Lessons in democracy from the migrant caravan that Trump calls ‘lawless’

Lessons in democracy from the migrant caravan that Trump calls ‘lawless’

Jesus Rodriguez writes:

The caravan migrants who arrived at the border nearly a month ago don’t have a country. But they do have a government.

In the time since the caravan left Honduras in mid-October, the asylum-seekers have fashioned a proto-democracy out of their group of some 6,000 migrants overwhelmingly from Central America, most of whom have walked for most of the trip, at times hitching rides in the backs of cars or trucks.

To hear President Donald Trump tell it, the caravan is nothing more than a “lawless” mob of potentially violent criminals. But dozens of phone interviews and WhatsApp conversations with advocacy groups and migrants, as well as social media updates from groups on the ground, show that the migrants have organized a surprisingly sophisticated ruling structure, complete with everything from a press shop to a department of public works.

When the migrants needed to make public announcements, debate the best routes and vote on different plans, they established a nightly general assembly as a forum open to all, Athens-style. Their legislative floor was an abandoned truck parking lot or an unused sports stadium. Some of the migrants even took turns as communications directors, drafting press statements that were transmitted through a media group of more than 370 journalists on WhatsApp. [Continue reading…]

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