace, Princesses also suffer the harsh living conditions that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requires women. Them Common can not drive or travel solo or perform paid work. Even swing ride. And some daughters of King Abdullah (89), namely the four he had with the Jordanian Alanoud Alfayez can not leave the palace that are being held in the city of Jeddah, west of the country in the emirate of Mecca .
The situation that support Sahar (42 years), Maha (41), Hala (39) and Jawaher (38), is such that they have decided to launch the outside walls of the anguished SOS in recent days are being picked up by numerous media both Arab and Western media.
In the background of this drama are not only the strict rules that the Sharia Law (Islamic Law) provides for women in Arabia but also the point of rebellion of some of the daughters born of the marriage between King Abdullah and Alanoud Alfayez. In the late 90s, Hala, who has a degree in psychology, s and openly complained that political opponents of the regime were being locked up in psychiatric wards of the hospital where he worked. It was the straw that broke the camel.
Now, after more than a decade of confinement, mother and daughters have launched a desperate cry. But they have little hope. Are convinced that the enormous power of the King and his great influence worldwide cause there is a “conspiracy of silence” that is leading to an extreme situation. Neither the UN hears their cries.
Prisoners Can Be Released From Prison – But Saudi Women Can’t
“The laws of imprisonment are known all over the world. People who commit a crime or an offense are placed in a prison cell… where they serve their sentence. [When they complete it], or get time off for good behavior, they are released… except in cases [where a person is sentenced] to life imprisonment or death. In Saudi Arabia, there are two additional ways to get out of prison early: by learning the Koran or parts of it by heart… or by getting a pardon from the king on the occasion of a holiday or a coronation – after which the prisoner finds himself free and can enjoy life among his family and loved ones.
“However, none of these options exist for Saudi women – neither for those who live behind bars [i.e. who are actually in prison] nor for those who live outside the prison walls. None are ever released, except with the permission of their male guardian. A Saudi woman who committed a crime may not leave her cell when she has finished serving her sentence unless her guardian arrives to collect her. As a consequence, many Saudi women remain in prison just because their guardians refuse to come and get them. The state pardons them, but their guardians insist on prolonging their punishment.
“At the same time, even ‘free’ women need the permission of their guardian to leave their home, their city or their country. So in either case, the woman’s freedom is [in the hands of] her guardian.”
It doesn’t matter how you were stolen from us. Adopted out, raised by damaged beings who never learned to parent, because that was the intention of the assimilationist program, raised by people full of self-loathing who never connected you to your roots. How you were taken was a violence, regardless of the form, regardless of whether it began with you or your gggrandparents.
Your story of disconnection is shared by tens of thousands. Yours is a journey that stretches out before you in deeply cut ruts formed by the feet of generations of souls who had the same journey to make.
You are led to believe that we don’t love you, that we won’t accept you, that we are glad you are gone. If only you knew how many of the waiting Elders thought those same thoughts just 30 or 40 years ago. How many overcame a dispossession as deep, sometimes even deeper than your own.
We KNOW your struggle. Intimately. Whole systems were created by communities to gather up lost feathers like yourselves. The Native Friendship Centres, the entire urban movement, was about reconnecting our relations to one another. Trying to undo the deliberate attempts to make us all disappear.
Because you are uncertain and hesitant, and do not know how to begin your journey, you are vulnerable. You are vulnerable to new age frauds and plastic shaman who will exploit you and lie to you. You are vulnerable to those wounded people who do resent your existence outside the misery they cannot escape. And deplorably, you are vulnerable to fakes and liars who use your real pain to form a wedge with which they can pry open lips and hearts and minds to spill forth knowledge that they have not earned.
These frauds and liars use YOUR struggle to deflect from their exploitative actions. They claim we don’t want you because you’re mixed, urban, disconnected, or whatever. They attach themselves to you like parasites, hoping that when we help you on your way, which we will because we love you, that they will be able to sneak in too.
The saddest thing is, we would share with them too, if they could walk upright, do the work, be respectful and honest. But they would rather skulk and lie and steal. They are not trying to connect to anything, they are merely trying to self-aggrandize.
A lot of the anger you are seeing is a backlash against this exploitation, and against the way that exploitation actively makes it more difficult for our relations to make their way back to us.
Don’t be fooled. If all of the happenings here lately have you wondering if you belong, if you can ever come back, it’s only because you are listening to the wrong people. Trust. Honesty. Humility. Respect. A good mind. Everything else flows from this.
after a high school newspaper printed an anti-rape article, the principle siezed control of the paper.
“I pushed him away a couple of times. I said ‘I haven’t done this before. I really don’t want to do this’, but he kept saying, ‘It’ll be fine. It’ll be okay.’”
Sarah, whose name has been changed like all other students in this story, stayed silent about her rape for nine months. For nine months she struggled with the confusion and guilt that still haunts her today. For nine months she dealt with the be-trayal of an individual she once considered to be a friend. For nine months she was plagued by a consuming sense of self loathing. For nine months Sarah stayed silent because for nine months she did not know that what had happened to her was rape.
see the ENTIRE ISSUE of Fond du Lac High School’s “controversial” student newspaper Cardinal column
Some Fond du Lac High School journalism students are fighting back after they say the district is trying to censor what goes in the school newspaper. The students have started a Change.org petition after the district lays out new guidelines for what it deems is acceptable to print.
The latest edition of Cardinal Columns, a Fond du Lac High School student produced newspaper. After its publication, which included a cover story about sexual assault and the culture surrounding rape, the school district decided it needed to implement new guidelines for what is printed in the school newspaper.
Austin Klewicki is a senior at Fond du Lac High School and he’s on the newspaper staff. He says, “The whole article, it came out to help people and now we’re being told it shouldn’t go. I think that’s a little ridiculous, especially when we had worse stories in the past in issues that we were told were good. So I think it’s surprising that this has been blown out of proportion and it should be returned back to where it was where we had the freedom to choose what we wanted to write.”
Journalism students who work on the paper say the new guidelines, which give the high school principal and ultimately the district superintendent final say on what gets published, is a form of censorship.
Fond du Lac senior and editor-in-chief of Cardinal Columns, Tanvi Kumar says, “It’s almost a violation of our first amendment rights. I know we are sponsored by the school, but we identify ourselves as a public forum which means we open to the general use and the public.”
District officials disagree, citing case law as well as previous school policy which says specific guidelines needed to be laid out. And that’s what the high school principal says the new rules are doing.
According to Principal Jon Wiltzius, “The newspaper, Cardinal Columns, is a publication of Fond du Lac High School so there is the ability for the principal or the advisor or the superintendent to oversee any of these publications.”
Irom Sharmila is protesting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA),
which gives Indian soldiers impunity in the insurgent northeastern states. She has been fasting and in solitary confinement for about 13 years
Sharmila has been in solitary confinement for about 13 years, in the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, the biggest hospital in Imphal. Indian authorities have been charging her with attempting to commit suicide — a crime carrying a one-year prison sentence. She is released every year on the completion of her sentence, but she resumes her fast, refusing even liquids. As her health deteriorates, the police arrest her again for attempting to commit suicide and put her away in her hospital prison, where the doctors force-feed her a liquid diet.
WATCH – See this unprecedented new insight into life at the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, which was produced by Geoff Parish.
Among the string of allegations, he hears of women being denied underwear, security guards taunting asylum seekers and the fabrication of welfare notes.
How widespread is violence against women in Burma?
The Burmese army is using sexual violence against ethnic women as a weapon of war. It is not only happening in Kachin State, but also throughout the country, especially in ethnic region in Karen State and Shan State. The Burmese army soldiers live with ethnic women, often impregnating them and leaving them behind with children and no support. To them, women are only a source of entertainment. Women are also openly kept as sex slaves by military units, showing the complete impunity for the officers involved.
The Mohawk protesters who have been holding a blockade near Tyendinaga since Sunday are now vowing to increase the intensity in the coming days after the federal government failed to call a national inquiry Friday into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
RCMP, Police could care less about missing and murdered indigenous women in kkkanada
Meghan Rhoad, a researcher for the report, told Windspeaker she was “deeply troubled” by the allegations, not to mention the significant “level of fear” witnessed amongst complainants that police would retaliate if they stepped forward.
“In too many of the cases we heard described, there was impunity for the violence committed against them,” said Rhoad.
“I would like to see… the government and police look seriously at what they can do right now to set a new path, in terms of their relationship to Indigenous women and girls.”
RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong released a statement soon after the report’s release, promising the force would examine the accusations carefully but only if alleged victims’ identities were released or filed formal complaints.
Outcry ensues Canadian Government Squash inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women
A highly anticipated all-party Parliamentary committee report has raised the ire of opposition parties and First Nations groups across the country.
The report on curbing rates of violence against Aboriginal women released Friday makes 16 recommendations. Suggested measures include creating a public awareness campaign, strengthening the public justice system, maintaining the government’s commitment to develop the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, implementing a national DNA missing persons index and providing more support for on-reserve Aboriginals.
To the chagrin of many, however, the Tory-dominated committee does not recommend a national inquiry.
Tribal women have known brutal displacement, fear, murder and rape at the hands of invaders, for decades. They have suffered humiliation by governments that perpetuate the idea that they are somehow ‘backward’ or ‘stone age’.
They have seen their lands taken from them, their self-respect annihilated and their futures become uncertain. Even in the 21st century, the myth exists that tribal women and their communities are doomed archaic peoples that are destined to die out naturally.
But it is only the concept that is antiquated. Tribal women are not ‘backwards’ or ‘primitive,’; they have complex, evolving societies that flourish when they are left alone to pursue the self-sufficient and diverse ways of life they have developed over centuries. Despite their suffering, the resistance of many tribal women today is growing.
Chile: March for International women’s day attacked by police
Thousands of women joined this Friday to march organized by the “Feminists Fight Coordinator”, the “Coordinator March 8″, the Single Confederation of Workers (CUT), ANEF, Confederation of Copper Workers and the Federation of Students University of Chile (FECh).
This occasion of the commemoration of International Women’s Day, scheduled to end with a cultural event in the Almagro Park Commune Santiago.En place Special Forces of militarized police, attacked the crowd with tear gas, water cannons and wagons strong police contingent.
Occupied anti-patriarchy center La Tremenda Destroyed
Manresa : Endesa knocks down without prior notice, the anti patriarchy occupied social center CSO La Tremenda
”………………Against this agressive eviction we respond with the strength and hard hitting necessary so that such actions don’t go unpunished. We invite everybody to express their solidarity with the La Tremenda in the way they think appropriate,. Attacks like this don’t intimidate us, on the contrary they make us stronger. Let being frightened change over to their side.. No attacks without resistance!”
the clitoris brigade (columna clitoral)
La TRemenda hosted for the past 9 years an anarcofeminist movement fighting against patriarchy , which occupied the building on Calle San Salvador . Despite the use by the feminist collective the Manresa City Council granted a municipal license for demolition to Endesa , which was the origin of the action this morning before the workers were surprised by members La Tremenda .
The members of the evicted group did not want to comment to the press , but according to some reports in the alternative media network , presented a complaint to the police court for a crime of burglary. Also according to these same sources , they had not received any notice of the demolition . The locals have been equally surprised since, as they affirmed , they never had problems with the anarchafeminists .
Israeli Soldiers Forcefully Disperse Women’s Day Demonstration
Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at protesters at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the central West Bank on Saturday.
The checkpoint separates Ramallah from al-Quds (Jerusalem), which has been the historical capital for Palestine before the occupation of the country by Israel.
The protesters tried to pass the checkpoint to assert their right to enter al-Quds.
“We are trying to revive the role of women in the popular struggle [against Israel], to maintain the Arab identity of al-Quds, and to boycott Israeli goods,” said Intissar al-Wazir, head of the General Union of Palestinian Women.
In this first video in the Global Uprisings interview series, Egyptian activist Mariam Kirollos reflects on the fight against sexual assault in Cairo.
The following interview is the first in a series of interviews conducted at the Global Uprisings conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that took place during the weekend of November 15-17, 2013. View more interviews and online documentaries at globaluprisings.org.
Rape in the U.S. military
In 2004, after Lt. Jennifer Dyer reported being raped by a fellow officer at Camp Shelby, Miss., she said she was held in seclusion for three days, read her Miranda rights and threatened with criminal prosecution for filing a false report. After finally being given two weeks leave, she was threatened with prosecution for being AWOL when she would not report for duty to the same location where the man she had accused — who was later acquitted on assault charges — was still posted.
Lance Cpl. Sally Griffiths was also accused of lying after she reported being raped by a fellow Marine while stationed in Okinawa, Japan. It wasn’t until she got access to her case file and found a statement by the Marine that confirmed her story that she was able to obtain the discharge she sought. The Marine she accused was never prosecuted. He continued to serve in the military and was promoted several times.
After Army Spc. Suzanne Swift went AWOL instead of staying in the same unit as the soldiers who she accused of sexually harassing her, the Army court-martialed her when she refused a deal that would have forced her to remain in the military and sign a statement saying she had not been raped.
More recently, there have been the well-publicized cases of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was murdered after accusing another Marine of rape, and Jamie Leigh Jones, who says that she was gang-raped while working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq. Jones claims that after she reported her rape, the company put her in a shipping container and warned her that she would lose her job if she left Iraq for medical treatment. The rape kit collected by military medical personnel was lost after it was turned over to Halliburton/KBR. The Pentagon has refused to investigate or to testify before Congress.
Every four hours a sexual assault or rape is reported in the United States Military. In 2009 alone there been 3230 reported casesof sexual abuse among our service men and women. According to experts from the Department of Defense, the Military Rape Crisis Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs many more rape cases go unreported or are under reported.
Army captain accuses Brig Gen Jeffrey Sinclair, 53, of sexually assaulting her during course of three-year relationship
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY:
International Women’s Day was first celebrated on March 19 (not the later March 8), 1911. A million women and men rallied in support of women’s rights on that first International Women’s Day.
The idea of an International Women’s Day was inspired by America’s National Women’s Day, February 28, 1909, declared by the Socialist Party of America.
Not even a week after the first International Women’s Day, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire killed 146, mostly young immigrant women, in New York City. That incident inspired many changes in industrial working conditions, and the memory of those who died has been often invoked as part of International Women’s Days from that point on.
The next year, the Socialist International met in Denmark and delegates approved the idea of an International Women’s Day. And so the next year, the first International Women’s Day — or as it was first called, International Working Women’s Day — was celebrated with those rallies in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
An open letter from some students at Green Mountain College re: XL DISSENT
Let’s break it down a little bit. This KXL dissent thing, as well as pretty much all of 350 and friends’ strategy, is meant to draw media attention and put political pressure on the president. We’re gonna hold Obama accountable, make him deliver on his promises.
The problem is, there’s absolutely nothing in it for him. Even if we all have to hold our noses, the vast majority of self-identified environmentalists are going to vote for Democrats in 2016 and beyond because there’s no other viable option. Third parties sound nice but we all took Gov in high school and know that it’s not gonna happen. The Democrats also know it. It would be nice for them if we knocked and doors and phone banked in 2016, but it’s nothing compared to the money they need from Wall St. And I’m sure you know where Wall St. stands on the whole pipeline thing.
The truth is we’re not going to get anything done if we keep playing politics.
Bill McKibben is wrong – this movement is not solving the climate crisis, and there’s no time to stick to the same old strategies a little longer, hoping for a different result. The crisis is here. We’re living in it, even though we’re all insulated to some degree by our privilege. It’s scary, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up. It means we need to try something new.
Rather than appointing ourselves representatives of frontline communities, let’s start listening to the people most affected and supporting their struggles – not just by paying lip service and not just by offering a few minutes of stage time at Powershift. Other communities have much more at stake here than we do and if we’re going to say that we’re standing in solidarity then we need to start acting like it.
If you have the privilege to travel across the country to get arrested, use it to take some pressure off people of color fighting for their lives instead of helping some big non-governmental organization put out another press release.
We’re not doing the best job of this either. Very few allies are. It’s hard enough to face the police, classmates, your parents, even when you’re doing the kind of activism you can put on a resume. But we all know what’s at stake here-how many lives, how many communities are threatened by this system-and if we really want to dismantle it we need to start having serious conversations about our priorities and our next steps as a movement. We hope this letter will help start those conversations at your school.
I realize that sometimes my lack of support for the state makes it
appear that I am for some backward, ignorant world where <gasp>
rights are not legislated. But it isn’t a world of ignorance I advocate;
it is a world so free of ignorance that everyone “keeps the peace”
without needing their rights legislated by the state.
And I am not naive; people who are still conditioned to slave
consciousness (the need for “rights” to be controlled by an outside
authority/master), actually NEED their masters until they ARE free. It would indeed be chaos for those of us who have disowned our power to such a radical degree that we can’t even imagine surviving without anyone legislating our rights for us. This is the purpose of domestication; to make us entirely dependent on our
Without first de-conditioning from slave consciousness, we simply lack the inner wherewithal to rule ourselves as free people. Domesticated and conditioned slaves depend on their master
for survival. This is exactly how it has always been (kings and serfs
Some of us are obviously a lot freer from the domestication protocols than others, and a lot more capable of self rule. We have a long way to go. A truly free society can only emerge from a truly free people, as an organic extension of our own inner evolution. But I do think it is possible, and it might even happen.
No, I don’t support legislation or anything by the state because I
don’t support masters or kings, even the benevolent ones that rule over their charges with “care,” “justice” and “generosity.” I support people waking up and reclaiming their disowned Power and Responsibility.
The world as we know it has come to an end. Everywhere the foundations for an unprecedented authoritarian regime are being put in place, to replace the current political and economic system, and to take advantage of the fear, chaos, and uncertainty that marks a transition to a new era. The Zapatistas in Chiapas and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in Oaxaca, along with many other political initiatives in various parts of the world, prefigure new forms of transformative struggle, as well as their outcome. These struggles are a determining factor in the current crisis.
The Demons of the Oaxaca Commune
From June to October 2006, there were no police in the city of Oaxaca (population 600,000), not even to direct traffic. The governor Ulises Ruiz and his functionaries met secretly in hotels or private homes; none of them dared to show up at their offices. The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) had round-the-clock watch on all the public buildings and radio and TV stations that it controlled. When the governor began sending out his goons to launch nocturnal guerilla attacks against these guards, the people responded by putting up barricades. More than a thousand barricades were put up every night at 11 p.m., around the encampments or at critical intersections. They would be taken down every morning at 6 a.m. to restore normal traffic. Despite the attacks, there was less violence in those months (fewer assaults, deaths and injuries, or traffic accidents) than in any similar period in the previous 10 years. Unionized workers belonging to APPO performed basic services like garbage collection.
Some observers began speaking of the Oaxaca Commune, evoking the Paris Commune of 1871. Oaxacans responded, smiling: “Yes, but the Paris Commune lasted only 50 days and we’ve already lasted more than 100.” The analogy is pertinent but exaggerated, except in terms of the reaction that these two popular insurrections elicited in the centers of power. Like the European armies that crushed the communards who had taken over all the functions of government, the Federal Preventive Police of Mexico, backed by the army and the navy, were sent to Oaxaca on October 28, 2006, to try to control the situation. On November 25, 2006, those forces conducted a terrible repression, the worst in many years, with massive violation of human rights and an approach which can be legitimately described as state terrorism. The operation—which included imprisonment of the supposed leaders of the movement and hundreds of others—was described by the International Commission for the Observation of Human Rights as,“a juridical and military strategy…whose ultimate purpose is to achieve control and intimidation of civil population.” For the authorities, this strategy would dissolve APPO and send a warning to all social movements around the whole country.
APPO remains a mystery, even for those who are part of it. The distortions introduced by the media and by some participants in APPO, who were using it to promote their own political and ideological agendas, exasperated the confusion. Furthermore, its innovative character is a challenge to understanding the nature, meaning, and implications of this strange political animal. (For further reading on this enormously complex situation, see: Arellano and others 2009, Davies 2007, de Castro 2009, Denham 2008, Esteva 2008 and 2009 a and c, Giarraca 2008, Lapierre 2008, Martínez 2006, and Osorno 2007).
From the day of its birth, all the demons that habitually beset what we usually call the left also beset the APPO. Like bees to honey, it attracted all sorts of groups and organizations that, like parasites, tried to direct and control the movement with their own agendas and obsessions. It was difficult to distinguish those activists from the countless infiltrators sent by the authorities to aggravate the role generally performed by the sectarian left: to disperse, divide, confront, isolate, and to create violence within the social movement.
The APPO disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. It left a quarrelsome atmosphere in Oaxaca, mixing anger and frustration with a sense of defeat. But APPO also left a sediment of experience expressed in everyday attitudes throughout the social and political fabric of the state.
The Obsession of Power
“We think,” said Subcomandante Marcos in 1996, “that you have to rethink the problem of power, to not repeat that formula which says that in order to change the world it is necessary to take power, and once in power we will organize everything in a way that is best for the world, that is, the way that is the best for me since I am in power. We thought that if we conceived of a change in the way power is seen, the problem of power, proclaiming that we do not want it—this would produce another way of doing politics and other kind of politics, other human beings that do politics differently from politicians of the entire political spectrum. (EZLN 1996, 69).
For the Zapatistas, the question is not who is in power, or how any person, group, or party achieved a position of power (through elections or any other means), but the very nature of the system of power within the nation-state, as a structure of domination and control. In drawing a line to separate themselves from the guerilla tradition, the Zapatistas show that such traditions always postpone the question of the role of the people.
“There is an oppressive power, that which decides for society from above; a group of enlightened people who decide to run the country properly and displaces another group from power, takes power and also makes the decisions for society. For us this is a struggle of hegemonies… One cannot reconstruct the world, nor society, nor the nation-states now destroyed, upon a dispute that consists of who is going to impose hegemony upon society.” (Subcomandante Marcos, March 2001)
From the most ferocious dictatorships to the purest of democracies, the nation-state has been, and is, a structure to dominate and control the population…in the end to bring it to the service of capital, using its legal monopoly of violence. The state is the ideal collective capitalist, guardian of those interests, and operates as a dictatorship even in the most modern democratic states.
UDWN’s Note: In excerpts from the essay New Forms of Revolution (Mexico, 2013), Oaxaca-based writer Gustavo Esteva explores the different notions of power within the popular movement in Oaxaca, and speculates on the future on the current cycle of struggles.