Lessons From Oaxaca to the Occupy Movement

A Delegate Reports Back – Published on Dissident Voice, by Reid Mukai, November 2, 2011.

… This will undoubtedly inspire all of us in the delegation to make use of the knowledge passed on to us in our own lives and to share it with others. Given the current political and economic situation in America and most of the world, strategies for food sovereignty, education and community organizing will be increasingly important for all of us.  

Two weeks after returning from the delegation I was at the Occupy Seattle demonstration where I had a chance encounter with a protester attending the rally because he was “tired of getting screwed by government.” I told him I was tired of everyone getting screwed by transnational corporations and financial institutions backed up by corrupt governments. He went on to say “Obama cares more about Mexicans than the American people,” to which I replied “I recently got back from Mexico where I heard firsthand accounts of how our government and Wall Street harms Mexican workers as much as American workers if not more. They wouldn’t need to migrate if they could support their families back home.” Rather than argue, he muttered “Well, they’ve been screwing all of us in the 99%…” before wandering back into the crowd, which wasn’t a bad outcome but sort of a letdown. I was ready to help him understand in greater detail how and why immigration and mass unemployment are both symptoms of neo-liberal policies at the core of economic crises in America, Mexico and around the world. It’s possible he simply didn’t feel like debating, but perhaps someone with a common but erroneous view that Mexicans (presumably immigrants) are a source of their problems was, in fact, with a few words and widened context, able to accept that they’re as much victims of an unjust system as ourselves.

Amidst the masses in Westlake Park, consisting of a diversity of ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds, I visualized the Occupation Movement strengthening their solidarity, not only within separate communities but with the global 99% uniting against the wealthiest 1% who benefit most from the current system and are the true source of the most pressing social-economic-environmental problems of our time. If this were to happen we might stand a chance to ensure a better world for future generations.

La lucha sigue – The struggle continues. (full long text).

Links:

Oaxaca:

  • Oaxaca (city and municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez);
  • Oaxacans (Ogitis);
  • Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s 31 states: its population is about 3.8 million people, it has over 500 municipalities, 16 indigenous groups and 8 major geographical regions, and it is the second poorest Mexican state after Chiapas;

The Center for Integral Campesino Development of the Mixteca CEDICAM, mentionned:

Witness for Peace WfP;

Contra soldiers: see Sandinistas vs. Contras; Captive Contra Soldiers;

La Mixteca: a cultural, economic and political region that covers parts of the states of Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca in south-central Mexico; Mixtec people;

milpas, a crop-growing system used throughout Mesoamerica;

Services for an Alternative Education EDUCA, on Wiser Earth;

North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA.

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