dorset chiapas solidarity

February 9, 2017

Book Launch of “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart” in Oaxaca City

Filed under: Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:31 am

 

 

 Book Launch of “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart” in Oaxaca City

 

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On Thursday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m., the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) will launch “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart. The Situation and Participation of Women in Chiapas (1995-2015) “, a diagnosis of the main changes in the last 20 years, at the offices of Consorcio Oaxaca, Calle Pensamientos, 104, Colonia Reforma, Oaxaca City. Join us!

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/oaxaca-book-launch-of-fighting-with-a-womans-heart-in-oaxaca-city/

 

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January 27, 2017

The FPDT Again Denounces the Intrusion of Machinery with Protection of the Army and Federal Police

Filed under: Corporations, Displacement, Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:29 am

 

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The FPDT Again Denounces the Intrusion of Machinery with Protection of the Army and Federal Police

 

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Today, January 22, crews of workers from the companies CIPSA and Pinfra entered the ejido of Atenco with two bulldozers intent on carrying out the construction of the highway Pirámides-Texcoco. With the protection of a military tank and federal police, the companies again violated the definitive suspension awarded against this project that is part of the new airport of Mexico City. This took place one day after sharing testimony of human rights violations against members of the FDPT and of the habitants of the communities on the Eastern shore of Lake Texcoco with a special reporter of the UN.

The ejido members and habitants of the communities went to the place of intrusion to demand the fulfilment of the suspension and the respect of their human rights. They talked with the workers to remove the machinery. The machine returned to the company with the condition that the land would be restored to its place and the policemen would not be involved.

We call on all social organizations, media, and people in solidarity with our cause in defence of mother earth to be alert to the continued provocations, actions of intimidation, and aggressions against our communities. These actions operate in complicity with businesses and local, state and federal authorities to impose the plundering involved in the new airport project of Mexico City. We appeal to the respect of our human rights and to the respect of due process in each one of the different cases of appeals and denunciations that we have opened against these abuses.

Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra

https://atencofpdt.blogspot.mx/2017/01/el-fpdt-denuncia-nueva-incursion-de.html?m=1

https://palabrasrebeldes.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/the-fpdt-again-denounces-the-intrusion-of-machinery-with-support-of-the-army-and-federal-police/

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January 1, 2017

EZLN asks scientists to form schools within its territory

Filed under: Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:17 am

 

 

EZLN asks scientists to form schools within its territory

 

marcos-sin-military-capGaleano walking around at “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity.” Note the absence of his military cap and shirt.

 

By: Angeles Mariscal

“We want to learn and do science and technology in order to achieve the only competence that matters: that of life against death,” members of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) pointed out at the inauguration of the meeting with scientists from different countries who came to Chiapas to meet with members of the insurgent group.

The gathering named The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity put out a call to Germany, Canada, Chile, United States, Spain, Israel, Paraguay, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico -some members of the National Investigators System -, who will debate with the Zapatistas the work of the scientific community facing the social, economic, political and environmental crisis derived from the capitalist system.

“Scientifically are there studies about whether one can live without capitalism? What is the scientific or non-scientific explanation of why money was invented? Scientifically, can you explain to us the principles of neoliberalism? Scientifically, can you explain to us why capitalism prepares certain crisis every so often to reactivate its economy? What are the ethical principles?” These are some of the questions that the EZLN’s political and military leader, Subcomandante Galeano, asked during the inauguration.

For ten days scientists from diverse fields will debate about this and other themes, “as a start for watching and walking what to do in the world in which we live,” explained Subcomandante Moisés, who in the name of the General Command of the EZLN considered that scientific research and discoveries have been used as an instrument for the accumulation of wealth: “the rich changed the destiny for which it was created, gave it another use, for their convenience.”

“Our survival is in our hands, or the other construction of a new world (…) We Zapatistas, we’re here now as your pupils, your students, your apprentices. We don’t conceive knowledge as a symbol of social status or a measure of intelligence (…) We don’t want to go to the university, we want the university to be erected in our communities, to be taught and to learn together with our people.”

The insurgent leader threw out a challenge to the scientific community to share their knowledge with members of the EZLN. “The question that moves us, the scientific curiosity, the zeal to learn, to know, comes from a long time ago, so long ago that scientific calendars don’t have a count (…) we don’t want to go to big laboratories and scientific research centres in the metropolis, we want them constructed here. We want schools built for the formation of scientists, not workshops disguised as schools, which only teach the functions of work at the service of capitalism (cheap and poorly qualified manual labour). We want scientific studies, not just technical studies. We want to learn and make science and technology to gain the only competence that’s worth the effort: that of life against death.”

“We cannot delegate to others the work that corresponds to us as complete human beings, Subcomandante Galeano stated.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

http://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2016/12/ezln-pide-a-cientificos-formar-escuelas-en-su-territorio/

[Administrator’s Note: Official EZLN communications from “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” are very long and, therefore, are taking a long time to translate]

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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November 30, 2016

International Day to Combat Violence against Women

Filed under: Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:04 pm

 

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International Day to Combat Violence against Women

 

mujeres1Beginning of the march in Plaza de La Resistencia. Photo@SIPAZ

 

November 25 is International Day to Combat Violence against Women. In Chiapas, many activities were organized within this framework. From the 21st to 24th of the month the First National Feminist Congress was held in San Cristobal de Las Casas. At a press conference on the first day, activists and organizations questioned the Declaration of a Gender Violence Alert (GVA) issued on November 18 by the federal government for seven municipalities in the state (San Cristobal de Las Casas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Comitan  de Dominguez, Villaflores, Tonala, Chiapa de Corzo and Tapachula), calling it “incomplete, discriminatory and insufficient.” For this reason, the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas declared itself “in a permanent and civic alert to continue to carry out short, medium and long-term actions to prevent femicidal violence.” It should be remembered that women’s organizations in the state have been requesting a GVA for three years.

On November 23 and 24, the Third Assembly of the Movement for Defence of the Earth, Territory and for the Participation of Women in Decision-making was also held in San Cristobal de Las Casas in order to “share information and denunciations, but also proposals and alternatives to defend our lands, territories and organize as women, as we face the same neoliberal and patriarchal system.”

 In a statement, participants in the Assembly demanded, among other things, from the government, the ejido and community authorities, and society in general:

– “To respect women’s rights fully, to live free of violence, to really have land, to be sure that we will not be deprived of our territories, and to participate in decision-making in our communities.”

– “Cessation of femicide, femicidal violence; to release indigenous and non-indigenous women who have been unjustly imprisoned “

– That the government respects and enforces the self-determination and autonomy of the people, and stops nourishing community division, co-opting and buying leaders.”

-“The government and transnational corporations stop persecuting, intimidating, and murdering those who defend our lands and territories.”

– “To the government and the private media, stop criminalizing social protest. We are not criminals, we are women and men defending our rights, our lands and territories, which is where we live and want to continue living with respect for Mother Earth. “

 

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On November 25, both groups met to march, coinciding also with the pilgrimage of thousands of indigenous people from the Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (MODEVITE). In a joint communiqué, they reaffirmed: “We are firmly hopeful that with our struggles the situation of violence will not be prolonged or intensified. That is why, women and men, we raise our voices calling to all the peoples of Mexico and the World to defeat the capitalist, neoliberal, heterosexual, racist state and to build another world of PEACE WITH JUSTICE AND DIGNITY where there is room for EVERYONE.”

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/chiapas-international-day-to-combat-violence-against-women/

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November 7, 2016

And it trembled …!

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Repression, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:11 am

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And it trembled …!

 

Female mexican guerilla warfarePHOTO /BERNARDO DE NIZ

 

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

On October 14th of this year, the National Indigenous Congress [CNI] and the Zapatista National Liberation Army [EZLN] made public an historic document with the prophetic title of: “May the earth tremble at its core,” at the conclusion of the 5th National Indigenous Congress at Cideci-Unitierra, Chiapas. The text is not the product of the occurrence of one person or minority group, but rather the result of six days of gruelling and prolonged work sessions, carried out based on the well-known method of the original peoples of debating until achieving consensus.

In the meeting they celebrated life, at the same time as denouncing the worsening of the dispossession and repression “that have not stopped in the 524 years since the powerful began a war aimed at exterminating those who are of the earth; as their children we have not allowed for their destruction and death, meant to serve capitalist ambition which knows no end other than destruction itself. That resistance, the struggle to continue constructing life, today takes the form of words, learning, and agreements.”

It was emphasized that the peoples are constructing every day in the resistances against capitalism’s offensive which becomes more aggressive all the time, and which has been converted –as was reiterated in the 2015 seminar Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra– into a civilizational threat, “not only for indigenous peoples and campesinos, but rather for the peoples of the cities who must also create dignified and rebellious ways for not being murdered, dispossessed, contaminated, sickened, kidnapped or disappeared. From our community assemblies we have decided, exercised and constructed our destiny since time immemorial, for which reason maintaining our forms of organization and the defence of our collective life is possible only from rebellion in the face of the bad governments, their corporations and their organized crime.”

It is not about a so-called ethnocentrism, self-centred on indigenous peoples, but rather, on the contrary, it is about an exhortation that, starting with a secular form of struggle, rooted in big historic events with a strong indigenous presence –like the wars for Independence and Reform, the fight against foreign invasions, the Revolution against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz–, calls upon all of us to organize collectively in rebellion against the bad government that has delivered the homeland to the corporations and crime.

It denounces –in detail and with multiple testimonies and documented evidence– the process of re-colonization that the different Native peoples, nations and tribes represented at the 5th Congress are suffering in a particularly aggravated way: invasion of forests, sacred communal lands and territories; imposition of highway and super-highway mega-projects, pipelines, aqueducts and thermo-electric dams, an interurban train, airports and shopping centres; the plunder and privatization of natural springs and other natural resources; affectation of lands and territories because of mining, tourist projects, planting of transgenic soy and African palm, besides livestock brokers; commercialization of ancestral knowledge; contamination of rivers through fracking and imposition of bills for environmental services, carbon capture and ecotourism; all of that, accompanied by the criminalisation of struggle and resistance, assassination, incarceration and the forced disappearance of activists; buying consciences, fragmentation of communities, disintegration of the community fabric and contriving of communal assemblies, that “engineering of conflicts” that corporations know well; relentless pursuit from drug trafficking with the complicity of all the government bodies, armed forces and security apparatuses; murders of youth and women and rapes of women; aerial fumigations that produce illnesses; attacks from paramilitary groups and harassment of community authorities. Faced with this storm provoked by new forms of capitalist globalization, participants in the 5th Congress recognize that confronting it is only possible collectively, from anti-capitalism and from decision-making bodies constructed from below: “That is the power from below that has kept us alive, and it is why commemorating resistance and rebellion is also ratifying our decision to continue to be alive constructing hope for a future possible only over the ruins of capitalism.”

For these considerations that, as is observed, are transcendent and profound, the fifth National Indigenous Congress “decided to initiate a consultation in every one of our towns to dismantle from below the power that those above impose on us and that offers us a panorama of death, violence, dispossession and destruction […] we declare ourselves to be in permanent assembly and we will consult in each one of our geographies, territories and directions about the agreement of this 5th CNI to name an indigenous government council whose word will be materialised by an indigenous woman, a delegate from the CNI, as an independent candidate who will contend in the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista National Liberation Army in the 2018 electoral process for the Presidency of this country.”

And, effectively, as was foreseeable, the political class trembled repeatedly… and they didn’t expect the marked reactions of secular racism from those creole-mestizo mentalities that couldn’t conceive of the indigenous thinking for themselves, as well as the ideological-political monologue of a “partyocracy” that considers “unity on the left” with arguments like the “least bad,” or “democratic alternating,” the monopoly of “national and popular representation,” and that has not issued any pronouncement against the real, open and shadow powers that have led Mexico to a humanitarian emergency and, above all, that is not capable of respecting the collective decisions, now in consultation, of the country’s most exploited, discriminated and oppressed sectors.

Welcome to this initiative that makes you think, act and even argue, beyond singular thoughts, personalities and preconceived ideas.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 4, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/11/04/opinion/018a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted, with minor edits, by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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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.

 

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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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National Women’s Strike

Filed under: sipaz, Women — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:36 am

 

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National Women’s Strike

 

mujeres1Event against violence against women, San Cristobal de Las Casas, October, 2016 @SIPAZ

 

On October 19, demonstrations were held in different countries of Latin America to protest against femicide and violence against women. In San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, the event brought together about 200 people.

The trigger for these demonstrations were several recent femicides in various locations: the young Argentinan Lucia Perez, 16 years old, who was drugged, raped and murdered in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The case of Paola, a transsexual woman, which occurred on September 30 in Buenavista colony, Mexico City; the attack on the house of Itzel Duran, which resulted in the murder of the 19-year-old in Comitan, Chiapas, on October 8, and the femicide of the member of the Youth Network Trans, Alessa Flores, activist and sex worker, found dead in a hotel at Calzada de Tlalpan in Mexico City on the 13th. From Argentina, the brother of Lucia Perez states: “This time it was Lucia … but next time it can happen to you, or the person you love most in the world.”

The call for a women’s strike was spread regionally, promoted by networks encouraging the taking of public spaces in marches or demonstrations involving men and women.

In the demonstration in Naucalpan, Mexico State, women participating in the event were suppressed: according to Radio Zapote, a municipal police patrol car arrived at the town hall, where two uniformed policemen got out and arrested two women who were demonstrating against sexist violence at gunpoint.

According to the Citizens’ National Observatory of Femicide (OCNF), there are seven murders of women a day in Mexico and of “3,892 cases documented by the OCNF between 2012 and 2013, only 613 (15.75%) were investigated as femicide.”

 

mujeres2Photo@SIPAZ

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/chiapasnationalinternational-national-womens-strike/

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October 24, 2016

CNI and EZLN to Hold Consultation to Appoint Female Indigenous Candidate for 2018 Presidential Elections

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, sipaz, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:32 pm

 

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CNI and EZLN to Hold Consultation to Appoint Female Indigenous Candidate for 2018 Presidential Elections

 

ez1CNI at Oventik Caracol (@SIPAZ)

 

From October 9 to 13, within the framework of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the “Fifth National Indigenous Congress” was held at CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristobal de Las Casas. About 500 delegates from 32 nations, peoples and indigenous tribes of Mexico, as well as members and support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and other guests participated. It worked in thematic working groups around the following themes: dispossession and repression; our resistances and rebellions; a review of the CNI; proposals for strengthening the CNI. On October 12, Columbus Day, a political-cultural event in Oventik Caracol was also held.

 

ez2Zapatista militia on the arrival of the CNI at Oventik, October 12, 2016 (@SIPAZ)

 

On closing the event, the CNI and the EZLN published a statement entitled “May the Earth Tremble at its Core” (paraphrasing the national anthem), in which they reported 27 grievances dispossessions indigenous peoples in the country are facing. What created the biggest stir was the announcement of the start of a consultation to examine the convenience of appointing an indigenous council of government and inviting an indigenous woman to participate in the upcoming presidential elections to be held in 2018. The statement says: “Given all of the above, we declare ourselves in permanent assembly and we will consult in each of our geographies, territories and directions the agreement of the Fifth CNI to appoint an indigenous council of government whose word will be materialized by an indigenous woman, a delegate of the CNI as an independent candidate who contends on behalf of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in the 2018 election for the presidency of this country.”

The statement says that “It’s time to attack, to go on the offensive” and clarified that “our struggle is not for power, we do not seek that; but we will call on indigenous peoples and civil society to organize to stop this destruction, to strengthen us in our resistance and rebellion” the Zapatistas said in a statement in which they made a call to organize “from below.”

The joint statement ends by emphasizing “It is time for rebel dignity, to build a new nation for all people, to strengthen the power from below and the anti-capitalist left, and for those who are to blame for the pain of the people of this multicolor Mexico to pay.”

 

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/chiapasnational-cni-and-ezln-to-hold-consultation-to-appoint-female-indigenous-candidate-for-2018-presidential-elections/

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October 19, 2016

CNI, EZLN and the power from below

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:40 am

 

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CNI, EZLN and the power from below

 

14641984_376377792751912_2813650712869700631_nZapatistas at the Fifth National Indigenous Congress.

 

By: Neil Harvey*

The recent comunicado from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), “May the earth tremble at its core,” published on enlacezapatista.org, has the virtue of placing at the centre of attention the defence of land, forests, water, and everything that is threatened by the development megaprojects and the dispossession of the commons. It also represents a call to society as a whole to organize for supporting a new political initiative that would be expressed in the independent candidacy of an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, in the 2018 presidential elections.

The comunicado was issued at the end of the 5th National Indigenous Congress, held in Cideci-Unitierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, on the 20th anniversary of the CNI and on one more anniversary of the resistance of the indigenous peoples throughout more than five centuries. The CNI continues being an expression of hope for a new nation, despite the government’s refusal to implement the San Andrés Accords signed in 1996. The resistance struggles against the economic model continue, with the arduous construction and defence of their own spaces that now form the basis of this new group of the CNI and the EZLN.

Although this proposal will be based on these experiences of struggle, it will not be limited only to ethnic demands, but it will also include civil society in general. What’s new is that it proposes another view of national politics; in other words, it represents an invitation to re-think the nation from the experiences of dispossession and repression lived by the indigenous peoples in the countryside and in the city. It’s not about something external or additional to the nation’s defence, but rather that it forms the central part of that. Nor is it about seeking power, but rather of constructing one more solid, articulated and national defence against the megaprojects and dispossessions all over the country. Finally, what it seeks is to reaffirm the value of life, as the Zapatistas declared in January 1994, when they rose up to not die in abandonment.

The proposal not only assures that there will be an indigenous woman as an independent candidate in the presidential elections, but it also seeks to give a new political form to ancestral demands and the new ones that were expressed in the last Congress. As the same comunicado points out, it’s “the power from below that has kept us alive.”

The method of selecting the independent candidate is based on the organization of this “power from below.” The CNI and the EZLN have declared themselves in permanent assembly with the proposal to take the agreement of the 5th Congress to consultation “in each one of our geographies, territories and directions” to name an indigenous government council. From that council will emerge the proposal that will declare an indigenous woman as a candidate for the Presidency of the country.

The proposal is also different from other experiences in Latin America where indigenous peoples have not always had favourable results when they decide to participate in the electoral ambit in alliance with political parties. In Ecuador, for example, in the middle of the “90s, the Coordinator of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) decided to participate in the elections, taking advantage of a 1994 electoral reform that permitted candidacies of independent organizations and removed a law that obliged registering members in at least 10 provinces and registering candidates in 12 provinces. In that new context, the Conaie decided to form the party of the Movement of Plurinational Unity Pachakutik, or the MUPP, which participated in alliances with other parties to remove corrupt presidents, attaining spaces in the government headed by Lucio Gutiérrez in 2002. Nevertheless, Pachakutik remained marginalized when that same government, once elected, decided to adopt austerity policies and other unpopular measures that derived into the resignation or removal of the Pachakutik representatives. Such a situation also negatively impacted that same indigenous movement and led to a re-evaluation of the importance of local and community organization versus alliances with candidates of national parties, which tend to impose their own agenda, as has happened in the case of the government of Rafael Correa. Something similar has occurred in Bolivia, where the emergence of the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) as a political party, based in great part on the indigenous mobilizations, has led to contradictions and tensions between the momentum the MAS governments have given to the extractivist economy and the resistances to said model because of its damaging effects for self-management and the environment in indigenous territories.

In the case of Mexico, the CNI and EZLN’s proposal is not about forming a party or allying with political parties, but rather creating an “indigenous government council” and, from there, promoting its proposals through an indigenous woman, a delegate of the CNI, as an independent candidate in 2018. It’s an initiative that seeks to assure that the relationship between the peoples that compose said council and its candidate is stricter and less inclined to co-optation. It’s a different way of confronting the political dilemma of how a popular movement can gain a national presence without losing the relationship with the social bases that support it. Also, as is to be expected, the proposal of the CNI and the EZLN is going to compete with that of other candidates and parties, which could derive into mutual disqualifications, or into a necessary debate about the country’s direction and the role of the indigenous communities, barrios and towns in the process of defining that direction. We still don’t know the reception this proposal will have. For the moment, it is necessary to recognize that it is an idea that guarantees that the problems of dispossession, impunity, violence and repression expressed by the CNI and the EZLN will be inescapable in the national debates and, for that very fact, the proposal constitutes an opportune and welcome contribution.

*Professor-researcher, New Mexico State University

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, October 17, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/10/17/opinion/020a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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October 18, 2016

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

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

 

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Another Government Is Possible

National Indigenous Congress of Mexico to Launch Presidential Campaign in 2018

 

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by Emmy Keppler

October 17, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE FIGHT FOR RECOGNITION

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ACHIEVEMENTS AND LIMITATIONS OF AUTONOMY

cni-otomi-500x391
In this Fifth National Indigenous Congress, which also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the CNI, delegates shared the immense achievements of autonomy in their communities:

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

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

elder councils and community assemblies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE PROPOSAL

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ANOTHER GOVERNMENT IS POSSIBLE

 

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

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

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

In the words of the General Command of the EZLN:

Now is the hour of the National Indigenous Congress.

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

With its dreams, let cynicism and apathy be vanquished.

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

With its gaze, let darkness be illuminated.

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

In its heart, let desperation find comfort and hope.

In its challenge, let the world be seen anew.

 

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

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October 15, 2016

Zapatistas to Present Indigenous Woman Presidential Candidate in 2018

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:36 am

 

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Zapatistas to Present Indigenous Woman Presidential Candidate in 2018

 

indigenous_women_chiapas-jpg_1718483346Indigenous Zapatista women take part in protest in the state of Chiapas in this undated photo. | Photo: Reuters

 

“Our struggle is not for power … we will call on indigenous peoples and civil society to organize ourselves to stop this destruction,” read a statement from the EZLN.

The Zapatista National Liberal Army and the National Indigenous Congress resolved Friday to present an Indigenous woman as an independent candidate for the 2018 presidential elections in Mexico, marking a significant shift in strategy for the organization that has its roots in armed struggle.

Defining themselves as grassroots organizations, the communique specified that the decision to present a candidate in the elections was subject to approval from the groups’ membership.

“We confirm that our struggle is not for power, we do not seek it; instead we will call on indigenous peoples and civil society to organize ourselves to stop this destruction, strengthen us in our resistances and rebellions; that is to say, in the defence of the life of every person, every family, group, community or neighbourhood,” read a joint statement from the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatistas.

The decision to participate in the 2018 election was announced at the conclusion of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress, held over the previous week in the city of San Cristobal, that saw delegates debate the political situation in the country and decide on joint action on a litany of issues facing Indigenous peoples in Mexico.

According to Proceso magazine, delegates argued that the strategy of armed struggle had not met all their goals.

The Zapatistas, also known as the EZLN, burst onto the world stage in 1994 when they launched a surprise armed insurrection in the southern state of Chiapas. The uprising failed, but the organization persisted in its aims, developing grassroots local governance structures that were autonomous from the state.

In the 22 years since, the EZLN regularly rejected any participation in electoral politics.

The EZLN also famously launched “The Other Campaign” ahead of the 2006 election, which called on Mexicans to participate in political activity that went beyond voting. Zapatistas — including its most recognizable figure, Subcomandante Marcos — travelled throughout Mexico meeting with activists and civil society leaders in order to build a broad front against capitalism.

Some sectors of the Mexican left criticized the “The Other Campaign” for declining to support leftist former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was then poised to win the presidential election. Lopez Obrador ultimately was defeated by the right-wing National Action Party candidate in an election that was widely seen as fraudulent.

The statement from the EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress did not provide details on exactly how they intended to participate in the 2018 vote or if they would use the resources provided by the Mexican state for those participating in elections.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Zapatistas-To-Present-Indigenous-Presidential-Candidate-in-2018-20161015-0002.html

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October 9, 2016

Atenco women’s case will finally reach the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Coridh)

Filed under: Repression, Women — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:55 am

 

Atenco women’s case will finally reach the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Coridh)

 

women-of-atencoPatricia Torres, Ana María Velasco, Claudia Hernández, Yolanda Núñez, Italia Méndez, Norma Jiménez, Stephanie Brewer and Araceli Olivos during the press conference held at the Centro Pro. Photo: Jesús Villaseca

 

By: José Antonio Román

  • Activists deny that the government has proposed to bring the case to the agency
  • They had to spend 10 years in impunity; the issue could represent the eighth sentence against the Mexican state, say human rights advocacy groups

The Mexican government not only lied when it asserted that it was the one that proposed taking the case of the Atenco women to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Coridh, its initials in Spanish), but also that it “surprisingly advanced” to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) making this decision public.

This case, which arrives at the Coridh after 10 years of impunity in the country, could represent the eighth sentence against the Mexican State, in which 11 women of San Salvador Atenco denounced sexual torture and other human rights violations by state of Mexico police and federal police in May 2006.

Stephanie Erin Brewer, lawyer for the victims and coordinator of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre’s international area, explained that it was “very strange” to find out about the federal government taking the case to the Court rather than the IACHR taking it, as regularly happens in these cases.

But she also clarified that the State not only didn’t ask to send the case to the court, but rather “did everything possible to delay it, and avoid the case reaching that body,” as it has neither had reparation measures for the victims nor funds nor help actions, which have been repeatedly rejected.

‘‘There’s no dialogue either, as the government says. That dialogue is broken because of the repeated lack of fulfilment, the lack of advance and the absence of a showing of the will to reach a conclusion. No dialogue is underway: what is underway is a litigation,” the director from Centro Prodh clarified.

In a press conference that six of the 11 women complainants attended, accompanied by their legal advocates from the Centro Prodh and the collective for Justice and International law (Cejil), it was pointed out that the case reaching the Coridh is a historic achievement in the search for truth and justice, which was impossible to access on the national level.

The lawyers Brewer and Marcia Aguiluz, from Cejil –connected via Internet from Costa Rica–, explained that since last December the IACHR adopted the background report that contains its conclusions about the case and that it gave reason to find that the complainants suffered unlawful and arbitrary detention, diverse acts of physical, psychological and sexual torture, a lack of due process and denial of justice, violations to which the Mexican State will have to respond.

A decade after the acts of May 3 and 4, 2006, [1] there is not one single firm criminal sentence and the criminal processes underway are limited to state protection and are developed starting with accusations against four dozen agents with a low rank, without touching the chain of command and other spheres and levels of responsibility. At the time that the acts occurred, the governor of the state of Mexico was Enrique Peña Nieto, now president.

And although the Coridh does not impose individual criminal responsibilities, in the background report it gives an account of the responsibility of some individuals, and mentions the necessity of investigating on two levels the responsibility of the governor of the state of Mexico. “The first is around the possible emission of statements that promised the independence and autonomy of the investigations, and the second is because of the absence of an in-depth investigation about the chain of command,” explained Santiago Aguirre, assistant director of the Centro Prodh.

[1] On May 3 and 4, 2006, state and federal police terrorized the town of San Salvador Atenco right after Subcomandante Marcos spoke at a rally in the town as part of the EZLN’s “Other Campaign.” 2 people died and approximately 150 were arrested and taken to jails.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/10/05/politica/003n1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor amendments by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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August 28, 2016

Femicides, part of the Fourth World War

Filed under: Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:31 pm

 

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Femicides, part of the Fourth World War

 

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By: Raúl Zibechi

On 14th August  https://desinformemonos.org/ drew attention to the 31 femicides registered in Querétaro since January 2015, with a short and frightening story.

“Games, dreams, school, friends, family, birthdays, trips, security, freedom, dignity and life are all no longer rights because they have been converted, shamefully, intolerably and lamentably into benefits that are acquired when you ‘moderate’ your manner of speaking, when you ‘are careful’ about how you look, the hours you go out, the places that you frequent, when you stop trusting people and when your life stops being your life.”

The article emphasizes that: “femicides are clearly State violence;” it denounces “the impunity that covers them and favours the repetition of harm,” and it emphasizes that the majority of the victims are usually indigenous and poor women.

The information refers directly to Silvia Federici’s book, Calibán y la bruja: mujeres, cuerpo y acumulación originaria (Traficantes de Sueños, 2010); [1] a work of lasting influence, which contributes to illuminating reality, permitting a better understanding of a social conflict. It analyses the witch-hunts in medieval society, and at the same time contributes to the understanding of what was happening in this period of history.

Federici maintains that feudalism was eroded due to the power and autonomy obtained by the popular classes, and that the response of the dominant classes was a violent offensive that laid the foundations of capitalism. Slavery and colonialism, the subjection of workers in production and the confinement of women in reproduction, the creation of hierarchies of race, gender and age, all formed part of this new domination.

Capitalism not only arrived “dripping blood and dirt from head to foot” (Marx), but also creating “an immense concentration camp,” where slavery on the plantations and the mita [2] in the mines boosted capital accumulation (Federici, p. 91). The power of women was destroyed through the witch-hunts, and the men (and the women and children) were subjected to waged slavery and servitude, in order to appropriate the commons.

Today we cross through the crisis of capitalism and the dominant class again uses violence to perpetuate itself. At the core of this crisis is the power acquired by the popular sectors organized into movements, particularly since the 1960s, when factory workers dismantled the employers’ power by overthrowing the ‘Fordist’ [3] discipline.

The capital offensive underway seeks to destroy that capacity for organization and struggle of those from below. But the popular world is now very different from before, particularly because of the crisis of the old patriarchy. Anyone who knows the antisystemic movements knows that women play a central role, even when they aren’t as visible as the men. They are the mortar of collective life; they are in charge of the reproduction of life and of the movements. Besides cooking, weaving and caring for the animals in their homes, they join together with other women to do the same, but collectively. They are the guardians of the commons, material and immaterial.

They, and their children, are the sustainers of the popular world, of extended families and organizations, from urban to campesino and indigenous communities, from Chiapas and Cherán to Wall Mapu (Mapuche Territory) and the Andes. It’s no accident that we are facing a new witch-hunt when reproduction occupies such an important place in the resistance and in the power of women within their communities.

Women, and their children, have broken the patriarchal nuclear family, the power of the Church and the priest, the disciplinary role of the school, the barracks, the hospital and the workshop. They have created a world where collective relations take precedence over family ones and the cooperation between them makes “the sexual division of labour” into “a source of power and protection for women,” as Federici writes about medieval society (p. 41). Paying attention to what happens in a tianguis (outdoor market), an outdoor cafe or a popular barrio makes further comment unnecessary.

The violence to annihilate the popular sectors, through the narco, femicide and the wars against the peoples, has been designed by the ruling classes to destroy our powers; not only explicitly. Federici reminds us that the workers of the 15th Century practiced multiple resistances: they stopped working when they had enough, they only accepted tasks for a limited time, and dressed ostentatiously, in such a way that they were “indistinguishable from the lords” (p. 78).

The new witch-hunt, now without trials or formalities, but rather with a clean bullet, is part of capital’s Fourth World War to eliminate us as peoples. To succeed in the class war, the bourgeoisie must raze the autonomy of the peoples, communities and individuals; violence and social policies are, in that sense, complementary. The attack on women and their children is one of the crucial points of this war.

As at the dawn of the system, in its decline violence again becomes the principal agent of capital accumulation. Far from any illusion, we must comprehend that violence is neither an error nor a momentary deviation, but rather a systemic characteristic of capitalism in decline, particularly in the zones where the dignity of human beings is not recognized.

For that reason, she says it is urgent to clarify strategies to address the systemic violence and the annihilation of the will of the peoples. If femicide and the indiscriminate murder of young people and women are systemic, what sense does it make to elect governments from different parties who are going to keep the current system going?

 

[1] Calibán and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation [Dream Traffickers, 2010]

[2] According to Wikipedia, mit’a, a Quechua word, meant collective free labour on public works required by the Inca Empire. After the Spanish invaded, the word became mita and the practice became an oppressive system. With respect to the mines, workers were paid very low wages, with which they had to buy their food (from company stores) and pay taxes. They earned so little that they were often unable to pay their debts and were, therefore, not permitted to leave the mines and go home.

[3] Fordism is a manufacturing philosophy that aims to achieve higher productivity by standardizing the output, using conveyor assembly lines, and breaking the work into small deskilled tasks.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, August 19, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/08/19/opinion/021a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 28/08/2016

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August 20, 2016

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

Filed under: Autonomy, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:06 pm

 

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Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

 

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

Tim Russo
Compañeras.

The battle for humanity and against neoliberalism was and is ours,

And also that of many others from below.

Against death––We demand life.

Subcomandante Galeano/Marcos

 

One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering. The consequences of neoliberalism are so acutely visceral that the Zapatistas called the 21st century’s most highly lauded free-trade policy, NAFTA, a ‘death certificate’ for Indigenous people.1 This is because economic liberalization meant that imported commodities (e.g., subsidized corn from the U.S.) would flood Mexican markets, devalue the products of peasant farmers, and lead to widespread food insecurity. As a response, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), primarily Indigenous peasants themselves, led an armed insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994—the day NAFTA went into effect.

Top: Juan Popoca / Bottom: Ángeles Torrejón
EZLN guerrillas circa 1994.

The Zapatistas, primarily Indigenous Ch’ol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolobal, Mam, and Zoque rebels, were rising up against 500 years of colonial oppression. For this piece, I draw from my experiences learning from them, not ‘researching’ them. Importantly, I neither speak for the Zapatistas nor do my words do them justice. In a sense, then, this piece is nothing other than a modest ‘suggestion’ that the Zapatistas may offer us some ideas about solutions to the problems of the food systems we find ourselves in.

 

The emergence of the EZLN dates back to November 17, 1983, when a small group of politicized university militants arrived in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas to form a guerrilla army. Their efforts, which were being supported by an intricate network of solidarity organizations with links to Marxist revolutionaries and Catholic liberation theologists in the region, were subsequently transformed by the Indigenous communities they encountered upon arriving. The success of the Zapatista uprising was thus the culmination of nearly 10 years of covert organizing that unfolded under the guidance of Indigenous people within the jungles and highlands of southeastern Mexico. And during the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 1994, thousands of masked insurgents from the EZLN stepped out of the darkness to say ‘¡Ya Basta! ‘ (Enough!) to the repression and misery that colonialism and capitalism had thrust upon them.

Levi Gahman
‘You are in Zapatista territory. Here the people lead and the government obeys.’

The stunning manner in which the Zapatistas presented themselves to the Mexican government, as well as the world, saw them descend upon several towns, cities, prisons, and wealthy landowners. During the revolt, EZLN guerillas liberated political prisoners, stormed military barracks, occupied government offices, set fire to trumped-up files that unfairly criminalized Indigenous people, and announced Zapatista ‘Women’s Revolutionary Law.’ In the rural countryside, Zapatista soldiers also reclaimed dispossessed land by kicking affluent property-owning bosses off plantation-like encomiendas that had been historically expropriated from impoverished Indigenous farmers. The skirmishes and exchange of bullets between the EZLN and federal army lasted a total of only 12 days, after which a ceasefire was negotiated.

 

Since that time, and despite an ongoing counter-insurgency being spearheaded by the Mexican government, the Zapatista’s ‘solution’ to the problem of neoliberalism, including the food insecurity and poverty it exacerbates, has been resistance. And for the Zapatistas, resistance is comprised of revitalizing their Indigenous (predominantly Maya) worldviews, recuperating stolen land, emancipating themselves from dependency upon multinational industrial agribusiness, and peacefully living in open defiance of global capitalism. This ‘solution’ has subsequently enabled them to build an autonomous, locally focused food system, which is a direct product of their efforts in participatory democracy, gender equity, and food sovereignty.

Anonymous
Families in La Realidad honor Galeano, a Zapatista teacher assassinated by paramilitaries in 2014.

 

Food sovereignty (an intensely debated concept) loosely described means that people are able to exercise autonomy over their food systems while concurrently ensuring that the production/distribution of food is carried out in socially just, culturally safe, and ecologically sustainable ways. For the Zapatistas, food sovereignty involves agro-ecological farming, place-based teaching and learning, developing local cooperatives, and engaging in collective work.

These practices, which are simultaneously informed by their Indigenous customs, struggles for gender justice, and systems of nonhierarchical governance and education, have thereby radically transformed social relations within their communities. And it is these aspects of the Zapatista Insurgency that illustrate how collective (anti-capitalist) resistance offers novel alternatives to the world’s corporate food regime.

 

Autonomous Education and Decolonization 

Here you can buy or sell anything—­except Indigenous dignity.

Subcomandante Marcos/Galeano

 

The relationship and obligation the Zapatistas have to the land is rooted in their Indigenous perspectives and traditions. And because exercising autonomy over their land, work, education, and food is crucial to the Zapatistas, their methods of teaching and learning are situated in the environmental systems and cultural practices of where they, and their histories, are living. This is evident in the grassroots focus they maintain in their approach to education, as well as how they consider their immediate ecological settings a ‘classroom.’2

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
One example of a Zapatista ‘classroom.’

 

Local knowledge of land and growing food is so central among their autonomous municipalities that each Zapatista school often seespromotores de educación(‘education promoters’) andpromotores de agro-ecología(‘agro-ecology promoters’) coming from the same community as their students. Zapatista education is therefore emplaced within the geographies where people live. This holistic ‘place-based’ focus results in both children and adults viewing themselves as active participants in, and essential parts of, local food systems.

 

In order to understand food security, Zapatista students are frequently taught hands-on agro-ecological techniques outside the classroom. This means they learn how to apply sustainable farming techniques while participating in the planting/harvesting of organic crops. This area of experiential and localized education stresses the importance of working the land in order to attain the skills needed to achieve food sovereignty for future generations. It also provides an overview of how transgenic modifications and privatizations of seeds/plants/life are deemed to be overt threats to, and blatant attacks upon, their culture.

 

This perspective is held because the Zapatistas are ‘People of the Corn,’ a reality passed down from their Maya origin stories.3 And given that their autonomous education is anchored in defending, protecting, and preserving their Indigenous histories, languages, and ancestral territories, the Zapatistas effectively practice decolonization—the re-establishment and repatriation of Indigenous land, life, and realities—in every aspect of their teaching and learning.

Levi Gahman and Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
Scenes from Zapatista agro-ecology. In the top left, a generator depicting an Indigenous origin story: ‘They cut our branches, and they cut our trunks; but they cannot cut our roots.’

 

 

In practical terms, the Zapatistas are decolonizing their food system through applied/experiential learning, communal subsistence farming, collectivizing harvests, refusing chemicals, and equitably distributing labor. This approach thereby provides communities the ability to eschew the profit-motives promoted by capitalist conceptions of ‘productivity,’ in favor of foregrounding their local Indigenous notions of knowledge and nature.4

 

Through their refusal to participate in the commodification and privatization of learning and land, the Zapatistas have created an integrated system of education and food security that functions as a solidarity economy. This means their efforts in both food and knowledge production/distribution are guided by an ethical imperative that takes into consideration the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and ecologies alike.

 

Given what the Zapatistas have created in rural Chiapas, one is left to wonder how local food systems might look if Indigenous peoples’ perspectives and (anti-capitalist) placed-based education were implemented into our own communities.

 

Womens Struggle and Gender Equity

 

Cuando Una Mujer Avanza, No Hay Hombre Que Retrocede

(‘When a Woman Advances, No Man is Left Behind’)

 

Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, produce roughly 70 percent of its food, and are responsible for over 80 percent of its domestic (socially reproductive) labor. Despite this, they earn only about 10 percent of the world’s income, control less than 10 percent of all its land, own less than one percent of the means of production, and comprise nearly two-thirds of all its part-time and temporary worker positions.5 In disaggregate, the vast majority of these statistics apply to women who are rural, working class/poor, racialized/Indigenous, not ‘formally educated,’ and living in the Global South.6 It thus appears that capitalist exploitation has both a pattern and preferred target. Interestingly, all of these descriptors directly apply to Zapatista women, yet, it seems someone has forgotten to tell them…because they do not seem to care.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
Collective work.

One of the most groundbreaking aspects of the Zapatista insurgency has been the strides it has made in destabilizing patriarchy. This social transformation has largely been born out of the indefatigable work ethic and iron will of the Zapatista women. Given their recognition that any struggle against colonialism and capitalism necessitates a struggle against patriarchy, Zapatista women implemented what is known as ‘Women’s Revolutionary Law’ within their communities. The conviction they maintain regarding equality was poignantly captured in a communiqué written by Subcomandante Marcos (now Galeano) released shortly after the 1994 rebellion, which states: “The first EZLN uprising occurred in March of 1993 and was led by the Zapatista women. There were no casualties—and they won.”7

 

Broadly speaking, Women’s Revolutionary Law solidifies the recognition of women’s rights to self-determination, dignity, and having their voices heard. More specifically, the laws mandate that women be equitably represented in the guerrilla army (i.e., the EZLN), theJuntas de Buen Gobierno (‘Councils of Good Government’), efforts in land recuperation (agro-ecological projects/work outside of the home), and the development of food/artisan/craft cooperatives.8 These laws have restructured everyday life throughout Zapatista territory, as it is now not uncommon to see women involved in the public sphere (work outside the home), in addition to seeing men participate in socially reproductive labor (i.e., ‘women’s work’).

Levi Gahman
Murals painted on the walls of a women’s cooperative.

Women’s Revolutionary Law has also merged with the way in which the land and local environment is viewed and tended to. As a result of up-ending rigid patriarchal notions of what type of work women ‘should do’ and ‘could not do,’ as well as undermining regressive ideas that men are less capable of performing emotional labor, household chores, and nurturing children, Zapatista communities now have women exercising more influence over decisions being made surrounding food security and agro-ecological projects.9

 

In recently attesting to the gender equity the Zapatistas are advancing towards, Peter Rosset, a food justice activist and rural agro-ecological specialist, commented on the impact of Women’s Revolutionary Law by stating:

 

Yesterday a Zapatista agro-ecology promoter was in my office and he was talking about how the young Indigenous women in Zapatista territory are different from before…

…he said they no longer look at the floor when you talk to them—they look you directly in the eye.10

 

In light of the emphasis the Zapatistas place on justice via both recognizing women’s struggle, as well as men’s responsibility to perform socially reproductive/emotional labor, one cannot help but further wonder what agricultural production would look like if gender equity was promoted within the global food system.

 

Final Thoughts

Anonymous
A Zapatista child – one of most important ‘seeds’ the community is nourishing for a better tomorrow.

When viewed in its geopolitical context, the Zapatista insurgency has opened up space for a wide range of alternative ways of re-organizing societies, economies, and food systems. Consequently, what the Zapatistas prove through their resistance (i.e., efforts in autonomous education, decolonization, and gender equity) is that a recognition of Indigenous people’s right to self-determination, in conjunction with anti-capitalist collective work and movements toward food sovereignty, can indeed provide viable alternatives to the world’s neoliberal food regime as well as revolutionize the struggle for food security.

 

Acknowledgements

I offer my gratitude to the Zapatistas for accepting me into their school as well as the Mexico Solidarity Network for enabling it. I also thank Schools for Chiapas and the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group for sharing photos, as well as The University of the West Indies Campus Research and Publication Committee (Trinidad and Tobago) for their support.

 

References

  1. Marcos, S & de Leon, JP. Our Word is Our Weapon (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2002).
  2. Anonymous Zapatista. Personal communication, Fall 2013.
  3. Ross, J. ¡Zapatistas!: Making Another World Possible: Chronicles of Resistance, 2000–2006 (Nation Books, New York, 2006).
  4. Lorenzano, L. Zapatismo: recomposition of labour, radical democracy and revolutionary project in Zapatista! Reinventing Revolution in Mexico (eds Holloway, J & Pelaez, E), Ch. 7, 126-128 (Pluto Press, London, 1998).
  5. Robbins, RH. Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism (Allyn & Bacon, Boston, 2007).
  6. Benería, L, Berik, G & Floro, M. Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered (Routledge, Abingdon, 2015).
  7. Marcos, S. The First Uprising: March 1993. La Jornada (January 30, 1994).
  8. Klein, H. Compañeras: Zapatista Womens Stories (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2015).
  9. Marcos, S. Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary Law as it is lived today. Open Democracy [online] (July 2014).https://www.opendemocracy.net/sylvia-marcos/zapatista-women%E2%80%99s-re….
  10. Rosset, P. Zapatista Uprising 20 Years Later. Democracy Now! [online] (January 2014).http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/3/zapatista_uprising_20_years_later_how.

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