Friday, September 24, 2010

No Borders Project & Minero

el desperezamiento de la tierra,
el movimiento.

No existe tal movimiento
en el interior:
el sabor de las paredes
es el mismo,
todos los dias.

       --from Carlos Soto-Roman's Haiku' Minero (Miner's Haiku)

Of the books I've read during my Occultations quote end quote tour, ongoing, that have been given to me or that I've picked up, Carlos Soto-Roman's Haiku' Minero (La Calabaza del Diablo, 2007) comes to mind as one of the greatest would-be finds. Would be, save for instead of finding the book, it was given to me by Carlos when we read together for the New Philadelphia Poets' Reading Series. Haiku' Minero is a beautifully bound text-image collage, artist book quality, oscillating between the lyric (baroque even, by post-LANGUAGE standards) and the multiply-narrated, outrage over language's failure to either articulate or intervene in real-time catastrophe. A series of poems, wash images, and epigraphy verging on palimpsest, is dealing principally as investigatory of mine labor & the mine disaster, ensuing strike, & strikes throughout Latin America since 2006, and, at times, prior. Roman is curator of the American part of the international rhizomatic journal Elective Affinities. This book, after first read thru, is so elegant, so visceral and important. More on it as I delve further, my Spanish so-so. But the book (and also the events it circles around) also reminded me to post about the No Borders project, which I hope all of you will check out further.

As part of their project, No Borders: Communities Living & Working with ASARCO, colleagues/friends Lin Nelson and Anne Fischel in May went to Cananea, Mexico—the site of an almost three-year long miners’ strike over occupational/environmental health conditions. The mine’s owner is Grupo Mexico, which now holds ASARCO as a subsidiary. Anne and Lin have had three articles published about the project: The first, “Bankruptcy as Corporate Makeover” in Dollars & Sense, was written with Lin’s daughter, Mara Kardas-Nelson, and provides an overview of the No Borders project. “The Assault on Labor in Cananea, Mexico,” also in D & S, profiles the Cananea strike, which was ended on June 6 when Mexican state police using tear gas forcibly took over the mine. A shorter piece on the Cananea situation, “Struggling for Health, Labor and Justice: Los Mineros of Cananea, Mexico” appears in New Solutions: A Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. Anne and Lin traveled to Washington, D.C. in late June to interview Lois Gibbs, Director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. And Anne went to El Paso in July to film a tour of the now permanently closed ASARCO smelter by ex-ASARCO employees who have been in the forefront of exposing ASARCO's record of hazardous waste contamination of El Paso. 

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