Reggae, Ska, and Resistance

Reggae, Ska, and Resistance

These are members of the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (FPDT), during a reggae and ska festival in San Salvador Atenco on Friday. They took the stage with their iconic machetes and read from a declaration calling for the liberation of political prisoners swept up by the government during the violent confrontation in 2006 between federal forces and the people of this municipio in the flat orbit of Mexico City. The throngs of youth who had gathered to hear such bands as Los de Abajo and Panteon Rococo listened patiently, most of them covered in a film of dust and exhausted from a full afternoon of hardcore slam-dancing. And they were ready for more.

Here are some kids jamming near the front of the stage during the set by Salon Victoria. The 2006 flower sellers' conflict was not the first generated in these fields east of the Distrito Federal. In 2002 residents of the region battled with the government over a proposal to raze their homes and build a new international airport in Texcoco. The memories of both conflicts were present throughout the day -- besides the planes descending overhead -- as band after band that played reminded the crowds that the resistance continues, and many "presos politicos" such as leader Ignacio del Valle remain behind bars. The concert was organized to raise funds for their release.

This banda were all teenagers and when they said they were from "San Diego" this caused some confusion, as I initially thought they meant the city in California. This made me guilty I guess of reverse provincialism: San Diego is also the name of a town in the vicinity. ("No guey, somos de rancho!")


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