dorset chiapas solidarity

June 3, 2013

The assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán in Chiapas, Mexico “He gave his life for the land”

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, La Sexta, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:37 pm

The assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán in Chiapas, Mexico

“He gave his life for the land”

This article was published in the June edition of Peace News. Spanish version below.

juan-y-don-raul-3-1On 24 April, 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, indigenous Tzeltal, aged only 32, father of two small children aged four and seven, human rights defender and much-loved community leader, was gunned down in the doorway of his home. The territory and community for which Juan gave his life was the communal landholding (ejido) of San Sebastián Bachajón, in the jungle region of the state of Chiapas in South-East Mexico.

Juan had worked tirelessly with his indigenous brothers and sisters since 2006 to defend the ancestral land and territory of his people from the interests of the government and transnational corporations who wished to dispossess them for a luxury “eco-tourism” development.  On April 18, 2010, he was made Secretary General of the three centres of the ejido, and his dedicated work continued until the day of his death. His community members are left devastated, and his assassins escaped into the impunity which reigns in his country.

The ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón has become a conflict point because its lands adjoin the stunningly beautiful waterfalls of Agua Azul, identified by the Mexican government and transnational business as the focal point of a new luxury tourist development for upmarket ‘light adventure’ tourism. Unfortunately for the people who have lived on this land for centuries, who have been the traditional guardians of the Mother Earth and its resources, for whom territory is the basis of a dignified life, they are now the only obstacle to what could become “one of the most special experiences in the Western hemisphere”.

The communal landholders (ejidatarios) of Bachajón have thus become the recipients of daily threats, aggressions, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, imprisonment, extensive use of torture, and attacks from paramilitary groups. The strategy of the three levels of government, local, state, and federal, has been to develop alliances with, and give support to, local political party members and to criminalise those who resist, with the aim of generating conflict among the communities in the area.

The focus of conflict has, over the last few years, been the booth where tourists buy tickets to visit the waterfalls. In 2008, the ejidatarios decided to become supporters of the Zapatistas’ Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. As part of this process, to exert their acknowledged right as original peoples to free determination over the territory in which they live, their land and its resources, the ejidatarios took control of this booth.

Cascadas_de_agua_azul (1)Since this time, the booth has been taken and reclaimed many times, in huge military and police operations. In February 2011, 117 people were arrested, leading to a five months long international campaign, led by the New York-based Movement for Justice in El Barrio, to free the Bachajón 5, the last of these political prisoners to be released. As always, Juan Vázquez Guzmán was extremely active throughout, supporting the prisoners, promoting legal initiatives to establish the right to the land and territory, speaking at public forums, making links with other organizations to spread awareness of the struggle, always with passion, enthusiasm, commitment, love and hope.

Juan’s neighbours tell of how he loved to go to the river with them to fish. He also liked banda and ranchera music. “Juan was seen as one of the leaders who gave their lives for their people and for the defence of the land; he was a person who was committed to what he believed in and raised the voice and the agreements of the authorities everywhere. He liked to travel and to meet other compas, to see their struggles and share their experiences.”

According to Mexican newspaper La Jornada “a cascade” of pronouncements from communities and organisations followed Juan’s death. “Juan Vázquez,” wrote the local Human Rights Centre, “is part of the historic struggle for the construction of alternative ways of life,” expressing its outrage at his killing, and demanding justice.

His community members declared: “We demand that this murder does not remain unpunished. We, the men women and children, ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, make a call for solidarity to achieve justice. Following the death of our compañero, our struggle is not diminished; we will continue moving forward towards our goal, because we know that his death was for the defence of our Mother Earth, because the mountains and springs are the lords of those who care for them”. They later added: “We are here and we are not going to leave, because even though they kill us and want to destroy us as indigenous peoples, the heart of the people is alive and will continue struggling whatever the cost”.

 

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El asesinato de Juan Vázquez Guzmán, en Chiapas, México

“Él dio su vida por la tierra”

juan-vasquez-guzman1El 24 de abril de 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, indígena tzeltal, de tan sólo 32 años de edad, padre de dos niños de cuatro y siete años, defensor de los derechos humanos y muy querido líder de su comunidad, fue asesinado a tiros en la puerta de su casa. La tierra y el  territorio por la que Juan dió su vida fue la tierra comunal (ejido)  de San Sebastián Bachajón, en la región selvática del estado de Chiapas, en el sureste de México.

Juan trabajó incansablemente con sus hermanos y hermanas indígenas desde 2006 para defender la tierra ancestral y el territorio de su pueblo, de los intereses de las empresas estatales y transnacionales que querían despojarlos, con el propósito de construir un proyecto “ecoturístico” de lujo. El 18 de abril de 2010, fue nombrado Secretario General de los tres centros de población del ejido; y su dedicado trabajo continuó sin cesar hasta el día de su muerte. Sus compañeros de la comunidad se quedan devastados, mientras que los asesinos escaparon gracias a la impunidad que reina en su país.

El ejido de San Sebastián Bachajón se ha convertido en un punto de conflicto, porque sus tierras colindan con las increíblemente hermosas cascadas de Agua Azul, identificadas por el gobierno mexicano y las empresas transnacionales como el punto focal de un nuevo proyecto turístico de lujo para el turismo de “aventura light”. Desafortunadamente, para las personas que han vivido en esta tierra durante siglos, quienes han sido los guardianes tradicionales de la Madre Tierra y sus recursos,  para quienes el territorio es el fundamento de una vida digna, ellos son ahora el único obstáculo contra el proyecto en el que las cascadas podrían convertirse: “una de las experiencias más especiales en el hemisferio occidental”.

Por lo tanto, los comuneros (ejidatarios) de Bachajón son los destinatarios de las amenazas diarias, agresiones, detenciones arbitrarias, desapariciones forzadas, las detenciones, el uso extensivo de la tortura y los ataques por parte de los grupos paramilitares. La estrategia de los tres niveles de gobierno, local, estatal y federal, ha sido el desarrollo de alianzas y apoyo a miembros de los partidos políticos locales, y así criminalizar a los que resisten, esto con el objetivo de generar conflictos entre las comunidades de la zona.

El foco de conflicto en los últimos años ha sido la caseta de cobro, donde los turistas compran boletos para visitar las cascadas. En 2008 los ejidatarios decidieron convertirse en adherentes de la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona zapatista. Como parte de este proceso, al ejercer sus derechos reconocidos como pueblos originarios a la libre determinación sobre el territorio en el que viven, sus tierras y sus recursos, los ejidatarios tomaron el control de esta caseta.

Desde este momento, la caseta ha sido tomada y reclamada muchas veces, por grandes operaciones militares y policiales. En febrero de 2011, 117 personas fueron detenidas, dando lugar a una campaña internacional a largo de cinco meses, impulsada por  Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, con base en Nueva York, por la liberación de los 5 de Bachajón, los últimos de estos presos políticos por ser liberados. Como siempre, Juan Vázquez Guzmán fue muy activo durante todo este tiempo, apoyando a los presos, la promoción de iniciativas de ley para establecer el derecho a la tierra y al territorio, habló en foros públicos, estableció vínculos con otras organizaciones para difundir el conocimiento de la lucha; siempre con pasión, entusiasmo, compromiso, amor y esperanza.

Compas de Juan hablan de la forma en que le gustaba ir al río a pescar con ellos. También le gustaba la música de banda y ranchera. “Que a Juan lo consideraban como uno de sus líderes que dio la vida por el pueblo y por la defensa de la tierra; era una persona que se comprometía con lo que creía y llevaba la voz y los acuerdos de las autoridades a todas partes. Le gustaba viajar y conocer luchas y compas para compartir sus experiencias”.

Según el diario mexicano La Jornada “una cascada” de pronunciamientos provenientes de comunidades y organizaciones siguió la muerte de Juan. “Juan Vázquez”, informó el Centro de Derechos Humanos local, “es parte de la lucha histórica por la construcción de formas de vida alternativas”, que expresa indignación por el asesinato y exige justicia.

Sus compañeros de la comunidad declararon: “exigimos que este asesinato no quede impune. Hombres, mujeres y niños ejidatari@s de San Sebastián Bachajón, Adherentes a la otra campaña, hacemos un llamado para pedir solidaridad y alcanzar la justicia. Después de la muerte del compañero  la lucha no se disminuirá, seguiremos adelante con nuestra meta, porque bien sabemos que la muerte fue por la defensa de nuestra madre Tierra, porque las montañas y los manantiales son dueños de los que cuidan.” Y además, “de aquí somos y no nos vamos, porque aunque nos maten o nos quiera destruir como pueblos indígenas el corazón del pueblo está vivo y seguirá luchando cueste lo que cueste.”

 

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March 2, 2017

Acteal, Chiapas: “In the face of threats and aggression, we are alert and united”

Filed under: Acteal, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:40 pm

 

Acteal, Chiapas: “In the face of threats and aggression, we are alert and united”

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The Civil Society Organisation Las Abejas from Acteal

The Sacred Ground of the Acteal Martyrs

Chenalho municipality, Chiapas, Mexico

 

22 February 2017

 

To Social and Political Organisations

To Human Rights Defenders

To the Alternative Media

To the National and International Press

To National and International Civil Society

To the Councils of Good Government

To the National Indigenous Congress

And to the General Public

Sisters and Brothers:
We thank you from our hearts to all of you who physically or spiritually accompany us on this day, when we hold in memory and justice our 45 sisters and brothers, and the 4 others not yet born, so they never are forgotten.

We, the women and men of the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas from Acteal, together with the survivors and victims of the Acteal massacre, view with great sadness and indignation how the bad government of Mexico, represented by Enríque Peña Nieto, continues to violate Mexicans’ human rights in different ways. We see it all as a way to serve the neoliberal capitalist system, clearly demonstrated by the subordination to the government of the tyrannical and racist Donald Trump.

These days a lot of things are happening, like the violation of human rights in Mexico as well as in the United States, and things like President Trump’s decision to deport immigrants living there. And another one of his decisions is the construction of a wall on the border between Mexico and the United States. We, as a pacifist organisation, condemn these policies which violate human rights, because no one is illegal in this world.

We know that the United States and its racist government are the creators and perpetrators of many crimes committed in many countries throughout the world through their wars of invasion and dispossession in many places on planet earth. The United States is one of the heads of the capitalist monster that kills and destroys humanity and Mother Earth.

We have to be alert and united in the face of the threats and latent aggression that the United States government, or those rich people sick with power and greed, make against us.

The neoliberal capitalist system must be destroyed, because otherwise the greed and venom of this capitalist monster will kill us. It has no scruples and will stop at nothing to grab our lands and territories. We have seen how this killer monster –  in the guise of the Bad Government, paramilitaries, the police, the federal army, the Marines, assassins hired by organised crime – murder women and men social justice fighters, the women and men of Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE as its known by its acronym in Spanish), migrants, young people, students, farmers, workers.

This year, the Bad government and organized crime have intensified their harassment and murder of environmental activists, the women and men defenders of life and the territory. We refer to the recent murders of our brothers Juan Ontiveros Ramos and Isidro Baldenegro from the Rarámuri community in Chihuahua. They were killed by assassins with links to organised crime, but we also know that here in Mexico, corrupt politicians collude with the drug traffickers.

Murders of environmental activists and defenders of life and the territory, don’t just happen in Chihuahua state, but in many parts of Mexico. We remember the murders of our compañeros Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, both Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido in Chiapas. They gave their lives in defense of the land and territory, keeping it from the clutches of the transnational companies, with the complicity of the Bad Government in Chiapas and Mexico. As well the murder of our  compañero Mariano Abarca in Chicomuselo, Chiapas who was also murdered for defending life and the territory against an Canadian mining company.

And the capitalist monster doesn’t only kill in Mexio, but also kills environmental activists and defenders of the life and the territory in other parts of the Americas, such as the case of our compañera Berta Cáceres, from the Lenca community in Honduras. For opposing the construction of a dam that they were going to build in her community, she was murdered.

And we could continue with an endless list of compañeras and compañeros who have been murdered for fighting against the capitalist system devouring Mother Earth.

So we see the objective of the capitalist system, or whoever is rich and sick with power and greed, is to take over of our lands and territory. Their objective is to plunder Mother Earth’s wealth, such as water, gold, silver, petroleum, wood, animals and other resources.

If we make a brief analysis of the history of the looting and plunder of our lands and territories since the Spanish invasion, we realize that this history is being repeated these days, only that the current invasion and dispossession are more modern, and more cynical. This time they do it “legally” through structural reforms and, with more sophisticated weapons, which they use against those who oppose us this looting and dispossession: spoils.

So, as we confront this barbaric policy, we think that it is urgent to stop this criminal capitalist system. We reinforce our struggles, our organizations, our movements to defend our forests, rivers, lakes, sacred hills, territories and our own lives.

Although the capitalist monster and the rich people sick on power and greed may have a lot of money and weapons, but there are also a lot of communities and while we may not have sophisticated weaponry, we have something much more powerful than the rich will ever have:  dignity, organisation and collectivity. This collectivity and organisation are in a lot of movements, and organisations, such as the National Indigenous Congress, the Pueblo Creyente from the Diocese of  San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the Parish of Simojovel (as Pueblo Creyente), the Movement in Defense of Life and the Territory (MODEVITE as its known by its Spanish acronym), the CNTE (Education Workers Union), student movements, conscious women and men academics, intellectuals, scientists, farmers, workers, religious men and women, feminists and many other sectors of society.

Sisters and brothers, we stress that the struggle and the defense of Mother Earth is indispensable. The earth is the source of our existence on this planet, it gives us everything, so the rich people sick with power and greed want to take possession of it. So between Mother Earth and women and men there must be balance and mutual respect. Let us be clear:  we are the guardians of Mother Earth and we have an obligation to care for and defend it.

Sisters and brothers, the struggle and defense of life and Mother Earth has no timetable or expiration date. It is all the time. Let us always be alert and aware so that we are not distracted by Bad Government with its policies of deception and death.

Fraternity, unity and solidarity are the basis of our strength and ways to do away with the capitalist monster. And one of the paths that can be seen on the horizon is the proposal from the National Indigenous Congress to appoint an independent indigenous candidate for President of our country in 2018. Only then can we live free in harmony with Mother Earth, and together with all the women and men in Mexico and on our planet.

For now, that’s all we have to say, and we anticipate that the compañeras from the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas from Acteal will soon send a call-out for an action which will take place next March 8th. This important event is organised to mark International Women’s Day and will raise awareness and denounce all types of violence suffered by women.

Because for a fair and dignified Mexico, there should be no discrimination, no violence against women and no more femicides.
Stop the femicides in Chiapas and Mexico!

No more murders of men and women environmental activists!
Punishment for the intellectual authors of the Acteal massacre:  Ernesto Zedillo, Emilio Chuayfet, General Enríque Cervantes, General Mario Renán Castillo, Julio César Ruiz Ferro and their accomplices!
Justice for the 43 students from Ayotzinapa!
Total rejection of the rise in petrol prices!

Total rejection of the tyrannical and racist Donald Trump and his wall!

From Acteal, House of Memory and Hope,

Sincerely,

The Voice of the Civil Society Organisation Las Abejas from Acteal

The Board of Directors

Desde Acteal, Casa de la Memoria y de la Esperanza.

Vicente Jiménez Sántiz Antonio Ramirez Pérez

Sebastian Pérez Pérez Javier Ruiz Hernández

Reinaldo Arias Ruiz Sebastián Cruz Gómez

 

Source: http://acteal.blogspot.mx/2017/02/mexico-como-en-estado-unidos.html?m=1

http://www.pozol.org/?p=14589

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February 23, 2017

EZLN: What Comes Next I: Then and Now

Filed under: Autonomy, CNI, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:32 pm

 

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EZLN: What Comes Next I: Then and Now

 

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Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

January 3, 2017

Good evening everyone. We just want to say that this is going to take a while, so now is the moment to leave or take a nap.

So first of all, just like the compañera said who spoke here about Viejo Antonio [Old Antonio], the name says it all, Viejo Antonio.i His time is over. There are some things we might be able to recover from that moment, but now times have changed.

We Zapatistas want to tell you that truly, seriously, we want to learn what real science is. Not the kind that Viejo Antonio employed, which was useful in its time, a time now past. Now it’s different because life now is different. We want to talk to you about what it’s like for the compañeras and compañeros who are here as a commission of delegates, what they’ve confronted through their struggle in resistance, and the fact that even though they’d like to live the way their fathers and mothers did, it doesn’t work for them anymore.

For example, in the Lacandón Jungle when they plant their corn, they know that in three months the kernels should grow, but now the kernels come in earlier. In the highlands, near Oventik, the Caracol Oventik, it used to be that in six months there would be kernels, and now it happens in five. This makes it difficult because before they knew when to plant. They knew when to start, using the old method like Viejo Antonio did, but now that has changed. How did it change, and who changed it? That’s where all this interest comes from. And just like with everything else, we’re not making things up, as Sup Galeano has said these past few days. Because Viejo Antonio did in fact know when the cold would come, when to go get firewood, charcoal, how to be prepared, but this method doesn’t work anymore.

That’s why we started to wonder who could explain this to us, and we’d heard people say that there are scientists, and we wondered what kind of work they do. Could they assist us? Because they say these people study in order to be able to explain, to be able to understand, and then to be able to explain to others if something can be done and what can be done.

Our compañeros and compañeras need these kinds of things, because it turns out that in their 23 years of autonomous governance, many needs have arisen, needs that can no longer be addressed the way Viejo Antonio used to. He was resisting and surviving, but that way doesn’t work anymore. The compañeros and compañeras are constructing something else, and they’re putting it into practice. When they engage in these practices, that’s when they start to discover what’s missing.

For example, so that you understand what I’m saying, among the compañeras who are Zapatista bases of support entered the struggle 33 years ago, none of them dreamed that their daughter or son would learn how to operate an ultrasound. Now it turns out that their daughter operates one, because many compañeras do. It’s mostly compañeras because they’re the ones who want to see how the baby is doing while it’s growing, that’s why it’s mostly compañeras who do this.

I’m going to tell you about a need and a lack we have encountered, because it was a lack as well as an error, a failure, which we recognize as such. Because the compañeras, compañero, well they’re recovering the good parts of the culture and leaving behind the bad parts.

So there are [health] promotores, as well as midwives, both men and women, in the communities. In one community a compa went to the midwife and the midwife checked the compañera and told her: it seems you’re going to have twins, compañera. And the compa was happy about the twins, but he knew that in the clinic, in the Autonomous Hospital, there’s an ultrasound, and the compa wanted to be sure that they were really going to have twins. So they went to the hospital and had the photograph taken, I’m not sure what you call it. But first the compa says to the compañera who knows how to operate the ultrasound, “the midwife told me it looks like it is twins, so I want to check using the machine to see if it’s true, no?” And so they check and take the photo or whatever it’s called and the compañera tells him, “Yes, it’s twins.” So then the compa is even happier.

So then when it was time for the twins to be born, they went to the government hospital because there was trouble with the birth because the compañera was having a lot of pain. So as an emergency they went to a government hospital in Guadalupe Tepeyac, and they attended to her there and gave her a caesarean. So the compa goes to see his two twins, right? And it turns out there’s just one. So the compañero says, “No, I know that they were twins,” and starts to argue with the hospital director. “No, I know that they’re twins. You’re trying to steal one from me.”

The director says, “No sir, no Zapatista, there’s only one. Let’s not argue here, let’s go to your wife because she saw everything.” So the director and the compa go to the wife and the compa says, “Why are you letting the hospital directors steal one of our babies?” And the compañera says, “No, there really was only one.”

“But how? If the compañera who did the ultrasound told us it was definitely twins and the midwife also told us it was definitely twins?”

So there they are with the compañera saying that there was definitely only one and the compa is saying it has to be two because that’s what the midwife and the health promotora said and the people from the hospital are saying it’s definitely only one.

So then they have to bring in the compañera who did the ultrasound in the Zapatista hospital clinic. The compañera arrives, so there are four different people there now: the compa, the compañera who had the caesarean, the compañera who did the ultrasound, and the directors of the hospital. And they start talking there, and the attending doctor starts explaining that it depends on how the image is taken for the ultrasound, and the compañera who did the work of the ultrasound says, “yes, we did in fact take it from the side.” So then the doctor says, “That’s what happened, because of the reflection it seemed like there were two, because the image wasn’t taken the way it should have been.” Then the compa, the father of the baby, starts to understand that there was a mistake, an error in the way the work was done by the Zapatista health promotora.

So that’s where we learn that we can’t say, this is fucking capitalism’s fault, because this wasn’t about capitalism; we were lacking science. That’s why a failure isn’t just about saying they don’t know, or the people from the hospital robbed us because it’s run by the bad government. We can’t say these things. We recognize that we were lacking something, that we were lacking something as Zapatistas. It’s not that we’re autonomous and that therefore we can’t fail. We failed at science.

So there are a lot of other things like that, and Viejo Antonio didn’t have the opportunity to learn them because his time has passed. But thanks to Viejo Antonio who had a form of resistance and rebellion, [our people] were able to survive at that time.

So for example, the person speaking to you, whose name is Moisés—this Moisés has changed three times. Because if the Moisés in his community was still in his community he wouldn’t be here talking with you, right? And what would this Moisés be like if he was still in his community? Who knows. Not even Moisés himself knows.

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Okay. But then that Moisés that was, is no longer. Then Moisés entered into the clandestine organization, so that Moisés changed again. He was no longer the same Moisés in clandestinity that he had been in his community. Then Moisés went out, learned, and we’re not going to repeat everything here, but he learned the science that we applied in 94. And now after 23 years, the Moisés who was in clandestinity is not the same Moisés who has been in the public light for 23 years because of what he and his compañeros and compañeras did. Right?

So the Moisés of right now, today, January 3, 2017—this Moisés now sees other things. This Moisés sees many things, not what he saw before during the 10 years of clandestinity; things have changed. But we have to study this change scientifically, with science, for the good of the people, in order to love life even more.

So what are we going to do when we realize, with science and scientifically, that something’s not right? What good is it just to say that something’s wrong and then just leave it at that?

So that’s what’s happening to our compañeros and compañeras: they run into these needs, they need this [knowledge] not for the good of a few, but for thousands, or perhaps the millions of us in this country called Mexico. And perhaps this could take wing and fly off to another world, no?

Because today, 23 years later, there are many things the compañeros are putting into practice, and they run into these needs. They need theory and they need practice. We indigenous people do things in practice. That is, it is through practice that we are convinced of something. And when that happens, then we do not tire when we hear the theory. But if it’s all blah, blah, blah, well we get sleepy. But if it’s through practice, then yes, we become focused because we’re seeing how things move and how they work. If we like what we see and think that something will solve many of our needs, then our eyes become sharper than an eagle’s.

So when we engage in practice and see that yes, something does in fact solve our needs, then we begin to ask: if I do it like this could it turn out like that? And if I do it like this what will happen? Could it be that someone could teach us even more? Could they tell us even more about how to do it? Then in that case we need theory, because we were encouraged by what we saw, because we saw that it solved our needs or problems when we saw it in practice.

There is the problem that sometimes it’s really hard for us to present the theory, but we can do it in practice. Perhaps it’s possible to see if there’s an image or something to help understand how things are in practice. Take for example this instance I’m about to tell you about, which our compañeros and compañeras have basically obligated me to keep in my head.

These men and women have their autonomous government, and they’re struggling and struggling for it to be half and half. If there are 40 members of the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council], it should be 20 women and 20 men, and if there are 20 members of the Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion, it should be 10 women and 10 men, and so on.

So they do their work according to what they’ve understood of the 7 Principles of Leading by Obeying. They make the word Democracy their own, which means that the people lead and the government obeys. Men and women discuss their own laws, they develop education in the way they think boys and girls should learn, and what the education promotores should learn, according to what their communities need.

So in what some might call primary school, and other Caracoles might call first level, but in any case the compañeros, compañeras, the fathers, the mothers, say: what we want is for our children to learn to read well, to know how to write papacito and mamacita. And they’ve seen how the young people have learned a shitload like that. It’s the same in the area of health too; there are many areas of work like that. There is the work with medicinal plants which continues, and the compas have detected various needs there, because they want to know, they say for example: when the plant is green, or the husk or the root, what substance does it contain? What about when it dries, does it preserve or lose that substance? But that’s where we realize we have our limits, because for that we need science to do a study in a laboratory, and many other things like that.

They have their community radios, and sometimes certain pieces of the machines burn out, so they want to know how to fix that. The other communities want to listen to what is being produced and transmitted, so they want to make the signal reach them, but the signal doesn’t reach. So the radio broadcasters ask, might there be a way to invent something so [the signal] is stronger, so it reaches further?

But their fathers and mothers had never dreamed of this. Moisés in clandestinity had never thought of it. Things changed, and now it turns out that these young men and women—because we’re working with the compañeros—they tell us that this thing or that thing is lacking, and so now Moisés can no longer say… because it’s easy to order people around, to say enough, shut up, go back to work, go check on your cornfield, go… no? But we understand there are needs. So that’s why I’m saying that Moisés isn’t the same as he was in clandestinity, not after 23 years with the communities, with their autonomous government.

Well, for more than a year now we’ve been talking about the capitalist hydra, the monster, along with our compañeros and compañeras in the communities. And this is truly what we’re seeing, it’s like it reared its head when we mentioned it. So the compañeros and compañeras in the communities say that the way we’ll resist is that we must have food and we must have medicine, we need these things to be able to confront this. So that’s where they begin to think seriously about how to make this happen with land that doesn’t produce anymore, no matter how much we work and work and work it, it doesn’t produce anymore. So they’ve heard people talk about boron, magnesium, sulphur, molyb…molybdenum, or something like that, or zinc, or the pH…but they only know that people say that these are things that can help the earth. But how can we know, even if I grab a piece of earth, how can I know what it needs?

So, the compañeros ask: who are the people who study this? Who are the people that say this? This need starts emerging from various places, the desire to learn, to study the earth without harming it.

So, among many other things that they do, the compañeros are identifying needs, seeking [answers]. Before all this, before these needs began to develop more, there were other compañeros who were seeing other needs emerge around how to construct autonomy. For example, a group of compañeros saw that a lot of gasoline was being wasted to generate electricity in the Caracol. So they began to wonder, why does the gasoline make the motor turn and then produce electricity, energy? They said, that just means there has to be a way to turn the motor. So why don’t we adapt, find a different way to start the motor? Like in the case of the water mill, where they grind the sugar cane. It has a water canal and wheels and containers where the water flows into, and that makes the mill turn. So we should look for a way to adapt the motor, or the generator. And they did it, but it was very slow, and they couldn’t get past that point because they didn’t know how to multiply the force… I’m not even sure how you say it. So, where are the people who know the science of how to do this? Because then we wouldn’t need petroleum to be able to make gas, or oil, but rather we could make use of nature itself for this. Well, at least for one part, because the pieces of the motor are metal and plastic and all those things.

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So the compañeros and compañeras really want to learn new things, whenever they can find someone to teach them. But…it’s not like it was before for the young men and women, like in the days of Viejo Antonio. They’re not going to just let things be if their question isn’t answered. They won’t be satisfied if they don’t get the right answer to their question, and worse so if you try to tell them otherwise.

For example, at the end of the Little School in 2013-2014, we had an Assembly to evaluate it. There it came out that one of the students had been saying how great it is that we’re indigenous, that we should never lose our indigenous identity, and therefore… but then that we’re no longer truly indigenous because we wear shoes, that we should stop wearing shoes. We have to touch [the earth] with our skin, with the soles of our feet, that’s how we’ll keep being indigenous. And in the Assembly people were saying that person who said that, we should call him in the rainy season, when there’s lots of mud and sometimes your feet sink 50 or 80 centimeters, and you don’t realize there’s glass or sharp rocks underneath. Let’s see him walk there then. Then they said, and we work in the brush, we’re going to ask him to please take his clothes off and work there naked, let’s see what he thinks then.

I’m telling you this because they don’t let buy this anymore; when these young people are able to understand that what’s being said isn’t going to resolve their needs, they simply say: let’s see, you do it first and then we’ll see.

So this all means—and it has to do with you, brothers, compañeroscompañeras, sisters—as has been said here, as you’re seeing, if you see and understand that things are really rough, well then there’s much work to be done. First, what is it that needs to be done, among you who study science, scientific matters, what needs to be done? And furthermore, the compañeros and compañeras have questions, and they need you to answer them, and answer them scientifically, right? Then there’s also the fact that they want to learn, they want practice. That’s another thing, because that’s the only way the compañeros and compañeras will feel that they are being taught, through practice as to how they might possibly resolve the issues that come up, or things that they need. The only thing is that we have to be careful that it’s not a deceitful trick, that’s what they don’t want. They want to see the results of what they’re told.

In that regard, according to what we’re hearing, although it’s not over yet, we see and feel that with this practice we’re engaging in now we’re making twice the effort. Because for example: I’ve heard you here while you’re participating as scientists—you’re speaking among yourselves, as scientists. And the idea was for you to speak to the compañeras and compañeros. So the compañeros are asking, what are they saying? Because you’re speaking from one scientist to another. And then the delegates try to speak with the participants, but you’re all listening and maybe wanting to debate what another participant is saying, and we’re missing something.

So what we see is that it would be helpful to have another gathering in which you speak to one another, scientists to scientists. You would speak to one another and we want to see how you discuss; we want to hear, in the end, how you reach agreements like in the communities. In the communities, among the peoples, they get into it and then they say, okay, we’re going to let it go because we have an agreement. That’s what they do. So we want to learn, because if not, how are we going to learn how to be scientists?

What we are doing here, which I’ve already told you about, is something of a science. This new government system that the compañeros have, it’s small, but the compañeros are putting science to work in this act, and because of it, this small act, they’ve brought us together here. That is why we’re talking here today, thanks to the science of self-government, thanks to the compañeros.

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So I don’t know how you all will see it, maybe it seems like a long time away to plan for you to come in December, in order to have this meeting where we can see how you debate among yourselves, to see what agreements arise about what to do or how to do it. Also, if you are able, either collectively or individually, we could somehow reach an agreement for you to come here, go to a Caracol, set up your workshop… the only thing is that if you need a laboratory that includes more than an axe and a machete…well, we don’t have laboratories, but if you can bring it you’re welcome to. And there will be no lack of pozolito.ii It might be sour, but there will be plenty. There will be beans, vegetables, and no lack of students with the desire to learn. Above all, to learn in practice, as I told you.

So, this is the problem we’re presenting to you, wondering how you might help the compañeros who need not just medicine and land, but many other things which you’ll see when you come, when you go to the Caracol or Caracoles. There you’ll hear a lot of, “listen, how can we do this, or that, or this other thing.” And you’ll say, “the thing is I’m not a technician, I’m not an engineer, I’m a scientist.” It’s just there are so many things the compas need right now.

So now you have some months to think about it, and then you can send us your word, your thoughts and your plans so that we can see the fruit of what we’re doing here. Then we can also reach an agreement about the next gathering in December. And we’ll see about where, or we’ll ask our compañero here, the Doc, if it can be here, or we’ll think about where else it could be. That’s what we wanted to talk about with you, compañeros, brothers and sisters. Thank you very much.

iEl Viejo Antonio is a character in the early writings of the defunct Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos who plays the role of indigenous teacher and guide for the young insurgent during the early days of clandestine organization.

iiA drink made of ground maize and water.

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February 22, 2017

EZLN: The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse

Filed under: CNI, Human rights, Indigenous, San Marcos Aviles, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:48 am

 

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EZLN: The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse

December 29, 2016.

Science fiction.

Remember that: science fiction. You’ll see that, in your coming nightmares, it will help you to not become so distressed, or at least not uselessly distressed.

Perhaps you remember some science fiction movie. Perhaps science fiction set some of you down the path of scientific science.

It didn’t do that for me, perhaps because my favorite science fiction movie is La Nave de los Monstruosi with the unforgettable Eulalio González, known as “el Piporro,” the soundtrack for which has been unjustly excluded from the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the local and renowned “Clay Pozol Bowl.”ii Perhaps you’ve heard talk of the movie: it’s a “cult” film, according to one of those specialized magazines that nobody reads, not even the people who edit it. If you remember the film and/or you see it, you’ll doubtless understand why I ended up lost in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast and not in the suffocating bureaucratic web that, at least in Mexico, chokes scientific investigation.

You’ll also cheer the fact that that movie is my point of reference for science fiction, instead of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Kubrick, or Alien by Ridley Scott (with Lieutenant Ripley breaking with Charlton Heston’s blueprint of the macho survivor in “Planet of the Apes”), or Blade Runner, also by Ridley, where the question “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” is the nodal point.

So you should thank Piporro and his “Star of Desire”iii and the robot Tor in love with a jukeboxiv for the fact that that I’m not on their side in this encounter.

Anyway, cinephile philias aside, let’s suppose an average film of the genre: an apocalypse in progress or in the past; all of humanity in danger; first an audacious and intrepid man as the protagonist; then, from the hand of innocuous feminism, a woman, also audacious and intrepid; a group of scientists is convoked to a super secret facility (invariably of course located in the United States); a high-ranking military official explains to them: they must create a plan to save humanity; they do so, but it turns out that in the end, they need an individual hero or heroine who, as the story goes, annuls the collective work and at the last second, with a pair of pliers that appeared inexplicably, cuts the green or blue or white or black or red cable at random, and ta-da, humanity is saved; the group of scientists applauds like crazy; the young man or woman finds true love; the respectable public vacates the theater while the free-loaders check the seats to see if anyone left any half-finished cartons of popcorn, with that delicious and unbeatable taste of sodium benzoate.

The catastrophe has a variety of origins: a meteorite has changed course with the same constancy as a politician making declarations about the gas hikes; or a tornado of sharks; or a planet spinning off its course; or an irritated sun sending one of those igneous tongues out of its orbit; or an illness that comes from outer space, or a spaceship; or a biological weapon that gets out of control and, converted into an odorless gas, transforms whoever has contact with it into a professional politician or maybe into something not quite so horrible.

That, or the apocalypse is already a done deal and a group of survivors wanders without hope, introjecting the exterior barbarity into their individual and collective behavior, while humanity struggles between life and death.

The end can vary but the constant is the group of scientists, be they the ones who caused the disaster or the only hope of salvation, if of course a handsome man or woman appears at the opportune moment.

The film’s conclusion could be open-ended, or it could be a downright “dark beating” (José Alfredo Jiménez had already warned us that “life isn’t worth anything”).

Sure, let’s take as an example any novel, movie or TV series with an apocalyptic or catastrophic theme. Let’s say one with a popular theme: zombies.

A concrete example: the TV series The Walking Dead. For those who aren’t familiar with the plot, it’s simple: due to some unspecified cause, people who die “turn into” zombies; the protagonist wanders, he encounters a group, they establish a hierarchical organization in continual crisis and they try to survive. The series’ success could be due to the fact that it shows characters who, in normal situations, are mediocre or pariahs, and they become heroines and heroes willing to do whatever it takes. Some of them are:

Michonne, a housewife ignored and belittled by her husband and siblings, who becomes a fearsome warrior with a katana (played by the actress and dramaturge Danai Jekesal Gurira and, not to make you jealous, she’s the only one whose real name I give because, in the trunk left by SupMarcos, I found a picture of her in the character of Michonne, dedicated by her own hand to the deceased. Arrrrroz con leche!v).

Daryl, a manipulated pariah transformed into a “tracker” and a fearsome crossbowman. Up until now the symbol of the refusal to submit, resistance and rebellion.

Glenn, a pizza delivery boy turned star explorer. The handyman and “thousand lives” of the series, until Rickman returned to the comic.

Maggie, a young woman whom the zombie apocalypse saves from the monotonous life on a farm and converts her into a leader, despite being pregnant.

Carol, an abused wife transformed into a female version of Rambo, but smart.

Carl, an adolescent who behind his eyepatch hides a serial killer, as Negan well deduced.

Eugene, a nerd who symbolized science and eventually goes from being a pathological liar to becoming useful to the group.

Father Gabriel, the self-serving, opportunistic religious leader who reconverts himself and becomes necessary.

Tara and Aaron, the lesbian woman and the gay man who ensure the political correctness of the plot.

Rosita, my preferred wet dream, the Latina who combines passion, skill and courage.

Morgan, the survivor in “shaolin monk” mode.

Sasha, the woman who changes from the classic romantic role to that of realistic survivor.

And in the upper part of the hierarchy, the battered symbol of order, Rick, an ex-sheriff’s deputy who barely hides the fascist inclinations of any police officer.

I don’t know what season you’re on. Since the fifth one I stopped watching because the law caught up with the movie guy who used to send me the “alternative” editions and now who knows where he is (which is a shame, because he had promised me up to season 10, though not even Kirkman knows if there will be 10 seasons). But with what I’ve been able to watch, I understand the reason for its success.

It’s not hard to follow the plot, anyway: it’s enough to look at the spoilers that filter through on the respective Twitter hashtags.

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A few moons ago, I asked a compañera what would have happened if Rick, or any member of the group, had known ahead of time that what was going to happen would happen. I choose the police officer as my example because it seems that he is the only one whose survival is guaranteed, at least in the comic of the same name.

Would Rick have prepared himself? Would he have constructed a bunker and stockpiled in it food, medicines, fuel, weapons and ammunition, and the complete works of George Romero?vi

Or would he perhaps have tried to stop the disaster?

The compañera, Zapatista to the end, answered me with the same question: what did I think Rick Grimes would have done?

I didn’t hesitate to answer her: nothing. Even knowing what was going to happen, neither Rick nor any of the characters would have done anything.

And there’s a simple reason for that: despite all the evidence, they would have kept thinking, up until the very last minute, that nothing bad was going to happen, that it wasn’t such a big deal, that someone somewhere would have the solution, that order would be re-established, that there would be someone to obey and someone to boss around, that, in any case, the tragedy would happen to other people, somewhere else, geographically distant or distant in terms of their social position.

They would think up until the night before that the tragedy was something destined not for them [ellas, ellos, elloas], but for those who survive below… and to the left.

Zombies aside, in the majority of those apocalyptic narratives, there are one or more moments in which someone, invariably the protagonist, when everyone is surrounded by a horde of zombies or the meteorite is a short distance from their heads, or in a similar situation, says, with all the serenity and aplomb, “Everything is going to be all right”.

And it turns out that for this meeting I got stuck with the role of party pooper. So I should tell you what we see: No, it’s not a science fiction movie, but rather reality; and no, everything is not going to be all right, only a few things will be all right if we prepare ourselves ahead of time.

According to our analysis (and until now, we haven’t seen anyone or anything that refutes it; on the contrary, they confirm it), we are already in the middle of a structural crisis that, in colloquial terms, means the reign of criminal violence, natural disasters, runaway shortages and unemployment, scarcity of basic services, collapse of energy infrastructure, migration, hunger, sickness, destruction, death, desperation, anguish, terror, helplessness.

In sum: dehumanization.

The crime is in progress. The biggest, most brutal and cruel crime in the brief history of humanity.

And the criminal is a system willing to go to any lengths: capitalism.

In apocalyptic terms: it’s a fight between humanity and the system, between life and death.

The second option, death—I wouldn’t recommend it.

Actually, don’t die. It’s not in your best interest. Believe me, I know something about that because I’ve died several times.

It’s very boring. Since the entrances to heaven and hell suffer from an annoying bureaucracy (though it’s not as bad as those in the universities and research centers), the wait is worse than an airport or a bus station during holiday season.

Hell’s the same, you have to organize gatherings of the arts, exact and natural sciences, social sciences, originary peoples, and other equally terrible things. They force you to bathe and comb your hair. They inject you and make you to eat squash soup all the time. You have to listen to Peña Nieto and Donald Trump in a never-ending press conference.

Heaven, for its part, is the same, just that there you have to put up with a monotonous chorus of palid angels, and they all give you the runaround if you want to talk to God to complain about the music.

In sum: say no to death and yes to life.

But don’t fool yourselves.

You’re going to have to fight every day, at all hours and everywhere.

In that fight, sooner or later, you’ll realize that only collectively will you have any possibility of triumph.

And even so, you’ll see that you also need the arts and that you need us, too, and others [otros, otras, otroas] like us.

Organize yourselves.

As Zapatistas we are, we’re not only not asking you to abandon your scientific practice, we’re demanding that you continue it and deepen it.

Continue exploring this and other worlds, don’t stop, don’t despair, don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in.

But we’re also asking you to seek out the arts. Even though the contrary might seem to be true, they will “anchor” your scientific task in what you have in common: humanity.

Enjoy dance in any of its forms. Perhaps at the beginning you won’t be able to avoid framing the movements in the laws of physics, but afterwards you’ll feel it, boom.

Go beyond geometry, color theory and neurology and enjoy painting and sculpture.

Resist the temptation to find the scientific logic to that poem, that novel, and let the words discover galaxies for you that only inhabit the arts.

Surrender when faced with the lack of scientific basis to the stories that in theater and film peer into that which is humanly imperfect, unstable, and unpredictable.

And so on with all the arts.

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Now imagine that it’s not your own daily life but rather the arts which are in danger of extinction.

Imagine people, not statistics: men, women, children, elders, with a face, a history, a culture, threatened with annihilation.

See yourselves in those mirrors.

Understand that it’s not about fighting for them or in their place, but rather with them.

See yourselves as we Zapatistas see you.

Science is not your limit, your dead weight, your useless burden, the activity you should carry out in clandestinity or hiding in the closet of the academies and institutes.

Understand what we have already understood: that, as scientists, you all fight for humanity, that is to say, for life.

-*-

Yesterday Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés was explaining to us that the communities are, and have been for decades, our teachers and tutors. That the interest in science is new in Zapatismo. That it’s been incited by the new generations, by the Zapatista youth who want to know more and better how the world works. That out of the organized communities came this newest push that has us here in front of you.

It’s true. But what’s not new in Zapatismo is the struggle for life.

Even in our willingness and plans when faced with death, we were concerned with life from the start.

Those who are older, or who are interested despite not being older, may know about the uprising: the taking of 7 municipal capitals, the bombardments, the clashes with the military forces, the desperation of the government upon seeing that they couldn’t defeat us, the civil uprising that forced them to stop, what’s followed in these almost 23 years.

What you might not know is what I’m going to tell you next:

We prepared ourselves to kill and to die—Subcomandante Insurgente Moises already summarized that for you. So then we had two options in front of us: the country as a whole would be ignited, or we would be annihilated. Imagine our bewilderment when neither the one nor the other took place. But that’s another story for which perhaps there will be another occasion.

Two options, but both had the common denominator of death and destruction. Even though you might not believe it, the first thing we did was prepare ourselves to live.

And I don’t mean those of us who fought in combat, those of us for whom knowledge of the resistance of different materials was useful for taking cover and finding shelter in combat and during bombardments; nor the knowledge that allowed the insurgent health workers to save the lives of dozens of Zapatistas.

I’m talking about the Zapatista bases of support, those to whom, as Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés explained last night, we owe the path, the pace, the direction and the destination as Zapatistas we are, just as we owe to them the interest in the arts, the sciences, and the effort to include us with the workers of the countryside and the cities, the world headquarters of struggle, resistance, and rebellion that’s called “the Sixth.”

Starting a few years prior to that apparently now distant January 1, in the Zapatista communities the so-called “reserve battalions” were formed.

The mission that was given to them was the most important one in the gigantic operation that carried thousands into combat: to survive.

For months they were given instruction. Thousands of boys, girls, women, men and elders trained to protect themselves from bullets and bombs; to gather and retreat in orderly fashion in case the army attacked or bombarded the towns; to place and locate deposits of food, water and medicine that would allow them to survive in the mountains for a long time.

“Do not die” was the only order that they were to follow.

The order that those of us who went to combat had was: “Don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in.”

When we came back to the mountains and we met back up with our communities, we fused the two orders and made them into one alone: “Struggle to build our freedom.”

And we agreed to do so with everyone [todas, todos, todoas].

And we agreed that, if it wasn’t possible to do so in this world, then we would make another world, a bigger one, a better one, one where all the possible worlds fit, the ones that already exist and the ones we still haven’t imagined but that can already be found in the arts and sciences.

Thank you very much.

From CIDECI-Unitierra.

SupGaleano.

Mexico, December 2016.

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog.

“What’s Lacking”

I was in my hut, reviewing and analyzing some videos of plays by Maradona and Messi.

Like a premonition, a ball bounced inside. “Defensa Zapatista” arrived behind it, entering without giving notice or asking permission. Behind the girl came the notorious Cat-Dog.

Defensa Zapatista” grabbed the ball and approached to look over my shoulder. I was busy trying to keep the Cat-Dog from eating the computer mouse so I didn’t notice that the girl was watching the videos with great interest.

“Hey Sup”, she said to me, “do you think Maradona and Messi are all that?”

I didn’t answer. From experience I know that Defensa Zapatista’s questions are either rhetorical or she’s not interested in hearing my answer.

She continued:

“But you’re not seeing the issue,” she said, “for as much as they might have of art and science, they both have a serious lack.”

Yes, that’s how she said it: “lack.” There I did interrupt her and I asked, “And just where did you get that word or where did you learn it?”

She responded, indignant: “That very bad Pedrito said it to me. He told me that I couldn’t play football because girls lack technique.”

“I got mad and I gave him a slap upside the head, because I didn’t know what that word meant and what if it’s a bad word. Of course, the very bad Pedrito ran to the education promotora to make a complaint about me and they called me in. I explained to the teacher the national and international situation, as they say, that the situation with the Hydra is really messed up and everything. And since the promotora understood that we have to support each other as the women we are, they didn’t reprimand me, but they sent me to look up what “lack” means. And well, I thought it was a better punishment than if they had sent me to eat squash soup.”

I nodded understandingly as I tried to get the mouse out of the Cat-Dog’s mouth.

“Well anyway, I went to look up what “lack” means on the internet in the office of the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council] and I found that it’s a song by the musicians of the struggle, that it’s really happy and that everyone starts dancing and jumping around as if they gotten into an anthill of leafcutter ants. So I went to the education promotoraand I told her that “lack” is a song that goes: “I wake up in the morning and I don’t feel like going to school.” She laughed and told me, “it’s ‘going to work.’” So then I told her that songs are up to each person’s taste and the problems they have. Which is to say I gave her the political explanation, but I don’t think she understood, because she just laughed. And then she sent me back to find out not about the song, but rather to look up what the word means. So I headed back and when I get there I had to wait for the guy who was on duty at the Junta to send out a denunciation. After that I was able to go in and there I saw that “lack” means you’re missing something. So I headed back to the education promotora and told her, and she said that there, now I’d seen that it wasn’t a bad word and she congratulated me. But since Pedrito was there eavesdropping I gave him another slap upside the head for going around saying that I lack technique. And then the promotora said she was going to tell my moms that I was doing that kind of thing, so I came to hide here because I know that nobody comes to see you.”

I took the jab heroically, as I was finally able to snatch the mouse back from the Cat-Dog.

Defensa Zapatista” continued her long-winded speech:

“But don’t worry Sup, before coming in, first I peeked in to make sure you weren’t looking at pictures of naked ladies that, errrr, just to get it over with, Sup, it’s really unbelievable, and anyway I’m not going to make a complaint against you with the collective “The Women We Are,” but I’ll tell you plainly that it’s no good what you’re doing, because it just means you have a lack of moms, that is, like SupMoy says when he gets angry, no tienes madre” [you have no mother].

I’d like to clarify here that it’s not true what “Zapatista Defense” says, what happened is that I was taking a correspondence course on anatomy.

Anyway, before the girl could continue airing my secrets, I asked her why she said that Maradona and Messi were seriously lacking in something.

She was almost in the threshold of the door when she answered:

“Because they’re missing the most important thing: being women.”

-*-

“An Interstellar Trip”

Among the pile of papers and drawings that the late SupMarcos left, I found what I’m going to read to you below. It’s a sort of draft or notes for a script, or something like that, supposedly for a science fiction film. It’s called:

Toward What Does the Gaze Look?

Planet Earth. Some year in the distant future, let’s say 2024. Among the new tourist destinations, now it’s possible to travel to space and go around the world in a satellite adapted “ad hoc” for that purpose. The spaceship is a scale replica of the lunar satellite, with a big window that looks out, during the whole trip, onto Earth. On the other side, let’s say the back, there’s a sort of skylight, about the size of a house window, that always looks out onto the rest of the galaxy. The tourists, of all colors and nationalities, crowd up against the window that looks onto the planet of origin. They take selfies and live-stream the images of the world, “blue like an orange,” to their friends and family. But not all the travelers are on that side. At least four people are in front of the opposite window. They’re forgotten about their respective cameras and they look out in ecstasy at the jumbled collage of celestial bodies: the snaking line of dusty light that is the Milky Way, the twinkling glimmer of stars that might not exist anymore, the frenetic dance of asteroids and planets.

One of the people is an artist; they’re not immobile, in their brain they imagine rhythms, lines and colors, movements, sequences, words, inert or mobile representations; their hands and fingers move involuntarily, their lips mumble incomprehensible words and sounds, their eyes open and close continuously. The arts see what they see and they see what could come to be seen.

Another one of the people is a scientist; their body doesn’t move at all, they look fixedly not at the closest lights and colors but rather at the most distant ones; in their brain they imagine unthought galaxies, inert and living worlds, stars being born, insatiable black holes, interplanetary vessels without flags. The sciences see what they see and they see what could come to be seen.

The third person is indigenous, of short stature, with dark skin and ancestral features. They look at and touch the window. Their mind and body press upon the solid, transparent material. In their brain they imagine the path and the pace, the speed and the rhythm; they imagine a destination that’s constantly changing. The originary peoples see what they see and they see the life that could be created in order to be seen.

The fourth person is Zapatista, of changing color and features. They look through and delicately touch the glass with their hand. They take our their notebook and start writing frenetically. In their brain they begin to make calculations, lists of tasks, jobs to start, they trace maps, they dream. Zapatismo sees what it sees and sees the world that it will be necessary to build so that the arts, sciences, and originary peoples can realize and fulfill what they see with their gaze.

At the end of the trip, while the other travelers acquire their last souvenirs in the “duty free” shops, the artist runs to their studio, or whatever it is, so that others [otros, otras, otroas] can see and feel what they see; the scientist immediately convokes other scientists because there are theories and formulas that need to be proposed, demonstrated, and applied; the indigenous person gets together with their fellow peoples and tells them what they saw in order that, collectively, the gaze can define the path, the pace, the company, the rhythm, the speed and the destination.

The Zapatista person goes to their community and in the community assembly explains and details everything that must be done so that the artist, the scientist, and the indigenous person can travel. The first thing the assembly does is critique the story or the tale or the script or whatever it’s called, because it’s missing the workers of the city and the countryside. It is proposed then that a commission write a letter to the deceased SupMarcos so that he puts the fifth element in the story, that is, the Cat Dog, because it already ate the internet cable and two flash drives belonging to the Tercios Compas, and it spends all its time chasing around the computer mouse, so better that they take it with them; and so that he also adds, as the sixth element, the Sixth, because without the Sixth the story isn’t complete. Having approved this, the assembly proposes, discusses, adds and subtracts, plans the timetables, distributes the tasks, votes to determine general agreement and names the commissions for each task.

Before the assembly is adjourned and everyone goes to start the tasks assigned to them, a little girl asks to have the floor.Without coming up to the front, standing almost at the back of the communal house, the girl strains to raise her voice and says: “I propose that on the list of things to take, that they include a soccer ball and a whole lot of pozol.” The rest of the assembly laughs uproariously. SubMoy, who’s sitting on the panel that’s coordinating the meeting, calls for order. Having achieved silence, SubMoy asks the girl what her name is. The girl responds, “My name is Defensa Zapatista,” and she puts on her best “you’ll never get past me, not even if you’re aliens” face. SubMoy then asks Defensa Zapatista why she is proposing this.

The girl climbs up on a wooden bench and argues: “The ball is because if they aren’t going to be able to play, then it’s pointless to go there where they want go. And the whole lot of pozol is to give them strength so they don’t faint along the journey. And also so that way out there, far away, where the other worlds are, they don’t forget where they came from”.

The little girl’s proposal is approved by popular acclaim. SubMoy is about to adjourn the meeting when “Defensa Zapatista” raises her little hand asking again for the floor. It is conceded to her. As the girl speaks, in one arm she holds a soccer ball and in the other hugs a small animal to her. It seems to be a dog… or a cat, or a cat-dog: “I just want to say that we haven’t filled out the team yet, but don’t worry, soon there are going to be more of us, sometimes it takes a while, but soon there are going to be more.”

I testify.

Woof-meow.

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i “La Nave de los Monstruos” (1960) or “The Ship of the Monsters,” a Mexican science fiction comedy film.

iiPozol de Barro,” prize to be awarded by the EZLN to the winning team in a 2005 soccer (football) competition between the Zapatista team and the FC Internationale de Milán.

iii Musical number by Piporro that appears in “La Nave de los Monstruos.”

iv Tor the robot and his jukebox lover are characters in the film.

v Literally “rice with milk,” a sweet rice dessert, but in this context an exclamation after a suggestive comment or as a general exclamation of excitement, as in “Yeehaw” or “Woohoo”

vi Director of cult classics Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead among many other horror films.

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January 24, 2017

The Arts and the Sciences in the history of (neo) Zapatismo

Filed under: CNI, gal, Indigenous, Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:38 pm

 

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The Arts and the Sciences in the history of (neo) Zapatismo

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

 

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December 28, 2016.

Last night I spoke to you about the interplanetary upheaval that had given rise to the question “Why is this flower this colour? Why does it have this shape? Why does it have this scent?”

Ok, maybe I was exaggerating with the claim of “interplanetary.” I should have said the upheaval created by the question that young Rosita had put to Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés in the micro-cosmos Zapatismo had provoked.

Although I believe it is obvious, it doesn’t hurt to mention that the response that SubMoy gave to the young Zapatista woman was the same one that, I’m not sure, but probably, I’m imagining, has fuelled the advance of science since its very beginning: “I don’t know.”

Now I think that, certainly, the young woman knew what his response would be, but she also hoped that SubMoy would understand that, within the flower, there was a larger question.

We know now, because we are here in this meeting, that SubMoy knew that the response, “I don’t know” was not only insufficient, but also useless if it did not lead to other questions.

In a few minutes he is going to talk to you about what, as it were, is the context of the question…and about his response.

I am meant to speak to you briefly about the prehistory of this question and this response.

The arts and sciences prior to the uprising, within the eezeelen, had a very small universe and a brief history. Both the sciences and the arts had a purpose, a direction, and an imposed reason: war.

First in the guerrilla encampments, then in the barracks, and later in the communities, the arts were limited to music, poetry, and a little bit of drawing and painting, all with exclusively revolutionary messages. Of course, it was not unusual that soon songs of love and broken hearts, corridos, rancheras and even the occasional Juan Gabriel ballad would appear, but that was only clandestinely within our clandestinity.

Film or cinematography had its exclusive location, its VIP room, in our imagination. One of the insurgents narrated the same film to us over and over again, but he would find a way to change it a little bit each time he told it, or to combine it with the plots of other films. That was how we saw both the original and various “remakes” of “Enter the Dragon,” with Bruce Lee playing the only role, because the compa would spend hours explaining his movements and punches to us. This went on until, with a small electric source and a heavy and cumbersome 16mm projector, we saw a Vietnamese film that I think was called “Point of Contact” or something like that and which, of course, was only in its original language, and so we used our imaginations to add dialogue in Spanish, turning it into a different film than the original. I’m not sure, but I think you call this “artistic intervention.”

I call attention to this because I think that it was the first time that the sciences and the arts came together in a Zapatista encampment. And by the sciences, I’m not referring to the portable generator and the projector, but to the popcorn, which someone had kindly included when they sent the machine and the film.

Of course, we chowed down on the popcorn with the shout of “eat today or die tomorrow.” And the next day we nearly made the slogan come true: beginning in the wee hours of the morning, with collective diarrhoea, the entire insurgent battalion abandoned the spot as if a herd of wild boars had taken it over. We consoled ourselves afterward, imaging that it had been a case of bacteriological war. Moral of the story: be careful with your slogans.

Contact with the communities broadened this limited horizon: in the celebrations, the compas would set aside time for “the cultural program,” as they called it and “for the party.” And, in a program that got shorter over the years, they recited poetry, read thoughts aloud, and sang songs, all about struggle. Gradually, the duration of “the party” got longer and better. At that time they danced and sang whatever was in fashion at the time. Eventually what we call “pop music,” started to be displaced by music that was produced locally. First, they changed the words of the songs; later they wrote the music as well.

The dances changed: from dancing in two lines facing one another, to dancing in couples. Originally, in the dances in the communities, they used to dance in two lines: one was made up of women, and, in front of them there was another line made up of men. This had its own logic: with a clear line of women, the mothers could control their daughters, and they could see whether they escaped or if they had remained in the continuous repetition of “the Red Ribbon.” Later, little by little and after some very heated assemblies, they were allowed to dance in couples, although to the same rhythm. But the existence of the line was deep, and it was not uncommon to see a couple dancing, but with her looking to one side and him looking to the other side. Theatre, or what we called “sign,” happened very sporadically. The drawings and paintings of the periodic murals of the mountains moved to the communities, but the themes remained the same.

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If it seems like artistic activity was rather sparse, science was practically non-existent (because the book by Isaac Asimov, which the deceased carried in his backpack, doesn’t count as science). For contact with nature, we used the knowledges of the communities, which is to say, we limited ourselves to knowing facts, without knowing the explanation, or we explained those facts according to the stories and legends that circulated in the communities. For example, regarding the rainy season and the times for planting, there was empirical data that indicated whether it was going to rain or not, and this functioned statistically. In the encampments in the mountains, for example, when the mosquitos grew in number and aggressiveness, it meant that it was going to rain. Of course, we also had barometers and altimeters, but the mosquitos were more accurate. If someone had asked us at that time what the relationship was between the mosquitos and the rain, we would have responded, “I don’t know,” but we wouldn’t have gone any further, and what we did know was that it meant that it was time put up the plastic roofs or hurry to arrive at a community or at the encampment, but not time to do scientific research.

The most scientific thing that we did was calculate the force and trajectory of bullets and the resistance of different materials to those bullets (because we had to know how to protect ourselves from the gunshots of the enemy), align the scopes on the guns, fabricate explosives, and we did “terrestrial navigation” with the use of maps, altimeters and inclinometers, for which it was necessary to study the basics of trigonometry, algebra, and calculus. We wanted to learn how to use a sextant in order to orient ourselves at night, but we didn’t really get to learn how to use it. It was no longer necessary because the compas from the communities knew the land so well that we didn’t need any kind of machine to help us to get around. And they could already “predict” natural phenomena based on other phenomena, or on usos y costumbres.

The world was inhabited then by magical people, with the Sombrerón and Xpaquinté walking along the royal roads, trails, and misplaced paths, and sitting with us in the insurgent encampments in the mountains of southeast Mexico.

In medicine we applied two fundamental methods. Since we didn’t know about the existence of curing with quartz, biomagnetism, or other things of equal scientific rigour, we resorted to the power of suggestion or autosuggestion. Given that it was more than a few times that we didn’t have medicine, if we had a fever, we would repeat over and over: “I don’t have a fever, it’s all in my head.” This might make you laugh, but the deceased SupMarcos told us that he overcame various cases of salmonella with this method. “And did it work?” we would ask him. He responded with his customary modesty, “Well look at me, I’m alive and more beautiful than ever.” Ok, this was before we made him die.

When we did have medicine, we used the scientific method of “trial and error.” Which is to say that if someone became ill, we gave them one medicine, and if that didn’t work, we tried another, and we went on like that until we got it right or until the illness, surely tiring of our methodology, yielded.

Another scientific method for curing illness was called “the shotgun.” If someone had symptoms of an infection, we gave them a wide spectrum antibiotic. This almost always worked and, of course, chemically purified the patient, with just the bare minimum to survive until the next infection.

Years later, as the deceased would tell it, the medical treatments given were based in a simple statistic: in the mountains, x or y symptoms would be treated with x medicines in x% of cases; if in a given troop of x numbers of combatants, a certain number take ill with certain symptoms, there was x% of probability that they have the same illness.

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An anecdote from the mountains, also told by the deceased SupMarcos years ago, might serve to contrast with what we are showing you now: the deceased told us that in an exploratory trip into the depths of the Lacandon Jungle, a section of the insurgent infantry was far from the base encampment and found itself obliged to stay overnight with no blankets other than the treetops and the plant leaves; they made a fire to see if they could roast a water moccasin, which was the only thing that they had been able to hunt. At that time, SupMarcos wasn’t “sup” but Lieutenant Infantry Sergeant and he was in charge of this military unit.

As was customary at the time, when the night finally fell from the trees and sat among the insurgents, with the shadows descending to also sit alongside the fire, every kind of history, stories and legends which, among other things, fulfilled their role of mitigating hunger and drying clothes of the sweat and the rain that had drenched them. The then-Lieutenant Infantry Sergeant sat apart from the group and limited himself to listening to what the troops were discussing.

One of the new recruits had rubbed up against, as happens when one walks forgotten paths, the leaves of a plant called La’aj or Ortiga, which had caused hives in one of his hands and it had swelled up. Between hurting and itching, the recruit asked another combatant why this plant, which did so much damage, even existed. The veteran, feeling obliged to educate the new recruit, responded: “Look compa, of course I must inform you that only God and the leaf know why.”

Maybe this story is the reason why the deceased SupMarcos, when he was the Zapatista spokesperson, told and retold legends, stories, and anecdotes that referred more to the explanations of reality that linked to ancestral culture, like, for example, the stories of Old Antonio.

If at that time the deceased was a window to look through onto Zapatismo, and now it is Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés who does this, it is not only that the window has changed, but also what is seen and heard through this window has changed. Zapatismo today in the communities is quantitatively and qualitatively different, not just from what it was 30 years ago, but even from 10 or 12 years ago, which is the period in which the little girl who calls herself “Defensa Zapatista” was born.

With this I want to tell you that if the children that 25-30 years ago were born during the preparation for the uprising and those that were born 15-20 years ago were born in resistance and rebellion; those born in the last 10-15 years were born in a process of consolidated autonomy, with new characteristics, among which is the need for Science. Now Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, to whom I am ceding the word, will talk to you…

 

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

 

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Good evening brothers and sisters, compañeros, compañeras.

The science that we Zapatistas are discussing here, the kind of science that we want is science for life. I don’t need to further explain what Sub Galeano was saying, about the fact that, yes, we also studied science when we were in the mountains, during the period of preparation. And when we finally applied this science, that is when we went to war, killing and dying, our compañeros and compañeras from the communities, the bases of support, told us that there was another way to make war without losing sight of the principles that we wanted. And so from that moment on something good happened. We men and women combatants recognized that something important exists within our compañeros and compañeras, within the communities. So we started to learn, to understand and to know that to be an army, any kind of army, whether an army of the rich or of the poor who struggle, is to be exclusive, because not all men, women, and children can fight in the army. And our compañeros and compañeras proposed that we fight together in order to achieve what we wanted. And they told us that in order to fight together, the weapon of struggle is resistance and rebellion.

And so then that meant that if we didn’t want the bad government, the bad system, we had to reject all of the forms through which they deceived us, and so we, the combatants, the insurgents, we learned how this was done. We learned how to do this. And so we men and women began to understand how to fight together, how the communities themselves lived and still live today in common, in collective. In the face of that the system, now the bad government, tries to divide the communities, but it hasn’t been able to do so. The communities themselves understood, for example, that even though in some communities there are various political parties, or various religions, they are still a community. And so this community has a piece of their land invaded by another community, this invaded community immediately comes together, which is to say they forget that they are divided in various political parties or religions. And that is how it works where they cannot erase what it means to be in common, to be in community.

And so then we started to understand what they were saying, what our compañero and compañera bases of support were saying to us, which was that we had to fight together. And so it ended up being much much better than what we had imagined because when we did that it meant that not only the combatants fought, everyone did. And so we, the combatants began to work together with the communities and what happened was that in this struggle, in this organization, we began creating the very forms that we were seeking. That is to say that the compañeras and compañeros, began at that time to put into practice that which they were seeking.

And so, with their autonomy, with the autonomous government of our compañeros and compañeras, something began that we had not yet known about during our time of clandestinity, during our preparation. So then we started to understand this, which was a new way of thinking about change, and this is what we have done during these 23 years that we are self-governing with our communities. The truth is that since that time we don’t have as many deaths, or bullets, or as many people injured, tortured, or disappeared as we did at first, in 1994. With these 23 years, what our compañeros and compañeras have shown us is another way to make war on the system, where you don’t die and you don’t kill. But to do this, you need organization, you need agreement, you need work, you need to struggle, and you need practice.

Now we see that with this resistance and rebellion as our weapons of struggle, the system has been unable to do anything against our compañeros and compañeras. The system has not been successful at anything that it has tried to do to us. Why? Because the compañeras and the compañeros already live in what they have for 23 years been constructing. As Sub Galeano put it, we ourselves were surprised, because we had never even dreamt this, but if we didn’t see it, it is because it is the compañeros and the compañeras that have managed to do it, through their thinking, by figuring out what they need and thinking about what to do about it. They have managed to do something to make things better and to take steps for the good of our peoples.

And so now these same compañeras and compañeros can confirm this themselves. And of course their mothers and fathers support them, because they had not seen this before. For example there are compañeras who work as, I’m not sure what you call it, the ones who help the doctors by passing them the tools that they need, like mechanics assistants who are like, here are your clamps, here is your hammer, here is your marro, as they call it. Well the compañeras are now working as assistants to doctors in order to pass them the tools that they need while they are doing medical surgeries. They know how to use the ultrasound machines, and because the doctors have taught them how, then can even make diagnoses with these machines. They know how to read the images or the photos that come from the ultrasound machine, and it is the same thing with many other medical devices, which the compañeras and compañeros already know how to use – devices used by dentists, devices for pap smears, and many other things related to the area of health and medical labs.

We never imagined that this would be possible, and now we think back and say, would we have been able to build this with 23 years of bullets? And our response is that with 23 years of bullets we would not be here speaking to you now, brothers, sisters, compañeros, compañeras, scientists. If we had had 23 years of bullets, we would not have even known you. But thanks to their way of seeing, that of our compañeros and compañeras, we are here speaking with you. That is how significant the advances of our compañeros and compañeras were. Of course, we had to separate ourselves from the mode of exploitation, from capitalism, or from the bad government in order to create this freedom that they imagined, that we have achieved, and in order to begin to build our way of understanding it.

And that is how now they have their education, their Agroecology, their community radio, their own exchange of experiences. Our compañeras and compañeros have their own “sharing,” because what they want is life. Just like in the example that Sub Galeano gave from the stories shared by the compañeros of how to stop a baby’s death, as explained in one of the questions posed to the scientists about a baby’s placenta –they boil the placenta in water until they manage to stabilize the life of the baby. But this knowledge comes from struggle, because there is no study that shows whether this is the best way to save the baby.

And so there are many generations that have moved this learning forward. This is what Sub Galeano was saying when he was talking about how the flower is to blame, which is that Zapatista Autonomous Education has advanced to such an extent that the young women and men see that they have already learned so much. And so what happened is that the son of one of the compas, one of the Tercios Compas, started to ask questions. He told his father that he had already finished his primary school, his first level as the compañeros in the communities call it. He said to his father, “dad I already finished my school, but I’m going to continue because I want to learn more.” And so the Tercio Compa who is his father responded, son, let me see how you can, because the second level, or secondary school as they call it, is still being planned, because we want to make sure that in the education that we want we don’t learn things that aren’t useful or that we don’t need, and we are still in the process of thinking about what we should learn and what it will be useful for. And so the young man, who was only 13 or 14 years old said: “Dad, don’t think about sending me there to Cideci, because in Cideci all you learn is how to make clothes, make shoes, and other things. It is better for us to do it here in the Caracol, it’s just that we haven’t decided to do that yet.” And so the young man continued, “what I want to learn is what substance is in the estafiate and what it can cure.” And so the compa, he’s over there with his son, wanted me to tell him when and where he could learn this, and so I told him, well, let me see, I don’t know.

And so I was really surprised, which is a good thing. And even I thought, is it even possible to learn this? And so I was talking to Sub Galeano and he said, well, this has to do with the scientists, with science, with those who study science and are scientists. And so what we are seeing is that the generations now and those that are growing up are already seeing the need to know new things. And the good thing is that they are thinking, because the young man that I was telling you about is in the communities that have the “sharing” as we call it, where they talk about the three areas, or where the compañeros and compañeras go to exchange their experiences about medicinal plants, midwifery, and bonesetting, and that is where this young man heard about this estafiate and other plants that they say cure certain things and not others, right? But what they don’t know there is exactly what it is, what substances the plants have that do the curing.

And so the very practices that they have, their very knowledges that the compañeras and the compañeros in the communities have open the way to other experiences, but they simultaneously open up other needs, the desire to learn more, and so on. And so I think that in listening to what is being put forth here among us, maybe then you will come here to put it into practice with the communities, in collective, it would make the compañeros and compañeras really happy to take advantage of this knowledge because with the little bit that they know, they are doing, well…as I told you, that is what they are doing, what the compañeros and compañeras are building others can see, the brothers and sisters who aren’t Zapatistas. That is, for example, in the hospitals that the compañeros have, in the autonomous hospitals, there are more partidista brothers and sisters who are operated on than there are Zapatistas. And so that is where non-Zapatista people, partidistas as we call them, see that what the Zapatistas are doing is better. They even say that what the Zapatistas are doing is much better. But it isn’t just that the compañeras and compañeros help them to have somewhat better health, but they also help to orient them, or to do politics, to explain to them why they are being deceived, or why they are manipulated, or why they are dominated.

And so if there had been a little bit more support from science, then there would have been more advances among the compañeros and compañeras. So we wanted to tell you that maybe we really should start this, here and now with our compañeros and compañeras in the communities. We could see if they could have classes, workshops, practical things, because the compañeros see that this stuff is so interesting and necessary in order to confront the capitalist hydra. They see that we have to improve health, and we have to improve nutrition, but for this we need to learn, we need science.

The compañeros and compañeras do it, but as we have already said many times, it is through usos y costumbres, or that is to say that they have the proof that if you plant corn you will see that it grows. The same goes for the squash, or the sweet potatoes. You see how they will grow, because there is no scientific study about what is going to grow on this land, or about which plant will grow right here in this location. And living like this has caused a lot of suffering, but if you saw that there is a science, a laboratory for example, then it would be different, it wouldn’t be a question of trying stuff out because there would be a scientific study that could tell us that Mother Earth is missing this or that, or that this thing is what will grow well here, and so on.

And so you see, that is how the compañeras and compañeros do their studies as well, and where what we are here for can be born. The truth is that this thing about the estafiate that the young man was saying that he wanted to know about what the substance was, we also saw there that the other Zapatista Autonomous Schools had other needs so that they could provide what the young people want to learn.

 

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And so, brothers, sisters, compañeros, compañeras, together with the compañeros and compañeros we invite you to join us in making a collective, because we Zapatistas move in collective, and we can later show the people of Mexico that the people themselves can create a way of life. We can show them that we don’t need anyone who manipulates us and our wealth, or who expropriates what belongs to the people. Rather, we as peoples need to come together – the originary peoples with the science of the scientists and the science of the artists. We can show them that together we can imagine or construct, or practice and demonstrate for ourselves what we can do as compañero and compañera bases of support. We can show them that with more and more of your own strength, your own resistance, and your own thinking to see and create, imagine, that even though you may not know how to read and write, and even though you may not speak Spanish very well, but in your deeds you have, as we say here, placed the system, the bad government of Mexico, aside. We are practicing what we think and what we believe, but we feel alone because not only are we indigenous people of Mexico exploited, but the brothers and sisters in the countryside and the city are as well. But for this we need the Sciences, we need a way to build the new world.

We feel the need for this. It is just as the young man was saying, that being a young man he is thinking about what he wants to know, and he wants to know why the substance in the estafiate is so important, because it is much discussed in collective, in the “sharing” that the compañeras and compañeros have. And so this is what we want to propose to you – that perhaps we should unite in order to create another way of seeing, another way of thinking and imagining how we can create change that is more than simply a change in name or in colour.

That is what we wanted to share compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés       Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/28/las-artes-y-las-ciencias-en-la-historia-del-neo-zapatismo/

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January 7, 2017

Chile: Jailed Mapuche Leader Faces Death as Health Worsens

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Marcos, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:28 pm

 


Chile: Jailed Mapuche Leader Faces Death as Health Worsens

 

mapuche_francisca_linconao-jpg_1718483346Indigenous leader Francisca Linconao was detained in 2013 and remains a suspect under an anti-terror law. | Photo: Mapuexpress

 

The hunger-striking Indigenous leader is under a great risk of vital functions failure, according to a new medical report.

A new medical report warns that jailed Chilean Indigenous Mapuche leader Francisca Linconao is at risk of dying as her hunger strike to demand her freedom continues to weaken her already-fragile health.

“The severe deterioration of her health condition can become irreversible and even cost her life,” says the report completed on Dec. 31, 2016, by a certified medical and psychological team. “Among the risks to which the patient is exposed with the hunger strike are permanent consequences in various vital functions, such as neurological, liver, cardiac and renal functions.”

According to the doctors, the detained leader not only suffers physical deterioration, but spiritual loss of strength as she is deprived of freedom “which prevents her from accessing what she considers her main source of energy, the one that comes from nature, its sacred ceremonies and its mission to offer health.”

The 60-year-old activist has been on hunger strike since Dec. 23 and only consumes liquids. She was detained in 2013 and accused of arson in an incident that led to the deaths of two powerful landlords and still awaits trial.

According to an interview by the medical team, the Machi or Mapuche leader said she is willing to continue the strike until she can’t go any further.

“I want to live, but I am willing to risk my life,” said Linconao. “I am very depressed because I can’t fulfil my spiritual mission, which is to heal others, to give health and well-being to those who need it.”

Linconao has no access to media and claims that she has been threatened and humiliated by prison officials, according to a statement given inside the Mapuche Medical Centre, where she is guarded by six armed policemen.

“When I started the hunger strike, after the third day, they gave me a document from the warden of the women’s prison in Temuco, who said they would sanction me for seven or 30 days after I finish my hunger strike,” said Linconao.

According to the doctors, if Linconao dies during the hunger strike, it would worsen conflicts with Indigenous groups in the country and “would mark a serious precedent in terms of human rights at national and international levels.”

Finally, the medical team recommended alternative measures of imprisonment, such as house arrest, based on the agreement signed by the Chilean state in 2008, which gives this preference to members of Indigenous groups.

According to the report, the Chilean justice system has approved this type of prevention for Linconao, but the ruling has not been fulfilled due to the country’s anti-terror laws.

 

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Chile-Jailed-Mapuche-Leader-Faces-Death-Risk-as-Health-Worsens-20170104-0009.html?utm_source=planisys&utm_medium=NewsletterIngles&utm_campaign=NewsletterIngles&utm_content=10

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December 29, 2016

What’s a town living in freedom like? The first anniversary of autonomy in Tila

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:38 pm

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What’s a town living in freedom like? The first anniversary of autonomy in Tila 

 

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by Alejandro Reyes,

Zapatista Radio Collective

The first hints of the sunrise appear behind the silhouette of the church on the top of the hill, and the semi-darkness of dawn is punctuated by hundreds of tiny lights. Community leaders, accompanied by about 40 people, then come into the room where we sleep. They light candles on the altar and sing songs of gratitude to the Lord of Tila for this year of autonomy and ask for wisdom, judgment, standards to face the difficulties to come. Copal smoke fills the room and the voices of dozens of people speaking Chol recall ejido Tila’s long struggle for its land and freedom.

It is December 16, 2016, and on a day like this, exactly one year ago, the ejido residents, tired of the injustice of the so-called Mexican “justice” system, turned a near century-long fight into reality. Three months earlier, on 16 September 2015, thousands of residents marched from the ejido house to the central plaza in the town of Tila. There they placed a ladder up the facade of the town hall building and several people went up to the balconies. They hung a banner remembering the disappeared people from Ayotzinapa. They demanded the town hall authorities leave the area and an end to police and paramilitary harassment. From the balcony, the ejido Tila authorities gave the shout of Independence. And below, thousands of indignant voices repeated over and over: “If there is no solution, there will be demolition!”

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Three months later, on 16 December 2015, the chant became real. The ejido residents, fed up with decades of abuse and the inaction of the Mexican State, decided to expel the people from the town hall themselves. Since the mid-twentieth century, the town hall had illegally positioned themselves in the ejido’s territory, and their expulsion meant the ejido recovered 130 hectares that the municipal government had been trying to take from them. The town hall, which had done so much damage for so long, was destroyed. The big clock on the top of the facade was broken to bits, and so stopped “Kaxlán” (white people or Mexican mestizo) time, a time that had been imposed by Mexican authorities, a time of institutional dispossession and violence. And so began another time, an indigenous Chol time, the time of freedom. Tila’s miracle had come true.

It’s true that in Tila miracles happen, after all thousands of people don’t come here each year in pilgrimage for nothing. But Tila’s miracles don’t fall from the sky, they are made with blood, sweat and tears … and also lots of joy. The miracle of autonomy has been meticulous and tenacious work. After pushing out the town hall, the ejido residents organised themselves according to their practices and customs, and then began carrying out all the necessary activities to administer their 5,405 hectare territory. With contributions from the ejido Tila residents, they bought a truck and organised groups to collect the rubbish. They established a community-watch group, and organised all the neighbourhoods and outlying areas to ensure the community’s security. They developed a system of autonomous justice and began to resolve the numerous cases that under the authority of town hall had remained unpunished. They organised festivals, the ejido assembly became the highest authority, and delinquency, once ignored by official complicity, drastically decreased.

One year after this miracle of autonomy, another miracle took place: on 15 December, the radio station “the Miracle of Tila” began to broadcast “from some place in the ejido Tila”. On the radios at home, and from the village’s public announcement system, the ejido’s story of struggle was heard. Stories about the actions of a handful of opponents who had been doing their best to destroy the community’s autonomy, all so they could reclaim their town hall privileges like access to illicit funds, dirty business, and impunity. Girls and boys, young women and men, old women and men came to give their accounts. Messages via facebook and whatsapp arrived from people excited about the community’s new beginning. Songs of solidarity and greetings from groups that had come for the celebration were also heard.

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Celebrations began around 11 in the morning with an address from the ejido commission and other traditional authorities in the central plaza, in front of the demolished town hall. Two delegates from the National Indigenous Congress (NIC) also took part. They had travelled from Campeche and Oaxaca/Veracruz. There they explained again the proposal of the NIC and the EZLN to establish an Indigenous Government Council at a national level whose voice and face will be an indigenous woman running as an independent candidate in the next presidential elections. This proposal resonated in the hearts of the ejido residents because as the NIC delegate explained “Here the earth has already shaken because the indigenous people are the ones who govern”.

The odyssey of the chol people from Tila and their struggle for autonomy over their territory begins in the 1920s, when their grandparents traveled again and again to Tuxtla Gutierrez, then a four or five days journey along footpaths, carrying their pozole and tostadas (fried Mexican tortillas), to request the legalization of their lands as an ejido. These are lands that they had been working as farm labourers for decades for foreign, German landowners who usurped the ancestral lands of the Chol people. This odyssey was told through a theatre piece recounting the tireless effort of the grandparents from 1922 to 1959.

Finally a Presidential Resolution was issued recognising the 5,405 hectares of Ejido Tila. It is impossible to express the importance of this document for the Chol ejido residents of Tila. Land is life, and the document expresses the decades of struggle, the pain, the suffering, the abuses, but also the perseverance, the tenacious effort they made to obtain official recognition of what rightly belongs to them.

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But in the mid-twentieth century the municipal government transformed from an indigenous Chol town council, which ruled using traditional practices and customs, to a regime of political parties. The Town Hall has ever since been trying to strip the ejido residents of 130 hectares where the town of Tila is located. In addition to initiating the collection of land taxes and appropriating goods and services that the ejido assembly had previously administered, the town hall also served as a coordinating body for paramilitary groups, especially the extremely violent “Peace and Justice”, as part of the counterinsurgency war after the 1994 Zapatista uprising.

“Things are not as they should be,” explain two women in front of a miniature model of the destroyed town hall building. “Because when the local government functions, there is justice. And there was no justice here, I personally experienced this situation of injustice. If we don’t have money, they will not fix your problem. So for me, I like that this building was torn down, it didn’t serve us at all. We did what we did to this building because it represented total rubbish, and no one working there had a clear conscience”.

Right after that, some young people came to set fire to the model town hall building. “This is our message that those who want to bring the town hall authorities back to ejido Tila. If they come back, the same thing will happen again” said the ejido residents. Then as the model burned, a fire cracker hidden in the model exploded.

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During the time when the ejido was governed by town hall, local customs were not respected. Town hall, with a marketing mentality, dressed up the local Chol traditions as some kind of folklore and introduced festivals that had nothing to do with the local culture. In today’s celebration, the ejido residents reclaim their traditions with a carnival spectacle where the “negrito” and “marucha” do battle with the little bulls and tigers. The performance caused great laughter amongst the audience, who recognised the in the story their own battle in defense of their land and territory.

There were also many happy moments of dancing with people of all ages – girls and boys, and elders, both women and men.  A mariachi band played some songs including a particularly joyous interpretation of the Zapatista anthem. A child with an extraordinary voice sang “The Blue Backpack”, and space was made for the ejido residents to share their thoughts on the celebration. A judge from the ejido’s justice system, an important step in asserting autonomy and justice, presented a very detailed report on crime and punishment during this first year of self-government.

Finally the day finished with a ceremony handing over the baton of government to the autonomous authorities. This ceremony, full of symbolism and great importance, was for the people who throughout this year have become a living example for Mexico and many parts of the world. They have demonstrated that the people can govern themselves, that it is possible to plot other roads with justice and dignity in the midst of a storm.

And of course the dance party, which lasted until late at night, a collective celebration so deserved by a community who never give up fighting.

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service

http://radiozapatista.org/?p=19609

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October 18, 2016

Another Government Is Possible National Indigenous Congress of Mexico to Launch Presidential Campaign in 2018

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:01 pm

 

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Another Government Is Possible

National Indigenous Congress of Mexico to Launch Presidential Campaign in 2018

 

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by Emmy Keppler

October 17, 2016

On October 13, the 500 delegates of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) reached complete consensus on the proposal presented by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) at the opening of the fifth Congress three days earlier: the CNI will collectively enter the 2018 Mexican presidential race with an indigenous woman candidate at its forefront.

The Fifth Congress is now in permanent assembly while the delegates return to their communities and hold consultations to decide to either approve or reject the proposal.

This decision represents a major shift in strategy of the Zapatista movement which in 2003, after nine years of betrayed negotiations with the Mexican government, cut off all communication with the political system. In the subsequent thirteen years they have not looked back, focusing instead on constructing autonomy in their own communities. The proposed presidential campaign will not, however, be a return to engagement with the political system, but rather a takeover and, if successful, dismantling of that system.

“We confirm that our fight is not for power, we do not seek it; rather we call all of the original peoples and civil society to organize to detain this destruction, to strengthen our resistances and rebellions, that is to say in the defence of the life of each person, family, collective, community, or neighbourhood. To construct peace and justice, reconnecting ourselves from below,” stated the CNI and EZLN in a communiqué released at the closure of the assembly.

The Indigenous Council of Government will be made up of representatives from CNI communities from all states and regions of Mexico, with the individual candidate serving to “make their [collective] word material”.

 

THE FIGHT FOR RECOGNITION

 

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The CNI was formed in 1996, nearly two years after the indigenous Zapatistas of Chiapas famously rose up in arms and declared war on the Mexican government. Earlier that same year, the EZLN and federal government signed the San Andrés Accords, which agreed to recognize indigenous autonomy in the constitution, increase indigenous political representation, and guarantee access to justice.

In October of that year, thousands of indigenous people from communities all over the country gathered in Mexico City for the first National Indigenous Congress, agreeing that their primary objective would be to defend the San Andrés Accords. It was at this first Congress that the late EZLN commander Ramona declared what soon became the slogan of the CNI: “NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US.”

When the EZLN and government met to finalize the Accords one month later, a familiar pattern of denial began to re-emerge: The government refused to sign the Accords. Simultaneously, then president Ernesto Zedillo launched a bloody militarization campaign throughout Chiapas climaxing in the Acteal Massacre in which paramilitary troops massacred 45 members of Las Abejas, an indigenous Catholic pacifist organization.

The primary focus of both the EZLN and the CNI, then, became an effort to push the Mexican government to pass the Accords. In 2001, the third National Indigenous Congress was held in the Purépucha community of Nurío in Michoacán. Representatives from 40 of Mexico’s 57 Indigenous Peoples created a list of demands including constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and autonomy, and the recognition of indigenous systems of justice and ancestral territory.

That same year, Comandanta Esther addressed the Congress of the Union: “When indigenous rights and culture are constitutionally recognized in accord with the [San Andrés Accords], the law will begin joining its hour with the hour of the Indian peoples.”

The following month, Congress unanimously approved a constitutional reform concerning indigenous rights and culture that ignored all demands for autonomy and recognition, completely undermining the San Andrés Accords and cementing the betrayal of Indigenous Peoples by the entire Mexican political system.

It was after this ultimate betrayal that the Zapatistas and CNI decided to turn their backs on the Mexican political system which refused to include them. Instead, they decided to take matters in their own hands and implement the San Andrés Accords themselves in their communities and territories. What the government refused to give them, they would build.

For the next thirteen years, the Zapatista communities of Chiapas and indigenous communities throughout Mexico worked to construct their own autonomy from the ground up.

 

ACHIEVEMENTS AND LIMITATIONS OF AUTONOMY

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In this Fifth National Indigenous Congress, which also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the CNI, delegates shared the immense achievements of autonomy in their communities:

They have rebuilt their traditional farming structures using organic fertilizers and native seeds.

They have reconstituted their traditional governments, replacing the corrupt government authorities with

elder councils and community assemblies.

They have built their own community police and self-defence forces, ousting organized crime and replacing the similarly corrupt official police who often work with narco-traffickers.

They have created community radio stations to broadcast the truth, drowning out the lies and silence of corporate media which, in Mexico, is monopolized by the media empire Televisa.

They have recuperated territory that was violently expropriated by the government and large landowners.

They have created their own bilingual indigenous schools where students learn about colonialism, capitalism, and the history of their people.

They have revived their traditional medicine and built clinics where before people had no healthcare, fighting dependence on western medicine.

However, they have also faced extreme repression, plunder of their territories, and human rights violations. There was not a single community that did not speak of their fight against what they call ‘death projects’— mining, fracking, hydroelectric dams, gas pipelines, airport construction, highway construction — operated by foreign corporations which do not consult their communities before destroying their land.

They are fighting against agro-industrial chemicals and pesticides contaminating their land and waters, the destruction of their forests, the invasion of genetically modified seeds, and the privatization and expropriation of their sacred water and collectively-held territory.

They are fighting supposedly ‘green’ development in the form of wind farms and conservation reserves that expropriate their territory and farmland, often for the production of monocrops like African Palm.

They are fighting against cultural death— the tourism industry that pillages their sacred sites and perverts their traditions as attractions for foreigners, and the disappearance of their languages and clothing.

And they are fighting against literal death—the murder, disappearance, kidnapping, rape, imprisonment, and psychological warfare that all indigenous communities in resistance face at the hands of the military, police, and organized crime.

The nation is also on the brink of total privatization of the public sector with the 11 structural adjustments passed by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2013. Though the CNI can prevent these reforms from entering their communities on a certain level, they cannot, through autonomy alone, halt the devastating impacts of the privatization of public healthcare, education, communication, energy, and housing, among others.

In this Fifth Congress, the delegates recognized that walking the path of autonomy, though remarkably successful on a local level, has not allowed the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico to truly unite. Building coalitions on state-wide and even regional or municipal levels has proved exceedingly difficult with most communities remaining relatively isolated. Though they all face the same repression by corporations and the government, each community fights the same enemy from its different corner of Mexico, thus allowing what the Zapatistas call ‘the capitalist hydra’ to divide and conquer. As one delegate from Jalisco said, “they’re continuing to screw us.”

 

THE PROPOSAL

 

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The proposal of the EZLN for the CNI to run a collective presidential campaign is an effort to halt the hydra. At first, nearly all of the delegates were doubtful. They expressed their concerns about sacrificing their autonomy to embark on the electoral route. All, however, also expressed their deep trust in the EZLN as their guide in the struggle and their willingness to be convinced. Throughout the three-day assembly this is exactly what happened.

One of the fundamental principles of both the CNI and the EZLN is that they do not aspire to take state power, which they view as inherently corrupt and oppressive. The delegates spoke of their commitment to this principle and their concern of sacrificing it. Through their discussions, however, they clarified that they would not aim to take power, but rather dismantle this power from below and to the left, from the poor and marginalized indigenous communities fighting for their dignity, freedom, and autonomy.

Another fundamental principle is their opposition to all political parties, which they view as the same elite oppressor class dressed in different colours. They clarified that they would not create a new political party, but rather an Indigenous Council of Government which, Subcommander Galeano (formerly Marcos), urged us not to confuse with an Indigenous Government Council, meaning that they are not trying to indigenize the current government, but rather build a new indigenous government that governs according to the principles of the EZLN and CNI:

  1. Serve, don’t self-serve
  2. Represent, don’t supplant
  3. Construct, don’t destroy
  4. Propose, don’t impose
  5. Convince, don’t defeat
  6. Go below, not above
  7. Govern by obeying

The EZLN is demanding that we disrupt our basic notions of what a government is and what a government can do. In indigenous communities throughout the country as well as in Zapatista territory, the CNI has expelled government officials and revived their traditional systems of self-governance. The EZLN is asking us to envision this happening on a national level: a Mexico that is governed by a council of hundreds of indigenous people from all nations and tribes guided by the wisdom of their ancestors.

Central to the proposal is that the candidate who will represent the Indigenous Council of Government be an indigenous woman. Galeano, in his explanation, continually emphasized this point. He said that both mestizos (non-indigenous) and men have proved incapable of governance, and that this point was not up for debate. He also reminded us that this will not be a government run by any and all indigenous people, because there are of course indigenous landowners, paramilitary, and police, as well as indigenous communities that have been bought out by the government. It will be a CNI government, running not with a political platform, but rather a program of struggle that is explicitly anti-capitalist.

Galeano also emphasized that it must be the CNI that approves and constructs the campaign, not the EZLN. In 2006 the EZLN ran ‘the Other Campaign’ parallel to the presidential race to spread the word of autonomy and urge the people of Mexico to organize their communities outside of the electoral sphere. In his speech at the Fifth Congress, Galeano explained that in the Other Campaign, the EZLN led and the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico followed, and that it needed to be the other way around, with the Indigenous Peoples in resistance leading the nation.

The aim of the presidential campaign will be not only to win, but to fortify and unite the CNI and, as one delegate from Michoacán said, to “force the people of Mexico to turn and look at us”. In his opening speech, Subcommander Moisés repeated the urgency of uniting the people of the country and the city:

“Now is the time to remind the Ruler and his managers and overseers who it was who gave birth to this nation, who works the machines, who creates food from the earth, who constructs buildings, who paves the roads, who defends and reclaims the sciences and the arts, who imagines and struggles for a world so big that there is always a place to find food, shelter and hope.”

 

ANOTHER GOVERNMENT IS POSSIBLE

 

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Some may question the possibility or efficiency of a collectively run indigenous government. The assembly itself refuted these doubts. Over 500 people from all different cultures and contexts discussed the proposal for three twelve-hour days without a single moment of disrespect. Instead of arguing based on ideology or political views, they truly listened to and, in the face of doubt, convinced one another. Most importantly, no delegate spoke from personal interest, but rather the collective interest of their community.

The consensus, then, that the proposal be brought back to their communities for consultation, was based on a true and complete agreement that the presidential campaign would benefit them all. Compared to the disrespect, corruption, corporate control, and political deadlock that we are used to in our current federal governments, the CNI was an example of the power of traditional governance.

This campaign will be unlike any other in the history of the world. In this moment of global political despair, particularly in the midst of the US presidential elections, the EZLN is once again challenging us to imagine outside of the defined realm of possibilities. After being denied a space in Mexico for over 500 years, they are deciding to construct a new Mexico and eventually, Galeano said, a new world.

In the words of the General Command of the EZLN:

Now is the hour of the National Indigenous Congress.

With its step, let the earth tremble at its core.

With its dreams, let cynicism and apathy be vanquished.

In its words, let those without voice be lifted up.

With its gaze, let darkness be illuminated.

In its ear, let the pain of those who think they are alone find a home.

In its heart, let desperation find comfort and hope.

In its challenge, let the world be seen anew.

 

https://intercontinentalcry.org/another-government-possible/

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October 16, 2016

EZLN: Inauguration of the Fifth Session of the National Indigenous Congress

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:19 am

 

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EZLN: Inauguration of the Fifth Session of the National Indigenous Congress

 

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Words of the General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation at the opening of the Fifth Session of the National Indigenous Congress at CIDECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, on October 11, 2016

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

October 11, 2016

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress,

Wirrarikarri Brothers and Sisters,

Nahua Brothers and Sisters,

Purépecha Brothers and Sisters,

Raramuri Brothers and Sisters,

Cora Brothers and Sisters,

Mayo Yoreme Brothers and Sisters,

Yaqui Tribe Brothers and Sisters,

Popoluca Brothers and Sisters,

Mixteco Brothers and Sisters,

Ñahñú, Ñatho Brothers and Sisters,

Coca Brothers and Sisters,

Totonaco Brothers and Sisters,

Mazahua Brothers and Sisters,

Maya Brothers and Sisters,

Zoque Brothers and Sisters,

Tzotzil Brothers and Sisters,

Tzeltal Brothers and Sisters,

Chol Brothers and Sisters,

Tojolabal Brothers and Sisters,

Mame Brothers and Sisters,

Binni Zaá Brothers and Sisters,

Chontal Brothers and Sisters

Chinanteco Brothers and Sisters,

Kumiai Brothers and Sisters,

Cuicateco Brothers and Sisters,

Matlazinca Brothers and Sisters,

Mazateco Brothers and Sisters,

Mee-paa Brothers and Sisters,

Mixe Brothers and Sisters,

Nasaquue/Nasa Brothers and Sisters,

Amuzgo Brothers and Sisters,

Triqui Brothers and Sisters,

Originary peoples, nations, tribes and barrios whose home is the National Indigenous Congress:

Compañeros and compañeras of the National and International Sixth:

Compañeras and compañeros of the Zapatista delegation to the Fifth Congress of the CNI:

We send you all [todas, todos, todoas] the sincere greetings of the men, women, children, and elders whose collective name is the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

With this greeting, we also send you our sincere and honest respect, admiration, and affection.

First, we want to thank our compañeras and compañeros of the CIDECI-UNITIERRA who are providing us, as they have done in the past, with shelter, food, and space for our ear and our word.

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:

Brothers and sisters:

This week marks 20 years of existence for the light that was born in the hands of the originary peoples of this land called Mexico. This light was then and is now called the National Indigenous Congress.

We had the honour of being present, through our unforgettable compañera Comandanta Ramona, at that birth where together, we as originary peoples, nations, tribes and barrios, ignited this light.

This light is one of organization, of struggle, and of work, a long walk and a long fight waged through resistance and rebellion.

Throughout these 20 years of struggle against the bad capitalist system and its rulers, we have met only with disrespect, repression, dispossession, exploitation, imprisonment, murder, disappearance, deceit, and manipulation.

 

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On this anniversary that we are celebrating with words given in the spirit of sisterhood and comraderie, we as Zapatistas want to remember those who are no longer with us:

Our deceased Comandanta Ramona, Tata Grande Juan Chávez, honorary Insurgent Major Félix Serdán, compañero Ramiro Taboada, brother Efrén Capíz, and the other names that mark the absences for which we grieve today and always: indigenous women; indigenous youth; originary adults and elders, our wisest people; indigenous migrants; and all of the disappeared, murdered, abused, humiliated, prostituted, and forgotten, objects of mockery, scorn, and disrespect.

Along with them, we also remember the injustice, and impunity that, as State policy, take the name and face of the 47 missing from Ayotzinapa.

Let them feel with us all of this pain, all of this rage that now convoke and provoke us to think about what should be done for those who are no longer here and those who are yet to come.

May they speak through our lips, listen in our hearts.

May they live in our collective being.

Through our thoughts and our actions, may they know that they are accompanied, that they are not alone.

Compañeras, compañeros, brothers, sisters:

As we said 20 years ago: nothing new, nothing for the good of the originary peoples of Mexico and the world will come from or be born of this capitalist system.

Those capitalists will never seek out or even imagine a path to change for a better life for us, originary peoples, nations, tribes and barrios.

In the capitalist system in which we live, there will be nothing good for us, the poor peoples of the countryside and the city.

What we need and want as originary peoples of Mexico and the world will not be born of that system or from those capitalists.

We expect nothing from them other than more injustice, exploitation, and the many wrongs committed against us, the poor people of the world.

There is nothing for us, nothing that we want or need, to be had from the existing political parties, nor from the so-called new ones that will come because they are made up of the very same people, people who simply jump from one party to another.

We have seen and thought many things over these 20 years. Because we have already lived with death and despair for more than 500 years.

This shows us and tells us that we cannot expect anything from this bad system and its bad rulers. This is what our history tells us and shows us through the lives lived by our grandparents, great-grandparents, and great great-grandparents.

That is why 20 years ago we said that we must build our own path, our own destiny where there is freedom, justice, and democracy.

Because we cannot trust even a tiny bit in the capitalist system in which we live.

 

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We met each other during the dialogue that we held when the people of Mexico demanded that we dialogue with the bad system-made-government, which didn’t keep its word.

It is the bad system itself that showed us that we could not trust its words, which, as we have seen for over 500 years, it does not honour.

But the dialogue among our originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations served us well, which is why we are here now as the National Indigenous Congress.

To talk amongst ourselves as originary peoples was and is very important, now more than ever, because the destruction wrought by the capitalists on mother earth is extensive and that means that we will also be destroyed, because it is from and through her that we live.

Dialogue among us does us good, it helps us to understand, it helps to guide our lives in many ways, but only working at it bears fruit, if we don’t work we will have no fruit. That work is done with our peoples, and the fruit is that the people themselves work to organize themselves, struggling, striving, and sacrificing, as many times as is necessary.

If we don’t do this work, who will? No one is coming to do it for us; we know that well.

That is what we say. There are many things that we know and repeat, for example, “Fighting amongst ourselves does us no good.” Another one is, “Divided we have no strength.”

Now the time has come for us to not only know and say these things; now is the time to address what happens in our lives: injustice, misery, inequality.

This requires us to organize ourselves in order to carry out what we say, or to put into practice the steps to correct and improve things where we see we have made mistakes.

Compañeros, compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress: it was at this time 20 years ago when we raised our heads—body and soul—and said, let’s organize ourselves, let’s work and struggle.

Today we believe that is precisely why we are here: to see ourselves, listen to ourselves, understand what we have done, how we have done it, what we still have left to do, and how we will do it.

We are here to see where we have made mistakes and how to correct and improve them.

Today more than ever we need to be united, in the countryside and the city.

Wherever we live is our trench of struggle, work, and organization, in every community, every nation, every tribe, and every barrio, as originary peoples.

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the National and International Sixth, we think that it is the same for you, wherever you live is your trench of struggle, work, and organization, in every barrio, every school, every factory, every hospital, and so on in every city, municipality, and state.

We can only achieve this by working and organizing ourselves; that is where the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ to do are born, according to the situation we live.

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress: today more than ever we need to continue the struggle of our ancestors, Resistance and Rebellion, but now we must struggle for the real change that we as the poor people of the countryside and the city need.

We ourselves need to build the world we want.

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Compañeras and compañeros of the Sixth of Mexico and the world.

We who are exploited need to work together, in the countryside and the city, to construct the world that we want.

We think that we should dedicate our energy, our sacrifices, to working and organizing ourselves, so that we know what to do when the need arises.

TODAY WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE but to buckle down and organize ourselves, the original peoples of the countryside and the city. This is especially true for us as originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations, because we no longer have anywhere to take refuge. We are attacked in the countryside and in the city; no one will have any place to seek refuge.

Today we, the exploited, need to lift our gaze and organize ourselves, to work and struggle to be organized together between city and countryside.

We originary peoples of the countryside and the city are witness to the truth that the capitalist system holds nothing, not even the tiniest possibility, to make life better for the originary peoples and those from the city.

Today they want to truly destroy us, to do away with us through the slavery of capitalism, and simultaneously complete the destruction of our mother earth and nature.

Today we need to study by listening and looking, to learn by sharing and practicing, to understand how and from where bad things come and how and where the good exists. This should be born from within us: how to leave the bad behind and begin to do good. We must study our histories and our past in order not to repeat the bad, but to correct and improve things.

As powerful as the exploiters may be, no one can win against an organized people.

So, compañeras and compañeros from the National Indigenous Congress, compañeroscompañeros and compañeroas from the Sixth in Mexico and the world, brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world below and to the left, let us organize and struggle to make a better world, working and building with intelligence and wisdom.

Originary peoples of the world, scientists of the world, artists of the world: if we organize ourselves we can save the world and build another, much better one. For this task we must become better fighters in the struggle.

As we seek out and talk among ourselves, compañeras and compañeros from the National Indigenous Congress, we must be an example for our families in Mexico and the world, we must show them that no one will struggle to liberate us other than ourselves. It is up to us to show the way.

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Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas, brothers and sisters:

Listen, those who want to listen.

Understand, those who want to understand.

Now is the time when the steps of the originary peoples will reseed these soils.

Now is the time for these skies to be filled with all of the colours of those who are the colour of the earth.

Now is the time for the collective heart that we are to become even larger. May it become home, comfort, and inspiration for the struggle of those who think they are alone and have nowhere to go.

Now is the hour of our peoples, our nations, our tribes, our barrios.

Now is the time to remind the Ruler and his managers and overseers who it was who gave birth to this nation, who works the machines, who creates food from the earth, who constructs buildings, who paves the roads, who defends and reclaims the sciences and the arts, who imagines and struggles for a world so big that there is always a place to find food, shelter and hope.

Listen carefully; understand fully:

Now is the hour of the National Indigenous Congress.

With its step, let the earth tremble at its core.

With its dreams, let cynicism and apathy be vanquished.

In its words, let those without voice be lifted up.

With its gaze, let darkness be illuminated.

In its ear, let the pain of those who think they are alone find a home.

In its heart, let desperation find comfort and hope.

In its challenge, let the world be seen anew.

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Thank you, National Indigenous Congress.

Thank you for your example.

Thank you for not selling out.

Thank you for not giving up.

Thank you for not giving in.

Thank you for your brotherly step, for your attentive ear, for your generous word.

We say clearly that our struggle is for life.

That is why we live, why we die, and why we say:

MAY THE ORIGINARY PEOPLES, BARRIOS, TRIBES, AND NATIONS OF MEXICO AND THE WORLD LIVE!

MAY THE COLOR OF THE EARTH THAT WE ARE SHINE ONCE AGAIN!

MAY THE GAZE AND THE STEP OF THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS, THOSE OF US WHO ARE IN AND WITH IT, RISE UP ONCE AGAIN!

Thank you for your ear, your word, your heart.

From CIDECI-UNITIERRA, Chiapas, Mexico. In the name of the elders, children, women, and men of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

On the 11th day of October, 2016

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/11/palabras-de-la-comandancia-general-del-ejercito-zapatista-de-liberacion-nacional-en-la-apertura-del-quinto-congreso-del-congreso-nacional-indigena-en-el-cideci-de-san-cristobal-de-las-casas-chiapas/

 

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September 18, 2016

Communiqué from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón September 15, 2016.

Filed under: Autonomy, Bachajon, Displacement, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:30 pm

 

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Communiqué from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón September 15, 2016.

 

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FROM THE EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON, ADHERENTS TO THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, 15TH SEPTEMBER, 2016.

 

To the Good Government Juntas (JBG)

To the Indigenous National Congress

To adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in Mexico and the world

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

 

Jmololabex ants winiketik icha spatil a wotanik ta pisilik machatik nokol skoltabel te lum kinalik te yuun ta skuenta te nokol spojbel te chopol ajwalil.

Compañeros and compañeras we wish you all a good day, receive a warm greeting from the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

In this meeting which is taking place in the municipal headquarters of Chilón, Chiapas against the acts of the bad government, here with our presence and our voice we want to share the struggle and resistance against all the acts of the bad governors who seek to finish off our people, who want to impose their reforms to the constitution, privatizing oil, education, raising taxes, taking away labour rights and benefiting national and foreign companies so they can exploit our natural resources, forgetting our past and our history.

We want you to know that in this struggle we will continue with dignity and autonomy, we will continue standing in struggle and in expectation of victory, the struggle and the memory of our fallen compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán still lives and his blood was not shed in vain, our compañero gave his life to transform this world held hostage by the capitalist mentality.

 

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For the bad government is truly responsible for all the daily injustices being committed in our pueblo, buying consciences, intending to gain control of territory in every pueblo and community, to manage society at their will.

San Sebastián Bachajón is a very dignified pueblo, where struggle and memory are not for sale, our customs and traditions come from our ancestors, the belief of our Maya grandparents in worship and respect for our mother earth.

In this same communiqué, we mention the struggle of the teachers in defence of public education, the teachers’ movement of the National Coordinator of Education Workers [CNTE] to support them against the misnamed education reform that the Mexican state wants to impose, enough of so much injustice, now no more attacks against society, no more kidnappings, assassinations, forced disappearances, evictions, human rights violations. Once again the bad government ordered the eviction of the teachers in Oaxaca, who kept their tents in the zócalo, on 11 September this year, the bad government is solely responsible for the repression against society.

Now that there are laws there is a lot of insecurity in the pueblos and communities because the law is not made for us, the poor, but for those with money, the rich landowners from the political parties who are transforming this, eventually disintegrating the pueblos day by day, the invasion and the ambition of the politicians who want to take control of our culture and our peoples and their cities, politicians who are clinging on violently in order to get what they want regardless of the human costs that they leave during their passage in the elections, this is how the system of the bad government operates.

 

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We will continue struggling in order to breathe peace and harmony, the revolution of our ancestors is not for sale, because it was as a result of their struggles and their work that they achieved what belongs to us for our future generations. We denounce the bad government which continues with the dispossession of our lands for their tourism megaprojects and exploitation of natural resources, we reject with scorn their policy of death and submission through government projects which put to sleep the conscience of our communities.

We send a combative greeting to our Chol compañeros and compañeras from the Ejido Tila in Chiapas who have taken control of the administration which the bad government of Juan Sabines illegally stole from them many decades ago. We embrace their struggle, their tireless efforts by to construct autonomy and government for the indigenous and non-indigenous people living in the pueblo of Tila. We say to them that they are not alone and if they touch one of you, they touch all of us. We regret the death of the two young people killed cruelly in ejido lands, called Carmita Lopez Perez, 19 years old, and Rafael López Pérez, aged 20, all this violence is generated and promoted by groups linked
to the municipal council of Tila that seeks to sow division and hatred among the organized people of Tila.

No more unjust imprisonments. We demand the immediate release of our unjustly imprisoned compañeros Esteban Gómez Jiménez imprisoned in Cintalapa de Figueroa,
Chiapas (amate No 14,) and Santiago Moreno Pérez and Emilio Jiménez Gómez, prisoners in Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas (ceress No 17.)They were all imprisoned for being committed to fight and defend mother earth and also the freedom of other political prisoners of Mexico and the world, who are being repressed and criminalized for the defence of the mother earth and natural resources.

From the Northern Zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián send combative greetings to all the compañeros and compañeras and to the communities and people in Mexico and the world who are in resistance.

 

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and freedom

Zapata lives!

¡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 to the dispossession of indigenous territory!

State police out of our indigenous territory!

Immediate return of the disappeared and murdered compañeros from the Normal School Raúl Isidro Burgos of Ayotzinapa!

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

Long live the communities who struggle for their autonomy and freedom!

Justice for Ayotzinapa, Acteal, ABC, Atenco!

 

 

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August 21, 2016

Sup Moisés at the conclusion of CompArte

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:49 am

 

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Sup Moisés at the conclusion of CompArte

 

EZLN: “22 years later we are showing that we don’t want to use these weapons, that it isn’t necessary.”

 

dancers-in-roberto-barriosDance performance at CompArte in Roberto Barrios


From the Desinformémonos Editors

Mexico City

Subcomandante Moisés, commander and spokesperson of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), stated that: “the soldiers should not have to kill us because we have not wanted to kill them.” As an example, he said, “the compañero support bases have demonstrated it (because) for 22 years we have kept our weapons stored, like tools.”

During the closing of the CompArte Festival in the Caracol of Roberto Barrios, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, the Zapatista leader thanked the support bases for the demonstration of their art: “They have given us something great. For now, we want to tell you that we understand that the word war is using a weapon, but here we are demonstrating, 22 years later, that we don’t want to use those weapons, that it isn’t necessary. We are demonstrating that there is [another] way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it isn’t necessary to kill the soldiers that the rich, the capitalist has, with which he is defended.”

The CompArte Festival, according to reports from the alternative communications media that had access, toured the five Zapatista regions (Oventik, La Garrucha, La Realidad, Morelia and Roberto Barrios), in Los Altos (the Highlands), the Lacandón Jungle and the Northern Zone of Chiapas, with demonstrations of poetry, dances, songs, paintings and other artistic activities in which Zapatista support bases and organizations and collectives from Mexico and from many parts of the world participated.

Below is the whole comunicado published by the Free Media:

“Good afternoon bases of support, the Sixth, brothers and sisters who listen to us!

We really can’t find the words to say to you because of the big surprise that the EZLN’s bases of support artist compañeros have shown us.

You have given us a lesson, an instruction, a class; that’s how we, our comandante and comandanta compañeros, feel.

We are representing our Caracoles, you have helped us a lot; you have taught us a lot; you give us strength and, well, power. We have a big task that you have given us, a big job that you have given us, and because of our practice we have to think it through collectively with our compañera comandantas and compañero comandantes.

You have given us something great. For now we want to tell you that we understand the word war is to use the weapon, but here we are demonstrating, 22 years later, that we don’t want to use those weapons; it isn’t necessary. We are showing that there is a way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it’s not necessary to kill the soldiers that the rich, the capitalist has, with which he defends himself.

The soldiers would not have to kill us, because we have not wanted to kill them. The example the support base compañeros have shown, for 22 years we have preserved our weapons like tools.

We want to construct our autonomy and we are showing our brothers of Chiapas, Mexico and the world, but you aren’t going to stop, because you won’t like capitalism. You oblige us and we have to look for the way in which that doesn’t happen, but if it’s necessary to defend, one must defend oneself.

We are able to understand without killing and without dying. To finish with capitalism we need to get organized, to construct a new house or to set capitalism aside. But for now that lesson that you have given us, there is a lot of work to do and to think about.

Here in Mexico they have us so divided, into the countryside and the city, they have us so distracted so that we don’t realize how we are subjected in manipulation, but this class that you gave us, EZLN support base compañeros from the five Caracoles, we are not able to say more right now, because it was more what you told us and presented to us.

It’s really recharging the battery for us and for the comandante compañeros. We are seeing the fruits of the labour of our compañero representatives that is the EZLN’s structure.

What would happen if the thousands of Zapatista artists from the five Caracoles were seen? Something much greater would come from it. There are many types of weapons, but not the ones that kill, but rather the ones that change the life, the thinking and the idea. In all the Caracoles that we have passed through, we have met and we didn’t find the words because we need to get deeper into it, but with that material that the compañeros from the tercios compas [1] are making, that will help us a lot.

For now, we have enough material to get to work, to think about it and to concretize it so that if the bases approve it, it will be a real practice. That is the wisdom that we hear, see and later think about to put into practice, that is the spark of the art of seeing, of the art of listening, so that later it will be seen in practice for the benefit of one’s own people.

Art and science are really necessary to be able to destroy capitalism. We don’t know how, but we must think about it. There is no reason that we will see things differently, we are of the same original peoples in the countryside and also in the city. Our job is to think of how to unite because capitalism is going to destroy us.

And that is the importance of art and not only for Mexico. So, the instruction that you gave us hasn’t fit in our head, we have to go over it again, that is what we feel.

Thank you to the bases of support from the five Caracoles and the invitees for accompanying us. Our thinking about what we are going to tell you will arrive soon and you will decide if it’s so or not. We will look for the art of how to reach consensus on what will emerge in the practical work of what we said in this art of struggle.

Thank you brothers and sisters bases of support and compañeros of the Sixth.”

[1] The tercios compas – the Zapatista media team

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Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformémonos

Monday, August 15, 2016

https://desinformemonos.org/estamos-demostrando-22-anos-despues-que-no-queremos-usar-esas-armas-no-es-necesario-ezln1/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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August 9, 2016

EZLN: The Art that is Neither Seen nor Heard

Filed under: Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:06 pm

 

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THE ART THAT IS NEITHER SEEN NOR HEARD.

(Note: the following are the comments made by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés to mark the conclusion of the Zapatistas’ contribution to the CompArte, in the Caracol of Oventik, on July 29, 2016. The threat of rain and the pressure of time did not allow for the compañero to fully develop some of his points and there were others that he was unable to touch on at all. Here we present the original version that he was going to give. In his voice, our Zapatista word).

 

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO.

July 29, 2016.

Artists of Mexico and the world:

Sisters, brothers, and hermanoas:

For us, Zapatistas, art is studied by creating many imaginations, reading the gaze, studying in listening, and practicing.

It is by putting it into practice, that is, by doing it, that you will begin to see the result of the science and the art of imagination – the art of creativity.

There is some science and art that is needed immediately, the kind that helps us imagine how to do it.

There can be medium term science and art, and there is long term science and art that improves over the course of time.

For example: To even make something tiny that will contribute to the new world requires that we involve ourselves profoundly in the science and art of imagination, in the gaze, in listening and in creativity, patience, and attention. It requires that we think about how to move forward while building and many other things that must be taken into account.

Because what we want, or what we think about, is a new world, a new system. We don’t want a copy of what we have, we don’t want to improve it a little bit. This is a problem, we say, because there is no book or manual that explains how to create this new world. This book or manual hasn’t been written yet, it is still in the heads of those with imagination, in the eyes that are ready to gaze at the new world that they want to see, in the ears that are attentive in order to hear the new world that they want.

This requires a lot of wisdom and intelligence, a good understanding of many words and thoughts.

We say that it works like this because this is how the development of our autonomy has been and will continue to be.

It was built by thousands of Zapatista men and women, with science and art, and for now it can be seen in the 5 zones of the caracoles.

The art that we are showing you, our compañeras and compañeros, had a crude birth, it emerged from the heads of those women and men who themselves decided how to present it to you, [it is] about how they have worked as Zapatistas and autonomous people, with their resistance and their rebellious ways.

The entire process was a chain of art – from the thinking about what they would present, whether it would be a dance number, song, poetry, sculpture, theatre, or pottery, to the words, the ideas about how they would get from place to place, then where they were going to get the money for their rehearsal and performances, because they are collectives from the community, the region, the municipalities and the zone.

There were three rounds of selection. For the first round, the people got together in their regions; then the regions met as autonomous municipalities for the second selection; and the municipalities met in zones for the final round.

Their preparations took months.

For the communities of thousands of Zapatista men and women, it was another iteration of what we are, but in a different form, it didn’t happen through conversation or blah blah blah, but through the technique of Art, and everyone participated – children, teenagers, fathers, mothers, and grandparents.

In artistic form, in the art form of the Zapatista compañer@s, they were practicing their resistance and rebellion, their autonomous government of the Junta de Buen Gobierno, their MAREZ (Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion), their local authorities (comisariadas, comisariadosagentas, and agentes), their autonomous health systems, their autonomous education system, their autonomous radio stations, their 7 principles of lead by obeying in their new system of autonomous government, their democracy as communities, their justice, their freedom, their defence of mother earth, and their collective work on mother earth. This will all be the basis on which new generations of young women and young men will be formed, the basis for the Zapatista future.

This is what we presented to you, compañeras and compañeros of the national and international Sixth from Mexico and the world; only a small portion of the compañer@s that were going to participate actually participated. One day we will present the rest to you, but right now there isn’t time, because if we had all come, it would have taken over a month to do all of our presentations, and so that means that there is also an art and a science to how we planned to do a one-day presentation. Because the most marvellous of all of the arts is collective mutual support.

 

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Compañeras and compañeros from the National and International Sixth.

Sisters and brothers of Mexico and the world.

The storm and the hydra of monstrous capitalism wants to prevent us from seeing one another, but through our great effort we are seeing one another here and now.

The compañeras and compañeros from the thousands of Zapatista bases of support for the Zapatista Army for National Liberation want to show you their art.

You have seen one part here and in other caracoles you could see other parts. Because more than two thousand artists have been selected and there were even more who didn’t come, not because they didn’t make it through the selection process, but because we didn’t have the money to transport thousands of compañera and compañero artists.

Our compañera and compañero artists aren’t professional artists, but rather their profession is what we call “Everythingologist [Todólogo]” because they are carpenters, masons, shop keepers, they work the land, are radio hosts, milicianos and milicianasinsurgentas and insurgents, autonomous authorities, teachers at the Zapatista little school, health and education promoters, and they still find the time to be artists.

They are true artists in the art of constructing a new system of governance, the autonomy where the people command and the government obeys.

It is an art that you can see, study, and that exists in practice, that you can know through its sharing.

But the compañeras and compañeros also make other art that you don’t know about, that isn’t disclosed in any press releases.

It is the art of solidarity, the support for the people who struggle.

Because the other art and science that the compañera and compañero Zapatista bases of support practice is their support for the struggle of the teachers’ movement.

You did not see this science and art, but the way it was delivered; the food support was like the art of a hornet’s nest, but there was also an art and science that preceded this.

This is what happened:

We realized that we needed to support this struggle by the teachers who are resisting the capitalist hydra and storm, which we have been talking about for a year.

So then we figured out how much support we were able to give. First we used our word to support them, to say that their struggle is a just one.

Then we tried to figure out how to support the resistance at the sites where they were putting up roadblocks and sit-ins and we realized that we could support them by providing food.

Then we assessed how much support we could send them, and first, how our compañeras and compañeros would respond if we supported them with food from the little that we have as a result of our collective labours.

We figured out how, for example, the food support could work—the delivery, the bags, and all of that. But what you don’t see is the organization of the food collection community by community, the division of how much each community was supposed to provide, figuring out how many tons they were going to be able to get together so that they could figure out how they were going to transport it. Then there was the timing, because the news was saying that the blockades were still there, and then that the teachers were going to take them down to avoid being forcefully evicted because what they were doing was really hurting the rich, and this put a lot of pressure on us because the food that we collected would spoil if there wasn’t any place to take it to.

They had meetings everywhere in order to come to an agreement, because all of the compañer@ssaid that the support that we needed to give to the teachers’ movement was just and necessary.

 

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So they started to do the math (i.e division), the accounts as we say, say of how much each zone, MAREZ, region, and community was responsible for. There were a few zones where the commissions failed to meet their goal, they didn’t fail in a bad way, but in a good way, because they had reported that their commission would provide 2 tons of food and when the time came they actually provided 7 tons more than they had promised, which was the case with the Zapatista bases of support in the North Zone of Chiapas, from the caracol of Roberto Barrios. And so, well, resolving the problem was Art, because no one had even imagined that they could provide 9 tons. We only had a 3-ton truck.

The compañeras’ work is really art, because they were asked how long it will take them to have 100 thousand tostadas ready – how could they calculate that when the corn is still on the cob?

Well the compañeras responded that the tostadas would be ready on x day at x time. Because they know how many hours it takes to cook the corn, and how many tostadas you can get from a kilo of corn.

And the compañeras even add flavour to the tostadas, from a little bit of beans, and salt, because they know that the tostadas are to support the teachers at the sit-ins and in resistance.

And that is how they did it and now it is done, but you can’t see it because it is already in people’s stomachs, or it has become fertilizer because the companer@ teachers have already consumed it.

Collective work, the common, made it so that they could move things easily, from one hand to another, others moved things on horses, others by foot and on their back, others by car.

Thanks to the collective work of the compañeras and compañeros.

It was all a mathematic calculation, from beginning to end.

All of this, it is all an expenditure, and the great majority is from collective work, communities, regions, autonomous municipalities. It is the real fruit of our work as organized communities of men and women.

But you didn’t see any of this and you wouldn’t know about it if we didn’t tell you about it, and it’s all the work of our Zapatista compañera and compañero bases of support, in order to show that we care about a people who struggles with resistance.

Why do we do this? Well, because we know and understand what it is to resist in struggle and how much work it takes to maintain a struggle in resistance.

Figuring out how to provide this support is an art of imagination by the Zapatista communities.  The “resistance” of the compañeras and compañeros has gone on for 22 years, and that’s a lot of experience and is a great building block solidarity. It is the demonstration of collectivity. For 22 years we Zapatistas have been in resistance and rebellion against capitalism, and we’ve had, for 22 years, a new system of governing ourselves where the people command and the government obeys.

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There are those who think that we should go out and struggle for the teachers. But if they think that way, then they haven’t understood anything at all. Because that would mean that that I want someone to come and struggle for me. We Zapatista men and women don’t ask for anyone to come and struggle for us. Each person must struggle, and we should mutually support one another, but that support cannot replace each person’s struggle. Whoever struggles has the right to decide the direction of their path and with whom they walk that path. If others insert themselves, then they are no longer supporting that struggle, but supplanting it. Support is respect, not trying to direct or command. Just as we have understood that no one is going to give us what we need to eat if we don’t work for it ourselves – it’s the same thing. No one is going to liberate us except for ourselves.

That is how we peoples of Mexico and the world organize ourselves, how we struggle in the world where we are in order to change it, as workers, teachers, peasants, all kinds of workers, we don’t hold out hope that someone is going to come and struggle for us.

This is how we already live, and they [the bad government] only come to try to manipulate us, to fool us and to do the all of the things they do to us.

 

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Art, brothers and sisters, compañeras and compañeros, is very important, because it is what provides us with an illustration of something new in life, something that illustrates something very different in real life—it doesn’t lie.

Art is so powerful because it is already real life in the communities where the people command and the government obeys, thanks to the art of the imagination and the knowledge of how to create a new society, how to create a life in common. Our art shows that it is possible to create another form of governing, one that is totally different, that it is possible to create another life working in common to benefit the community itself.

This makes me think of the deceased Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, who often asked us questions when we were building a little house, there in the jungle, with Comandante Tacho. The deceased asked us, “These crossbeams, what are they for? Can you explain to me scientifically what they are for? And we were about to answer, when he hit us with another question, “Is it science, or is it custom?” Comandante Tacho and I looked at each other, and since he was in charge of the construction it was up to him to respond, “Well, I learned from my father, and my father learned from my grandfather, and so on,” said Comandante Tacho. The deceased responded, “Ah, well then it’s custom, and it’s not based on a scientific study.” So he explained to us why the sciences and the arts are so important. And now we are coming to understand this. But wait, I’ll tell you what the deceased scribbled down or wrote to us from the place where he now lives six feet under; we’re going to ask him to send it to us and we are going to publish it, those of us who are still alive here where he had been living before. So compañeras and compañeros, sisters and brothers. We Zapatistas think that now more than ever, we need ART, ORIGINARY PEOPLES, AND THE SCIENTISTS in order to give birth to a new world.

So compañera and compañero artists from the National and International Sixth, get involved in the work of art with a lot of enthusiasm.

Join us, brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world, in dreaming of an art where the people command, for their own good and the good of the people themselves.

Thank you,

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, July 29, 2016.

Song, “The Capacity of Women”. Lyrics, music, and choreography from the young, female and musical Zapatista group “Dignity and Resistance,” bases of support from the Altos Zone of Chiapas. When they performed in Oventik, on June 29 in the afternoon, the sound system failed and it made them a little bit sad. And so on June 30, in CIDECI, SubMoy asked the compañero musicians Panteón Rococó and Oscar Chávez to stop for a minute and they gave up a few minutes of their time (Thank you Don Óscar, thank you Panteones). The compañeras were able to present what they had been preparing for more than 5 months. When they finished they reported back to SupMoy. “We’re back,” they said. SupMoy said, “How did it go?” and they said, “we won.” SupMoy didn’t say anything but he was definitely thinking,” “All in all, 500 years is a short time, but I never thought that I would get to hear this.”  They continued, “We felt a little bad because the people were asking for another. A lot of people were yelling ‘One more! One more!’ but we didn’t know another one. It took us a long time just to make this one. If they want another one, they are going to have to wait a another six months.” SubMoy asked, “And so what did you do?” “We left the stage quickly and hid ourselves among the compañeros.” That’s what they said and then they went to the dance floor for the Panteones’ ska.

Song. “The Capacity of Women.”

 

Dance number: “The Dance of the collective work of Maize.” Choreography by the Zapatista bases of support of the Altos Zone in Chiapas. This is the version that they presented during the selection process. For the presentation on July 29 in Oventik they added a few more things, as those who were there got to see. Maybe in the compa media they have a video of July 29 in Oventik.

Dance number: “The Dance of the Collective work of Maize.”

 

Poetry: “When the Horizon looks to tomorrow.” Written by a young Zapatista base of support from the Altos Zone in Chiapas. This is the version that he presented in the selection process. When he presented it, he was told that there would be a lot of people there, but not to get nervous. “Keep your eyes on your notebook and don’t look up,” they recommended. He said that he wasn’t scared but he was confused about one thing. “What is it?” they asked him. He said, “I don’t know if you are supposed to say ‘poem’ or ‘poetry’. And so we ask you for a reply to his question.

Poetry: “When the Horizon Looks to Tomorrow.”

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 09/08/2016

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/08/03/el-arte-que-no-se-ve-ni-se-escucha .



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June 3, 2016

First World Forum for Rights of Mother Earth Opens in Mexico City

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:52 pm

 

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First World Forum for Rights of Mother Earth Opens in Mexico City

 

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A Ceremony of Thanksgiving was part of the opening of the  World Forum for the Rights of Mother Earth (Pachamama) Photo: Guillermo Sologuren

 

La Jornada, 2nd June, 2016Angélica Enciso L.
The World Forum for the Rights of Mother Earth* opened yesterday [June 1, 2016, in Mexico City] with a ceremony of thanksgiving to the Pachamama. In his opening remarks, Luis Raúl González Pérez, president of Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and national [human rights] ombudsman, said that “Poverty, social exclusion and prevailing levels of inequality are realities that transgress all logic of democratic rule of law and violate the dignity of those who suffer.”

With international activists Vandana Shiva from India and Leonardo Boff, Brazilian theologian, in attendance, the ombudsman pointed out that in the course of almost 26 years, the CNDH has issued 15 environmental recommendations. The environmental issue, moreover, has also been addressed in general recommendations; the most recent regarding Natural Protected Areas.

 

Earth Is a Subject of Rights: Leonardo Boff

Speaking before hundreds of people, Leonardo Boff gave a lecture in which he said that the Earth, which gives what is necessary for life, “is threatened, super-exploited and now no longer tolerates it.”

The Earth also has rights, he added, and it must be respected; “each being has value and must be respected because it has a place in the universe.”

Boff emphasized that anthropocentrism must be overcome: “in order to realize that we are part of an occasion of life. We know that all living beings have the same genetic code. We all have the blocks for constructing the building of life. We have the same base and biological foundation.”

The Earth, he said, has dignity and is a subject of rights. Unscrupulous exploitation of the Earth cannot continue without giving the Earth time to rest. We have extracted from the Earth many goods and services. Now the Earth is sick, with “fever, the heat is the visible sign.”

 

Protecting the Earth Protects Human Species: Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva also participated in the opening ceremony, observing that the present moment is an era when we are able to know [in advance] that the Earth’s duress will result in the inability to support the human species. Therefore, she said, protecting the Earth protects human beings. She concluded, “It would be wonderful, if next year on the Day of Mother Earth, every inch of this planet might take part.”

Disrespecting the Earth Is to Disrespect Ourselves: González Pérez 

In turn, González Pérez considered that if we do not respect the Earth, we are not respecting ourselves as human beings. He added that it is our decision “to undertake a change to begin acting for life or to continue on the path of ignorance, destruction and damage to the environment. This change implies creating a new paradigm that rethinks many of our values and causes us to revise our habits and lifestyles.”

González Pérez emphasized that in Mexico human activity affects biodiversity and sidesteps the opportunity to make sustainable use of natural resources. Given the weakness of our rule of law, such practices as illegal logging or the intentional destruction of forests [i.e., via ‘wild’ fires set intentionally] to justify land use changes—these have become widespread in some regions, causing severe damage to the natural environment.
Among the dozens of organizations participating in the forum are Seeds of Life [Semillas de Vida], Serepaz, Without Corn There Is No Country [Sin maíz no hay país] and Pachamama Alliance.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/06/02/sociedad/034n1soc

 

 

VME Note: The Forum’s Vision:

“It is time to globalize legislation for the Rights of Mother Earth and establish a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature, to recognize her as a living being—the biggest of all—to protect her, restore her, and link her to humanity by way of respect and preservation of all her species. Only this action can stop the irrational exploitation and the utilitarian view that today drives the relationship between mankind and Nature. Therefore, this declaration is the first step to ensure the future of the innumerable forms of existence, including the human species, on our planet.”

Forum activities will culminate in celebration of World Environment Day on June 5, 2016.

Leonardo Boff (Brazil) Philosopher, theologian and member of the international initiative of the Earth Charter. He has received awards in Brazil and abroad. In 2001, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (the Alternative Nobel Prize) in Stockholm, Sweden. His work has had much influence on the liberation theology movements since the seventies and, currently, in movements that have adopted eco-theology as an active expression for the defence of the rights of Mother Earth. He was consulted by Pope Francisco to draft a proposal for integral ecology.

Vandana Shiva (India) Physicist, philosopher, environmental activist, ecofeminist and writer. She received the Alternative Nobel Prize in 1993 and is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization. In 1973, she participated in the Chipko movement, formed by women to prevent the logging of forests in the Himalayas. In 1982, she created the Foundation for Scientific, Technological and Ecological Investigation, which has generated several initiatives that link women and the Earth. In 1993, she won the Global 500 Roll of Honour of the United Nations Environmental Programme and the United Nations Earth Day International Award.

http://voicesmotherearth.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/first-world-forum-for-rights-of-mother.html

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May 27, 2016

Communiqué from the FPDT of Atenco Against the New Illegal Incursions into Our Communities

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:22 pm

 

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Communiqué from the Peoples’ Front in Defence of the Land from Atenco Against the New Illegal Incursions into Our Communities

The Earth is not for sale, it is Loved and Defended

 

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We denounce that today, May 23, 2016, around 8 am, workers of the airport group illegally entered the territory of Nexquipayac, escorted by more than 200 members of the federal, marine, state and municipal police. This was carried out with the intention of marking out the perimeter fence of the airport which the government of Enrique Peña Nieto is trying to impose, flagrantly violating the court-ordered injunction (amparo) brought by the communities affected. We express our total rejection of this work of death, as well as the damages to the ecosystem of the Bank of former lake Texcoco.

Also taking part in this new illegal incursion were ejidal representatives of Ixtapan, Nexquipayac, Atenco, La Colonia Francisco I. Madero and Tocuilo who without consulting their assemblies nor their respective peoples, gave consent for this advancement of dispossession being carried out.

We also denounce the presence of the group of thugs made up mostly of people affiliated with the PRI, the same that participated in the destruction of the mural in Atenco, symbol of the struggle and defence of the land, and also in the ejidal assembly of June 1st, 2014 and in the Agrarian Tribunal of Texcoco; all of these were led by Andrés Ruíz Méndez, who serves as municipal president of Atenco and at the same time as de facto commissioner of the ejido of Atenco, and also by Alejandro Santiago López, alias “the Oaxacan.”

These illegal incursions are acts of provocation that the government is mounting to stir up he tempers of the people and justify the repression against the communities and members of the Peoples’ Front in Defence of the Land.

With these actions, the lie of Enrique Peña Nieto is reiterated, for since he reactivated the construction of the airport in September of 2014, he gave assurances that our lands would not be taken. nevertheless, the perimeter of lake Texcoco, that today they call federal zone, is also part of our territory which they are already devastating.

The utilization of workers for the airport who come from our own peoples is being used as a tactic to divide the people and make us fight amongst each other, something that we have pointed out and constantly rejected.

In this situation we call firstly on the National Commission of Human Rights, and also on the national and international independent organizations for human rights, both independent and official, to stand up for the respect for life, which we are defending and safeguarding in our territory.

We demand the cancellation of the new international airport of Mexico City and respect for the will of our people to exercise their right to self-determination.

We demand the withdrawal of all types of police bodies, military, federal and marine from our territories.

We hold the three levels of government—federal, state, and municipal—responsible for the wrongdoings that continue against our community life, and the new risk they have imposed on us of being criminalized and repressed, they are the first to trample our human rights.
We call on national and international media to attend tomorrow, Tuesday, 24th May at 10:30 am in the central square of the community of San Cristobal Nexquipayac, to head later to Cerro de Tepetzingo where the press conference will be held.

 

The earth is not for sale, it is loved and defended!

Zapata lives, the Struggle Continues!

Peoples’ Front in Defence of the Land.

 

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Edited version of a translation by Palabras Rebeldes

http://atencofpdt.blogspot.mx/2016/05/comunicado-del-fpdt-atenco-ante-nueva.html

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