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State Violence and Revolution: Lessons from El Salvador

In the 1970s and 1980s, Salvadoran revolutionaries fought to overthrow U.S.-backed military dictatorships and led ambitious experiments in democratic self-governance and popular education. This event features a panel discussion about the aspirations and lessons of the Salvadoran Revolution. Panelists include Carlos Henríquez Consalvi, founder of a clandestine guerrilla radio and current director of the Museum of the Word and Image, a museum dedicated to social justice; Rosa Rivera, a peasant organizer and founder of the Living Memory Committee of Arcatao, Chalatenango; and Diana Sierra Becerra, historian and organizer at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, an MA-based immigrant and workers' rights group. Given the ongoing violence that is inflicted against Central American migrants, it is important to make connections between past and present-day struggles against empire and state violence.

Free and open to the public. Book signing to follow.

This event will be in Spanish with simultaneous English interpretation. It will be fully accessible to both Spanish and English-language speakers with no time delay for translation.

Young people of all ages are welcome at this event and all Feinberg Series events. There will be coloring books and crayons available for children. Stipends are available to support transportation for bringing groups of young adults to the event. Contact for details.

About the Presenters

Carlos Henríquez Consalvi is the founder of Radio Venceremos, the clandestine radio of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, a Salvadoran peasant insurgency that fought the U.S.-backed military regimes from 1980-1992. The guerrilla radio documented human rights violations, led educational campaigns, and challenged the Salvadoran and U.S. governments. Henríquez Consalvi is the author of La Terquedad del Izote, a memoir narrating his wartime experiences. He has also authored short stories and novels. After the war, Henríquez Consalvi founded the Museum of the Word and the Image in San Salvador, El Salvador, and currently serves as its director. The museum promotes historical memory in order to denounce state violence and advance social justice. The museum makes history relevant to younger generations through the use of oral history, popular pedagogy, and innovative engagement strategies, from cartoon animations to exhibitions.

Rosa Rivera is a former organizer of the Farm Workers Union, a militant Salvadoran peasant union that organized during the 1970s and 1980s. The union confronted the power of landowners, death squads, and government officials. Rivera also organized with the Association of Salvadoran Women, a revolutionary feminist organization that organized peasant women within the guerrilla territories. She is a founder and current member of the Living Memory Committee, Arcatao, Chalatenango department, a group dedicated to the preservation of historical memory. The committee has led exhumations, constructed a sanctuary to house the remains of victims of state violence, organized commemorative events, and is in the process of creating a museum.


Diana Sierra Becerra is a historian, popular educator, and organizer. Her book manuscript, tentatively titled Insurgent Butterflies: Gender and Revolution in El Salvador, documents the feminist praxis that working-class and peasant women developed within labor and armed movements during the late 20th century. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is developing the project Putting History in Domestic Workers’ Hands, a popular education initiative to empower and mobilize domestic workers on a massive scale. The project is a collaboration between Smith College academics and organizers from the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Sierra Becerra is also an organizer at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, an organization that builds the collective power of immigrants and workers.

Location Information: The Student Union is located in the central part of campus, nearby the UMass Parking Garage (1 Campus Center Way, $1.75/hr). Free parking is available in many staff parking lots after 5:00 pm. More information: bus schedulecampus map with the Student Union and nearby parking indicated.

Accessibility: The Student Union Ballroom is wheelchair accessible. More information: accessible parkingcampus accessibility map.

If you need directions or additional assistance to plan your visit, or to request specific accommodations, please contact the History Department's communications assistant, Adeline Broussan, at

The 2018 Feinberg Series theme is Another World Is Possible: Revolutionary Visions, Past and Present. Series events and initiatives will explore the radical imaginations of intellectuals, artists, political leaders, renegade thinkers, community organizers, and everyday people who have worked to make another world possible. All events are FREE and open to the public. The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is offered every other academic year by the Department of History at UMass Amherst and made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67 and associates.

This event is hosted in partnership with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center. Visit the Feinberg Series webpage for more information about the series, including a full list of co-sponsors and community partners