EZLN: It’s Not the Decision of One Person
For the [l@s] racists:
Well, we’ve been reading and listening to everything you’ve been saying and writing.
We’ve seen all of your mockery, your scorn, the racism that you can no longer hide.
I believe that the compañeros and especially the compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress [CNI] are also reading and listening to what you say.
It’s clear that the CNI was right about what they thought and what they told us, that there is a lot of racism in society.
I imagine you amuse and applaud each other over what a good joke you made with your leftist mockery about the EZLN’s “candigata.”[i]
You celebrate your machismo making fun of indigenous women.
You say that we ‘fucking Indians’ let ourselves be manipulated, are unable to think for ourselves, and go like sheep wherever the shepherd points.
But I think when you say this you are actually looking in the mirror.
That’s what you turned out to be: shameless machista racists.
You all talk so much about the racism of the exploitive class and don’t realize you have taken on that racism in body and soul, in your form of thinking, your way of talking, your perspective on life.
Your individualism and egoism doesn’t let you see anything else or any other way, as if you could save yourselves by yourselves, or as if you yourselves could save any other living being.
You don’t realize that you are stuck in your individualism, closed off in your own lives, unable to see that the little that is left is almost gone.
We tell you first to learn to read, then read carefully, then learn to understand what you have read.
Because those who have written in newspapers and social networks are pathetic.
Supposedly some of you have doctorates or honorary doctorates or whatever you call it but it turns out that you don’t know how to read or write; you haven’t understood anything.
Or perhaps you do understand, but you like to create a lie, make it grow, dress it as the truth, repeat it and shout it and spread it around so people don’t realize it’s a lie; or maybe you just don’t know how to read or write.
Thus you mock the decision of the National Indigenous Congress which has gone out to consult the thousands of people in their communities, tribes, nations, and barrios who will decide if they are or are not in agreement [with the proposal].
You make fun of the fact that the National Indigenous Congress functions like that, consulting before making a decision, because you all just do whatever your shepherd tells you, even if it is stupid nonsense.
You claim to be thinkers, critical ones, but you remain silent when your shepherd comes out with his idiocies, because you are just as racist and disparaging as he is.
The National Indigenous Congress is consulting on whether their people will name an Indigenous Governing Council to govern our country of Mexico, a Council be represented by an indigenous woman, delegate of the CNI, who would be candidate for the presidency of Mexico in the 2018 elections.
This is what was announced the morning of October 14, 2016.
That is what was written in the text; it is clear and it is in Spanish so that you all can understand it. The text does not say that the EZLN is going to consult its bases of support as to whether they want to run an independent candidate for the EZLN, an indigenous woman who is a Zapatista base of support, and that they will also consult the National Indigenous Congress about whether they agree with this proposal.
It says nothing of the sort, but you all are lazy and ignorant and don’t want to read or pay attention, so you just swallow what is sold by the paid media.
You purport to be so studious, with so much advanced technology, and you don’t even bother to read. You just grab something from what the paid media puts out and then write about it.
You don’t read the text from its original site, nor what it actually says, but rather become a bunch of gossips that don’t even know how to say “National Indigenous Congress,” substituting instead “National Indigenist Congress” or “National Indigenous Council.”
What a shame that professional writers get paid to be ignorant.
How can you ask that people read or listen to you if you don’t read or listen yourselves?
Or is that you quite simply can’t be bothered to read it?
How can you ask to be respected when you don’t know how to show respect?
How can you expect to be understood if you don’t even understand how we make decisions communally? The results of this decision aren’t even in yet and already you have begun with your insults, lack of respect, mockery, and racism.
What a shame that you are so full of yourselves as lawyers, professionals, university professors, and researchers with awards and titles.
What a shame, because you say you are all these things but you don’t know how to read or write.
And it isn’t that you don’t have the means, because you are well-stocked with cellphones, tablets, computers, and everything else, but apparently you have these things for mere fashion and not for their usefulness. You have them only to show off who has the newest modern models.
But one thing is for sure, you do use these things to publish every racist and disparaging stupidity that occurs to you.
You mock us because there are only a few of us; there’s no need to concern oneself with the Zapatistas, you say.
You say that we Zapatistas are off in our mountains and don’t know anything about the world, that we are ignorant and backward, that we don’t know how politics works, professional politics, things that only educated people from the city know about.
It’s true, there are only a few of us.
Just some thousands of organized people, true.
We are only 23 years old and haven’t gotten far, just a few Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion where we have told the bad government to fuck off like true teachers of disobedience to the bad system and the bad government.
A few Autonomous Municipalities with health care services where one can access free surgery thanks to the support of conscientious doctor comrades who lend a hand.
With a few autonomous schools where one can truly learn to read and write.
With a few radio broadcasters, a few laboratory specialists, a few compañeras who operate the ultrasound equipment, a few dentists.
Where the people rule and the government obeys.
Ah, and one thing for sure: a few hundred thousand rages against the capitalist system in which we live and die.
There’s that, as well as everything we still plan to do, because we have no plans to stop.
Now then, could you tell us what you have done over the last 23 years?
And not that business of sniffing around for some crumbs or for somebody to throw you a bone, that is, a job or a title.
Because what we are doing here is a true demonstration of how to destroy the bad system, what must be destroyed and what must be created, a decision made by thousands and not just a handful of people in an office or on the order of one individual.
While you all in many cases have spent years talking and arguing without even creating a mirror so that you can see what it is that you are constructing.
Because what counts is when you can actually see what you have been talking about, not just hear empty words. What counts is not what just person one has decided, but what has been the decision of thousands.
How should one behave as a writer?
As a commentator or journalist?
Or as a seeker of a cabinet position or job appointment?
I think the answer would be not to criticize when you don’t know the actual situation, because you don’t live with those you are talking about.
It would be to inform yourselves honestly, scientifically, not repeat robotically what you have heard, or poorly read, or what the paid media have said.
It would be to not make fun of the people you are talking about and then later refuse to acknowledge what you said, or insist that wasn’t what you meant and that you have been misunderstood. When you do that it is clear that in addition to being ignorant, you are cowardly.
The answer would be not to assume you know everything if you do not live with the people you are talking about, nor study, nor read carefully, nor experience any of the things they experience.
What’s more, how can you be so smug if you have nothing to show for it?
You can’t even see your own shadow.
You have nothing to show for yourselves that is visible and tangible.
Because a slew of words is not the same as a visible deed, a practice composed of thousands of visions and thoughts.
So why do you mock and scorn?
Ladies and gentlemen, to those who think so highly of themselves for having some organizational leadership position or who are so boastful of their degrees, we want to say:
As indigenous people of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, we feel pity, sadness, and rage because you mock and disrespect us as indigenous people.
But despite this, we will struggle and fight for you too, for this Mexico in which we live.
We have more than 500 years of experience with the poor lives that the rich have inflicted on us, and for more than 500 years we have known how we want a good life to be.
How many five hundreds of years do you have that you can come mock and scorn us?
We have decided, along with our compañeras and compañeros of the National Indigenous Congress, to consult our communities as to if they are in agreement or not with creating an Indigenous Governing Council that governs all of Mexico, not just the indigenous, and that this Council participates in the 2018 elections through an indigenous woman delegate of the CNI as its representative.
We still don’t have the final decision as to yes or no.
We don’t even know what the decision will be, and look how much the originary peoples, especially the indigenous women, have been mocked and disparaged.
That means that those who attack us are not just those who exploit us. Rather, those who have tried to step on and over us with their critiques include the political parties, even the ones who claim to be on the left, the supposedly great intellectuals, professionals, researchers, commentators, writers, journalists, and university professors.
Who is missing?
Whoever else feels themselves interpolated can add themselves to this list of frauds.
Now even those smug people who treated us like children want to order us around. Let’s hope that someday their work is seen and put up for comparison. Let’s hope someday they tell the truth about why they left.
Let’s see, derisive and disdainful ladies and gentlemen: how many autonomous municipalities have you organized?
In how many of the places where you live do the people rule and the government obeys?
Where in your world are women, children, and the elderly respected?
Where is help given to those who have nothing?
Where do you have freedom, freedom according to you, to go out into the street or countryside without fear that you will be kidnapped, disappeared, raped, murdered?
Where do you have a government that isn’t full of criminals and prisons that aren’t full of innocents?
Did you do the math?
Now respond: why do you turn against the indigenous and treat them as if they have no brains and don’t know what they are doing?
Why, if we aren’t even messing with you?
We don’t even mention you and yet you accuse us of getting paid by the bad government to fuck you over, you accuse us of working for capitalism.
Nobody pays us to be what we are and we don’t work for anybody.
Because no one rules over us.
Perhaps that is why you attack us and disrespect us, because you are in fact ruled over and told what to think, say, and do.
You don’t like freedom because you like to be a slave.
As Zapatistas, we may do things well or we may do them badly, but we do them ourselves.
We don’t do what others, outside of us, tell us to do.
You should study and learn that what is fucking you over is called “capitalism” and not “the indigenous.”
It is fruitless for you to attack and mock us, because one day we will see each other, we will have to.
Who will obligate us to do so?
Learn this and stop throwing tantrums and fits because to struggle for the world is not a game.
Ladies and Gentlemen who are intellectuals:
How is it that you don’t realize that the capitalists change their ways of thinking, exploiting, stealing, repressing, and disrespecting?
You are supposed to be profound thinkers but you are more like dry old trees that won’t bear any more fruit no matter how long you wait.
Now the land even where you live is contaminated, which is what capitalism is doing to it, and you continue to see and think the same things as if your heads had become deformed in the same process and there was no other way to exercise thought.
Leave your rooms, get up out of your chair, walk, lift your heads, looks for your eyeglasses so that you can see further and better.
Now imagine all of the possibilities of the combinations of what you have seen, and you’ll see that you get new ideas, not the same ones repeating over and over.
And if you didn’t manage to see anything, well then your eyes must be done for.
So now it seems that you want to tell us what SupGaleano should or shouldn’t do.
SupGaleano, just like the rest of the insurgent troops, does what I tell him.
And I do what the people tell me.
In that regard, it is up to me to tell SupGaleano to do what I say because I do what our people say.
If I tell him not to respond [to something someone has said or written], he doesn’t respond, because it isn’t worth the time.
And if I tell him to respond, he has to even if he doesn’t want to, and he has to respond clearly because he must help others understand.
If I tell him to give interviews, he has to give them, even if he doesn’t want to. I can tell him to give everyone an interview or only some people, and he has to do as I say. If I tell him only with the free media, that’s what he does. If I say the paid media also, that’s what he does.
For those who don’t want to understand this, what they will have to do is very simple:
First they will need to be subjected to death, destruction, and humiliation for more than 500 years.
Then they must organize for 10 years, preparing themselves to rise up as we did January 1, 1994. Then they will have to resist for many years, without selling out, without giving up, without giving in. Who knows if they can do it, because it’s one thing to write and another thing to do, that’s why we say theory is one thing and practice is another. This is what teaches you and gives you another vision without losing sight of your principles.
But we’ll see if we don’t get bored waiting for them.
We’ll see if we’re even alive then because what the capitalist beast will do in the meantime is so fucked.
Either they realize their lack of or limited vision or it will lead them down the system’s path toward death, and then there really is no remedy, and no one will even remember the tragic history that they played out.
So it can all be blamed on SupGaleano, who manipulates us and takes us down the wrong path?
It is laughable how now you say “Galeano/Marcos.”
You were so in love with SupMarcos that you came to take photos with him and get his autograph; I know because I was there off to the side.
Also off to the side was the maestro Galeano, whose name you did not even ask.
Then later you so hated SupMarcos because he didn’t obey you, but rather obeyed us.
Well he’s dead now.
Stop acting like his abandoned widows.
He’s dead, get over it.
Now there is a SupGaleano because that’s what we decided. And we put him out there so that you would attack and criticize him and thus reveal who you really are. It doesn’t matter what you say, not even the death threats. It doesn’t matter because that is what we trained him for, that is what we prepared him for and that is his work. And he can take it, not like you all who, after any little thing somebody says to you, cry that the world doesn’t understand you.
If we decide that he dies again, then he dies again.
And if you don’t like the way we do things, oh well. As if we were here to make you happy.
We are here for the people below and to the left, those who struggle, who think, who organize, and who resist and rebel.
We respect those people and they respect us because they know we are equals.
And we are with these people not only in Mexico, but all over the world.
So stop fooling the people in the schools where you give classes. You know nothing.
And the reason that you don’t know anything is because you lack both humility and honesty. You lost both among all of those papers and desks and medals and honours and other bullshit.
If in the end you understand and organize, well then we’ll see if you find yourselves another Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, or another SupMarcos, because we haven’t found another yet.
But perhaps you will have better luck in finding them.
In the meantime, shut up and listen, read, and learn from the organized peoples, tribes, nations, and barrios of the National Indigenous Congress.
They are our families, and it is their turn to teach us, to show us the way.
It is our job as Zapatistas to learn from them.
Hopefully we all manage to do this, and the world will be more just, more democratic, and more free.
The cadaver of the capitalist Hydra lies beneath the bare feet of the originary peoples.
Not injured, but dead.
Thus we will have to make everything anew, but this time right, without an above or a below, without disrespect, without exploitation, without repression, without displacement.
That world will also be for you, you who are racist and disdainful of what you do not understand.
Because you do not yet understand that you don’t understand.
You don’t understand that you know nothing.
What is going to come out of this is not the decision of one person, but of a collective.
Later we are going to tell the Sixth what happened.
We didn’t tell them before because the National Indigenous Congress asked us to wait until they arrived safely to their communities and began the consultation. They asked us to be their guardian and wait and take the critique and scorn that would have been aimed at them.
So we waited and took it, and now all those we expected have popped up.
The National Indigenous Congress has heard them and read them; they know.
They know where the scorn and the racism comes from.
They know what the professional politicians think.
They know what the Ruler thinks.
They know what those who think they are saviours think.
The CNI’s skin is healthy.
Ours is wounded, but we are used to it and we scar over quickly.
The CNI is clear in its thinking.
Now we must wait for their decision and support it.
We know that the path that they choose for all of us originary peoples, tribes, nations, and barrios will be born of pain and rage.
It will be born of resistance and rebellion.
It will come not from an individual, not from a person.
It will be born of the collective, as indeed those of us who are what we are, are born.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés
Mexico, November 2016
[i] “Gata” is a derogatory term for domestic workers. The author points to critics’ use of the term “candigata” instead of “candidata” (candidate) as a racial slur.