March 28, 2007

Against the Giants in Oaxaca

Al Giordano wrote in the Feb. 9, 2006, Narco News:

This is not about windmills, Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos thundered on Monday morning across this windswept plain. "It is about giants."

The greedy grab for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec -- the narrowest stretch of land in Mexico -- is a mega-project by Capital and State that does not stop at windmills. It also includes new highways and oil pipelines connecting the ports on both oceans, an expanded hydroelectric dam in Jalapa del Marques along the way, tourist Meccas to replace small fishing communities between Salina Cruz and Huatulco and a new zone for maquiladoras -- those cheap-labor mills that generate power not from wind but from human muscle and bone along the US-Mexican border -- that will exploit the poverty of the workers that the mega-developments displace from their lands and the natural resources they cultivate.

And so it is to this breezy plain that Zapatista "Delegate Zero" came on Monday morning to harness the wind that only human hands, and not machines, can tap: that of rebellion. "You are not alone," he told yet more communities of fighting (read: still human) people throughout the Isthmus. In La Venta's town square he said, "We will fight with you against these windmills."

Nancy Davies wrote on Mar. 28:

... here's the article I've been predicting: "Teachers and APPO and communal land owners announce the boycott of Venta II," accompanied in action by other organizations including The Front of the People of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land. President Felipe Calderon and Governor Ulises Ruiz are inaugurating the construction of the new wind farm to generate electricity, owned by a Spanish transnational, on Wednesday March 28 (see the video newsreel, The Windmills of Capitalism). About two hundred hectares of communal land and about nine sub-municipalities of Juchitán are in dispute. The wind farm is seen as a basic part of the development of the Plan Puebla Panama, and infringes on the autonomy of the indigenous residents of the area. The area is protected, according to Noticias, by a circle of military soldiers.

Ninety-eight wind generators already operate with a supposed capacity of 83.3 megawatts. In the second stage the transnational company, Iberdrola, has invested $100 million. The World Bank has recently loaned $20 million for the development of La Venta III, which confirms that regardless of who's protesting, the project will go ahead.

On March 3 three-hundred-and-sixty men from the Federal Preventative Police, traveling in vehicles with dark windows and carrying high power weapons, evicted the communal land owners from the neighborhood Tres de Abril located within the polygon of Venta II, because they were an "obstacle to the project." Many believe that the outcry against the wind generators has more to do with the offensively low rental and a voice for the people whose land has been "rented" for thirty years. The rental was reportedly carried out by agents who ignored the community assembly process and were in turn allegedly paid off handsomely by the government and/or Iberdrola.

And George Salzman wrote on Mar. 25:

"Harvard contributes to reconstructing Oaxaca" is the grand headline splashed across the Sunday, March 25, 2007 front page of Noticias, the major daily newspaper published in Oaxaca City. When I saw that announcement this morning I thought, "Oh, my God! (Never mind that I'm an atheist.) That's both good news and bad news."

The good news is that the popular struggle in Oaxaca is serious enough that it is being seen by those pre-eminent intellectual guardians of global capitalism as a potential threat to the status quo. The bad news is that Harvard University, always in the service of the super-rich, and therefore in step with (or ahead of) U.S. government plans and actions, is preparing to put its gloved but dirtied hands to work for the PAN/PRI government of Felipe Calderon and the local PRI governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. The message is clear. It's going to take more than sheer military suppression to crush the popular revolution. But it must be crushed, in the interest of global capitalism, and therefore the 'intellectual power' of Harvard University will be brought to bear in addition to the military state of siege already put in place in the city. What we can be certain of is that Harvard's intellectual prowess will not be used to uncover the fates of the people disappeared and still unaccounted for by the Federal and State armed agents or to assist in the struggle for justice and dignity for the people of Oaxaca.

Also see the press releases posted here from the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism, human rights