The Mexican Town That Kicked Out Politicians And Started Over (HBO)

Cherán is a town of some 20,000 inhabitants in the highlands of Michoacán, one of the Mexican states that’s suffered most in the drug wars of the last decade.

Armed men and women — not police, but members of an autonomous militia — guard every entrance to the town, looking for strangers with contraband.

At the height of election season in Mexico, contraband means mostly political campaign ads: Guards confiscated thousands of banners and posters, from every major political party in Mexico, in just a few weeks. These ads, along with the political parties that produce them, are completely banned in Cherán, and have been since 2011, when residents overthrew their local government and started over.

The town had been terrorized for years by an organized crime syndicate devoted to illegally logging the surrounding forests. After mobs drove out the criminals, they disarmed and drove out the corrupt cops who had protected them. Then they banned the politicians and the parties that put them in power.

In their place, the people of Cherán developed an autonomous system of self-rule based on horizontal, direct-democratic assemblies.

And while it remains economically dependent on the existing government, Cherán has achieved something unthinkable in Michoacán: Reducing the rate of murders and other serious crimes to close to zero.

For many in Mexico, especially in an election year marred by wanton political murders, Cherán stands as proof that, in the country’s entrenched cycle of violence, the key ingredient is the state: Remove that ingredient, and it’s possible to start from scratch.

Subscribe to VICE News here:

Check out VICE News for more:

Follow VICE News here:
More videos from the VICE network:

38 thoughts on “The Mexican Town That Kicked Out Politicians And Started Over (HBO)

  1. A political system that resembles anarchism in Mexico? They call us crazy, and yet it's beautiful when it functions. Shit, wish my town would ban politicians and political parties.

  2. Its sad to know that mexico has the potential of being a world power but its nearly impossible thanks to the corrupted system and politicians that always keep stealing all the state money. People literally celebrate as if they won the lottery when they get elected for a political position. I once heard a guy say "damm i wish my dad won the position already so i can spend a lot of money". our system is disgusting

  3. George Washington didn't want to be the president. I think all great leaders don't plan on being a leader, the people around them look for leadership and someone has to fill that role.

  4. To be fairly honest though, since the towns main resource was lumber, the government left it to the people (couldn't be bothered). We all must remember that at any point the mexican government can force the people back into their law and establish their own government again. It is afterall, the property of Mexico. And this can be viewed as an act of overthrowing the Mexican Government which is enough to call in the Mexican armed forces to re-take it.

  5. One more reason.. Why you should go back to Mexico.. Because you snuck into a country illegally and took my job.. For cheaper and you brought the whole family to help.. And the roof still leaks because you have no trade skills.. Meanwhile I have a trade and developed my education plus a United States citizen.. And you Juan Miguel Ángel José Francisco Jesús Antonio Alejandro took my contacts because you can do it cheaper… I promise I will report every Mexican construction worker I see… It ain't right what happened to Americans.. Because you want a better life.. By taking mine… Smh… I hope Taco Bell goes bankrupt… Its dog food for the Familia.. Not for white middle class people.. Appalachian Americans need to take a stand against the number 3# 2 stuffed chalupas and two soft tacos with a large Baja Blast… Special ingredient ( ALPO DOG FOOD MIXED WITH MEXICAN LABOR JIZZ ) the drink has a dash of chupacabra ball sweat…

  6. Let the citizens arm themselves and watch all that shit change. The country has banned all fire arms for its citizens and its proof that it does NOT work. Give them the right to bear arms and watch things change for the better.

  7. VICE News
    Please make a videos about Assam and Tripura (India)
    A place where indigenous people are becoming minority in there own land due illegal migration and the latter reduced to minority…

    Its a serious issue…let the world know…
    Please help them..

  8. i mean i'm pretty sure the organised crime is the reason there was crime there. Its not like it was their governments direct fault, it was just bad people doing bad things. Not the entire system being broken.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.