Radio Autonomía: Zapatismo in the Bay: Oct Show Part 2: “Challenging Electoral Politics”

October 7, 2012


Challenging Electoral Politics and Representative Democracy

In this show we challenge the idea of representative democracy and electoral politics by looking at the following questions. Is the process and system or electoral politics set up to acknowledge and represent our needs, dreams, our desires, and implement decisions and changes that make them a reality?
What affect does electoral politics have on the imagination of people to think of new ways to relate to each other and generate ideas about addressing and fixing problems that currently exist?

We begin to answer the questions stated above by hearing a brief talk given earlier this year by Mexican actionist Gustavo Esteva. In this talk Esteva speaks to the contradictions of current representative democracy which is based on the assumptions that people cannot govern themselves.

To help us further this discussion we will then turn to Chiapas Mexico in 1996. In that year the Zapatistas released the 4th declaration which laid out a detailed summary of how the so called “representative democracy” in Mexico was not serving civil society and specifically the indigenous of Mexico. In this declaration they propose a new political force that challenges the way we think of democracy and the way we relate to each other through the current form of democracy

You will then hear from another part of the talk given by Gustavo Esteva in which he breaks down the response in Mexico to the 4th declaration and continues to challenge representative democracy and begins the conversation of alternatives to it.

The second part of this show turns to two local state institutions:
The first is in Tucson AZ Right after the SB 1070 bill or the “show me your papers” bill, which allows the racial profiling of balck and brown people by Arizona cops, passed in Arizona, another bill passed that further supports the colonization of brown people by removing and making illegal ethnic studies and Mexican American classes in public high school.

The community of youth, students, teachers, parents, and adult allies have been coming out in mass and supporting ethnic studies in Tucson at the TUSD board meetings. There have been two meetings with proposed votes that would bring an end to the current Mexican American Studies program, but the people have resisted.

The second is here in Oakland where we have another example of the farce of a representative democracy, when the Oakland City Council kicks out concerned family and community members of high school student Alan Buford who was murdered by OPD this year

The show ends with a discussion around examples of groups and communities exploring ways to abandon representative democracy and explore the potential of radical democracy

Related Resources:

Complete Talk by Gustavo Esteva on Grassroots Initiatives Beyond Development and Globalization

“Fight Back-The struggle for Ethnic Studies” by J.M. Aragón

The Zapatistas 4th Declaration

October 18th Oakland City Council meeting about death of Alan Blueford


Full Show

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