TW: Suicide - Eight year old commits suicide after deportationMarch 22, 2014
An eight year old reportedly committed suicide last week after border patrol authorities caught her with a migrant smuggler as they attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Associated Press. Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Commission) released a press statement on Monday, saying that it would investigate her death and find her parents who live in the United States.
Federal authorities turned the young girl over to Chihuahua state authorities who put her in a private shelter, “instead of one run by the state’s child protective services,” in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. State prosecutors said that the girl hanged herself inside the bathroom of the private shelther, “La Esperanza,” but that “there was no foul play.”
While it’s unknown how many children commit suicide after they are picked up by federal authorities and returned to their countries of origin, children who make the treacherous journey often face traumatic experiences in both countries. In 2006, at least 3,000 unaccompanied children were deported to Ciudad Juarez, which some call “ground zero” for the violence raging in Mexico, after they were apprehended while trying to cross into the United States, according to a Journal of the Southwest report.
Of the 404 children interviewed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a March 2014 report, 58 percent of children crossed the border because they faced violence by organized armed criminal actors and violence in the home. The same report found that 40 percent of the children from Mexico are exploited to be part of a human smuggling ring, by “facilitating others in crossing into the United States unlawfully.”
Once caught at the border, children end up in deportation proceedings where they are “mixed with adult detainees and exposed to human and contraband trafficking, exploitation, and labor abuses before they are deported from the United States.” Children often spend the night in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office before they face an “interview” the next day where they are asked the “same questions they’ve been asked since the first moment they were apprehended in the field,” fingerprinted, and made to describe the smuggler they were with. Children who remain in deportation proceedings can spend anywhere between one week to four months, with an average of 61 days in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody, an agency responsible for children after they are apprehended by border agents. What’s more the Border Patrol has in the past deported minors expeditiously and only informed the consulate of the incident after the fact.

Last year alone, minors accounted for one in 13 people caught by Border Patrol and 17 percent of them were under the age of 13. According to the Los Angeles Times, up to 120 unaccompanied children cross the border each day. And the Vera Institute of Justice found that 40 percent of unaccompanied children may be eligible for “statuses that exempt them from deportation. Among the most likely possibilities: asylum, because they fear persecution in their home country, or a special immigrant juvenile status for children abused or abandoned by a parent.”
Source
Next month, President Obama is expected to hit 2 million deportations.
With an average of 395,689 deportations each year since the beginning of his 2009 term, he has deported more people than any other president. 

TW: Suicide - Eight year old commits suicide after deportation
March 22, 2014

An eight year old reportedly committed suicide last week after border patrol authorities caught her with a migrant smuggler as they attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Associated Press. Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Commission) released a press statement on Monday, saying that it would investigate her death and find her parents who live in the United States.

Federal authorities turned the young girl over to Chihuahua state authorities who put her in a private shelter, “instead of one run by the state’s child protective services,” in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. State prosecutors said that the girl hanged herself inside the bathroom of the private shelther, “La Esperanza,” but that “there was no foul play.”

While it’s unknown how many children commit suicide after they are picked up by federal authorities and returned to their countries of origin, children who make the treacherous journey often face traumatic experiences in both countries. In 2006, at least 3,000 unaccompanied children were deported to Ciudad Juarez, which some call “ground zero” for the violence raging in Mexico, after they were apprehended while trying to cross into the United States, according to a Journal of the Southwest report.

Of the 404 children interviewed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a March 2014 report, 58 percent of children crossed the border because they faced violence by organized armed criminal actors and violence in the home. The same report found that 40 percent of the children from Mexico are exploited to be part of a human smuggling ring, by “facilitating others in crossing into the United States unlawfully.”

Once caught at the border, children end up in deportation proceedings where they are “mixed with adult detainees and exposed to human and contraband trafficking, exploitation, and labor abuses before they are deported from the United States.” Children often spend the night in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office before they face an “interview” the next day where they are asked the “same questions they’ve been asked since the first moment they were apprehended in the field,” fingerprinted, and made to describe the smuggler they were with. Children who remain in deportation proceedings can spend anywhere between one week to four months, with an average of 61 days in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody, an agency responsible for children after they are apprehended by border agents. What’s more the Border Patrol has in the past deported minors expeditiously and only informed the consulate of the incident after the fact.

Last year alone, minors accounted for one in 13 people caught by Border Patrol and 17 percent of them were under the age of 13. According to the Los Angeles Times, up to 120 unaccompanied children cross the border each day. And the Vera Institute of Justice found that 40 percent of unaccompanied children may be eligible for “statuses that exempt them from deportation. Among the most likely possibilities: asylum, because they fear persecution in their home country, or a special immigrant juvenile status for children abused or abandoned by a parent.”

Source

Next month, President Obama is expected to hit 2 million deportations.

With an average of 395,689 deportations each year since the beginning of his 2009 term, he has deported more people than any other president. 

poc-creators
decolonizingmedia:

Decolonize Your Education: DOWNLOAD A FREE ZAPATISTA TEXTBOOK: “AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT 1”
The Zapatista Escuelita (Zapatista Little School) project, which opened in August 2013, has now made available the first of several books, translated into English, as free PDF downloads.
The first in the series is the text, Autonomous Government 1: Freedom According to the Zapatistas. Download the PDF here.
Forthcoming books will be released in the coming months, at one month intervals, if not sooner, as follows:    • Autonomous Government I (Available now: click here)    • Autonomous Government II (Will be published no later than April 8th)    • Participation of Women in Autonomous Government (Will be published no later than May 8th)    • Autonomous Resistance (Will be published no later June 8th)

YES! So excited to dive into these. 

decolonizingmedia:

Decolonize Your Education: DOWNLOAD A FREE ZAPATISTA TEXTBOOK: “AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT 1”

The Zapatista Escuelita (Zapatista Little School) project, which opened in August 2013, has now made available the first of several books, translated into English, as free PDF downloads.

The first in the series is the text, Autonomous Government 1: Freedom According to the Zapatistas. Download the PDF here.

Forthcoming books will be released in the coming months, at one month intervals, if not sooner, as follows:

    • Autonomous Government I (Available now: click here)
    • Autonomous Government II (Will be published no later than April 8th)
    • Participation of Women in Autonomous Government (Will be published no later than May 8th)
    • Autonomous Resistance (Will be published no later June 8th)

YES! So excited to dive into these. 

Full families challenge US-Mexico border with mass reentryMarch 11, 2014
Any day now, President Obama, whom immigrant groups call the “deporter in chief,” will make history by surpassing the two million mark — separating two million families through deportation during the course of his administration’s five-year reign.

In response, migrant families are making history of their own.
On March 10, 250 migrants, who have lived in the United States most of their lives, attempted to reenter the country after being deported. Many entire families are returning, while others are coming to rejoin family members still living in the United States. The group is chanting “undocumented and unafraid” as they cross through the U.S. portal that separates Tijuana from San Diego. This action, part of the #not1more campaign, marks the third mass border crossing organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. The action comes as immigrant justice groups are increasingly moving beyond advocating for legislative reform and are instead turning to direct action to protest the record deportations. The group says that these actions are calling attention to the immigration crisis and the way millions of families are separated by an arbitrary boarder.
Last year, 150,000 U.S.- born children were separated from at least one parent. The majority were under the age of 10. One of these stories is that of Manuel, who spent 10 years living in Ohio with his U.S.-born children and wife. According to the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Facebook page, “Manuel was placed in deportation proceedings after he hired an immigration attorney who he later found out was a fraud.”
All 250 families participating in yesterday’s action have lived in the United States for a large portion of their lives, creating homes and community in this country.
Source

Full families challenge US-Mexico border with mass reentry
March 11, 2014

Any day now, President Obama, whom immigrant groups call the “deporter in chief,” will make history by surpassing the two million mark — separating two million families through deportation during the course of his administration’s five-year reign.

In response, migrant families are making history of their own.

On March 10, 250 migrants, who have lived in the United States most of their lives, attempted to reenter the country after being deported. Many entire families are returning, while others are coming to rejoin family members still living in the United States. The group is chanting “undocumented and unafraid” as they cross through the U.S. portal that separates Tijuana from San Diego. This action, part of the #not1more campaign, marks the third mass border crossing organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. The action comes as immigrant justice groups are increasingly moving beyond advocating for legislative reform and are instead turning to direct action to protest the record deportations. The group says that these actions are calling attention to the immigration crisis and the way millions of families are separated by an arbitrary boarder.

Last year, 150,000 U.S.- born children were separated from at least one parent. The majority were under the age of 10. One of these stories is that of Manuel, who spent 10 years living in Ohio with his U.S.-born children and wife. According to the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Facebook page, “Manuel was placed in deportation proceedings after he hired an immigration attorney who he later found out was a fraud.”

All 250 families participating in yesterday’s action have lived in the United States for a large portion of their lives, creating homes and community in this country.

Source

Contractor for Israel’s apartheid wall wins US border contract
March 6, 2014

One of the two lead contractors for Israel’s apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, Elbit Systems, has won a $145 million contract from the US Department of Homeland Security(DHS) to provide similar systems on the Mexico-US border.

This is the second time Elbit, which tests its technology on Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, has won a major US border surveillance contract.

Elbit was a Boeing subcontractor when that firm won a 2006 DHS contract for SBInet as part of the George W. Bush administration’s Strategic Border Initiative.

SBInet was to provide surveillance and communications technology to increase the US presence on the Mexico-US border. Elbit was subcontracted by Boeing through Kollsman, one of Elbit’s US-based subsidiaries, to provide the project’s camera and radar systems.

Work on the contract halted in 2008 and DHS officially canceled SBInet in January, 2011.

Dividing indigenous land

The new DHS contract calls for “Integrated Fixed Tower systems” that will “assist [Border Patrol] agents in detecting, tracking, identifying and classifying items of interest” along the border. This contract largely reprises Elbit’s role in the Boeing contract. Initial installations will be in Arizona.

Both the US and Israeli projects affirm settler-state partitions of indigenous land: Palestinian land in the Israeli case and Tohono O’odham land in Arizona.

The Tohono O’odham Nation is just one of several indigenous nations facing further partition because of US and Mexican border policies.

And both projects intend to stop the movement of persons under the guise of “security.”

Tested on Palestinians

Elbit tests its technology in Palestine so deployment in an analogous circumstance for the US is unsurprising.

The Elbit Systems of America 2012 promotional video above, for instance, boasts of “Proven Technology, Proven Security” and “10+ years securing the world’s most challenging borders.” Israel began building its apartheid wall in the early 2000s and the structure was declared to be illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.

The video also says Elbit’s technology has been “operationally tested on the US Southwest Border.”

The video shows maps of Arizona and images of human walking through landscape, on military-style displays.

Drones

The Arizona border was also the site of a 2004 contract where Elbit provided Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — commonly known as drones — to the Border Patrol in the first significant deployment of UAVs for US border surveillance.

In addition to the US settler state furthering the partition of indigenous land, the DHS contract also affirms anti-Latin@ racism in the relations between the US and Mexico, and is just one example where Elbit and other Israeli firms play roles in “securing” wealthier European borders against migrants from poorer Black and Brown nations.

Elbit, NICE Systems and Aeronautics Defense Systems all provide technology, used first against Palestinians, for border surveillance and control systems throughout Fortress Europe.

Source

theangryminority

darksilenceinsuburbia:

Linda Forsell. Cause of Death: Woman

War (Mexico - Ciudad Juarez)

In Mexico the war is of a different sort. The so-called “war on drugs” plays out between powerful drug cartels that the police and military try to confine but usually end up becoming a part of. Women are under serious attack. Brutal women’s killings, kidnappings and rapes have skirted the path of drugs. Young girls have been found dead in barrels of acid, mutilated with breast ripped off or abducted to be found dead a month later in the desert.

The underlying causes of these atrocities are complicated and impossible to fully comprehend , but drugs, lawlessness, corruption, innumerous undocumented immigrants and power-hungry cartel member 

Mexico: In 2010, Ciudad Juarez was crowned the murder capitol of the world. Murders of women have taken extreme shapes through mutilations, kidnappings, rapes and deformations.

Mexico: Pink crosses all over Ciudad Juarez mark where women have been founded murdered.

Amor por Juarez <3

thinkmexican

thinkmexican:

Time’s Peña Nieto ‘Saving Mexico’ Cover Sparks Confusion, Outrage

Mexicans respond mockingly to ridiculous Time Magazine cover story

Under the banner of “Saving Mexico,” Time Magazine has put Enrique Peña Nieto on the cover of its February 24 international edition.

Many who first saw the cover this morning responded with, “Is this a joke?” When people realized it wasn’t, it unleashed a backlash in Mexico and from Mexicans throughout the world toward Time and the cover story’s author, Michael Crowley.

“It’s the hot new emerging market. But can President Peña Nieto and his team of reformers really turn their country around?”, asks Time. The answer: not with Peña Nieto. And definitely not by further liberalizing Mexico’s natural resources.

The “Mexico Moment” meme is old and tired. Pushing Mexico as the “hot new emerging market” confirms what many predicted would happen with Peña Nieto’s privatization of PEMEX: The foreign press would shower EPN with accolades, create a bubble, cash in and then wait for the economic crisis to hit in order to buy even more of Mexico at a lower price.

The Mexican people, however, have lived through one too many Mexico Moments are now wise to this game. Here are some of the best “portadas verdaderas” that we’ve seen in response to Time’s cover.

The bottom image of the autodefensa grandmother holding a rifle is, we feel, the most accurate response of them all. Mexico’s people are saving themselves!

Stay Connected: Twitter | Facebook

“The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become &#8216;somebody,&#8217; and frankly, I don&#8217;t have the least ambition to become anybody.” - Frida Kahlo
In 1930, when Diego Rivera received several commissions to paint murals in the United States, the couple packed their bags and headed north. At the end of four years, Diego remained content in his American surroundings, but Frida was homesick and miserable. Her experience living in &#8220;Gringolandia&#8221; inspired the painting, Self-portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.

“The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody.” - Frida Kahlo

In 1930, when Diego Rivera received several commissions to paint murals in the United States, the couple packed their bags and headed north. At the end of four years, Diego remained content in his American surroundings, but Frida was homesick and miserable. Her experience living in “Gringolandia” inspired the painting, Self-portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.

"Now is the time to strengthen and globalize the resistance and the rebellion, because we know that these lying thieves and criminals who call themselves the government will never stop attacking us. They will never stop persecuting us. They will never stop incarcerating us and trying to put an end to us and erase us from history. But they will not be able to, because our struggle has its just cause: democracy, liberty and justice." - Comandante Hortensia, from Caracol II in Oventic, Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, the high zone of Chiapas, January 1st, 2014.

"Now is the time to strengthen and globalize the resistance and the rebellion, because we know that these lying thieves and criminals who call themselves the government will never stop attacking us. They will never stop persecuting us. They will never stop incarcerating us and trying to put an end to us and erase us from history. But they will not be able to, because our struggle has its just cause: democracy, liberty and justice." - Comandante Hortensia, from Caracol II in Oventic, Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, the high zone of Chiapas, January 1st, 2014.

New forms of Zapatista Revolution: The Lacandona Commune January 2, 2014
The main challenge in Mexico today is to resist a wave of violence that is dispossessing and oppressing people, and which may precipitate increasingly brutal state repression and even a vicious civil war. At the same time, we need to connect the points of resistance, giving them an organizational form adapted to their nature. What is needed is to build a political force that can stop the ongoing disaster, prevent its continuation, and begin to reorganize society from the bottom-up.
There are clear signs that such a scenario is already developing. Many initiatives are connecting desire to reality, and thus giving a joyful and effective sense to political action. An increasing number of people are ceasing to dance to the tune of the powerful, choosing instead to play their own song. 
The primary catalyst capable of transforming society is emerging from the Lacandona Commune in Chiapas. For many analysts, both the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos are history: they lost their opportunity, their time has passed, and they are increasingly irrelevant. The media have ‘disappeared’ them; they ignore the Zapatistas, except to disqualify them. Allies and sympathizers have begun to share this impression. However, for prominent thinkers like Chomsky, González Casanova, or Wallerstein, Zapatismo is today the most radical and perhaps the most important political initiative in the world.
The Zapatistas were the first to challenge an intellectual and political mood in Mexico that had surrendered to neoliberal globalization. From that moment on, globalization represented a promise for some and a threat for others, but everybody took it very seriously. Since 1994, anti-systemic movements have acknowledged that the Zapatista uprising was a wake-up call that &#8220;Another World Is Possible,&#8221; a slogan later coined by the World Social Forum, whose more vigorous and creative sectors were inspired by the Zapatistas.
The Zapatistas have been prominent in the public and media gaze for 20 years. In fact, as surprising as it may seem to those who insist on forgetting them and periodically burying them, no contemporary social or political movement has attracted as much public attention, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.
One of the reasons why so many seem to want to forget Zapatismo, to send it to the past or to reduce it to a few municipalities in Chiapas, is the depth of its radicalism. The Zapatistas challenge in words and deeds every aspect of contemporary society. In revealing the root cause of current predicaments, they tear apart the framework of the economic society (capitalism), the nation-state, formal democracy and all modern institutions. They also render the conventional ways and practices of social and political movements obsolete. In reconstructing the world from the bottom up, they reveal the illusory or counterproductive nature of changes conceived or implemented from the top down. Their path encourages resistance to globalization and neoliberalism everywhere, and inspires struggles for liberation.
Nothing about the Zapatistas is more important than their contribution to hope and imagination. According to the Mahabharata, the sacred Indian book, when hope – that sheet-anchor of every man – is destroyed, great grief follows, which is almost equal to death itself. For Ivan Illich, “the Promethean ethos has now eclipsed hope. Survival of the human race depends on its rediscovery as a social force” (Illich 1971, 105-6). It is precisely this rediscovery that the Zapatistas have accomplished.
Pandora, “the All-Giving”, closed the lid of her amphora before Hope could escape. It is time to reclaim it, in the era in which the Promethean ethos threatens to destroy the world, and the expectations it generated vanish one after the other. In liberating hope from its intellectual and political prison, the Zapatistas created the possibility of a renaissance, which is now emerging in the net of plural paths they have discovered. They are still a source of inspiration for those walking along those paths. But they do not pretend to administer or control such a net, which has its own impulses, strength, and orientation. We all are, or can be, Zapatistas. 

 Behind our black mask, behind our armed voice, behind our unnamable name, behind what you see of us, behind this, we are you. Behind this, we are the same simple and ordinary men and women who are repeated in all races, painted in all colors, speak in all languages, and live in all places. Behind this, we are the same forgotten men and women, the same excluded, the same intolerated,   the same persecuted, the same as you. Behind this, we are you. (The Zapatistas 1998, 24). 

In 250,000 hectares of Lacandon Jungle, surrounded by thousands of troops, attacked constantly by paramilitary groups, demonized by the government and the political classes, isolated and disqualified by the “institutional” left, the Zapatistas persist in their remarkable sociological and political construction. They refused to accept government funds, not even for their schools and health centers. When civil society asked them to follow “the political way,” they obliged in a dignified manner and entered into dialogue with the government. They signed the San Andrés Accords with the government, which were consequently ignored and violated by successive administrations. But nevertheless, the Zapatistas adhered to the accords through the implementation of autonomy in the area under their control.
Full article

New forms of Zapatista Revolution: The Lacandona Commune 
January 2, 2014

The main challenge in Mexico today is to resist a wave of violence that is dispossessing and oppressing people, and which may precipitate increasingly brutal state repression and even a vicious civil war. At the same time, we need to connect the points of resistance, giving them an organizational form adapted to their nature. What is needed is to build a political force that can stop the ongoing disaster, prevent its continuation, and begin to reorganize society from the bottom-up.

There are clear signs that such a scenario is already developing. Many initiatives are connecting desire to reality, and thus giving a joyful and effective sense to political action. An increasing number of people are ceasing to dance to the tune of the powerful, choosing instead to play their own song.

The primary catalyst capable of transforming society is emerging from the Lacandona Commune in Chiapas. For many analysts, both the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos are history: they lost their opportunity, their time has passed, and they are increasingly irrelevant. The media have ‘disappeared’ them; they ignore the Zapatistas, except to disqualify them. Allies and sympathizers have begun to share this impression. However, for prominent thinkers like Chomsky, González Casanova, or Wallerstein, Zapatismo is today the most radical and perhaps the most important political initiative in the world.

The Zapatistas were the first to challenge an intellectual and political mood in Mexico that had surrendered to neoliberal globalization. From that moment on, globalization represented a promise for some and a threat for others, but everybody took it very seriously. Since 1994, anti-systemic movements have acknowledged that the Zapatista uprising was a wake-up call that “Another World Is Possible,” a slogan later coined by the World Social Forum, whose more vigorous and creative sectors were inspired by the Zapatistas.

The Zapatistas have been prominent in the public and media gaze for 20 years. In fact, as surprising as it may seem to those who insist on forgetting them and periodically burying them, no contemporary social or political movement has attracted as much public attention, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

One of the reasons why so many seem to want to forget Zapatismo, to send it to the past or to reduce it to a few municipalities in Chiapas, is the depth of its radicalism. The Zapatistas challenge in words and deeds every aspect of contemporary society. In revealing the root cause of current predicaments, they tear apart the framework of the economic society (capitalism), the nation-state, formal democracy and all modern institutions. They also render the conventional ways and practices of social and political movements obsolete. In reconstructing the world from the bottom up, they reveal the illusory or counterproductive nature of changes conceived or implemented from the top down. Their path encourages resistance to globalization and neoliberalism everywhere, and inspires struggles for liberation.

Nothing about the Zapatistas is more important than their contribution to hope and imagination. According to the Mahabharata, the sacred Indian book, when hope – that sheet-anchor of every man – is destroyed, great grief follows, which is almost equal to death itself. For Ivan Illich, “the Promethean ethos has now eclipsed hope. Survival of the human race depends on its rediscovery as a social force” (Illich 1971, 105-6). It is precisely this rediscovery that the Zapatistas have accomplished.

Pandora, “the All-Giving”, closed the lid of her amphora before Hope could escape. It is time to reclaim it, in the era in which the Promethean ethos threatens to destroy the world, and the expectations it generated vanish one after the other. In liberating hope from its intellectual and political prison, the Zapatistas created the possibility of a renaissance, which is now emerging in the net of plural paths they have discovered. They are still a source of inspiration for those walking along those paths. But they do not pretend to administer or control such a net, which has its own impulses, strength, and orientation. We all are, or can be, Zapatistas.

Behind our black mask, behind our armed voice, behind our unnamable name, behind what you see of us, behind this, we are you. Behind this, we are the same simple and ordinary men and women who are repeated in all races, painted in all colors, speak in all languages, and live in all places. Behind this, we are the same forgotten men and women, the same excluded, the same intolerated, the same persecuted, the same as you. Behind this, we are you. (The Zapatistas 1998, 24).

In 250,000 hectares of Lacandon Jungle, surrounded by thousands of troops, attacked constantly by paramilitary groups, demonized by the government and the political classes, isolated and disqualified by the “institutional” left, the Zapatistas persist in their remarkable sociological and political construction. They refused to accept government funds, not even for their schools and health centers. When civil society asked them to follow “the political way,” they obliged in a dignified manner and entered into dialogue with the government. They signed the San Andrés Accords with the government, which were consequently ignored and violated by successive administrations. But nevertheless, the Zapatistas adhered to the accords through the implementation of autonomy in the area under their control.

Full article

Twenty years after the 1994 uprising, Zapatistas continue to influence continent-wide cycle of struggle
January 1, 2014

For the past twenty years since the Zapatista uprising on January 1st, 1994, social movements in Latin America have championed one of the most intense and extensive cycles of struggle in the world. Ever since the 1989 Caracazo, uprisings, insurrections and mobilizations have encompassed the whole region, delegitimized the neoliberal model, and recognized those from below — organized into movements — as central actors of social change.

Zapatismo was part of this wave in the 1990s and soon became one of the inescapable referents of Latin American resistance, even amongst those who do not share their proposals and forms of action. It is almost impossible to make a full list of what the movements have realized in these two decades. We can only review a handful of significant acts: the piquetero struggle in Argentina (1997-2002), the indigenous and popular uprisings in Ecuador, the Peruvian mobilizations that forced Fujimori’s resignation, and the 1999 Paraguayan March that led Lino Oviedo to seek exile after a military coup.

In the next decade we had the formidable response of the Venezuelan people to the 2002 right-wing coup, the three Bolivian “wars” between 2000 and 2005 (one about water and two about gas) that erased the neoliberal right from the political map, the impressive struggle of the Amazonian Indians in Bagua (Peru) in 2009, the resistance of Guatemalan communities to mining, the Oaxaca commune in 2006, and the mobilization of Paraguayan peasantry in 2002 against privatization.

In the last three years, a new layer was added to the movements that could suggest a new cycle of struggles, including the mobilization of Chilean secondary students, the community resistance to the Conga mining enterprise in northern Peru, the growing resistance to mining, fumigations and Monsanto in Argentina, the defense of TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure) in Bolivia, and the resistance to the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil.

In 2013 alone, we had the Colombian agrarian strike that was capable of uniting all rural sectors (campesinos, indigenous and cane cutters) against the free trade agreement with the United States, as well as the June mobilizations in Brazil against the ferocious extraction of labor for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

This series of mobilizations that have sprouted throughout Latin America for the past two decades positively indicate that grassroots movements are alive across the region. Many of them are carriers of a new political culture and a new form of political organization, which is reflected in multiple ways and which is different from what we knew in the 1960s and 1970s.

Some of the movements, from the Chilean secondary school students and the Zapatista communities, to the Guardians of the Conga Lakes, the Venezuela Settlers’ Movement and the Movimento Livre Passe (MPT) of Brazil, reveal some common characteristics that are worth noting.

The first is the massive and exceptional participation of the youth and of women. As vulnerable victims of capitalist exploitation, their presence revitalizes anti-capitalist struggles because they can be directly involved in the movement. Ultimately, it is they — those who have nothing to lose —  who give movements an intransigent radical character.

Secondly, a unique political culture is gaining ground, which the Zapatistas have synthesized in the expression “governing by obeying” (mandar obedeciendo). Those who care for the lakes in Peru — the heirs of peasant patrols (rondas campesinas) – obey their communities. The young activists of the MPL in Brazil make decisions by consensus in order to avoid consolidating a majority, and they explicitly reject the “loudspeaker cars” that union bureaucracies used to impose control on their marches.

Another common feature to these movements is the project of autonomy and horizontality, words that only started being used 20 years ago but which have already been fully incorporated into the political language of those involved in the various struggles. Activists claim autonomy from the state and political parties, as well as horizontality — the collective leadership of the movement rather than that of any individual. For instance, members of the Coordinating Assembly of Secondary Students (ACES, its initials in Spanish) of Chile function horizontally, with a collective leadership and an assembly.

The fourth characteristic is the predominance of flows over structures. The organization adapts itself and is subordinate to the movement; it is not frozen into a structure that conditions the collective with its own separate interests. The collectives that struggle are similar to communities in resistance, in which all run similar risks and where the division of labor is adjusted according to the objectives that the group outlines at every given moment.

In this new layer of organization, it is difficult to distinguish who the leaders are — not because referents and spokespersons do not exist, but rather because the difference between leaders and followers diminishes as the collective leadership of those from below increases. This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the new political culture that has been expanding over the course of the past two decades.

Finally, Zapatismo is a political and ethical referent — not so much indicating a direction for these movements, but rather serving as an example from which to take inspiration. Multiple dialogues are taking place among all the various Latin American movements, not in the style of formal and structured gatherings, but as direct exchanges of knowledge and experience between activist networks: precisely the kind of exchange that we need in order to strengthen our struggle against the system.

Source

Massive protests rock Mexico as oil industry “opened up” to heavy extraction
December 24, 2013

In a move that can only be described as dictatorial, the regime of President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a law privatizing the state-owned oil company, Pemex, against the will of two-thirds of the population.

The new law allows foreign companies to exploit oil in Mexico, breaking the revolutionary nationalization of Mexico’s oil industry in 1938. Though it faced a hearty opposition, it was passed by the collaboration between Neto’s party (the PRI) and the conservative National Action Party (PAN).

The collaboration between PRI and PAN is indicative in itself, since the PRI effectively stole the last elections from the Left through widespread electoral fraud. Still, Neto declared, “This year we, Mexicans, have decided to overcome myths and taboos in order to take a great step towards the future.”

In response to the oil reform, the opposition piled up chairs to blockade the entrance to the Congress building last week and prevent the vote from going through. MP Antonio Garcia stripped naked in Congress to denounce “the stripping of Mexico’s oil wealth.” Tens of thousands of protesters raged outside while the government went through the motions of aristocracy.

To many, the selling off of oil and gas resources to international corporations represents not only the selling off of oil wealth, but the surrendering of self-determination to neoliberalism and neocolonialism.

The Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 was not only an anti-colonial movement—it was a revolution against capitalism that involved important radical and anarchist leaders such as Ricardo Flores Magon and Emiliano Zapata. Underneath the well known histories of the uprising peasants in Northern and Southern Mexico lies the militant oil workers’ strikes in Veracruz, which were responsible for the first paroxysms of the revolution.

After the first successes of the revolution, the presidency of Madero was assassinated (literally) by US interests in the guise of General Huerta. But the US shadow game was soon scattered by mass uprising, and in the late 1930s, President Cardenas would foreshadow the national liberation project with a radical nationalization program that put the still-radical oil sector in the hands of a state that (in spite of many terrible iniquities) guaranteed sustainability to campesinos through the ejido system.

The decision to liberalize (read: open up to Imperialism) the national oil industry is seen by many as the last straw in a sequence of events that started with NAFTA’s destruction of the ejido system in 1994. While it has catastrophic historical implications, “opening up” oil production also bodes ill for the country’s environment.

Mexico’s oil production has dropped one million barrels per day from 2004 to the present. The reforms will increase oil production, and especially heavy crude, which is similar to tar sands extraction. According to President Pena Nieto, ”This is the beginning of a new history for our country. We have opened the doors for a better future for all.”

Source

anarcho-queer

anarcho-queer:

A Place Called Chiapas

A Place Called Chiapas is a 1998 Canadian documentary film of first-hand accounts of the Zapatistas (EZLN), and the lives of its soldiers and the people for whom they fight.

Director Nettie Wild takes the viewer to rebel territory in the southwestern Mexican state of Chiapas, where the EZLN live and evade the Mexican Army.

The 20th anniversary of EZLN is coming up on January 1! Also, the second & third rounds of La Escuelita are happening next week & the first week of January, but are already filled up. I have a few comp@s going to Chiapas for the festivities so I’ll make sure to post more about it in the next few weeks!

thinkmexican
thinkmexican:

EZLN: 3O Years of Autonomy and Resistance
30 years ago, on November 17, 1983, three members of the National Liberation Forces’ (FLN) leadership, Germán, Rodrigo and Elisa and three insurgent indigenous speakers of Chol, Javier, George and Frank, founded in the Lacandon Jungle the second core guerrilla unit that would become the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).
After the police and military attacks of 1974 (Monterrey, Nepantla and The Chilar-Ocosingo), the FLN spent the next nine years rebuilding and establishing its second core guerrilla unit in the Lacandon Jungle, origin and base of the political and military organizational process of the EZLN in Chiapas. They had survived the “dirty war” and “openness” policy of President Luis Echeverria (1970-1976) and they passed on the “political reform” and amnesty for “socially motivated offenders” of President José López Portillo (1976 - 1982).
Partial translation. Read the full text at La Floja.

thinkmexican:

EZLN: 3O Years of Autonomy and Resistance

30 years ago, on November 17, 1983, three members of the National Liberation Forces’ (FLN) leadership, Germán, Rodrigo and Elisa and three insurgent indigenous speakers of Chol, Javier, George and Frank, founded in the Lacandon Jungle the second core guerrilla unit that would become the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).

After the police and military attacks of 1974 (Monterrey, Nepantla and The Chilar-Ocosingo), the FLN spent the next nine years rebuilding and establishing its second core guerrilla unit in the Lacandon Jungle, origin and base of the political and military organizational process of the EZLN in Chiapas. They had survived the “dirty war” and “openness” policy of President Luis Echeverria (1970-1976) and they passed on the “political reform” and amnesty for “socially motivated offenders” of President José López Portillo (1976 - 1982).

Partial translation. Read the full text at La Floja.