By Beverly Bell, May 20, 2014. Source: Other Worlds
”Easy tasks are not for people who want to create change.” – Pedro Franco. Photo: Beverly Bell
An interview with Pedro Franco, an organizer of social movements and mutual-aid cooperatives from Santo Domingo. He is also a member of CoopHabitat, which promotes housing coops.
Previous theories of social transformation could be constructed based on the American Far West movies, where the stagecoach came through the desert with those who stole, guarded, and transported the gold. The revolutionaries waited to raid the coach.
Revolutions – the October Revolution, all of them – were based on that image of the assault on power. This is an anti-Zapatista image, which instead is of building power from the community, from below. This image requires a new vision. Our problem nowadays is how to build power and a new economy from below. There are many factors to take into account in doing this, but first and foremost: human beings.
There had been some social movements in the city: traditional movements as well as the union movements and so-called “housewife” movements; cultural and youth clubs that worked on popular art, popular education and sports; the literary movement… During times of dictatorship, the youth movement and the teachers’ movement were those that had the most staying-power.
With the global crisis of perspectives with the fall of the Berlin Wall, many grassroots movements and labor unions here suffered a very negative impact. The global, unipolar domination that we are now so familiar with was born. In the mid-1980s, urban social movements re-emerged in the country. These community-based, poor-people’s movements took up the struggle against the neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Continue reading