Zapatista Movement fund-raiser planned tonight
Inspiration comes from unlikely places and for Nevada County residents, it is about to come from Chiapas, Mexico. Or, at least that is Bodhi Busick and Roger Ramsaur’s plan.
These self-described anarchy activists have organized an event to raise money for the refugees of the Zapatista Movement in a way they hope will inspire residents to “achieve the changes they desire.”
Tonight’s “Zapata Vive” will feature local bands and provide a slide show about the Zapatista Movement as a fund-raiser for the estimated 8,000 Mayan refugees in Southern Mexico, the Chiapas Support Committee of Oakland estimated.
“A common denominator for people in this country, young and old, is that we don’t like the way things are headed,” Busick said. “We can learn from the Zapatistas.”
To Ramsaur and Busick, the Zapatista Movement is exemplary of a successful, grass roots revolution.
Ten years after the passage of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the indigenous people in the Chiapas Highlands region of Mexico protested the oppression they faced by the Mexican government and deteriorating economic quality they believed was caused by NAFTA, Busick said. In a series of violent uprisings, the region’s villages seized land from the Mexican government and demanded autonomy, he added.
“This group wanted change and they got it because they were united by a singleness of purpose,” he said.
Busick and Ramsaur believe if they can educate people about the Zapatistas Movement, they will start to understand how to affect change in their own communities.
“This is an event to get people talking and working together by combining the wisdom of the elders with the fire and passion of the youth,” Ramsaur said.
Ramsaur, who is a singer and songwriter with Vanilla Bees, has played at similar benefits in Berkeley and other locations in Northern California.
Busick first became involved with the Chiapas cause when he traveled to the region two years ago. He was so impressed by the unity and utility in the Zapatista villages – from the way they administered medical services to the way they educated their kids using their local Mayan dialect – that he saw a source of inspiration for revolutionaries in the United States, he said.
“We don’t think like [the Zapatistas],” he said. “They think as a group and have the Third World concept of sharing.”
In contrast, Busick said Americans are too focused on individuality.
“Everyone here has to have their own car and our own space,” he said. “As long as we think like that, we’re never going to achieve change.”
Doors open for “Zapata Vive” at 7 p.m. when a Mexican dinner will be served with food donated by local businesses. During dinner, a slide show presentation by Marianna Tenudo Sanchez, president of the Committee de Apoyo a Chiapas (Chiapas Support Committee) in Oakland, will be shown to educate guests about the Zapatista Movement, Busick said.
After dinner, at least eight local bands will perform followed by another presentation of Sanchez’ slide show and an open forum and discussion. These bands include Black Bear, Golden Shoulders and the Revenge. The event will end around 11 p.m.
“This is going to be the starting place,” Ramsaur said. “It’s for everyone, young and old, who wants to be informed and inspired to push past their inhibitions and come together as a community.”
KNOW AND GO
WHAT: Zapata Vive! Dinner, concert and slide show
WHEN: Tonight from 7 to 11
WHERE: Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley
ADMISSION: $7 including dinner.
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