The walls above, the cracks below (and to the left)
The Storm on Our Path
For us, the Native Zapatista peoples, the storm, the war, have gone on for centuries. It came to our lands with the fictitious accounts of the dominant civilization and religion. In that time, the sword and the cross both bled our people dry.
With the passage of time, the sword was modernized and the religion of capital dethroned the cross, but it continued demanding our blood as an offering to the new god: money.
We resist, we always resist. Our rebellions were supplanted in the dispute between some against others for Power. Both, always above, demanded of us struggling and dying to serve them, they demanded obedience from us, and submission under the lie of liberating us. Like those who said and say to fight, they came and they come to command. Thus there were supposed independences and false revolutions, past and the future. Those above took turns and take turns, ever since, to govern poorly or to aspire to do it. And in past and present calendars, their proposal continues being the same: that we will give the blood; while they govern or simulate governing.
And before and now, they forget that we don’t forget.
And the woman is always below, yesterday and today. Even in the collective that we were and are.
But the calendars not only brought pain and death to our peoples. Upon expanding their dominion, the Power created new brotherhoods in misfortune. We then saw the worker and the campesino become one with our pain, and lie under the four wheels of Capital’s mortal wagon.
As the Power advanced in its passage through time, more and more grew below, expanding the base over which the Power is the Power. We then saw teachers, students, artisans, small businesses and professionals, etcetera added on, with different names but identical regrets.
It wasn’t enough. Power is an exclusive, discriminatory and select space. Differences were also openly persecuted then. Color, race, creed, sexual preference, were expelled from the paradise promised, being that that their permanent home was in hell.
Youth, childhood and old age were next. The Power thus converted the calendars into a matter of persecution. Everyone below is guilty: for being ma woman, for being a child, for being young, for being an adult, for being old and for being human.
But, by expanding exploitation, dispossession, repression and discrimination, the Power also expanded the resistances… and rebellions.
We saw then, and now, the view of many rising up, different but similar in their rage and insubordination.
The Power knows that it’s just about those who work. It needs them.
It responded and responds to each rebellion by buying or deceiving the least, incarcerating and murdering the most. It doesn’t fear their demands; it’s their example that causes it horror.
It wasn’t enough. In the dominating nations, the Power of Capital wanted to put all of humanity under its heavy yoke.
It wasn’t enough either. Capital now intends to manage nature, tame it, domesticate it and exploit it; in other words, to destroy it.
Always with war, in its destructive advance the Capital, the Power, first demolished fiefdoms and kingdoms. And nations rose up over their ruins.
Later it devastated nations, and over their shambles it erected the new world order: a big market.
The entire world became an immense warehouse for merchandise. Everything is bought and sold: water, wind, land, plants and animals, governments, knowledge, fun, desire, love, hate and people.
But not only merchandise is exchanged in the grand market of Capital. “Economic freedom” is only an illusion that simulates mutual agreement between those who sell and those who buy. In reality, the market is based on dispossession and exploitation. The exchange is then of impunities. Justice is transformed into a grotesque caricature and on its scale money always weighs more than truth. And the stability of that tragedy called Capitalism depends on repression and contempt.
But that’s not enough either. Dominating in the material world is not possible if one does not dominate in ideas. The imposition of religions deepened and reached the arts and sciences. Philosophies and beliefs emerged and emerge like clothing styles. The arts and sciences stopped being what is distinctive about being human and became a shelf of the global supermarket. Knowledge became private property, the same as recreation and pleasure.
Capital thus consolidated itself as a giant shredder, using not only all of humanity as raw material for commodity production, but also knowledge, art, and…nature.
The destruction of the planet, the millions of displaced, the rise in crime, unemployment, poverty, the weakness of governments and the wars to come are not products of the excesses of Capital, or of a mistaken detour of a system that promised order, progress, peace, and prosperity.
No, all of these tragedies are the essence of the system. It feeds on them; it grows at their cost.
Destruction and death are the fuel for the great machine of Capital.
Attempts to “rationalize” or “humanize” its functioning were, are, and will be futile. Irrationality and inhumanity are its key parts. There is no possible repair. There wasn’t before, and there is no way now to mitigate its criminal path.
The only way to stop the machine is to destroy it.
In the current world war, the dispute is between the system and humanity. That is why the anticapitalist struggle is a struggle for humanity.
Those who still try to “fix” or “save” the system are really proposing a mass global suicide, like a posthumous sacrifice to Power.
But, there is no solution in the system.
Neither the horror, the condemnation, nor resignation are enough; nor is the hope that the worst has passed and things can only get better.
No. What is certain is that things will get worse.
For these reasons, in addition to what each of us can add from our particular calendars and geographies, we must resist, rebel, say “no,” one must struggle, one must organize.
That is why we must raise the wind from below with resistance and rebellion, with organization.
Only then will we be able to survive. Only then will it be possible to live. And only then, as we said 25 years ago, will we be able to see that…. “When the storm calms, when the rain and fire leave the earth in peace once again, the world will no longer be the world, but something better.”
The War and the Walls Outside and Inside
Provoked by the greed of big money, the intention above is to make those suffering the current nightmare pay for it. Borders are no longer just lines drawn on maps and customs checkpoints, but walls of armies and police, of cement and brick, of laws and persecution. In the world above, the hunting of human beings increases and is celebrated with clandestine competitions: whoever expels, incarcerates, confines, and murders the most wins.
As we have been saying for more than 20 years, neoliberal globalization did not bring about a global village, but rather the fragmentation and dissolution of the so-called “Nation-States.” Then and now we called this process by the name that best describes it: “world war” (the fourth, according to us).
The only thing that was globalized was the market, and with it, war.
For those who operate the machines and bring the land to life, borders continue to exist and continue to be what they always have been: prisons.
Two decades ago, our assertion of this reality provoked mocking smiles from the international intelligentsia, tied to its old and expired dogmas.
Those same people today stutter in the face of a frantic reality, or they recommend old recipes, or they move on to a currently trendy idea that, through complex theoretical elaboration, hides the only truth at hand: they haven’t the slightest idea what is happening, nor what is coming, nor what brought on the current nightmare.
They lament this. The thinking from above had promised them a world without borders, and the result was instead a planet crammed with chauvinist trenches.
The world was not transformed into a gigantic metropolis without borders, but rather a great sea writhing in an unprecedented storm. In that sea, millions of displaced (who are grouped together by the media paintbrush as “migrants”) flail in small boats, waiting to be rescued by the gigantic ship of big Capital.
Not only will it not rescue them, but big Capital is the principal cause of the storm that threatens the existence of humanity in its entirety.
Under the awkward disguise of fascist nationalism, the most retrograde dark times return, claiming privileges and attentions. Tired of governing from the shadows, big Capital dismantles the lies of “citizenship” and “equality” before the law and the market.
The flag of “freedom, equality, and fraternity” with which capitalism adorned its conversion into the dominant world system is merely a dirty rag, tossed in the garbage bin of history from above.
Finally the system unmasks itself and shows its true face and vocation. “War Always, War Everywhere,” reads the name on the proud ship that navigates through a sea of blood and shit. It is money and not artificial intelligence that fights humanity in the decisive battle: that of survival.
No one is safe. Not the naive national capitalist who dreamed of the bonanza that was offered by open global markets, nor the conservative middle class surviving between the dream of being powerful and the reality of being the flock for the shepherd in turn.
Then there are the working classes of the city and countryside who increasingly find themselves in even more difficult conditions, if that were possible.
And, to round out the apocalyptic image, the millions of displaced and migrants piling up at the borders that have suddenly become as real as the walls that governments and criminals raise with every step.
In the global geography of the mass media and the social networks, the displaced, nomadic ghosts without name or face, are merely a statistic that identifies their location.
The calendar? Just one day after the promise of the end of history, of the solemn declaration of the supremacy of a system that was to have guaranteed wellbeing to those who worked for it, of victory over the “communist enemy” who sought to restrict freedom, impose dictatorships and create poverty, of the promised eternity that would annul all genealogies. The same calendar that announced just yesterday that world history was only getting started. And it turns out that no, it was all nothing more than a prelude to the most frightening nightmare.
Capitalism as a world system is collapsing, and the great captains, now desperate, can no longer figure out where to go. That’s why they are withdrawing into the lairs from which they came.
They offer the impossible: local salvation against global catastrophe. And this rubbish sells well among a middle class that is blurring into those from below in terms of its income, but which aspires to make up for its unmet economic needs with authentications of race, creed, color and sex. Salvation from above is Anglo-Saxon, white, religious, and masculine.
Now, those who lived on the crumbs that fell from the tables of big capital watch desperately as walls are erected against them, too. And the worst part is that they intend to head the opposition to this warlike policy. Here we see the intellectual right making contrary gestures and attempting timid and ridiculous protests. Because, no: globalization was not the triumph of freedom. It was and is the current age of tyranny and slavery.
Nations are not Nations anymore, although their respective governments might not have noticed it yet. Their flags and emblems are threadbare and discolored. Destroyed by globalization from above, sick with the parasite of Capital and with corruption as their only sign of identity, the national governments try with inept haste to protect themselves and attempt the impossible reconstruction of what they once were.
In the airtight compartments created by their walls and customs checkpoints, the system drugs the middle sectors of society with the opium of a reactionary, nostalgic nationalism, with xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia as a plan for salvation.
Borders multiply within every territory. Not just the ones that are drawn on maps; also, and above all, the ones that are erected by corruption and crime turned into government. The postmodern bonanza was nothing but a balloon inflated by finance capital. And then reality came to pop it: millions of people displaced by the great war fill the land and waterways, they pile up in customs and begin making cracks in the walls already raised and the ones still to be built. Encouraged before by big Capital, fundamentalisms find fertile ground for their proposals for unification: “from terror will be born a single way of thinking: ours.” After being nourished with dollars, the beast that is terrorism threatens the house of its creator.
It’s the same thing in the United States as in Western Europe or neo-czarist Russian; the beast writhes and tries to protect itself. It extols then (and not only then) the crudest stupidity and ignorance, and synthesizes its proposal in its government figureheads: “Let’s go back to the past.”
But no, America will not be great again. Never again! Nor will the whole system in its entirety. It doesn’t matter what those above do. The system has already arrived at the point of no return.
Against Capital and its Walls: All the Cracks
The international offensive of Capital against racial and national differences, in promoting the construction of cultural and legal walls as well as those of cement and steel, seeks to shrink the planet even further. In this way they are trying to create a world where the only ones who fit are those above who are alike.
It may sound ridiculous, but this is how it is: to face the storm, the system is not looking for roofs to protect itself, but rather walls behind which to hide.
This new period of Capital’s war against Humanity must be faced, yes, with organized resistance and rebellion, but also with solidarity and support for those whose lives, freedoms, and property are being attacked.
Considering that the system is incapable of stopping the destruction,
Considering that below and to the left there must be no room for conformity and resignation,
Considering that it’s time to organize to struggle and to say “NO” to the nightmare they impose on us from above,
THE SIXTH COMMISSION OF THE EZLN AND THE ZAPATISTA BASES OF SUPPORT CONVOKE:
- – A global campaign: Facing the walls of Capital: resistance, rebellion, solidarity and support from below and to the left.
With the objective of calling for organization and global resistance in the face of the aggressiveness of big money and its respective overseers on the planet, which already terrorize millions of people all around the world:
We call to organize autonomously, to resist and rebel against persecutions, detentions, and deportations. If someone has to go, let it be those above. Every human being has the right to a free and dignified existence in the place that they deem best, and has the right to fight to stay there. Resisting detentions, displacements, and expulsions is an obligation, just as it is an obligation to support those who are rebelling against those arbitrary actions REGARDLESS OF BORDERS.
It is necessary to let all those people know that they are not alone, that their pain and rage are seen even from a distance, that their resistance is not only welcomed, it is also supported, even with our limited possibilities.
It’s necessary to get organized. It’s necessary to resist. It’s necessary to say “NO” to persecutions, expulsions, prisons, walls and borders. And it’s necessary to say “NO” to the national bad governments that are and have been accomplices to that policy of terror, destruction and death. Solutions will not come from above, because that’s where the problems were born.
For this reason we are calling on the Sixth in its entirety to organize itself, according to its times, ways, and geographies, to support activities for and by those who are resisting and rebelling against expulsions. This may be by supporting their return to their homes, by creating “sanctuaries” or supporting the ones that already exist, through legal advice and support, with money, through the arts and sciences, through festivals and mobilizations, through commercial and media boycotts, in cyberspace, wherever and however possible. In all the spaces we move through it is our duty to support and be in solidarity with each other.
The time has come for creating committees in solidarity with criminalized and persecuted humanity. Now, more than even before, your house is also our house.
Like the Zapatistas that we are, our strength is small and, although our calendar is wide and deep, our geography is limited.
Because of that and to support those who resist the detentions and deportations, since several weeks ago the EZLN’s Sixth Commission has initiated contacts with individuals, groups, collectives and organizations adhered to the Sixth in the world, to see the way of making a little aid reach them in a way that is useful to them as a basis for launching or continuing all sorts of activities and actions in favor of the persecuted.
To begin, we’ll send you artistic works created by the indigenous Zapatistas for CompArte last year, as well as organic coffee produced by the indigenous Zapatista communities in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, so that, with its sale, you realize artistic and cultural activities for concretizing support and solidarity with the immigrants and the displaced that all over the world see their lives, their liberty and their property threatened by the xenophobic campaigns promoted by governments and the ultra right in the world.
That’s it for now. We’re already planning new forms of support and solidarity. Zapatista women, men, children and elderly won’t leave you alone.
- – We also invite all adherents to the Sixth and all those who are interested to the seminar of critical reflection “THE WALLS OF CAPITAL, THE CRACKS OF THE LEFT” to be celebrated April 12 – 15, 2017, in the installations of the CIDECI-UniTierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Those participating are: Pablo González Casanova, Paulina Fernández C., Alicia Castellanos, Magdalena Gómez, Gilberto López y Rivas, Luis Hernández Navarro, Carlos Aguirre Rojas, Arturo Anguiano and Sergio Rodríguez Lascano, as well as Christian Chávez, Carlos González and María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, from the CNI.
We’ll give more details soon.
III. – We call all artists to the second edition of “CompArte for Humanity” with the theme: “Against Capital and its walls: all the arts” to be celebrated all over the world and in cyberspace. The “real” part will be on the dates of July 23 to 29, 2017 in the Caracol of Oventik and CIDECI-UniTierra. The virtual edition will be from August 1 to 12, 2017 in the Internet. We’ll give more details soon.
- – We also ask that you be attentive to the activities that the National Indigenous Congress convenes as part of its own process of formation of the Indigenous Government Council
- – We convoke the scientists of the world to the second edition of the “ConSciences for Humanity” with the theme: “The sciences versus the wall,” to be celebrated December 26 – 30, 2017 in CIDECI-UniTierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, and in cyberspace. We’ll give the details soon.
That’s not all. One must resist, one must rebel, one must struggle and one must organize.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés | Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
Mexico, February 14 (also the day of our dead), 2017
Originally Published in Spanish by Enlace Zapatista
February 14, 2017