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by relatos zapatistas (relatoszapatistas [at]
DISPLACEMENT: complete show that attempts to develop an expansive understanding of the phenomenon of displacement. the main topics include gang injunctions in oakland; the invasion of san juan copala, oaxaca; and the case of the gonzález sisters, three tzeltal girls who were raped by mexican soldiers in 1994. (1hr 40 min, mp3)
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Capitalism is built on displacement. For at least the last 500 years, it has removed those who lack political and economic capital and imposed not only a system of values but also a system of spatial relations, enclosing lands, resources, and cultures. The refugee, the houseless person or family, the migrant, and the uprooted community are contemporary manifestations of displacement. But for displacement to be truly effective, it has to become invisible. Capital and state work together to normalize the removal of people who are expendable and invisible or, as the Zapatistas say, “below” and to the "left." Capital needs to circulate and expand, so when people or communities fail to move, reproduce or contribute to profit they become simultaneously dispensable and indispensable to the market. They can (and will) be tossed aside, but they are also to be used and exploited, re-inserted elsewhere into capital’s productive flow. Located at the intersection of dispensability and indispensability, displacement is made not only possible, but normal, common-sense, everyday, to be expected, by agents of state and capital. It is the normalization of displacement that we want look at in this month’s show.

In the first part of the show we focus on the Bay Area, where the state has used an array of policies to address what they call the "gang problem." "Gang injunctions" have been deployed recently as a tool to rid communities of “gangs,” supported and implemented by elected city attorney John Russo, Jerry Brown, and many other agents of the state. The communities of North Oakland and now Fruitvale have been the first of many communities of color to experience this new phase of the institutionalization of racial profiling. We will hear a compañero from Stop the Injunctions break down what a "Gang Injunction" is and how the community in North Oakland is fighting back.

The second part of the show offers and in depth look at the autonomous Triqui community of San Juan Copala. Surrounded by hostile communities aligned with self-interested political parties, the community has been literally under siege, facing continual violence and repression. Dozens of community members have been assassinated and raped. On April 27, near San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, a humanitarian observation mission was attacked by the paramilitary group UBISORT, and two members of the caravan, Bety Cariño Trujillo and Jyri Jaakkola, were murdered. In the wake of this attack, another human rights caravan attempted to break the siege but was forced to abandon the attempt under threat of further violence. Soon after, the community was invaded and the project of autonomy abandoned. In this segment we will begin to understand how this community has been displaced and harassed by paramilitary troops and state agencies. We hope to clarify what has been occurring within this "occupied" community.

Displacement includes not only the eviction of people, families, and communities from their homes or lands, but also the obstruction of their practices of moving through space. In this sense, displacement is spatial disruption that serves the interest of capital. In the third part of the program we will hear about the hermanas González, the González sisters, three Tzeltal girls from a Zapatista community who were gang raped by Mexican soldiers at a military checkpoint in June 1994, 6 months after the initial uprising of the EZLN. For the last 16 years, the girls have been trying to hold the Mexican army accountable for their crimes, and have seen a system of total impunity. We’re especially interested here in understanding the military checkpoint, as a technology of displacement, whose primary modality is the paralysis of state terror. Its stability transforms it into a feature of everyday life, transforms the space in which people and capital circulate. In this way displacement, and state violence, are normalized.

Within each of these stories we want to recognize the existence of struggle and suffering. We also see new ways of self determination and tactics of resistance. We hope to learn from such practices and tactics to better understand how to fight and stop the normalizing of the violence of enclosure and displacement.

References from the show:
Stop the Injunctions in Oakland
Comité Hermanas González
Chiapas Support Committee
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