imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

A New Approach to Justice From The Doors Of A Mexican Consulate: From Portland to Oaxaca

by Nikki Thanos Friday, Nov. 17, 2006 at 11:19 PM
nikkithanos@fastmail.fm

Oaxaca occupies a sacred place in my heart; her mountains, coast, mole and native corns nourished my spirit for a good part of the years I lived in Mexico and her people—mis companeros/as—have been my teachers and friends. But this has been a sad couple of weeks. October 31 I found myself locked to the front door of the Mexican Consulate in Portland, Oregon to protest the violent repression against the People’s Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO), a peaceful resistance movement in Oaxaca.

A New Approach to Ju...
img_1699.jpg, image/jpeg, 2592x1944

The previous Friday gunmen linked to the Oaxaca state government shot dead Oaxacan teacher Emilio Alonso Fabian, Mexican demonstrator Esteban Zurita and New York Indymedia journalist/activist Brad Will. Two days later the same government-backed thugs killed two more protesters. That brings the total death toll since the Oaxacan teachers began their strike-turned-popular-protest to at least nine.

I easily could’ve been one of those nine. I could’ve been Emilio, Esteban or Brad. If you’re someone who has ever thought change was possible, or believed the world could be a little sweeter, or that the poor deserved just a little more justice, well, you could be dead now too. Every day in Oaxaca—like so many places in the world--the line between life and death becomes more politicized and gaspingly thin.

Squarely positioned in the “south of the south,” Oaxaca has kept its head up proudly through period after failed period in the great big Mexican globalization laboratory. In a state where 76% of the population lives in abject poverty, the only thing that seems to have “trickled down” is a broad consensus that neoliberalism has grossly failed the region. It’s no surprise, then, that last June’s teacher’s strike drew widespread support from indigenous groups, students, unions and civil society organizations. When you’re working yourself into poverty and your kids are hungry, it’s not hard to find common ground with your neighbors—something’s got to change.

That change came together in a demand to oust the notoriously corrupt Oaxacan governor Ulises Ruiz, a bastion of elite power in the region. The APPO has been occupying strategic parts of Oaxaca since, establishing a parallel people’s government and rendering Ruiz’s administration ineffectual. Last week the Secretary of the Interior and both houses of the Mexican Congress called for Ruiz to step down. It seemed APPO was on the verge of victory.

Yet APPO’s clear commitment to non-violence and a negotiated solution has been met with fierce

military escalation on the part of the Mexican government. As the number of troops, tanks and helicopters began to rise, so too has the tally of ilegal detentions, murders, forced disappearances, torture and police misconduct. On November 2, the police moved in to shut down the movement’s communication lifeline, Radio Universitaria, and retake the autonomous state university. The odds were grossly stacked in the police’s favor but the people of Oaxaca kept the station on air. The “All Saint’s Day victory,” as it was coined, was a win felt worldwide—and judging by the outpour of public demonstrations in the last two weeks I’d bet I’m not the only “guera” (white person) streaming Radio Universitaria into my home office right now.

For those of us outside of Oaxaca, when we tune in we somehow connect to the smell of boiled corn and Oaxacan string cheese. We feel a part of one of the most inspiring social movements in the hemisphere. We’re reminded that there is more than radio waves connecting us. A lot more, as it turns out—especially for those of us in the United States.

As “Oaxaca Vive” dripped from my painted face last week, I renounced my government’s support for the Mexican army, police and paramilitaries. Yes, this is mostly an internal Mexican conflict. Yes, there is corruption in Mexico. Yes, Mexicans have the right to determine their own, autonomous course of development. But let’s not lose sight of the massive power the US wields over Mexico. NAFTA and other US-imposed structural adjustment programs have gridlocked Mexico into a system of economic violence that has devastated regions like Oaxaca. During the time I worked in Mexico, milk, gas, electricity and transportation subsidies were cut, while prices for what most southern Mexicans produce—corn and beans—plummeted. I still carry the image of the first confirmed Oaxacan “Frankencorn” I documented in 2003 (US-produced genetically modified corn came in under the Agricultural Chapter of NAFTA and wound up contaminating the most precious native Oaxacan varieties in what folks proudly consider the birthplace of corn). As one indigenous Mixteco told me this June in Oaxaca, “to sell my land would be to sell my mother.”

All told, some two million Mexican corn farmers have been driven off their land by NAFTA. Just last week, a member of the APPO leadership arrived here in Oregon for his seasonal job in a coastal nursery. Like many Oaxacans, Lucio would prefer to be farming with his family, but instead finds himself watering floral wreaths at an upscale plant wholesaler in the US. We cried together several times over the last two weeks at the cruel ways life seems to have separated us from the struggles that make us feel most alive. Lucio was the first person I called when I got out of jail. He said to me, “You know, the best thing you can do in life is follow what your heart tells you is right. For us borders don’t exist. Oaxaca is right here.”

When I lived in Mexico, my response to international atrocities was a smoother connect-the-dots -- I used my blue passport to build binational movements. I funneled news from remote places in Latin America to church leaders, student groups and peace activists in the United States. Like Brad, I was documenting and reporting. Like Esteban, I was accompanying unarmed, autonomous popular movements. And like Emilio, I deeply believed (believe!) in a justice that was (is) inclusive, driven by love, and radically transformational.

But now I live in Pórtland, Oregon. How do you build solidarity with a small place in the world most of your neighbors have never even heard of? How do you express your outrage when foreign governments start picking off your friends in places you used to call home? How do you say “ya basta” to the violence perpetrated by the US government, a brand of militarism and imposition that is as convoluted as it is calculated?

Perhaps one of the best things we can do is create breathing room for blossoming movements elsewhere. Mexican Embassies and Consultates have been the site of protest in Nigeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, and every major US and European city. Twelve were arrested in New York, five in the Twin Cities and myself and one other in Portland. As Martin Luther King said, “We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”

While those not-so-hidden tensions continue to erupt in Oaxaca, we in the international community vow to bring the story of a victorius people’s struggle home. I truly believe that Portland needs a victory in Oaxaca, and Oaxaca needs Portland to make that victory real—which means we need to get “un chingo” (a whole-lot) more creative, more committed and more direct with our solidarity work. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to run and lockdown at Mexcian consulates, but I think a direct action strategy more closely honors the mutually solidarious relationship we are trying to build with the people of Oaxaca. It is time to “up the stakes” of our protests beyond the well-stenciled banners, mass email alerts, and comfortable calls to representatives that have characterized our activities so far. Do something new this week with your bike lock, hoe, paintbrush or keyboard. As you innovate and dream, you’ll find me beside tens of thousands of Mexicans—without all the answers, for sure, but feeling one step closer to justice.

Nikki Thanos is a Portland-based popular educator who has been working to change US military and economic policy in Mexico since 2001. She worked in the Sierra Juarez region of Oaxaca from 2002-2004. Counterpunch ran this article 11/15/2006.





Report this post as:

Local News

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique du microcosme macrocosme O15 6:44AM

September 2018 Honduras coup update O15 3:31AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:34AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:23AM

Paraphysique de l'ubérisation O13 7:56AM

22 Ways Trump Has Increased US Deficit By 4 to 5 Trillion Dollars O12 10:34PM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Plus d'hôpitaux, à bas les aéros O12 6:38AM

When Banana Ruled (documentary) O11 3:00AM

Outstanding Report By RAMOLA D &Dr.Tomo Shibata O10 9:17PM

Dark Clouds Gather on Horizon for Financial System, Warns International Monetary Fund O10 1:51PM

Fbi pure evil & immorality O10 5:39AM

Reality Check: Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie O09 7:40PM

Voiceless Animals: 2018 Candidates They Oppose O09 7:01PM

IMF Lowers Global Growth Projections and Raises Concerns of Financial Crisis O09 3:27PM

Canitie, l'inhumanité vieillit O09 7:13AM

L'anarchie en quelques exemples O07 6:50AM

100 Ways GOP Have Stolen Elections Since 1876 O06 12:03AM

Proximospective de l'univocité réifiée O05 6:27AM

“Kava-no!!!” O04 6:42PM

Trump & Palestine vs. Genesis, Rashi & The Land of Israel O03 6:29PM

The Criminality of the Elites O03 11:35AM

Business de l'inhumanitaire O03 7:51AM

Marriage Rape/Date Rape Highest Rapes O02 2:59PM

Women I Know Get Raped - Too Many Times To Count! O02 2:55PM

Women In USA Have Stockholm Syndrom O02 2:50PM

Shooting Drill's Are Political Actual Shootings O02 2:47PM

Dr. Ford's Father Works With CIA O02 2:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy