Migrant Community in New York reflects on the Zapatistas

30 Aug 2014

mjb-mujerMembers of Movement for Justice in El Barrio recently held a two day community assembly, to reflect on their principles and their daily struggle for dignity and against neoliberal displacement, and to continue to learn from the struggle and the principles of the Zapatistas. As part of the activities, they screened documentaries about the history of the last 30 years of struggle of the Zapatista communities and a new film about the Escuelita. New members felt humbled to learn about the dignified struggle of the Zapatistas. A new member was surprised that the struggle was so different from what they had read in the newspapers about the Zapatistas. Their preconceptions were challenged and destroyed by this community reflection.

After watching the films and learning about the compañeras and compañeros, participants then discussed the 7 principles of the Zapatistas and reflected on how these principles relate to their own work organizing against displacement and for dignified housing in El Barrio. In this way, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio continued learning from their Zapatista compañer@s.

Members also spoke about the struggle of Movement for Justice in El Barrio against multiple forms of oppression, sexism, patriarchy, heterosexism, racism, capitalism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia and other – and how important this work is in a community organization struggling for social justice from below and for everyone. These migrants in struggle look to their Zapatista compañeras and compañeros as an inspiration in their daily struggle for justice for marginalized communities. The members were clear that the Zapatistas give them one more reason to continue in their local struggle in East Harlem knowing that the compas are struggling to change the unjust system imposed from above upon those from below.

10177531_1434815593454241_5913818747920963295_nFinally, the members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio screened videos about compañero Galeano and his brutal murder by paramilitary forces. A new member expressed frustration that no one could turn to the government for justice because it was this same bad government which caused the death of Galeano and the destruction in the community. The members reaffirmed their support for the community of La Realidad.

Overall, the participants in the meeting continued to learn much more from the Zapatistas which they can apply in their community organization. They will never forget compañero Galeano, but they will keep his memory in their hearts and in his memory they will struggle every day for justice and for the liberation of those from below.

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