Tuesday, October 31, 2006


brownfemipower explains why all feminists should care about what's going on in Oaxaca, Mexico:

The longer, more complicated history of this conflict is much too long to go into here, but it basically stems from the oppression of indigenous peoples by the Mexican government. For example, a stepping stone to this violence happened on May 1 of this year when a group of indigenous vendors in Atenco were violently attacked by government forces for attempting to sell flowers at a market. The arrests that occured from that government sponsered attack resulted in many female protestors being raped and sexually violated by the forces. Although this attack proceeds the current attack on Oaxaca, people in Oaxaca use Atenco as a rallying cry–”We are all Atenco.” More clearly, as subcomendante Marcos has noted, the people who protest and live in Oaxaca are largely indigenous. The people who protest and live in Atenco are largely indigenous. The attacks that occured/are occuring against both communities are not isolated or uncommon.

...Indigenous social justice movements invariably center the entire community within the movement. Wheras (white) feminist movements in the U.S. tend to call for “rights” and “equality,” indigenous women tend to call for the recovering of their communities. That is, their communities have been under a 500 year long attack, and it is through (radical women of color/third world) feminism that indigenous women seek to recover and heal their communities.

Thus, indigenous women are active participants in decision making, rebellions, and protests–and as such, these same women are often targetted by the nation/state for retribution and sexualized violence. Just as it’s not uncommon to see video tape of women shutting down mainstream corporate media’s negative coverage, it’s also not uncommon to have women imprisoned and sexually assaulted as well. Resistance comes at a price–and for indigenous women of Mexico, that price is often the murders of their children and the violent loss of their bodily integrity. But to not resist means poverty, sexual violence and death. As subcomendante Marcos has often noted, indigenous peoples are already dead–resistance just means dying a different way.

All feminists MUST pay attention to what is happening in Oaxaca. Indigenous women are leading the way to female liberation–which means that just as their demands for access to birth control carry the same weight in their actions that their demands for access to community radio do, they are also taking the brunt of the violence liberation often brings. But thier entire community recognizes that they will never have liberation (aka community health, freedom from poverty, clean air to breath, workers rights, sexual freedom, control of the land etc) as long as the nation/state has ultimate control over what happens to their bodies and souls–or as long as violence against women is acceptable in any form.

Oh, yeah, and:

Read the rest at bfp's.


Bimbo said...

Belle~ That photo is awesome. If you're at all interested in women's rights with specific regard to Mexico and its indigenous people, look into Malinche, Cortes' companion/hostage (depending upon how you see it). Some people see her as a proto-marytr of Mexican feminism, an icon of ability and defining oneself, while others see her as everything that's wrong with the system and the regard for women in it since the onset of colonialism.

But you know all that anyway, don't you? Damn.

Taihae said...

wow. thats an incredible photo. it makes me very nervous just looking at her looking so small there in front of all those men with armor and heavy sticks...

belledame222 said...

o yeah, La Malinche.

Bimbo said...

Taihae~ What she represents is bigger than all of them. Remember that one guy standing up against a tank in Tianenmen Square? Both are definitely scary, but hot damn!

Anonymous said...

Hey, cool read. I just found your website and am already a fan. :]