All photos copyright 2002 David
Rebellion on the Border is a photographic project that examines the impact of the global economy from below, especially the impact of neoliberal policies on workers and unions. Over the last two decades, the standard of living of Mexican workers has dropped, as the Mexican government uses low wages to attract foreign investment, uder pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. government bailout of the banks.
This series of photographs documents the conditions in which workers live and work as a result, just south of the U.S. border in the factories of Tijuana. They tell the story of their ongoing efforts to win economic justice from the corporations who have located production there to take advantage of the low wages.
In the last decade, the high point of workers' resistance was the organization of the independent October 6 Union at Tijuana's Han Young factory, and the continuing strike there. The photographs document that struggle, which is part of a broader fight for political democracy made necessary because of the close cooperation between maquiladora owners, governmental authorities and government-affiliated unions.
Neoliberal policies have affected workers throughout Mexico. These photographs also document the struggle in Mexico City of workers at a public bus line, the Ruta 100. Drivers resisted the privatization of their company in a series of battles that lasted for years, in which their leaders were imprisoned. Their fight became a focus for the effort to stop privatization of national and public enterprises.
David Bacon was a union organizer and factory worker for two decades. Today he works as a photographer, writer and radio journalist. These photographs have been shown in Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, and the U.S. His book, Children of NAFTA, which describes the movements shown in the photographs, will be published by UC Press this winter. His current photodocumentary project, Transnational Working Communities, is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.
David Bacon's webpage may be viewed at http://www.igc.org/dbacon/
This is the third photo exhibit sponsored by the Institute of Industrial Relations Library.