Macehual Urbanism

After last September’s earthquake, I had Mexico City (CDMX) on my mind quite a bit. Not just the city and its residents, but also what it represents to people in Mexico, both the good and the bad. I ended up going down a historical rabbit hole trying to break down this complicated relationship, which led to the idea of ‘Macehual Urbanism’, a type of Indigenous urbanity that existed in pre-contact North America.

Origins of CDMX

CDMX was founded in 1325 as Mēxihco-Tenōchtitlan, part of the Triple Alliance. When the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés and his crew rolled in two centuries after its founding, about 212,500 people lived there. It was by far the largest city in the continent and one of the largest in the world.

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History Time! Soy Xicoténcatl

The Disturbance of San Francisco del Rincón is considered an important precedent of the Mexican War of Independence that freed Mexico (and California) from Spanish rule. San Francisco del Rincón also happens to be my family’s town, so it is something I’ve research and thought about.

Around March 17, 1755, the Indigenous people of my town rose up and liberated their town from Spanish colonialists. After three days, the Native insurgents were defeated and taken captive by the colonial Spanish forces.

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ICE Is to Blame

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said tonight that reports of immigration checkpoints and sweeps or “roundups” were false, dangerous and irresponsible. They said reports like these created “mass panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger”.

This is the same ICE that detained a DREAMer in his home in Seattle. The same ICE that detained—on a tip from the victim’s abuser—a survivor of domestic violence at a courthouse in El Paso. The same ICE that detained two men coming out of a church’s Winter homeless shelter in Virginia. All in the last week.

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Building a Resilient Resistance

By advocating non-compliance and resistance, the nascent Resist movement is calling into question the legitimacy of this administration’s authority. Such erosion of government authority is intolerable to any state, particularly one with a long history of disrupting social movements. As such, Resist will be a target for state disruption, either through direct targeting of visible leadership or by disrupting specific relationships and associations within the movement.

By existing within a legal framework, grassroots nonprofits are particularly vulnerable to disruption. The drive to oppose unjust policies, in conjunction with limited capacity and burdensome regulations, can quickly lead to (real or alleged) “non-compliance”. This can lead to lawsuits, audits and/or loss of funding, disrupting their operations—a DDOS IRL. This is an everyday reality of working within a legal framework, but a clear weakness for the Resist movement, that appears to be gravitating towards the authenticity that grassroots leadership brings.

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