Cancun Dispatch: 8/31

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — In the morning we go next door, where
Citlali, another of Carlos; sisters, gives us breakfast.
Citlali is Nahuatl for star. She is a
psychologist but works running a small shop downstairs. The family
has a restaurant next door that looks like a place to get good,
inexpensive Mexican food, and there are few things I like more.
Citlali serves us mango and papaya and homemade yogurt and a whole
plate of wonderful chicken, which I, the last unregenerate
carnivore in the movement, am very grateful for. I’d tried to send
yesterday’s update, but Rodrigo’s phone is cut off because they
were late with the bill. He asks his sister, but her phone is cut
off, too. Apparently, the newly privatized phone company cuts off
service if you are even an hour late with the bill.

We go back to the encampment, and I start the morning by asking
the students to talk about their visions for the world, to think
about what we’re fighting for. It’s very moving to hear them talk
about a world where there isn’t such a division between rich and
poor, where everyone has enough, where people are respected for
being human beings. A small, shy woman who hasn’t spoken much, says
that her vision is for a world in which women and men are equal —
or if not equal, because there are differences, equivalent in
power, where she can be in the world like a man. Another young
woman says that in our culture there are subjects and objects, we
are subjects and nature is an object, but to indigenous people
everything in nature is a subject, and that is the world she wants.
Many of them speak of wanting to be more in balance with nature,
wanting a world of creativity and joy.

Then we form new affinity groups, real ones this time, based on
the level of risk different people are willing to take. I have them
line up along an axis, with one pole representing maximum risk, the
other side representing no risk at all, and ask them to arrange
themselves. They seem to form naturally into three blocs, a perfect
bell curve with the majority in the middle, so they form quickly
into groups and I ask them to think about actions that can embody
the visions we’ve just been talking about, that can make visible a
bit of the world we want to create. They come back in half an hour
with lots of creative ideas, from reading stories to children on
the street or setting up a school in an intersection on the day the
WTO discusses services to painting their visions on the pavement.
We carry on with more organizing, broken only by one final role
play when I get one group to stage a surprise attack on the others.
We end with a group Tarot reading over a very late lunch. Most of
the cards are upside down.

Then I get rushed off to the airport and fly back to Cancun, so
tired I nearly walk onto the wrong plane. All the pillars at the
airport are now decorated with signs welcoming the WTO, but
security is still minimal. My energy returns when I rejoin our
whole cluster of friends at the Tacos Arabe restaurant, where
everyone is sitting in the outdoor courtyard drinking Victoria beer
and eating guacamole. The mood is high — several more of our
friends from California have come. Tomorrow the Welcome Center will
open, and the mobilization is really underway.

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, has
ordering information.

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