Thousands in Mexico Protest Monsanto by Throwing a Carnival of Corn

From Waging Non-Violence:  http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/mexico-protests-monsanto-with-a-carnival-of-corn/


May 30, 2013

On May 25, an estimated two million people across 50 countries participated in the global March Against Monsanto. Organizers estimate that these protests against the U.S.-based transnational biotech corporation were one of the largest days of coordinated action in history. Yet, despite the high level of coordination, the local actions were not all orchestrated by professional organizers — and nor were the resulting actions all traditional marches.

On Saturday, about 2,000 participants gathered in Mexico City for the Carnaval del Maíz, a “Carnival of Corn” to celebrate Mexico’s rich diversity of native corn, threatened by Monsanto’s plans to introduce a genetically modified variety of the crop. The fact that Mexico’s manifestation of the global March Against Monsanto took the form of a carnival is no coincidence. The current generation of Mexican activists is looking for new strategies to fight for social justice, and the March Against Monsanto provided an opportunity to fuse tradition and innovation into the building blocks for a global food revolution.

The beginnings of the action came from an unlikely source: a novice Mexico City activist named Thalía Güido. In early March, Güido found the “March Against Monsanto” Facebook page and learned there was to be a global protest on May 25.

“I started to see [actions] in Africa, in Boston, and I said to myself, how can it be that Mexico isn’t listed?” she remembered thinking. After the organizers confirmed that there was nothing yet planned for Mexico, she decided it was time to start planning.

She started by contacting student-activists who had belonged to her university’s chapter of Yo Soy 132, a movement that opposes Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and the nation’s corporate media conglomerate. They liked the idea, so she began reaching out to other organizations.

“I started sending emails like crazy,” said Güido.

The momentum began building. At the first meeting, there were four participants; by the fourth, the group barely fit in the room. By the week before the event, more than 40 different organizations, as well as independent activists, were involved in the organizing efforts — although no one wore name tags identifying what institution they were coming from. Güido attributes the rapid growth of the planning meetings to the horizontal and citizen-oriented structure of the group, as well as to the carnivalesque nature of the event.

Continue reading at:  http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/mexico-protests-monsanto-with-a-carnival-of-corn/

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