Galeano: Make no mistake, The EZLN will not bet on electoral means to achieve power, far less force of arms
Sup Galeano of the EZLN. Photo: from Chiapas Paralelo
By: Isaín Mandujano
33 years after the foundation of the Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas de Liberación Nacional, FLN) in the Lacandón Jungle, the seed of which would later be the Zapatista Nation Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Galeano clarified today that he does not struggle to take power and once more made clear that the independent indigenous woman candidate in 2018 is a proposal the armed group made to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) who made it theirs and will drive I forward.
And it does not matter whether or not they win the presidency of the Republic, “what matters is the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total breakdown of the image of the indigenous as an object of alms and pity.”
Faced with the controversy unleashed, Subcomandante Galeano clarified that the indigenous woman postulated will not come from the EZLN’s ranks, and that nobody will supplant the initials of the armed group for those of the CNI, because the EZLN continues firm in its word of not betting on the electoral path, that it will not convert into a political party and that it will not seek to attain power through the armed route, because they took up arms to make use of them and not to become enslaved by them.
On November 17, 1983, that first armed group arrived, headed by Fernando Yañez, alias Comandante Germán, who in the heart of the Jungle planted the first seed of what would become the EZLN; the group was called the FLN, an organization which was persecuted and repressed since the seventies in different parts of the country. It had a Marxist-Leninist philosophy, with visions of achieving power and installing socialism.
In recent weeks, the EZLN as an integral part of the CNI has caused a controversy, because they proposed a consultation to postulate an indigenous woman as an independent candidate in the 2018 presidential elections, a theme that has provoked the most hostile reactions from the Mexican political class, the media and Mexican analysts.
In his letter, “A story to try to understand,” Galeano himself made it clear that they were the ones who made this proposal last October 13 to the CNI, a conglomerate of indigenous peoples from different regions of the country. This took place within the framework of the 20th anniversary of that national body, but in no way will they [EZLN] have an active participation in nominating that candidacy.
“No, neither the EZLN as an organization, nor any of its members, are going to participate” for a “popular election position” in the 2018 electoral process. No, the EZLN is not going to convert into a political party. No, the EZLN is not going to present a Zapatista indigenous woman as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic in the year 2018. No, the EZLN “has not taken a turn” of any degrees in its path, nor is it going to continue its fight through the institutional electoral route,” Galeano said.
So, is the EZLN not going to postulate an indigenous Zapatista woman for president of the Republic? Are they not going to participate directly in the 2018 elections? To answer, he responds with a “No.”
“Why not; because of the armed option?
No. Those who think that is why are profoundly wrong because: the Zapatistas took up arms to serve them, not to be enslaved by them.
Then, because the institutional electoral political system is corrupt, inequitable, fraudulent and illegitimate?
No. Even if it were transparent, equitable, just and legitimate, the Zapatista men and women would not participate to attain and exercise Power from a post, a position or an institutional appointment.
But, in certain circumstances, for strategic and/or tactical reasos, would you not participate directly to hold office?
No. Although “the masses” may demand it; although the “historic conjuncture” may need our “participation;” although “the Homeland,” “the Nation,” “the People,” “the Proletariat,” (ok, that’s very out of style now) may demand it, or any concrete or abstract concept (behind which is hidden, or not, personal, family or group or class ambition) that is hoisted as a pretext; although the juncture, the confluence of the stars, the prophesies, the stock exchange index, the manual of historic materialism, the Popol Vuh, the polls, the esotericism, “the concrete analysis of concrete reality” and the convenient etcetera.
Because the EZLN does not struggle to take Power.
Galeano said that the postulation of the indigenous woman as an independent candidate is no longer in the EZLN’s hands. Therefore he asked that they stop awarding it to the armed group, because they are only a part of that big body which is the country’s indigenous peoples.
He insisted that no one from the EZLN seeks a position through popular election and that the independent indigenous woman candidate will not come from their ranks.
“No insurgent, male or female, whether from the command or from the troops, nor any comandanta or comandante of the CCRI can even be authorities in the community, nor in an autonomous municipio, nor in the different autonomous organizational bodies. They cannot be members of the autonomous councils, nor of the good government juntas, nor of the commissions, nor take on any of the responsibilities that the assembly designates, that is created or to be created in the construction of our autonomy; in other words, of our freedom,” Galeano explained.
“Our work, our task as the EZLN is to serve our communities, to accompany them, support them and not to command them. To support them, yes. And sometimes we achieve this. And yes, certainly, sometimes we hinder them, but then the Zapatista peoples give us a slap (or several, accordingly) so that we can correct ourselves,” he clarified.
When the EZLN made the proposal to the heart of the CNI, they told them: “it doesn’t matter if they win the presidency of the Republic or not, but what would matter was the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total breakdown of the image of the indigenous as the object of alms and pity –an image so ingrained in the right, and also in the institutional left of “real change” and its organic intellectuals addicted to the opium of the social networks-, that their daring would move the entire political system and that it would have echoes of hope not in one, but in many of the Mexicos of below… and of the world.”
He said that they are not seeking for an indigenous woman from the CNI to be president, but rather that what is desired is to carry a message of struggle and organization to the poor in the countryside and the cities of Mexico and of the world.
“It is not that we consider that, if we get together the signatures or win the election, it will go well, but rather that it will go well if we can talk and listen to those who nobody talks or listens to.
Here we will see whether it will go well or not, if a lot of people are going to find the strength and hope to get organized, to resist and rebel,” Galeano said.
Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee
Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity