Last Saturday, the Beehive Collective, a Maine-based nonprofit that uses art to communicate stories of resistance against corporate globalization, traveled to Miami for the Pollinating Rios Vivos Tour.
The tour is a joint project with Movimiento Rios Vivos, a national movement in Colombia that brings together regional and local organizations from dam-affected communities. The two collectives have come together to share stories about the struggle to defend their territories and rivers.
"Dams in Colombia and elsewhere are devastating. They break local economies and peoples' ability to be self-sufficient; destroy ecosystems; contribute to the climate crisis and both global and local climate change; and ultimately are created through violent, undemocratic means, so their creations many times include selective killings, forced disappearances, and forced displacement of local populations," says Entre Aguas, a native Miamian and an organizer with both groups.
"Even though I returned to my family's place of origin, Colombia, I have an obligation to my local communities who have always supported me to come and share about what land-defense movements in Colombia are experiencing."
South Florida's One Struggle, an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist initiative, hosted the tour.
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"We're working to build political consciousness about complex issues like globalization and how these things concretely play out," says Sara Cruz, organizer with One Struggle. "What is 'imperialism'? It’s a big word, and we’re all wrapped up in it; it’s part of the everyday lived experience."
Key to Beehive's work is the integration of art to communicate these complex political issues. At a glance, the colorful artwork lining the walls of Libreri Mapou Book Store are vibrant and colorful, but a closer look reveals biting social and political commentary. To create the works, a team of 22 artists spent a total of nine and a half years completing the posters. Aguas and other speakers broke down the pieces, workshopping the message behind the images.
Aguas explains, "All social movements, in addition to needing strategies around direct action and legal action, also need strategies around culture, arts, and communications/media. No one strategy will win any of our struggles. Whether it be a land-defense movement; anti-racist, immigrant rights; or women's liberation, in order to gain support, increase numbers, and create a culture of resistance and general awareness around the issue at hand, strategies that use art and culture as part of direct actions are fundamental."
The Pollinating Rios Vivos Tour
Wednesday, January 13, at 7 p.m. at Coalition of Immokalee Workers, CIW (110 S. Second St., Immokalee). Visit their Facebook page for more information.