By Matthew Sommer
What do corporate politics, a hydroelectric dam, and a puppet show all have in common? They are all part of the show presented by Root Force, a borderline-anarchist activist group targeting corporations in order to protect the environment and farm workers in southern Mexico and Central America.
The Root Force Road Show, a presentation group that believes anarchy is the answer to ecological and political problems, stopped in Watsonville on Apr. 27 and the next day in Santa Cruz on a tour through California.
“Root Force is aimed at taking down the system,” said Toby Velocipede Potter, a member of the Root Force Road Show.
The mission statement on the Root Force website reads “Demolishing Colonialism at its Foundations.” The Root Force, according to their literature, wants to exploit flaws in the global economic system and in effect, hasten its collapse. The method for exploitation is unclear. The Root Force goes on to say they believe indigenous cultures and the environment is better off without major government.
“Oh yeah, they say bring it all down, and Root Force is gonna help it along,” sang a guitarist during the puppet show held at the start of the presentation in Watsonville.
“It grabs your attention,” said audience member LupÃ© Zamora. “It was really creative and informative.”
Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP), represented as La Parota Dam, was the antagonist of the puppet show.
La Parota Dam is a 765-megawatt hydroelectric dam in Guerrero, Mexico, which is officially no longer a part of the PPP due to protests. Root Force maintains that the Mexican government is still driving the project forward.
The president of Mexico in 2001, Vicente Fox, founded the PPP to encourage growth between the nine states of southern Mexico, Central America and Columbia. The project is focused on many issues including trade, energy, and sustainable development.
The Root Force critiques the PPP, saying the plan exploits the environment and indigenous workers for cheaper resources. Root Force says La Parota Dam will submerge 43,000 acres of terrain and displace about 25,000 farmers from lands in Cacahuatepec, Mexico.
The group argues that targeting PPP-related corporations in the United States will send a message to stop the project.
“We can put pressure on companies here in the United States,” Potter said.
The Root Force website contains a list of corporations the website deems “bad guys.” The group advocates autonomous actions against these companies.
Suggestions for action range from letter writing to illegal acts. One of the Root Force speakers, Ben Pachano, held up a stake from a PPP building site. Survey stakes are essential to the building process. Their removal is illegal, but relatively peaceful, and it sends a clear message.
The show also said breaking corporate building windows and sending black paper faxes to drain the ink from fax machines were effective methods of protest.
Root Force’s goal is to exploit weaknesses in major governments and influence their collapse. The group believes that such collapse will influence and aid the maintenance and survival of indigenous cultures.
Pachano said, “We want a world where people are free to have their own culture.”