CANCUN CITY, MEXICO — Another long day of meetings, not yet
over. But the energy is starting to build. The Circus, the group of
central organizers, met at 10 a.m. Our permaculture team met at 11.
(Add half an hour to each!) We’ve gotten some wonderful people
turning up — Scotty from Texas, who has done a whole training
program in constructed wetlands; Lou from England; Maria, a local
woman who has come down to help us and is just the contact we need
to find out things like where you can find used barrels in Cancun.
(Not easy!) We’ve already learned a few things — like the dumps
here are not treasure troves of useful objects because nothing much
that can be used is ever thrown away. And things like 55-gallon
drums are sold, not tossed out.
We have a good meeting, setting out priorities, dividing into
groups to work on certain aspects of the project. Meanwhile,
Rodrigo and I finally get hold of our contact from the city, who
tells us to come in later and she will see what tools they can lend
us. So we’re official! It’s a great boost to our morale, and we
schedule a work day for tomorrow.
I manage to grab some quesadillas before the direct action
meeting at 1. I count 40 people at the midday meeting, many of them
new. In the middle, our friends from Mexico City arrive. I’m very
excited to see them, and grateful that they can now report for
themselves on what the students are planning. At the end of three
hours of discussion, we have refined a couple of proposals that may
or may not work but have that solid feel of the best that can be
done in a bad situation. I rush out before the meeting is over to
join Rodrigo and meet first with Patti from the municipality and
then with the man who is actually responsible for the grounds and
cleanup at the Casa de la cultura. Rodrigo does most of the
talking, and I am grateful for his charm.
At the end of the meeting, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The city council has ordered the removal of every rock and stone
from the grounds of the Casa de la Cultura. Every stick or branch
or anything that can possibly be used as a weapon is supposed to
go. The city might grant camping space to potential terrorists, but
by all the Mayan Gods, they are not going to furnish us with
projectiles. Never mind the fact that Cancun is littered with rocks
on every street corner or vacant lot, and still has strips of
jungle within it where sticks abound. Any halfway enterprising thug
should have no trouble arming him or herself, regardless of how
clear the ground may be at the Casa.
But we are underway with our project, even if all the beautiful
resources of rocks and mulch are being bulldozed off the terrain.
And, we learn, the city is not piping in water and such showers as
there are will be in a completely different location, so if it
stops raining our installations may run dry. But we’ll work
something out. At least we’ve finally begun!
More and more people are coming into town, and the energy is
definitely rising. In spite of the frustrations, we’re doing a lot
of great, creative work together. And now for some dinner. . .
To read Starhawk’s reports from other global justice
actions, see her book Webs of Power: Notes from the Global
Uprising. (New Society Publishers, 2002). Her website,