Social Organizing

Taking the roadsLast night and this morning the news on TV was filled with images of protestors, mostly getting beaten by the police. I asked my host dad to explain the background: “It’s the same problem as always, North American Capitalism. They come in and don’t pay their taxes. And the people are mad because we have to pay taxes, and they don’t. A mining company came in and their operations are making people sick.”
So these people took over the roads in Santa Rosa, and were met with police brutality. I saw some horrible images – people laying on the ground being beaten by police, a daughter being torn away from her mother.

Sure, it was probably provoked. But still, this isn’t healthy protesting, in my view. (I’m a sucker for Ghandi’s approach, personally).

This morning what really blew my mind on the news was their daily question. People can call a certain number to answer “yes” to the question and another to say “no.” The question today was “Are you in agreement with police brutality?” It was tied. Fifty percent said they agreed with police brutality. That boggles my mind.

I find it really interesting that working and living conditions here remain so low despite a long history of social organizing and unions. I feel honored right now to be working with a women’s organization that is working with health and education, in the long tradition of women’s organizations here, but still wonder why this tradition hasn’t made this into a better society than it is.

When I was with Justicia Global in the DR, they taught me a bit about social organizing, and how it often has been corrupted throughout Latin America through a variety of means. For instance, if the government or another larger organization starts funding a grassroots organization, it generally destroys it. Before, the workers were working for social change, but now they are working for a paycheck. When unions started here in Honduras, there was a lot of power struggle. The less radical ones (and the ones backed by North American corporations) were recognized, leaving the more radical ones to die.

Posted in Honduras 2007, old blog

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