Structure change and Gustavo Esteva

In my most recent meeting with Vadim, we talked about the organization of my independent study paper. We established the following structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Evolution of blogs
  3. Findings of my research
  4. Conclusion

At the time, I was intently focused on incorporating digital media theory into my paper, whether it comfortably belonged there or not. However, after giving this structure more thought, I realized that there are more effective and appropriate ways to organize the paper.

The new approach I would like take uses the following structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Brief background in political and social organization of Oaxaca (corruption and social movements)
  3. Findings of research
  4. Conclusion

Writing a chapter on the evolution of the blogs is a bit of a stretch for the scope of my current project. However, a chapter of context leading up to the 2006 crisis can only serve to support and explain the significance of my research findings. After all, a teacher’s strike doesn’t make much sense without the knowledge that many Oaxacan schools are crumbling. Neither does the rallying of approximately one million civilians make sense without knowing about twenty-five years of political decay that eroded the people’s trust in their government.

One article I read last week was “The Asemblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, APPO: A Chronicle of Radical Democracy.” The article is written by Gustavo Esteva,  an “activist intellectual” of the Universidad de la Tierra (UniTierra) and the Centro de Encuentros y Díalogos Interculturales (CEDI) in Oaxaca.

(Unfortunately, neither of Esteva’s projects has its own Web site, although there are plenty of Spanish- and English-language sites that refer to them. I’ve visited UniTierra, and it’s a small school that offers vocational classes to indigenous Oaxaqueños.  The students decide what it is they want to study to bring back to their communities. For example, one student can choose to research solar-powered technology while another can develop sustainable farming techniques.)

Esteva’s article outlines various highs and lows of the APPO movement from August 1 to November 6, 2006.  His approach is to focus less on detailed accounts than on political analysis.

Excerpts of interest:

  • Annual teachers demonstrations usually successful “but at the price of disrupting the life in the city for weeks or months. People were also more than a little annoyed because teachers had abandoned their schools and many [working] families did not know what to do with their children.”
  • August 1: “several thousand women from APPO peacefully occupied the studios of the state radio and television network.” Huge for this project!
  • Use of plain-clothes police and paramilitary to repress movement; government involvement relatively hidden.
  • Sept. 21-Oct. 8: March to Mexico City to appeal to federal government. Minister of Interior convenes a meeting, but six attendees walk out because they felt the Oaxaca people were not being represented–“there being, for example, no real representation of the two-thirds of the state who are indigenous.”
  • Oct. 10-19: Mexican senate recognizes “disappearance of government” from Oaxaca and petitions Governor Ruiz to resign. Ruiz refuses, and nothing more is done.
  • Distinguishes between the impatience and fury of youth (who resort to graffiti and Molotov cocktails) and the adult APPO leaders who apparently try to restrain them in the name of nonviolence. Note: ask Anne about her research on the youth within the APPO movement

I’ve requested a Corrugated Films documentary, Granito de Areno, from the Ithaca Interlibrary Loan.  It should flesh out some of the articles I’m reading about the background to the movement.

Next post will be more on my analysis of papers and blogs…haven’t written enough about that this week.


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