Political Economy of Memory: Women and the Oaxaca Uprising
On August 1, 2006, thousands of women in Oaxaca, Mexico, marched in the streets in support of striking teachers. These teachers had been striking in order to pressure the local government for better salaries, more allocation of breakfasts for poor students, and better overall school conditions. The teachers, having occupied the central square in the state capital, had been assaulted by the police and temporarily dislodged about six weeks before, but they returned to hold the zone with barricades, while a solidarity movement arose around them. The women protesting on August 1st were asking for the governor’s resignation and for a more just society in which the police and the politicians would not be able commit such abuses against citizens.
The women, wanting to express their concerns regarding the pressing social conditions Oaxacans were living at that time, went to request air time at the local state-run television and radio stations. Their request was rebuffed out of hand. In an unprecedented move, the women took over the installations of the state-run television and radio stations and for 21 days transformed the concept of media. These stations, under the control of the women and the social movement they were part of, came to be for the first time a space where many social and political issues could be discussed. This stood out in sharp contrast to the norm, when the media were in the hands of the state. This takeover created a sense of great unity among people of all walks of life and instilled a sense of having a voice for the people..
Presenter Profile: Gabriela Martínez, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communication
Gabriela Martínez is a researcher and documentary filmmaker. Her research interests are international communications, political economy of communications, and the intersections of these with globalization, gender and culture. She is the author of the book Latin American Telecommunications: Telefónica’s Conquest. She has made more than 12 documentaries dealing with cultural, social and political topics in such countries as Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico.