dorset chiapas solidarity

May 31, 2015

Zapatista News Summary for May 2015

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:55 pm


Zapatista News Summary for May 2015


News from Chiapas

  1. A homage to compañeros Don Luis Villoro Toranzo and Zapatista teacher compañero Galeano takes place in the Caracol of Oventic on Saturday May 2nd. More than five thousand people, EZLN support bases, adherents and sympathizers, attend. Also present are the families of Don Luis Villoro and of teacher Galeano, the parents of one of the students disappeared from Ayotzinapa, and the EZLN General Command. Words of homage are spoken by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. A homage to Zapatista teacher Galeano is given by Subcomandante Galeano, who also reads words about Luis Villoro which he says were written by the late Subcomandante Marcos. 
  1. The Seminar “Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra” is inaugurated on May 3rd in Oventic before moving to CIDECI, University of the Earth, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where it continues until 9th May, with participation from many well-known thinkers, writers, philosophers, activists and analysts, along with the Sixth Commission of the EZLN. An in-depth analysis is shared regarding the future of capitalism and the construction of alternatives to it. 2,600 people register to participate. The Mexican Centre for Free Media says the Seminar can only be compared to the Intergaláctica of 1966 in terms of the birth of new ideas and processes. The contributions from the EZLN are available in written form in English. All the contributions are available in audio form in Spanish, and there is other information here. Also available in English are the contribution from John Holloway and reflections from Gustavo Esteva and Raúl Zibechi.
  1. Solidarity with the day labourers of San Quintin. During the closing session of the Seminar, Subcomandante Moises says the EZLN are enraged by the police repression against San Quintin agricultural workers earlier that day and calls for solidarity with their ongoing struggle for dignified labour conditions in San Quintin, Baja California. Tens of thousands of farmworkers have been protesting since the launch of a workers’ strike to demand adequate salaries and an end to slave-like working conditions. Since then, a provisional agreement for better conditions has been made.
  1. The JBG from La Garrucha denounces paramilitary attacks on the Zapatista communities of El Rosario and Nueva Paraíso which took place the day after the seminar ended. At El Rosario shots are fired at a thirteen year old girl, after the attackers have invaded and measured the recuperated land. In Nuevo Paraíso the JBG has initiated mediation, deciding to transfer 21 hectares of land to the paramilitaries to put an end to the threats, but this has not yet resolved the problem.
  1. Frayba releases a report:“La Realidad, Context of War.” The report highlights new developments in counterinsurgency; the members of CIOAC-H are part of the theatre of war, creating an armed “self-defence” group, allowed, encouraged and strengthened by the structure of municipal government. The Human Rights Centre considers that the Mexican government is responsible for the extrajudicial execution of Zapatista teacher Galeano and the assaults and harassment of BAEZLN. The centre identifies Enrique Peña Nieto and Manuel Velasco Coello as being involved in counterinsurgency policy, and holds the Mexican government responsible for committing of crimes against humanity and “failing in its duty to promote, respect, protect and guarantee human rights, and to prevent, investigate, punish and redress human rights violations, leading to a situation of structural impunity.” 
  1. Two babies dead and others seriously ill in Simojovel. After receiving vaccinations for Tuberculosis (BCG), Rotovirus and Hepatitis B, 31 indigenous children aged under 5 from the rural mining community of La Pimienta in Simojovel municipality have adverse reactions and have to be hospitalized. The immunisations are compulsory for the children of women registered under the government programme Prospera. Two of the babies die, Yadira aged 30 days and Emmanuel Francisco aged 28 days; their births have not yet been officially registered. 93 percent of the people in this area live in poverty, 69 percent in extreme poverty, and the tragedy highlights the lack of healthcare in the region. The Pueblo Creyente convoke a pilgrimage from Simojovel to La Pimienta for 23rd May in demand of justice and decent healthcare. Over 2,000 people participate. 
  1. A report is released on the condition of the forcibly displaced community of Primero de Agosto. On 11th and 12th May, a Civilian Observation Mission from the Network for Peace visits the indigenous Tojolabal families forcibly displaced from Primero de Agosto. Their report reveals a grave humanitarian situation, especially serious for children and pregnant women. 56 people are living under plastic sheets; they suffer malnutrition and acute shortage of water; they fear further attacks and consequently do not sleep. The situation is worsening, with serious consequences for their physical and emotional health. Immediate action for the return of the community to their homes is called for.

The Rest of Mexico

  1. The National Caravan for the Defence of Water, Land, Work, and Life, organized by the Yaqui people of Sonora, Mexico, tours the country to raise awareness about the struggle against megaprojects, and calling for people to organise. Their specific demands are: the cancellation of all mega-projects that affect life, water, land and air; the cancellation of recently approved neoliberal structural reforms; an end to the militarization of the country; the presentation alive of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students; the recuperation of food and energy sovereignty; and the freedom of political prisoners.
  1. The Caravan of the Fire of Dignified Resistance tours the state of Mexico. Its aim is the defence of human rights, the creation of alternatives, and the recovery and conservation of their history, culture, and collective organization. The FPDT from Atenco is one of the participants. The caravan also denounces dispossession.
  1. Eurocaravan 43 for Ayotzinapa finishes its tour of Europe in London. Another caravan of family members starts a tour of parts of South America.



Simojovel mobilizes against the attempt to massacre 31 children with vaccines

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:05 pm


Simojovel mobilizes against the attempt to massacre 31 children with vaccines


Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel, Chiapas, Mexico

May 23, 2015

To the people of Simojovel
To public opinion
To the free media
To the local, state, national and international press
To defenders of human rights
To the various religious denominations
To the various state and national social organizations
To the United Nations Organization (UN)
To the World Health Organization (WHO)
To the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)
To the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas
To the original peoples of Mexico
To all the men and women of good will who have tirelessly defended life.

“We refuse to die,
from that death sent by the government in a vile and cowardly way,
brave as always.”


Brothers and sisters, we are here fighting for life, we all ask what would have happened if they had killed the 31 futures of Mexico, the government would probably say anyway that it was a bacteria that killed them so avoiding their responsibility and lifting their head to lament the deaths with all their usual cynicism.

Yesterday COFEPRIS presented us with one of the lies, of which there are as many as the Chupacabras (Goatsucker) of Salinas has; do not believe them in anything because there is no transparency; in the meeting we questioned them and they kept quiet when we told them that this is not an isolated case, because six years ago in the municipality of San Fernando 18 children were vaccinated, they began to vomit blood and to date we do not know how many died. And how is it possible that with the death of two children by vaccines of the IMSS, COFEPRIS can be awarded recognition by the World Health Organization?

And how can we believe and trust people who think only of killing children and young people as they did with the Ayotzinapa students, and who is going to tell the truth now, perhaps independent experts will come from other countries?, because from the beginning, information was sent to international organizations about this serious situation.

Who will guarantee to us that these 29 babies will remain well, whether in five years they will develop cancer or some other incurable disease, certainly the government will say that due to lack of food and care this concerns everyone, what if they do become unwell and later we have to go out to look for hospitals spending the little money we have. So the government is responsible for everything, and it remains the responsibility not only of this government but also of those who are to come.


We ask that justice be done, but this is not just to imprison a few who after a few months are set free, this is to begin with those from above, with the directors of the IMSS, with COFEPRIS, the governor of Chiapas, for the bad state of the clinic and of the road which made us take a long time to transport the 31 babies; but if we talk of the political parties, they are like the bars, which are found everywhere.

We are not going to exchange the babies for five thousand pesos as proposed by the government of Manuel Velasco, this proposal seems a mockery; we cannot find words to describe our anger, because a life is not worth only five thousand pesos.

This is not the first time that the government has damaged the Ejido La Pimienta, the first time the company GIMSA entered without permission to seek riches in these our lands, the second time the political parties come to divide us, the third time they wanted to kill 31 babies and the fourth time they made a mockery of the deaths, this is talking about Manuel Velasco and the director of IMSS.


At the beginning of this year, as part of the reforms of Peña Nieto, the company GIMSA entered La Pimienta to look for the wealth of the earth such as amber, the community detained these two people and put them in prison for a day by agreement of the ejido, afterwards an internal document was made not to dispossess. Now that the politicians are campaigning, everyone wants to take advantage of the situation by taking a photo like Manuel Velasco, cuddling a baby trying to clean up his image in the face of national and international criticism.


This is not the first time that the government has killed children; in the government of Pablo Salazar several babies died at the hospital in Comitan, in Acteal, to put an end to the indigenous struggle, several paramilitaries were organized who killed 45 indigenous and four who were not yet born, they opened their bellies and pulled out the babies to kill them. In the ABC nursery in Chihuahua 49 babies died, the perpetrators are free. As for those from the National Commission on Human Rights their silence means complicity. We will keep fighting. We want justice including for the damage that they did to us all, that is all of us.

Pueblo Creyente, Simojovel, Chiapas, Mexico.

photo: Las Abejas

photo: Las Abejas



Vaccines of death in La Pimienta

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:13 pm


Vaccines of death in La Pimienta

“Soon the routine will return of avoidable deaths every day, one by one, in silence.”

  • Two babies die and 29 are hospitalized, four in a very serious condition, following vaccination
  • In the area, a pueblo in Chiapas (Mexico), the poverty is extreme



On 8th May the doctor Roberto Calvo León vaccinated 52 children in one of those places on earth where babies lack officially registered names for months, sometimes years after their birth. The official routine of registration is meaningless where names and lives are wiped out by starvation or disease in the first months of life. They are put in a coffin and mourned quickly and with resignation, not forgetting that tomorrow the living must also keep fighting to not to end up under several shovelfuls of sand. Too much reality in the world where the simple and avoidable routine follows many more lives than the great tragedies that both startle the first world and cause an avalanche of solidarity among social networks.

In this case, the vaccination of Dr Leon killed two babies and hospitalized 29, four of whom were very seriously ill. What happened in the village of La Pimienta?….

La Pimienta is one of the 124 communities that make up the municipality of Simojovel, an area of extreme poverty; on 8th May Dr. Calvo asked the women to bring their shildren who had been born recently to be vaccinated. He did this in a very humble dispensary made ​​of cement with a zinc roof between the hours of 12.00 and 2.00. 52 infants were brought there and vaccinated against tuberculosis, rotavirus and hepatitis B. “At about 6 in the evening, the parents began to notice that their children were having negative reactions. They wept, fainted, turned purple and suffered diarrhoea” explains the pastor of Simojovel, Marcelo, to El Mundo.

Then a pilgrimage began between the clinics in the area. “First they came to Simojovel, where there is a miserable health centre without doctors or nurses or medicine. At times one single doctor is attending at the same time to five births as well as all the other patients treated there. There are no drugs and the ambulances are worthless because either they are broken down or there is no money for fuel,” says the priest of the chief town of the municipality with over 40,000 inhabitants.

Given the impossibility of treating the babies there, the parents organized private cars, as the emergency vehicles were unusable, to move to another location, Bochil, where they arrived at two in the morning, more than 12 hours after the vaccinations and eight since the first symptoms appeared in their children. In Bochil they could not do anything either to care for newborns, and they had to be transferred back to the capital of Chiapas, Tuxtla, where they were finally admitted to a hospital at six in the morning, 24 hours after it all started.

Two of the 31 affected babies had already died in Simojovel…..Now the official investigation is preparing a report certifying that ….there were some mistakes and they will check all their procedures. But the reality of the cause of these deaths in this impoverished area, where the lands are worked communally in Ejidos and corruption and poverty are extreme, is easily identifiable: laziness and forgetfulness on the part of the authorities. This time a group were ill and the deaths drew media attention, but if nothing changes soon it will return to the routine of avoidable deaths every day, one by one, in silence.



May 30, 2015

Communique from San Sebastián Bachajón 29th May, 2015

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:27 am


Communique from San Sebastián Bachajón 29th May, 2015



To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To the collectives and committees of solidarity at a national and international level

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, today and tomorrow we go out to demonstrate peacefully in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón in protest against the policy of dispossession of our territory and the murders committed by the bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto and Manuel Velasco Coello.

They do not care when they kill and disappear people like our compañeros the students from Ayotzinapa, our compañero the teacher Galeano, Juan  Vázquez Guzmán, Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, because their idea is to sow terror in the communities so they can continue doing the big business of the narco government.

We denounce the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastian Bachajon Alejandro Moreno Gomez, who as well as handing over the ejido land, as did the previous [ejidal commissioner] Francisco Guzman Jimenez alias the goyito, now is going to be a politician of the municipality of Chilon, it is the same strategy of the bad government in other ejidos, so that the the ejidal authorities will betray their community in exchange for a few pesos and public office. Also the narco governor from the green party Leonardo Guirao Aguilar municipal president of Chilón moves up to federal deputy to continue his corruptions.

Our organization continues to struggle with dignity for our territory and the freedom of our imprisoned compañeros, we will not allow the bad government to continue to abuse our people for the benefit of the rich.


From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, we send an embrace and combative greetings from the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom

Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of our Chol compañeros y compañeras from the ejido Tila!




May 29, 2015

An Other Feminism: a review of Hilary Klein’s book “Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories”

Filed under: Women, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:37 pm


By Charlotte Maria Sáenz

May 27, 2015


Volumes have been written about the Mayan indigenous Zapatista social movement of Chiapas, Mexico since they made their first public appearance on January 1, 1994. There have been detailed histories, political analysis, academic theorization, movement studies, activist ethnographies, non-fiction novels, attempts at cultural and symbolic translation, etc. The movement’s primary spokesman, the prolific Subcomandante Marcos, has also contributed numerous communiqués, satires, children’s stories, erotica, pop culture commentary, political and philosophical ruminations. However, until now, we were missing the direct voices of women from the communities themselves. Hilary Klein’s Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories (Seven Stories Press) reveals their perspectives as contemporary indigenous women who are active subjects together with men in shared processes of change and liberation.

Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories covers a lot of ground: from the early days of recruitment and organizing clandestinely, to the steep learning curve of taking on greater political and economic participation in their communities, to their impact on the world beyond. The Zapatistas are forging their own kind of feminism, one unique to their particular histories, identities and subjectivity as modern indigenous men and women. Klein’s book demonstrates how defending indigenous culture and women’s rights need not be mutually exclusive. As Ester, a Zapatista comandanta from the Huixtán region said to the Mexican Congress in 2001, “It is the current (national) laws that allow us to be marginalized and degraded, as in addition to being women, we are also indigenous, and, as such, we are not recognized.” (p. 226)

Struggles for women’s equality are of course global, and everywhere we still have a long ways to go. What is impressive about the Zapatistas’ journey towards gender equality is what extraordinary gains have been made in twenty years. Klein’s book chronicles how the Zapatista process of working towards women’s rights was simultaneously a push from above and below. The Zapatista communities’ Women’s Revolutionary Law of 1993 was a major structural change that has since been followed by their collective project of unlearning patriarchal ways. It became clear that both men and women had to change, in both thoughts and actions. A Zapatista woman called Isabel recalls of the years after the law was passed:

We made a commitment to fight against injustice, and we knew that men and women united, with the same rights, with the same opportunities within our organization, could unite our forces against the capitalist system. But first we had to change ourselves and understand that there needs to be a revolution between men and women, in our heads and in our hearts. (p.73)

It would not be an easy process: there was initial resistance from the men, lack of confidence from the women in themselves and their abilities. Says Celina, “as a woman, I learned to speak up. I learned to defend myself. Both of us have to change, that’s what I realized back then. Men have to change, but so do women.” (p. 218). By postulating gender equity as essential for shared liberation from capitalist and patriarchal systems, the Zapatistas created a feminism for everybody: Todo Para Todos; Nada Para Nosotros, says the well-known Zapatista idiom, “Everything for Everyone; Nothing for Us.”

Although the Zapatistas do not use the term of “feminism” themselves, some movement scholars such as Mercedes Olivera have described the process unfolding as an “Other Feminism.”  This use of the word “Other” as in “La Otra” references the way in which the Zapatistas have built alternatives to dominant systems of health, education and justice that do not serve them, nor reflect their interests. Instead, they have created an Other Education, Other Health, Other Justice, etc. Therefore, an “Other Feminism” is not one derived from feminisms in Europe or the United States or even from Mexico’s cities, but rather from a collective process of building a society where all genders participate in the struggle against a capitalist patriarchy.

The process of transformation that Zapatista women have taken part in has not always been simple or linear, writes Klein; it takes time to establish a right, and then it is not always easy to exercise that right, but women now have tools they did not have in the past. This process of construction is beautifully illustrated in the words of a political education pamphlet produced by Zapatista women of the Morelia region:

The problems of inequality and discrimination are like a very large tree. Its roots are very deep and they are not easy to uproot. The government has humiliated us and discriminated against us, denying us our rights; we understand this well. But what we do not always see is that, without realizing it, we are repeating the government’s oppression against women within our own homes. We must pull out the bad roots in order to plant the new tree that we want, together, men and women . . . Liberation will not fall like a miracle from the sky; we must construct it ourselves. So let’s not wait, let us begin. (p. 250)


No one truly writes alone, as we are always building and creating in dialogue and community with so many others in a collective construction of shared knowledge. Klein’s careful research methodology is integrative, qualitative, and above all, relational. It is one based on collaboration, daily encounters and a shared political project. It includes dialogues, conversations, anecdotes, testimonies, memories, stories, meals, harvesting and rituals. She follows a relational paradigm together with an ethics of humility and transparency.  Such methodology reflects that of the Zapatista process itself, that of caminando, preguntando, “walking while asking questions” as it traces and explores their historical and lived experiences.

Although younger women are now learning to read and write in both Spanish and their own Mayan languages, most of the previous generation of Zapatista women did not. Thus it would fall to an outsider to document their experiences in writing from the many oral histories, anecdotes and interviews gathered over many years. Taking on such a tremendous documentary task is a big responsibility that can easily go awry, not only in translation, but also in navigating the multiple complexities of presenting them outside their particular communities and culture. Hilary Klein has excelled at both aspects, approaching the task with a humility and respect that allows the women’s voices to come fully forward while also providing the needed history and context that many readers will require in order to understand the Zapatista movement’s accomplishments, particularly those of its women.

Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories provides the world with the voices of indigenous Zapatista women as a new political element: one being created and theorized from their own place and history, with openness to worlds and perspectives beyond. Like the movement itself, Zapatista “Other Feminism” draws upon its various indigenous and political inheritances as well as from the knowledge gleaned from their daily lives. The Zapatistas dynamically interweave traditions with external influences that reflect and advance their libratory project. It is a process of personal and collective transformation for men and women, a process of change and of becoming with the goal of achieving a common good.

Klein brings us the voices of modern, indigenous women who are active subjects in the ongoing construction of their collective autonomy. They are building a new society alongside men in a shared political project of every day struggle, one for true equality within and outside of their communities. In this, they are united in shared resistance and co-construction of a new society from which we all can learn.

Charlotte Maria Sáenz is Media and Education Coordinator for Other Worlds and teaches at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco, where she is a founding member of the Centre for Art and Social Justice. She has 20 years experience working globally in schools, streets, universities, refugee camps, autonomous zones and travelling programs in her native Mexico, throughout Lebanon, and the United States. She returns yearly to work with Universidad de la Tierra Chiapas, Al-Jana in Beirut, and taught on World Learning’s global travelling program “Beyond Globalization.” She is a member of the global Learning Societies and the International Organization for a Participatory Society.

Copyleft Charlotte Maria Sáenz. You may reprint this article in whole or in part.  Please credit any text or original research you use to Charlotte Maria Sáenz, Other Worlds.



May 28, 2015

Chiapas: The Network for Peace calls for the situation of the displaced people of Primero de Agosto to be addressed

Filed under: Displacement — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:05 pm


Chiapas: The Network for Peace calls for the situation of the displaced people of Primero de Agosto to be addressed



On May 20, the official report of the Civil Mission of Observation of the poblado Primero de Agosto, municipality of Las Margaritas, was presented in a press conference. 12 organizations participated together on May 11 and 12 in this mission that was carried out to observe and document the situation of the displaced people.

“We are very sad in this forced displacement, where there is much insecurity and we are very uneasy, we can’t sleep because of the fear that the authorities of Miguel Hidalgo are going to hurt us again, our children are becoming ill with cough, fever, headaches, stomach aches, and they always ask us when we are going to return to our home”, shared one of the displaced women.

56 people, amongst them 18 who are underage, were forcefully displaced on February 23, 2015. On this day, they left their houses, belongings, and the land they had occupied since August 1, 2013 (according to the agreement signed by representatives of the state government on January 8, 2015, the ownership of the property is “undefined”). The forced displacement was provoked by 50 people, authorities of Miguel Hidalgo, who are also members of the Historic Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC-H), 15 of whom carried high powered firearms.

The Civil Mission of Observation reported that the critical humanitarian situation in which the displaced people find themselves, has not been addressed. They live in precarious homes made of sticks, plastics, and nylon, there is not a sufficient amount of drinkable water, the children are not attending school, there is a small amount of food- they only eat once or twice a day, the health of the displaced community is of concern, especially the children and the women who are pregnant: “The health of the displaced people, not only by the presence of infectious or contagious diseases caused by the situation that is being lived, their integrity is being threatened by the presence of agents of their own environment, such as the climate and the fauna of the area and by the constant threats of the people who displaced them: evidently this is violating the right to food, housing, access to water, a healthy environment, and emotional and social health of the population”.



Infinite Dispossession: David Harvey’s View of Mexico

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:31 pm

Infinite Dispossession: David Harvey’s View of Mexico


Translated by Oso Sabio[1] from an article written by Alejandro de Coss[2] in Spanish at[3] on 19/05/2015

There are few contemporary social theoreticians more important than English geographer David Harvey[4], and this essay uses some of his main ideas (and his concept of “accumulation by dispossession” in particular) to analyse the current reality in Mexico.

Today’s Mexico is immersed in a seemingly endless sea of catastrophes, and news of new injustices and atrocious deaths bombard us on a daily basis. Physical and virtual social networks, meanwhile, regularly fill up with a temporary anger that reaches a peak before gradually fading away again. And these facts, some of which are clearly interconnected (while others appear not to be), can all be systematically explained through the work of David Harvey.

Professor Harvey (b. 1935) has long sought through his work to show how capital accumulation transforms physical space and, in doing so, he has made one of the biggest contributions to Marxist theory in the last fifty years. In particular, his work has focussed on explaining the production of urban space, the role of violence and dispossession in the accumulation of capital, and the role that the financial sector plays in the capitalist system and its crises – all of these being ideas that were rarely explored by Marx (a figure who Harvey studies, criticises, and complements).

In this short essay, I will seek to explain, with the guidance of Harvey’s work, the whirlwind of catastrophes within which we find ourselves, and will focus mostly on his concept of “accumulation by dispossession” in order to describe how drug production, legal ‘reforms’ (such as the energy reforms), the changes in land ownership, and the liberalisation of trade have all produced processes of dispossession necessary for the further accumulation of capital. At the same time, though, seeing Mexico through Harvey’s eyes also allows us to understand the establishment of current and future resistance movements fighting against the system of dispossession, disaster, and death that overwhelms us today.

The modern history of the territory now known as Mexico began with a process of dispossession, with the country’s folklore speaking of how (behind the caricaturisation of pristine indigenous communities and the Spaniards’ embodiment of evil) well-documented processes of looting roared into action, linking Mexican territories to an interconnected global system based on capital accumulation and circulation (Wallerstein 1988). In short, the production of a ‘New Spain’ was an essential part of the colonial project which, though now mutated, endures to this day.

The dispossession outlined above continued for centuries, and did not manifest itself solely through the transferral of precious resources like gold to the coffers of great European powers. The dispossession was also internal: in the forced expulsion of peasants and indigenous peoples; in the loss of communal rights; in the transformation of property relations into private property alone; in the suppression of alternative forms of production and consumption; in the monetisation of trade; through the slave trade; through debt; and, finally, through the credit system (Harvey, “The ‘New’ Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession”).

Additionally, dispossession (or ‘primitive accumulation’ in the words of Marx) is an ongoing process, which does not just belong to a past, primitive, or unique moment in time (Bonefeld 2001). For that reason, Harvey prefers to call the process ‘accumulation by dispossession’, while considering it an essential mechanism for the reproduction of capital. Furthermore, the different ways in which this process occurs are not linear, so they do not follow a logic of inevitable development. Dispossession through debt, for example, coexists with the loss of communal rights.

In short, the process of dispossession is essential for the continued reproduction of capital. In over-accumulation scenarios, where labour and capital are abundant but cannot be used productively, dispossession is used as a mechanism for transporting the apparently imminent crisis, with the surplus capital and unemployed labourers being used for production processes in new spaces of capital accumulation and reproduction. And, in this way, both the destruction of capital and the rebellion of the workforce are avoided. Harvey conceptualises such movements, which are necessary for capitalists, as a “time-space compression” (Harvey 1982) – which is considered to be a twofold process. On the one hand, this ‘compression’ involves the opening of new markets, often by force. On the other hand, meanwhile, it requires the large-scale production of infrastructure – of which contemporary urbanisation is an impeccable example (Harvey 1985, 1989, 2013).

harveyphoto copy

Time-space compression modifies territory but, as new spaces useful for capital accumulation and production are only created according to the temporary needs of capitalists, they are destroyed as soon as they become insufficient (Harvey 1982). The high-rise buildings increasingly erected in Mexico City, for instance, show clearly how capitalists destroy previously-produced spaces, transform their appearance, and modify the characteristics and dynamics of urban communities.

This process of perpetual expansion, as I said earlier, also has a profound impact on property relations, and the Agrarian Reform Law of 1992 is a good example of the institutionalisation of such changes. The purpose of this reform was to liberalise the land market in Mexico, and thus facilitate the increased penetration into the country of capitalist relations of production. Ejido inhabitants, meanwhile, were left “liberated” from their land, and soon became just another source of cheap labour.

Economic liberalisation in general can also produce and precipitate the process of dispossession. Mexico’s entry into NAFTA, for example, accelerated the transformation of the countryside’s productive structures, with subsistence farming decreasing rapidly and farmers being displaced and forced to migrate. In San Quintín, the Triqui indigenous community found itself subjected to a state of near-slavery, being forcibly displaced by both poverty and its political abandonment by the state.

At the same time, the mechanisms of legal servitude that have arisen with the recent Energy Reform (in which the owners of lands useful for the production and transportation of hydrocarbons are being obliged to ‘rent’ them out to the state for periods of 50 years to companies that ‘require’ them) are likely to exacerbate the process of forced territorial displacement. Subsequently, the supply of labour elsewhere will increase, and the value placed on workers’ efforts by their employers will decrease (in a change which can only benefit capitalist interests).

Laws, then, can become a mechanism for the strengthening and encouragement of these processes of dispossession. One example of this reality is Colombia, where Rule 9.70 of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States removed the right of peasants to plant their own seeds. As a result of this law, not only are these workers now obliged to buy only government-sanctioned seeds, but they are also required to buy them each year (in disregard of the ancient practice of separating the best seeds for reuse – a practice that is now illegal). The TPP, which has just been held up in the United States (for the time being at least), would seek to establish similar provisions in the Mexican countryside. In other words, dispossession processes are accelerating, penetrating into unexpected spaces, and contributing to the sharpening of the contradictions between labour and capital, between the exploited and the exploiters, and between life and death.

Just as forms of dispossession aren’t linear, forms of exploitation aren’t either. While capitalist logic focusses on the relationship between capital and wage labour, there are also other forms of domination with which this reasoning coexists (Quijano 2000). The organisation of inequality around race and gender lines, for example, is indicative of the failure of the primary dichotomy of capitalism to explain everything that happens within the system’s boundaries. In other words, the fact that those who have been suffering exploitation and state repression in Baja California are indigenous Triquis is not just a random occurrence, but is a result of the racism inherent in the coloniality of power [the colonial legacy of social discrimination that became integrated into post-colonial orders] (Quijano 2000). The fact that femicides have become a structural process that plagues the whole country, meanwhile, with a notable focus on areas (like Ciudad Juarez) where the manufacturing industry is prevalent, is yet another part of the same process.

Territories littered with dead bodies also see their disastrous realities intertwined with capitalist accumulation, with the boundaries between organised crime, ‘law-abiding’ companies, and state institutions becoming increasingly blurred. Mining, poppy cultivation, and the suppression of dissent[5][6][7], for example, are all interconnected, with Guerrero in particular seeing exploitative forces increase their persecution[8][9], imprisonment[10][11], and murder of those citizens who have begun to fight[12][13]against the so-called necrocapitalism that reigns in Mexico (Banerjee 2008).

One interesting feature of the resistance against accumulation by dispossession in recent years is that the fight contains scenarios which depart from the canons of classical Marxist proletarian struggle (Harvey 2003). The alliances that have been formed in response to this form of capitalism, for example, are different from those imagined by Marx, and are oriented specifically towards the fight against dispossession. Considering such innovations, we can understand better the increasing establishment of autonomous regional struggles in the world. The Cherán community police in the state of Guerrero, the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, and international experiences like that of the Rojava Revolution[14] (Graeber and Öğünç 2014) are all examples today of how the expansion of accumulation into spaces which play host to people’s everyday lives has been generating new forms of organisation and resistance against capitalism.

Overall, then, the conclusion we should reach upon looking at Mexico (and the wider world) through the eyes of David Harvey is that the building of a society focussed on dignity and life rather than exploitation and death goes through a complex, creative, horizontal, and pluralist struggle against the global capitalist order. In short, the era of dogmatic commitment to immovable formulas is over.


  • Banerjee, Subharata Bobby. 2008. “Necrocapitalism”. Organization Studies, 1541-1563.
  • Bonefeld, Werner. 2001. “The Permanence of Primitive Accumulation: Commodity Fetishism and Social Constitution.” The Commoner.
  • Graeber, David, y Pinar Öğünç. 2014. “Ésta es una revolución genuina. David Graeber sobre su visita a Rojava”. A las barricadas, 29 de diciembre.
  • Harvey, David. 1982. The Limits to Capital. Londres: Routledge.
  • —. 1985. The Urbanisation of Capital. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
  • —. 1989. “From Managerialism to Entreprenurialism: The Transformation in Urban Governance in Late Capitalism”. Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, 3-17.
  • —. 2003. The New Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • —. 2004. “The ‘New’ Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession”. Socialist Register, 63-87.
  • —. 2013. Rebel Cities. From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. Londres: Verso.
  • Quijano, Aníbal. 2000. “Colonialidad del poder y clasificación social”. Journal of World-Systems Research, 342-386.
  • Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1988. El capitalismo histórico. México: Siglo XXI.

[1] and

[2] and















Resistance Is Fertile

Translated by Oso Sabio[1] from an article written by Alejandro de Coss[2] in Spanish at[3] on 19/05/2015

There are few contemporary social theoreticians more important than English geographer David Harvey[4], and this essay uses some of his main ideas (and his concept of “accumulation by dispossession” in particular) to analyse the current reality in Mexico.

Today’s Mexico is immersed in a seemingly endless sea of catastrophes, and news of new injustices and atrocious deaths bombard us on a daily basis. Physical and virtual social networks, meanwhile, regularly fill up with a temporary anger that reaches a peak before gradually fading away again. And these facts, some of which are clearly interconnected (while others appear not to be), can all be systematically explained through the work of David Harvey.

Professor Harvey (b. 1935) has long sought through his work to show how capital accumulation…

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May 27, 2015

EZLN: Resistance and Rebellion I

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:14 pm


EZLN: Resistance and Rebellion I


Resistance and Rebellion I.

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés at the May 2015 Seminar “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra”

May 6, 2015

Good afternoon, compañeros, compañeras, brothers and sisters.

I am going to talk to you about how our resistance and rebellion are our weapons.

Before we begin talking about resistance and rebellion, I want to remind you that we are an armed group. We have our weapons, as one more tool in the struggle, that’s how we explain it now. Our weapons are a tool of struggle, just like the machete, axe, hammer, pick, shovel, hoe, and other such things. Each of these tools has its function, but the function of a weapon, well, if you use it, you kill.

So in the beginning, when we rose up at the dawn of the year 1994, a movement of thousands of Mexicans from all over the country emerged, grew to millions, and pressured the government, the baldy—that’s what we call him, Salinas the baldy—to sit down and dialogue with us, and at the same time urged us to sit down to dialogue and negotiate.

We understood the call of the people of Mexico. So we gave the order to retreat from violent struggle. It was then that we discovered, through the compañeras—because in combat our people died—but the compañeras were developing what we might call another way to struggle. Because the government, a month later, a year, two years later, wanted to buy us off, as we put it, they wanted us to accept aid and forget about struggle.

Many of the compañeras spoke and they asked why and for what our compañeros died that dawn of 1994. Just as our combatants, men and women, had gone to fight against the enemy, we had to see those who were trying to buy us off as our enemy as well. It was important not to accept what they wanted to give us.

So that was how it started. It was very difficult to make contact between the zones because the whole area was full of soldiers. Little by little, we were able to pass the word from compañeros in one zone to another about what the compañeras were saying, that we should not accept what the bad government was handing out. That just as our combatants had gone to fight the enemy that exploits us, we as bases of support also had to fight this enemy by not accepting its handouts. And so little by little, in this way, this idea spread throughout all the zones.

Today we can give many different explanations for what rebellion and resistance are to us, because they are things that we discovered a little at a time, practicing through our actions, such that now we can actually, as they say, theorize these ideas. Resistance for us is to stand firm and strong, to respond to any attack from our enemy, the system. Rebellion for us is to be fierce in our response and our actions, according to what is necessary, to be ferocious and valiant in carrying out our actions or whatever it is that we need to do.

We discovered that resistance is not only resisting one’s enemy, refusing its crumbs or leftovers. Resistance also means resisting the enemy’s threats and provocations, even, for example, the noise of the helicopters. Just hearing the noise of the helicopters can make you afraid, because your head is telling you that they are going to kill you, so you start running and that is when they see you and shoot you down. So the key is to not be afraid, to resist, to be strong and firm and not run when you hear the noise. Because the fucking helicopter noise does, in fact, scare you, it alarms you, but the key is not to be afraid and to stay calm.

We realized this, that it isn’t just about refusing [aid]. We also have to resist our own outrage against the system—and this part is difficult and good at the same time—we have to organize this resistance and rebellion. What is the difficult part? There are thousands of us who employ the weapon of resistance, thousands, and there are thousands of us also who know how to control our rage and convert it into struggle. These are both difficult, which is why I began by saying that in our form of struggle we find our weapons.


What we have seen is that organizing these two weapons of struggle helped us to open our minds and our way of looking at things. But this only works if resistance is organized– if one knows how to organize it and begins from a point of already being organized, because there is no resistance or rebellion without first having organization.

This requires a lot of political and ideological work, a lot of talking and guidance in the communities about resistance and rebellion. I remember an assembly of compañeros and compañeras where we were talking and the compañeros and compañeras were comparing peaceful political struggle to violent struggle. So some of the compañeros and compañeras asked, what happened to our brothers in Guatemala? Thirty years of violent struggle and what situation are our brothers in now?

Why does resistance within a peaceful political struggle have to be organized so well? Or why do we have to prepare our military resistance? Which will better serve us?

We realized in that discussion that what it is that we want is life, just as we said when Mexican civil society held that mobilization on January 12, 1994; they wanted our lives preserved, for us not to die. So how do we do that? What else do we need to do to resist and rebel?

There we realized that one thing we’d have to do was resist the mockery that people made of our form of governing, our autonomy. We would have to resist provocations from the army and the police. We would have to resist the problems caused by social organizations. We would have to resist the information that comes out in the media, all that stuff about how the Zapatistas are over, that they no longer have any strength, that the defunct Marcos is negotiating under the table with Calderón, or that Calderón is covering his health care costs because he is dying… well, he’s dead already, he did die in the end, but not because he went to Calderón for a cure, but rather to give life to another compañero.

So all of these psychological bombardments, we could call them, are meant to demoralize our bases, and they make for a bunch of things that we have to resist.

Later we discovered the resistance in each one of us, because we began to take on various tasks and responsibilities, and problems do arise at home—maybe this doesn’t happen to you all, or maybe it does, or maybe it’s even worse for you—but problems arise and we have to learn to resist individually, and at the same time collectively.

When we resist individually we think about the questions that come up about my dad, my mom, my wife, of “where are you?” “what are you doing?” “who are you with?” etc. Right? So one has to resist doing something bad, beating one’s wife who then abandons her work, and then later there are complaints, there isn’t any corn, or beans, the firewood isn’t gathered, there are problems with the kids, and all of these kind of things happen as a result. That is where resistance is individualized.

When we resist as a collective, it is done with discipline, that is, through agreement. We make an agreement regarding how we are going to deal with different types of problems. A recent example: in February, a group of people that aren’t Zapatistas were living on recuperated lands. We hadn’t said anything to them, but they got this idea that they wanted to be the owners of the land, so they started the process to legalize the land in their name.

And it became clear that Mr. Velasco was telling them they needed a certain number of people in order to do this, so these people started to look for others to be members of their village, and people began joining and they were armed. They grew to 58 people and then they started to invade the land that belongs to the compas, recuperated land. So the compas said, “we’re not going to allow this.”

“How many are there?”

“Well, close to 60.”

“That’s enough to justify our going in with 600 people, armed, and finish them off, given all the problems they’ve caused.”

They had poured a liquid over the compas’ pasture that burns the grass, they killed a stud and destroyed some of the compañeros’ houses. So the compas were already really pissed and rebellious, they had really had it. But this is when the other compas intervene:

“Remember, compañeros, we are a collective,’ they say to the 600 that are gathered there:

“Remember the orange? What have we said about what happens if you poke a hole in a piece of fruit?”

“Ah yes. But do those assholes understand things like that?”

“No, we are not going to let the ways and times of those assholes be imposed on us. We have our own way and time.”


So what happens to an orange or lemon if you poke a hole in it? It rots the whole barrel of fruit. And what does that mean in this situation? That whatever we do will affect the rest of our organization. That’s the thing. So we have to ask the bases of support if we are going to respond with violence, or another way. Since we were already thinking about this, we were already practicing this idea that we’re talking about now, our bases didn’t permit a response like the one suggested above.

So we said to the compas: those people who are really rebellious, mad, really pissed off, they’re not going in. Tell their representatives that they’re not going because if they do they’re going to kill somebody, so it’s better that they don’t go. Tell their representative so he knows and can inform them; making sure they know is his problem. Also, the people who are really scared are not going either. The only ones going are those who understand that they must go, not to provoke, but to work the land, to plow the cornfield, build a house and everything else. So at dawn, the 600 [compas] went to the land, unarmed. They coordinated among themselves to retake control of their land.

This is how we control both rage and fear. We gather, explain, talk, and make the issue clear, because the truth is that the great majority of compañeros are not going to allow that kind of violence.

We have been developing this resistance for 20 years. At the beginning it was difficult because we often face difficult situations and need to know how to resolve them. I’m going to give you an example of how hard it is to change things, okay? Under Salinas’ government, they sponsored “projects,” giving out cash or credit, and the compas were receiving these projects. Imagine, milicianos, corporals, sergeants, Zapatistas accepting these handouts. So a good half of this money goes to what? Bullets, for our weapons, and equipment, and the other half goes to buy a cow like it was supposed to. So they would buy what they were supposed to with just a part of the funds, which is why the government stopped giving them out, even to the brothers who are partidistas [political party followers or loyalists].

So the compas came up with this idea, the one I have been telling you about, that we should agree on this practice of refusing stuff from the government. It was really hard, but the compas understood. They said yes, we’re going to do this, we’re going to resist. The downside of this was that sometimes when we are supposed to have a meeting, they say “ah no I can’t come, I don’t have any transportation money because I’m in resistance,” which is really just an excuse, it’s not that they don’t have it, it’s just a cover, a pretext.

But we started taking seriously this thing about refusing anything from the system, and we found that it meant that we had to work hard on our mother earth, doing the kinds of things that I have already told you about in these days we have been together here. That is where the compañeros began to see the fruits of their labor and they realized that it’s better to work the earth and forget about that stuff the government gives out.

We began to see that resistance and rebellion gave our organization security and sustenance. We began to practice all kinds of things, like the example I have been telling you about, of not talking to the government; none of our bases talk to the government, not even when there is a murder. We discovered that with resistance and rebellion we could govern ourselves and with resistance and rebellion we could develop our own initiatives.

Each zone organizes its own resistance, on economic, ideological, and political terrains. Some have more possibilities in particular areas than others, so we experiment. For example, the compañeros of Los Altos [the highlands] have to buy corn most of their lives, they do grow some but very little, and they have to buy it. So what we have done is have other zones take their corn and sell it to the compas in Los Altos so that they don’t have to buy it from the government store. So the money from the compas in Los Altos goes to another Caracol rather than to the government. Sometimes this works out well, other times it doesn’t, but even when it doesn’t work out, at least it’s a bad thing that we produced ourselves. For example, the corn is transported in tons, so one time the compañeros in charge of collecting the corn weren’t checking it and the compa bases of support, the bastards, put a bunch of rotten corn in the middle of the package, and since the other compas didn’t check it, it made it out and was transported. But when it got to its destination where it would be consumed, they checked it over and saw thatcompas were selling rotten corn to other compas.

So we have been correcting these types of problem, to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen. If we are going to be in resistance, the resistance has to be really well organized. A kind of exchange, like bartering as they say, didn’t work for us, because we can’t take tons of pears or apples from Los Altos to sell in the Jungle, and that’s what the compas produce a lot of there, vegetables [fruits]. So that doesn’t work for us, and now we are discussing how we are going to do this, we’re about halfway through the process of organizing that.

I’m going to give you a series of examples.

In 1998, the government came in and dismantled the autonomous municipalities, that was when Croquetas[i]—Albores—was still governor. In [the municipality of] Tierra y Libertad, in the Caracol I of La Realidad, the judicial police came in and destroyed the building that housed the autonomous municipality’s governing offices. The compañeros milicianos[ii] were the most emphatic in wanting to fight the judicial police—who were really soldiers disguised as police—and they were told that they couldn’t fight them. It was the compas milicianos who were most enraged that they were destroying the building where we housed our autonomous government.

So we went to the communities to see what they thought, and the communities said: let them destroy it, our autonomy is here, we have it here among us, the building is just a building. So we had their support and with that on our side we gave the order that the milicianos should not respond and make the organization pay the cost of their rage, and the milicianos and milicianas responded “fucking authorities.” But we began to see that sometimes the rage of the base doesn’t help us get where we need to go, and sometimes it is the CCRI [Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee] or the regional authority, or others that end up paying the price.


Another example was when the army destroyed our first Aguascalientes. It was the same situation, we insurgents and milicianos were ready [to fight] because we knew that if they took a part of what we had, it would feel like total defeat—we thought very militarily then. Because in the military if you lose a battle, you’re fucked and you have to recover lost ground, but it requires double the effort. So again, what guided us was this question:

“What do we want, death or life?”

“Well, life.”

“Then let those assholes do what they’re going to do; we’re not going to kill them, but they’re also not going to kill us.”

“But what do we do if the ambush is already starting?”

“We have to send word ahead.”

So we had to get out of the way, and in doing that we avoided a lot of death, on our side and also on that of the enemy. In one of the ambushes authorization was given for a response, and that’s where General Monterola fell—he was a corporal then, but later we made him a General.

It also happened that way in the Caracol of Garrucha when the autonomous municipalities were dismantled, in the autonomous municipality of Ricardo Flores Magón. The same thing happened, the order was given not to respond to the violence that the enemy and the government wanted. That’s also how we have managed to endure so many provocations from the partidistas—those who let themselves be manipulated.

This is what has happened to the compañeros, in the placeswhere these attacks and provocations have been particularly harsh, the caracol of Morelia, the caracol of Oventik, of Garrucha, and of Roberto Barrios; the paramilitaries have been particularly cruel there in Roberto Barrios, Garrucha, Morelia, and Oventik.

For example, in San Marcos Avilés, our bases of support are constantly harassed. What the paramilitaries do is try to force you to fall for a provocation, it’s clear that they have been well trained by the government and the army, because they will frustrate you every possible way, taking your coffee, your beans, your corn, pulling up whatever you plant, cutting down your plantain trees, carrying off the pineapple you grew; they just annoy you. Until one day our bases said enough is enough. The good thing is that this rebellion and resistance is organized collectively, so the compañeros and compañeras bases of support from San Marcos Avilés went to the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council] to say: we have come to say that we can’t take it anymore, we don’t care if we die, but if we do we’re going to take them with us.

So that’s when the Junta de Buen Gobierno and the Clandestine Committee [CCRI] called the compas together and explained: we’re not going to tell you no, we are first and foremost an organization; second, if any of you survive whatever happens, you’re not going to be able to go home, you’ll have to go into hiding because those assholes are not going to let you live, what they want is to finish off the bases of support. So what you have to do is create a document and a recording and we will get that to the government, so they know that their people there are going to die and so are we, and there you have it, whatever happens happens.

Later we tried to find one more way to deal with the problem. The compañeros and compañeras made their recording and we found a way to get it to the government, and it is still there, still valid. So the government, we know, I think gave money to the partidistas that are there, and they calmed down, because that’s how the government works. For whatever they want to do, they provide a “project” or distribute a little bit of money, that’s how the government has always worked. Who knows what they’re going to do now because they’re not going to have a government like that anymore.

We mention this about how we resist, because we have tried… well, we ask ourselves why would we kill another indigenous person. This idea enrages us, if I told you exactly how we talk about it in our assembly, well its horrible, because we begin to insult the government every way we can think of. We are filled with rage because they are so incredibly manipulative; and also because, and pardon my language, because they are idiots, male and female, that let themselves be manipulated to go against their own people.

For example, these people from the ORCAO. One part of the ORCAO is now coming to realize that what they are doing is totally wrong, but there is another part that nobody is interested in, but that gets paid and keeps making threats. A month ago the compañeros from Morelia had to resist what the ORCAO was doing. The CIOAC? Well you can imagine, they’re the ones behind what happened to the compa Galeano and what happened in Morelia, that’s the same CIOAC Histórica. So, because we want life, and thanks to our forms of resistance, we have not fallen victim to the government’s manipulation and resorted to killing each other.

We have also resisted those who come here—visitors come from Mexico City—and tell us or tell our people that we are reformists because we aren’t waging armed struggle, or others who come and tell us that we are extremists. So who are we supposed to believe? No, one must resist this kind of talk, and our answer is: it’s one thing to say things and another thing to do things, because saying them is very easy, I can stand here and yell about what to do, but once you’re here on the ground it’s something else altogether.

Thanks to our resistance, compañeros and compañeras, sisters and brothers, we don’t say that weapons are no longer necessary, but we have seen that disobedience, if it is an organized disobedience, works; the government can’t enter here, thanks to the compañeros and compañeras. We see that we are going to continue to be able to improve, to organize our resistance and rebellion even better, demonstrating that we do not ask permission of anyone.

Rather, we agree among ourselves about what it is that we have to do, and that is what encourages us, as does the generation that is now with us, those who are 20 years old, the young people of today. They say: we are firm and ready, but teach us how to do what is required, how to govern ourselves. So now the zones, through the organization of their resistance and rebellion, are training a whole generation of young people, men and women, so that they can truly carry out what we have already said here, that word that has been around for centuries and forever—and seems religious but isn’t—rebellion. Because it really is for always and forever and thus we need the new generations to prepare themselves so that the grandson of those large landowners like Absalón Castellanos Domínguez or Javier Solórzano can never return here.

So we have a great task in front of us to improve this process. This doesn’t mean, compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters, that we are renouncing our arms, but rather that with this political, ideological, and rebellious understanding that constitutes our perspective, we have to turn this resistance into a weapon of struggle.

The compañeros of the Juntas de Buen Gobierno are telling us that we need another body, so we asked among the compas of the CCRI, “why are they saying this compañeros, compañeras? And they said “now we understand why the Juntas de Buen Gobierno had to be born.”

They talked to us about it, explained it. When the MAREZ, the Autonomous Zapatista Municipalities in Rebellion were only loosely organized together—we could say it that way, because some had projects [from outside groups] and others no, some had nothing at all – then the Junta de Buen Gobierno was formed and began to regulate the municipalities so that their access to projects would be equal, even. Now the Junta de Buen Gobierno is realizing that there is an unevenness again. Some have more projects because they are more easily accessible, near the highway or closer in general and others are very far away and so don’t receive anything. But we as the Junta de Buen Gobierno, they say, can’t decide to create a new body, we have to follow the will of the assembly, and during the exchange between the zones they have to discuss if in fact this is the moment to create another body. Because we are also right now organizing this resistance and rebellion against the storm that is coming. And the compañeros are also saying: this is the moment, this is the time for a new body, because we are going to have to begin to act in resistance and rebellion on an inter-zone level. The thousands of Zapatistas have to fight together in their resistance and rebellion, so they have to be organized. But it is thanks to this terrain of struggle of resistance and rebellion that we have some guide for how we will carry this out. And that will be our tool, because we are not going to ask anyone for permission. For us, that era in which they [above] refused to recognize the Law on Indigenous Rights and Culture is over, we’re done with that. If they do not want to respect that, well that reality becomes our tool.


All right compañeros, we’re going to continue later with this part about resistance and rebellion, with more examples, but throw some cold water on yourselves to wake up.

[i] “Croquetas,” or doggy biscuit, was the nickname assigned by the EZLN to Roberto Albores Guillén, whose bloody tenure as governor of Chiapas lasted from 1998-2000.

[ii] Member of the EZLN’s civilian militia or reserves.



May 26, 2015

Words of the Zapatista Youth: Compañera Selena

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:56 pm


Words of the Zapatista Youth: Compañera Selena


Words of Compañera Selena, Listener,[i] at the May 2015 Seminar “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra”

Good evening compañeros and compañeras of the Sixth.

Good evening brothers and sisters.

Good evening to everyone in general.

The topic that I will be explaining to you, actually I will read it to you, is the same topic the other compañera presented on, but with more information about the youth, both Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas.

We as Zapatista youth are facing a low intensity war that the bad government and the bad capitalists wage against us. They put ideas into our heads about modern life, like cellphones, clothes, and shoes; they put these bad ideas into our heads through TV, through soap operas, soccer games, and commercials, so that we as youth will be distracted and not think about how to organize our struggle.

But we Zapatista youth have not often fallen for this, because despite these attempts when we do buy clothes they are not the stylish ones; we buy the kind of clothes the poor wear, which as you can see is how we are dressed right now. We also buy shoes, but they are just a whatever kind of shoe, like the poor use; we don’t buy the kind with the pointy heels. If we were to use that kind of shoe, well where we live there is a lot of mud, and if we young women wear these shoes we’re going to get stuck, and we’re going to have to use our hand to get the shoe out. We also don’t buy those leather boots because the same thing can happen, they can come unglued in the mud because they are not strong enough; yes, of course we buy boots, but they are work boots, the kind that resist the mud, we don’t buy shoes that don’t resist.

And we also buy cellphones, but we know how to use them like Zapatistas, for something useful. We also have TV, but we use it to listen to the news, not to distract ourselves.

We did buy these things, but first we had to sweat and work the mother earth to be able to buy what we wanted.


On the other hand, youth who are not Zapatistas are those who most often fall for the tricks of the bad government, because believe it or not, those poor-poor youth abandon their families, their community, and they go to work in the United States, to Playa del Carmen, or to other countries, just to be able to buy that cellphone, that pair of pants, shirt, or stylish shoe. They leave because they don’t want to work the earth, because they are lazy. Why do we say they are poor-poor? Because they are poor like us; but they are also poor thinkers because they leave their communities and when they come back they bring bad ideas with them, other ways of living. They come back with ideas to assault or rob others, to consume and plant marijuana; and when they get back to their houses they say they do not want to work with the machete because they’re no longer used to it; that it would be better to go back again to where they were, that they no longer want to drink pozol,[ii] they say they don’t even know what pozol is anymore, even though they grew up with pozol, with beans. They pretend, in those places where they go, that they aren’t familiar with the food of the poor; they pretend to be children of rich folk, but this is a lie; they are poor like us.

On the other hand, we Zapatistas are poor, but rich in thinking. Why? Because even though we have shoes and clothes and cellphones, we don’t change our thinking or our way of life, because to us as Zapatista youth it doesn’t matter to us how we are dressed, or what kinds of things we have. What’s important to us is that the work we do is for the good of the community. That is what we Zapatistas want, and it’s what we want for the whole world: that there not be rulers, that there not be exploiters, that we as indigenous people are not exploited.

I’m not sure if you understood what I read.

Well, that was all the words I wanted to share with you, hopefully they are useful to you.

[i] The Zapatistas use the Spanish “Escucha,” or listener, to refer to an assigned position or responsibility, often given to young people, to go and listen at a meeting, gathering, or event and report back to others in the Zapatista communities who were not in attendance.

[ii] A drink made from ground maize mixed with water and often consumed in the Mexican countryside as a midmorning or midday meal



Words of the Zapatista Youth: Compañera Lizbeth

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:41 pm


Words of the Zapatista Youth: Compañera Lizbeth


Words of Compañera Lizbeth, Zapatista community member, at the May 2015 Seminar “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra”

Good evening compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters.

We are going to explain a little bit of how we have been living and doing our autonomous work after the 1994 armed uprising.

We as Zapatista youth today, we are no longer familiar with the overseer, with the landowner, with the hacienda boss, much less with El Amate [a prison in Chiapas]; we do not know what it is to go to the official municipal presidents so that they can resolve our problems. Thanks to the EZLN organization, we now have our own authorities in each community, we have our municipal authorities, and our Juntas de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Councils], and they resolve whatever type of problem that might arise for a compañera or compañero, for both Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas.

We now have freedom and rights as women, to have opinions, discuss, and analyze, which is not how it was before, as the other compañera said.

The problem we still have is that we are shy about participating or explaining how we are working, but we compañeras are in fact doing the work.

Also, we women are already participating in all types of work, such as in the area of health, doing ultrasounds, laboratory work, pap smears, colposcopies, dentistry, and clinic work. We also participate in what we call the three areas, which includes midwifery, bone-setting, and medicinal plants.

We are also working in education as formadoras [teacher trainers] and coordinators, and education promotoras [like a teacher, literally “promoter”].

We have women broadcasters and members of the Tercios Compas [Zapatista media team].

We participate in compañera collectives, in women’s gatherings, and youth gatherings.

We are also participating as municipal authorities, which includes many different kinds of work, and we women do these tasks. We are also working in the Juntas de Buen Gobierno as local authorities, and as board members for the compañeras’ businesses.

In different autonomous work areas, we are already participating alongside our compañeros. Although we as young women don’t know how to govern yet, we are named to be community authorities because they see that we know how to read and write a little bit, and then we learn the rest through doing the work.


In the majority of the work that we carry out we are all young women, and we can tell you clearly that this work is hard, it is not easy. But if we have the courage to struggle, we can do these tasks where the people rule and the government obeys.

Now, men and women practice this form of struggle and of government every single day. We now see this as our culture.

That is all I wanted to say, compañeros and compañeras.



Jaguar dance marks close of Euro-Caravana 43

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:31 pm


Jaguar dance marks close of Euro-Caravana 43

Having toured 18 cities in 13 countries, the ‘Euro-Caravana 43’ human rights caravan ended its journey in London last Tuesday 19 May, marking the occasion with live music and dance in the main quad of the University College London. The caravan, whose purpose was to build European solidarity around the case of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students, consisted of three participants: Omar García, a student who survived the police attack on 26 September 2014 that spirited away his classmates; Eleucadio Ortega, a parent of missing student Mauricio Ortega Valerio; and Román Hernandez, a human rights defender from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre in Guerrero. The caravan successfully brought together activists working in areas as diverse as Palestine, Colombia, Turkey and the UK. After a day of lively meetings and debates, more than a hundred participants gathered on the steps of the Neo-Classical Wilkins’ Portico to express their solidarity for the missing students, and to enjoy a series of performances. The jaguar dance featured in this video is a contemporary re-imagining of a pre-Columbian rite: in Mexico, as a primordial symbol beloved by warriors and shamans, the jaguar has always been associated with bravery, strength, and dignity.



May 25, 2015

Las Abejas of Acteal join the pilgrimage for justice, after the death of children in Simojovel, Chiapas

Filed under: Acteal, Indigenous — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:38 pm


Las Abejas of Acteal join the pilgrimage for justice, after the death of children in Simojovel, Chiapas


“Is the neoliberal capitalist monster-murderer going to continue killing the original peoples, either with bullets of lead, bullets of sugar or vaccines, and what are we going to do faced with the hell and fury unleashed by the monster-murderer?

“Our brothers from the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel once again call us to pilgrimage to express our outrage, tomorrow 23rd May; in response to the invitation made by our brothers of Simojovel, the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas of Acteal will participate in this pilgrimage with a commission made up of the Board and survivors of the Acteal massacre; because we do not want to keep repeating more Acteals, because we do not want them to keep killing more children, without seeing and feeling the sunlight, without the opportunity to speak and live free in this world … ”

Civil Society Organization Las Abejas

Sacred Land of the Acteal Martyrs

Acteal, Ch’enalvo ‘, Chiapas, Mexico.

May 22, 2015

Brothers and Sisters:

Today we present our word about how we feel and see the situation of life and human rights in Chiapas and in our country.

With respect to the violence and crimes of the State in which our Mexico is today submerged, they are the answer and message from the neoliberal capitalist monster-murderer to us, the men and women who struggle, who resist, who build our autonomy, who want to live free and who are building Lekil Kuxlejal, the “good life” as it is said in Castilian.

In this communique we will quote many times the “neoliberal capitalist monster-murderer system”, although this word does not exist in Tzotzil, it is a rare thing; but we think it is the same monster that our Zapatista brothers refer to as the “Capitalist Hydra”. When after the Seminar “Critical Thinking Against the Capitalist Hydra”, organized by our Zapatista brothers and sisters, we were thinking and thinking how to explain the “Capitalist Hydra” to the representatives of all the communities which make up our organization but we could not find anything similar in the stories we were told by our grandparents; we found that in the Bible, in Revelation, it speaks of a monster, a dragon with 7 heads, which is the devil, who is the satan who devours those who do not submit to him; so this is more or less how we understand the monster-murderer, or the capitalist Hydra or the dragon with 7 heads.

….What is it that the organised men and women do that the monster-murderer does not like?

He does not like that we are building our autonomy. He does not like us to be free. He does not like that we know how to think and to be critical of his corrupt and murdering system.



EZLN: Words of Comandanta Dalia

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:35 pm


EZLN: Words of Comandanta Dalia



Words of the EZLN’s Comandanta Dalia at the Seminar “Critical Thinking Versus the Capitalist Hydra”

May 6, 2015

Good evening compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters.

I’m going to explain a little bit of what compañera Comandanta Rosalinda said.

Just as she explained, it is now my turn to talk about how we become authorities. From 1994 on, we knew that we had rights as women. That was when we woke up. This is how little by little we grew to understand the work of the compañeras.

In the communities, in the regions, we began the practice of organizing ourselves to fight for the good of the community, without having to have an education to do so.

In 1994, we realized that as women, as mothers and fathers, we had the courage to send our husbands, our sons, our daughters to fight, and we knew well that to confront the enemy is not easy and one can come back alive or dead. But we never dwelled on those things. We were clear that the women had the responsibility to raise whomever of our sons and daughters were left. This is when we understood that we thought the same way as the compañeros.

To be a suplenta [the second or substitute to an authority position], first one has to do the work, to give talks about the struggle. We came to see that there were more responsibilities for doing that work. There are meetings in the regions, municipalities, and zones. There are frequent visits to the communities to better organize the compañeras and compañeros in the collective work to sustain the resistance throughout the lands we recovered in 1994, which had been taken away from us by the large landowners. Since the time of clandestinity, we were doing collective work, and also giving talks in each community, to men, women, boys and girls, so that they could understand the struggle.

This was so our children didn’t grow up with these bad ideas; we don’t let them learn these bad ideas from the capitalist system.

This is how the work of the compañeras and their participation as Zapatistas kept advancing in all types of work and in any responsibility given to them by the community. In this way, the compañeras came to recognize their rights, that we do have this freedom, the freedom to give opinions, to analyze, to discuss, to plan, on any topic, and in that way the compañeros also understood the rights of women.

The first courage the compañeras showed was to permit their spouses and daughters to be in the struggle. Secondly, they gave their husbands this freedom, because we saw what the men were doing, and that as women we could also do that; we have that courage.

We also have words to offer, ideas to analyze, ways to look at problems. Even though it was very difficult for us, we made the effort. Even though the compañero men were bastards before, we knew how to get them to understand; there are a few that still act like little jerks sometimes, but now it’s not all of them.

But the majority now understand. The compañeras don’t just let it go, they don’t remain humiliated like before, and like compañera Comandanta Miriam said, now the women bring their complaints to the civilian authorities, such as the agentas or comisariadas [local autonomous authorities]. In each community we have agentas and comisariadas, and if it can’t be resolved by the agentas and comisariadas, it goes to the municipal authorities. They are able to resolve things according to the rules and agreements we have in each community.


But don’t think that all of the compañeras complain because they are scared of their spouses; rather, it is important to know these things and talk between compañeras. Whenever we have meetings people begin to talk, and we compañeras have to investigate. That is, we have to figure out how to fix things ourselves, because amongst ourselves we have a lot of patience, not like the men who don’t have patience.

So we saw that yes, we could do the work, and now we take the time and space to participate, and to train another generation, even if we make errors in the process. But if we make mistakes, we fix them ourselves. In this way, we are making our struggle, and we continue organizing; we have a lot of patience as women, which is why we move from local authorities, regional authorities, candidata, suplenta, to becoming part of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee [CCRI].

To better organize the compañeras and to help the youth understand more, we have to orient, convince, to be a kind of matchmaker and infect them, not with illness but with good ideas. It’s not a bad idea to help them understand that they shouldn’t live exploited by the capitalist system; this is what we are doing, and the young people are already organizing. And it’s just like you see here, present with us are these two compañeritas, young compañeras. Their names are Selena and Lizbeth; they are going to be our future authorities, fruits of their generation.

We are doing this in steps, steps without an end; that is why we are here as the CCRI with the Sixth Commission. Thanks to the organization, we have learned to read a little bit, to write a little bit, to speak a bit of Spanish. Before we didn’t know how to speak even one word in Spanish. This is why we are not going to stop organizing as women in this capitalist system, because there is still sadness, pain, imprisonment, and rape. Just as the mothers of the missing 43 do not stop organizing.

This is why we are sharing with you brothers and sisters of the national and international Sixth. Thanks to our Zapatista organization, we Zapatista women are now taken into account; we men and women organize together because of the bad capitalist system.

We want change in everything, in the entire world, for the whole country. But if we don’t organize ourselves, and if we don’t fight against the capitalist system, it will continue until it finishes us all off; there will never be a change.

We need to be fighting at 100%, men and women. To have a new society where the people rule. We as Zapatista women are not going to stop fighting, even as the bad government kills us, because the bad governments are always persecuting us.

I’m sorry compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters, I don’t know how to speak Spanish very well. Since I don’t know it well, I hope you’ve heard what I said.

That’s all.

Thank you.



EZLN: Words of Comandanta Rosalinda

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:23 pm


EZLN: Words of Comandanta Rosalinda


Words of the EZLN’s Comandanta Rosalinda at the Seminar “Critical Thinking Versus the Capitalist Hydra”

May 6, 2015

Good evening compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters.

What compañera Comandanta Miriam just explained is all true. We were poorly treated, humiliated, and unappreciated because we never knew that yes, we did have the right to organize, to participate, to do all types of work; this is because no one had given us an explanation of how we could organize to get out of this exploitation.

At that time we were all in the dark, we didn’t know anything. But during the time of clandestinity, there came a day when some compañeras were recruited, and they went on to recruit other compañeras village by village.

Then came the time to name a compañera to be the local authority for each community. They named me as a local authority of my community. That is when I started going to meetings in order to bring more information back to the community. Later on we held meetings with the compañeras in the village to explain to them how the collective work could be organized, and to also to explain to them that its necessary to have compañeras who are insurgents and milicianas.[i]

If the fathers and mothers understood, they sent their daughters to be milicianas, to be insurgents. And thesecompañeras did the work with incredible gusto because they already understood what exploitation in the bad system was. This is how the compañeras’ participation began.

Of course, this was not easy at all, but little by little we came to understand, and in this way we moved forward until 94 when we came out into the public light, when we couldn’t stand the mistreatment from those capitalist fuckers. There we saw that it was true that we did have courage and strength just like the men, because we could face off with the enemy, without fear of anyone. This is why we are ready for anything the bad capitalist system tries to throw at us.


Later, I went on to be a regional authority. The regional authority is responsible for holding regional meetings with the compañeras who are local authorities; for taking information to the people, for organizing the compañeras in how to do work in the community. We also went to visit the communities to organize more local authorities, and to help the other compañeras understand that it was necessary for women to participate. This is how we started participating

Little by little we lost our fear and embarrassment, because we now understood that we had the right to participate in all areas of work. We came to understand that making a revolution required both women and men.

That’s all, compañeros, compañeras.

[i] Member of the EZLN’s civilian militia or reserves.



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