Ricardo Flores Magón Popular Indigenous Council: An organization that resists and fights

Nayelli Reyes (Triqui) 

Oaxaca, Mexico 

People volunteer. There is no isolated negotiation, and everyone collaborates. There is creativity and freedom of association. There are training workshops on public communication and radio. Events to go all over different communities happen. These are the principles of the Ricardo Flores Magón Popular Indigenous Council, known by its initials in Spanish: CIPO-RFM.

CIPO-RFM is a Mexican organization that started in 1997 with the union of three organizations: the Committee of Defense of the Rights of the People (CODEP), the Indian Organization for Human Rights in Oaxaca (OIDHO), and the Union of Indigenous Communities in the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI). Its name honors the Mexican anarchist from the early twentieth century, Ricardo Flores Magón, born on September 16, 1873, in San Antonio Eloxochitlán, Oaxaca, and died in prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1922. He was an important political figure who opposed Porfirio Díaz and signed the Liberal Plan in 1906.

Flores Magón is considered one of the precursors of the Revolution. He, along with his brother, published the newspaper Regeneración. Magón had the opportunity to live alongside the Mazatec people. His thoughts inspired the organization, holding anarchist ideals and solidarity, driving social change, and restructuring universal brotherhood.

Organizational work

Those who approach the organization learn about its work and the steps to becoming a member at CIPO-RFM. Members at the organization share the collective work in Oaxaca, where members meet with grassroots organizations to protest. These organizations oversee government progress related to demands and protests in Oaxaca. 

The CIPO-RFM comprises grandparents, children, youth, women, and men of different religions and sexes from Oaxaca’s diverse rural Indigenous communities. The organization’s political tenets include promoting, spreading, and defending human, land, economic, social, political, and cultural rights. One of the ways to fight from within communities is nonviolent action, that is, resistance,  based on love and respect. For the organization, everyone’s participation and input are fundamental, and the Assembly reflects them well as it is a space for collective decision-making. 

Labor in the communities

When protests are held, such as walk-ins, hunger strikes, demonstrations, and plays, people from the communities of Oaxaca mobilize at gatherings and get themselves organized. The organization aims to bear solidary with its members, affected during the rainy season and climate change. 

In the same way, the organization’s women play a fundamental role. For them, confidence, respect, and sisterhood are essential. The women’s workshops in each community focused on rights, community radio, and photography skills. A participant’s age does not matter; different activities are always available, including drawing and painting.

One of the goals that CIPO-RFM has accomplished is the protection of Victoria Cruz Mendoza, achieved by opening a safe house in Oaxaca. Victoria has faced death threats from community authorities and delinquents who have killed her relatives. The organization has also protected Maura Mendoza Acevedo. However, the fight of the compañeras has not been in vain. They have been able to open a school in the community and install a solar panel, among other victories.

The dreams at CIPO-RFM

Despite intense oppression from the authorities, and although its members have been evicted from their lands, the desire to fight and build a better world allows CIPO-RFM to keep chasing its political dreams, including installing a communal radio station. Another dream is to have a comprehensive healthcare system. In pursuit of this, they have held mass protests to demand improvements in both health and education. They also continue to denounce the harassment of its members and demand justice for those who have been killed. “The organization will never be silenced,” says one of its slogans.