Mujeres Creando (Women Creating) is an anarch@-indigenist group in Bolivia, founded in 1992. The following is from Jacqueline Lasky's "Indigenism, Anarchism, Feminism: An Emerging Framework for Exploring Post-Imperial Futures:
Mujeres Creando is a group of women who self-consciously link indigenism, feminism and anarchism in their direct action practices to confront the Bolivian state, heteropatriarchy and the neoliberal order. Since 1992, they have utilized diversity and creativity in their incessant public art, educational workshops, Indymedia productions, mass occupation of private banks, various spontaneous and planned actions with allies, incisive critiques of the Left and Right, insistently visible and vocal non-participation in the electoral process, performativity and powerful presences on urban streets that are simultaneously disruptive and welcoming (MujeresCreando). In their own words:
Mujeres Creando is made up of lesbians and heterosexuals, whites and indigenous women, young and old women, divorced and married women, women from the country and from the city, etc. The system tries to keep us in the ‘enclosed cubicles’ and to divide us so that it can control us more effectively. … In the process of constructing organization—no bosses, not hierarchy—I speak for myself and don’t represent anybody. I’ve said it [before] and I’ll say it again that we’re not anarchists by Bakunin or the CNT, but rather by our grandmothers, and that’s a beautiful school of anarchism. … We’re interested in the daily construction of practice and theory in the streets and in nurturing our creativity (Collective 2002: 111-2).
They are re-creating relations based upon their traditions and their preferred futures in the urban landscapes of their lives, while still fostering relations with those in the rural countryside and taking actions in solidarity. These anarch@indigenists are living differently with each other in ways that confront authority figures in their lives, such as in the state, church, and family, thereby compelling different sociopolitical interactions.
Of particular significance is Mujeres Creando’s critique of Bolivian President Evo Morales, the first indigenous head of state. Morales is highly regarded by many in Bolivia, Latin America and throughout the world for prioritizing the rights of indigenous people in the state, for enacting policies that contribute to the needs of indigenous farmers, for confronting multinational corporations and renegotiating terms of resource use to retain more profit within the country to expand social programs, and for many other radically progressive actions prior to and since assuming office. In this context, the critique levied against Morales by Mujeres Creando is curious:
In Bolivia there are hundreds of thousands of Evos, in each public high school, on each neighborhood soccer team, in each little workers union, from the taxi drivers to the ice cream vendors. There are intuitive Evos, with beautifully dark complexions, casual and unorthodox in terms of cultural identity. They are Evos as modern as they are indigenous but, above all audacious in their use of words and careless and macho in sex and love. They use ponchos, suits or sports jackets and they choose their clothes with the liberty that patriarchal societies prohibit women, and above all those that are called ‘indigenous’ and who, for that reason, have to carry their cultural identity on their hips and backs, undrawing their curves in the use of masculine mandates (Galindo 2008).
Maria Galindo, in an article posted on the Mujeres Creando website, explains that President Morales’s proposed changes to the Bolivian Constitution in the form of a constitutional assembly will in effect forcefully re-inscribe patriarchal and neoliberal boundaries upon the peoples and movements that put him in office in the first place. Among other reasons, this is because the assembly will “close all possibility of direct representation of social movements,” “ratify the technocratic neoliberal criteria of representation of women as a biological quota within political parties,” and “leaves out the important sectors of ‘neoliberal exiles’ who are a migrant population in countries like Argentina, Brazil, U.S. and Spain” (Ibid). Furthermore, “in this way, the magical Evo, the Evo who wakes up identities, can convert himself into an identitive antidote that inaugurates a regime closed around its leaders.” (Ouch!)
Their critique of President Evo Morales is not one of mere differences of opinion or public policy; on the contrary, Mujeres Creando relentlessly holds him accountable for what he does while taking him to task on the means he proposes that effectively undermine the ends that he professes. They remind Morales that he is only in this position of power because of the masses of peoples in movements, and that now he will effectively be muting their voices for the sake of structural expediency. In their capacious analysis, Mujeres Creando link all of this to the inherent corruptibility of state structures and to the inherent oppressiveness of heteropatriarchy that permeates societies. Moreover, they shrewdly interrogate the ‘indigenous’ signification of Morales and its hegemonic potentiality, which Mujeres Creando rejects:
[L]ooking at ‘supposedly’ original cultures is not the mechanism that will permit us to decolonize our society, nor make it fuller, more livable or freer. The demand for ‘the original culture’ as pure, as the culture that will build the nation, the project of power and then nationalism will only drive us to the patriarchal and colonial renovation of power, where power simply exercises power with a mere change of character. … Our society is not a society of pure, original, indigenous people versus undesirable mestizo white-oids. It is much more complex than that; ours is a society of disobediences and cultural mutations… It is a society like all societies of the world where we as social actors also construct culture… We are not ‘obedient originals’ and for that reason and because we put in question cultural mandates, starting with clothing and ending with pleasures. Due to and thanks to this disobedience which makes us happy, we propose a decolonizing and depatriarchalizing society project that has the rise of nationalisms as a principle question’ (Ibid).
In other words, they force an interrogation of indigeneity, especially when in forms of state power, through the deployment of feminist and anarchist sensibilities. In these myriad and hybrid ways, the works of Mujeres Creando reflect a praxis of the intersectionality of indigenism, anarchism and feminism.
- Jacqueline Lasky, "Indigenism, Anarchism, Feminism: An Emerging Framework for Exploring Post-Imperial Futures," Affinities, Vol 5, No 1 (2011), http://www.affinitiesjournal.org/index.php/affinities/article/view/72/231.