dorset chiapas solidarity

March 21, 2017

How Zapatistas Will Help Trump Victims With ‘Fuck You’ Coffee

Filed under: Migrants, Uncategorized, Zapatista, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:46 am

How Zapatistas Will Help Trump Victims with ‘Fuck You’ Coffee

zapatista.jpg_1718483346Zapatista women outside a militant-run store in Chiapas | Photo: AFP

 

“Always remember that we must resist, we must rebel, we must fight and we must organize.”

Mexico’s Zapatista Army of National Liberation, EZLN, announced Saturday that it will begin selling organic coffee from Chiapas in order to help migrants persecuted by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Working alongside allied international distributors, the EZLN will use coffee sale funds to provide financial assistance to U.S. deportees in Mexico. They will also use funds to support pro-immigrant resistance groups around the world protesting anti-immigrant governments.

The project is part of the group’s “Global Campaign against the Walls of Capital,” which calls for worldwide immigrant solidarity against detentions and deportations.

“It’s 100 percent Zapatista coffee, cultivated in Zapatista lands by Zapatista hands,” EZLN insurgent subcommanders Moises and Galeano wrote in a statement.

“We hope that with this support they will be able to initiate work of support for all persecutions and discriminations of the world.”

The EZLN insurgent subcommanders signed their statement with the words “fuck Trump.”

Since Trump’s election, the radical Mexican group has worked with its international support group, the Sixth Commission, to “support the resistance and rebellion of those who are persecuted.” This includes calling for boycotts of pro-Trump commercial and media organizations while providing free legal assistance to those in need.

The EZLN has also announced plans to present an Indigenous female candidate in Mexico’s 2018 election. Their proposed candidate, who has yet to be named, is described as someone who will “call for Trump’s wall to be torn down.”

Despite the EZLN’s participation in fundraising and electoral politics, the group continues to advocate for mass civil resistance as its primary form of struggle.

“Always remember that we must resist, we must rebel, we must fight and we must organize,” Moises and Galeano also wrote in the statement.

“We must fight for those people who today are persecuted simply for having a certain skin colour, culture, belief, origin, history and life.”

The EZLN, inspired by Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, became active in 1994 after Mexico joined the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since then, the group has declared war against the Mexican government and its allied multinational corporations.

Correction: This article originally claimed the Zapatistas were founded in 1994. The group were actually founded in the early 1980s, but became public much later, on Jan. 1, 1994, when NAFTA officially came into force.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/How-Zapatistas-Will-Help-Trump-Victims-with-Fuck-You-Coffee-20170318-0021.html

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March 19, 2017

EZLN: The First of Many

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:03 am

 

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EZLN: The First of Many

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Mexico

March, 2017

To the Sixth all over the world:

Compas:

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We had told you we wanted to find a way to support you so that you in turn could support the resistance and rebellion of those who are persecuted and separated by walls. Well, we have some small progress to report in that regard.

The first ton of Zapatista coffee is ready for the campaign “In the Face of Capital’s Walls: Resistance, Rebellion, Solidarity, and the Support of those Below and to the Left.”

The coffee is 100% Zapatista. It was cultivated in Zapatista lands by Zapatista hands; harvested by Zapatistas, dried under the Zapatista sun; ground in Zapatista machines; paused when the Zapatista machine was broken by Zapatistas and later repaired by Zapatistas (with a non-Zapatista ball bearing); then packaged by Zapatistas, labelled by Zapatistas, and transported by Zapatistas.

This first ton was collected through participation from all 5 caracoles, with their Juntas de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Councils], their MAREZ [Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion], and their community collectives, and is now at the CIDECI-UniTierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, rebellious Mexico.

This Zapatistas coffee is even more delicious if you drink it in the struggle. We’re including here below a short video that the Tercios Compas [Zapatista media] made where you can see the whole process, from the coffee field to the warehouse.

We are also categorizing and packaging the art works made by Zapatistas for the last CompArte, which we will also send to you to support your activities.

We hope we can give these things to you during the April event so that you can transport them to the different corners of the world where the Sixth exists, that is, where there is resistance and rebellion.

We hope that with this first bit of support you can begin or continue your work in support of all those who are persecuted and discriminated against throughout the world.

Perhaps you are asking yourselves how you’re going to get this stuff to your corners of the earth. Well, via the same method it was produced—through organization.

That is, we are asking you not only to organize yourselves on this matter, but also and above all to carry out activities in support of all those people who are today pursued and persecuted simply because of the colour of their skin, their culture, their faith, their origin, their history, their life.

And that’s not all: remember that we must resist, we must rebel, we must struggle, we must organize.

Oh, and we asked how to say this message we wanted to communicate, in a way it will be understood:

Fuck Trump!

(and while we’re at it, all the rest of them too—that is, the Peña Nietos, the Macris, the Temers, the Rajoys, the Putins, the Merkels, the Mays, the Le Pens, the Berlusconis, the Jinpings, the Netanyahus, the al-Ásads, and go ahead and add whatever name they give that wall that will have to be knocked down, and knocked down in such a way that all the walls get the message).

(In other words, this is the first of many tons to come and the first of multiple curses to be made.)

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, March of 2017

Here is the video by the Tercios Compas that accompanies the communique. The soundtrack is “Somos sur,” lyrics and music by Ana Tijoux, accompanied by Shadia Mansour.

La Primera de Varias. Cafe Zapatista

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/03/16/la-primera-de-varias/

 

 

March 7, 2017

Tarahumaras faced with violence from organized crime seek asylum in US

Filed under: CNI, Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, Mining, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:20 pm

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Tarahumaras faced with violence from organized crime seek asylum in US

 

agonicc81a-infantilChildren in the Sierra Tarahumara. Photo: Eduardo Miranda

 

By: Patricia Mayorga

CHIHUAHUA, Chih. (apro). – The Rarámuri, Santiago Cruz Castillo, 26, requested political asylum in El Paso, Texas, after organized crime took away his lands in La Laguna de Aboreachi, municipality of Guachochi, like hundreds of indigenous and mestizos of the Sierra Tarahumara.

Another family from the La Trinidad ejido, in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality arrived before Santiago Cruz to request asylum. After five months, they are still holding David Ríos Laija, one of the members of that family, in custody.

Santiago Cruz arrived alone; he is single and his parents stayed in the Sierra. “I arrived in the United States on November 24 because of the violence that exists in the communities. Many people have gone away because they started to take the land away through criminal activity, through violence; they kill and disappear us and no one gives us protection. We have to leave.”

The young Tarahumara says that they snatched their small parcels of land and their houses to plant poppies and marijuana.

He opted to travel to Juárez, they invited him, they contracted with him and they took him to that border. He worked on a ranch close to Ciudad Juárez, but they were paying him very little and he worked a lot and he became discouraged. “I wasn’t comfortable, I worked long hours, they paid very little and I wasn’t treated well.”

On November 24 he decided to cross into the United States, he was in the detention centre and afterwards made contact with the expert immigration lawyer, Carlos Spector, who took his case and is in the process of requesting political asylum.

Santiago Cruz’ wish is to help his people from there, because he is convinced that he can denounce the situation and is confident that the authorities will do something.

“I want to help my people, so that the government will let them work, I want to help from here. The truth is that the violence is strong, I know how it is, don’t tell me,” he insists.

Carlos Spector said that six months ago the Rios family arrived from Guadalupe y Calvo, after an armed group disappeared the father, who was the community’s commissioner.

“The widow Aureliana Leija and her two sons came in September. David Ríos Leija, 22, is a student of Medicine; they are Christians, it is a clean family and they are mestizos. The other son that came is Elías Ríos, 19.

“They fled due to the father’s political situation, they began to seek it and they (the criminals) tell him that they will leave him in peace, that they won’t look for him and they leave seeking asylum. That is part of the press communication, they let the mother go later, Elías 2 months after the credible fear test,” the lawyer detailed.

Nevertheless, David is still detained and Spector denounced that they don’t want to release him despite the fact that he already passed the credible fear test, because the criteria hardened with the Donald Trump government.

“It’s a case of immigration abuse. There exists a bi-national policy of persecution and the incarceration of poor Mexicans, human rights defenders or people that complain and ask for asylum. They incarcerate them or separate them from their family. After being detained for 5 months, there is no possibility of closing the case quickly; that’s the point of prolonged detention. It’s a political kidnapping to discourage strong political asylum cases,” Carlos Spector said.

The lawyer said that in the Barack Obama government and in other administrations, when they ask for political asylum like is done at the international bridge, they would detain them for two months until they passed the credible fear test and then release them if they showed that they didn’t represent threats to the community and if they guaranteed that they would attend all the hearings.

Before, he said, the local “Migra” signed the conditional release, the conditional freedom, but now they decided that the national assistant director of immigration in Washington must approve those requesting political asylum to be released.

“It’s a democratic way to not grant asylum to anyone. That is the new policy and a formula for repression and mass deportation, applying the law in an extremely rigid and repressive way. The family wants to leave because the young man wants to leave, but he has to appear in court on March 8. Now they have undertaken a campaign to free him.”

This Monday, Spector announced, they have an appointment with the archbishop for the area, who has spoken out against the criminalization of political asylum.

The lawyer announced that the authorities are going to build more detention centres because soon the people aren’t going to fit in those that exist and he reproached that when people ask for political asylum at the bridge, they are entering legally, in accordance with the laws of the United States and with international laws, therefore he reproached the repressive measures, which he compared to those for the Japanese.

Spector reported that Santiago Cruz is the first Rarámuri to request political asylum, but there are another 300 Tarahumaras that are in prisons in the Southwestern United States, who are without defence because they don’t have translators.

Saúl Bustamante has finally helped them. He is mestizo and was raised in a cave in the Tarahumara by an indigenous family, because of which he is a firm defender of his people and principally of those who don’t have access to justice. He has organized events to promote Tarahumara culture in El Paso, like (running) races, and hopes to achieve the freedom or the just defence of indigenous Chihuahuans.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com

Friday, February 24, 2017

http://www.proceso.com.mx/475704/tarahumaras-piden-asilo-en-eu-ante-la-violencia-crimen-organizado

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

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March 5, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for February 2017

Filed under: CNI, Corporations, Dams, Displacement, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:29 pm

 

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Zapatista News Summary for February 2017

 

Zapatista News:

The main Zapatista news for February is the issuing of more communiqués, or translations of communiqués issued previously, and information about dates for forthcoming events. The need for an independent indigenous candidate, and a parallel independent indigenous government, remain subjects for profound discussion.

 

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1.“The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse,” a talk by Sup Galeano from December, with a section by the Cat-Dog, is translated in early February. “Zapatista Alchemy” Is released at in translation at the beginning of February as more of the Sup Moisés and Sup Galeano talks and communiqués from the gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” keep being published, and translations come out.“Zapatista Alchemy” is a talk about science by Sup Galeano delivered at the beginning of January and includes philosophy, the Cat-Dog’s notebook and a comment on Artificial Intelligence versus Zapatista Intelligence.

 

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2.What Comes Next? Two extremely important communiqués are read on January 3rd, and translated in February. These are “What’s Next? I Then And Now,” by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, and “What’s next? II The urgent and the important,” by Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. They tell stories and asks scientific questions, how did it used to be and how is it now? In terms of the the arts and science in the days of clandestinity and in the present time, how hugely things have changed, from when “Do not die” was the only order that they were to follow, and “if it wasn’t possible to do so in this world, then we would make another world, a bigger one, a better one, one where all the possible worlds fit, the ones that already exist and the ones we still haven’t imagined but that can already be found in the arts and sciences.” The little girl, Zapatista Defence, realises that the biggest problem we face is ‘patriarchiality’.

 

 

3.An important communiqué: “The Walls Above, The Cracks Below (And to the Left)” by Subcomandantes Moises and Galeano is released on February 14th’ “the day of our dead”, “We always resist.” Walls above, cracks below, capitalism, immigration. The EZLN convoke a “global campaign for organization and global resistance in the face of the aggressiveness of big money and its respective overseers on the planet, to resist and rebel against persecutions, detentions, and deportations…. Every human being has the right to a free and dignified existence in the place that they deem best, and has the right to fight to stay there.” They call on groups to offer solidarity to each other, creating solidarity committees to help those who are deported, and they propose their forthcoming calendar for the year ahead.

Like many of the communiqués this one contains the words of both SCI Moisés and SCI Galeano, which are factual, humorous and also give insight into the advances in the communities.

 

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4. Zapatista Calendar 2017: The EZLN invite all of the Sixth and anyone who is interested to the seminar of critical reflection, “THE WALLS OF CAPITAL, THE CRACKS OF THE LEFT,” to be celebrated April 12-15, 2017, at the CIDECI-UniTierra facilities in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Many speakers have already confirmed their participation. More details are to follow.

They also convoke all artists for the second edition of “CompArte for Humanity” with the theme: “Against Capital and its Walls: All of the Arts” to be celebrated around the world and in cyberspace. The “real” part will take place between July 23-29, 2017, in the caracol of Oventik and at the CIDECI-UniTierra. The virtual edition will be August 1-12, 2017, on the web. More details soon. They also ask that people be on the lookout for the activities to be convoked by the National Indigenous Congress as part of its process of formation of the Indigenous Council of Government.

Finally, they convoke the scientists of the world to the second edition of “ConCiencias for Humanity” with the theme: “The Sciences Against the Wall,” to be celebrated December 26-30, 2017, at CIDECI-UniTierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and in cyberspace.

“That is not all. It is necessary to resist, it is necessary to rebel, it is necessary to struggle, it is necessary to get organized.” They advise people to remain alert to all EZLN activities.

 

5. On 4th February the CNI and EZLN: issue a joint communiqué in solidarity with the Raramuri (Tarahumara) people, denouncing the 2 recent murders of indigenous Rarámuri defenders of Native territory in Chihuahua, making a total of 18 homicides since 1973, four in the last year. The CNI and EZLN issue an urgent call to action to protect the safety and integrity of members of the Choreachi community following the murder of indigenous leader Juan Ontiveros Ramos, 15 days after the murder of Isidro Baldenegro, another indigenous leader from the same municipality.

 

 

Other Chiapas News

 

1.Indigenous gather: The Pueblo Creyente are supporting the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) decision to form an autonomous parallel government. And North American representatives attend an indigenous summit in Puebla. “Trump’s “xenophobic and aggressive policy against Mexico” has placed the Native peoples of the United States and Mexico on alert. They declared that: “there will be no wall!””

 

 

2. Roberto Paciencia Cruz: The working group No Estamos Todxsand the Centre for Human Rights Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas AC, reiterate their concern regarding the risk to the freedom of Roberto Paciencia, a recently released political prisoner, indigenous Tsotsil and adherent to the Sexta. An appeal is being made against his acquittal.

 

 

3. The Adherents of the Sixth Declaration from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón release a communiqué to commemorate six years since the government’s attempt to evict them from their territory. They also appeal for one of their prisoners, Santiago Moreno Perez.

 

 

4. The community Cinco de Marzo celebrate 23 years of autonomy. Indigenous Tseltal, Tsotsil And Chol Mayans from The 5 De Marzo Neighbourhood In San Cristobal, say: “We’ve Decided: That’s Enough!” The Cinco de Marzo neighbourhood, in the southern half of San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas, is deemed “recovered land”, after the area was squatted during the 1994 uprising.

 

5. Ejido Tila: On February 6, Tila Ejido published a communiqué denouncing: “a group of inhabitants of the Cantioc community annex organized by members of the green party and the city council attempted to kidnap the President of the Ejidal Commissariat.

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February 23, 2017

EZLN: What Comes Next I: Then and Now

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

 

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EZLN: What Comes Next I: Then and Now

 

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Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

January 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

iiA drink made of ground maize and water.

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February 20, 2017

The announcement of the creation of an Indigenous Council of Government (CIG)

Filed under: CNI, Displacement, Ethics, Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:16 pm

 

 

.The announcement of the creation of an Indigenous Council of Government (CIG)

 

Ruby Zajac

UK Zapatista Translation Service

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The announcement of the creation of an Indigenous Council of Government (CIG), on the 1st of January this year, has generated a great deal of debate in the Mexican Left and excitement in the international ranks of the Sexta. Indeed, the debate has been underway, in parallel to the consultations in 523 indigenous communities, since the proposal was first made by EZLN and the CNI (National  Indigenous Congress) during the first half of the 5th CNI, in October last year. Here, we consider some of the reactions to the proposal and its implications in the wider context of the Mexican left. In order to locate the proposal in the broader landscape of political struggle in Mexico, we must first establish the historic relationship between the CNI and EZLN.

The CNI is a transitory body; it has never existed permanently, but rather in the moments its delegates have come together. The first National Indigenous Congress took place in 1996, when, in the midst of debating the San Andrés Accords, with Zedillo’s government, the Zapatistas called the different indigenous peoples of the country together to share the progress of this crucial dialogue with the State about indigenous rights. It enabled the revolutionary group to adopt a more representative posture, in so far as they were arguing for indigenous rights, not Zapatista rights. Ten years later, in 2006, the CNI met for the 4th time, in San Pedro Atlapulco, State of Mexico, where it announced its affiliation to the Sexta. The Sextathe colloquial name for the extended community of Zapatista supporters and associates in Mexico and the across the world, which originated in 2005 with the release of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. The San Andrés Accords remained, and remain, unfulfilled.

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In October 2016, ten years after they joined the Sexta, the CNI met once more. Again, the Zapatistas would play an important role. On the 13th of October, the congress decided to adopt the Zapatistas’ proposal to form an Indigenous Council of Government, led by an indigenous woman, who would run as an independent candidate in the 2018 presidential elections. Between October and December last year, the proposal was up for debate in indigenous communities across Mexico, before delegates met again to report back. The significance of EZLN for the CNI and the over 60 indigenous peoples in Mexico can be summed up in the words of Álvaro Sebastián Ramírez, a political prisoner who wrote in an open letter to the CNI and EZLN, that the colonisers “may have chopped down the trunk of our tree, but they couldn’t pull out its roots, and it began to sprout again with the Indigenous Uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation”.

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So, it’s the eve of 2017, Trump is soon to be inaugurated and Brexit is on its way; from where we’re sitting in the UK it seems this year is already destined to turn politics as we know it on its head. With that in mind, this unprecedented event in Mexican politics doesn’t seem quite so incredible. The so-called ‘post-truth’ age might actually just be the revealing in the West of “Democracy’s” longstanding shortcomings, which in Mexico they know only too well. Indeed, that is part of the drive for this new strategy of those from below; Trump was hardly mentioned while I was at the Zapatista science conference ‘ConCiencias’ and surrounded by supporters of the Zapatistas and the CNI over Christmas, which I think says something about the distance of the alternative left from mainstream Mexican politics and the absence of the state. The moment was marked by the oppression of indigenous environmental defenders, the eviction of autonomous cultural centre Chanti Ollin in Mexico City and the challenging, inspiring dialogue between the Zapatistas and academics like Kirsten Vogeler and Pablo González Casanova, and community science projects like Colectivo Alterius, in ConCiencias. On the 1st of January 2017, with all of this and more in the background, the CNI took centre stage and voted in the proposal.

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For those who followed the Otra Campaña (Other Campaign) in 2005/6 (the first call for Mexicans to think outside the political box, embodied in a nationwide consultation by the Zapatistas that ran parallel to the 2006 general elections), this new proposal will set some bells ringing. It will also flag up some pretty fundamental differences. Didn’t EZLN always claim to be against participating in the electoral process? Didn’t they adopt the poignant slogan of a collective of the Sexta, ‘Our dreams don’t fit in your urns’? Haven’t they always insisted that they will not become a political party?

Yes, all of this is still true (although John Gibler writes that the Zapatista position on abstention has been treated with carefully chosen words). That’s why it is so important to recognise the germination of this proposal as a collaborative effort “EZLN–CNI”, which is ultimately to be spearheaded by the CNI not EZLN. Members of the collective Indigenous Council of Government will be elected through a consultation in all of the communities who send delegates to the CNI, including the female spokesperson. She will run as candidate in the elections because the system demands individual candidacy, but ultimately, and crucially, she will be representing the collective body; and if elected, Gustavo Esteva writes, the council as a whole must undertake the mammoth task of dismantling the state apparatus.

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But the proposal is about more than the 2018 presidential elections. It is challenging Mexicans to come together and struggle for freedom side by side with the 16 million indigenous people of their society, giving them a bastion around which to organise, a common purpose that will unite them, a purpose that neither beings nor ends in those urns, but which, as Josefa Contreras so astutely points out, is a “direct confrontation with an asymmetric political logic” (Ojarasca, La Jornada).

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Or as Subcomandante Galeano, the Zapatista spokesperson-come-double translator, put it in a November communiqué: “We told them that it didn’t matter if they won the presidency of the Republic or not, that what mattered was the challenge, the irreverence, the revolt, the total rupture with the image of the indigenous as object of pity and charity […] What mattered was that their audacity would shake the entire political system and that they would hear echoes of hope not from one but from many of the Mexicos below… and the belows of the world.”

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Of course, the leader of recently-formed leftist party MORENA, the Movement for National Renewal, the self-professed ‘hope of Mexico’, born out of the 2006 left-wing coalition for the presidency, isn’t a fan. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, quickly denounced the proposal, accusing EZLN and the CNI of playing the government’s game, and highlighting their inconsistency, since they detracted from his campaigns in 2006 and 2012, encouraging abstention from what, despite the end of single-party rule in 2000, is still widely considered to be the electoral farce.

But since the last general elections, Ayotzinapa has shaken civil society to its core and put a spotlight on the chronic, systematic human rights abuses of the Mexican state. Political observers said it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, causing the Mexican public to explode out onto the streets in protests that reached the 10,000s in November 2014.

But it didn’t, and the impunity has continued.

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The teachers’ strikes against the supposed ‘educational reform’, which many maintain is really a neoliberal and neocolonial labour reform led, in June 2016, to the death of at least ten people (although some sources say eleven) in a confrontation between police and protesters in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, reminiscent of the oppression of mass protests in the same state in 2006. Three months before Ayotzinapa, 22 civilians were victims of extrajudicial execution by members of the army in Tlatlaya. The community of Atenco, where 2 young men were killed, 27 women raped and over 200 locals injured and arrested in 2006 continues to resist the building of a new airport on their land and state actors continue to commit acts of sexual violence. This incident was what put the breaks on the Other Campaign, as adherents rushed to protect the community in resistance.

 

Political commentators reason that the new proposal will undermine Obrador and MORENA. The counterargument, of course, is that any change brought about through MORENA would be superficial. For various historical reasons including the collaboration of the institutional leftist party the PRD with the PRI and PAN in governorship coalitions and corruption scandals, most activists I’ve come across from within the alternative left consider all professional politicians to be as bad as each other. An esteemed Mexican intellectual from the Sexta told me the same, that to save the future of the country the people must look towards a completely new avenue of change, one that comes from their millenary cultural heritage.

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Seemingly embodying a middle ground, the poet and activist Javier Sicilia recently called for a Popular Front for 2018; the coming together of various leftist elements in Mexico ranging from the solidly institutional (Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas – first leader of the ‘leftist’ institutional party, the PRD, in 1989) to the openly anti-systemic (EZLN) and including potential brokers between these two poles such as migrant advocate Father Alejandro Solalinde. Obrador would neither lead nor not be excluded from this front, Sicilia insisted, tapping into concerns about Obrador’s charismatic leadership. The charismatic leader model of populist leftism has come under significant critique recently, in cases like Venezuela and Bolivia, and it is important to recognise just how much the EZLN-CNI collective governance proposal veers away from this path, proposing a much more fundamental change to the system than MORENA does. But although Sicilia evoked similar collective ideals, he made no explicit mention of the EZLN-CNI proposal.

It may be early days to be analysing the response to the EZLN-CNI proposal; the candidate to lead the CIG is to be chosen and announced in May, which I imagine will provoke further comment and debate. One thing that did jump out at me while researching this article was the lack of coverage of this historic event in the English speaking international press (the Guardian, BBC, NY Times and Washington Post haven’t run articles on it for a start) – everyone’s news on Mexico has been Trump-related. The EZLN-CNI proposal is a world away from mainstream politics; will it galvanize interest and support from across the political spectrum or remain in the network of resistance from below? We will have to wait and see.

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January 31, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for January 2017

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:53 am

 

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Zapatista News Summary for January 2017

 

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Zapatista News

1. CNI and ConCiencias: With the second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress finishing on January 1st at Oventic, and the Gathering “the Zapatistas and ConCiencias (ConSciences) for Humanity,” coming to an end on January 4th at Cideci, the news for January tends to be dominated by the outcome of these two events, especially the decision to set up an indigenous council for government (CGI) in whose name an indigenous woman will run as a candidate for president in 2018. A great deal of analysis and discussion takes place, with inevitable misunderstandings and opposition.

2. Closing words: The closing words of the 5th CNI are given by SCI Moises on 1st January, 2017. He speaks of the need for their project, “Today, the conditions of the Mexican people in the countryside and in the city are worse than they were 23 years ago. Poverty, desperation, death, and destruction are not only wrought on the people who originally populated this land. Now, misfortune finds everyone.” Therefore “The National Indigenous Congress has decided to fight to heal our land and our skies, and has decided to do it through civil and peaceful means.” Everyone can join together in this struggle. “Now is the time of all people, from the countryside and the city,” to struggle together for peace and justice and to create an autonomous parallel government for the country. The CGI will be formally constituted on May 18th.

3. Declaration of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress: Also on 1st January, with a joint statement from the CNI and the EZLN “And The Earth Trembled! A Report from the Epicentre”, the Declaration of the 5th CNI is released from Oventic. It announces the decision:

“WE AGREE to name an Indigenous Governing Council with men and women representatives from each one of the peoples, tribes, and nations that make up the CNI. This council proposes to govern this country. It will have an indigenous woman from the CNI as its spokesperson, which is to say a woman who has indigenous blood and who knows her culture, and this indigenous woman spokesperson from the CNI will be an independent candidate for the presidency of Mexico in the 2018 elections.” 1st January was, of course, the 23rd anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, which is symbolized in their new strategy.

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4. The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity: This well-attended event brings together scientists and adherents to the Sexta from many parts of the world, along with 200 Zapatiata support bases who will take their new learning back to their communities, after debating over a period of ten days. Moises says at the beginning “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.”

They are looking for “science for life.” Reflections by Sup Galeano, spoken at the event, are made available, such as this one for scientists; alsoavailable are accounts by people who attended.

5. “Joint Pronouncement From The CNI And The EZLN For The Freedom Of Our Mapuche Sister Machi Francisca Lincolao Huircapan” On 6th January, the CNI and EZLN issue a joint communique demanding freedom for the woman healer, religious leader and Mapuche political prisoner in Chile. This is part of the repression committed by the Chilean government against the indigenous Mapuche people. 60 year-old Francisca Linconao’s state of health is very weak following a hunger strike. She is “on a hunger strike to demand the justice that the bad government of Chile has denied her by keeping her imprisoned for the crime of continuing to defend the natural resources, sacred places, and cultural rights of her people.”

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Other

1.Anniversaries in Chiapas: January 25th, 2017 marks the 6th anniversary of the death of the belovedJtatik Samuel, Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, in San Cristobal de las Casas, and the 25th anniversary of the foundation of El Pueblo Creyente (the Believing People). During that time they have been walking towards the construction of alternatives, denouncing the projects of death. A big march is held by the Pueblo Creyente. 5,000 people walk in procession to the cathedral in San Cristobal for a mass in memory of Bishop Samuel, seeking to construct their own autonomy. The occasion also marks 25 years since the creation of the Area of Women.

2.Activist murdered: Isidro Baldenegro López, a subsistence farmer and leader of the Tarahumara (Raramuri) community in the Sierra Madre mountain area is shot dead for his resistance to illegal logging and deforestation in the northern region. His father was previously assassinated for the same reason. At least 122 activists were murdered in Latin America in 2015 while trying to protect natural resources from environmentally destructive mega-projects such as dams, mines, tourist resorts and logging, according to research by the NGO Global Witness. In all, 2015 was the deadliest year on record for environmental activists globally with at least 185 killed.

 3. Atenco – more attempts to impose the airport: On 21st January members of the FPDT and inhabitants of the eastern shore of Lake Texcoco share with representatives of the United Nations their experience of human rights violations. The very next day crews of workers with two bulldozers enter the ejido of Atenco to carry out the construction of the highway Pirámides-Texcoco. With the protection of a military tank and federal police, the companies again violate the definitive suspension awarded against this project that is part of the new airport of Mexico City. The ejidatarios demand the removal of the machinery. Members of the FPDT continue to block the highway from Texcoco-Lechería to denounce the dispossession of more than 500 hectares of their cultivated lands.

4. Monsanto struggles to impose GM corn in Mexico: A Mexican court upholds a late 2013 ruling which had temporarily halted even pilot plots of GMO corn following a legal challenge over its effects on the environment. While Mexico is self-sufficient in white corn used to make the country’s staple tortillas, it depends on imports of mostly GMO yellow corn from the United States for its livestock. Several years ago, Monsanto submitted two applications for the commercial planting of GMO corn in Mexico. Progress with these has been very slow.

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January 24, 2017

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

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

 

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

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

 

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December 28, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

 

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Good evening brothers and sisters, compañeros, compañeras.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés       Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

 

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

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January 12, 2017

Words of the EZLN at the closing of the Second Stage of the 5th CNI Congress

Filed under: CNI, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:44 pm

 

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Words of the EZLN at the closing of the Second Stage of the 5th CNI Congress

Alternative version

moisecc81s-at-conciencias-por-la-humanidadSubcomandante Moisés at ConSciences for Humanity.

ZAPATISTA NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY

MEXICO

JANUARY FIRST, 2017

Sisters and Brothers of the National Indigenous Congress:

Compañeras, compañeros y compañeroas of the national and international SIXTH:

Peoples of Mexico and the world:

23 years ago we rose up in arms against oblivion.

The indignation and the desperation obliged us to be willing to die to live,

To live the only way that it’s worth living, with freedom, with justice, with democracy.

The people of Mexico looked at us and talked to us, told us that our struggle and our demands are just, but that they are not in agreement with violence.

Accordingly they left knowing the inhuman conditions of our life and our death, it was agreed everywhere that the causes of our uprising could not be questioned, although the form in which our disagreement manifested itself could.

Now the conditions of the people of Mexico in the countryside and the city are worse than 23 years ago.

The poverty, the desperation, the death, the destruction, are not only for those who originally populated these lands.

Now the disgrace reaches everyone.

The crisis also affects those who believed they were safe and thought that the nightmare was only for those who live and die below.

Governments come and go, with different colours and flags, and the only thing they do is to make things worse.

With their policies, the only thing they do is make misery, destruction and death reach more and more people.

Now our brothers and sisters from organizations, barrios, nations, tribes, and original peoples, organized in the National Indigenous Congress, have decided to shout their YA BASTA.

They have decided that they are not going to permit the destroying our country to continue.

They have decided not to let the people and their history die because of the sickness that is the capitalist system.

A system that exploits, dispossesses, represses and scorns human beings and nature all over the world.

The National Indigenous Congress has decided to struggle to heal our soils and our skies.

And they have decided to do it through civilian and peaceful paths.

Their causes are just and undeniable.

Who now will question the path they have chosen and that is calling us all?

If there is no respect, if you do not say hello, if you do not support your struggle and the path you follow, then what message do you give as a society?

23 years ago we started our uprising, but our way was exclusive, not everyone could participate.

Now, the National Indigenous Congress calls us to a struggle in which we can all participate, all; Regardless of age, colour, size, race, religion, language, pay, knowledge, physical strength, culture, sexual preference.

Those who live, fight and die in the countryside and in the city now have a path of struggle where they unite with others.

The struggle to which the National Indigenous Congress calls us and invites us is a struggle for life with freedom, justice, democracy and dignity.

Who dares to say that it is a bad fight?

It is time that all the working people, together with the native people, sheltered by the banner of the National Indigenous Congress, which is the flag of the native people, unite in this struggle which is for those who have nothing but pain, anger and despair.

It is the hour of the peoples, of everyone, of the countryside and of the city.

That’s what the National Indigenous Congress is telling us.

It is telling us that it is enough waiting for others to tell us what to do and how, that they want to lead us, that they want to deceive us with vain promises and lies.

It is telling us that everyone in their place, with their own way, at their own times, govern themselves. That the people themselves address themselves, no more lies, no more deceit, no more politicians who only see their government work as a way accumulating wealth by stealing, betraying, selling.

It is telling us that we must fight for truth and justice.

It is telling us that we must fight for democracy, which means that the people rule.

It is telling us that we must fight for freedom.

They are wise and know who are in the National Indigenous Congress.

They have been resisting and fighting for life for centuries,

They know of resistance, they know of rebellion, they know of struggle, they know of life.

They know who is responsible for the pains that affect everyone, everywhere, all the time.

The National Indigenous Congress, for this struggle that they commit to undertake, will be attacked, they will be slandered, they will want to divide it and they will want to buy it.

They will seek by all means for it to surrender, to be bought, to give up.

But they will not be able to.

We have been meeting for more than 20 years, and more than 500 years of knowing this destruction, death, contempt, robbery, exploitation, history.

Their strength, their decision, their commitment, does not come from themselves.

It comes from the organizations, neighbourhoods, nations, tribes and native peoples in which they were born and formed.

We, the Zapatistas, prepared 10 years to start our struggle on 1st January 23 years ago.

The National Indigenous Congress prepared 20 years to reach this day, and show us a good way.

Whether we follow it or not, will be decided by everyone.

The National Indigenous Congress is going to speak with truth; it will listen with attention.

It is not a game of struggle for the National Indigenous Congress.

They have told us that they are going for everything for everyone.

And that means that:

They are for respect for human rights.

They are for the liberation of all political prisoners.

They are for the living presentation of the missing and disappeared.

They are for justice for those who have been killed,

They are for truth and justice for the 46 absentees of Ayotzinapa.

They are for support of peasants and respect for mother earth.

They are for a decent home for everyone below.

They are for enough food for all the homeless.

They are for decent work and just salary for the workers of the countryside and the city.

They are for complete and free health care for all the workers.

They are for free, secular and scientific education.

They are for land belonging to those who work it.

They are for factory employees.

They are for shop and bank employees.

They are for the respect of alternative commerce, and small and medium commerce.

They are for the public and commercial transport for those who drive the vehicles.

They are for the field for the peasants.

They are for the city.

They are for the territory of the native peoples.

They are for autonomy.

They are for self-management.

They are for respect for every form of life.

They are for the arts and sciences.

They are for freedom of thought, of word, of creation.

They are for freedom, justice and democracy for Mexico from below.

That’s what they’re calling us to support.

Each one will be able to decide if this fight is good, if that idea is good, whether or not it responds to the call they make.

We, as Zapatistas, answer yes, we are with you, yes we will accompany the National Indigenous Congress.

We will see ways to support them with all our strength.

We will support you because the struggle you propose, sisters and brothers of the National Indigenous Congress, is perhaps the last chance that these soils and these skies will not disappear in the midst of destruction and death.

So we just have to tell them:

Listen to the heart, the pain and the rage that is in every corner of this country.

Walk and tremble this soil at its core with your steps.

Let the Mexican soil be astonished.

May the heavens look upon them with surprise and admiration!

May the peoples of the world learn from the example of the National Indigenous Congress and feel the courage to participate.

And above all, it does not matter what happens, it does not matter that they attack you with everything, do not give up, do not sell out, do not give in.

And above all, it doesn’t matter what happens or everything that they have against, it doesn’t matter that they attack you with everything, however don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in.

LIBERTY!

JUSTICE!

DEMOCRACY!

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

In the name of the women, men, children and elders of the EZLN,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, January 2017

 

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/03/palabras-del-ezln-en-la-clausura-de-la-segunda-etapa-del-quinto-congreso-del-cni/

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January 5, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for December, 2016

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:57 pm

 

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Zapatista News Summary for December, 2016

 

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Zapatista and CNI News

 

1. The Convocation to the Second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress is issued jointly by the CNI and EZLN on 26th November. During the first phase in October the CNI and EZLN had “agreed to remain in permanent assembly while carrying out a consultation in all of our geographies on the resolutions reached… with respect to the formation of an Indigenous Governing Council, to be represented by an indigenous woman who is a CNI delegate who will run for the Mexican presidency in the electoral process of 2018.” The convocation is a call to the second phase which will be held on December 29, 30, and 31, 2016, and January 1, 2017, in the Zapatista Caracolof Oventik and will have “decisive capacity” in regard to the agreements proposed. The results will be announced in a plenary session at Oventic on 1st January.

 

 2. EZLN communiqué, 2nd December: The CNI and EZLN issue a joint communiqué, ‘Despite aggressions, the consultation continues,’ to highlight the fact that the consultation continues, despite aggressions being carried out against them, for example in Santa Maria Ostula, in Tixtla, Guerrero, against the Sioux people at the heart of the originary peoples of the CNI at Standing Rock, at Chanti Ollin, and against those fighting dams in Oaxaca. They denounce the attacks and harassment, “The fears of the powerful, the extractive companies, the military, and the narco-paramilitaries are so great that our consultation is being attacked and harassed in the places where our peoples are meeting to discuss and decide the steps to take as the CNI,” but they assure that their permanent assembly and community consultations will continue.

 

 3. Modevite supports the Consultation: Members of the Movement in Defence of Land and Territory arrive on pilgrimage in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where they agree to consult their communities about the EZLN proposal, believing it is necessary now for the indigenous people to unite to demand self-determination over their territory and construct community governments. “We all share the same objective.”

 

 4. An update is released on the Encuentro (Gathering) “the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:” on 15th December. The event is to be held at Cideci from December 25th to January 4th. 82 members of the scientific community, from 12 countries, have registered to participate, working in a very wide variety of areas. 200 Zapatista bases of support will attend as students, but there will also be general sessions, information sessions, and workshops, and many people will attend as listeners/observers. Scientists and attendees may register on December 25, 2016. Activities will begin on December 26, and will conclude on January 4, 2017. There will be an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. [From 29th to 31st December, the Second Phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress will also take place behind closed doors at CIDECI to report, discuss and evaluate the results of the internal consultation which are to be reported on January 1st in the Caracol of Oventic.]

 

5. Programme for the Gathering ‘the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:’ The detailed programme is released on 24th The Gathering and the meeting of the Indigenous National Congress will both take place separately at CIDECI-Unitierra, the University of the Earth in San Cristobal de las Casas. The majority of the talks in the Gathering are to be given by national and international scientists, but there will also be participation from Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano. Registration begins on December 25th, and the gathering concludes on January 4th.

 

 6. Opening of Gathering ‘the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:’ The opening speech is given by Subcomandante Insurgente Moises on 26th December, giving the words of the general command of the EZLN on behalf of the women, men, children and old ones of the Zapatistas. “For us as Zapatista men and women, today begins our long walk in search of others with whom we think we share the great responsibility to defend and save the world we live in – with the art of artists, the science of scientists, and the originary peoples alongside those below from across the entire world.” “No one is going to bring us salvation,” he says. “It is up to us. Begin to dream and you will see that we can only fight capitalism with good scientific science, the art of the artist, and the guardians of mother nature together with those below from across the world…The construction of a new world is in our hands.”

 

7. The decision: On 1st January, 2017, the 23rd anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, more than 3,000 delegates from the CNI gather to join the EZLN, along with Zapatista support bases and adherents to the Sexta, at Oventic to hear the result of the consultation which has taken place in all the 525 communities of the CNI. 430 communities have said yes, and 80 are still consulting, many of these are currently experiencing violence. The historic announcement is made that the CNI are going to create an Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) to function as a parallel government for the country, whose spokesperson will be an indigenous woman who will run as a candidate in the presidential elections of 2018. The name of the candidate will be announced in May 2017. This resolution was approved by the CNI on 30th and 31st December 2016 in the presence of over 1000 delegates from 43 peoples, nations and tribes indigenous to the country. They are proposing the creation of a new world.

 

8. On 2nd January, the EZLN and CNI issue a joint statement: “And the Earth Trembled! A Report from the Epicentre,” announcing the decision to create a new indigenous council for government and to run an indigenous woman for president, and elaborating on the new proposal and its implications. “This is the time of the originary peoples, the time for us to replant and rebuild ourselves. It is time to go on the offensive and this is the agreement that we have laid out for how to do so.” “We say that the earth indeed has trembled, and we along with her, and that we intend to shake the conscience of the entire nation, and that, in fact, we intend for indignation, resistance and rebellion to be present as an option on the electoral ballots of 2018.” “Our resistances and rebellions constitute the power of below. We don’t offer empty promises or actions, but rather real processes for radical transformation where everyone participates and which are tangible in the diverse and enormous indigenous geographies of this nation.”

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/02/y-retemblo-informe-desde-el-epicentro/

 

Other News

 

1. Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra, Volume 1: This book, the first volume of a selection of the words and contributions given at the seminar held in May 2016, consists of the words of the Zapatistas themselves, bases of support as well as commanders. It is now available in English, in the US and the UK.

 

2. The Week Of Worldwide Action In Solidarity With The Ejidatarios Of San Sebastián Bachajón: is held from 4thTo 10th December. Actions including demonstrations, talks, exhibitions, pronouncements, discussions and the screening and production of videos take place in Canada, England, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Peru, United States, Uruguay and Italy. The compas from Bachajon send a video message in support of the campaign. Pronouncements are made by Raul Zibechi, Gustavo Esteva, Hugo Blanco, the Manchester Zapatista Collective, John Gibler, Ya Basta from Milan, the CGT and adherents to the Sexta from Barcelona, Sylvia Marcos and Jean Robert, and Malú Huacuja del Toro. A demonstration is held at the American Consulate in New York. Further information is available on the Bachajon website.

 

 3. First anniversary of autonomy in Tila; ejidatarios from Tila, adherents to La Sexta, celebrate the first anniversary of taking their autonomy, while stressing the harassment and intimidation they still suffer. The first anniversary of their taking over the Town Hall is 16th December 2016.

 

 

The new step has been described as “the greatest Zapatista challenge of the last 23 years” and the analysis has hardly started. There are currently 6 communiqués waiting to be translated. There will therefore be more to follow……..

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January 1, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for November 2016

Filed under: news, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:49 pm

 

Zapatista News Summary for November 2016

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A. Zapatista and CNI News

1. Santa Maria Ostula: The EZLN and CNI issue a joint communique in solidarity with the indigenous community of Santa Maria Ostula in Michoacan which is resisting the fabrication of criminal charges against those who struggle to defend their land and territory.

2. The fifth Indigenous National Congress (CNI) is meanwhile conducting a consultation with all its communities as to whether the fifth CNI will name an indigenous government council whose word will be materialised by an indigenous woman who will be an independent candidate, in the names of the CNI and EZLN, in the 2018 elections for the president of Mexico. This decision is a response to “the corporate globalisation which affects all of us.”

3. ‘It is not the Decision of One Person’ is the title of a communique, signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, released on 16th November in response to criticism and misunderstanding of the EZLN’s proposal, without waiting to see what transpires. He explains that they are waiting for the decision of the CNI, which is a collective and that the proposal will lay bare the sexism and racism inherent in the electoral process.

4. 33rd Anniversary. 17th November marks the 33rd anniversary of the foundation of the Forces of National Liberation (FLN,) seed of the EZLN.

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5. A Story to Try to Understand: Also on November 17th, Subcomandante Galeano releases a very long communique of explanation, giving further details about the proposal for consultation with the peoples of the CNI about naming an indigenous council and an indigenous woman candidate for the presidential elections in 2018. He clarifies that the CNI will make the decision, that the EZLN will not be supplying the candidate, nor do they seek to take power. What matters is not who wins, but that “their daring would make the whole political system vibrate.”

6. The Convocation for the Second Phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress is released next, on 26th November, giving the dates and timetable of the events to be held in the caracol of Oventik. “It is urgent to struggle, to take serious steps and go on the offensive alongside the peoples of the countryside and the city, indigenous and nonindigenous, to construct a new nation from below.” The congress will decide on the proposal made and the next steps to be taken.

 

B. Other

1. Displaced families from Banavil, Tenejapa, return to their lands to remember their dead daughters for the Day of the Dead.

2. Melel Xojobal hold a demonstration in San Cristobal to highlight the fact that In Chiapas, one in every 10 children between the ages of one and four dies from preventable gastrointestinal diseases.

3. Residents Of The Lacandon Jungle Reject The Presence Of Environmental Police: Thousands of Mayan residents of the Lacandon Jungle, along with social organisations, local authorities and indigenous communities declare their opposition to the Mexican government’s policies of militarisation. They are particularly opposed to the recent formation of the Environmental Police, backing hydroelectric projects and expansion of African palm plantations. “The real intention behind the formation of the Environmental Police is “to put biodiversity, medicinal plants, water and other natural resources of the area into private hands.”

4. Viejo Velasco. On 13th November the tenth anniversary of the Viejo Velasco massacre is commemorated. The case remains unpunished.

5. Indigenous hold a 12-Day Pilgrimage against Mega-Projects in Chiapas. On 15th November, more than 1000 indigenous people embark on a 15 day pilgrimage through 11 municipalities denouncing and protesting the megaprojects which threaten their lands and life. The Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (Modevite) called for this pilgrimage, which “shows the so-called ‘green government’ how to care for the earth.”

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6. San Sebastián Bachajón: The Tseltal ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth, from San Sebastián Bachajón, denounce acts of deception, harassment, violence and intimidation made against them by the officialist ejidal commissioner and his supporters in order to get control of the toll-booth to the Agua Azul waterfalls. Community leader and human rights activist Domingo Pérez Alvaro is detained for 3 hours and savagely beaten. In response to this aggression, an international coalition of writers, thinkers, intellectuals and solidarity activists convoke a week of worldwide action in solidarity with the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, from 4th to 10th December 2016. 10th December is International Human Rights Day.

7. Acteal. 22nd December marks the 19th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre.

8. Roberto Paciencia Cruz. On 24th November, the indigenous Tsotsil prisoner is freed after 3 years and 4 months of unjust imprisonment. “This was another case of the racist and classist state justice system for which being poor and indigenous is a crime sufficient to be incarcerated. But also, it is an example of how prison can be another trench of struggle, where one can continue the work of those who have struggled before, and set an example for those that continue struggling for their freedom.”

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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December 28, 2016

EZLN: Inauguration of the Gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:37 am

 

EZLN: Inauguration of the Gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”

Words of the General Command of the EZLN in the name of the Zapatista women, men, children and elders at the opening of the Gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”

moi

 

Good morning.

Compañeras, compañeros of Mexico and of the world:

Brothers and sisters of Mexico and of the world:

First and foremost, in the name of the compañeras and compañeros who are Bases of Support of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, we thank all of the compañer@s of CIDECI who once again have provided us with these spaces so that we, Zapatista originary peoples and scientists, can gather here as a way to begin to look and walk toward what must be done in this world we live in, which capitalism is destroying.

We also thank the compañeros who have worked on registration and coordination for this event.

We also thank the compañer@s from the transport support team.

We thank you in advance, compañeras and compañeros of the various teams and collectives for the shitload of work that you have done to make this gathering happen. Many thanks.

For we as Zapatista men and women, today begins our long walk in search of others with whom we think share the great responsibility to defend and save the world we live in – with the art of artists, the science of scientists, and the originary peoples alongside those below from across the entire world.

A handful of some so-called “neoliberal capitalists” have decided to savagely destroy everything, caring nothing at all for this house that we live in.

This makes us Zapatistas think and ask ourselves:

Where are we poor people of the world going to live, because they, the rich, might just go and live on another planet?

What should we do now, as we see that they are destroying our house?

Or what happens if they take us to another planet to be their slaves?

After turning this over many times in our heads, we conclude that:

Below there are women and men who study science, who study scientifically, who do good science. But the wicked capitalists come along and use this science to do harm to the very people who discovered that science. What kind of harm?

They use science to make the rich richer.

The rich use it as they choose, for a destiny other than that for which it was created. They use it to kill and destroy.

Now it is getting worse for them up there, and that will be used even more harshly against us living beings and our mother earth.

That is how all of these bad things began and how they continue, bringing us to a very dire point today.

This is how things happened, and in the same way they use the artists who make art – capitalism uses everything to the detriment of society and for the good of capitalism. What was natural, nature and those who live within it, which is to say the originary peoples, will be destroyed along with mother nature.

 

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Therefore, we believe, think, and imagine.

We can organize ourselves, work, struggle, and defend who we are – the foundation of this world – so that this world, the house in which we live, can’t be disappeared by the capitalists. Now is the time, brothers and sisters, compañer@s, compañeroas; no one is going to bring us salvation. It is up to us.

Begin to dream and you will see that we can only fight capitalism with good scientific science, the art of the artist, and the guardians of mother nature together with those below from across the world. This is our responsibility.

I don’t mean to say that we are the only ones who should struggle, not at all. But when we look around at how things are, we realize that all of the useful things that we have in our houses are a matter of science, in terms of where they came from, and all of the figures and figurines in our houses and rooms are the art of artists, and all of the materials for these things come from mother nature, where the originary peoples live.

It is as if we are the “seeds” of all of this.

Let’s put it even more clearly.

Who figured out how to make today’s most modern cellphone? It’s the same for thousands of other products – they are used to benefit the rich, and not for the use science intended, nor for the people.

Who figured out how to make the images that are held within cellphones which are now manipulated on any whim?

Where did the materials that cellphones are made of come from? The same question goes for thousands of other goods.

Capitalism has converted science into something used for harm: something to feed its massive accumulation of wealth; something to manipulate at its every whim. It takes no responsibility for the destruction it has wrought with these actions.

We know what will happen.

One more point of clarity.

We are the lifeblood of the rich; we are the flesh and bone that make their lives possible, and the rest of the organs (in this body) are made up of the consumers; meanwhile, they live to do us harm in this capitalist system.

The origin of the evil the capitalist system wreaks on us is revealed.

Our survival, and the other construction of a new world, is in our hands.

Today we are here not to tell each other what to do, but to understand what our function is to capitalism in this world, and to see if what capitalism has us doing is any good for this world that we live in, human and living beings.

And if we discover that it is entirely bad, that the use capitalism makes of our sciences is harmful, then we have to take responsibility and decide what to do.

Before I finish compañeras and compañeros, sisters and brothers, today December 26, we do not forget that there are lives missing from our midst, the life of the 46 missing young people from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

Together with their families and friends who continue to search for them and who do not give up or sell out, we Zapatista men and women also demand truth and justice. To these mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of the missing, we give our largest collective embrace.

So, welcome to this gathering, to this long walk of the other sciences during which there is no rest, because rest would mean that the other, new world is already built, and until it is built there will be no rest.

May your wisdom, scientists, encounter and embrace our desire to learn and to know about the worlds.

Many thanks.

From CIDECI-Unitierra, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, December 26, 2016

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/26/palabras-de-la-comandancia-general-del-ezln-a-nombre-de-las-mujeres-hombres-ninos-y-ancianos-zapatistas-en-el-inicio-del-encuentro-ls-zapatistas-y-las-conciencias-por-la-humanidad/

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December 2, 2016

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

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

 

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

 

by SUBCOMANDANTE INSURGENTE GALEANO

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And someone else added:

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

And to round it off, someone asked:

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

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

Noah, the ark.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Agreed,” said the collective.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mexico, March-April-May-June 2015.

SupGaleano.2

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

Notes.

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

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

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

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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

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December 1, 2016

EZLN: a clarifying text

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

 

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EZLN: a clarifying text

 

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

By: Magdalena Gómez

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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