Pablo González Casanova: indigenous communities are redefining the world

González Casanova: the original communities are redefining the world

 ** They contribute a national and universal perspective, the former UNAM rector points out

 Photo: José Antonio López

Photo: José Antonio López

[Above: Pablo González Casanova, during the Course in Research and Education about Sustainable Development, which he is carrying out at UNAM’s the Institute of Social Investigations.]

By: Emir Olivares Alonso

The original communities of Mexico and Latin America, in particular the autonomous organization of the Zapatista peoples, are redefining the world starting with their positions, but not through an aldeismo (a narrow or isolationist view) or Indianism, but with a national and universal perspective, asserted Pablo González Casanova, ex rector of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM).

During the sessions of the Course in Research and Education about Sustainable Development, which is under his coordination and is held at the Institute of Social Investigations of said house of studies, which will end next Friday, González Casanova expressed that the indigenous peoples maintain a cosmovision in which differences in culture, religion, ideologies and political positions are respected.

Within that context, the academic –who in 2011 was invested through the UNAM with an honorary doctorate – emphasized that Zapatismo is the most advanced project “that comes from below” on the continent as well as on a worldwide scale. This form of organization, proposes, invites, not to remake, but rather to construct a new world.

In an interview, he stated that the idea of these activities is that the investigators participate, but also those being investigated, “since they are not things but rather people that tell us what their problems are and, at times, what the solutions are.” The objective of the course is that it be replicated in other Spanish speaking countries and even in Brazil or Portugal. Also –following the statutes of the UNAM–, it can be converted into a specialty in the postgraduate students and, eventually, into a masters program.

In one of the two sessions held yesterday, Gilberto López y Rivas talked about the indigenous communities’ systems of autonomous self-government and he emphasized Zapatismo’s horizontal organization in making decisions.

He indicated that the situation of almost a national catastrophe that the country is living through obliges that “an academia emerge committed to finding paths for getting out of the cavern in which the neoliberals have put us.” In that sense, he emphasized that the original peoples have systematically resisted the violence and trans-nationalization of neoliberalism.

The Zapatista organization, he said, has formed individuals into autonomous subjects that stamp a community aspect on a global context, in which individualism reigns and it is attempted to eradicate support and solidarity. (They have done so despite the context of a counterinsurgency and a political-military circle.

Some innovations of that kind self-government are the horizontal decision-making and the relevance of the participation of youth and women. Besides, he added, the Zapatistas don’t offer this strategy as something idyllic or unique, but as one more form of organization.

In the previous session, Mariana Mora, from the Center of Investigations and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology, referred to the processes of cooperation among the communities. In particular, she talked about the Zapatista autonomous municipalities (municipios).


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

En español:

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