“No fue fácil. Nos costó.”

John Gibler presented his work, Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt at SFU, Monday February 16, on his North American book tour. Howard Zinn has this to say about Gibler’s book:

Gibler shares the voices, stories, and communal dignity of the ordinary Mexicans who are putting their lives at risk by challenging corrupt power as they build social movements for basic rights, justice, and autonomy. An exciting first book by emerging young writer.

It was a pretty good multi-media presentation.  I came away with a couple new feelings/ideas.

One, came after seeing a documentary on the women’s takeover of the state television station. The way the women used the station, turned it into a twenty-one day conversation about their lives, was eye-opening. They showed the power of media to create and promote a connecting dialogue. It’s an inspiring idea.

The second moment of deep education came when Erika Del Carmen Fuchs responded to a comment in a small discussion on the possibilities of creating social change here in Vancouver. She made a distinction between the presentation and organizing, “What we are doing here is not organizing. I want to make it clear that this is not organizing.” In the moment, it was a powerful statement. The dialogue had turned to the difficulty of changing minds, getting messages out. The more-or-less-like-minded audience, was working this idea thoroughly. There was a strong pessimistic flavour to the conversation, and then Erika Del Carmen Fuchs stopped the conversation to make the distinction. For me, she turned what was a defeatist tone completely around. It was a reminder that making social change is hard. It doesn’t happen through consciousness alone, but through consciously organized action. The question then changes from “How do we get people to care about X?” to “What can we do to change X?” It’s easy to care, but organizing a change, that’s hard.  Erika Del Carmen Fuchs also pointed out that 10 years of organizing went into the Zapatista uprising. The reminder that it’s possible, that it’s not easy, and that it takes organization, real work that actually changes something, was inspiring.

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