Indignados in New York: The Indig-Nación Newspaper and Outreach Project

Last week we featured an article on one of AMO's recent grantees, the Greenpants art and activism project whose mass-projection events bring history, politics, and animation to the walls and storefronts of Baltimore. This week we check out another recent grantee, Indig-Nación, a new Spanish-language newspaper and web-project out of New York focusing on social and economic issues.

While content heavily features New York-based news and political conversation, it also spans globally, striving to explain the ideas behind the Occupy movement from the cotnext of both the Latin@ experience in the United States and the recent movements in Latin America that helped foment the global uprisings that catalyzed throughout 2011. It also features news not tied directly to these movements but that is relevent to the social, economic, and political conditions from which it has emerged.

The paper features sections on action, news, analysis, voices, and more. The "Voices" section features the writings of many peoples' perspectives, allowing a range of conversation to find a home.

In on such article, ¿Se asoma el florecimiento de una primavera a nivel global? (The Flowering of a Global Spring is Upon Us), dated March 24th, 2012, Camila Reyes summarizes the Occupy movement, tying it to the student-led movement in Chile, The Arab Spring, and back to the Zapatistas. "These occupations that take and build horizontally imply a level of awareness and learning where we begin to understand the levels of interdependence we have with each other," she writes.

The paper also talks of inter-Occupy politics, such as the role played by Latin@ particiapants. In, Somos Muchos (We Are Many), dated March 18th, 2012, Sofia Gallisá Murinete desribes Latin@ participation at Zuccotti Park and in the Occupy movement in general, beginning that "for months, critics of  the Occupy Wall Street  movement are accused of having little Latino participation." 

"Those participating in assemblies and councils, and those who have camped in Liberty Plaza or marched through the streets of the city know that the reality is more complex," she continues. "Although it is clear that there is a lot of work remaining, bridges have been built over the last few months between grassroots community organizations in traditionally Latino neighborhoods, and also between unions, students, and recent immigrants to broaden the conversation and nourish the Occupy Movement with perspectives and experiences of broad struggles and diverse sectors of our community."

This is exactly what Indig-Nación has set out to do, and though they are a fairly recent project, their work is well underway. In April, Indig-Nación volunteers handed out over 25,000 copies of the paper throughout the Spanish-speaking sections of the five boroughs, in anticipation of New York's various May Day demonstrations and events.

Accompanying the newspapers, the group also printed posters intended for fixing to posts and walls in the areas where they distribute papers. The hand-screened posters depict a young women with her hand to her mouth, exclaiming "May 1st," and read “Salgamos a las calles Mayo 1ro, que sin miedo y unidos seremos la fuerza que cambiara nuestro destino (Let's go out into the Streets on May 1st, without fear and united we shall be force that will change our destiny)."

The grouped explain to us that while they had originally planned to wheat paste most of these posers in public areas, they first opted to approach small businesses and see if they might be interested in posting them inside or outside of their shops. This approach proved quite effective; the group reported that they received "positive and enthusiastic" responses as "bodega owners, restauranteurs, and neighbors chatted with us and took posters to put up on their windows, and many allowed us to tape them on the outside of their establishments over the traditional advertisements. Their support ensured us that newspaper and its message would be read and considered."

The group "found that this approach opened the possibility to generate dialogue with the community in regards to the ideas behind the journal and the significance of May 1st." They described this blend of propgandizing and organizing to us in an email as a "fundamental value" in their practice.

Indeed public art can stir emotions and inspire thought, but public art accompanied by real community organizing and dialogue can take such interventions so much further. Through a combination of both, plus the deeper analysis printed in their paper, Indig-Nación has found themselves as simaltaneous propagandists, artists, and facilitators of dialogue. "It wasn't until we took to the streets to distribute that realized that we could physically be part of this process," they told us. "We were putting our politics into practice, and intend on exploring new ways to do so in future editions to come."

AMO is excited to award Indig-Nación with a grant from our last cycle, and we look forward to seeing the hard-work they are doing in New York take root and grow. We are inspired by the dynamic blending Indig-Nación has done, bring so many important aspects of social together into one porject. Keep an eye out for them around New York!


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