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Connecticut College's Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity will host a talk on Thursday, Jan. 26 , by Tom Hansen, executive director and co-founder of the Mexico Solidarity Network. "Autonomy, Gender and Zapatismo -- Struggles for a New Politics" will address autonomous community organizing as exemplified by the Zapatistas, the Mexican revolutionary group fighting on behalf of the country's impoverished indigenous population.
"Zapatismo is the idea that social movements can develop from the bottom up, empowering even the most marginalized," explained Leo Garofalo, professor of history. "Before the WTO protests in Seattle, before the Arab Spring, before the Occupy movement, poor men and many women from farming communities in Chiapas showed the world the tremendous power that common people organized democratically behind the idea of social justice and direct political participation can unleash in a society."
In addition to his work with the Mexico Solidarity Network, Hansen is an experienced organizer, having worked with organizations such as Pastors for Peace, the Veterans Peace Convoy and the New York-Nicaragua Construction Brigade. Said Garofalo, "We are very excited because this talk gives our students an opportunity to understand how history is made and economic and political paradigms can shift, even when these at first seem immutable."
The Jan. 26 talk is at 4:15 p.m. in the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room in Shain Library. It is free and open to the public.