All of the Roundtables engage us in the reduction of conflict by offering an alternative. It’s a good fit for JEM, because a jubilee economy helps us live an alternative amid the global economy that fosters conflicts in the quest for cheap resources and labor.
Entries in jem purpose & mission (4)
I really can't do justice to JEM's history without going even further back beyond the decade or so that we have been an official organization. What brought JEM into being in 1999 had much to do with what was going on in Central America during the 80's and then in Chiapas during the 90's. US foreign policy was firmly in the anti-communist camp warning of a "domino effect" after one country had already turned "communist."
Out of the tragedy of the massacre in the small indigenous town of Acteal in Chiapas, Mexico in 1997, Las Abejas (an indigenous Christian pacifist organization) did not respond with revenge but instead an increased single minded commitment to resistance and creating alternatives. Among the many projects they started maybe the most successful is their coffee co-op known as MayaVinic (Mayan Man). The men in their culture harvest the coffee while the women focus on handmade artisanry. The women’s co-op is known as MayaAntsetik (Mayan Woman).
The first time I went was Holy Week, 2000. Some of us visited Tzajalchen, a remote mountain community of a few hundred indigenous people who had lost family and friends in a Dec. 23, 1997, massacre. On that day they heard the gunfire on mountainsides across the valley. Hours later their worst fears were confirmed. Even so, they were resolutely committed to nonviolence. Though agreeing with the Zapatista objectives, they shunned weapons. They called themselves the civil society of Las Abejas (The Bees). Like bees in a highly functioning community around their queen, so, they reasoned, were they around their Divine Queen.