Zapatista News Summary for December, 2016
Zapatista and CNI News
1. The Convocation to the Second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress is issued jointly by the CNI and EZLN on 26th November. During the first phase in October the CNI and EZLN had “agreed to remain in permanent assembly while carrying out a consultation in all of our geographies on the resolutions reached… with respect to the formation of an Indigenous Governing Council, to be represented by an indigenous woman who is a CNI delegate who will run for the Mexican presidency in the electoral process of 2018.” The convocation is a call to the second phase which will be held on December 29, 30, and 31, 2016, and January 1, 2017, in the Zapatista Caracolof Oventik and will have “decisive capacity” in regard to the agreements proposed. The results will be announced in a plenary session at Oventic on 1st January.
2. EZLN communiqué, 2nd December: The CNI and EZLN issue a joint communiqué, ‘Despite aggressions, the consultation continues,’ to highlight the fact that the consultation continues, despite aggressions being carried out against them, for example in Santa Maria Ostula, in Tixtla, Guerrero, against the Sioux people at the heart of the originary peoples of the CNI at Standing Rock, at Chanti Ollin, and against those fighting dams in Oaxaca. They denounce the attacks and harassment, “The fears of the powerful, the extractive companies, the military, and the narco-paramilitaries are so great that our consultation is being attacked and harassed in the places where our peoples are meeting to discuss and decide the steps to take as the CNI,” but they assure that their permanent assembly and community consultations will continue.
3. Modevite supports the Consultation: Members of the Movement in Defence of Land and Territory arrive on pilgrimage in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where they agree to consult their communities about the EZLN proposal, believing it is necessary now for the indigenous people to unite to demand self-determination over their territory and construct community governments. “We all share the same objective.”
4. An update is released on the Encuentro (Gathering) “the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:” on 15th December. The event is to be held at Cideci from December 25th to January 4th. 82 members of the scientific community, from 12 countries, have registered to participate, working in a very wide variety of areas. 200 Zapatista bases of support will attend as students, but there will also be general sessions, information sessions, and workshops, and many people will attend as listeners/observers. Scientists and attendees may register on December 25, 2016. Activities will begin on December 26, and will conclude on January 4, 2017. There will be an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. [From 29th to 31stDecember, the Second Phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress will also take place behind closed doors at CIDECI to report, discuss and evaluate the results of the internal consultation which are to be reported on January 1st in the Caracol of Oventic.]
5. Programme for the Gathering ‘the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:’ The detailed programme is released on 24th The Gathering and the meeting of the Indigenous National Congress will both take place separately at CIDECI-Unitierra, the University of the Earth in San Cristobal de las Casas. The majority of the talks in the Gathering are to be given by national and international scientists, but there will also be participation from Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano. Registration begins on December 25th, and the gathering concludes on January 4th.
6. Opening of Gathering ‘the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:’ The opening speech is given by Subcomandante Insurgente Moises on 26th December, giving the words of the general command of the EZLN on behalf of the women, men, children and old ones of the Zapatistas. “For us as Zapatista men and women, today begins our long walk in search of others with whom we think we share the great responsibility to defend and save the world we live in – with the art of artists, the science of scientists, and the originary peoples alongside those below from across the entire world.” “No one is going to bring us salvation,” he says. “It is up to us. Begin to dream and you will see that we can only fight capitalism with good scientific science, the art of the artist, and the guardians of mother nature together with those below from across the world…The construction of a new world is in our hands.”
7. The decision: On 1st January, 2017, the 23rd anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, more than 3,000 delegates from the CNI gather to join the EZLN, along with Zapatista support bases and adherents to the Sexta, at Oventic to hear the result of the consultation which has taken place in all the 525 communities of the CNI. 430 communities have said yes, and 80 are still consulting, many of these are currently experiencing violence. The historic announcement is made that the CNI are going to create an Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) to function as a parallel government for the country, whose spokesperson will be an indigenous woman who will run as a candidate in the presidential elections of 2018. The name of the candidate will be announced in May 2017. This resolution was approved by the CNI on 30th and 31stDecember 2016 in the presence of over 1000 delegates from 43 peoples, nations and tribes indigenous to the country.
8. On 2nd January, the EZLN and CNI issue a joint statement: “And the Earth Trembled! A Report from the Epicentre,” announcing the decision to create a new indigenous council for government and to run an indigenous woman for president, and elaborating on the new proposal and its implications. “This is the time of the originary peoples, the time for us to replant and rebuild ourselves. It is time to go on the offensive and this is the agreement that we have laid out for how to do so.” “We say that the earth indeed has trembled, and we along with her, and that we intend to shake the conscience of the entire nation, and that, in fact, we intend for indignation, resistance and rebellion to be present as an option on the electoral ballots of 2018.” “Our resistances and rebellions constitute the power of below. We don’t offer empty promises or actions, but rather real processes for radical transformation where everyone participates and which are tangible in the diverse and enormous indigenous geographies of this nation.”
1. Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra, Volume 1: This book, the first volume of a selection of the words and contributions given at the seminar held in May 2016, consists of the words of the Zapatistas themselves, bases of support as well as commanders. It is now available in English, in the US and the UK.
2. The Week Of Worldwide Action In Solidarity With The Ejidatarios Of San Sebastián Bachajón: is held from 4thTo 10th December. Actions including demonstrations, talks, exhibitions, pronouncements, discussions and the screening and production of videos take place in Canada, England, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Peru, United States, Uruguay and Italy. The compas from Bachajon send a video message in support of the campaign. Pronouncements are made by Raul Zibechi, Gustavo Esteva, Hugo Blanco, the Manchester Zapatista Collective, John Gibler, Ya Basta from Milan, the CGT and adherents to the Sexta from Barcelona, Sylvia Marcos and Jean Robert, and Malú Huacuja del Toro. A demonstration is held at the American Consulate in New York. Further information is available on the Bachajon website.
3. First anniversary of autonomy in Tila; ejidatarios from Tila, adherents to La Sexta, celebrate the first anniversary of taking their autonomy, while stressing the harassment and intimidation they still suffer. The first anniversary of their taking over the Town Hall is 16th December 2016.
The new step has been described as “the greatest Zapatista challenge of the last 23 years” and the analysis has hardly started. There are currently 6 communiqués waiting to be translated. There will therefore be more to follow……..