Two short films from ‘Dispatches from Resistant Mexico’

How often do we speak of true grassroots democracy, self-determination, and the evils of capitalism?  There are other autonomous zones in Mexico, but when NAFTA took effect in 1994, the Zapatistas rose up, and created their own autonomous  democracy in Chiapas, so they were arguably the original model.  Their struggles never end, but they are indomitable.

Both films are from Roar Magazine, ‘an independent journal of the radical imagination providing grassroots perspectives from the front-lines of the global struggle for real democracy’.

‘Dispatches from Resistant Mexico, (Roar Magazine) is a series of short documentaries from southern Mexico, each depicting one of the thousands of pockets of resistance throughout Latin America that are in struggle against what the Zapatistas call “the capitalist hydra”.

These individuals and communities affirm a way life in opposition to capitalist economics and values. They fight the devastating neoliberal “development” and “mega-projects” that loot resources and land from indigenous communities and threaten forms of life that have survived despite 500 years of colonization.

The resistance shares many of the principles and goals of the Zapatistas: autonomy from the capitalist economy, communalist self-government rooted in indigenous collective traditions, an end to the subordination of women and a respectful, life-affirming, non-dominating relation to nature. Indigenous women are at the forefront of many of these ongoing struggles.

Think from the Heart: the National Indigenous Congress in Mexico, Oct.7, 2018 — the first dispatch of the series — covers the twentieth anniversary gathering of the Zapatista-aligned National Indigenous Congress, an organization of indigenous groups fighting to protect their territories and communal forms of life. Delegates explain the principles of their organization, set against a celebration hosted in autonomous Zapatista territory.’

Both films were created by Caitlin Manning and Joe Bender.

Fancy that they’ve long been familiar with the term ‘greenwashing’, and believe that more shopping centers and luxury hotels…might not be healthy for their sacred places nor Mother earth herself!

“We are going to have to teach them, those who exploit us, that there is a form of life without exploiting anybody…”   

~Commandante Moises

‘Defending Land, Ocean and Air — the second dispatch of the series — looks at the transnational corporations that are building massive windfarms in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, claiming it is clean energy and will mitigate global warming. Testimonies by indigenous locals, however, highlight a darker side to this story.

This film gives a snapshot of the formidable struggles being waged to combat the destructive windfarms encroaching in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. These windfarms destroy flora and fauna, change weather patterns and encroach on the ways of life.

‘The Dark Side of Clean Energy in Mexico’, Renata Bessi & Santiago Navarro F., Truthout, January 29, 2016

“Not only is it wind energy, but also oil and gas, and also mining, an infrastructure for the movement of goods. Therefore, this wind mapping is only a pretext to map the full potential of this whole geostrategic area, which functions as a type of catalog to offer it to businesses.”

The wind corridor was designed from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed in 1994 by Mexico, the United States and Canada, subsequently given continuity with the international agreement, Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), and now remade into Proyecto Mesoamerica. The project’s main objective was to “create favorable conditions for the flow of goods, oil, minerals and energy.”

“Clean energy is part of this context. It’s part of the continuity of the exponential economic growth of capital; it is not something alternative to it. It’s another link that is painted green,” Mora said.”

Mother Earth is sick; the disease is global warming. They want to profit with the same disease that they have caused to Mother Earth,” said Carlos Sanchez, a Zapotec activist who participated in the resistance against the installation of the wind farm in Barra de Santa Teresa Park and the installation of a park by Gas Natural Fenosa in Juchitan de Zaragoza.”Under the pretext of reducing global warming, they come to our territories to control our forests, mountains, our sacred places and our water.”

Their Human Rights Violations section is enraging, i.e.: ‘company hit men backed by the state’.

Now those are some of the external costs of wind farms, aside from poisoning aquifers, those giant metal superstructures of cement and metal to anchor them, preventing irrigation of crops, insane levels of noise pollution, and more,but let’s foist the costs and degradations of Mother Earth and ecosphere onto those least able to defend themselves against them an ship the power to California, wherever so they can buy more crap they don’t need, refrigerate their houses, heat their swimming pools, and be good little cogs in the consumer society.

I wonder how the Zapotec will have greeted this news?

‘AMLO announces 1.1 billion pesos for trans-isthmus train project; Existing route will be upgraded to provide faster service from coast to coast’, September 19, 2018,

“The new train will not only be faster but at some point in the future will provide a passenger service as well as freight, he said.

The route, between Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, on the Pacific coast and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, has frequently been described as a potential rival to the Panama Canal because of the freight it might carry from coast to coast.”

You might be interested in ‘The Revolutionary Autonomous Zapatista Movement in Chiapas: a Primer’, 02/28/2018, wd, Café Babylon version, caucus99percent version (in which I was schooled that people often don’t have time for lengthy epistles, and it’s indeed longish, but chock full of Zapatista folk art).


“We bring you this urgent message because as originary peoples our struggle against the profound sickness caused by capitalism means that we must weave life—this is the task given to us by our ancestors. With hope based in memory and in times to come, we sow and grow life everywhere we can, weaving ourselves collectively as a people and thereby weaving ourselves also as persons.” [snip]

“Lies abound when the peoples of Mexico are cynically subordinated to the interests of the United States via the Free Trade Treaty which López Obrador [AMLO] has already pledged to ratify. López Obrador stated in one of his first declarations that he would not stray from the current monetary and fiscal policy—neoliberal policy, that is—backing that with a pledge to keep the army in the streets and plans to recruit 50,000 young people into the armed forces, which have functioned only to repress, displace, and sow terror across the nation.

When we tried to stop this war and gain recognition of the rights of the indigenous peoples in the Mexican Constitution via the San Andrés Accords, we were betrayed. The real boss, the one we don’t see and who actually rules over those who claim to govern, ordered the imposition of a series of laws that legalized the violent theft of our lands, established programs to divide us and pit us against each other, and sowed discrimination and racism across the country. Thus there is also no end to the lies in their shameless claims that they will recognize the San Andrés Accords or our self-determination within their rotten laws, without ever touching the murderous capitalist farce that is the Mexican State.”

( cross-posted at

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