dorset chiapas solidarity

December 25, 2015

Words of the EZLN in the seminar “Critical Thought Against the Capitalist Hydra”

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:18 pm

 

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Words of the EZLN in the seminar “Critical Thought Against the Capitalist Hydra”

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New page on this site: https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/critical-thought-against-the-capitalist-hydra/

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Volume One: Participation of the Sixth Commission of the EZLN in the seminar “Critical Thought Against the Capitalist Hydra”

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Reading Material for the Second Level of the Zapatista Escuelita

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This page provides the index to the book “Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra. Volume One: Participation of the Sixth Commission.”

Links are provided to the English translations of the entries. Seven items have not yet been translated. Links will be provided when these translations are done.

If you believe there is a need for a webpage with all these entries running consecutively in the form of a book, please let us know.

https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/critical-thought-against-the-capitalist-hydra/

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November 24, 2015

The Second Level of the Zapatista Escuelita III

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:07 am

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The Second Level of the Zapatista Escuelita

By: Gilberto López y Rivas / III

Video for Level 2 of the Escuelitas

 

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EZLN members brought down this statue of Diego de Mazariegos on October 12, 1992, more than a year before the 1994 Uprising.

Students of the Zapatista Escuelita (Little School) who hope to pass the second level had access to a video more than three hours long, a significant part of which demonstrates the less known history of the EZLN: the history of the years prior to the 1994 Uprising. This memorable film document, which offers an extraordinary lesson of how to organize in the most adverse conditions, begins with an introduction from Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, the current spokesperson of that political-military organization. Around 30 local responsables coming from the five Zapatista Caracols give talks.

In these testimonies they announce, live and in the various languages of the peoples, the difficulties of clandestine work from the crucial years of 1983 and 1984; the slow and tortuous process of taking consciousness, explaining the 13 demands, the exploitation, capitalism, imperialism, the bourgeois State, criticism and self-criticism. They talk about the first recruitment of members, about the forms of secret communication and discretion, meeting with each other in the milpa or in the coffee field, in the mountains, avoiding the travelled roads, walking along the dirt paths, at night, many times in the rain, enduring hunger, mud, cold and heat, all for the struggle.

They detail the security rules for not disclosing the presence of the organization in its infancy, including sharing it with family members, neighbours and friends, “burning the notes so that the enemy would not know about us.” They remember the sacrifices and zeal of the first militants, of the initial desertions and treasons of the splits, as well as the compas that continue firm in the struggle. They describe the tasks of the local and regional responsables throughout the years, as well as the sacrifices and the conditions in which the military preparation of the insurgents and milicianos took place. They looked for secure places for the trainings and, at the same time, the militants bought their weapons, machetes, boots, hammocks, uniforms and batteries; they had “reserves,” because they didn’t know how long the war would last. There was a bakery, a tailor shop, and later a radio. They cooperated among the support bases for that and they worked collectively; the rebellion was assumed as a great task for everyone, while the insurgents gave training to the milicianos and, in the midst of all this hustle and bustle, which finally led to the 1994 Uprising, there was time to “raise spirits,” above all by realizing that more were convinced every day, that there were concentrations of thousands, with those who joined the platoons, battalions and regiments of what would be the Zapatista National Liberation Army. The Indigenous Revolutionary Committee was composed of the zonal and regional spokespersons. Compañerismo and unity, information and formation, the economy of resources destined to mobilization were followed in all these organizing efforts. When the armed and uniformed insurgents arrived in a village, they would make welcoming fiestas with marimba music and dancing.

In the expositions they identified values and qualities for eventual members of the organization; that is, they chose those who “were well-spoken,” demonstrated punctuality, discipline and completion of work, were without addictions, with irreproachable conduct and, above all, who had no contact with the government and the finqueros. [1] The best of these were selected to be local and regional responsables. In these years they were forging the organization’s basic principles: don’t surrender, don’t sell out, don’t give up and don’t deceive the (support) bases.

The reference to the work of the women in the guerrilla organization was very instructive: their first incorporation into peripheral tasks in the beginning, and their passage towards positions and duties with greater responsibility, including those directly related to the war that was being prepared; that is, as milicianas and insurgentas. In the 1993 consultation to decide the start of the war, they also signed the agreement, prepared the food for the milicianos and milicianas who marched at the front. They even made known a military action at an airplane landing strip, in which the women brought down the antenna and expropriated a radio transmitter. Now, they proudly affirm that they have learned a lot: that they are agents, commissioners, midwives and health promoters, education responsables, members of the autonomous governments, commanders and, above all, self-sufficient human beings with rights backed up by the Women’s Revolutionary Law. They maintain that the war is never going to end because “the fucking bad government is always going to betray us.”

It’s also interesting listen to the stories of how the EZLN combined the forms of struggle before the Uprising, with open organizations that answered to their commanders, one of which brought down the statue of Mazariegos [2] on October 12, 1992, in which the indigenous peoples aired their protest against the “celebration” of the invasion of our continent and, at the same time, a general rehearsal for the taking of San Cristóbal de las Casas in 1994.

What shows through is the pride and affection for the “organization,” for the history that its supporters are unravelling, each one in their fashion, from their particular experience and in their own forms of oral expression. They declare that they will never give themselves up as conquered, that the Zapatistas, 20 years after the declaration of war, have their autonomous governments, without depending on the bad government, and that this future they are constructing is forever.

They conclude by pointing out that they prepared the Second Level course for the Escuelita Zapatista with a lot of love, and starting with a commitment to the people of Mexico, to the millions of Mexicans, to whom they deliver this seed of organization and resistance.

Notes:

[1] Finqueros – Ranch owners

[2] Diego de Mazariegos was a Spanish colonizer who invaded Chiapas.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, November 6, 2015

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/11/06/opinion/023a1pol

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November 22, 2015

Escuelitas Zapatistas, an invitation for us to organize

Filed under: Autonomy, Ethics, Indigenous, Zapatista, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:08 pm

 

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Escuelitas Zapatistas, an invitation for us to organize

 

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Sub Galeano (aka Marcos) at the Seminar on Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra

By Carolina Dutton

The EZLN, through its Sixth and International Commissions, will announce a series of initiatives, of a civilian and peaceful character, to continue walking together with the other Native Peoples of Mexico and the whole continent, and together with those who, in Mexico and in the entire world, resist and struggle below and to the left.” (The EZLN announces its next steps) Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, December 30, 2012.

From the beginning the vision of the Zapatistas has been to construct their autonomy together with the people of Mexico and the world. Massive support from the Mexican public and world opinion saved them from being wiped out by further massacres in 1994. Later that year they organized a national democratic convention in Chiapas. In 1995 they held a consultation with the people of Mexico to ask the people in all parts of the country about indigenous culture and the steps Mexico needed to take towards dialogue and democracy from below. They also presented their 13 demands for land, housing, work, food, health, education, culture, information, independence, democracy, liberty, justice and peace, which are not just for them, but rather for all people from below. More consultations were done throughout Mexico in 1999 and the March of the Colour of the Earth visited 13 states of Mexico in 2001. Then came the 6th Declaration and the Other Campaign in 2005-6. The Escuelitas (Little Schools), which began in 2013, are their most recent way of reaching out to others struggling against capitalism and working to create another world. In Level 1 of the Escuelitas, the Zapatistas permitted us to participate in their resistance and thus be directly connected to them. In Level 2, they connect with us by sharing online, so that the many who can’t go to Chiapas can learn from the Zapatistas’ experience organizing and building their organization in clandestinity.

In the first level of the Escuelita, we lived in Zapatista villages and the compas shared with us their everyday resistance and their construction and practice of autonomy, mostly from 1994 to the present. We worked with our host families on their everyday economic activities, everything from carrying water and collecting firewood to tending the cattle, cultivating the milpa [1], coffee and sugar cane. We visited their autonomous schools and health centres and learned about autonomous government. Our host families sometimes shared their history with us around the dinner table, how things have changed for them now that they live autonomously, and their participation in the uprising. We were given readings, which were testimonies of many Zapatista women and men who had served in various levels of civilian autonomous government.

The second level of the Escuelita has been conducted entirely online. The readings emphasize the need to organize our communities to resist the capitalist hydra economically and politically. We were given the link to a video where the Zapatistas shared how they formed their organization and how they organized and recruited new members, educated, encouraged, and protected each other as a clandestine organization beginning as early as 1983 up until the 1994 uprising, when they became public. The video consisted of testimonies from those who had been and some who still are both local and regional responsables [2] during clandestinity. Responsables spoke from each of the five Caracoles, or centres of Zapatista regional government: Caracol 1 La Realidad, Caracol 2 Oventic, Caracol 3 La Garrucha, Caracol 4 Morelia, and Caracol 5 Roberto Barrios.

The Zapatistas made it very clear their reasons for sharing this precious information. They hope that learning how they went about organizing will give us ideas and help us organize in other parts of Mexico or in our own communities in many parts of the world.   They are very aware that they cannot do it alone, that they need us to organize too, but that we may need to do it in our own way depending on our unique situations. We are all in this together and we need not only each other’s support but also each other’s vision.

In the Escuelita 2 video the local and regional responsables during the EZLN’s 10 years of clandestine formation shared with us their tasks and sacrifices. The local responsables coordinated the organization’s work in the communities. They observed how people participated in the community and recruited new members who exhibited responsibility and understanding. They were in charge of orienting new members and raising their consciousness to understand why their lives were so hard and the necessity to struggle and to study in order to prepare the struggle.

The responsables also coordinated local security. Women were especially important for security since they usually stayed in the community and were aware when people who didn’t belong there were present. The responsables, both men and women, also convened meetings and assemblies. Sometimes meetings took place in the middle of the night on stormy nights when people would not be seen or heard as they left home and travelled to a safe meeting place.

Local responsables also organized the training and equipping of the milicianos. [3] They also organized collective work, which was necessary to free up time for those with other responsibilities in the organization as well as to earn money to buy necessities for the struggle including boots and weapons. The sewing collectives sewed uniforms. The women collectively made tostadas and women and men collectively grew the food for the milicianos and insurgents. Many women and men had responsibly for this collective work and for security but the responsables oversaw the collectives in their area and communicated information about any problems and needs to the regional responsables.

The regional responsables oversaw the work of the organization in wider regions. They oriented the local responsables, prepared and encouraged the milicianos and raised the consciousness and understanding of members of the organization. In isolated areas compas often became discouraged so the responsables organized fiestas so that the members in a region could meet each other and see how many hundreds and thousands of compas were committed to the struggle. The Zapatistas love parties, all without drinking alcohol, which was against the EZLN’s rules.

So why have the Zapatistas decided to share this information with us now? They want us to organize too in our own way. They need people all over Mexico and the world to organize and to be in touch with them. It is the only way our movements can resist the capitalist hydra whose tentacles reach all corners of the earth and all aspects of life. I think they also want to share this history with their youth. An entire generation has grown up since the uprising that did not participate in building the organization and preparing for war. Zapatista resistance now requires creativity and sacrifice but it is very different. It is important that the youth know what came before, what has changed, and the ingenuity, discipline and sacrifice that went into building the organization they have always known.

Our exam to pass Escuelita 2 consisted of 6 questions, questions which each of us had to write and ask the Zapatistas. As Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano explain: “The questions are important, as is our Zapatista way, they are more important than the answers… What interests the Zapatistas are not certainties but the doubts because we think that certainty immobilizes, that one is still, content, sitting still and not moving, as if we had arrived or we already knew. On the other hand, doubts, questions, make one move, search, not be still, not be in conformity, like day and night don’t pass, and the struggles from below and to the left are born of inconformity, of doubts and restlessness. If one conforms it’s that one is waiting to be told what to do or has already been told. If one is not in conformity, one searches for what to do.” (Second Level of the Little School, July 27, 2015).

Notes:

[1] A milpa is much more than a field of corn. It is a diverse area of cultivation. The dominant plant is the basic grain of the people, corn. Beans grow up the corn stalk, different forms of squash creep along the ground and many medicinal and culinary herbs grow in and around the milpa.

[2] A responsable is the person responsible for a certain task or group of tasks. In the context of early EZLN organizing the responsable seems like more of a political operative or organizer.

[3] The milicianos were and still are somewhat like the National Guard in the US. They have military training, but are not insurgents, and can be called to active duty in an emergency.

 

http://compamanuel.com/2015/11/21/escuelitas-zapatistas-an-invitation-for-us-to-organize/

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November 19, 2015

‪ A Reflection and application from the Second Escuelita

Filed under: Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:20 pm

 

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A Reflection and application from the Second Escuelita

“TRYING ON A SHOE, OR CLOTHES”

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Zapatista musicians play at the Homage and Seminar in Oventik, May 2015.

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By: Todd Davies

“Por eso decimos que somos muy otros, muy otras, nosotros, porque es que vamos como si fuera el zapato, la ropa, se mide uno si le queda o no le queda pues, prueba, y si no hasta que encuentra la que sí le queda pues. Así somos, compañeros, compañeras, hermanos y hermanas, de lo que es nuestra resistencia y la rebeldía.”

“That is why we say we are very other. Because we move as if trying on a shoe, or clothes – you measure and see if it fits, try it on, and if not then you keep looking for the one that fits. That’s how we are, compañeros, compañeras, brothers and sisters, that is what our resistance and rebellion is about.” — Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, “Resistencia y Rebeldía Zapatistas II” (“Resistance and Rebellion II”), 7 May 2015

One of the themes running through the assigned readings and video recording for this year’s second level of the Zapatista’s Little School (Escuelita) was how much the compañer@s living in Zapatista Territory have learned through practice. I have long thought of the practice-driven approach of the Zapatistas as having lessons for us in movements here, but I had not seen such a clear explanation of both the philosophy underlying this approach, and some of the specific lessons it has taught, until I made my way through the curriculum of the segundo nivel.

A few years ago, after describing to fellow activists my understanding of the Zapatista phrase caminar preguntando (walking while asking questions), I was asked whether the Zapatistas’ method of learning along the way was similar to Marxist or religious concepts of “praxis”. Although I was familiar with this term, I wasn’t sure what to say at the time, so I hedged. After thinking about it a bit more, I realized that when friends of mine in movements had used the term “praxis”, they seemed to mean a form of practice that starts with an overall theory and then applies it through action. Part of the idea is that everyday practice is the means by which oppressed people actually learn how to change the world: understanding comes from doing, not just from hearing or reading. But particularly in movements of the left in this country, the use of “praxis” seems also to be infused with Gandhian and/or vanguardist thinking. Only through praxis can we bring about revolution, under this understanding of the concept, because without action, our theories are just words. Talk is cheap. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” as Gandhi said. And this is so because you must lead by example. Who would trust a guru who did not follow his own teachings?

So I sensed that the Zapatista approach to practice was not quite captured by the term “praxis” as I had generally seen it employed, because in caminar preguntando we begin by assuming that whatever we think now is probably wrong in crucial respects, and that we will learn what our theory should be as we go along, rather than primarily learning to appreciate what it means and demonstrating to others that we can apply it. As Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos (now Galeano) wrote in 2004: “We are trying, with our clumsiness and our wise actions, definitions or vagueness, just trying, but putting life into it, to build an alternative.  Full of imperfections and always incomplete, but our alternative.” Not the words we expect from a guru or vanguard.

In the assigned readings for the second level, Moisés describes an example of how the Zapatistas have moved from “shoe to shoe” in their search for a better fit. Communities began by working collectively 100% of the time. There would be, for example, one milpa (corn field) for everyone. Over time, however, they learned that this approach worked less well than more complex arrangements that involved a mix of collective and family allotments and labour. The division of time now varies by community, and there are different levels of collective work and control: region, autonomous municipality, and zone, in addition to the community. The goal was to create a robust agreement that worked for everyone and was sensitive to problems and contexts (weather events, shortfalls, over-harvesting, different family sizes, needs, etcetera…).

Moisés says, “Here what we learned in practice is that what we were doing wasn’t working, that is, we made a mistake, and we failed when we required 100% collective work. We saw that this didn’t work because there were complaints; there were a lot of problems.” I think it is useful to contrast this with the more ideologically or theory-driven approach that we often see in movements, both capitalist and anti-capitalist: Those who complain are lazy (or are counter-revolutionaries). Problems come from those who are unproductive (or selfish).

The Zapatista approach is piecemeal: finding a shoe that fits is distinct from finding a good shirt or blouse. Theory-driven politics, by contrast, tends to push us to choose between entire wardrobes. In a widely read piece from earlier this year, L.A. Kaufman wrote about “The Theology of Consensus” in a way that portrayed consensus decision making as a religious doctrine that should be abandoned because it failed, for example, to yield effective decisions in the general assemblies of the Occupy movement. A Zapatista-like assessment would, I think, be more analytical. It would look at the many elements that vary across consensus procedures and ask which ones are sources of problems, and which should be retained depending on the context. The whole-wardrobe approach, by contrast, urges us to throw out everything and start all over again. That only makes sense if there is nothing in the wardrobe worth keeping.

The Zapatistas have held together as an organization for 32 years, and the rebellion that began on January 1, 1994, will soon celebrate its 22nd anniversary. What Moisés tells us in the readings for the second Little School is that the movement has survived this long because it has prioritized the organization and its radically democratic principles, has pursued what works well, and has modified what was not working. Such a simple lesson! But one that is ripe for application in our own attempts to build community and autonomy here in the bay area.

 

http://compamanuel.com/2015/11/19/a-reflection-and-application-from-the-second-escuelita/

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October 25, 2015

The second level of the Zapatista Escuelita part II

Filed under: Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:28 pm

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The second level of the Zapatista Escuelita part II

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By: Gilberto López y Rivas / II

The texts of the Zapatista women included in Chapter 1 of the book Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra, which students of the second level of the Zapatista Escuelita must analyze, are frightening, especially Comandanta Miriam’s narrative about the situation of the women before 1994: “Since the arrival of the conquistadores we women have had to endure a sad situation. They stole our land and took away our language, our culture. That’s where the domination of caciquismo [1] and the landowners came into being, along with triple exploitation, humiliation, discrimination, marginalization, mistreatment and inequality. Because the fucking bosses had us as if they were our owners.”

Her extraordinary description of acasillamiento [2] – being housed (on the haciendas) -touches on the different types of the women’s humiliation and forced work at the hands of the finqueros [3], to the extent that some decided to take refuge in the hills. “They got together, talked and formed a community where they were able to live. That’s how they formed a community. But again, once they are living in the communities, those ideas that came from the boss (or the acasillado) are brought in. It’s as if the men dragged these bad ideas with them and applied them inside the house, like the little boss of the house… It’s not true that the women were liberated. Now it’s the men that are the little boss of the house. And once again the woman stayed at home as if it were a prison. Once again, the women didn’t leave the house, they were shut in their houses again…”

Comandanta Rosalinda tells the story of the recruitment of the first women in the clandestine years, town by town, of the necessity of organizing and that there were both milicianas [4] and insurgents, “until ’94 arrives when we appeared in public, when we no longer endured the mistreatment that the fucking capitalists did to us. There we saw that it’s really true that we have courage and strength equal to men, because we were able to confront the enemy, without fear of anyone… Later we realized (that) making a revolution required both women and men.”

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Comandanta Dalia continues the narration of women’s work with the EZLN, of the talks in each town, of the problems that they confront when even today some men become cabroncitos [5], of how they passed through all of the jobs with responsibility until they attain being on the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee. She asserts that they are going to continue organizing themselves “because there is still sadness, pain, incarceration and rape, as well as the mothers of the 43 disappeared… Men and women must struggle 100 percent. Having a new society in which the people are the ones that command.”

The young support base Lizbeth and the listener Selena maintain that they didn’t know the life of the haciendas and now they have the freedom and the right as women to express their opinion, discuss, participate in the multiple tasks of the resistance and autonomy, resisting the counterinsurgency and the mirages of capitalism that they show on television, trying to use cell phones and the very same television for their struggle. They distinguish the poor-poor, the party members, materially poor and poor of thought, from the Zapatistas, who are also poor but rich because of their work for the good of the people and so that there are no dominators or exploiters.

For his part, Sub Galeano, in his “Vision of the conquered,” points out how those generations of Indigenous women now say their word in the genealogy of their struggle. “Three generations of rebel Zapatistas –he emphasizes–, not only against the system, also against us… Zapatista men.” He declares defeat because of that struggle, although like the capitalist hydra he maintains that the males always try to regain their lost privileges. He again takes up the origin of that struggle and describes that everything started with the insurgents. He reiterates that non-indigenous women also participate in the EZLN, and in the main part of his unique narrative-testimony the various opinions of these compañeras are transcribed, which refer to the very intimate man-woman relationship and to the characterization of the dominant and violent male, a schizophrenic hunter who, however sensitive and receptive he may consider himself, cannot be a feminist, because he represents the same system against which he supposedly struggles.

The three parts of the notes on resistances and rebellions, presented by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, constitute key texts for understanding the Zapatista struggle. He begins by remembering that the Zapatistas are an armed organization, but contrary to the militarist tradition of some Latin American guerrillas, in this case guns don’t become a fetish, rather they are seen as one more tool, like the machete, the axe, the shovel, although one is conscious that each tool has its function, and the purpose of the gun is to kill.

After the ’94 withdrawal, it was understood that the struggle could take many forms and that resistance and rebellion could be expressed in various ways. “Resistance is becoming strong, tough, responding to everything, to any attacks from the enemy, from the system; and rebellion is being brave to take actions, or whatever we must do… One must resist the provocations of the Army and the police, the media reports and the psychological bombardments.” They discovered that with resistance and rebellion it is possible to govern and develop initiatives. In fact, the Zapatistas have not carried out a single armed attack since January 1994. “It doesn’t mean, compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters, it doesn’t mean that we are renouncing our arms, but rather that it’s that political, ideological, rebel understanding, which gives us the way to see how one must really convert this resistance into an arm of struggle.” Political work and explanation are required for all this, and that governing is not conducted with orders, but rather with agreements.

Notes:

  1. Caciquismo – Local despotism
  2. Acasillamiento – A type of indentured servanthood
  3. Finqueros – Ranch or estate owners
  4. Milicianas – Female political organizers with military training that can be called up in an emergency, somewhat like a national guard.
  5. Cabroncitos – little bastards

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

Friday, October 23, 2015

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/10/23/opinion/020a2pol

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October 10, 2015

The second level of the Escuelita Zapatista

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:56 pm

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The second level of the Escuelita Zapatista

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Zapatista youth and women form much of the current EZLN support base. This photo is from La Realidad during the homage to fallen Compañero Galeano – killed in a paramilitary attack in La Realidad on May 2, 2014. 

Zapatista youth and women form much of the current EZLN support base. This photo is from La Realidad during the homage to fallen Compañero Galeano – killed in a paramilitary attack in La Realidad on May 2, 2014.

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By: Gilberto López y Rivas/I

On October 3 the time period ended for sending in the six questions that each second level student of the Escuelita Zapatista (Little School) must send in order to be evaluated on their performance and, in the case of being approved, pass to the next level until eventually completing six. For that, the students must study Chapter 1 of the book Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra, as well as watching a video of a little more than three hours long, in which the genealogy and current characteristics of the EZLN’s resistance and rebellion are shown, in the voice of around 30 of its local “responsables,” [1] men and women, coming from different autonomous municipalities within the fiveCaracoles where the Good Government Juntas are located: La Realidad, Oventic, La Garrucha, Morelia and Roberto Barrios.

From the study of Chapter 1 what stands out are the participations of the current EZLN spokesperson, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, who in the theme of Political Economy is recapitulating how the communities lived 30 years ago, how those who are not organized as Zapatistas live and how the same Zapatistas live now. Before the arrival of the EZLN in 1983, the indigenous of Chiapas did not exist for the capitalist system; they were those forgotten by the governments who survived from the Mother Earth. They resisted domination by the landowners, who unlawfully were retaining the best lands, protected by their armed forces, who were called guardias blancas. [2] There were no roads, clinics or hospitals, programmes or grants then. With time, it wasn’t enough for them (the landowners) to have the best lands, now they wanted the mountains, nature’s riches and, as a consequence, they organized dispossessions and evictions, because of which they reformed constitutional Article 27, whose intent is to privatize the ejidos, selling or renting Mother Earth. When the uprising happens in 1994, a counterinsurgency policy begins in order to avoid the expansion of Zapatismo. Those communities that let their ejidos be privatized by selling their land are in the streets, because they no longer have anywhere to grow their corn and beans, also remaining at the mercy of this policy. The use of the term partidistas (party members) characterizes this social sector that has fallen into the government’s trap, distinguishing clearly the non-antagonistic contradiction of Zapatismo with those who are even considered brothers and sisters; about the paramilitaries: “those are some sons of bitches!”

The Zapatistas recuperated Mother Earth beginning by organizing collectively, combining different forms of agrarian work at the town, region and municipal level, and by recognizing failed attempts and errors. He warns that we must not idealize the Zapatistas, thinking that when they say clean, everything is clean. The trick is to be organized and to distinguish that it’s one thing to say it and another to do it. They discovered resistance in the various forms of doing collective work reacting to those who had been sent from the government to watch over them, like the teachers, who were expelled from the zone, or coming to the conclusion that they wouldn’t receive anything from the bad government, which, in turn, conditioned the start of a large quantity of tasks in different ambits of the land’s exploitation, production, trade, health and education that were giving sustainability to the autonomous Zapatista process as opposed to the dependency, loss of identity, drug addiction and submission of the party members. In this way  Sub Moisés synthesizes the resistance that must be nourished from generation to generation, if one doesn’t want the exploiters to come back: “One of the bases of what constitutes our Zapatista economic resistance, is Mother Earth. We don’t have those houses, cement blocks and all that stuff the bad government gives, but we do have education; and our practice is that the peoples are the ones that command and the governments obey… we don’t pay for electricity, water, land ownership, nothing. But we also receive nothing from the system… And that is our way of being and that’s how we are going to continue working, struggling, and we will die that way if it’s necessary, defending what we are now.”

The Zapatista economy responds to the needs of the resistance and to the counterinsurgency strategy. They handle money only occasionally, like when they have to pay for gasoline. Everything is done starting with political and ideological work, and with much explanation. Sub Moisés gives the example of education, where the teacher with collective work is working his milpa, his bean field, his pasture and that way he can have his little payment. The thing is that no one remains without working collectively for the struggle, for autonomy, and for that the towns, the regions, the autonomous municipalities and the zones are in agreement as to how they want to work. The Zapatista economy has its banks, whose profits also are going to the autonomy movement. Loans are made for emergencies and the funds are made up of contributions from the support bases. He clarified how there were non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that cloaked themselves in the Zapatista struggle and obtained funds to pay for their bureaucracy, in the words of Sub Moisés: “Then from the shoulders of those who are struggling because of injustice and inequality, and misery and everything else, they still hang others from there. How smart we are, right?”

Operations in the rebel clinics are paid for from the rebel economy, even for the partisans, at prices much lower than those of the hospital market. All that is watched over thoroughly, given that it is the work and sweat of the people; therefore, they demand that their authorities render accounts. Collective work is not idealized and with a great sense of humour the EZLN’s spokesperson comments about those who are smoking their cigarette or filing their machete a lot, in order to pass time, in other words, to play tricks. But to these problems, the funny thing is that: “We didn’t stop. We are very stubborn; we are very foolish. We didn’t abandon it. We looked for a solution, counselling, giving clarifications, explanations, well, and that’s how we are going to continue.”

Translator’s Notes:

[1] “responsable” translates into “the one responsible” for something. One of the questions a Chiapas Support Committee member sent in before the October deadline was: for who/what are they responsible?

[2] “guardias blancas” translates as “white guards.” They were the landowners’ private security forces, often local police moonlighting.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, October 9, 2015

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/10/09/opinion/022a1pol

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September 16, 2015

Mexican Independence Day is No Big Deal for the Zapatistas

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

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Mexican Independence Day is No Big Deal for the Zapatistas

By: Ramor Ryan

Subcomandante Marcos rides horseback in front of the Zapatista support base members in La Realidad during an homage to fallen compañero Galeano, who was killed in a paramilitary attack on May 2, 2014. | Photo: Tim Russo/Upside Down World

Subcomandante Marcos rides horseback in front of the Zapatista support base members in La Realidad during an homage to fallen compañero Galeano, who was killed in a paramilitary attack on May 2, 2014. | Photo: Tim Russo/Upside Down World

16 September 2015 

As Mexico celebrates El Grito amid crisis, the Chiapas rebels quietly organize.

On Sept. 16, 1810, the rebellious Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla delivered the Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”) in the town of Dolores, as a proclamation of Mexican independence from the Spanish crown. Hidalgo urged resistance to the “bad government” and ignited a revolutionary war leading to the “Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire” on Sep. 28, 1821. Mexico celebrates its independence from Spanish colonial rule on the anniversary of El Grito every Sept. 16 with an outburst of patriotism and general revelry.

But while El Grito is mere pageant now as government officials across the nation take the stage to lead the renditions of “Viva Mexico!” many also have in mind Hidalgo’s urge to resist the “bad government.”

Last year, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in the wake of the disappearance of 43 student activists from the Ayotzinapa teacher’s college by security forces, demanding justice and railing against impunity and corruption. The response of the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto was to ignore the protests, and attempt to block independent investigations into the atrocity. In a damning indictment of the government’s handling of the worst human rights atrocity in recent memory, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights released their report this month, roundly dismissing the government’s official story.

Throughout 2015, the killings, repression and impunity have continued, with the assassinations of photojournalist Rubén Espinosa, activist Nadia Vera and three associates in Mexico City creating an international scandal and bringing people out onto the street once more. In July, notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán escaped from prison (again), with suspected official complicity, as the links between top ranking officials and drug criminals become ever more apparent in what many call a “Narco State.”

As Mexico’s institutional crisis intensifies — alongside increasing levels of economic precarity — Mexico seems poised for another “grito” of resistance to the “bad government.” And who better positioned to deliver a new rallying call than the long-standing Chiapas-based rebels, the Zapatistas?

Where Are the Zapatistas Now?

The Zapatistas marched en masse 13 Ba´ktun, or Dec. 21, 2012, marking the end of the 144,000 day Mayan long calendar and the beginning of a new era. Photo: Tim Russo/Upside Down World

The Zapatistas marched en masse 13 Ba´ktun, or Dec. 21, 2012, marking the end of the 144,000 day Mayan long calendar and the beginning of a new era. Photo: Tim Russo/Upside Down World

Contrary to their detractors who say they are no longer a player on the national agenda, the Zapatistas have been keeping themselves very busy, albeit taking a low profile. Twenty-one years since the 1994 armed uprising, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), remains intact and has consolidated a large swathe of territory under de-facto autonomous control. Its local support base has grown over the two decades, as witnessed by their largest yet public mobilization in December 2012, with 40,000 masked indigenous rebels marching on San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, representing the thousand-plus rural villages and communities affiliated with the movement.

“But where are the Zapatistas now at this moment of national crisis?” ask the critics. As ever, the Zapatistas are doing it their own way and in their own time. They are not issuing a new “Grito,” no grandstanding, but instead engaging in a meditative process of critical thought with other social movements. The current strategy is based around promoting education among the base of support through regional-wide Zapatista “Escuelitas” or Little Schools, and secondly, convening seminars around critical thinking with the participation of a wide array of Mexican and international social and protest movements. They also continue to draw thousands of outside supporters into their autonomous territory through their anniversary celebrations, the last being the year-end Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism.

A new Zapatista publication Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra (July 2015) outlines the analysis occurring within the movement. The book is the product of an activist seminar by the same name held in San Cristóbal de las Casas in May 2015 and attended by a couple of thousand participants, including families of the Ayotzinapa students, and many leading left intellectuals. While recognizing that Mexico is entering into a stage of unprecedented crisis — or, “a storm is coming,” as one prominent Zapatista, Subcomandante Moises, noted —  heading inexorably into systemic breakdown, the Zapatistas are engaging in critical thought as a means towards finding solutions. “Critical thought is not the thought that speaks of catastrophe,” pointed out renowned intellectual John Holloway, a participant in the seminar, “but the thought that looks for hope inside the catastrophe.”

Identifying global neoliberal capitalism as the problem, the historic rebel leader, Subcomandante Marcos (now re-named Galeano in honour of the Zapatista teacher murdered by paramilitaries in May 2014) explained the use of the term “hydra.”

“This capitalist system is not dominant in only one aspect of social life, but rather, it has multiple heads, that is, many forms and ways of dominating in different and diverse social spaces,” he said. And with his inimitable wit, the masked rebel commander added – “I’m sorry, but this thing of ‘the State’ is much more complicated than the twisted lines in Game of Thrones.” As ever the Zapatistas do not provide ready-made answers, but ask questions, insisting that their role is not to give instructions, but to provoke thought. “There is no single answer,” according to Subcomandante Moises, “there is no manual. There is no dogma. There is no creed. There are many answers, many ways, many forms. And each of us will see what we are able to do and learn from our own struggle and from other struggles.”

It is a process that is about bringing people who resist together under a “one no, many yeses,” and of creating a “seedbed” of ideas from which solutions to the crisis will blossom. The only directive given by the Zapatistas is that people must organize collectively.

Against All Odds

Zapatista youth and women form much of the current support base of the rebel organization. Photo: Tim Russo/Upside Down World

Zapatista youth and women form much of the current support base of the rebel organization. Photo: Tim Russo/Upside Down World

The Zapatistas have been pushing a similar message for many years and organizing various initiatives. In 2006 they launched The Other Campaign, advocating participatory democracy and criticizing the electoral process. That campaign began on Sept. 16, to coincide with El Grito, and managed to mobilize hundreds of thousands in mass events held across the country before petering out after a few months as the country was gripped by an overwhelming wave of narco-related violence. Nine years on, the Zapatistas are taking a different approach.

Critics may insist that the Zapatistas have become irrelevant, but 21 years after the initial uprising, and against all odds, they are still here, the embodiment of resilience and implacable rebel determination. They haven’t been defeated, co-opted or sold out. More poignant still, their ideas have currency not just in global social movements but also in front-line struggles as witnessed in Kobanê, Syria, as the Kurdish defenders embrace a similar practice of direct democracy, forging direct links with the Zapatistas.

Leading Latin American analyst Raúl Zibechi, talking recently, places them in a wider historical perspective: “The Zapatista experience is a historic achievement that had never existed before in the struggles of those below, except for the 69 days that the Paris Commune lasted and the brief time of the Soviets before the Stalinist state reconstruction.” It would be folly to underestimate the Zapatistas at this point in time.

Ramor Ryan is author of Zapatista Spring (AK Press 2011) and Clandestines: The Pirate Journals of an Irish Exile (AK Press 2006).
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Mexican-Independence-Day-No-Big-Deal-for-Zapatistas–20150915-0035.html

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September 13, 2015

EZLN announces second level of Zapatista School

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:39 am

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EZLN announces second level of Zapatista School

(@Espoir Chiapas)

In a communique published on 27 July 2015 that is signed by Subcomandantes Insurgentes Moisés and Galeano, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced the second level of the Zapatista School.

The dates for the new course are for 31 July-2 August 2015. However, on this occasion, “it is not a question of coming to Zapatista territories” but rather “the second level will take place universally outside of Zapatista lands.”Arguing that the economic situation and the governmental repression toward indigenous peoples makes matters difficult, the EZLN has organized levels 2 through 6 in this way, so that students do not have to come “every so often” to Zapatista territory.

The students who passed the first level will receive an e-mail between 30 July and 1 August that contains the instructions to access the video that contains the contents of the second level.

The communique ends by calling for solidarity with the struggles from below and to the left, as in Ostula and Ayotitlán, in solidarity with the families of the 47 missing students from Ayotzinapa, the families of the children who died in the ABC Nursery, as well as relatives of political prisoners and the disappeared throughout the world, in solidarity with those in struggle in Greece, and the indigenous people who care for Mother Earth.

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July 30, 2015

EZLN: Special Cases

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:18 pm

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EZLN: Special Cases

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JULY 29, 2015

SPECIAL CASES

If you have not received an email with a “pass” to the second grade, it could be because…

…the email address you used to register for first grade has expired, or was erased, or you have forgotten your password.

…you have the same email but you haven’t received a “pass” because we got mixed up and we need your information again…or because you didn’t pass to second grade. If after following the instructions we detail below you don’t receive a “pass” email within a month, then it’s because you didn’t pass first grade.

In either case, the way to resolve the issue is simple: it is sufficient to send a new email to this address:casosespeciales@ezln.org.mx, from a new email account with the following information:

–your full name and date of birth

–where you live

–your registration code if you remember it or have it

–the dates in which you went to first grade

–the place where you went to first grade (if you went to a community, the name of the community and the caracolit corresponds to); (if it was by videoconference, the name of the place, neighborhood, city, country, and continent where you had the videoconference)

–the name of your Votán.

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July 28, 2015

EZLN: Second Grade of the Zapatista Little School

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:00 pm

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EZLN: Second Grade of the Zapatista Little School

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

July 27, 2015

To the National and International Sixth:

To the former students of the Zapatista Little School:

Compas:

The date for the second grade (only for those who passed the first) of the Zapatista Little School is approaching.

As we had previously announced, the dates are July 31 and August 1 and 2 of 2015.

No, don’t rush. This time it isn’t about coming to Zapatista territory. Rather, this time it is about not coming here, at least not for the Little School. The second grade will be everywhere, outside of Zapatista territories.

Let us explain:

As we have already said, we see that the economic situation is really difficult. Well, not just the economic situation. The government repression against the originary peoples, including the Yaquis (in Sonora) and Nahuas (in Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, and in Ayotitlán, Jalisco), and against the democratic teachers union (first in Oaxaca, later it will come in other states) reminds us all that those above do not honor their word and betrayal is part of the way they do politics.

With respect to the economic situation, we know that it is not easy to get together the money for daily things, much less for frequent travel to spend a few days here.

We Zapatistas know very well that if we say come to the Little School to continue learning how to really see us, well there will be people who can.

But the majority of those who passed the first grade are compas who do not have the money to do so or have to comply with work responsibilities in the geographies where they struggle. That is, they can’t just be coming here every so often. This isn’t because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. There are those who did everything they could to get here for the seminar/seedbed this past May, and it’s really difficult for them to come again this year.

And the Little School should not be only for those who don’t have problems with the calendar or the funds for travel. What we Zapatistas want is for our compas of the Sixth to see us directly, to see us and hear us and, as it should be, take what they think will be useful to them and leave aside what isn’t useful or is bothersome.

Taking all these things into account, we have to think about how to continue talking to you and mutually learning from each other.

So we have organized the next grade levels (2 through 6) so that you don’t have to come so frequently, but rather let’s say once a year. Of course, we will give you sufficient notice when there are possibilities to receive you here.

Given that, we want to let you know that for Second Grade there are no classes in Zapatista territory. Of course, if you want to come to the festivals in the Caracoles,[i] that’s fine. But you don’t have to come for class.

But there is going to be class, and of course, exams.

This is how it will work:

  1. Those who passed the first grade will receive, as of July 30-31 and August 1 of 2015, an email (if you have email that is; if not, we’ll send notice via the person who contacted you for the first grade). This email will have a link to a site with a video. In this video, a group of special Zapatista teachers will explain what is to be explained. In order to see this video you will need a password, as they call it, which will be included in the email. Now, the video doesn’t have to be viewed alone. You can get your collectives, groups, or organizations together to watch it. You can do this in the spaces that the EZLN’s Sixth Commission Support Teams have across Mexico, or in spaces belonging to the groups, collectives, and organizations of the Sixth throughout the world. There is no problem with any of that. Be it individually or collectively, you will see and hear our compañeras and compañeros explain to you a part of the genealogy of the Zapatista struggle. You all have already heard, seen, and even lived with Zapatista bases of support, with your Votanes,[ii] with your families. But this is just one part of the struggle for freedom according to Zapatismo. There are others.
    It is as if we had only given you one part of the puzzle. Or as if, as they say, what is missing is yet to come.
    You will also have to study Chapter 1 of the book “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra,” the sections titled: “Some of what has changed”; “Toward a Genealogy of the Zapatista Struggle”; and “Notes on Resistance and Rebellion.” Don’t worry if you don’t have the book, because these sections are already on the Enlace Zapatista webpage, but it’s better to get the book because that’s where you get the whole picture.
  2. After you see, hear, and study what our compañeras and compañeros say in the video, and after studying those parts of the book, you will INDIVIDUALLY write 6 questions. You will send these 6 questions to an email address that will be included in the email that you receive. The date for sending your questions can be any day and time between August 3, 2015, and October 3, 2015.
  3. We will not respond to your questions individually, but rather collectively. That is, we are going to put all of the questions together here and then create texts, videos, and recordings where we respond. When you read a text from the [EZLN] Comandancia or listen to a recording from the votanes, you will know that they are answering your questions. If you don’t hear a response to your question, don’t despair, that just means that there are more words coming that will respond to you. There won’t be any individual answers, only general and collective ones.
  4. The questions are important. As is our way as Zapatistas, the questions are more important than the answers. And it is the questions that will be evaluated to decide whether you pass and move on to the third grade.
  5. The idea is that you realize that what interests the Zapatistas is not the certainties, but rather the doubts. Because we think certainties immobilize; that is, they leave one content, satisfied, sitting still and not moving, as if one had already arrived at or already knew the answers. In contrast doubts—questions—make one move or search. They don’t leave one at peace, but rather non-compliant and dissenting, as if there were neither night nor day. And the struggles below and to the left, compas, are born in disagreement, in doubts, in restlessness. If one is satisfied and in agreement it is because they are waiting to be told what to do or they have already been told what to do. If one is discontent, it is because they are searching for what to do.
  6. So we’re telling you right now what we are going to use in order to decide if you proceed to the third grade: the 6 questions that you put forward individually. This is what the votanes will evaluate to see whether to put you on the list for “Continues on to Third Grade.”

Well compas, that is all we wanted to tell you for now. In any case, through the Little School and everything else, we will continue supporting each other and supporting those who struggle for truth and justice, like the Nahua people of Ostula who demand justice for the attack on their community in which the child EDILBERTO REYES GARCÍA was murdered by the federal army; like the Nahua people of Ayotitlán, attacked by guardias blancas[iii]and police working for the transnational mining company Ternium; like the families of the 47 absent students of Ayotzinapa; like the families of the children of the ABC Daycare (just because the media doesn’t report on them doesn’t mean they no longer struggle for justice); like the families of the political prisoners and the disappeared all over the world; like the rebellious teachers’ union; like the Greece from below and to the left that never bought into the story of the referendum; like the prisoners that continue to challenge Power and the State even from behind bars; like those who challenge Power from the streets and countryside in all geographies; like the originary peoples who keep up their defense of the Mother Earth; like those who do not sell out, do not give in, and do not give up.

Because resistance and rebellion are what break the geographies and calendars above. Because when above they predict defeat, discouragement, and surrender, there is always one [uno, una, unoa] who says “NO.” Because, look at how things are, at the roots of freedom there is always a “NO” that clings to the earth, nourishes itself and grows from her.

Okay then. And let’s not forget today nor yesterday, so that tomorrow we will remember what’s yet to come.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Little School Director

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Little School Concierge

Mexico

July 2015

[i] Anniversary parties for the Good Government Councils, usually celebrated between August 8 and 10.

[ii] “Guardians” assigned to each student of the Little School during the First Grade in Zapatista territory.

[iii] Armed private militias.

Colectivo Pintar Obedeciendo.

Colectivo Pintar Obedeciendo.

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September 23, 2014

Here’s What It’s Like To Live With The Zapatistas, 20 Years After Their Attempted Revolution In Mexico

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:27 pm

 

Here’s What It’s Like To Live With The Zapatistas, 20 Years After Their Attempted Revolution In Mexico

 zapatistas

Twenty years ago, in direct protest against the then-recently signed North American Free Trade Agreement, a makeshift uprising of Mayan farmers seized a collection of cities and towns in Chiapas, in Mexico’s remote southeastern corner. They were demanding rights for Mexico’s indigenous people, who they thought had long been treated unfairly and would suffer even more under the landmark economic deal.

Naming themselves the Zapatistas after Emiliano Zapata, a principal leader of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, they emerged as a populist left-wing movement that openly called for a new revolution in Mexico, one that would replace a government which they argued was completely out of touch with the needs of its people.

While that revolution never came to pass, the Zapatistas and their ideologies have remained a presence in Chiapas and in Mexico. They continue to vocally oppose and resist the government, and have broadened their rhetoric to include larger issues of globalization and social justice. To this day, they live by their doctrine of upholding, at all costs, the importance of “work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.”

In January, photographer Giles Clarke was invited to travel to Chiapas and immerse himself in the culture of the Zapatistas, staying with a family high in the mountains.

“I was honored to live off-the-grid with my appointed family and witness just a glimpse of this dignified, self-governed collective,” Clarke says.

That glimpse was both at times illuminating and strange, heartening and conflicting.

(Captions by Giles Clarke and Christian Storm)

Much of Chiapas is over 7,000 feet above sea-level, and the area can be shrouded in fog for weeks on end. “We drove through mountains without seeing anything for hours,” Clarke says.

much-of-chiapas-is-over-7000-feet-above-sea-level-and-the-area-can-be-shrouded-in-fog-for-weeks-on-end-we-drove-through-mountains-without-seeing-anything-for-hours-clarke-says

 

Clarke stayed with a family in the town of La Illusion, one of the Zapatistas’ 35 or more autonomous communities high in the mountains of Chiapas. La Illusion is 5 hours from San Cristobal de las Casas, the state’s major city. The Zapatistas wear masks and cover their faces as a form of protest and resistance, calling themselves “the Faceless” and turning anonymity into a source of power. When asked about the masks, leaders are famously quoted as saying, “We cover our faces in order to be seen; we die in order to live.”

 

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“K”, Clarke’s guardian and guide for the week in Chiapas, is pictured here. Clarke visited the Zapatistas as one of 1,500 people invited to travel to Chiapas and learn about the Zapatista social experiment — immersing themselves in the ways, culture, and teachings of the movement.

 

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Zapatista art and murals has long depicted cultural heroes of resistance, like Emiliano Zapata or Che Guevara, seen here. A sign on the outskirts of one of the towns reads, “‘Here, the people give the orders and the government obeys.”

 

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The Zapatista communities rely heavily on bananas, a plantation for which is seen below, as well as coffee beans and amber, which they trade through self-governed co-operatives overseen by a “junta” that distributes the resulting profits within these poor but self-sustaining villages.

 

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The coffee bean is another important crop that is traded through these Zapatista-run cooperatives, which make around 130 tons of coffee a year.

 

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Education is one area of focus for the Zapatistas. Reading classes happen every morning.

 

education-is-one-area-of-focus-for-the-zapatistas-reading-classes-happen-every-morning

 

Each community runs its own medical centre that is partly funded through the profits from coffee and banana cooperatives, as well with the proceeds from the local Zapatista-run corner store. Recreational drugs are totally shunned, as is alcohol. Commerce in guns, as well as illegal firewood, is forbidden as well.

 

 

each-community-runs-its-own-medical-center-that-is-partly-funded-through-the-profits-from-coffee-and-banana-cooperatives-as-well-with-the-proceeds-from-the-local-zapatista-run-corner-store-recreational-drugs-are-tota (1)

 

The “Office for Women and Dignity” is pictured here. The Zapatista women have a strong say in the running of community affairs, as both men and women are equal according Zapatista doctrine. Women hold many positions of leadership in the organization, including as military commanders.

 

the-office-for-women-and-dignity-is-pictured-here-the-zapatista-women-have-a-strong-say-in-the-running-of-community-affairs-as-both-men-and-women-are-equal-according-zapatista-doctrine-women-hold-many-positions-of-leader

 

This year, Subcomandante Marcos, the charismatic and mysterious former leader of the Zapatistas and depicted in the painting on the right, stepped down as the spokesman of the movement, saying, “I declare that the one known as Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos no longer exists.” This further added to the mystery and confusion around his persona.

 

this-year-subcomandante-marcos-the-charismatic-and-mysterious-former-leader-of-the-zapatistas-and-depicted-in-the-painting-on-the-right-stepped-down-as-the-spokesman-of-the-movement-saying-i-declare-that-the-one-known-as

 

After a series of drawn-out and failed peace talks with the Mexican government in 1996, the group decided to become completely autonomous, forming the “Councils of Good Government,” which organize the various autonomous municipalities. The revolving group changes every two weeks and duties are carried out by anyone within the Zapatista community over the age of 12.

 

after-a-series-of-drawn-out-and-failed-peace-talks-with-the-mexican-government-in-1996-the-group-decided-to-become-completely-autonomous-forming-the-councils-of-good-government-which-organize-the-various-autonomous-munic

 

While the Zapatistas have attempted to create a life on their own terms in the mountains of Chiapas, things are far from utopian. In May 2014, a school was burnt down by other combined militant factions, leaving 15 injured and one prominent Zapatista teacher dead. Due to the isolated nature of the Zapatista regions, news coverage of this event and ones like it are scarce. Tensions still remain high.

 

while-the-zapatistas-have-attempted-to-create-a-life-on-their-own-terms-in-the-mountains-of-chiapas-things-are-far-from-utopian-in-may-2014-a-school-was-burnt-down-by-other-combined-militant-factions-leaving-15-injured-a

 

 

http://www.businessinsider.sg/mexican-zapatistas-chiapas-mexico-2014-9

 

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August 31, 2014

Former students at La Garrucha in Solidarity with the Zapatistas

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:47 pm

 

Former students at La Garrucha in Solidarity with the Zapatistas

ezln_alto_agresiones_a_zapatistas_manta

Former students at the escuelita in La Garrucha: Zapatista compas we are here!

To the men, women and children of Caracol III:
Resistance Towards a New Dawn, La Garrucha,
To the Good government junta The way of the future,
To the men and women of the EZLN,
To the sixth,
To the men and women of Mexico and the world who walk and feel below and to the left.

August 2014
Compañeros and compañeras:

We, the undersigned individuals and groups, had the honour of being in the Rebel territory of La Garrucha during the Zapatista escuelita in August 2013. When we set foot on that dignified and rebel territory, we knew from the beginning that nothing would be the same for us, we learned much from you and you shared much with us, it was not only the corn, tortillas, pozol, beans, the house where you welcomed us, the steps, the talks, the laughs and the good times that affected us, it was also the rage and rebellion which today, perhaps more than before, will make us turn to see and feel with the heart when they harass, attack and intimidate the Zapatista children, men and women who were and are our teachers, guardians (votanes), companions and compas.

Quite often, our families talked to us about not being afraid to change things, to take life in our hands, we often received the advice that we should carry on in the best way we can with the struggle to change this world, to make it better. Autonomy and liberty come at a cost – they told us – but in the end the results are there, and so we saw it and lived it.

For 20 years we have walked, we have learned from the Zapatistas, but the Zapatista escuelita was undoubtedly the most profound experience, which means that for us today nothing can be the same.

The paramilitaries, the government programmes, the systematic harassment, the taunts and the murders have always tried, over many years, to crush the rebellion which is made concrete daily in autonomy – our compas told us – “but we are still here” – they said.

Well we are also still here compas, we are here watching, feeling and we will not stop saying that we are watching what the bad government has been doing since votan Galeano was cowardly murdered … but the compa died in order to live.

And he lives in each one of us and we very humbly tell you, that when we say that nothing can be the same for us, it is because every day we look in the mirror and we tell ourselves that we can create something else, other steps can walk with dignity and we have yours as an example.

Today we not only say that we condemn the recent attacks perpetrated by members of ORCAO against our Zapatista compas, today we say that we are feeling these attacks and the only thing we can do is to keep on giving – as they say continue the struggle – we will keep on giving as we can from our spaces of struggle to tell the bad governments that we do not give up, we do not forget, we do not sell out and we keep looking and feeling the rebellion of the Zapatista men, women and children who are seed, walk and path .

That was the lesson that the escuelita left us and as the students we were, we are still here!

You are not alone, you are not alone!
Galeano lives!

In solidarity
Former students of the Zapatista escuelita in the autonomous rebel territory of La Garrucha:

Anaid, México
Carla Peracchi, Barcelona
Claudia I. Espinosa Díaz, México
Iván de Jesús Rodríguez Muñoz, México
Miguel Ángel Martínez Ramírez, México
Yael García, Chiapas, México
Colectivo Les trois passants, Francia

 

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2014/08/30/exalumnos-de-la-garrucha-en-solidaridad-con-los-zapatistas/

 

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June 14, 2014

All Four Escuelita Textbooks are now Available in English

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:50 am

All Four Escuelita Textbooks are now Available in English

Click titles to download:
(Note: the PDF downloads are of higher quality than the online previews)
Autonomous Resistance
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May 31, 2014

EZLN Announces Civil Peace Encampment in La Realidad

Filed under: Journalists, Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:01 pm

 

EZLN Announces Civil Peace Encampment in La Realidad

 

In a communiqué signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) announced that there will be a new round for the first grade of The Escuelita on Freedom—still without a date—and of the second grade “for those who passed, those who got through or rather who can advance are a few, because not everyone fulfilled just what they committed to as students,” he commented.

la_realidad-2

They also announced that a Civil Peace Encampment will be realized in La Realidad, whereGaleano was murdered last May 2nd, coordinated by the FRAYBA Human Rights Center to which, they say, those who “can be witnesses and observers and listens, since the situation is not solved. Because the murderers continue free and the force that they have and alcohol is what pushes them to do anything, in addition to the fact that many of them have antecedents of consuming drugs.”

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés underlined the fact that the encampment is of great importance as “the Zapatista support base compañeros and compañeras have to return to their homes, because they will not be able to be in the Caracol all the time, because they have to work to be able to sustain themselves in the family.”

The first civil encampment for peace will take place next June 4 and those who wish to participate must coordinate with the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre.

They also notified that they are going to retake the encounter with the indigenous peoples of Mexico and the CNI (Indigenous National Congress), scheduled at first for the end of this May but which had to be suspended due to the murder of the Zapatista support base, Galeano. There still is not a concrete date for the event.

In this communiqué they also invite those who can acquire material for the construction of the school and the clinic which were destroyed during the paramilitary attack last May 2nd, “as you already know, the paramilitaries at the service of the evil governments destroyed the school and the clinic which the Zapatista support bases had. And just as we dug up compa Galeano—beginning with the Homage last May 24th—well we have to again raise up the school and the clinic.” Both the school and the clinic, will be constructed in a new place, they announced.

In the words of Subcomandante Moisés, they insist that “in a way that the evil governments understand that it does not matter how many they destroy, we will always build more. It happened like this when Zedillo destroyed the Aguascalientes in Guadalupe Tepeyac, and so 5 Aguascalientes were built for the one that they destroyed.”

At the end of the communiqué they refer to the paid media and affirm that “what the now deceased Supmarcos had said is true: neither did they listen, nor understand.” In this sense they deny the accusations that are made against the free media, “that they accuse them that they are part of the Zapatistas and they are paid by the Zapatistas, as if saying the truth about the reality of La Realidad were paid work and not a duty,” and they attribute these accusations to the fact that they were not invited to the Homage last May 24th. “But we see clearly that it is their anger because the paid media remained outside of reality.”

Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.

http://galeanolives.blogspot.co.uk/

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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