Marcela’s Story: Planting Autonomy, Resisting Patriarchy

  • September 18, 2021

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Gender & Governmentality

Marcela, an indigenous healer and organizer, reflects on the role of traditional knowledge and medicine in both her personal and collective struggles for liberation.

Dispatches from Resistant Mexico is a series of short documentaries from southern Mexico, each depicting one of the thousands of pockets of resistance throughout Latin America that are in struggle against what the Zapatistas call “the capitalist hydra.”

These individuals and communities affirm a way life in opposition to capitalist economics and values. They fight the devastating neoliberal “development” and “mega-projects” that loot resources and land from indigenous communities and threaten forms of life that have survived despite 500 years of colonization.

The resistance shares many of the principles and goals of the Zapatistas: autonomy from the capitalist economy, communalist self-government rooted in indigenous collective traditions, an end to the subordination of women and a respectful, life-affirming, non-dominating relation to nature. Indigenous women are at the forefront of many of these ongoing struggles.

Marcela’s Story: Planting Autonomy, Resisting Patriarchy

In this eighth episode of the series, we’re acquainted with Marcela, an indigenous healer and organizer who grew up in a remote village in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, with parents who were healers, and surrounded by a wild natural world that she was taught to love and respect.

Marcela learned about autonomy from the Zapatistas, and studied women’s liberation with the women’s groups organized by Nachita, the nun of her local parish. Nachita helped her to escape from the oppressive patriarchy of her village to become a powerful healer and organizer.

Now, Marcela and her husband share their knowledge and healing practices as they struggle along with the National Indigenous Congress against the capitalist megaprojects that are threatening nature and life itself.

Dispatches from resistant Mexico

  1. Think from the Heart: the National Indigenous Congress in Mexico
  2. Defending Land, Ocean and Air
  3. Cooking Against Capitalism: Oaxaca’s Traditional Kitchens
  4. Resistance, Autonomy and Women’s Rights in Chiapas
  5. All of This, We Have to Defend
  6. The Women of Candelaria
  7. Maya Train: Eye of the Storm
  8. Marcela’s Story: Planting Autonomy, Resisting Patriarchy

Caitlin Manning

Caitlin Manning is a filmmaker, feminist and an anti-capitalist, anti-racist and anti-patriarchal grandmother. She is a recently-retired professor of film at CSU Monterey Bay, participant and video propagandist for various movements and radical groupings (student occupation movement, Occupy Oakland, Antifa actions, Prison Strike). She was the co-founder of Processed World magazine.

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Joe Bender

Sound-recordist and collaborator on the Dispatches-series, artist, surfer, member of the Tamarak collective (soon to open a radical space/café in downtown Oakland).

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Magazine — Issue 11