Thursday, 2 November 2006
More on the Revolutionary Movements of Mexico
What is the APPO? The APPO is The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca. Over the summer the APPO claimed governance of Oaxaca, contesting the legitimacy of the current governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz.
You should also know that Oaxaca is one of the southernmost states in Mexico, bordering Chiapas.
There are now two acronyms you should know: EZLN and APPO. EZLN is the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. APPO is The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca.
Coming Tomorrow: Why the revolutionary struggles of the Mexican people are important to the rest of the world.
Wednesday, 1 November 2006
David Kirschenbaum over at Boog Lit was kind enough to reprint this piece that Brad Will wrote last year when he was down in Brazil. It gives some good insight into Brad's commitment to social justice movements: Fragments of a Shattered Hope.
For the Horse-Lovers in the Audience
In this sad world of chaos, there is a shining light. This weekend, mammal forms of two kinds (horse and human) will be running for the glory of running itself. We ask you all to take a deep breath, have a cold beer, and bask in the glory of the Breeders Cup and New York City Marathon. Here is the most beautiful line up for the Cup Classic:
1 -- Brother Derek, Alex Solis, 30-1
2 -- Premium Tap, Edgar Prado, 30-1
3 -- Bernardini, Javier Castellano, Even
4 -- George Washington, Mick Kinane, 10-1
5 -- Lawyer Ron, Patrick Valenzuela, 20-1
6 -- Perfect Drift, Garrett Gomez, 20-1
7 -- David Junior, Jamie Spencer, 10-1
8 -- Lava Man, Corey Nakatani, 6-1
9 -- Giacomo, Mike Smith, 30-1
10 -- Flower Alley, John Velazquez, 30-1
11 -- Invasor, Fernando Jara, 5-1
12 -- Suave, Kent Desormeaux, 30-1
13 -- Sun King, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1
For the Chart-Lovers in the Audience
Tuesday, 31 October 2006
In an attempt to come to terms with the untimely death of our friend Brad Will, we'll be spending the week here on Lisablog talking about the revolutionary movement in Mexico and the revolutionary movement that could and should be happening in our everyday lives.
When you assess your own contribution to making the world a better place, think of Brad. Don't think you can make a difference? How will you know if you are at home on your couch watching CNN? Don't think you have the strength or the guts or the power? You do. The machines of war, capitalism, racism, homophobia, and poverty are big machines. We must all lend a hand in chipping away at the big machines. The big machines may not fall today or tomorrow, but they will fall. Push against them every day and they will fall.
Using the language of peak performance training, let's also get some positive visualization into the equation. Remember always: I am and I can. Remember the Navy Seal motto: Yesterday was the only easy day.
Remember the relationship between mind and body. You can do anything. You just tell yourself you can't. If you can do 10 push ups, you can do 50 push ups, and if you can do 50 push ups, you can do 100.
The same rule applies for activism. If you can make one phone call to the governor of Texas, you can make ten phone calls to the governor of Texas. If you are concerned about racial politics in your neighborhood, you can learn the languages of the people who live in your neighborhood and you can talk to them. If you have arms and legs, you can spend two hours a week feeding the homeless and/or knitting them hats and sweaters and socks.
We at Lisablog say be vigilant, pay attention, and never fall into the learned helplessness that has been drilled into you by the terror-fearing flag-waving mcdonalds-eating machine.
Our friend Brad traveled all the way to Oaxaca, Mexico to document the revolutionary movement of the people there. He packed his bags and his camera and traveled thousands of miles outside of his comfort zone because he wanted to help others. If each of us did half of what Brad did, imagine the way the world would change. Change it people! Step up and participate in the world. You have one life, use it!
Here is the first thing that we'd like you to memorize:
EZLN= Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional.
In English it is The Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Based in Chiapas, Mexico, the EZLN is an armed revolutionary group.
The EZLN responds to the following issues: NAFTA (and other "neoliberal" global trade agreements that harm communities), water distribution, health care rights, and land rights for indigenous peoples.
Coming Tomorrow: the APPO.
Monday, 30 October 2006
The Democracy Now Website has a number of pieces on the situation in Oaxaca, Mexico. They've also put together a tribute to Brad Will.
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Here's a New York Times article re: what's happening in Mexico: Oaxaca Riots.
Peace People. And if you're in DC, you can go here:
Demonstration at the Mexican Embassy
Demonstration at the Mexican Embassy (1911 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
on Monday, October 30, 5:00 PM
Mexican Embassy, 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Come out and show much needed solidarity with the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, as they continue in their struggle for self determination.
Saturday, 28 October 2006
Our friend Brenda Coultas sent this along. It's Brad Will's last dispatch from Mexico:
early dawn, oct16
yesterday i went for a walk with the good people of oaxaca -- was walking all day really -- in the afternoon they showed me where the bullets hit the wall -- they numbered the ones they could reach -- it reminded me of the doorway of amadou diallos home -- but here the grafitti was there before the shooting began -- one bullet they didnt number was still in his head -- he was 41 years old -- alejandro garcia hernandez -- at the neighborhood barricade every night -- that night he came out to join his wife and sons to let an ambulance through -- then a pickup tried to follow -- he took their bullet when he told them they could not pass -- they never did -- these military men in civilian dress shot their way out of there
a young man who wanted to only be called marco was with them when the shooting happened -- a bullet passed through his shoulder -- he was clearly in shock when we met -- 19 years old -- said he hadnt told his parents yet -- said he had been at the barricade every night -- said he was going back as soon as the wound closed -- absolutely
just days before there was a delegation of senators visiting to determine the ungovernability of the state -- they got a taste -- the call went out to shut down the rest of the government -- dozens went walking out of the zocalo city center with big sticks and a box full of spray paint -- they took control of 3 city buses and went around the city all morning visiting local government buildings and informing them that that they were closed -- and we appreciate your voluntary cooperation -- and they filed out preturbed but still getting paid -- shut -- as they pulled away from the last stop 3 gunmen came out and started shooting -- 2 buses had already pulled away -- mayhem -- 10 minute battle with stones and slingshots and screaming -- one headwound -- another through the leg -- made their way to the hospital while the fighting continued -- shout out on the radio and people came from all parts -- the gunmen were around the side of the building -- they got away -- they were inside -- no one sure -- watchful -- undercover police were reported lurking around the hospital and folks went running to stand watch over the wounded
what can you say about this movement -- this revolutionary moment -- you know it is building, growing, shaping -- you can feel it -- trying desperately for a direct democracy -- in november appo will have a state wide conference for the formation of a state wide assemblea estatal del pueblo de oaxaca (aepo) -- now there are 11 of 33 states in mexico that have declared formation of assemblea populares like appo -- and on la otra lado in the usa a few -- the marines have returned to sea even though the federal police who ravaged atenco remain close by -- the new encampment in mexico has begun a hunger strike -- the senate can expell URO -- whats next nobodies sure -- it is a point of light pressed through glass -- ready to burn or show the way -- it is clear that this is more than a strike, more than expulsion of a governor, more than a blockade, more than a coalition of fragments -- it is a genuine peoples revolt -- and after decades of pri rule by bribe, fraud, and bullet the people are tired -- they call him the tyrant -- they talk of destroying this authoritarianism -- you cannot mistake the whisper of the lancandon jungle in the streets -- in every street corner deciding together to hold -- you see it their faces -- indigenous, women, children -- so brave -- watchful at night -- proud and resolute
went walking back from alejandros barricade with a group of supporters who came from an outlying district a half hour away -- went walking with angry folk on their way to the morgue -- went inside and saw him -- havent seen too many bodies in my life -- eats you up -- a stack of nameless corpes in the corner -- about the number who had died -- no refrigeration -- the smell -- they had to open his skull to pull the bullet out -- walked back with him and his people
and now alejandro waits in the zocalo -- like the others at their plantones -- hes waiting for an impasse, a change, an exit, a way forward, a way out, a solution -- waiting for the earth to shift and open -- waiting for november when he can sit with his loved ones on the day of the dead and share food and drink and a song -- waiting for the plaza to turn itself over to him and burst -- he will only wait until morning but tonight he is waiting for the governor and his lot to never come back -- one more death -- one more martyr in a dirty war -- one more time to cry and hurt -- one more time to know power and its ugly head -- one more bullet cracks the night -- one more night at the barricades -- some keep the fires -- others curl up and sleep -- but all of them are with him as he rests one last night at his watch
We have to report sad news today. Our friend Brad Will was killed in Oaxaca, Mexico yesterday during a protest calling for the resignation of local Governor Ulises Ruiz, whose 2004 election win seems to have been rigged. There is a state-wide teacher strike going on down there right now, and Brad was in the midst of it, working with IndyMedia, acting as a documenter-photographer, and putting his body into the wheels of the machine to help out his fellow peops.
I first met Brad during the mid-1990s in New York. He was involved with a pirate radio station out of a squat at an undisclosed location on the Lower East Side. Brad hosted a poetry show, broadcasting avant-garde poems to the folks in the hood. He invited me there one afternoon to read my work and talk politics alongside another young poet, Maggie Zurawski.
After our initial meeting, whenever I saw Brad around town, he always hopped off his bike to give me a big hug. He was a gentle happy presence at the Poetry Project, and also out at Naropa where he sometimes swooped into summer writing program scene to see what the poets were doing and to check out the sauna at the poet motel.
It was really clear that he had set a trajectory toward gnosis-gathering and public-service. I hope that we can all honor him by picking up where he left off. When I think of Brad I think of brotherly love: absolutely unique in our hippity-hoppity cell-phone world. Brad was a singular scrawny grinning bespectacled bearded kid who gave his life to make the world a better place.
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