Zapatistas Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Sixth Declaration of Lacandon Jungle
La Jornada, 6th July, 2015
It is the tenth anniversary of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle (La Sexta.) In June 2005, the Zapatista leadership and the EZLN General Command unveiled what had been done so far, how they saw Mexico and the world, and what they intended to do: "Call on those who are like us and join them, everywhere they live and struggle."
The Declaration recounted how and why on January 1, 1994, they took up arms; why they met with civil society when it asked them to dialogue and reach agreement, which they did by the agreements that were achieved; how the government and political parties did not comply [with the San Andrés Accords], and how the Zapatistas began to make their own the sorrow of all the people with whom they entered into relationship.
The Declaration described internal transformations in the Zapatista communities, improvement in their material conditions of life and their learning to govern themselves. It examined how they resisted all the attacks and, in spite of everything, made progress. It announced the decision once again to take another risk: "Perhaps united with other social sectors with the same problems as ourselves, it will be possible to get what we need and deserve."
The Zapatistas rigorously analysed the capitalist operation in the era of neoliberal globalization, based "on the exploitation, plunder, contempt and repression of those who don’t stand up for themselves" throughout the entire world. They also examined how people everywhere are struggling against that.
Likewise, they analysed how Mexico was. How the forces of capitalism are destroying the country. How government officials, politicians and judges are its employees or accomplices—the same as with drug trafficking and crime—and how many people are also struggling against all that.
The Declaration endorsed the commitments of the EZLN and announced that it would expand its relations of respect and mutual support with persons and organizations in the worldwide struggle against neoliberalism and for humanity. In Mexico they would continue fighting for the original peoples and for all the exploited and dispossessed in order to build a national programme of struggle and to practice another way of doing politics. With the participation of everyone, they would participate in the social and political process that might lead to a new Constitution "that would recognize the rights and liberties of the people and defend the weak against the powerful."
An EZLN delegation would tour the country to enter into alliances with those who share all these convictions and the decision to resist and struggle.
As usual, the Zapatistas kept their word. They did what they said they were going to do, which was, as usual, full of ups and downs. In Oventic, one month before the Tenth Anniversary of La Sexta, they convened a tribute to Don Luis Villoro and the teacher Galeano, and held a seminar in San Cristóbal to analyse again each of the items in it (La Sexta.)
Many people and organizations, from Mexico and around the world, responded to their call. They listened carefully to the Zapatistas, who updated the status of their situation, their progress and difficulties, and their decision to continue the struggle. The seminar allowed a recounting of all kinds of disasters and difficulties, and a joint reflection on the gravity of the situation—where in Mexico and throughout the world, we are in a situation that is in itself intolerable but that is probably going to get worse.
In San Cristóbal, La Sexta was endorsed in its current form as a planetary network of resistances and rebellions that connect people, groups, organizations and initiatives in Mexico and around the world. It is a network that needs to be activated to confront the storm that is upon us.
In his outstanding speech on the last day of the seminar, Jerome Baschet recalled that on May 2, in Oventic, Mariano, son of the teacher Galeano to whom tribute was beng paid, said that his father had left him three families: those of blood, the EZLN and La Sexta.
Perhaps, Baschet said, it is time to go beyond what La Sexta has been up to now. To go beyond by knitting ties and affinities that include more than just the adherents such that, together, we might make our strength more visible in order to confront the capitalist hydra.
The tenth anniversary of La Sexta is truly the time for resistance and struggle, for applying ourselves clearly to the emergency actions and initiatives called for by these times. And to put forward this great family that teacher Galeano bequeathed to his son in the face of the threats, dangers and harassment that we have today.
Translated by Jane Brundage