dorset chiapas solidarity

January 14, 2017

Zapatismo’s presidential candidacy

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:22 am



Zapatismo’s presidential candidacy




By: Raúl Zibechi

The decision of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI,) to submit the possibility of presenting an indigenous woman as a candidate for the presidency in the 2018 elections to its support bases and communities all over Mexico, provoked the most diverse reactions but left no one indifferent. In the days following the diffusion of the comunicado “May the earth tremble at its core” (October 14), there were those who maintained that it is an attempt to divide the left and therefore favour the right, while others assured that they set aside their principles by entering into the electoral path.

Days later another comunicado appeared, signed only by Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, arguing with some detractors without naming them. Beyond the polemics and interpretations, it is convenient to read the comunicado attentively to comprehend the objectives of the movement.

What is being proposed with the candidacy is: “to initiate a consultation in each one of our towns to dismantle from below the power that those above impose on us and that offers us a panorama of death, violence, dispossession and destruction.” Some lines later, they clarify that: “our struggle is not for power, we don’t seek it; but rather we will call on the original peoples and on civil society to organize in order to stop this destruction, to get stronger in our resistances and rebellions, in other words in the defence of the of life of every person, every family, collective, community or barrio. We make a call to construct peace and justice, reweaving ourselves from below, from where we are what we are.

The indigenous woman candidate to the presidency, assuming the communities approve it, will be the spokesperson for “an indigenous government council” that will bring the word of all to society’s corners for the purpose “of constructing a new nation by and for all, of strengthening the power from below and to the anti-capitalist left.

These words spell out the principal objectives of the candidacy that the Zapatistas promote.

The first disposes of a reading of the Mexican reality, which can be extended to the current state of the world. In the last eight years the war on drugs, declared by ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), cost 120,000 deaths and 30,000 disappeared in full democracy. Something unusual in Latin America, where genocides like the one in Mexico have happened under regimes that are not proclaimed democratic.

They are also convinced that: “the offensive against the peoples will not stop but rather they seek to make it grow until having finished off the last trace of what we are as peoples of the countryside and the city.” As they had already expressed during the “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra” gathering, in May 2015, they observe that a storm is battering against the peoples. This proposal of an electoral candidacy is produced within that framework. It is only fitting to add that the dominant Mexican classes like those in a good part of the world, are divided, confronted and for the moment in conflict with each other, which increases the system’s decomposition and the violence against the peoples.

The second question to take into account is that neither the Zapatistas nor the CNI enter into the electoral path. They do not propose presenting candidates for deputies, senators, mayors or governors; only a candidate to the presidency. This point is crucial. The voting results are not what’s important, but rather something else, which is what they seek to explain in their communiqués.

The key is what they understand about the “power of below” with which they seek to dismantle the power of above. They enumerate: “their own communications media, self-defence community police, assemblies and popular councils, cooperatives, the exercise and defence of traditional medicine, the exercise and defence of traditional and ecological agriculture, proper rituals and ceremonies to pay Mother Earth and to continue walking with her and on her, the planting and defence of native seeds, forums, publicity campaigns and cultural political activities (…) That is the power of below that has kept us alive.

It is to that society or counter-society that the electoral candidacy is directed; in order to make it stronger, more visible for others from below and, if not misinterpreted, to contribute others getting organized. The interventions of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés in the 2015 gathering were a permanent, repetitive, call to organize, “organization for construction and to free oneself from the capitalist system.” But also for confronting what Galeano defined as the catastrophe/storm that is coming over the peoples.

A necessary clarification: the Zapatistas and the Indigenous Congress do not seek to organize the others. Each social sector must organize itself as it wishes and is able. They only seek to help, contribute to what is possible for that organization, but without substituting anyone. That is a question of principles. An intervention of Moisés at the closing of the “CompArte” Festival, on July 29 of this year in Oventik, makes it very clear:

There are those who think that we should come out and go fight for the teachers. If one thinks like that, then you have not understood anything. Because that means I expect that someone will come and fight for me. The Zapatistas don’t ask anyone to come to fight for us. Each struggle is unique, and we must mutually support, but not take away the place of each fight. The one who struggles has the right to decide what path to take and with whom to walk. If others interfere, then it’s no longer support, but rather it’s supplanting. Support is respect and not direction or command.

The third reflection is related to a problem that has always occupied all revolutionary processes and that could be summed up in a question: how to relate and work with other movements and organizations that don’t agree with our objectives and have their own modes of work, but suffer similar oppressions?

Based on an investigation of the Spanish-American University of Puebla, Víctor Toledo estimates that in just five Mexican states there are “more than a thousand new projects,” which include from the Zapatista Caracoles to indigenous organic coffee cooperatives and many cases of community self-management (La Jornada, September 13, 2016). All over Latin America, and in the world, are tens of thousands of initiatives that include millions of people that are making resistance to neoliberalism and capitalism possible.

That non-capitalist and anti-capitalist world exists, although dispersed, like islands and archipelagos. It’s not about inventing it, but rather about empowering it. Or, as the comunicado says, constructing the new world “from below,” which according to the dictionary is at once spinning and shaking or buzzing, a synonym of “retemblar,” as the Mexican national anthem says. If those of us below tremble, we shake each other and provoke a political tsunami capable of breaking the bank of the dominant classes. That seems to be the principal message of the indigenous candidacy for the presidency.


Published in Spanish by Viento Sur

November 7, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



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



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.




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.




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



January 3, 2017

CNI announces an autonomous parallel government for Mexico

Filed under: Autonomy, CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:08 pm



CNI announces an autonomous parallel government for Mexico

The EZLN Extends the Consultation to Determine its Presidential Candidate

156048-084555a7f2d8482b0_pf-9169080101_zapatistas_js3-c-702x468-1Zapatistas at anniversary celebration – Photo: Janet Schwartz



By: Isaín Mandujano

OVENTIK, Chiapas ( – Some 3,000 participating delegates of the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI), with support from the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), announced the constitution of an Indigenous Government Council (Consejo de Gobierno Indígena, CGI) as an autonomous parallel government for the country.

Today, they also delineated the profile of the candidate they will propose in the 2018 elections for the presidency of the Republic.

As part of the 23rd anniversary of the EZLN’s armed uprising, in Caracol II at Oventik, the CNI today called: “to all the original peoples throughout the country, to all persons with a good heart to close ranks and go on the offensive,” in this new stage of struggle, to reconstruct ourselves no longer just as a people but also as a nation.

After two days of closed-door sessions, this Sunday January 1, the CNI and the EZLN held an open-door plenary meeting to which the communications media had access. In it they announced the results of the consultation held during October, November and December of 2016 among at least 43 different indigenous peoples throughout the country.

The working group, in which Comandante David was present as the host in this bastion of the EZLN in Los Altos of Chiapas, and with Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, military commander of the armed group, were half a dozen participating delegates from the CNI who announced the details of how the CGI will be created and how they will present themselves heading towards 2018 with an independent woman candidate.

“Indignation, resistance and rebellion will figure in the 2018 electoral ballots, said the women who read the results of the consultation in that extensive auditorium gathered together in a big wooden structure with a sheet metal roof.

They indicated that some 43 different original peoples from 25 of the country’s states were consulted.

The indigenous agreed to construct paths of resistance in which the struggle will be collective, and above all they proposed eliminating from their communities everything that divides the indigenous peoples, like the political parties and the governmental assistance programmes.

They proposed expanding communication and making it permanent among the peoples throughout the country; in the same way, creating commissions at the community, regional, state and national level.

They indicated that after the consultation during the last three months, the CNI came out strengthened and doubled the number of attendees in its plenary meetings, but that above all they expanded their presence in more communities which participated in the consultation and which were not considered previously.

While they demonstrated the need for respecting the peoples that are not in agreement with this process of struggle that the CNI and the EZLN propose, they recognized that in many communities they were not able to carry out the consultation because of the violent situation that exists or because of the change of authorities in those communities.

The women said that after the two-day closed-door meeting, they agreed to continue the consultation, which will be permanent, as is traditionally done among the original peoples and communities. In addition to this, Afro-Americans and immigrants have not yet been consulted.

As one of the principal agreements, they ratified the creation of an Indigenous Government Council (CGI) as the representative of all the peoples and tribes of this country. This Council, they specified, will be collective; it will not do what occurs to it, but rather what is mandated by all the original peoples represented there.

It was also agreed that this CGI would have as its spokesperson an indigenous woman from the CNI. This same woman will be the candidate in the 2018 elections.

They said that the CGI will be formally constituted next May 18th, and that the spokesperson of that body will be a woman who has permanence in the CNI, who belongs to one of the original peoples of Mexico, who speaks that indigenous language, who must be proposed and legitimized in assembly, who is distinguished as a person who has accompanied the peoples in their struggles.

She will also practice the principles of governing by obeying (mandaobedeciendo,) she will know that making agreements will be by consensus and that those who make up the Council of which she is the spokesperson must be aware that the CNI’s Assembly will be the only one able to take away that position when it is so considered.

The CGI will have several commissions, such as security, finances, communication, culture, a council of elders, health, environment and a commission charged with Mother Earth and territory.

This council, which will govern for all the original peoples of the whole country, was defined as an anti-capitalist collective, from below and from the left, it will respect the decisions of the people and the decisions of the CNI, and above all will have the ability to create alliances with other peoples who are not from the CNI.

They said that the woman candidate will be on the ballot in 2018, but they warned:

“Don’t get confused thinking that we seek to compete with them because we are not the same. We are the collective word of below and to the left.”

They indicated that while the country is submerged in fear and terror, the peoples have created conditions of security and true justice. It is only from below that it is possible to construct autonomy.

They insisted that, faced with this scenario, what is necessary is the creation of the CGI that is being proposed to govern this country, and that for this reason they will promote their own candidate; and they said that this project does not exclude anyone, because all the original peoples of the country will fit in it.

Subcomandante Moisés said that the time for the peoples has come, for all the peoples that are in the countryside and in the city. And he said that what the CNI now proposes is the “¡Ya Basta!” (Enough!) of that hope that others will tell us what to do and how to do it.

He said that it has been sought to deceive the peoples of Mexico “with promises and brazen lies,” and that what the CNI is now proposing is that the peoples themselves will tell themselves what to do.

Moisés outlined fighting for truth and justice, fighting for democracy, but where the people command and the government obeys. He called to fight for freedom. To do this it is necessary to rescue the history of the original peoples who have spent centuries resisting for life.

He said that the EZLN and the CNI already have already known each other for many years.

He confirmed that the EZLN is now and always will be with the CNI on the path that has been proposed.

“We are with you, we are definitely going with the National Indigenous Congress (…) Let them listen to the pain and rage that is in every corner of this country. May the Earth tremble at its core with your step. May they look at you with surprise and admiration, may the peoples of the world admire your decisions and goals. And above all, never mind that they use everything they have against you, that they attack you in every way, don’t surrender, don’t sell out, and don’t give in,” Moisés concluded.


Originally Published in Spanish by

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



January 2, 2017

Zapatistas Celebrate 23 Years of Resistance, Forge New Strategy

Filed under: Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:33 am



Zapatistas Celebrate 23 Years of Resistance, Forge New Strategy


ezln_zapatistas_women_girls-jpg_1718483346The Zapatista National Liberation Army launched its armed struggle declaring war on the Mexican state on Jan. 1, 1994. | Photo: teleSUR / Road to Resistance


The Zapatistas have announced plans to put forward an Indigenous woman candidate for Mexico’s 2018 presidential elections, marking a break in strategy.

The Zapatistas marked 23 years Sunday of their iconic uprising against the Mexican state that has inspired social movements around the globe as a leading example of autonomous organizing and Indigenous resistance.

The Zapatista National Liberation Army, known as the EZLN, commemorated the anniversary with a private ceremony in Oventic, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The event was closed to the press and people outside the Zapatista community.

The celebration also marked the 20th anniversary of the National Indigenous Congress, an initiative the Zapatistas first launched as a rallying cry in the early years after the movement emerged to bring together Indigenous peoples from Mexico and other countries to advance their struggles through solidarity.

On Sunday, the EZLN was also expected to announce its presidential candidate for the 2018 elections — which the movement has already indicated will be an Indigenous woman — after a process of community consultation. The decision to put forward a candidate for the next election marks a break with more than two decades of Zapatista strategy of rejecting the Mexican state and electoral politics.

In a recent statement, Zapatista Subcomandante Galeano, formerly known as Subcomandante Marcos, reflected on the EZLN commitment to “fight to build freedom,” saying it was a mission that the community agreed to work toward collectively with the participation of all.

“We agreed that, if it wasn’t possible to do it in this world, then we would make another world, a bigger, better one where all the possible worlds fit,” he wrote. “The ones that already exist and the ones that we haven’t yet imagined.”

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

The movement has seen victories, but also considerable challenges, including intense repression and criminalization of the struggle at the hands of the state, private landowners, and paramilitary forces.

But despite the hurdles, over two decades after the masked Indigenous army emerged from Chiapas’ Lacandon jungle and announced its resistance to the Mexico and to the world, the EZLN struggle continues as an ongoing road to self-determination and new alternatives to global capitalism.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




January 1, 2017

CNI releases map showing locations of aggression against indigenous peoples

Filed under: CNI, Displacement, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:30 am


Indigenous conflicts number 202 in MX

Congress releases map showing locations of aggression against indigenous peoples



Mexico News Daily | Saturday, December 31, 2016

Just over 200 indigenous communities in Mexico are victims of aggression of some sort, according to the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).

The two organizations, meeting in Chiapas for the fifth national indigenous congress, issued a map indicating the locations of conflicts affecting Mexico’s indigenous peoples.

The document indicates that 202 indigenous municipalities suffer some kind of aggression, including the dispossession of their land, the effects of mining activities or the presence of organized crime groups.

Among the cases cited:

  • Toxic spills in Veracruz that have devastated water sources and the occupation of lands belonging to the Wixárika people of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango.
  • Communities in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca face the dispossession of their land in favor of industry while the creation of natural protected areas has had the same effect on the territory of indigenous peoples elsewhere in the state.
  • A new highway between Toluca and Naucalpan threatens a 23-kilometer stretch of forested area in the State of México and communal indigenous lands in Morelos face a similar threat due to the construction of the Pera-Cuautla highway.
  • The Cerro Grande forests of Colima, the only source of water for the state, are currently under threat by a mining entrepreneur.
  • Organized crime and government are both a threat to Nahua communities in Michoacán.

“In the Nahua communities of Santa María Ostula, Coibe and Pomaro, part of the coastal Aquila municipality of Michoacán, organized crime and the government have killed 34 of their members, including two children, while six more remain disappeared,” said a speaker at the congress, being held in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

To face these attacks, say the EZLN and the CNI, communities have had to develop autonomous forms of government and defense.

Indigenous peoples from across Mexico are participating in the meeting, one of whose outcomes is expected to be the designation of an indigenous woman as an independent candidate for president in the 2018 election.

While the Zapatista movement has stated its support of the candidacy, it has made it clear that the nominee will not be a Zapatista.

Source: Reforma (sp)

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



October 19, 2016

CNI, EZLN and the power from below

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



CNI, EZLN and the power from below


14641984_376377792751912_2813650712869700631_nZapatistas at the Fifth National Indigenous Congress.


By: Neil Harvey*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Professor-researcher, New Mexico State University


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, October 17, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




October 16, 2016

CNI, 20 years of joyful resistance and rebellion

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:11 pm



CNI, 20 years of joyful resistance and rebellion




“When the people rise up, only they direct themselves,” SCI Moisés

Oventic, Chiapas, October 12th.  Delegates from 32 indigenous peoples, nations and tribes organized in the National Indigenous Congress arrived at the Caracol of Oventic to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the CNI. A large number of Zapatistas also arrived from the five zones of rebel territory and over a hundred adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.

The CNI delegates and other guests were greeted by the Zapatistas with the generosity and affection of those who walk the same path in search of a better world and a better country. The delegates walked between hundreds of Zapatistas formed in two rows on both sides of the road leading from the entrance to the caracol to the ballcourt, following the formation of militia marching with impeccable organization. The slogans were heard: Long live the National Indigenous Congress! Long live the EZLN!

They held the celebration on the court, which began with the words of Comandante David, of Maribel Cervantes from the CNI and of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, and continued with a cultural event which was attended by Zapatista artists, musicians and poets from the five caracoles.

The event ended with a demonstration of the discipline and organization of the militia troops, under the leadership of an insurgent commander of the EZLN.

Under a light drizzle and fog characteristic of Oventic, delegates and other guests were sent on their way, after a generous meal, with the same formation of Zapatistas on both sides of the road, with smiling faces whose joy their balaclavas were unable to hide.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



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

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



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




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



October 11, 2016

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress,

Wirrarikarri Brothers and Sisters,

Nahua Brothers and Sisters,

Purépecha Brothers and Sisters,

Raramuri Brothers and Sisters,

Cora Brothers and Sisters,

Mayo Yoreme Brothers and Sisters,

Yaqui Tribe Brothers and Sisters,

Popoluca Brothers and Sisters,

Mixteco Brothers and Sisters,

Ñahñú, Ñatho Brothers and Sisters,

Coca Brothers and Sisters,

Totonaco Brothers and Sisters,

Mazahua Brothers and Sisters,

Maya Brothers and Sisters,

Zoque Brothers and Sisters,

Tzotzil Brothers and Sisters,

Tzeltal Brothers and Sisters,

Chol Brothers and Sisters,

Tojolabal Brothers and Sisters,

Mame Brothers and Sisters,

Binni Zaá Brothers and Sisters,

Chontal Brothers and Sisters

Chinanteco Brothers and Sisters,

Kumiai Brothers and Sisters,

Cuicateco Brothers and Sisters,

Matlazinca Brothers and Sisters,

Mazateco Brothers and Sisters,

Mee-paa Brothers and Sisters,

Mixe Brothers and Sisters,

Nasaquue/Nasa Brothers and Sisters,

Amuzgo Brothers and Sisters,

Triqui Brothers and Sisters,

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

Compañeros and compañeras of the National and International Sixth:

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

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

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

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

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:

Brothers and sisters:

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

May they live in our collective being.

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

Compañeras, compañeros, brothers, sisters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We ourselves need to build the world we want.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas, brothers and sisters:

Listen, those who want to listen.

Understand, those who want to understand.

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

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

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

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

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

Listen carefully; understand fully:

Now is the hour of the National Indigenous Congress.

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

With its dreams, let cynicism and apathy be vanquished.

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

With its gaze, let darkness be illuminated.

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

In its heart, let desperation find comfort and hope.

In its challenge, let the world be seen anew.


Thank you, National Indigenous Congress.

Thank you for your example.

Thank you for not selling out.

Thank you for not giving up.

Thank you for not giving in.

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

We say clearly that our struggle is for life.

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




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

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

On the 11th day of October, 2016




October 15, 2016

The CNI and the EZLN convoke “the awakening of a great force,” after the fifth National Indigenous Congress.

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:35 pm



The CNI and the EZLN convoke “the awakening of a great force,” after the fifth National Indigenous Congress.



San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. October 13. “The CNI showed us that we are not alone. They have taught us to listen to each other, to recognize each other,” said the peoples, tribes and nations of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), at the close of their fifth national congress and the celebration of their twentieth anniversary in the facilities of Cideci Unitierra.

For four days the original peoples of the CNI shared not only the different problems they face in their territories, but also how they have organized to resist the dispossession and repression, coming as much from the government as from private, national and international companies.

The congress was attended by the General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), who today recalled the background to the founding of the CNI, when the indigenous peoples began to dialogue during the San Andres Accords, in 1995. “Since then we have been thinking of you,” said the Zapatistas to their indigenous brothers and sisters.

Communities in northern, central and southern Mexico, listed in detail the discrimination, dispossession and repression that they are subjected to every day, either through the design and implementation of megaprojects such as mining, dams or highways without their consent; or through the damages suffered by their crops due to the planting of GMOs, deforestation or fracking. Similarly, they denounced the threats and attacks suffered from organized crime, under the complacency of the three levels of government.

In the same way, original peoples shared their experiences of struggle and resistance in the areas of health, education, food, security and communication, among others; all this by making use of their free determination, according to their customs and traditions.

The event was also attended by a delegation of parents of the disappeared normalistas of Ayotzinapa, who continue their relentless pursuit, this despite the fact that “the government is accustomed to disappearing people,” they said. “Our children are priceless. We are not powerful, but we do not forget,” they said about the presidential message which they already knew about.

“We must listen to those who we have not heard,” agreed the attendees at the indigenous gathering in San Cristobal, in the sense of strengthening and growing the CNI, which is why they will consider their next steps to be taken by consulting the bases, in order to “awaken a great force” nationally, because “it is the time of the peoples” they shared, “so that the centres of the earth will tremble.”


Photo: Radio Zapatista

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



Zapatistas to Present Indigenous Woman Presidential Candidate in 2018

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



Zapatistas to Present Indigenous Woman Presidential Candidate in 2018


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



August 19, 2016

The EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress will celebrate 20 years of resistance and autonomy in October

Filed under: CNI, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:40 pm



The EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress will celebrate 20 years of resistance and autonomy in October



Mexico City | Desinformémonos. “We have forged a word and a way of acting that has contributed to the struggles of resistance and rebellion throughout the entire national territory, and not only do we maintain our decision to continue to exist, but we honour that decision with the strength of our fists raised in the air, we honour it through weaving deep and collective agreements which are reflected in the care for the earth, for our languages, our traditions, for our collective governments which take many names and forms,” proclaims the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) as it announces the forthcoming celebration of its 20th anniversary.

The works and festivities will be held from 9 to 14 October in the premises of CIDECI- Unitierra, the Indigenous Integrated Training Centre in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas,  and as the convocation sent out by the CNI and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) says, the fifth National Indigenous Congress will be a space of unity, reflection and organization to continue “promoting the integral reconstitution of our peoples and the construction of a society into which all the cultures, all the colours, all the peoples who are Mexico will fit.”

20 years since its appearance, and after 20 years of uninterrupted work in the permanent construction of the autonomy and self-determination of the peoples who are joined together in the CNI, they are continuing to build “the worlds we dream of, while we weave life, capitalism draws and sets up ‘its’ own territories of death, linked to ours, in every corner of our hurting country Mexico.”

Despite the imposition of mining projects on indigenous territories, the emergence of cartels of organized crime, agro-industrial projects, political parties, urbanisation and all the capitalist onslaught, the peoples continue to resist, say the organizers.

Despite the devastation, criminalization and assassination of those who are building, struggling and working for the creation of other worlds, the peoples keep walking “on the only road possible for those from below and to the left, building and practising the justice which is denied them by the powerful who say they are the governors.”

Given the adverse context of violence in our country, the CNI calls on the authorities and direct representatives of the peoples, nations, tribes, neighbourhoods, communities and indigenous organizations to meet together and, with the love and ancestral commitment to the mother, join the resistance, autonomy and rebellion “which shine in every one of the indigenous peoples”, spinning the threads of new worlds from the very bottom, walking towards collective, autonomous and rebellious hope.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 19/08/2016

The full Convocation is available here:




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