(en) DAMN's role in global Zapatista resistance?

Sun, 28 Dec 1997 13:08:39 -0500

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I originally wrote this letter below just to people at the Direct Action Media Network, but I think that it speak to issues that are pertinent to people in media-l, nyfma, and other media groups, so I am sending it to you as well. - Stefan

Jay and others in the Direct Action Media Network

I am wondering how much news you and others are receiving about Chiapas. I am getting a lot of information about what has been happening in Mexico since the massacre in Chenalho and about actions that have been occuring around the world. My primary source is Chiapas95. BUT, I am not seeing any of this information re-posted to direct@tao.ca or to media-l@tao.ca. I have been thinking that I should forward messages about Chiapas to direct, but I suspect that those on this list are getting information through other channels. Is this a wrong assumption? Should I be re-posting this material?

The situation in Chiapas has prompted me to think that those of us who are radical media activists ought to figure out how we can combine skills and efforts to maximize media publicity about the situation there. I don't have a particular idea yet other than to start a discussion about this.

There have been a number of demonstrations in the U.S. and around the world in reaction to the massacre of 45 indigenous people in Chenalho. This seems to me to be the sort of information that ought to be distributed in this list.

I applaud your efforts to devise an editorial collective statement and in essence I agree with it. I am just wondering whether we can now move to a specific course of action. I am thinking that we could galvanize interest and focus energy in DAMN if we concentrated on the Chiapas situation right now. I know that there are actions planned for January 2 and a Barcelone group have called for actions on January 11.

My suspicion is that many or all of the people who are affiliated with DAMN, either centrally or peripherally, support the Zapatistas. I, however, understand that DAMN is not conceived to focus on any one particular issue. BUT, I think we can say that we have an emergency or alert situation on our hands in Mexico. I don't think it would stray from DAMN's mission if people were to direct media efforts toward Chiapas.

Like I said, at this point I don't have a specific suggestion. But I do feel as if this conversation needs to take place. There have been Direct Actions occuring just this past week with respect to Mexico and it seems this sort of activitiy is definitely within the purview of DAMN. For example, in Madrid 3 activists in Madrid were arrested for trying to scale the walls of the Mexican Embassy there.

In any case, I am noticing a disjuncture between listservs focused on Chiapas and listservs focused on radical media activism. In my mind, the 2 should come together. The question is how and for what.

One possibility is to join forces to convince the radical/progressive/leftist print media (The Nation, Mother Jones, Progressive, etc.) to start paying more attention to Mexico.

At a minimum we should use the resources that we have available to us to report on happening demonstrations and actions, as well as to promote what lies ahead.

I understand that many of us have been away from our computer screens and visiting with family and friends during this holiday season. But Christmas is over now. Let's get back on-line and back to work. There is a lot to do in 1998.

Stefan Wray

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