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February 24, 2017

EZLN: What’s Next II. The Urgent and the Important

Filed under: Autonomy, CNI, Displacement, gal, Indigenous, Maize, Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:32 pm

 

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EZLN: What’s Next II. The Urgent and the Important

 

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January 3, 2017

I’ve been listening to you. Sometimes when I’m here with you all, sometimes via the CIDECI stream, sometimes via what your Zapatista students mention to me.

I always try to get a grasp on the meaning of your presentations, the path and direction of your words. We have heard brilliant presentations, some didactic, some complex, the majority polemical, but on and about things that can be debated. And we think you should do so, among yourselves. For that discussion, perhaps it would help you to first clarify the confusion that exists between science and technology.

With regard to the rest, we are as surprised as you are. This interest [of the Zapatista students] in science is not something we ordered or imposed, but rather something that was born from inside [of the Zapatista communities].

Twenty-three years ago, when feminism came to demand that we order women’s liberation, we told them that wasn’t something that can be ordered, because it belongs to the compañeras. Freedom is not ordered, it is conquered. Two decades later, what the compañeras have achieved would put to shame those who at that time claimed to be the vanguard of feminism.

It’s the same now. Science is not imposed. It is the product of a process of the peoples, exactly as Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés explained.

I’ve told you that we thought the majority of your presentations were good, but there were some, just a few, that, well I don’t know what to tell you.

One of them said admiring things about me; I listened with attention and waited for the moment when he would say: “everything I have just said is a fraud, I presented it to you so you would see what pseudo-science is and so that you don’t trust the principal of authority; just because someone has a formal education doesn’t mean that what they say is scientific.” But no, that moment never came.

I scrutinized his face to see if he was smiling maliciously, but no. He was sincerely convinced of the barbarities he was presenting, and appreciatively received the applause of his buddies in the crowd and others he had managed to sweet-talk.

When a compañera insurgenta heard that thing about not needing to make babies, that it’s better to adopt because there are a lot 15941338_1341911112495607_3922665712756661550_nof people on the planet already, she said to me: “so that’s how they get rid of people, the Hydra isn’t even necessary, that idea is sufficient. That’s the idea of rich people; even if there are only one or two of them, they are the ones who are in the way and of no use. That idea that was presented tells us there is no need to struggle to make another world, we just need to take contraceptives.”

 

I’m going to tell you what someone once told me about the time when the world was like an apple, waiting for the bite of original sin.

This man was explaining to me how he made a living. He used the “Boa Constrictor” method, as he called it. He had a helper, and together they would put vaseline into small jars and make labels that read “Balm for Absolutely Everything.” The small print told you that this balm could cure everything from Alzheimers to a broken heart, including along the way polio, typhoid fever, hair loss, evil eye, toothache, foot odour, bad breath, and some other ailments that I don’t remember.

This is what this person would do: stand on a corner and begin to rail against zoos and circuses, that oh the poor little animals, locked up like that. And he would announce: “That is why we are going to show you a boa constrictor, 7 meters long, that we found in the sewer and rescued and now take care of, and right here and now we are going to show it to you, madam, sir, young man, young lady, child, the public in general.”

People would gather around curiously, mostly because the boa constrictor was nowhere in sight, just an old suitcase full of small jars of a balm called “Absolutely Everything.

When he decided there were enough people around, he would turn to his helper and say loudly, “Secretary! Brrrrrinnnnnngg me the boa!” The accomplice would nod and run off to who knows where.

The man would watch his helper move into the distance. Picking at random, he would comment to someone close: “It seems like a lie, but just a few weeks ago that boy couldn’t move, not even with a cane, only in a wheelchair. And just look at him now. It seems like a miracle, but no, that’s not it. What happened was, luckily, I found the scientific formula for a medicine that cured him. Here, I’ll show you.”

Of course, the “innocent” comment that was supposedly aimed at one person was said in such a way for several to hear. The man would then go to the suitcase and take out a jar and tell the first person to whom he had directed the comment: “Look, this is what I was telling you about.” The person would take the jar and read the label while the man would pretend indifference, rearranging the little jars and looking in the direction the assistant had gone and commenting as if to himself, “why is that boy taking so long? I hope the boa constrictor hasn’t escaped on him, because if it has, we’ll see it in the news tomorrow, poor animal, they might cage it or turn it into bags and shoes.”

In the meantime, the innocent person who received the jar would be showing it to the person beside them, commenting on what had happened to the boy who went to get the boa. In a few minutes the jar had been passed through some 10 people, and the man would say then: “Okay now, give the medicine back to the madam, the gentlemen, the young man, young woman,” accordingly, and then to that person would add, “you keep it, as a gift, try it, you’ll see.

Others would then come up asking for their free sample too and the man, apologetically, would explain: “No, I’m sorry, I can’t give them to everyone, it’s a special order from the Secretary of Health. But, not that I think about it, it’s better for you all to have a chance to try it instead of those government scoundrels. Just give me 10 pesos each so I can replace the government order.”

It was enough that 5 or so people would come up for others to join in, and soon he would have around him a decent number of people. The people would comment among themselves what the balm was all about and the man, pretending indifference, would merely charge for each jar while lamenting the delay of his “secretary” and and the cursed boa.

In a matter of minutes, the helper would come back all agitated and worried and whisper something to the man. The man would answer “My god, really? Are you sure?” Then he would quickly pick up the now empty or almost empty suitcase and, addressing the people gathered there, proclaim: “Run! The boa escaped and the police and patrols are on their way.” He and the helper would take off with alarm and as the word of warning spread the people would scatter also.

I asked him how much the cursed medicine cost. He told me he pulled the little jars out of the trash and the vaseline, well that came out to about a peso per jar. So this method earned him some 100 pesos a day, at a time when the minimum wage was 8 pesos a day.

Anyway, I just wanted to say to those who tried to apply that method in this gathering that even if you have an academic degree, we’re not buying your little jars. You’ll have to look for another corner from which to hock your quack commodities.

-*-

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Perhaps somebody out there still has the image in mind of the ignorant and naive indigenous, and thought they could tell us they were going to talk about one thing knowing full well that they were going to talk about something else that had nothing to do with science. Hell, it doesn’t even manage to be pseudoscience. I’ve read better developed, more original, and equally false things on social media.

Let me tell you: if you complain that the science departments in academia don’t take seriously what is pure existential nonsense, well, here we don’t either.

If in academia they don’t take your political activism in account, well we don’t either. But I can tell you where they do: on the institutional left. There, yes, you can go and say: I’m a doctorate in who knows what and I’ve participated in this many marches, rallies, and classes, and indeed they will give you some leadership position in something, anything, as advisors or coordinators.

Here, if you came because you know mathematics, then we want to hear you talk about mathematics, even if you don’t know what surplus value or class struggle is, even if you don’t know if “The International” is a song of struggle, an opera, or the name of a corner store. As Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés already told you, science is science, whether you are a partidista [associated with a political party] or a Zapatista.

It’s also not worth your time to come here and fawn over or court us, although I think that does work in academic institutions.

Neither are we interested in being manipulated around skin colour, sexual preference, or religious belief. You either know what you’re talking about or you don’t; it doesn’t matter if you are dark-skinned, white, red, yellow, black, or mixed; it doesn’t matter if you are a man, woman, homosexual, gay, trans, or whatever; it doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, Mohammedan, or whatever; if you’re going to do science, then you do science, not religion, philosophy, or the quackery currently trending on social media.

So here we don’t discriminate. Here differences aren’t a demerit, but they aren’t a merit either. With respect to the personal sufferings or dramas you may have, fine, we understand. But you should understand that we are a very poor audience from which to expect pity. With everything you have suffered and continue to suffer, it could not compare with what it has been, and is, to be what we are.

But I understand what’s going on with you, everyone gets off with what they can. However, it doesn’t seem honest to us to come here and lie, saying you came to talk about science and not your existential lashings.

But the compañeros and compañeras are noble and understanding. We invited you to talk to us and we have honoured that; we have listened with respect, which isn’t the same as saying that we have swallowed all your tall tales. We honoured the agreement. Those people did not.

Imagine that this is an assembly in one of the Zapatista communities, and you go up to present one of your projects. You have said you are going talk about biology, medicine, laboratory work, clinical analysis, agroecology, engineering, or pharmaceuticals, and the assembly says, yes, go ahead, these things are urgent. Or you are coming to talk about physics, chemistry, math, volcanology, astronomy, and other sciences, and the assembly says yes, go ahead, these things are important.

But if someone comes who says they are going to tell us that science needs to do postmodern philosophy and take the existential variables of each person into account, well, the assembly is going to listen to you, but they aren’t going to tell you to go ahead. They are going to propose that you infiltrate Skynet and convince Artificial Intelligence to accept your scientific proposal. I’m sure that it would collapse in no time, which would relieve the duality suffered by John Connor, and humanity as a whole would be liberated from the Terminator sequels.

Of course, I recommend that you truly study and realize that you are closer to Aristotle and Ptolemy than to Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler.

-*-

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The Apocalypse According to Defensa Zapatista

The mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Territory in resistance and rebellion. There is an autonomous school. A classroom. There, the education promotora is talking to the Zapatista girls and boys:

Before we leave I’m going to tell you a story. You have to think about it and respond to the question I ask at the end.”

On one of the benches at the back, a little girl stops drawing complicated diagrams in her notebook which, although they appear to be flowcharts, are really diagrams of soccer tactics. At the margin of the lines and arrows one can read “when we fill up the team.” At the little girl’s feet there is a ball, frayed and full of lumps, and on her laps sleeps a kind of cat…or a dog… or something.

It’s not just the little girl, but the whole class that’s hanging on the words of the promotora, who says:

There is a voice that tells us what it sees. It says to realize that the world is going to end once and for all, and that we can see that there are only two men left. The two are standing face to face; they aren’t talking to each other, but you can tell they are very angry. They are the only men left, everyone else has died already. They are the last men on Earth. These two men don’t talk to each other or look at each other, but they are arguing angrily. And they aren’t talking to or looking at each other because they are sending each other messages on their phones. That is, as they say, they are fighting as if their cellphones were weapons, the only ones left because the world is ending. They are scolding each other harshly, as only the two of them can see. One is saying to the other, that is, he is sending him a text message:

It is all your fault because with science you created destruction.” (send)

The other looks at the message on his phone, gets angry and answers:

No, it is your fault because instead of science, you starting saying we should do what the ancient primitives did and not use technologies.” (send)

The first really gets mad now and you can see in his eyes that it’s like he wants to burn up the screen of his phone. He writes:

No, it’s your fault because with your science and technology you created the weapons that killed off everything, including the poor little animals.” (send)

The other looks at the message and you can see in his eyes he’s thinking “you’ll see, you bastard,” and he responds:

No, it’s your fault because you said that we shouldn’t learn science because science is bad because it doesn’t respect Mother Earth and does her harm.” (send)

The other looks with hate at the screen and types out:

No, it’s your fault because you think you know so much with your science and you don’t take the people’s needs into account and you go around with a big head thinking nobody can match you and all that shit you talk.” (send)

The first reads and gets so furious you wouldn’t believe it. He looks at the other and in his eye you can see “you’re going to die, bastard.” So he writes:

No, it’s your fault because you criticized science out of pure laziness, you don’t want to study or learn because it’s clear that you’re just slothful and trifling.” (send)

The two men go on like this for awhile, fighting angrily over their cellphones. They don’t know it, but this is the last day; as soon as night falls, everything is over. But because they were fighting and looking at their cell phones, they didn’t realize when the sun hid itself in the mountains and the land fell dark.”

The education promotora who has used everything she learned in her education preparation courses in order to tell the story, concludes:

Okay, so this is the story the voice has narrated. So, the question you must answer is: “Which of the men survived the end of the world?

The children stay quiet, thinking.

In the first row of the classroom sits Pedrito. He says it’s so that he can pay close attention, but we all know it’s because he’s totally in love with the promotora, but we’re not going to publish that because it’s his secret.

Pedrito raises his hand, asking to be called on.

The promotora is about to say, “Let’s see, Pedrito, what do you think,” when from the back of the classroom a little girl’s voice says:

Well that’s easy.”

Everyone, including the promotora, turns to look at the little girl who has stood up and already has her bag over her shoulder with her notebook and pen inside. In her little hands she holds the frayed ball, while the Cat-dog stretches at her feet. The teacher says resignedly:

Okay Defensa Zapatista, tell us what you think.”

The little girl is already moving toward the door of the classroom as she announces:

The answer is easy, because it’s clear that it’s the fucking men’s fault that the world is ending because they’re so terrible with that patriarchality of theirs which is just impossible to believe in anymore. And they didn’t study the fucking Hydra which has been consuming and screwing over the whole planet earth. So there they are, all macho, fighting with their cell phones and their songs about horses and love and then about lost love, I mean why can’t they just decide already.

Anyway, teacher, so that you understand as the women that we are, I’m going to explain the word “patriarchality” which is like where the men rule and they want us women to just be waiting on them hand and foot, and then later they tell us how much they love us and how we have very pretty eyes, as if they were looking at our eyes, no, they’re looking at something else. I don’t know what it is that they’re really looking at because I’m not grown up yet, but that’s what my moms told me the fucking men do. When I grow up, they better not even think about it, I’m going to give them their slaps upside the head and a few kicks if they look at me wrong. So, the “patriarchality means that the fucking men just want us to make them their pozol and then are always pestering us for a kiss. Do you think we’re just going to give them a kiss, just like that? Oh no, I don’t think so, maybe instead of a kiss a knock on the head. And then they think they’re going to convince us with their songs about horses. They’re just so dumb, let’s see if they can find a horse to make them their pozol, what are they going to come up with then, never ever…”

The teacher knows the little girl very well already, so she interrupts:

Okay, Defensa Zapatista, answer the question.”

The little girl is already at the door. As the Cat-dog wags its tail happily at her feet, she responds:

Look, it’s easy. Neither of the two men live; they both die because they were stupid. Clearly it’s the fault of the patriarchality that the world is going to end, but it doesn’t, because it turns out there is someone who lives which is the compañera who is telling the story. Because if it’s not a compañera who tells the story then there’s no story. And the compañera who tells the story carries her little baby on her back in her shawl and is giving what you might call political lessons to the baby, so that the baby learns that we have to support each other as the women that we are.”

The little girl didn’t wait to see what the education promotora would say, and accepting as a given that her answer was correct, ran out of the classroom yelling “Let’s play!” as the Cat-dog and the rest of the class followed her out the door.

The education promotora smiles as she puts away her notebooks and books, one of which reads across the cover, “Twentieth Anniversary Anthology. National Indigenous Congress. Never Again a Mexico Without Us.” Ready to leave, the teacher notices that not all the children have left.

On the front bench sits Pedrito, looking all sad and defeated. The promotora goes over and sits down beside him asking,

What’s wrong Pedrito, why are you sad?”

Pedrito sighs and answers, “Because I didn’t get to answer the question because Defensa Zapatista spoke first.”

Ah,” the teachers says, “don’t worry Pedrito, what was your answer?”

Pedrito explains with a tone of the obvious:

Well I was going to answer that the story doesn’t hold up, because if there are only two men left, arguing over their cell phones, then who is working so that there’s a cell signal? This means that there are others who continue working, that is, that there can’t just be two left. So you see what I’m saying teacher, your story lacks logic, coherence in the argument. So the answer is that the very premise is faulty and for that reason, the conclusion, whatever that may be, is false. This would have been understood if critical thinking was applied to the analysis.” (trust me, that’s how Pedrito talks, if you get to meet him some day you’ll see I’m not making things up).

Pedrito, after finishing talking, returns to his posture of sorrow and sadness.

The education promotora is thinking about what the words “coherence” and “premise” mean, and that this is always the case with Pedrito, that he uses words that challenge even the Comandancia. The promotora isn’t embarrassed to ask Pedrito what those words mean, but she sees that Pedrito is sad so she hugs him and says:

Don’t worry Pedrito, your answer is good, too.”

Pedrito, upon being hugged, turns all shades of red and puts on his “no one has ever hugged me before” face, just like the deceased SupMarcos taught him. Letting himself be loved on, Pedrito thinks that it turned out well after all that Defensa Zapatista answered first, because this was why the promotora was hugging him and from within the embrace, Pedrito understands that no, the world is not going to end, that as long as the embrace lasts the world will keep giving opportunity to life, because that is what life is, an embrace.

Pedrito is reflecting on this when the little girl appears in the doorway and says to him, “Hurry up Pedrito, we have to fill up the team so we can bring a challenge.”

Pedrito separates himself from the embrace of the promotora as if tearing his heart out, but he goes over to the little girl because he is, in addition to a little boy, a Zapatista, and a Zapatista can’t allow the team to be let down on their account. Before leaving the room Pedrito says to the little girl: “But I’m telling you straight-up right now that I’m not playing goalie anymore, put the one-eyed horse on goalie, I want to play forward.”

Defensa Zapatista is not going to let a boy have the last word in this story, so she says:

Forward? Puh-leeze. SupGaleano showed me some videos and now I have a new plan. Now we are going to play according to the science of ‘total soccer’ like those Dutch orange ones. Don’t you know you have to study for that? You do. Both things, science and art. Later I’ll explain it to you. Just as soon as we fill up the team you’ll see, don’t worry, there will be more of us, it might take awhile, but there will be more.”

The little boy and the little girl leave. It is only then that we can see that the little girl has on an orange t-shirt that hangs nearly to her heels and taped on the back are crooked letters that spell “Cruyff”i and below them: “Resistance and Rebellion.”

Off to the side of the pasture waits a motley crew including: a old horse leisurely chewing on a empty tobacco bag; a short man with gray hair shivering despite his coat; and a tall, thin man who stands out for his height and the strange hat he is wearing. He is using his magnifying glass to study with great interest a small strange animal that, at a distance seems to be a dog… or a cat.. or a cat-dog.

Nearby, where the community has been working to deepen the scratches in the wall, anonymous hands have written, below and to the left, a graffiti that is bursting in colour. It reads:

We are the National Indigenous Congress and we are going for everything, and it will be for everyone.”

In a bunker far away, alarms are going off and the earth is trembling. Above, brother John Berger, smiling, has drawn a question in the clouds, for whoever looks high: “Y tú qué?”

-*-

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The Urgent and the Important

The story I’m going to tell you is a little bit sad.

It’s sad because it includes the tears of a little Zapatista girl. But despite this, or precisely because of it, I’m going to tell the story because after hearing you speak, present, reflect, and try to respond and teach, I’ve been thinking about what’s next. I don’t know if you all have thought about it. If not, I recommend that you do—think about what’s next.

I’ve imagined that we’re in another time, further ahead. Here goes:

This time, without being announced by a soccer ball rolling in, “Defensa Zapatista” has arrived at my hut. It’s clear that she’s been crying, and a few tears still glow on her cheeks. “Defensa Zapatista” maintains that little girls don’t cry, that that’s for men, and that women are stronger. So I understood why the little girl had come to my hut, where there are only ghosts and silences. Here she is safe, here she can cry without anyone, except me, seeing her. Here she can put her strength away in a box and let feelings fill her gaze and sorrow become liquid.

I didn’t say anything. I acted like I didn’t see her and that I was busy sweeping tobacco and crumpled up papers off the floor around the table.
Finally, she wiped her tears with a red handkerchief, sighed, and cleared her throat in order to ask me:

Hey Sup, do you know what it’s like to have a bad dream?”
“I sure do,” I responded, “bad dreams are called nightmares [pesadillas].”

She looked intrigued and asked, “And what’s the purpose of those quesadillas, why do they exist and who made them? Because they’re beastly.”

They’re called “pesadillas,” not “quesadillas.” Quesadillas are good because they have cheese. Pesadillas aren’t good. But why do you ask?”

I had a really bad dream and I woke up with something like a stomach ache, like something wasn’t okay, something was hurting,” she said.

Tell me about it,” I encouraged her and lit my pipe.

“Well, I dreamed we were in the community assembly and as it turns out the situation is really rough because of the bad system. And a lot of people are coming here and asking to stay in the community because other places have become unliveable, and so the people come here because we Zapatistas did in fact prepare.

But the people are coming from other countries, as far away as goodness knows where.

So there isn’t enough food and the community has to make the land produce more, because as Zapatistas we have to support other peoples of the world because we’re, as they say, compañerismos. So in the assembly they’re looking at how to organize to be able to give food to those brothers and sisters.

So then someone in the assembly says that we have to find more terrain where we can plant.

And then someone else says what about in the pasture where we play soccer, the Petumax flowers are already blooming, like white, but not, sort of gray but not, I think cream-colored or whatever you call that colournn.

And they say the saw the Chene’k Caribe flower too, which is true because I play with those flowers and pretend they’re little baby chicks.

And that they also saw the “Sun” flower which seems like a sunflower, but isn’t.

So then that compañero said that means that the soil is good in the pasture, that we can plant corn and beans there. And then I got, as they say, worried because there in the pasture is where the one-eyed horse lives and where we play soccer. Well, we don’t exactly play because we haven’t completed the team yet, but we practice and we train really hard.

So then the authority asks the assembly if there’s agreement that we’ll plant in the pasture and make a milpa [corn field] there, and if there’s anyone who disagrees they should say their piece so we can figure out what to do.

So then the whole assembly is silent and nobody asks to speak. And I want to talk to say that we shouldn’t plant in the pasture because then we won’t be able to play, or train that is. But I don’t know how I’m going to say it, because I can see that we do need food to support those other sisters and brothers.

And I’m really upset because nobody says anything and I don’t have the thinking to convince the assembly, and I can see in the authority’s eye that they’re about to say that if nobody has any other comments, that they’ll approve the proposal to plant in the pasture.

And there I am, looking for a good thought and I can’t find one, and I get mad that I can’t find the right words and with the anger the tears come out, and it’s not that I’m crying, it’s just the anger of not knowing what to say.

And right there I woke up and I came running. And on the way I got even madder because of that stinking bad dream, and who sent it or why they’re doing that.”

As she’s been talking, “Defensa Zapatista’s” face is reproducing her pain and desperation.

I remained quiet, but the little girl kept looking at me as if waiting for what I was going to say.

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Even though I realized that “Defensa Zapatista” hadn’t come to sit on the [psychiatrist’s] divan, nor just to vent, I was looking for the right words. I understood that the girl hadn’t come just to hide, she was also looking for answers, and me, well I’m the Subcomandante of stainless steel, the one who, according to “Defensa Zapatista’s” criteria, has the grave defect of being a man. But nobody’s perfect, and besides, I let the Cat-Dog climb up on the keyboard and ruin the texts, and sometimes I have cookies to share (which, for Defensa Zapatista means that she and her little animal gobble up all the ones I like and the ones I don’t, too, and they just leave me the empty package), and I tell stories where she and her gang get into mischief and come out triumphant.

So I’m presenting with you all with the, as they say, context, so you understand that the girl had not really come to tell me a bad dream, but rather to present me with a problem.

When I had been looking through the trunk of memories that the deceased SupMarcos left in my custody, I remembered having seen something that could be useful. I gestured to “Zapatista Defense” that she should wait and I started looking. Under some drawings that John Berger made when he was in Cideci, I found what I was looking for. The papers were shabby, stained with tobacco and humidity, but the clumsy handwriting of the deceased was still legible.

I picked my pipe back up and lit it. I read almost in silence, only making a few gestures and emitting incomprehensible grunts. The girl watched me in suspense, waiting. The Cat-Dog had left the computer mouse in peace and, its ears perked, remained expectant.

After acting all important for a few minutes, I told her:

There it is, there’s no problem. I’ve found the solution to your nightmare. It turns out that in this writing by the deceased SupMarcos (may baby Jesus keep him in holy glory and may the dear Virgen fill him with blessings) explains that nightmares are problems and that they can be alleviated if you resolve the problem of the nightmare.

Then he says that dreams are the solution to nightmares.

That what you have to do is find the solution and then the good dream comes out.

That way you save a ton of money on psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and antacids. Okay, that’s not related.

And in this other writing, he says that the problem isn’t just knowing what’s urgent and what’s important.

What’s urgent is what you have to do right now, and what’s important is, for example, what you know you must do.

For example, in the case of the bad dream you’re telling me about, what’s urgent is that the compas have to increase food production; and what’s important is not to lose the space where you play.

In which case it’s a big problem, because if you protect the place to play, well, then they won’t plant there and there will be hunger; and if they plant there, well then there won’t be any more place to play.”

Defensa Zapatista” nodded, convinced of what I was saying to her. I continued:

So the deceased says here that that’s called ‘exclusive options,’ which is to say that you do one thing or the other, but you can’t do both. SupMarcos says that this is almost always false, which is to say that it’s not necessarily one or the other, but rather that something different can be imagined. And he gives the example of the originary peoples, which is to say the indigenous.

He says: ‘For example, the originary peoples, going back centuries, have always done two things at the same time: what’s urgent and what’s necessary. What’s urgent is to survive, which is to say to not die, and what’s important is to live. And they resolve this with resistance and rebellion, which is to say that they resist dying and at the same time they create, with their rebellion, another way of living.’ So he says that whenever possible, it’s necessary to think about creating something else.”

I put down the papers and I turned to “Zapatista Defense”:

So I believe what you can do with the problem of your bad dream is explain to the assembly what’s urgent and what’s important.

Which is to say that both parts have good thought behind them, but if you pick one, well, you’ve screwed the other.

So explain to the assembly that it doesn’t necessarily have to be one thing or the other, but rather that it’s necessary to think of something else, something different but so that both objectives are met.

And then it’s not that the assembly’s problem is getting resolved nor that your problem is getting resolved, but rather that it’s a different problem altogether.

And it’s the new problem that you both have to think about, that is, you and the assembly.”

The whole time the girl had been sitting quietly with her chin in her little hand, paying attention.

Contrary to his usual habits, the Cat-Dog had also been still.

Zapatista Defence” stayed silent, looking fixedly at the floor.

I don’t know much about what happens in the head of a little girl. Of a boy, sure, perhaps because I haven’t matured despite the many kilometres I’ve covered. But girls, whatever their age, continue to be a mystery that perhaps science will one day be able to solve.

Suddenly, “Zapatista Defence” turned to look at the Cat-Dog, and he in turn looked at her.

The mutual glance lasted only a few seconds, and the Cat-Dog began to jump, bark and meow. The girl’s little face lit up and she practically shouted: “Yes, the Cat-Dog!” and she began to jump and dance together with the animal.

I didn’t just put on my confused face, in fact I didn’t understand what all this was about. But, resigned, I waited for ““Zapatista Defence” and the Cat-Dog to calm down, which didn’t happen for several more minutes that seemed eternal to me. Finally the commotion died down and, still excited, the girl explained:

It’s the Cat-Dog, Sup! I have to bring the Cat-Dog to my bad dream and I have to bring him to the assembly and he’s going to help me and so then it’ll be a good dream.

The solution to the problem was right here but I hadn’t studied it.

It’s the Cat-Dog, it’s always been the Cat-Dog.”

I think that my “What?!” face must have been very obvious, because “Defensa Zapatista” felt obliged to clarify:

Look I’ll explain it to you Sup: the Cat-Dog, is he a cat? No. Is he a dog? Not that either. So then he’s neither one thing nor the other, but rather something else, he’s a Cat-Dog. If I show the Cat-Dog to the assembly, obviously they’re going to see that we have to do something else, so both sides can happily be in mutual agreement.”

I couldn’t understand how the assembly was going to make the, as they say, “epistemological leap” from that thing, that is to say the Cat-Dog, to the disjuncture between the pasture for playing soccer or the pasture for planting. But it seems that “Defensa Zapatista” wasn’t worried about that.

The next day, on the way to town, I passed by the pasture. Night was already beginning to fall and the sound of those who were scratching at the wall continued. There was still enough light, because “Zapatista Defence” was on the field, together with a group in which I recognized the old one-eyed horse that accompanies her sometimes, the Cat-Dog, and Pedrito. There were also two men, one short and one tall, whom I didn’t recognize and I assumed that they were from the Sixth and that the girl was trying to incorporate them into her perpetually incomplete team.

The girl saw me from afar and greeted me with an energetic wave of her hand. I returned the greeting, realizing that “Zapatista Defence” had resolved the problem because she laughed and ran from one side to the other, showing the group where they should position themselves in some sort of formation that looked to me to have the shape of a snail.

I continued on my path, remembering the ending to that day of tears, when “Defensa Zapatista,” then smiling and with her face lit-up, said goodbye: “I’m leaving now Sup, I’ve got to go.”

And what are you going to do?” I asked her.

She was already gaining distance when she shouted: “I’m going to dream.”

While I waited for the compañeros and compañeras to whom I had to give a talk, the night arrived with its own steps and sounds.

I thought then that perhaps the deceased SupMarcos would have liked to have been present for “Defensa Zapatista’s” dream to know how she made her argument and what the decision of the assembly was. Or perhaps he was in fact there. Because, at least in these lands, the dead walk around. They laugh and cry with us, they struggle with us, they live with us.

Thank you very much.

From the CIDCI-Unitierra, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

SupGaleano.

Mexico, January 2017.

iHendrik Johannes “Johan” Cruyff, a Dutch professional soccer player and coach famous for promoting the philosophy known as “Total Football.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johan_Cruyff

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/02/02/que-sigue-ii-lo-urgente-y-lo-importante/

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February 6, 2017

EZLN: Zapatista Alchemy

Filed under: gal, Indigenous, Marcos, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:41 pm

 

EZLN: Zapatista Alchemy

 

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January 2, 2017.

We take a lot of care with the value of the word. When we talk about someone, we’re not just saying his or her name: we’re naming his or her presence with us.

That’s what we mean when we say “brother” or “sister”; but when we say “compañera” or “compañero,” we’re talking about a back and forth, about someone who is not outside but rather who sees and listens to the world, and fights for it, together with us.

I mention this because here with us is the compañero Don Pablo González Casanova, who is, as is evident, a Zapatista Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion unto himself.

Since the compañero Pablo Gonzalez Casanova is here, I’m going to try to raise the level and scientific rigour of my presentation, avoiding any sort of double-entendre (large or small, pay attention).

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Alchemy. Before you use up your data on your cell phones and tablets checking what “alchemy” is on “Wikipedia,” and overwhelm me with all sorts of definitions, let me clarify that with this term we’re referring to an antecedent, a step that precedes (whether necessary or not, you can decide) the constitution of science as such. Or as the late SupMarcos used to say, “alchemy is a sick science, a science invaded by the parasites of philosophy, ‘folk wisdom,’ and the kind of evidence that saturates the complex world of contemporary communication,” as we can read in one of the documents left behind after his death.

In that text, the deceased indicated that alchemy was not necessarily a precursor to science as indicated by the saying, “all science was alchemy before it was science.” Rather, it was a non-science that aspired to be science. He also said that alchemy, unlike the pseudo-sciences, does not build on a mix of truths and knowledges, with evidence and clichés. Pseudo-science, he says, does not move closer to science but rather separates itself from it and will become its most ferocious enemy; it will succeed in getting more publicity in times of crisis. It does not constitute an alternative explanation of reality (as is the case with religion), but rather a “reasoning” that supplants, invades and conquers scientific thought, defeating it in the most important contest in a media society: that of popularity.

Pseudo-science does not aspire to the argument of faith, hope and charity. Rather, it offers an explanation with a logical structure that “tricks” reasoning. To put it plainly: pseudo-science is a fraud, typical of the charlatanism that abounds in academia.

Alchemy, on the other hand, aspires to free itself, to “cure” itself, to “purge” the parasites that are the non-scientific elements.

Although it claims dubious maternity rights over the sciences, philosophy, which calls itself “the science of the sciences,” is, according to the text of the deceased, one of those very parasites. “Perhaps the most dangerous one,” continues the late Sup, “because it presents itself to science as a way out of that affirmation-negation, ‘I don’t know’, that, sooner or later, science bumps up against. Its commitment to rationality leads science to supplant religion with philosophy when it arrives at its limit.”

For example, if it didn’t have the capacity to explain why it rains, instead of invoking the argument that god is the one who decides about rainfall, science would prefer to invoke a reasoning along the lines of, “The rain is none other than a social construction, with a theoretical-empirical appearance revolving around a random perception that occurs in the context of a continual conflict between being and non-being; it’s not that you get wet when it rains, but rather that your perception of ‘getting wet’ is a vacillating part of a universal decoloniality.”

Even though all this could be summarized as, “it’s really up to the rain whether it falls, or falls on you,” science would embrace this external explanation, because, among other things, science believes that its explicatory power is in language, and not in the power to make possible the transformation of reality. “Know in order to transform,” they told us here a few days ago. Philosophy successfully sells science its certificate of legitimacy: “you are science when you achieve a logic in language, not when you are able to understand.”

If we go even further, for “Zapatista alchemy,” science not only understands reality and thereby makes possible its transformation; scientific knowledge also “opens the path” and defines new horizons. That is to say, for Zapatista alchemy, science completes its duty by continually arriving at the recognition that “what is missing is yet to come.”

If, in the philosophical and scientific thought of the last century, the sciences progressively “dismantled” religious explanations, offering verifiable knowledge; then in the coming crisis, the pseudo-sciences do not confront reality with a magical explanation, but rather “invade” and “parasitize” the sciences, first in order to “humanize” them, and then in order to supplant them.

Philosophies are then transformed such that they no longer function as the tribunal that sanctions scientificity according to the logical structure of language, but rather the generic, naturopath and homeopathic explanation opposed to the “obvious”, scientific one. To make myself clear: for postmodern philosophy, micro-doses are the best weapon against the big pharmaceutical monopolies.

The popularity of the pseudo-sciences is rooted in the fact that a scientific background is unnecessary: it’s enough to nourish oneself in the hidden corners of language, to supplement ignorance with badly concealed pedantry and evidence and platitudes with complex linguistic inventions.

Faced with an affirmation like: “the law of universal gravitation says that the force of attraction between two bodies with mass is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance that separates them,” science will recur to observation and experimentation, while philosophy will analyze the logical reasoning in the language.

Another example: an assertion from the neurosciences, like “a lesion in area 17 of the occipital lobe can cause cortical blindness or blind spots, depending on the extent of the lesion,” can be confirmed with functional magnetic resonance imaging, an electroencephalogram or similar technologies.

Clearly, in order to be able to do this it was necessary for science to advance to be able to study the brain and explain its parts, but the development of other sciences was also necessary to obtain the functional neuroimages.

When, upon the recommendation of a compa, I read that excellent text called The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, by the neurologist Oliver Sacks, I thought that Sacks must have been itching to open that man’s head to see what was happening in his brain. Although I would have preferred to open his wife’s head to understand how she could stand to be confused for a hat and why she didn’t “fix” her husband’s dysfunction with a good smack upside the head.

Now, scientific-technological advances will make it possible to study, for example, what happens in the Cat-dog’s brain without the necessity of opening its head.

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Despite this, faced with a scientific explanation for brain function, pseudo-science will offer its own explanation using a supposedly scientific language, and it will tell us that our problems are due to the fact that we haven’t developed the full capacity of our brain function. And so, theories abound that say that intelligence is measured by the percentage of the brain that is used. A more intelligent person uses a greater percentage of his or her brain. For example, Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto would have in common that they use 0.00001% of their brains, while Einstein would have used, let’s say, 30%. The success of the movie “Lucy” is not limited to the box-office, nor due only to the fact that it was directed by Luc Bensson and stars my ex, Scarlett Johansson; it’s because it permits the appearance of charlatans who offer courses so you can become more intelligent using “scientific techniques” to take advantage of your maximum brain capacity.

And so the commercial success of products with pheromones to attract the opposite sex was brief. (“If you, my friend, can’t manage to catch the bus much less a man or woman-friend, it’s not because you can’t pull yourself away from the TV or computer screen, it’s because you don’t use this soap-perfume: after the first use, you’ll see how they throw themselves at you as if you were a youtuber, tweetstar or a trendy meme. And just look, for one time only we have a special offer of 333 for the price of 2, but only if you call the number on the screen in the next 15 minutes. Remember to have your credit card number on hand. You don’t have a credit card? For the love of…well that’s why you can’t even catch a cold, much less a partner; no, friend, not even pheromones will help you. Change the channel or go watch videos of funny accidents, the prophecies of Nostradamus or similar things that will provide conversation material in the chat room of your preference).

But just behind in the relay race is the stupid blunder of “brain capacity,” which is supplanting the pheromone lotions with products that develop your cognitive capacities: you too, friend, can be a successful person and learn to fly and repair interstellar spaceships on youtube.

Perhaps this proposal, which is neither modern nor post-modern, would not be so supported even by some scientists if they knew that one of its promoters was Dale Carnegie, with his self-help best-seller, which dates from 1936, titled How to Win Friends and Influence People, which sits on the bedside table of John M. Ackerman et al.

In sum, while scientists try to confirm or discard their hypotheses about how the brain works, pseudo-scientists sell you courses on brain gymnastics and things like that.

And, in general, while the sciences require rigour, study, theory and exhaustive practice, the pseudo-sciences offer knowledge at the click of that dark object of desire for the Cat-dog: the computer mouse.

Which is to say that science is not easy: it’s hard, it demands, it obligates. It’s obviously not popular even among the scientific community.

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And then science doesn’t do anything for itself and it decides to break your heart without a second thought. It happened to me, for example. You all have to be strong and mature for what I’m about to tell you. Sit down, relax, be in harmony with the universe, and prepare yourselves to learn a crude and cruel truth. Are you ready? Well, it turns out that the moka or moca doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as a moka tree or a moka mineral. The moka is not a creation of the first gods to alleviate the life and death of SupMarcos. It’s not the prohibited fruit with which the serpent, dressed-up as a seller of rejuvenating cosmetics, tricked wicked Eve, who in turn coaxed noble Adam and screwed over Rome. Nor is it the holy grail, the sorcerer’s stone that moves the search for knowledge. No, it turns out that…. moka is a hybrid or a mix or something like that. I don’t remember of what with what because, when they told me about it, I got more depressed than when one of the scientists said that the most brilliant alchemist was not present, and then, I confess, I threw myself into vice and perdition. I distanced myself from worldly distractions and I understood, then, the success of the philosophies and pseudo-sciences in vogue today. What is there to live for if the moka is nothing but a construction of the social imaginary? Then I got a better understanding of that spontaneous philosopher who would have had great success on social networks, and who responded to the name of Jose Alfredo Jimenez. “Paths of Guanajuato” [“Caminos de Guanajuato”] would have been the Critique of Pure Reason that Kant couldn’t elaborate.

But, despite injuries and scars, the presentations you all gave start to produce effects:

One insurgente official listened to the talk that Dr. Claudio Martinez Debat gave about genetic inheritance, and he concluded that it’s true. “I applied it quickly, thinking about the communities and, yes, if a compa is a certain way, you see that his father and mother have the same way about them. For example, if SubMoy is very bad-tempered, then it’s because his father was very bad-tempered himself.”

“Ah,” I said to him, “so SubMoy gets mad at us not because we don’t complete our tasks, but because his father was very bad-tempered?”

The scientific investigation is still pending because at that moment SubMoy arrived to check whether we had prepared the things to go to Oventik. That is, justice fell upon on us.

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This is a meeting of the Zapatistas and the sciences. We added “con” to “sciences” not just because of the play on words, but also because your having accepted this meeting with us goes beyond your duty and could imply a reflection about the world, too, as well as an explanation of what you work on in your respective specialties.

As in our previous participations, Subcomandante Insurgente Moises and he who writes and reads this are making an effort to give you data so you can form an image (a profile, they would say these days) of the type of Zapatista who is interested in learning from you all.

We’re striving for this because, as we also said in our other intervention, our aspiration is for this meeting to be repeated, and for it to multiply quantitatively and qualitatively.

With your presentations, you all give us an idea not only of the knowledge you possess, but also of your reasons for accepting our invitation and for being present here in person or via texts, audios and videos.

Because we need science, we are displaying all our charms now, together with SubMoy, in order to convince you all that here, with us, you can and should do science.

That’s why we’re telling you not about science, but about what we have been and what we are, and what we want to be.

We can do what we can. We can’t offer you scholarships, resources, or recognitions to plump up your curriculum vitae. Gosh, we can’t even help you get a few class-hours, much less a tenured position.

It’s true, we could try to con you and put on our “I’m a poor Zapatista who lives in the mountains” face.

Or insinuate, with a seductive voice, “What’s up my plebeian friend, I know you want a piece of this, come on already. You know the scientists say not to produce any more production because the world is as full as the metro at 7:30am: don’t make any more products they say, better to adopt instead. So you and I are going to offer them a full assortment as they say, like cow-tongue or shredded pork tacos, so they have options. If it comes out a boy we’ll keep going until we get a girl, or the other way around, switching, going by pairs. The point is that what’s important isn’t winning, but rather competing.”

Or with a DM that invites: “Come on, let’s deconstruct our clothes and contextualize our private parts.”

Or we could send you a whatsapp that suggests: “You, me, and a particle accelerator: I’m just saying, think about it.”

We could do that, though it surely wouldn’t be successful.

What we’re thinking of doing is what we’re saying: show ourselves as we are and how we’ve come to be what we are.

So that you don’t feel you’re at a disadvantage knowing that you’re being not only listened to, but evaluated (the closing ceremony of this event, on January 4, is when the 200 masked men and women, our compañeros and compañeras, the Zapatista bases of support, will evaluate this event), we’ve tried to give you elements so that you can evaluate us and decide how to answer the complex question of whether you will return, or file these days under “never repeat ever again.”

That evaluation will be our first disagreement and we will have to decide if we overcome it like mature adults and take up couples therapy, or if we call it a day.

In any case, it is to be expected that on your way home you’ll say to yourselves, “sonofa…and I was complaining about the Conacyt [National Council of Science and Technology] and the National System of Researchers.”

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Before, I told you that one way to get to know us was to ask why we ask what we ask. So other possible questions could be, “what do you understand by and expect of science and of scientists?”

For us, science implies knowledge that doesn’t depend on other factors. Note, that’s science, not scientific research. That is, for example, exact science by antonomasia, mathematics in the singular or various kinds of mathematics. Is there a capitalist math and one below and to the left? I give this extreme example because, starting from the still-developing sciences, the “young” sciences as they say, with their understandable errors and stumbling explanations, generalizations are made that say “science is guilty of this and that.” “Science is racist, discriminatory, and doesn’t take into consideration the personal and passionate drama of the scientist.” And there, in the apocalypse of the cat-dog, it becomes the “mother of all misfortune.”

We Zapatistas don’t do science, but we want to learn it, study it, know it, apply it.

We are familiar with the courtship the pseudo-sciences offer us, and with their path of poverty-optimization: the attempt to sweet talk us with the idea that the non-knowledges we have are really “wisdoms.”

I’m going to ignore for now the fact that this position invariably comes from someone who has never done science, that is, beyond middle school science experiments.

But that’s what they tell us, and they give us the example that we know when to plant. It’s true, we do know when to plant; we identify certain “signals” in nature and, through tradition and custom, we know it’s time to sow seeds.

But we don’t know why those signals indicate that it’s time to plant, nor what the relationship is between those signals.

The Zapatista young peoples’ interest in science (as in the example of the estafiatei that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés told us about a few days ago) finds echo and support from the adults and the elders, because climate change has caused those signals to become blurry.

So now, with climate change, the dry season and rainy season have been disrupted. Now it rains when it’s not the time for rain and doesn’t rain when it is. The cold season has been reduced in time and intensity. Animals that are supposed to belong in certain zones begin to appear in others that have neither similar vegetation nor climate.

When the rains are late in coming and the crops are at risk, the custom in the communities is to set firecrackers off into the sky “to wake the clouds,” or to remind god that it’s time for rain, like a reminder of the work at hand in case god got distracted. But it turns out that god is either really busy or not listening, or just doesn’t have anything to do with the extended draught.

So you see, ancestral knowledge isn’t enough, if in fact you can call it knowledge.

So what some call the “ancestral knowledge” of the indigenous confronts a world that they do not understand, that they do not know. And the Zapatistas, instead of consoling ourselves in churches or shrines or resorting to prayer, realize that we need scientific knowledge, now not out of curiosity but out of the necessity to do something real to change our reality or to confront it under better conditions.

That’s why the generations that prepared and carried out the uprising, those that sustained resistance with rebellion, and those that grew up in the context of autonomy and maintain the rebellion and resistance, all agree on one need: scientific knowledge.

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We don’t know how sensitive science is to public opinion, social networks, or the imposition of paths or explanations, not because of the pressure of money, Power, or the system, but because of self-censorship.

We don’t know if something exists that could be called “another science,” and if it would correspond to a media or social court that judges, condemns, and executes sentences against the sciences.

To whom does the construction of another science correspond, if there is something that can be named as such?

We Zapatistas think it corresponds to the scientific community, regardless of its phobias, affinities, political militancy or lack thereof. And we think that community should resist and combat the parasites that latch onto it, or that already inhabit and weaken it.

That is why, even if we don’t manage to convince you that ours is an effort for life as well and that we need you in that endeavour, you should keep on without tiring, without compromise, and without concessions, to us or anyone else.

You should keep on because your commitment is to science, that is, to life.

Thank you very much.

From CIDECI-Unitierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

SupGaleano.

Mexico, January 2017

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog

The 3-of-3 of the Cat-Dog

I don’t know if this is still the case, but 10-12 years ago, people sang and danced ska. I vaguely remember that concerts were organized in solidarity with various people’s struggles. At those concerts, and I don’t know either if they still do this, but instead of paying money, dough, bread, cash, you could get in with a pound of rice, beans, or sugar that would later be sent to those movements. Some of those concerts were to support the Zapatista communities’ resistance, and on one occasion, I think in 2004, they sent me some videos where the only thing you could see was a cloud of dust, in the midst of which you could vaguely make out the crowd jumping around as if they had ants in their pants to the rhythm of “La Carencia,” which is what Defensa Zapatista found on the internet when she looked up the word. I told the compa you couldn’t see a damned thing on the video and he responded that maybe it was my computer, because on his you could see, I quote, “dope, man, dope.

Of course it turns out that his computer was one of those super-modern ones with a foot control, a heliport, a bowling alley and a minibar, and mine, well how can I tell you, it had a DOS operating system and the most modern thing it could read was a 5-inch floppy disk (which was like trying to read the “Piedra del Sol,”ii which is or was housed in the National Museum of Anthropology, with the disinterested support of IBM).

On one trip that compa made to these mountains, he checked my laptop over and declared, and I quote: “yeah that’s lame, plus it’s not even the original video, who knows who that’s from, here, this is the real thing,” and he pulled up another video taken from the stage. There you could hear the music and see the crowd holding up different kinds of stuffed animals. If people still play, sing, and dance to that kind of music, they must have been dying of envy when they saw the Sherlock Holmes and Einstein dolls I had here during the first talk.

It turns out around that around that same time the deceased SupMarcos recorded a CD with the musicians who call themselves “Panteón Rococó,” named “3 times 3,” although I don’t know the reason or motive for the name. This is relevant in this case because perhaps one can find there the antecedent for this “3of3.” Now that it is publicly known that the National Indigenous Congress has decided to form an Indigenous Governing Council and run the spokesperson of that Council as candidate for the Mexican presidency in 2018, the Cat-Dog felt obligated to present its own “3of3,” you know, not to be caught flatfooted and better a bird in the hand and sit down before you’re knocked off your feet.iii

1 of 3: Artificial Intelligence versus Zapatista Intelligence

“The political system has been hacked,” reads the news ticker across all of the screens in the Society of Power Artificial Intelligence complex.

The central Chat forum lights up and almost simultaneously various nicknames appear, all worse than ridiculous.

A dull conversation begins, but stops immediately when the nickname “Bossy” appears.

It’s not just any meeting. And I don’t mean because nobody is physically there. There aren’t even real avatars, just voices.

But every voice knows its place in the hierarchy. The less they speak the higher their rank.

At that moment a voice points out:

I don’t think there’s anything to worry about really. It’s clear that this will only further saturate the [political] centre. One more option for those who think they choose and decide. I don’t really see that there’s a problem, let them do it. And well, that geography was defined a long time ago. I suggest we move on to the next item…”

A voice interrupts, their rank evident in their dubious tone:

Pardon me. I think we should not underestimate what they intend. That should be clear from the fact that this wasn’t even contemplated among the thousands of scenarios that our systems predicted. In fact, we didn’t even realize it was happening until it appeared on the screen.

When we saw the warning blinking “The political system has been hacked,” we thought it was another hacker invasion and that there was no reason to worry. The firewalls would take care not only to neutralize the attack but to counterattack with a virus that would send the intruder back to smoke signal communication. But no, the system didn’t even warn of a virus or infiltration risk. It just indicated that there was something for which it didn’t even have a category of classification.”

Another voice, same volume, similar tone:

I agree. The proposal is too daring for them to be satisfied with a dispute over the centre. I was doing the calculations and I think they are aiming for those people who don’t even appear in our statistics. Those people want to destroy us.”

Several voices begin to murmur. The screens erupt with texts in characters illegible for those not familiar.

A voice inquires with authority:

What do you suggest?”

A vacuum,” says another voice, “that the media focus elsewhere. And that the well-behaved left attack them. There’s no lack of racism there, a mere insinuation will be enough for it to carry on with its own inertia. We’ve done it before, there won’t be a problem.”

Proceed,” the voice with authority states, and “offline” immediately appears on several screens.

Only the smallest voices continue chatting:

Well,” one says, “I think we’re going to have to deal with unpredictable surprises, like that of 1994.”

And what would you do?”

Hmm… remember that bad joke from a few years ago, that if you wanted to prepare for the future you should learn ChineseWell, I recommend that you start studying originary languages. You?

Well, we could try to find a bridge, some kind of communication.”

For what?”

Well, to negotiate decent conditions in prison. Because I don’t think these people are going to offer any kind of amnesty, not before or after the fact.”

And what do you suggest?”

A voice, until that point silent says:

I’d say to learn, but I think it’s too late for that.”

But I have a hypothesis,” the voice continued, “what happened is that the Artificial Intelligence that motors our central server functions with the information that we give it. Based on that data, the AI predicted all of the possible scenarios, their consequences, and the appropriate measures to take. What happened is that what they actually did wasn’t in any of our scenarios; the AI got upset and didn’t know what to do, simultaneously activating the anti-hacker and antivirus warnings and launching the reaction to the closest scenario on hand, which was SupMarcos as presidential candidate.”

Another voice interrupts: “But isn’t Marcos dead?

He is,” responds another, “but for the same reason.”

So they did it to us again, fucking Zapatistas.”

And there’s no way to fix this?”

Well I don’t know about you all but I’ve already reserved a flight to Miami.”

I now look with fear on the Indians, it never occurred to me that they would come to rule.”

Almost simultaneously, “Standby Mode” appears on the various screens.

The red lights are still on. The alert sirens are still going off, alarmed, hysterical.

Far away, some women of the colour of the earth that we are turn off their computer, disconnect the server cable, smile and converse in an incomprehensible language.

A little girl arrives and asks in Spanish: “Hey moms, I finished my homework, can I go play? See, we haven’t filled up the team yet but don’t worry ma, there will be more of us, sometimes it takes awhile but there will be more of us.”

The women leave, running and laughing behind the little girl. They run and laugh as if, in the end, there will be a tomorrow.

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

Note: Upon questioning the Cat-dog on why its “3of3” declaration only has one part and not 3 like its name suggests, it only growled and purred: “what’s missing is yet to come.

 

iAlso known, depending on the source, as Artemisia, white sage, silver herb, mugwort, or wormwood.

iiThe Sun Stone or the Stone of the Five Eras, is a late post-classic Mexica sculpture, often mistakenly referred to as the Aztec Calendar, consisting of a massive 24-ton basalt disc of Aztec carvings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_calendar_stone

iiiA mix of three metaphors in Spanish.

 

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/13/alquimia-zapatista/

 

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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 2, 2016

By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There

Filed under: gal, Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatista, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:43 pm

 

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By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There

 

by SUBCOMANDANTE INSURGENTE GALEANO

 

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Those of us in the meeting were staring up at the central beam of the shelter. Perhaps we were appreciating the fact that the beam was still up there, sturdy and in one piece; or perhaps we were thinking “maybe it’s not,” and so maybe it’s better to take a seat closer to the door, on the ready to make an exit. “If the beam creaks, that means that it might break,” the person who had the floor at the moment had said.

Earlier, that person had asked us to use our imagination:

“Imagine that the system is like this shelter. It is meant to be lived in. But a large and heavy room has been built on the roof of the house, and inside of that room men and women celebrate their wealth.”

It didn’t need to be said, but the person speaking warned us anyway that the weight was too much for the central beam. The house wasn’t built to support a lot of things on top of it, and the stage where all of those men and women fought each other over the throne was heavy, very heavy, too heavy. So it was to be expected that the beam would groan in protest.

What should we do?” the speaker asked, demanding collective thought.

We considered the options. We could reinforce the beam. If we prop it up here and there, it was said, we might alleviate the weight a bit, but it would reduce the available space inside the house. With more and more reinforcements, the house would be converted into a labyrinth of supports and repairs, making it useless for spending the night, cooking, eating, sheltering oneself from the sun and rain, serving as host to the word and the listening ear, for holding parties, or for resting.

The house wouldn’t be a house anymore. That is, instead of a place to live, it would become something that’s sole purpose is to support what’s above. It would just be another structure. Those who lived within it would do so with the sole purpose of keeping those above up there, initially by working to repair and reinforce the structure, and then by converting their own bodies into another part of that structure. This is an absurdity: a house like that cannot be lived in.

Of course it would have been logical for those who designed the house to have thought to reinforce the lower part before adding weight to the top. But no, in the frenzy of the moment, they added more and more things on top, the majority of which were useless and ostentatious. Then there finally came a time when those above forgot that they were being held up by those below. What’s more, they even started to think that those below existed thanks to the mercy and kindness of those above, and that in fact it was those above who sustained those below.

It’s true that those above were fewer in number, but their things were much heavier.

If they had thought about it a little, with each new weight above, they would have added a reinforcement below. Not only did they not do this, but in their eagerness to accumulate more and more above, they were dismantling the primary supports for the building. As if that weren’t enough all of the beams, especially the principal one, had rotted, because those who had been assigned to maintain the edifice were instead busy stealing parts of the structure and pocketing the money that should have been dedicated to the maintenance of the beams.

These people who claim to manage the building deserve special mention. The main problem is this: they only manage what already exists. But not only that, they also dedicate themselves to looting parts of the building’s structure. And as if some tragic comedy, they compete amongst themselves to decide who will be in charge of that theft.

That is why they go every so often to ask those below to mention them, to applaud them, to vote for them. They want to buy the will of those below with flattery and gifts.

But they get their money by taking it from those very same people below. Then, once they’re settled in to the office, they do nothing but give speeches and steal pieces of the walls, furniture, and even the floor. On top of all that, their very existence is adding more and more weight to the roof. In sum, their essential work is to weaken what is below and strengthen what is above.

Conclusion: it is very likely that the house will collapse. This will be bad for those above; it will be worse for those below. But why maintain a house that is no longer a house? That’s right, collective thought moved from seeking a way to keep the structure standing to questioning the very need for its existence.  Of course, this shift was not immediate. The move started when someone asked:

Okay, so this part above, how is it that it is up there, or for what? What is its function?”

And someone else added:

And those people above who say that their work is to manage the building, which it’s clear they don’t do, why are they up there?”

And to round it off, someone asked:

Okay, since we’ve decided to question, what use is a house like this? What if, instead of thinking about what we should do to keep the part above from collapsing on everything below, we think about how to build another house entirely; that would change how we organize ourselves, how we work, how we live.”

At that moment the central beam creaked. It was soft, yes, but the silence it created allowed us to hear it clearly. Then, although it didn’t have anything to do with anything, someone ventured…

Noah, the ark.”

The story, which can be found in both the Bible and the Koran, is simple: Noah receives a divine warning. God is angry because humanity doesn’t honour the rules and so has decided to punish them. The entire world will be flooded and the only ones who will survive are those who can pilot a boat. So Noah decides to build a gigantic boat, the ark. In it, he puts his people and a pair of each species of animal, as well as plants.

The scepticism of the people around him does not deter him. The deluge comes, the world is flooded and everything on the surface of the earth perishes. Only those who are in the ark are saved. After some time a bird brings a small branch to the ark, signalling that there is a dry place nearby. There, humanity is founded anew.

Hmm…Noah’s ark. Now imagine the debate that would arise in response to this story.

We have the religious fundamentalist: it’s proof of god’s omnipotence, he created the world and can destroy it whenever he wants; it’s proof of his mercy, he chooses a few to survive, the chosen. The only thing to do is praise the Lord for his power and pray for his mercy.

We have the scientist: precipitation with these characteristics is impossible; the surface of the earth cannot be entirely covered with water due to one rainfall. This story is nothing but a good script for a Hollywood movie.

We have the philosopher: in reality, it is an allegory emphasizing the fragility of human beings and the transitory nature of their existence.

The Zapatista listens, but is not satisfied by any of these positions. They think, then think some more, and they conclude: what it tells us is that if you see signs that something bad might happen, then you should prepare for it. So it has nothing to do with religion, science, or philosophy—just common sense. Someone said then,

“It’s a given we’ll share this with the communities, but we also have to let the Sixth1 know.”

“Agreed,” said the collective.

But another voice cautioned that before confirming, it would be good to try to see further, maybe from higher ground, just in case things are not what they seem, that they really aren’t that serious…or that maybe they are more serious.

Either way, that meant climbing up among the branches of the ceiba tree, to the highest part, where the leaves and the clouds compete in their games with the wind. Of course I got tangled up several times on my way up. Let’s just say that the pipe and the nose are no help when you’re moving through the branches. Up there at the top, the cold was even colder.

At the top the clouds had finally cleared and the Milky Way snaked from side to side, like a persistent crack of light in the dark wall of the night. I looked questioningly at the most distant lights, out there where the Hubble space telescope was busy analysing a supernova. I took out my binoculars. I jotted down in my notebook the need for an inverted periscope and, of course, a good microscope.

I descended as quickly as possible, which is to say, I fell. I arrived sore to the tent where my bosses [jefas and jefes] were still discussing the beam and its resistance. I said my part. Nobody looked surprised.

“It is time,” they said, “for the heart that we are to open a space for the word, to speak and to listen. And from among these words, let us choose the best seed.”

That is how the idea of the seminar/seedbed emerged.

They continued to think: It is not enough to tell people what we see. We also have to say who we are that are doing the seeing. Because the changes that we are witnessing are not only out there. Our gaze inward also detects changes, and our gaze itself has changed. So it is clear that to explain what we see, we have to explain our gaze.  Thus before the response to the question about what we see, there is another question: “Who is it that is doing the seeing?”

That is how we constructed the “method” for our participation in the seedbed/seminar. Not only are we drawing attention to what we see on the horizon, we are also trying to account for the gaze that we are. So we saw that history is important: how things were before, what continues on the same, what has changed; that is, a genealogy.

To explain the genealogy, both that of who we are as well as what we see, we need concepts, theories, sciences.  And to know whether these concepts are useful, which is to say that they sufficiently account for this history, we need critical thought.

Because both Zapatista reality and that other reality can be explained in a number of ways. For example, you could say that the eezeeelen is an invention of the government, as they love to say over and over again among the “progressive” intelligentsia. Through the gaze of critical thought then, our movement could be explained in its various parts and in its totality as the product of a governmental conspiracy.

If it cannot be explained as such, then we need to look for a different approach or manner of explaining Zapatismo. For example: it is a scheme created by foreigners; it is part of an alien invasion; it is a vindication of the heteropatriarchal system; it is the cunning manipulation of indigenous peoples; it is just nostalgia for the noble savage; it is a cinematic montage; it is a millennial recurrence; it is the product of brilliant action by a group of enlightened people; it is merely the result of the institutional neglect of the state, etcetera.

Here I have given some of the principal “explanations” for Zapatismo that have been spouted from across the ideological spectrum, as much in academia as in the “analysis” of the private media, as well as among political forces, be they institutional or not. If such explanations or theories are not able to account for Zapatismo, then they are no more than opinions and should be taken as such.

But critical thought can go further, for example, by drawing attention to the lack of concepts in any given characterization—that is, the lack of theory.

If an analysis is not supported by an articulated theory, able to emerge unscathed from a confrontation with reality, then where does this analysis come from? From what source does it draw? Who is it that sees with such a gaze?

If instead of concepts what are deployed are judgments, then little to nothing has been understood. And in that case, there is nothing to be done in the face of this reality, other than suffer it. Or, sure, from this one could also construct entire philosophical systems, or “new sciences,” or tweets (these at least have the advantage of being brief).

This critical thought not only helps us give an accounting of our history, what we were, what we are today, and what we want to be, it also allows us to explain reality, that which is most immediate to our calendar and geography. This is what we try to do with our gaze, both when it is oriented inward and when we are looking outward. This is how we come to realize that we need scientific concepts to explain what we are and how we see.

We need basic concepts to understand the capitalist system and the turbulent march of history. Not only can we not spare these things, but we find them absolutely essential: one or a few telescopes, some good binoculars, as many microscopes as there are geographies, and just as many inverted periscopes to study the roots of the matter.

Faced with reality, one can take many distinct positions; one can provide explanations or opinions. Our collective effort is to explain, to understand, to know, and to transform reality.

***

An initial assessment tells us that other gazes coincide with ours on something fundamental: a storm is coming.

Knowing that critical thought should inspire reflection and analysis and not blind unanimity, we have selected some of the words that were presented in the seedbed/seminar. They are many and they are important and the majority of them are provocative. And that was the idea, for the word to provoke thought.

The problem of the calendar and of geography is that they make it difficult, in an initial sitting, for one to take everything in. That is why we decided to make a book, or a couple of books, that people can read calmly and then ask questions: who said what? Why? When? From where? For what? These are important questions because we think that they can help make more and better seedbed/seminars in many other places.

This collection consists of three volumes. In this first volume we have included the Zapatista word according to how it was prepared. We did it this way because our word was spun together like a thread, like a sequence that would help to reconstruct not the whole puzzle, but one of its pieces. This first volume includes: a double gaze (inward and outward); an emphasis on the changes we have detected and suffered; “aids” for the gaze (microscopes, inverted periscopes, binoculars, orbital telescopes); and the warnings we now sound.

You will find here almost everything that we have observed from the crow’s nest of this vessel that is the synthesis of calendars and geographies. Although we at first set out to sound the alarm, to blow the conch shell, we soon realized that what we saw also made us look inward, as if the sentinel’s post had inverted its mission and the sentinel is forced to explain, or try to explain, what gives it meaning, purpose, place. We thought then that we could better explain what we saw outside if we first could explain what we see inside. Did we succeed? I don’t know. The answer is not for us, the Zapatistas, to give, but rather for the listener.

We also propose a method and lay out a necessity. The method is that of reflecting on history itself, on genealogy. The necessity is gathering the theoretical elements to do so. Finally, in both the method and the necessity we find the relevance of critical thought.

The texts in this first volume correspond to those that were read or presented from May 2-9, 2015. As the readers will see, this book also contains some texts that were not presented there in their entirety, and one that was not released at all. Readers will also note that they do not match the audios exactly because as they were being read some things were taken out or added.

We have made an effort to assure that our thinking, compiled here, is not lazy or conformist, that it does not fail to account for what has changed and for what remains the same; that it is not dogmatic, that it does not impose its particular time and its particular way; that it is not deceptive, full of lies and half-truths. We hope that these words are food for doubt, inquiry, and questioning.

Apart from that, the storm is coming. We must prepare.

A recommendation: read these texts as if they were one single piece, not as isolated or unconnected interventions. Our words were thought out and prepared as a single unit, as if each part came out of a puzzle that, in the end, would reveal its shape, its intention, and its thought only in relation to the other pieces.

As is the Zapatista way, at the end you will find the beginning: we have to make more and better seedbed/seminars; to make space for practice, but also for reflection on that practice; to understand the need for theory and the urgency of critical thought.

We are not creating a political party or an organization, we are creating a place from which to see. For this vision, we need concepts, not good intentions; we need practice with theory and theory with practice; we need critical analyses, not a priori judgments. To look outward, we need to look inward.

The consequences of both what we will see and of how we will see it will be a key part of how we respond to the question, “What comes next?”

Mexico, March-April-May-June 2015.

SupGaleano.2

The EZLN’s full Book, Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra, from which this is excerpted, was just released, and is available now from PaperBoat Press.

Notes.

(1) In Spanish, “Sexta” refers to adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. The EZLN uses “la Sexta” to refer collectively to these adherents, which we translate as “the Sixth.”

(2) In May of 2014, the EZLN announced the “death” of the figure of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, at which time, in honour of the recently murdered Zapatista teacher Galeano, the person behind the character known as Marcos took on the name Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. Due to the fact that a number of the texts presented at the seminar, “Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra,” were written prior to the announced “death” of Marcos, the reader will find that some of the texts written and signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos were presented at the seminar and co-signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. The latter often signs texts with the abbreviated “SupGaleano.”

This book will shortly be available in the UK. See: https://ukzapatistas.wordpress.com/new-book/  Or contact us. All proceeds to the Zapatista communities.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/02/by-way-of-prologue-on-how-we-arrived-at-the-watchtower-and-what-we-saw-from-there/

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December 1, 2016

EZLN: a clarifying text

Filed under: CNI, gal, Indigenous, La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:10 pm

 

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EZLN: a clarifying text

 

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SCI Marcos before he died and became SCI Galeano. Photo: Vice

By: Magdalena Gómez

I dedicate this collaboration to the Cuban people and to Pablo González Casanova for the “Lessons of Fidel” and, also for his own. The text “A story to try to understand, elaborated by sub Galeano and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson and current head of the EZLN, is very opportune. It is obligatory reading for those who in good faith are interested in knowing and sharing the initiative underway, about which the National Indigenous Congress is consulting with indigenous peoples and communities. The detailed story about the gestation of the initiative gives an account of a political conviction of the EZLN that it is certainly not the first time they have put into practice. We remember their historic decision in the dialogue with the federal government, of ceding the table to the country’s indigenous peoples so that they would be the ones that in the first instance would discuss the proposals on indigenous rights and culture in coordination with the indigenous commanders. The San Andrés Accords owe their relevance to that construction and unpublished collective debate.

The correct allegation about the more than evident fact that neither dreams nor nightmares fit into ballot boxes, for the effects of the subject initiative in consultation is a double edged sword, because, as is recognized, “there have been, there are, and there will be doubts and legitimate and rational questionings,” among them is rightly the one that proposes to go to an election when it (the election) is recognized as being meaningless.

Nevertheless, one must turn to that evaluation and the text that proposes it clearly: there is no other more convincing way of making the situation of the indigenous peoples visible than placing themselves on the stage where the whole political class will see them in 2018. Very strong what they shared with the CNI upon presenting their proposal to them: “Our pain reaches fewer people all the time. Our deaths don’t echo like before. And it’s not that the people outside have become cynical or apathetic. It’s that the war we have suffered since a long time ago as Native peoples, now reaches them, it is now in their streets, in their houses, in their schools and in their workplaces. Our pains are now one more among many others. And, although the pain extends and becomes deeper, we are more alone than ever. Each time we’re going to be fewer. Soon the CNI won’t be able to meet because no one will be able to leave their territories, be it because of the cost, be it because of the bad government, be it because of the corporations, be it because of crime, be it because of a natural death or a bad death mala that it impedes you. In a while more we will only be talking among ourselves, already knowing what we’re going to say.”

Also very significant, for those who want to understand, the story about the meeting that the now-deceased Sup Marcos had 10 years ago with a northwest indigenous chief of the country’s northwest 10 years ago, when he (Marcos) was touring with the other campaign.The chief had previously received institutional governments. The chief told Marcos: “I know very well that they didn’t want you to meet with me, that they pressured you so that you would not be here. They also pressured me so that I would not receive you. I don’t know why you are here. I imagine that those who command you told you that you should see us and listen to us. I don’t know. But I’m going to tell you why I received you. I have received the governments. They have come from all the colours and sizes. They come and take their photo, they say a few words, they go away and they don’t come back. I have received them because my predecessors told me that my duty was to see that my people, my pueblo, would not die, that they would survive. I received them for that reason. I receive you because of that. I don’t believe that you bring me ether advice or teachings, although it’s good that you don’t seek a photo and that you listen instead of talking. I received them because I think my people will survive a while longer that way and won’t die. So I receive you because I believe that something will be seen from what we are and that view, although only for a little time, will help my people survive.”

Upon the deceased Sub Marcos questioning whether he wasn’t worried that they would judge him for receiving him, he answered: “Only my own people can judge me. If my people condemn me for what I have done and for what I do, that would mean that I wasn’t wrong. My people will have to have survived in order for them to condemn me. So that would mean that I have fulfilled my duty and I can show the dead that I have done so, although the living condemn me.”

Another of the document’s central messages is the clarification that it will not be the EZLN that participates in the election: “the CNI is who will decide if it participates or not with its own delegate, and, if so, it will have the support of Zapatismo.” It couldn’t be clearer. The decision of the peoples in the consultation is complex, because they rightly resist the enslavement of power, but also, like the indigenous chief of the northwest, they are supported in institutional mechanisms like survival strategy. They know that the community, individual and secret vote will be visible and they will be objects of multiple pressures. There is the task of the indigenous peoples we have accompanied and obviously we decided to assume it.

 

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/11/29/opinion/020a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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October 31, 2016

Calendar for the 5th Congress of the CNI and the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity.”

Filed under: Frayba, Indigenous, Marcos, water, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:49 pm

 

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Calendar for the 5th Congress of the CNI and the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity.”

 

punos-en-alto 

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

October 26, 2016.

To the invited and attending Scientists of the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”:

To the compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the National and International Sixth:

Brothers and sisters:

We send you greetings. We write to inform you of the following:

First: Per instructions from the National Indigenous Congress, which at the moment is consulting with the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations throughout Mexico on the proposal made during the first phase of the Fifth Congress, we inform you that the permanent assembly of the CNI will be reinstated December 29, 2016, at CIDECI-UNITIERRA in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

There the CNI will hold roundtable sessions on December 30 and 31 of this year. During these sessions, or before then if the CNI so chooses, the results of the consultation will be made known. On January 1, 2017, the plenary assembly will take place in Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico, and any agreements necessary will be made there.

 

laconsultava-1

 

The compañeras and compañeros of the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations who make up the National Indigenous Congress inform us that they have financial difficulties that impede their travel to this meeting, and so they request solidarity donations from the national and international Sixth, as well as from any honest people who want to support them in this way. To offer this support, the compas of the CNI ask that people communicate directly with them at the following email: info@congresonacionalindigena.org. From there they will explain where and how to send support.

Of course, if you think that by meeting, thinking, and deciding collectively on their path and destiny the compas of the CNI are playing into the hands of the right and endangering the u-n-s-t-o-p-p-a-b-l-e advance of the institutional left, you can make your support conditional on their obeying you, or add a note to your contribution saying something like, “I’m going to give you these 2 pesos, but don’t let yourselves be fooled and manipulated by that sockhead.” [i]

Or you can just make your donation and try, like the rest of us, to learn from them.

Second: We also take this opportunity to confirm that the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” will be celebrated at the times and places originally announced:

From December 25, 2016 to January 4, 2017 at the facilities of CIDECI-UNITIERRA in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, with an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. If you are interested in attending as a listener or observer, you can register to attend at this email: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx

Thus the presentations about the exact and natural Sciences and the work sessions of the National Indigenous Congress will take place simultaneously.

That’s all for now.16_16submarcos2definitivaweb2

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, October 2016.

From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog, section titled “neither stories nor legends”:

What Doctor John H. Watson will not tell.

Mountains of the Mexican southeast. It is raining a lot. You can just barely make out the shouts of those who continue working to make holes in the wall, giving each other instructions. There are some who have poorly protected themselves from the downpour with plastic ponchos, but most are just wearing soaked shirts, blouses, skirts and pants, raining once again over the earth.

The wall extends as far as the eye can reach. Despite its apparent strength, every so often there is a crease along its long curtain. It is said that those who inhabit these lands claim that the wall is capable of regenerating itself, and so they must not cease their efforts to keep a crack open. After consulting histories and legends that circulate among the inhabitants, it is concluded that the purpose of the wall is not just to keep them from seeing or crossing to the other side; it also convinces those who encounter it that there is nothing beyond it, that the world ends there, at the feet of its solid base and in the face of the infinite expanse, in length and height, of its surface.

Outside one of the huts near the wall, a little girl watches with her chin resting on one of her hands. Her eyes aren’t focused on the arrogant wall, but rather on the feet of those who strike and scratch at the wall. Or really, she is looking at the ground covered in mud and puddles.

gato-perro-1-21A little behind her, a strange being, similar to a dog, or to a cat, shelters itself in the threshold of the hut. The little girl turns to look at it and says: “Hey you, cat-dog, what, you scared of the rain? Not me. They don’t call me ‘Defensa Zapatista’ for nothing. You think that if we’re in the middle of a game and it starts raining we’re going to say, “oh no, I better get off the field or I’ll get wet?” No way. You can just fix your hair with your hand, and since it’s wet it stays smooth and forget about the rest. But it’s not like I fix it like that so I can go around flirting with fucking men. It’s so I can see when the ball comes and goes. If I don’t fix it, I can’t see. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the hut, even if you’re a cat or a dog, you’re still going to get wet. Look, I just got an idea.”

The little girl enters the hut and then comes out with some pots, buckets, and empty tin cans. She starts placing them beneath the little streams of water dripping from the edges of the tin roof. It would seem as if she was positioning them randomly, but no. Every little bit she changes their location. The being whom the little girl calls the “cat-dog” barks and meows. The little girl looks at it and says: “Just wait, you’ll see what I’m doing.”

The little girl keeps changing the location of the pots and cans and, with each change, she mutes the sound of the raindrops hitting their surface. The little girl listens for a moment and then goes back to changing the places and sounds of this strange symphony.

She is immersed in this task when a pair of men arrive. One is tall and gangly, the other is shorter in stature, of average build. Both carry fine umbrellas and the taller one wears an elegant coat, some type of cap, and a curved pipe between his lips. They say nothing, they just watch the little girl come and go. At some point, the gangly one with the elegant overcoat coughs and says: “Excuse me miss, will you allow me to shelter you with my umbrella? That way you won’t get wet while you…while you do whatever it is you’re doing.” The little girl stares at him with hostility and responds, “My name isn’t ‘miss,’ it’s ‘Defensa Zapatista’ (the little girl puts on her best “get away from my pots and cans or you die” face). “And what I’m doing is making a song.” The man comments as if to himself: “hmm, a song, how interesting my dear Watson, how interesting.” The other man just affirms with a nod while he shelters himself in the doorframe, eyeing the dog suspiciously…well, the cat…well, whatever it is that’s next to him in the threshold.

 

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The man with the strange cap observes attentively the coming and going of the little girl. All of a sudden his face lights up and he exclaims, “Of course! Elementary. A song. It couldn’t be any other way.”

And, turning to the person who now shares the small space out of the rain with the cat-dog, he says, “Pay attention, Watson, here you have something which could never be found in one of those vulgar popularizations of the detective’s science with which you torment your few readers, that is, if you have any at all. Observe carefully. What the young miss…cough…cough…I meant to say, what ‘Defensa Zapatista’ is doing is combining the principles of mathematics, physics, biology, anatomy and neurology. By changing the positions of these strange metal receptacles and placing them beneath different rivulets of water, she obtains different individual sounds which together produce distinct combinations of notes which, I infer, will become a melody. Then, changing the rhythms, she will have music and from there, elementary my dear Watson, a song. Bravo!” The man has passed his umbrella to the other man under the doorframe and applauds with enthusiasm.

The little girl has left her work for a moment and stopped to listen to the man. After the applause, the little girl asks, “you mean a ton [ii] right?”

“A ton?” repeats the man, and then after thinking about it a bit exclaims: “Of course! Ton, tune. Yes, miss, a tune and not a ton, although it’s true that there are some tunes that are very heavy.”

The little girl furrows her brow and clarifies, “I already told you my name is not ‘miss,’ my name is ‘Defensa Zapatista.’ And what’s your name?

The man responds, “You are right, what bad manners that I have not introduced myself,” and, with a brief bow, introduces himself, “My name is Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective. And my companion, who is currently shivering from the rain and the cold, is Doctor John H. Watson, a debaser of science.” Extending his hand toward the little girl, he adds “And you are…yes, of course, you told me before, ‘Defensa Zapatista.’ Strange name for a little girl. Well, it seems everything is strange in these lands.”

The little girl ignores the extended hand, but appears interested. “Consulting detective…what’s that?” she asks.

I combat crime, miss, I investigate by observing, analyzing and applying science,” responds the man with poorly feigned modesty.  

Ah, like Elías Contreras, the Zapatista investigation commission,” interrupts the little girl. The man tries to clarify, but the little girl continues:

Well, look, I already talked to Elías so he would join our team, but it turns out he’s already dead and tending to the bad and the evil, that is, he’s investigating the fucking capitalist system. I told him he can still join the team, even though he’s deceased, but he says that supmarcos sends him off on investigations and so he wouldn’t make it to practice. The funny thing is that supmarcos is dead too. I think that’s why they understand each other. Of course, right now we can’t really practice that much because the field is all muddy and the ball doesn’t roll, it just gets stuck and no matter how much it gets kicked it doesn’t move, or it moves just a little and then gets lazy again. So you get all muddy for nothing and later your moms comes with her ‘you have to wash up’ and then off to the river. Do you like to bathe? I don’t like it. Only if there’s a dance, then I like it, because you can’t be all muddy when they start playing the song ‘la del moño colorado’ [the girl with the colourful bow]. Do you know that one, ‘la del moño colorado’? That’s a good song because you dance to it like this (the little girl hums while balancing lightly on one foot and then the other). You don’t just jump around like the young people these days who like that music and end up muddier than if they hadn’t bathed at all. But you know mothers, what do they care if there’s no dance? Nothing, you still have to bathe and if you don’t, there’ll be hell to pay. Do you have a mom? Well, look, just think about whether moms know or not. They definitely know. I still don’t know how it is that they know, but they know. You should investigate how it is that they know. I told Elías to investigate it, but he just laughed, the jerk. And SupMoy is even worse, you think he helps? If he’s around and your mom gives the order to bathe, you think he’ll defend you? Forget it, you have to obey your mom, he says. I complained to him one day about why it’s like that, if the struggle says to rule by obeying, it should be that the little girls rule and the moms obey. But he just laughed, the jerk. Well, look, pay attention because I’m going to explain something to you: it turns out we haven’t filled up the team. Why not? Well, because there’s no discipline, that is, they don’t understand the organization of the struggle. One minute they tell you they’re in and the next, they’re out, they took off on another path, for one reason or another. They’re all just excuses. Or if not, they say it’s because of the work of the struggle. As if playing wasn’t part of the work of the struggle? The deceased supmarcos would say children’s work is to play. Well, he would also say it’s to study, but don’t publish that, eh? So given that, we can’t complete the team, there’s no seriousness, as someone says. But don’t you worry, don’t despair because the team didn’t fill up quickly. We know it takes time, but one day there will be more of us. Since we can’t practice right now and they don’t let me join the work of making holes in the wall because it’s raining and I’ll get wet… can you believe they say that? As if I wasn’t going to get wet bathing anyway. The other day I wanted to give my moms a political lecture and I told her it’s not good for me to bathe because I’ll get wet, and in the autonomous school they say it’s not good for little girls to get wet because what if they get sick with a cough, right?

 

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But my moms just laughed, I think she didn’t understand the political lesson because she was just like, get yourself down to the river and make sure to wash behind your ears and this, that, and the other. Well, don’t you get distracted, whatever your name is. It turns out that, since I can’t practice and I can’t make holes in the wall, I started thinking and thinking. And now I just keep thinking and thinking. Not about silly things though, but rather about the struggle. So I thought that we need music for when we win the game. Because if there’s no music, we won’t be happy that we won, you understand? What are you going to understand, if you’re just standing there staring? Okay, I’ll explain. Look, the moms know, we don’t know how they do it, but they know. If you have a difficult question, you go to your moms and boom, they know the answer. Well, so it turns out that my moms told me something like a story the other day. She said that the deceased one said that the struggle needs science and art. I don’t know what science and art are, so then my moms explained it to me. I think I’ll explain it to you because you definitely don’t know. Look, science and art aren’t just that you do things however you want, half-assed, but rather that first you imagine how what you want to make will turn out, then you study how you’re going to do it, and then you go and do it. But not just any old way; rather you make it happy, with lots of colours and lots of music, you understand? Well, so I thought and imagined what our music should be when we win a game. Yes of course really happy music but not like for dancing, because it’s serious to win the game, even more so since my team is full of lumps, like the cat-dog here who barely obeys, it just runs and runs, and since its paws are a little twisted well, it tends to veer off to the side. So the song has to be cheerful but serious. It should be enjoyable and make your heart happy. Well so I was sitting here thinking about the music, I mean the ton of the song, and then my idea came. I was listening to the sound the rain makes when it falls, and I saw that it sounds different in each little puddle. So, I took out my mom’s pots and some cans and buckets from our women’s collective and now I’m here listening to how each one sounds and how they sound in collective. Because it’s not the same as an individual as in a collective, you see. In a collective, it’s happier, it sounds good. But each individually, it’s all the same, even if you change the bucket. Now if you put them together, it’s something else. Of course, the issue is how you put them together so that they sound good. You understand? I mean that’s where you bring in science and art and it comes out just right. Not like Pedrito who thinks he knows how to sing, but all he knows are Pedro Infante songs. You think he knows any about love? No, all songs about horses and drunks. And for nothing, because Pedrito twice over doesn’t drink, that is, he doesn’t drink because he’s a little boy, and he doesn’t drink because he’s a Zapatista. You think you’re going to find a wife if you sing to her about horses? No, never, never ever. And even worse if you sing to her about drunkards. If somebody sang to me about horses, it’d be for nothing because I already have one, it’s just that he’s one-eyed, which means that he sees out one eye but not the other. Well, the truth is that the horse isn’t mine, because he doesn’t have an owner. No one knows where he came from, he just appeared all of a sudden in the pasture. I quickly recruited him, as they say, for the team and made him goalie, but since he doesn’t see well I had to put myself on defence. But if somebody sings to me about drunkards, well yeah then, that calls for some smacks and to hell with them. My moms say that alcohol is no good, that it makes men dumb. Well okay, dumber than usual. And then they beat the women. Of course, now it’s different because we defend ourselves as the women that we are. I, as Zapatista defence, also train so that men don’t bother me when I grow up, that is when I grow into a young single woman. But don’t get distracted, write down what I explained to you in your notebook, write that science and art are really important…

At that, the cat-dog begins to bark and meow. The little girl turns around to look at him and asks, “Now?” The cat-dog purrs and growls. The little girl hurriedly enters the house, just as the rain lifts its wet skirt and the sky clears.

It’s no longer raining when the little girl runs out of the house with a ball in her hands. The cat-dog runs out behind her.

As she gets further away, the little girl manages to shout: “When you finish writing your notes, come. Don’t worry if the team isn’t full yet. It might take a while, but there will be more of us.

The man who is called “Doctor Watson” closes his umbrella and reaches his hand out to make sure that, in fact, it has stopped raining.

The man with the absurd cap keeps watching the little girl as she moves away. Then he takes a magnifying glass from his raincoat and stops to analyze each of the containers, now mute, without rain to make them sing.

Interesting, my dear Watson, very interesting. I believe it would be worth spending some time in these parts. The atmosphere is clean and the fog keeps reminding me of the London of Baker Street,” says the tall thin man as he stretches out his arms to better breathe in the air of the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

Spend some time, Holmes? Why?” asks the other man while he shakes off some lingering raindrops. “I don’t think we’d be much help, although this little girl seems to suffer from verbal diarrhoea, a tranquilizer would help…whoever has to listen to her.

No, Watson, we’re not going to help anyone. I only came to find an old acquaintance. But I think it will be difficult to find him…at least alive,” says the man as he puts away the magnifying glass and begins walking.

The other man rushes to catch up to him, asking, “Then what are we going to do here, Holmes?

Learn, my dear Watson, learn,” says the man as he takes out the magnifying glass again and stops to look at an insect.

As the two figures fade into the fog, once can hear in the distance barks, meows, and a child’s laughter, a laugh like a song.

Then, although nearly imperceptibly, the wall shudders…

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

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From Baker Street to the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

 

 

Music: “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty, with Raphael Ravenscroft on saxophone. 1978. Photographs of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson from the British television series “Sherlock” made by the BBC, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (as Doctor Watson). Coproduced by Hartswood Films and WGBH, the series was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Accompanied by embroidery (first outlined and then finished) made by Zapatista insurgents for the CompArte Festival, 2016, with the theme “Defensa Zapatista and the Hydra.” The image of the little doll on the foosball table was taken in 2013 by a 9-year-old boy who attended the Zapatista Little School. He saw the foosball table and put the little doll there just as you see it. The illustrations at the end of the video are by the CVI support team, “Tercios Compas” section.

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Embroidery and drawings by EZLN insurgents for the CompArte Festival

 

 

Embroidery and drawings made by Zapatista insurgents for the CompArte Festival.

Music: “Resistencia,” from the album LDA V The Lunatics, Los de Abajo.

[i] “Sockhead” [cara de calcetín, or, alternatively, cara de trapo] is a derogatory term used by critics to deride members of the EZLN (and their use of masks) and, in this instance, refers to Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

[ii] Defensa Zapatista characteristically says “tonelada,” or ton, instead of “tonada,” or tune.

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/27/calendario-de-continuacion-del-5o-congreso-del-cni-y-del-encuentro-ls-zapatistas-y-las-conciencias-por-la-humanidad/.



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October 24, 2016

Zapatistas Respond to Criticism Regarding Election Proposal

Filed under: CNI, gal, Indigenous, Marcos, Other Campaign, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:24 pm

 

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Zapatistas Respond to Criticism Regarding Election Proposal

 

submarcoshorsefromafar-jpg_1718483346EZLN Subcomandante Marcos, now known as Galeano, in Chiapas in 1996. | Photo: Creative Commons

 

The Zapatista response appeared to reaffirm that their goal in presenting a candidate would be to expose the contradictions of the Mexican political system.

Not long after the Zapatista National Liberation Army and the National Indigenous Congress resolved to present an Indigenous woman as an independent candidate for the 2018 presidential elections, the rebel group began to receive criticism.

The decision made at the Fifth National Indigenous Congress caught many by surprise, as the Zapatistas had long rejected any formal participation in electoral politics.

One of the first to respond was leftist former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who suggested the EZLN, as the Zapatistas are also known, were trying to divide the left.

Lopez Obrador is widely expected to run for president a third time in the upcoming election and an “independent candidate” could draw away votes that might otherwise go to him.

In the 2006 election, Lopez Obrador lost in a disputed, though tightly contested, election. That year the Zapatistas organized “The Other Campaign,” which called on Mexicans to participate in political activity that went beyond voting.

During “The Other Campaign,” Zapatistas — including the group’s most recognizable figure, Subcomandante Marcos — travelled throughout Mexico meeting with activists and social movement leaders in order to build a broad front against capitalism.

In a letter posted online, Marcos, now known as Subcomandante Galeano, responded to the criticism.

“How solid can the Mexican political system be, and how well-founded and reliable the tactics and strategies of the political parties, if, when someone says publicly that they are thinking about something, that they are going to ask their peers what they think of what they are thinking, the entire political party system becomes hysterical?” read the letter.

When the decision to consider running a candidate was first announced by the Zapatistas, they specified that it was not being done as a means of securing power.

“We confirm that our struggle is not for power, we do not seek it,” read the joint statement from the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatistas.

Galeano’s letter appeared to reaffirm that their goal in presenting a candidate would be to expose the contradictions of the Mexican political system.

Referring to Margarita Zavala, the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderon and likely candidate for the presidency in 2018, Galeano presented a juxtaposition.

“You who are reading this: would you be bothered by watching and listening to a debate between the Calderona (Zavala) from above, with her ‘traditional’ luxury brand clothing, and a woman below, of Indigenous blood, culture, language, and history? Would you be more interested in hearing what the Calderona promises or what the Indigenous woman proposes? Wouldn’t you want to see this clash of two worlds?” asked Galeano.

The letter gave no indication the EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress intend to withdraw their proposal.

The idea of running a candidate must still, however, be approved by the grassroots of the organization.

 

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Zapatistas-Respond-to-Criticism-Regarding-Election-Proposal-20161023-0022.html

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March 20, 2016

Progress on the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”

Filed under: Marcos, Women, Zapatista — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:53 am

 

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Progress on the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”

 

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

March 16, 2016

Compas and non-compas:

Now we are going to let you know how plans are going for the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”:

As of March 14, we have received 50 applications for the event.

There are applications from Norway, Brazil, Chile, France, the USA, Japan, and Mexico.

Scientific disciplines: So far invitations are being considered for scientists of Astronomy, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Medicine, Genetics, Paediatric Pathology and Nephrology, and Microbiology. We will continue to keep you informed of further developments with the invitations.

The scientists invited to the encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity” can offer a critical reflection on their scientific theory or practice, or an explanation of the general elements of their specialty given in an accessible manner (that is, an educational talk).

The email address where you can register to attend the encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity” is: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx.

Date and location for the ConSciences Encounter: December 25, 2016 to January 4 2017, with an ‘intermission’ on December 31 and January 1. It will be held at CIDECI in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

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Only the invited scientists with their exhibitions and the selected Zapatista youth with their questions will be given the floor at the festival.

There is no cost for registration but the Zapatistas cannot pay for travel, lodging, or food.

Boys and girls may attend as videntes [seers/viewers] and escuchas [ears/listeners], but they should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The production, consumption and sale of drugs and alcohol is strictly forbidden.

That is all for now.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, March 2016.

 

 

From the diaries of the cat-dog:

Echoes of March 8i

March 8, 2016. Place: EZLN Headquarters. Document obtained from the diary of someone calling himself “supgaleano,” thanks to the Trojan malware called “finders keepers, losers weepers” version 6.9.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and the present writer were here discussing the upcoming CompArtefestival and how the Zapatista communities are organizing to participate. While we were talking a compañera insurgenta came in and said simply: “there is going to be a soccer game. We women were challenged to a game.” I knew the motivation behind this, because it was not the first time that it had happened. Let me tell you that in this barracks, the insurgent women [insurgentas] outnumbered the insurgent men [insurgentes] two to one. To explain this difference in numbers, there are two different stories: the official version is that it is because the majority of the insurgentes are doing highly specialized work which only men can carry out with panache and grace; the real version is that there are in fact more compañeras than compañeros. Publishing the real version is of course prohibited, so only the official version has been distributed to the Tercios Compas.

Despite this reality, obvious from a simple glance, it occurred to one of the insurgentes to say as he finished breakfast: “since today is March 8, we men challenge the women to a game of soccer.” The commanding officer realized the error almost immediately, but the deed had been done. A female official from the insurgent health service responded: “it’s on.” The men crowded around the naïve challenger to scold him. Realizing the reason for the frustration that was spreading through the masculine ranks, the insurgente tried to clarify, “but with an equal number of players on each team.” “No way,” said the women, “you said that the men challenged the women, and so it is all of the insurgentes against all of the insurgentas.”

Clouds began forming in the sky and a strong wind foreshadowed misfortune.

After lunch (the menu was tamale shakes and coffee with chili pepper), an insurgenta came by to let us know that the game was about to start and asked if we were going. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés couldn’t go because he had to review the registration list for the festival. I abstained, intuiting that the environment would not be a propitious one for gender inequity. So neither of us went.

The horizon was already darkening when they returned. On earth and in the sky the storm is lady and mistress of everything.

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The insurgenta arrived to report in. I asked her how the game had gone and she responded, “we tied.” “How many to how many?” I asked. “I don’t remember” she said, “but we won a game and then we changed sides on the field and they won, so we tied: one each.” She said it with such self-confidence that she seemed like the president of the National Electoral Institute reporting the official results of any election.

Something smelled fishy to me, and so I went to see the commanding officer and asked about the results: “We won 7 to 3” he responded tersely. “But the Health insurgenta said that you tied because they won one game and you all the other?” I asked. The official smiled and clarified: “no sup, we only played one game; what happened was that in the first half they were winning 3 to 2, and in the second half, after switching sides on the field, we made 5 goals. The result: insurgentes – 7, insurgentas – 3.” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson of the eezeeelen, in the name of all of the Zapatista men, women, children and elders exclaimed: “We men won!” Another insurgenta who was walking by admonished “what is this about ‘we men won,’ ha! you two didn’t even go.” “It doesn’t matter,” said the official spokesperson of the eezeeelen, “we men won.” The storm appeared to diminish and the wind and water settled down. But the horizon was far from clear.

Later that night, when as we toasted masculine supremacy with our coffee, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés explained to me: “Look, what happened is that among the men, only two of them really know how to play soccer and both of them were on guard duty, so in the first half the insurgentes were down two players and the insurgentas, well, there’s already more of them. In the second half, those two guys finished their shift and they were incorporated into the game and well, the men won.”

I asked if the insurgentas knew how to play soccer: “they do,” he said, “but they also have one player who is young and runs up and down the field and everywhere; she is the team’s real strategist and tactician because when she gets tired of running she just yells, “ball, ball” and all of the insurgentas run and surround the guy who has the ball and they all kick and since there is only one ball, well, a whole lot of kicks get the compañero.”

We raise our cold cups of coffee and toast the new triumph of gender even in adverse conditions.

In the mountains, the wind and rain had already drunk of the nocturnal force. It was not yet morning when they subsided, with even more force if that is possible.

But (there’s always a “but”), the next day at breakfast one of the men, with ill intentions, asked how the soccer game had gone, “We tied,” an insurgenta rushed to say before the little machos managed to respond, and she turned to the other women around her: “Right compañeras?” “Yeessss!” they all shouted and, well, since they are the majority, well…anyway, the risks of democracy.

That is how the insurgentas converted a sports defeat into a triumph and won…with a tie. Final score: insurgentes – 1, insurgentas – 2.

 

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But the machos didn’t give up so quickly, they asked for a re-match. “Sure” said the compañeras “but next year.”

Desperate, the insurgentes looked to the person who best encapsulates the highest values of machismo-zapatismo, which is to say, me. They asked me when “men’s day” was.

What?” I asked them.

Yes,” they said, “if there is a woman’s day, then there must also be a man’s day.”

Ah” I agreed, understanding: “yes indeed there is one.” And I showed them what, with concise wisdom, one tiger had tweeted: “Men’s day” (when you celebrate the slavery of the woman to the work of rearing children) already exists. It is May 10.”

I think that they didn’t understand what you might call my sarcastic tone because they went away saying, “Ah, ok well then it’s still a little while off.”

-*-

Reading comprehension questions:

1.-Is the health insurgenta who subverted the semantics in FIFA’s rules a feminazi, a lesboterrorist, or someone who does away with the rules, destroying imposed [gender] roles and damaging masculine sensibility?

2.- Is the person who summarized with such grace what happened on this fateful March 8, 2016, in a Zapatista barracks: heteropatriarchal, Eurocentric, species-ist, ableist, classist and etceterist, one more victim of the system (well look at that, it sounds like the name of a music group), or does he not celebrate May 10 because he lacks the above listed attributes?

3.-As the women that we are, should we give a rematch to those damned men who, well, you know, you give them an inch and they want a mile?

Send your responses to the concierge of the Little School. Note: all not-so-nice comments will be returned to sender.ii

I testify under gender oath/protest:

SupGaleano

March 8, 2016

i March 8 is known around the world as International Women’s Day.

ii The original is “mentadas que no sean de menta.” Mentada” is like a telling-off or insult. Menta is mint. Literally this would be unminty insults.

 

Progress on the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”

 

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February 27, 2016

EZLN to Mexican Judiciary Council: Why don’t you self-prescribe this

Filed under: Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:32 am

 

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EZLN to Mexican Judiciary Council: Why don’t you self-prescribe this

 

250216_prescribanse-1
Why don’t you self-prescribe this[i]

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Mexico

To the Federal Judiciary Council of Mexico:

The whole time the only terrorists have been those who for more than 80 years have so badly governed this country. You are simply the sink where the genocides go to wash their hands, and together you have converted the judicial system into a poorly built and clogged latrine, the national flag into a reusable roll of toilet paper, and the national shield into a logo made of undigested fast food. Everything else is pure theatre in order to simulate justice where there is only impunity and shamelessness, feigning “institutional government” where there is nothing more than dispossession and repression.

So, prescribe yourselves this: [IMAGE]

[SIGNATURES]

From 6 feet under.
The deceased and sorely missed (ha!) SupMarcos

Why so serious?
I adhere and subscribe (not prescribe/expire):
SupGaleano

Authorized by the General Command of the EZLN
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico
February 2016
P.S. So, does this mean the Tampiqueño[ii] is now free to leave community and go for some stuffed crabs? He’ll have to pick up the tab, of course, otherwise forget it. So he is free now to do what any other Mexican can do? That is, now he’s free to be exploited, mocked, defrauded, humiliated, disrespected, spied on, extorted, kidnapped, murdered, disappeared, and to suffer all those insults to his intelligence from those who say they govern this country? I mean, I’m asking because this is the only thing the “institutions” guarantee any citizen in this country who isn’t above.

[i] This communiqué is a response by the EZLN to the recent pronouncement by the Federal Judiciary Council of Mexico that concluded that the warrant out for the arrest of (then) Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos for actions stemming from the uprising of January 1, 1994, had expired (“se prescribe” in Spanish), due to the fact that 20 years exceeds the statute of limitations on the crimes for which he was accused. (The charges were terrorism, sedition, mutiny, rebellion, and conspiracy). The EZLN here plays with the double meaning of “prescribirse” (expire and prescribe). The Mexican judiciary says his arrest warrant “se prescribe” (has expired) and the EZLN answers, “why don’t you “autoprescribirse” (self-prescribe) …. this.”

[ii] “El Tampiqueño” is the name given by the EZLN to the person who the Mexican government claimed in 1995 was the man behind Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

 

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February 24, 2016

Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos Free of Charges After 20 Years

Filed under: Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:06 pm

 

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Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos Free of Charges After 20 Years

 

submarcoshorsefromafar.jpg_1718483346

Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN in Chiapas in 1996. | Photo: Creative Commons

 

Subcomandante Marcos has faced charges for terrorism and illegal firearms possession since 1995, one year after the Zapatistas declared war on Mexico.

The iconic leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, subcomandante Marcos, is no longer wanted for any crimes after a Mexican federal judge announced Tuesday that the 1995 order for his arrest had expired.

Subcomandante Marcos, now known as Subcomandante Galeano, has faced charges for terrorism, sedition, and possession of firearms used by the Mexican military, among other crimes, but prosecution period for those charges have expired.

Arrest warrants for 10 other EZLN members have also expired, authorities announced Tuesday.

The EZLN declared war against the Mexican state on January 1, 1994, launching the Indigenous movement in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas into the international spotlight as an example for autonomous social movements around the globe.

Over two decades after the masked Indigenous army emerged from the Lacandon jungle and announced its resistance to Mexico and to the world, the Zapatista struggle continues on the path of self-determination and new alternatives to global capitalism.

On May 24, 2014, in a statement on the EZLN website, the rebel leader announced, “Marcos, the character is no longer necessary … His character was created and now his creators, the Zapatistas, are destroying him.”

Galeano went on to say that Marcos, the character, had appropriated the attention of the movement, and that the move to “kill” him was not due to illness, death or internal purge of the group.

“I declare that the one known as Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos no longer exists,” he said. “The voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army will no longer come from my voice.”

zapatistas_marcos.jpg_305409883

Contrary to what many analysts previously believed, Marcos did not announce he would step down as EZLN’s leader.

“In the end, those who understand will know that there is no departure of what was never here, nor death for someone who never lived,” he said, signing off as “Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.”

The name Galeano is a reference to Jose Luis Solís López “Galeano,” a teacher and EZLN leader killed in May 2, 2014 by a paramilitary group.
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Zapatista-Subcomandante-Marcos-Free-of-Charges-After-20-Years-20160223-0040.html

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February 5, 2016

Indigenous struggle in Chiapas will come ‘out in the open’ for Pope Francis’s visit

Filed under: Acteal, Human rights, Indigenous, Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:59 pm

 

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Indigenous struggle in Chiapas will come ‘out in the open’ for Pope Francis’s visit

The pope’s plans to address legacy of violence, discrimination and poverty in southern Mexican state is bound to rouse Mayan people – and the Zapatistas

 

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A woman and child walk past a billboard welcoming Pope Francis in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas state, Mexico. He will visit Mexico between 12 and 17 February. Photograph: Moysés Zuñiga/AFP/Getty Images

 

David Agren in Acteal, Mexico

The killing began when masked paramilitaries burst into a Catholic prayer meeting and opened fire. Those who escaped the initial attack were chased for hours through the canyons and cloud forests which surround this Tzotzil Indian community of corn and coffee farmers in southern Mexico.

Forty-five people died in the assault on a Catholic activist group known as Las Abejas, or the Bees; 21 were women, 15 were children. The perpetrators were linked to the then (and now) governing Institutional Revolutionary party.

The 1997 Acteal massacre was one of the worst mass killings of Mexico’s recent history, and it remains a potent reminder of indigenous struggle in Chiapas, a state still suffering from widespread poverty, discrimination and political corruption.

“Eighteen years have passed … and we continue denouncing grievances committed against us by party officials, who are manipulated by a government that keeps causing us pain and suffering,” said Las Abejas leader Sebastián Pérez Vázquez.

Indigenous Mexico’s fight for recognition and respect was symbolised by the Zapatista uprising which burst into the open on 1 January 1994, the day the country entered the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) – an arrangement the government insisted would vault Mexico into the first world.

 

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Indigenous women of the Las Abejas civil society commemorate the 17th anniversary in 2014 of the massacre of 45 Tzotzil people in the Acteal community. Photograph: Alamy

 

Later this month, Pope Francis – who has put the poor and excluded at the centre of his papacy – will come to Chiapas as part of his six-day visit to Mexico. He will celebrate mass in several Mayan languages and address the injustices facing indigenous people, who in recent years have departed the Catholic church in droves for evangelical congregations and even mosques started by Muslim missionaries.

Two decades after the emergence of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), he will find that the state and its indigenous population remain firmly on the periphery of Mexican society.

Federal government figures show poverty, inequality and hunger rates have remained stubbornly high – despite billions of pesos spent on roads, schools, clinics and a spate of social programmes.

Critics in Chiapas contend that the wave of spending has been as much about controlling rebellious communities as raising the population from poverty.

“The situation here in Chiapas has not changed over the last 20 years,” said Pérez. “Even though the people are wiser to the situation, things have stayed the same.”

Pope Francis will arrive in southern Mexico as a somewhat unwelcome guest. Priests in the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas say the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto wanted the pope go elsewhere, proposing the placid state of Campeche on the Yucatán peninsula as an alternative. The government feared that the papal visit could stir up latent indigenous discontent, the priests said.

“The visit is going to give an opportunity for everything in Chiapas that’s simmering under the surface to boil over,” said diocesan spokesman Jesuit Father Pedro Arriaga. “It’s going to again show that the Zapatista movement is still here, that indigenous marginalisation continues, that poverty persists, that [government] health clinics are very deficient. All of this will come out into the open.”

Sources in the federal government say its concerns over the papal visit to Chiapas were logistical, not political.

Churchmen in Chiapas also see the visit as a vindication of the work of the state’s former bishop Samuel Ruiz, who led the diocese for 40 years until his retirement in 2000, but ran afoul of land-owning elites, politicians and the Vatican.

Pope Francis plans to pray at the tomb of Ruiz, who shared a similar pastoral approach. He rode to remote Indian pueblos on mules, preaching in their local languages and organising them into Catholic communities – behaviour seen as a challenge to the rule of local landowners. He trained hundreds of catechist instructors and ordained married, indigenous deacons – a solution to perpetual shortages of priests – as he built a church which incorporated and appreciated indigenous cultures. The Vatican banned such ordinations in 2001, but Pope Francis has permitted the practice to resume.

Some of Ruiz’s catechist instructors and deacons subsequently joined the Zapatistas, though the bishop opposed violence. He was appointed a mediator in the conflict and helped broker the San Andrés peace accords between the EZLN and Mexican government – an agreement the Zapatistas allege was never fully respected.

“The government never understood that the Zapatistas preferred to live with dignity than live with refrigerators,” says Dominican Father Gonzalo Ituarte, a former diocesan vicar. “The problem that we had with the Zapatistas [is that] what they proposed is the same thing we had proposed for many years.”

The Zapatista struggle won worldwide attention, while its pipe-smoking spokesman, Subcomandante Marcos, became an icon of the anti-globalisation movement. Thousands of foreign “Zapaturistas” poured into the state, providing a presence some analysts suspect kept any army excesses in check.

 

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Zapatista rebels stand in line during a rally in the early 1990s in the main square of San Cristóbal Las Casas’ cathedral. The Zapatista National Liberation Army launched its uprising on 1 January 1994. Photograph: Reuters

 

Today the Zapatistas have largely withdrawn to their autonomous communities though they can still mobilise their masses. An estimated 40,000 Zapatistas emerged unexpectedly for a march in five municipalities coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar on 21 December 2012.

Perhaps not coincidentally, a month later, Peña Nieto went to the Zapatista stronghold of Las Margaritas to launch his landmark social program, The Crusade Against Hunger. Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was brought in to lend legitimacy to the launch.

In a New Year’s 2016 message, EZLN spokesman Subcomandante Moisés said Zapatistas settlements were “better than 22 years ago”, but also better than those in non-autonomous communities, which have been supported by government programmes. But some observers say government money has already caused the movement to splinter.

The offers can be enticing for the inhabitants of impoverished communities as government officials and political parties hand out everything from sheep to bicycles to bags of fertiliser – especially at election time. (Mexico’s social development secretariat did not respond to interview requests, though it says in adverts that programmes are non-partisan.)

The social investments have produced some successes. “Thanks to this programme, we were able to study,” said Margarita Martínez, a Tzotzil linguistics professor.

“[But] it’s also a form of control on the part of the government,” she added. “In the campaigns, there are times in which they tell people, ‘If you don’t vote for this party, they’re going to take away your benefits.’ It’s not true, but people believe it.”

And while grinding poverty persists, change of a different kind is slowly happening in Chiapas.

Martínez, 35, recalls coming to San Cristóbal de las Casas as a girl and not being allowed to walk on the sidewalk. Those prejudices persist – when she arrived at her university wearing traditional costume of a woollen skirt and colourfully embroidered shirt, security guards presumed she was a cleaner – but nowadays, more indigenous people have trained as professionals or occupy prominent places in commerce.

Parents are still teaching native Mayan languages such as Tzotzil and Tzeltal to their children, but young people are also using it to produce poetry, rock music and even hip-hop. Parents dress their children traditionally for Catholic events such as baptisms and first communions, too.

Indigenous art is also flourishing. Painter Saúl Kak opened an exhibit in the Casa de la Cultura in the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, showing the struggles of the displaced Zoque people. His paintings touch on political topics and including a piece with the familiar Coca-Cola font spelling the words, “toma con conciencia”, (a word play on the familiar slogan, reading, “consume with consciousness”,) to protest mindless consumerism.

“This would have never happened 25 years ago,” says John Burstein, director at Galería MUY, which represents Kak. “There’s no way the Casa de Cultura would have brought in an indigenous artist.”

Back in Acteal, members of Las Abejas say they see some small signs of hope in their struggle, too.

“Many people,” Pérez says, “have stopped selling their consciences for a little bit of money or a sack of corn flour.”

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/05/pope-francis-mexico-visit-chiapas-indigenous-people-zapatistas

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December 23, 2015

Communiqué from the CCRI-CG of the EZLN following the Acteal Massacre, released 23rd December 1997.

Filed under: Acteal, Indigenous, Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:49 am

 

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Communiqué from the CCRI-CG of the EZLN following the Acteal Massacre, released 23rd December 1997.

 

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 December 23, 1997

To the people of Mexico
To the peoples and governments of the world
To the national and international press

In relation to the massacre of indigenous people in the community of Acteal, municipality of San Pedro of Chenalho, Chiapas realized yesterday, December 22 of 1997 the EZLN points out:

FIRST.- According to information compiled until today, about 60 paramilitaries of the institutional revolutionary party (sponsored by the federal and state governments) were the ones who attacked the indigenous with high caliber weapons. Among them were refugees of Acteal.

SECOND.- As a result of this attack which lasted up to four hours, at least 45 indigenous people were assassinated, among them 9 men, 21 women and 15 children (one of them an infant less than a year old). In addition to the dead the wounded counted among them 7 men (4 children) and 10 women (4 of them are little girls). Acteal.

THIRD.- According to radio transmissions of the government of Chiapas (intercepted by the EZLN) in the immediate surrounding of Acteal at the time at which the massacre was being carried out, public security police of the state of Chiapas backed up the attack and during the afternoon and evening dedicated themselves to picking up cadavers in order to hide the magnitude of the massacre. Misters Homero Tovilla Cristinani and Uriel Jarquin (Secretary and Subsecretary of the government of Chiapas respectively) commissioned the police to back up this crime. Mister Julio Cesar Ruiz Ferro was constantly informed of the development of the “operation” (at least since noon of the 22nd day of December, when the massacre was an hour old). Approved by the federal and state government, the attack was fine-tuned on the 21st of December in a meeting of paramilitaries (led by Mister Jacinto Arias, PRI municipal president) of the communities of Los Chorros, Puebla, Esperanza and Quextic, all of them municipalities of Chenalho.

FOURTH.- The direct responsibility for these bloody events fall upon Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon and the Justice Ministry, who, two days ago, gave a green light to the counterinsurgency project presented by the Federal Army.

The aim of this project is to displace the Zapatista war and make it appear to be a war among the indigenous, motivated by religious, political and ethnic differences.

In order to carry this out, they have dedicated themselves to financing equipment and weaponry (through funds of the Social Development Ministry) and giving military training (led by officials of the federal army) to the indigenous recruited by the Revolutionary Institutional Party [PRI].

In order to allow time for these death squads to get ready, the Mexican Federal Government designed a parallel strategy of simulated dialogue, which consists of carrying out negotiations without any intention of carrying out what had already been agreed to, and by increasing military presence in Zapatista zones.

The government of the state of Chiapas was put in charge of guaranteeing the impunity of paramilitary groups and facilitating their operation in the principal rebel zones of the North, the jungle and the highlands of Chiapas.

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FIFTH.- In this way the federal and state governments, the institutional revolutionary party and the Federal Army joined forces. Their objective is synthesized by the “war cry” of the paramilitaries called the “Red Mask”. “We are going to put an end to the Zapatista seed”, in other words “We are going to wipe out the indigenous communities.”

SIXTH.- As part of the style of government and demonstration of his “will for peace” through diverse channels, Mister Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon has sent threats to the general command of the EZLN with the following message “I prefer to go into history as a repressor before implementing the agreements with the EZLN”. He has carried out his word. Zedillo has gone into history as an assassin of the indigenous and has the blood of Acteal on his hands.

SEVENTH.- The prompt attention of the media in Chiapas and the just indignation of national and international public opinion in response to these events, has made the mastermind of the crime scramble to the forefront in order to wash their hands of it and promise “in-depth” investigations. They will not punish those who are responsible, impunity is guaranteed because those who investigate the crime are the same ones who planned it. For these reasons, the declarations of Mister Zedillo and his subordinates are nothing more than demagogy.

EIGHTH.- Using the motive of the massacre of Acteal, the government and its spokespeople call once again to dialogue without mentioning the fact they have no intention of fulfilling any agreements but rather advancing their counterinsurgency strategy. In this sense, the recent and ridiculous declaration of the COCOPA (which decided to go on vacation instead of working for peace) in regards to Acteal. The legislators forget that it is the government which is assassinating children, women and men, that it is the government which is using weapons, that it is the government which refuses a serious dialogue. It is to the government that they should direct themselves when they talk about not resorting to violence, and about the necessity of dialogue.

NINTH.- Once again the EZLN calls upon national and international civil society and upon independent organizations to not be deceived, to demand true justice and not pretensions.

TENTH.- The Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee, General Command of the EZLN is at these moments completing its investigation and analyzing what has occurred in order to make the pertinent necessary decisions.

Democracy !

Liberty !

Justice !

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee
– General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Mexico, December of 1997

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October 17, 2015

Capitalism, War and Counterinsurgency in Chiapas II

Filed under: Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:39 am

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Capitalism, War and Counterinsurgency in Chiapas II

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By: Gaspar Morquecho

Wars come from afar

Some 18 years ago, in June 1997 –when the Moño Colorado [1] was very popular and Zedillo was governing the country–, the Zapatista rebel chief presented us: “7 pieces to draw, colour, cut out and try to arm, together with others, the global puzzle;” in other words, the 7 easy pieces of the global puzzle. The pieces are: 1) the concentration of wealth and the distribution of poverty; 2) the globalization of exploitation; 3) migration, the nomadic nightmare; 4) financial globalization and the globalization of corruption and crime; 5) the legitimate violence of an illegitimate power (?); 6) mega-politics and the dwarves; and 7) the pockets of resistance.

The essay is not wasted. It’s certain that when the guerrilla chief proposes and polishes it, putting pencil to paper, it comes out one of his best. Without a doubt, 7 pieces will have a special place once his selected works are published.

Before moving on to the construction of each of the 7 Pieces, the rebel Subcomandante warned: “Modern globalization, neoliberalism as a world system, should be understood as a new war of conquest of territories. (…) The end of the ‘Cold War’ brought with it a new framework of international relations in which the new fight for those new markets and territories produced a new world war, the Fourth. That obliged, as in all wars, a redefinition of the National States. (…) The global order returned to the old epochs of the conquests of America, Africa and Oceania. One wonders at this modernity that advances backwards, (…). In the world of the Post Cold War, vast territories, riches and, above all, a skilled workforce, await a new master…”

To cement the concept of World War IV, the guerrilla, argued: “From the end of World War II to 1992, 149 wars have been unleashed in the world. The result of 23 million deaths leaves no room for doubt about the intensity of this World War III.” About this war “between Capitalism and Socialism,” the Zapatista emphasized its characteristics and for the winner: “World War III demonstrated the benefits of ‘total war’ (everywhere and in all forms) for the winner: capitalism.”

World War IV, the war for markets, arrived accompanied by an arsenal of “financial bombs” which, with their expansive waves, “reorganize and reorder that which attacks, and remakea it as a piece inside the puzzle of economic globalization.” World War IV constructs a “megalopolis” in extensive geographies of the Earthly Globe: The European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Other “megalopolises” have emerged in North Africa, in South Africa, in the Near East, in the Black Sea, in the Asian Pacific; “financial bombs explode all over the planet and re-conquer territories.” In that process: “Neoliberalism operates as the DESTRUCTION/DEPOPULATION on the one hand, and the RECONSTRUCTION/RE-ORDERING on the other, of regions and of nations for the opening of new markets and modernizing the existing ones.”

If anyone learned the lesson of World War III, it was the leaders of China and Vietnam. They had been witnesses to the “political, economic and social breakup of Eastern Europe and the USSR.” The Asian Giant had inherited the social and productive organization of Mao’s China. That country with its enormous territory, resources and labour force, opened its borders to receive the massive arrival of capital. Its economy had extraordinary growth and in different geographies we can read: Made in China. That country was profiled to become the world’s largest economy. For its part, Vietnam, a small socialist country with an historic conflict with China and vulnerable in the region, opted for alliance with the United States and its leaders changed the model of which Uncle Ho dreamed.

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Sup Marcos speaks during a storm in Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo during the March of the Colour of the Earth on February 28, 2001. Photo: La Jornada.

Sup Marcos speaks during a storm in Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo during the March of the Colour of the Earth on February 28, 2001. Photo: La Jornada.

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It could be important to emphasize that when the Zapatista guerrilla wrote 7 Pieces, “5 billion human beings inhabited Planet Earth. On it, only 500 million people live with comforts while 4.5 billion suffer poverty and try to survive.” In 2015, more than 7 billion people live on Planet Earth. Capital and poverty continue to be concentrated in opposite poles. World War IV continues its course. In order to reach the “re-conquest of territories (…) the financial centres bring forward a triple criminal and brutal strategy: they proliferate ‘regional wars’ and ‘internal conflicts,’ capital follows routes of atypical accumulation, and mobilizes large masses of workers.” (…) “World War IV, with its process of destruction/depopulation and reconstruction/reordering, provokes the displacement of millions of people.” In 1995 the number of displaced persons was more than 27 million; in 2005 the number reached 38 million. In 2015, the number of displaced persons or refugees in the world adds up to 60 million. Of course, 99 out of every 100 have access to a mobile telephone.

And why all of the above?

It turns out that 18 years after the 7 Pieces from the Zapatista rebel, the United States, the first economic and military power, stirred the waters of the world markets and in the first days of October headed the creation of the largest trade agreement on the planet: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Trade Ministers from 12 nations of the Pacific, Mexico among them, reached an agreement that “would reduce tariffs and establish common standards.” With the TPP they propose stimulating trade between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Capitalism reiterated its strength and capacity for strategic planning. Its engineers worked at least 5 years on the design and construction of the TPP. The countries involved took two years so that their respective Congresses may approve it or not. It is very likely that the impact of the recent financial bombs and the fall of oil prices that unhinged economies in the entire world in 2015, may have created the best of scenarios for the TPP to come to fruition.

Mexico and Chiapas in the World War IV theatre of operations

The FTA was signed with Carlos Salinas. With Salinas-Peña Nieto, Mexico participates in the TPP. Chronologically, in 2014 Salinas-Peña Nieto strengthened the Pacific Alliance in which it participates with Peru and Chile. In September 2015, Peña Nieto announced the creation of Special Economic Zones that he later located in the port of Lázaro Cárdenas on the border of Michoacán and Guerrero; in Oaxaca, one of the states where the Inter-Oceanic Industrial Corridor is constructed; and in Puerto Madero, Chiapas. On October 5, in Atlanta, it was all consummated. A dozen ministers from the Pacific nations reached the trade agreement.

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, reacted immediately and expressed: “We won’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy.” A message to the rest of its allies: Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, in other words, to the BRICS trade block. In Mexico, Salinas-Peña Nieto celebrated the conclusion of the TPP negotiations, by classifying it as a “vanguard agreement” with which Mexico strengthens its trade integration with the world and reiterated the promise of the last three decades: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership will translate into greater opportunities for investment and well-paid employment for Mexicans.”

The other wars in Mexico and Chiapas

A little more than three decades have passed since the governments of Mexico have brought the national economy to navigate in the turbulent waters of World War IV. Independence and Sovereignty are what least remain. If the privatization process started with Miguel de la Madrid and Carlos Salinas, deregulation of the economy and the end of agrarian distribution with Zedillo, Fox and Calderón delivered part of the country to the mining companies. Obeying the Yankees, Calderón established the “drug war” that has left a result of more than 100,000 dead, more than 20,000 disappeared, thousands of orphans and very probably more than a million displaced. The war continues with Salinas-Peña Nieto; a war that covers at least 80% of the Mexican geography and that continues to fill thousands of Mexican families with grief or to leave them in mourning clothes.

In Chiapas, the counterinsurgency war against the Zapatista peoples and communities followed the violent peace of before 1994. The armed forces have occupied the territory. The federal government has responded to each one of their peaceful political and civilian initiatives with a provocation and maintains certain kinds of “internal conflicts:” agrarian policies in different regions of the state; with mining companies in the border zone; wind projects, environmental projects, because of discrimination and because of violations of human rights and of the rights of indigenous peoples.

In the course of the war, Salinas-Peña Nieto’s visits to Chiapas have been frequent: In February 2013, in Las Margaritas he launched the Crusade against Hunger. On February 13, 2014, he inaugurated the Palenque International Airport and re-launched the San Cristóbal-Palenque Superhighway project. The Zapatista Galeano was murdered in May. That crime postponed the EZLN’s programmed events. On July 8, in Catazajá, he broached the theme of immigration. With Pérez Molina, president of Guatemala, he put into effect the Secure Pass program. On August 8, in San Juan Chamula, he affirmed that with the structural reforms Mexico would have a better platform to grow economically. On December 2 in Cintalapa, he celebrated the start of his third year of government and promised 1.8 billion pesos more to Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero.

On March 11, the Secretary of National Defence announced the construction of a new military barracks in Chicomuselo, Chiapas. On March 24, 2015, Salinas-Peña Nieto announced that they would begin actions in Chiapas for the development of Southern Mexico and put into effect a programme to impel employment. On August 11, International Indigenous Peoples Day, he announced that communities of Chiapas will enter into the Special Economic Zones Programme to create more jobs and generate productive investment in them. On August 29, the Chiapas government released two of the Tojolabal Indians implicated in the death of the Zapatista Galeano. On September 29, 2015, Salinas-Peña Nieto announced in Tapachula, Chiapas, the creation of Special Economic Zones in the indigenous communities of Chiapas with investment from private capital: “We must move from welfare, which has been insufficient and has only permitted us to mitigate poverty, to what we really seek, which is inclusive growth.” In that way, the capitalist plus is added to the expense for social control.

Without a doubt, the Salinas-Peña Nieto War is directed at the “recuperation of lost spaces.” The autonomy of the indigenous Zapatista peoples in Chiapas is another of their military-political objectives. It’s about crushing the “pockets of resistance.” Nevertheless, the plans for the War Front on the Southern Border are the greatest threat in the region.

[1]. El Moño Colorado translates into English as The Red Topknot – It’s the name of a song that was very popular in the early days of the EZLN and played over and over again at the 1st Gathering Against Neoliberalism and For Humanity in 1996.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Thursday, October 8, 2015

En español: http://www.pozol.org/?p=11372

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