dorset chiapas solidarity

June 20, 2014

The death of SupMarcos. A blow to revolutionary pride.

Filed under: Ethics, Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:56 pm


The death of SupMarcos. A blow to revolutionary pride.

**The illuminating farewell of Subcomandante Marcos.

** With this step, the Zapatistas set the bar very high, higher than it has ever been placed by any political force


Emma Gasco

Emma Gasco

The farewell communiqué of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, read in the early morning of 25 May in the Caracol of La Realidad, in front of thousands of bases of support and people in solidarity from around the world, in which he announced his death and reincarnation (unburying in the words of EZLN,) is one of the strongest and most powerful texts he has released in the twenty years since his public appearance on January 1, 1994.

The murder of the teacher Galeano, in La Realidad on May 2, by members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos – Historical (CIOAC-H), an organization which became a paramilitary group thanks to the social counterinsurgency policies which buy people and whole groups, precipitated a process of change which had been in process for some time. The massive march in silence of 40,000 Zapatista supporters on December 21, 2012 in the major cities of Chiapas, and the subsequent Escuelita of ‘Freedom according to the Zapatistas’ were some of the axes of these changes that we could appreciate.

The third part of the communiqué of May 25, titled The Handoff or Change, recounts very briefly the four internal changes that have been in process during these two decades. The first which is mentioned is generational, the most visible change, since half of the Zapatistas are less than 20 years old and “were young or were not born at the beginning of the uprising.”

The second is that of class “from the enlightened middle class to the indigenous campesino.” And the third is that of race: “from mestizo to a purely indigenous leadership.” These two changes have been manifested for some time with the constant and increasing emergence of comandantes and comandantas at various public appearances of the EZLN. But the appearance of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, with the same military rank as Marcos,  undoubtedly marked a turning point which is now complete, leaving Moisés as the spokesperson of the movement.

Marcos’ farewell communiqué emphasized that the most important of the changes was in thinking: “from revolutionary vanguardism to ‘ruling by obeying;’ from the taking of Power from Above to the creation of power from below; from professional politics to everyday politics; from the leaders, to the peoples.”

Finally, there was the issue of gender, as women moved from marginalization to direct participation, and the whole movement passed “from the mocking of the other to the celebration of difference.”

As can be seen, the anti-vanguardism goes hand in hand with the set of changes that can be summarized in the fact that the bases of the movement command and the commanders obey. There is no longer any doubt over who are the subjects. Somehow, these changes reduced the visibility from outside of the preponderant role already played by Moisés, whose figure was already standing out in his communiqués linked to the escuelita, but who now takes on his full relevance.

The EZLN complete a long lasting turn towards the common people, of huge strategic depth

b19561bfe5acb7716f4100f417429700_MThus, in a complex situation in which the national government and the Mexican state of Chiapas launched a major offensive against the Caracoles and Zapatismo as a whole, – as part of the recovery of state power from the autodefensas (self-defence forces) in Michoacan and the Community Police in Guerrero – the EZLN completed a shift to the common people, which is long lasting, and of huge strategic depth, showing what those from below are capable of doing.

The media figure of Marcos disappears, appealing to the middle class and the mass media, the prominent personality capable of dialogue with intellectuals from around the world and of doing so on equal terms, being supplanted by the indigenous and campesinos, common and rebellious people. It is a political and ethical challenge of enormous magnitude, which stands  the analysts, the old left and the whole of the academic world against the wall. From now on, there will be no illustrious speakers but indigenous and campesinos.

“Personally – writes Marcos – I don’t understand why thinking people who affirm that history is made by the people get so frightened in the face of an existing government of the people where ‘specialists’ are nowhere to be seen.” The answer he gives: “Because there is also racism on the left, above all among that left which claims to be revolutionary.”

Very strong! Very wise, and very necessary! Zapatismo does not dialogue with the politicians of the system, nor with those of the right or of the left. It speaks to those who want to change the world, to those of us who aspire to build a new world and, therefore, decide not to walk the path of the institutions but to work below, with those from below. And we find that one of the major difficulties in these spaces is pride, individualism, which is defined as perfectly compatible with vanguardism. With this step, the Zapatistas set the bar very high, higher than it has ever been set by any political force. Finally, individualism and modernism are two central expressions of Western culture; ways of doing things related to colonialism and patriarchy, both of which we need to let go of in everyday life and in politics.

Translated and posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 20/06/2014



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