Oxchuc Expels Political Parties and Will Now Elect its Authorities with Uses and Customs

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2016 by floweroftheword
oxchuc-expels-political-partiesOxchuc authorities, elected via uses and customs with their staffs of command.

By: Isaín Mandujano

Leaders of 105 Oxchuc communities agreed on the expulsion of the political parties from that municipio and from now on they will elect their authorities through [Indigenous] uses and customs; therefore they asked Governor Manuel Velasco Coello and deputies in the State Congress, for the recognition of current mayor Oscar Gómez López, because the mayor they removed, Maria Gloria Sánchez Gómez, is attempting to return to the position.

Coming from the 105 communities that make up that municipio in Los Altos of Chiapas, the indigenous authorities arrived in this city with their staff of command to show their rejection of the removed mayor and candidate of the PVEM, Maria Gloría Sánchez Gómez, who recently filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) with which she seeks to be reinstated in the position.

After several months of protest, last February, María Gloria Sánchez Gómez was expelled from the town and obliged to ask for a definitive leave before the State Congress, local residents named as a substitute Oscar Gómez López, a bilingual indigenous teacher who headed the movement to put an end to the 15 years of political bossism of the mayor and her PRI husband, Norberto Santiz Gómez, who controlled political power in the municipality.

“We are here to ask the State Congress and Governor Manuel Velasco to intervene and that the Oxchuc issue be definitively resolved, because María Gloria continues saying that she is the current mayor and that is not true, because starting on February 11 she asked for her abdication and the woman was politically finished there and on February 15 the people on the esplanade of the municipal presidency before some 30,000 residents elected the current substitute Municipal President, who is compañero Oscar Gómez López and precisely here are the compañeros agents and this is the best showing that what María Gloria says is not true,” said Juan Encinos Gómez, President of the Permanent Commission For Indigenous Peace and Justice of Oxchuc Municipio.

All the indigenous raised their staffs of command and chanted slogans against María Gloria Sánchez and others in favour of the new mayor Oscar Gómez López, who they said has the support of all of the people.

Nevertheless, they said, from the state capital the removed mayor has been incited to file an appeal before the Judicial Power of the Federation (PJF) to be reinstated in her position. They pointed out that they would not respect a decision that contradicts the decision of the people and that if necessary they would against take to the streets and the highway in order to be heard.

Juan Gabriel Méndez López, a lawyer and one of the leaders of the Oxchuc protest movement, said that the population agreed to expel all of the political parties from the municipio, and that they no longer want political parties that only divide the communities and provoke confrontation among indigenous brothers.

He explained that from now on the municipal authorities would be elected by uses and customs, which will rescue the ancestral wisdom and knowledge to name their rulers like their ancestors did, because it has become clear to them that the parties only divide them.

He also said that on this occasion the people named Oscar Gómez López as mayor, and therefore the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Power in Chiapas must recognize the investiture that the new mayor represents.

They pointed out that if María Gloria Sánchez Gómez continues returning to Oxchuc to incite the population against the traditional authorities, she could provoke “another San Juan Chamula” and would then blame the authorities for not intervening.

It was the second time that María Gloria sought to serve in the position of mayor; the first time she did it on behalf of the PRI. Her husband Norberto Sántiz, also of PRI affiliation, twice occupied the position of mayor and was on one occasion a federal deputy.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Communiqué from the FPDT against Provocation by Companies and a Shock Group in the Ejido of Tocuila

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2016 by floweroftheword


To organizations in solidarity

To the people of Mexico

We denounce the federal government for insisting on invading and plundering the lands of our peoples. Today they returned in violation of the suspension order resulting from the judgement of amparo no. 349/2016- III dated July 26th, 2016. As the ejido members of Tocuila we oppose, as do many of the dignified campesinxs, the sale and plundering of our land. We denounce the following:

Since a very early hour we were aware of the presence of heavy machinery in the ejidos of Tocuila which remained inactive until a few hours ago. Around four in the afternoon our compañerxs alerted us to the advance of the machinery along with a microbus full of unknown people, in the majority young, and to our surprise led by the ejido commissioner of Tocuila, Humberto Elizalde.

The compañerxs who were in the encampment from a considerable distance away tried to explain to them that they could not advance since the land is not for sale and because it is protected by an injunction (amparo) (349/2016-III). However, the explanation didn’t have any effect, and the group advanced further and further. When they arrived at the encampment, the ejidal commissioner, Humberto Elizalde, gave the order for the compañerxs to abandon the place showing some papers that they presumed were the cheques paid for the sale of the land which he himself had promoted. The youth who made up the shock group got off the microbus (as well as being violent, they were also under the influence of drugs) and immediately destroyed and took down the tarps and the truck cab that has served as refuge and the point of resistance since April 11 intensifying the threat of dispossession. The machine also advanced and began to tear into the earth as if they were leaving a warning in the eyes of our compañerxs who until the last moment remained cautious. It is obvious that the federal government would have liked a provocation to take place to give justification for repression, but the whole time the people that were defending the land remained contained.

It should be noted that after more than two hours of provocation, the shock group and the machinery were removed and positioned in the highway Peñon-Texcoco. As such, the compañerxs could return to and rebuild the encampment.

In addition to this act, we add two notes that are important to consider:

  • On Sunday August 14, an ejidal assembly took place in the community of Tocuila. This was imposed on the community similarly to what occurred in Atenco on June 1, 2014. As on that occasion, the commissioner Humberto Elizalde, manipulated the participants, transporting people in, not permitting the compañerxs who defend the land to talk. In these conditions of heavy tension and pressure, he approved the sale of the communal land (roads and bridges) for 1000 pesos per square metre.
  • On Wednesday August 17th, the Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México (GACM) and the Cámara Mexicana de la Industria de la Construcción (CMIC) announced an agreement to create jobs in the construction phase of the airport, addressed to the inhabitants of the municipalities of Atenco and Texcoco.

Faced with this emergency situation and the government threat through the escalating provocative actions and repression:

We call on all our brother peoples, solidarity organizations, collectives and media, to come to the press conference that will take place in the reconstructed encampment. The date will be Friday August 19th to begin at 9 in the morning in the Plaza of Tocuila, to go to the camp and begin at 10am.

The land is not for sale, it is loved and defended!

Peoples Front in Defence of the Land -Tocuila

From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity


EZLN: “22 years later we are showing that we don’t want to use these weapons, that it isn’t necessary. ”

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2016 by floweroftheword
dancers-in-roberto-barriosDance performance at CompArte in Roberto Barrios

From the Desinformémonos Editors

Mexico City

Subcomandante Moisés, commander and spokesperson of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), stated that: “the soldiers should not have to kill us because we have not wanted to kill them.” As an example, he said, “the compañero support bases have demonstrated it (because) for 22 years we have kept our weapons stored, like tools.”

During the closing of the CompArte Festival in the Caracol of Roberto Barrios, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, the Zapatista leader thanked the support bases for the demonstration of their art: “They have given us something great. For now, we want to tell you that we understand that the word war is using a weapon, but here we are demonstrating, 22 years later, that we don’t want to use those weapons, that it isn’t necessary. We are demonstrating that there is [another] way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it isn’t necessary to kill the soldiers that the rich, the capitalist has, with which he is defended.”

The CompArte Festival, according to reports from the alternative communications media that had access, toured the five Zapatista regions (Oventik, La Garrucha, La Realidad, Morelia and Roberto Barrios), in Los Altos (the Highlands), the Lacandón Jungle and the Northern Zone of Chiapas, with demonstrations of poetry, dances, songs, paintings and other artistic activities in which Zapatista support bases and organizations and collectives from Mexico and from many parts of the world participated.

Below is the whole comunicado published by the Free Media:

“Good afternoon bases of support, the Sixth, brothers and sisters who listen to us!

We really can’t find the words to say to you because of the big surprise that the EZLN’s bases of support artist compañeros have shown us.

You have given us a lesson, an instruction, a class; that’s how we, our comandante and comandanta compañeros, feel.

We are representing our Caracoles, you have helped us a lot; you have taught us a lot; you give us strength and, well, power. We have a big task that you have given us, a big job that you have given us, and because of our practice we have to think it through collectively with our compañera comandantas and compañero comandantes.

You have given us something great. For now we want to tell you that we understand the word war is to use the weapon, but here we are demonstrating, 22 years later, that we don’t want to use those weapons; it isn’t necessary. We are showing that there is a way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it’s not necessary to kill the soldiers that the rich, the capitalist has, with which he defends himself.

The soldiers would not have to kill us, because we have not wanted to kill them. The example the support base compañeros have shown, for 22 years we have preserved our weapons like tools.

We want to construct our autonomy and we are showing our brothers of Chiapas, Mexico and the world, but you aren’t going to stop, because you won’t like capitalism. You oblige us and we have to look for the way in which that doesn’t happen, but if it’s necessary to defend, one must defend oneself.

We are able to understand without killing and without dying. To finish with capitalism we need to get organized, to construct a new house or to set capitalism aside. But for now that lesson that you have given us, there is a lot of work to do and to think about.

Here in Mexico they have us so divided, into the countryside and the city, they have us so distracted so that we don’t realize how we are subjected in manipulation, but this class that you gave us, EZLN support base compañeros from the five Caracoles, we are not able to say more right now, because it was more what you told us and presented to us.

It’s really recharging the battery for us and for the comandante compañeros. We are seeing the fruits of the labour of our compañero representatives that is the EZLN’s structure.

What would happen if the thousands of Zapatista artists from the five Caracoles were seen? Something much greater would come from it. There are many types of weapons, but not the ones that kill, but rather the ones that change the life, the thinking and the idea. In all the Caracoles that we have passed through, we have met and we didn’t find the words because we need to get deeper into it, but with that material that the compañeros from the tercios compas [1] are making, that will help us a lot.

For now, we have enough material to get to work, to think about it and to concretize it so that if the bases approve it, it will be a real practice. That is the wisdom that we hear, see and later think about to put into practice, that is the spark of the art of seeing, of the art of listening, so that later it will be seen in practice for the benefit of one’s own people.

Art and science are really necessary to be able to destroy capitalism. We don’t know how, but we must think about it. There is no reason that we will see things differently, we are of the same original peoples in the countryside and also in the city. Our job is to think of how to unite because capitalism is going to destroy us.

And that is the importance of art and not only for Mexico. So, the instruction that you gave us hasn’t fit in our head, we have to go over it again, that is what we feel.

Thank you to the bases of support from the five Caracoles and the invitees for accompanying us. Our thinking about what we are going to tell you will arrive soon and you will decide if it’s so or not. We will look for the art of how to reach consensus on what will emerge in the practical work of what we said in this art of struggle.

Thank you brothers and sisters bases of support and compañeros of the Sixth.”

[1] The tercios compas – the Zapatista media team


Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformémonos

Monday, August 15, 2016


Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2016 by floweroftheword

By Levi Gahman

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution Tim Russo

The battle for humanity and against neoliberalism was and is ours,

And also that of many others from below.

Against death––We demand life.

Subcomandante Galeano/Marcos

One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering. The consequences of neoliberalism are so acutely visceral that the Zapatistas called the 21st century’s most highly lauded free-trade policy, NAFTA, a ‘death certificate’ for Indigenous people.1 This is because economic liberalization meant that imported commodities (e.g., subsidized corn from the U.S.) would flood Mexican markets, devalue the products of peasant farmers, and lead to widespread food insecurity. As a response, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), primarily Indigenous peasants themselves, led an armed insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994—the day NAFTA went into effect.

His_Gahman_Figure1.pngTop: Juan Popoca / Bottom: Ángeles Torrejón
EZLN guerrillas circa 1994.

The Zapatistas, primarily Indigenous Ch’ol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolobal, Mam, and Zoque rebels, were rising up against 500 years of colonial oppression. For this piece, I draw from my experiences learning from them, not ‘researching’ them. Importantly, I neither speak for the Zapatistas nor do my words do them justice. In a sense, then, this piece is nothing other than a modest ‘suggestion’ that the Zapatistas may offer us some ideas about solutions to the problems of the food systems we find ourselves in.

The emergence of the EZLN dates back to November 17, 1983, when a small group of politicized university militants arrived in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas to form a guerrilla army. Their efforts, which were being supported by an intricate network of solidarity organizations with links to Marxist revolutionaries and Catholic liberation theologists in the region, were subsequently transformed by the Indigenous communities they encountered upon arriving. The success of the Zapatista uprising was thus the culmination of nearly 10 years of covert organizing that unfolded under the guidance of Indigenous people within the jungles and highlands of southeastern Mexico. And during the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 1994, thousands of masked insurgents from the EZLN stepped out of the darkness to say ‘¡Ya Basta! ‘ (Enough!) to the repression and misery that colonialism and capitalism had thrust upon them.

His_Gahman_Figure2.pngLevi Gahman
‘You are in Zapatista territory. Here the people lead and the government obeys.’

The stunning manner in which the Zapatistas presented themselves to the Mexican government, as well as the world, saw them descend upon several towns, cities, prisons, and wealthy landowners. During the revolt, EZLN guerillas liberated political prisoners, stormed military barracks, occupied government offices, set fire to trumped-up files that unfairly criminalized Indigenous people, and announced Zapatista ‘Women’s Revolutionary Law.’ In the rural countryside, Zapatista soldiers also reclaimed dispossessed land by kicking affluent property-owning bosses off plantation-like encomiendas that had been historically expropriated from impoverished Indigenous farmers. The skirmishes and exchange of bullets between the EZLN and federal army lasted a total of only 12 days, after which a ceasefire was negotiated.

Since that time, and despite an ongoing counter-insurgency being spearheaded by the Mexican government, the Zapatista’s ‘solution’ to the problem of neoliberalism, including the food insecurity and poverty it exacerbates, has been resistance. And for the Zapatistas, resistance is comprised of revitalizing their Indigenous (predominantly Maya) worldviews, recuperating stolen land, emancipating themselves from dependency upon multinational industrial agribusiness, and peacefully living in open defiance of global capitalism. This ‘solution’ has subsequently enabled them to build an autonomous, locally focused food system, which is a direct product of their efforts in participatory democracy, gender equity, and food sovereignty.

Families in La Realidad honor Galeano, a Zapatista teacher assassinated by paramilitaries in 2014.

Food sovereignty (an intensely debated concept) loosely described means that people are able to exercise autonomy over their food systems while concurrently ensuring that the production/distribution of food is carried out in socially just, culturally safe, and ecologically sustainable ways. For the Zapatistas, food sovereignty involves agro-ecological farming, place-based teaching and learning, developing local cooperatives, and engaging in collective work.

These practices, which are simultaneously informed by their Indigenous customs, struggles for gender justice, and systems of nonhierarchical governance and education, have thereby radically transformed social relations within their communities. And it is these aspects of the Zapatista Insurgency that illustrate how collective (anti-capitalist) resistance offers novel alternatives to the world’s corporate food regime.

Autonomous Education and Decolonization

Here you can buy or sell anything—­except Indigenous dignity.

Subcomandante Marcos/Galeano

The relationship and obligation the Zapatistas have to the land is rooted in their Indigenous perspectives and traditions. And because exercising autonomy over their land, work, education, and food is crucial to the Zapatistas, their methods of teaching and learning are situated in the environmental systems and cultural practices of where they, and their histories, are living. This is evident in the grassroots focus they maintain in their approach to education, as well as how they consider their immediate ecological settings a ‘classroom.’2

His_Gahman_Figure4.pngDorset Chiapas Solidarity
One example of a Zapatista ‘classroom.’

Local knowledge of land and growing food is so central among their autonomous municipalities that each Zapatista school often seespromotores de educación(‘education promoters’) andpromotores de agro-ecología(‘agro-ecology promoters’) coming from the same community as their students. Zapatista education is therefore emplaced within the geographies where people live. This holistic ‘place-based’ focus results in both children and adults viewing themselves as active participants in, and essential parts of, local food systems.

In order to understand food security, Zapatista students are frequently taught hands-on agro-ecological techniques outside the classroom. This means they learn how to apply sustainable farming techniques while participating in the planting/harvesting of organic crops. This area of experiential and localized education stresses the importance of working the land in order to attain the skills needed to achieve food sovereignty for future generations. It also provides an overview of how transgenic modifications and privatizations of seeds/plants/life are deemed to be overt threats to, and blatant attacks upon, their culture.

This perspective is held because the Zapatistas are ‘People of the Corn,’ a reality passed down from their Maya origin stories.3 And given that their autonomous education is anchored in defending, protecting, and preserving their Indigenous histories, languages, and ancestral territories, the Zapatistas effectively practice decolonization—the re-establishment and repatriation of Indigenous land, life, and realities—in every aspect of their teaching and learning.

His_Gahman_Figure5.pngLevi Gahman and Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
Scenes from Zapatista agro-ecology. In the top left, a generator depicting an Indigenous origin story: ‘They cut our branches, and they cut our trunks; but they cannot cut our roots.’

In practical terms, the Zapatistas are decolonizing their food system through applied/experiential learning, communal subsistence farming, collectivizing harvests, refusing chemicals, and equitably distributing labor. This approach thereby provides communities the ability to eschew the profit-motives promoted by capitalist conceptions of ‘productivity,’ in favor of foregrounding their local Indigenous notions of knowledge and nature.4

Through their refusal to participate in the commodification and privatization of learning and land, the Zapatistas have created an integrated system of education and food security that functions as a solidarity economy. This means their efforts in both food and knowledge production/distribution are guided by an ethical imperative that takes into consideration the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and ecologies alike.

Given what the Zapatistas have created in rural Chiapas, one is left to wonder how local food systems might look if Indigenous peoples’ perspectives and (anti-capitalist) placed-based education were implemented into our own communities.

Women‘s Struggle and Gender Equity

Cuando Una Mujer Avanza, No Hay Hombre Que Retrocede

(‘When a Woman Advances, No Man is Left Behind’)

Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, produce roughly 70 percent of its food, and are responsible for over 80 percent of its domestic (socially reproductive) labor. Despite this, they earn only about 10 percent of the world’s income, control less than 10 percent of all its land, own less than one percent of the means of production, and comprise nearly two-thirds of all its part-time and temporary worker positions.5 In disaggregate, the vast majority of these statistics apply to women who are rural, working class/poor, racialized/Indigenous, not ‘formally educated,’ and living in the Global South.6 It thus appears that capitalist exploitation has both a pattern and preferred target. Interestingly, all of these descriptors directly apply to Zapatista women, yet, it seems someone has forgotten to tell them…because they do not seem to care.

His_Gahman_Figure6.jpgDorset Chiapas Solidarity
Collective work.

One of the most groundbreaking aspects of the Zapatista insurgency has been the strides it has made in destabilizing patriarchy. This social transformation has largely been born out of the indefatigable work ethic and iron will of the Zapatista women. Given their recognition that any struggle against colonialism and capitalism necessitates a struggle against patriarchy, Zapatista women implemented what is known as ‘Women’s Revolutionary Law’ within their communities. The conviction they maintain regarding equality was poignantly captured in a communiqué written by Subcomandante Marcos (now Galeano) released shortly after the 1994 rebellion, which states: “The first EZLN uprising occurred in March of 1993 and was led by the Zapatista women. There were no casualties—and they won.”7

Broadly speaking, Women’s Revolutionary Law solidifies the recognition of women’s rights to self-determination, dignity, and having their voices heard. More specifically, the laws mandate that women be equitably represented in the guerrilla army (i.e., the EZLN), theJuntas de Buen Gobierno (‘Councils of Good Government’), efforts in land recuperation (agro-ecological projects/work outside of the home), and the development of food/artisan/craft cooperatives.8 These laws have restructured everyday life throughout Zapatista territory, as it is now not uncommon to see women involved in the public sphere (work outside the home), in addition to seeing men participate in socially reproductive labor (i.e., ‘women’s work’).

His_Gahman_Figure8.jpgLevi Gahman
Murals painted on the walls of a women’s cooperative.

Women’s Revolutionary Law has also merged with the way in which the land and local environment is viewed and tended to. As a result of up-ending rigid patriarchal notions of what type of work women ‘should do’ and ‘could not do,’ as well as undermining regressive ideas that men are less capable of performing emotional labor, household chores, and nurturing children, Zapatista communities now have women exercising more influence over decisions being made surrounding food security and agro-ecological projects.9

In recently attesting to the gender equity the Zapatistas are advancing towards, Peter Rosset, a food justice activist and rural agro-ecological specialist, commented on the impact of Women’s Revolutionary Law by stating:

Yesterday a Zapatista agro-ecology promoter was in my office and he was talking about how the young Indigenous women in Zapatista territory are different from before…

…he said they no longer look at the floor when you talk to them—they look you directly in the eye.10

In light of the emphasis the Zapatistas place on justice via both recognizing women’s struggle, as well as men’s responsibility to perform socially reproductive/emotional labor, one cannot help but further wonder what agricultural production would look like if gender equity was promoted within the global food system.

Final Thoughts

A Zapatista child – one of most important ‘seeds’ the community is nourishing for a better tomorrow.

When viewed in its geopolitical context, the Zapatista insurgency has opened up space for a wide range of alternative ways of re-organizing societies, economies, and food systems. Consequently, what the Zapatistas prove through their resistance (i.e., efforts in autonomous education, decolonization, and gender equity) is that a recognition of Indigenous people’s right to self-determination, in conjunction with anti-capitalist collective work and movements toward food sovereignty, can indeed provide viable alternatives to the world’s neoliberal food regime as well as revolutionize the struggle for food security.


I offer my gratitude to the Zapatistas for accepting me into their school as well as the Mexico Solidarity Network for enabling it. I also thank Schools for Chiapas and the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group for sharing photos, as well as The University of the West Indies Campus Research and Publication Committee (Trinidad and Tobago) for their support.


  1. Marcos, S & de Leon, JP. Our Word is Our Weapon (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2002).
  2. Anonymous Zapatista. Personal communication, Fall 2013.
  3. Ross, J. ¡Zapatistas!: Making Another World Possible: Chronicles of Resistance, 2000–2006 (Nation Books, New York, 2006).
  4. Lorenzano, L. Zapatismo: recomposition of labour, radical democracy and revolutionary project in Zapatista! Reinventing Revolution in Mexico (eds Holloway, J & Pelaez, E), Ch. 7, 126-128 (Pluto Press, London, 1998).
  5. Robbins, RH. Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism (Allyn & Bacon, Boston, 2007).
  6. Benería, L, Berik, G & Floro, M. Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered (Routledge, Abingdon, 2015).
  7. Marcos, S. The First Uprising: March 1993. La Jornada (January 30, 1994).
  8. Klein, H. Compañeras: Zapatista Women‘s Stories (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2015).
  9. Marcos, S. Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary Law as it is lived today. Open Democracy [online] (July 2014).https://www.opendemocracy.net/sylvia-marcos/zapatista-women%E2%80%99s-re….
  10. Rosset, P. Zapatista Uprising 20 Years Later. Democracy Now! [online] (January 2014).http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/3/zapatista_uprising_20_years_later_how.

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution


Community of Cruztón denounces invasion of its territory and aggression

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2016 by floweroftheword
Photo: The Community of Cruztón in defence of the land. (Frayba)

Community of Cruzton, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, August 15th, 2016

We would like to inform all our brothers and sisters, such as

the Good Government Juntas (JBG)

adherents to the Sixth Declaration

compañeros from Semilla Digna

human rights centre

to the free media

to the media

to the Indigenous National Congress "CNI"

To all independent organizations

we are Adherents to the Sixth Declaration and we make you aware of everything that is happening in our community. We ask for your support to stay alert to what might happen.

1) We demand the right to our territory and within this our holy field, which we have reclaimed since 1920, by right of our forefathers, we demand and we know that no one can privatize it as today an invading group from Guadalupe Victoria are doing.

2) On 5 March 2013 an invading group from Guadalupe Victoria put flags on the twelve small landholdings identified, so that they could soon take possession of them.

3) On 16 April 2015 they seized 3 small properties of Manuel Huel Cruz, Fernando Lopez Bautista and Mario Perez Nucamendi.

4) On May 8, 2015 at 6.00 pm they blocked the path leading to Venustiano Carranza, stopping our compañeros from transporting a sick person, privatising the path, and they detained them for two hours, threatened them with high-calibre weapons, telling them that they still wanted to know where they were.

5) On February 1, 2016 they privatized our path which leads to our field holy sealing it off with a heavy chain and saying that none of the community is to enter their land and that once the government had given them a solution, the land of the holy field would be taken for land for cultivation

6) On May 10, 2016 a decision was taken by own community to rise up up to open the path that leads us to our holy field so we could go there to leave flowers for our dead which we have the right to do.

As 7 am on the same day, our compañero, Agusto de la Cruz Pérez, was heading to Guadalupe Victoria to leave his wife at the house of her mother, on his return he was taken hostage without having committed any crime. The attacking group from Guadalupe Victoria who kidnapped him were heavily armed with high calibre weapons, they beat him, hung him for an hour, and after five hours he was released but they threatened him telling him that those who had kidnapped him "no one messes with us, or it will be worse for them."

Given all this, we demand from the state government of MANUEL VELASCO COELLO, and all its departments, that they respect our rights to land and territory, since until now the harassment from the aggressor group has continued and we hold them liable for any confrontation that may happen.



Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 20/08/2016


A Glimpse Inside the Zapatista’s Rebel Capital of Oventic, Two Decades on

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2016 by floweroftheword

Ryan Mallett-Outtrim – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
go to original
August 17, 2016

Sign reads, “You are now in rebel Zapatista territory. Here, the people command, and the government obeys.” (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim)

The line of guards clad in the guerrilla movement’s iconic balaclavas was a sign we had found the place. For anyone who did not get the hint, there was a half rusted sign across the road that read, “You are now in rebel Zapatista territory.”

“Here, the people command, and the government obeys,” it stated.

Less than an hour from the nearest city, and I had already arrived at Oventic. This small, unassuming community in the highlands of Mexico’s Chiapas state is often known as the de facto capital of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a leftist guerrilla movement that has been a thorn in the side of the Mexican government since the 1990s.

A decade ago, Oventic was easily accessible to outsiders, and gringo tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the EZLN in their heartland were generously accommodated. Today, things are different, and the Zapatistas are more reserved about who they allow to peek inside their world. In late July, I was given the privilege to visit Oventic, and see how the community was doing two decades after the EZLN first shocked the world with its fiery entrance into Mexico’s already complex political landscape.

The Zapatistas’ debut act came in 1994, when seemingly out of nowhere, they seized control of a handful of towns across Chiapas, one of the country’s consistently poorest states. Among the towns captured was the highland city San Cristobal, which is today the heart of the state’s booming tourism sector. The offensive was accompanied by a declaration of war against the Mexican government by the EZLN. They accused the federal government of losing touch with ordinary Mexicans, and called for a nationwide revolt.

Their sudden offensive was timed to coincide with the signing of the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In their early communiques, the Zapatistas warned NAFTA would fail to deliver on its promises of economic prosperity, and would only widen the country’s wealth gap. Any gains under NAFTA would not be seen by the already impoverished indigenous farmers of rural Chiapas, they claimed.

Reminiscing on the time, veteran Mexican journalist Olivier Acuna said the uprising “caught us all by surprise”.

“Basically, nobody outside Chiapas saw it coming; other than, I suppose, intelligence agents,” he said.

However, he argued the EZLN didn’t really come from nowhere.

“Chiapas is a highly marginalized and poverty stricken state, and if you add the long history of massive caciquismo you have a very resented and abused population,” he said.

Caciquismo refers to regional authoritarianism, where local leaders such as mayors weld huge power over their constituents, often in remote rural areas. In hindsight, Acuna said, the uprising was a long time coming. He pointed to decades of local and federal governments abusing the highland population.

“[It's] majority indigenous people who have been stripped of their lands, and in many cases turned into almost slaves on their own land,” he said.

Today, the EZLN has long since retreated from the city of San Cristobal, though it retains a following in the highlands. An uneasy ceasefire exists, with the Mexican military mostly avoiding contact with EZLN communities, which remain dotted across the countryside. Meanwhile, the Zapatistas themselves have adopted a defensive strategy, focusing on consolidation rather than expansion.

During my time in Oventic, I spoke with Roy Ketchum, an associate professor in Hispanic studies from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Ketchum has been observing the EZLN for years, though this was the first time he was able to visit Oventic, after being turned away on a previous trip.

“There’s a vibrant, community based participatory democracy,” he said. “Everyone participates, and everyone is heard.”

Read the rest at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

CNTE causes more economic damage than the EZLN Uprising

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2016 by floweroftheword
walmart-office-depot-blockshutting down business in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.

By: Isaín Mandujano


The president of the Employers Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) in this state, Enoc Gutiérrez, said today that the economic damages caused by the teachers’ conflict “are worse than those of 1994,” after the armed uprising of the Zapatista Nacional Liberation Army (EZLN).

Enoc Gutiérrez reminded that on Tuesday August 2, the Employers Centre, affiliated with Coparmex, presented a legal demand for an amparo (protective order) to the Judicial Power of the Federation (PJF) against the state and federal authorities due to “omissions” in attending to the teachers’ conflict that, after more than 90 days, have allegedly caused million dollar losses in Chiapas and other states in the country.

Although the case could be resolved in the coming days or weeks, Gutiérrez maintained that: “this is one of the worst situations that reflect economic damages and affectations, we evaluate and tell you that they are even worse than those in 1994. And we have an international context much more complex and a devaluation in the Mexican economy.”

He also clarified that the business owners “are not enemies” of the government authorities or of those who head the institutions of the Mexican government, but neither will they be accomplices in permitting that conflict situations cause damages to third parties that affect the economy and above all that impair the education of the state’s children.

Later he said that they would not promote the repression of movements when they are conducted with unrestricted adherence to the law, and that they will always make use of the laws that they have at hand for defending their right to free movement and the free exercise of labour and free enterprise.

He also pointed out that the demand for an amparo is so that the Mexican State will act and re-establish the peace and respect the constitutional guarantees, like the right to education.

Lastly, he demanded that the federal government and the CNTE go further in their tables of dialogue and negotiations and produce concrete results to put an end to the conflict.


Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com.mx

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Re-published in English by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 20/08/2016


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