dorset chiapas solidarity

May 18, 2015

Mexico’s Ordinary People Struggle for Life, Land, Water and Work

Filed under: Indigenous, Mining, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:24 pm


Mexico’s Ordinary People Struggle for Life, Land, Water and Work

Miguel Concha

La Jornada, May 16th,2015

Mexico finds itself immersed within hundreds of disputes over land, native territory, water and shared resources. It is precisely these aforementioned resources that benefit each and every one of us—those of us at present, in addition to generations to come. If we embrace the knowledge of the pueblo [traditional village], we would not only conserve, but would also hold a deep respect for the natural world. At the same time, we would ensure the proper stewardship of our resources, and a full guarantee to others that they would also be able to enjoy them.

However, much to our regret, we know that at present, the agendas of those at the top are in opposition to the maintenance and care of our resources. The conflict also seems to lack the appropriate mechanisms to provide for the State’s effective response to the problems suffered by traditional villages and indigenous communities—the result of the imposition of megaprojects, the dispossession of shared natural resources, and the violation of rights as indigenous peoples or campesinos.

We have also witnessed the struggle against the lack of consultation [under Mexican and international law, indigenous communities must be consulted about any development project affecting their territory] and their participation in development plans, road infrastructure, or legal reforms that invalidate and ignore forms of organization and management of resources typical to indigenous communities and traditional villages—not only in rural areas, but also in metropolitan and urban areas.

It is an unprecedented crisis in the history of mankind, and this war against the pueblos goes beyond life, dignity and true democracy. As so eloquently written by Don Pablo González Casanova in his paper presented at the seminar, Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra, organized by the EZLN:

“Those at the top put all of their attention into the resources that the war brings to them and none to the suffering they cause. They are effective and efficient presidents, managers, governments, and commanders—who maximize their power and reap the benefits—whether through indirect and unclear ways, or through wars and open measures that they put into play daily, which Harvey called the economy of dispossession.

It is, in fact, an economy of plunder, open and concealed, formal and informal, direct or by sub-planting, with formal armies or duly trained, sadistic criminal bands. All of this is at the conscious or unconscious service of networks and corporations that take billions and billions of dollars from the poor and the Earth’s resources (La Jornada, 9/5/15).

11138145_1449219808704763_2476360292965428636_nIt is precisely against these managers and commanders at the top that the pueblos respond and organize. They mobilize to prevent them from gaining access, and they resist the attempt to convert their resources into spoils of war. In recent weeks, we have witnessed two revelatory experiences of these movements coming from below: The Caravan of the Fire of Dignified Resistance and The National Caravan for the Defence of Water, Land, Work and Life.

The first was held from April 29 to May 15 and through it, indigenous peoples, traditional peasant farmers, social organizations, independent systems for drinking water, and student collectives are strengthening their struggles. They denounce the imposition of a political and economic project that violates the dignity and identity of organizational forms of the indigenous communities and traditional villages.

11174715_979110498775197_6051646316108744441_oRepresentatives from the pueblos of Atenco, Coyotepec, San Francisco Magú, Tecamac, San Francisco Xochicuautla and San Lorenzo Huitzizilapan, among others, gave life to a revitalized social movement in the State of Mexico and its nearby regions, whose aim is the defence of their human rights, the creation of alternatives, and the recovery and conservation of their history, culture, and collective organization. It is in this very state of the Republic, so plagued by the scourge of the heavy hand of regimes and their violation of human rights, where fire, energy and passion for justice is embodied within alternatives and resistances that come into being one step at a time. [MV Note: the PRI, the Party of the Institutional Revolution, has held control of the state since the 1920s. Peña Nieto was governor 2005-2011]

11233157_1591814717764492_1411579587_o-300x232The second caravan is headed by the Yaqui tribe [of Sonora]. It began on May 11 and is due to arrive in Mexico City on May 22. They come from Vicam, Sonora, from Pijijiapan, Chiapas, and others from Piedras Negras, Coahuila. In 11 days, the group will pass through 23 Mexican states, and visit nearly 75 cities and towns. It provides an opportunity for people from traditional villages and indigenous communities that are part of the resistance to exchange thoughts, share experiences, and strengthen their partnerships to address the war that has been declared against them.

Interestingly, both caravans—one touring the cities and towns of Mexico, and the other arriving from the north and south to Mexico City—have denounced the widespread dispossession suffered more each day throughout our land. They highlight the imposition of water transfers through the creation of aqueducts, toxic mining, risks associated with fracking, dams, wind farms, pipelines and power stations, as well as deforestation, rampant urbanization, the construction of highways, and the privatization of energy [oil, gas and electricity] and water systems.

11251159_889723621069331_1994182215851632178_nParticipants also bear witness to industrial and agrochemical pollution, and to the control and destruction of our indigenous seeds [via GMOs] and the overexploitation of our workers. Both examples of struggles have arrived at a sense of understanding in their shared pain. They know that the land and water war is already upon us, and yet, you have to recognize that the pueblos are mobilizing despite the fact that the situation that surrounds them is quite bleak.

The way in which vigour has been strengthened from below in order to make possible a more dignified and just world is almost prodigious. New times are coming. After the tempestuous war, there will come, without a doubt, a time of justice and dignity. Traditional pueblos and indigenous communities are making sure of this. Will we all join in this struggle? Could it be possible? The answer will be given in resistance against those who intend to take ownership of our shared resources.

Translated by: Laura Turner



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