The Highly Politically Contextualized Rave Scene in Mexico

Author: Alex
Date: Apr 29, 2004
Views: 3812

The Mexican rave scene has had an influence on the Mexican social dynamics that prevailed as a consequence of governmental policy. The Mexican government amidst the 1990s took a u-turn in policy through market liberalization, as a means to spread democracy in tandem with alleviating poverty, the main aim of this was to attract foreign direct investment through a currency devaluation to deter a trade deficit with the USA. What does this have to do with electronic music? A lot. And furthermore it is a good way to understand it. Although all this politically ridden talk might be boring to the average raver, I think it is worth looking into and I have good reasons.
First, let me go through what these policies entailed, then I’ll get to my point. As a consequence of these policies Mexico opened treaties such as NAFTA with the US as well as an other 30 treaties (more than any other countries) with other nations that where designed to lubricate international trade to alleviate domestic poverty, soon enough enormous amounts of foreign investment through industrial activity started flowing in.
This created enormous wealth disparities, specifically within Mexico City and other cities such as Monterrey. It created a new business class, a very wealthy sector in the Mexican Society. This was put forward by Mexican technocratic functionaries under the guidance of the World Bank and the Clinton administration. It was a project that set the example to most of the developing world into a globalized model, hence the World Trade Organization meetings in Cancun Mexico last year.
Any World Bank economist understands that liberalizing markets will create enormous wealth disparities at the beginning stage, and probably are starting to learn that this just a trap and doesn’t change into their dream of global equity, in more lucid words, they set the Mexican economy in way that the wealth was clustered into minority “elite” classes, and the idea was that this class would lead the nation to reinvent itself as first world by “trickling” down the wealth through savings and investment, it made sense at the beginning, as outrageous as it sounds, it did improve the quality of life of many, I mean If you spread the money to the poor it just gets consumed, if you cluster it into a few, through macro economic policy, it will grow through, again, savings and investment in the national economy. My point being is the emphasis on social disparity and inequality, the images speak for themselves in Mexico City and other places like Cancun, it created a social apartheid similar to South Africa. A country where the economic and social disparities are enormous is detrimental to its psycho-social dynamics, and it is this where I want to get at. It created a social class, which always has prevailed since the colonized time, but this time it is like the liberalization political model really ended in a regressed colonization mentality, and disparity was ever more highlighted.
In my opinion the liberalization model did not work as well as the architect politicians of it would’ve like it to work, I’m sure there starting to realize that too, but that is besides the point. In a sense it was not a big surprise that the rich became richer and the poor became poorer, again the emphasis of a class system etiquette.
Maybe I can further my point by sharing my experience of my first rave in order to illustrate my argument, the first party I attended was small (500 people) when it was still underground and new in Mexico, Infected Mushroom playing and Vasik, before these names were big. It was in a shanty poor town called Santa Fe at the outskirts of Mexico City, ironically, Santa Fe is a particular urban area that is a great example of the social apartheid, this shanty town was blocked up and in the early 1990’s in order to build a high-tech incredibly wealthy satellite city that was created again in the outskirts of Mexico City, lavish in every sense, more modern than most in the developed world, new money was successfully clustered in Santa Fe, walls built to hide the poor surrounding areas. This party was held four years ago, it was a “revolutionary revelation” to me, not only was I exposed to the electrifying transcendental music, as well as the mental state, but literally for the first time I saw social classes mix, it was beautiful and having a bash by doing so, by social classes I refer to the middle and upper classes, because lets face it, the poor in Mexico have other concerns than that of attending raves. But this was indeed mesmerizing, middle and upper class fussed to high tech tribal beats. Incredible, soon after that, parties started flowing every weekend, and in a period of a year, festivals emerged, memorable and mind-expanding time’s such as the Marakame Festival, despite their poor organization, they were a good time.
By this time I had already indulged and absorbed into the literature of Timothy Leary, Carlos Castaneda, Carl Jung, Huxley and all the psychedelics, a pattern that these intellectuals shared was that of bringing forward the collectivistic society, expanding minds through psychoactive drugs for the sake of social unity, it was exactly this notion that defied the political establishment in Mexico at the time through the rave scene.
The rave scene did an has deteriorated very much the psychological damage created by what I dare to call the “Mexican apartheid”, the Mexican rave scene has to some degree educated people/ravers an important value, that of not judging anyone on the basis of social strata, fuck it, I mean when you’re experiencing such an elevated state, social constructions such class-consciousness seem so brainless.
And when I recently read a somewhat funny article on the British “The Observer” about some organizer’s intentions to move the underground scene “overground”, I was at first annoyed at this idea, besides you cannot even call psy trance underground anymore, but now that I think about, yeah wouldn’t be nice to have the whole world raving their minds away, there’s nothing quite like the surprise of bumping into someone unexpected in a rave, like an uncle, but if such happens, if the psy scene becomes too “overground” let us hope that it’s values and ideas don’t change as a consequence of the commercial machine.
Mexico gained a lot from it, I hope others can too rather than misunderstand it like many have. Hey maybe one day the Americans will indulge in this too, and hopefully they will become aware about the harm their politics are doing to themselves quite like SOME Mexicans did through collectivism expressed in music. If governmental apartheids can build walls of segregation, in my view, music within this particular scene was powerful and profound enough to bring down the walls.
I’ve seen this grow in Mexico since it’s initial stages, and now more in Cancun, its effects are healthy to any society that is mature enough to assimilate it, let us hope that this message gets through to you with some meaning of purpose now that this scene has blown up full blast.

Best wishes to all of you, Alex, Mexico City (temporarily in the US now).
(comments welcome)

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