At the UNAM conference Atena and I had the pleasure of meeting Bruno Barronet, a French scholar who has been living in Mexico for quite a while now and has written two books on indigenous social movements and indigenous education in Mexico. His current research involves mapping economic solidarity in Mexico!
When we got together with Bruno at L’arrosoir d’Arthur (Cuernavaca’s French café and cultural bazaar), he began to map out the political setting of indigenous social movements in Mexico. The following diagram is a reproduction of what Bruno quickly scribbled in my notebook (click on thumbnail to enlarge image):
This schema gives us an important political framework from which to examine the presence of economic solidarity in Mexico, particularly rural Mexico. Bruno’s diagram marks a sharp, albeit porous divide between two main threads within Mexican indigenous social movements. On the radical side of the spectrum is the CNI, Congreso Nacional Indigenista, and on the more moderate end is MIN – Movimiento Indigena Nacional. Economic solidarity is situated amidst these differences in ideology, policy and praxis.
The division between CNI and MIN begins to take root in 1995 during the rise of the EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de la Liberación Nacional). The radical, militant and far leftist segment of the spectrum is marked by a general distrust of the government and a strong will to establish independence from the state. The moderate side collaborates with the state and seeks to achieve legislation reform.
At its onset liberation theology in Mexico was radical in its involvement in social reform. Overtime, however, it has ventured more toward moderate politics. Now groups, actors and organizations affiliated with the church and/or liberation theologists exhibit far more collaboration with the state than they did in the 1970s.
After mapping this diagram together, Bruno asked us to go through the organizations we had already visited to see if we could begin to situate them onto this political framework. It was an extremely helpful exercise and has certainly proved useful for our interviews with various cooperatives.
The following venn diagram is an example of that exercise, where we situated various organizations onto the leftist political framework (click thumbnail to enlarge image):