By Rata Rey
April 19, 2016
Five months have passed since ejido Tila expelled the municipal government and declared autonomy: five months of self-determination, organizational and community restructuring, of contemplating ways to establish a government where the people command, of making collective decisions regarding the direction of the community. Nearly half a year of beginning to walk in autonomy. “Autonomy is a lifelong process. The struggle never ends. And it’s only recently that we have begun walking towards it,” says an ejidatario* comrade.
Three ejidatario comrades tell us how the process has moved forward, what its accomplishments and obstacles have been. When the community realized that it could not keep waiting for the beating from the local government and the police and paramilitaries that it supports, the residents began formulating a new way of governing themselves and taking charge of their territory. The first decision taken by the assembly was naming security commissioners and placing guards at the entrances of the town. Women and young people also participate as guards. The police rotate, all residents are asked to guard at some point. It is the community that takes care of itself: “On January 16, there was a dance and we named 50 people to protect it but in the end we were 150 people. People were surprised that the dance was so safe. Previously, when the municipality was in charge, children and mobile phones used to be stolen and people were scared. Now, though, nothing happened.”