dorset chiapas solidarity

February 23, 2017

EZLN: What Comes Next I: Then and Now

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

 

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EZLN: What Comes Next I: Then and Now

 

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Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

January 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

iiA drink made of ground maize and water.

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February 6, 2017

EZLN: Zapatista Alchemy

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

 

EZLN: Zapatista Alchemy

 

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January 2, 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

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

SupGaleano.

Mexico, January 2017

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog

The 3-of-3 of the Cat-Dog

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

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

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

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

1 of 3: Artificial Intelligence versus Zapatista Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

At that moment a voice points out:

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

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

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

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

Another voice, same volume, similar tone:

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

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

A voice inquires with authority:

What do you suggest?”

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

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

Only the smallest voices continue chatting:

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

And what would you do?”

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

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

For what?”

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

And what do you suggest?”

A voice, until that point silent says:

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

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

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

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

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

And there’s no way to fix this?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

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

 

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

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

iiiA mix of three metaphors in Spanish.

 

 

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

 

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January 26, 2017

Zapatismo, conscious science and the purpose of the rainbow

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:10 pm

 

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Zapatismo, conscious science and the purpose of the rainbow

 

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By: Eugenia Gutiérrez, the Radio Zapatista Collective.
Mexico, 4 January 2017.

How does science explain the formation of a rainbow, why it is said to have 7 colors and what is its purpose?

mg_0245-350x233That was a question put forth by Zapatismo a few days ago, and people who dedicate themselves to the study of the natural and hard sciences can answer the first two parts, and in fact, they already have. They understand the phenomenon we associate with the encounter of rain and sun, and how the light breaks down into colours on contact with the water in the rain, or a waterfall, or a fountain. They understand why we see it as an arc, why we can distinguish the colours in the spectrum from red to violet, what visual perspective is needed to see it, and how it can appear even during a storm. By now this question has been answered with clarity and detail. But the Zapatista communities also asked what purpose the rainbow has. Yet since natural phenomena have no specific function, no purpose, science cannot answer that. Science understands “why” natural phenomena happen but not “for what ends”.

This question was one among more than 100 addressed from the first day of the gathering of the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity that ended today in CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. It is unprecedented that at a scientific gathering, questions such as this one, and others, were presented collectively after having been discussed for months by numerous people living in indigenous communities in resistance. Likewise the answers will be taken back to the communities for more discussion. And then to add to all this, more questions about each topic emerged during the heated debates. But there is something that is not new when it comes to Zapatismo, and that is that many of the questions, collective or individual, concerned something more than scientific knowledge: our conscience. Some of the women and men scientists gathered at the University of the Earth (CIDECI-Unitierra) carefully explained what science is:  knowledge obtained through observation and reasoning; trial and error; proving or disproving something; the systematisation of information in order to deduce laws or general principles about the functioning of the cosmos. But how do we define conscience?

The word “conscience” encompasses an ambiguous concept. According to the Association of Spanish Language Academies the word comes from Latin, and on the one hand it means “the faculties of the human spirit to recognise itself in its essential attributes and in all the modifications that it undergoes”; and “reflective knowledge of things”; and “mental activity about which only the subjects can know themselves”; and from the field of psychology, “a psychic act by which subjects perceive themselves in the world.” On the other hand, viewed culturally and morally, conscience is our “inner knowledge of good and evil,” while “erroneous consciousness” would mean “a person who out of ignorance judges truth for falsehood, or falsehood for truth, mistaking good for bad, or bad for good “. This all means that consciousness is an individual capacity. To the best of our knowledge, we know we are, that we exist, and after some time, we will not be here, we will no longer exist. The Zapatista contribution made by Sup Moises and Sup Galeano pointed out that speaking about conscience is also word play, that being “with” (con in Spanish) science also suggests closeness, commitment, and accompaniment. And as the young Zapatista Marina explained, it is also knowing that only by “working together to create something shared” that we can overcome “the forces of gravity” of a System that crushes us.

No science can systematise “essential attributes” or the “changes” that the human spirit experiences, and neither can the social sciences or the humanities. And up until now, it is not possible to deduce the principles and general laws about the conscience. And further, if conscience is an individual mental activity, how do we generate a collective, constructive and humanistic conscience, so that community science and technology can emerge with such force it counteracts what destroys us? Zapatismo proposes that we need other definitions, new concepts.

We have our imagination. Conscience and imagination. And while biology explains that we may not be the only species with a conscience and imagination, biology also points out that we are the only species capable of reasoning and generating complex technology from our conscience and imagination. This distinguishes us as a species, but as many presentations stated our conscience destroys as well.

 

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The conscience can be humanistic and it can imagine a better world, but transformation requires a lot. The women and men scientist gathered at CIDECI during these days have explained that science and technology are immersed in economic, political, social and cultural systems which define the objectives and scope of the work. Having an understanding of Nature then becomes linked to economic, political, social and cultural matters. This brings great risks for our societies because technology, the product of science, has negative and positive effects, depending on who created it and to what ends it was created. There is conscience which destroys and conscience which constructs. It is from a constructive conscience that Zapatismo invites us to transform before we destroy our own history just as we are beginning.

 

What Zapatismo proposes can be achieved. With their own scientific knowledge, many of the participants and presenters at Unitierra were like the reflection of the spectrum of colours that our human eyes can see.  The perspective required to observe this phenomenon was offered by Zapatismo and the questions it proposes. The storm we know where it comes from. Then a novel configuration produced a light that projected itself beyond the spectrum that the naked eye can perceive. The mirrors of the resistance of the National Indigenous Congress and the collective voices of the Zapatista students Marina, Sofia, Esther, Cecilia and Claudia, in perfect harmony. The confluence of all the necessary factors to contemplate that unique moment, that moment that makes us stop to look with respect and silence because a rainbow, whatever it is, is also a fascinating opportunity that stimulates our reason and imagination to reflect on the temporary but infinite magic of life.

In the map presented by Cristian with Mary Chuy at his side and both from the CNI, they explained a way to use reason and imagination based upon a conscience of the constructive and humanistic collective to create science and community technology. The Wixaritari people call it “takiekari” which means “our everything” explained Cristian. They call it the world, the universe, and down to the micro-cosmos where “the struggle for land is inalienable.” Then comes the idea of the “yurameka”, the “essence of life” that the Wixárika ancestry nominated to care for “all that grows from the beginning of life” and that care “depends on each of the vital components of ecology” of the macrocosm. In the imaginary and real dreams of Zapatista women, it is intuited that it is possible to “do science with the ends to mean life,” says Marina. In her speech to compañeros she said we know that the nightmare of the storm we confront and that envelops us can be stopped when we learn how to “govern with our knowledge”.

It’s not easy to care for the land, and the balance of life. But the indigenous communities of Mexico and other nations have done so for many years. There was a time, when they even created other science and technology that functioned for centuries. The civil engineering of Teotihuacan served a fully functioning mega-city:  the roads in perfect lines, with slopes correctly inclined for water management; the prudent diversion of a river; appropriate adhesives that archeology still cannot reproduce. Europe could not have maintained the hydraulic engineering operation that the great Tenochtitlan had. There was the intelligent separation of fresh and salt water, the management of springs, drinking water and drainage systems, and the “chinampas”(*).  In Xochicalco, in the city, there is a cave with an opening so precise it connects the underworld to the map of the constellations above, allowing us to observe solstices, equinoxes; and it can x-ray our hand if we hold it up to the strong rays of the sunshine. In Palenque, Copan, and Quirigua – an exact understanding of spatial bodies’ cyclical movements. En Tzin Tzun Tzan, Mitla or Machu Picchu the magnificent, age-enduring architecture. In all of the indigenous communities of the Amercias there is the tradition of herbal medicine; and of improving corn in mutually respectful ways, agriculture, beekeeping, other traditions; painting and pottery technologies that combine to be substances producing form and colour which have endured for millennia; not to mention navigation, the construction of artificial lakes, dykes, piers, pyramids, and cities plastered and bathed in colour. In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Maya area, hundreds of kilometres of paved roads; the invention of a writing system; a solar and lunar counting system, and many others; the design of a method for the anticipated recording of eclipses of the sun and moon (including those which could not observe); the discovery of accounting for absence of when measuring in units. In Coba, a woman recorded a great explosion in exponential cycles of 13 raised to power 20. More than 28 thousand quadrillions of tonnes.

But they did not know steel and or gunpowder, and they had not developed antibodies for bacteria and viruses which came from afar.

It’s not easy to care for the land, and the balance of life. But the indigenous communities of Mexico and other nations are doing so, and will continue to do so, in the midst of the ongoing war. We are conscious that we don’t have to be assassins or a voracious companies because we are the cradle of civilizations. There’s where reason and imagination come to life; where it is known that science does not transform for greater good if it is not communitarian; and consciousness is not enough if it is not constructive and it also must be collective and humanistic. Thousands of women and men students are preparing themselves. The National Indigenous Congress is too.

This is rare. The invisible ones, the ones who didn’t exist yesterday, are today and tomorrow breaking the laws of optics and physics. Deactivating a storm with energy. Those who prepared for death and war learned to do that, and that prepares us for life, thanks to the life force of ancestral knowledge and strength in confronting pain. But above all, thanks to the life force’s collective consciousness that builds, the life force with its vibrant imagination and the will to fight from a position of reason and autonomy. Now the life forces prepare to live demonstrable knowledge, among other things.

According to the Gregorian calendar, another year is beginning. We went around the sun again, and we lived to see it, we lived to see this rainbow, this milestone on the threshold of another time. What purpose does it serve? If it were a natural phenomenon, scientifically it would have none. But the rainbow we speak about is of an origin that has yet to be explained, and the colours to be defined, it fulfills a function in our conscience because it is not a natural phenomenon.

 

(*) Chinampa is an agricultural practice of growing crops on small rectangular gardens floating in th shallows of the lake beds in the Valley of Mexico.

Colectivo Radio Zapatista

 

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service

 

http://radiozapatista.org/?p=20150

 

 

 

January 25, 2017

Thoughts on ConCiencias

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:30 pm

 

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Thoughts on ConCiencias

ConCiencias resembled July’s CompARTE in many respects. The central corridor that wends its way between the CIDECI’s buildings was similarly filled with artisanal and culinary offers, which steadily grew over the course of the 10-day long meet, although more quickly than in July. Again, we were treated to the delicious baking of the CIDECI, with sweet coffee or tea, twice a day for a voluntary donation.
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Guests of the CNI queue to eat in the CIDECI canteen, while ‘escuchas’ chat between seminars (Photo courtesy of MIC, XochiTlanezi)

 

But inside the auditorium and the classrooms in the seminar block, carpentry building and basketball court, it was a different story. For starters, the format of the programme was nothing like that of CompARTE, with two general sessions a day, in the morning and evening, concentrated in the auditorium, and one or two lots of ‘parallel sessions’ in between. This meant long queues of ‘listeners’ (escuchas), who were far more numerous than the capacity of even the auditorium would allow.

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Escuchas listen to one of the general sessions at the back of the auditorium (Photo courtesy of MIC, XochiTlanezi)

 

The general sessions were live streamed on TV screens in the cafeteria and seminar room 1, as well as on the radio played on loudspeakers in two or three spots around the campus. Many people could be seen with headphones on, listening in to one of the temporary radio stations via their mobile phone – simultaneous translation into French and English was offered on sister channels (I tried to assist with the latter service on one occasion having got wind of the fact that they were short of translators, without much success I must say, since the speed and jargon-heavy subject matter, coupled with the fact that the lecture in question was one of several presented via video, made it hard to keep up!)

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Students watch Dr Manuel Fernández Guasti’s presentation on prehispanic astronomy in Salón 1, in the seminar block.

I won’t go into detail about the subjects covered by the dozens of scientists, as these have been listed elsewhere, but I will say that there was a degree of repetition that, for a humanities and social sciences student like myself, helped to cement a few key points about the role of science today, particularly in Mexico. These topics included the institutional and economic barriers towards democratising science in Mexico; evolution, particularly theories that human beings are empathetic, not competitive; and astronomy. It was on this last topic, that the best class I had the chance to attend was given, on the penultimate day of the event. Contagiously passionate, highly dynamic and extremely didactic, Dr. Manuel Fernández Guasti explained some of his research into pre-hispanic astronomical methods in Xochicalco, a site of encounter between numerous indigenous peoples in the time before colonisation. Dwelling longer on the photos from his fieldwork than on the complex equations, and complementing the slideshow and talk with student participation, Dr. Fernández Guasti gave a lively and comprehensive introduction to this fascinating area of study. Without reducing its complexity he nevertheless took great care in moulding his pedagogy to his students; the Zapatista pupils (alumnas and alumnos) representing all their near and far-flung base communities. SubGaleano emphasised in his early participation that the content of these talks was not only for the 200 students present, but for the thousands of Zapatista women, men, children and elders to whom the students would relay their new knowledge, following the meet. This skill was epitomised in the interaction of three zapatista students representing the earth (a globe), sun (a torch) and moon (a book!), who Dr. Fernández Guasti guided around one another, encouraging the rest of the students to shout ‘eclipse!’ when the three aligned so as to represent that phenomenon. This caused much hilarity in the classroom, and was repeated successfully several times – it seemed that the lesson had been learnt.

Unfortunately, Dr. Fernández Guasti was more of an exception than a rule and both the evaluation given by the spokeswoman for the 200 Zapatista students and the final interventions by SubMoises and SubGaleano lamented the inaccessibility of the discourse used by the majority of the scientists. It was but a first encounter though, and SubGaleano thanked the scientists and urged them not to be disheartened by the limitations of the dialogue at this stage. SubMoises invited them to return to CIDECI in Dec 2017/Jan 2018 to resume the debate amongst themselves and thus further the cohesion of their ideas as a body of scientists.

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Final evaluation by the Zapatista bases and the comandancia

The evaluation of the Zapatista students and indeed their very presence was of course the biggest difference between ConCiencias and July’s CompARTE, and gave the encounter quite a different tone, although there was ample mention of the arts alongside the sciences in the subcomandantes’ reflexions on this new didactic tactic of the Zapatistas. So clear were the objectives of the encounter for the Zapatistas that they carefully chose the scientists to invite, unlike the kaleidoscopic free-for-all that was CompARTE. For me this reflects the relative rigidity of the perception of science, in comparison to art, in the Zapatista perspective as expressed by the subcomandantes. The former has certain rules and stipulations, and the Western rational model is by no means rejected in the name of anti-capitalism; rather, the idea is to use it against its masters.

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Escuchas (Photo courtesy of MIC, XochiTlanezi)

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Alumn@s (Photo courtesy of MIC, XochiTlanezi)

Some of the scientists did allude to the world of knowledge outwith the bounds of ‘Science’ with a straightjacket ‘S’, but the discourse from the comandancia was clear; this was a forum for narrowly defined rational scientific discussion. Narrow in form, that is to say – where evidence and methodology were lacking in the presentations, the critique was not subtle. And in spite of the breadth of topics covered, at times the meet also seemed narrow in content, due to the aforementioned repetition of certain topics.

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Zapatista women on their way to the CIDECI canteen (Photo courtesy of MIC, XochiTlanezi)

So, the message to the scientific community was that there is more to be done: more self and peer critique, a better developed pedagogy, and above all, more organisation. With the political year ahead, particularly the imminent arrival of a certain bastion of stupidity in the power house of Mexico’s neo-imperial neighbour, I think we’re going to need all three.

Of course, politically, 2017 has begun with what is arguably a much more important turn of events than the arrival of Donald Trump. The announcement of the CNI’s final decision to launch its presidential candidacy in the middle of ConCiencias did not go unnoticed, and cannot go unmentioned, particularly as the plenary was attended by nearly all the escuchas and scientists from the festival, as well, of course, as the Zapatista students. Following the hundreds of CNI representatives and guests, we filled and spilled out of the assembly building in Oventik, and afterwards were privileged to share a celebratory meal of beef soup, courtesy of the Zapatistas, and enjoy the anniversary festivities, which included dancing on the football pitch to live bands until well after dark.

conc8An interlude in the music: new soldiers’ military display on football pitch

How can we relate the reflections and discussions of ConCiencias to the activity of the CNI? Well, for starters, the political proposal of the governance of Mexico by an Indigenous Governmental Council (the Consejo Indígena de Gobierno), with a woman at its helm, demands a reevaluation of the institutionally imposed racial, economic and gendered knowledge hierarchy of Mexico’s particular capitalist system. The persuasions and limitations of science under the current system, including the underrepresentation of women, not to speak of indigenous scientists, and the harm science is currently doing to the planet in the hands of the rich and powerful, were frequently discussed.

Proposals for community science like that of Colectivo Alterius, several of whose members gave presentations, coincide with the horizontal, communal leadership proposed by the CNI. This is just one example from the blossoming of self-managed collectives in Mexico (autogestión) and communities fighting for the right to autonomous, communal governance; the proposal of the CNI hasn’t sprung out of nowhere. The significance of the coincidence of these two seminal events, ConCiencias and the 5th National Indigenous Congress is perhaps subject for another article, so I’ll leave my reflections here. Their trajectories will continue to intersect, I am sure, over the coming year, and when the scientists return to resume their discussions in December, the relevance of the CNI’s decision will be even more pressing.

 

Ruby Zajac

UK Zapatista Translation Service

Photos author’s own unless otherwise stated.

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January 24, 2017

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

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

 

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

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

 

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December 28, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

 

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Good evening brothers and sisters, compañeros, compañeras.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés       Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

 

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

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January 19, 2017

Words of the EZLN at the closing ceremony of the Second Stage of the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:21 pm

 

Words of the EZLN at the closing ceremony of the Second Stage of the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress

 

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Enlace Zapatista version

ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO.

JANUARY 1, 2017

Sisters and brothers of the National Indigenous Congress:

Compañeras, compañeros and compañeroas of the national and international Sixth:

Peoples of Mexico and the world:

Twenty-three years ago we rose up in arms against oblivion.

Our indignation and desperation compelled us to be willing to die in order to live.

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

The Mexican people saw us and spoke to us: they told us that our struggle and our demands are just, but that they are opposed to violence.

As the inhumane conditions of our life and death became known, people agreed that the causes of our uprising were just, but they questioned our way of enacting our dissent.

Today, the conditions of the Mexican people in the countryside and in the city are worse than they were 23 years ago.

Poverty, desperation, death, and destruction are not only wrought on the people who originally populated this land.

Now, misfortune finds everyone.

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

Governments come and go, under different colors and flags, and all that they do is make things worse.

Their policies only bring misery, destruction, and death to greater and greater numbers of people.

Now our sisters and brothers in the organizations, barrios, nations, tribes, and originary peoples, organized in the National Indigenous Congress have decided to scream, “ENOUGH!”

They have decided that they will no longer allow the destruction of our country to continue.

They have decided not to allow the peoples and their history to die from the sickness that is the capitalist system; a system that exploits, dispossesses, represses and devalues human beings and nature all over the world.

The National Indigenous Congress has decided to fight to heal our land and our skies, and has decided to do it through civil and peaceful means.

Their causes are just, undeniably so.

Who will now question the path they have chosen and to which they are calling all of us, all women, all men, all others [todoas]?

If they are not respected, if they are not saluted, if they are not supported in their struggle and the path they follow, what message is society sending? What paths will be left for indignation?

Twenty-three years ago we began our uprising, but our path was exclusionary: everyone could not participate.

Now, the National Indigenous Congress is calling us to a struggle in which everyone can participate, no matter their age, colour, size, race, religion, language, salary, knowledge, physical strength, culture, or sexual preference.

Those who live, struggle and die in the countryside and the city now have a path for struggle where they can join together with other women and men.

The National Indigenous Congress is calling and inviting us to a struggle for life with freedom, justice, democracy, and dignity.

Who dares to say that this struggle is a bad one?

It’s time for working people, together with the originary peoples, under the banner of the National Indigenous Congress, which itself is the banner of the originary peoples, to join together in this struggle – a struggle for people who have nothing but pain, rage and desperation.

Now is the time of all people, from the countryside and the city.

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

It’s telling us: enough waiting for other women and men who want to tell us what to do and how to do it; who want to boss us around, who want to manage us, who want to trick us with promises and bold-faced lies.

It’s telling us that every person, wherever they are, in their own way, at their own pace, should be in charge of him or herself; that communities should manage themselves. No more lies, no more tricks, no more politicians who only see their work in the government as an opportunity to steal, to betray, and to sell out.

It’s telling us that we have to fight for truth and justice.

It’s telling us that we have to fight for democracy, which is another way of saying that the people themselves are in charge.

It’s telling us that we have to fight for freedom.

The National Indigenous Congress is made up of wise women and wise men.

They’ve been resisting and fighting for life for centuries.

They know about resistance. They know about rebellion. They know about struggle. They know about life.

They know who is responsible for the pain that beats down every woman and man, everywhere, all the time.

Because of this fight that begins today, the National Indigenous Congress will be attacked. It will be insulted. There will be attempts to divide it, and to buy it off.

Every effort will be made to make them give up, sell out, give in.

But those efforts will not succeed.

We have known one another personally for more than twenty years, for more than 500 years we have known one another in destruction, in death, in disdain, in theft, in exploitation, in history.

The CNI’s strength, conviction, and commitment does not come from individual men and women.

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

We Zapatistas prepared ourselves for ten years to begin our struggle on January 1 twenty-three years ago.

The National Indigenous Congress prepared for twenty years to arrive at this day and to show us a good path forward.

Whether or not we follow will the decision of each person.

The National Indigenous Congress is going to speak the truth and listen closely.

The struggle of the National Indigenous Congress is no game.

They have told us that this time, they want everything, for every woman and every man.

And that means that:

They want respect for human rights.

They want the release of all political prisoners.

They want all disappeared people to be given back alive.

They want justice for those who have been murdered.

They want truth and justice for the 46 missing from Ayotzinapa.

They want support for peasants and respect for mother earth.

They want dignified housing for all those from below.

They want sufficient food for all those who are defenceless.

They want dignified work and a just salary for the workers in the countryside and the city.

They want complete and free medical care for all workers.

They want free, secular, scientific education.

They want land to belong to those who work it.

They want the factories to belong to the workers.

They want the stores and banks to belong to the employees.

They want respect for street vendors, and for small and medium-sized businesses.

They want public and commercial transportation to belong to those who drive the vehicles.

They want the countryside to belong to the campesinos.

They want the city to belong to its inhabitants.

They want the territory to belong to the originary peoples.

They want autonomy.

They want self-organization.

They want respect for all forms of life.

They want the arts and sciences.

They want freedom of thought, of work, and of creation.

They want freedom, justice and democracy for the Mexico of below.

That is what they’re after.

Each person can decide whether that fight is good, whether that idea is good, whether to respond or not to the call.

As the Zapatista women and men that we are, we say: yes, we’re with you. Yes, we’re with the National Indigenous Congress.

We will find ways to support them with all of our strength.

We will support you because the fight you are proposing, sisters and brothers of the National Indigenous Congress, is perhaps the final opportunity to stop this land and these skies from disappearing through destruction and death.

So all we have to say to you is:

Listen to your heart, to the pain and the rage that exist in all corners of this country.

Walk, and may the earth tremble at its core with your steps.

May these Mexican soils be astonished.

May the skies look upon you with surprise and admiration.

May the peoples of the world learn and take heart from your decision and your conviction.

And above all, regardless of whatever may happen and of everything that stands against you, even if they attack you in every possible way, whatever it takes: don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in.

 

FREEDOM!

JUSTICE!

DEMOCRACY!

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

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

 

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico, January 2017

 

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

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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?

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(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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January 12, 2017

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

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

 

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

Alternative version

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

ZAPATISTA NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY

MEXICO

JANUARY FIRST, 2017

Sisters and Brothers of the National Indigenous Congress:

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

Peoples of Mexico and the world:

23 years ago we rose up in arms against oblivion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the disgrace reaches everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their causes are just and undeniable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who dares to say that it is a bad fight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is telling us that we must fight for freedom.

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

They have been resisting and fighting for life for centuries,

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

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

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

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

But they will not be able to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that means that:

They are for respect for human rights.

They are for the liberation of all political prisoners.

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

They are for justice for those who have been killed,

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

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

They are for a decent home for everyone below.

They are for enough food for all the homeless.

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

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

They are for free, secular and scientific education.

They are for land belonging to those who work it.

They are for factory employees.

They are for shop and bank employees.

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

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

They are for the field for the peasants.

They are for the city.

They are for the territory of the native peoples.

They are for autonomy.

They are for self-management.

They are for respect for every form of life.

They are for the arts and sciences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So we just have to tell them:

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

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

Let the Mexican soil be astonished.

May the heavens look upon them with surprise and admiration!

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

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

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

LIBERTY!

JUSTICE!

DEMOCRACY!

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, January 2017

 

 

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

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January 5, 2017

EZLN/CNI: And the Earth Trembled! A Report from the Epicentre

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Repression, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:48 pm

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EZLN/CNI: And the Earth Trembled! A Report from the Epicentre

Declaration Of The Fifth National Indigenous Congress

 

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To the Originary Peoples of Mexico:

To Civil Society of Mexico and the World:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the Free Media:

Brothers and Sisters:

This is the time of the originary peoples, the time for us to replant and rebuild ourselves. It is time to go on the offensive and this is the agreement that we have laid out for how to do so, from our perspective as individuals, as communities, as originary peoples, and as the National Indigenous Congress [CNI]. It is time for dignity to govern this country and this world and for democracy, liberty, and justice to flourish in its step.

We are announcing here that during the second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress we meticulously analyzed the results of the consultation process that we held among our peoples during the months of October, November, and December of 2016. In that process, we issued agreements from communal, ejidal, collective, municipal, inter-municipal and regional assemblies in all of the ways, forms, and languages that represent our peoples in the geography of this country, once again bringing us to understand and confront, with dignity and rebellion, the situation that we face in our country and the world.

We appreciate the messages of support, hope, and solidarity that came from intellectuals, collectives, and peoples in response to our proposal entitled “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core,” which we made public during the first phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress. We also acknowledge the critical voices, many of them making fundamentally racist arguments, that expressed indignant and contemptuous rage at the idea that an indigenous woman would aspire not only to contend for presidential election, but would propose to truly change, from below, this broken country.

To all of them, we say that the earth indeed has trembled, and we along with her, and that we intend to shake the conscience of the entire nation, and that, in fact, we intend for indignation, resistance and rebellion to be present as an option on the electoral ballots of 2018. But we also say that it is not at all our intention to compete with the political parties or with the political class who still owe this country so much. They owe us for every death, disappearance, and imprisonment, and every dispossession, repression, and discrimination. Do not mistake our intentions. We do not plan to compete against them, because we are not the same as they are. Unlike them, we are not filled with lies and perverse words. We are instead the collective word of below and to the left, that which shakes the world and makes it tremble with epicentres of autonomy, and which makes us so proudly different from them that:

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  1. While the country is submerged in fear and terror born from the thousands of dead and disappeared, in the municipalities of the mountains and the coast of Guerrero our peoples have created conditions of real security and justice. In Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, the Nahua people have united with other indigenous communities to ensure that security remains in the hands of the people. The epicentre of the resistance there is the communal assembly of Ostula, the guarantor of the ethic of a movement that has already permeated the municipalities of Aquila, Coahuayana, Chinicuila, and Coalcomán. In the Purépecha plateau, the community of Cherán has demonstrated that by organizing to eliminate the politicians from their bad government structure and by exercising their own forms of security and government they could not only construct justice, but also, as in other geographies across this country, they showed that only from below, from rebellion, can a new social pact be constructed that is autonomous and just. And we have not and will not stop constructing from below the truth and justice denied to the 43 disappeared students from the teacher’s college of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, the 3 student compañeros who were murdered, and their compañeros who were injured, all by the Mexican narco-government and its repressive forces. Meanwhile, all levels of the bad governments criminalize social struggle and resistance and rebellion, persecuting, accusing, disappearing, imprisoning, and murdering the men and women who struggle for just causes.
  2. While destruction reaches every corner of the country, knowing no limits and distancing people from their land and from that which is sacred, the Wixárika people, together with the committees in defense of life and water from the Potosino altiplano, have shown that they can defend a territory and their environment and can create an equilibrium based in an identification with nature, with a sacred vision that recreates, every day, the ancestral links with life, land, the sun, and the ancestors, reaching across 7 municipalities in the sacred ceremonial territory of Wirikuta in San Luis Potosí.
  3. While the bad governments deform State policies on education, placing education at the service of capitalist corporations such that it ceases to be a right, the originary peoples create primary schools, secondary schools, high schools and universities with their own educational systems, based in the protection of our mother earth, in defense of territory, in production, in the sciences, in the arts, and in our languages. Despite the fact that the majority of these processes grow without the support of any level of the bad government, these institutions are meant to serve everyone.
  4. Meanwhile, the paid media – spokespeople for those who prostitute every one of the words that they circulate and fool the people in the country and the city so that they don’t wake from their slumber – criminalize those who think and defend what is theirs, making them out to be delinquents, vandals, and misfits, while those who benefit from ignorance and alienation are the ones with high social status. Those who oppress, repress, exploit and dispossess are always made out to be the good guys, the ones who deserve to be respected and allowed to govern so that they can serve themselves. While all of this is happening, the communities have made their own media, creating ideas in different ways so that conscience cannot be overshadowed by the lies that the capitalists impose, and instead using them to strengthen organization from below, where every true word is born.
  5. While the representative “democracy” of the political parties has been converted into a parody of the popular will, where votes are bought and sold like any other commodity and poverty is used to manipulate people so that the capitalists can maintain the division between the people of the countryside and the city, the originary peoples continue to care for and strengthen their forms of consensus and to cultivate assemblies as organs of government where through the voice of everyone together profoundly democratic agreements are made, across entire regions, through assemblies that articulate with agreements of other assemblies, which themselves emerge from the profound will of each family.
  6. While the governments impose their decisions to benefit the few, supplanting the popular will of the people and criminalizing and repressing whoever opposes their projects of death which they impose at the cost of the blood of our peoples—such as the New Airport of Mexico City, pretending to consult them while actually imposing death—we originary peoples have consistent ways and forms for free, prior and informed consent, however small or large that may be.
  7. While the bad governments hand energy sovereignty over to foreign interests through privatization, and the high cost of gasoline reveals the face of capitalism which in fact only opens a road toward inequality and the rebellious response of the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples of Mexico, the powerful can neither hide nor silence this rebellion. We peoples unite and fight to stop the destruction of our territories through fracking, wind farms, mining, oil wells, and gas and oil pipelines in the states of Veracruz, Sonora, Sinaloa, Baja California, Morelos, Oaxaca, Yucatán and the entire national territory.
  8. While the bad governments impose their toxic and genetically modified food on consumers across the countryside and in the cities, the Mayan people continue their indefatigable struggle to stop the planting of genetically modified seed on the Yucatan peninsula and across the country in order to conserve the ancestral genetic wealth that also symbolizes our life and collective organization and is the basis for our spirituality.
  9. While the political class only destroys and makes empty promises, we peoples build, not only in order to govern but also in order to exist with autonomy and self-determination.

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Our resistances and rebellions constitute the power of below. We don’t offer empty promises or actions, but rather real processes for radical transformation where everyone participates and which are tangible in the diverse and enormous indigenous geographies of this nation. This is why, as the National Indigenous Congress, which brings together 43 peoples of this country in this Fifth Congress, WE AGREE to name an Indigenous Governing Council with men and women representatives from each one of the peoples, tribes, and nations that make up the CNI. This council proposes to govern this country. It will have an indigenous woman from the CNI as its spokesperson, which is to say a woman who has indigenous blood and who knows her culture, and this indigenous woman spokesperson from the CNI will be an independent candidate for the presidency of Mexico in the 2018 elections. 

That is why we, the CNI, as the Home for All Indigenous Peoples, are also the principles that configure the ethic of our struggle. In these principles there is room for all of the originary peoples of this country. Those principles that house the Indigenous Governing Council are:

To obey, not command

To represent, not supplant

To serve others, not serve oneself

To convince, not defeat

To go below, not above

To propose, not impose

To construct, not destroy

This is what we have invented and reinvented, not simply because we want to, but because it is the only way that we have to continue existing – by following new paths forged from the collective memory of our own forms of organization and that are the product of resistance and rebellion, in order to confront, every day, the war that has not ended and yet has not been able to do away with us. Using these forms it has not only been possible for us to build a path toward the full reconstitution of our peoples, but also toward new civilizational forms. In other words, it has been possible to build collective hope that is transformed into communities, municipalities, regions, states, and which is able to respond precisely to the real problems that the country is facing, far away from the political class and their corruption.

From this Fifth National Indigenous Congress, we call on the originary peoples of this country, the collectives of the Sixth, the workers, the coalitions and committees who struggle in the countryside and the city, the students, intellectuals, the artists, and scientists, the elements of civil society that are not organized, as well as all good-hearted people to close ranks and go on the offensive. We call on you to dismantle the power of above and to reconstitute ourselves now from below and to the left, not only as peoples but as a country. We make a call to come together in a single organization where dignity will be our final word and our first action. We call on all of you to organize with us to stop this war, and to not be afraid to build ourselves and sow our seeds on the ruins left by capitalism.

This is what humanity and our mother earth demand of us. It is the time for rebellious dignity. We will make this a material reality by convoking a constituent assembly of the Indigenous Governing Council for Mexico in the month of May 2017. From there we will build bridges toward the compañeros and compañeras of civil society, the media, and the originary peoples in order to make the earth tremble at its core, to overcome fear and recuperate what belongs to humanity, what belongs to the earth and what belongs to the peoples. We do this so that we can recuperate the territories that have been invaded or destroyed, so that the disappeared of this country can be returned, so that all political prisoners are freed, so that there can be truth and justice for all of those who have been murdered, so that there can be dignity for the countryside and the city. That is, have no doubt, we are going for everything, because we know this might be the last opportunity we have as originary peoples and as Mexican society to peacefully and radically change our forms of government, making dignity the epicenter of a new world.

From Oventik, Zapatista Territory, Chiapas, Mexico

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

 

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

 

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January 1, 2017

The Zapatistas Are Building the World We Ask For

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:55 am

 

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The Zapatistas Are Building the World We Ask For

By: Ann Deslandes

zapatista_women_arrive-jpg_1718483346Zapatista women arrive at an information session. | Photo: Ann Deslandes

Published 31 December 2016

The Zapatista experiment in resisting without bullets and instead building the world we ask for – an experiment conducted under erasure, in conditions no university laboratory would authorize.

“If we had spent those 23 years exchanging gunshots,” says Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in an evening address to the many gathered for “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” encounter currently taking place in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, “would we have been able to build this?”

The Subcomandante was referring to the flourishing infrastructures of self-organized Zapatista life, lived by thousands of rebel Indigenous people in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas, Mexico. The Zapatista movement today celebrates the 23rd anniversary of its uprising in San Cristóbal on Jan. 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. In the 23 years that have followed the Zapatistas are organized by small communities known as caracoles and have built autonomous hospitals, schools, health clinics, security, transport, and communications operations.

The Zapatista “command” of which Subcomandante Moisés is a member had, as the Subcomandante was recounting in his address, begun shortly after the uprising to consider “another way of fighting” the system of neoliberal economics and bad government that currently has humanity in its grip, with Indigenous peoples of the world being squeezed the hardest. That is, they began to explore a resistance to this death grip that did not rely on weapons and violence and in which only guerrillas played a role. The leaders of the movement began to speak with the “compañer@s*” of the Indigenous communities that comprise it about alternatives to fighting the war against them. The alternative, they discovered, was to include all the rebel Indigenous who struggle — the women, the children, the older people — all together building the just and rational world being fought for “from below” while continuing to face the threat of extermination by the state and capital. As such, the Zapatistas decided they would stop using their weapons against their aggressors and develop a system of self-government, completely autonomous from the state and capital.

The answer to Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés’ question is no, of course, and in fidelity to Zapatista methodology, it is met by another question: “and would we have met each other?” Here, he is talking to the nearly 100 scientists (from the fields of mathematics, engineering, volcanology, epigenetics, cosmology, biotechnology, to name but a few) who accepted the Zapatistas’ invitation to travel to San Cristóbal for this “encuentro” to present their work and respond to questions from the 100 Zapatista women selected by their communities to bring the knowledge of professional scientists to the task of building a good and just world, against neoliberalism and for humanity. This task is described for the purposes of this encuentro as “building a big house where many worlds fit.”

On this evening, Subcomandante Moisés is telling us about the journey of the Zapatistas with the arts and sciences, with an emphasis on the sciences, as this is what we are gathered to discuss. Before the uprising and the fruits of self-government, he tells us, the rebel Indigenous did not have a lot of space to make art or to contemplate the teachings of science. Ancestral and customary teachings were the primary way of knowing the world. Since autonomy has been consolidated over the past eight to nine years, new windows on the world are sought. This is marked by the questions of Defensa Zapatista, a girl of maybe 8 or 9 years old, and other young Zapatistas as they grow in their education and begin to ask questions of their elders – like, “why is that flower the colour … , why does it have that shape, why does it smell? … I do not want to be told that Mother Earth with her wisdom made the flower or that God did, or whatever. I want to know what the scientific answer is.”

As such, this encuentro, “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity,” is attended by compañer@s from Zapatista communities who will be taking this knowledge back to tens of thousands of Indigenous people in many languages. It is also attended by the practitioners of professional science they have invited; by eschucas (listeners/ears) from all over Mexico and the world; and by the independent press of Latin America.

While we gather, the National Indigenous Congress is also in session, working on political strategy for Indigenous advancement in Mexico. For example, the Congress has been consulting on whether their people will name an Indigenous Governing Council to govern our country of Mexico.

In describing the movement of scientific knowledge through Zapatista communities, Subcomandante Moisés illustrates one of the many alternative worlds that Zapatista life shows us: one where, to paraphrase Subcomandante Galeano, science does not arrive with a sword as it did and continues to do under colonialism. Neither does it arrive as the “pseudoscience” of “good vibes” — New Age therapies and the like, which consigns ancestral and customary knowledge to an inferior past. Instead, knowledge is built together, as time and space makes it possible, and on the terms of the originary peoples of the earth.

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In the sessions to date, Zapatista compañer@s have been addressed on the subjects of the frustrations and falsity of academia and of state-sponsored funding for scientific practice; the question of who scientific practice serves and can serve; the practice of science with social movements, such as in agroecology; the utility of science and scientists for building the world where many worlds fit; the relationship between knowledges labelled customary and scientific; the potential and applications of artificial intelligence; which is not to mention the presentations on biohacking, astronomy, the workings of the human heart, the manifestations and prevention of coffee rust, the workings of mathematics, geometry, epigenetics and cosmology, and myriad others not mentioned here. Compañer@s have also participated in workshops on robotics, on the practice of science as a profession, and on fossils and the earth’s past. The questions that Zapatista compañer@s brought to the encuentro were outlined in the beginning by Subcomandante Galeano and are 120 in number. They include:

– Do GMO foods damage the earth and humans? What about processed foods, microwaves, pesticides?

– When a baby is born and only its heart beats – it lives but the body is green, dead, and not moving, we put the baby in a container of hot water with the placenta, and without cutting the umbilical cord the baby starts to recover while the placenta distintegrates. What is the scientific explanation for this? What relation does the moon have to the movement of the earth; what is the scientific explanation?

– What produces pre-eclampsia and eclampsia? How can we prevent a pregnant woman from getting it?

– What is the best way to teach science to children?

– What do you think about how women are exploited, manipulated, marginalized, tortured, discriminated against by colour, and used as objects?

– What is the scientific explanation for why insurgents start to fall asleep when political talk takes place?

As Subcomandante Moisés reports, in the 23 years since the uprising, in the following years of building autonomy under “an offensive cease-fire” instead of “exchanging gunshots,” children are going to school and asking questions. All decisions are made collectively under the sign of “everything for everyone and nothing for ourselves,” and the will of the collectives is carried out by the Zapatista government, where “the people give the orders and the government obeys,” not the other way around. Hospital care is provided to communities throughout the Lacandon jungle, to Zapatista and non-Zapatista alike. “And,” Subcomandante Moisés observes, since then “we do not have so many shot dead, wounded, tortured, or disappeared.” Now, the Zapatistas want “science for life” — a science that flourishes against the sword, the bullet, and the “good vibes” of the bourgeoisie.

The Zapatista experiment in resisting without bullets and instead building the world we ask for – an experiment conducted under erasure, in conditions no university laboratory would authorise, is working, and invites the curiosity, wonder and knowledge-making of all who struggle for justice in a dark world.

*compañer@ is a signification of compañero used in Zapatista texts to include all genders.

Ann Deslandes is a writer and researcher currently based in Mexico City. Read her other writing at xterrafirma.net/writing and tweet her at @Ann_dLandes.

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/The-Zapatistas-Are-Building-The-World-We-Ask-For-20161231-0012.html

 

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EZLN asks scientists to form schools within its territory

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

 

 

EZLN asks scientists to form schools within its territory

 

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

 

By: Angeles Mariscal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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

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

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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December 28, 2016

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

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

 

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

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

moi

 

Good morning.

Compañeras, compañeros of Mexico and of the world:

Brothers and sisters of Mexico and of the world:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This makes us Zapatistas think and ask ourselves:

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

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

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

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

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

They use science to make the rich richer.

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

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

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

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

 

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Therefore, we believe, think, and imagine.

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

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

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

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

Let’s put it even more clearly.

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

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

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

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

We know what will happen.

One more point of clarity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks.

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, December 26, 2016

 

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

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December 26, 2016

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

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:04 am

 

 

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

 

encuentro-conciencias

 

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

From December 26, 2014, through January 4, 2017.

 

December 26
10:00 – 11:00. Inauguration. Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés on behalf of the Zapatista women, men, children, and elders.
General Sessions. Participation by:
Biologist Adriana Raquel Aguilar Melo: “The Academy May Be Exclusionary, But Can Science Be A Common Good?”
Dr. Marco Antonio Sánchez Ramos: “Sisyphus and Science”
Dr. Tonatiuh Matos Chassin: “A Fundamental Law for the Progress of a Nation”
Physicist Eduardo Vizcaya Xilotl: “(Meta)Sciences, Utopias and Dystopias”
Professors Luis Malaret and Diane Rocheleau: “Ecology From Below”
Dr. Iván Alejandro Velasco-Dávalos: “Who Does Science Serve? A Collective Vision Regarding the Importance of the Joint Popularization of the Arts and the Sciences”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “Some Questions for the Sciences”

 

December 27
General Sessions. Participation by:
Physicist Alejo Stark: “The Role of the Sciences in the Transformation of the World”
Dr. Claudio Martínez Debat: “Biology and Biotechnology: Who Do They Serve?”
Doctoral Candidate Dr. Luis Fernando Santis Espinosa: “The Slavery of Science: The National Market for Natural Resources and Their Privatization”
Dr. Kristen Vogeler: “Thoughts on the Relation Between Science and Customs”
Dr. Mariana Benítez Keinrad: “Some Reflections on Science from the Cubicle of a Development Biologist”
Dr. Tatiana Fiordelisio: “The Sciences: A Raft For the Storm?”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “The Flower is to Blame”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Jerome Leboeuf: “The Potential and Applications of Artificial Intelligence”
Dr. Marco Antonio Sánchez Ramos: “What Are the Stars Made Of?”
Dr. Patricia Ramos Morales: “What Are Mutagens and Where Are They Located?”
Dr. María Alejandra Jiménez Zúñiga: “Our Place In the Cosmos: What Astrophysics Tells Us”
Mathematician Florencia Cubría: “Connectivity In Graphs”
Master of Science, Verónica López Delgado: “Gravity and Magnetism: Determinate Forces In Our World.”
Biologist Felipe Gómez Noguez: “Pteridium, A Capitalist Fern”

Workshops. Participation by:
Atenea Martínez Dolores and Manuel Alejandro Lara, Engineers. Robotics Workshop for The Masked, I (only for Zapatista students)

 

December 28
General Sessions. Participation by:
Elfego Ruiz Gutiérrez, Master of Science: “Critical Reflections and Practices On the Scientific Endeavor For Life”
Dr. Gabriela Piccinelli Bocchi: “Science…and ConScience, What For?”
Dr. Igor Valencia Sánchez: “Bloodsucker Science: Free Access to Knowledge and Biohackers”
Dr. Jaime del Sagrado Corazón Morales Hernández: “Agroecology and the Sciences For Sustainability”
Dr. Carlos Román Zúñiga: “Astronomy: the Poetry of the Exact Sciences”
Dr. Yuri Nahmad Molinari: “Flaws and Benefits of Mexican Energy Reform”
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano: “The Arts and the Sciences in the History of (neo) Zapatismo”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Natalia Ismene Pavón Martínez: “Estrogen and Its Influence On the Heart”
Mathematician Eric López González: “Emotional Mathematics”
Biologist Adriana Raquel Aguilar Melo: “Come Together, Separate, and Come Together Again for ‘Buen Vivir’: The Case of Non-Human Primates”
Mathematician Elisa Rocha Cardozo: “How are Living Beings Distributed Spatially?”
Dr. Gabriel Ramos Fernández: “Complexity, Resilience, and Uncertainty: Socioecosystems and Biodiversity”
Dr. Lev Jardón Barbolla.

Workshops. Participation by:
Atenea Martínez Dolores and Manuel Alejandro Lara, Engineers. “Robotics Workshop for The Masked II” (only for Zapatista students)

 

December 29
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Adolfo Olea Franco: “The Social Function of Science”
Engineer Fayez Mubarqui Guevara: “Feeling-thinking the Energy Crisis”
Dr. Octavio Valadez Blanco: “Scientists and Humanists as Participants in Social Struggle: Challenges in the Mexican Capitalocene”
Dr. Eva Jablonka: “Epigenetics: The Science that Connects”
Dr. Melina Gómez Bock: “The Obscurity of a Theoretical Physics”
Dr. Lev Jardón Borbolla: “The Storm in the Sciences and the Sciences in the Face of the Storm: It is Possible to Change the Relations of Production”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. John Vandermeeer: “Ecological factors in Controlling Coffee Blight”
Dr. Carlos Román Zúñiga: “Gestation and Life of the Stars”
Engineers Iván Domenzain del Castillo Cerecer. “Frankensteins Also Sow Seeds”
Dr. Alejandro Vásquez Arzola: “Light and Its Enemies”
Dr. Claudio Martínez Debat: “Genetically Modified Vegetable Organisms in Uruguay”
Dr. Grodecz Alfredo Ramírez Ovando: “Geometry: A World Where Many Worlds Fit”

Workshops. Participation by:
Dr. Patricia Ramos Morales. Workshop: How Does a Scientist Work? (only for students)

 

December 30
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Pablo González Casanova: “Capitalism and Ecology”
Dr. John Vandermeer: “Ecology As a Science and As a Component of Cosmovisions”
Dr. Ivette Perfecto: “Ecology As a Science and As a Component of Cosmovisions, II”
Jesús Vergara Huerta, Master of Science: “The Eruption of Free and Communitarian Science In the 21st Century”
Gibran Mubarqui Guevara, Engineer: “From Imposition to Communitarian: Remaking the Sciences”
Dr. Stuart Newman: “Social Uses of Science”
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés: “Originary Peoples and the Sciences in the Service of Life”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Carlos Rodrigo Martínez Prieto: “Theory of the Origin of the Universe and Other Speculations”
Dr. Ivette Perfecto. “Ecological Complexity in the Coffee Farms of Chiapas”
Dr. Yuri Nahmad Molinari: “Harvesting the Sun”
David Franco Martínez, Master of Engineering: “Use of Renewable Energy Resources”
Physicist Alejo Stark: “Cosmos Without Borders: the Poetic Relational Logic of Physical Cosmology”
Medical Doctor Lilia Piélago García: “Palliative Cities: A Universal Right”
Dr. Emilio Molinari. “Another World is Possible, and We Are Looking for It”

Workshops. Participation by:
Karla María Castillo Espinoza, Master of Science: “What Do Fossils Tell Us About the Earth’s Past?” (only for Zapatista students)

 

January 2
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Kristin Mercer: “The Effect of Money in Academic Research”
Dr. Gabriel Ramos Fernández: “Complexity and Uncertainty: Scientists and Decision Making”
Dr. Gertrudis Hortensia González Gómez: “Some Promises of Science, Or, How To Care For Our Health”
Alejandro Muñoz: “García in Nuevo León and the Free-Scientific-Technology Vision for the 21st Century”
Dr. Jérôme Leboeuf: “The Risks That Arise With Artificial Intelligence”
Dr. Valeria Souza Saldívar and Dr. Luis Eguiarte Fruns: “The Water Paradigm”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “Zapatista Alchemy”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Ramón Carrillo Bastos: “Quantum Mechanics and Causality”
Dr. Mariana Peimbert:“Color Inheritance in Dogs”
Dr. Adolfo Olea: “Corn seed: From Indigenous Varieties to Hybrids and Genetically Modified Versions”
Dr. María Magdalena Tatter: “Application of Knowledges and Values in Pediatrics”
Physicist Alejandro Muñoz: “Nuclear Fusion in General as a Source of Clean Energy”
Dr. Luis Concha Loyola: “Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Understand the Human Brain”
Dr. Azucena de León Murillo: “Pearls of Neurological Disease”
Practicum. Participation by:
Dr. Gertrudis Hortensia González Gómez and Dr. Tatiana Fiordelisio C: “How We Study the Brain, the Muscles, and the Heart: Our Senses and Learning”

 

January 3
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Alejandra Arafat Angulo Perkins: “The Path and the Practice of Science in Mexico”
Teacher Ernesto Hernández Daumas: “Food Production and Public Health”
Dr. Fabiola Méndez Arriaga: “The Destruction of the Environment in the Name of Capitalist-Health: Pharmaceuticals Contaminating the World”
Dr. Juan Manuel Malda Barrera: “Science and Dialogue Between Cultures”
Christian Abraham Enríquez Olguín, Engineer: “The Transitions Between Points of Epistemic Equilibrium”
Dr. Carlos Rodrigo Martínez Prieto: “Are Physics and the Natural Sciences a True Tool of Liberation for Communities and People?”
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano: “What’s Next?”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Biologist Jani Azucena Olvera Maldonado: “Pathogenic Bacterial Causes of Gastrointestinal Illness and Their Relation to Water Purification”
Karla Aguilar Lara, Master of Science: “There Is No Hope For Those Who Wait (Food Technology)”
Dr. Luis David Alcaraz: “Microorganisms, Their Genes, and Health”
Dr. Manuel Fernández Guasti: “Tlayohualchieliztli and Indigenous Knowledge”
Jesús Vergara Huerta, Master of Science: “Don’t Look Into Its Eyes: New, Non-invasive Techniques for Ecophysiological Study ”
Physicist Gustavo Magallanes Guijón: “Of Whales, Jaguars, and Microbes: Geocomputational Visualization of Biological Species from the Roof of the House the Size of the World”
Dr. Juan Manuel Malda Barrera: “Empathy and Evolution”

January 4
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Celia Oliver and Dr. César Abarca: “Bioethical Reflections on the Inversion of Specialized Resources In Science, Art and Humanities, Employment, and Educational Spaces”
Hugo I. Cruz Rosas, Master of Science: “A Possible Place for Basic Science In the Process of Social Transformation”
Maria del Pilar Martínez Téllez, Master of Science: “The Sciences and the Capitalist Hydra”
Dr. Martha Patricia Mora Flores: “Two Ways to see Nature: The Capitalist Lens of Patriarchy and the Very Other Gaze Of the Communities”
Physicist Nelson Ravelo: “How Can Social Movements Appropriate the Construction of a Science and Technology In Line with Social Transformation?”
Dr. Steven Rose: “Science for Oppression or Science for Liberation?”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
José Manuel Serrano Serrano, Master of Science: “What Do Females Sing In Environments Where Males Predominate? The Case of Frogs and Toads”
Mariana Patricia Jácome Paz, Master of Science: “Social Effects of the Eruption of El Chichón Volcano, Chiapas”
Biologist Nolasca Valdés Navarrete: “The Monopolization of the Ocean… The Illusion Of Fishing?”

Closing: Zapatista students and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

ezln_1-350x245

 

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/24/17693/

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December 17, 2016

EZLN: Update on the Gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”

Filed under: Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:47 pm

 

EZLN: Update on the Gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”

 

conciencias-324x500

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

December 15, 2016

To the scientific community of Mexico and the world:

To the National and International Sixth:

We send you our greetings. We want to update you on the plans for the gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity,” to be held at the CIDECI-UniTierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, from December 25, 2016 through January 4, 2017.

 

  1. As of December 12, 2016, we have the confirmed participation of 82 scientists from the following countries:
Germany

Canada

Chile

United States

Spain

Israel

Paraguay

United Kingdom

Uruguay

Brazil

Mexico (Baja California, Campeche, Mexico City, Mexico State, Jalisco, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí)

 

  1. The areas in which they work are the following:
Quantum Field Theory

Mathematics

Volcanology

Astrophysics

Astronomy

Cosmology

Nuclear Fusion

Genetics

Microbiology

Geophysics

Statistical Physics

Optics

Bioethics

Biophysics

Evolutionary Biology

Marine Biology

Molecular Biology

Biochemistry

Biotechnology

Physiology and Biophysics of
Excitable Cells

Solar Photochemistry

Genetic Mutation and
Environmental Pollution

Genomics of Microorganisms

Origin and Evolution of Life

Complex Systems

Intelligent Systems Control

Biomedical Research

Neurobiology

Neuroscience

Neuroimmunology

Aquaculture and Conservation of
Aquatic Systems

Agroecology

Energy Conservation

Food Science and Technology

Energy Science

Nutrition Science

Animal Behaviour and Communication

Biodiversity Conservation

Palliative Care

Paediatrics

Behavioural and Conservation Ecology

Evolutionary Ecology of Microorganisms

Marine Ecology

Theoretical Ecology

Ecology and Agroecology

Renewable Energy

Energy Systems Engineering

Hydrology

Environmental Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Magnetic Separation of Minerals

 

img_1969

 

  1. Scientists and attendees may register on December 25, 2016. Activities will begin on December 26, at 10am, and will conclude on January 4, 2017, at 6pm. There will be an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017.

 

  1. The electronic address to register as a listener/observer is: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx

 

  1. Two hundred Zapatista bases of support—women, men, children, and elders—of the languages Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolabal, Chol, Zoque, Mame, and mestizo, will attend as students. The Zapatista students are the only ones who may direct questions to the scientists who present.

 

  1. The gathering will have general sessions, information sessions, and workshops.

 

That’s all for now.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico, December 2016

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/15/informe-sobre-el-encuentro-ls-zapatistas-y-las-conciencias-por-la-humanidad-subcomandante-insurgente-moises/

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