EZLN: Resistance and Rebellion III

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

May 8, 2015

Good afternoon compañeros, compañeras, brothers and sisters.

Perhaps by continuing our explanation of how resistance and rebellion are weapons for us you will better understand some of the things that our compañeros and compañeras here at the table have talked about.

Through our resistance and rebellion, we have come to understand that by putting resistance and rebellion into practice we confirm that we will not allow in our struggle what happened in 1910, when so many of our fellow Mexicans died. Who took advantage of that situation?

Our resistance and rebellion teach us that it was the carrancistas [followers of Carranza], the obregonistas[followers of Obregon] and the maderistas [followers
of Madero], all landowners, who took advantage of the situation to govern, to put themselves into power. And that bunch of bastards who are in power now are the great-grandchildren of those same people, and so it is our resistance and our rebellion that tell us that we must govern ourselves.

But our resistance and rebellion also tell us that just because we, people of the same race, are the ones who govern, does not mean—and we have said this from the beginning—that just because we call it a Junta de Buen Gobierno[Good
Government Council], does not mean that this government by its very nature is good. Rather that we must monitor it, take care of it, keep watch over it.

That is why I’m saying that what the compañeros and compañeras said is true. Even if we bring indigenous people to power, if the people are not organized below to monitor their government then we will get even bigger rats than before. Because a poor indigenous person has never seen the kinds of things, so many things, that he or she sees in that governing office,. So that’s what happens to us in that position. Thus it is important not to just trust. We have to actually be organized to monitor our government. That is why we say it is the people who rule.

When I say that we need to watch over our government and that we need to be alert and all of that, we do this through our practice of struggle, of resistance and rebellion. We don’t leave our autonomous governments to govern alone, we are very other in this sense. Of course, each one of us has responsibility in our work areas, so we learn that it isn’t just the compañero and compañera authorities who have to be good at thinking through proposals, we all have to become good at this.

So the way it works is that our authorities have meetings, for example in one of the Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion. And there may be 15-20 people in a meeting among the compañeros and compañeras from all the work areas: health, education, agro-ecology, commerce and these kinds of things. So one of the compañeros orcompañeras in charge of a given area says, “I am having such-and-such problem,” to the collective gathered there, that is, all of the rest of the authorities who are in charge of other areas. So they begin to discuss the problem among all of the authorities. That’s why we call it collective government. And from there ideas begin to come out, proposals. But that doesn’t mean that whatever they come up with is implemented directly.

They can’t simply implement these ideas straightaway because first they have to go to the municipal assembly of authorities. That is where all of the comisariadas [local land authorities], agentas [local authorities],comisariados and agentes gather. There the compañeros present their proposal for solving the problem. Among them—the compañeros who are authorities, the assembly members, and the authorities of the communities, men and women—use our Zapatista law as their guide. There they might say, ‘oh we already know that’s allowed because it has already been discussed; our communities have already accepted that before so we can decide here that this proposal can go forward.’ And the compañeros and compañeras, comisariados, comisariadas might then approve the proposal. But the compañeros and compañeras who are authorities know when to say ‘we can’t decide here that we are all in agreement. We have to go consult our compañeros and compañeras in the communities.’

When the municipal authorities or the Junta de Buen Gobierno launch or present their proposal in the assembly, the assembly of authorities, the way they do things goes like this. Pretend that we here are in what we call the maximum or highest-level assembly. Here is where we have the first round of discussion about the problem. When we feel we’ve gotten to the point where we can’t go any further, and we haven’t found a solution, we divide up into regions. So we would divide everyone here in this room into 10, 15, 20 regions in order to go discuss it. Then we come back to the assembly and talk again until we find a solution.

If we don’t find an answer through that discussion because it just couldn’t be determined here, we take the proposal to the communities—the discussion is extended to every single community. We have to find a solution and that solution can come from a community, from a particular group, or it can come from an individual – something that a compañero or compañera suggests – or it can come from a whole community. Then that word, that opinion, that thought goes all the way to the highest-level assembly until we decide which proposal is best for resolving this problem.

So you can see here that the autonomous authorities do not do what they do alone. That is, their work is discussed and considered by all of the compañeros and compañeras bases of support in the communities. For however good a government or Junta de Buen Gobierno they may be, they can’t just make their own policies. Rather, what they propose has to be approved by the people, by the communities. The communities thus know from the very beginning what it is that is being proposed, what it is that their authorities want to do, and how they intend to do it.

This way of doing things has meant that our authorities can’t just do whatever they want, whether that’s at the zone level, in the Junta de Buen Gobierno, the MAREZ, the Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion, or at the level of the local authorities. There are always assemblies locally in each community. No local authority can do something without the local assembly knowing about it. It is the same thing at the municipal level. They cannot launch any project without the community being informed. It is the same at the level of the Junta de Buen Gobierno. They cannot begin or launch any project or work without informing and consulting the thousands of men and women.

So compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters, if we say no to a given proposal or project, it is not necessarily because it is bad, but rather because we have our own processes. For example, regarding the work relations with some NGOs that are still working here, they think that if they ask me and I say no, it’s just me saying no. And if they ask me and I say yes, then that’s good enough. But the reality is that there are thousands of us, so it takes a long time to discuss the project, to decide whether we want to accept it or not, or how we want it to be. This takes awhile. And when the answer is given by our people and then the people from the outside who offered the project or proposal say well no, we can’t offer it any more, the moment has passed, it’s no longer possible, well then, that’s that. That’s what our resistance and rebellion is for. If there’s no project from the outside, we will just continue working.

Within our resistance and rebellion, there are two things that the compañeros of the communities and their three levels of government never let go of, things that can’t be bypassed. One, the progress on everything that has been agreed upon in the community has to be reported back to the community: how is it going? For whatever kind of work we do, health, education, agro-ecology, and all the other kinds of work, there has to be an account or report: What is happening? How is it going? Why is that happening? How did you resolve it? What are you doing now? At the same time, there must be reports on all of the funds that have come in and on what has been spent.

In the practice of our resistance and rebellion, the compañeros and compañeras have been innovative in the practice of accountability, where the Junta de Buen Gobierno or the MAREZ must provide clear accounts. Thecompañeros and compañeras asked how can we be certain that what the accounts say is true, even though it iscompañeros and compañeras who are doing them, even though they carry the name of Junta de Buen Gobierno.But do we know that they’re right?

So the compañeros and compañeras innovate. They get creative because there is a lack of trust, so they have to figure out how to create trust. So they created the rule for the Junta de Buen Gobierno, where there is a lockbox or whatever you call it there where the money is kept. They decided that the Junta de Buen Gobierno can’t take money out of the box without the presence of the Vigilance Commission. The Vigilance Commission is made up of the community bases of support who are taking their turn there in the caracol. Every day, every month, every year you can find them there with the Junta de Buen Gobierno and the Information Commission, which is the compañeros and compañeras who are comités [Indigenous Revolutionary Cladestine Committe, CCRI] or who are candidatos or candidatas to be CCRI, or suplentes or suplentas to be CCRI.

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So these two commissions accompany the process any time that the box is opened, not that box that holds the dead but that of the money. Then one of the two commissions asks:

“So let’s see compa from the Junta de Buen Gobierno, how much do you need?”

“Well, I need 15,000 pesos.”

“Let’s see.” They take out the 15,000 pesos and give it to the compa. “Count it so that later you can’t say that it wasn’t all there.”

So the compa from the Junta de Buen Gobierno counts it and goes to buy what they need. Upon their return in the afternoon, they meet with the two commissions again and the compa from the Junta with the two commissions look together at the accounts. They check how any money has been spent, or whether there is anything missing.

So that is how we create trust in the accounts presented by the Junta de Buen Gobierno. This accounting and presentation of information happens every six months, every three months, and every year. But because the process is controlled, because the Junta is not just on their own, there are people who can confirm that the accounts are accurate.

It is through our resistance and rebellion that we have found a way to do justice. It is one part of how we… let’s see, how could I explain it? By carrying out this process without doing politics, we could say, without giving political talks to the partidistas, but instead by resolving their problems, it’s clear that we do not sell justice, that justice cannot be bought. And in doing justice there is no fee; people aren’t charged for justice. So then thepartidistas realize and decide, well let’s go to the Zapatistas because if we go to the [state] officials, we’ll need money.

So by doing justice within our resistance and rebellion, we are doing what we call neutralizing, because then those non-Zapatistas [who come for resolution of their
problems in our justice system] do not act against us. But this is not because we’re doing political work per se. We’re just acting [on
principle] and that is what they see.

Another thing that we do that has contributed to the construction of our resistance and rebellion is that we don’t try to force people to be Zapatistas or bases of support. In our community practice, that is, in each community, we talk to others, those who aren’t partidistas, because in the communities there are people who are partidistas and people who aren’t partidistas. So we talk to them and if they want to join us in our school, which is part of the Zapatista education system, they can do so without paying.

All they have to do is fulfill the community agreement regarding how that community supports their educationpromotor or promotora [like teacher, literally promoter]. Each Zapatista community does this differently. The community may work in the promotor or promotora’s vegetable garden or cornfield to collect the fresh corn. They may collectivize and give beans to the education promotor or promotora. So the brothers who aren’t Zapatistas but want to send their kids to our schools can do so as long as they fulfill this community determined requirement. Those brothers who aren’t partidistas can then send their children to the Zapatista autonomous school.

The result of this work is that when the compañeros and compañeras have a celebration in the communities, for example November 17, which is the anniversary of the creation of the Zapatista army in 1983, during those celebrations, the Zapatista children and the little boys and girls whose parents are not partidistas participate all together. They recite their poems or give small speeches or performances so their parents can watch.

During these parties the partidistas don’t participate, unless they happen to play the keyboard. But their children don’t participate. So then the parents whose children are in the autonomous Zapatista school take up the task of talking to the partidistas, saying why don’t we just run off the official teachers? Because look at my son, my daughter, she already knows how to read and write. She can already give a small speech. And look at yours, your son and your daughter—they don’t know how. So what are we going to do? Why would we be against the Zapatistas? So then they start to talk about it and the partidistas see that what the others are saying is true.
These are all things that our rebellion and resistance have created for us, have made possible for us. And I’m going to keep telling you about it because it is thanks to this resistance and rebellion that we are fighting. We’re demonstrating that one can take action without a gun. This is the important thing in these cases. But that doesn’t mean that we’re saying that the guns are not useful. One day they will be useful.

I want to repeat here compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters that there cannot be resistance or rebellion without first being organized. Because organization is people, it’s women and men, it is communities. So if there is no community, no people, if there aren’t men and women, then what do you have? Perhaps you have an artful way of speaking. Or you are good on the soapbox, as we say. But without people, that just vanishes into nothing.

So how do we make what a poet says into organization and practice? How do we put into organization and practice what a singer sings? How do we practice and create a new organization from what an artist illustrates? These are the questions, help me make a list of these things. This is the point. This is why we organize.

Because our resistance and rebellion (inaudible), it is with this resistance and rebellion that we have achieved our form of education. That includes the program or the topics of study, let’s see, how do you say that? Who is a teacher here? The study materials. It is the compañeros and compañeras in the communities that have to decide what kind of education they want for their children. I remember a discussion with some compañeros who invited me to talk with them about what materials their young people were going to study. And one of the things they said was, well, in social science, the system says we’re supposed to talk about the bullet train. But what bullet train is going to come through here? No, what we have to think about is what we need in social sciences here in our autonomous municipality. Here in our zone of rebellion. And I said, yes, good compañeros and compañeras. That’s how we have to think about it. And they said:

“We want them to study history because in the SEP [the state school
system], in the education that the government provides, they tell us that Mexico already had its revolution. That that’s why Zapata died. So we want our kids to study the real history.”

And I asked the compañeros and compañeras, well what do you mean by that? And they said:

“Well, we want our young people to wake up.”

“But how?” I asked them again.

“Look,” they said, “how do the different eras of modes of production or society function? These different things, like feudalism, slavery, capitalism, imperialism, and we don’t know how many more.”

And then the compañeros and compañeras said:

“In the time of slavery, how did politics work? How did ideology work? How did the economy work? What were the social and cultural realms like? How were things in that time? We need to know all of this to awaken children. So that they know.”

And I answered the compañeros and compañeras: “I don’t know. I didn’t study that either. I didn’t study at allcompañeros and compañeras.” And they said:

“So how should we do it?” And I said:

“Well, let’s see who can help.”

Here in Mexico there are a lot of students and sometimes they come down here, so we suggested this, that what we wanted to know about was how society and the mode of production worked in each of these eras.

“There’s not a book about that. We don’t know either.” They responded.

Does anybody here know? Because that’s what we want. What was the feudal era like? How did politics work in that time? How did ideology work in that time? How did the economic, social and cultural realms work in that time? Because now we compañeros and compañeras know about capitalism, now about neoliberal capitalism, and now we can describe how the political, ideological, economic and social realms work.

So that’s why I’m telling you that with our resistance and rebellion we have a new form of education, a new form of health care. It is our resistance and rebellion that have taught us how to do these things, but we also have failures.

Look, before when we hadn’t yet suggested or clarified to the NGOs what I explained to you the day before yesterday, we built things like clinics, or mini-clinics, because they provided funds to do so. And what was understood was:

“Ah a clinic. How great! Now we’re going to have healthcare.”

But about 4 or 5 years ago, we realized this wasn’t true, because it implied organization and when the compañeroswanted to organize themselves… well, why am I telling you about this? Because, well imagine that we have here the clinic or the mini-clinic. And the communities are here five to six hours a day trying to get this clinic running. And the health promotors or promotoras come in shifts to attend the clinic. But at the same time we had started the work of what we call the three areas: which are medicinal plants [also
midwifery and bone-setting]. And thecompañeros and compañeras were learning what plants work for what kinds of things – cough, flu, parasites, pain, diarrhea, vomiting – all of these kinds of things. So, pure and simple, we weren’t going to the clinic. So thecompañeros and compañeras began to say:

“What is the purpose of the health promotor going to the clinic? We’ll just have to feed them. But that’s not actually working for us. What is working for us is the promotora who works with medicinal plants.

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So this changed things for us. And this is where what we were talking about yesterday comes into play. We began to re-organize ourselves and at the same time re-educate ourselves. So what we did was that the compañeros that were the promotores carried out a campaign. They gathered things like the ultra sound machine, the equipment for pap smears, the lab equipment, and the dental equipment and went to the communities. They organized themselves by municipalities or by regions and went to carry out these services. So in that process they were able to detect who had what kinds of problems – hernias, tumors, appendicitis and these kinds of things. So it was no longer just letting the doctors who support us know what was going on. And we were also able to support the doctors, because this way they would already know what the patients had. It would be there on the film or on the x-ray or on the ultrasound.

So this really is a new kind of health [or healthcare] for us because we are able to detect our compañeras andcompañeros’ health problems beforehand, before the doctor. And also of course the partidistas’ health problems.

It is through our resistance and rebellion that the compañeros have the freedom to practice what they think at a local level. For example, there are communities that began to create what they call the BAC. So, we asked them what that was and it turns out that it is the Autonomous Community Bank. That is, it belongs to the communities; they themselves created it.

And it is through our resistance and rebellion that we are improving our communications media. That’s what we call it. That includes the Zapatista autonomous community radio that the compañeros of the Junta de Buen Gobierno themselves run. They use these radio broadcasts to transmit what they want the Zapatista and non-Zapatista communities to know.

It is through our resistance and rebellion that we practice a new democracy. That is where the compañeros, the communities, and the authorities try new things altogether. Sometimes we fail on those things but we realize when it happens so that we can see how to improve them.

For example, and this is really important, one of the changes that we had to make in order to improve was the following. Before, we mentioned that there is a new education where the children really do learn how to read and write and do math, so these young 18 or 19 year olds are named as authorities because they have these skills. So when the assembly meets, all of a sudden its all young people. The municipal council and also the MAREZ, areall young people. But it was a mistake to have all young people in there because they haven’t had the experience of being an older Zapatista; they don’t know what it was like during the times of clandestinity; the effort, the sacrifices and everything that required; the incredible courage and everything it took to rise up in 1994. The young people haven’t had that experience. Things have been very easy for them.

So the communities realized that this wasn’t working and they began organizing the young people to have their own school that teaches them their work – their task, their duty, their obligation, what it means to be a Zapatista authority. But this school is for all of the communities. All of the men, women, and young people so that they understand what their task and their duty is when they are chosen to be an authority.

Within this democracy one of the ways that we experiment with how to do things and help the compas is, for example, and I don’t know what to call this, if its direct or indirect or somewhat direct, you’ll have to figure out which one it is; but for example let’s say that here in this room we are the authorities and among ourselves we know everyone, we know which compañero or compañera is concerned about the work, is really interested in the work, who wants and is able to help and orient others. We see who doesn’t just talk about those things and but is really able to practice them.

So, what we do here is propose that a compañero or compañera be a member of the Junta de Buen Gobierno, if that is what we are choosing someone for. Now we here are authorities and because we know each other we propose that particular compañero or compañera, but we don’t decide that here. Rather, we have to take that proposal to the communities and that is where we explain that we, as assembly members, think that thiscompañero or compañera will be a good choice to do this work because we have seen this or that.

And then the communities say, because this is what the communities ask us, “is it true what you say about this person? Because it will be on your head.” And that is where we as authorities have to be truthful about things; if we really have seen that the compañera is interested and concerned and has demonstrated that she can orient and support others, then that is how the authorities help the communities choose people. It’s not because a givencompañero or compañera runs their own campaign.

For example, how do the communities monitor or keep watch over their authorities. So the Vigilance Commission is in the caracoles at all times (inaudible). They monitor or keep watch over the authorities, but the compañerosand compañeras, they have in their head and heart the importance of the task of keeping watch over their authorities. Very recently, a member of the Junta de Buen Gobierno – because they have shifts – well this member had finished his shift and was in his community, and went, I don’t know where, to make some purchases in the city and someone saw him there with a Tecate [a brand of beer] in his hand, but he was in the city. But so then thatcompañero or compañera who saw him notified the Junta de Buen Gobierno that so-and-so was seen with aTecate, which is to say that our compas pursue their authorities wherever they go. They keep watch over them.

So for example, in democracy, how, even in the children’s classes, do we go about teaching them this, so that they understand why their parents are in meetings?

The teachers say:

“Okay kids, our festival is coming up” -for example May 3. The community celebrates a festival on May 3, and so the teacher says “and you children, what are you going to do?”

“Well we want to have a piñata or we want to do a skit or a bit of theatre,” the kids start to say and they consult with all the children about what they want to perform.

Dances, theatre pieces, piñatas, or whatever they want to do.

So the kids start to learn how to organize themselves. That is in addition to the fact that they accompany their moms and dads in the assemblies. Here one thing that we have learned in our resistance and rebellion is that we can’t be afraid to go to the community and suggest our proposals – however difficult it may be. The compañeros of the Juntas de Buen Gobierno are learning this also; that however difficult it may be to do, we must go to the communities and make our proposal so that they talk about it, they think about it, and that they learn because we don’t want a situation where the compañeros and compañeras – because they think they understand what the people in the communities want – launch initiatives without telling the communities. I don’t know if you understand what I’m trying to say here.

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So let’s take me as an example. Let’s say the compañeros and compañeras have seen me, and they know and I know that I can hit upon exactly what the people want. And so because they have seen me, I start to think a lot of myself and I get a big head and I begin to launch initiatives that I think are good without consulting the communities. So the compas say we are not going to permit that, because for however much we may understand and really nail what is needed, we still have to go to our communities because if we don’t, then we start to create a bad culture. We start to create a bad culture all over again. I started to think about this when the compa Zibechi was talking because it is true what he said. The ex-president of his country showed a nice face towards the outside but inside, who knows. Because as we Mexicans say, you can see the face but you can’t see the heart, and well, he told us how it really was.

That’s one of the things we have detected from within our resistance and rebellion and have said that we are not going to allow; that the people must be informed, the people must be consulted. So that’s what our resistance and rebellion has allowed us. It gives us time to invent things, to create things, to imagine. We don’t have an instruction manual and this is the truth. There is not a book for this. Our manual is evaluating our work to see how to improve it. Our manual is the actual problem that arises. It is how we have to resolve this problem; and that is how we advance, confronting those problems and resolving them with an imagination in our practice. So that’s the thing about our resistance and rebellion. We don’t give up. We are very stubborn. We don’t just let something go. We have to resolve it. We have to find the solution. So we have to understand our resistance and rebellion as if the shots, the bullets were real. As if the bombs were real. That is, we have to understand it as a war in order to confront the enemy, meaning we have to take it seriously. Because this is one of the ways that we defeat the enemy, finding solutions for how to better our own self-government. What we mean by that is that the struggle, the fight, is not just with weapons and bombs, but also on the political terrain, the ideological, the economic terrain, and everything else.

Our resistance and rebellion exists because we are working on them, because we are organizing them. Because we are there alongside our people—struggling, supporting, orienting, improving. At the same time, our resistance gives us security and simultaneously helps us keep watch over ourselves, take care of ourselves. And like I told you, this resistance is alive and active because we are working on it. We really consider it one of our weapons of struggle. Because, for example, our actual guns have been resting for the past 20 years, but if we don’t take care of those guns then they become useless. But we do take care of them, so they are just like they were in 1994. They are still useful because we are still taking care of them.

So our organization, our rebellion and resistance is what makes us, what allows us to take care of ourselves, what gives us safety and security. And we have to keep improving them as we are able through our work. Our resistance and rebellion has helped us see that if the political parties hadn’t split us into many different parts, things would be a little different. Because the political parties divide us, and then so do the social organizations that are co-opted by the political parties, which are like the sharks or attack dogs of the political parties. Then those social organizations also divide and provoke, and they continue to do this. I’m going to give you an example here of how we confront this problem and what we have seen as effective.

You will remember, and if you don’t I will remind you of Zinacantán, and what happened in Zinacantán, where theperredistas—members of the PRD—cut off the water supply to our compañeros who are bases of support. And when we went to take water to our compañeros, the perredistas attacked us with rocks, clubs, and bullets. What happened happened, and the Junta de Buen Gobierno, as a solution, bought a little piece of land where there is a water spring and gave it to the compañeros who are bases of support.

But here is the example of what I mean by the political parties dividing us, dividing our communities. Because what happened then was that a group of former compas left; they stopped being Zapatistas and so the compasbases of support said, “well we are not going to give them water any more, because now they are no longer a part of us.” And they went to suggest this to the Junta de Buen Gobierno, but the Junta said to the compañeros:

No compañeros, water is life, so we cannot tell them that we are not going to let them have water, even though when we went to give water to you, our bases of support, the perredistas shot at us. But that is not how we do it. We are just going to invite them to take care of the water and to respect the trees that we have planted there, so that they grow and also protect the water.”

There are a million things that I can tell you in this regard, of how they fuck with the communities, of how the political parties divide us, but this is how we combat that. Sometimes being humble works and sometimes it doesn’t. Because what the compañeros did in that case, in letting the perredistas access the water, that was about humility.

It is through our resistance and rebellion that the compañeros of the Juntas de Buen Gobierno and the MAREZmade an agreement across all levels of authorities to carry out the sharing or the exchange. Because there was an internal exchange or sharing and that helped us to create, to invent among all of us, what became the Little School. This process gave us a lot of strength because the exchange that the compañeros held with all the MAREZ, theJuntas de Buen Gobierno, is what demonstrated that they are true teachers.

And this is where we see that what happened upon the arrival of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in 1983 is real. Because at that time, the first compañeros insurgentes and insurgentas, well when they came they were very square or rigid, but upon arriving and through our interaction with the compañeros and compañeras of the communities, this rigidity was dismantled.

Because in the communities they were already in resistance. They lived in their communities and it was immediately clear that the compañeros and compañeras of the communities were already in resistance. For example, there were communities that named their own comisariados despite the fact that the municipal president demanded that he got to name that position. They weren’t bases of support at that time in 1983, and even though some communities said ‘what the municipal president says doesn’t matter, what counts is what we say,’ there were also other communities that did go to the municipal president so that he would name theircomisariado.

So at that time, there were these two types of communities. Since there were communities that were already in resistance, there it was a task of reinventing more forms of resistance.

So compañeros, compañeras, brothers and sisters, that is our experience. It is a small experience, like this little corncob that the compas from the north gave us.

So, evaluate from where you are what makes for a good seed and which seed is not good and can’t be put into practice. Then decide what is the first thing you have to do, and then the second, and the third, and the fourth and so on.

There is one more thing I want to tell you because what we are saying here is real. I remember in the year 1985 the commander, the person in charge of the section I was with, got us together one day and explained: we are the Zapatista Army for National Liberation. Each section was made up of 4 people, so the 4 of us turned and looked at each other and said, “we are the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, the 4 of us.”

He told us: here we have two options. We are going to work, and if we are going to work, it will have consequences, because we’re going to grow. We are going to convince the people, and there are going to be many manycompañeros and compañeras, but for this we need to be very careful with security. Or, we are not going to work, that is, we are not going to do political work and we are going to be here getting very bored of each other’s faces month after month and year after year because we didn’t want to work.

So one has to think carefully about which option they choose.” And that is what we did. We began to work and by the year 1986 there were battalions of insurgentes and insurgentas. There were battalions of milicianos andmilicianas.

But don’t forget compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters, if that is what you decide to do, that we start like this, small. But if we work, we grow, and if we don’t, then we are ever smaller and we die without really doing anything.

All right then compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters, that was our participation for this session about resistance and rebellion. We leave it to you to see what is useful for you and what is not. And the first thing to do in order to achieve what you want to do, what we recommend, is that the first thing is to organize yourselves, because if there is not organization there isn’t anything.

Thank you very much compañeros, compañeras.

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