At both the beginning and end of the twentieth century, when the nature
of sovereignty in Mexico has been dramatically contested, Zapatistas
and other opposition movements have spoken powerfully for a rethink-
ing of the identity of the nation and a renegotiation of the role of Indians
in its culture and economy. If regimes are decentered and political move-
ments animated
by ambiguity and contradiction, as previous chapters
have shown, then democratization must be reconceptualized to take
account of the politics and cultures of such oppositions and of the con-
tested and changing nature of hegemony itself. The histories of Juchitan
and other Mexican regions illustrate the distinct and often circuitous
pathways by which forms of political voice, economic well-being, and
cultural autonomy can be established amidst persistently unequal power
relations. As Partha Chatterjee suggested for the regions of India, these
Mexican histories "[contain] in the divergences in their trajectories and
rhythms the possibility of a different imagining of nationhood" (1993,
114). Consequently, they also recommend a different imagining of the
processes and outcomes of democratization.
battle with the Mexican regime was animated and shaped by
Juchitan's past and present of such different imaginings, along with the
alternative forms of development they engendered. The path from vio-
lence in the
970s to leftist municipal government in the 1990s involved
how the nation was envisioned and negotiated, from Juchitan and from
Mexico City, and how it was made the basis for the exercise of rule.
Indeed, the place of region and ethnicity in the nation is precisely what
was fought over and reconfigured in Juchitan since the rebellions of the
nineteenth century. The establishment of successive political arrange-
ments has gone hand in hand with reworkings of class, culture, gender,
and economy, in the course of which borders between "inside" and "out-
side" have repeatedly shifted. In this context, the possibility and pathway
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