[Marxism] News from Oaxaca -- where are the women?

Huibin Amelia Chew hachew at gmail.com
Thu Nov 2 21:35:20 MST 2006

Especially since the murder of the NYC Indymedia reporter, I can't
help but notice how the bulk of communications we receive on Oaxaca
relate messages from male leadership, or individually name male
martyrs, focusing on males' actions.  But
many unnamed women have suffered physical violence in this struggle,
too.  And women are most of the rank and file teachers; even of not
individually recognized, they have played a role in maintaining the
barricades all along.  Now the conflict is increasingly masculinized.
Women as agents and leaders are being cut out of the drama -- what is
going on with them?

This pattern has repeated time and again -- for instance, accounts of
the MST in Brazil; how women's contributions were cut out of
mainstream and even progressive coverage of the Six Nations struggle
in Caledonia.  That reflects a bias in our left or progressive
organizing, our own reporting, as much as what is actually going on
there.  And I think it's a problem because it creates a bias in what
is considered historical, what is acknowledged as struggle -- plus, it
reinforces hierarchy within our movements.

It's not enough to just know in the abstract that they are
participating -- the agency of individual women is denied if we do not
seek and hear their voices, and consider how adding their voices
changes our assumptions about struggle.

Please see below for a few resources on women & the struggle in Oaxaca.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kaveri Rajaraman <krajaram at fas.harvard.edu>
Date: Nov 2, 2006 4:14 PM

I have been trying to get in touch with friends in Mexico to find news
directly from women compas, because I have also been disturbed by the
number of women involved in Oaxaca's protest and their nearly complete
underrepresentation in media reports, including those of independent

The women of Oaxaca have formed groups such as Coordinacion de Mujeres,
about whom you can read here. Most good articles on this are in Spanish...
perhaps we can translate them as a group and put them out there...

In the meantime, here is an article in English that many of you may have
seen about the role women are playing:

Other good sites:

Interesting how so few of the articles on women leaders have been
translated into English...


In solidarity

Testimonies of Rapes by Mexican Police:

Two Spanish women abused by the police
"They put us in a truck, where they started beating us the whole time,
hitting us with clubs and kicking us. They insulted us a lot, because we
were Spanish, saying that we were with the ETA, calling us whores and many
other things. Later they moved us to a bigger truck, where they accounted
for all of us -I think there were 38 of us- and they abused the women

Testmonies of rapes by police: dismissed by Calderon
Calderon went so far as to accuse Fox's own National Commissioner of Human
Rights, Jose Soberanes, who furnished hard evidence of at least 23 rapes
of Mexican women while under arrest, of "speaking badly against the
country and I totally rebuke him".

"At least 23 complaints of sexual assault including seven rapes - one boy
was sodomized with a police baton- have been registered with the National
Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and the non-government Miguel Pro Human
Rights Center. Most were victimized on an horrific six hour ride between
Atenco and a local Mexico state prison during which police officers pawed
women, ripped off their underclothes, masturbated openly, and in serial
rapist fashion, forced their victims not to look at them to prevent

Lorena, a diminutive 22 year-old adherent to the Other Campaign, tells of
being beaten and manhandled by arresting officers and then thrown into a
truckful of women prisoners who had been beaten so badly that their blood
covered the floor of the vehicle. Ordered to lie face down on top of the
injured women, one police officer ripped off her pants and upon
discovering that she was menstruating, began beating her, screaming that
he would make her really bleed. Later, he or one of his fellow officers
tried to anally penetrate Lorena but was warned off
because the truck was nearing the prison. In anger, the officer
smashed Lorena's head into the truck wall.

Women are considered "botines" (prizes) in the dirty war, Montemayor
explains, and the violations of the women from Atenco were not so much
sexual as they were an expression of male government domination - all
part of the dirty war plan."

if i injected my flesh with silicone
did hundreds of situps a day
wore lacey push up bras
got surgery to correct my Asian single-eyelid
wore subtle lipstick, concealer, & gloss
made my gaze bruised with shadow & mascara
wore dainty stilleto heels & flippy skirts
got some hips
would you buy me then?

does market follow demand, or demand follow market?
i want to be the white girls of your wet dreams with million-dollar
prosthetic bodies, $40,000 makeovers, features imprinted on your cock
by billion-dollar industries

I am beautiful in my mind
until you choose them instead
slap my ugliness to my face

and you tell me you don't understand this kind of competition!
i didn't write the rules
of this game you don't recognize
you just follow the market, the ads, the art, the enterprize...
shaping the sadness of my sickness

Sisters, come together & incite
refugees of false dreams to unite.


More information about the Marxism mailing list