On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, IGD contributor Scott Campbell interviews Yunuen Torres, a community member from the autonomous P’urhépecha municipality of Cherán, Michoacán. More than nine years ago, on April 15, 2011, the residents of Cherán rose up and removed from their community illegal loggers linked to cartels, the municipal authorities, and the police. In the time since, they created an autonomous communal government where political power rests in the hands of the community and that has been designed to meet the needs of the more than 20,000 inhabitants of Cherán.
The conversation discusses the uprising and its context, how the communal government was formed and how it functions, the changes and challenges experienced in the community as a result of nine years of autonomy, as well as how Cherán is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, and what lessons and inspiration the community’s struggle may offer to other struggles and social movements in other locations.
The interview was conducted in Spanish and rerecorded in English. Many thanks to the comrade who offered their voice for this recording. The two music tracks included in this podcast are both from Cherán. The first is by Colectivo Aho and the second composed by music teacher Mario López and performed by the young musicians of the Banda Sinfónica Infantil y Juvenil Cherán K’eri. A transcript of the interview can be found below.
As those of us in the U.S. come together to plan for the incoming Trump regime, hopefully we can find some inspiration and affinity with the ongoing resistance happening in Mexico. After this summer’s teachers’ strike and popular mobilizations collapsed, communities and organizations in Mexico have returned to the essential but none-too-glorious work of building community self-defense and organization to maintain their gains and prepare for the next uprising that will inevitably occur.
This edition looks at communities around Mexico creating and defending autonomy, taking matters into their own hands to provide for their security from the state, organized crime and corporations. There are also updates on prisoners, community media and Ayotzinapa. This will probably be the final Insumisión of 2016. Since starting in March, we’ve put out 14 of them and appreciate that people find them useful. In 2017, we are hoping to expand our Mexico coverage and part of that will be a trip I am planning to take in a couple of months to connect face-to-face with many of the organizations you read about in these columns and to produce exciting original content. To help make that happen, please contribute to and spread the word about our fundraiser for the trip.
We write this after reading the “Statement from the Huajuapan Libertarian Bloc on the police murder of compañero Salvador Olmos ‘Chava’” [more on Chava in English] as we believe given the escalation of the war and advancing repression on anarchist/libertarian settings it is necessary to clarify our positions in the interest of identifying the enemy’s multiple forms, as they are often reduced to criticisms of “government injustices” or simply “to believe that evil is embodied in a person or politician” and not the reality that it is the entire system of rulers and ruled who together actively participate in the maintenance of the capitalist social order.
Let it be clear! The following words are in no way aimed at tarnishing the memory of compañero Chava or to start polemical bickering, nor to cause fighting amongst ourselves, this is above all a reflection from compañeros for compañeros and we hope it is taken as such.
AUGUST 2 UPDATE: The Anarchist Black Cross – Mexico reports their lawyer says that the compas will be released shortly as they were not charged within the 48 hour time frame required. However, this does not mean that the legal process is over, as they have 15 days to pay the damages UNAM claims to have suffered (approximately 40,000 pesos). If it is not paid, the compas could be charged. As such, it is important to continue raising funds to pay this amount. For more information, write to email@example.com.
To our fellow compañerxs, to those in the struggle, to the independent media and the community in general:
On Sunday, July 31, at midday, four compañeros who are members of Okupa Che were near the university pool when they were surrounded by National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Security, who in an excessive operation began to attack them.
For no apparent reason other than to terrify them, nearly all the members of this repressive force began to beat them, throwing some compañerxs on the ground and jumping on their bodies and skulls, along with sexually assaulting compañera Andrea. At the first call for help, two other compañerxs went to see what was happening and immediately began receiving the same treatment from UNAM Security. The end result was that our compañerxs received several blows to their bodies and faces and at least two of them have broken bones and serious injuries.
UPDATE 3: Scroll down or click here to updates as of 2pm Oaxaca time on July 3. UPDATE 2: Scroll down or click here to see updates as of 1am Oaxaca time on June 24. UPDATE: Scroll down or click here to see updates as of 2am Oaxaca time on June 21.
The looming federal police attack on the people and striking teachers of Oaxaca, Mexico has begun. There are reports of between six and eight demonstrators killed Sunday morning at the teachers-peoples highway blockade in Nochixtlán, northwest of the city of Oaxaca. The eight dead that the movement is confirming are Oscar Aguilar Ramírez, 25, Andrés Sanabria García, 23, Anselmo Cruz Aquino, 33, Yalit Jiménez Santiago, 28, Oscar Nicolás Santiago, Omar González Santiago, 22, Antonio Perez García, and Jesús Cadena Sánchez, 19. They were shot and killed when police opened fire with live ammunition on the blockade. At least 45 others have been hospitalized with injuries, the majority gunshot wounds, and 22 have been disappeared.
This piece will focus on currently developing events. For information on what led to this situation, please see the following articles:
In the waning minutes of June 11, federal police, the federal gendarmarie, and state police carried out a violent raid against striking teachers blockading the Oaxaca State Institute of Public Education (IEEPO). The attack comes almost ten years to the day when a similar state attack on striking teachers on June 14, 2006, led to a five-month, statewide rebellion.
As I came home from work on Thursday, I could see one of my roommates on the phone at the other end of the house, waving me towards him, a look of concern and distress in his eyes. We went outside, where he shared what had happened a few minutes prior. He, who I’ll call L, had just had a bizarre interaction with our other roommate, who I’ll call M. (I’ve changed the identities, left out specifics and received M’s permission before posting this.)
M had all of the sudden begun speaking incoherent non-sequiturs to L and locked herself in her room. He didn’t know what was going on and didn’t know what to do. What followed was a four-hour series of events where I tried to assist someone experiencing a severe mental health crisis while encountering my own unfitness to do so and the frustration at a lack of safe options available.