dorset chiapas solidarity

January 28, 2017

Learning to govern ourselves

Filed under: Autonomy, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:43 am

 

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Learning to govern ourselves

 

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By: Gustavo Esteva

The storm rages; cold and hurricane-force winds threaten from the north, which will be accentuated after next Friday, January 20, and a cyclone forms level with the land all over the country. There is nowhere to take shelter.

There are those who seek refuge in the dominant system. They think that doing so is realistic. They consider it romantic or utopian, for example, to openly challenge capitalism. Likewise, although they know that the state apparatus is falling apart, dragged through the storm, and that the people distrust the parties and the electoral process more all the time, they hang all their hope on 2018. They think that circumstances will finally make it possible for their permanent candidate to win the elections; they are confident that, once in power, he will fix everything fixable.

They saw with disgust the decision of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) to create a government council that will express itself in the voice of an indigenous woman, who will be an independent candidate in the presidential elections. They circulate new racist and sexist comments to disqualify the decision. They also warn that the decision will divide what is still called “the left” and will benefit the candidates who administer what remains of the government.

Debate has been scarce. Democratic dogmas are launched over rebel heads like projectiles. There is resistance to abandoning the dominant mental framework, although evidence and experiences showing that it is not sensible or realistic to take refuge in the remains of the institutional shipwreck multiply.

Along with that dogmatic nonsense, probably unyielding, disagreement and confusion also spread. It is not easy to escape from the dominant habits. For the CNI, for example, it will not be easy to constitute the government council from below cleanly. Different small groups are already mobilizing to insert their cadres into it. They perceive it as a body with power from which they will be able to impel their agendas, which embrace very diverse points on the ideological spectrum.

The challenge that we confront obviously demands a kind of imagination to which we are not accustomed. It implies, first of all, recognizing that far from escaping from the storm and seeking provisional shelters, it’s necessary to submerge oneself in it. There, from the inside, we will be able to realize that candidates, parties or even the dominant structures form part of our strategic adversary, which we still call “fascism,” and they nourish the “fascist” that we carry inside, hidden in the desire to be governed.

libertad-womanThe patriarchal mentality, rooted in the course of millennia, makes it very difficult to conceive the world without hierarchies and structures of control. Upon warning that without them we would fall into chaos, they deny the fact that we are in current disorder because of them; the illusion of governing ourselves through representatives deepens the chaos instead of remedying it: it pushed us to the abyss of violence and decomposition in which we find ourselves.

It is easy to talk about what we’re dealing with: governing ourselves: that we are capable of managing our own lives, nothing more nothing less. It turns out to be difficult because we are infected with the subordination virus: we allow publicists, business people, bankers, leaders, the Internet and almost anything or anybody to govern us. We believe that it is freedom and democracy to decide between the choices that the system presents us, between brands of soap or between candidates or parties. And the “fascist” that we carry inside is constituted.

There are places and spaces in which the people have not stopped governing themselves since millenniums ago. We must not idealize them; there one also observes patriarchal impositions and habits of domination. But the practice exists. A certain number of people are still born in contexts in which many aspects of daily life are the fruit of common agreement. In questions of enormous importance to people, heteronomy, regulation by others, can be kept at bay.

Although the majority aren’t accustomed to governing themselves, the impulse is profound and general. Nobody needs training to do it. It starts at home, when we create conditions so that the whole family, including small children and elders, may participate in the decisions that affect everyone. It passes from there to the condominium, the street, the district, to all the spheres of the reality in which each one moves.

Examples of how to change the pattern of behaviour that makes us desire someone to govern us exist everywhere. In San Cristóbal, for example, a city that was not constructed for automobiles, traffic lights and police govern traffic… with bad results. The “one by one” device in which the drivers themselves govern the crossing of each street has demonstrated the advantages of auto-governance.

On that path we are able to discover that the country still has immense reserves of autonomous wisdom. In popular sectors that collective possibility of self-government has been a condition of survival. And if we deal with the storm in that way, practicing our own forms of self-government at all levels, organizing ourselves for that, we will be prepared to do what we have to do inside of 18 months.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, January 16, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/01/16/opinion/016a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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January 20, 2017

Who dares to say it is a bad fight?

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:45 pm

 

CNI & EZLN at “The Zapatistas and ConSciences For Humanity

Who dares to say it is a bad fight?

 

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By: Magdalena Gómez

Who dares to say it is a bad fight? With that question on the first of January, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés emphasized the support of the EZLN for the agreements reached in the second stage of the fifth National Indigenous Congress (CNI). And he reflected: “Twenty-three years ago we began our uprising, but our path was exclusive, not all could participate. Now, the CNI calls us to a struggle in which we can all participate. Regardless of age, colour, size, race, religion, language, pay, knowledge, physical strength, culture, sexual preference. Those who live, fight and die in the countryside and in the city now have a path of struggle which unites them. The struggle that the National Indigenous Congress calls and invites us to is a struggle for life with freedom, justice, democracy and dignity; a whole agenda of peaceful struggle that the EZLN endorses at all times. The most recent was the meeting of the Zapatistas and Consciousness for Humanity, held from December 26, 2016 to January 4, 2017 in CIDECI, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, in which they raised questions scientists should respond to. They showed evidence that these are problems that the new Zapatista generations are facing. Science was defended and was separated from pseudoscience and charlatans. So was the recognition that mere ancestral knowledge is no longer enough to deal with the impact on nature caused by destructive projects in the logic of capitalism. We do not need, they said, scientists who come to flatter or shout Zapata lives, the struggle continues or to expose their tribulations in the National System of Investigators (SNI) as some did, clarifying that they are not willing to lose their scholarships. From these perspectives the Zapatistas invited the scientists to share knowledge with the communities.

The second stage of the fifth congress of the CNI culminated in a public assembly held in the auditorium of the Oventic Caracol, where they explained that during the months of October, November and December they consulted on the proposal to create an indigenous council of government and to apply for an Indigenous woman as an independent candidate to run for the Presidency of the Republic in 2018, 43 indigenous peoples from 523 communities in 25 states of the country were consulted, of which 430 communities approved the proposal.

Another 80 consultations continue in process, and more will be added as other indigenous peoples, afro-descendants and migrants request it from the CNI. Delegates also explained that in some communities it was not possible to conduct the consultation because of the violence that is experienced in various parts of the country. And they announced their agreements: 1) to appoint an indigenous government council with men and women representatives of each of the peoples, tribes and nations that comprise it. This council intends to govern this country. And the council will have as its voice an indigenous woman of the CNI, that is to say, who has indigenous blood and knows its culture. That is to say that it has as spokeswoman an indigenous woman of the CNI that will be an independent candidate for the Presidency of Mexico. Our point is for indignation, resistance and rebellion to appear on the ballots of 2018. They clarified that it is not their intention to compete in anything with the parties and all the political class that still owes us much for every person dead, disappeared, or imprisoned, for every act of plunder, every repression. Do not become confused, we do not pretend to compete with them because we are not the same, we are not their lying and perverse words. Both the members of the council and their spokesperson will be proposed and legitimized in assembly and appointed according to customs and traditions, and their positions will be revocable by the assembly of the CNI. In addition, a series of measures were agreed to strengthen the CNI and indigenous peoples, such as eliminating all that divides, such as political parties and government projects, and focus on developing autonomy in all its axes, especially in education, justice and self-government. 2) Convene a assembly to appoint the indigenous governing council for Mexico in May 2017, in which they will decide who will be the indigenous woman presidential candidate in 2018. The next five months the CNI will seek to build bridges with the broader sectors of society where it will have to be determined if as a matter of principle racism is banned and it endorses the CNI’s decision, that still independent of the decision about the 2018 vote. Who dares to say that it is a bad fight?

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/01/10/opinion/014a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

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January 15, 2017

Zapatistas and Indigenous Mexicans Create Parallel Government for Indigenous Autonomy

Filed under: Autonomy, CNI, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:06 pm

 

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Zapatistas and Indigenous Mexicans Create Parallel Government for Indigenous Autonomy

 

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Article originally published on Upside Down World. The opinions are the author’s.

A coalition of indigenous Mexican communities has announced the creation its own, parallel government with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Dubbed the Indigenous Governing Council (CGI), the parallel government will aim to promote autonomy for indigenous Mexicans.

“This council proposes to govern this country,” the EZLN said in a communique.

The EZLN is an indigenous guerrilla movement who waged an armed insurgency against the Mexican government throughout the 1990s. Today, the EZLN retains a presence in the highlands of the southern state of Chiapas, where it has been experimenting with a form of direct democracy that draws from anarchist and socialist traditions blended with indigenous practices.

According to the Zapatistas, the CGI represents the next phase of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI). The CNI was founded in 1996 by the EZLN as a project aimed at uniting Mexico’s dozens of indigenous groups. Since then, the CNI has become one of Mexico’s largest indigenous organizations, and remains closely linked to the EZLN.

According to the EZLN’s communique, the CGI’s spokesperson will also double as a candidate in Mexico’s 2018 presidential elections.

The CNI/EZLN first announced plans to field a presidential candidate last October. The name of the candidate won’t be released until May 18, after the CGI holds a “constituent assembly.” This assembly will also officially inaugurate the CGI.

No other details of the candidate have been made public, though the CNI and EZLN have already said they have agreed it will be an indigenous woman.

The announcement of the CGI’s creation came following the conclusion of a CNI summit in Chiapas. According to representatives who spoke to the press, the decision to create the CGI was made after three months of consultations with indigenous communities. This was followed by two days of closed door talks between indigenous groups during the CNI summit. A total of 43 indigenous groups from 25 states were involved in the talks, the CNI said.

“Indignation, resistance and rebellion will feature on the 2018 electoral ballots,” one representative said in the EZLN’s de facto capital of Oventic, according to the Mexican magazine El Proceso.

The CGI’s Proposed Structure

The representatives provided only limited details on how the CGI will actually function, though they expressed hope it will be a more comprehensive form of organization than the CNI. According to those who spoke to the press, the CGI will have a more permanent presence in indigenous communities than the CNI. El Proceso reported the CGI will have “commissions” on the community, regional, state and national level. The CGI will also reportedly have different administrative commissions, mirroring the Mexican government secretariats. Some of these are likely to include commissions of finance, environment, health, communication and security. According to El Proceso, there will also be a commission for “Mother Earth”, and an elder’s council.

Although the spokesperson will be the public face of the CGI, as an individual they will have no real power. Instead, all of the CGI’s decisions will be made by consensus among representatives of indigenous communities, who comprise the CNI’s assembly. These representatives will also be able to recall the spokesperson at any time if they feel they are not fulfilling their duties.

“Our resistances and rebellions constitute the power from below,” the EZLN said.

They continued, “We do not offer empty promises or actions, but rather real processes for radical transformation where everyone participates and which are tangible in the diverse and enormous indigenous geographies of this nation.”

Remembering the EZLN Uprising

The CNI’s summit was timed to coincide with the 23rd anniversary of the EZLN’s uprising on January 1, 1994. On that day, thousands of EZLN guerrillas caught Mexican security forces off guard, and quickly occupied a handful of towns across Chiapas state. The uprising was prompted partly by the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the EZLN argued would deepen Mexico’s wealth disparity, while doing little to help indigenous Mexicans in poor regions like Chiapas. In 1994, 75.1 percent of the population of Chiapas lived in poverty, according to official data. Today, that figure is 78.8 percent.

“Nowadays, the conditions of the Mexican people in the countryside and the city are worse than 23 years ago,” EZLN spokesperson Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés said.

Speaking from an undisclosed location in the highlands of Chiapas, Moisés said the plight of indigenous Mexicans remains ignored by the government.

“Governments come and go, of different colours and flags, and all they do is make things worse,” he said.

Although the EZLN has survived over two decades of struggle with the Mexican government, the movement has been criticized by some on Mexico’s left who have accused the group of being too insular.

The EZLN has always refused to engage in mainstream politics, and has long opposed all political parties. The 2018 election will be the first time the group has ever endorsed a presidential candidate, but not necessarily the first time they have played a role in a national election.

In 2006, the EZLN sparked controversy when it refused to endorse the campaign of presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Obrador was the favoured candidate for much of the Mexican left.

Instead of backing Obrador, the EZLN led the Otra Campaña (Other Campaign) during the 2006 presidential race. This campaign sought to promote changes to Mexico’s constitution, including proposals to enshrine protections for indigenous autonomy. Although the campaign significantly broadened the EZLN’s support base beyond Chiapas, some on the left claimed the move drew attention away from Obrador’s election campaign. Obrabor lost to the right wing Felipe Calderón by less than 250,000 votes. Obrador is planning a comeback in 2018.

However, Moisés argued the EZLN’s struggle is more inclusive than ever before.

“We started our uprising 23 years ago, but our way was exclusive, and not everyone could participate,” he said.

“Now, the National Indigenous Congress calls us to a struggle we can all participate in, regardless of age, colour, size, race, religion, language, salary, knowledge, physical strength, culture or sexual preference,” he said.

Moisés continued by stating the CNI has taken up the same fight as the EZLN, “and they have decided to do it by civil and peaceful means.”

“Its causes are just, [and] undeniable,” he said.

Ryan Mallett-Outtrim is an independent Australian journalist based out of Mexico. More of his work can be found at dissentsansfrontieres.com.

http://upsidedownworld.org/archives/mexico/zapatistas-and-indigenous-mexicans-create-parallel-government-for-indigenous-autonomy/

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January 14, 2017

Zapatismo’s presidential candidacy

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

 

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Zapatismo’s presidential candidacy

 

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By: Raúl Zibechi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Published in Spanish by Viento Sur

November 7, 2016

http://vientosur.info/spip.php?article11883

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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January 5, 2017

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

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

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

Declaration Of The Fifth National Indigenous Congress

 

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To the Originary Peoples of Mexico:

To Civil Society of Mexico and the World:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the Free Media:

Brothers and Sisters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To obey, not command

To represent, not supplant

To serve others, not serve oneself

To convince, not defeat

To go below, not above

To propose, not impose

To construct, not destroy

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

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

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

From Oventik, Zapatista Territory, Chiapas, Mexico

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

 

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

 

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January 3, 2017

CNI announces an autonomous parallel government for Mexico

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

 

 

CNI announces an autonomous parallel government for Mexico

The EZLN Extends the Consultation to Determine its Presidential Candidate

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

 

 

By: Isaín Mandujano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com

Sunday, January 1, 2017

http://www.proceso.com.mx/468261/amplia-el-ezln-consulta-para-definir-a-su-candidata-presidencial

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

https://chiapas-support.org/2017/01/02/cni-announces-an-autonomous-parallel-government-for-mexico/

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January 2, 2017

Zapatistas Celebrate 23 Years of Resistance, Forge New Strategy

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

 

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Zapatistas Celebrate 23 Years of Resistance, Forge New Strategy

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Zapatistas-Celebrate-23-Years-of-Resistance-Forge-New-Strategy-20170101-0010.html

 

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January 1, 2017

CNI releases map showing locations of aggression against indigenous peoples

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

 

Indigenous conflicts number 202 in MX

Congress releases map showing locations of aggression against indigenous peoples

 

congress-400x258

Mexico News Daily | Saturday, December 31, 2016

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

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

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

Among the cases cited:

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Reforma (sp)

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/indigenous-conflicts-number-202-in-mx/?utm_source=Mexico+News+Daily&utm_campaign=2222324af4-December+31&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f1536a3787-2222324af4-347992809#sthash.1rGpWuxT.d

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December 30, 2016

CNI-EZLN, the Mexican State and the registration of an independent candidate

Filed under: CNI, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:05 pm

 

 

CNI-EZLN, the Mexican State and the registration of an independent candidate

 

10850200_635319836599307_9015950603862189517_n-copia

 

The CNI-EZLN and the Mexican state face the registration of an indigenous woman as an independent candidate for 2018

By: Gaspar Morquecho

It’s probable that on January 1, 2017 the CNI-EZLN will announce the strategic agreements, “if there are any,” facing “the offensive against the peoples” (…) and the steps that they are going to take: “to dismantle from below the power that those from above impose on us and that offers us nothing but a panorama of death, violence, dispossession and destruction.”

It’s also probable that they will make public the results and evaluation of the Consultation around the proposal to create: “an indigenous government council whose word will be materialized by an indigenous woman, a delegate from the CNI as an independent candidate who contests in the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista National Liberation Army in the 2018 electoral process for the presidency of this country.” (Joint Comunicado from the CNI-EZLN. October 14, 2016.)

Perhaps the most important debates can be presented around the proposal for the participation “in the 2018 electoral process;” even more in the debate as to whether the indigenous woman is registered or not as an independent candidate. It’s very clear that the EZLN is in favour of entering the 2018 contest and in favour of the registration of the independent candidate. In that way they will be able to measure the acceptance of the proposal and its incidence in the indigenous population and in the non-indigenous population. If they don’t register the candidate in the 2018 campaign it will be difficult to go beyond the ambit of the adherents to the Sexta, of the close allies and sympathizers. Without registration, the day’s work would be something like the Other Campaign but now with an indigenous candidate.

Going for the Yes to the 2018 political electoral contest and for the registration of the candidate can require:

  1. 1. – The mobilization of the EZLN and the CNI in their regional and national ambits.
  2. 2. – The mobilization of their national and international allies.

The Electoral Law requires the following for the registry of the indigenous candidate:

  1. 1. – Getting 820,000 signatures within 120 days from voters of at least 17 federative states.
  2. 2. – Forming a civil association, presenting it to the Tributary Administration System and opening a bank account for that purpose.
  3. 3. – In that way, in this case, the independent presidential standard bearer would have the same rights as her competitors, like access to time on radio and television, public and private financing, and designating representatives to the INE.

In other words, the CNI and the EZLN would have to organize and mobilize a network in at least 17 states to get at least one million signatures. Upon achieving that, they would have a first indication of the indigenous and non-indigenous population that supports their initiative in this conservative, racist and patriarchal country.

Those million signatures would also be an indicator of the minimum number of votes they could obtain in the contest and to design a campaign to add at least 5 million votes. The initial platform of the Indigenous Government Council and the strength of the indigenous woman’s voice that would set the struggle for life and against violence, dispossession and the destruction that it is submitting to the peoples.

It’s very probable that the Mexican State and its electoral political apparatus are following up the CNI-EZLN proposal and defining their strategy towards it. Surely they are also making their evaluations, in other words, the convenience or not of granting registration to the independent candidate of the CNI-EZLN.

If the Mexican State and its apparatus evaluate that giving registry to the independent candidate oxygenates the electoral contest obliging the political parties and their candidates to give quality and competition to their electoral offer so as to exceed previous contests and as a result increase voter turnout, the Mexican State would not hesitate in giving registration to the candidate of the CNI-EZLN.

In that scenario the CNI-EZLN would have the space to strengthen its presence in the country, to contribute to the cohesion and strengthening of the movements in resistance versus the “panorama of death, violence, dispossession and destruction.”

Nevertheless, it’s necessary to take into account that the scenarios are adverse to the objectives of the CNI and EZLN campaign around their independent candidate:

  1. 1. It is very clear that it (the campaign) will travel through territories where the Capitalist Beast has planned or carried out investments in so-called mega-projects: highways, dams, mining and wind parks. (It will also travel) through territories under the control of Radical Companies dedicated to the cultivation, shipment and commercialization of drugs, and trafficking of undocumented persons. Both businesses have their own armed forces.
  2. 2. The presence of those Companies has fragmented the social fabric of the peoples and has done violence or confronted them not just a few times.
  3. 3. The national State at the service of Multinational Capital has used its armed forces not just a few times to undermine the resistance of the peoples that defend the land and territory.

In the logic of the Counterinsurgency Strategy that the Mexican State has designed for annihilating the EZLN and that others call the Integral Campaign of Exhaustion, the CNI and the rebels would be permitted to mobilize and carry out a preliminary campaign to raise one million signatures in 17 states in accordance with Law, a not so easy job, and later… denying them registration and leaving the CNI and the EZLN navigating in a marginal campaign that can be exhausting and frustrating.

Anyway, on January 1, 2017, we will find out what the delegates resolved at the Second Stage of the 5th National Indigenous Congress during December 30 and 31, 2016.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Monday, December 26, 2016

http://www.chiapasparalelo.com/opinion/2016/12/el-cni-ezln-y-el-estado-mexicano-frente-al-registro-de-una-mujer-indigena-como-candidata-independiente-para-2018/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

https://chiapas-support.org/2016/12/30/cni-ezln-the-mexican-state-and-the-registry-of-an-independent-candidate/

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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December 1, 2016

EZLN: a clarifying text

Filed under: CNI, gal, Indigenous, La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:10 pm

 

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EZLN: a clarifying text

 

img_5865-800x400-995x498

SCI Marcos before he died and became SCI Galeano. Photo: Vice

By: Magdalena Gómez

I dedicate this collaboration to the Cuban people and to Pablo González Casanova for the “Lessons of Fidel” and, also for his own. The text “A story to try to understand, elaborated by sub Galeano and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson and current head of the EZLN, is very opportune. It is obligatory reading for those who in good faith are interested in knowing and sharing the initiative underway, about which the National Indigenous Congress is consulting with indigenous peoples and communities. The detailed story about the gestation of the initiative gives an account of a political conviction of the EZLN that it is certainly not the first time they have put into practice. We remember their historic decision in the dialogue with the federal government, of ceding the table to the country’s indigenous peoples so that they would be the ones that in the first instance would discuss the proposals on indigenous rights and culture in coordination with the indigenous commanders. The San Andrés Accords owe their relevance to that construction and unpublished collective debate.

The correct allegation about the more than evident fact that neither dreams nor nightmares fit into ballot boxes, for the effects of the subject initiative in consultation is a double edged sword, because, as is recognized, “there have been, there are, and there will be doubts and legitimate and rational questionings,” among them is rightly the one that proposes to go to an election when it (the election) is recognized as being meaningless.

Nevertheless, one must turn to that evaluation and the text that proposes it clearly: there is no other more convincing way of making the situation of the indigenous peoples visible than placing themselves on the stage where the whole political class will see them in 2018. Very strong what they shared with the CNI upon presenting their proposal to them: “Our pain reaches fewer people all the time. Our deaths don’t echo like before. And it’s not that the people outside have become cynical or apathetic. It’s that the war we have suffered since a long time ago as Native peoples, now reaches them, it is now in their streets, in their houses, in their schools and in their workplaces. Our pains are now one more among many others. And, although the pain extends and becomes deeper, we are more alone than ever. Each time we’re going to be fewer. Soon the CNI won’t be able to meet because no one will be able to leave their territories, be it because of the cost, be it because of the bad government, be it because of the corporations, be it because of crime, be it because of a natural death or a bad death mala that it impedes you. In a while more we will only be talking among ourselves, already knowing what we’re going to say.”

Also very significant, for those who want to understand, the story about the meeting that the now-deceased Sup Marcos had 10 years ago with a northwest indigenous chief of the country’s northwest 10 years ago, when he (Marcos) was touring with the other campaign.The chief had previously received institutional governments. The chief told Marcos: “I know very well that they didn’t want you to meet with me, that they pressured you so that you would not be here. They also pressured me so that I would not receive you. I don’t know why you are here. I imagine that those who command you told you that you should see us and listen to us. I don’t know. But I’m going to tell you why I received you. I have received the governments. They have come from all the colours and sizes. They come and take their photo, they say a few words, they go away and they don’t come back. I have received them because my predecessors told me that my duty was to see that my people, my pueblo, would not die, that they would survive. I received them for that reason. I receive you because of that. I don’t believe that you bring me ether advice or teachings, although it’s good that you don’t seek a photo and that you listen instead of talking. I received them because I think my people will survive a while longer that way and won’t die. So I receive you because I believe that something will be seen from what we are and that view, although only for a little time, will help my people survive.”

Upon the deceased Sub Marcos questioning whether he wasn’t worried that they would judge him for receiving him, he answered: “Only my own people can judge me. If my people condemn me for what I have done and for what I do, that would mean that I wasn’t wrong. My people will have to have survived in order for them to condemn me. So that would mean that I have fulfilled my duty and I can show the dead that I have done so, although the living condemn me.”

Another of the document’s central messages is the clarification that it will not be the EZLN that participates in the election: “the CNI is who will decide if it participates or not with its own delegate, and, if so, it will have the support of Zapatismo.” It couldn’t be clearer. The decision of the peoples in the consultation is complex, because they rightly resist the enslavement of power, but also, like the indigenous chief of the northwest, they are supported in institutional mechanisms like survival strategy. They know that the community, individual and secret vote will be visible and they will be objects of multiple pressures. There is the task of the indigenous peoples we have accompanied and obviously we decided to assume it.

 

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/11/29/opinion/020a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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November 30, 2016

New EZLN Communiqué Clarifies Joint Proposal with CNI

Filed under: CNI, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:11 pm

 

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New EZLN Communiqué Clarifies Joint Proposal with CNI

 

galSubcomandante Galeano (Photo@SIPAZ archives)

On November 17, 33 years after its foundation, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) published an extensive communiqué titled “A History to Understand”, in which it gives further details about the proposal of consultation with the peoples that make up the Indigenous National Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) to examine the convenience of naming a national council of government and an indigenous woman candidate for the 2018 elections.

Subcomandante Galeano clarified that, although the proposal was launched by the EZLN, “the CNI is who will decide whether or not to participate with a delegate of its own, and, if necessary, it will have the support of Zapatismo.” But, “No, neither the EZLN as an organization nor any of its members will run for a popular election position in the 2018 electoral process. No, the EZLN is not going to become 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 altered its course to any degree, nor will it continue its struggle along the institutional electoral route.” He ratified that “the EZLN does not struggle to take Power.”

Subcomandante Galeano added that in making the proposal to the CNI, the EZLN stated “that it did not matter whether or not they won the Presidency of the Republic, that what was going to matter was the challenge, irreverence, insubordination, the total rupture of the image of the indigenous, subject to the alms and the image of pity so rooted on the institutional right and who, would say it, also on the left of ‘real change’ and its organic intellectuals addicted to the opium of social networks – that their daring would make the whole political system vibrate and that it would have echoes of hope not in one but in many of the Mexicans below … and the world.”

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/chiapasnational-new-ezln-communique-clarifies-joint-proposal-with-cni/

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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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November 7, 2016

And it trembled …!

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Repression, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:11 am

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And it trembled …!

 

Female mexican guerilla warfarePHOTO /BERNARDO DE NIZ

 

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

On October 14th of this year, the National Indigenous Congress [CNI] and the Zapatista National Liberation Army [EZLN] made public an historic document with the prophetic title of: “May the earth tremble at its core,” at the conclusion of the 5th National Indigenous Congress at Cideci-Unitierra, Chiapas. The text is not the product of the occurrence of one person or minority group, but rather the result of six days of gruelling and prolonged work sessions, carried out based on the well-known method of the original peoples of debating until achieving consensus.

In the meeting they celebrated life, at the same time as denouncing the worsening of the dispossession and repression “that have not stopped in the 524 years since the powerful began a war aimed at exterminating those who are of the earth; as their children we have not allowed for their destruction and death, meant to serve capitalist ambition which knows no end other than destruction itself. That resistance, the struggle to continue constructing life, today takes the form of words, learning, and agreements.”

It was emphasized that the peoples are constructing every day in the resistances against capitalism’s offensive which becomes more aggressive all the time, and which has been converted –as was reiterated in the 2015 seminar Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra– into a civilizational threat, “not only for indigenous peoples and campesinos, but rather for the peoples of the cities who must also create dignified and rebellious ways for not being murdered, dispossessed, contaminated, sickened, kidnapped or disappeared. From our community assemblies we have decided, exercised and constructed our destiny since time immemorial, for which reason maintaining our forms of organization and the defence of our collective life is possible only from rebellion in the face of the bad governments, their corporations and their organized crime.”

It is not about a so-called ethnocentrism, self-centred on indigenous peoples, but rather, on the contrary, it is about an exhortation that, starting with a secular form of struggle, rooted in big historic events with a strong indigenous presence –like the wars for Independence and Reform, the fight against foreign invasions, the Revolution against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz–, calls upon all of us to organize collectively in rebellion against the bad government that has delivered the homeland to the corporations and crime.

It denounces –in detail and with multiple testimonies and documented evidence– the process of re-colonization that the different Native peoples, nations and tribes represented at the 5th Congress are suffering in a particularly aggravated way: invasion of forests, sacred communal lands and territories; imposition of highway and super-highway mega-projects, pipelines, aqueducts and thermo-electric dams, an interurban train, airports and shopping centres; the plunder and privatization of natural springs and other natural resources; affectation of lands and territories because of mining, tourist projects, planting of transgenic soy and African palm, besides livestock brokers; commercialization of ancestral knowledge; contamination of rivers through fracking and imposition of bills for environmental services, carbon capture and ecotourism; all of that, accompanied by the criminalisation of struggle and resistance, assassination, incarceration and the forced disappearance of activists; buying consciences, fragmentation of communities, disintegration of the community fabric and contriving of communal assemblies, that “engineering of conflicts” that corporations know well; relentless pursuit from drug trafficking with the complicity of all the government bodies, armed forces and security apparatuses; murders of youth and women and rapes of women; aerial fumigations that produce illnesses; attacks from paramilitary groups and harassment of community authorities. Faced with this storm provoked by new forms of capitalist globalization, participants in the 5th Congress recognize that confronting it is only possible collectively, from anti-capitalism and from decision-making bodies constructed from below: “That is the power from below that has kept us alive, and it is why commemorating resistance and rebellion is also ratifying our decision to continue to be alive constructing hope for a future possible only over the ruins of capitalism.”

For these considerations that, as is observed, are transcendent and profound, the fifth National Indigenous Congress “decided to initiate a consultation in every one of our towns to dismantle from below the power that those above impose on us and that offers us a panorama of death, violence, dispossession and destruction […] we declare ourselves to be in permanent assembly and we will consult in each one of our geographies, territories and directions about the agreement of this 5th CNI to name an indigenous government council whose word will be materialised by an indigenous woman, a delegate from the CNI, as an independent candidate who will contend in the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista National Liberation Army in the 2018 electoral process for the Presidency of this country.”

And, effectively, as was foreseeable, the political class trembled repeatedly… and they didn’t expect the marked reactions of secular racism from those creole-mestizo mentalities that couldn’t conceive of the indigenous thinking for themselves, as well as the ideological-political monologue of a “partyocracy” that considers “unity on the left” with arguments like the “least bad,” or “democratic alternating,” the monopoly of “national and popular representation,” and that has not issued any pronouncement against the real, open and shadow powers that have led Mexico to a humanitarian emergency and, above all, that is not capable of respecting the collective decisions, now in consultation, of the country’s most exploited, discriminated and oppressed sectors.

Welcome to this initiative that makes you think, act and even argue, beyond singular thoughts, personalities and preconceived ideas.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 4, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/11/04/opinion/018a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted, with minor edits, by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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November 5, 2016

Zapatistas And Indigenous Congress Seek To Revolutionize Mexico’s 2018 Election

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:02 am

 

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Zapatistas And Indigenous Congress Seek To Revolutionize Mexico’s 2018 Election

 

2016_1101mx_ Zapatistas march during an election day protest in Mexico City on Sunday, July 2, 2006. The Zapatistas and Indigenous Congress will use the 2018 presidential elections to galvanize popular organizing from below. (Photo: Janet Jarman / The New York Times)

 

By Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater, www.truth-out.org
November 2nd, 2016

Note: On October 18th, the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, the National Indigenous Congress and other Indigenous Groups published a communique to the people of the world entitled, “MAY THE EARTH TREMBLE AT ITS CORE.” The statement came out of the Fifth National Indigenous Council held from October 9-14.  They describe how they have been building communities of resistance and list some of the violations of their rights and their property that have occurred; concluding with the following:

“Given that the offensive against the people will not cease, but rather grow until it finishes off every last one of us who make up the peoples of the countryside and the city, who carry profound discontent that emerges in new, diverse, and creative forms of resistance and rebellion, this Fifth National Indigenous Congress has decided to launch a consultation in each of our communities to dismantle from below the power that is imposed on us from above and offers us nothing but death, violence, dispossession, and destruction. Given all of the above, we declare ourselves in permanent assembly as we carry out this consultation, in each of our geographies, territories, and paths, on the accord of the Fifth CNI to name an Indigenous Governing Council whose will would be manifest by an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, as an independent candidate to the presidency of the country under the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in the electoral process of 2018. We confirm that our struggle is not for power, which we do not seek. Rather, we call on all of the originary peoples and civil society to organize to put a stop to this destruction and strengthen our resistances and rebellions, that is, the defence of the life of every person, family, collective, community, or barrio. We make a call to construct peace and justice by reweaving ourselves from below, from where we are what we are.

“This is the time of dignified rebellion, the time to construct a new nation by and for everyone, to strengthen power below and to the anti-capitalist left, to make those who are responsible for all of the pain of the peoples of this multi-coloured Mexico pay.

“Finally, we announce the creation of the official webpage of the CNI: www.congresonacionalindigena.org

After two decades of declining to engage with electoral politics in Mexico, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress of Mexico (CNI) have announced their plans to form a national Indigenous governing council and choose and support an Indigenous woman candidate in the 2018 Mexican presidential elections. For many longtime supporters of the EZLN and CNI, the October 14 announcement came as a surprise, given these organizations’ consistent and staunch critique of electoral politics.

The EZLN and CNI have long advocated for the right of Mexico’s Indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities to govern themselves autonomously from the Mexican state. Given this well-known and unwavering political commitment, why have the EZLN and CNI decided to enter the 2018 elections? Does this represent a rejection of their commitment to autonomy? Nothing could be further from the case. In fact, their October 14 communique reiterates their rejection of taking state power:

We confirm that our struggle is not for power, we do not seek it. Rather, we call on all of the original peoples and civil society to organize to … strengthen our resistances and rebellions, that is, the defence of the life of every person, family, collective, community, or neighbourhood. To construct peace and justice by weaving ourselves together from below, from where we are what we are.

What may at first appear as a paradox — a campaign for the presidency that is not interested in gaining the power of the presidency — in fact invites a deeper reflection on the nature of politics, the meaning of national elections and the possibilities for a different Mexico.

The EZLN and CNI’s proposed presidential campaign appears paradoxical when one views it through a strictly institutional lens that considers national elections as straightforward state mechanisms for choosing the next president. This lens does not see the broader significance of elections as national cultural and media events, where a large portion of the Mexican population imagines what could be different in the next six years.

The October 14 communique makes clear that for the EZLN and CNI, the goal of an electoral campaign is not to take control of existing government institutions; rather, it is to use the election as a pretext for popular organizing from below. With their campaign, they are proposing a different possibility for the future of Mexico. But what exactly would this different future look like?

A Candidate Who Is Not a Candidate

The EZLN and CNI are not asking the Mexican public to choose a specific person to take the reins of the presidency; rather they are asking the public to choose a different form of politics that has been developed for the past 20 years in Zapatista territory in Chiapas and in the numerous Indigenous tribes and nations that make up the CNI.

The exact text of their announcement states that they will “name an Indigenous Governing Council whose words will be manifested through an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, who will run as an independent candidate for the presidency in the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in the electoral process of 2018.”

Their candidate will not be a candidate in the traditional sense; she will be the spokesperson for a national Indigenous governing council organized outside the institutions of the Mexican state. She will represent a rejection and redefinition of Mexican democracy: instead of rule by a male mestizo political elite, she will represent the leadership of an Indigenous woman who will speak in the name of a democratic council of Mexico’s Indigenous communities. The communique makes clear that this council will be organized in the coming year through a process of consultation and direct democracy that includes all the Indigenous communities throughout Mexico that have delegates in the CNI. In fact, this process may result in an entirely different initiative in the 2018 elections. The communique emphasizes that even the proposal to choose an Indigenous governing council and Indigenous woman candidate must first be approved by every community in the CNI before it can move forward.

Historical Significance of an Indigenous Governing Council

The CNI has slowly developed its system of democratic decision-making and community consultation over the past 20 years. The CNI grew out of the 1996 peace dialogues in San Andrés, Chiapas, that brokered a cease-fire between EZLN and government forces. During these dialogues, the EZLN insisted on the inclusion of all the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. The EZLN knew that the lack of self-determination and desperate poverty that spurred their uprising were common conditions throughout Indigenous Mexico. The dialogues resulted in the San Andrés Accords, which promised a reform of the Mexican constitution guaranteeing the right to Indigenous autonomy and self-government.

In her book, The Fire and the Word: A History of the Zapatista Movement, Gloria Muñoz Ramírez explains that the Indigenous groups that collaborated with the EZLN during the dialogue process formed the CNI to struggle alongside the EZLN for the implementation of the accords. This struggle continued in the following years, during which the Mexican government constantly violated the cease-fire with military and paramilitary aggressions against Zapatista communities. In 2001, all three Mexican political parties, including the supposedly leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), refused to implement the San Andrés Accords, and instead passed a watered-down “Indigenous rights” law that did not place the right to Indigenous self-government in the Mexican constitution. The EZLN has completely rejected engagement with the Mexican political establishment since this betrayal.

The betrayal of the San Andrés Accords only strengthened the EZLN’s commitment to self-determination for the Indigenous peoples of Mexico and re-invigorated their struggle for autonomy in their communities. The Zapatista communities of Chiapas have slowly developed a practice of direct communitarian democracy over the past 20 years. Since the EZLN’s 1994 revolution, they have sought to build an autonomous political system and have eschewed strategies aimed at controlling existing state institutions. Their foundational revolutionary laws established local governing bodies that made decisions through popular assemblies in each locality, and for the past 20 years, they have developed this autonomous organizational structure creating more than 30 autonomous municipalities that were grouped into five zones in 2003 under the authority of five “good government councils.”

Similarly, the numerous Indigenous tribes and nations that make up the CNI have followed the EZLN’s example and altered it to fit their own traditions and contexts. For example, in 2011, residents of the Purépecha town of Cherán organized their own community self-defence force, expelled all political parties from their community and now govern themselves through their own system of direct democracy. Their uprising came in response to illegal logging in the town’s forests by organized crime groups with the support of local police and politicians. Similarly, the 33 Mexican Indigenous groups that attended the most recent gathering the of the CNI all have parallel struggles that center around local democratic organizations rejecting and resisting attempts to impose resource extraction or mega-construction projects in their territories.

Proposal for a National Participatory Democracy

The CNI and EZLN have sought to build local democratic governments that, in their words, “govern by obeying” — whose every decision obeys the will of the community where they govern. This form of democracy is the EZLN and CNI’s proposal for the future of Mexico. Rather than lining up behind an individual candidate, they are proposing a candidate as a spokeswoman for this slow democratic process in which each community approves all government decisions according to their own Indigenous or local customs and democratic organizations. With their presidential campaign, they are hoping to expand their movement for a democratic Mexico beyond their individual territories to create a new form of politics that would include the voices of all Mexicans.

What this new form of politics would look like is still an open question that will be answered in the collective voice of the Mexican people, not just in the voice of the EZLN or the CNI. This presidential campaign is an open call to redefine Mexican politics “from below,” from the perspective of those who are marginalized by the current Mexican political establishment. As Subcomandante Galeano wrote in a recent communiqué elaborating on the EZLN and CNI proposal, “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?”

 

Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater is an independent writer and activist. He has travelled to Chiapas many times during the past five years to participate in and report on EZLN public initiatives and to work as a Human Rights Observer in Zapatista communities. His forthcoming book, Autonomy is in Our Hearts: Zapatista Autonomous Government Through the Lens of the Tsotsil Language, analyzes the EZLN’s autonomous government system in terms of the political categories of the Tsotsil Mayan cosmovision.

 

https://www.popularresistance.org/zapatistas-and-indigenous-congress-seek-to-revolutionize-mexicos-2018-election/

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