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Relatos Zapatistas Radio Show for September 5, 2010

by relatos zapatistas (relatoszapatistas [at]
"SEGURIDAD / SECURITY / SAFETY": complete radio program including news updates; repression vs. "anarchists" in chile, mexico, arizona, and the bay area; neighborhood organizing in west oakland; and revolutionary hip hop in modesto. originally aired on berkeley liberation radio, september 5, 2010. (approx. 2 hrs, mp3)
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The Spanish word "seguridad" can be translated into English in two ways: security and safety. What we are going to do on today’s show is try to articulate what we see as a series of fundamental tensions or distinctions between these two ways of conceptualizing "seguridad". On one hand, there is "security," which we might associate, for example, with the current doctrines and institutions of national security, which encompass the military, border patrol, homeland security, and ICE. Security as enacted within these institutions is not invested in the protection of people or communities but rather the protection of the flow of capital and the state’s ability to exercise power. Security can therefore be seen as a force that reproduces the state.

On the other hand, we could imagine safety in its most ideal form as the ability for individuals and communities to live their lives with dignity, freely and autonomously, without being subjected to the trauma and violence of precarious everyday life under the neoliberal state. We find safety in the formation of horizontal networks, friendships and communities. We also find it in people’s efforts and the inspiration that accompany those who attempt to imagine and bring to life otras formas de hacer política, other forms of doing politics. Safety happens from below and to the left, desde abajo y a la izquierda. Safety is the opposite of security.

In the first half of the show, we’re going to look at one small component of the security apparatus of the state, a mediatic component. From Chile to Mexico to Arizona and back to the Bay Area, we’ll trace the strategic appearance of concepts and terms like “anarchists,” “terrorists,” and “outside agitators” as rhetorical building blocks of police repression. Then, in the second half of the show, we’ll talk with some of the people who are trying to build autonomous communities capable of facilitating relations based on principles of safety, of putting safety into practice in material ways. From using hip hop as a form of alternative media in Modesto to the idea of creating a neighborhood council in West Oakland that could provide services to the community, we are interested in the point at which safety stops operating as an abstract concept and is transformed into concrete and realizable projects.
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