Synopses & Reviews
A massive uprising against the Mexican state of Oaxaca began with the emergence of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in June 2006. A coalition of more than 300 organizations, APPO disrupted the functions of Oaxaca's government for six months. It began to develop an inclusive and participatory political vision for the state. Testimonials were broadcast on radio and television stations appropriated by APPO, shared at public demonstrations, debated in homes and in the streets, and disseminated around the world via the Internet.
The movement was met with violent repression. Participants were imprisoned, tortured, and even killed. Lynn Stephen emphasizes the crucial role of testimony in human rights work, indigenous cultural history, community and indigenous radio, and women's articulation of their rights to speak and be heard. She also explores transborder support for APPO, particularly among Oaxacan immigrants in Los Angeles. The book is supplemented by a website featuring video testimonials, pictures, documents, and a timeline of key events.
andquot;We Are the Face of Oaxaca is a magnificent book. A model of engaged scholarship and the best work yet by Lynn Stephen, it is an original analysis of the massive popular rebellion in Oaxaca, Mexico, during 2006andndash;07. Given her deep, long-term ties to Oaxacans in both Mexico and the United States, Stephen is uniquely positioned to analyze the social movement and the significance of participants' testimonials in its production and reception.andquot;andmdash;Patricia Zavella, author of I'm Neither Here nor There: Mexicans' Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty
andquot;Given the new visibility of protest, Lynn Stephen's fascinating book offers a valuable opportunity to understand how protest movements work at the grass roots. This ethnography of the Oaxacan protest of 2006 focuses on testimony: the performed, embodied act of telling a story. Protestersandrsquo; courageous testimonies broadcast over the radio made a difference. The book and its website with recordings provide a wonderful opportunity to hear the testimonies of those with courage to speak.andquot;andmdash;Sally Engle Merry, author of Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice
andldquo;We Are the Face of Oaxaca is well suited for upper- or graduate-level courses, and is supported by the web site contents which are a welcome additions for interactive teaching. The work is unique in that the author has a personally informed view of the area of study and was able to capture testimonies and events on video and tape to create the bookandrsquo;s accompanying web site. . . . We are the Face of Oaxaca is an engaged ethnography that represents what the struggle was about, the voice of the people.andrdquo;
andldquo;The analysis of testimony and human rights is valuable well beyond the case of Oaxaca. Woven throughout the text are segments of testimonies from the activists involved in the APPO, and links to a bilingual website containing video clips, maps, and photos, which will be particularly useful for university classes. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.andrdquo;
andquot;Readers who are familiar with conditions in Oaxaca as well as those who were unaware of recent events will appreciate Stephenandrsquo;s masterful weaving of scholarship in English and Spanish to provide a concise yet probing summary of 50 years of social unrest across a diverse state.andquot;
Lynn Stephen uses the Oaxaca social movement of 2006 to illustrate how oral testimony is central to rights-claiming, participatory democracy, knowledge creation, and the production of new political subjects in contemporary social movements.
About the Author
Lynn Stephen is Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies at the University of Oregon. She is the author of Transborder Lives: Indigenous Oaxacans in Mexico, California, and Oregon and Zapotec Women: Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in Globalized Oaxaca, both also published by Duke University Press.
Table of Contents
Maps, Illustrations, and Videoclips vii
Acronyms and Abbreviations xi
About the Website xv
1. Testimony: Human Rights, and Social Movements 1
2. Histories and Movements: Antecedents to the Social Movement of 2006 36
3. The Emergence of the APPO and the 2006 Oaxaca Social Movement 66
4. Testimony and Human Rights Violations in Oaxaca 95
5. Community and Indigenous Radio in Oaxaca: Testimony and Participatory Democracy 121
6. The Women's Takeover of Media in Oaxaca: Gendered Rights andquot;to Speakandquot; and andquot;to Be Heardandquot; 145
7. The Economics and Politics of Conflict: Perspectives from Oaxacan Artisans, Merchants, and Business Owners 178
8. In Indigenous Activism: The Triqui Autonomous Municipality, APPO Juxtlahuaca, and Transborder Organizing in AAPO-L.A. 209
9. From Barricades to Autonomy and Art: Youth Organizing in Oaxaca 245