Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas

Autonomy in the Spaces of Neoliberal Neglect

Michelle Téllez (Author)
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Near Tijuana, Baja California, the autonomous community of Maclovio Rojas demonstrates what is possible for urban place-based political movements. More than a community, Maclovio Rojas is a women-led social movement that works for economic and political autonomy to address issues of health, education, housing, nutrition, and security.

Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas tells the story of the community’s struggle to carve out space for survival and thriving in the shadows of the U.S.-Mexico geopolitical border. This ethnography by Michelle Téllez demonstrates the state’s neglect in providing social services and local infrastructure. This neglect exacerbates the structural violence endemic to the border region—a continuation of colonial systems of power on the urban, rural, and racialized poor. Téllez shows that in creating the community of Maclovio Rojas, residents have challenged prescriptive notions of nation and belonging. Through women’s active participation and leadership, a women’s political subjectivity has emerged—Maclovianas. These border women both contest and invoke their citizenship as they struggle to have their land rights recognized, and they transform traditional political roles into that of agency and responsibility.

This book highlights the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as a space of resistance, conviviality, agency, and creative community building where transformative politics can take place. It shows hope, struggle, and possibility in the context of gendered violences of racial capitalism on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border.

"This study marks a major contribution to understanding the prominent roles contemporary Mexican women play in advocating for community independence and self-determination  under the looming shadow of the U.S.-Mexico border."—T.P. Bowerman, CHOICE

“Documenting how the border generates new forms of organization and resistance, Téllez takes us on a journey of a women-centered community enacting autonomy in action that in turn gets us to reflect on our own relationships to the state and to transnational corporations. Through their own words and with Téllez’s ethnographic transfronteriza lens, we learn how neoliberal neglect gave rise to the community en lucha of Maclovio Rojas. This book provides a glimpse into a unique example of an autonomous community that inspires possibilities for future autonomous horizons.”—Roberto Hernández, author of Coloniality of the U-S///Mexico Border: Power, Violence, and the Decolonial Imperative

“The interdisciplinary approach, in methodology, theme, and analysis belie the enclosing boundaries of disciplines, while the themes echo contemporary questions around power, agency, community formation, and border technologies of enclosure. This book is about the power of women, women’s subjectivity, and what is possible for urban place-based political movements. This is a book about hope, struggle and possibility in the context of gendered violences of racial capitalism on the Mexican side of the U.S. Mexico Border. Ultimately, Tellez’s project is about excavating the stories and voices of a remarkable (and mostly under-studied) group of primarily women that deployed an array of political and cultural practices to make the worlds they lived in better and more just, resisting and surviving the violence of the state, transnational capital, and their respective forces of targeted police and military repression.”—Alan Gómez, author of The Revolutionary Imaginations of Greater Mexico: Chicana/o Radicalism, Solidarity Politics & Latin American Social Movements

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