l Rebozo Palapa Editorial is a publishing collective based in Monterey, Mexico. They focus on translating political books into Spanish with the aim of sharing knowledge and the spirit of collective self-management. Lately they have been doing commercial print work, and we spoke to them about the next phase of their printing and publishing goals.
This interview was translated from Spanish.
Can you introduce yourselves and your work for people who are unfamiliar with you?
Hey! We are Pio and Lin, two of El Rebozo’s members. We are both currently based in Northern Mexico, but our work and lives often brings us to different places, like Oaxaca, Chiapas, and New York. The spreading of ideas with El Rebozo is one of our central projects, but we are both involved in multiple projects, spaces and collectives, all of which have the goal of building autonomy as their common denominator. We are organizers and dreamers, so our daily work can range, but for the most part we work around creating spaces for collective and free learning, building solidarity networks, natural healing and herbalism, political graphics and art, solidarity economies and in general “planting seeds to harvest hope” (Bety Cariño).
What sorts of projects does El Rebozo typically take on?
Since El Rebozo is an independent small press, we pretty much take on whatever inspires us, whatever moves us to question and organize, whatever has been a resource for us and our compañerxs. We like to believe that the essence of El Rebozo goes a bit beyond the scope of the text itself. We have always envisioned our work as more of a convivial tool that can open our minds, hearts and imagination; so we try and take on projects that we believe promote political formation, cross-border dialogue and free learning. We do so through our publications, yes, but also through organizing workshops around the texts, as well as gatherings or encuentros to reflect collectively. We also have a particular interest in translation and cross-border dialogue (we are a bi-lingual press!), and try to translate material or introduce texts that can strengthen global movement thinking, particularly looking to build exchanges and dialogue between Mexico or Latin America, and the U.S.
El Rebozo was always thought of as a vehicle for other compañerxs, organizations or collectives, so we try to put our services at their disposition, printing or editing for others whenever we can and attempting to build community, exchange and organize around the materials we build with them.
Talk a little bit about the structure of your collective.
We started out seven years ago as a cooperative, inspired by the concept of autogestión and the idea of living collectively. For many years we all lived together, worked together and shared an economy, but with time, our internal organization has shifted and evolved. We are currently two main work-nodes, one based in northern Mexico and the other in southern Mexico, based out of our sister bookstore La Cosecha. From these two bases we have started the labor of building spaces and networks of autogestión that can strengthen Rebozo’s ideas and proposals to come.
Radix started as a printer and added publishing later. You seem to be doing the opposite! How has that been?
As we mentioned, one of our principles is autogestión, so as El Rebozo has grown and evolved as a cooperative and work group, and due to reflections around the very texts we print, we were able to constructively criticize and integrally work through some of own experiences; the goal of this being how to continue to move towards being truly autonomous. We understood that we aren’t only inclined to text but also print, to the tools that make print possible, the means of the printer. And so we decided to try and have it all under one roof, to have the full spectrum of what we need as publishers and to also preserve and do justice to the trade of printing. We believe that by having the means in our hands we can expand dignified work opportunities by creating cooperative and basing our relationships on solidarity.
So yes, we have always been printing our own material, but we are currently seeking to expand our print and editorial services to and for others, and that way we can continue supporting ourselves and others in a responsible, dignified way.
How does your work fit into the political climate in Mexico?
We aim for our publications to provide resources for critical reflection and the deepening of our collective analysis to continue organizing from below and to the left. We try and print texts from unheard voices, or critical voices that allow us to question ourselves and our ways of life.
We think that our publications can work as a base for groups and collectives trying to organize, to offer some of the foundations for their work, or from which to build. Mexico is certainly a complicated political territory, and we hope our work helps carry the seed of hope to places that it may not be arriving to.
Where do you see El Rebozo in the future? More publishing, or more job work?
We want to embrace the craft of printing and editing with dignity. We want to continue to grow and invite others to work with us, especially young folks. But our main hope is to just continue putting material out there that encourages us to search deeper and ask the right questions around the themes we need to be discussing around the world today. We would really like to focus on publishing current experiences of struggles, particularly those that have taken bold steps towards dismantling the capitalist and patriarchal systems we all live under.
But yeah, we have tons of ideas for the future! We really want to start having illustrated texts for children. And also putting out an open call to movement voices to write on a certain theme and creating a book from there. And of course, to have an oiled up, inked up print workshop.
How can people follow your work and stay up to date?
So we are currently undergoing an Internet tune-up. Our website is down and we are hoping to relaunch it at the end of this year. In the meantime, people can follow us on social media @cooprebozo on Instagram and Facebook or contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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