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Mesoamerica Resiste

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Issue: 76 Section: Arts Topics: climate justice

May 2, 2011

Mesoamerica Resiste

The story behind the cover

by The Bees

From the graphic campaign, "Mesoamerica Resiste." Photo: The Beehive Collective

The cover image for our 2011 special issue on climate justice, "A People's Forecast," was adapted from the graphic on the right for The Dominion by the Beehive Collective. Thanks, Bees!

The Beehive Design Collective’s Graphics Campaigns use images to communicate and educate, cross-pollinating the grassroots with stories of the realities of our times, their historical roots and potential futures. The cover of this issue and the smaller image to the left are part of a collaborative graphic design project by the Beehive to draw attention to stories of resistance to the Project Mesoamerica, formerly known as Plan Puebla Panama (PPP).

The name of this campaign, Mesoamerica Resiste,reflects our efforts to go beyond illustrating corporate globalization plans to illustrate, document and share diverse stories of survival, community development, collective action and inspiration. The cover image, adapted from a black and white drawing from the forthcoming Mesoamerica Resiste poster, links a history of resistance against colonial control of land and resources to contemporary climate justice struggles.

The image is part of a mobius strip scene that depicts:

  • Troops forcing the resisting ants into a mass grave, to show the history of how social movements are repressed with mass arrests, forced disappearances and massacres.
  • The Scorched Earth, or Tierra Arrasada, a military tactic of terrorizing and attacking civilians, used in the genocidal war in Guatemala with backing from high-ups in the US administration.
  • A monstrous machine that’s half-tank and half-tractor, to link military violence with the violence of industrial agriculture. The tank-tractor is shown assaulting mother corn with pesticides and genetically modified seed.

The original drawing continues downward to show:

  • Agrofuels spill from the corporate Trojan horse. Disguised as a solution to climate change, production of agrofuels such as ethanol fails to address massive over-consumption of fuels by a minority in the Global North.
  • “Cornquistadors” are used as a double metaphor: historically killing Indigenous people with smallpox, and now killing indigenous corn with gene contamination.

Ants are a symbol for popular resistance. While they are protesting at the top of the graphic, the ants underneath, with the spider, represent traditional knowledge, subsistence farming communities, sowing seed, saving seed, and building the soil.

This was published in A People's Forecast: The Climate Justice Issue, our 2011 special issue. To read more articles as they are published, click here.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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