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February 24, 2017

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

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

 

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

 

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January 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

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The Apocalypse According to Defensa Zapatista

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The children stay quiet, thinking.

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

Pedrito raises his hand, asking to be called on.

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

Well that’s easy.”

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

Okay Defensa Zapatista, tell us what you think.”

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

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

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

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

Okay, Defensa Zapatista, answer the question.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pedrito explains with a tone of the obvious:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

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The Urgent and the Important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then he says that dreams are the solution to nightmares.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

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

SupGaleano.

Mexico, January 2017.

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

 

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

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February 22, 2017

EZLN: The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse

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

 

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EZLN: The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse

December 29, 2016.

Science fiction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morgan, the survivor in “shaolin monk” mode.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or would he perhaps have tried to stop the disaster?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In sum: dehumanization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But don’t fool yourselves.

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

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

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

Organize yourselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so on with all the arts.

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

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

See yourselves in those mirrors.

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

See yourselves as we Zapatistas see you.

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

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

-*-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

From CIDECI-Unitierra.

SupGaleano.

Mexico, December 2016.

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog.

“What’s Lacking”

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

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

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

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

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

She continued:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defensa Zapatista” continued her long-winded speech:

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

“An Interstellar Trip”

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

Toward What Does the Gaze Look?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I testify.

Woof-meow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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January 19, 2017

A Few First Questions for the Sciences and their ConSciences

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:52 pm

 

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A Few First Questions for the Sciences and their ConSciences

 

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December 26, 2016

Scientists [Científicas and Científicos]:

Compas of the Sixth:

Observers and Listeners who are present here and those who are at a distance:

Good morning, afternoon, night, and, as always, the dark hours before dawn:

My name is SupGaleano. As I am only a little over two and a half years old, my version of what used to be called a “curriculum vitae” and now is called a “user profile” is quite brief. In addition to being an insurgente and a Zapatista, I have various other professions. One of them, for example, is to make those who consider themselves fine upstanding citizens uncomfortable, and to awake the basest instincts of those who do not. I do this by showing my clearly seductive and voluptuous figure, which I have achieved, through much effort, via a rigorous diet of greasy meals along with supplementary junk food at my discretion.

I am also, much to my own dismay and that of many readers, the unwilling scribe for the whims of a particular being—mythological for people over 12 years of age and of obvious existential importance for any person passionate about science and any child [niño, niña, or niñoa] who doesn’t care about calendars except to play with. I am referring, of course, to that being whose mere existence lays social and biological Darwinism to rest and marks the emergence of a new epistemic paradigm: the cat-dog. Perhaps, when this entity abandons the prison of the word, world history will be marked and its calendar redefined with “a before and after the cat-dog.”

(The Sup takes out two figurines of the Cat-Dog, carved out of wood and painted by insurgentes).

Another of my professions, at times and on the orders of my bosses, is to feed the paranoid conspiracy theories against the always “suffering,” “selfless,” and well-behaved institutional left that, for lack of real arguments and proposals, resorts to the role of eternal victim in the hopes that pity will translate into votes and for whom fanaticism substitutes for reason and even a minimum of decency.

Yet another of my professions is transgressor of laws such as those of gravity, seriousness, and good manners.

One more profession, which is most relevant in this case, is that of alchemist. Really I should be a scientist, but as I have not yet managed to transform the essence of one thing into its contradictory opposite, I have not received the level of recognition that my admirable labours deserve. But not to despair, I continue experimenting in my laboratory with test tubes and plants, under the ever-critical gaze of the cat-dog, trying to eliminate the essence of that aberration of nature called squash soup and transmute it into something likable and nutritious like pecan ice cream, which, along with popcorn and hot sauce, are some of the few things that science has produced for the benefit of humanity and which differentiate us, along with the opposable thumb and despite the specimen of Donald Trump, from non-human primates.

Thus, today it is my job to try to make you feel, not know, our happiness as Zapatistas that you have accepted our invitation and, despite the calendar, have found the way and means to participate in this gathering.

As Zapatistas we have been waiting for you for almost 23 years. As original peoples, well, you can do the maths.

Of course, many will say that it is not their first time here and that they have, in heart and body, come before. They are right. They have been here, but not as they will be here in the coming days, that is, here to teach and maybe, possibly, to learn from us.

We as Zapatistas are here as your students, your apprentices.

Although we are ready to learn like anybody else, we are a very other kind of student. So that you can get to know us as Zapatistas, we will start by telling you what we don’t want and what we do want.

For example, we won’t help you to haul around your books, nor prepare a bibliography, nor bring your lab materials. Nor we will be hoping that you don’t show up so that we have an excuse to leave. We aren’t looking for good grades, credits, degrees, or, upon finishing our studies, to start our own business based on science, pseudoscience, or false science hidden behind an official letterhead.

We do not aspire to profit from knowledge, nor to achieve prestige by offering the glass beads that are the pseudosciences and philosophies claiming “change comes from within,” “love will redeem the world,” “this concoction/party/politician/leader-of-the-moment-will-bring-us-happiness” that come into fashion or not in times of crisis when the least common of senses, common sense, is defeated by the offer of magical solutions for everyone and everything.

We do not think of knowledge as a social status symbol or measure of intelligence. It’s clear that anybody can graduate using plagiarized material, or by pretending to have valid solutions thanks to the increasingly weak magic of the mass media.

We don’t want to go away to the university, we want to build a university in our communities, for you to teach and learn alongside our peoples.

We don’t want to go to the big laboratories and scientific research centres of the metropolis; we want them to be built here.

Instead of army and police barracks, open air mines and fancy hotels, we want—constructed here, under our leadership and collective operation—astronomical observatories, laboratories, physics and robotics workshops, sites for the observation, study, and conservation of nature, and even a Large Hadron Collider or something that allows us to free the graviton from the hypothetical prison of that particle and to thus begin to determine, once and for all, whether the physicists who subscribe to String Theory are members of a frustrated neo-cult or a group of paradigmatic scientists.

We want to erect schools to train scientists, not workshops disguised as schools that only teach vocations that serve capitalism (cheap and unskilled labour), or that only serve to pass the time or for the bad governments, or whoever aspires to become them, to say they built new schools or institutes.

We want scientific study, not just technical study.

We don’t just want to know how to drive or repair a vehicle, a sewing machine, a carpentry tool, a microscope; we also want to know the scientific principles of mechanical movement and optic physics, what combustion is; we want to know that speed is not the same as acceleration; one shouldn’t confuse value and price.

We don’t want to enter those scientific and technological competitions that so enthuse the public and private universities in order to see which machine or machinist is best. We want to learn and do science and technology to win the only competition that is worthwhile: that of life against death.

We don’t want to go to the big cities and get lost there. And that isn’t because we don’t have the knowledge to do so—the kids who have been educated in the autonomous schools have a greater level of knowledge then those who were educated in the state-run schools—nor is it for lack of intelligence or money.

It’s because we do not want to cease to be what we are. And we are originary peoples, indigenous, as they say. What makes us what we are is our land, our people, our history, our culture, and as Zapatistas, our struggle.

In sum, we want to understand the world, to know it. Because only by knowing the world can we make a new one, a bigger one, a better one.

_*_

A wise man of the originary peoples, Purépecha by blood, Mexican by geography and internationalist by heart, Tata Grande Juan Chávez Alonso, once said that the life of the original peoples is, among other things, a continuous preparation. “We have to prepare ourselves for everything: to be born, to grow, to love, to hate, to learn, to build, to destroy, to struggle, to die. And in the end, this is what we leave for those who come after us. We do not leave them an inheritance of riches, surnames, and positions. We only leave them the lesson that they must prepare themselves—for everything, all of the time, everywhere.”

That is why you should know that we have been preparing ourselves for this event for months.

We didn’t just show up here in front of you to see what you say, to see how you are, what your ways and times and geographies consist of. No, we came here prepared.

The doubt that moves us, the scientific curiosity, the eagerness to learn and know, comes from long ago, so long ago that the scientific calendars can’t keep track.

For example, we prepared questions.

We know well that just as you have to prepare to teach, we who don’t know yet have to prepare to learn.

 

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We also know that, just as one has to study to give answers, one also has to study to ask questions.

It hasn’t been easy. For example, we had to study how to say and write words like “anabolic,” “salbutamol,” “clenbuterol” “pre-eclampsia” and “eclampsia.” We had to learn to say “el mioma” [myoma] and not “la mioma.” We had to find a way to explain to you what it means “to burst out fish” and other things that we see in our world as indigenous people.

We met multiple times. First we met as zone-level assemblies. There we chose who would participate in this event given their area of work, for example, those who are promotores [trained practitioners] in the area of health, education, agro-ecology, medicinal plants, community radio, bone-setting and midwifery, etc. It didn’t matter if the person is young or old, if they are 15 or 524 years old. They did however have to understand Spanish, in order to understand all of you. And of course, they had to be interested in science.

Later the compañeras and compañeros who were selected met multiple times to prepare our questions. The first and most important questions we created were: what are we going to ask these brother and sister scientists? Do we only ask them what they know about science? Or do we also ask them how they see the current situation, if they think things are bad or everything is calm? Do we ask them how they view their scientific work? Do we ask them how they struggle for justice and freedom?

These questions that we are going to read to you now are some of the ones that we prepared in our meetings. As you will see, many of the questions don’t correspond to the exact and natural sciences, which should give you an idea of what the next gathering will be. Here goes:

Do genetically modified organisms do harm to Mother Nature and human beings or not?

Is there a scientific explanation for why, in some regions, in gullies where in times of drought there is no water, as soon as the first rains come (in May and June), there is a sudden spike in the production of fish? This is what we call “bursting with fish.”

Let me see if I can clarify these questions. Many years ago, let’s say about 30, about the middle of 1986, we were in the mountains…

1986, when Michael Jackson was still of African American complexion…

1986, when the Green Ecology Party of Mexico, the Citizens Movement, the Workers Party, the Democratic Revolutionary Party [PRD] and the party of the Movement for National Regeneration [MORENA] were all still called the Institutional Revolutionary Party [PRI] and they had as designated successor Carlo Salinas de Gortari whose economic policies they all still back today. The New Alliance Party and the Social Encounter Party still went under the name of National Action Party.

(Decades later, the eezeeelen has recognized its defeat and has another structure; Michael Jackson, even with a different colour, kept being Michael Jackson; the PRI and the PAN are still all the same people, although now with other colours)…

Around the middle of 1986, during the soccer World Cup, that intermediary between heaven and earth, the dervish named Diego Armando Maradona, took off from midfield, leaving every British player in the dust until, satisfied, he shot the ball into the net in a play that marked the 20th century and still causes old fans to say, when watching Lionel Messi play, “Pfff! I saw Maradona perform a scientific demonstration that god exists and is round.”

Okay, I guess that wasn’t a very orthodox example.

Well, in 1986, we were in an insurgent camp called “Recruits.” A group of recruits asked the commander in charge for permission to go to a nearby village to collect fish. “You mean to go fishing,” the commander said. “No,” they replied, “to collect fish, because this is the time when the stream bursts with fish.” The commander wanted to know what this was all about, and they told him: “the stream is dry, and at the first rain, it bursts with fish, but since there is no water, you just grab them.” “So are they tiny fish then?” the commander asked skeptically. “No, they’re grown, big fish, sardina or bobito,” they replied. “There’s no such thing as magic, but go ahead,” the commander said. The next day they came back with a burlap sack full of fresh fish. That afternoon we ate so much fish soup that the trees that shaded the camp took on a fluorescent light that could have been seen without difficulty from the space telescope Hubble.

In sum: there’s just a dry riverbed, a first, timid rain, and then, with the riverbed just barely moist and spotted with a few puddles, thousands of adult fish flap around disconcerted with that same distrustful look that you all have right now. What is the scientific explanation? End of the pointless clarification. Continuing with the questions:

When a patient suffers a bone fracture, a doctor amputates the affected area or installs a metal rod or screw. But if the patient is treated by a bonesetter, they’re cured. What is the explanation for this?

With all of the damage that the capitalists have done to the people through their misuse of science, scientifically can you create a science that is truly human in order to avoid falling into a science that is inhuman, and if it is possible create a truly human science, who can create it?

In our struggle for liberation we see and feel the reality produced by the capitalist hydra. We are therefore creating a new society and a new world to save nature for the sake of a humanity without injustice, inequality, exploitation, and poverty. For this we need the originary peoples, all exploited people, the artists and you as scientists to be united, because your inventions and discoveries are very important for the development of humanity. What do you think and what do you have to say about this?

Brother and sister companer@ scientists, you have a different kind of knowledge, but we, and other sectors, all have something in common, because capitalism exploits us all and appropriates our knowledges for its own evil ends. Do you think that we are going to allow this exploitation to continue, or is there another way to live with justice and freedom, a way to work collectively and with unity, to defend life and humanity?

Brother and sister companer@ scientists, the exploitation and abuse of human beings and nature has caused much suffering and death. We want the exploiters and also whoever doesn’t suffer as we do to put themselves in our shoes. This has made us think that something must be done and made us ask who should do it. We have concluded that the artists, scientists, originary peoples, and those below must put together our wisdom and begin to construct a new world where those of us who live will live well. Will you agree to be part of the construction of a new world together with us?

Brother and sister companer@ scientists, as Zapatistas we think that science itself is a series of knowledges that can help us to develop a more human system, where our dreams of unity and the conservation of Mother Earth and living beings can be possible. Simultaneously they will help us to soon destroy this capitalist monster. So we ask, is there room for your dreams, your knowledges and your science in the world of oppression? Is there room for your dreams within dispossession, horror, fear and the extermination of life? Do you believe that science can humanize in conjunction with the peoples of the countryside and the city?

Brothers and sisters, companer@s, scientists, what do you think about the women who are being exploited, manipulated, marginalized, assassinated, tortured, kidnapped, racially discriminated against and used as objects to promote capitalist commodities? What do you think about the fact that they use us as publicity for their propaganda and their transport of drugs, and as objects to satisfy their sexual needs? That they prostitute us to sell articles to make money? Why must we suffer to see the violence and death faced by millions of women across the world on an everyday basis? And we do not only feel pain, but also rage and fury. For example, as Zapatista women we are exercising our right and freedom to participate in our autonomous government of lead-by-obeying, which we see is a space for us to construct a new society. What do you think as scientists can be done to free us from all of this suffering and evil that the capitalist system does to us? And what can we do about it, you and us together? And given that without us women the world cannot live, how much time to you think that we women have to wait to be free? Is it now or never? As Zapatista women we see that it is possible to organize, struggle and work, we see that you and us need one another.

-*-

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And so to bring this section to a close, I put two questions to you. The first came from Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés:

What is the scientific explanation for why whenever you start to talk about politics the insurgentas and insurgents fall asleep? Some of them even claim that they have trouble sleeping, but all that you have to do is start talking about politics and they start snoring. Is there a scientific explanation for this? Or are they just acting a fool?

The second question will make more sense in the next session:

Why is this flower this colour? Why does it have this shape? Why does it have this smell?

-*-

(The Sup takes out his little Einstein and Sherlock Holmes dolls and places them in the middle of the table, surrounded on either side by a pair of cat-dog figures).

Like any self-respecting alchemist, I feel a mixture of envy and admiration for the person who, without stopping to attend to the global problems of injustice and slavery, also practices the hard sciences (like Albert Einstein here) and for those who manage to go beyond the abstract universe and apply the sciences in pursuit of human justice (like detective Sherlock Holmes). Einstein and Holmes, both represent the commitment of their scientific and technical work to social transformation. Both remind us that, as Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés highlighted earlier, we cannot delegate our tasks as full human beings to others.

That is why, despite the fact that I am only a mediocre alchemist, you, who have made scientific work your motor and your destiny, share with me and with those who are huddled here with you, the idea that we must do something. And this something doesn’t have anything to do with the irresponsibility of delegating the responsibility of doing something to others.

Of course, you will say that I am setting a trap. That, in placing the figures of Albert Einstein and Sherlock Holmes in front of you, I am resorting to a crude and caricatured form of blackmail in order to oblige you to adhere to a political proposal that seeks to hegemonize and homogenize everything: the sciences, the arts, life.

Maybe, maybe not. Let’s leave aside for a moment the blackmail, perhaps more appropriate for adolescent romance and the politics of above that pays lip-service to “love” and “fraternity” while they traffic in discrimination, racism, intolerance and the “with me or against me” that all fascists resort to.

Note that alongside Einstein and Holmes I have placed the little Cat-dog figures, which are both looking at them and looking at you.

The Cat-dog is acting like Doctor Watson, ready to sum up his scientific achievements, that is, his human ones.

But the Cat-dog is also pointing to the shadows of Moriarty and the Manhattan Project, alerting you to the ominous and predatory presence of the Hydra, the system that is always inclined to operate its perverse alchemy and convert knowledge made for life and for creation into knowledge for destruction and death.

That is how – one more blackmail – I am showing you what this encounter is about, an encounter between your science and the conscience of us Zapatistas.

I am showing you that we look at you and that our gaze is also a form of listening to you and understanding you.

That our gaze has this mix of admiration and envy for what you are; for what it is that, at least according to us Zapatistas, makes you special.

And our gaze is neither hopeful, nor not hopeful,

Our gaze is simply asking:

And what about you? What are you doing?

 

From CIDECI_Unitierra, Chiapas, Mexico, Latin America, Planet Earth, Solar System, etcetera.
SupGaleano.

Mexico, December 26, 2016

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/26/algunas-primeras-preguntas-a-las-ciencias-y-sus-conciencias/

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“The flower is to blame”

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:56 pm

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“The flower is to blame”

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December 27, 2016

“Earlier this year, on February 30, 2016, the Swedish electronic science magazine, River’s Scientist Research Institute, published a study that may revolutionize science and its social applications.

A group of scientists, led by Swedish doctors Stod Sverderg, Kurt Wallander, and Stellan Skarsgard, presented a complex, multidisciplinary analysis that arrived at the following provocative conclusion: There exists a direct correlation between the increase in quantity and quality of feminist movements, and the decrease in birth rates.

Combining statistical methods, embryology, molecular biology, genetics, and analytical behaviour, the scientists concluded that the rise in the diversity of feminism’s belligerence provokes libido inhibitors in males, and thus reduces the rate of frequency of sexual reproduction.

But there’s more. Laboratory analyses established that male spermatozoa exposed to feminist activism are weaker than unexposed spermatozoa. Known as astebizisoermia, or “lazy spermatozoa” syndrome, it is more prevalent in male populations where feminism occupies a protagonist role in social organization. According to the published article, Dr. Everet Bacstrom of the Rainn Wilson Institute, headquartered in London, tested the investigation’s theory with a sample of European, WASP, middle class males and reached the same conclusion.

In an interview with the publication, European feminist activists Chloë Sevigny and Sarah Linden said that the study was merely a dirty example of “patriarchal scientism.”

Meanwhile, the international advisory centre for governments, Odenkirk Associated, declared through its spokespersons, James Gordon and Harvey Bullock, that it recommended that governments in the First World “inhibit the activism and belligerence of feminist groups” so that national birth rates may increase in developed countries. At the same time, they recommended that the governments of Third World countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, encourage the participation of feminist groups, especially in marginalized zones so that birth rates might decline in those areas, preventing more general social disturbances.

Consulted on the matter, advisors of the European Economic Community, Stella Gibson and Gillian Anderson, refused to confirm or deny that the study is to become the basis for a new international policy between Europe and the Third World.”

Well, what I’ve just read to you is an example of the new scientific journalism. Although it is completely my own writing, it is our gift to you all for the December holidays. Take it and conduct an experiment: publish it.

Don’t appeal to the written press. With the exception of the author and a diminishing number of people, nobody reads newspapers and magazines to inform themselves. Come on, not even those who write for these places read them. They only look at whatever comments are made about their texts on social media. In fact, it is social media that dictates to them which topics they should cover. Just a couple of months ago, I read a “thought leader” and “expert analyst” ask their “followers” which topic they should cover in their column: “fav, if on the female candidate of the National Indigenistic Congress” (I’m pretty sure that’s how they put it), “rt if on the great comrade and leader, sun of our way forward, and illustrious builder of the future.” I don’t need to tell you that the rt’s won.

No, if you want to have some “media resonance,” then appeal directly as a primary source to social media.

Find one of those social media stars, for example, an adolescent “twitstar” with hundreds of thousands of followers. Someone constantly preoccupied with giving their fans the type of material that promotes critical tolerance, rational debate, and profound reflection (things that, clearly, are found in abundance in the stimulating environment that is social media). Someone like, for example, John M. Ackerman (253,000 followers). Yes, I know that I said it should be an adolescent, and yes, Mr. John Ackerman is a little long in the tooth, but I’m referring to mental age so bear with me.

After that, “follow” him and make sure he doesn’t block you. This is very easy; you don’t need to write anything that is even half intelligible. It’s enough to fill your timeline with retweets of all the grand, iron truths that emanate from the keyboard of said person.

Okay, now you only need to somehow get this “influencer” to briefly reference the scientific study, and his hundreds of millions of followers will automatically fave or retweet it.

This is how the “scientific” study will become a hit. It will become the basis for future analyses, colloquia, round tables, and it will find entry into the bloated library of conspiracy theories.

No, you won’t need to worry about anyone taking the time to critically analyze the supposedly scientific article and notice the following:

.- February does not have 30 days.

.- “River” is a British police drama where the main character, John River, is played by the Swedish actor Stellan John Skarsgård.

.- Stod Sverderg and Kurt Wallander are characters in the Swedish police TV series “Wallander.”

.- Everet Backstrom is the name of the main character on a detective TV comedy-drama called “Backstrom,” played by Rainn Wilson.

.- Chloë Sevigny is the name of the actress who plays Catherine Jensen in the Danish TV crime drama “Those Who Kill”

.- Sarah Linden is the name of the main character in the U.S. police TV series “The Killing,” played by Mireille Enos.

.- Bob Odenkirk is the name of the lead actor in the series “Better Call Saul,” which they say is the prequel to “Breaking Bad.”

.- James Gordon and Harvey Bullock are characters in the show “Gotham”

.- The European Economic Community no longer exists. It was disbanded in 2009 to make way for the European Union.

.- And Stella Gibson and Gillian Anderson are the main character and its actress, respectively, in the show “The Fall.”

Here, please forgive me if my English pronunciation is pretty off from international scientific standards, and even sounds like that of a “wet back” of the 1940s, but solidarity with Latino emigrants who currently suffer the Trump nightmare takes surprising, not always obvious paths. In any case, those who are reading rather than listening to these words have no devotion to the horror that is being lived north of the Rio Bravo.

Sure, it would have sufficed for any of you to Google these primary references to realize that the ostensibly “scientific study” described above is a complete fraud.

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Does science have to worry about these frauds, which reduce scientific activity to a caricature for massive consumption?

Do you all think that only religion and creationism deserve to be challenged? Religion is religion—it doesn’t pretend to be scientific. On the other hand, pseudoscience is a major problem. If you think that you’re in the era of Enlightenment, and you’re happy with ridiculing religious paradigms and staging livestreamed popularity contests where atheists battle believers, then it might be because you haven’t noticed the gaping hole that exists below the waterline of the “ship of science.”

The pseudosciences, or false sciences, not only keep on winning, they are becoming acceptable explanations of reality.

If you don’t believe me, try undergoing some quartz-based bioenergetic balancing therapy. Or enrol in a course on “The Theory of Science” in a department of higher learning at a respectable university, and allow yourself the surprise to learn that you’ll need to engage with material under the banner of “Scientific Philosophy” (the oxymoron that lives on from even before the time of Prometheus, Sisyphus, and Theseus).

Believe it or not, the dark times on the horizon now take science from the court dock to the social gallows.

I’ll return to this point in greater depth on another occasion.

For now, this applies to this case, or thing, depending, as you all need to confront the invasion of these false sciences. We Zapatistas confront that, and several other things.

-*-

In our participation in yesterday’s first general session, I presented a few of the questions prepared by my compañeras and compañeros, who have been selected to be your students.

Those are not my questions. If they were mine, they would have sounded different. They would have been these types of questions: What relationship is there between squash soup and cognitive deficiency? What are the nutritious qualities of that wondrous food that is referred to as pecan ice cream? Are injections a pseudoscientific form of torture? Etcetera.

So the only thing I did with my compas’ questions is group them together. I removed some of them because we imagined they would be answered in the presentations, as well as for another reason which, if there’s time, I will discuss.

These 200 compañeras and compañeros, 100 women and 100 men, were selected to attend—that is to say, to respond to collectives. Their presence here is not for their personal interest or benefit. When they leave here, they will each need to return to their collective and describe what this encounter was all about, what they learned or what they didn’t, what they understood or what they didn’t. In other words, they are obligated to socialize knowledge. This is the reason why you see these compas writing and writing in their notebooks, consulting each other with a fervour I doubt you would find in your university’s student body.

What I want to say here is that, although it appears that you are all confronted by 200 masks, in reality, your words will reach tens of thousands of indigenous people who speak different native languages.

Yeah, it is a little scary. Or a lot, depending.

The interest in science inside the Zapatista communities is legitimate, it is real. But it is relatively new; it has not always been this way. It relates to one of the transformations that our struggle has undergone: our process of constructing our autonomy. That is, our liberty.

This will be elaborated on by the compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés in tomorrow morning’s session. For now, let me just take a moment to provide you with some details:

  1. – The indigenous Zapatista communities represented here by these 200 transgressors of the indigenous stereotype that reigns in both the institutional right and left, do not conceive of this encounter as a single event. Please understand: this is not a fleeting moment. They, the Zapatista people, hope that this encounter becomes the beginning of a stable and enduring relationship. They hope to keep in touch with you and maintain an ongoing exchange. Or as the people say, “Let this time be neither the first nor the last.”
  2. – The ways of our ways: So that you don’t become frustrated and so that you understand why there aren’t any questions at the end of each presentation, allow me to explain what our method is as students.

We do not raise individual problems. As a student body, we continue to function as a collective. Everyone takes notes, then after the class or the lecture, the collective gets together and they complete their notes by taking down everybody else’s. This way, if a student had become distracted or understood things differently, the rest can help complete that student’s notes or clarify things for him or her. For example, in yesterday’s presentation, the one written by the physicist and read to us by the doctor, there’s a part where he points out that someone could say that we have no scientific advancements compared to the developed countries because in Mexico we are Indians. A Zapatista compa became really upset at that because, according to him, the physicist was criticizing us for being the indigenous people that we are, and blaming us for the lack of scientific advancement in our country. In the collective recap, they cleared up that the physicist wasn’t saying that, and that he was instead criticizing those who do say that.

With questions, the same thing happens. First the students ask their questions amongst each other. This way, a good part of the questions are answered because the problem was that they didn’t hear, or that they didn’t take down the notes well, or that they didn’t understand what was being said. Another part of their questions, they answer amongst themselves. And then what are left are the questions that truly are collective questions.

I know that, to you, this can appear to be a tedious, slow process, and that at least a few of you might become disillusioned, thinking that we don’t participate, or that you weren’t able to capture our attention. You’d be mistaken: after the collectives get together in each zone, they will write out the questions they came up with and we will send them to you through the same line of communication that we used to invite you to this encounter. At least until we come up with an agreed upon medium and way of keeping in touch.

Of course, all of this is part of our certainty that this encounter will be the first of many, and that all of you will keep in touch with your students, and through them, with tens of thousands of Zapatistas.

So, have patience. At least the same patience you provide your investigations and experiments, or the type that would otherwise drive you to despair while you wait to learn that your project proposals have been accepted.

Having said that, allow me to propose the Zapatista methodology par excellence: Answering a question with another question.

With this, you will need to begin your answers with a fundamental question: “Why do you ask that?”

So let me explain. Because of the ways of Zapatismo, our practices in the communities do not seek to hegemonize or homogenize. This means that we do not relate only among Zapatistas, and we do not try to make everyone Zapatistas. While our setbacks and mistakes are ours alone, our successes and advancements we share with non-Zapatistas even with anti-Zapatistas. To understand why this is so, it would be necessary to study our history, something that surpasses the aims of this encounter.

For now, it suffices to say that, for example, the health promoters also care for the health of partidistas [political party followers]. So then, if a health promoter is giving out vaccines, it wouldn’t be rare for them to come up against partidistas who refuse because, they argue, vaccines are not natural, or are poisonous, or make you sick, or introduce illnesses into your body, or other superstitions or whatever else, which are due to the fraud that is the government’s health system. In effect, the senior and best promoters of bad health in the partidista communities are the governmental authorities.

Because of this, in light of the partidistas’ disasters, the health promoter tries to argue for and convince people that vaccines are good. This is why it’s logical that one of the questions I read yesterday was, “Scientifically, is it necessary to vaccinate yourself and why, or are there other ways and/or forms that substitute vaccines for other things? For example, for whooping cough, measles, smallpox, tetanus, etc?” With this question, they are asking you to provide them with arguments.

It’s the same with education promoters, the community radio announcers, and the authorities and coordinators of the collectives.

Another example: when a person in a community convulses or becomes ill and exhibits strange symptoms, the partidistas begin to say that it’s because somebody cast some kind of witchcraft. Because accusations of witchcraft usually end up with lynchings, the Zapatistas take great efforts to convince the partidistas that there is no such thing, that the convulsions have a scientific explanation and not a magical one, and that it’s not witchcraft but epilepsy that provokes those attacks. That’s why they are asking about the supernatural, the occult sciences, telepathy, etcetera. Statistics on this aren’t kept, but more than one partidista is indebted to neo-Zapatismo for not having been lynched for witchcraft, the evil eye, and things like that.

There are also questions on topics that they have received contradictory views on. For example, genetically modified organisms. There are some who say that they are harmful, and others who say that they are not, and others who say that of course they’re not. So the compas request scientific proof, not the slogans for either of these positions.

Yesterday, the biologist told us about a survey she conducted, it seems to me, using social media. She told us that someone replied that they would participate when she included the option to answer something like, “science is evil.”

Well, the Zapatista communities are visited by all kinds of people. The majority come to tell us what we should or should not do. People come, for example, who tell us that it’s good to live in houses with dirt floors and mud and clay walls; that it’s good to walk barefoot; that all of this is beneficial to us because it puts us into direct contact with Mother Nature, allowing us to directly receive the beneficial auras of the universe’s harmony. Don’t laugh at me, thinking I’m exaggerating. I’m transcribing word for word the assessment of a former student of the Zapatista Little School.

“Modernity is evil,” they say, and along with that they include: shoes, manufactured flooring, wall, and roofing material, and science.

To be sure, science doesn’t have much going in its favour. Open-pit mining, machines that build hotels and subdivisions, farming techniques imposed by donors and government programmes promising “progress,” have all arrived at its hand.

It is said that religion arrived in indigenous communities by the sword; that is true. But what’s forgotten is that pseudoscience and anti-science have arrived at the hand of good vibes, naturalism as non-religion, esotericism as “ancestral knowledge,” and microdosing mushrooms as neo-medicine.

I understand that those things take place in the hipster establishments of San Cristóbal de las Casa or in certain Coyoacan neighbourhoods near and dear to your hearts, and that they sound nice while smoking a joint (puff-puff-pass), consuming smart drinks, and ingesting soft drugs. Ok, so everyone escapes from reality according to their respective budgets—we are not judging.

But understand that the challenge that we have proposed to confront as the Zapatistas that we are, requires tools that, I regret to disappoint more than one person out there when I say, ONLY “scientific science” can provide us with—which is how Subcomandante Insurgente Moises refers to the sciences “that really are sciences,” in distinction to the sciences which are not.

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Yesterday, we also heard about an experiment about something like “science and gender.” I think that it went like this: they put a man and a woman up for an academic job, each with identical CVs. The search committee was composed of the same number of men and women. They selected the man, were asked why they had selected him and not her, and their response was that the woman was submissive, conciliatory, and weak.

Sure, my biological chemical makeup includes the complete works of de José Alfredo Jiménez and Pedro Infante, so I celebrated the decision. But then, together with SubMoy, we got to thinking and started doing the figures.

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We asked Insurgenta Erika (present here) what she thought about that. She, for her part, asked me what “submissive” was. I responded, “obedient.” Then she asked me what the word “conciliatory” meant. “That she doesn’t fight, that she doesn’t impose, that she tries to find an agreement,” I answered. The word “weak” she said she understood. She thought for bit and then told us: “I don’t think I know those things.”

So then, forgive me if we live in another world, but we don’t know of any compañera who is submissive, conciliatory, and weak. Maybe because if they were, they wouldn’t be Zapatistas.

However, I think that in these lands, this experiment would have the same result but for the opposite reasons. That is, they would still select the man but precisely because the woman is neither submissive nor conciliatory, and much less weak.

And I mention this for what I am about to explain:

The following anecdote was told to me by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and I narrate it here for you, after having confirmed the details with him.

It may have taken place in a caracol in a meeting for the Hydra course given to the mensajeros and mensajeras, he’s not sure.

What happened was that a compañera jóvena [female youth] ran into SubMoy and asked him something like, “Hey compañero Subcomandante, I have a question. Let’s see if you can answer it.” ([When she said it in Spanish] she kept switching the gendered nouns’ pronouns between masculine and feminine, which is now part of the “way” that Spanish is spoken in many of the communities.)

SubMoy answered something like, “Ok compañera, tell me and if I know, I’ll answer. And if I don’t, well, let’s see how we do.”

It was clear that this question had been spinning in the jóvena’s head for many days and nights because she blurted out:

“Why is the flower that colour, why is it that shape, why does it have that scent?”

She didn’t stop there. Now having overcome the main obstacle (expressing the question), she added:

“And I don’t want you to tell me that Mother Earth in all her wisdom made the flower like that, or that it was God, or whatever else. I want to know the scientific answer.”

SubMoy could have responded in the way any military type, whether left or right, would have responded: that the compañera needed to cut her nonsense and go back to her post, or finish her work, or get to studying the seven principles, or that she study the Hydra lectures. Or maybe he would have referred her to the JBG or MAREZ or to the education or health commission.

He could have done all that, but he didn’t. Yes, SubMoy told me how he answered. But I got to thinking about the multitude of options that, in different calendars and geographies, would have inspired other answers.

Now looking back, it occurs to me, this unpublished anachronistic alchemist, that the compañera Zapatista was not looking for SubMoy to answer why the damn flower was the way that it was. Instead, she was looking for him to capture, how they say, all of the complexity that resides within that flower.

With just that question alone and who posed it we could have an entire seminar on the history of Zapatismo. No, I won’t overwhelm you by telling you a story that you surely won’t be interested in. All of you right now, like I was then, are more interested in learning what SubMoy’s answer was for the compañera.

SubMoy said to me, in his signature paused, teaching tone, that he had realized that, behind the question there was not only another question, but an even bigger question.

It was a question that had to with what, then and now, are referred to as the changes that have taken place in the Zapatista communities.

The jóvena, in contrast to her mother and grandmother when they were the same age, has already rejected two marriage proposals (“As if I were thinking about a husband,” was the identical response that greeted the two suitors who, only moments before, had used up half a bottle of cologne and styled with a gel that will help maintain their hair’s position for centuries); she is fluent in two languages (her mother tongue and Spanish);  she can read and write with an accuracy that college students at a certain national university would envy; she has completed the primary and secondary autonomous schools; she carries out her duties as a health promoter and Tercio Compa; she can work a computer and on three different operating systems (iOS, Windows, and Linux) without difficulty; in addition to operating cameras and video editing software, she can easily navigate the internet—of course, as long as the atmospheric climate allows the JBG’s satellite link to withstand the upload and download bandwidth of 0.05 kb per second, and that the limit hasn’t already been reached with the communities’ denouncements.

With this background, it’s no surprise that she wasn’t going to be satisfied with the answer about “Mother Earth in all her infinite wisdom made the flower like that because everything is in harmony with the universe’s forces that emanate from within nature.” (Here everyone can close their eyes, take each other by the hands, and repeat after me: “ommm, ommmm.”)

It would make sense to assume that, when her mother, in response to her questions, would have instead sent her to fetch water or firewood, the jóvena would have gone for the aforementioned items without protest but would have kept pondering the question along her 4 kilometre walk to fetch the wood, and 2 kilometre trip to fetch the water.

Of course, if I were to tell you that the jóvena Zapatista in question is named Azucena [Lily], or Camelia, or Dalia, or Jazmín, or Violeta, or sure, Flor [Flower], you are all going to wonder if there aren’t already enough absurdly obvious occurrences that there’s no need to keep on raining on those things that are already wet. And I won’t tell you the truth, which is that the compañera’s name is Rosita, that her mother’s name is Rosa, and that her grandmother is Rosalia. Imagine the horror if the compañera has a baby girl. For sure her name would end up being Rositía.

Well, the point is that, when days later SubMoy told me that we had to think of how we were going to be in touch with the scientists, I gave him that same confused expression that you all had when you saw the title of this presentation. Of course SubMoy didn’t take it personally, so he forced me to ask him, “What’s that mean, where you going with that?”

SupMoy lit a cigarette and responded laconically, “The flower is to blame.”

For my part, of course, I lit a pipe and remained silent but my facial expression said, “Ah, you think?” Nah, that’s not true. I gave him an expression that said, “What?!” Nah, that’s not true either. But I did give him some kind of expression because I didn’t have my mask on and SubMoy laughed and explained his response, as I already mentioned.

The context, as they say, of the question and of the answer, is what SubMoy will talk to you about tomorrow.

So then all you scientists, when you return to your world and somebody asks you what this encounter resulted in, or why you came, or what it was about, or how it went, you can begin your long or short answer this way:

“The flower is to blame.”

Thank you very much.

From CIDECI-Unitierra, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México, Latin America, planet Earth, Solar System, etc.

SupGaleano.

December 27, 2016.

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog: Zapatista Defence, Art, and Science

It hasn’t yet been possible to clear up the reason why. Some say that it was a bet. Others say that it was because Pedrito just took it too far. A very small number of people say that what was witnessed that day was an extraordinarily intense game whose result was decided in the final seconds, when the referee, SupMoisés, called the penalty.

Whatever the case, this places the little girl, Zapatista Defence, only a few metres away from the penalty line, where a frayed ball awaits her.

At the goal, Pedrito holds his arms up above his head like the goal keeper of what used to be the soccer team of what used to be the Soviet Union: Lev Yashin, “The Black Spider.” Pedrito smiles cunningly, for, according to him, he can already predict where the girl will aim her shot: “Zapatista Defence is perfectly predictable. Since she just came back from the discussion with the mensajeras, she will for sure aim her kick below and to the left.”

For her part, the girl, who barely stands a metre off the ground, turns her gaze toward one side of the field. (Actually, it’s a pasture which occasionally erupts with cows and their young calves, in addition to a one-eyed horse.)

On this side you can see: a strange being, half dog and half cat, happily wagging its tail. As well as two individuals who, if these weren’t Zapatista lands, one would say they totally clashed with the landscape. One of them: medium-complexioned, short grey hair, sporting a type of raincoat. The other: skinny, tall, gawky, with an elegant coat and a ridiculous sombrero on his head.

The girl heads toward the strange group. The one-eyed horse comes closer, too. They gather, and the skinny man draws strange figures on the dirt. The girl pays close attention, once in a while, nodding her head.

The girl, Zapatista Defence, returns to the middle of the field and assumes her position. She begins to trot toward the ball but she runs past it, without even touching it. She stops a few centimetres from the right side of the goal that’s being defended by Pedrito, who looks at her suspiciously. Zapatista Defence stops, squats down, and begins to scratch a bit of dirt so that she can pick a flower by its roots. She carefully takes the flower in her hands, replants it far from the goal, and returns to the field.

The audience is in suspense, sensing that they’re witnessing one of those events that will never again be repeated the world over.

Pedrito, for his part, is now more than confident. If he previously had any doubts, Zapatista Defence has committed a serious error: as she moved to pick the flower from its place, the girl signalled the direction she was going to kick to: below and to the left of Pedrito. Clearly, Pedrito told himself, because girls care about flowers, Zapatista Defence didn’t want the ball to uproot the flower.

As if that wasn’t suspenseful enough, the girl has now positioned herself no longer some distance from the ball and in front of the goal. Instead, she is standing right next to the ball with her back turned to a smiling Pedrito who is thinking about all of the ways he will make fun of Zapatista Defence when she misses the penalty kick.

Zapatista Defence turns her face over to where the strange Cat-Dog is, who starts to jump up and down and spin like a little dancing toy. The girl smiles and she initiates a movement that will divide opinions for decades to come:

Some participants from CompArte say that she first began in a ballet position, raised her left leg up, and began to whirl in that movement they call “pirouette en dehors”, and “relevés” and rotating “passes.” “It was impeccable,” they added.

The now deceased SupMarcos said that, what Zapatista Defense had just done, was none other than the Ushiro Mawashi Geri Ashi Mawatte, a martial arts technique where you turn your back to your target and spin just about 360 degrees before kicking it with the heel of your foot.

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The insurgentas that were gathered in the section, “Like the Women that we Are,” for their part, said that the flower that Zapatista Defence picked up belonged to the liana known as “Chenek Caribe,” whose flowers look like little chicks or little birds, and are what the littlest of girls play with in the indigenous communities of the Lacandon Jungle. The “Chenek Caribe” tend to bloom in pastures and tall grasses, signalling that the soil is ready to sow maiz and beans.

SubGaleano who, as always, crashes these stories, says that he was certain that Pedrito would become confused by what was so obvious: that, in effect, Zapatista Defence was going to shoot below and to the left, but Pedrito assumed that it was going to be to HIS below and to the left. The kick did go below and to the left, but from the perspective of the girl.

Dr Watson said that what Zapatista Defence had done was briefly emulate the meditative dance Sema practiced by Sufi Dervishes just as he had seen performed live during his stay in Turkey, where the dancers spin their bodies in repetitive circles, imitating the movement of the planets orbiting the sun.

The detective consultant Sherlock Holmes explained that everybody was mistaken. That what the girl did was the application of a scientific explanation he had given her on the rotational inertia of a body, and the application of centrifugal force on the sphere. “Elementary, my dear Watson,” said the detective, who found himself lost in the Mexican South-eastern Mountains. “It was clear that, given the height and weight of Zapatista Defence, it was necessary to increase as much as possible the force that was to connect with the sphere, providing the ball the necessary velocity and acceleration to travel 11 metres. Sure, the probability of success was 50/50. That is, the goalkeeper could have moved toward the opposite side, or moved toward the side the ball was headed to, thus stopping it without difficulty.”

“And the flower?” asked Dr Watson. “Ah,” Sherlock responded, “that, my dear Watson, is the girl’s own contribution which didn’t occur to me. Further, I was surprised as much as the goalie was. With what she did, she increased the chances that the goalie would move toward the direction where she first found the flower. It was something that, of course, had nothing to do with science or with art. If you will permit me, Dr Watson, it was as if she had succeeded in synthesizing both. Very interesting, my dear Watson, very interesting.”

After the commotion died down, the Tercio Compas interviewed Pedrito. When they asked him how it was that the ball successfully made it into the goal, Pedrito responded laconically:

“The flower is to blame.”

I can vouch for that.

Bark-meow.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/16/the-flower-is-to-blame/

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October 31, 2016

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

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

 

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

 

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

October 26, 2016.

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

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

Brothers and sisters:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all for now.16_16submarcos2definitivaweb2

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, October 2016.

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

What Doctor John H. Watson will not tell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then, although nearly imperceptibly, the wall shudders…

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

From Baker Street to the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

 

 

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

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Embroidery and drawings by EZLN insurgents for the CompArte Festival

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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



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October 23, 2016

EZLN: Questions Without Answers, Answers Without Questions, Councils and Counsel

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:40 pm

 

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EZLN: Questions Without Answers, Answers Without Questions, Councils and Counsel

 

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(Pages from the Notebook of the Cat-Dog)

October 20, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

Questions without answers:

—So what about the women murdered for the grave crime of being women? Will the fact that they have demanded that the attacks stop and, with their blood, raised the topic not just to the national agenda but the global one, make them the object of mockery, disdain, and accusations that they are playing to the right? Because they aren’t dying, they are being killed. What if they refuse to accept that this is a problem that can be solved by addressing corruption? And if they dare to say that the origin of this murderous hate is located in the system itself? What if they come up with the crazy idea to side-line men with regard to the most vital decisions (yes, as in questions of life of death)? And if they decide to take their destiny into their own hands? Would any part of that, or all of it, be a governmental manoeuvre to avoid… etcetera?

—What about the others (loas otroas)? Must they wait for the political class to turn its haughty gaze on one of the most vilified peoples below? Must they resign themselves to be knocked off until the murder rate finally gets high enough to attract attention? And what if they organize themselves and demand respect, if they decide they’ve had enough of the fact that being disrespected means being killed? Would they be told that their problems are not a priority, that their position is not generally politically correct and is in fact counterproductive with regard to the electoral race, and that their demands should unite and not detract?

—The parish priests, nuns, and laypeople of the progressive church see and feel first-hand, without intermediaries, the pain, angst, and desperation of migrants, the families of the disappeared, and entire peoples under attack, as well as the rage concerning impunity and the frustration of suffering injustice which has been made law with pomp and circumstance. Are they trying to use this pain to their own benefit? What would they gain by making those cries theirs, by identifying themselves with that rage? And if from that perspective, formed not just in the face of threats of all kinds but at the risk of their own earthly lives, they claim openly and reflectively that the solutions offered on the horizon are not sufficient, are they thus opposed—being who they are and accountable to what they are—to a real change?

—If the mere possibility of an indigenous woman existing as a citizen (with all of its rights and obligations) has the effect of causing “the earth to tremble at its core,” what would happen if her ear and her word travelled through all of Mexico below?

—You who are reading this: would you be bothered by watching and listening to a debate between the Calderona [i] from above, with her “traditional” luxury brand clothing, and a woman below, of indigenous blood, culture, language, and history? Would you be more interested in hearing what the Calderona promises or what the indigenous woman proposes? Wouldn’t you want to see this clash of two worlds? Imagine, on the one side, a woman from above, born and raised with every luxury, educated to feel superior in race and colour, complicit and promised heiress of a psychopathic enthusiast of alcohol and blood,[ii] representative of an elite that is steering the Nation toward total destruction, and chosen by the Ruler to be his spokesperson. Imagine on the other hand a woman who, like many, made her way working and struggling every day, every hour, and everywhere, not only against a system that oppresses her as indigenous, as poor, and as a worker, but also as a woman who has faced a system reproduced in the image and likeness of the brains of men, and not just a few women. Wouldn’t she, with everything against her, today, without yet knowing it, have to now aspire to represent not only herself, her collective, or her originary people, tribe, nation, or barrio, but also millions of women who are distinct in their language, colour, and race but equal in their pain and rage? Would this not be a situation in which on one side would appear a white criolla woman, the symbol of oppression, mockery, scorn, impunity, and shamelessness, and on the other a woman who would have to lift her indigenous spirit above the racism that permeates every level of social strata? Isn’t it true that, almost without knowing it, you would cease to be a spectator and desire, from the deepest part of you, that the victor of this debate, after a good battle, would be the one who had everything against her? Would you not applaud that, in the name of this indigenous woman, it was truth that won and not the power of money?

—Are you worried that the indigenous woman won’t speak Spanish well, but not that the current head of the federal executive branch doesn’t know how to speak at all?

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

—To what degree does the proposal that an indigenous governing council (concejo with a “c”),[iii] that is, a collective and not an individual, be in charge of the federal executive bolster-presidential-rule-become-complicit-in-the-electoral-farce-contribute-to-reinforcing-bourgeois-democracy-play-to-the-oligarchy-and-to-Yankee-Chinese-Russian-Judeoislamic-millenarian -imperialism-in-addition-to-betraying-the-highest-principles-of-the-global-proletarian-revolution?

—Should we follow the inertia of the political class, “thinking” heads and acrobats of all kinds, and respond to the unfounded criticism—as well as well-founded critiques that challenge us and provoke thought—with dismissals that, in addition to being lazy, are boring (like peñabotspaniaguadospejezombisperderistas,[iv] and etceterists)?

-*-

—A million-dollar idea (or an effort to raise money to collect signatures and for the campaign—oh, oh, looks like they’re serious): an application that self-censors on twitter when one writes something stupid. Handy, because the screen shots are unforgiving. What? That’s already occurred to you? Well, get to it, because when the CNI authorizes us to explain, erasing those tweets will be useless.

-*-

Rankings for the first week:

Finalist for the best meme: El Deforma [v] (not really much of a prize for them, because El Deforma is like the Barcelona F.C. of memes).

Finalist for the best tweet on a well-founded suspicion: “What seems most suspicious to me is that the #EZLN always becomes fashionable in the winter and then the fucking ski masks get really expensive.”

Finalist for the best series of tweets on the topic: “Hey listen, with regard to all this, do the Zapatistas even use Twitter?/ I’m asking because we’re here scolding them, mocking them, ridiculing them, telling them, ordering them what they should and shouldn’t do/ and if they aren’t even paying attention/ if they aren’t hearing us, then it’s like/ masturbating while watching, aroused, a box of cereal, you know/ heads up, don’t forget to erase this series of tweets/. Warning! Your Twitter account has suffered an attack by a screen shot.

-*-

Listen, a bit of well-intentioned counsel (consejo with an ‘s’): a lesson in reading comprehension wouldn’t hurt you. And speaking of letters, a composition lesson wouldn’t be a bad idea either… providing it is one with a limited horizon of the 140 characters.

—A non-Confucian maxim: “although it may seem unbelievable, it seems there is not just one but many worlds outside of social networks.”

Defensa Zapatista, Chicharito Hernández, and Lionel Messi.

 

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I don’t know how the hell the ball ended up in my tent, but the thing is that behind it came a little girl about… how old? I estimate between 8 and 10; in the communities that could be years or decades. It’s not the first time that the irreverent and happy tone of Zapatista childhood erupts in the solitary room where I at times stay, so I didn’t pay too much attention and continued reviewing and reading the storm across social networks and free and paid media. I wouldn’t even have noticed the little girl’s presence if she hadn’t said, in a knowing voice, “it’s like the thing with Chicharito and Messi.” I realized that the little girl was looking over my shoulder at the screen of my laptop. Remembering that old maxim that the best offense is defence, I asked her: “And you, who are you? I don’t know you.” The little girl responded, “my name is Defensa Zapatista,” as if stating the obvious, as if she had said “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” Pointing to the screen she added, “Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona and Messi doesn’t play for the Chiapas Jaguars.” I turned back around to see if I had switched hashtags without realizing it, but no, the header still read #ezln. What occurs in the head of a Zapatista little girl is not so much a world but rather a Big Bang in continual expansion. Nevertheless, I asked her, “And what the hell does that have to do with anything.” The little girl answered with a face that says, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

“It’s like they’re criticizing Chicharito for not scoring goals for Barcelona and Messi for not doing anything to help the Jaguars. Some say that Chicharito is going to recover; others say he’s done. Some say that Messi is sad because his home country doesn’t support him; others say it’s that his shoe is too tight and if he changes it he’s going to shoot well again.

But the thing is Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, nor Messi for the Jaguars. Meaning, they’re getting all worked up for nothing.”

I was evaluating the change in paradigm underlying Defensa Zapatista’s line of reasoning when she started in again: “Hey Sup, why don’t we organize a soccer game for when those who are like us show up here? Well, we haven’t actually finished putting together our team and sometimes Pedrito, the little jerk, thinks he’s really tough, and the cat-dog barely obeys orders, and the one-eyed horse falls asleep a lot, and the other players, well sometimes they come and sometimes they go. But look, I already thought about what song we should play we win the final. Do you know the tune? What would you know, you’re the sup!” I advise you to study the sciences and the arts, so that you can see clearly that the problem is that Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, and Messi doesn’t play for the Jaguars, and so you shouldn’t worry, to hell with the lot of them. I have to go now because the team isn’t complete yet and what if we’re up to play for, like they say, the inauguration.”

Already at the door, the little girl turned around and said: “Hey Sup, if my mom comes and asks if you saw me, you just tell her clearly that Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona and Messi doesn’t play for the Jaguars. I mean don’t tell lies, because mothers always know when you’re lying. So what you have to do is change the game, pretend you’re headed one way, but really you’re going in another. I can explain that to you later, but study first, because if you are going to go to the autonomous school they are going to make fun of you, and Pedrito will be the worst, because the little jerk is bragging that he finished grade school. But he’ll see that I’m going to finish too and then get outta here, to hell with him. About the team, don’t worry, there will be more of us. Sometimes it takes a while, but there will be more of us.” The little girl left.

SubMoy showed up and asked me, “Do you have the text with the explanation ready?”

No, but Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, nor Messi for the Jaguars,” I answered, following Defensa Zapatista’s advice.

SubMoy looked at me and took out his radio, giving the order, “send someone from the health commission with an injection.”

I ran, what else could I do?

Woof-Meow

SupGaleano

[i] A reference to Margarita Zavala, the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and likely PAN candidate for the presidency in 2018.

[ii] A reference to her husband, ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012).

[iii] Concejo with a “c” means council, often referring to some level of governing council. Consejo with an “s” means advice or counsel, or is used to refer to an entity like a board of directors.

[iv] Derogatory terms used to discredit supporters of the various institutional political parties.

[v] A reference to the Mexican national newspaper Reforma.

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/21/preguntas-sin-respuestas-respuestas-sin-preguntas-concejos-y-consejos-notas-tomadas-del-cuaderno-de-apuntes-del-gato-perro/.



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July 15, 2016

EZLN: For la Maestra, with Affection

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:45 pm

 

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EZLN: For la Maestra, with Affection

 

 

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For la Maestra, with affection

July 2016

To the maestras [female teachers] of the teachers in resistance:

To the national and international Sixth:

To the attendees and participants of the CompArte all over the world:

Compas, hermanoas,[i] etcéteras:

We send you all [todas, todoas, todos] our greetings and respect. We hope that your health is good and your spirits high.

We are writing to send you a few videos of the contributions that the Zapatista bases of support had prepared for the CompArte. For now we are including two videos dedicated to women below and to the left, and especially to the maestras in struggle. Here goes:

 

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TO DANCE A THOUGHT”

This first video that we will show you is from the Caracol of La Garrucha. It is a bailable [choreographed dance] entitled “The Rights of Women.” As is the case with almost everything here, it was prepared collectively by men and women, young people trained in the Zapatista autonomous education system. Zapatista bases of support wrote it, practiced it, and prepared to present it at the CompArte. The MC [maestra or master of ceremonies] explains everything. If you end up repeating the chorus, that’s to be expected. But we can tell you one thing: when you are capable of, as the compañera MC says, “singing a thought,” then perhaps you will have to rethink the idea that Art only comes from above, while below what we have are “crafts” [artesanías].

The value of a bailable lies not only in what you will see and hear below, but in its genealogy: the Selva Tzeltal zone, whose Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council] is located in La Garrucha, was the last [zone] to incorporate women into positions of organizational responsibility. Just as the bailable or choreography demonstrates, it was just a few women at the beginning who started participating (two or three, as we remember). The other compañeras began taking on other positions of responsibility later, yes, but not because the men told them to, or because the mandos [EZLN authorities] gave an order, or because of the “consciousness-raising” that various feminist groups tried to impose on us once we were “famous.” Rather, it was the Zapatista women themselves who explained to each other, convinced each other, and began to take on positions of responsibility.

So there’s the challenge: go figure out how to dance a thought; then we’ll talk.

The video is from April of 2016, and it was produced by “Los Tercios Compas.” CopyleftJunta de Buen Gobierno, etc.

Gender gossip: a delegate from the “Subterranean” section of the Tercios Compas went down, underground where the late SupMarcos is resting poorly, to show him the video. The deceased just made a few pained gestures and declared: “forget about the dance, the problem is the reality.” Then, upon seeing how each compañera who joined the dance cast the men behind her and took position ahead of them, he shook his head in disapproval and, before returning to his non-eternal slumber, said “nobody has any values anymore.”

 

The Dance of the Rights of Women:

 

 

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Las Musiqueras”

The following video is not finished. It’s just a clip, less than a minute, because… because… well, because of technical problems. Talking among ourselves, we were remembering the festivals and celebrations from before (meaning, more than 22 years ago), when women only danced. They were never seen playing an instrument. What’s more, we didn’t even imagine it was possible for the women to make music other than church songs. So watch and listen to the history of struggle behind this track of ranchera-corrido-balada-cumbia-norteña. This part isn’t in the video, but when we asked the women in charge to call the band over to make the video, they commented among themselves, “hey, go look for the musiqueras, they’re going to get their picture taken.”

If you manage to dance a thought, perhaps you will discover the genealogy behind those ski masks, the history that embraces the violin as if it were embracing a shield, and which grips the trumpet as if it were what it is: a sword.

The song is by a collective from the community “OSO,” MAREZ [Autonomous Zapatista Municipality in Rebellion] “Lucio Cabañas,” Caracol of the Tzotz Choj zone which includes Tzeltales, Tzotziles, and Tojolabales, and is titled “Our Demands.” The video is from April 2016 and was produced by “Los Tercios Compas.” Copyleft or whatever it’s called.

Musiqueras

 

 

_*_

Okay, compas and non-compas. That’s all for now. It possible, maybe probable, who knows, perhaps, that another day we’ll send along more examples of what we prepared for CompArte, with photos and videos. And maybe, we’re not sure, who knows, perhaps, we’ll tell you about an upcoming surprise.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July 2016

From the notebook of the Cat-dog:

Conversation captured by the interstellar satellite system “Pozol Systems,” during July of 2016. The coordinates are classified, but of course everybody knows that it was in Chiapas, Mexico, America, Planet Earth on the path of extinction. The audio is defective and it’s impossible to tell who’s talking and whether it’s a man, a woman, unoa otroa, an animal, vegetable, or mineral:

 

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Los maestros” [the teachers],” “los dirigentes” [the ones in charge], “los líderes” [the leaders], ha. All referring to “los,” [men]. And what about the “las” [women]? They’re out there too. And there aren’t just a few of them. No, I’m not sure of the exact quantity. What, I have to actually count them? Huh? So approximately how many? I mean it’s not a popularity contest, my friend. You all are always concerned with quantities, you always end up counting ‘likes,’ thumbs up, views, followers, subscribers, affiliates, members, marked ballots… you even demand statistics from reality. Yes I know, but your logic of accuracy and correction infuriates me. If it was up to you all, shit would be your candidate and your slogan would be “millions of flies can’t be mistaken.” Huh? Ah true, that’s already the case. But look, the issue isn’t what you count, it’s what you don’t. Let’s say you apply this thing about gender equality to the teacher’s popular movement, well, they wouldn’t be in compliance. There are more women than men. And if that’s how we’re doing things, then why don’t you count loas elloas? They’re there too. Huh? Yes, among the people, not just among the teachers. Go and see for yourselves, because you all say they’re vandals, criminals—you’re almost at the point of calling them “terrorists.” There you are going to see women from the market, the lady who sells tortillas, you know, people from the community. People who break their backs every day, all day, trying to make enough to live poorly. Yes, these are the ones who not only support the teachers, but also demand justice, freedom, democracy, good government. Eh? The Zapatistas? I don’t know really, they are in their caracoles, you can go ask them if you want. I’m telling you about the blockades, which are more like a people’s encampment then a blockade. What? You don’t like the word? Oh yes, of course, your obsession with “populism.” By the way, listen, how ridiculous was that guy who went and got himself a boss among the gringos… oh it was in Canada? Same thing, the geography doesn’t change the result. An idiot anywhere is an idiot everywhere. Oh I see, I can’t say anything against the main guy, the one at the top, the one with the money? Well anyway I was talking about the women. No, not about the teacher’s movement, but about the women. Because you all think they’re only good for… huh? Without being rude? Oooooh, look how sensitive you all turned out to be. Fine then, about the women: some are teachers, yes, others employees, others housewives or “box” wives because don’t tell me you can call those cardboard constructions houses. Some are students, yes. Professionals? Well, I don’t go around asking them for their degrees or their voting registration or anything like that. I just watch, see, hear, listen, learn. Anyway, I was telling you about the maestras. They’re out there. They get beaten, gassed, and chased too. And the things people say to them. It’s not that they’ve told me about it; I’ve seen it myself. And did you see them give up? No. They don’t falter, that is, they aren’t doormats. No, they aren’t manipulated by diabolic forces, nor are they part of a conspiracy. They are, well, normal. Young women, mature women, elderly women. They are all different, but they are alike because they are all from below and they are women. Look, what I notice is the gaze. And it’s clear that these women have their gaze set, as if they were saying no more, this is the line, enough already. Why? I don’t know, but I think it’s because they know now that they are not alone…

I testify.
Woof-Meow

[i] The text uses “hermanoas” for sisters [hermanas] and brothers [hermanos] to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.

 

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/13/a-la-maestra-con-carino/.



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June 24, 2016

EZLN: The Hour of the Police 4

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:57 pm

 

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EZLN: The Hour of the Police 4

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Photo: Desinformemonos

 

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The Hour of the Police 4

From the Cat-Dog’s spoiler notebook

June 2016

Here’s the doubt: what would be the most appropriate comparison for that sad and mediocre overseer who aspires to be a policeman?

Aurelio Donald Nuño Trump?

Aurelio Ramsay Nuño Bolton?

We think that given his thirst for blood and his cowardice, the latter fits him best.

And, just like in the television series “Game of Thrones,” where Ramsay Bolton is devoured by the dogs that he before used to attack others, the paid media that have used Nuño to slander, threaten, and attack the teachers in resistance and the communities and organizations in solidarity, will feed on him when he falls.

It could very well be said to him tomorrow:

“Your words will disappear.

Your house will disappear

Your name will disappear

All memory of you will disappear.”

To him and the entire system he serves.

Time will tell.

Woof-meow.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/06/23/la-hora-del-policia-4-del-cuaderno-de-spoilers-del-gato-perro/
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June 21, 2016

EZLN: Notes on the War Against the Teachers

Filed under: Repression, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:02 am

 

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EZLN: Notes on the War Against the Teachers

 

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Notes on the War against the Teachers in Resistance

(The Hour of the Police 3)

June 2016

From the notebook of the cat-dog:

—We don’t know about the rest of the country, but in Chiapas those above are losing the media war.

We have seen entire families support the teachers, in the rural areas as well as the urban. And we aren’t talking about support of the “we see your raised fists” type, or that of “the people united will never be defeated” and other slogans that continue to be the same despite distances in calendar and geography because below solidarity continues to be a basic principle. But if in previous mobilizations among the rebellious teachers, the “citizens” (a term that hides inequality) were bothered and fed up, now things have changed.

There are more and more families helping the teachers, donating support for their trips and marches, becoming anxious when they are attacked, offering food, drink, and refuge. They are families who, according to the taxonomy of the electoral left, have been “dumbed down” by television, or are “sandwich-gobblers,”[i] “deranged,” “sheep,” “people without conscience.” But it seems that the outsized media campaign against the teachers in resistance has failed.

The resistance movement against the education reform has become a mirror for more and more people-people (meaning, not social and political organizations, but ordinary people). It is as if the resistance has awoken a collective sense of urgency in the face of the coming tragedy. It is as if every swing of a police baton, every canister of tear gas, every rubber bullet, and every arrest warrant were eloquent slogans: “today I attack her, him; tomorrow I’m coming for you.” Perhaps that is why, behind every teacher there are entire families that sympathize with their cause and their struggle.

Why? Why does a movement that has been fiercely attacked on all sides continue to grow? If they are “vandals,” “slackers,” “terrorists,” “corrupt,” and “opposed to progress,” then why do so many people below, no small number in the middle, and even a few above salute the teachers, even if sometimes in silence, for defending what anyone would defend?

 

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—“Reality is a lie.” That could have been the headline of the article published in the badly named Chiapan newspaper “Cuarto Poder” [Fourth Estate] (a press outlet nostalgic for the era of the haciendas and the gentlemen carrying pitchforks and knives) when it “denounced” that the street party celebrated in support of the teachers in resistance on June 9 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, was a sham. Parachicos,[ii] dancers, musicians, [the use of] traditional dress, people in wheelchairs, marimbas, drums,  whistles and flutes, the best of Zoque art, and thousands of people paid respect to the teachers’ resistance. The so-called “success” of the media war against the CNTE [National Coordinating Committee for Education Workers] can be summed up in a poster that read: “Thank you teacher, for teaching me how to struggle.” Another said, “I’m not a teacher, but I am Chiapan and I’m against the education reform.”

But what bothered the executives at “Cuarto Poder” was the one that said, in so many words, “If you made the güero Velasco[iii] governor of the desert, in a few months sand would be scarce.”

—After more than three years of promoting the supposed “education reform,” Mr. Nuño[iv] still cannot present any argument even minimally related to education in favor of what is really his “payroll adjustment program.” His arguments have been, up to this point, the same as any overseer during the era of Porfirio Diaz: hysterical screaming, blows, threats, firings, and imprisonments—the same things employed by any sad and mediocre candidate that aspires to play the role of postmodern police.

—They have beat them, gassed them, imprisoned them, threatened them, fired them unjustly, slandered them, and declared a de facto state of siege in Mexico City. What’s next? Will they disappear them? Will they murder them? Seriously? The “education” reform will be born upon the blood and cadavers of the teachers? Are they going to replace the teachers’ encampments with police and military encampments? Are they going to substitute the protest blockades with those of tanks and bayonets?

 

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—Lessons for Nuño on terrorism: the taking of hostages (which is what the detention of members of the CNTE leadership is), for whatever kind of terrorism (by the state as well as by its fundamentalist mirrors) is a mechanism to force dialogue and negotiation. We don’t know if there above they realize it, but it turns out that the other side (the teachers) is the one seeking dialogue and negotiation. Or did the SEP (Department of Education) affiliate with ISIS and start taking hostages just to sow terror?

—There is an anecdote that circulated among the government intelligence services of the great powers. It is said that in order to win the media battle during the Vietnam War, the North American intelligence services created—that is the word specifically—scenes of resounding victories, of the growing weakness of the enemy, of the moral and material strength of the US troops. As it turns out, the strategy called “winning hearts and minds,” initially destined to be waged in Vietnam, instead had to be waged in the streets of the big cities of the United States. After that April of 1975—which echoed back to another defeat at Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs] in dignified Cuba the same month, but in 1961—a North American official said: “the problem is that we fabricate so many lies for the media that we end up believing them ourselves. We created a staging for victory that hid our defeat. Our own stridency kept us from hearing the noise of our own collapse. It’s not bad to lie; the bad thing is to believe one’s own lies.” Anyway, clearly we Zapatistas don’t know much about the media, but in our humble opinion, it’s bad business to head up a press campaign for a shameless privatization with a sad, mediocre overseer who wants to be a policeman.

 

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—What the teachers [maestros, maestras, maestroas] do is start children off in the first steps of science and art.

I testify.

Meow-Woof.

[i] A derogatory term referencing those who accept gifts or handouts—often a sandwich at a rally—from the political parties in return for support.

[ii] Traditional dancers from Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas.

[iii] Manuel Velasco Coello is the governor of Chiapas, nicknamed el güero Velasco for his whiteness.

[iv] Aurelio Nuño Mayer is Secretary of the Department of Education.

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/06/17/17193/

 

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June 19, 2016

EZLN: the government of Chiapas is losing the media war against the CNTE

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:21 am

 

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EZLN: the government of Chiapas is losing the media war against the CNTE

 

f48506de594fcd228e-image_78_-c-702x468Parachicos march in support of the teachers. Photo: Eduardo Miranda.

 

By: Isaín Mandujano

Proceso, Friday, June 17, 2016

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas

The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) said today that through the mobilisation and protest actions of the peoples, communities, organizations and activists in Chiapas, the government is losing the media war against the teachers’ movement that challenges the education reform.

“We don’t know about the rest of the country, but, at least in Chiapas, those above are losing the media war. We have seen entire families, in rural and urban surroundings, supporting the teachers,” the EZLN asserts in a public communiqué.

And this is not referring to support of the type summed up in “see this fist,” “the people united, will never be defeated,” and the slogans that despite the distances in calendars and geographies, continue to be the same –says the guerrilla group– “because below there continues to be the fundamental principle of solidarity.” If in previous mobilizations of the rebel teachers the “citizenry” appeared fed up and disturbed, it continued, now things have changed.

“There are more and more families all the time who assist the teachers, support their journeys and marches, are distressed when they are threatened, offer them food, drinks and shelter. These are families who, according to the taxonomy of the electoral left, should be ‘stupefied’ by television, ‘eat sandwiches,’ ‘be alienated,’ ‘be carried’ and ‘have no conscience.’ But apparently, ‘the enormous media campaign’ against the teachers who resist, has failed,” the writing points out.

 

It adds that now the resistance movement against the education reform has been converted into a mirror for more and more ‘people-people’ all the time, in other words, not people from the social and political organizations, but rather common people.

“It is as if it has awakened a collective feeling of urgency before the tragedy that is coming. As if each blow with a club, each gas canister, each rubber bullet, each arrest warrant, were eloquent slogans: ‘today they attacked her or him; tomorrow thet will go after you.’ Perhaps because of this, behind each teacher are entire families that sympathize with their cause and with their fight.

“Why? Why does a movement that has been ferociously attacked on all fronts continue to grow? Why, if they are ’vandals,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘terrorists,’ ‘corrupt,’ ‘opponents-of-progress,’ do many people from below, not a few in the middle, and even some of those above, salute, though it may be at times in silence, the teachers who defend what any person would defend,” the armed group that rose up in arms on January 1, 1994 points out.

Later it lets loose against the media, in particular against the Chiapas newspaper “Cuarto Poder,” which it labels as being a media nostalgic for the epoch of fincas (estates) and Lords of the manor.

“Reality is a lie,” the EZLN says, should be the title of its note when “it denounced” as false the popular (cultural) fiesta that was celebrated on 9th June in the streets of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in support of the teachers in resistance.

“Parachicos, dancers, folk musicians, people in traditional dress, persons in wheel chairs, marimbas, drums, whistles and flutes, the best of Zoque art and thousands of people greeting the resistance of the teachers,” the subversive group relates.

And it stresses that the “success” of the media war against the CNTE explains that day the sight of a handmade sign which said: “Thank you, teacher, for teaching me to fight” and another one that read: “I am not a teacher, but I am Chiapan and I am against the education reform.”

More than three years after promoting the alleged “education reform,” the EZLN lashes out, “Mr (Aurelio) Nuño still cannot present any educational argument, be it even the minimum, in favour of his ‘staff adjustment programme.’

“Its arguments have been, up to now, the same as any overseer from the Porfirio Díaz epoch: hysterical cries, beating, threats, dismissals, imprisonments. The same ones that would be used by any sad and grey aspirant to the post-modern police,” it emphasizes.

 

And it stirs things up

“They already beat them, gassed them, incarcerated them, threatened them, dismissed them unjustly, slandered them and ordered a de facto state of emergency in Mexico City. What’s next? Do they disappear them? Do they murder them? Seriously? Will the ‘education’ reform be born in the blood and dead bodies of the teachers? Are they going to substitute the teachers’ occupations with police and military occupations; blockades of protest with blockades of tanks and bayonets?”

Later it refers to the Secretary of Education, as a “terrorist” for taking hostages, “for the arrest of members of the CNTE’s leadership is that and nothing else.” In any kind of terrorism, whether that of the State or that of its fundamentalist mirrors, the EZLN says, (hostage taking) is a way to force dialogue and negotiation.

“We don’t know if up there above they have realized it or not, but it turns out that the other part (the teachers) is the one that is seeking dialogue and negotiation. Or is the SEP now affiliated with ISIS and so takes hostages just to sow terror?” the armed group ironizes.

The Zapatistas point out in their communiqué that they don’t know much about the communications media, “but in our humble opinion, it is bad business to put, at the front of the media campaign about a shameless privatization, a sad and grey overseer who wants to be a police agent,” they say in reference to Nuño.

“Initiating the children into the first steps of science and art, that is what the teachers do,” the communiqué concludes.

http://www.proceso.com.mx/444410/ezln-gobierno-chiapas-va-perdiendo-la-guerra-mediatica-contra-la-cnte

Slightly adapted from an English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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April 10, 2015

EZLN: Why so serious?

Filed under: Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:25 am

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EZLN: Why so serious?

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(01001101 01110101 01100011 01101000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01000111 01110010 01100001 01100011 01101001 01100001 01110011 00100000 01000011 01101111 01101101 01110000 01100001 01110011 (note: translate binary code)

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April 2015.

We didn’t know anything about this kind of thing. We learned. They explained it to us. We understood even less. But later on, “we grasped the concept holistically,” as they say. That is, not at all. But they were saying something about how we had been victims of a “high level” cyber attack. We of course put on our “no problem” face, the one that says “the proper measures will be taken” and “we will pursue this case to its logical conclusion.” But really, we were asking ourselves if it happened because of all the times we ourselves go to the page in order to increase the number of visitors. “Some over-enthusiastic clicker” we thought. But that part is confidential, so we’d appreciate it if you didn’t make it public.

Later on they told us that calculations show that in the United States alone, the average annual cost of cyberattacks was 12.7 million dollars in 2014. We didn’t understand, I mean about the quantity. When they explained it to us, we panicked and ran to see if our pozol reserves had diminished. Nope. “Stable levels,” the guard said (this means there is enough for the homages and the seminar). At that point, all was still well. The problem was that in order to celebrate the fact that the cyberattack had not penetrated the solid vaults where we store the “gold of the LXIX century,” we had a party and a dance with the community DJs’ electronic music. The result? The strategic reserves were substantially reduced and now we have to replace them.

But, as they say, now it is official: neozapatismo has entered the 21st century. Okay, okay, okay, we’re late, but keep in mind that it’s only 2015.

Did you think the image of modern Mexico lay in Beverly Hills shopping, helicopter travel, or an electoral ad? Wrong! Error 404! ¡Erreur! ¡Fehler! ¡Oшибка!

The webpage of the eezeeelen was cyberattacked!

Okay, okay, okay, we don’t really know what that means (being so premodern, we’re only accustomed to attacks by soldiers, police, paramilitaries, and various ink-shitters), but it sounds so fancy, so classy, so first world.

Oh, I thought this day would never come! Let Sony, Microsoft, and Apple die of jealousy! Let Obama, Putin, and Merkel turn green with envy! Let Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco, and Metro swell with rage! Let Samsung, LG, and Motorola buy their antacids! Prostrate yourselves cola drinks, junk food and fast food! Don’t hide your humiliation International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization!

We will take it for what it is: a small homage to our humble and quiet work of clicking on the webpage to raise our “web traffic” and soon, we will be collecting payments for advertising self-help courses, language classes in Elf, Dothraki, High Valerian, Klingon, and Na’vi, and of course, online offers from “The Speedy Huarache.”

Well in reality and in La Realidad, all this is nothing but a pretext to send you all an embrace and say:

Thanks to the gang, the plebes, the crew, the barrio, the homies, the brothers, the compas or whatever you call them, who lent a hand, some support,, backup, and, as they say these days, “replicated” the content of the pages, the tweets, the facebook, and the chats closest to their respective hearts. As this is sure to happen again, we want to reiterate once and for all: Thank you (please use the scientific method of “copy and paste” for this note of appreciation because it won’t be the last time you need it).

From the cyber-concierge, protecting itself with the hyper-modern firewall Pozolware 6.9.

SupGaleano, fighting with the cat-dog over the copyleft rights.

(Nah, really we’re fighting over the popcorn…but I got here first!)

Mexico, April 2015.

From the diary of the Cat-Dog:

Looking for who to blame:

-The trendy hypothesis of “Moderate Hysteria”:

It was without doubt the reptile-millenial-illuminati-narcoglobalist-party follower-electoralists.

-The trendy hypothesis of “Misogynist High Politics”: It was Frank Underwood, but with bad advice from Claire… Okay, okay, okay, Petrov then?

gatp-1-11

-Report from Big Brother, received by the Pentagon: (Summary of observations from “The Situation Room” of the “East Wing” of the Zapatista Hexagon. Reporting: Echelon System. April 7, 2015. 2330 hours, zulu time): Opinions were split: someone said it was us (the Pentagon), someone else said it was the Kremlin. Somebody else said Buckingham Palace, el Palacio de Hierro,[i] Liverpool, or Sears. Nobody said the Eifel Tower (this calmed them down because they were worried about their buddies from Tameratong)?

Some embittered soul said that they already knew that the new season of Game of Thrones was no good at all. Some indescribable character, something like a dog…or a cat…or viceversa, put up a sign that read: “Spoiler Alert.”

It sounded like they were about to come to agreement on something when the sound of a marimba being tuned was heard. The voices in the audio become chaotic, confused, and the only thing that can be made out is a kind of shout: “Pozol Agrio!” It must be some kind of alarm signal because the “Situation Room” and the whole east wing of the complex was quickly deserted.

(end of the report that demonstrates that the budget dedicated to spying is money thrown into cyberspace garbage).

-Section “There is a Trending Topic in your future.” Suggestions for solidarity hashtags:

#wewanttheezeeelenwebpagebackeventhougwealreadyregistered

#theenlacezapatistawebpageisbackonlineandifitgetstakendownthehomieswillhelpus

#don’tlettheenlacezapatistawebpagethatistheblogoftheezlncommissionsextabecyberattackedbytheconspiracyinfashion.

I testify:

(grunts and snorts).

[i] “The Iron Palace,” an upscale chain of department stores in Mexico.

JokerCaricatura1

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