dorset chiapas solidarity

October 25, 2016

Worldwide Pronouncement in Solidarity with Domingo Pérez Alvaro and the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration

 

.

Worldwide Pronouncement in Solidarity with Domingo Pérez Alvaro and the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration

 

14695551_1800877260127828_8900945864639347493_n

We energetically denounce the fierce aggression against Domingo Pérez Alvaro, indigenous Tseltal, ejidatario and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, which took place on Monday, October 17th, at approximately 4 pm, at the top of the crossroads of Alan Sajcun in the territory of the ejido.

According to a statement from the ejidatarios, the aggressors are people belonging to the group of supporters of the officialist Ejidal Commissioner, who are government supporters and enemies of the struggle carried out by the ejidatarios for their land and territory, which the bad capitalist government wants to take away from them in order to build a luxury tourist resort. This group of supporters of the officialist Ejidal Commissioner of San Sebastian Bachajón, Manuel Guzman Alvaro, detained compañero Domingo Pérez Alvaro and physically attacked him with heavy blows so that today he is still in a very delicate state of health.

The supporters of the Ejidal Commissioner accuse Domingo Pérez of taking part in collective works on the lands of the neighbouring community of Bolom Ajaw and of participating in La Sexta Bachajón. In fact, compañero Domingo Pérez Alvaro has participated since the founding of La Sexta Bachajón, he has walked in promoting human rights and participated in the National Indigenous Congress; he also took part in the 20th anniversary of the CNI. On the day of the attack, Domingo was returning from the prison of CERESO 17 in Playas de Catazaja, where he went to visit one of the political prisoners of Bachajón, Santiago Moreno Pérez, on behalf of the organization.

The brutal and serious attack on compañero Domingo Pérez Alvaro certainly took place because of his participation in the struggle of his people to defend their territory. As the ejidatarios say about the attackers: “We reject their actions of dispossession which only serve to confirm their agreements with the bad government to hand over ejido lands to them …. We condemn the actions of the Ejidal Commissioner Manuel Guzmán Álvaro who we hold responsible for the integrity of our colleague Domingo Pérez Alvaro and any attack on the compañeros and compañeras of La Sexta Bachajon.”

Compas of good heart all around the world, we hereby ask for your solidarity with and support for La Sexta Bachajón. Please denounce these acts and disseminate this information, because it is reported that the compañero is in a grave condition following this attack.

We ask you to remain alert as to the situation in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

 

Land and Freedom!

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Compas of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, you are not alone!

 

Signatories:

Hermann Bellinghausen, Mexico

Movement for Justice in El Barrio, United States

Raúl Zibechi, Uruguay

Sylvia Marcos, Mexico

Jean Robert, Mexico

Gustavo Esteva Figueroa, Mexico

Hugo Blanco Galdos, Peru

Malú Huacuja del Toro, United States

Circulo de las Primeras Naciones, Canada

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network:

-Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

-Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

-Kiptik (Bristol)

-London Mexico Solidarity Group

-Manchester Zapatista Collective

– Meso-America Solidarity Action Liverpool

-UK Zapatista Education, Culture and Communication team

-UK Zapatista Translation Service

-Zapatista Solidarity Group – Essex

 

.



.

April 25, 2016

From New York: Message from Movement for Justice in El Barrio in honor of Juan Vásquez Guzmán

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:28 pm

 

.

From New York: Message from Movement for Justice in El Barrio in honor of Juan Vásquez Guzmán

 

13076761_1124218174308950_4059519533192133942_n

Dear compañeras and compañeros ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón:

We send loving hugs to you all from El Barrio, New York.

Across the borders which those from above impose on us, by means of this letter we want to share our humble word to the family and all the compas of our beloved brother, Juan Vásquez Guzmán in this commemoration that you have organized to celebrate the memory and life of our compa Juan.

After three years we still feel a lot of pain and rage at the savage murder of Juan Vásquez Guzmán which took place on April 24, 2013.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán was and remains an inspiration for the migrant people of El Barrio and every day here we keep his memory alive.

Your struggle is our struggle because the land belongs to those who work it and housing belongs to those who live in it.

You struggle against those who want to take away your lands, while on this side in the north, we struggle against those who want to take away our housing.

Today, three years after the death of compa Juan Vásquez Guzmán, we remember his great legacy of struggle in defence of your land and our people.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán is not dead because he still lives in our hearts.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán, a great fighter who for his love of community and the land belonging to them made it a priority in his daily life to defend the land of his birth, the same land that saw him fall.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán, a man who well knew that the Mother Earth has no price.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán who fought tirelessly until his death.

 

Dear brother Juan Vásquez Guzmán:

You are still a great example for us to follow here in New York.

You will never be alone.

Nor will your beloved compas in struggle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón be alone.

There are no barriers or frontiers that separate our support and feelings for you our compa Juan and your parents, siblings, children and compas in struggle.

 

Compañeros ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón:

We remain in struggle and together we will continue to build a better world where many worlds fit,

 

This week in Canada, we will have an event in commemoration of Juan Vásquez Guzmán where we will share the dignified struggle that you continue to carry out.

We also continue to demand the punishment of those responsible for the death of compa Juan so his death does not go unpunished.

 

We demand justice! Their murderers cannot go unpunished! No more impunity!

Land, freedom and justice for the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón!

Juan Vásquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Vásquez Guzmán, Presente!

 

With love and solidarity,

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

.



.

Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón about Juan Vázquez Guzmán

 

.

Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón about Juan Vázquez Guzmán

 

13076903_1124131280984306_5813903245131352701_n

 

FROM EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJÓN, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 24 APRIL 2016.

To the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in Mexico and the world

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world 

 

Jmololabex ants winikewtik, icháh spatil a wotanik ta pisilik ta ini ka´kal yuun yotik nokolonkotik ta spasel te snahojibal Juan Vázquez Guzmán ta Bachajón te laj ta milel yuun skoltabel slumal sok te lum k´inal.

Yaj jkabeyexcotik mukul hokolawalik yuun te laj ha jokinonkotik ta spasel in tsakayik yoxebal ahbil yuun te laj ta milel te jmololtik Juan Vázquez.

 

Compañeros and compañeras, today 24th April, 2016, the third annual commemoration of compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán is being held.

The family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the members of the Sexta Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón thank you for your presence and participation through written letters.

We express once again our gratitude to the organizations and social activists for their cooperation, hoping to have the opportunity of your participation again in future gatherings.

 

From New York: Movement for Justice in El Barrio, to the family and compañeros of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

From England: letter from the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group. 3 years after his assassination Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!  

From Peru: message from the indigenous social activist Hugo Blanco for the commemoration of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. 

From Uruguay: letter from the writer and social activist Raúl Zibechi to the family, friends and compañeros of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.  

From Oaxaca, Mexico: letter from the writer and social activist Gustavo Esteva for the commemoration of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

 

Receive combative greetings from the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the members of La Sexta Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

Land and Freedom

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

 

13095808_1124220227642078_3783148429977111411_n

.



.

April 17, 2016

Participatory Democracy Drives Anti-Gentrification Movement in New York’s El Barrio

 

.

Participatory Democracy Drives Anti-Gentrification Movement in New York’s El Barrio

By Jessica Davies, Truthout | Report

 

2016_0416rrelb_Members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio at a press conference denouncing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “luxury housing” rezoning plan. (Photo courtesy of Janice Aredondo)

 

Eleven years ago, in an area known as El Barrio in East Harlem, New York, community residents of 15 immigrant families, all of them women of color, came together to seek dignified housing in their community. They were struggling against gentrification and displacement, and the abuses of a private landlord who was trying to force them out of their homes in order to attract wealthier tenants and transform the neighborhood they lived in and loved. These women had no previous organizing experience, but they listened to and supported each other, and in December 2004, they formed Movement for Justice in El Barrio (Movement).

Astonishingly, Movement now has 954 members in 95 building committees. Eighty percent of the members are women, and it is the women who are the driving force behind the organization. The membership consists of low-income tenants who are immigrants and people of color; many are also Indigenous. Forced by poverty to leave their beloved native countries, they have built a strong community in El Barrio, and are determined not to allow themselves to be displaced again. They understand clearly that their fight is against the neoliberal system represented by the abusive landlords, property speculators, multinational corporations, politicians and government institutions that seek to displace them from their much-loved community.

“We all share a common enemy and it is called neoliberalism,” said Oscar Dominguez, a member of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, at the first Encuentro for Humanity and Against Displacement. “Neoliberalism wishes to divide us and keep us from combining our forces. We will defeat this by continuing to unite our entire community until we achieve true liberation for all.”

The organization is built around the principles of autonomy, self-determination and participatory democracy. This means that it is based on a horizontal form of organizing and has no leaders.

“We believe that those who suffer injustice first-hand must design and lead their own struggles for justice,” said Diana Vega, a Movement member.

The aim is to create spaces where people can come together as a community to share their problems. In this way, they can agree on the solutions, and it is the community itself that has the power. Not being dependent on anyone to tell them what to do, they believe, creates a strong base that can never be destroyed.

The basis of Movement’s organizing is consulting the community. Members go door-to-door, building-by-building, block-by-block, getting to know each other, and constructing relationships. Committees are formed in each building, and once the whole building is organized, they become members. Each building agrees on its own actions and means of struggle. Movement is also deeply committed to fighting all forms of oppression and to respecting each other’s differences. Above all, this means listening to one another.

The group operates on many levels. As well as door knocking, it has town hall meetings, community dialogues, street outreach, house meetings and community-wide votes. It organizes protests, marches and direct actions. It makes clever use of the media, gives interviews and charlas (talks) and organizes community-wide gatherings. It uses tactics such as court actions and public denunciations. Following the community consultations, it campaigns on specific issues.

These issues are spelled out in the invitation that Movement for Justice in El Barrio sent out for its fifth Encuentro for Humanity and Against Displacement:

“Together, we make our dignity resistance and we fight back against the actions of capitalist landlords and multinational corporations who seek to displace poor families from our neighborhood. We fight back locally and across borders. We fight back against local politicians who refuse to govern by obeying the will of the people. We fight back against the government institutions which enforce a global economic, social and political system that seeks to destroy humanity.”

The organization faces many challenges. Most of its members speak no English. They have little access to the internet. Very few of them have computers. They are forced to work 10- to 14-hour days, six to seven days a week, as well as having all the responsibilities of family life. This means that it is not easy for them to also attend four or five hour meetings to make decisions, and it is difficult for everyone to come together at the same time. Because everyone must be consulted, and all decisions made collectively, it can take a long time to come to an agreement. But in spite of all these difficulties, the commitment and achievements of the members have been remarkable.

In line with its principles, Movement accepts no government funding, and has no involvement with politicians or political parties. Members know it is essential to create bridges with other ignored, forgotten and marginalized communities, including women, migrants, lesbians, people of color and the transgender community, and to build relationships with members of organizations that also fight against multiple forms of oppression.

Building a Community of Solidarity and a Culture of Resistance

Eleven years ago, those who are now members of Movement did not even know each other. They had no fellowship with the other inhabitants of their building. Now, they resist, organize and celebrate victories together — they have built community, friendship, love, confidence and solidarity and have transformed their lives.

During the last 11 years, Movement has won victories against brutal landlords and multinational corporations that have tried to displace them and destroy their community. They have challenged city institutions. They have created and continue to build a culture of resistance and a community of solidarity. They have formed strong bonds with their sisters in struggle in many corners of the world, and their inspirational struggle continues.

Members of Movement celebrated the 11th anniversary of their women-led community struggle this year on March 8, International Women’s Day. During the event, they screened this short film to commemorate their struggle against displacement:

 

 

Many of the members of this remarkable organization believe that their greatest achievement has been to build a culture of resistance, which has led to a sense of identity and self-worth, being part of something that gives them purpose and meaning. A new generation of children is growing up in an amazing environment of organizing, marching and of collective decision-making, which makes a lasting impact on their lives, and shines through in their vibrant community spirit. The strength of the community that Movement has created is reflected in the astonishing fact that not on,e of its members has been displaced over the last 11 years. It is no wonder that the Village Voice chose Movement as the “Best Power to the People Movement in New York City.”

Learning from and Sharing Dignified Struggles

When Movement was founded in December 2004, its members began to look for other dignified struggles from which to learn. When they read the Zapatista Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, released in June 2005, Dominguez told Truthout, members found in it “a mirror of ourselves.” Since that time, they have developed their own form of urban Zapatismo, and continue to look to their Zapatista compañeras and compañeros as inspiration in their daily struggle for justice and collective liberation, while offering their solidarity in return. As always with the women at the forefront, Movement members have incorporated tools and ways of organizing learned from the Zapatistas into their own local struggle.

Current Struggles and Achievements

In September 2015, the women of Movement for Justice in El Barrio joined people who are fighting for justice all over the world, and gave testimony before the International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement, which was held in New York City. The women spoke about the struggle of migrant women against the dispossession that leads to forced migration in the first place, and then about the vicious displacement from housing, which takes place in order to rezone cities between the rich and the poor.

This was followed in October by Movement being the only organization to be chosen to participate in the ground-breaking first worldwide online Women’s Freedom Conference, where women from five continents presented their struggles through the unique voices and experiences of women of color who have little or no representation, and who have been deprived of their rights not only by patriarchy, but also through racism and other forms of oppression. Movement’s presentation was the film El Barrio Women Fighting for Freedom and Against Displacement.

 

 

On January 31, 2016, the fifth New York City Encuentro for Humanity and Against Displacement took place, organized by Movement. It was “a gathering in which humble and simple people directly affected and fighting against gentrification were given the space to dialogue amongst each other without intermediaries and with respect for their common struggle.” A testament to the power of grassroots organizing, the Encuentro focused on struggles against displacement in New York and globally, and representatives of over 90 organizations shared their struggles and their dreams.

The official invitation to the event offered these words about its purpose:

“We are struggling for housing, for education, for health, for freedom, for justice, for love, for a voice, for a space to exist, for peace, for respect, for ourselves, for our community, for dignity … for humanity. Here we stand in resistance in our corner of the world. Together we will build a world where many worlds fit. Un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos.”

The Encuentro highlighted one of the main struggles undertaken by the women of Movement over the last year and a half — the struggle against the destructive rezoning plan that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is attempting to impose from above. If enacted, this plan will cause widespread displacement of long-term, low-income community members from their beloved El Barrio. Premiered at the Encuentro was the new film The East Harlem Community Fight Against the Mayor’s Rezoning Plan.

 

 

The film documents the East Harlem residents’ opposition to a rezoning plan where a hundred percent of units will be inaccessible to the low-income residents of El Barrio. Seventy-five percent will be market-rate, luxury apartments, and the other twenty-five percent will still have rents that make them completely inaccessible to low-income residents of El Barrio, due to residents not meeting the minimum income threshold required to rent them. This opposition is the result of the East Harlem community’s extensive consulta del Barrio, a community-driven democratic consultation, organized by Movement, about the mayor’s rezoning plan, which took place for nearly a year. Through this consulta, community members analyzed the plan and developed both their position — unanimous opposition to the mayor’s entire upzoning plan by the thousands who participated — and a proposal of their own: A 10-point plan for the de Blasio administration to preserve rent-stabilized housing. The women leaders of Movement for Justice in El Barrio will keep on fighting until their plan is implemented for the benefit of all of the humble people of New York City.

They have expressed this commitment in their vision statement:

We fight so that:

The oceans and mountains will belong to those who live in and take care of them.

The rivers and deserts will belong to those who live in and take care of them.

The valleys and ravines will belong to those who live in and take care of them.

Homes and cities will belong to those who live in and take care of them.

No one will own more land than they can cultivate.

No one will own more homes than they can live in.

 

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35625-participatory-democracy-drives-anti-gentrification-movement-in-new-york-s-el-barrio

.



.

March 31, 2016

Speaker’s Constituents Denounce Council’s Luxury Housing Vote in East Harlem

Filed under: Displacement, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:18 am

 

.

Speaker’s Constituents Denounce Council’s Luxury Housing Vote in East Harlem

 

image (1)

Members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio protest on Wednesday March 23 outside a “Landlord Resource Fair” hosted by the de Blasio administration in East Harlem. The rally came one day after the City Council approved a controversial rezoning plan that will allow developers to build more luxury housing in 15 low-income neighbourhoods across the City including East Harlem. Photo: Jill Dowling

 

By Liz Roberts March 29, 2016

As Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito were rallying in Foley Square, celebrating the passage of their affordable housing plan Wednesday evening, East Harlem residents gathered to denounce what they refer to as the mayor’s “luxury housing plan.”

In response, Teresa Tapia, member of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, said “This plan is nothing more than a land grab for the rich, and now they are celebrating it. It’s shameful.”

On Tuesday, the City Council voted in favor of two zoning amendments that are the cornerstones of the mayor’s housing plan and pave the way for rezoning in fifteen communities citywide, which are composed of predominately poor and black and Latino residents. East Harlem is one of these communities.

East Harlem residents responded to the City Council vote by holding their own rally Wednesday evening, denouncing the plan outside the “Landlord Resource Fair” hosted by the de Blasio administration. “We are here outside of this fair in East Harlem which the mayor’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has organized to offer support and resources to landlords,” said Ms. Tapia. “This demonstrates yet again and very clearly that the mayor favours wealthy landlords over poor tenants.” This was met with a chant of “Listen up, de Blasio! We will not be moved!” led by area resident Josefina Salazar, whose children stood at her side chanting and holding signs that read “East Harlem Tenants Against de Blasio’s Luxury Housing Plan.”

Ms. Salazar laid out the reasons she and her neighbours oppose the plan, beginning with the new provision that gives real estate developers the option of building 80% luxury, market-rate units. She continued, “The other 20% of apartments will be designated as what they call low-income housing. But we know very well this is a lie, because the low-income people of El Barrio don’t earn enough to pay those high rents.” The mayor and the City Council claim, under this option, the 20% affordable housing units, which will be eligible to residents earning $34,500 for a family of four, will indeed be affordable to low-income residents from the area.

Residents spoke about the gentrification and displacement they say the new plan will bring. “We know when those rich people move to El Barrio, our landlords will do everything in their power to displace us from our apartments in order to replace us with people who can pay more than three times what we pay for rent,” Ms. Salazar said. “We don’t want El Barrio to be converted into a neighbourhood for rich people as happened in other communities like Park Slope and Chelsea, but that is what the mayor and Ms. Mark-Viverito want to happen here.” Ms.Tapia added, “we don’t want their ‘housing plan’ to push us out of our homes.”

Tenants citywide, including those in East New York, one of the fifteen low-income, people of colour communities targeted for rezoning, are speaking out against the plan, saying even the lowest income options are not affordable to the poor people in their communities. They, like the tenants protesting tonight, say even the so-called “affordable” units are not intended for the current residents of their communities and will draw higher income residents from outside the community, just as the market-rate units will.

This was in stark contrast to the simultaneous celebration at Foley Square, where Mayor de Blasio said developers will be required to add a set amount of affordable housing — between 20 and 30% — in rezoned areas.

In the past, under Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council had a documented history of approving legislation introduced by the mayor, including rezoning and development projects. Many, including members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, are now drawing parallels to the current City Council’s overwhelming approval of Mayor de Blasio’s rezoning changes, despite citywide opposition from community organizations. Other groups across the city protested the City Council’s vote on this rezoning and delayed it by 20 minutes on Tuesday. Ultimately, the vote went ahead as planned. Mayor de Blasio is presenting this massive real estate development undertaking as part of his progressive agenda to challenge the “tale of two cities”, the theme of which was a major focus of his electoral campaign. The mayor, for his part, has made it clear he will do what it takes to “address the affordable housing crisis” through his rezoning plan.

In this vein, the mayor says his rezoning plan will make it harder for developers to build more luxury towers and that they will be required to also build affordable housing. However, East Harlem residents question how hard it will be for developers who are “excited to pioneer” these neighbourhoods targeted for rezoning. Residents assert that developers are overjoyed by this new “luxury housing plan” because, according to them, business will be booming for real estate developers who will be busy creating 70-80% market rate units in new luxury towers. “This is just another luxury upzoning,” Ms. Salazar said, “—this time wrapped up in the language of affordable housing and served up by our local politicians who are in the service of the real estate developers who fund their campaigns.” Mayor de Blasio’s largest contributions come from real estate developers who have also provided funding for the Campaign for One New York, for “affordable housing” and other projects. The mayor and the City Council stand behind their plan, which they say is the most progressive housing plan in any city in the country.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio says they reject the rezoning plan outright. “We oppose any configuration of the rezoning plan that is being imposed on our community because we know it will displace low-income tenants and small businesses, including street vendors,” says Ms. Tapia. “We offer our own ten-point plan to preserve rent-stabilized housing instead of destroying it, like the mayor’s and the Council’s plan will.”

The group has a proposal of their own, a ten-point plan to preserve rent-stabilized housing that they say will truly address the need for low-income housing in their community and citywide.  According to them, this ten-point plan is the result of a nearly year-long community-wide consultation process convened by Movement for Justice in El Barrio through which community members analysed the mayor’s plan and developed a position and plan of their own. The group has sent copies of the plan to all parties involved in the proposed re-zonings, including the mayor, and says they will keep struggling until their ten points are implemented. Wednesday’s rally by Movement for Justice in El Barrio follows a series of protests and actions since the organization first came out publicly in opposition to the mayor’s plan last fall. Earlier this year, the organization convened the first citywide gathering in opposition to the mayor’s plan bringing together over 90 groups from across the city, the country and internationally. At this “Encuentro”, the group released a video outlining their fight against the mayor’s rezoning plan.

To close Wednesday’s protest the crowd chanted a message to the mayor, ”de Blasio, listen up! We will not be moved!” followed by their message to his staff leading the Landlord Resource Fair inside, “HPD, listen up! We will not be moved!” The mayor and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, meanwhile, rallied at Foley Square with leaders of the AARP and several unions who have been strong supporters of the administration as they have shepherded the new plan through the approval process.

Liz Roberts is an activist and writer. She works with War Resisters League and does Palestine solidarity work.

https://indypendent.org/2016/03/29/speaker%E2%80%99s-constituents-denounce-council%E2%80%99s-luxury-housing-vote-east-harlem

.



.

March 12, 2016

NEW FILM ABOUT THE EAST HARLEM COMMUNITY FIGHT AGAINST MAYOR DE BLASIO’S POLICIES OF DISPLACEMENT

Filed under: Displacement, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:12 am

 

.

 NEW FILM ABOUT THE EAST HARLEM COMMUNITY FIGHT AGAINST MAYOR DE BLASIO’S POLICIES OF DISPLACEMENT

 

FILM: “THE EAST HARLEM COMMUNITY FIGHT AGAINST THE MAYOR’S REZONING PLAN” 

 

 

Highlighted in this film are community members of El Barrio – women, children, whole families – as they take their struggle against the Mayor’s destructive policies of displacement from community meetings to press conferences to the streets.

This new film documents the struggle of East Harlem residents – predominantly immigrant women of colour, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio – actively opposing an unjust and destructive rezoning plan that the Mayor is attempting to impose from above and which, if enacted, will cause widespread displacement of long-term low-income community members.

Broad community opposition to the rezoning plan came out of the East Harlem community’s extensive Consulta del Barrio – organized by Movement for Justice in El Barrio – a community driven democratic consultation about the Mayor’s rezoning plan which took place for nearly a year. The community developed both a position – unanimous opposition to the Mayor’s entire upzoning plan by the thousands who participated – and a 10 Point Plan to Preserve Rent Stabilized Housing.

This is the powerful story of immigrants of colour, led by women, coming together to protect their community and culture from the damaging rezoning plans being imposed by the Mayor and other local officials.

 

 

.



.

March 2, 2016

Organizing from Below in NYC, US & Globally Challenging Displacement from Above

Filed under: Displacement, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:22 pm

 

.

Organizing from Below in NYC, US & Globally Challenging Displacement from Above

SARAH ROSENBERG

Encuentro Photo

A member of Movement for Justice in El Barrio speaks during the fifith NYC Encuentro for Humanity and Against Displacement held on Jan. 31.

 

 

 

On January 31st, a global gathering took place in New York City that brought together representatives from over 90 organizations to share their community struggles against displacement and their dreams for another world. Movement for Justice in El Barrio, a women of color-led community organization in East Harlem, convened the NYC Encuentro for Humanity and Against Displacement. This, the fifth Encuentro the group has organized, was the first broad citywide gathering to shine a spotlight on Mayor De Blasio’s rezoning plan, calling it a “luxury housing plan” and highlighting the massive amounts of luxury housing that will be built in what are now low-income communities of color.

Movement invited “those who are struggling for housing, for freedom, for justice, for love, for a voice, for a space to exist, for the preservation of our communities, for peace, for their community, for dignity, for humanity.” They stated in the invitation to the Encuentro, “Power seeks to divide and marginalize us as people of color, as women, as transgender, lesbian and gay, as youth, as the elderly, as workers, as the homeless, as immigrants, as tenants. We must resist division. We must seek to come together…to build something new and beautiful.”

This year’s Encuentro featured round table discussions among groups fighting against Mayor De Blasio’s “rezoning imposed from above.” During the first “Conversation from Below,” Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Council and David Tieu of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side, both member groups of the new Citywide Alliance Against Displacement, shared about the devastation that development and rezoning from above have caused their communities. The Mayor, whose biggest financial backers are real estate industry players, has come under the criticism that real estate interests are driving this construction of luxury housing in what are now low-income communities of color throughout NYC.

Diana Vega of Movement for Justice in El Barrio next introduced the premiere of the new film “The East Harlem Community Fight Against the Mayor’s Rezoning Plan,” which ended in resounding applause, shouts and whistles from the audience. The film documents the East Harlem residents’ opposition to a rezoning plan where 100% of units will be inaccessible to the low-income residents of El Barrio: 75% will be market rate, luxury apartments, and the other 25% will be completely inaccessible to low-income residents of El Barrio. This position is the result of the East Harlem community’s extensive Consulta – organized by Movement for Justice in El Barrio – a community driven democratic consultation about the Mayor’s rezoning plan which took place for nearly a year and where community members analyzed the plan and developed both their position – unanimous opposition to the Mayor’s entire upzoning plan by the thousands who participated – and a proposal of their own, their 10 Point Plan to Preserve Rent Stabilized Housing.

The film also shows East Harlem residents participating in Community Board meetings, opposing both the plan and “lip service paid to ‘affordable housing.’” Movement member Vega explained, “The Community Board and others are using ‘affordable housing’ as a smokescreen calling for 50% ‘affordable’ (mixed income) housing, but in reality 80% of all units they promote will be unaffordable to East Harlem low-income residents.” She continued, “elected officials and their supporters have been using this same lie of ‘50% affordable’ to impose a similar plan on our low-income community of color and are wrongfully claiming that it’s what El Barrio residents want. We are not fooled.” Following the film, Movement member Maria Mercado led the crowd of hundreds in a rousing chant of “No Nos Moverán! We Will Not Be Moved!”

The Encuentro, inspired by Zapatista “Encuentros”, then connected the respective local struggles shared to the struggles of communities fighting against displacement throughout the US and the world both in urban and rural contexts. The focus on worldwide struggles against displacement initiated with the screening of a video collage about global neoliberal displacement which was followed by a video message from California-based Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), made up of homeless and extremely low income people fighting against the criminalization of poverty & the human rights violations of the homeless community of Los Angeles with a message of solidarity to those in New York also fighting policies of criminalization and displacement. Springfield No One Leaves! participated via video message to share the struggles that their low-income and people of color community is waging against gentrification, displacement and foreclosures in Massachusetts. A short video documenting Zapatista community members – women, children and whole families – peacefully retaking their ancestral lands was screened to a riveted audience. Others who could not be physically present “defied borders”, sharing their struggles and their solidarity via live-feed including Brazil’s Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (Landless Workers’ Movement) and Montreal’s POPIR, a grassroots tenants group organizing for the right to housing in Canada.

An inspiring video message from the community of San Sebastian Bachajon (SSB), a community of indigenous peoples in Chiapas, Mexico was screened, including video of Juan Vasquez Guzman, leader of his community’s struggle to protect their ancestral lands, who was later killed for his work defending his community from displacement. This video was followed by a moving and somber moment of silence in memory of this fallen fighter for justice and a special video message from SSB to salute the Fifth Encuentro for Humanity and Against Displacement and its participants in their struggles against displacement and for their fallen comrade.

Ilda Mercado, a youth member of Movement, helped defy borders by reading a letter from the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), a national organization in Spain that fights for workers rights. Ilda read the expressive words of Angel Bosqued of the CGT describing displacement and gentrification in Spain. He explained why the CGT struggles, in words that resonated at the Encuentro in El Barrio: “We fight for the right to work for those who do not have work or the work conditions for those who are being exploited; equality between men and women; the right to sexual liberty, abortion, and against discrimination based on skin color or place of origin.”

Teresa Tapia of Movement for Justice in El Barrio stated after the Encuentro, “We believe that it’s important to give priority to voices and experiences that are typically marginalized in society and social movement settings. For this reason, women, LGBTQNCI people, people of color, indigenous peoples, poor people, and other marginalized groups take center stage at our Encuentros.” This commitment by Movement was clearly demonstrated throughout the Encuentro including in the section of the program entitled “Women, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Intersex Communities & LGBTQ Youth of Color Fight Against Gentrification.” During this section, the women of color-led Movement for Justice in El Barrio shared two videos, first “El Barrio Women Fighting for Freedom and Against Displacement,” produced as the organization’s entry in the first ever, all-digital worldwide Women’s Freedom Conference. Second, they screened a music video produced by Movement featuring women leading struggles for justice around the world, from Japan to Greece to Egypt to South Africa to Occupy Wall St. and beyond.

A statement followed from FIERCE, the NYC membership organization of LGBTQ youth of color: “FIERCE and Queer, Trans, and Gender Nonconforming Youth of Color in the streets of New York and across the land and circling the globe rise up with you in the noble work of creatively resisting false borders, dehumanization, separation of families, labor exploitation, gentrification of our communities, and the displacement of any human life!”

Sasha Alexander of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a speaker at the Encuentro, applauded Movement for Justice in El Barrio for hosting the event, “bridging communities impacted by housing displacement and rezoning to include the experiences and injustices trans, gender non conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) people face.” Sasha continued, “Many TGNCI people have been forced out of homes and neighborhoods into shelters and/or criminalized and put into jails – gentrification is economic, racial and gender violence, liberation is a collective process. ” Many participants at the Encuentro echoed Sasha’s message that liberation is a collective process and that the Encuentro model is an important tool for movement and network building.

A unique aspect of Movement for Justice in El Barrio’s Encuentros is the invitation for all to participate by speaking out at Open Forums – there were three – built in to the convergence. Highlights of the open forums included speak outs from representatives from groups organizing in Staten Island, the South Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Queens resident Adriana Escandon of ICE-FREE NYC forcefully stated the importance of this gathering: “We ask Movement for Justice in El Barrio to bring us together so that we can do other Encuentros. There are groups here that I haven’t even heard of and we need to be together.” Also during the open forum, there was powerful participation about the global movement to find the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico by Antonio Tizapa, the father of Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño, one of the disappeared.

The Chinatown Tenants Union of CAAAV-Organizing Asian Communities, which has been fighting against displacement and gentrification for more than 10 years, sent a written statement read during the Open Forums: “We admire Movimiento’s work in building true grassroots leadership and fighting for justice not only in our backyard in New York City, but also international justice because all our struggles are connected.” They reflected on the organizations’ relationship saying, “we continue to be inspired by the women leaders of Movimiento and in particular, their outspoken children who spoke up eloquently in both languages (English/Spanish) about the need to unite and fight against bad landlords and a government that facilitates displacement of our low-income immigrant communities.”

The second “Conversation from Below,” entitled, “In Defense of Bodegas, Street Vendors and Mom-and-Pop Shops” brought together groups fighting to defend the “dignified livelihood” of street vendors and the very existence of small businesses threatened by the Mayor’s rezoning plans. Queens Neighborhoods United (QNU), a grassroots organization based in Queens, emphasized the need to protect the fabric and culture of their community as represented by street vendors who will be pushed out when large amounts of luxury housing are built bringing an influx of higher income tenants demanding higher priced amenities. This “secondary displacement” was also decried by Steve Null of the Small Business Congress and Kirsten Theodos of Take Back NYC. Theodos and Null made clear that what’s needed to protect the rights of mom and pop businesses is legislation that has been stuck in the City Council for 30 years without passage, including the current City Council, despite the fact that it is considered by many to be “progressive”. She and Null both called for the passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act to protect small business owners against “greedy landlords.” Mattos of QNU later highlighted the need “to create real change … for all working class and poor communities of color. Coming out of the Encuentro, QNU considers Movement for Justice in El Barrio a sister in the rumble towards justice and human rights.”

The final open forum of the Encuentro was dedicated to further collaborations beyond the Encuentro. Participants proposed ways to continue to build a network of resistance, announced their actions, invited others to participate and stated the need to continue the vital discussion begun in the space and build on the foundation provided by Movement for Justice in El Barrio at this historic gathering.

Ruth Eisenberg of the Coalition to Preserve Community, later commented “the Encuentro made clear the global scope of displacement of all kinds (residential, commercial, agricultural) and the power of grass-roots organizing in sharing information and strategies and building coalitions.” That over 90 groups shared strategies, ideas and struggles at this Fifth NYC Encuentro for Humanity and Against Displacement is a testament to the power of grass-roots organizing. Members of Movement, joined by the audience, closed the evening’s activities with their rallying cry: El Barrio is not for sale! It is to be loved and defended!

Sarah Rosenberg is an educator who lives and works in Westchester.

https://indypendent.org/2016/03/01/organizing-below-nyc-us-globally-challenging-displacement-above

.



.

December 31, 2015

Invitation to the Encuentro for Humanity and against Displacement

Filed under: Displacement, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:10 pm

.

Invitation to the Encuentro for Humanity and against Displacement

An invitation from Movement for Justice in El Barrio:

To members and families of organizations, community members, and people of good heart, who are resisting in their communities.

To all those fighting for dignity and against displacement & rezoning.

To those who fight for humanity.

NYC ENCUENTRO FOR HUMANITY AND AGAINST DISPLACEMENT

Encuentrologo Jan 31 2016

An Encuentro is a space for people to come together; it is a gathering. An Encuentro is not a meeting, a panel or a conference; it is a way of sharing as another form of doing politics: from below and to the left. It is a place where we can all speak, we will all listen, and we can all learn. It is a place where we can share the many different struggles that make us one.

EL BARRIO, NYC

SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 3:00 PM

We are here. We are a community in resistance. We feel a new moment.

Around the city, the country, and the globe, the system is heaving and shaking. We see it showing thin cracks in its concrete walls. Here in the city, we see dignified people coming together in opposition to racist policies that threaten to displace us – low-income tenants, the homeless, small businesses – from our homes and communities.

The Mayor, backed by real estate and large corporate interests, attempts to strengthen his grip on the reins of power, by designing, promoting, and approving racist policies such as rezoning and luxury housing plans that displace our communities.

Those from above seek to sell off public housing by privatizing and annexing the land where the city’s poor live.

The powerful target and criminalize our marginalized homeless sisters and brothers through brutality and harassment.

Politicians, at the service of corporate interests, and real estate developers belong to a culture that uses the power of money to take control of that which belongs to our communities.

The powerful want to displace poor families to renovate their buildings and rent the apartments to rich people, to white people with money. They want to build tall temples of wealth, huge amounts of luxury housing in our poor communities of color with the excuse of “developing the community.”

They want to remove the street vendors, who earn an honorable and dignified living, the families that have their small restaurants, small clothing stores, and the small bodegas on the corners in our neighborhoods. They want to displace us to bring in their luxury restaurants, their large expensive clothing stores, and their supermarket chains. They want to change our neighborhoods.

The powerful want to change our culture using their oppressive plans. They want to change that which makes us Latin@, Black, Asian and/or Indigenous.

They want to destroy everything that makes us vibrant communities of color and replace us with their culture of money.

We know that these imposed oppressive plans cannot be reformed or revised to work in service of the people.

Local politicians use their power, influence and money to try to buy off resistance in our communities and pacify dissent under the guise of “community engagement,” to make their racist rezoning plans more palatable and “acceptable” and there are those that choose to accept the money of the powerful and ride on the currents of their power. They want to create illusions on the side of the powerless and benefit from the powerful.

Power seeks to divide and marginalize us as people of color, as women, as transgender, lesbian and gay, as youth, as the elderly, as workers, as the homeless, as immigrants, as tenants. We must resist division. We must seek to come together.

As we struggle here, we do not forget our sisters and brothers resisting in the far corners of the world. Nor do we forget where we come from and that many of us have already experienced displacement from our homelands. We join the humble and simple people across the world in their resistance as we stand up and join the fight against those from above who have pushed us to this dignified rage.

So once again we invite to our corner of the world those who are struggling for housing, for freedom, for justice, for love, for a voice, for a space to exist, for the preservation of our communities, for peace, for respect, for themselves, for their community, for dignity…for humanity.

We invite those who will build something new and beautiful…

Groups fighting for humanity & against displacement across New York, the country and the globe will share our struggles and use this gathering to find ways to mutually support each other. We will share whatever form of expression we choose, whether it be verbally, through song, poetry or rhyme, through artwork or however people can best express their struggle.

P.S. Children are especially invited to come break open the “REZONING = DISPLACEMENT” Piñata!

We will provide childcare and Spanish/English translation.

Please RSVP by January 20th with the number of adults and children that will be attending, their names and an address at which you would like to receive your tickets.

Once you have sent an RSVP you will receive your tickets and more details on the Encuentro.

For more info or to RSVP please contact us at movementencuentro@gmail.com

Who We Are

Movement for Justice in El Barrio is an immigrant women- and people of color-led, grassroots community organization in East Harlem that fights for dignity and against displacement. For eleven years, Movement has built a local movement for dignity that has taken on and defeated multi-national corporations and corrupt politicians. Committed to the principles of autonomy and self-determination, Movement practices participatory democracy and horizontal decision-making on a community-wide scale. Movement fights for the liberation of women, people of color, transgender people, lesbians and gays, immigrants and poor people.

.



.

November 14, 2015

New film: Movement for Justice in El Barrio at the Women’s Freedom Conference

Filed under: Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:13 pm

.

New film: Movement for Justice in El Barrio at the Women’s Freedom Conference

.

.

“We are building a space where the ones from below can meet to listen to each other, learn and share. Resisting and fighting, to create a space where we can exist….”

This film, “El Barrio Women Fighting for Freedom and Against Displacement,” was presented by Movement for Justice in El Barrio at the ground-breaking first worldwide online Women’s Freedom Conference, held on October 25th, 2015.

The purpose of this historic conference was to concentrate and amplify the unique voices and experiences of women of colour (Black, Asian, Latino and Indigenous women) who have little or no representation, and who have been deprived of their rights not only by patriarchy but also through racism and other forms of oppression. These intersections helps shape and define their identities and their common struggles.

More than 20 presentations by women from all five continents were chosen to be shared at the conference after a rigorous selection process. The only organization selected to participate was Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the migrant community organization fighting for dignity and against displacement in East Harlem, New York.

The film they presented highlights three of the many women of colour who lead the organization, as they struggle for freedom and against displacement and oblivion. As they take on local companies and multinational corporations, the women declare their opposition to the new plans for rezoning being imposed from above, which threaten to displace low income tenants, immigrants and people of colour from their homes and community in East Harlem. As they struggle for freedom, the women of Movement for Justice in El Barrio are also building a new world in which many worlds fit. This film is a powerful story of migrant women of colour coming together and constructing a new culture of resistance in El Barrio.

Feminista Jones, one of the main organizers of the Women’s Freedom Conference, was asked why this particular organization was chosen. She replied:

“We selected Movement for Justice in El Barrio because our mission was to highlight the work being done by women of colour around the world. When we read the submission and watched the screen test, we were so inspired by the work of the women featured. The work that Movement for Justice in El Barrio is doing is important, empowering, and inspirational, and the Women’s Freedom Conference was honoured to showcase their commitment to social justice on such a global stage.”

Click here to watch the film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz3l0049gJo

http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/17390

Founded by low-income immigrant women, Movement for Justice in El Barrio remains a majority-women, grassroots community organization that fights for dignity and against displacement in East Harlem, New York. Committed to autonomy and self-determination, Movement practices participatory democracy and horizontal decision-making on a community-wide scale.

.



.

November 9, 2015

East Harlem Residents Protest against Mayor De Blasio’s Rezoning Plan

Filed under: Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:59 pm

.

East Harlem Residents Protest against Mayor De Blasio’s Rezoning Plan

.

East Harlem residents rally against Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to rezone the neighborhood for luxury housing.

East Harlem residents rally against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to rezone the neighborhood for luxury housing.

Liz Roberts

With the rallying cry “El Barrio is not for sale! It is to be loved and defended!”, East Harlem residents kicked off a protest today in the heart of El Barrio at the corner of East 116th St. and Lexington Avenue. They demonstrated against what they are calling “Mayor De Blasio’s luxury housing plan” and the displacements it will cause in this low-income community. Eighty-year-old Puerto Rican Sonia Villes, a lifelong resident of El Barrio, said, “This rezoning plan will tear our community apart and destroy the beautiful culture that makes El Barrio so unique.” Ms. Villes, a leader of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, a local tenants’ rights group, is not alone in her concern. Members of the organization and other neighbourhood residents gathered at the protest organized by the group to call for an end to the De Blasio administration’s planned rezoning of East Harlem and to release their own plan to preserve rent-stabilized housing.

The protest comes on the heels of the City’s release of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan which gives more details about the mayor’s rezoning plan. Community members came out clearly against a rezoning plan in which 70-75% of all new units will be market-rate, luxury housing. Residents say thousands of luxury apartments with market-rate rents and higher-income residents will put added financial pressure on long-term low-income tenants and small local businesses currently contributing to the fabric and culture of El Barrio. Residents and business owners argue they will be priced out of their homes and communities, and ultimately displaced. Ms. Villes agreed, adding, “The landlords will act more aggressively towards the long-term low-income tenants with the sole objective of driving us out if the rezoning plan is implemented.”

Josefina Salazar, a resident of El Barrio and member of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, further explained that the new housing units would not be for current residents of El Barrio. “We are against the mayor’s ‘luxury housing plan’ because these supposedly ‘low-income’ apartments are for people who earn an average of $46,620 to $62,150 for a family of three,” continued Ms. Salazar. “The majority of us do not earn anything close to those salaries, and thus do not qualify for those apartments because as poor people, we cannot pay those high rents.”

Local residents also complained about what they say are other unfair aspects of Mayor De Blasio’s housing plans, including the privatization of New York City Housing Authority parking lots and community spaces so that real estate developers can build on them, allowing fifty percent of the new units to be rented at market rates, rates inaccessible to East Harlem residents. Residents argued this will make conditions worse for current NYCHA tenants and does not address the issue of preserving affordable housing. Maria Aguirre, another member of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, suggested, “The mayor should implement our ten-point plan to preserve rent-stabilized housing instead of unfair plans like these.”

Throughout last spring and summer, and earlier this fall, Movement for Justice in El Barrio organized Consultas del Barrio, a series of community-wide meetings and workshops, to clarify and better understand the planned rezoning. According to Movement member Sandra Ramirez, “In these meetings, we exercised our self-determination, and as intelligent, critical thinkers we developed our own, independent position on the rezoning. We have the right to decide for ourselves what is best for our community and will not let the city pull the wool over our eyes.” The result of these broad consultations was clear opposition to rezoning and the creation of a community-generated ten-point plan for the De Blasio administration to preserve rent-stabilized housing. The group has invited the mayor to meet with them to discuss their plan, but Mayor De Blasio has refused to do so.

During their ten-year history, in addition to challenging large and small El Barrio landlords and multinational corporations, Movement for Justice in El Barrio was at the forefront of the struggle to challenge previous East Harlem rezoning efforts under Mayor Bloomberg.

The protest ended as Ms. Salazar led the crowd of residents and onlookers in the chant, “We are here and we will not be moved!”

Liz Roberts is an activist and writer. She works with War Resisters League and does Palestine solidarity work.

.



.

September 28, 2015

Migrant women from El Barrio, New York participate in the International Tribunal of Conscience.

Filed under: Human rights, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:27 pm

Migrant women from El Barrio, New York participate in the International Tribunal of Conscience.

12036717_1102648643079831_1505789512696783895_n

.

On September 26, 2015, the women of Movement for Justice in El Barrio joined the people who are fighting for justice all over the world and gave testimony in an international platform on the struggle of migrant women against the dispossession which leads to forced migration, and against the vicious displacement from housing in order to rezone the cities between the rich and the poor. They spoke before the International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement.

On the anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, and to honour them, they shared their case with other organizations that fight for justice and human rights, such as the families of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students, and Las Abejas of Acteal, among many others.

This Tribunal was composed of academics, intellectuals and human rights specialists, such as Noam Chomsky, Greg Grandin, Katrina Encompass, Boaventura Sousa Santos, Laura Carlsen, former special UN rapporteurs Rodolfo Stavenhagen and Jorge Bustamante, among others, and of organizations such as the  National Lawyers’ Guild and Fuerza Mundial, among others. At the end of the trial of the court that lasted all weekend, a verdict was ruled by the jurors – unionists, judges, intellectuals, social activists, lawyers and defenders of human rights – from the United States, Mexico, other Latin American countries, Europe and Asia, who hold responsible the governments and institutions as far as they deserve for the widely propagated abuses of human rights.

http://internationaltribunalofconscience.org/mexican-government-on-trial-for-crimes-against-humanity-new-york-september-25-26-2015/

.



.

September 13, 2015

From El Barrio to Ayotzinapa: Women Fighting Against Displacement, for Our Community, and for Another World

Filed under: Displacement, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Women — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:39 am

.

From El Barrio to Ayotzinapa: Women Fighting Against Displacement, for Our Community, and for Another World

.

11223307_10153633719769686_1006277556307983809_n

.

Tuesday September 15th 2015, 630pm – 830pm  MNN El Barrio Firehouse is pleased to present the screening of two short films from the organization Movement for Justice in El Barrio, a grassroots, immigrant-led organization that fights against gentrification and displacement in East Harlem.

Women Fighting for El Barrio, the Community, and Another World
The new film brings to life women who face the challenge of being displaced from their home countries only to face the threat of displacement from their homes in El Barrio, New York. This group of immigrant women – mostly mothers – founded Movement for Justice in El Barrio to protect their homes, combat displacement and build community. The film features the women who have led local and transnational campaigns for housing justice in the 10 years since its beginning.

Video-message from the Mothers of the 43 Disappeared Students of Ayotzinapa
The worldwide struggle of the 43 disappeared of Ayotzinapa has been headed by the mothers of the students, who have motivated countless people from throughout the world to join with them.

.

movement_justice2_eng_0

.



.

August 23, 2015

“They are poor-poor”

Filed under: Women, Zapatista — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:57 pm

.

“They are poor-poor”

Sylvia Marcos speaking at the seminar, with the Zapatista women, Selena and Sub Galeano. Photo courtesy of Jorge.

Sylvia Marcos speaking at the seminar, with the Zapatista women, Selena and Sub Galeano. Photo courtesy of Jorge.

by Sylvia Marcos

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. 10 August 2015.

We are in the Seedbed Seminar convoked by the EZLN few weeks ago. A young Zapatista woman, aged 17, explains how she understands autonomy, freedom and struggle. Her name is Selena. She speaks standing next to Subcomandante Galeano, with a smile that can be discerned through her balaclava and which shows the brightness of her mischievous eyes. We know that she is content and happy, and without a hint of shyness or shame at being in front of an entire auditorium full of intellectuals, university professors, her compañer@s in struggle, we feminists, and next to the Sub.

Selena is, with Eloisa, Lizbeth and other women, one of those young Zapatistas who were born and grew up in autonomous education. She is now sitting at the end of a long row of Zapatista women, her elders, Comandantas Miriam, Rosalinda, Dalia … and another young woman, Lisbeth.

Selena talks to us about her experience as a Zapatista teenager. Woman and girl. What do girls in that age group talk about these days? What are their concerns? Their hopes, their proposals? What do they expect in the immediate future?

Recently, I heard something through the mouth of Malala, the Pakistani girl, Nobel Peace Prize winner, also 17, bombed by the Taliban and rescued from death. While she was recovering in England from the attack on her face and body, she spoke with uneasiness about her meetings with young people her age in that country. Stating that their only concerns were of the type: “Which sandals shall I wear today?”, “What colour lipstick suits me best?”

It seems that this banality is the common denominator of the young people of this age. For example, if we go on the Internet, we find portraits of girls from Mayan communities who look all decked out in “dressmaker” clothing, modernized skirts and blouses based on their traditional blouses (huipiles) and petticoats, as Selena ironically observed during the seedbed. Will these be the ambitions of girls aged 17-18, today?

Selena, like all the compañeras, carries a piece of paper with notes written with a ballpoint pen, of the kind that runs in the wash and stains. She squeezes the papers while looking at them sideways, to remember what she has prepared to say tonight.

Selena

Selena

That took place during the great session specifically devoted to women at the seminar-seedbed convened by the EZLN, and held in CIDECI last May. In this session those of us who were speaking included a Kurdish woman, a Latina immigrant in the United States, the Italian historian Silvia Federici, whose speech was read in her absence; as well as six Zapatistas, there were also we three feminists: Mariana Favela, Margara Millán and Sylvia Marcos. This whole world in a session that lasted 5 hours. As for Selena, she had to talk near the end, just before Sub Galeano.

I feel close to all of them. My notes also come creased, edited and rewritten over. The original is on a computer, but it is very old and sometimes does not do what I ask, it gets stuck and blocks and will no longer process. For example, I typed dicotómico [dichotomous] and it “corrected” me to totémico [totemic]. Yes, she is an old lady … .but I like her because she is not a super tablet, which would force me to un-think, to write fast and to learn so many new clicks that it would reduce the time I have available for reflection.

So we listen to Selena:

“I will be explaining to you, actually I will read it to you… more about the youth, both Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas.”…..”We as Zapatista youth are facing a low intensity war that the bad government and the bad capitalists wage against us. They put ideas into our heads about modern life, like cell phones, clothes, and shoes; they put these bad ideas into our heads through TV, through soap operas, soccer games, and commercials, so that we as youth will be distracted and not think about how to organize our struggle.”

It is the covert low intensity war, installed in the intricacies of interpersonal coexistence. Reproduced         and magnified by the media, television and novels, advertising and even sports. Selena’s critical mind reveals this hidden war and brings it in to everyday existence, to daily life. In the lucid thinking of this young woman, the battle also has to take place here in the everyday, in what seems innocent, harmless, in what is not necessarily manifested as the brute force or even murder which is frequently suffered in the communities. The low intensity war is not only registered through extreme violence. It is also waged within subjectivity, to imbue the youth with consumptions and values ​​that distract them, alienate them, dominate them mentally and emotionally. Selena discovers this, analyses it, and sees it clearly.

She speaks to us about the influences of the consumerist media and the futile and ephemeral fashions that also reach inside the Zapatista zone. The models of shoes with pointy heels and platforms advertised, for example, by the New York singer Lady Gaga. Fashions that penetrate through the porous border of Zapatismo and which, although they arrive somewhat modified by a useless and fleeting consumption, exercise a power and seduction over these young women who, Selena tells us, have to walk in the mud, the moist fertile soil in their communities “to struggle and to organize ourselves.”

Selena explains why she rejects these models and also the boots, which, she says, are absolutely unsuitable for their context. How will we walk on these lush and fertile but slippery paths with these contraptions on our feet? “The heel will get into the mud and we’re going to get stuck, and we’re going to have to use our hand to get the shoe out.”

“We Zapatista youth have not often fallen for this….. we buy the kind of clothes the poor wear, which as you can see is how we are dressed right now. Yes, of course we buy boots, but they are work boots, the kind that resist the mud.”

A little later, Selena reflects aloud. She remembers her compas as they return after work outside Zapatista territory and sometimes abroad. She says they are very conceited, as if they think a lot of themselves, and feel superior to those who stayed at home. They think they are rich because now they have their latest model cell phone, their smart phone, or i-phone, their leather boots, their city shoes. Luxury goods make them believe that, after what they have done, they are now more important.

Selena, Sub Galeano and Sylvia Marcos

Selena, Sub Galeano and Sylvia Marcos

Selena looks thoughtful but speaks sharply about those young people who go out of Zapatista territory and then return with these ways of acting, of perceiving themselves, of thinking, of consuming, of behaving. These people, Selena says, “not only continue to be poor, but now are poor-poor.” The word is expressive: they behave as if they are rich, but they have lost something and, therefore, are poorer than before.

Selena, with her keen perception, borders on philosophy. There are thinkers who say that destitution arrives destroying poverty and there are philosophers who agree. Conversely, conscious poverty can be a form of power, it can come to present aspects of abundance. This young Zapatista echoes those reflections. Poverty is not a fault or a failure, nor necessarily a condition to be escaped. Poverty and frugality were the ideals of many fighters, thinkers, writers and saints. Not only in the Catholic or Christian tradition, but in many spiritual traditions: Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian. It is also true that the experience of poverty, by the limits it imposes, protects nature from capitalist economic predation and greed. Many revolutionaries have chosen poverty as a path. The reality of so many people dying of hunger in some parts of the world while in other countries food is being wasted and destroyed is an obscene and intolerable fact to which we have, unfortunately, agreed to be anaesthetized.

But within Zapatismo the values ​​go against the infamous capitalist consumption. For this reason this young Zapatista woman has managed to escape the consumerist temptations of her age and gender. Not only does she not yield to these pressures, but she can also see them from the outside. She watches her compas who return, she sees how they act, she assesses them, confronts them and wants to correct them.

“We work in full consciousness,” a compañera told us in La Garrucha.

And we keep listening to Selena: “But on the other hand, youth who are not Zapatistas are those who most often fall for the tricks of the bad governments,” she explains to us. “They abandon their families, their community, and they go to work in the United States, or to Playa del Carmen, just to be able to buy a cell phone, a pair of pants, a shirt, or a pair of trendy shoes. They leave because they don’t want to work the earth, because they are lazy,” and she adds, asking herself:

“Why do we say they are poor-poor? Because they are poor like us; but they are also poor thinkers because they leave their communities and when they come back they bring bad ideas with them, other ways of living.” “We Zapatistas are poor, but rich in thinking…..we don’t change our thinking or our way of life.” We have the wealth of our traditions and customs, Selena tells us.

“We are ‘poor-rich.'” Some synonyms surround ​​Selena’s idea: rich can mean: abundant, valuable, lush, excellent. But these, believing they are returning rich, are only poor-poor.

“… To us, as Zapatista youth, it doesn’t matter to us how we are dressed, or what kinds of things we have. What’s important to us is that the work we do is for the good of the community. That is what we Zapatistas want……: that there are no rulers, that there are no exploiters, that we as indigenous people are not exploited.”

This article is dedicated to Movement for Justice in El Barrio, New York

Article originally published in Spanish on http://desinformemonos.org/

Selena’s Words at the Seminar “Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra” on May 6th 2015, can be found in English here: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2015/05/25/words-of-companera-selena-listener/

Selena’s Words in Spanish: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2015/05/06/companera-escucha-selena-6-de-mayo/

See also: http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/12455           http://desinformemonos.org/2014/06/la-voz-del-futuro-jovenas-luchadoras-zapatistas/

Originally published in Spanish: http://desinformemonos.org.mx/2015/08/son-pobres-pobres/

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

.



.

April 29, 2015

Sylvia Marcos: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón and Ayotzinapa

Filed under: Bachajon — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:43 am

.

 Sylvia Marcos: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón and Ayotzinapa 

“Second Annual Commemoration in El Barrio, New York

in Memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán” 

11157486_10155537828885512_4857420007144670878_o

On 23rd April, 2015, family members of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York.

During this special meeting, they commemorated together the beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

During this commemoration in New York in honour of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the feminist writer Sylvia Marcos from Mexico also sent her word by means of the following letter:

Letter/Message from the Mexican feminist writer Sylvia Marcos

Juan Vasquez Guzman was assassinated and Bachajon remains under siege.

Other resistances burst into the calendars and geographies.

The compañeros from San Sebastián Bachajon are attacked defending their territory from the greedy clutches of capital which wants to take over the ownership of the waterfalls of Agua Azul, of this territory owned by indigenous ejidatarios, to transform into pseudo-ecological tourist centres, with luxury hotels. They want to dispossess the ejidatarios and also to exploit their geographical area to extract biofuels.

This is why they killed compañero Juan Vasquez, because he was the great defender of his territory.

They want to invade and transform these lands to extract resources of all kinds and benefit big business and their accomplices in corrupt governments.

The state and federal police continue to illegally occupy the territory.

But … Juan Vasquez lives on in the struggle which goes on and on.

I now greet the compañeros from Ayotzinapa, the parents with absent children, stolen, disappeared, who are joining their struggle with the struggle of Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York.

The orphans of the tragedy of Ayotzinapa are not alone, in their stubborn pursuit of their beloved lost children in landfill sites in the Mexican State of Guerrero, they meet with other struggles and voices in solidarity which accompany them giving homage to the 43 disappeared.

It is terrible and marvellous that poor people aspiring to be teachers have become the best professors through the power of pain turned into dignified rage.

So that Mexico and the world can wake up and ask and question, and be accompanied.

In this ruthless war of capital against those from below, the following meet in resistance now, here, together making an echo amplifying their own history: the family and absent compañeros of Ayotzinapa, the migrants of Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, with the common landholders and villagers of San Sebastián Bachajon who suffered the unpunished assassination of the distinguished defender from that territory, Juan Vasquez.

The resistances and rebellions are joined together, they amplify one another, they intensify each other, they strengthen one another and we unite ourselves in them with the Zapatista heart that is ours.

 .



.

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.