D. Alan Dean
5 min readMar 28, 2020

--

The following editorial appeared in the Mexican newspaper La Jornada. Gustavo Esteva is a writer, activist, and a public intellectual in Mexico. He founded the Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca. Esteva, who describes himself as a “de-professionalized intellectual,” was a contributor to the well-known Development Dictionary and was at various points an official in the government of President Echeverría, an advisor to the Zapatistas, and a student of Ivan Illich. I had a nice exchange with Gustavo after the publication of David Cayley’s “Questions About the Pandemic from the Point of View of Ivan Illich,” and we arranged a Spanish translation of that text, made by Federica González Luna. It was distributed by the Unitierra.

I thought it would be interesting to include Gustavo’s editorial here because it illustrates a point of view in public discourse that one is less likely to hear in the United States. Esteva describes the rural poor and indigenous of Mexico, whom he has always championed, as holding an edge over the modernized, middle-class in the wake of a general economic collapse. And here, he suggests that such a collapse may in fact emerge from the Coronavirus crisis. I thought the essay was an interesting example of a radically hopeful style of thought that has become more common in recent weeks in response to the Coronavirus situation.

--

--

D. Alan Dean

Studied English literature in the PhD program at Johns Hopkins. I work freelance in publishing, and I currently live in the Balkans.