The genesis of this "strategy for revolution" project
this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/StrikGo.htm
In 1996, within a period of three and a-half months, I "lucked out", first because Jared James gave me a copy of the first draft of Getting Free, and then I came upon a copy of Jaime Martínez' Comunalidad y Autonomía (in English, Communality and Autonomy). Immediately, I prepared a handout for the radical science course I was teaching in the Fall of 1996. The cover sheet for the course handout (with a few small corrections) follows:
A Sketch of an Association of Democratic, Autonomous By Jared James
By Jared James
an early, still-incomplete draft, reprinted with permission
Some words of explanation. A few days ago, on August 25th, I returned to Boston after almost two months in Mexico. On June 13th Jared James had given me an earlier draft of his paper, which, because of its preliminary nature, he asked me not to circulate. My reaction to what he had written was that the ideas were so important they really ought to be considered right away, and I wrote a two-page synopsis that I distributed to a few people in the Boston-Cambridge Alliance with whom I was working at that time. Those two pages follow this cover sheet.
In my final week in Mexico I was a member of a Grassroots International delegation that met with a number of grassroots organizations working within the civil sector for progressive change of Mexican society. We spent a few days visiting several small towns, pueblitos, high in the Sierra Juarez mountains northeast of Oaxaca City in the state of Oaxaca. These remote indigenous communities are remarkable because of the degree to which they have maintained communal autonomy and their adherence to forms of social organization that have existed for hundreds of years.
In one of them, Guelatao de Juarez, I learned about, and got, a copy of a book akin to Jared James's in that it too is an effort to conceive of a good future society. Jaime Martínez, the author/compiler of Communality and Autonomy (Comunalidad y Autonomía in the original Spanish) is a member of the group Comunalidad, A.C.: una actitud para el futuro, which in English is Communality, A.C.: an outlook for the future. The acronym A.C. stands for Civil Association. The book Comunalidad y Autonomía is dated May 1995, a year and five months after the Zapatista rebellion exploded in neighboring Chiapas State.
It is hard to imagine people living in cultures so vastly different coming up with projections for the future society they wish to live in that share as much as do the papers of Jared James -- urban to the hilt -- and those of Jaime Martínez, a Zapoteco, one of the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca -- who treasure their forests, their fields, and the wonderful solitude of their mountains.
What I would like to do is translate Getting Free into Spanish and Comunalidad y Autonomía into English, so that there could be an easy interchange of ideas. I'll need to work on my Spanish to do that, or find someone who knows both languages and who shares my interest in these ideas enough to undertake the task.
--George Salzman, 8/30/96
Notes added December 1999.
I have no doubt that the ideas expressed in these essays are absolutely crucial for the social revolution so many of us are striving to achieve (as the massive actions against the World Trade Organization in Seattle a few short weeks ago make clear). If these ideas prevail, it will be a revolution with an absolute minimum of violence. Jared James's Getting Free will soon be posted on my website in both English and Spanish. Jaime Martínez' Comunalidad y Autonomía, is being posted, also in Spanish and English, as the translation becomes available.
I was in error in believing, in 1996, and stating in the original course handout, that most, if not all of the pueblitos in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca maintained communal autonomy and their adherence to forms of social organization that existed "long before the Spanish conquest." A historically more accurate statement is on my website in Proposed work I would like to do in the state of Oaxaca.
--GS, Oaxaca, December 20, 1999
Return to the opening page of the Strategy for Revolution folder
Return to the opening page of the website