Americas Choice 2000: Entering a New Millenium

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April 19, Retrieved June 1, The Washington Post. National Public Radio. Retrieved December 16, Medical News Today. The Conversation. November 30, — via The Economist. The Atlantic. Pecan Street hits petabyte territory". Pecan Street Inc. October 4, June 23, — via The Economic Times. UN News. May 15, June 8, April 30, Retrieved October 6, New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 September Retrieved 25 May October 27, Retrieved October 27, September 28, Retrieved July 23, The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 3, Retrieved February 14, Science News.

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Retrieved April 11, BBC News. Battle of Coleto. Handbook of Texas. The Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 4, Retrieved August 8, Floods in Pakistan Kill at Least July 31, Retrieved July 31, The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, Archived from the original on August 12, Archived from the original on October 6, Retrieved October 30, October 30, May 3, Archived from the original on May 4, More than four-fifths of their children are U. Today, shrinking demographic and economic pressures in Mexico make another mass migration improbable.

More non-Mexicans than Mexicans are now detained at the border, both in much reduced numbers. And China and India have passed Mexico as the leading sources of new immigrants. Yet its realities are continually distorted by restrictionist immigrant-bashing.

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  8. We expected the migrants to pick our crops, build our houses and clean our hotel rooms. But they did much more: they became part of our communities and economies. A decade later, those millions without papers have earned a freeway to citizenship, starting with the Dreamers and their families. Minimal human decency — and enlightened self-interest — demand that we dismantle Juan Crow. These pilgrims merit paths out of the desert that let them reunite families and reestablish circular migration responsive to needs north and south of the border.

    Safeguards should prevent employers from taking advantage of immigrant or native workers.

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    Peter Costantini is an analyst and writer based in Seattle. For the past three decades, he has written about migration, labor, Latin America and international economics for Inter Press Service and other news sources. He is currently embedded as a volunteer with immigrant-rights groups. The world would be much bettter off if there were no borders. We let money flow freely, it is time to let people do the same. People follow the money towards the source just as nature calls from the higher energy source.

    On the proximal scale, rural-urban migration draws the young and and strong for formal employment. From developing to developed nations, security sometimes betters employment need although personal betterment does hold away. Owing to diversity of cause, no legislature can stem the flow. Nature makes it talk… survival of the fit. As yet, parasitism is no crime until the host drops dead. Bishop Samuel Ruiz, nominated to his post despite the vehement objections of the conservative church, had already organised a peasant conference in October at which delegates represented indigenous communities.

    The main issues the congress addressed concerned the aggressive encroachment of the big cattle estates onto communal land, the corruption of government officials and their involvement with the big landowners, and the absence of labour rights for plantation workers. The Indian communities and farmers described how local officials controlled access to markets on the one hand and credit on the other, an exploitation reinforced by an absence of cultural rights fundamentally the right to use their own language and an astonishing lack of even the most basic health facilities.

    Tensions were exacerbated by the crisis of the early s which began with the devaluation of The government of de la Madrid marked the first steps in the move towards the full blown policies of structural adjustment introduced by the Salinas regime. So the rescue of the Mexican economy organised by the international financial institutions and private US capital not only involved incurring a massive debt, but also carried with it conditions and strings which de la Madrid enthusiastically applied.

    The result was a collapse in the value of wages of close to 40 percent, cuts in social spending of over 40 percent, a rise in unemployment of 15 percent from 9 percent to 24 percent of the economically active population and a rampant programme of privatisation.

    The overall outcome was a dramatic redistribution of wealth towards the rich--with labour's share of GDP falling from 41 percent to 29 percent. In Chiapas itself the general picture applied in extreme forms: percent more cattle were exported between and , yet the number of herds fell significantly--the industry was becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The abolition of the state INMECAFE agency put small coffee growers at the mercy of the intermediaries acting on behalf of the international market--the result would be the virtual collapse of small coffee production.

    Throughout this period the communities resisted, organised and fought back. The government, for its part, introduced occasional reforms and redistributions of land. But in no case were these intended to fundamentally alter the patterns of land ownership or income distribution. In its usual way, the state and the PRI, its political expression, used grants of land to ejidos and the provision of subsidies as instruments of patronage and methods of political control--a local client leadership was established for whom subsidies and land titles were rewards for their allegiance to the PRI.

    Although this often succeeded in confusing and dividing the burgeoning grass roots resistance, it could not stop the growth of independent organisations, like the Zapatistas. Peasant protests were broken up by armed gangs, communal rights ignored, the movement's leaders snatched and imprisoned. Those who saw the Zapatista movement as a virtually spontaneous outburst against neo-liberalism and its strategies were quite simply wrong.

    The EZLN was a movement about whose actual founding date there still seems to be some disagreement, but which had been established at the very least five years before the rising of More importantly it drew on 20 years of virtually continuous and determined struggle on the part of a range of communities and organisations against the depredations visited upon them not so much by a particular tactical decision as by the development of Mexican capitalism itself.

    The fact that most of those involved in the resistance held to indigenous cultural traditions and spoke Spanish imperfectly did not absolve them from the processes of accumulation agreed and organised in profoundly different circumstances by people who had nothing in common with them. And nor did the often low level of technology they employed in a usually labour-intensive system of production, or the absence of even the most elementary social provisions signify that they stood outside the circles of reproduction of an international capitalist system. But it did serve to indicate how very remote they were from any system of representation-- a political voice, of which their multiple and little understood ethnic languages came to symbolise their lack.

    Yet did mark a qualitative change in the character of peasant organisation and struggle in Chiapas. It is worth repeating that, while it may fit with a largely Western mythology about how the oppressed begin to resist, it is simply not true that, the transformation of indigenous struggle in the region was spontaneous or instinctive. It does not fit with a model of the rising of the innocents, a last-ditch defence of ancient and enduring forms of life.

    This was a population who had struggled to function within a modern economy, and in the face of the relentless assaults of the representatives of an aggressive global capitalism which had long since penetrated even into the remotest corners of the Chiapas region. What did mark, however, was an important change in the forms of struggle and in the ideology of peasant insurrection.

    A key element was the decision by Salinas to revoke Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution; it was a decision of deep resonance and far-reaching significance. Article 27 referred to the promise of agrarian reform and the right of communal ownership--under the reformed article land could be bought and sold and the state's commitment to land reform was officially ended. True, Article 27 had more often been observed in the breach--it nevertheless had remained as a defining expression of the ideal nature of the state.

    It was the banner of the radical wing of the Mexican Revolution of whose slogan-- Tierra y Libertad Land and Liberty --was personified by the leader of the peasant insurrectionaries, Emiliano Zapata. The subsequent survival of the post-revolutionary Mexican state, a political compromise between the new political class born of the period of military struggle and parts of the old landed oligarchy, depended in large part on its ability to maintain ideological hegemony and political control over the agricultural workers and the peasantry on the one hand, and the burgeoning working class on the other.

    It has been argued that Zapata was a peasant revolutionary, whose concerns were limited to a radical agrarian reform and who was unable to break out of that limited frame of reference to address the connections between the separate areas of class struggle--and that consequently his movement was little more than a jacquerie, a peasant rising.

    Adolfo Gilly among others 18 provides the evidence that in the course of the armed struggle Zapata's vision evolved, developed and was deeply transformed. But the circumstances and pace of that change, and the asymmetries between political developments elsewhere and within Zapata's own movement, both provide the narrative structure of the history of that 'unfinished revolution' and suggest parallels between the experience of Zapata himself and the movement that took his name some 80 years later.

    Zapata's base was in the state of Morelos, south of Mexico City, and the neighbouring province of Puebla. Morelos was a centre of the expanding sugar industry of early 20th century Mexico; the growth of the plantations occurred at the expense of the rural communities who owned and worked the land, often communally, to produce largely food crops.

    The revolutionary manifesto which Zapata produced in Februrary , the Plan de Ayala , expressed the demands of his class of small farmers and their communities--for communal land rights and political freedom. In forging an alliance with sections of the old landowning class, the rulers of the new Mexican state turned against the rural movement.

    For a month or two they effectively held control of the government. But neither had envisaged the conquest of state power--and they withdrew to their regional strongholds. But there was no doubt that their presence in the capital had frightened the new bourgeoisie--they had expelled the counter-revolutionary threat of Huerta, but having done so they themselves now became the obstacle to the forging of a new national state.

    Within a month Carranza, a wealthy landowner and a state governor under the D'az dictatorship, became the leader of the new Mexico.

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    His national project was well defined in an early decree recognising the right to private ownership of the land. It was consistent, therefore, that he should see it as his first task to mobilise forces against Zapata and Villa, including the infamous Red Batallions of workers mobilised against Zapata. As the military assault on Zapata progressed he was driven further and further into his Morelos redoubt and to a large extent besieged there.

    At the same time, however, Zapata and his advisers were enacting a series of decrees and creating a range of organisations within the besieged province which suggested that Zapata was moving rapidly in an increasingly radical direction in his social and political thinking. Under siege from a national army, Zapata began to recognise the necessity of an alliance between peasants and workers, for the socialisation of land and property, and for radical democratic forms. He was no unlettered peasant in any case--he had been aware of and in contact with anarchist ideas from an early age.

    Their distrust of the bourgeoisie and emphasis on mass action clearly convinced him, but their refusal to address issues of political power and the control of the state go far to explain Zapata's decision to withdraw from Mexico City and from the battle for the conquest of power early in His critical reappraisal of that experience was now tragically taking place under siege conditions and with few possibilities of making contact with the urban working class movement.

    That experience, that history, has an unmistakable resonance for the end of century inheritors of Zapata's mantle. In fact it was not the EZLN's first armed action. The decision to move to armed struggle had been taken at a meeting of indigenous community leaders in Yet it had remained an almost wholly secret war until 1 January despite the impact of the protest march of which for the first time brought the rural struggle to the heart of the capital. Then the limited armed actions provoked an extraordinary and rapid response outside Chiapas, which almost certainly restrained Salinas from the repressive military response he and previous presidents had employed as their prime instrument for addressing the problems of the people of Chiapas.

    This time he announced on 12 January a unilateral cease fire by the government. It was then that the negotiating committee of ski-masked Zapatistas, wearing indigenous dress, became an internationally recognised phenomenon.

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    And chief among them was their central spokesperson, the Spanish-speaking Subcomandante Marcos. Though he appeared to be the leader of the movement, he insisted that he was speaking on behalf of a Clandestine Revolutionary Committee whose elected membership reflected the spectrum of communities and ethnicities that made up the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Alma Guillermoprieto ascribes the reluctance of the Mexican government to move against the Zapatistas entirely to the impact of Marcos: The huge, and life-saving outpourings of support in favour of a group that was essentially unheard-of less than two weeks earlier, and that espoused the violent overthrow of the state, was almost as astonishing as the rebellion itself.

    The role of Marcos is undoubtedly central, though the debate about his politics and his significance in the struggle has generated rather more heat than light. But Guillermoprieto herself makes the kind of assertions that would be repeated in the months after the insurrection across the world.

    That the movement was 'unheard-of'.

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    By that she means that it was not known outside Chiapas--and the temptation is therefore to assume that it had not existed at all before a variety of external enthusiasts seized hold of the Zapatista cause. As I tried to show earlier, both Zapatismo and its component communities in struggle had quite a long history. Secondly she asserts that the EZLN 'advocated the violent overthrow of society'; yet other enthusiastic supporters proclaim that 'unlike almost all previous revolutions, the Zapatista revolution does not aim to take power'.

    Marcos learned his politics during the Mexican student movement of which ended in savage repression on the eve of the Olympic Games of that year, when or more students were gunned down in cold blood during a public meeting at Three Cultures Square, Taletelolco, in Mexico City on 2 October. Those leaders of the movement who were not killed or imprisoned and tortured often went into hiding to escape their government persecutors.

    The student movement was beset by political argument. The Communist Party, for its part, had long been compromised for its complicity with elements of the ruling group and its collusion with the extraordinarily corrupt Mexican trade union leadership.

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    The revolutionary socialist tradition, for its part, had few advocates in Mexico. It was logical, therefore, that Maoism should take root among the generation of student revolutionaries seeking an international ideology embedded in a nationalist tradition and adapted to the withdrawal into the countryside that followed the repression of A document produced in mid in the course of the student movement in the capital presaged that future direction.

    The 'people' to which it referred reflected a politics of alliances based on a bloc of several classes defined by their common exclusion from the state. The organisation's 'mass line' was bitterly critical of the existing organisations of the left, which it saw as having only tenuous roots in the mass movement and of being locked into an antagonistic but permanent relationship with the PRI. Their general political strategy--the 'mass line' mentioned earlier--was critical of armed struggle and profoundly sceptical of the Leninist conception of the party.

    Some eight years later another activist from the same political tradition would arrive in the area and begin the construction of the EZLN--Marcos. The alliance between Maoist activists and representatives of liberation theology like Samuel Ruiz may at first glance seem a curious one. But it is certainly my view that these two disparate political currents shaped the political rhetoric which would later become such an object of fascination for the supporters of the Zapatistas around the world. What the two perspectives shared was an insistence on direct democracy and self activity, and a clear reaction against the Stalinist variants of Communism whose sorry history of compromise with dictatorships and state bureaucracy was particularly striking in Mexico, though it was a phenomenon repeated throughout the continent.

    That anti-Stalinism expressed itself as a deep hostility to the concept of the revolutionary party, or the caricatures of a Leninist model which had proliferated in Latin America's more recent history. For the Maoist currents, too, Cuba's absorption into the Soviet bloc ensured that neither Cuba itself, nor the kind of guerrilla politics which it had espoused up to could offer an alternative.

    Expressed at two Bishops' Conferences at Medellin, Colombia , and Puebla, Mexico , the new theology was perhaps personified by Camilo Torres, the young Colombian priest who 'opted to struggle with the poor', joined the guerrillas, and was killed in Priests now emerged in the leadership of mass organisations of struggle throughout Latin America--and defended their use of arms where the repression was most bitter, as in Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia.

    In fact, the struggles of the s produced a series of internal conflicts between organisations and their leaders. Separate Maoist factions within Chiapas each accused the other of factionalism and authoritarianism. Marcos and the EZLN had begun military training for 'self defence', of which many sectors of the church were deeply suspicious. On the other hand, and paradoxically, it was the liberation priests who were most suspicious of the contact with official agencies for credit, land negotiations, services, etc which many of the Maoist cadres advocated--as part of their 'politics on two fronts' strategy.

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    As the strains and tensions developed through the s, a new factor entered the equation. An aggressive Protestant evangelism was particularly active in Guatemala, where military ruler Rios Montt was a born again Christian, and in Nicaragua, where over sects organised opposition to the Sandinistas. They began to organise in Chiapas in the same period, exploiting suspicions of a radical church among some of the better off peasants, raising issues of gender discrimination and particularly of contraception among women who had become increasingly self confident precisely because of their role in the struggles of those years.

    And yet, despite the spreading influence of Protestant fundamentalism and liberation theology's profound suspicion of the Mexican state on the one hand, and resistance to armed struggle on the other, by the majority of Chiapas's indigenous population were ready for war--and the EZLN would lead it, as the manifestation of the democratic determination of the communities themselves.

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