The Christian Science Monitor on dreaming up alternative methods of community governance, via the successful case of an indigenous town plagued by criminal gangs from the outside:
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The indigenous town of Cherán used to be like many places in Mexico, caving under the weight of drug-related crime and a police force that did little to stop it. But about two years ago, citizens here threw out the police, and took over their local government, running the town according to indigenous tradition. So far, they’ve had remarkable success.
The Purépecha indigenous people have lived in this area for centuries, relying on a mix of subsistence farming and selective timber harvesting. But eventually national political parties gained influence in the village, and five years ago, so did illegal loggers with ties to drug mafias. Eventually, the police intervened, but on behalf of the loggers. So the townspeople threw everyone out: loggers, police, and politicians, too.