Addiction and electoral politics

voting-addiction-insanity-einsteinOne of the most insidious aspects of addiction is that it’s a disease which convinces you that you don’t have it. It manifests in a powerful form of denial. Ask a person with addiction why they drink or use and the answer will rarely be, “Because I’m an addict.” Invariably the reply will pin the cause on a certain circumstance, person or event, or just “because I want to, I can stop anytime, leave me alone.” For the addict, the few times drinking or using didn’t lead to things getting out of control, or to a series of unintended consequences, are firmly grasped onto and elevated as proof that one doesn’t have a problem. The mountain of evidence to the contrary is swept out of mind. When things go awry they are presented as aberrations instead of what they are, which is the norm. Desperate to prove to ourselves and others that we’ve got things under control, we repeatedly pick up again, convinced that this time it will be different. It never is. And the cycle continues on its ruinous spiral.

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Insumisión: The State Responds with Force

xochicuautlaOriginally posted to It’s Going Down.
By Scott Campbell

Several victories for social movements in Mexico were recounted in the Insumisión posted on March 17. This edition focuses on the state’s response, which in the first part of April has been expressed through two of the state’s inherent qualities: force and coercion.

One of the victories mentioned was that of the Otomí community of San Francisco Xochicuautla in the State of Mexico. After years of organizing, in February a court suspended the expropriation decree issued by the federal government for a highway to be built through their forest and town. The community celebrated, but in a case of foreshadowing, said they would not rest until the entire highway project was canceled. The state emphatically made clear that the project was still on, when on April 11th it besieged and invaded the town with 800 to 1,000 riot police. In complete disregard for the court ruling, the police escorted in heavy machinery belonging to Grupo Higa (the owner of which is a close friend of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto), that began clearing land for the highway and also demolished the home of one of the movement’s leaders. The solidarity extended to Xochicuautla was powerful and immediate, which included the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress issuing a “Maximum Alert” both for Xochicuautla and Ostula in Michoacán, due to an ambush against the Community Police of that autonomous Nahua community, which killed one. This seemed to catch the state off-guard, as on April 13 they ordered the construction be stopped and promised to pay for the damages. But they also said they would be leaving a number of state police nearby to guard the machinery in the meantime. In response, the community has organized 24-hour patrols in case of renewed construction, and the situation remains tense.

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COPINH Statement on the Investigation, Leadership and Solidarity

berta-caceres-cidh-oea-hijaCOPINH
April 8, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell

The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) reports, communicates and denounces the following:

  1. We appreciate the national and international solidarity for an objective, impartial and non-racist investigation that clarifies the facts around the political assassination of our compañera and General Coordinator, Berta Cáceres, and leads to the truth and to justice, with the true material and intellectual authors of the murder being subjected to the law, as well as learning the facts and motives by which her murder was planned and carried out, however, we reiterate that the State of Honduras continues to fail to fulfill its obligations in this respect. Not accepting our requests, such as for an independent international investigative commission that has the trust of our organization, are the reasons for which we haven’t trusted, don’t trust and never will trust in the national laws and for which we denounce our country’s legal authorities’ manipulation of the investigation into the vile and horrendous murder of our compañera Berta Cáceres. And that Mr. Juan Orlando Hernandez has not shown the political will to speed up the investigative process and one month after the murder, neither the compañera’s relatives nor COPINH have received an official report on behalf of the government about how the investigation is proceeding into identifying the material and intellectual perpetrators.

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Public Letter: We Have the Right to Think that You are Part of the Crime

berta-caceres-missedTranslator’s note: On April 1, Gustavo Castro was permitted by the Honduran government to leave the country and is now back in Mexico.

COPINH
March 29, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell

Relatives of Berta Cáceres report that the Attorney General is protecting the murderers. There are economic ties between the coordinator of the prosecution and DESA’s lawyers [the company behind the Agua Zarca dam]. They claim that the Honduran State knew of the plan to murder indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.

Public Letter

President of the Republic, Juan Orlando Hernández,
Attorney General of the Republic, Oscar Chinchilla,

The relatives of Berta Cáceres, the COPINH [Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras], the Platform of Social and Popular Movements of Honduras (PMSPH) and the Popular Coordination Berta Cáceres, for the ears of Honduran society and the international community, we are writing you to express and demand the following:

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Insumisión: Winning Freedom, Building Autonomy

Originally posted on It’s Going Down.

San-Quintín.Foto-tomada-de-rexiste.org_We’ll start this look at the past two weeks in Mexico with some good news: people getting free. After seventeen months in prison and following a national and international campaign for her release, political prisoner Nestora Salgado was released from Tepepan prison in Mexico City on March 18. The commander of the Community Police in Olinalá, Guerrero, Salgado was charged with three counts of kidnapping. When those charges were dismissed, the state filed three more charges for kidnapping, theft and murder. Again, those charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. Upon exiting the prison, she was received by dozens of community police officers from Olinalá and other towns in Guerrero. Handed a rifle, she said, “We are going to keep struggling so they don’t keep repressing us. If this is needed [raising the rifle], then this is where we will go, but we won’t allow them to keep trampling on us.” At a press conference later in the day, she committed herself to fighting for the freedom of Mexico’s 500 political prisoners, in particular those jailed for carrying out their duties as community police. Joined by members from the People’s Front in Defense of the Land from Atenco, those resisting the construction of La Parota dam in Guerrero, and family members of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, she led the count from 1 to 43. “I don’t represent any political party,” she said. “I only fight for my people. Sometimes they ask me if I’m afraid. And yes, I’m afraid, but I’ll die fighting for our people’s dignity. It doesn’t matter what I have to do, I am going to win freedom for our prisoners. I will be present in all of the struggles, as long as they need me.” She is calling for international mobilizations and actions on April 10, the anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata, to demand freedom for Mexico’s political prisoners.

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