indigenous amazonian people fight for their lands as belo monte construction continues (video)

Originally posted on we are not afraid of ruins:

reposted from global revolution:

The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance

The Brazilian government is planning to build a vast number of big dams on the rivers around the Amazon Rainforest, destroying biodiversity and disrupting the way of life of thousands of Amerindians and local populations. Now that the work is well under way on the huge Belo Monte dam, on the Xingu river, the government is pushing ahead with its next big project – a series of dams on the Tapajós river. But 12,000 Munduruku Indians, long feared as warriors, live here and are fighting back.

This documentary, filmed in late 2013 and early 2014, looks at life in a Munduruku village, where traditional skills are practised and children are brought up with remarkable freedom. It documents the growth of resistance, even among the women, not traditionally fighters, some of whom are emerging as guerreiras (woman warriors).


This video…

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Calle 13: The Ayotzinapa Case Is a Disgrace

“All social causes are important, but it seems to me that the case of Ayotzinapa[1] goes beyond politics: it moves into the field of human rights. It [also] goes beyond Mexico: it is something much bigger…, it is a disgrace!”

These were the words of René Pérez (aka Residente Calle 13) in a press conference before the Calle 13 concert of November 22nd in the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City.

Having spoken to one of the parents of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Residente said “…I support these causes because I can’t avoid doing so. It is my duty. For me, when something like this happens in Latin America, it is impossible for me to get up on stage without mentioning it”. At the same time, he insisted “I don’t know why some people in Mexico have misinterpreted [my comments] and been offended”.

When asked what he would say if he met Mexican President Peña Nieto, he affirmed “he is not my president. You [the Mexican people] have to send him that message, protesting peacefully so that unity can be built”.

Regarding his regular social commentaries on stage, Residente claimed he only sought to use the microphone to express himself in a positive, productive way. “The words we express are genuine. We don’t make anything from it. What kind of opportunism would it be? The only opportunity I gain is for someone to shoot me… or for my music to be played less on the radio, for my album to stop selling, or for them to stop me participating in the Grammys. We are just artists and we express what we feel with total honesty. We have absolutely no reason [to be opportunistic]. I’m not interested in being a leader. I just have a microphone, and I use it. I could easily stay out of it all, sing pop music, and live peacefully, not requiring security and not having a scared wife. But I won’t do that. I am going to speak up for people in other countries too”.

Referring to his speech at the recent Latin Grammys, he said “artists aren’t obliged to say things they don’t feel. My parents raised me to have the values I have, so when an injustice like Ayotzinapa occurs, I just do what I feel I have to do”. Mexican artist Lila Downs, Residente insisted, was the only Mexican to have spoken out at the ceremony but, because she did it before being given the award, her comments were not televised.

Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, meanwhile, who would play with Calle 13 in Mexico City, insisted he and many other Americans are following the Ayotzinapa case very closely. At the same time, Residente’s brother Eduardo [aka Visitante Calle 13] insisted that “you need to have balls to do what [Residente] did”.

Through Instagram, Residente invited family members of the missing students of Ayotzinapa to speak during his concert. “There is a law here preventing me from speaking because I’m not a Mexican citizen, but they are Mexican citizens, and they are going to speak”, he asserted.

Translated by Oso Sabio from

For more on Calle 13, see [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

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Residente Calle 13 normalistas ayotzinapa

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MEXICO: Ayotzinapa & Revolution

In Mexico in 1910, a revolt was called for November 20th against the government of Porfirio Díaz (which was in the pockets of national and international economic elites).

Today’s government, which is not much different, has not been able to celebrate the Mexican Revolution in the country’s capital because of a mass protest against its corrupt, murderous rule. As with the other marches in the last month or so, the vast majority of protesters have shown their dignified rage in a peaceful, united manner. This 20th of November, however, the ‘security forces’ of the government made the decision to clear Mexico City’s main square (the Zócalo) by force – bringing to mind the attempts made by Porfirio Diaz to prevent revolutionaries from overthrowing his regime over a hundred years ago.

The more the Bad Government provokes the People, though, the more the it digs its own grave…

For more on Ayotzinapa and the movement it has inspired, see [1] [2] [3] and [4].

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MEXICO: CNTE, Zapatistas & CRAC-PC Unite Around Ayotzinapa

Three social movements that have represented the hopes of Mexican people for autonomy and justice in recent years have been the CNTE teaching union, the Zapatistas, and the community police forces of the CRAC-PC. Strongest in the southern states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero respectively, these groups have raised their voices recently in response to the kidnapping and suspected murder of 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. The significance of their support is that it represents one of the first occasions in which all three groups have simultaneously rallied around the same issue. Consequently, their unity could well be the trigger for a more organised resistance to the everyday crimes of the Mexican State – widely blamed for its involvement or complicity with the disappearance of the students of Ayotzinapa.[1]


As the oldest of the aforementioned groups to be formed, the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) has fought for the democratisation of Mexico’s main teaching union – the SNTE – since 1979. More recently, it has fought against the privatisation of education and in favour of an education system run by education professionals rather than self-interested government officials.[2]

On October 8th, members of Guerrero’s Section 14 of the CNTE called for a strike in response to the disappearance of the students from Ayotzinapa. They also occupied the square in front of the state’s government buildings in Chilpancingo. Around ten thousand people, meanwhile, including university students, teachers, peasant groups, and community police forces, marched through the streets of the city.

In Oaxaca, meanwhile, teachers from Section 22 of the CNTE blocked a number of roads in their own state in solidarity with their counterparts in Guerrero.[3] On October 29th, they began their own 72-hour strike, with 70 thousands affiliated teachers being called to amass in their own towns to demand the return of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa.[4]

On November 15th, thousands of members of the CNTE held a “Popular Court” in the centre of Mexico City, at which they demanded the resignation of President Peña Nieto for “high treason”, citing the “multiple violations of human rights” committed so far during his time in office. They also called for criminal proceedings against the secretary of Public Education (Emilio Chuayffet), the leader of the SNTE teaching union (Juan Díaz de la Torre), and the governors of Puebla, Guerrero, and the State of Mexico.[5] They cited the 39th article of the Mexican Constitution, which insists that “the People have the inalienable right at all times to alter or modify their form of government”.[6]

Omar García, meanwhile, who survived the attack on Ayotzinapa’s students, spoke on behalf of the family members of his fellow students, claiming that Sebastián de la Rosa Peláez, leader of the PRD’s “Nueva izquierda” current in Guerrero, headed the “political arm that justifies extrajudicial executions in the state”. He also blamed the PRD for “turning its eyes away” from what was going on in Guerrero, emphasising that former governor Ángel Aguirre (along with President Peña Nieto) “guaranteed impunity by protecting politicians who could be involved”. For the parents of the missing students, any apology from the PRD would not be accepted. “How can we forgive the accomplices?” García asked.[7]

The Zapatistas

On October 22nd, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the EZLN[8] released a joint statement on Ayotzinapa. They claimed that the 43 students were “kidnapped and disappeared by the Bad Governments” and that, “as long as this country is governed by criminals, …those who strengthen their political and social conscience by exercising and defending education will be murdered and disappeared, and those, like the Yaqui Tribe, who defend water for their ancient and heroic people, will be imprisoned”. While the State has “tried to minimize the criminal repression of the student compañeros as if they were just a few more victims of delinquent crime”, the statement read, “those of us who have suffered many kinds of repression know that that the delinquents are in the political parties… and in the halls of government”.

The people who struggle against the “dangerous mafias” that make up the Mexican State, however, “know that something terrible… is happening in this country: a war against all”. They, who “see and suffer [it] in its totality”, can therefore empathise with others affected by the same conflict. The “Narco State”, meanwhile, “uses terror in order to manufacture [the] pain and fear” which it uses to govern and “try to disappear our conscience”. Throughout the country, the statement insisted, “repression against the people, the extraction of natural resources, and the destruction of territories… are operated by the Narco State, without scruples”, but people’s “pain and rage has been transformed into dignity and rebellion”. With their commitment to fight against “extermination”, they demand the “dismantling of the entire State structure that sustains organized crime”.[9]

On November 15th, a convoy of Ayotzinapa family members met with the EZLN and the Committee of Good Government of the Oventic Caracol in Chiapas.[10] In the private meeting, Omar García “stressed that what happened in Ayotzinapa is not an isolated incident”. Forced disappearances, he insisted, are “a mechanism that the Mexican state has used to silence and contain social movements” for many years. A representative of the seventh section of the SNTE, Manuel de Jesus Mendoza Vazquez, meanwhile, “called for actions of “civil insurgency” in support of the Ayotzinapa students” and “for a boycott of the official November 20 parade to commemorate the Mexican Revolution”.[11]

According to one student, it was the family members who had sought out the Zapatista comrades, being aware of “their political position and way of working”. They insisted that the Zapatistas had emphasised they “do not aim to lead anyone”. The EZLN simply expressed to the family members its “total disposition” to help them, and suggested that they meet with “those of us who have suffered forced disappearances and extrajudicial assassinations”. The reason for this suggestion was that “these are the people who can understand us and accompany us in our pain and our struggle”. They are the ones, the Zapatistas said, who “can articulate a movement… with all of the social organisations which wish to show their solidarity”. And this seemed like precisely the plan of the Ayotzinapa delegation – to travel through the southern states of Mexico to meet “with organisations and individuals from civil society”.[12]


In early October, the new president of the PRD[13] (Carlos Navarrete) apologised for the fact that the Ayotzinapa case had happened under the watch of PRD politicians Ángel Aguirre[14] and José Luis Abarca. He said the PRD had not been “careful enough”, trying to distance his party from Abarca (who had “permitted, or even directed, the co-optation of the municipal police by organised criminals”) by insisting he had been accepted as an “external candidate”. PRD member René Bejarano, meanwhile, suggested Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam and Secretary of the Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong (both members of the governing PRI) knew about the links between Abarca and organised crime. The fact that Abarca’s wife had even been “at the top of a list of possible PRD national advisers” before Ayotzinapa, however, suggests that the party’s attempts to absolve itself of responsibility are somewhat cynical.

As a result of the apparent government involvement or complicity with the repression of progressive social activists, members of the citizens’ police force called Unión de Pueblos y Organizaciones de Guerrero (UPOEG) began to search for the disappeared students for themselves in early October.[15] Meanwhile, on October 15th, a Popular National Assembly (ANP) was formally established at the teacher training school of Ayotzinapa – dedicated to ensuring the return of the students and that those responsible be brought to justice. Fifty-three social and student organisations joined the ANP, including both local groups and national organisations like the CNTE, the “Federación de Estudiantes Campesinos Socialistas de México” (FECSM), the “Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas” (SME), the “Comité 68 Pro Libertades Democráticas”, the “Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad”, and the “Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (Atenco)”.[16]

A number of unions were also involved in forming the ANP, as was the Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositoras a la Presa ‘La Parota’ (CECOP), which has itself suffered repression at the hands of government forces.[17] The UPOEG was also present, along with the Consejo Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias-Policía Comunitaria (CRAC-PC).[18] On November 5th, Proceso reported on how members of the ANP, along with striking students and teachers, blocked a number of roads in Guerrero with the support of community police forces – all as part of an international day in solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa.[19]

The following day, the CRAC-PC[20] met to commemorate its 19th anniversary. The community police forces emphasised that their forthcoming actions would depend on the agreements made in the ANP (now consisting of “over 70 organisations”). CRAC-PC spokesman Marcelo Gómez Nazario affirmed that the groups would be prepared to act accordingly if government complicity or involvement were to be proven in the case of Ayotzinapa. He was confident in asserting that the justice of the CRAC-PC was much “better than the judicial system that the State has”. The replacement of Ángel Aguirre as governor, the ANP asserted in a communique, was not enough, and “the immediate disappearance of the three powers of the State in Guerrero” would be necessary. Only the establishment of “an Honourable Government of Workers and Peasants”, he insisted, would be the “only real solution for the current problems”.

Gómez asserted that the CRAC-PC did not recognise interim governor Rogelio Ortega, and also criticised the UPOEG’s exploitation of the case of Ayotzinapa in an attempt to wipe their involvement in detaining community police members (like Nestora Salgado) from popular memory. He therefore emphasised the CRAC-PC’s independence from the UPOEG, and his group’s commitment to “defending territory and opposing the dispossession and displacement of the population which will be affected by the privatisation of ejidos”.[21]

The CRAC-PC further demanded the liberation of imprisoned community police member Gonzalo Molina González and the CRAC-PC members detained in Olinalá over a year ago. Meanwhile, educational workers took control of the Federal Palace of Acapulco and the City of Justice in Chilpancingo. Other members of the ANP, including the CECOP, FECSM, and a number of ejido members, also took part in the actions.[22]


The increasingly coordinated actions of social movements (as a response to government involvement and complicity in repression of social activism) are a positive sign for Mexico. While individual cases of resistance have been inspirational, only popular organisation will be able to push both organised criminals and their allies in government out of citizens’ lives. The fact that the key organisations involved (like the CNTE, the Zapatistas, and the CRAC-PC) are opposed to neoliberalism, meanwhile, is no coincidence. Capitalism has been the driving force behind privatisation of natural resources and the resulting dispossession. The corrupt and exploitative system which props it up has led to the repression of social activists who hope to save their communities from destruction. And the ensuing desperation has driven some in deprived areas to join the ranks of criminal organisations in the attempt to make a living they would find it hard to make in legal employment.

However, the desperate situation that many people in the country suffer has also led progressive groups to stand up and organise themselves. There are indeed differences in political philosophies, but horrific events like those in Ayotzinapa help to remind campaigners that their main objectives are the same. They want to get rid of the Bad Government. They want lives full of freedom and dignity. And they know that popular, directly democratic rule is necessary in order to achieve these things.

And the more they unite, the more chance their dreams have of becoming reality.

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Posted in Abarca, Aguirre, Anarchism, Assassination, Autodefensas, Autonomy, Ayotzinapa, Bourgeois Democracy, capitalism, Democracy, dignity, Education, Enrique Peña Nieto, Exploitation, EZLN, Iguala, Impunity, independence, Injustice, Latin America, maestros, mexico, Murder, PAN, PRD, PRI, Zapatismo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MEXICO: Levels of Dignified Rage

Hundreds of thousands of people have marched through the streets of Mexico on numerous occasions since the disappearance of 43 students from a rural teacher training college towards the end of September in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.[1] The initial cries were for these youngsters to be returned to their families alive, but on Friday 7th November, the Mexican attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam claimed that a number of charred remains had been found, and that they were thought to belong to the trainee teachers.[2] According to Karam, 3 members of the drug cartel “Guerreros Unidos” confessed to murdering the students after the police of Iguala and Cocula had handed them over to the criminal organisation. Some of them were apparently dead or unconscious when they were given to the drug traffickers.[3]

Far from the sanctioning of politicians for actions committed under their rule, Guerrero governor Ángel Aguirre was allowed to simply “separate himself from the post” on October 23rd after it became clear that the events were leading to significant showings of popular mobilisation throughout the country. Meanwhile, the mayor of Iguala and his wife were only arrested on November 4th.[4] Nothing has been done to address the well-documented and long-established links between other state officials and drug cartels, nor have unjustly imprisoned members of autonomous community self-defence groups been released from jail. While the attorney general seeks to portray a small number of seemingly relevant detentions as a sign of successful investigations, however, many Mexicans know that ‘disappearances’ will not stop unless there is more profound change in the country’s political system.

In Mexico, the disappearance and suspected murder of 43 students is just the tip of the iceberg. The Mexican State recognises around 22,322 disappeared people,[5] though the National Commission for Human Rights has registered around 27,000.[6] A number of civilian groups claim they have proof of links between official state actors and drug cartels, and the lack of change in the country suggests they are right. Ideally, those seeking justice for the Mexican people would love to transform society peacefully. When massive peaceful demonstrations have no apparent impact on the government, however, the understandable and dignified rage of the population logically intensifies and becomes more and more desperate. In Ayotzinapa, government buildings have been set alight,[7] while in Mexico City the doors of the National Palace were set alight on November 8th as a small number of protesters tried to break the doors down.[8]

Over the last month, the vast majority of protesters showing their anger regarding the events in Guerrero have represented their sentiments in a measured and peaceful manner. As time passes, though, and nothing changes, the dignified rage of the People is bound to grow, and it is very possible that activists will become ever more revolutionary with their demands and actions.

If there are no answers, questions will become louder. If there is no justice, there can be no peace or ‘stability’. And if change does not come as a result of non-violent activism, people will be more and more likely to turn to violence. Whatever form actions take, though, they will be driven by a rage that is both dignified and necessary for Mexican society to be transformed.









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22nd October March for Ayotzinapa in Mexico City

Thousands of people marched. Thousands chanted. And thousands made their indignation very clear. Students in particular came out in massive numbers to show their solidarity with the students who went missing in Ayotzinapa last month.

The vast majority of protesters simply wanted to let the government know that they are not just going to forget about these students. They wanted to tell their ‘elected’ officials that they were not going to allow politicians to push yet another crime under the carpet. They wanted to simply demand justice.

Since the dictatorial PRI returned to power in 2012 after 12 years out of government, the number of political prisoners has risen. Grassroots social activists campaigning against government dispossession of their land (in cahoots with multinational corporations) have been arrested (see here). On the march today, I personally saw one group of protesters demanding the freedom of Marco Antonio Suástegui (for more, see here, here and here ). There are also people languishing in prison for having taken up arms to protect their communities from the murderous drug cartels that plague Mexico (see here and here).

For those who had simply confused these activists with organised criminals (as a result of misinformation and pro-government propaganda in the media), or who had simply never heard of them, the events of Ayotzinapa (and the rage they have inspired) have made it increasingly difficult for citizens to ignore the corrupt and violent government behaviour that has become the norm in Mexico.

The parents and relatives of the missing students (who are feared dead by many) represent best the sentiments that are growing in the Mexican populous, though. In the Zócalo – the main square of the capital city – these desperate relatives told the crowd of thousands that they were sick of all of the political parties, and that they wanted ‘bad government to die’. One even said that, if the whereabouts of the students were not revealed in the next few days, he would himself rise up against the government. Anger is understandably running through the community where these students were kidnapped, and it has spread into Mexico City too.

Many thousands made it clear that, at the very least, the governor of Guerrero (the state where the students disappeared) should be removed from power. They also blamed President Peña Nieto for the situation currently prevalent in the country, and asked for him to step down from his position.

When Galeano, a Zapatista teacher, was killed in Chiapas back in May by government-backed paramilitaries, Zapatistas spoke of the dignified rage they felt, but also of their “desire for justice rather than revenge”. They knew that it was the government and the capitalist elite that controlled it which had attacked their communities (albeit through desperate, ignorant mercenaries), and they knew that justice would only come by fighting against the capitalist system. It seems that, judging by the march in Mexico City today, there are many thousands of people who feel the same way.

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Posted in Aguirre, Anarchism, Assassination, Autodefensas, Autonomy, Ayotzinapa, Bourgeois Democracy, capitalism, Iguala, mexico, politics, PRD, PRI | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October 12th in Kobanê (Poem)

There are children still here,

To our hearts they bring hope,

Though we wish they were safer,

They help us to cope,

It’s their innocence driving us,

On to defend,

Our freedom, control,

So we do not depend,

We don’t want to be ruled,

Or oppressed from above,

What we want is a voice,

Government of the dove,

As civilians leave shelters,

For a bit of fresh air,

It’s clear that there’s willpower,

Not to be scared,

The defence units,

YPG, and YPJ,

Are resisting heroically,

Every day,

Though, without the Red Cross,

Or Red Moon, anywhere,

Every fighter is precious,

No-one can be spared,

Every heartbeat is precious,

Each brain is a gift,

That will bring us salvation,

And help us to lift,

This whole region from conflict,

Oppression, and hate,

And save our whole species,

Before it’s too late!

Inspired by

Kobane is not alone

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