Radio Autonomía: Zapatismo in the Bay JULY 2012 SHOW

July 1, 2012

{Full Show and Individual Segments are posted below}

Anti-state Politics & State Institutions 
Today across Mexico millions are heading to the polls to vote in the presidential elections that many hope will mark a rupture with the six-year term of right wing president Felipe Calderón, whose supposed “war on drugs” has left over 60,000 dead and more than 20,000 disappeared since 2006. But just as the lines form at polling places around the country, millions of others are abstaining from voting, demonstrating a widespread, popular rejection of the fraudulent system of electoral politics in Mexico and the structures of representative democracy, corruption, and exclusion that compose the neoliberal, and arguably neocolonial, state.

Exactly seven years ago, as the new presidential campaign cycle was revving up, the Zapatistas released a text that quickly became a classic of sorts: the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. In this declaration– a narrative both prospective and retrospective– the Zapatistas announced a new civilian initiative, La Otra Campaña or The Other Campaign, imagined as an effort at developing a national plan of anticapitalist, leftist struggle. Electoral periods are always both challenging and vapid for radical political movements. The Other Campaign was proposed as an attempt to resist the distraction and stagnation that often accompany elections, as radical movements are either coopted or withdrawn during the campaigns. The Other Campaign was developed as an effort to build and extend “other” relations– political, social, economic, cultural– across Mexico and the world, not rooted in capitalist principles or state politics. The intro to the Sixth Declaration reads: “This is our simple word, because it is our idea to call on those who are like us and to join together with them, everywhere they are living and struggling.”

If we understand the Sixth Declaration and the Other Campaign– and Zapatismo more broadly– to be an anti-state movement dedicated to developing other kinds of relations not mediated or imposed by the capitalist state, then a question we raise is: what do anti-state relations look like? In his book Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-state Forces, Raúl Zibechi asserts that “the state is a frozen social relation,” whereas anti-state movements are based on relations that are mobile, dynamic, discontinuous, and provisional– they are the basis of community, which he insists “is something that we make, not something that simply is.” So, if community is ever-changing, something that we make in contrast to the state, we want to ask not only what is the state beyond governmental institutions but also what does community look like in anti-state movements?

On this month’s show we’ll check in with the growing anti-election movement in Mexico, the movements in defense of public education locally and internationally, and we’ll interview some Oakland-based prison abolitionists about what it means to do work in carceral institutions. As our conversation moves across various state institutions– elections, schools, prisons– we’ll ask what does it mean to be anti-state? and particularly, what happens when we are forced to contend with state institutions?

Featured Music 

“Los medios” Odaymara Cuesta A.K.A. Pasa Krudas – Krudas Cubensi
“Cumbia 132” Colectivo Emergente de Artistas Independientes
“Autónomo” Bocafloja
“Power to the People” Public Enemy
“Dem Days” Rebel Díaz
“I Love College- Remix” Cambio
“Medios Mentirosos” Ukamau y Ke

Related Resources


1. Full Show

2. Yo Soy 132 update

3. Chiapas Elections Update

4. Interview with Lakeview Sit-in participant

5. Interview with comrades about prisoner solidarity projects

6. Durito Storytime: The Hour of The Little Ones; Part X

7. Davis Dozen Update

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