dorset chiapas solidarity

February 27, 2013

Them and Us – VII. – The Smallest of them All – 2: How is it done?

Filed under: La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:03 pm

Them and Us – VII. – The Smallest of them All

2: How is it done?

February 2013

Note: Compas, at another time (that is, if there is one) I will explain to you how our EZLN is organized. For now, we don’t want to distract you from the “Sharing.” We only want to clarify that you will see something about an “Information Commission.” This commission is made up of compañeras and compañeros, comandantes andcomandantas, (the CCRI, or Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee), who are watching over the work of autonomy, supporting the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Councils), and who keep the Zapatista bases of support informed as to how everything is going.

See our communiques page: https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/communiques/

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February 26, 2013

URGENT REPORT: IMMINENT EVICTION PLANNED, TERROR GROWS IN SAN MARCOS AVILÉS

Filed under: Movement for Justice in el Barrio, San Marcos Aviles, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:15 pm

URGENT REPORT:

IMMINENT EVICTION PLANNED,

TERROR GROWS IN SAN MARCOS AVILÉS

February 23, 2013:

We are extremely concerned about the new threats of displacement against the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) of San Marcos Avilés; these have been shamelessly made by certain inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

We, Mexicans migrants who make up the Movement for Justice in El Barrio in East Harlem, New York, United States, by means of this statement make clear our denouncement of these attacks which are born and nurtured with the backing of the municipal, state, and federal governments. Indeed, we hold these governments responsible for all past and future acts of violence that have occurred and may occur.

Due to these aggressive acts there is a threat that a second displacement of the community may take place, at a similar level to that of 2010, clearly showing that they are part of a historic chain of violence and repression against the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés. We know that the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés are the target of these attacks simply because they are struggling for justice, dignity, freedom, and democracy as the indigenous Zapatistas that they are. Furthermore, these threats are part of the counterinsurgency plan that the Mexican State has been implementing since January 1, 1994.

From the information documented, we know the following:

1.) On 19 February this year, eleven (11) persons including ejido authorities arrived and aggressively delivered to the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés a document demanding the payment of predial tax.

The BAZ of San Marcos Avilés, affirming their justified position, explained that they never pay any taxes to the government, as they are in resistance, and do not receive any kind of support from the government; they demanded that their right to their land be respected. In response, the authorities of the ejido said:

[…] You have to pay because it is an order from the Municipal President and an order from (the secretary of) the Treasury. If you do not pay, you will be displaced. We ourselves will arrest you and take you to the authorities. We are going to cut your light and water […]

2.) Subsequently, this group of party supporters met on 20 February to develop the next steps in their plan to displace our sisters and brothers the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés.

3.) On February 21, the party supporters left the ejido of San Marcos Avilés to talk to the Municipal President and the Agrarian Procurator in Ocosingo seeking support and the best way to undertake the displacement of the BAZ from the community of San Marcos Avilés.

For these reasons, we propose to all the countless allied people of good heart that we join together to denounce what has happened and remain alert for what could happen against the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés.

We repeat that we hold the officers of municipal, state, and federal government responsible for these attacks.

We demand freedom, justice and respect for the process of autonomy that is being constructed by the dignified Zapatista peoples. Our struggles will make these demands reality.

We will continue to update this site with information and translations as often as we can. The site is available here:

http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/latest-news/

Also, the video message from the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés already has over 39,000 views. We have to keep spreading the word!

You can watch this video message here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

 

LONG LIVE THE BAZ OF SAN MARCOS AVILÉS!

LONG LIVE THE EZLN!

We send you embraces from El Barrio, New York

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

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Political party militants and police demand that Zapatistas pay predial tax

Filed under: Paramilitary, Repression, San Marcos Aviles, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:00 pm

 

Political party militants and police demand that Zapatistas pay predial tax

They are at imminent risk of expulsion from the Chilón ejido, warns the Frayba centre

We will not pay; the government does not respond to complaints made: EZLN support base

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Sunday February 24, 2013

newsmapic4San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, February 23. The Zapatista families of the ejido San Marcos Avilés, in the municipality of Chilón, are at imminent risk of displacement by the inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Mexican Green Ecology Party (PVEM). The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) today issued an Urgent Action to demand guarantees for the threatened indigenous from the federal and state governments.

On Tuesday 19, ejidal authorities and police from the community aggressively delivered a letter to the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), demanding the payment of the predial tax. The Zapatista civilians explained their reasons for not participating in any area of the state and federal governments: We have suffered very much as a result of all these aggressions from groups of (political) party members, and the government has done nothing. Now is not the time to pay, because we are in resistance and we demand respect for our right to our lands. If we do not receive anything from the government, we are not going to pay taxes.

The ejido authorities replied that they had to pay because it was an order from the municipal president and (the secretariat) of Finance. Otherwise they would be evicted. We will arrest you ourselves and take you to the authorities. We are going to cut off the light and water, they said.

On the 20th the party supporters met to agree actions against the bases of the EZLN. According to testimony gathered by Frayba, they drafted a memorandum of agreement in which they agreed to seek the way to displace them, as well as addressing the municipal and state governments to seek strategies for the eviction of the Zapatistas from the community.

On the 21st the party supporters left San Marcos Avilés very early in order to fulfil the agreement and speak with the municipal president and the Agrarian Procurator in Ocosingo, so as to enable the eviction, also sending letters to the municipal, state and federal governments.

The bases of the EZLN reported that the ejido authorities informed them of this. That night, around 9 o’clock, the officialist (ie government-supporting) ejidatarios threatened the Zapatistas, saying that the municipal president of Chilón had given the eviction order and that on Monday 25 they would request intervention by the state government in Tuxtla Gutierrez .

The Frayba centre makes clear its concerns about the imminent risk to the life, integrity and personal safety of the Zapatista bases of San Marcos Avilés, based on the death threats and acts of intimidation which have increased in recent weeks.

To this they add forced displacement and the dispossession of their lands and livelihood since April 9, 2010, a situation that has led to a food crisis and a constant threat to their process of autonomy.

The Frayba centre emphasizes the responsibility of the government of Chiapas, which through deliberate omission has not acted to ensure the integrity and personal safety of the Zapatista bases and their access to their lands, despite several interventions sent by the organization itself to the Mexican government demanding the necessary measures to ensure the integrity and personal safety of the threatened indigenous, along with their right to the fundamental freedoms of free speech and thought, and their right to their dispossessed lands and to the autonomous process which they are building under the right to the free determination of peoples.

It should be remembered that on September 9, 2010, the Good Government Junta from Oventic denounced the forced displacement of 170 Zapatista men, women and children from the ejido, following the building by the Zapatistas, in August of that year, of the first autonomous school in the ejido.

On that day, 30 people from the ejido, led by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, entered violently, with sticks, machetes and guns, into the homes of the Zapatistas and attempted to rape two women, who managed to escape. So as not to respond to this aggression, the Zapatista families took refuge in the woods. After 33 days of displacement, the 27 families returned to their community on October 12. For more than two years they have remained in a precarious situation, deprived of their lands and under constant threats, which now could be fulfilled.

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/02/24/index.php?section=politica&article=019n1pol

 

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Urgent request concerning the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés

Filed under: San Marcos Aviles, Uncategorized, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:05 pm

From Dorset, England: Urgent request concerning the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés

Compañeras and Compañeros,

The Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group from the UK have written the letter which follows below. It can be printed out by any group, collective or organization and sent in protest against the renewed risk of imminent violent displacement of the Zapatista support bases of San Marcos Avilés. At the end are addresses for officials of the three levels of government, municipal, state and federal. It is only necessary to change the recipient and add your name and any contact details.

We are suggesting the letter be sent first to the local authorities in Chilón and Ocosingo, and then afterwards to the governments of Chiapas and Mexico, because it is the local municipal president who is most directly involved. It can also be sent to your local embassy or consulate, the media and other organizations.

We send you embraces from England

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

An English version of the letter is attached for your information: Sample letter in support of SMA , together with the letter in Spanish ready for printing: SMA carta espanol .   Please send the letter in Spanish, by post if at all possible.

Here is the letter:

Febrero de 2013

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, Presidente Municipal de Chilón, Chiapas

Lic. Luis Demetrio Domínguez López, Procuraduría Agraria, Ocosingo, Chiapas

C. Julio César Gómez Pérez, Tesorero Municipal, Chilón, Chiapas

Estimados Señores,

Llamado para poner fin a la violencia, y garantizar la seguridad y la protección de los derechos humanos en el ejido San Marcos Avilés, Chiapas

Hemos recibido con consternación e indignación las noticias de un nuevo intento de desplazar a las bases de apoyo zapatistas (BAZ) del ejido de San Marcos Avilés, municipio de Chilón, Chiapas, por parte de unos miembros y simpatizantes de los partidos políticos mexicanos el PRI, el PRD y el PVEM. Nos dirigimos a ustedes por fin de exigir que se tomen acciones inmediatas para evitar nuevamente amenazas y actos de hostigamiento contra los BAZ de esta comunidad; para garantizar y proteger sus vidas, e integridad y seguridad personal, así como sus derechos a la alimentación, a una vivienda digna y a la vida, y a trabajar sus tierras en paz.

Como ustedes sin duda saben, 170 de las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés fueron desplazadas violentamente a través del uso de armas de fuego, en el mes de septiembre de 2010, por un grupo de simpatizantes de los partidos políticos, y fueron obligados a huir a la montaña, donde se quedaron sin alimentos, bebidas o sin algún albergue por 33 días. A su regreso, encontraron sus cosechas y pertenencias destruidas. Según el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, las BAZ han sido incapaces de trabajar sus tierras, que son su único medio de subsistencia, desde el 9 de abril de 2010, lo que significa que no tienen una fuente de alimento. Los actos de acoso, robo y de violencia han sido un hecho cotidiano, desde esa fecha, y se ha informado una intensificación reciente en las amenazas de muerte, y actos de agresión e intimidación, que culminó en los sucesos de los últimos días, dejando las BAZ bajo la amenaza inminente de desplazamiento.

Hasta ahora, a pesar de denuncias y comunicaciones frecuentes en apoyo a las BAZ, los gobiernos municipal, estatal y federal no han tomado medidas para garantizar su seguridad e integridad. Exigimos que las autoridades mexicanas tomen medidas urgentes para garantizar:

• El cese inmediato de los riesgos de los desplazamientos y las amenazas de muerte y actos de hostigamiento contra las BAZ, por miembros de los partidos políticos en el ejido San Marcos Avilés.

• Las garantías y protección de la vida e integridad de los miembros de la Comunidad Base de Apoyo

• Respetar y garantizar el derecho fundamental a la libertad de expresión y pensamiento en el ejido San Marcos Avilés, y por el derecho de las BAZ a trabajar sus tierras sin molestias.

• Respetar y garantizar el proceso de construcción de autonomía, mediante el derecho a la autodeterminación de los pueblos, establecido con base en el Convenio de la OIT 169 sobre pueblos indígenas y tribales, y la Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, de los cuales ambos México ha firmado, así como en virtud de los Acuerdos de San Andrés.

Entendemos que las amenazas y agresiones provienen de la hostilidad hacia los avances que las BAZ están haciendo en el proceso de la construcción de su autonomía. Queremos establecer claramente que los miembros bases de apoyo de la comunidad de San Marcos Avilés no están solos: tienen todo nuestro apoyo.

Vamos a seguir muy de cerca y estaremos pendientes de los acontecimientos en San Marcos Avilés los próximos días; hacemos responsables a los gobiernos de Chilón, Chiapas y México por cualquier daño que puedan sufrir las BAZ de esta comunidad.

Atentamente

……………….

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February 25, 2013

Them and Us – VII – The Smallest of them All 1.- Learning to govern and govern ourselves

Filed under: La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:18 pm

Them and Us – VII – The Smallest of them All 

1.- Learning to govern and govern ourselves, that is, to respect and respect ourselves.

February 2013.

Note: the notebooks that make up the support material for the course “Freedom According to the Zapatistas,” are a product of meetings that the Zapatista bases of support in all zones have carried out to evaluate their work in the organization.

Compañeras and compañeros from the communities in resistance of the 5 caracoles,[i] tzotziles, choles, tzeltales, tojolabales, mames, zoques y mestizos, gathered to ask and answer questions among themselves, exchange experiences (which are different in each zone), and to criticize, self-criticize, and evaluate what they have done so far and what they still have to do. These meetings were coordinated by our compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, and were recorded, transcribed, and edited for the notebooks. Since during these meetings the compas shared among themselves their thoughts, histories, problems, and possible solutions, they themselves named the process: “the sharing.” These are a few loose fragments of the Zapatista sharing:

-*-

(…)

We are here to share our experiences, and one of these is, as we Zapatistas say, that we govern together, we govern as a collective. What can we share about the way in which you govern together, collectively?

The way we work is by not separating ourselves from the people. Always, with issues of regulations, plans, activities, and work, we have to get information from the people, and the [community] authorities have to be present in making the plans, making the proposals.

(…)

We are thinking and working through various things, and we think that part of the duty of autonomous government is to attend to whoever comes to our office with an issue. Whether or not that issue can be resolved, it must be heard. This is for whoever comes in, Zapatista or not, that is how we work. The exception to this is people from the government or people sent from the government, in which case they are not attended to. But as long as that is not the case, anyone from any social organization is heard. Also in our work we are always vigilant about honoring the seven principles of “rule by obeying.” We consider this to be necessary, to be our obligation, in order not to make the same mistakes and develop the same habits of the entities of bad government. So the seven principles are what govern us.

-*-

The first Aguascalientes, built in Guadalupe Tepeyac, was where we took our first step toward organization and toward our own way of exercising our rights. This Aguascalientes was a cultural, political, social, economic, and ideological center. When Ernesto Zedillo[ii] betrayed us in a [military] offensive that dismantled the Aguascalientes, he thought our organizational politics would come to an end. But the opposite happened, because that same year, 1994, it was declared that we would build five more Aguascalientes.

(…)

-*-

These municipalities decided where their municipal seat would be, and began to think about names for the municipalities, what they would be called when the Aguascalientees was ready. The first autonomous municipality, La Garrucha, was called Francisco Gómez; the municipality that is today San Manuel was before Las Tazas; Taniperlas was renamed Ricardo Flores Magón; San Salvador was named Francisco Villa.  All of these names honored compañeros. Francisco Gómez, a name we all know now, was a compañero who gave his life to our cause, he died in combat in Ocosingo on January 1st. San Manuel honors the compañero Manuel, founder of our organization. Ricardo Flores Magón, we know was a warrior of social struggle in our history. And Francisco Villa was also a revolutionary that we all know. So our municipalities were formed as agreed in our community assemblies, and in the regional assembly we decided on their names. Compañeros, those are the few words that I have to say and now other compañeros or compañeras will explain what comes next.

(…)

-*-

The principal problems that we had since the beginning of [inaudible], the problem of alcoholism, how is this problem now in your zone?

So in those days, at the beginning of 1994, a little after the war, some joined [the organization] out of fear. The war started, we all got together, we joined up for various reasons, but we joined up. Some did so consciously, but others out of fear. So those that joined out of fear, well of course they weren’t happy doing the work of the organization, so what did they do? We had the order not to drink alcohol, but they drank anyway, while trying to hide it. So what did we do? We didn’t punish them, what we did—and this is why we have the commission of elders—was have this commission explain to them why we made this rule, and explain the damage they were doing to themselves. So those who want to obey keep going, and those who don’t leave. That is our answer.

  (…)

-*-

Gobierno Autónomo I

-*-

Compañeros and compañeras, good afternoon to everyone.  I come from a village called ____, which is part of the municipality Francisco Villa.  I am here representing the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council], mycargo[iii] was Consejo [“Council”], from 2006 to 2009. I am going to explain how the responsibilities we have today came about. It’s not my job yet to explain where we started in 1994, rather, I’m going to tell a little about where we started after 1994. Before, in 91, 92, what was the cause of the armed uprising? It was the domination, marginalization, humiliation, injustice, and the norms or laws of the bad governments and the landowning exploiters. In those days, our parents and grandparents were not taken into account, they suffered, and didn’t have land to work and maintain their children. So the Zapatista pueblos began to organize, we said “enough of so much humiliation.” So we rose up in arms, we weren’t bothered by having to walk at night, or by hunger.

So we trained and educated ourselves, and we saw that organized, united, we could do things, and that we would be able to do many more things. After the uprising, we began to look at how to advance the training of our autonomous authorities in each municipality. That’s why we are all gathered here, to talk and share how our autonomous governments began to function. Why do I want to explain a little about this? Because I think that from that point on we were advancing toward where we are now. On this subject the compañero ___ is going to explain how we are working in our municipalities and in the Junta de Buen Gobierno today. That’s all I have to say, compañeros.

Compañeros, as the other compa already told you, now our compañero ____ is going to try to explain a little because he was the founder of our autonomous government in Caracol III, in la Garrucha, they were the first authorities. So they are going to share how they worked, how they were, how they began, and how things have been until today.

-*-

(…)

Ah I forgot to mention something before, about a month after we began our work, an organization called CIOAC [of PRD affiliation], kidnapped one of our compañeros along with a truck, so we had to denounce this but we didn’t have any idea how to make a denunciation. Members of the Junta de Buen Gobierno and municipal councils had to go and speak, a few words each, to make this denunciation, as a team, and that’s how we went about making the denunciation, but we got it out. And that’s why we started designating a secretary, a cook, someone who sweeps up, because we had to clean up our own office and our work area, we didn’t have anyone especially for those tasks and that’s how we still do it today.

(…)

-*-

 Gobierno Autónomo I

-*-

(…)

So we went on working like that and we reached 2003, when the Juntas de Buen Gobierno were formed. We didn’t know still, in our zone, if the leadership of the association of municipalities would one day be the authorities, the government. But in 2003, when the Juntas de Buen Gobierno were born, the people and the association of municipalities decided that those eight compañeros, members of the Leadership of the Association of Municipalities, would become the authorities of the Junta de Buen Gobierno. And those eight compañeros are those who take on thecargo of the Junta de Buen Gobierno for its first period, from 2003 to 2006.

So that’s how it happened, and under those conditions, the Junta de Buen Gobierno did not yet have an adequate space to work in. A few days before the existence of Juntas de Buen Gobierno was made public, the pueblos quickly and urgently constructed a space for the Junta de Buen Gobierno, as well as a place for each of the autonomous municipalities in the center of the Caracol. These were built with the materials that the pueblos had in that moment—used wood and used tin sheets—and that’s how we started, building those spaces, and in less than a week they were ready. So the offices were ready when we made the Juntas public in August of 2003. After they were made public the pueblos gathered together, proud of having created another entity of government as part of our autonomy. We held a party, a big celebration, to formally install the new autonomous government, and give it the office we had built and the materials with which we had supplied it.

We could say it was a bunch of stuff, but what the pueblo gave the Junta de Buen Gobierno was a table with two chairs, those were the supplies, and the space, a little smaller than this room we are in now. Those were the conditions at that time. A few days later, someone donated a very old machine [computer] and with that the work began. We received the space almost empty and that’s how we started, work initiatives arose and we got going, setting up the space.

(…)

-*-

In this work, as you can see, in the zone where we work, there are different forms of being, different forms of dressing, different colors, different beliefs, different ways of speaking, and so in that work we respect our compañeros and compañeras, regardless of how they are. The only thing that interests us is the will and capacity to work, so all of this about how someone is doesn’t concern us.

(…)

-*-

(To be continued…)

I testify to this.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, February 2013.

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Poder Caracol” by Lengualerta/Cuyo, music Taxi Gang. Video of Pazyarte, images of the Caracol Zapatista in Oventik, Chiapas. At the minute 2:42 they ask 2 international compas what they learned. They respond: “to share.”

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Zach de La Rocha, vocalist of Rage Against Machine, explains capital’s interest in annihilating zapatismo (with a small intervention by Noam Chomsky). Zach has been in Zapatista communities, acting like just one more among many, without boasting about who he was and who is he. He knew how to see us; we learned from seeing him. Background music: the track “People of the Sun.”

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The track “Canto a la Rebelión,” from the group SKA-P, lyrics included. This track is part of their new album “99%,” which will come out this coming March 2013, courtesy of Marquitos Spoil.  Oh, no reason to be presumptuous.  ¡Órales con el brincolín!

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[i] The Caracoles, literally “shells” or “spirals” were announced in 2003 as the homes of the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, or Good Government Councils. They replaced the five Zapatista “Aguascalientes,” one in each zone of Zapatista territory. When the EZLN first announced their existence they were described, in addition to being the seats of the self-government system, as “doors to enter into the communities” and “windows to see in and out.”

[ii] Ex-president of Mexico, 1994-2000.

[iii] Cargo is like a combination of duty and task, or charge; it also refers to a position of responsibility.

Translation by El Kilombo Intergaláctico
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Desde Dorset, Inglaterra: Solicitud urgente sobre las bases de apoyo zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés

Filed under: San Marcos Aviles, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:51 am

 

Desde Dorset, Inglaterra: Solicitud urgente sobre las bases de apoyo zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés

Compañeras y Compañeros,

El Grupo de Solidaridad con Chiapas de Dorset (Reino Unido) ha escrito la siguiente carta que esta abajo que puede ser imprimida y enviada por grupos, colectivos o individuos como protesta en contra del riesgo inminente del desplazamiento violento de las bases de apoyo zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés. Al final se encuentran las direcciones de los funcionarios de los tres niveles de gobierno, municipal, estatal y federal. Sólo es necesario cambiar el destinatario y añadir el nombre y algunos datos de contacto.

Estamos sugeriendo que se envíe principalmente a las autoridades locales en Chilón y Ocosingo, y después a los gobiernos de Chiapas y México, porque es el presidente municipal local que es el más directamente implicado. También pueden enviarlo a su embajada o consulado del gobierno de México, y a los medios de comunicación y otras organizaciones.

Les enviamos abrazos desde Inglaterra

Grupo de Solidaridad con Chiapas de Dorset

Aqui va la carta:

Febrero de 2013

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, Presidente Municipal de Chilón, Chiapas

Lic. Luis Demetrio Domínguez López, Procuraduría Agraria, Ocosingo, Chiapas

C. Julio César Gómez Pérez, Tesorero Municipal, Chilón, Chiapas

Estimados Señores,

Llamamiento para poner fin a la violencia, y para garantizar la seguridad y la protección de los derechos humanos en el ejido San Marcos Avilés, Chiapas

Hemos recibido con consternación e indignación las noticias de un nuevo intento de desplazar a las bases de apoyo zapatistas (BAZ) del ejido de San Marcos Avilés, municipio de Chilón, Chiapas, por parte de unos miembros y simpatizantes de los partidos políticos mexicanos el PRI, el PRD y el PVEM. Nos dirigimos a ustedes por fin de exigir que se tomen acciones inmediatas para evitar nuevamente amenazas y actos de hostigamiento contra los BAZ de esta comunidad; para garantizar y proteger sus vidas, e integridad y seguridad personal, así como sus derechos a la alimentación, a una vivienda digna y a la vida, y a trabajar sus tierras en paz.

Como ustedes sin duda saben, 170 de las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés fueron desplazadas violentamente a través del uso de armas de fuego, en el mes de septiembre de 2010, por un grupo de simpatizantes de los partidos políticos, y fueron obligados a huir a la montaña, donde se quedaron sin alimentos, bebidas o sin algún albergue por 33 días. A su regreso, encontraron sus cosechas y pertenencias destruidas. Según el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, las BAZ han sido incapaces de trabajar sus tierras, que son su único medio de subsistencia, desde el 9 de abril de 2010, lo que significa que no tienen una fuente de alimento. Los actos de acoso, robo y de violencia han sido un hecho cotidiano, desde esa fecha, y se ha informado una intensificación reciente en las amenazas de muerte, y actos de agresión e intimidación, que culminó en los sucesos de los últimos días, dejando las BAZ bajo la amenaza inminente de desplazamiento.

Hasta ahora, a pesar de denuncias y comunicaciones frecuentes en apoyo a las BAZ, los gobiernos municipal, estatal y federal no han tomado medidas para garantizar su seguridad e integridad. Exigimos que las autoridades mexicanas tomen medidas urgentes para garantizar:

• El cese inmediato de los riesgos de los desplazamientos y las amenazas de muerte y actos de hostigamiento contra las BAZ, por miembros de los partidos políticos en el ejido San Marcos Avilés.

• Las garantías y protección de la vida e integridad de los miembros de la Comunidad Base de Apoyo

• Respetar y garantizar el derecho fundamental a la libertad de expresión y pensamiento en el ejido San Marcos Avilés, y por el derecho de las BAZ a trabajar sus tierras sin molestias.

• Respetar y garantizar el proceso de construcción de autonomía, mediante el derecho a la autodeterminación de los pueblos, establecido con base en el Convenio de la OIT 169 sobre pueblos indígenas y tribales, y la Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, de los cuales ambos México ha firmado, así como en virtud de los Acuerdos de San Andrés.

Entendemos que las amenazas y agresiones provienen de la hostilidad hacia los avances que las BAZ están haciendo en el proceso de la construcción de su autonomía. Queremos establecer claramente que los miembros bases de apoyo de la comunidad de San Marcos Avilés no están solos: tienen todo nuestro apoyo.

Vamos a seguir muy de cerca y estaremos pendientes de los acontecimientos en San Marcos Avilés los próximos días; hacemos responsables a los gobiernos de Chilón, Chiapas y México por cualquier daño que puedan sufrir las BAZ de esta comunidad.

Atentamente

……………….

 

Versión para descargar: Espanol

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February 24, 2013

INFORME URGENTE: SE PLANEA DESALOJO INMINENTE, EL TERROR CRECE EN SAN MARCOS AVILÉS

Filed under: Movement for Justice in el Barrio, San Marcos Aviles, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:16 pm

 

INFORME URGENTE:

SE PLANEA DESALOJO INMINENTE,
EL TERROR CRECE EN SAN MARCOS AVILÉS

23 de febrero 2013:

Estamos sumamente preocupados sobre las nuevas amenazas de desplazamiento contra las Bases de Apoyo Zapatistas (BAZ) de San Marcos Avilés que descaradamente han hecho ciertos habitantes del mismo ejido con afiliaciones con el Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) y Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM).

Nosotros, los migrantes mexicanos y mexicanas que formamos el Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, en El Barrio, Nueva York, Estados Unidos, por medio de la presente, mantenemos nuestra postura de denuncia hacia estas agresiones que nacen y existen con el respaldo de los gobiernos municipal, estatal, y federal. Desde luego, hacemos responsables a los que se encargan de estos gobiernos por todo pasado y futuro acto de violencia que ha ocurrido y pueda ocurrir.

Por estos actos agresivos se amenaza un segundo desplazamiento comunitario al nivel del que ocurrió en el 2010, mostrando claramente el hecho de que éstos son parte de una cadena de violencia y represión histórica en contra de las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés. Sabemos que las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés son el blanco de estas agresiones simplemente porque luchan por justicia, dignidad, libertad, y democracia como indígenas zapatistas que son. Además, estas amenazas forman parte del plan de contrainsurgencia que el Estado Mexicano ha venido implementando desde el 1ro de enero del 1994.

Según los datos documentados, sabemos lo siguiente:

1.) El 19 de febrero de este año, once (11) personas, incluyendo autoridades ejidales, llegaron y le entregaron de modo agresivo a las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés un documento en donde se les exigió el pago del impuesto predial.

Las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés, afirmando su postura justa, les explicaron que nunca pagarán ningún impuesto del gobierno, ya que se encuentran en resistencia, no reciben ninguna especie de apoyo del gobierno, y exigen a que sea respetado su derecho a sus tierras. En respuesta, las autoridades del ejido dijeron:

[…]Tienen que pagar porque es orden del Presidente Municipal y orden de hacienda. Si no pagan serán desalojados. Los vamos a detener nosotros mismos y los llevaremos con las autoridades. Les vamos acortar la luz y el agua […]

2.) Posteriormente, se reunió este grupo de partidistas el 20 de febrero para desarrollar sus siguientes pasos en su plan para desplazar a nuestras hermanas y hermanos BAZ de San Marcos Avilés.

3.) El día 21 de febrero, los partidistas se fueron del ejido San Marcos Avilés para hablar con el Presidente Municipal y la Procuraduría Agraria en Ocosingo buscando apoyo y la forma de realizar el desplazamiento de la comunidad BAZ de San Marcos Avilés.

Por todo esto, proponemos a todas las incontables personas aliadas de buen corazón a que junt@s denunciemos lo ocurrido y que estén pendientes por lo que pueda suceder en contra de las BAZ de San Marcos Avilés.

Nuevamente, hacemos responsables a los oficiales de los gobiernos municipal, estatal, y federal por estas agresiones.

Exigimos justicia, libertad, y respeto al proceso autonómico que van construyendo los pueblos dignos zapatistas. Nuestras luchas convertirán estas exigencias en realidad.

Seguiremos actualizando este sitio con información y traducciones en cuanto nos sea posible. El sitio está disponible aquí:

http://sanmarcosaviles.wordpress.com/ultimas-noticias/

Además, el videomensaje de l@s Zapatistas de San Marcos Avilés ya cuenta con más de 39,000 vistas. ¡Hay que seguir corriendo la voz!

Pueden ver este videomensaje aquí:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg

¡VIVAN L@S BAZ de SAN MARCOS AVILÉS!

¡VIVA EL EZLN!

Les enviamos abrazos desde El Barrio, Nueva York.

Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio

 

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February 23, 2013

URGENT: Risk of forced displacement of BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Repression, San Marcos Aviles, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:15 pm

Risk of forced displacement of BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

 

February 22, 2013

Urgent Action No. 1

Risk of forced displacement of BAEZLN in San Marcos Avilés

sma4According to information documented by this Human Rights Centre, there exists an imminent risk in San Marcos Avilés ejido, municipality of Chilón, that for the second time a forced displacement of the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) may be carried out by inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and the Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

On February 19, 2013, 11 people from the community ejido authorities and the police of the community arrived and aggressively delivered a letter to the BAEZLN demanding payment of local tax.

The BAEZLN stated the arguments and reasons which they have had since the start of the armed uprising in 1994 not to participate in any area of ​​the state and federal government saying:

[…] We have suffered much from all these aggressions by groups of party supporters and the government has done nothing. Now is not the time to pay, because we are in resistance and we demand respect for our right to our land; if we do not receive anything from the government, we will not pay taxes.

The response from the ejidal authorities was that:

[…] You have to pay because it is an order from the Municipal President and an order from the Treasury. If you do not pay, you will be displaced. We ourselves will arrest you and take you to the authorities. We are going to cut your light and water […]

Following this, on 20 February 2013, the party supporters met to agree actions against the BAEZLN, at this meeting, according to witnesses, they made an act of agreement whereby they decided to seek ways to displace them, as well as communicating and having discussions with the municipal and state governments to seek strategies for the eviction of the “Zapatistas” within the community.

On February 21, 2013, the party supporters left the community of San Marcos Avilés very early, in order to fulfil the act of agreement signed the previous day. In order to do so, they sought to speak to the Municipal President and the Agrarian Prosecutor in Ocosingo to activate the eviction, also sending letters to the municipal, state and federal governments.

For this, according to the testimony of the BAEZLN, the same authorities mentioned previously told them that they sought to talk to the Municipal President of Chilón and the Agrarian Prosecutor in Ocosingo with the aim of asking for an order to evict the BAEZLN. The same day, February 21, at around 21:00, the inhabitants of the ejido threatened the BAEZLN, saying that the Mayor of Chilón had ordered the eviction and that, on Monday 25 February, the authorities of the ejido would seek the intervention of the state government in Tuxtla Gutierrez. This information was received by the BAEZLN without knowing whether it was true, or if it was a threat from the party supporters of the ejido.

This Centre for Human Rights expresses its concerns about the imminent risk to life, personal integrity and security faced by the BAEZLN, inhabitants of the ejido San Marcos Avilés, stemming from the death threats and harassment which have increased during recent weeks; in addition to their forced displacement and dispossession from their lands, which are their means of subsistence, and which they have not been able to work since April 9, 2010, a situation that has led to a food crisis and constant threats against their process of autonomy.

We point out the responsibility of the government of Chiapas who, by deliberate omission, have not acted to ensure the integrity and personal security of the BAEZLN and their access to the land despite various interventions submitted by the Centre for Human Rights;

Therefore we demand that the Mexican government to take the necessary measures to:

  • protect and guarantee the life, integrity and personal security of the BAEZLN
  • Respect and guarantee the right to fundamental freedom of expression and thought in the San Marcos Avilés
  • Respect and guarantee the right to work the land belonging to the BAEZLN
  • Respect and guarantee the process of building autonomy, under the right to the self-determination of peoples, established under the Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as in the San Andres Accords.
  • Investigation and punishment of those responsible for the forced displacement, dispossession, threats and harassment of the BAEZLN.

 

Background:

SMAphoto3On 9 September 2010, this Human Rights Centre received a denuncia from the Good Government Junta Central Heart of the Zapatistas before the World, from Caracol 2 Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, based in Oventic, San Andrés Sakamch´en de Los Pobres, Chiapas, in relation to the threats, harassment and forced displacement suffered by 170 men, women and children of the BAEZLN from the ejido San Marcos Avilés, Chilón municipality, Chiapas; this followed the building by the BAEZLN, in the month of August 2010, of the first autonomous school in the ejido, for the start of the planned activities of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Education System.

That day, 30 people from the ejido San Marcos Avilés, all of whom were affiliated with the PRI, PRD and PVEM, and who were headed by Mr. Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, entered violently, with sticks, machetes and guns, into the homes of members of the BAEZLN, and tried to rape two women who escaped. In order not to respond to this aggression, the BAEZLN left their homes seeking refuge in the woods and mountains. After 33 days of forced displacement without food or any form of protection, on October 12, 2010, 27 BAEZLN families (women, men, boys and girls, in total 170 individuals) returned to their community. They are currently still living in a precarious situation where they remain displaced from their subsistence lands, and under constant threats to their personal safety and integrity.

* – *

Write to:

Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto

Presidente de la República

Residencia Oficial de los Pinos

Casa Miguel Alemán

Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,

C.P. 11850, México DF

Tel: (52.55) 2789.1100 Fax: (52.55) 5277.2376

 

Lic. Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong

Secretario de Gobernación

Bucareli 99, 1er. Piso, Col. Juárez,

Del. Cuauhtémoc,

C.P. 06600 México D.F.

Fax: (52 55) 50933414;

Correo:  secretario@segob.gob.mx

 

Lic.  Manuel Velasco Coello

Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas

Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 1er Piso
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México

Fax: +52 961 61 88088 – + 52 961 6188056

Extensión 21120. 21122;

Correo: secparticular@chiapas.gob.mx

 

Dr. Noé Castañón León

Secretario General de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas

Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 2do Piso

Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México

Conmutador: + 52 (961) 61 2-90-47, 61 8-74-60

Extensión: 20003;

Correo: secretario@secgobierno.chiapas.gob.mx

 

Lic. Raciel López Salazar

Procuraduría General de Justicia de Chiapas

Libramiento Norte Y Rosa Del Oriente, No. 2010, Col. El Bosque

C.P. 29049 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas

Conmutador: 01 (961) 6-17-23-00. Teléfono: + 52 (961) 61 6-53-74, 61 6-53-76, 61 6-57-24,

61 6-34-50

Correo: raciel.lopez@pgje.chiapas.gob.mx

 

Lic. Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar

Presidente Municipal

Domicilio Conocido S/N, Presidencia Municipal C.P. 29943

Chilón, Chiapas, México

Teléfonos: (01 919) 6710115, 6710230, 6710116, 6710030, Fax: 6710034

Correo: presidenciachilon@hotmail.com

 

Dr. Emilio Álvarez Icaza

Secretario Ejecutivo de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
1889 F Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20006

USA

Fax 1-202-458-3992

Correo: cidhdenuncias@oas.org

 

Javier Hernández Valencia

Representante de la Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado

de Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos

Alejandro Dumas No 165

Col. Polanco.

Del. Miguel Hidalgo

C.P 11560, México D.F.

Tel: (52-55) 5061-6350

Fax: (52-55) 5061-6358

Correo: quejasoacnudhmexico@ohchr.orgoacnudh@ohchr.org

 

Send a copy to:

 

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.

Calle Brasil 14, Barrio Méxicanos,

29240 San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

Tel: 967 6787395, 967 6787396, Fax: 967 6783548

Correo: accionesurgentes@frayba.org.mx

 

 

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February 22, 2013

Toward a Literacy of Rebellion

Filed under: Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:37 pm

Compañeros of the Word

Toward a Literacy of Rebellion

by GREG RUGGIERO, published in Counterpunch  http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/21/toward-a-literacy-of-rebellion/

aaaaaaaaaaaa-grandeIn the dead of winter, 1994, a mysterious caller left a voice-message on my answering machine. Speaking in English, but with a Mexican-sounding accent, the female voice simply said, “The compañeros asked me to call you to thank you for the pamphlet you made about the struggle.” Compañeros? It was the first time that I had consciously heard the word, and it would be years before I really understood it. 

A few weeks earlier, I had opened that day’s New York Times and stood, without moving, while reading the paper’s cover story. It was January 3, 1994. An indigenous uprising was taking place in Chiapas, Mexico. The article described how a well orchestrated, surprise action staged by thousands of Mexican rebels had managed to seize control of several towns. Photos showed the rebels, many armed with nothing more than sticks. Without words, the faces in the photos spoke: Estamos aqui. No queremos morir, ya no! Somos ustedes. Ustedes son nosotros. Ven, compañero. Ven, compañera. Levantanse! 

Day by day, coverage of the rebellion deepened, and day by day, bits and pieces of the words of the indigenous communities and their spokespeople made it into print. When they did, phrases floated out like lines from great writers like Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Benedetti or Walt Whitman; words you never forget, words that hold you in their hands, words that call you, invite you, and stay with you as if they were those of someone you have always known and loved, but have never met.

A young woman, Barbara Pillsbury, began posting her translations of the rebels’ writings on the website of the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy. From these initial translations, the Mexican rebels’ own perspectives began to gradually emerge in their own voice, in their own rhythm, and in their own words. Declarations of indignation, dignity, justice, democracy and freedom flowed like mountain springs from remote Mayan communities to the rest of the world.

“Here we are, the dead of all times, dying once again, but now in order to live,” began one of the rebels’ communiqués. Through simple and heartfelt language, 500 years of indigenous resistance was being signalled out as both a local Mexican struggle and as a global defence for humanity itself. As an activist and a movement publisher, everything about this resonated and inspired. By February 1994, my friend and I began publishing pamphlets of the Zapatistas’ first communiqués and declarations. No long after, the mysterious voice message was left on the answering machine. But it wouldn’t be until August 1999 that I made my first trip to Chiapas, met with the insurgent communities, and began to hear the living voice of the people in struggle and learn bits and pieces of their language of community, dignity and struggle.

In the meantime, I learned by reading Zapatista literature. As support for the movement spread, new translators emerged with new styles of translating that preserved some terms in the Spanish original. Among the words that appeared most abundantly were compañero y compañera. For example, many of Zapatista letters and public presentations begin with greetings to others in the struggle: “Brothers and sisters, compañeros y compañeras….” In Chiapas, compañero, or compa for short, is how Zapatistas refer to one another, and to anyone or anything in solidarity with the movement. You might also hear “compita,” an affectionate version of compa, which I first came across through written correspondence with freed Zapatista political prisoner, Javier Elorriaga.

Time, memory and oral history all flow differently in the Zapatista communities. Their braid of struggle is woven equally with strands of the past, the future and the present, and whatever helps them weave it is a weapon against oblivion. “We have other arms,” states one of their letters. “For example, we have the arm of the word. We also have the arm of our culture, of our being who we are…We have the weapon of the mountain, that old friend and compañera who fights along with us, with her roads, hiding places, and hillsides, with her trees, with her rains, with her suns, with her dawns, and moons…”

Paolo Freire said language is never neutral, and Alfred Korzybski said words are like maps, but never the territory to which they refer. In the case of insurgent discourse, the territory to which the terms of struggle refer is the possible world, experienced in glimpses through collective acts of the imagination, conscience and yearning. The genius of Zapatista literature is the narrative it voices to protect its historical memory and parent the possible. “In our dreams we have seen another world, an honest world, a world decidedly more fair than the one in which we now live. We saw that in this world there was no need for armies; peace, justice and liberty were so common that no one talked about them as far-off concepts, but as things such as bread, birds, air, water.”

The words dignitydreamdemocracyjusticestruggle and liberty are among those central to the Zapatista vision, but perhaps it is the word compañero, the building block of the community and the organization, that holds and contains all of these other words in it. In the words of Araceli and Maribel, Zapatista women from the La Realidad region, describe how the original insurgents introduced them to the word: “After visiting us several times, they began to explain the struggle to us: what they were fighting for and whom they were fighting against. They told us there was a word we could use to show our respect for each other, and that word was compañeros or compañeras. Pronouncing it meant that we were going to struggle together for our freedom.”

While its meaning may change from place to place, the word compañero is common in conversation, movement songs, and the literature of resistance throughout Spanish-speaking culture. You can hear it in the dialogue of the characters in the film Corazon del Tiempo, in the one-word title of Jorge Casteñada’s biography of Che Guevara, and in the lines of Argentine poet Juan Gelman:

Nosotros vamos a empezar otra vez la lucha

Otra vez vamos a empezar

Otra vez vamos a empezar nosotros 
Contra la gran derrota del mundo

Compañeritos que no terminan

O arden en la memoria como fuegos 

Otra vez

Otra vez

Otra vez

In art as in life, the word carries the love and aspiration of people who use language, like territory, to struggle for a better world.

* * *

229530_503275419684291_1931603538_nAs of the time of this writing, authorities have arrested 7,719 people have been arrested at events and actions organized by Occupy movement. I was among the 700 people arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2012. Spending the night in a jail cell with 115 other protestors was a galvanizing and affirming experience. During my first court appearance I was reunited with many of the movement people with whom I marched and spent the night in jail. With great joy, I passed around copies pamphlets I had published since our arrest and chatted with young organizers about plans for upcoming actions. A few blocks away, Zuccotti Park was roiling with activity.  When the judge called out my name, I made my way up from my seat, passed through a small wooden gate, and stood before the bench. I declined the court’s offer for an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, and chose to fight all charges against us. As I turned from the judge and began to exit the space before his bench, a Latina woman from the movement was called up. For a moment we stood facing each other, the gate between us.

It was for me to exit before she approached the bench, but I said, “After you, compañera,” and opened the gate for her to come forward first.

“Gracias, compañero,” she answered.

We looked at each other again, but now with new eyes, a new understanding connecting us. Unlike the very real bond we also shared with everyone else in the room through the movement, the march, and our mass arrest; this stranger and I, through a single world, communicated and connected with something deeper. In calling each other compañeros, it was as if the struggle we were waging went far beyond one arrest, one place, one time, one movement, one people, one language, one history. It was as if the tables were turned: a whole world was now ours to speak, and the silence that came with sharing it was clandestine and beautiful.

* * *

“Words are deeds,” wrote the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. They can divide and conquer or tie things with possibility; they can serve systems of domination and control or help overturn them. In learning words and phrases from other struggles, and creating new ones, a literacy of resistance and emancipation is advanced that creates territory out of consciousness itself. “It is the word that gives form to that walk that goes on inside us,” say the Zapatistas. “It is the word that is the bridge to cross to the other side. Silence is what Power offers our pain in order to make us small. Speaking we heal the pain. Speaking we accompany one another. Power uses the word to impose his empire of silence. We use the word to renew ourselves.”

As an act of renewal, social struggle succeeds most not when it focuses on winning a single-issue reform, but when it relocates power from authority to the people and community. A literacy of struggle and solidarity, drawing on terms borrowed or those just born, can open the way to thinking and acting outside of set of choices imposed by the system in much the same way achieving traditional literacy opened the path for Frederick Douglass to pursue and win his own liberation, fomenting resistance and movement organizing in the process.

We live in a time of indignation, outrage, uprisings, rebellion, and insurgent democracy movements against systems that have become hostile to the public interest. Developing a literacy of solidarity and resistance can not only help break step with corporate controlled society, but also assist people identify and articulate with the traditions of resistance developed over generations of struggle by the indigenous, people of colour, women, and defenders of the Earth’s natural environment.

“Challenges to the system,” writes Rául Zibechi, “are unthinkable without spaces beyond the control of the powerful.” After almost two years of coordinated repression against the Occupy movement, 7,719 arrests, timed entrapment cases, mass surveillance, and a police-state presence waged against public plazas and squares, language offers itself as an open yet clandestine space to occupy and mobilize in the effort to freely name the world, its injustices, and our narratives toward common emancipation. Like Zapatistas, as “incompleted beings conscious of their incompletion,” we mentor one another to build networks grounded in a literacy of rebellion.

“Those who look at us,” wrote Subcomandante Marcos last week, “and look at themselves thinking about us, and make themselves a bridge and then discover that these words that they write, sing, repeat, transform, do not belong to the Zapatistas, that they never did, that those words belong to you, they belong to everybody and to nobody, and that they are part of a larger whole, and who knows where that larger whole may be, and so you discover or confirm that when you look at us looking at ourselves looking at you, you are touching and talking about something bigger, something for which there is no alphabet yet, and that through this process you aren’t joining a group, collective, organization, sect, religion, or whatever you may call it, but rather that you are understanding that the passage to humanity today is called ‘rebellion.’”

With our word as our weapon, the passage to humanity opens. At the same time, repression against us, blocking what we open, intensifies. As it does, we learn to find one another and connect in new ways, learning from one another as we go, finding solidarity in disobedience, in stories of community and resistance, and in simple words we carry in from sister struggles, words like compañero and compañera.

Greg Ruggiero is an editor with City Lights Books.  He is author of Microradio and Democracy: [Low] Power to the People, and has co-edited several collections of Zapatista writings, including Our Word is Our Weapon and The Speed of Dreams. He is currently working with the communities on a print and music project, Radio Zapatista: The Songs, Lyrics and Stories of a Rebel Radio Network.

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February 20, 2013

Zapatistas: Still Fighting for Land, Justice and Indigenous Rights

Filed under: Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:14 pm


Zapatistas: Still Fighting for Land, Justice and Indigenous Rights

 

photo by cmldf (Creative Commons)

By Caroline Moyer,  published on Food First http://www.foodfirst.org/en/node/4158 

On December 21, 2012, tens of thousands of Zapatistas-the anti-neoliberal indigenous movement that emerged from Mexico’s Lacandon Jungle in late 1993-marched silently through the streets of five cities in Chiapas, Mexico. It was the revolutionary group’s first appearance in the media in more than a year. The symbolic action in December commemorated 20 years of the Zapatista movement, a fitting occasion to reflect on the lessons the Zapatistas have taught the world.

The December action also coincided with the 15th anniversary of the Acteal massacre, in which 45 unarmed civilian Zapatista sympathizers-including children and pregnant women-gathered at a prayer meeting were brutally murdered by paramilitary forces, while soldiers stood idly by. December also marked the end of the Mayan calendar and tourists were flocking to the area. Perhaps most significantly, the march came three weeks after the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a major target of the Zapatista movement at its inception, came back into power with the election of Enrique Peña Nieto[1].

The Zapatista movement originated in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, when the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) declared war against the Mexican state and the fraudulently elected president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, a member of the PRI. On January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect, the EZLN seized towns in Chiapas, creating a spectacle that earned them international media recognition. In their First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle, the General Command of the EZLN called upon Mexican citizens to fight for “work, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.[2]”

The initial spectacle was so well orchestrated, and the movement garnered so much attention as a result, that Subcomandante Marcos, the mysterious, well-spoken leader of the EZLN, even graced the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, clad in his trademark face mask. Supporters of the Zapatistas came from all over the world in droves-enlisted via online networks-to help the indigenous struggle in Chiapas.

The story of land rights in Chiapas is long and complex, and helps to provide context for the 1993 rebellion. Residents of Chiapas have actually traditionally been supportive of the PRI since the Mexican Revolution, which ensured land rights to peasants in the 1917 constitution. However, as George A. Collier observes in his book, Basta!: Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas:

“What the Mexican constitution promises and what the national and state governments legislate and actually (if ever) deliver are two different things. The present-day Zapatistas, who in August 1994 called for a new constitutional convention, claimed that the 1917 Constitution’s promises were not being met and never would be”[3].

A second factor leading to the Zapatista uprising is the liberalization of trade via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, Collier explains that NAFTA was not necessarily the biggest concern of the EZLN. More central to the movement were President Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s moves in 1992 to reform Article 27 of the Constitution, the article that had protected peasant land rights for decades. Salinas and his advisors decided that the peasant-controlled land was not competitive in global markets, and the peasant sector needed to be restructured. By reforming Article 27, Salinas robbed peasants of any possibility of obtaining land, their main source of livelihood. Collier explains: “by changing the law, the government removed a crucial reason for peasants to try to work within the law”[4]. The result of this was a declaration of war against the government and the birth of the Zapatista movement.

Since 1994, Zapatistas have themselves redistributed land to small peasant farmers. They created autonomous tracts of land, caracoles, which are run by local governing groups and provide land for farming, schools and clinics to serve the indigenous communities surrounding them. According to Mexican activist Gustavo Esteva, Zapatistas place great importance in the ability to educate and take care of themselves: “We need to overcome our need for and dependency on the health and education systems … We must take these into our own hands, autonomously, without waiting for the system to do it for us”[5]. Aside from the redistribution of land, the movement has also been credited with achieving greater participation of peasants in local and state politics, and attracting international attention to the negative impacts of neoliberalism.

The indigenous communities of Chiapas do still vie for control over the area. Occasionally, paramilitaries and supporters of the state violently confront Zapatista territory. According to reporter Grant Fuller, “the Mexican Army also maintains a strong presence in the region, and the government’s tolerance of Zapatista autonomy is tenuous at best”[6].

While emphasizing their allegiance to the indigenous communities of Chiapas, the Zapatistas look for solidarity and cooperation with organizations around the globe. In the most recent communiqué from Subcomandante Marcos, dated December 30, 2012, he states, “We will try to construct the necessary bridges toward the social movements that have arisen and will arise, not to direct or supplant them, but to learn from them, from their history, from their paths and destinies”[7].

So, what has the Zapatista movement taught the world? The Zapatistas have shown the importance of building alliances among movements, as well as ways to use technology and the media as a movement-building tool. Most importantly, the Zapatistas demonstrate how indigenous movements can create grassroots change in the face of neoliberal “development,” privatization, and exploitation. According to Alex Khasnabish, author of Zapatistas: Rebellion from the Grassroots to the Global, “it is impossible to understand the current cycle of [global] protest without the Zapatistas”[8]. On December 21st, 2012, the Zapatistas reminded the world that they are still here and they are still fighting.

References:

1. Ioan Grillo, “Return of the Zapatistas: Are Mexico’s Rebels Still Relevant?” Time, January 8, 2013, http://world.time.com/2013/01/08/return-of-the-zapatistas-are-mexicos-re….
2. General Command of the EZLN, “First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle,” 1993,http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/mexico/ezln/ezlnwa.html.
3. George A. Collier, Basta!: Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas (Oakland: Food First Books, 2005), 28.
4. Collier, Basta!, Op Cit. page 87.
5. Jessica Davies and Helen Jaccard, “Gustavo Esteva: Recovering Hope – The Zapatista Example,” Upside Down World: Covering Activism and Politics in Latin America, January 10, 2013, http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4068-gustavo-est….
6. “Mexico’s Zapatistas,” PRI’s The World, September 16, 2010,http://www.theworld.org/2010/09/mexico-zapatistas/.
7. Devon G. Pena, “Zapatista Communique of the New Year 2013,” Environmental and Food Justice, January 8, 2013, http://ejfood.blogspot.com/2013/01/zapatista-communique-of-new-year-2013….
8. Grillo, “Return of the Zapatistas.” Op Cit.

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Zapatistas break silence to slam Mexico elite – Al Jazeera

Filed under: Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:48 pm
 

 

 

 Zapatistas break silence to slam Mexico elite – Al Jazeera

New statements from the indigenous movement put rebels seeking “land, liberty, work and peace” back in the public eye.
, Al Jazeera
Mexico Drug War

After years of silence, secluded in their base communities in Mexico’s impoverished south, indigenous Zapatista rebels have re-emerged with a series of public statements in recent weeks, attempting to reignite passions for their demands of “land, liberty, work and peace”.

In December, 40,000 Zapatista supporters marched through villages in Chiapas, re-asserting their presence. In January and February, Subcomandate Marcos – the Zapatistas’ pipe-smoking, non-indigenous spokesman and an international media darling – issued a series of communiques slamming the government of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which assumed power in December.

“Our pains won’t be lessened by opening ourselves up to those that hurt all over the world,” Marcos wrote in late January, rallying supporters. “We will resist. We will struggle. Maybe we’ll die. But one, ten, one hundred times, we’ll always win.”

The group first made international headlines on January 1, 1994, when they captured six towns in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state and one of the country’s poorest regions.

The Rand Corporation, a research group with links to the US military, said Chiapas is “characterised by tremendous age-old gaps between the wealthy and impoverished – kept wide by privileged landowners who ran feudal fiefdoms with private armies”.

For nearly two decades, the Zapatistas have attempted to build a system of autonomous governance, emphasising indigenous dignity and collective agriculture. Indigenous members of the group could not be reached by Al Jazeera for comment, due in part to a lack of easy phone access.

‘Community building’

The group had been quiet in recent years before the December rally and subsequent communiques. “They have been busy, building up their base as a social movement at the community level, even if they hadn’t been in the media,” Mark Berger, visiting professor of defence analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School, told Al Jazeera. There are between 100,000 and 200,000 people living in communities which support the Zapatistas, he said.

In recent communiques, Marcos has described Mexico’s government as a “zombie state” controlled by the elite, a statement which likely resonates among some sectors of the population in a country plagued by pervasive inequality and corruption.

Previous attempts to unify Mexico’s social movements, from independent trade unionists, to feminists, students, punks and other indigenous people, have been met with mixed results. The “Other Campaign”, the last major outreach drive launched by the Zapatistas in 2006, was largely unsuccessful in building a national movement.

“The Other Campaign was very critical of electoral politics and it marked a fracture among the Mexican left,” Alán Arias Marín, a political scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Al Jazeera. “Locally [in Chiapas] the movement still has support.”

Return of the PRI

aje547xMeanwhile, though, Mexico has been consumed with other problems, especially drug-related violence. For the last 12 years, Mexico had been governed by the conservative National Action Party (PAN), led by Vicente Fox and later Felipe Calderon. The PAN had little interest in dealing with the Zapatistas or the broader issues faced by indigenous Mexicans. Today, the PAN is out of office in a development that could change dynamics for the Zapatistas.

The PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 uninterrupted years before 2000, was in power when the Zapatistas first rebelled. The return of what Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa called the “perfect dictatorship” in an election last year marred by allegations of fraud could benefit the Zapatistas as they seek to rebuild alliances with social movements outside of Chiapas and reinvigorate their national presence.

“The same people who poured into the Zocalo [Mexico City’s main square] to stop the government from imposing a strict military response to the rebellion [in 1994] are still there,” Richard Stahler-Sholk, an author of the book Latin American Social Movements in the Twenty-First Century, told Al Jazeera. “The Mexican government has unleashed militarisation on the country, with the encouragement of the US government, in response to drug violence.”

More than 70,000 people have died in drug-related mayhem since 2006 and the US has pledged more than $1.4bn in military aid to Mexico under the auspicies of fighting criminal cartels.

With carnage raging in parts of Mexico, activists calling for a new approach to the “War on Drugs”, and an increasingly powerful student movement confronting the PRI, the Zapatistas have plenty of possible allies.

“I think there is a possibility that the Zapatistas and the student movement could well gain a lot more traction under a PRI-dominated political system,” Berger said.

Pena Nieto could become a lightning rod for protests, reacquainting the Zapatistas with their historic foe, the PRI. During his tenure as governor of Mexico State, Nieto oversaw the violent police crackdown against demonstrators in the city of San Salvador Atenco in 2006. Two demonstrators were killed and a group of women say they were sexually terrorised by security forces as they protested the extension of an airport.

The student movement #yosoy132 formed after a group of undergraduates questioned Nieto about the attacks during his presidential campaign in 2012. Angered by reports of electoral fraud and the PRI’s history of corruption, many students have been challenging the government.

‘Net war’

“The Zapatistas are hoping, I think, that people will create the conditions of autonomy and self-sufficiency in their local areas; they want supporters to bring the ideas of the revolution home.– Zapatista supporter

Mexico’s youth are not alone in opposing the status quo.

“What began as a violent insurgency in an isolated region mutated into a nonviolent though no less disruptive social netwar that engaged the attention of activists from far and wide,” the Rand Corporation noted in ananalysis of the Zapatistas and the internet.

In mid-January, Anonymous, the diffuse internet activist movement, apparently launched a cyber-attack crashing the website of Mexico’s defence ministry, claiming to be in solidarity with the Zapatistas.

According to some analysts, the Zapatistas – and their early use of the internet to draw support – were the precursor of a new type of diffuse social movement such as Occupy Wall Street, #yosoy132, and anti-globalisation protests.

But the tangible benefits of internet activism and the outside support it garners can be fleeting. “The Zapatistas were trendy, and numerous international initiatives supported them,” Marín, the professor in Mexico City, said. But with the onset of the US-led war in Iraq, most NGOs started to have different concerns, he said, describing non-government organisations as “very fussy”.

In recent communiques, Marcos said the Zapatistas would reappraise their relationships with various foreign and domestic partners. Aid groups, particularly some charities, have been criticised by the masked revolutionaries.

Revolutionary ideas

If the drug war and the thousands of corpses left in its wake helped push the Zapatistas off the international agenda, the return of the PRI might make it easier for them to reclaim a place in national debates.

In the past, the PRI was widely believed to broker deals between the cartels to ensure stability. “The government will stop trying to go to war with organised crime so much,” Berger predicted of the new PRI administration. “That will allow more attention to other forms of politics.”

It remains unclear if the Zapatistas will be able to capitalise on these potential changes, but their re-emergence in the public eye is being met with interest across Mexico and beyond.

“Recent communications are specifically directed at re-activating their national and international base,” said one long-time supporter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity from Chiapas due to security concerns. “The Zapatistas are hoping, I think, that people will create the conditions of autonomy and self-sufficiency in their local areas; they want supporters to bring the ideas of the revolution home.”

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Them and Us VII: The Smallest of Them All

Filed under: La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:33 pm

Them and Us VII: The Smallest of Them All

THEM AND US.

VII.- The Smallest of them All.


Introduction.

February 2013.

For several years now, while in the politics of above they fought over the booty of a shattered nation, while the media was either silent or lied about what was happening, while the original peoples of this land went out of fashion and returned to a corner of oblivion, their lands looted, their inhabitants exploited, repressed, displaced, disrespected…

 
The indigenous Zapatista peoples,

Surrounded by the federal army, pursued by state and municipal police, attacked by paramilitary groups formed and equipped by governments from across the political spectrum in Mexico (PRI, PAN, PRD, PT, PVEM, MC and the other names taken by the parasitical Mexican political class), hounded by agents of the different national and foreign spy agencies, seeing their bases of support, men and women, beaten, displaced, imprisoned…

The indigenous Zapatista peoples

without show,

without any imperative other than duty,

without instruction manuals,

without any leaders but ourselves

without any referent other than the dream of our dead,

with only our history and memory as weapons,

looking near and far into calendars and geographies,

with our guide: Serve, not Serve yourself/ Represent, not Supplant/ Construct, not Destroy/ Obey, not Command/ Propose, not Impose/ Convince, not Defeat/ Go Below, not Climb Above.

The Zapatista peoples, the indigenous Zapatistas, the indigenous Zapatista bases of support of the eezeelen, with a new way of doing politics,

We made

We make

We will make

Freedom.

FREEDOM

OUR FREEDOM!

 -*-

Note of clarification:

The texts that will appear in this seventh and final part of “Them and Us” are fragments taken from the “First Grade Notebook from the Course: Freedom according to the Zapatistas. Autonomous Government I,” and “First Grade Notebook from the Course in: Freedom according to the Zapatistas. Autonomous Government II.” The Spanish version is ONLY for compas who are part of the Sixth (We hope there will be versions in the original languages as determined by the National Indigenous Congress, as well as in English, Italian, French, Portuguese, Greek, German, Euskera, Catalonian, Arabic, Hebrew, Galician, Kurdish, Aragonese, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Japanese, and other languages, according to the support of compas of the Sixth around the world who know about the task of translating). These notebooks form part of the support material for the course that the Zapatista bases of support will give to the compas of the Sixth in Mexico and from around the world.

All of the texts are authored by the Zapatista bases of support, men and women, and they include not only the process of the struggle for freedom, but also their critical and self-critical reflections about our path. That is, they demonstrate how we Zapatistas see freedom and how we struggle to achieve it, exercise it, and defend it.

As our compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés has already explained, our compas from the Zapatista bases of support are going to share the little we have learned about the struggle for freedom, and the compas of the Sixth can see what is useful or not for their own struggles.

This class in the little Zapatista school, as you now know, is called “Freedom according to the Zapatistas,” and it will be given directly by compañeros and compañeras who are bases of support of the eezeelen, who have carried out the various tasks of government, vigilance, and other diverse responsibilities in the construction of Zapatista autonomy.

In order to be admitted to the little school, in addition to being invited, the compas of the Sixth and special invitees will need to take a few preparatory, previous, or propaedeutic courses (or however you say what comes 

before kindergarten),  before passing into “first grade.” These courses will be given by compas from the support teams of the EZLN’s Sixth Commission and have as their only objective to give you the basic elements of neo-Zapatista history and our struggle for democracy, liberty, and justice.

In geographies where there aren’t compas from the support teams, we will get you the syllabus so that all invitees can prepare.

The dates and times, that is, the calendars and geographies in which the courses will be given by the Zapatista bases of support, will be announced in the appropriate moment, always carefully taking into account the situation of each individual, group, or collective invitee.

All of the invitees to the course will receive it, no matter if they can come to Zapatista territory or not. We are studying the possible forms or ways to reach your hearts, whatever your calendar and geography may be. So don’t worry.

Okay then. Cheers, now just prepare your heart, and, of course, your pencils and notebooks.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

SupMarcos.

Mexico, February of 2013.

P.S. THAT GIVES LESSONS IN MANNERS. This seventh and final part of the series “Them and Us” consists of various parts and is ONLY for the compas of the Sixth. Along with part V (which, as its numeration indicates, is called “The Sixth”) and the last of part VI. The Gaze 6: We are He,” form part of the private correspondence that the EZLN, through its spokespeople, directs to the compas of the Sixth. In each of these parts, as in the present writing, we clearly signal to whom the texts are addressed.

For those who are not compas and try to mock, enter into polemics, argue, or respond to these texts, we remind you that reading or commenting on the correspondence of others is what is done by gossipers and/or police. So you should keep track of what category you’re in. In addition, your comments only reflect a vulgar racism (you’re so critical of TV and yet you merely repeat its clichés), and reiterate your lack of imagination (which is a consequence of lack of intelligence… and laziness about reading). Although, of course, you will have to broaden your silly little chant of “marcos no, ezln yes” to “marcos and moisés no, ezln yes,” and then later, “CCRI-CG no, ezln yes.” Later on, if you hear the direct word of the Zapatista bases of support (which I doubt will happen), you will have to say “ezln no, ezln neither”), but it will already be too late.

Oh don’t be sad. When we put up music videos by Ricardo Arjona, Luis Miguel, Yustin Bibier or Ricky Martin, you can feel interpellated. Meanwhile, stay seated, keep looking at the calendar from above (those 3 or 6 years pass quickly), move a little to the right (as you are accustomed to doing), and step aside a little, we don’t want to splash [implicate] you…

¡Órales razaaaaaa!  ¡Y venga a darle al baile!  ¡Ajúa!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Watch and listen to the videos that accompany this text:

La Estrella del Desello” with Eulalio González El Piporro. The track appears also as a shorter version, in the film  “La Nave de los Monstruos” (1959, by Rogelio A. González). It doesn’t have anything to do with the eezeelen, I put it here out of stubbornness, and to greet the compas of the north: don’t give up, even though you’re far away, we’re going to include you in our gaze. ¡Ajúa!

————————————————————————————

La Despedida with Manu Chao and Radio Bemba, in an indigenous Zapatista community

———————————————————————————-

 

Brigadistak with Fermín Muguruza.  In the struggle against Power, there are no borders! ¡Marichiweu! (We will win a thousand times, in Mapuche)

——————————————————————————-

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Translation by El Kilombo Intergaláctico.

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February 19, 2013

THEM AND US VI – The Gazes Part 6

Filed under: La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:51 pm

THEM AND US VI – The Gazes Part 6

6. – WE ARE HE

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

February 14, 2013.

 

To: The Adherents of the Sixth all over the World.

From: Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

moisesThe time has come, and its moment too. There are times that all human beings experience, good or bad; one is born, comes into the world, dies, and is gone. Those are times. But there is another time, in which one can decide in what direction to walk, a time when the time arrives to look at time. That is, when one can understand life, how life should be, here in this world, and that no one can be the owner of that which makes up the world. 

We were born indigenous and we are indigenous. We know that we came into the world and that we will leave this world, that is the law. We began to walk through life and we realized that we as indigenous people were not doing so well, we saw what happened to our great great great grandfathers and grandmothers, that is, in 1521, in 1810, and in 1910, that we were always used, that we gave our lives so that others could take power, that once in power they forgot about us again and went back to disrespecting, robbing, repressing, and exploiting us.

And we encountered a third time. The third time is where we are now, for a while now we’ve been walking, running, learning, working, falling, and getting back up. This is important because one has to record, to fill a tape that can be reproduced later with more lives from other times. Yes, we have been left a full bag of tapes, even though some of us aren’t here anymore. So others continue on and the process moves forward like that, and what is yet to come is yet to come, until we get to the end and we begin that other work of construction, where another world begins to be born, where they cannot screw us over again and where we are not forgotten as original peoples, we will not allow that again. Now we have learned. We want to live well, in equality, in the city and the countryside, where the people of the city and the people of the countryside rule and the government obeys, and if it doesn’t, it gets kicked out, and another is instituted.

Yes, we are indigenous, we work mother earth, we know how to use tools to harvest the fruits that she provides. We are various peoples with distinct languages. My mother tongue is Tzeltal, though I also understand Tzotzil and Chol, and I learned Spanish in the organization, with my compañeras and compañeros.  And now I am what we are, together with my compañeros I have learned what it is that we want in order to live in a new world.  

 -*-

I write this in the name of all of the Zapatistas, since the Sup’s computer is broken.  I saw that he went to get it fixed, and when I asked him what happened to his computer he said the zuich [switch] is fucked. Ah, I said. He was carrying a chisel and a 5-kilo sledge hammer. That thing is done, I said, it can’t be fixed. So he told me that I should write to you so that you can start to get to know who is responsible for our door, and also so that we start getting to know you through what you write and say to us from everywhere, and what you tell us and have told us as compañeras and compañeros of the Sixth.

I know a little about typing on the computer and somebody gave me one to practice on a while back. Now it’s time for me to write as well, but I’m a little worried that the same thing that happened to the Sup’s computer will happen to me. I have a solution though, a swing of the axe and done, on to pen and paper. Problem solved. 

In any case, I have to tell you that the task of peering out the window, which falls to Supmarcos, isn’t finished. That is, what is to come is yet to come, but it will remain pending until the Sup’s computer gets fixed.

Yes, the Sup’s job will be peering out the window at those who watch us, those who say they are “good” and who fight for the people and who have led the people but haven’t gotten anywhere, and who say it’s because the people don’t understand anything and that they understand everything, but that no one will follow them. Why? That is what they don’t understand, and won’t understand, because they only think about above, look toward above, and try to climb up above.  

Well, that, and much more, is the Sup’s work, because he’s in charge of the window, he is like the frame of the window. 

It is also his job to see what’s going on with the people who don’t follow those who only look above, to understand why those people are the way they are, what they think, and how they think. We think that maybe those people think like we Zapatistas do, that maybe they too think that it should be law that the people rule and the government obeys.

 

It is also his job to be the target of the critiques, the insults, and the go-to-hells [mentadas], as he says, and the mockeryMARCOSYMOISÉS-391x259 from those on the outside. But he doesn’t worry about those insults and lies, he just laughs, because, of course, we prepared him for that, we made him into steel. So now those insults and such don’t hurt him, well, yes actually sometimes his stomach hurts from laughing so hard at the things they say. 

He tells me that they might start mocking me, or anybody else who speaks, also. But oh well, that’s how it goes, it could be that they make fun of me or insult me, or mock me because I am indigenous, just as they mock him for what he is. But we only care about the people that want to fight to end injustice, so as long as they don’t throw bullets or bombs at us, there’s no problem. And if they do throw those things at us, it also won’t be a problem, because there are already other compañeros and compañeras ready for the work that is and will always be the struggle. That is, we’re ready for anything they throw at us and we’re not scared. 

These years, the Sup tells me, many people were blocked the view of our window, but that one can still tell rather quickly who is like us. He wanted to count how many people like that were out there, but he lost count and just did it our way, the indigenous way, and said, there are a shitload. How much is that? I asked him. Many (masculine), many (feminine), he told me. Ah, I said. So that confirms that there will be many like us and that one day we will say along with them, “this is what we are,” without it mattering who is indigenous or not. 

And that’s how we organize ourselves, some do some things and others do other things. For example, now Supmarcos’s job is the window, and my job is the door, and others have other jobs. 

And it is during these times that we remember an unforgettable compañero for all of us Zapatistas, SubPedro, who in the last days of December 1993, told us: learn compas, because one day it will be your turn. We are going to struggle together, workers, campesin@s, young people, children, women, men, and older people, in Mexico and around the world. It was the truth then, and it is the truth now, even without him. The truth of the truth began when we began to struggle for the people. 

Okay compas, now you know that I am in charge of the door, what we haven’t discussed yet is the new way of working with the compañeros who will come to learn what it has taken my Zapatista compañeros years to build, that which we are now. 

 -*-

Because we believe and trust the people, now is the time to do something about the damages that we have seen and endured for so many years, now is the time to join together in our thinking and learning and then to work, to organize. After so much experience we are ready to do this, and that experience will guide us so as not to repeat the mistakes that have gotten this world to this point. 

If we don’t follow the thinking of the people, the people don’t follow us. And we only need to look at those who came before us in order not to fall into the same mistakes. To build something truly new will take word, thought, decision, and analysis, proposed by the people, studied by the people, and finally decided upon by the people. 

It is like the 10 years that we worked clandestinely, when no one knew about us. “One day they will know us,” we told ourselves and that’s how we kept working all those years. And then one day we decided that it was time to be known. Now that you have known us for 19 years, you can say if what we are doing is good or bad. My compañeros say that they live better now with their autonomous governments. They realize that real democracy happens with the people, and not just every 3 or 6 years [with elections]. Democracy is carried out in each village, in autonomous municipal assemblies and in the zone-wide assemblies that make up the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Councils), when each zone that makes up a Junta de Buen Gobierno gets together in assembly. That is, democracy is carried out every day and in every entity of the autonomous governments, alongside the people, men and women. Democracy addresses every aspect of their lives, they know democracy belongs to them, because they discuss, study, propose, analyse, and make the final decision on each issue. 

They [the people] ask us, “how would this country and this world be if we organized with other indigenous brothers and sisters, and also with those brothers and sisters who aren’t indigenous?” Afterwards, they give a big smile, as if to answer this question: happiness. They already know the answer, because they hold the results, the work that they are doing, in their hands. 

Yes, that’s how it is, it only requires that we organize ourselves as the poor of the city and the countryside without anyone leading us but ourselves and those that we name, and without those who only want to get into a position of power and once in power forget about us. And again and again, another just like them comes and says now this time it’s for real, this time it will be different, and then, the same tricks. They are not going to honour their word, we know that, it’s really not even worth writing about this, but that’s how it is in this country. It is desperate, exhausting, horrible. 

We, the poor, know what the best way of life is for us, we know what we want, but they will not leave us be, because they know that we will get rid of exploitation and the exploiters and that we will build a new life without exploitation. This isn’t hard for us to understand, because we know how things need to change, because everything we have lived needs to change. The injustices, pains, sorrows, mistreatments, inequalities, manipulations, bad laws, persecutions, tortures, prisons, and many other bad things that we have endured, we know very well that we will not repeat the ways that have subjected us to these things. As we Zapatistas say, if we make mistakes, then we had better be up to the task of correcting them ourselves, instead of how it is now, where some people make all the mistakes and everyone else pays for it. That is, those who make the mistakes now are the representatives, senators, and bad governments of the world, and it is the people who pay the price.

One doesn’t have to have a lot of education, or speak good Spanish, or know how to read much. We’re not saying those things aren’t useful, but that we can learn enough to do our work, enough to help us organize our work. These things are like tools for the work of communicating. What we are saying is that we know how to make change, we don’t need someone to come with their campaign telling us that he or she is the change, as if we, the exploited, don’t know what change we want. Do you understand what I’m saying, indigenous brothers and sisters and people of Mexico, indigenous brother and sisters of the world, non-indigenous brothers and sisters of the world?

So, indigenous and non-indigenous brothers and sisters who are poor, join the struggle, organize yourselves, lead yourselves, do not let yourselves be led, or keep careful watch over those you choose to lead you, make sure they do the things that you have decided and you will see that things begin taking shape like they have for us the Zapatistas.

Don’t stop fighting, as the exploiters will not stop exploiting us, fight until the end, the end that is, of exploitation. No one will do this for us, no one other than ourselves. We have to take the reins, take the wheel and take our destiny where we want it to go. In that destiny, the people are the source of democracy, the people correct themselves and keep going. Not like now, where 500 representatives and 228 senators fuck everything up and millions suffer the deadly pestilence and toxicity that result; that is, the poor, the people of Mexico, are those who suffer.

Brothers and sister labourers, we have you in mind and all others who work, we all carry the same smell of sweat from working for the exploiters. Now that my Zapatista compañer@s are opening the door, if you understand what we mean, join the Sixth and learn about the autonomous government of the EZLN. And you also, indigenous and non-indigenous brothers and sisters of the world, we want you to understand us. 

We are the principal producers of the wealth of those who are wealthy. Enough! We know that that there are others who are exploited and we want to organize with them, to fight for the people of Mexico and of the world, which belongs to us, not to the neoliberals. 

Indigenous and non-indigenous brothers and sisters of the world, exploited peoples, peoples of America, peoples of Europe, peoples of Africa, peoples of Oceania, peoples of Asia. 

The neoliberals are those who want to be the owners of the world, that’s what we say, they want to make all capitalist countries into their own ranches, and their overseers are the capitalist governments of underdeveloped countries. And that’s how they’ll keep it, if all of us, as workers, do not organize.

We know that there is exploitation in the world. We should not let the distance between each of us on our side of the world distance us from each other. We should get closer, uniting our thought, our ideas, and our struggle for ourselves. 

Where you are, there is exploitation, just as there is for us. 

You suffer repression, just like us.

You are being stolen from, just like us, here they have been stealing from us for more than 500 years. 

They look down on you, just as they continue to look down on us. 

And that’s where we are, that’s where they have us, and that’s how things will continue if we don’t join each other’s hands.

There are many reasons to unite ourselves and give birth to our rebellion and defend ourselves against this beast that does not want to get off of us and that never will if we don’t throw it off ourselves. 

Here in our Zapatista communities, our autonomous governments in rebellion and their organized compañer@s are confronting neoliberal capitalism day and night, and we are ready for anything that comes and in whatever form it may come. 

These are now facts, this is how the Zapatista compañer@s are organized. It only takes decision, organization, work, thought, and putting things into practice, and then we must correct and improve without tiring, and if we rest, it is in order to gather strength and go forward. The people rule and the government obeys. 

It can be done, brothers and sisters, the poor of the world, here is the example of your indigenous Zapatista brothers and sisters in Chiapas, Mexico. 

It is time for us to make the world that we want, the world that we imagine, the world that we desire. We know how. It is difficult, because there are those who don’t want this, and they are precisely those who exploit us. But if we don’t do it now, our future will be even harder and there will never be freedom.

That’s how we understand things, and that’s why we are searching, wanting to find each other, know each other, learn from each other and ourselves.

We hope you will be able to come, and if not, we will look for other ways to see and get to know each other. 

We will be waiting for you here at this door that it is my job to take care of, here where you can enter the humble school where my compañer@s want to share the little that we have learned, to see if it is of use to you there where you live and work. We are sure that those who are part of the Sixth will come, or not, but in any case they will enter the little school where we will explain what the Zapatistas mean by freedom, they will see our advances and our failures, which we will not hide, but they will do all of this with the best teachers there are, that is, the Zapatista peoples. 

The little school is very humble, it has humble beginnings, but for the Zapatista compañer@s it means the freedom to do what we want for what we think is a better life.   

We are making this little school better every day, because it is necessary to do so and because it is in practice that we learn and demonstrate how to move forward. That is, practice is the best form through which to learn how to make things better. Theory gives us ideas, but what gives us form is practice, the practice of how to govern autonomously.

It’s like they say: “When the poor believe in the poor, then we will be able to sing freedom.” Only we haven’t just heard this, but we are doing it in practice. That is the fruit that our compañer@s want to share with you. And yes it is true, just think how many bad things the bad governments have done to us and they haven’t been able to destroy us, nor will they be able to, because what is built is of the people, for the people, and by the people. The people will defend it. 

There is much I could tell you, but it’s not the same thing for me to tell you as it is for you to see it for yourselves and have your questions answered in person by my compañeros and compañeras who are bases of support. They may answer with difficulty because it will be in Spanish, but the best answer is the practice of the compañer@s, which will be visible and which they are living out. 

What we are doing is very small, but it will be very big for the poor of Mexico and the world. Just like we, the poor of Mexico and of the world, are very big, that is, very many, and we need to construct the world in which we will live for ourselves. We know what it is like when the opposite happens, when it is a ruling group that comes to an agreement, and not the people. We have come to understand what it really means to represent, we now know how to do this in practice, by carrying out the 7 principles of rule-by-obeying. 

We can now see the horizon, which according to us is a new world, and which you will be able to see and learn from, so as to give birth to a different world, the world that you imagine wherever it is that you might live. We can share our wisdom with each other and create our worlds differently from the way that things are now. 

We want to see each other, listen to each other; this is a great experience for us, it will help us to know other worlds and to choose the best of the world that we want. 

We need organization, decision, agreement, struggle, resistance, self-defence, work, practice. If there is something missing here, add it compañeros and compañeras. 

So, for now, we are deciding how the little school we are making for you will be, we’ll see if there will be enough space. The point is that we are getting ready. And that any compañero or compañera who we invite and who wants can come and see and feel, and even if they can’t come, we’ll find a way to share it.   

We are waiting for you compañeras and compañeros of the Sixth.

We are preparing to receive you, take care of you, and attend to you like the compañer@s that we are, like our compañer@s that you are. And we are also preparing for our word to reach the ear of those who cannot come to our home, we will do this with your help.   

And of course, we should tell you that this might take awhile, but that, as our brother and sisters of the Mapuche people says: one, ten, one hundred, one thousand times we will win, we will always be victorious. 

So, to finish, next time it will be compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos’ turn to talk to you, we’re going to keep taking turns back and forth, he and I, to explain everything to you. Now it is time for you to hear me too, for while I have been doing this work for many years, this is the first time that it is up to me to sign the following lines publicly…

 

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee

General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation

 

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, February 2013.

 P.S.- I want to take this opportunity also to tell you that the password for the next parts, which will come from the window which Supmarcos is in charge of, is “nosotr@s.” And that’s all, because in the school of struggle you can’t copy off a compa, but rather everyone has to generate their own struggle respecting each other, like the compas that we are.

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Watch and listen to the videos that accompany this text.

Vídeo taken in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, in 2009, when today’s Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés was a Lieutenant Colonel. This is just a fragment of various talks that he gave, but I’ll put it here so that you remember that you already know him, and so that those who didn’t see him can meet him. The video is from Agencia Prensa India, from the series “Generando Contrapoderes” (Generating Counterpowers).

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A story called “Los de después, sí entendimos” (We who came later understand) dedicated to those compañeros and compañeras who have fallen over the course of our long path. Read by one of our dear “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo), Alba Lanzilloto.

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Panteón Rococó with the track  “La Carencia,” in a concert in Germany in 2008.  Dedicated to all those in all parts of the world who work their asses off and even so, they sing, dance, and dream. To the trampoline with the Panteones!

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Translation by El Kilombo Intergaláctico.

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Monsanto Conquest Meets Aztec Resistance

Filed under: Corporations, Maize — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:08 pm

Monsanto Conquest Meets Aztec Resistance

by Laura Carlsen

maizMonsanto has a map for conquering the world and Mexico is in the centre of it.

For nearly two decades the transnational corporation that manufactures the pesticides used across the planet has been trying to take over the global seed market with genetically modified (GM) seed. If successful, most of the food we grow and eat would have to be purchased annually as seed from Monsanto. The mutant plants would grow up addicted to Monsanto herbicides. Local varieties would disappear, and in their place standardized, genetically modified food–doused with chemicals–would fill supermarket shelves and corner stores.

More than sixty thousand farmers and supporters from workers’ and environmental organizations marched through Mexico City on Jan. 31 to avoid this fate. It was one of the largest mobilizations to date to reject the Monsanto game plan, and it’s no coincidence that it took place in the heart of the Aztec Empire.

Olegario Carrillo, president of Mexican small farm organization UNORCA, addressed the crowd in the central plaza, “During the last 30 years, successive governments have tried to wipe us out. They’ve promoted measures to take away our lands, our water, our seeds, plant and animal varieties, traditional knowledge, markets. But we refuse to disappear.”

“For peasant farmers, GMOs represent looting and control,” he stated.

With tens of thousands of people shouting “No genetically modified corn in Mexico!” and “Monsanto get out!”, the march showed the muscle of an unusual grassroots movement to protect small farmers and consumers. It also revealed the remarkable success of decades of public education and organizing on an issue that Monsanto and other major biotech firms hoped would slide under the radar of the people most affected by it.

Conquering the Centre of Origin

Monsanto–along with Pioneer, Dow and other chemical/biotech firms– has been pushing hard to take over production of the world’s third major staple crop: corn. Small farmers in the U.S. have long experienced the pressure exerted to move them out of the way. Monsanto predicts that its corn seed will be planted on 96 million acres in the United States this year. But the key to its plans to conquer the market lies south of the border.

The powerful corporation, the largest seed seller in the world, desperately wants permission for unrestricted planting of its GM corn in Mexico. If GM corn is planted in Mexico, it will accelerate the transfer of acreage and water rights from small farmers to corporate GM corn cultivation, thus transferring control of the national food supply as well. Widespread open planting of GM corn will lead to contamination of native varieties.  This is a scientific fact. Mexico has already detected many native cornfields contaminated by GM corn during the period when open planting was prohibited—a strong indication of the impossibility of controlling open pollination between native and GM varieties.

ajecornThis has huge implications. Mexico is the center of origin of corn, and the home of hundreds of varieties developed by indigenous communities over centuries. To lose in situ preservation of these varieties is to lose a wealth of agro-diversity that has major importance for sustainable food production, and to eventually become dependent on Monsanto and other large corporations to feed ourselves.

The Mexican government first legalized GM plantings through what has come to be known as the 2005 “Monsanto Law”, which the farmers are demanding be revoked. It then began issuing permits, first for experimental plantings. Having passed that phase, Monsanto has now requested permits to begin all-out commercial production. It has filed to sow some 700,000 hectares of genetically modified corn in the state of Sinaloa alone.

But Mexico could be Monsanto’s Waterloo. Thousands of small farmers, many in indigenous communities – Nahuatl, Maya, Mixteco – are fighting back. Stubborn in the face of a government clearly allied with the transnationals and corporations determined to wear down their resistance, the farmers are defending their right to use the traditional maize seed that their ancestors developed over millennia. They are also defending their way of life and, ultimately, global access to safe and affordable food.

Gene-splicing and the laboratory land grab

For years, Monsanto, Pioneer-Dupont and Dow and other companies in the biotech business have insisted that genetic modification is just like nature, only better. Their claim is that genetic mutations happen in natural settings so making them happen in a lab setting is just giving nature a nudge in the right direction.

They try not to mention that genetic modification of plants uses genes from animal and other foreign species that would never end up in the plant (or our food) on their own.  They also do everything possible to bury studies on the negative health impacts of GM foods, including cancer.

And what they really hoped would never come up, is the plan to conquer the world– or at least its food systems–conveyed in a tiny Trojan seed.

If GM corn were planted in Mexico and widely promoted, access to native seed would dwindle, as fewer farmers planted or saved it. Legal offensives based on hyper patent laws contained in free trade agreements are even trying to make seed-saving illegal. Although some countries ban cultivation of certain types of GM crops, these crops already cover nearly 10% of the arable surface of the world.

For the communities that refuse to give up using native seed, the final assault is genetic contamination. GM corn contaminates nearby fields. The irony of this invasion is that once native corn is shown to have been contaminated (and thus ruined) by GM corn, Monsanto can come in with lawsuits claiming that its product is being used without required usage fees.

Mexico’s new government led by President Enrique Peña Nieto now finds itself wedged between the biotech offensive to release commercial planting permits and the thousands of small farmers and their allies fighting to defend the food supply. So far, it is reluctant to risk citizens’ ire by granting Monsanto use of Mexican soil for its GM maize expansion.

The campaign has gone international as food rights groups from around the world supported Mexico’s farm leaders in the week-long fast that preceded the march.

More than corn is at stake here—it’s a question of recognition and respect. A “Maize Manifesto” released by the farmers’ organizations states,

“We reject that the government sacrifices consumers and small farmers to support transnational corporations that produce GM seed and agro-toxins. We the farmers, not the transnationals, are the ones who feed the population.”

 

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