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February 24, 2017

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

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

 

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

 

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January 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

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The Apocalypse According to Defensa Zapatista

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The children stay quiet, thinking.

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

Pedrito raises his hand, asking to be called on.

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

Well that’s easy.”

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

Okay Defensa Zapatista, tell us what you think.”

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

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

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

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

Okay, Defensa Zapatista, answer the question.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pedrito explains with a tone of the obvious:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

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The Urgent and the Important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then he says that dreams are the solution to nightmares.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

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

SupGaleano.

Mexico, January 2017.

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

 

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

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February 17, 2017

EZLN: The Walls Above, The Cracks Below (And To The Left)

Filed under: CNI, gal, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:50 am

 

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EZLN: The Walls Above, The Cracks Below (And To The Left)

 

 

maxresdefault-csub-702x468February 2017

The Storm On Our Path

For us, as Zapatista originary peoples, the storm—the war—has been going on for centuries. It arrived to our lands with the lies of the dominant civilization and religion. At that time, the sword and the cross bled our people dry.

Over time, the sword was modernized and the cross was dethroned by the religion of capital, but it continued to demand our blood as an offering to the new god: money.

We resisted, we always resist. Our rebellions were displaced by the dispute between various forces for Power. Those forces, always from above, demanded that we struggle and die to serve them. They demanded obedience and submission under the guise of liberating us. Like those who said and say they fight, they came and come to rule. There were supposed independences and false revolutions, those past and those to come.

Since then, those above have taken turns and continue to take turns in order to govern, badly, or aspire to do so. In past and present calendars, their proposal continues to be the same: that we offer our blood, while they lead or pretend to lead.

Before and now, they forget those of us who do not forget.

And always, yesterday and today, the woman is below, even in the collective that we were and are.

But as the calendars went by, they not only brought pain and death to our people. Upon expanding its dominion, Power created new brotherly and sisterly bonds in tragedy.

We saw then the worker and the peasant become one with our pain, lying under the four wheels of the mortal carriage of Capital.

As Power advanced in its path through time, those below grew increasingly more, broadening the base over which Power is and has Power. We saw that we were joined then by teachers, students, artisans, small business people, professionals, and the etceteras with different names but identical sorrows.

But that wasn’t enough. Power is an exclusive space, discriminatory and selective. Thus different kinds of difference were also openly persecuted. By colour, race, creed, and sexual preference, they were expelled from the promised land and given hell as a permanent residence.

Next came young people, children, and elders. Power thus converted the calendars one holds into cause for persecution. Everyone below is guilty: for being a woman, for being a child, for being a young person, for being an adult, for being an elder, for being human.

But, upon expanding exploitation, displacement, repression, and discrimination, Power also expanded resistance… and rebellion.

We saw then and now the raised heads of many [muchas, muchos, muchoas]. All different, but similar in their rage and refusal.

Power knows that it is what it is only when wielded over those who work. It needs them.

It responded and responds to every rebellion by buying or fooling a few and imprisoning or murdering many. It is not afraid of their demands; it is their example that terrifies it.

Still it was not enough. Having dominated nations, the Power of Capital sought to put all of humanity under its heavy yoke.

Even that wasn’t enough. Capital now attempts to manage nature, to dominate, domesticate, and exploit her. That is, to destroy her.

The destructive advance of Capital, always through war, demolished the first fiefdoms and kingdoms. Upon their ruins it raised nations.

Later it devastated nations and upon their ruins erected a new global order: the market.

The entire world became a big warehouse for commodities. Everything can be bought and sold: water, wind, land, plants and animals, governments, knowledge, fun, desire, love, hate, people.

But it is not only commodities that are exchanged in the great market of Capital. “Economic freedom” is a mere illusion that simulates mutual agreement between those who buy and sell. In reality, the market is based on dispossession and exploitation. The exchange then is one of impunity. Justice is transformed into a grotesque caricature and upon its scale, money always weighs more than truth. The stability of this tragedy called Capitalism depends on repression and disrespect.

But that wasn’t enough either. It is not possible to dominate the world if one does not dominate ideas. Religious imposition was intensified and reached the arts and sciences. Philosophies and beliefs emerged and emerge like passing fashions. The sciences and the arts ceased to be something distinctively human and instead were placed on a shelf in the global supermarket.

Knowledge became private property, as did recreation and pleasure.

Capital thus consolidated itself as a giant shredder, using not only humanity in its entirety as raw material for commodity production, but also knowledge, art, and…nature.

The destruction of the planet, the millions of displaced, the rise in crime, unemployment, poverty, the weakness of governments and the wars to come are not products of the excesses of Capital, or of a mistaken detour of a system that promised order, progress, peace, and prosperity.

No, all of these tragedies are the essence of the system.

It feeds on them; it grows at their cost.

Destruction and death are the fuel for the great machine of Capital.

Attempts to “rationalize” or “humanize” its functioning were, are, and will be futile. Irrationality and inhumanity are its key parts. There is no possible repair. There wasn’t before, and there is no way now to mitigate its criminal path.

The only way to stop this machine is to destroy it.

In the current world war, the dispute is between the system and humanity. That is why the anticapitalist struggle is a struggle for humanity.

Those who still try to “repair” or “save” the system are really proposing to us a mass global suicide, like a posthumous sacrifice to Power.

In the system there is no solution.

Neither horror, condemnation, nor resignation are sufficient, nor is the hope that the worst has passed and things can only get better.

No. What is certain is that things will get worse.

For these reasons, in addition to what each of us can add from our particular calendars and geographies, we must resist, rebel, say “no,” struggle, organize.

That is why we must raise the wind from below with resistance and rebellion, with organization.

Only then will we be able to survive. Only then will it be possible to live.

And only then, as we said 25 years ago, will we be able to see that….

When the storm calms, when the rain and fire leave the earth in peace once again, the world will no longer be the world, but something better.”

-*-

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The War and the Walls Outside and Inside

Provoked by the greed of big money, the intention above is to make those suffering the current nightmare pay for it. Borders are no longer just lines drawn on maps and customs checkpoints, but walls of armies and police, of cement and brick, of laws and persecution. In the world above, the hunting of human beings increases and is celebrated with clandestine competitions: whoever expels, incarcerates, confines, and murders the most wins.

As we have been saying for more than 20 years, neoliberal globalization did not bring about a global village, but rather the fragmentation and dissolution of the so-called “Nation-States.” Then and now we called this process by the name that best describes it: “world war” (the fourth, according to us).

The only thing that was globalized was the market, and with it, war.

For those who operate the machines and bring the land to life, borders continue to exist and continue to be what they always have been: prisons.

Two decades ago, our assertion of this reality provoked mocking smiles from the international intelligentsia, tied to its old and expired dogmas.

Those same people today stutter in the face of a frantic reality, or they recommend old recipes, or they move on to a currently trendy idea that, through complex theoretical elaboration, hides the only truth at hand: they haven’t the slightest idea what is happening, nor what is coming, nor what brought on the current nightmare.

They lament this. The thinking from above had promised them a world without borders, and the result was instead a planet crammed with chauvinist trenches.

The world was not transformed into a gigantic metropolis without borders, but rather a great sea writhing in an unprecedented storm. In that sea, millions of displaced (who are grouped together by the media paintbrush as “migrants”) flail in small boats, waiting to be rescued by the gigantic ship of big Capital.

Not only will it not rescue them, but big Capital is the principal cause of the storm that threatens the existence of humanity in its entirety.

Under the awkward disguise of fascist nationalism, the most retrograde dark times return, claiming privileges and attentions. Tired of governing from the shadows, big Capital dismantles the lies of “citizenship” and “equality” before the law and the market.

The flag of “freedom, equality, and fraternity” with which capitalism adorned its conversion into the dominant world system is merely a dirty rag, tossed in the garbage bin of history from above.

Finally the system unmasks itself and shows its true face and vocation. “War Always, War Everywhere,” reads the name on the proud ship that navigates through a sea of blood and shit. It is money and not artificial intelligence that fights humanity in the decisive battle: that of survival.

No one is safe. Not the naive national capitalist who dreamed of the bonanza that was offered by open global markets, nor the conservative middle class surviving between the dream of being powerful and the reality of being the flock for the shepherd in turn.

Then there are the working classes of the city and countryside who increasingly find themselves in even more difficult conditions, if that were possible.

And, to round out the apocalyptic image, the millions of displaced and migrants piling up at the borders that have suddenly become as real as the walls that governments and criminals raise with every step.

In the global geography of the mass media and the social networks, the displaced, nomadic ghosts without name or face, are merely a statistic that identifies their location.

The calendar? Just one day after the promise of the end of history, of the solemn declaration of the supremacy of a system that was to have guaranteed wellbeing to those who worked for it, of victory over the “communist enemy” who sought to restrict freedom, impose dictatorships and create poverty, of the promised eternity that would annul all genealogies. The same calendar that announced just yesterday that world history was only getting started. And it turns out that no, it was all nothing more than a prelude to the most frightening nightmare.

Capitalism as a world system is collapsing, and the great captains, now desperate, can no longer figure out where to go. That’s why they are withdrawing into the lairs from which they came.

They offer the impossible: local salvation against global catastrophe. And this rubbish sells well among a middle class that is blurring into those from below in terms of its income, but which aspires to make up for its unmet economic needs with authentications of race, creed, color and sex. Salvation from above is Anglo-Saxon, white, religious, and masculine.

Now, those who lived on the crumbs that fell from the tables of big capital watch desperately as walls are erected against them, too. And the worst part is that they intend to head the opposition to this warlike policy. Here we see the intellectual right making contrary gestures and attempting timid and ridiculous protests. Because, no: globalization was not the triumph of freedom. It was and is the current age of tyranny and slavery.

Nations are not Nations anymore, although their respective governments might not have noticed it yet. Their flags and emblems are threadbare and discolored. Destroyed by globalization from above, sick with the parasite of Capital and with corruption as their only sign of identity, the national governments try with inept haste to protect themselves and attempt the impossible reconstruction of what they once were.

In the airtight compartments created by their walls and customs checkpoints, the system drugs the middle sectors of society with the opium of a reactionary, nostalgic nationalism, with xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia as a plan for salvation.

Borders multiply within every territory. Not just the ones that are drawn on maps; also, and above all, the ones that are erected by corruption and crime turned into government.

The postmodern bonanza was nothing but a balloon inflated by finance capital. And then reality came to pop it: millions of people displaced by the great war fill the land and waterways, they pile up in customs and begin making cracks in the walls already raised and the ones still to be built. Encouraged before by big Capital, fundamentalisms find fertile ground for their proposals for unification: “from terror will be born a single way of thinking: ours.” After being nourished with dollars, the beast that is terrorism threatens the house of its creator.

It’s the same thing in the United States as in Western Europe or neo-czarist Russian; the beast writhes and tries to protect itself. It extols then (and not only then) the crudest stupidity and ignorance, and, in its government figureheads, synthesizes its proposal: “Let’s go back to the past.”

But no, America will not be great againNever again. Nor will the whole system in its entirety. It doesn’t matter what those above do. The system has already arrived at the point of no return.

-*-

ezln-con-cnte

Against Capital and its Walls: All the Cracks.

The international offensive of Capital against racial and national differences, in promoting the construction of cultural and legal walls as well as those of cement and steel, seeks to shrink the planet even further. In this way they are trying to create a world where the only ones who fit are those above who are equal amongst themselves.

It may sound ridiculous, but this is how it is: to face the storm, the system is not looking for roofs to protect itself, but rather walls behind which to hide.

This new period of Capital’s war against Humanity must be faced, yes, with organized resistance and rebellion, but also with solidarity and support for those whose lives, freedoms, and goods are being attacked.

For this reason:

Whereas the system is incapable of stopping the destruction.

Whereas below and to the left there must be no room for conformity and resignation.

Whereas it is time to organize to struggle and to say “NO” to the nightmare they impose on us from above.

THE SIXTH COMMISSION OF THE EZLN AND THE ZAPATISTA BASES OF SUPPORT CONVOKE:

I- A global campaign:

In the face of Capital’s walls: resistance, rebellion, solidarity, and support from below and to the left.

With the objective of calling for organization and global resistance in the face of the aggressiveness of big money and its respective overseers on the planet, which already terrorize millions of people all around the world:

We are calling for people to organize themselves in autonomy to resist and rebel against persecutions, detentions, and deportations. If someone has to go, let it be them, those above. Every human being has the right to a free and dignified existence in the place that they deem best, and has the right to fight to stay there. Resisting detentions, displacements, and expulsions is an obligation, just as it is an obligation to support those who are rebelling against those arbitrary actions REGARDLESS OF BORDERS.

It is necessary to let all those people know that they are not alone, that their pain and rage are seen even from a distance, that their resistance is not only welcomed, it is also supported, even with our limited possibilities.

It is necessary to get organized. It is necessary to resist. It is necessary to say “NO” to persecutions, expulsions, prisons, walls, borders. And it is necessary to say “NO” to the national bad governments that are and have been accomplices to that policy of terror, destruction and death. Solutions will not come from above, because that’s where the problems were born.

For this reason we are calling on the Sixth in its entirety to organize itself, according to its times, ways, and geographies, to support activities for and by those who are resisting and rebelling against expulsions. This may be by supporting their return to their homes, by creating “sanctuaries” or supporting the ones that already exist, through legal advice and support, with money, through the arts and sciences, through festivals and mobilizations, through commercial and media boycotts, in cyberspace, wherever and however possible. In all the spaces we move through it is our duty to support and be in solidarity with each other.

The time has come to create solidarity committees with the criminalized and persecuted of humanity. Today more than ever before, their house is also our house.

As the Zapatistas we are, our strength is small and, although our calendar is wide and deep, our geography is limited.

For this reason, and to support those who are resisting detentions and deportations, over the last several weeks the Sixth Commission of the EZLN has begun contacting individuals, groups, collectives and organizations around the world that are adherents to the Sixth, to figure out how to send them a small bit of assistance that may serve as a base to launch or continue all kinds of activities and actions in favour of the persecuted.

To start, we will send them works of art created by indigenous Zapatistas for last year’s CompArte, as well as organic coffee produced by the indigenous Zapatista communities in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. This is so that, through their sale, they can undertake artistic and cultural activities that will concretize support and solidarity with migrants and displaced people who, all over the world, are seeing their lives, freedoms, and goods threatened by xenophobic campaigns promoted by the world’s governments and the far-right.

That’s just for now. We will be thinking of new forms of support and solidarity. The Zapatista women, men, children and elders will not leave them on their own.

II- We also invite all of the Sixth and anyone who is interested to the seminar of critical reflection, “THE WALLS OF CAPITAL, THE CRACKS OF THE LEFT,” to be celebrated April 12-15, 2017, at the CIDECI-UniTierra facilities in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Participants include:

Don Pablo González Casanova.

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez (CNI).

Paulina Fernández C.

Alicia Castellanos.

Magdalena Gómez.

Gilberto López y Rivas.

Luis Hernández Navarro.

Carlos Aguirre Rojas.

Arturo Anguiano.

Sergio Rodríguez Lascano.

Christian Chávez (CNI).

Carlos González (CNI).

Sixth Commission of the EZLN.

We will provide more details soon.

III- We convoke all artists for the second edition of “CompArte for Humanity” with the theme: “Against Capital and its Walls: All of the Arts” to be celebrated around the world and in cyberspace. The “real” part will take place between July 23-29, 2017, in the caracol of Oventik and at the CIDECI-UniTierra. The virtual edition will be August 1-12, 2017, on the web. We will provide more details soon.

IV- We also ask that you be on the lookout for the activities to be convoked by the National Indigenous Congress as part of its process of formation of the Indigenous Council of Government.

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

That’s not all. It is necessary to resist, it is necessary to rebel, it is necessary to struggle, it is necessary to get organized.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, February 14 (the day of our dead), 2017.

 

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/02/14/los-muros-arriba-las-grietas-abajo-y-a-la-izquierda/

 

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January 19, 2017

A Few First Questions for the Sciences and their ConSciences

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

 

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A Few First Questions for the Sciences and their ConSciences

 

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December 26, 2016

Scientists [Científicas and Científicos]:

Compas of the Sixth:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We want scientific study, not just technical study.

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

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

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

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

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

_*_

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

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

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

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

For example, we prepared questions.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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November 23, 2016

Galeano: Make no mistake, The EZLN will not bet on electoral means to achieve power, far less force of arms

Filed under: CNI, gal, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:02 am

 

Galeano: Make no mistake, The EZLN will not bet on electoral means to achieve power, far less force of arms

 

galeano-600x431Sup Galeano of the EZLN. Photo: from Chiapas Paralelo

 

By: Isaín Mandujano

33 years after the foundation of the Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas de Liberación Nacional, FLN) in the Lacandón Jungle, the seed of which would later be the Zapatista Nation Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Galeano clarified today that he does not struggle to take power and once more made clear that the independent indigenous woman candidate in 2018 is a proposal the armed group made to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) who made it theirs and will drive I forward.

And it does not matter whether or not they win the presidency of the Republic, “what matters is the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total breakdown of the image of the indigenous as an object of alms and pity.”

Faced with the controversy unleashed, Subcomandante Galeano clarified that the indigenous woman postulated will not come from the EZLN’s ranks, and that nobody will supplant the initials of the armed group for those of the CNI, because the EZLN continues firm in its word of not betting on the electoral path, that it will not convert into a political party and that it will not seek to attain power through the armed route, because they took up arms to make use of them and not to become enslaved by them.

On November 17, 1983, that first armed group arrived, headed by Fernando Yañez, alias Comandante Germán, who in the heart of the Jungle planted the first seed of what would become the EZLN; the group was called the FLN, an organization which was persecuted and repressed since the seventies in different parts of the country. It had a Marxist-Leninist philosophy, with visions of achieving power and installing socialism.

In recent weeks, the EZLN as an integral part of the CNI has caused a controversy, because they proposed a consultation to postulate an indigenous woman as an independent candidate in the 2018 presidential elections, a theme that has provoked the most hostile reactions from the Mexican political class, the media and Mexican analysts.

In his letter, “A story to try to understand,” Galeano himself made it clear that they were the ones who made this proposal last October 13 to the CNI, a conglomerate of indigenous peoples from different regions of the country. This took place within the framework of the 20th anniversary of that national body, but in no way will they [EZLN] have an active participation in nominating that candidacy.

“No, neither the EZLN as an organization, nor any of its members, are going to participate” for a “popular election position” in the 2018 electoral process. No, the EZLN is not going to convert into a political party. No, the EZLN is not going to present a Zapatista indigenous woman as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic in the year 2018. No, the EZLN “has not taken a turn” of any degrees in its path, nor is it going to continue its fight through the institutional electoral route,” Galeano said.

So, is the EZLN not going to postulate an indigenous Zapatista woman for president of the Republic?  Are they not going to participate directly in the 2018 elections? To answer, he responds with a “No.”

“Why not; because of the armed option?

 No. Those who think that is why are profoundly wrong because: the Zapatistas took up arms to serve them, not to be enslaved by them.

 Then, because the institutional electoral political system is corrupt, inequitable, fraudulent and illegitimate?

 No.  Even if it were transparent, equitable, just and legitimate, the Zapatista men and women would not participate to attain and exercise Power from a post, a position or an institutional appointment.

 But, in certain circumstances, for strategic and/or tactical reasos, would you not participate directly to hold office?

 No.  Although “the masses” may demand it; although the “historic conjuncture” may need our “participation;” although “the Homeland,” “the Nation,” “the People,” “the Proletariat,” (ok, that’s very out of style now) may demand it, or any concrete or abstract concept (behind which is hidden, or not, personal, family or group or class ambition) that is hoisted as a pretext; although the juncture, the confluence of the stars, the prophesies, the stock exchange index, the manual of historic materialism, the Popol Vuh, the polls, the esotericism, “the concrete analysis of concrete reality” and the convenient etcetera.

 Why?

 Because the EZLN does not struggle to take Power.

Galeano said that the postulation of the indigenous woman as an independent candidate is no longer in the EZLN’s hands. Therefore he asked that they stop awarding it to the armed group, because they are only a part of that big body which is the country’s indigenous peoples.

He insisted that no one from the EZLN seeks a position through popular election and that the independent indigenous woman candidate will not come from their ranks.

“No insurgent, male or female, whether from the command or from the troops, nor any comandanta or comandante of the CCRI can even be authorities in the community, nor in an autonomous municipio, nor in the different autonomous organizational bodies.  They cannot be members of the autonomous councils, nor of the good government juntas, nor of the commissions, nor take on any of the responsibilities that the assembly designates, that is created or to be created in the construction of our autonomy; in other words, of our freedom,” Galeano explained.

“Our work, our task as the EZLN is to serve our communities, to accompany them, support them and not to command them.  To support them, yes.  And sometimes we achieve this.  And yes, certainly, sometimes we hinder them, but then the Zapatista peoples give us a slap (or several, accordingly) so that we can correct ourselves,” he clarified.

When the EZLN made the proposal to the heart of the CNI, they told them: “it doesn’t matter if they win the presidency of the Republic or not, but what would matter was the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total breakdown of the image of the indigenous as the object of alms and pity –an image so ingrained in the right, and also in the institutional left of “real change” and its organic intellectuals addicted to the opium of the social networks-, that their daring would move the entire political system and that it would have echoes of hope not in one, but in many of the Mexicos of below… and of the world.”

He said that they are not seeking for an indigenous woman from the CNI to be president, but rather that what is desired is to carry a message of struggle and organization to the poor in the countryside and the cities of Mexico and of the world.

“It is not that we consider that, if we get together the signatures or win the election, it will go well, but rather that it will go well if we can talk and listen to those who nobody talks or listens to.

Here we will see whether it will go well or not, if a lot of people are going to find the strength and hope to get organized, to resist and rebel,” Galeano said.

 

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, November 17, 2016

http://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2016/11/no-se-confundan-el-ezln-no-le-apuesta-a-la-via-electoral-para-alcanzar-el-poder-menos-por-las-armas-galeano/

 

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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October 24, 2016

Zapatistas Respond to Criticism Regarding Election Proposal

Filed under: CNI, gal, Indigenous, Marcos, Other Campaign, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:24 pm

 

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Zapatistas Respond to Criticism Regarding Election Proposal

 

submarcoshorsefromafar-jpg_1718483346EZLN Subcomandante Marcos, now known as Galeano, in Chiapas in 1996. | Photo: Creative Commons

 

The Zapatista response appeared to reaffirm that their goal in presenting a candidate would be to expose the contradictions of the Mexican political system.

Not long after the Zapatista National Liberation Army and the National Indigenous Congress resolved to present an Indigenous woman as an independent candidate for the 2018 presidential elections, the rebel group began to receive criticism.

The decision made at the Fifth National Indigenous Congress caught many by surprise, as the Zapatistas had long rejected any formal participation in electoral politics.

One of the first to respond was leftist former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who suggested the EZLN, as the Zapatistas are also known, were trying to divide the left.

Lopez Obrador is widely expected to run for president a third time in the upcoming election and an “independent candidate” could draw away votes that might otherwise go to him.

In the 2006 election, Lopez Obrador lost in a disputed, though tightly contested, election. That year the Zapatistas organized “The Other Campaign,” which called on Mexicans to participate in political activity that went beyond voting.

During “The Other Campaign,” Zapatistas — including the group’s most recognizable figure, Subcomandante Marcos — travelled throughout Mexico meeting with activists and social movement leaders in order to build a broad front against capitalism.

In a letter posted online, Marcos, now known as Subcomandante Galeano, responded to the criticism.

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

When the decision to consider running a candidate was first announced by the Zapatistas, they specified that it was not being done as a means of securing power.

“We confirm that our struggle is not for power, we do not seek it,” read the joint statement from the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatistas.

Galeano’s letter appeared to reaffirm that their goal in presenting a candidate would be to expose the contradictions of the Mexican political system.

Referring to Margarita Zavala, the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderon and likely candidate for the presidency in 2018, Galeano presented a juxtaposition.

“You who are reading this: would you be bothered by watching and listening to a debate between the Calderona (Zavala) from above, with her ‘traditional’ luxury brand clothing, and a woman below, of Indigenous blood, culture, language, and history? Would you be more interested in hearing what the Calderona promises or what the Indigenous woman proposes? Wouldn’t you want to see this clash of two worlds?” asked Galeano.

The letter gave no indication the EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress intend to withdraw their proposal.

The idea of running a candidate must still, however, be approved by the grassroots of the organization.

 

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Zapatistas-Respond-to-Criticism-Regarding-Election-Proposal-20161023-0022.html

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October 23, 2016

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

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

 

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

 

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(Pages from the Notebook of the Cat-Dog)

October 20, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

Questions without answers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-*-

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

-*-

Rankings for the first week:

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

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

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

-*-

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

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

Defensa Zapatista, Chicharito Hernández, and Lionel Messi.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I ran, what else could I do?

Woof-Meow

SupGaleano

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

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

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

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

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

 

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



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October 13, 2016

Zapatistas Demand Indigenous Unity to Fight Capitalist Slavery

Filed under: CNI, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:57 am

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Zapatistas Demand Indigenous Unity to Fight Capitalist Slavery

 

ezln_zapatistas_subcomandante_marcos-jpg_1718483346EZLN Subcomandante Marcos, now known as Galeano, in Chiapas in 2005 | Photo: EFE

 

12 October 2016

The Zapatistas argued at the 20th anniversary National Indigenous Congress that resource exploitation will ultimately destroy the people.

As the iconic Subcomandante Marcos – also known as Subcomandante Galeano – made a rare appearance, the Zapatistas renewed their call Tuesday for Indigenous unity across Mexico in the face of what the movement criticizes as runaway social and environmental destruction for the benefit of a few, while the people – especially Indigenous communities – suffer the consequences.

“Today, they truly want to destroy us with the slavery of capitalism, and at the same time finish off and destroy Mother Earth and nature,” Subcomandante Moises said on Tuesday on behalf of the movement during the fifth National Indigenous Congress led by the Zapatistas in San Cristobal de las Casas, in the southern state of Chiapas.

“Talking among ourselves as Indigenous peoples was and is very important, today more than ever,” continued Moises, who Subcomandante Marcos introduced as a new subcomandante in 2013. “Because capitalist destruction against Mother Earth is now extended, and that means that we will also be destroyed, because we live off her.”

The event marks 20 years since the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, also known as the EZLN or Zapatistas, first launched the National Indigenous Congress as a rallying cry in the early years after the movement emerged from the Lacandon jungle and declared war against the Mexican state. The gathering brings together Indigenous peoples from Mexico and other countries, including Colombia and Guatemala, to share experiences, discuss collective challenges, and advance their struggles through solidarity.

Subcomandante Marcos — known as Subcomandante Galeano since 2014 when he announced that “Marcos, the character, is no longer necessary,” — participated in the congress, joining working groups and roundtable discussions alongside other participants. The iconic leader’s public appearances have been less frequent since he announced the Zapatistas decided to “kill” Marcos to avoid his image overshadowing the collective voice of the movement. His new name, Galeano, is a reference to Jose Luis Solis Lopez “Galeano,” a teacher and EZLN leader killed on May 2, 2014, by a paramilitary group.

At the launch of the congress, which is scheduled to wrap up Thursday, Subcomandante Moises called for urban and rural movements to come together in the struggle for anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist alternatives.

“We the exploited need to bridge the countryside and city and build the world we want,” he said. “We believe that we need to dedicate our efforts and sacrifices to work together and organize ourselves.”

The EZLN declared war against Mexico on January 1, 1994, in conjunction with the launch of the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement, known widely by its acronym NAFTA. The movement quickly launched into the international spotlight as an example for autonomous social movements around the globe. After more than two decades, the masked EZLN militants and their struggle continue to be iconic symbols of the fight for alternatives to global capitalism in all corners of the world.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Zapatistas-Demand-Indigenous-Unity-to-Fight-Capitalist-Slavery-20161012-0010.html

 

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July 28, 2016

EZLN confirms and extends its participation in CompArte

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:22 am

 

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EZLN confirms and extends its participation in CompArte

 

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EZLN CONFIRMS AND EXTENDS ITS PARTICIPATION IN CompARTE

Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Mexico.

July 26, 2016

To the participants and attendees of CompArte:

To the National and International Sixth:

Compañeros, compañerascompañeroas:

Although we could not replace the money that had been allocated for food and transportation for our artistic community, as Zapatistas we sought a way not only to reciprocate the efforts of the artists who responded to our invitation to CompArte, but also to make them feel the respect and admiration their artistic work inspires in us.

We would like to inform you of the decision that we have come to:

We will present, though in different calendars and geographies, some of the artistic work that we Zapatistas prepared for you. The presentations will take place according to the following schedule:

Caracol of Oventik: July 29, 2016, from 10:00 national time to 19:00 national time. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tzotzil, Zoque, and Tzeltal originary peoples from Los Altos in Chiapas.

CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas: July 30, 2016. A Zapatista delegation will attend CompArte as listener-viewers.

Caracol of La Realidad: August 3, 2016, from 09:00 on August 3 through the early morning hours of August 4. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tojolabal, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, and Mame originary peoples as well as mestizos from the Selva Fronteriza zone.

Caracol of La Garrucha: August 6, 2016, from 09:00 on August 6 through the early morning hours of August 7. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tzeltal and Tzotzil originary peoples from the Selva Tzeltal zone.

Caracol of Morelia: August 9, 2016. Celebration of the 13th anniversary of the birth of the Zapatista caracoles and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, from 09:00 on August 9 through the early morning hours of August 10. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tojolabal and Tzeltal originary peoples from the Tsots Choj zone.

Caracol of Roberto Barrios: August 12, 2016, from 09:00 on August 12 to the early morning hours of August 13, 2016. Participation by Zapatista artists from the Chol and Tzeltal originary peoples from the Northern zone of Chiapas.

 

las-abejas-foto

 

In order to attend you will need your CompArte registration name tag from CIDECI and to have registered at the table set up for that purpose in CIDECI as of the afternoon of July 27, 2016. Note: bear in mind that here…well, everywhere, it is storm season.

We know that the great majority of you will not be able to attend all of the presentations now that the calendar and geography have been expanded. Or perhaps you will, that is up to you. In any case, whether you are there or not, we will present with you in mind.

THE PAID MEDIA WILL NOT BE ALLOWED ACCESS (even if they pretend that they also work for the unpaid media).

The compa media—that is the free, autonomous, alternative, or whatever-you-call-it media—will be welcome, even by the Tercios Compas, because here we do have trade solidarity.

 

-*-

 

As Zapatistas, on this day we reiterate our support for the demand for truth and justice for Ayotzinapa and all of the disappeared that is tirelessly maintained by the mothers, fathers, families, and compañer@s of the missing. To all of them, those who are missing and those who search for them, we offer our greatest embrace. Your pain is our pain and our dignified rage.

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, July 2016.

 

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Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 28/07/2016

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/26/ezln-confirma-y-extiende-su-participacion-en-el-comparte/

 

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July 19, 2016

EZLN: The geography? Oventik. The calendar? July 29, 2016

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:51 am

 

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EZLN: The geography? Oventik. The calendar? July 29, 2016

 

photo_2016-07-12_14-29-58

 

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The geography? Oventik.

The calendar? July 29, 2016.

ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

July 17, 2016

To all the artists participating in the CompArte:

To the National and International Sixth:

Sisters and brothers:

Compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas:

We send our greetings. We are writing to let you know the following:

13776016_531127683678605_4581549757201433063_nWe want to make sure that all of the artists who have committed to participating in CompArte know and feel our admiration and respect. But also, and above all, we want them to know of our conviction that in the dark hours of the present and the dark hours to come, their work and creativity will be required to find the path that we, humanity as a whole, want, need, and deserve.

When we speak of darkness, we are not only referring to the horrors that emerge and destroy all across the suffering world geography. We are also talking about the political and economic mercantilism that, without really caring much about the actual deaths and tragedies, pounce on the still-warm cadavers of the victims in an attempt to take advantage of and profit off their misfortune.

If the machine imposes a perverse logic in which every tragedy numbs rather than enrages, perhaps it could be the Arts that remind humanity that people not only kill and destroy, impose and dominate, humiliate and doom to oblivion, but can also create, liberate, and remember. Don’t even the most heartbreaking and painful artistic works throb with life and liberty?

We as Zapatistas think that it is wonderful that there are artists who know how to bring forth, from the depths of the darkest calendar, a light for humanity.

Because if not now, when?

We don’t want to make you feel as if you owe anything to anyone—not submission, nor loyal following, nor unconditional support. We do not seek your votes nor your vetoes. We only want to tell you that in this world that we watch from the lookout’s post, we see you. Or better yet, we see your art.

That’s what we think. Yet we see that these words cannot begin to describe our ideas and feelings.

That is why we Zapatistas have silently begun a new endeavour that we want to let you know about here:

We want to greet and honour you for what you are. Not as militants of the causes that populate the world with their various colours and symbols, but rather as the path in which we can make out a better, more human, more dignified tomorrow.

We Zapatistas don’t look up above.

We only lift our eyes and ears in front of the sciences and arts. And it isn’t fear and obedience that raise our gaze. It is the wonder of knowledge, the marvel of the arts.

That is why we have organized ourselves to present a very abbreviated version of what we prepared for CompArte. We have done this with the sole purpose of trying to let you know how great we Zapatistas think you are.

We know that the compas from the Sixth and part of the artistic community in Chiapas—with the always active commitment of the compas at CIDECI—have continued preparations for CompArte to take place at CIDECI, July 23 through 30, 2016. We truly hope that this celebration will be as brilliant as your artistic works and that during these calendars of dark despair, and despite the long night imposed from above, another wind will blow through this corner of the world. Whether in the fleeting moment of a song, the stroke of a painting, a dance step, a photograph, a scripted dialogue, a poem, a whatever, let the hour of the police be defeated and for just a moment, let us breathe in the possibility of another world.

OventicSo then, taking advantage of the fact that some people (not all, we know) will be creating art in CIDECI over the course of those days, we want to invite you [invitarlas, invitarlos, invitarloas] participants and observers to Oventik on July 29, 2016. From 10am to at least 7pm (national time) we will be performing theatre, dance, music, poetry, painting, thinking, and perhaps even riddles. Although it is only a small part of what the communities prepared for CompArte, the five caracoles that encompass the Tzotzil, Chol, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, Zoque, Mame, and mestizo Zapatista communities will be represented. Even on short notice, the Zapatista compas have prepared to celebrate, in your honour, life and freedom.

It won’t be everything we had prepared, but it will be something significant: a gift we want to give you. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t. But we are sure that you will find here sounds, colours, lights and shadows that have as their only goal to let you hear, see, and feel the “thank you” with which we embrace you.

The Zapatista artists will perform on July 29 and will return to their communities on July 30. That’s unless someone invites them to attend the last day of the CompArte festival in CIDECI. In that case, they will make a stop in CIDECI to learn a little from you all.

So now you know:

The geography? The caracol of Oventik.

The calendar? July 29, 2016, from 10am to 7pm.

Maybe it will rain, maybe not. Maybe it will be cold, maybe not. But here we are, here we will be.

Because it is in this corner of the world where we must resist and struggle, but it is only our temporary home. Our great house, in our dreams and in our tomorrows, is, has been, and will be the world that, with others [l@s otr@s], we will create.

We’ll see you here.

Indeed, we are always hoping to see you here.

And even if you can’t come, we send you a big hug from…

The mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Chiapas, Mexico. July 17, 2016

marcos-playing-guitar

 

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/17/la-geografia-oventik-el-calendario-29-de-julio-del-2016/

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July 9, 2016

EZLN: The CompARTE Festival and Solidarity

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:14 pm

 

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EZLN: The CompARTE Festival and Solidarity

 

senal-de-conciencia

 

July 2016

Compañeroas of the Sixth:

Artists from the five continents:

Teachers in Resistance:

As you know, we have decided to suspend our participation in the CompArte Festival. Of course, for those who know how to read carefully, we didn’t say that the festival itself was suspended. We merely indicated that we as Zapatistas would not be able to contribute. So if someone thought the former and decides not to participate, well then we apologize because we know you already took on expenses. No one should give orders to the Arts. If there is a synonym for freedom, perhaps the last bastion of humanity in the worst situations, it is the arts. We Zapatistas neither can nor should—nor has it even crossed our minds—to tell the workers of art and culture when they should create or not. Or worse, impose a topic on them and, using the originary peoples in rebellion as justification, drag out concepts of “cultural revolutions,” “realisms,” and other arbitrary notions that merely hide what is some kind of cop determining what is “good art” or not.

No, artist sisters and brothers [hermanas, hermanos, hermanoas]; for us Zapatistas, the arts are the hope of humanity, not a militant cell. We think that indeed, in the most difficult moments, when disillusionment and impotence are at a peak, the Arts are the only thing capable of celebrating humanity.

For us Zapatistas, you, along with scientists [l@s científic@s], are so important that we cannot imagine a future without your work.

But that is a subject for a later letter.

The task here is to honour a commitment to you all. As of June 15, 2016, the last day for registration, we had a report prepared to let you know how the CompArte Festival was coming. Unfortunately, the national situation got progressively tenser (thanks to the irresponsibility of that child with a box of matches who works out of the SEP [Department of Public Education]), and we kept postponing it until coming to the decision that we have already told you abougaleano1t.

 

In any case, it’s good for you to know how the CompArte was coming along. So, to summarize:

There are 1,127 national artists and 318 artists from other countries registered.

The national artists come from:

Aguascalientes

Baja California

Baja California Sur

Campeche

Chiapas

Chihuahua

Colima

Coahuila

Mexico City (Previously DF)

Durango

Estado de México

Guanajuato

Guerrero

Hidalgo

Jalisco

Michoacán

Morelos

Nayarit

Nuevo León

Oaxaca

Puebla

Querétaro

Quintana Roo

San Luis Potosí

Sinaloa

Sonora

Tabasco

Tamaulipas

Tlaxcala

Veracruz

Yucatán

Zacatecas

And the artists from other countries come from:

EUROPE

Germany

Belgium

Denmark

Scotland

Slovenia

Spanish State

Finland

France

Greece

Netherlands

England

Ireland

Italy

Norway

Portugal

Russia

Switzerland

AMERICA

Argentina

Brazil

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Cuba

Ecuador

El Salvador

United States

Guatemala

Honduras

Nicaragua

Peru

Puerto Rico

Trinidad and Tobago

Uruguay

Venezuela

ASIA

China

Iran

Japan

Russia

Taiwan

AFRICA

Morocco

Republic of Togo

OCEANIA

Australia

New Zealand

 

 

The oldest participating artist is a singer-songwriter who is around 80 years old, although he looks much younger (you’re welcome, Oscar). His songs, which revive popular culture and its musical parodies (surpassed only by reality), are still heard in the Zapatista mountains, and perhaps in some of the places where the teachers resist.

The youngest participating artists are: a 6-year-old boy who dances Son Jarocho with the Altepee collective; the Children’s Choir of Huitepec whose ages range from 3 to 11-years-old; a little girl, 10-years-old, who plays the cajón de tapeo with the Banda Mixanteña of Santa Cecilia: and a little girl, 10-years-old, who plays the piano.

 

ARTISTIC ACTIVITIES TO BE SHARED:

PERFORMANCE ARTS:

FLAMENCO

TANGO

CIRCUS

CLOWN

STORYTELLING

DANCE

AERIAL DANCE

CONTEMPORARY DANCE

FOLKLORIC DANCE

POETRY READING

 

LIMA-LAMA

MAGIC

JUGGLING

PUPPETS

CLOWNING

PERFORMANCE THEATER

SHADOW THEATER

SENSORY THEATER

PUPPETS

 

VISUAL ARTS:

ALEBRIJES[i]

ARCHITECTURE

EMBROIDERY

POLITICAL   CARTOONS

MEXICAN PAPIER-MÂCHÉ

COLLAGE

COMICS

GRAPHIC COMICS

DRAWING

GRAPHIC DESIGN

BOOKBINDING

SCULPTURE

PHOTOGRAPHY

3-D PHOTOGRAPHY

RECORDING

GRAFFITI

ILLUSTRATION

EPHEMERAL INSTALLATION

SPACE INTERVENTION/ PUBLIC ART

LAUDERÍA[ii]

MASKS

PAINTING

BODY PAINTING

POT PAINTING

MURAL PAINTING

SILK-SCREENING

STENCIL

TATTOOING

AUDIO-VISUAL

AUDIO STORIES

FILM

DOCUMENTARY

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

VIDEO

DOCUMENTARY VIDEO

VIDEO CLIP

VIDEO SCULPTURE

MUSIC:

WIND BANDS

BEAT-BOX

BLUES

BOLERO

BOSSANOVA

PROTEST MUSIC

CHILENAS

CUMBIA

DUB

ETHNOROCK

FUSION

GITANA

HIP-HOP

JAZZ

AFRICAN MUSIC

CONCERT MUSIC

HARP

PIANO

VIOLIN

TUBA

FLUTE

GUITAR

LUTE

BAGPIPE MUSIC

HANG DRUM MUSIC

HOMPAK MUSIC

ORGAN GRINDER MUSIC

TRADITIONAL MUSIC

PUNK

OPERA

RAP

REGGAE

ROCKABILLI

ALTERNATIVE ROCK

SKA

SON CUBANO

SON JAROCHO

SWING

TROVA

 

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

WORKSHOPS (ON ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT WILL BE PERFORMED)

 

103_4950Should CompArte happen? That question is for all of you. And the answer should include how, where, and the customary etceteras. We think that if you are capable of aweing the world with your work, you can surely organize yourselves to celebrate humanity in the face of the machine.

We Zapatistas have suspended (not cancelled) our participation. We think, we believe, and we hope that there will be cleaner days in which to offer it. We don’t know when, maybe for the birthday party of the National Indigenous Congress, but we don’t want to commit ourselves because what if…

 

The Zapatista CompArte

 

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But since we’re on the topic, we want to let you know what our artistic contribution was going to be like. Well, better yet, we’ll tell you what Comandante Tacho told us, in so many words: “There is a compa who created his song, he finished the whole thing, that is, the lyrics and the music. And in his community they started a band. In the selection process in the caracol of La Realidad, where we were evaluating contributions from all of the communities to select which ones would go to Oventik, I heard his song, which is about resistance. Just imagine, sup, this compa was just a little thing when we rose up in 1994 and his song explained the resistance better than I could. I didn’t know whether to applaud or take notes. Now we’re really getting somewhere.”

Comandante Zebedeo also told us: “one compa came up to me and said that the situation was pretty bad, that he thought maybe they wouldn’t be able to have the festival because of all the attacks against the teachers. But he was happy because, as he said, “I didn’t know I could sing; now I know I can sing and I can even create my own songs where I talk about how we Zapatistas do things. Even if there isn’t a festival, I’m happy. What’s more, even if it doesn’t happen this time, perhaps we can do it another time.

And if you, artists, compas of the Sixth, are trying to imagine what the Zapatista artistic contributions would be like, well we’re including a video here. Maybe another day we’ll put up more, or maybe photos, because we really struggle with this internet thing. This dance in the video was created by a collective from the Altos zone, in the caracol of Oventik. We don’t know if it’s called dance or choreography, but it is called resistance and the music is a mix of the track by Mc Lokoter “Esta tierra que me vio nacer” [This land birthed me], and a ska track, “El Vals del Obrero” [The Worker’s Waltz] from the Spanish group SKA-P. The MC at the beginning explains the meaning of the dance. The video was produced by “Los Tercios Compas” in one of the selection rounds for who would go to Oventik, a little over two months ago (meaning, we didn’t suspend our participation because we weren’t prepared). Here it is. Aaaaaaaaah jump!

 

Bailable Resistencia

 

 

Well, now that we’ve caught our breath, we want to give you as much detail as possible about the material support that we are taking to the teachers in resistance in various parts of Chiapas, Mexico, as a sign of our solidarity, respect, and admiration.

But first…

Tojolabal, Zoque, Mame, Chol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, and Mestizo artists from the 5 caracoles were going to participate as listeners on behalf of the Zapatista bases of support.

From the Caracol of Roberto Barrios (Northern zone of Chiapas) 254 artists and 80 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of La Realidad (Selva Fronteriza zone): 221 artists and 179 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of Garrucha (Selva Tzeltal zone): 311 artists and 99 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of Morelia (Tzotz Choj zone): 276 artists and 88 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of Oventik (Highlands zone of Chiapas): 757 artists and 1,120 listener-observers.

Total: 1,819 artists and 1,566 listener-observers. Grand total: 3,385 men, women, children, and elders, Zapatista bases of support.

 

Food as an art of resistance.

 

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The resources set aside for the Zapatista artists varied according to each caracol, because the cost of things can be pricier or cheaper in different places. But the average food expense was $12.08 pesos per Zapatista artist per day. Everything we had put together for our participation, including all five caracoles, amounted to $290,000.00 (two hundred ninety thousand Mexican pesos). Of course, that’s before the next currency devaluation…err, yes, apologies, no more spoilers.

Where did the money come from? From the INE [National Electoral Institute in Mexico]? From the PROSPERA [government aid] program? From organized or disorganized crime—that is, the bad government? From some NGO? From a foreign power interested in promoting the Arts in order to destabilize Mexico’s “tranquillity?” No compas, the money came from the work of the production collectives across the communities, regions, and zones, as well as from the MAREZ [Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion] and the Good Government Councils. That is, it’s clean money, earned the way the immense majority of people of Mexico and the world earn: from work.

Is it a lot or a little?

Well, the average DAILY food consumption of a Zapatista artist, for example, in Roberto Barrios, during the 7 days that our participation would have lasted is:

171 grams of beans

50 grams of rice

21 millilitres of cooking oil

0.02 of a bag of pasta

20 grams of sugar

8 grams of salt

1.17 tostadas

Now, what are they going to do with all that? What are they going to donate to the teachers in resistance?

 

Zapatista Solidarity

The compas organized themselves by caracol in order to deliver the support accordingly:

The caracol of La Realidad will deliver the following to the teachers in resistance:

570 kilos of beans

420 kilos of rice

350 kilos of sugar

15 litres of cooking oil

21 kilos of soap

21 kilos of salt

28 kilos of coffee

1,571 kilos of non-GMO corn

840 kilos of tostadas

400 kilos of pinole

5 vats for cooking

5 ladles

4 medicine boxes

A commission from the caracol of La Realidad will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in Comitán, Chiapas, July 9, 2016, at…well, as soon as they get there.

 

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The Caracol of Roberto Barrios will deliver:

400 kilos of beans

250 kilos of rice

125 kilos of pasta

24 kilos of salt

24 litres of cooking oil

15 kilos of coffee

10 kilos of soap

3 kilos of chili pepper

10 kilos of onion

30 kilos of tomato

50 kilos of sugar

320 kilos of pinole

620 kilos of tostadas

1,000 kilos of chayote, yams, yucca, and plantains.

A commission from the caracol of Roberto Barrios will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas, July 8, 2016. A commission has already gone there to arrange things with the teachers there for the delivery.

The caracol of Garrucha will deliver:

300 kilos of beans

150 kilos of rice

150 kilos of sugar

20 kilos of coffee

15 kilos of salt

1 box of soap

60,000 tostadas

A commission from the caracol of La Garrucha will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, July 9, 2016.

The caracol of Morelia will deliver:

1,044 kilos of non-GMO corn

500 kilos of beans

300 kilos of rice

250 kilos of sugar

25 kilos of salt

1 box of soap

25 kilos of coffee

1 box of cooking oil

The caracol of Oventik will deliver:

114,584 tostadas (some 300 kilos)

1,475 kilos of beans

672 kilos of sugar

456 bags of pasta (some 97 kilos)

206.5 kilos of rice

68 kilos of coffee

5 kilos of pinole

48.5 kilos salt

12.5 litres of cooking oil

21 kilos of tomato

10 kilos of onion

165 kilos of vegetables

20 kilos of tea

A commission from the caracoles of Morelia and Oventik will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, July 10, 2016. We won’t deliver all of the tostadas at once because there are a lot and they would get mouldy. Better a little to start with and then more later.

 

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So that’s how things are, compas of the Sixth and artists and teachers in resistance.

Now, if you ask us what we think about you coming or not, we say clearly: come. Chiapas is beautiful. And now even more so with the teachers’ resistance flourishing in the streets, roads, highways, and communities.

Are you wondering if, once you’re here, you can take a trip to the caracoles? Yes of course you can. But one thing you can count on, at the entrance of the caracoles they will ask you, “did you already go see the teachers in resistance?

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

July 2016

 

[i] Folk art sculptures of fantastical animals, a craft native to Oaxaca.

[ii] Artisanal craft of the construction, repair, and maintenance of stringed instruments.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

EL FESTIVAL CompARTE Y LA SOLIDARIDAD.

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July 6, 2016

EZLN: Lessons from June

Filed under: CNI, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:12 pm

 

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EZLN: Lessons from June

 

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June’s Lessons.

July, 2016

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the Sixth in Mexico and the World:

Artists of the five continents:

Teachers in rebellion:

We send you all [todos, todas, todoas] greetings, from us and the indigenous Zapatista communities. We are writing this letter to tell you about what we have seen and heard this past month of June and to let you know about a decision we Zapatistas have made. Here goes:

Lessons from Above

In just the last few weeks of June, we have been given a true educational seminar.

Once again, the character of the Mexican state has been laid bare: as soon as the capitalists snapped their fingers, regarding what is called the “Law 3 of 3,” the institutional powers scrambled to correct what didn’t please their masters. Not content merely with knowing that they rule, the great lords of money demonstrated, to anyone who wished to see, who really makes the decisions. A handful of masters, in luxury brand suits and ties, came out to the Ángel de la Independencia [i] and, to mock its meaning, gave what amounts to a class in modern politics. “We rule,” they said without speaking, “and we do not like that law. We do not need to sacrifice lives, hold marches, or suffer blows, humiliation, or imprisonment. We don’t even need to show ourselves. If we do so now it is only to remind all of the politicians of their place, both those who are in office and those who aspire to be. And for the lumpen, well, this is just to remind them of the contempt we feel for them.” And then the system’s legal structure (and those who create, implement it, and enforce it) showed its true purpose: within just a few hours, the governmental “institutions” fell over themselves apologizing and trying to ease the anger of the gentlemen of money. Like overseers eager to serve their masters, the governing officials prostrated themselves and manoeuvred to make the law appropriate to the system’s design. “We didn’t even read it,” the legislators murmured as they expressed reverence and made servile apologies to their masters.

But when the teachers in resistance and the communities, movements, organizations, and persons who support them demanded the repeal of the education reform (really just a presidential pre-campaign platform for Aurelio’s aspirations to be a police informant), the government and its masters declared that nothing (meaning, the use of force) was off the table in order to defend “the rule of law.” With a tone more hysterical than historical, they emphasized that the law would not be negotiated. And they made this declaration just a few hours after they bowed before the powers of money… to negotiate modification of a law.

They didn’t bother to insist on the arbitrary imposition of an education reform that they haven’t even read. One careful read would be enough to realize that it has nothing to do with education. It never ceases to be pathetic that the political class and the press that accompany them say that they are defending the institutions of law and justice as they shamelessly demonstrate the contrary.

In June, the lesson from above has been clear and cynical: in Mexico, capital rules and the government obeys.

Lessons from below

For their part, the teachers gathered under the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), as well as the families and communities who support them, have also given classes in the streets, roads, and highways of Mexico below.

 

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In just a few weeks, they have dismantled all of the staging put up by the political class over multiple years and with a lot of money, to disguise the new war of conquest, going under the name “Pact for Mexico,” which is encapsulated in the so-called “structural reforms.”

The dignified movement of teachers in resistance has also made evident the profound decomposition of the federal, state, and municipal governments. Governmental corruption, inefficiency, and clumsiness can no longer be hidden behind the makeup offered by the servile paid media and social networks, manipulated with the same lack of skill with which they govern.

In an attempt to manipulate the generalized social “bad mood” and try to redirect it toward the democratic teachers’ union, the governments and paid mass media mounted an impressive (and ineffective) campaign of slander and lies: the poor don’t have gasoline, beer, liquor, sweets, lollipops, sliced bread, or the ground-up corncobs they sell as “corn flour.” And it’s all the teachers’ fault. Not because they are resisting, but because they are not large property owners.

Here in Chiapas at least, the supposed shortage of gasoline was nothing but the shameless speculation of that sector’s businessmen who knew that the price would go up on Friday and as of Tuesday were circulating the rumour of scarcity on social media. Curiously, at the gas stations, there was only diesel, the price of which wasn’t supposed to go up. The workers said there was in fact fuel, but “the boss told us to ration it and later to put up signs that there wasn’t any. They also messed with the pumps, so that the litres weren’t really full litres, but less. But that happened before, even when there weren’t blockades.”

Similarly, the scarcity of food and perishable products only occurred in the big supermarkets. The neighbourhood markets continued to offer fruits, vegetables corn, beans, rice, meat, and eggs without any rise in prices. It’s true that products like bottled soft drinks, cigarettes, beer, and liquor began to run out, in addition to what is commonly known as “junk food.”

The “third party interests” which the government is referring to when it talks about who is affected are none other than the interests of the big businesses of commercial capital.

As the governing officials and media and social network that accompany them were shouting their heads off about the teachers’ movement being only in the poorest states whose social backwardness is, of course, the CNTE’s fault, thousands of teachers in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon took the streets, not once but multiple times, of that former lair of national capital, demanding the education reform be repealed.

When the teachers in resistance decided to open the blockades for individual vehicles, public transportation, water trucks, and local traffic but not to big business, the overseers bellowed furiously, threatening and demanding that the commodities that feed big capital be allowed to pass through instead of the “rabble.”

And in the paid media: extensive coverage of the SEDENA airplanes, used to distribute Maseca (not corn), with which José Antonio Meade initiated his pre-campaign to replace Aurelio Nuño as presidential pre-candidate.  At the same time, they buried any news on the Hercules airplanes that transported anti-riot tanks and federal police troops to Chiapas and Oaxaca… and Guerrero… and Michoacán… and Tabasco… and Nuevo León? Oh the rebellious geography of the rebellion!

No. Those above are not interested in children’s education. Hell, they’re not even interested in the supposed education reform. Neither the lame policeman operating out of the Department of Public Education nor any of the legislators who voted for the reform have read it. And when the teachers insist that this or that article is harmful, those above turn nervously to their advisors and bodyguards, not only because they don’t know what those articles say, but because they don’t know what the word “harmful” means. The only thing that matters to them is to get into the line of succession, to see who will get the presidential nomination for the PRI or any of the other parties.

But despite threats, blows, prison, and the outrageous massacre in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, the teachers resist. But now they are not alone.

While what was expected was that after being threatened, the number of people at the blockades and encampments would diminish, instead what happened was that… more teachers arrived… and people from all of the barrios, neighbourhoods, villages, and communities!

That was how the teachers in rebellion and the people who support them concluded their free public seminar this month of June, giving us the most comprehensive lesson: in Mexico capital rules and the government obeys… but the people rebel.

The most important thing

When we Zapatistas say that we respect a movement, that’s what we mean: we respect it. That means that we don’t meddle in their schedules and ways of doing things, in their organizational structure, in their decisions, strategies, tactics, alliances, and decisions. All of that corresponds to the discernment and decision of those who make up that movement.

Whether they vote or not, ally with political parties or not, dialogue or not, negotiate or not, come to an agreement or not, whether they are believers or atheists, skinny or fat, tall or short, pretty or ugly, mestizo or indigenous, we support them because their struggle is just. And our support, though perhaps small, is unconditional. That is, we don’t expect anything in return.

Unfortunately, because of our essence as the EZLN, most of the time our support can’t go beyond our words, and more than a few times has to be silent. With regard to the teachers in resistance—they have enough accusations and pressures already leveraged against them to add on that they are being “managed” or “infiltrated” by political-military organizations.

So let it be known across the entire political spectrum: everything achieved by the teachers in resistance is and has been their own effort, their decision, and their perseverance. It is the teachers themselves who have explained their struggle, who have spoken in community assemblies, in barrios and neighbourhoods, and who have been able to convince. In contrast to other mobilizations, the teachers turned to look below, to direct their gaze, ear, and word below. It is their resistance that has convoked such a broad range of support. At least that is the case in Chiapas. Instead of slander or conspiracy theories, the government intelligence (ha!) services, as well as the media that feed off of them, should take lessons from the teachers.

 

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Our economic limitations (product of our rebellious resistance, not of teachers’ blockades), impedes us, at this point, from sending something substantial (for example, corn and not Maseca) to the teachers and the communities that support them, to alleviate the difficult conditions in which they resist all of the wars waged against them.

We also can’t hold large mobilizations because we don’t have institutional economic subsidies, and our every movement, however minimal or symbolic, must be funded by our very limited economy.

Yes, we know. You can chant to us “we don’t see your support.” But we Zapatistas aren’t trying to be seen, or trying to get votes, or affiliations, or trying to get on the list of acronyms that tend to become “fronts” or “broad fronts,” nor are we trying to get paid in one form or another. We also do not demand or expect “reciprocity.”

We Zapatistas only want the teachers to know that we respect them, that we admire them, and that we are attentive and taking notes on the lessons they are giving.

We think resistance should continue. And today, in this geography and calendar, resistance carries the face, the determination, and the dignity of the teachers in rebellion.

To say it more clearly: for us Zapatistas, the most important thing on this calendar and in the very limited geography from which we resist and struggle, is the struggle of the democratic teachers’ union.

The lesson from the originary peoples

Let’s hope that dialogue is held with respect and truth, and not as a simulation that hides preparations for a new wave of repression. Let’s hope that dialogue takes place without the bravado and table pounding so characteristic of he who thinks he rules.

Let’s hope that the governing class, big capital, and the media that accompany and serve them stop playing with matches, lighting them and throwing them onto a prairie it has dried up with its own policies, corruption, and lies.

Let’s hope that those above stop thinking that the storm will put out the fire that they, and no one else, try to stoke. Let’s hope that they manage to see that the storm will end up drowning them too and that then there will be no columnist of the written or electronic press, no hashtag or social network, no television or radio program that can save them.

Let’s hope so, but in our experience, no, that will not happen.

The originary peoples, compañeros and brothers of the National Indigenous Congress have said clearly that we are speaking from within the storm.

“From within the storm,” these were the words chosen by our sisters and brothers in pain, rage, rebellion, and resistance who go under the name National Indigenous Congress (CNI). With just those three words, the CNI gave a lesson on the calendars and geographies ignored by social networks, by the paid and free press, and by the progressive intellectual class. We Zapatistas felt that those words were also ours, and that is why we asked the National Indigenous Congress that we sign jointly.

Because for the originary peoples, threats, lies, slander, beatings, prison, disappearance, and murder have been part of our daily life for years, decades, centuries.

Because what the teachers in resistance are suffering now, the originary peoples, in their barrios, nations, and tribes, have long suffered without anyone—anyone who isn’t part of the Sixth—noticing.

Because for a while now, the originary peoples, from their countrysides, valleys, and mountains, have seen and known what was coming for everyone [todos, todas, todoas]. That includes those who look at us with disdain, or as a target of mockery and charity (same thing), or as a synonym for ignorance and backwardness. That includes those who, short on vocabulary and imagination, reissued the word “indian” as an insult.

To all, todos, todas, todoas, we say: if you didn’t see it before, look now. Upon seeing or hearing about what they are doing to the teachers, think “I’m next.”

Because after the elementary education workers will come the pensioners, those in the health sectors, the bureaucrats, the small- and medium-sized businesses, the transportation workers, the university workers, those working in media, all of the workers of the countryside and city, indigenous and non-indigenous, rural and urban.

Perhaps this will be the conclusion of the families who, without belonging to organizations, parties, or movements, support the teachers. Maybe it is because they know “I’m next” that they lend so much popular support to the teachers. It doesn’t matter how much Aurelio Nuño writhes and gesticulates proclaiming that the teachers in resistance are a threat to those families and their children. Those families support the teachers’ movement. And they will continue to do so, even while the media and the paid machinery of the social networks endeavour, in futility, to echo the poor arguments that badly conceal the repression underway.

It is as if the lesson from below, without a face or an acronym, was: “If what has run out above is time, what has run out here below is fear.”

A difficult decision

This is the time of the teachers in resistance. It is necessary and urgent to be with them.

Over long months and in extremely difficult conditions, the Zapatista bases of support have prepared, practiced, and created artistic expressions that, perhaps, would surprise some [uno, una, unoa] for the CompArte festival.

But we Zapatistas think that supporting the teachers is so important that we have decided…

First: To suspend our participation in the CompArte festival, in the caracol of Oventik as well as in CIDECI in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, which will be held July 17-30, 2016.

Second: To donate all of the money and food we have saved for our transportation to and from Oventik and CIDECI and for provisions while we are there to the teachers in resistance.

Third: To the 1,127 artists from every corner of Mexico, to the 318 artists from other countries (including originary peoples from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania) registered for CompArte, we give our sincere apologies and ask for your understanding. We know that the neither the expense nor the effort you have made are small, in addition to adjusting your schedules in order to be able to come and share your creations with us Zapatistas. We hope that what is now suspended can be later celebrated. We hope that you understand that it is an ethical assessment that has led us to this decision. We analyzed each and every one of our options and arrived at the conclusion, erroneous or not, that this is the way to support the struggle of the teachers and their communities. We are not willing to be strike-breakers or to dispute the limelight the teachers have won with pain and rage.

We respectfully ask that you, in accordance with your ways, times, and abilities, raise your art up with the teachers in resistance, in their activities, encampments, marches, rallies, and wherever the National Coordination of Education Workers and your artistic expressions deem appropriate.

We also ask the compañeroas of the Sixth to create, in line with their calendars, geographies, and abilities, the spaces and conditions for the Arts and their irreverent challenge to imagine other worlds, in order to celebrate humanity, its pains, its joys, and its struggles. Because that and only that is the objective of Comparte.

 

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We Zapatistas will be in our places, attentive to what happens, to what is said and what is not said. We will continue to look with hope and respect at each and every resistance that arises in the face of the predatory machine.

For now we will put away our musical instruments, our paintings, our theatre and cinematic scripts, our clothes for dancing, our poetry, our riddles (yes, there was a section for riddles), our sculptures and everything that, thinking of you all, we prepared to share.

We will put this all away for now, but, as Zapatistas, we won’t rest.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moises

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July 2016

 

From the notebook of the Cat-Dog:

 

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What a way to irritate and polarize a whole country! Who advises them? The same people who told them they would win in the state elections, that Brexit wouldn’t happen and that, once the vote was in, the impact would be minor, that the machine works so well it practically purrs? Or the businessmen hidden behind the “Mexicanos Primero[ii] campaign? Well, if these are the minds that made the education reform, there you have an example of their great capacity for “analysis.” Did they tell them that Oaxaca was a kind of cheese? That Chiapas is the name of the ranch belonging to the Velascos, the Sabines, the Albores? That Guerrero’s border is the Sol highway and the hotel zones? That what must be protected in Michoacán is the Monarch butterfly? That nothing is happening in Nuevo Leon? That Tabasco is an Eden? That the health workers are going to be quiet and put up with anything? That the entire Nation is going to limit itself to venting via clever hashtags? Well, it turns out that they are getting lessons on national geography: Oaxaca’s last name is “indomitable”; Chiapas is the cradle of the EZLN, where the twenty-first century came early, where the end of the world was announced (the end of their world), and where culture, science, and art shout out what the media silences; Guerrero (and the entire country) are named Ayotzinapa; in Michoacán there is a place called Cherán and another called Ostula, and in all of the cardinal points there is a below that doesn’t give up, that doesn’t give in, and that doesn’t sell out. If the education reform isn’t modified, they should at least modify their advisors. Ah, and tell them at “Mexicanos Primero” that reality already evaluated them: they flunked.

I testify

Grrr, meow.

[i] The “Angel of Independence,” a landmark statue on the thoroughfare Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, built in 1910 to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico’s War of Independence.

[ii] “Mexicanos Primero” is a corporate education reform lobby that backed the education reform mandating a standardized system of test-based hiring and teacher evaluation, among other things.

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/04/las-lecciones-en-junio/

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June 1, 2016

EZLN: May, Between Authoritarianism and Resistance

Filed under: Repression, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:59 pm

 

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EZLN: May, Between Authoritarianism and Resistance

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The calendar? May 2016

The geography?

Well, it could be any part of this country, scratched open and bleeding with forced disappearances, impunity made institution, intolerance as a form of government, corruption as the modus vivendi of a fetid and mediocre political class.

But it could also be any part of this country healed by the persistence of the families who do not forget their missing, their tenacious search for truth and justice, their rebellious resistance in the face of blows, bullets, and clubs, and their eagerness to construct a path without masters, bosses, saviours, guides, or caudillos; through defence, resistance, rebellion; through the strength of pain and rage making the crack deeper and wider.

“Mexico” as this country is commonly called, reflects in its own way the crisis that is shaking the entire world.

It seems that at some moment in the brief and intense history of the 20th century, this country was an international referent for tourism. One heard about its landscapes, its gastronomy, the hospitality of its people, the perfection of the perfect dictatorship.

But both before and during this travel agency pamphlet image, what happened happened. No, I won’t ply you with information on what has happened in the immediate past, say the last 30 years.

The thing is that over the past few years, “Mexico” has become a world referent for governmental corruption; for the cruelty of narco-trafficking; the full complicity and cohabitation, not merely infiltration, of organized crime and the official institutions; the forced disappearances; the army out of the barracks and into the streets and onto the highways; the murders and imprisonments of opposition figures, journalists, and others; the “warning” signs on the paths of tourists; the cynicism as idiosyncrasy in the media and social networks; and life, freedom, and personal possessions gambled in the deadly roulette of daily life (“if they didn’t come for you today, maybe tomorrow”). If you are a woman, of whatever age, multiply the risks. The feminine, along with any difference, is ahead only in this respect: more likely to suffer violence, disappearance, death.

But you already know all of this. It is enough to have lived here, in these lands and under these skies, a little, not much, let’s say from just a few months old to less than five years old, which was the age of the little girls and boys murdered in the ABC Daycare in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, June 5, 2009, almost seven years ago.

What crime did those children commit? Were they victims of bad luck, of a dark divine design, of chance? Or were they victims of a political class that allows itself anything (such as the fact that one of those implicated—and not investigated—in this crime is a pre-candidate for the Mexican presidency for the National Action Party)?

So the place could be Sonora, where nevertheless, neither the crime nor the shamelessness of those responsible were able to defeat the families of the toddlers of the ABC Daycare.

Or the place could be Mexico State, where the Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla is at risk of being destroyed and buried by one of big capital’s highways. Their crime? Defending the forests. But, on the ruins of their homes, the community members maintain their resistance.

Or the place could be Oaxaca, in the Binizza community of Álvaro Obregón, in Juchitán, where the population was shot at by paramilitaries of the National Action Party and the Party of the Democratic Revolution. What is their offense? Opposing the privatization of the wind, imposed by big capital in the Isthmus as “wind farms.”

Or it could be Veracruz, already a territorial hunting ground targeting women, young people, and journalists, whether or not they are oppositional. Or the Yucatán, where the government has implemented the so-called “Escudo” [shield] against the population of Chablekal as a way to protect its own acts of displacement. Or Guerrero, where all of Mexico is renamed “Ayotzinapa.” Or Morelos, converted into a gigantic clandestine cemetery. Or Mexico City where opposition protests are prohibited because there the automobiles rule, including over the Constitution. Or Puebla, bastion of water and highway privatization. Or Tamaulipas, where, like everywhere in the country, the PRI is the institutional arm of organized crime. Or anywhere in this republic called “United Mexican States” with its waves of firings, displacements, theft, disappearances, destruction, death…war.

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But it turns out that it is Chiapas. And in Chiapas, we see…

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital city. May, 2016. Average temperature: 37 degrees [Celsius] in the shade. Altitude: 522 meters above sea level. Date: May of the teachers in resistance and rebellion. But before we go further, allow me a few corrections:

  1. The poorly named “education reform” is not about education but rather about labor. If it were about education it would have taken into consideration the perspective of teachers and families. When the government refuses to dialogue about the reform with teachers and families, it is acknowledging that this is not about improving education, but about “payroll adjustment” (which is how capital refers to firings).
  2. The law isn’t being applied, it is being violated. Those who say they are defending the constitution (through the educational reform) are violating the constitution (the laws that guarantee basic rights such as gathering, petition, and free movement).
  3. What the paid mass media are doing is useless. They declare back and forth: “everything running normally,” “the majority of schools are still functioning,” “over 90 percent of teachers are working.” But there is no referent in reality for these declarations, because the teachers are in the streets. In the villages the families already said clearly that they will not accept substitute teachers, that they won’t let them in or will run them off.
  4. The teachers aren’t defending their privileges, they are fighting in the last trench any human being has: for the minimal life conditions for them and their families. Are you surprised that someone is willing to defend the little they have left? A despicable salary, a few classrooms that look like they have been bombed (and they have been, but by economic bombs), not one but multiple work shifts, excessively large classes? In sum: little pay, bad working conditions, and a shitload of work. Sound familiar? And yet, the teachers show up at their schools and teach the little boys and girls the ways of the arts and sciences.
  5. The objective of the supposed education reform is to destroy those teachers who prepared for years and dedicated practically their whole lives to this profession. Of course, due to the perseverance of the media, which gets bonuses for their trouble, the teachers’ movement has been given the image of corrupt leaders. But this image is just a decoy, an attempt to get people to take the bait. The objective [of the reform] is not the leaders, but all of the teachers, including the servile National Education Workers Union [SNTE]. Now, if you want a model of corrupt leaders, you have the leadership of the SNTE.
  6. Yes, the objective of the education reform is to privatize education. In fact, this privatization is already in process. The attempt to abandon and defund the schools didn’t finish off public education in Mexico for one reason: the teachers. So now the teachers must be destroyed. They [the government] are trying to provoke a catastrophe in the education system such that families turn to private schools, working double shifts to pay for tuition, or resort to raising their daughters and sons on television, radio, and digital media, or in the street, or not even that. The teaching profession is not improvisational, nor is it a question of intuition. It requires study, preparation. Not just anyone has the capacity and the knowledge to educate. Because in school students are educated, not just taught. Not just anyone can successfully take on a group of school-age or preschool-age children. That is why the Escuelas Normales [Teachers’ Colleges] are necessary.
  7. Have you been told that what’s going on is that the teachers are lazy and don’t want to study? That’s a lie, any teacher wants to be better, better prepared and better trained. Do yourself what the government hasn’t done: talk to a teacher. Even better, listen to them. You will see that when they talk about their situation, it will seem like they are describing yours.

_*_

We Zapatistas try to understand. And in order to understand one has to listen. Whenever we can, we rely on direct information. In this case, we sent a group of “Los Tercios Compas” (Zapatista media that isn’t paid, or autonomous, or free, or alternative, but they are compas) and we listened to the Zapatista bases of support that are part of the teaching profession. We took the following from one of these listeners:

“Compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, I greet you and hope that you are in good health and doing the work of the struggle.

Having given this brief greeting, I offer my report: Well, we saw the teachers’ march. It wasn’t just male teachers, there were also many female teachers. The damned police attacked them and also attacked the people nearby. They even beat children. Later we saw a sign, well a sign painted on a wall, that said: “The police: such badasses against the people, such pussies against the narco.” We saw that the teachers were happy in the march. As if they didn’t care that they were being beaten and pursued and sprayed with that gas that doesn’t let you breath. The teachers [male and female] just kept going, along with some of the mothers and fathers of the children that go to the schools and whose families support the teachers. It was clear that no one had forced them to go, but rather that they had come because they wanted to. They were excited. And the people in the houses along the street were shouting their support to the teachers. And in the streets people gave them water and fruit. You can tell that the people love those teachers who are in struggle. So then the teachers would shout the chant, “we see your support” and well, I thought there’s probably support that isn’t seen also, but there’s no chant for that.

Later we went to see the damned police who were following the teachers in order to harass them. We saw the police looking very defeated. There were just a few who were enthusiastic and who were beating their batons on their plastic shields, supposedly to frighten people, but it’s not frightening. The majority of the police could barely walk, I think because of the heat. The sun is strong in Tuxtla. And the teachers, well you can tell they’re used to it because they were happy. They sang songs and yelled chants. They sang that one called “We shall overcome” and I even started to sing too, but then I remembered that I was there in the role of “Tercio compa” and so better not. Every time the police paused for a moment they would all run for the shade. Their commander would scold them because they didn’t stay in formation. We heard one police officer telling another about how he pursued a little girl and a teacher, and that the teacher ran faster than the child. And that damned officer laughed like it was a joke to pursue a little girl. And when they got the order to advance, the police went dragging their shields behind them. Some were wearing metal boots. Others carried clubs. As they went by, the people in the street would say things to them, telling them to leave and not to bother the teachers anymore. Some people straight up cussed them out. The police looked at them with anger in their eyes but they didn’t stop. And these are families that are yelling. In some houses and buildings there were signs, like homemade posters expressing support for the teachers. On the radio stations people called in to comment, but not like other times when they complained that the teachers were blocking roads. Now they were complaining about the federal police, that they are just creating trouble, that it looks like we’re at war, that not even during the Zapatista uprising were there so many police in the streets of Tuxtla. No one was thanking the government; they were all saying clearly that this is all the fault of the government. And the radio stations would cut the people off, you can tell they didn’t like what the people were saying. And the newspapers have no shame, they publish stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with anything. The journalists are worried because in Chenalhó some partidistas [political party-affiliated people] kidnapped some other partidistas. But the teachers do politics, they explain their struggle and the people hear them and understand them. We heard what the people say. They don’t listen to or understand the governments. They call Velasco “the kid” and complain about how “the kid” is only good for getting his picture taken and going out for a stroll. And the rumors say that he’s not even in charge anymore, that there is fighting to see who will take the governorship. They say that “whoever gets it is a shameless thief.” They don’t respect the government.

They respect and love the teachers, they give them water and fruit, they applaud them. Even the cars, when they drive by the march, honk and wave. But the police only get insults. We heard one teacher explain their struggle: “This is now about putting food on the table for our children.” In one place close to Tuxtla, called Chiapa de Corzo, the people organized themselves and ran the federal police out of there. They weren’t teachers, they were families. The police hit them and threw gas at them, but the people didn’t give up and they ran off the federal police. Once we had seen all of this, we came back to give our report.

What we think is that who knows what will happen, but the governments already lost.

That’s all I have to say.

 

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_*_

Now, questions for the exam on the federal government:

If a government isn’t willing to dialogue and negotiate with the opposition, what path does it leave the opposition? If the government only employs argument via the use of force, what does it expect as a counter argument?

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, May 2016

 

From the notebook of the cat-dog:

The Hour of the Police 2.

That vendor of deodorant for metrosexuals, the postmodern version of Gordolfo Gelatino, Aurelio Nuño Mayer, should stop his campaign for the presidency and recognize that the reform he purports to defend is neither a reform nor is it about education. It’s merely a shameless personnel switch. A boss badly dressed in institutional clothing uses a perfumed foreman to get rid of jobs.

To be an idiot foreman that longs to be a good policeman, follow these instructions: write 100 times, “public education in Mexico is a business and that’s how it must be managed.” Ah, and don’t study history. Forget that the National Coordination of Education Workers was born in 1979, in Chiapas, Mexico. And it was born as a response to government brutality.

_*_

The battles that the teachers and the families wage do not end with May. They are just the beginning of many months and struggles that will come, and not only for the teachers. In the geographies and calendars below, history doesn’t happen, it is made.

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/05/30/mayo-entre-el-autoritarismo-y-la-resistencia/
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EZLN supports the teachers in their fight against the education reform

Filed under: Repression, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:43 am

 

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EZLN supports the teachers in their fight against the education reform

A member of the EZLN in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Photo: Isaín Mandujano.

 

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chis. (apro). – The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) today came out in favour of the teachers’ fight against the education reform and asserted that with the repression and the closure to dialogue and negotiation, the Mexican government does not seek to apply the law, but rather to do violence to it.

The government: “is not applying the law, the law is being violated. It says it is defending the constitution –the education reform–, violating the constitution -the laws that guarantee fundamental rights such as the rights of assembly, petition and free movement,” it accused.

By means of a comunicado called “May: Between authoritarianism and resistance,” it pointed out that the battles that the teachers, as well as their families unleash now, do not end with May: “They are barely the beginning of many months and struggles that will happen, and not only with the teachers. In the geographies and the calendars of below history doesn’t elapse, it is made.”

At 16 days from the start of the fight of the “teachers in resistance and rebellion,” Subcomandante Galeano and Subcomandante Moisés, spokespersons and military leaders of the EZLN announced today their position on what is happening in Chiapas and other parts of the country where battles against “the misnamed education reform” are taking place.

“The misnamed ‘education reform’ is not about education, it’s about labour. If it were educational the views of the teachers and families would have been received.  When the government refuses to dialogue about the reform with the teachers and families, it is recognizing that we’re not dealing with improving education, but rather with ‘adjusting the roster –that’s how capital calls the firings,” says the missive signed by both masked men.

To the EZLN, what the paid communications media do is useless. Statements come and go: “everything’s normal,” “the majority of the schools are working.” “Ninety something percent of the teachers are working.

“But those statements don’t know the reality, because the teachers are in the streets. In the towns the families already said clearly that they are not going to accept the substitutes, that they are not going to let them enter or that they are going to run them out,” the leaders of the rebel group said.

It clarifies that the teachers are not defending privileges, they are struggling in the last trench for any human being: the minimum living conditions for themselves and their families.

“Does it surprise you that anyone is willing to defend what little is left to them? An infamous salary, some classrooms that appear to have been bombed (and they have been, but by economic bombs), not one but rather several shifts, excessively numerous groups?  In sum: little pay, bad working conditions and very fucked up. The EZLN questions: sound familiar?

In the comunicado the spokespersons for the EZLN say that: “the objective of the alleged educational reform is to destroy that teacher who prepared for years and has dedicated practically all of his or her life to that craft.”

With perseverance “which in the media is paid with banknotes,” they said, the image has been constructed of corrupt leaders, but that image is the lure for biting the fishhook: “No, the objective isn’t the leaders, but rather all the teachers, including those in the servile National Education Workers Union. Now, if you want a model for corrupt leaders, you have it there in the leadership of the SNTE.”

According to the EZLN the objective of the education reform is to privatize education and that in fact, that privatization is already underway, because leaving the schools without attention or a budget won’t finish off public education in México for a human reason: the teachers.

Now the other objective, the guerrilla group abounded, is to destroy those teachers. “It tries to provoke a catastrophe in the education system so that the families tend, doubling shifts, to private schools; or are in agreement that their daughters and sons are formed consuming television, radio and digital media, or in the street.

“The teaching profession does not improvise, nor is it a question of intuition. It studies, demands preparation.  Not just anyone has the ability and the knowledge to educate.  Because one is educated in school, one doesn’t just learn.  Not just anyone can successfully face a group of school-age or pre-school age children.  Therefore, the Teachers Colleges (escuelas Normales) are necessary,” the EZLN’s leaders add in their missive.

Galeano and Moisés ask:

“Have they told you that what occurs is that the teachers are loafers and that they don’t want to be prepared? They lie, any teacher aspires to be better, to be better prepared.  Do what the government hasn’t done; speak with a teacher.  Even better, listen to her!  You will see how, when he or she talks about their situation, it seems that they describe yours.

“If a government is not willing to dialogue and negotiate with its opponents, what path do they leave them? If only the argument of force is used, what do they expect as a counter argument?”

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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Re-Published with English  interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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March 20, 2016

Progress on the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”

Filed under: Marcos, Women, Zapatista — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:53 am

 

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Progress on the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”

 

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

March 16, 2016

Compas and non-compas:

Now we are going to let you know how plans are going for the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”:

As of March 14, we have received 50 applications for the event.

There are applications from Norway, Brazil, Chile, France, the USA, Japan, and Mexico.

Scientific disciplines: So far invitations are being considered for scientists of Astronomy, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Medicine, Genetics, Paediatric Pathology and Nephrology, and Microbiology. We will continue to keep you informed of further developments with the invitations.

The scientists invited to the encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity” can offer a critical reflection on their scientific theory or practice, or an explanation of the general elements of their specialty given in an accessible manner (that is, an educational talk).

The email address where you can register to attend the encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity” is: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx.

Date and location for the ConSciences Encounter: December 25, 2016 to January 4 2017, with an ‘intermission’ on December 31 and January 1. It will be held at CIDECI in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

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Only the invited scientists with their exhibitions and the selected Zapatista youth with their questions will be given the floor at the festival.

There is no cost for registration but the Zapatistas cannot pay for travel, lodging, or food.

Boys and girls may attend as videntes [seers/viewers] and escuchas [ears/listeners], but they should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The production, consumption and sale of drugs and alcohol is strictly forbidden.

That is all for now.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, March 2016.

 

 

From the diaries of the cat-dog:

Echoes of March 8i

March 8, 2016. Place: EZLN Headquarters. Document obtained from the diary of someone calling himself “supgaleano,” thanks to the Trojan malware called “finders keepers, losers weepers” version 6.9.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and the present writer were here discussing the upcoming CompArtefestival and how the Zapatista communities are organizing to participate. While we were talking a compañera insurgenta came in and said simply: “there is going to be a soccer game. We women were challenged to a game.” I knew the motivation behind this, because it was not the first time that it had happened. Let me tell you that in this barracks, the insurgent women [insurgentas] outnumbered the insurgent men [insurgentes] two to one. To explain this difference in numbers, there are two different stories: the official version is that it is because the majority of the insurgentes are doing highly specialized work which only men can carry out with panache and grace; the real version is that there are in fact more compañeras than compañeros. Publishing the real version is of course prohibited, so only the official version has been distributed to the Tercios Compas.

Despite this reality, obvious from a simple glance, it occurred to one of the insurgentes to say as he finished breakfast: “since today is March 8, we men challenge the women to a game of soccer.” The commanding officer realized the error almost immediately, but the deed had been done. A female official from the insurgent health service responded: “it’s on.” The men crowded around the naïve challenger to scold him. Realizing the reason for the frustration that was spreading through the masculine ranks, the insurgente tried to clarify, “but with an equal number of players on each team.” “No way,” said the women, “you said that the men challenged the women, and so it is all of the insurgentes against all of the insurgentas.”

Clouds began forming in the sky and a strong wind foreshadowed misfortune.

After lunch (the menu was tamale shakes and coffee with chili pepper), an insurgenta came by to let us know that the game was about to start and asked if we were going. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés couldn’t go because he had to review the registration list for the festival. I abstained, intuiting that the environment would not be a propitious one for gender inequity. So neither of us went.

The horizon was already darkening when they returned. On earth and in the sky the storm is lady and mistress of everything.

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The insurgenta arrived to report in. I asked her how the game had gone and she responded, “we tied.” “How many to how many?” I asked. “I don’t remember” she said, “but we won a game and then we changed sides on the field and they won, so we tied: one each.” She said it with such self-confidence that she seemed like the president of the National Electoral Institute reporting the official results of any election.

Something smelled fishy to me, and so I went to see the commanding officer and asked about the results: “We won 7 to 3” he responded tersely. “But the Health insurgenta said that you tied because they won one game and you all the other?” I asked. The official smiled and clarified: “no sup, we only played one game; what happened was that in the first half they were winning 3 to 2, and in the second half, after switching sides on the field, we made 5 goals. The result: insurgentes – 7, insurgentas – 3.” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson of the eezeeelen, in the name of all of the Zapatista men, women, children and elders exclaimed: “We men won!” Another insurgenta who was walking by admonished “what is this about ‘we men won,’ ha! you two didn’t even go.” “It doesn’t matter,” said the official spokesperson of the eezeeelen, “we men won.” The storm appeared to diminish and the wind and water settled down. But the horizon was far from clear.

Later that night, when as we toasted masculine supremacy with our coffee, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés explained to me: “Look, what happened is that among the men, only two of them really know how to play soccer and both of them were on guard duty, so in the first half the insurgentes were down two players and the insurgentas, well, there’s already more of them. In the second half, those two guys finished their shift and they were incorporated into the game and well, the men won.”

I asked if the insurgentas knew how to play soccer: “they do,” he said, “but they also have one player who is young and runs up and down the field and everywhere; she is the team’s real strategist and tactician because when she gets tired of running she just yells, “ball, ball” and all of the insurgentas run and surround the guy who has the ball and they all kick and since there is only one ball, well, a whole lot of kicks get the compañero.”

We raise our cold cups of coffee and toast the new triumph of gender even in adverse conditions.

In the mountains, the wind and rain had already drunk of the nocturnal force. It was not yet morning when they subsided, with even more force if that is possible.

But (there’s always a “but”), the next day at breakfast one of the men, with ill intentions, asked how the soccer game had gone, “We tied,” an insurgenta rushed to say before the little machos managed to respond, and she turned to the other women around her: “Right compañeras?” “Yeessss!” they all shouted and, well, since they are the majority, well…anyway, the risks of democracy.

That is how the insurgentas converted a sports defeat into a triumph and won…with a tie. Final score: insurgentes – 1, insurgentas – 2.

 

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But the machos didn’t give up so quickly, they asked for a re-match. “Sure” said the compañeras “but next year.”

Desperate, the insurgentes looked to the person who best encapsulates the highest values of machismo-zapatismo, which is to say, me. They asked me when “men’s day” was.

What?” I asked them.

Yes,” they said, “if there is a woman’s day, then there must also be a man’s day.”

Ah” I agreed, understanding: “yes indeed there is one.” And I showed them what, with concise wisdom, one tiger had tweeted: “Men’s day” (when you celebrate the slavery of the woman to the work of rearing children) already exists. It is May 10.”

I think that they didn’t understand what you might call my sarcastic tone because they went away saying, “Ah, ok well then it’s still a little while off.”

-*-

Reading comprehension questions:

1.-Is the health insurgenta who subverted the semantics in FIFA’s rules a feminazi, a lesboterrorist, or someone who does away with the rules, destroying imposed [gender] roles and damaging masculine sensibility?

2.- Is the person who summarized with such grace what happened on this fateful March 8, 2016, in a Zapatista barracks: heteropatriarchal, Eurocentric, species-ist, ableist, classist and etceterist, one more victim of the system (well look at that, it sounds like the name of a music group), or does he not celebrate May 10 because he lacks the above listed attributes?

3.-As the women that we are, should we give a rematch to those damned men who, well, you know, you give them an inch and they want a mile?

Send your responses to the concierge of the Little School. Note: all not-so-nice comments will be returned to sender.ii

I testify under gender oath/protest:

SupGaleano

March 8, 2016

i March 8 is known around the world as International Women’s Day.

ii The original is “mentadas que no sean de menta.” Mentada” is like a telling-off or insult. Menta is mint. Literally this would be unminty insults.

 

Progress on the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”

 

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