By the CML-DF Editorial Committee
These are times of national emergency. We of the Centro de Medios Libres (Free Media Center) can’t keep up with all the information about the different struggles and examples of resistance and autonomy now germinating against the war going on in our county. As this war gets heavier, a peaceful, civil insurgency is taking shape nationally in response to a poet’s cry of pain. Some years back, a number of small local movements were born, and they’ve gradually grown into a way to survive.
Alongside the peaceful, civil insurgency struggling for peace with justice and dignity, a free media movement against this war also continues to grow. For the past few years, with a small news outlet here and another there: a fanzine, a little newspaper, a community radio, a video production team, a web page, a wall newspaper, a small blog, a bloa, a theater of the oppressed, a mailing list, etc., this free media movement has come together in a counterpoint to the stepped-up violence. It often raises the political costs of the repression and sometimes even stops it. It’s still a seedling; one day it will be a field of corn, a long braid.
There are quite a few long-time members of this free media movement, and one of them is Kaloparlantes; she’s been on the editorial committee of the Centro de Medios Libres in Mexico City for several years. Kaloparlantes has shown us through her practice that you have to be there in the daily struggle at just the right time, picking up the heartbeats from the ground up, from the lefthand side. That in the spot least expected resistance is nesting, that it might be so modest that it’s not even visible. That it not only falls to us to struggle and experience the wide variety of moments of the struggle, but also to narrate them, to be the eyes and ears of people in places that are often far apart. It’s our job to be the narrators of struggles.
We admire her precise documentation, her contrast of sources, her long term outlook and her recounting of facts that the war on historic memory doesn’t let us see, except through people who are guardians of words, people who remember collectively.
With her life, Kaloparlantes also shows us something about freedom, that living a different way can be real and not just talk, and that it’s not enough to struggle for our own freedom but also for the freedom of other people, like the political prisoners in Mexico, in the United States ––the imperial metropolis––, and in other parts of the world. Even prisoners who’ve spent so much time behind the dark bars of the empire that people might not remember them, like Mumia Abul-Jamal and the Move 9.
And so when Kaloparlantes, documenting what she says and contrasting sources, tells us that a politician of the official party now ruling the empire intends to make light of his career while presenting himself in Mexico as a social activist, even though he does have a first and last name on his calling card, our reaction is one of anger and astonishment, especially now in these times of emergency and struggle for justice.
In the last few decades, we’ve seen all kinds of politicians and functionaries parade around in the mass media, fully identified with first and last name. Yet many of us who struggle for justice lost our first and last names long ago, and we’re left with our voices, our arms, our dreams, and our place in the day-by-day construction of a different kind of present and future, while we create media from the left and from the ground up, from peoples’ struggles, for a brighter tomorrow for all of us.
And so those of us involved in peoples’ communication, in free, independent and community media, reserve our right to use pseudonyms. The history of Mexico is full of shameless tyrants and functionaries, and it’s also full of people who shed their names to be able to struggle for justice, and who did this by using the art of words and memory. We think the insistence on disclosing the pseudonyms of people struggling as communicators is an act that jeopardizes the security of all of us who are creating a different kind of communication and also jeopardizes the security of the free and independent media collectives that we belong to.
Nevertheless, this anonymity that the war against the people has forced us to assume doesn’t mean that we are undisciplined in documenting information from inside our struggles, contrasting new sources and generating a narrative with a different ethic: one of people in struggle. The experience of Kaloparlantes and of dozens of members of the movement of free, independent and community media in Mexico, as well as the collectives themselves, show us that this discipline in communications work develops in a very specific way and allows both individual communicators and those who belong to free media collectives and organizations to become reliable sources.
On the eve of the departure of the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity from Cuernavaca, Moreleos, headed for Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, we express our solidarity with our compañera Kaloparlantes, at the same time that we send our greetings to the Caravan and all the local movements that are building a national movement for peace with justice and dignity throughout Mexico.
Editorial Committee of the Centro de Medios Libres of Mexico City
¡Take the media, be the media, make the media!
June 2, 2011
This post is also available in: Spanish