Interview with Subcomandante Moises, spokesperson for the EZLN: “the word of democracy has been planted to the greatest depths”


“Politics belongs to the people

Ideology belongs to the people

The economy belongs to the people, and they have to plan it

Culture also belongs to the people and it’s these same people who have to create it and not merely select group of people, the ‘cabinet of the government’

The ‘compañeros‘ now have a new system of government, one where there is mutual respect, and because the government and authorities that we have now are obligated to make proposals according to what they see, it is not the government who can decide.”



“The word of democracy has been planted to the greatest depths because everything is discussed, opinions given, proposals made, studied, analysed, and it is the people – women and men – who make the decisions. Nothing is done without the people knowing about it”

“The ‘compañeras‘ (women) are the best to know how to look after our resources, more so than the men, who are ‘big spenders’. Now it’s the women who tell men what work to do. Before the ‘compañeras’ didn’t have the same possibilities. Now they are education and health promoters, they are authorities, commissioners (‘comisariadas‘), they are members of the Councils of Good Government, they are spokespeople, they work in the health laboratories, they are learning to be surgeons. The women are active in many areas.

Capitalism tells us that money reigns supreme, or in other words, if you don’t have any money, you don’t have anything! So how did our great-grandparents live because in that time there was no money? The young people did some research and they discovered that our ancestors lived by exchanging goods and lending and borrowing products. So they say we need to revive these practices. We aren’t saying that money is good for nothing. For example, the system we live in, like the bloody doctors say, when you go to have an operation, the doctors aren’t going to accept a ton of corn or beans. So of course we have to work to have money for our needs, but lots of other things no! What a big surprise it’s been for us that our autonomy, where the people give the orders and the government obeys, there’s no technical books, no documentaries because it’s really the people who give the orders, and thousands of men and women are inventing and creating this system. This also brought about another big surprise; here’s a simple example. Before there were thousands of hectares dedicated to grazing the cattle of the large landowners, and now these same thousands of hectares are planted with food crops for the people! Now this is progress! And this is the way it’s going to be for generations and generations to come. It will always be the people deciding how things should be run, and this will mean progress for us.


And yes, the ‘CompArte’ and ConSciences festival (*) makes a new phase for us! We see that the System will not save us. The only things that can save us are the indigenous communities, scientists and art. We can sing how we want this new world to be, and creativity and art will build it.

What does it mean to be a Zapatista, but not an indigenous person, and someone living far from Chiapas?

Fight, without giving up, without selling out, without abandoning your principles. Everywhere in the world needs liberation. This is what it means to be Zapatista. Always asking what do the people think? If we stop asking the people’s view, this is where we start to go wrong again. It’s always the people, even though the people may get it wrong sometimes, it’s also the people who have to correct their errors. If we are the leaders here, and we make a mistake, it’s the people who pay the price. Is that right? Is it right that the leaders make the mistakes and the people pay? The people need to be asked what they want and then leaders do what the people say. If the people make a mistake, then it’s the same people who suffer, and the same people, the men, the women, who are going to correct their mistake. For this reason, we must be the representatives of the people and their will.

(*) This is reference to the Festival and sharing exchange “CompARTE FOR HUMANITY” which will take place 17-30 July, 2016.

All those who practice ART can participate. For Zapatismo, an artist is anyone who considers their activity as art, independent of canons, art critics, museums, wikipedias, and any other “specialist” schemas that classify (that is, exclude) human activities.

As announced in by the EZLN’s in their 29 February 2016 Zapatista Convocation for 2016 Activities. See this link for specific details –

Interview and text from – Interview with Subcomandante Moises, spokesperson for the EZLN with the group Chto Delat, St Petersburg, Russia, and the Ukrainian journalist Oleg Yasinsky, Chiapas, Mexico 23rd April, 2016


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