EZLN: Political Economy from the Zapatista Communities II

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2015 by floweroftheword


Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Seminar “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra,” May 5, 2015


Good afternoon to everyone, compañeras, compañeros, brothers and sisters.

In response to what we have been listening to yesterday, and the day before, we have been commenting in the commission of compañeros and compañeras of the CCRI, that it seems to us that you can see there what it is that we want to do. This is the reason all of us are here, and if we haven’t been dreaming or sleeping, then we are thinking about the things that we have discussed, what the compas and brothers and sisters already brought up and talked about. They have already told us a lot about what this hydra is. So the question is what do we need to do against it?

Organize ourselves. When we give this response, organize ourselves, it means that our brain is already telling us what must be done first, and then second, and third, and fourth, and so on. And so, it’s an idea, when it is in your head it is an idea. Now, when you move your tongue, then it is in your words. What is still missing is action, that is, to organize. Now when you are organizing yourselves, watch out, because it isn’t going to come out like you thought in the idea, or like you said in the word. You are going to begin to encounter a lot of barriers, a lot of challenges.

Because if we don’t organize ourselves, we’re going to get to the year 2100, well, that is, those of us who are going to get there, and we’ll still be talking about ideas, words, and thoughts while capitalism has kept on, where were those of us who criticized capitalism so much? Where will we be if that’s how things are?

Ok, this is what we were reflecting on among the compas of the CCRI, of the Sixth Commission of the EZLN.

We’re going to continue sharing about yesterday’s theme, about how the economy works in the struggle, in the resistance of the Zapatista men and women, but in practice, not in theory. From our practice we take the little bit of theory that we are sharing for now.

For example, this is how we work, we don’t receive anything from the government, in fact we don’t even speak to the government, not a single base of support does so. Even if they murder us, we don’t speak to the bad government. How do we deal with what we need to tell bad government? One way is through the public denunciations that the Good Government Councils make so that the bad governments get the message. And if not, well then in the Zapatista community radios, because as we were discussing yesterday, the government has its spies, its ears, and there is someone who is recording the messages on the Zapatista community radios, and so we put this information there. There’s also another way, but we’ll talk about that later.

We seldom deal in money. For example, we don’t have a choice when we have mobilizations, because we have to pay for the gasoline with pesos, they don’t accept kilos of maize or beans. And this is what we fight, what we combat. Everything that I’m going to be discussing here through examples, happens through a lot political and ideological work, a lot of explaining, a lot of conversation about the importance of and necessity for what we want to do.

For example, education. I’m going to tell you how we came up with our education process for the Zapatista school. A compañero who is a formador [teacher trainer] in the zone spent six months in the caracol training the education promotores and promotoras [like teachers, but literally ‘promoters’], where hundreds of students, student-future teachers go to be trained.

And so this compa who is an education formador went to see his family. When he got to his father’s house he said, “I’m here, papa.” And the father of this compa formador asked, “Did you bring your maize? Did you bring your beans? Because here you don’t have anything,” And the formador said:

-But what do you mean?

-What do I mean? Well you aren’t working.

-How can you say I’m not working papa, if I am working there with the compas?

– What did your compas give you? If your work is a benefit that we offer, then why don’t they also think about the fact that here you also have to have something here to be able to live.

-No, the thing is that we are in the struggle too – said the compa.

– Yes but we also need to survive in order to struggle.

– Yes – said the compa formador.

-You know what my son? – said the father – Son, you need to go back there. Speak to the autonomous authorities, because if you don’t it’s going to continue on this way, without organization.


And so the compa had to go back and talk to the Good Government Council, and the Good Government Council organized with the compañeros who were in ‘the commission,’ which is what we call the vigilance commission and the information commission, that is, the compas, compañeros and compañeras of the CCRI. They organized and began to discuss this problem because well, it is a problem.

And the junta and the CCRI say, yes it is true, this work takes a long time and will keep taking time, and so we need to figure out how to make it work. And so the discussion began there about what to do.

– Well, we need to take it out of the little that we have.

-But how long will it last, the little bit that we have?

– No well, it will only last about a year.

And so they started to think about the problem until they came up with an idea. For example, the zone works collectively, all of the bases of support who live there participate in collective work projects. So the Junta’s proposal is that the bases of support from the community of the education promotor or formador don’t go to do their collective work project, and that instead they work in the cornfield, the bean field, the coffee field, and the pasture of the formador’s family. That way the formador will have maize, beans, coffee, a few animals, but it is the other compa bases of support that will do this work and that way he can have what he needs to live on. So they don’t provide pay, they aren’t giving a salary to the compañero and compañera education formador, and they do the same thing for the people who train the compañero and compañera health promotores.

Other compañeros, compañeras in other zones, live in different situations. For example in the Selva Fronteriza Zone or the Selva Tzeltal Zone the situation isn’t the same situation as it is for the compas in Los Altos; it is very different. So there are zones where they work collectively in cattle raising, and so when the compañeros try to organize their first steps, there are some things that they realize immediately.

For an example of what I am talking about, for the collective work at the zone level, the thing is that the communities are really far away, and the compañeros have to spend a lot of money in order to get to the location where they do the collective work. Since this costs a lot, what the compas decided to do is distribute the tasks, but the work itself is collective. So let’s imagine that this is a zone, imagine this building is a zone, but each community is very far way, some of them are 10 hours by car. So the compas come to an agreement. It might be the case that there are different collective work projects, there is a bakery over here, over there in that corner is a shoemaker, over in a another spot there is the farm that grows x thing, and then over there another collective project for the zone. So all of the communities, the bases, go and work at the collective project that is closest to them, in order to avoid having extra expenses, and then just the representatives meet to discuss how things are going.

The point is that there isn’t anyone who doesn’t work collectively. And in case you have this doubt or some day it occurs to you to ask, what happens with the people who don’t want to do the collective work? We don’t force anyone to work. We don’t force them, we simply say to them, “that is fine, compañero, compañera, if you don’t want to, but as a Zapatista, when we need to cooperate for something, you will have to pay out of your own pocket.”

And in our deeds and our practices, this is how the compas have managed to survive and this is how they have built their movement, the compañeros. And it is how the ones who don’t want to do the collective work have integrated themselves as well.

It is the same thing in these zones that work collectively in cattle-raising. All of the collective work that they do is for the struggle, for the movement for autonomy. Here what we learned in practice is that what we were doing wasn’t working, that is, we made a mistake, we failed when we required 100% collective work. We saw that this didn’t work because there were complaints, there were a lot of problems.

The complaints were that there wasn’t any salt, or there was no soap. Complaints that the products of the harvest weren’t distributed on time. Complaints that compas who had many children were apportioned equal amounts tocompas who had few children. And so this all made us realize that it would be better if the communities, the regions, the autonomous municipalities, and the zone come to an agreement about how they wanted to work.


The point is that they want time for the family and time for the collective. That is how the compas work. For one example we could take cattle-raising. When I talk about cattle-raising, there is not just one way of doing this. There are, for example, cattle collectives who do cattle breeding; others who don’t, who just purchase the young bulls, have them for a few months and sell them, take their profit and buy another, as if they were trading goods.

There are zones that also work in shoe making, where the compas make shoes. There the compas were very critical of and called out the others, the ones who do cattle raising, saying that the skins of the cattle that they eat, or who die, just rot there, the skins of horses, donkeys, mules, that there they are just lost because they don’t know how to tan them. And so the compas tried to find someone to teach them how to do the tanning but no one wanted to do it, because they were looking for a teacher at the place that buys the skins. Well, maybe you all know someone who can teach us.

Another form of Zapatista economy—and who knows why the compas put it like this—but the autonomous banks like the BANPAZ, BANAMAZ, well now they call them BAC, for Banco Autonomo Comunitario (Autonomous Community Bank). There are two ideas at play in these banks. One is about having basic necessities like soap, salt, sugar, and that type of thing. The bank is for the money that the compas have once they sell their beans, corn, pig, whatever they have, so they can put that money into their local supply store. That way, the money that they make selling their products goes into the collective cooperative and this little bit that they make goes toward the movement for autonomy, or the struggle, and not to the partidistas [party-followers or party loyalists].

So this is what they do in the BAC or the autonomous banks. Because before when they had to borrow money from someone, Zapatista or not, they were charged up to 15% interest per month, meaning they were taken advantage of. That is why the compas created this fund, this autonomous bank, for health issues and for commerce. Thecompañeros have had problems in this area; don’t think it has gone perfectly. But these problems are being improved, and if there are good things, it is because of the decisions of the people in the communities, men and women.

For example, if I borrow 10 thousand pesos from the autonomous bank for a family health problem, and my child or my wife is cured, I pay 2% interest. If they aren’t cured, if my child or wife passes away, then the money lent is also lost; I don’t have to pay it back. This is an agreement that they made in the zone, that if someone dies, then the money doesn’t have to be paid back.

Where does the fund in the autonomous bank come from? There are different ways that the compas create these funds in different zones. For example, one agreement that they have made in order to not place a big burden on the compas, the bases, is that they agreed that each base of support should pay one peso per month. Or, that is to say that this month, in May, I should deposit one peso, and then in June I deposit another peso. As a base of support, I pay 12 pesos per year, and given that there are thousands of us, then there are 12 thousand or 15 thousand pesos at the end of the year. This money is what goes into the fund, into the autonomous bank.

Money also comes from the donations made by our brothers and sisters, compañeros and compañeras in solidarity. One part of these donations goes into this fund, into the autonomous bank, and another part goes to the collective work projects in the zone.

Another way to acquire resources is through agreements in the zones. When it is time to sell the harvest, be it coffee or corn, they agree that, for example, each base of support contribute 80 kilos of corn, or 50 kilos of beans, and then they sell it by the ton and the money from the sale goes into the fund. Then they decide whether to deposit this fund in the autonomous bank or to invest it in something else.

Another thing that the compas do by zones is collective work in the cornfield, or collective work in the coffee grove, and then they sell those harvests as another form of income.

Ok, so there is something else that we want to share here, so that some day when you are struggling if the same thing happens to you, you are aware that such things go on. Yesterday we were talking about NGOs, and we said that there were fewer projects than there used to be, but this isn’t because there are no longer NGOs or because NGOs don’t manage projects anymore, they’re still there. It is because there was something going on that we didn’t like. A few years ago, an NGO came to the compas in the Good Government Council. They proposed to do a health project, and the compas agreed; there were 400 thousand pesos in the project. Later they came back to explain how the project would work, but this time the person who came was a different member of the NGO and so the Good Government Council asked to see the project paperwork and the information about the total resources for the project.

– You don’t have it yet? They asked.

– No, that is why we are asking for it.

– Oh, it’s my pleasure to give it to you.

And so they went and got it and gave it to us, and the project had a budget of 1 million 400 thousand pesos. And so we saw that this NGO was giving us 400 thousand pesos and keeping 1 million for themselves. Of course, it was to pay the light bill, they said later, to pay the rent, and I don’t know what else. And so from that moment we started to think that, I don’t know exactly how to put it into words, but isn’t NGO supposed to mean Non-Governmental Organizations?

And so there are these people who latch on to those who are struggling against injustice, inequality, misery and all the rest. Smart, huh?


From this moment on, the compas let the Juntas of the zone know that they had to be careful. Now we ask each NGO that comes to present their projects for the total budget. Sometimes they say “oh, we will bring it to you,” and years pass and they haven’t managed to bring it to us, they must not be able to find their car.

And so that’s what happened. Some stayed, and they are here accompanying the compas on the Good Government Councils. But that isn’t to say that there aren’t NGOs out there funding themselves through projects, maybe even saying that they are working with the Zapatista autonomous municipalities in rebellion, but whatever, that’s their problem.

I will give you an example of another way that the compas are able to gather resources, which has to do with health, because the compas of the Good Government Councils made an agreement with some doctors who provide assistance. The doctors told us that there are two types of surgeries, minor and major, and that the minor surgeries cost somewhere between 20 to 25 thousand pesos and the major surgeries cost much more. So the doctors who provide assistance to the compas go to the autonomous hospitals and do surgeries.

It really is a huge help because they use their saws and remove what needs to be removed and that’s it; the compasdon’t have to pay. The compas are only responsible for the cost of the antibiotics, which they take afterwards to avoid infection, and which only cost about a thousand or twelve hundred pesos. In other words, it is a major savings.

Another way they gather funds, as I already mentioned, is that word gets around. It gets around the communities, and yesterday we were talking about this, about how the partidistas go to the Zapatista hospitals because they don’t have a doctor, they don’t have a surgeon, and word gets around about how the compas are organized, so all of the partidistas go to the hospital where the doctors in solidarity come to work. And so what the compas have done is that in a zone assembly they decided that they have to charge something, but they also don’t want to charge too much.

For example, if the doctor says that a surgery is worth 6 thousand pesos, then the partidista will have to pay 3 thousand. And if they say that a surgery is worth 8 thousand, then the partidista has to pay 4 thousand. This way the partidista is still saving money, because otherwise in another hospital they would be paying between 20 and 25 thousand pesos.

This is one way that they try to have some income, revenue. There are zones that have work collectives that make crafts. There are compañeras in the zones that work in cattle raising collectives or who sell food, doing collective work periodically when there are particular events. For example, each time we have a party, the food vendor collective is there selling food.

In this collective work, as we call it in the zone, the compañero authorities of the Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion and the Good Government Councils are the ones responsible for promoting, motivating, and seeking out advising support and encouragement from the compas from the Clandestine Committee.

Now the compa bases of support also participate, making proposals in the assembly about the kinds of collective work that can be done. These collective work projects that we are discussing have really helped us to understand and truly monitor our government, because they are the ones that administer the projects, our government, the Good Government Council, or the MAREZ. And because this work comes from the sweat of the people, then thecompas demand clear accounting from their authorities, of how much came in, how much was spent, what it was spent on, and how much was left. And they don’t leave their authorities alone; they are accountable to the people, and you can imagine what happens if there is money missing. Because now instead of going to jail one does collective work, because that person has to pay in collective work what they stole or spent.

In the collective work that we do, because we are talking about hundreds of men who go to work, small problems arise that quickly become big ones. For example, I know that there is going to be work in the cornfield and so I need a machete [inaudible], but then this compa brings an enormous machete. What’s the point? The point is when I am working, well the regular machete doesn’t reach very far, and the guy who has the enormous machete can cover more ground, or that is to say that he thinks he is very sneaky because he can do less work. And so when this happens, the authority, or the person in charge of the collective work, assigns 2 meters to each person, and well, that means that the person who tried to be sneaky by bringing a bigger or smaller tool screws himself.

Because it is these types of things that discourage people, demoralize them, cause problems, and they start saying “why did the manager allow that? Because it is his brother-in-law, his father-in-law,” and this type of thing, right? And they look for how to resolve them. And sure, others are smoking cigarettes and others file their machetes a lot to waste time, meaning there is no shortage of ways people try to be sneaky. I hope this doesn’t happen to you because if it does you aren’t going to be laughing.


And so the point is, like we were saying yesterday, that we can’t let this go. We are very stubborn, very hard-headed. We don’t abandon the issue. We seek out a solution, advising and clarifying and explaining things, and that is how we continue along.

For the collective work projects that we are discussing, what has really helped us a lot is working this way, where the month is divided into 10 days of collective work and 20 days of family work. Each person agrees. Someone might say no, 5 days for collective work and 25 for the work of the family. But each place makes their agreement, at the level of the community, or the region, or autonomous municipalities, or zone. These are the four levels at which the collective work projects happen, which is to say there are four levels of assemblies, we could say, four levels at which to come to agreement.

And so what we are discussing here, compas, what gives us strength is the fact that we are organized. We are organized in everything and we share the same thinking, which is that we all remind ourselves that here we need to resolve our own problems. We don’t think that anyone is going to resolve them for us, not the government or anyone. And so, compañeros and compañeras, we have to resolve this problem, we have to do this work. We have to think, we have to discuss, we have to analyze, we have to encourage, we have to consult the bases of support. Really the compañeros have developed this profoundly, they have even developed the mechanisms for doing it, because it is a process.

Note that while we have been here, there has been proposal from the Good Government Council, and we as the authorities who are here understand the great importance and need for this, but our bases do not yet know, and so we need to go back and inform them. And so it will take us 10 or 15 days, and then we will have another assembly and see how it turns out. That is, there are processes that we must go through in order to make a decision, but what makes this possible, the fact that we manage to do it, is because we are organized.

The organization is what unites us. That is why this thing we say, to organize yourselves, is so important. But once you try, the first question is what are we going to do, how are we going to do it and there will be a mountain of problems, you’ll see, which is why we are having this conversation. Because those of you here who are going to try to organize are really going to have to have guts, because you’ll see, you might be the first one to abandon the process. And when I say abandon, it could be for many different reasons, it might be that you will steal what your people have, or that it turns out that you are only good at yelling at people but not at working, that you only make demands and yell but you yourself do nothing. Or it could be the opposite, that you work like crazy and you look at your people and they aren’t following your example and so you ask yourself, “well, why am I killing myself here?”

You will see that what we are telling you is true, when you try do it, and that is why we are telling you this, because this is how it is, there isn’t any other way. Even though you might want to try to find one, there just isn’t any other way. There is this idea of what they call disobedience, or, the idea that you must disobey the system. How? Thecompa bases of support, now they are disobeying, and the government has no entry there, not in politics, nor in ideology, and with regards to economy we come out about even really, because we don’t pay millions in taxes, millions of pesos, but we also don’t receive the millions that they say they give out, and so that is why we say that it more or less equals out. But the government has no entry into our cultural or social life.

So I can see that your eyes are starting to look like little armadillo eyes. Tomorrow we’ll continue and (inaudible).

BoCa En BoCa #32 – English- May 2015 –

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2015 by floweroftheword

BoCa En BoCa is an independent newssheet that aims to disseminate what happens in the organized communities in Chiapas. The aim is to generate solidarity among communities, through summaries or extracts of their publications transmitting their words.







Police attack stall-holders in Arriaga Market

The CDH Digna Ochoa of Tonalá reported on 07/04 the arrival of "3 individuals in plain clothes aboard a white truck with the municipal government logo and accompanied by the municipal police; they headed for the Salón Corona to break the locks and welding on the gate, acting on instructions from the mayor Noé López Duque; those rooms are used by the stall-holders as economical kitchens and as a store room to keep some items to sell."

They said that later, "the stall-holders organised themselves to demand that the mayor return their locks and repair the welding." In the mayor’s office they were told that "the lock and the welding had been restored but as they left the office, members of the municipal police verbally and physically assaulted" a minor slapping him, hitting a man below the ribs, and assaulting two ladies. All were threatened with being taken to jail.

The CDH pointed out that "More than two years ago, the state and municipal governments demolished the old market and to date, the work remains unfinished. This caused inconvenience to and protests by the 700 tenants."


Agreement between PRI and government to finish off Bachajón

The comp@s of Bachajón released a new communiqué on 10/04. After a text in Tseltal the comp@s explained the new strategies of the bad government to put an end to their organization.

The previous day, “on 9/04 the Agrarian Procurator of Ocosingo, with the Lic. Juan René and the Undersecretary of Yajalón whose surname is Alpuche, adviser to the paramilitaries of Paz y Justicia, came to the community of Xanil where they had a meeting with the members of the PRI-green party, followers of Alejandro Moreno Gomez, to seek agreement on how to put an end to our organization because they say they no longer want there to be organizing in the community, because they like to be with the government and its lackeys and minions, handing over the land, despising autonomy and the life of the peoples."

They denounced that the government is "looking for ways to divide, murder and imprison us, for the benefit of big business. The people will not remain silent and we will defend whatever the cost."

Finally they announced that "the Third Collegiate Court of Tuxtla Gutierrez denied our amparo 274/2011, which was begun in March 2011. Because value was given to the agreement signed by the PRI with the thief Juan Sabines Guerrero and the judges of the court said that the agreement respects the human rights of the community and that it is for their benefit. These judges are traitors to the fatherland, corrupt and racist, they sold themselves to the government so as to continue sitting on their arses in their big offices, with their big cars and white houses like the one peña nieto has, because they do not care about the people.”


Migrants against Crime

On 5/04 in Tenosique, various organizations signed a declaration in solidarity with migrants, refugees and those who defend them, "… alarmed by the increase in hostilities and attacks against migrants and against those who defend them, perpetrated by the National Migration Institute and police from the 3 levels of government, who take part in such violent operations that they have even caused the death of people in circumstances that may involve culpable homicide, but have not been properly investigated, as happened on March 6 near Palenque." They denounced the "Southern Border Plan as a mechanism of persecution that contradicts the principles of hospitality, respect for humanitarian and human rights that should regulate the actions of the authorities in dealing with migrants who pass through our country."

"In their communiqué, the signatories, CDH Frayba, Innocent Voices, Serapaz, Indignation Promotion and Defence of Human Rights, demanded the dissolution of the Southern Border Plan and "an immediate and thorough investigation to identify officials who have been involved in any abuse, extortion or aggression against migrants and even to investigate possible cases of culpable homicide in which they might have been involved; they demanded the "Right to Free Movement Now!, and we also say: we are ashamed of the authorities of our country." They called for "an investigation and punishment of employees of the National Migration Institute who impede the work and harass those who accompany migrants or defend their rights", and finally they affirmed their solidarity with "the actions taken on these days by the 72, and we make a strong and firm call to the authorities to immediately implement the necessary actions to protect life, stop the persecution, refrain from impeding the actions taken by the 72 and fully respect the human rights of migrants and people who defend them."



16/03- Villagers of the Communal Lands of Venustiano Carranza, Casa del Pueblo announced "…we have the right to regain all of the 46 plots" invaded. http://lafoja.com/?p=529

28/03- Zoque Artists denounce the State Centre of Literature, Art and Indigenous Language (CELALI) for supporting "a cultural dictatorship." http://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2015/03/artistas-zoques-se-inconforman-por-politica-cultural-oficialista/

29/03- Catholic members of the Parish of Chenalhó expressed their concern and sadness about the situation of alcoholism, drug addiction and prostitution that are destroying families. http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.mx/2015/03/basta-ya-la-situacion-del-alcoholismo.html

09/04- Neighbours of Tlaxcala, San Cristobal de las Casas, are asking local authorities to suspend road works due to the damage they may cause.

09/04- After agreements on mutual respect, Indigenous from the Community of Communal Lands of the Lacandon Area denounced the government’s campaign for trying to divide and turn them against the different communities. http://vocesmesoamericanas.org/2015/04/08/conferencia-de-prensa-bienes-comunales-zona-lacandona/

09/04- Prisoner unjustly imprisoned from San Sebastian Bachajón, Esteban Gomez Jimenez, says, "I was imprisoned for organising for training in the defence of Mother Earth". https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/denuncia-from-companero-esteban-gomez-jimenez-political-prisoner-from-bachajon-in-el-amate/

09/04- Members of the Movement in Defence of Life and Territory, and Believing People from eleven municipalities reject the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway. http://www.maderasdelpueblo.org.mx/?q=manifestantes-de-11-municipios-de-chiapas-se-oponen-al-corredor-palenque-san-crist%C3%B3bal

10/04- Members of LaklumalIxim-Northern Jungle Tumbala and Tila took action in defence of their lands and territories, and for a fair rate on electricity, and against the San Cristobal-Palenque highway https://www.facebook.com/miradasurchiapas/posts/812566665497150

18 / 04- San Cristobal citizens gathered at the Forum in Defence of the Wetlands of the Valley of Jovel, expressing their concern about a development that neglects their environment. http://regeneracion.mx/causas-justas/chiapas-san-cristobal-crean-red-en-defensa-de-humedales/

23/ 04- Following 60 days of displacement in inhumane conditions, Tojolabal families from Primero de Agosto reported robberies and threats, and demanded compliance with the agreement for the return to their lands. https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/communique-from-forcibly-displaced-families-from-primero-de-agosto-denounce-threats/

06/04 Luisa Margareth Castillo Mora ended her hunger strike after an undertaking to fulfill the agreed minutes. http://www.cdmch.org/luisa-margareth-levanta-huelga-de-hambre-y-pide-cese-a-las-detenciones-y-desapariciones-forzadas/

13/04 Death threats continue against the believing people of Simojovel and Father Marcelo. https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/rise-in-threats-against-the-priest-and-members-of-the-believing-people-in-simojovel/

16/04 After nearly two months of forced displacement, Tojolabal women and children testify and demand their prompt return. https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/new-threats-against-residents-of-primero-de-agosto/

EZLN Bulletin: "The storm, the sentry and vigilance syndrome"


Sup Galeano issued a new bulletin on 1 April covering four points: the challenge, the sentry, the vigilance syndrome and the storm. The bulletin set out some reflections on the forthcoming seminar, with the following questions: what are we seeing? why? where is this taking us? from where? for what purpose? “It’s as if we were thinking about the world, musing on its slow gyration, thinking about its destination, questioning its history, disputing the rationality of its evidence."

The sentry reminds us of the work at the “look-out posts,” where "the task is to keep watch on the surrounding area and the access points, and to raise the alarm." "According to us, the Zapatistas, theoretical reflection and critical thought have this job as sentry. Whoever undertakes this analytical reflection has to take their turn at the look-out post".

"The vigilance syndrome is not a scientific study, but the product of ’empirical observation’.” It explains the wearing down “over time of the capacity for vigilance,” which leads to a “kind of thinking in a loop, or constancy of perception.” To overcome the sentry’s fatigue the Sup says "the important thing is to be on the watch for any sign of danger. It’s not about warning of the danger when it’s already arrived, but of watching for the signs, evaluating and interpreting them, and thinking about them critically".

The storm is that which “we, the Zapatistas, watch and listen for; the catastrophe in all senses of the word that can arrive”…“what we think is that we have to ask others, from other calendars, from other geographies, what it is that they see. We know the world is large and that others are also thinking about it, analysing, watching, considering, and that we do these things better through the discussion of ideas. Not, as it were, an exchange of goods, as happens in capitalism, but as an exchange of me sharing my thoughts and you doing the same. In other words, a meeting of thinking."

Finally, he said, with respect to the seminar being held at Cideci, "we are making a seed-bed of ideas, of analysis, of critical thinking of what is happening in the capitalist system. So this seminary, or seed-bed is not a single place nor for a single moment. It is something that will last, and something that happens in many places.”

On 9/04, in relation to a cyber-attack, Sup Galeano issued a bulletin entitled "Why so serious?"


Brazil: Our struggle has no borders!

"On 12/07/14, the day before the final of the World Cup, the civil police in Rio de Janeiro accused 23 activists of organizing "violent acts" in demonstrations, of these 18 were detained in maximum security prisons, in an operation that included violations of the privacy of the homes and the dignity of the prisoners and their families," declared the Group for Popular Education from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which invites organizations and individuals from below and to the left from around the world to make statements and acts of solidarity with the persecuted compas and to demand the release of Igor Mendes and Rafael Braga.

"Dozens of activists and their families have had their phones tapped for months, including those of lawyers, whose conversations with their clients have also been listened to. In the days following, these activists have remained in prison, suffering abuse and torture. Particularly critical was the situation of an underage compañera who was subjected to torture every day of her captivity by state agents."

"The 23 are teachers who were active in the strike for public education, educators working with popular education in favelas, students active in the student movement, or simply frequent demonstrators in protests against the World Cup". "All are persecuted by the state, which accuses them of “forming an armed gang” […] "We know in fact that the only crime they committed was fighting against the powerful, seeking to build another world from below and to the left."

On 8th April, "the prosecution has asked for the sentencing of 18 of the 23 compañeros. We are keeping very alert, because there is a good chance that the judge will try to arrest them in the next month, so we need all your solidarity."

"There is also the case of Rafael Braga, arrested on 20/06/13 during the huge popular demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro […]; Rafael Braga, poor and black, is the first political prisoner convicted in Brazil for the June demonstrations."

"It is clear that the proposal of the judiciary and the State is to silence the voices of those who struggle. Of those who said NO to the abusive expenditure on the World Cup, defending education and health for the people. Of those who will continue in the streets protesting against evictions in the favelas (poor communities) and against the cost of the Olympics in 2016."


Eduardo Galeano

On 08/07/1996, the late Eduardo Galeano wrote "The Zapatistas come from the furthest point in time and from the deepest point in the earth. When the year 94 smelled of a new-born baby, the Zapatistas spoiled the celebrations of the Mexican government, who were mad with the joy of declaring the freedom of money. Though the mouths of their guns they echoed the voices of those who had never been heard, so they were listened to. But the guns of the Zapatistas want to be useless. This is not a movement in love with death; it gets no pleasure from firing shots or slogans, neither does it intend to take power. It comes from the furthest point in time and from the deepest point in the earth: it has a lot to denounce, but it also has a lot to celebrate. At the end of the day, five centuries of horror have not managed to annihilate these communities or their ancient way of working and living in human solidarity and communion with nature. The Zapatistas want to accomplish their task in peace, which in a nutshell means to help awaken the secret muscles of human dignity. Against horror, humour: we must laugh a lot to make a new world, says Marcos, otherwise, the new world is going to be square, and will not go round. Chiapas wants to be a centre of resistance against infamy and stupidity, and is working on it. And we are working on it, or would like to do so, those of us who have entered into the discussions of these days. Here in this community called La Realidad, where everything but desire is missing, and where the rain falls in full flow.”


+ => Letter from Sup Marcos to Eduardo Galeano: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/1995/05/02/a-eduardo-galeano-me-enseno-el-viejo-antonio-que-uno-es-tan-grande-como-el-enemigo-que-escoge-para-luchar/


EZLN: Words of Comandanta Miriam

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2015 by floweroftheword

From Dorset Solidarity


6th May, 2015

Good evening compañeros and compañeras.

I also have the chance to talk to you a bit about what the situation was for women prior to 1994.

Women suffered through a very sad situation since the arrival of the conquistadors. They stole our land and took our language, our culture. This is how the domination of caciquismo [local despotism] and landowners came into being alongside a triple exploitation, humiliation, discrimination, marginalization, mistreatment, and inequality.

The fucking bosses had us as if they were our owners; they sent us to do all the work on the haciendas, without caring if we had children, husbands, or if we were sick. They never asked if we were sick; if we didn’t make it to work, they sent their servant or slave to leave the corn in front of the kitchen so that we would make tortillas for them.

Much time passed like this, with us working in the bosses’ house. We ground the salt because the salt then was not the same as it is now, now it comes finely ground. The salt we used before came in large balls, and we women had to grind it. Women also ground the salt for the livestock, and shelled coffee when it was coffee harvest time. If we started at 6 in the morning, we finished at 5 in the evening. Women had to keep preparing the bags of coffee throughout the whole day.

This is how the women worked. Women were mistreated in their work, carrying water and all of that and paid miserably; they were only given a little handful of salt or a handful of ground coffee, that was the payment given to the women.

Years passed and women suffered like this. And when our babies cried and we nursed them, we were yelled at, made fun of, insulted physically; they said that we didn’t know anything, that we were useless, that we were a bother to them. They didn’t respect us and they used us as if we were objects.

They did whatever they wanted to a woman; they chose the pretty women or the pretty girls as their lovers, and left children all over the place; they didn’t care that the women suffered, they treated them like animals, with their children growing up without a father.

They sold us as if we were commodities during the acasillamiento[i]; there was never rest for us women.

I’m going to talk a little bit about the acasillamiento. Acasillamiento refers to when people go to the haciendas or ranches with their families and stay there and work for the boss. The men were the ones who did the work of planting coffee, cleaning the coffee fields, harvesting the coffee, clearing the pastures, planting the grass, all this work, taking care of the corn and bean fields. The men did this work for the boss.

Apart from this, there is another thing I could tell you about the acasillamiento, which are the mozos or slaves there, men and women who are always going to live on the hacienda. Those men or women that are slaves or mozos, who live at the hacienda, are men and women that sometimes don’t have family. For example, a family comes just to work on the hacienda, and sometimes the dad and mom get sick and die and the children are orphaned. The boss takes these children and raises them on the hacienda. And what do these children do? Its not like the bosses adopt them as an adoptive child, but rather as a slave. Those children grow and this is the work they are given: if the boss has a pet, or pets, such as a dog, a monkey, or some kind of animal, the boss has the mozo take care of it, care for the animal. Wherever the monkey goes, that’s where the child is; they have to take care of it, bathe it, clean where it sleeps. That’s how it works.

Later, when the boss has a party—because before the priests would come to the large haciendas of the bosses and baptize their children, or for a birthday, or to perform a marriage ceremony for his daughters—and afterwards they would have parties and tell the mozos to guard the door. They would have the mozo watch the door while they were celebrating with their colleagues and friends. The mozo guards the door, he can’t let even a dog come into where they are partying, and he has to be there all day, for as long as the boss’s party keeps going.

And the women slaves were the ones who made the food, washed the dishes, and took care of the boss’s son, or the children of the boss’s friends.

That is how the people on the haciendas lived, and they didn’t get to eat what was eaten at the gatherings; they had to drink pozol[ii] if there was pozol, eat beans if there were beans. That was all they ate, meanwhile the boss ate the good stuff, but with his friends.

Later, when the boss wanted to go to the city, from his hacienda to a city that is, say, a 6-day walk, the mozo would go along. If the boss had children—sometimes the children are disabled—the mozo had to carry the boss’s child to the city. And if the boss’s wife came to the hacienda, the mozo goes again and carries the child back again.

And when they harvested coffee, in any harvest on the hacienda, the mozo had to be tending to the mules. I don’t know if you know about horses, but the mozo had to saddle and unsaddle the boss’s horse, herd the cattle, and take the loads to the city where the boss lives. If he lives in Comitán the mozo had to go all the way to Comitán. He had to leave the hacienda and go as the mule-driver. This is how many enslaved men and women suffered during that time.

If there are fruit tree orchards inside the hacienda and one of them climbed up to pick some fruit, the bosses wouldn’t let them. They got them down by whipping them, I don’t know if you know how the lash works; they would hit them with it. They can’t pick fruit without the boss’s permission because the entire harvest was to be taken to the city. This is how the men and women suffered.


After so much suffering by women and the exploitation during the acasillamiento, the men started realizing how their women were being mistreated. Some thought it better to leave the hacienda. One by one they started leaving and taking refuge in the mountains because these hill lands were not claimed by the plantation owners. So they took refuge there. They thought it better to leave so that the women would not continue to suffer on the hacienda.

After awhile in the mountains—and many spent a long time there—they realized that it was better to join together and form a community, and that’s how they came to live that way. They got together, talked, and formed a community where they could live. That is how they formed the community.

But again, once they were living in the communities, those ideas that came from the boss or the acasillado were brought in. It’s as if the men dragged these bad ideas along with them and applied them inside the house. They acted like the little boss of the house. It’s not true that the women were liberated then, because the men became the little bosses of the house.

And once again the women stayed at home as if it was a jail. Women didn’t go out; they were shut in their houses once again.

When girls are born, we are not welcomed into the world because we are women; when a little girl was born, it is as if we were not loved. But if a boy was born, the men celebrated and were content because they are men. They brought this bad custom from the bosses. That’s how it was for a long time. When girls were born they acted as if women were useless, and if a boy was born, as if they could do all of the work.

But one good thing they did was that they did not lose the memory of how to form a community; they began to name community representatives and hold meetings and gatherings together. It was good that this idea was not lost, it wasn’t taken away and it came to life again. The bosses and the conquest wanted to make this culture disappear, but the bosses were wrong, because the people could still form their community.

Another thing is that the man gives the orders in the house and the women obey what he says. And if he tells you that you’re going to get married, you have get married. He’s not going to ask you if you want to get married to the man who came to ask for your hand; your father already accepted the liquor they offered, he drank it already and this obligates you to go with this man that you do not love.

This is how we came to suffer once again with our husbands because they told us that women are only useful in the kitchen, or to take care of their husbands, or to take care of the children. The men didn’t hold their children; they didn’t support the women. They only gave you the child, and then who cares how the child is raised. And—I’m going to talk about how it really was for years—we women often say that a baby was born every year, every year and a half, growing up like a little staircase, every year or year and a half there is another one. But the father didn’t care if his wife was suffering because she had to carry firewood, plant the cornfield, clean the house, sweep, take care of the animals, wash the clothes, take care of the children, change the nappies, and all of that. All of that was women’s work.

This is why we say that we suffered triple exploitation as women. Women had to be awake and in the kitchen at 3 or 4 in the morning, depending on how much time the men needed to get to their fields. The women had to get up early to make pozol, coffee, and breakfast for the men. The men go to work, and when they come back in the afternoon they want the water for their bath to have been carried up to the house already and be ready for them to bathe. The men bathe and then leave the house to walk around, to play, and the women are once again stuck at home the whole day, until the night—around this time right now—the women are still awake; they don’t go to sleep until 8.

So we were really suffering. The men didn’t care if you were sick, or how you felt, they didn’t ask—that’s just how it was. That is how women really lived; we’re not lying because that is how we lived.

When you would go to church or a ceremonial centre for a festival, and women did go sometimes, you had to lower your head. You couldn’t raise your head, you had to walk with your head bowed, without turning to the sides, and covering your head with the rebozo [shawl] like this, so that just your face shows.

A lot of time went by like this, during which men dragged along these bad ideas, these bad learnings. That is how it happened, compañeros. As if we were nothing. As if only the men could be authorities, only the men could go into the street and participate.

There was no school. Later on in some communities there was school, but we didn’t go because we were women; they didn’t let us go to school because if we went they’d say that we only went to school to find a husband. And that it was better to learn to work in the kitchen because if we were indeed going to have a husband, we needed to learn how to take care of him.

And when our husband hit us, when he insulted us, we couldn’t complain. If we asked for help from the other institutions of the bad government they were much worse because they defended the men, and said the men are right; and so we remained silent, humiliated, and embarrassed at being women.


We didn’t have the right to come to meetings to participate, and they said that we were stupid, useless, and that we weren’t worth anything. They left us at home. We did not have freedom.

There was no health care. Even where there were clinics and hospitals that belonged to the bad government, they wouldn’t see us because we didn’t know how to speak Spanish. And sometimes we had to return to our homes, and many women and children died of curable diseases; we weren’t worth anything to them, and they discriminated against us because we were indigenous. They said that we were just dirty barefoot indians, and we couldn’t enter the clinics or hospitals. They wouldn’t let us, they only took care of people with money.

All this we suffered in our own flesh. We never had the opportunity to say what we felt for many years, because of the teachings of the conquistadores and the bad governments.

That is all, compañeros. Another compa will continue.

[i] Indicates the time period in which the caciques, or local land bosses, held great expanses of land and had almost total power over the indigenous workers in a kind of indebted servitude.

[ii] Pozol is a drink made from ground maize mixed with water and often consumed in the Mexican countryside as a midmorning or midday meal.

Holloway: Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20, 2015 by floweroftheword

Photo via Pozol Colectivo.

Photo via Pozol Colectivo.

By John Holloway

Talk by John Holloway presented to the Zapatista Seminar on “Critical Thought against the Hydra of Capitalism,” San Cristóbal de las Casas, May 7, 2015.

An honour, a joy to be here. I feel I want to dance, but I won’t do it, I’ll focus instead on what we were asked to do. I shall talk about critical thought and explain how to kill the hydra of capitalism. That’s what it’s about: we talk of the hydra not to frighten ourselves, but to think about how to defeat it. The myth of the hydra had a happy end and we too must reach a happy end.

By critical thought I understand not thought of catastrophe but the thought that seeks hope in a world where it seems that it no longer exists. Critical thought is the thought that opens that which is closed, that shakes that which is fixed. Critical thought is the attempt to understand the storm and more than that: it is understanding that at the centre of the storm is something that opens paths towards other worlds.

The storm is coming, or rather it is already here. It is already here and it is very probable that it will get worse. We have a name for this storm that is already here: Ayotzinapa. Ayotzinapa as horror, and as symbol of so many other horrors. Ayotzinapa as the concentrated expression of the Fourth World War.

Where does the storm come from? Not from the politicians — they do no more than implement the storm. Not from imperialism: it is not the product of states, not even of the most powerful states. The storm arises from the form in which society is organized. It is the expression of the desperation, the fragility, the weakness of a form of social organization that has passed its sell-by date, it is an expression of the crisis of capital.

Capital is in itself a constant aggression. It is an aggression that tells us every day “you have to shape what you do in a certain way, the only activity that has validity in this society is activity that contributes to the expansion of capitalist profit.”

The aggression that is capital has a dynamic. In order to survive, capital has to subordinate our activity more intensely to the logic of profit each day: “today you have to work harder than yesterday, today you have to bow lower than yesterday.”

With that, we can already see the weakness of capital. It depends on us, on our being willing or able to accept what it imposes on us. If we say “sorry, but I am going to tend my garden today,” or “today I am going to play with my children,” or “today I am going to dedicate my time to something that has meaning for me,” or simply “no, we will not bow,” then capital cannot extract the profit it requires, the rate of profit falls and capital is in crisis. In other words, we are the crisis of capital: our lack of subordination, our dignity, our humanity. We, as crisis of capital, as subjects with dignity and not as victims, we are the hope that is sought by critical thought. We are the crisis of capital and proud of it, we are proud to be the crisis of the system that is killing us.

Capital gets desperate in this situation. It searches for all possible ways of imposing the subordination that it requires: authoritarianism, violence, labour reform, educational reform. It also introduces a game, a fiction: if we cannot extract the profit we need, then we shall pretend that it exists, we shall create a monetary representation for value that has not been produced, we are going to expand debt in order to survive and also try to use it to impose the discipline that is necessary. This expansion of debt is at the same time the expansion of finance capital, expression of the violent weakness of capital as a social relation.

But this fiction increases the instability of capital and in any case does not succeed in imposing the necessary discipline. The dangers for capital of this fictitious expansion become clear with the financial collapse of 2008, when it becomes clearer than ever that the only way out for capital is more authoritarianism: the whole negotiation around the Greek debt tells us that there is no possibility of a gentler capitalism, that the only path forward for capital is the path of austerity, of violence. The storm that is here, the storm that is coming.

We are the crisis of capital, we who say No, we who say Enough of capitalism!, we who say that it is time to stop creating capital, time to create another way of living.

Capital depends on us, because if we do not create profit (surplus value) directly or indirectly, then capital cannot exist. We create capital and if capital is in crisis, it is because we are not creating the profit necessary for capital’s existence: that is why they are attacking us with such violence.

In this situation there are really two options of struggle. We can say “Yes, all right, we shall carry on producing capital, we shall continue to promote the accumulation of capital, but we need better living conditions for everybody.” This is the option of the left parties and governments: of Syriza, of Podemos, of the governments in Venezuela and Bolivia. The problem is that, although they can improve living conditions in some respects, the very desperation of capital means that there is very little possibility of a gentler capitalism.

The other possibility is to say “Goodbye, capital, time for you to go, we are going to create other ways of living, other ways of relating to one another, both among humans and between humans and other forms of life, ways of living that are not determined by money and the pursuit of profit, but by our own collective decisions.”

Here in this seminar we are at the very centre of this second option. This is the meeting point between Zapatistas and Kurds and thousands of other movements that reject capitalism and are trying to construct something different. All of us are saying “Right, capital, your time is past, now get out, we are building something else.” We express it in many different ways: we are creating cracks in the wall of capital and trying to promote their confluence, we are building the common, we are communizing, we are the movement of doing against labour, we are the movement of use value against value, of dignity against a world based on humiliation. It does not matter very much how we express it, the important thing is that we are creating here and now a world of many worlds.

But do we have strength enough? Do we have enough strength to say that we are not interested in capitalist investment, that we are not interested in capitalist employment? Do we have the strength to reject totally our present dependence on capital to survive? Do we have the strength to say a final goodbye to capital?

Possibly we do not have sufficient strength yet. Many of us who are here have our salaries or our grants that come from the accumulation of capital and, if we do not, then we shall have to go back next week to look for a capitalist job. Our rejection of capital is a schizophrenic rejection: we want to say a sharp goodbye to it, and we are not able to, or find it very difficult. There is no purity in this struggle. The struggle to stop creating capital is also a struggle against our dependence on capital. That is, it is a struggle to emancipate our creative capacities, our force to produce, our productive forces.

That’s what we’re at, that is why we’ve come here. It is a question of organizing ourselves, of course, but not of creating an Organization with a capital O, but of organizing ourselves in many ways to live now the worlds we want to create.

In the morning the comandantes asked us for provocative concepts. I suppose my talk can be summarized in three theoretical provocations:

  1. Critical thought is not the thought that speaks of catastrophe but the thought that looks for hope inside the catastrophe.
  2. We are the crisis of capital and proud of it. All thought about the storm starts from there.
  3. The only way of defeating the Hydra is by ceasing to create capital and dedicating ourselves to the creation of other worlds based not on money and profit but on dignity and self-determination.

It sounds easy, we know that it is not. How do we advance, then, how do we walk? Asking we walk, asking and hugging and organizing.

John Holloway is a professor in the Posgrado de Sociología, Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. His most recent book is Crack Capitalism (Pluto, 2010).


Commander Nestora Salgado

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20, 2015 by floweroftheword

Photo: Desinformemonos

Photo: Desinformemonos

Luis Hernández Navarro

La Jornada, 19th May, 2015

For the past 22 months Nestora Salgado García has been living in hell. Locked up in the Cefereso 4 Northeast maximum security prison in Tepic, Nayarit, she occupies a small cell meant for the highly-dangerous criminals she fought against. She spends 23 hours each day in her cell, hardly seeing the light of day, and is nearly completely isolated. She is allowed just five or ten minutes to talk on the phone sometimes.

Nestora needs medicine, medical treatment and daily exercise. In 2004 she nearly saw death in a car accident. She was paralyzed for three months. As a result of that accident, she suffers from acute neck neuropathy and has difficulty moving her hands. She needs appropriate medical attention and medicine, but she is not receiving them. On the rare occasion that doctors visit her, they do not want to touch her. She needs nutritious food, but the food they give her, often spoiled, is rubbish. During the first six months she was in prison, they only let her drink tap water.

The Tepic jail is "the prison of exile," wrote Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, Nestora’s comrade and spokesman of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), in a letter to Nestora. For 10 months he experienced the nightmare of being jailed there. In the letter, he told her: "It makes us go out of our minds."

Salgado García’s condition has become noticeably worse because of the hunger strike she started on the fifth of May to protest her unjust imprisonment. Since that day she has not eaten a bite. According to what Paula Mónaco told this newspaper, she told her daughters: "If dying is necessary, then so be it, because I am dead in life."

According to her husband, José Luis Ávila, his wife "ran out of patience."

The situation is so delicate that U.S. Congressman Adam Smith and Senator Patty Murray consider it "unacceptable" for Nestora to remain in prison in an environment that does not guarantee her life or integrity. They criticized the fact that her health is continuing to deteriorate without any action being taken by the Mexican government.

Despite the danger she is in, the Mexican authorities do not seem to care what happens to this social activist. They have ignored the decision from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in which they demanded that the federal government offer her the medical attention she needs. Just last Saturday, Roberto Campa, Undersecretary of Government Affairs, confirmed that she was in good health.

Nestora Salgado was locked up because, as Marco Antonio Suástegui said, "she was bringing justice and offering security to her people, something the government cannot currently offer us."

She was chosen by an assembly [decision-making body in indigenous communities] to be the commander of the Citizen Police of Olinalá. In the 10 months she spent at the head of this institution, the crime rate decreased 90 percent and there was not a single homicide.

The commander is now in prison, accused of crimes she did not commit. On March 31, 2014, the judge of the First Unitary Tribunal of the Twenty-first Circuit, José Luis Arroyo Alcántara, dismissed the accusations of kidnapping and organized crime, determining that Salgado’s actions fell within the powers of the Community Police recognized by the Guerrero law itself. Her success in the fight against the bad guys was so great that the governor at the time, Ángel Aguirre, ran to take a photo with her and put her as an example of what people should do. He called the struggle of the residents of Olinalá "heroic".

But the praise from the government did not last long. Nestora made the "mistake" of naming the "wolf". She often said that "to start with public security, we have to clean the corral. We are in a corral, and we do not know who the wolf is. We should start by figuring out who the wolf is." When she found out, she did not hesitate to report it.

First, she revealed the threats that the partners of corrupt politicians were making to local business owners so they would stop selling materials and goods, and thus to monopolize the local market. Then she published a press release in which she denounced the involvement of the mayor and other public servants in drug trafficking. The affront was too much for the "narco-politicians". The commander was arrested and brought by plane to a maximum security prison, 3,000 kilometres from her pueblo [traditional village].

From the very start of her imprisonment, the process was full of abnormalities. Her transfer to the Cefereso jail was not the result of a court order, but of an illegal request to the federal authorities made hours before the arrest by the Secretary of Public Security of Guerrero, Sergio Lara Montellanos. For the transfer, the judge’s opinion was not even taken into account.

The commander is not the only community police member from Guerrero unjustly imprisoned for fighting against public insecurity and organized crime. Twelve other members of the Regional Coordinating Committee of Community Authorities (CRAC-PC) are in jail, several in high security prisons, accused of crimes like kidnapping, carrying firearms that only the Army is allowed to use, terrorism and injury. Due process has not been followed in any of their cases.

Nestora Salgado García could have lived the American dream without any problem. In 1991, at age 20, without a future at home, she emigrated without papers to the United States. She worked very hard in the state of Washington as a maid, servant, nanny and waitress. Without giving up her Mexican nationality, she legalized her immigration status and became an American citizen. But she decided to return to her town, Olinalá, and from there to lead the struggle against organized crime and the "narco-politicians". For that she has had to pay a very high price. Today, her life is in danger.

Note: The federal government agreed to move the coordinator of the Community Police of Olinalá to a state prison. Nestora should not be in that or any other prison.

Translated by Sally Seward


Zibechi: Crisis and collapse

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2015 by floweroftheword


By: Raúl Zibechi

Stop the harassment of Zapatista Communities

One of the difficulties that the anti-systemic movements and those who continue to be pledged to constructing a new world confront consists of not attaining agreement on the definition of what is happening before our eyes. In broad strokes, two not necessarily opposed but very different views coexist: those who maintain that we are facing a crisis, greater even than the cyclical crises of capitalist economies, and those that tend to consider that humanity is being led to a situation of collapse by the system.

Understanding that we’re dealing with a theoretical debate with strong practical implications, since we would be facing two very different situations. It’s worth remembering that in other periods of recent history, the rise of Nazism for example, provoked deep divergences between the lefts of the epoch. Not a few failed to consider the importance of Nazism as a real systemic mutation, and thought that it was about an authoritarian regime similar to others that we had known. Nevertheless, with the passage of time we are able to agree with Giorgio Agamben that the field of concentration modified politics at the root, together with what he defined as a permanent state of emergency.

The seminar-seedbed Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra, organized by the EZLN from May 3 to 9 in Oventik and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, was the scene of the diverse views that cross through us, and their extraordinary wealth and fecundity. Many diverse analyses about the current world coexist within the anti-capitalist field, some well-founded, others more romantic, some focused on the economy and others on ethics, and many others are combinations of these and other forms of gazing and comprehending. I think that all of them have their importance, but they lead along partially different paths. Or, better, they can contribute to squandering forces.

What’s most complex is that no one can claim to have truth in his or her hands. This point seems to me extraordinarily complex, because it doesn’t permit discarding any proposal, but neither can it lead us to giving validity to any argument.

It seems to me necessary to distinguish between crisis and collapse, not because they are exclusive, but rather because they embody two distinct analyses. The concept of crisis is associated, in the anti-systemic field, with the periodic crises that the capitalist economy crosses through. On this point, the work of Karl Marx is an obligatory reference for anti-capitalists of all colours. His analysis of the crisis of over-accumulation has been converted, with complete justice, into the crucial point for comprehending how the system functions. From there derives a group of strictly present considerations.

Although some economist currents have coined the idea of the “collapse” of capitalism because of its own internal contradictions, and fail to consider the importance of collective subjects in its fall, it is evident that Marx is not responsible for this drift that he knew to have firm followers in the first part of the 20th Century.

In the same direction as Marx, Immanuel Wallerstein mentions the existence of a systemic crisis underway, which, after several decades of development, will give way to a different world than the current one (since at a certain moment it will produce a bifurcation), which can lead us to a better or worse society than the present one. We would be facing a window of temporary opportunities, during which human activity can have a large confluence in the final result. In this analysis, the crisis will be converted into chaos, from which will come a new order.

The idea of crisis is associated with periods of change, disorder, instabilities and turbulences that interrupt the normal development of things, and that after a certain time become a new but modified normality. In the crisis factors of order can emerge in the crisis that will give the new a different physiognomy. From the movements’ point of view, it is important to discard two things: that the concept of crisis is associated too much with the economy and that it appears linked to transformation and changes.

If I understood correctly, following the words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, who said at the closing of the seminar-seedbed that: “we don’t know whether we’ll have time to multiply this,” what lies in wait is not a crisis, but rather something more serious.

He insisted: “time is not waiting for us,” and said that walking is no longer sufficient, but it’s rather time to trot, to go faster. The previous night, Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano said that up to 40 percent of humanity would be migrants and that there will be depopulation and destruction of zones in order to be restructured and reconstructed for capital. I believe that he wasn’t thinking about a crisis, but rather about something that we could call collapse, although he didn’t use that term.

The collapse is a large-scale catastrophe that implies the bankruptcy of institutions, in the form of rupture or definitive decline. There were many crises in history but few catastrophes/collapses. For example it occurs to me what happened with the Tawantinsuyu, the Inca Empire, because of the arrival of the invaders. Something similar can have happened to the Roman Empire, although I don’t have sufficient knowledge to assure it. Anyhow, the collapse is the end of something, but not the end of life, because, as happened with the Indian peoples, they rebuilt after the catastrophe, but as different subjects.

If in truth we face the perspective of a collapse, it would be the sum of wars, economic, environmental, health and natural crises. Just one fact: the World Health Organization warned that in the immediate future antibiotics will be incapable of combating the super-bacteria causing tuberculosis and pneumonia, among others. In sum, the world as we know it can disappear. If this is the immediate perspective, and those above know it and prepare for it, the Moisés’ haste is fully justified. It is time to accelerate our step.



Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, May 15, 2015

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/05/15/opinion/019a2pol

La Garrucha Good-Government Council (JBG) denounces two paramilitary attacks

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17, 2015 by floweroftheword

(@Centro de Medios Libres)

(@Centro de Medios Libres)

On 11 May, the La Garrucha Good-Government Council (JBG) from Caracol III publicly denounced two attacks: one in the El Rosario community, on recovered lands belonging to the autonomous municipality of San Manuel, and the other in the Nuevo Paraíso community, which pertains to the Francisco Villa autonomous municipality. According to the JBG, there are two paramilitary groups in the region: one made up of 21 people from El Rosario, and the other comprised of 28 individuals from the Chikinival neighborhood, which pertains to the Pojkol ejido, in the Chilón municipality of Chiapas state.

The acts described in the denunciation took place on 10 May, when the Chikinival group arrived at El Rosario and began to measure the recovered lands of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), where Zapatista support-bases (BAEZLN) also live. Two paramilitaries entered the house of one Zapatista, and another fired on the Zapatista daughter when she tried to escape the home. The father of the child then threw a stone at the aggressor, causing him head injuries. The next day, the family of the injured attacker came to demand 7,000 pesos from the BAEZLN as compensation. The JBG assures that this amount will not be provided, given that the Zapatista did not seek or initiate the violence.

It bears noting that in 2014, residents of the Pojkol ejido killed a stud bull belonging to a Zapatista, destroyed homes and a cooperative, robbed possessions, fumigated land with herbicides, opened fire intermittently, and left a written note among the burned domiciles: “Pojkol territory.”

Also on 10 May 2015, 16 people from Chikinival entered the Nuevo Paraíso community, armed with two pistols and a rifle. “They came to leave a letter in the street which blames the Zapatista support-base comrades for having provoked these conflicts,” says the JBG. Beyond this, the JBG adds that in this case it has initiated mediation, deciding to transfer 21 hectares to put an end to the threats, though this has not yet resolved the problem. The authorities from the Pojkol ejido claim to oppose this group from Chikinival, given its lack of respect and obedience for the ejidal authorities.

These two incidents took place the day after the close of the seminar on “Critical Thought amidst the Capitalist Hydra,” which was organized by the EZLN and held from 3 to 9 May in CIDECI-Unitierra Las Casas, where academics and activists shared their thoughts and reflections regarding the present context and alternatives to the capitalist system.



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