Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 12:42:23 +0200
Subject: (en) A Look at the Popular Indigenous Council of
Oaxaca-Ricardo Flores Mag?n (CIPO-RFM) - the core of the struggle
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
Liberty, Justice, Autonomy: Building a Magonista Reality
"When the People Have the conscience That they are stronger Than their rulers,
There will no longer be tyrants." -Ricardo Flores Magón
The Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca-Ricardo Flores Magón (CIPO-RFM) is a
social and democratic organization formed by 26 indigenous communities in
Oaxaca, Mexico, comprised of about 2,000 members. They follow libertarian and
indigenous ways and customs. The CIPO-RFM is a grassroots movement whose members
work in their communities in the defense of human rights, on communal projects
and environmental conservation, and in the provision of basic social needs.
> A Past of Many Histories
About 60% of the approximate 3.5 million inhabitants of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s
southernmost states, are indigenous. Many ethnolinguistic groups coexist in this
area, such as the Amuzgos, Chatino, Chinanteco, Chocho, Chontal, Cuicateco,
Huave, Ixcateco, Mazateco, Mixe, Mixteco, Náhuatl, Triqui, Zapoteco, Zoque and
the Popoloca. Like Chiapas and Guerreros, other southern states with large
indigenous populations, Oaxaca’s economy is based on agriculture and mired in
poverty. But Oaxaca is unique in how little of its land has been privatized,
making it the center of ongoing land conflicts: 80% of the land is still used
The CIPO-RFM formed in late 1997 out of a conglomeration of anarchist, Marxist
and indigenous organizations. One of its forerunners was the Magónist Indigenous
Movement, an anti-capitalist group which formed in the 1980s in response to
agrarian conflicts and social repression in Oaxaca. This group took inspiration
from Ricardo Flores Magón, an indigenous Oaxacan revolutionary, libertarian, and
a key figure in the 1910 Mexican Revolution.
From 1892 onward, Magón and his followers became “the most active opposition to
the Díaz regime at the time, participated in strikes, launched militant
uprisings, and tirelessly propagated their views,” primarily through their
newspaper Regeneración. Magón stressed the importance of indigenous people
forcefully defending their communal lands within the overall revolutionary
struggle—and the necessity of a social revolution to guarantee their autonomy.
According to the CIPO-RFM, Magónism can’t be reduced to the ideas of Magón
himself: it includes their historical heritage as indigenous people, and the
heritage of all the men and women of Mexico and worldwide who have contributed
to the struggle.
Strategy and Practice
“We may not be heroes, guerrillas or revolutionaries here, but we do build our
dreams.” -The Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca-Ricardo Flores Magón
The CIPO-RFM´s slogan is “liberty, justice, autonomy,” and its mission is to
help the people and the workers organize themselves freely, regardless of
membership in the organization. They implement sustainable projects of means of
production, services, and commerce. They develop alternative media, including
radio stations, internet, and television. The CIPO-RFM frames its activities in
terms familiar to all libertarians: mutual aid, self management, free
association of communities, solidarity, equality, direct action, and the
rejection of the state and electoral politics. All these ideals, interpreted in
their own cultural context, are a reality in Oaxaca.
The CIPO-RFM respects the EZLN in Chiapas, but has opted for the use of peaceful
rebellion, preferring not to give the state an excuse to engage in open military
repression. The CIPO-RFM does not believe that revolution will be spontaneous,
but that it is a slow and carefully planned process of organization. It rejects
the state and political parties, and is always looking for ways to work with all
other organizations, communities and people who are willing to struggle for the
liberation of their people. The group is a member of the International
Libertarian Solidarity network.
There is a clear process for a community to enter CIPO-RFM. First
representatives of the group are invited for a general presentation, in which
they explain the benefits and risks of joining. After this initial introduction,
a workshop is given on the topic of the importance and necessity of
organization. A second workshop analyses different forms of struggle, stressing
the importance of a libertarian and Magónista organization. During a third
workshop, the community diagnoses its problems and discusses possible solutions.
Participants are encouraged to make connections between the problems in their
own communities and those of other communities. In a final workshop, called the
Basic Council, the community formally decides to join the CIPO-RFM. A work plan
is elaborated, and a commitment to struggle is agreed upon.
The CIPO-RFM supports its members in the solution of agrarian problems, in
protecting and recuperating communal farmland and forest. Here the idea of “Land
and Freedom” is materialized in the form of communal property. The land belongs
to the community and to those who work on it: the families who work the land own
This idea of self-management goes beyond working the land, extending to the
field of politics. Important decisions are made collectively, in community
assemblies. All representative posts within the CIPO-RFM are assigned by the
assemblies, and are unpaid, recallable positions.
The Magónistas are currently developing communal schools with an indigenous and
Magónist focus, staffed by indigenous teachers. They offer occupational
workshops for young people, study groups, and workshops promoting and spreading
their cultures, languages, and traditions.
The communities practice mutual aid in two main aspects: barter and the tequio.
Money has little importance internally: it is mainly used to obtain goods from
outside the communities, and comes from the sale of hand-crafted goods in the
cities, and from indigenous people who have emigrated. The tequio is communal
work. For example, when a mill needs to be built, everyone works on that
specific construction for free, as it will be a benefit for them all.
In many of the communities, participation in the tequio is also mandated as a
penalty for social offenses. The Magónist concept of justice is to benefit the
community, as contrasted with the concept of justice expressed by the
kidnapping, humiliation, torture, capital punishment, forced labor and exclusion
of the prison system.
The organization puts into practice concrete measures to ensure the full respect
of the rights of women, youth, and ethnic minorities. The struggle against
machismo is a key element for the Magonistas. They promote a culture of respect
for women in every space where they are present—in the community, organization,
schools, unions, etc. The group also offers women assistance for education,
defense of their reproductive rights, and training in skills such as
handicrafts, baking, farming, and radio. Women are represented in all posts of
responsibility, and also organize workshops in the communities to combat
patriarchy. The result of these efforts can be seen in women’s leadership in
environmental struggles, such as the fight against genetically modified crops.
University researchers have discovered that between 20 and 60 percent of
traditional corn varieties of the CIPO-RFM’s communities are now contaminated
with modified genes from imported US corn. The CIPO-RFM rejects the use of
chemicals or pesticides, and use only techniques which improve traditional
agriculture maintain self-sufficiency in food production.
They mobilize against destructive free trade agreements—the Free Trade Area of
the Americas, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Plan Puebla
Panama—in order to maintain their way of life, their customs and traditions.
They view the imposition of capitalist free trade as a means of turning them
into wage slaves, destroying their biodiversity, exploiting their land and water
for industry, and patenting their medicinal plants for the profit of
The revolutionary strategy of the CIPO-RFM is to protest against the genocidal
and repressive forces of the state and capitalism, but at the same time, to
create counter-institutions which meet the political, economic, and social needs
of the communities. In the political sphere they have created directly
democratic assemblies; they have formed cooperatives to meet their economic
needs; and they have developed a range of social projects such as the women’s
anti-patriarchy workshops, an indigenous center in Oaxaca City, and educational
“The solidarity of others is our own defense.” - Praxedis G. Guerrero, Puntos
The CIPO-RFM explains that what hurts the government most is that “we will put
an end to their economic and political institutions, we reject their salaries,
private property, the state, and political parties.”
Even though the CIPO-RFM has a policy of peace and coexistence and rejects the
use of violence to resolve conflicts, their history has been marked by
persecution and repression. Since the creation of the organization in 1997,
there have been 212 people detained, 47 kidnappings, 103 raids by the military,
police and paramilitaries in the communities of the organization, 500 arrest
warrants, 22 people tortured, and 277 serious injuries.
Some of the cases that stand out are the detention and torture of 106 indigenous
people on April 18, 1998, and kidnapping and torture of 46 indigenous people on
January 1, 2002. The CIPO-RFM has organized protests, direct actions and
sit-ins, demanding the release of their members. In order to build an external
solidarity movement, members of the CIPO-RFM have toured Europe in 2001 and
Canada in 2005 giving presentations and holding conferences.
Members have been displaced from their communities for fear of being jailed or
murdered; hundreds are currently living in the US. Members such as Raúl Gatica
and César Chavez García have had to flee as a result of constant harassment and
Not surprisingly, the government of Vicente Fox has increased the number of
soldiers and paramilitaries in Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca. In the early months
of 2005, following the election of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz as the new Oaxacan
governor, there was a serious deterioration in the social and political
situation, particularly in regard to indigenous peoples’ political rights.
Evidence of this deterioration is the political crimes, inter-community
conflicts, detentions, and criminalization of social struggles.
The most recent attacks include the imprisonment of various CIPO-RFM members for
opposing repression and land theft in San Isidro Aloapám. As of December 2005,
15 of them still remain imprisoned. Also, since July 2005, the community of
Soledad, Sola de Vega, a village with a CIPO-RFM majority, has been surrounded
by state-aided paramilitaries, who are blocking the entrance to food and medical
supplies, and have orders to kill any CIPO-RFM members who try to pass.
The CIPO-RFM makes it clear that it does not want to transform the world by
being in power. Its members believe that true power comes from the collective,
from the community; therefore they promote and develop the organization of the
people. Free association, direct democracy, autonomy, mutual aid, and collective
work are the base of their daily lives, and ground their perspective of the
liberation of their people and all others around the world who suffer under the
modern forms of domination.
Diana is a Spanish anarchist living in Boston. She works with children and is a
member of the Boston por CIPO-RFM collective.
Our Crime Is Defending Our Rights: Interview with a Magonista
NEFAC-Boston has been working with Boston por CIPO-RFM, a solidarity group
seeking to organize support for the autonomous indigenous villages in Oaxaca,
Mexico in the face of harsh state and paramilitary repression. A number of CIPO
members have emigrated to the US, giving us the opportunity and privilege of
speaking with them directly about the situation in their communities.
NEFAC and the CIPO-RFM are both member organizations of International
Libertarian Solidarity, a network for solidarity and mutual aid among
“anarchist, anarcho-syndicalist, revolutionary syndicalist, and clearly
anti-Statist, non-party aligned social organisations which run along libertarian
This spring, we sat down with a former member of the CIPO-RFM organizing
committee, who is now living in the US and working as a farmworker and baker.
Over a delicious meal and a few bottles of wine, we learned more about the
remarkable project taking place in Oaxaca.
NEA: Tell us about yourself.
My name is Alfonso, and I’m from the community of Plan de Zaragoza Nuyoo, in
In my community, we have problems because of the tricks of the government. They
come to our communities looking for votes, and then they forget about us. They
promise us many things, such as food, schools, roads, hospitals and medicine for
the people, but they don’t come through with it.
For those reasons, we joined the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca – Ricardo
Flores Magon, the CIPO-RFM. It’s the house of the poor that struggle for
Involved with the CIPO-RFM are currently 30 communities of the peoples:
Chatinos, Mixtecos, Chinantecos, Yucatecos, Zapotecos, Triquis, blacks and
mestizos…. We decided it was the best way to organize ourselves, because the
government didn’t help us with the problems that we have.
Together with other communities, that have the same problems with agricultural
issues, and with compañeros that have been murdered, the government up until the
present time has done nothing…. They have exploited the forests, the water,
NEA: Since your community has been involved in the CIPO, what successes have
The government has given only a few things: a little bit of shelter, but nothing
complete.… They have built small bridges, only very small ones. But what we want
resolved are the agrarian problems, which are more related to justice...
And respect for women, children and elderly people. And that people recognize us
for our customs, and ways of living, and ways of thinking. Because we don’t
believe in the same things as the government.
NEA: What are the agrarian problems in your community or others?
Murdered compañeros, people who have been tortured by the government, who have
been kidnapped …. The paramilitaries are stealing the wood, taking away the
water, other things…. Agrarian problems are when they rob us of our parcels of
land…. They’re also trying to sell our culture, our language, our community
dances, and our traditional clothing.
NEA: What do you use the land for?
To plant corn and beans[FOOD IN GENERAL: corn, beans, coffee, onions, herbs,
garlic, et al]. They’re communal lands; they are free lands. And what we want is
that they don’t steal it, that the government doesn’t take it—because where
would we go if they took it from us?
NEA: Where do the people who join the paramilitaries come from? Do any of them
come from your communities, or do they come from elsewhere?
They come from other communities. They have robbed, but always the government
directs them, and pays them, and they come into our villages under the orders of
the government, and commit these acts in such a way that it doesn’t appear that
the government does it.
We call them paramilitaries because they have arms, they are from villages….
Half of them are indigenous, and the other half are just people from the PRI who
support the paramilitaries.
We have made our struggle, but non-violently. There are no communities in which
there are paramilitaries and CIPO members...
Our weapon is our voice, and we use animals. We use rats, pigs, cockroaches, so
that the government pays attention to us. We go directly to the buildings where
the authority works in, offices and things, and put all the animals in there.
One time we put four rats and four mice in a government office. People were
screaming and jumping up on chairs. The next day, the press reported that there
were several hundred! The intent was to get the government to listen, to heed
us. We succeeded in getting some building materials—but no progress on the big
We do those things, and our crime is defending our rights, defending our
communities. The government wants to make us sound like we’re the murderers,
we’re the criminals, but it’s not that way.
NEA: Are friends and comrades of yours in prison right now?
We have two members that are in jail right now, in Etla prison. One is called
Joaquín Pérez, and the other one is Juan Alavez, and they’re from San Isidro
Aloapám. Their only crimes have been to defend their forests, and defend their
communities, and defend their water. And those are the only crimes, or the
reasons, that they’re jailed.
NEA: You’ve spoken about your community. We’re curious to hear about how you
When I was 15, I moved from my community to Oaxaca City to study, because on the
land there’s no work. Or there is work, but there’s no money, and you can’t
support yourself. So I moved to the city out of necessity, and there I started
to learn Mixteco again, and I started to learn about Plan de Zaragoza, and I
said well, my people are my people, and I have no reason to abandon them.
This is when I discovered that the community was already with the CIPO-RFM.
Before the people didn’t know anything—they hadn’t even paved the road, there
weren’t any markets, or schools. But when I got back, the community had advanced
at least a little bit. And there was a women’s program of growing organic
We’ve achieved these kinds of projects not just in my community, but in
different communities helping each other out, through guetza, which is basically
a Mixteco word for mutual aid.
When I came back, people in my village were talking about CIPO, and were saying,
“Let’s get this going, because there’s no reason for us to allow the government
to continue coming into our community and taking advantage of us.” CIPO doesn’t
try to trick the people in the communities with things like clothes, a kilo of
rice, a liter of cooking oil. No. It’s simply to come together, and to work
International visitors have come to CIPO and given workshops about different
skills, like clothes-making, community radio, computers, and silkscreen
printing. They have also taught us about their countries of origin.
And training for women—but I’m not familiar with this. There’s a part of the
CIPO-RFM called the Women’s Area. They are in charge of setting up talks and
holding workshops. It is recognized that women can do just as much, and more,
than men. The voice of women is valued in the CIPO.
NEA: Can you tell us a little more about the organization and decision-making
that happens in CIPO communities?
There are no leaders. We don’t command each other. We only hold assemblies, and
we all decide with each other, not one person alone. We make decisions through
the base councils, under the authority of the people. Also, we carry out
decisions through the organizing junta [organizing committee].
In the communities, no one is looking for power; no one wants to be the boss of
anyone else. There is agreement that everyone respects each other, and the
people decide upon their representatives...
NEA: What are the assemblies talking about and deciding?
In these assemblies, we talk about the problems that are facing the communities,
such as the lack of potable water. Other things discussed here are projects with
cows, what will be done with them, or also projects with bees. We decide who is
going to be in charge of those. So those are the little things that we discuss.
NEA: What do the representatives do?
The delegates of the organizing junta live in the CIPO house, which is in Oaxaca
City. The delegates of the base committees are the ones who actually live in the
When it’s necessary—maybe once a month, or every couple months—there are what
are known as “councils of the councils,” where all the different base councils
come together, along with the organizing junta, and they meet about the problems
they have. After those meetings, the people from the base councils go back to
their own communities and report about the “councils of the councils” to all the
NEA: Who is on the organizing junta?
The organizing junta is made up of one or two delegates from each community, so
it’s 30 or more compañeros. Their post as delegate lasts three years…. They deal
with problems in the communities, because all of them have many problems. And
sometimes they go as delegates to other countries, when they’re invited.
The organizing junta are there on their own accord—they do their work
voluntarily. They don’t receive pay for their work. To provide for this, there
is mutual aid: while the people participate in the junta, there are people who
take care of their land, and we take up collections to provide for their
NEA: We’ve heard about the tequio, and that it’s used for both collective
projects and as a sentence for when people do something wrong. How does that
The community elects one person for a year who will be in charge of checking out
what needs to be done, like if the road has to be repaired.
An example of the tequio is when everyone joins together to harvest the corn, or
the beans. So they harvest it together, and they sell it. The money that they
get for it, they use to pay for the electricity and other things. It helps us to
buy pencils, and white paper to use on the computer, for example.
And regarding the sentences for infractions, in our communities, there aren’t
murderers. Among the worst things that happen in our communities are that
someone might use violence against women, to assault another member of the
community. And when this happens, we lock up the person, and sometimes we make
them pay for their crimes in money. There are houses that work as jails, and
they’re made out of adobe or stone. They stay there for 24 hours, or they’re
asked to pay a small fine....
There’s the example of a Zapoteco community, in which the sentencing for
wrongdoing, like for hitting a member, is to work on the tequio. Sometimes it’s
for a week.
NEA: And who decides how much time that person is going to be working on the
The people. The community. As it is a custom; you have to respect the custom of
the community. So in this community, the example was given, the community
decides how long the person will be working on the tequio for that sentence. In
my community, we have the jail that people have to stay in for 24 hours. In
other communities, sometimes they have to work in the tequio, and that might be
to help build a road, or to take care of the cows, or bulls, or goats….
NEA: Are the people who founded the CIPO still active in the organization?
They’re still around, and they help with training other members, things like
teaching them how to read and write. Through different types of skills, like
making flyers or pamphlets, asking them questions, telling them stories...
I just finished my 3 years on the organizing committee, helping to raise a
little bit of money for them to use in the CIPO house. Because the government
doesn’t give—we don’t ask the government for any money, because we know that
among brothers we can accomplish what we need to accomplish. We only ask that
the government fix the problems they’ve caused….
NEA: Can you tell us a little more about the CIPO House?
The CIPO House is a house of the indigenous peoples, who through their struggle
have given bits of the materials that they have. Some give things like cement,
gravel, sand, and other materials that are necessary to build the house… We’re
close, but it’s not completely finished. This house is a tequio, a voluntary
tequio without any pay… we’re dreaming of having a large house with a very large
yard so that we can live together with people from other countries, so that the
house will be for everyone.
The organizing junta is there. And every week two different members of different
communities come to guard the House. They answer the phone, and take messages,
and they receive the guests who come to visit the House. They also cook the food
that is offered to visitors. When the week ends, two new [guards] arrive....
NEA: Tell us more about your work on the organizing junta.
My work on the organizing junta involved going to the different communities and
visiting compañeros, and doing different tequios, or just going to see what’s
happening... It’s part of our work to go to the communities and have small
discussions, to talk about what’s going on in Oaxaca, and if there have been any
improvements, or there have been advances, or no advances, or problems.
The work of the organizing junta is also to go and train compañeros, teach them
other kinds of work…. We don’t explain by going and carrying papers, because the
people, they haven’t studied… it’s difficult for them to understand. What the
junta does is capacity-building, from children to—it doesn’t matter the age. We
have games to make people understand, explaining using large drawings…
Aside from that, if a compañero arrives from another country, the junta has to
talk to the community, tell them that the person is going to arrive, because if
they don’t have authorization, they can’t come to the communities…. or, they can
come in, but no one’s going to pay attention to them.
We have to give the name of the foreign person, so that they know who he is,
what he’s about, and then he’ll be welcomed in warmly. Sometimes people come to
do projects with the community. For example, a Spanish woman taught people in
Plan de Zaragoza to do bakery work.
NEA: Are many non-indigenous people involved in the CIPO?
Well, in the CIPO house we’re all equal. We don’t put any compañero aside.
Indigenous or not indigenous, people of different religions—Catholics,
Evangelicals, others—all of us are equal. We don’t make distinctions. We’re all
brothers and sisters. The non-indigenous treat us well, just as we treat them
NEA: Can you tell us about your experience coming to the United States?
Well, necessity obliged me to come here. Many other members of the Indigenous
Council have immigrated to the US. Crossing the border is very risky, because
Immigration is on the borders. As necessity obliges us, we cross, come what may.
Crossing the border is very sad, because you suffer thorns on your skin, and
because you don’t have enough food. There’s no water. In Mexico there is no
work—or there’s work, but very little, very low paid: ten dollars for a whole
day. That’s why we go, out of obligation we cross the border. We know it’s
Sometimes we stop at ponds where cows drink, and even though they’re really
dirty, we drink from there, because we have no other place to drink from. To
CROSS the border is to CROSS with fear. Whenever you see something, you have to
hide under the bushes. In the desert it’s hard to find brush to get under.
To cross you have to walk 2, 3, 4 days, or 5 nights…. Entering Arizona is sad
too. There’s a house that the coyotes have…. a tiny house, very hot, where there
is little food. And crossing all the way from the border to get there, you
always travel worried, or cautious. We came and got picked up by a car or van.
Then we had to crouch really low, or sometimes be on our side for a really long
NEA: What was it like getting to the East Coast?
We didn’t know anyone, no one to ask for even a little bit of money. It’s hard.
But God is very great in that way. He helps us a lot, helps the immigrants… We
arrived at a field, we stayed in a house. Even though it was cold, there was no
And the other compañeros, the ones who have bad luck, are arrested by
Immigration, and jailed. They’re sent back to Mexico. They take their
fingerprints as though they’re criminals.
Other compañeros, when they’re detained, when they arrive at the Mexican border,
they have to answer all these questions, like “what did you go there for?” “What
did you want to do over there?” They always make fools out of them. They know
well, but they always ask…. “Who’s your guide?” Always with bad language…. “Go
back to your village, you got nothing to do here.”
NEA: I want to ask you about your experience being politically active here in
the United States. What are you involved in, and what’s your impression of the
immigrant movement, and other struggles, in the United States?
I’d almost like to think that here you could make a better life, but that’s not
true. We’re suffering the same in the field from the chemicals, the pesticides…
that affects us a lot. I got involved with another organization...
In many states, there is the problem of detentions—the police are detaining
immigrants without any crime committed. The police come and ask us for a lot of
different documents that they know we don’t have... [they] ask the person to
show their papers, or their driver’s license, but that person doesn’t have the
driver’s license, because they don’t have the papers to be here.
And... wages are really low, and so you end up working a lot for very little
money. So it’s the same thing, here or there. The organization supports the
workers. It explains to us what the effects of pesticides are, and contaminants,
and things like that. They also hold talks on the land, about sexually
transmitted diseases, about AIDS. They’re asking the US government to give out
cards that will allow immigrant workers to have driver’s licenses.
NEA: Are the other people in the US from the CIPO organizing at the farms they
Well, it’s difficult, because many of us work different hours, and some of us
work 12 hours a day, and we only work 6 months a year, so it’s hard to get
together. Some get up earlier, some later, so it’s hard to get on the phone to
We continue talking with other people about what’s going on with us, through
CIPO-RFM, and also because our experiences are very similar to the experiences
of others. It all seems to be similar from North to South.
It’s the same in all the states. They have the same problems with Immigration,
and police… If any of us get sick, we have bad experiences with doctors in the
hospitals. They don’t understand us, and they don’t attend to us like human
beings. There are good-hearted people here who help us, and drive us to the
doctors, and explain how things work, as we don’t speak English. But it depends
on luck. Not everyone is like that.
NEA: What are the next things that you would wish, or hope, to see happen in the
There’s a lot I’d like to see happen, but there are a lot of people here! I
couldn’t really answer that question, because there’s so many people from
different countries, it’s not just Mexicans here.
NEA: For Mexicans, then...
That we could get some kind of permit that would allow us to come in and out of
the country, because we don’t come here to rob, we just come here to work. Not
just for the Mexicans, but for everybody, because I think people from other
countries come here to work, they don’t come here to… they’re not terrorists,
they’re just hard-working people.
NEA: What do you hope happens next in Oaxaca?
I would like the government to resolve all the conflicts for the members of the
CIPO, and that there be no more conflicts or assassinations…. And that they stop
persecuting our members…. and imprison the murderers.
To maintain our independence from political parties, to not ask for permission
of the Party or of rich people. The government should support the people who are
sick, because it’s difficult: in a lot of the communities there are no
hospitals, and so these people have to travel maybe up to ten hours to get to a
hospital, and then sometimes they die.
There should be education for all those who want to study, they should provide
schools, drinkable water. To have electricity and telephones, which some of the
communities still don’t have. And for those members who have nothing, that they
have some kind of housing.
And that they stop stealing our culture.
NEA: How do you feel the CIPO-RFM’s struggle is going?
The government has wanted to get rid of and be done with the CIPO. They go to
the communities that are part of the Indigenous Council, they offer them maybe a
kilo of rice, or building materials, and the people are not educated and don’t
understand what the government is trying to do. In the CIPO, we don’t cast the
people who collaborate with the government aside. We continue to work with them,
and educate them, so that in the end they figure it out. And we hope they
realize what’s happening, and return to work with the CIPO...
So we win and we lose, things go up and down. But the CIPO always keeps on,
lives, and doesn’t give up. Even though the government continues to imprison us,
and persecute us, our voice will not get quieter.
This interview was done by Dawn, MJ, Dominic, and Diana: two members of
NEFAC-Boston and two members of Boston por CIPO-RFM and the Jericho Movement.
Many thanks to BD for additional translation.
This essay and interview is from The Northeastern Anarchist #11 (Spring/Summer
2006)... which also includes essays on Especifismo, Organizational Dualism, the
Quebec 'national question', participatory economics, and much more!
The Northeastern Anarchist is the English-language magazine of the Northeastern
Federation of Anarchist-Communists (NEFAC), covering class struggle anarchist
theory, history, strategy, debate and analysis in an effort to further develop
anarchist-communist ideas and practice.
To order a copy, please send $5ppd ($6 international). For distribution, bundle
orders are $3 per copy for three or more copies, and $2.50 per copy for ten or
Subscriptions are $15ppd for four issues ($18 international).
Back issues are $2ppd ($3 international) per copy; special offer package for the
entire set of back issues (#1-9) now only $15.
Checks or money orders can be made out to "Northeastern Anarchist" and sent to:
PO Box 230685 Boston, MA 02123, USA