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La Educación
Número: (122) III
Año: 1995

The Time of Dzul Rule (1915- present)

The present constitutes an especially interesting period of comparison between the indigenista discourses, as exemplified in the textbook, and the nohoch macoob’s oral histories. The textbook characterizes the present as a time of cultural and socio-economic development which contrasts sharply with the abuses of the ancient slavery. Women, however, do not see the present as a time in which the injustices of the ancient slavery are amended, but as a time in which they are being replicated. This view is informed by the low position the Macehualoob have within the nation-state. Their narratives about the present reflect a situation in which increased resource scarcities have forced the Macehualoob to sell the products of their subsistence agriculture in order to buy food and other consumer goods, and in that transaction, they give away more than they receive.

In alluding to their disadvantaged position with regard to the market, they invariably mention the rapidly rising price of food, and the government regulated prices of the maize, train ties, and chicle that they produce.12 Their poverty is evidenced by the fact that 74 percent of the people working in agricultural production in the municipality of Carrillo Puerto earn less than the minimum wage.13

What makes women’s historical examination particularly interesting and relevant in the present context of resistance is its dual nature: their examination indicts both Mexican power and its implications as it developed during the ancient slavery and as it persists in the present. For them, in both time periods, which are seemingly opposed in indigenista discourses, there is a shared notion of Dzul power and illegitimate authority. Women along with men disclose that the paternalistic indigenista policies continue to reproduce the nineteenth century ideology of slavery in the specific government practices of regulating prices and interest rates. They intend to make the audience aware that, like debt peonage, these new forms of unequal exchange also serve to deplete the Macehual of their income. Moreover, they reveal that the new form of Dzul authority is bureaucratic, yet recreates the repressive discipline of the ancient slaveryvy—in fines and agricultural restrictions—which, like before, serves to enforce a situation of unequal exchange.14 In drawing this comparison, women attempt to persuade us that the power that emanates from the Mexicans is socially and morally destructive and that the Macehualoob need to oppose it. They encourage the belief that Mexican rule will end and that, just like their foreparents, the Macehualoob will “rise” and fight the Dzuloob before the world awakens to a fully emancipated Macehualoob.