Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Trouble in Mexico
The Mexican government is cracking down on an indigenous community in the state or Morelos. Via Big, Left, Outside.

I don't know the details of this particular situation except what is in the article--one "dissident" killed, five wounded as the state government forcefully reinstated a mayor, who was apparently elected fraudulently, according to the dissidents. But from what I learned from my Chiapas trip last spring, the issue is a very important one. Many Mexican communities are still relatively autonomous, at least in terms of their economy. Much of what the people eat is grown locally, and much of the rest of the economy is within the community as well. "Globalization" threatens this system: Large agribusinesses, mostly U.S. based, start selling food for less than it can be produced locally. As locals buy this food, local farmers go broke. Many will end up trying to find work, without luck, in Mexico City, and then inevitably head north. They'll sneak across the border, and end up working in the fields for the same agribusinesses which chased them off their land in the first place. Meanwhile, that corporation or others like it will be buying up that very land in Mexico.

Oversimplified to be sure, but that's a large part of what is going on around the world. It has already happened in this country, with very few people here having any sort of control over their food security. With the passage of NAFTA in 1993, the Zapatistas realized that the end of local control and food security for millions was near unless drastic action was taken. They rose up on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA took effect, and have been demonstrating on behalf of local control and autonomous communities ever since. The big multinationals want abundant cheap labor and unfettered access to all of the world's resources; the vast majority of the people in the world want to be able to survive. I side with the majority on this one.