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Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Words of the General Command of the EZLN at the opening of the Fifth Session of the National Indigenous Congress at CIDECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, on October 11, 2016

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION
MEXICO

October 11, 2016

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress,

Wirrarikarri Brothers and Sisters,

Nahua Brothers and Sisters,

Purépecha Brothers and Sisters,

Raramuri Brothers and Sisters,

(Continuar leyendo…)

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CNI-EZLN

War and Resistance Dispatch #44

To the peoples of the world:
To the alternative, free, autonomous, or whatever-you-call-it media:
To the National and International Sixth:

War and Resistance Dispatch #44

And what about the other 43? And the ones that follow?

This country has not been the same since the bad government committed one of its most heinous crimes in disappearing 43 young indigenous students of the teaching college Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, two years ago. This event forced us to acknowledge the profound darkness in which we find ourselves today, stirring our individual and collective hearts and spirit. The rage, pain, and hope embodied in the families and compañeros of the 43 illuminate that darkness and shine on the faces of millions of people of every geography below in Mexico and around the world, as well as among a conscientious international civil society in solidarity.

As originary barrios, tribes, nations, and peoples, we begin from the collective heart that we are and turn our gaze into words.

From the geographies and calendars below that reflect the resistances, rebellions, and autonomies of those of us who make up the National Indigenous Congress; from the places and paths from where we as originary peoples see and understand the world: from the ancient geographies within which we have never ceased to see, understand, and resist this same violent war that the powerful wage against all of us who suffer and resist with all of our individual or collective being: we use our gaze and our words to take as our own the faces of the 43 disappeared which travel through every corner of the country in search of truth and justice, faces that are reflected in millions of others and that show us, in the dark of night, the way of the sacred, because pain and hope are sacred. That collective face multiplies and focuses its gaze on the geographies of resistance and rebellion.

From the Geographies of Below

The disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa lives on in impunity. To search for truth from within the putrefaction of power is to search within the worst of this country, in the cynicism and perversion of the political class. The political class not only continues to pretend to keep up the search for the disappeared compañeros, but, in the face of growing evidence pointing to the culpability of the terrorist narco-state, it actually rewards those in charge of lying and distorting the truth. This is what they did in moving Tomás Zerón [ex-head of the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigation Agency]—the person responsible for planting false evidence to back up his historical lie about the Cocula garbage dumpi—to Technical Secretary of the National Security Council. It is one more confirmation of the criminal nature of the bad government.

On top of lies, deceit, and impunity, the bad government heaps abuses and injustices against those who have shown solidarity with and support for the struggle of the families and compañeros of the 43. This includes Luis Fernando Sotelo Sambrano, a young person who has always been supportive of originary peoples’ struggles, including that of Cherán, of the Yaqui Tribe, of indigenous prisoners, and of the Zapatista communities. He has been sentenced by a judge to 33 years and 5 months for the sextuple crime of being young, poor, a student, in solidarity, rebellious, and a person of integrity.
This is what we see from those in power above: those who murder are covered for by lies and rewarded with protection; those who protest injustice receive beatings and imprisonment.

_*_

When we look toward:

The south: the peoples’ struggle in defense of their territories against political bosses and large companies is dissolved by the struggle for security and justice against organized crime cartels whose intimate relationship with the entire political class is the only certainty that we as a people have about any state body.

The formation of shock troops that attack citizen protests have permeated towns and villages, and the government purposely generates conflicts that destroy the internal fabric of a community. That is, the government tries to create mirrors of its own war by sowing conflict in the communities and betting on the destruction of the most sensitive parts of the social fabric. There is nothing more dangerous and explosive for this nation than this practice.

The west: the struggles for land, security, and justice occur in the midst of administrative management for the drug cartels, disguised by the state as crime-fighting initiatives or development policies. On the other hand, the peoples who have resisted and even combatted criminal activity through organization from below have to struggle against constant attempts by the bad government to reestablish territorial control by organized crime cartels—and their respective preferred political parties.

The autonomous organization of the communities and their unwavering struggles for sacred sites and ancestral lands do not cease. The defense of our Mother Earth is not negotiable. We are watching the struggle of the Wixárika community of Wauta-San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán for the recovery of almost ten thousand hectares bordering the town of Huajimic, Nayarit. There, despite the fact that the community has established their rights in agrarian courts, the judicial authorities have been remiss. The bad governments use the false official geographies that divide the states as a pretext to incentivize the displacement of indigenous peoples. To the Wixárika people, with regard to their rebellion and autonomy, we say: we are with you.

The north: where the struggles for recognition of territorial rights continue against threats by mining companies, agrarian displacement, the theft of natural resources, and the subjugation of resistance by narco-paramilitaries, the originary peoples continue to make and remake themselves every day.

Among the originary peoples of the tribes of the north, the Sioux nation weaves its own geographies that go beyond the false official geographies that locate them in another country; for us, we are all children of the same mother. They are resisting the invasion of their sacred lands, cemeteries, and ceremonial sites by an oil pipeline under contruction by the company Energy Transfer Partners. That company intends to transport oil obtained through fracking in the Bakken region in North Dakota through their territories. This struggle has generated solidarity and unity among the originary peoples of the north. To them we say that their rage is ours, and as the National Indigenous Congress, we raise our voice with them and will continue to do so. Their dignified struggle is also ours.

The peninsula: The Mayan peoples resist the attempt to disappear them by decree, defending their territories against attack by tourism and real estate interests. A proliferation of hired hitmen operate in impunity to displace the indigenous peoples. The agroindustry of genetically modified organisms threatens the existence of the Mayan peoples, and those magnates, with vile dishonesty, take over agrarian territories, cultural and archeological sites, and even indigenous identity itself, trying to convert a vital people into a commercial fetish. The communities who struggle against the high electricity costs are persecuted and criminalized.

The center [of the country]: Infrastructure projects including highways, gas pipelines, oil pipelines, and residential developments are being imposed through violent means and human rights are increasingly vague and removed in the law applied. Powerful groups use strategies of criminalization, cooptation, and division, all of them close—in corrupt and obscene ways—to that criminal who thinks he governs this country: Enrique Peña Nieto.

In the east of the country, violence, fracking, mining, migrant trafficking, corruption, and government madness are the currents that run against the struggle of the peoples, all playing out in the midst of entire regions taken over by violent criminal groups controlled from the highest levels of government.

From Dialogue to Betrayal

Just as the teachers in struggle have done, we as originary peoples have sought dialogue with the bad government regarding our urgent demands for respect of our territories, the return of the disappeared, the freeing of prisoners, justice for those killed, the removal of the police or military from our lands, and our own security and justice, but the government has refused. Instead, it has arrested our spokespeople all over the country; the army has fired on children in Ostula; bulldozers have destroyed the homes of those who resist in Xochicuautla, and federal police have shot at the dignified community accompanying the teachers in Nochixtlán. The bad governments pretend to dialogue; they simulated interest in agreements with the Wixárika people for years in order to pacify the territory while they planned a violent reordering of the region.

Later the government talks like nothing has happened and offers its willingness to make concessions, as long as both parties come to an agreement. Then the government cedes one small part of what it has just destroyed, frees one prisoner, pays damages to the family of one murder victim, and pretends to look for the disappeared. In exchange it asks the originary peoples to cede their collective patrimony—their dignity, their autonomous organization, and their territory.

In various geographies across our country we are holding referendums where we say that we don’t want their mines, their oil pipelines, their GMOs, their dams, and we demand that they consult the people. But the bad government always responds by pretending “to consult as to how to consult on whether to or not to consult on the form of the consultation” (or something like that), what is really a calculated simulation, the erasure of our voice, the manipulation and cooptation of our people, as well as threats and repression. And so it goes until they say it’s done; they proclaim that we agreed to their death projects or that we were divided and they must thus attend to all points of view.

Meanwhile, as they try to keep us quiet with their deceitful consultation agenda and while the NGOs that are “experts” in “consultation” fatten their wallets, they race ahead to concretize—before the supposed consultation has even begun—the theft of the water from the Yaqui River, the destruction of Wirikuta through mining concessions, the construction of oil pipelines that invade the entire Isthmus, and the GMOs imposed in the Riviera Maya.

Our geographies are the paths of the world; this is where we will meet and recognize each other, because we know that the struggle is not just today nor is it just for today. We do not struggle for power or the folklore offered by deceitful campaigns, but rather to weave and reweave what we are, what we were, and what we will be as originary peoples.

The face of the 43 missing and the tenacity of their families and compañeros are the other 43 dispatches on war and resistance. To them we add the pain, rage, and resistance of the originary peoples and the rebellions of millions all over Mexico and around the world.

On top of that we add the dispatches of war and resistance from the other who is persecuted and stigmatized, women who have been abused, disappeared, and murdered, children made into commodities, young people criminalized, nature disgraced, humanity in pain.

We reiterate today, alongside that humanity, along with this earth that we are, that truth and justice are an inalienable demand and that punishment for the culpable—all of those responsible—will be born from the struggle from below. Now more than ever, as originary peoples of the National Indigenous Congress, we know that in this struggle there is no room to give up, sell out, or give in.

Truth and Justice for Ayotzinapa!

Free Luis Fernando Sotelo Zambrano!

Free all of the political prisoners!

For the holistic reconstitution of our peoples.

Never Again a Mexico Without Us.

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Mexico, September 2016

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Subcomandante Moisés, Subcomandante Galeano

EZLN: One House, Other Worlds

Foto: JORGE UZON/AFP/Getty Images
Foto: JORGE UZON/AFP/Getty Images

One House, Other Worlds

July/August/September, 2016

To whom it may concern:

Subject: Invitation to “CompArte and ConCiencias for Humanity.”

Yes, we know. Days and nights go by in which bitterness is the only thing that appears on the horizon. Our steps drag along in pain, rage, and indignation, stumbling every so often over the impertinent gaze of cynicism and our own disappointment; over the stupidity exalted in government positions and polls; over simulation as a way of life; over the substitution of frivolity for culture, art, and science; over the multiple tiers of disrespect for the different (the problem isn’t that the other exists, but that it shows itself”); and over a wholesale resignation in the political market sphere (“oh well, the only option left is to choose not the lesser evil, but the least scandalous”). Yes, things are hard, harder every day. It is as if the night has become longer. It is as if the day has postponed its stride until no one and nothing is left, until the path is empty. It is as if there was no breath left. The monster lies in wait in every corner, countryside, and city street.

Despite all this, or precisely because of it, we send you this invitation.

It may seem that it is not the moment nor the matter at hand, but we Zapatistas invite you to participate in the festivals “CompArte and ConCiencias for Humanity.” So, respecting etiquette, we have to send an invitation. This should be something that details a calendar and a geography, because we know that you have your own path, your own pace, your own company on that path, and your own destiny. And we don’t want to add another difficulty to those that you already confront. Thus, an invitation must include the when and where.

But you know who we are. You know how we are, that is. And the question that we think an invitation must address is not the when and where, but rather the why. Perhaps that is why this invitation does not comply with the etiquette of the occasion and does not arrive on time, but rather too late or too early. But as you’ll see, it doesn’t matter. That is why this invitation is very other, and why it includes as a crucial element this little story:

One House, Other Worlds

It’s more of a legend than a story. That is, there’s no way to confirm the truthfulness of what is told here. This is partly because it details no specific calendar or geography; it could have happened, or not, in any undefined time or place. It is also because the supposed non-protagonist of this story is dead, deceased, done, defunct. If he was alive, we could just ask if he actually said what it says here that he said. And as he was always tenacious in his wanderings through the tree tops, it is likely that he would go on at length to describe this imprecise calendar.

In any case, since we don’t have the exact date, we’ll just say it was more than two decades ago. The geography? The mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

It was Comandante Tacho who told us the story in the wee hours of the morning at the EZLN headquarters. He was describing the house of the system, the home of capital, the storm, and the ark. We were in our headquarters, the headquarters where what would later become the seedbed/seminar was born. We think we took a coffee break… or that we adjourned the meeting in order to continue the next day… to tell you the truth, we don’t really remember. The point is that we were talking to Tacho and it was he who told us what we’re going to tell you now. There is of course a little bit of finagling involved because we have added to and rearranged Tacho’s original words. We did this not out of bad faith, disrespect, or an attempt to mend faulty memories, but because both of us who are writing now knew the deceased quite well and can reconstruct his words and feelings. Here goes:

This is Comandante Tacho speaking:

I don’t remember very well when it was, but it was when the deceased Sup was not yet deceased. He was just the Sup, staying up all night and smoking his pipe. Yes, chewing on the pipe, as usual. We were in the shelter that was the EZLN headquarters, although it wasn’t a shelter because it wasn’t finished yet. That is, it wasn’t EZLN headquarters yet.  Perhaps it was going to be, but not yet.

We were telling funny stories, things that happened in the communities, in the meetings, in the work of the struggle. The Sup was just listening, sometimes laughing, sometimes asking more about what happened. Before I really knew him I didn’t understand why. Later I realized that these accounts would appear later as stories in the communiques. I think he called them ‘postscripts.’ I asked him once why he called an account of what had really happened just a story. He said, ‘The thing is that they don’t believe the accounts, they think I am making things up or imagining things. So I write it like it’s a story because they are not ready to see the reality.’

Anyway, so there we were.

So then he asked the Sup…”

Yes, Tacho has used the third person singular: “he.” In order to clarify we asked him if by “he” he meant the Sup. “No,” he answered us, annoyed, “he asked the Sup.” We didn’t want to insist because we thought, perhaps mistakenly, that that wasn’t the point of the story, or that it was merely one piece of a puzzle still being sketched out. So Comandante Tacho used the word “he.” Not “she,” not “I,” not “we.” He said “he” in referring to the person who was questioning the Sup.

Hey Sup, how come every time we are building a house, you ask if we are building it according to traditional custom or by scientific method?”

Here Tacho took the time to clarify:

“Every time that we built a house, the deceased SupMarcos would come and stare at the beams and rafters. Then he would always ask:

‘That crossbeam that you’re putting there, are you putting it there because it is necessary for the construction of the house?’ Then I would respond, ‘Yes, if you don’t put it there the roof will fall in.’

‘I see,’ the Sup said, ‘but how do you know that if you don’t put it there that the roof will fall in?’

I just looked at him because I knew that wasn’t the real question. It wasn’t the first time he had asked it. He continued, ‘do you put it there because you know scientifically that if you don’t the roof will fall in, or do you put it there because it is traditional custom to do so?’

‘Because it’s traditional custom,’ I answered him, ‘because that is how I was taught. That is how my father built houses, and he learned from my grandfather, and so on going way back.’ The Sup was not satisfied, and always ended up climbing up onto the central beam before the supports were finished and, balancing as if he were riding a horse, would ask, ‘so if I get up here, is the beam going to fall?’ And boom, he would fall. ‘Ouch!’ was the only thing he’d say. He’d take out his pipe from where he landed on the ground, light it, and with his head resting on the broken beam, gaze up at the roof. We would all laugh of course.

So that’s why he asked the Sup why the Sup was always asking about whether something was done by traditional custom or scientific method.  The thing is that it wasn’t just that one time. Every time that our headquarters had to be moved and I had to oversee the construction of a new structure for the headquarters, that is what happened. The Sup would come, he would ask that question, I would respond, he wouldn’t be satisfied, he would climb up on the beam, it would break, and he would fall to the ground.”

(Note: in discussing this between the two of us, we have concluded that the approximate dates for what Tacho is recounting were the first months of 1995 when there was such heavy governmental persecution against us that we had to continually pick up and move our headquarters, accompanying the community of Guadalupe Tepeyac in exile. End of note and Tacho continues):

“I am telling you this so that you understand why he asked the Sup this question. At other times I had also asked him this question, but he hadn’t responded fully. It wasn’t that he hadn’t wanted to respond, but that always at that moment they called him on the radio, or someone came to talk to him. So I wanted to know the answer too.

The Sup took his pipe out of his mouth and put it to one side. We were sitting on the ground. It was very hot like it always is before a hard rain. I knew the answer would take a while, because when the Sup answered quickly, he didn’t even take the pipe out of his mouth; the words would just come out all chewed up.

So then the Sup said… well really, he asked:

‘Hey Tacho, how big is this house?’
‘3 by 4 [meters],’ I answered quickly, because it wasn’t the first time he asked.

‘And if it were 6 x 8, would it need more rafters for support?’ he asked me.

‘It would indeed,’ I responded.

‘And if were 12 x 16?’

I didn’t respond quickly, so the Sup continued:

‘And if it were 24 x 32? Or 48 x 64? What about 96 x 128?’

Then, to tell you the truth, I laughed. ‘That’s a really big house, I don’t know,’ I answered.

‘Correct,’ he said, ‘houses are made according to one’s own or one’s inherited experience. Traditions and customs, that is. To make a bigger house, one would have to ask or try something different.’

‘But let’s say that no one has ever built a house measuring 192 x 256…’

I laughed right before the Sup finished:

‘kilometers.’

‘Umm, who would want a house that big?’ I asked laughing.

He lit his pipe and said, ‘well, let’s make it easier: what if the house were the size of the world?’

‘Ah no, that’s rough. I don’t think we can imagine a house that big, nor what it would be for,’ I said, more serious now.

‘We can,’ he said. ‘The arts can imagine this house, and can put it into words, sounds, images, figures. The arts can imagine what seems impossible and, in this process of imagination, sew doubt, curiosity, surprise, admiration—that is, they make it possible.

‘Ah, okay,’ I replied, ‘but it’s one thing to imagine and another thing to do. I don’t think a house that big can be made.’

‘It can,’ he said, and put the broken pipe aside.

‘The sciences know how. Even if a house the size of the world has never been made, the sciences can say with certainty how a construction that size would be built. I don’t know what it’s called, but I think it has to do with the strength of the materials, geometry, economics, physics, geography, biology, chemistry, and who the hell knows what else.

But even without previous experience, without traditional customs, science can in fact say how many beams, supports, and rafters are needed to make a house the size of the world. Scientific knowledge can determine how deep the foundation needs to be, how high and how long the walls need to be, what angle the roof should have if it is a pitched roof, where the windows should be given the climate, how many doors there should be and where, what material should be used for each part, and how many beams and supports it must have and where.’”

Was the now-deceased already thinking about the transgression of the law gravity and all of the straight lines linked to it? Did he imagine or already know about the subversion of Euclid’s Fifth Postulate? No, Tacho didn’t ask him. To tell you the truth, the two of us wouldn’t have asked either. It is hard to imagine, in those days of no tomorrow, with warplanes shaking the earth and sky, that there was time to think about art, much less science.

Everyone remained silent, Tacho recalls. Us, too. After a moment of silence and tobacco, he continued:

“The Sup took up his pipe again and saw with sorrow that there was no more tobacco. He looked in his pockets. Smiling, he pulled out a little plastic bag with some black strands. It took him awhile to light the pipe, I think because the tobacco was damp. Then he continued:

‘But I’m not concerned about whether the arts can imagine this house, its colors, its shapes, its sounds, where the day comes in, where the night falls, where the rain falls, where the wind blows, where the earth sits.

Neither am I concerned about whether science can solve the problem of how to make it a reality. Of course it can. It has the knowledge… or it will.

What concerns me is that this house that is a world not be the same as the one we live in. The house must be better, even bigger. It must be so big that it can hold not one world but many, those that already exist and those yet to be born.

Of course, one would have to meet with those who do art and science. That won’t be easy. At first they won’t be willing to help, not because they don’t want to but because they will be skeptical. Because we have a lot going against us. Because we are what we are.

Those who are artists think that we will constrain the subject, form, and pace of their work; that their artistic horizon will hold only males and females (never others), members of the powerful proletariat showing off their muscles and bright shining gazes in images, sounds, dances, and figures; that they could not even insinuate the existence of the other; that if they comply they will receive praise and applause, and if not, seclusion or repudiation. In other words, they think we will command that they not imagine.

Those who do science think that we are going to ask them to create mechanical, electronic, chemical, biological, and interstellar weapons of mass (or individual) destruction. They think that we will force them to create schools for exceptional minds where of course one will find the descendants of those currently in power who have a salary guaranteed before they are ever conceived. They think that what will be recognized is political affiliation and not scientific capacity, and that if they comply they will receive praise and applause, and if not, seclusion or repudiation. In other words, they think that we will command them not to do science.

In addition, because we are indigenous peoples, there are some [un@s and otr@s] here and there who think that what they do is art and culture, and that what we do is folk art and ritual. They think that what for them is analysis and knowledge, for us is belief and superstition.

They are ignorant of the fact that we have produced colors that, hundreds of years later, still challenge calendars. They do not know that when “civilization” still believed that the earth was the center of the universe, we had already discovered celestial bodies and numerical systems. They think that we adore ignorance, that our thinking is simple and conformist, that we prefer to believe rather than to know. They think that we do not want advancement but rather regression.

In other words, they neither see themselves, nor do they see us.

The issue then is going to be to convince them to see themselves as we see them, to make them realize that, for us, they are what they are and also something else: hope. And hope, friends and enemies, cannot be bought, cannot be sold, cannot be coerced, cannot be contained, and cannot be killed.’

He fell silent. I waited to see if he would ask something else of the Sup, but since he didn’t say anything, I asked: ‘so what must we do?’ The Sup just sighed and said:

‘Our job is first of all to know that this house is possible and necessary. Then comes the easier part: to build it. For this task we need knowledge, feeling, imagination—we need the sciences and the arts. We need other hearts. The day will come when we will meet with those who make art and science. On that day we will embrace them and welcome them with one sole question: “And what about you?”’

I wasn’t satisfied with this answer though, and I asked the Sup: ‘And after we meet with these people, what are we going to do?’ The Sup smiled and said:

‘Etcetera.’”

_*_

That is where the story or the legend that Comandante Tacho told us that morning ends.  All of this is relevant at the moment because we want to invite you to come, or to be present in some way, in this earth that we are.

We have this curiosity, you could say, that has been nagging at us over the course of many pages of the calendar and we think that perhaps you will accept this invitation and help us to resolve a particular doubt:

What do we need to build a new house, a house so big that it holds not one but many worlds?

That’s all. Or not, depending on you.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

In the name of the Zapatista children, elders, women, and men,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July/August/September of 2016.

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CNI y EZLN

The CNI and EZLN Announce the Fifth National Indigenous Congress

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THE CNI AND EZLN ANNOUNCE THE FIFTH NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS
Given that:

  1. This October marks 20 years of uninterrupted work by the National Indigenous Congress [CNI], a space of unity, reflection, and organization for the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The National Indigenous Congress has worked for the full reconstitution of our peoples and the construction of a society where all cultures, all colors, and all of the peoples of Mexico fit.
  2. Throughout these years, and with increased strength since the release of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle by the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, we have forged in word and action our contributions to the struggles of resistance and rebellion throughout the national geography. We not only sustain our decision to continue our existence, but we honor this decision with all our strength and with our fists in the air. We honor it by weaving together profound and collective agreements that can be seen in our care of the earth, in our languages, in our traditions, and in our collective governments in their many different names and forms. The flame of our autonomy lives inside these things, and it illuminates the collective heart of our peoples, barrios, nations, and tribes. These are deep agreements that we work on every day so that each one gives rise to the complex territories that together constitute our autonomy and self-determination.
  3. While we weave life, capitalism designs and lays out over us its own territories of death in every corner of our suffering Mexico. Supposed mining territories, cartel activity by organized crime, agroindustry, political party territories, urban zoning rights, and conservation programs are all imposed on our lands and in none of them—no matter what name they are given by the system or its obedient governments—do the indigenous peoples fit.
  4. The capitalists began and continue to expand a bloody war of conquest to take over what has always been ours. They appear behind any number of masks in this constant war of extermination: the businessman, the politician, the police, the soldier, or the hitman. And as always, the dead, the disappeared, and the imprisoned come from us, as well as the stolen and destroyed lands. Any collective, autonomous, and rebellious hope is persecuted.
  5. We have resisted this capitalist onslaught against our peoples. From the devastation wrought on us we have dreamed and built new worlds. From our grief and mourning for our murdered compañeros we as peoples have recreated new forms of resistance and rebellion that allow us to halt this devastation and walk the only path possible for those below and to the left: to construct and exercise the justice denied us by the powerful who purport to govern us.
  6. It is urgent that we bring our flames of resistance, autonomy, and rebellion together. These flames illuminate every originary people who weave new worlds that are truly from below, where love and the ancestral commitment to our mother—the earth—are born.

(Continuar leyendo…)

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Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

The Art that is Neither Seen nor Heard

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THE ART THAT IS NEITHER SEEN NOR HEARD.

(Note: the following are the comments made by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés to mark the conclusion of the Zapatista’s contribution to the CompArte, in the Caracol of Oventik, on July 29, 2016. The threat of rain and the pressure of time did not allow for the compañero to fully develop some of his points and there were others that he was unable to touch on at all. Here we present the original version that he was going to give. In his voice, our Zapatista word).

THE ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO.

July 29, 2016.

Artists of Mexico and the world:

Sisters, brothers, and hermanoas:

For us, Zapatistas, art is studied by creating many imaginations, reading the gaze, studying in listening, and practicing.

It is by putting it into practice, that is, by doing it, that you will begin to see the result of the science and the art of imagination – the art of creativity.

There is some science and art that is needed immediately, the kind that helps us imagine how to do it.

There can be medium term science and art, and there is long term science and art that improves over the course of time.

For example: To even make something tiny that will contribute to the new world requires that we involve ourselves profoundly in the science and art of imagination, in the gaze, in listening and in creativity, patience, and attention. It requires that we think about how to move forward while building and many other things that must be taken into account.

Because what we want, or what we think about, is a new world, a new system. We don’t want a copy of what we have, we don’t want to improve it a little bit. This is a problem, we say, because there is no book or manual that explains how to create this new world. This book or manual hasn’t been written yet, it is still in the heads of those with imagination, in the eyes that are ready to gaze at the new world that they want to see, in the ears that are attentive in order to hear the new world that they want.

(Continuar leyendo…)

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Subcomandante Moisés

Words of the General Command of the EZLN, in the voice of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, at the opening of the Zapatistas’ participation in CompARTE

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WORDS OF THE GENERAL COMMAND OF THE EZLN, IN THE VOICE OF SUBCOMANDANTE INSURGENTE MOISÉS, AT THE OPENING OF THE ZAPATISTAS’ PARTICIPATION IN CompARTE, CARACOL OF OVENTIK, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, MORNING OF JULY 29, 2016.

Listen (in Spanish): (Descarga aquí)  

In the name of the compañeras and compañeros bases of support of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, I want to tell you how we feel about the things that they do to us as originary peoples of Mexico. I think it is the same all across the world.

We want to tell you, explain to you once again, how much suffering this rotten capitalist system has caused us.

Don’t feel bad, compañeras and compañeros from the national and international Sixth, brothers and sisters of the world, about everything that I am about to tell you because it isn’t about you. It’s about what the capitalist system does to us and the conditions that it forces on us, especially those of us who are ORIGINARY PEOPLES in this country called Mexico.

I am going to talk about how we Zapatista men and women feel about what they did to our indigenous brothers and sisters from the town of San Juan Chamula, on June 23 of this year.

What happened there pains us as Zapatistas.

(Continuar leyendo…)

radio
Subcomandante Moisés, Subcomandante Galeano

EZLN CONFIRMS AND EXTENDS ITS PARTICIPATION IN CompARTE

Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico.

July 26, 2016

To the participants and attendees of CompArte:
To the National and International Sixth:

Compañeros, compañeras, compañeroas:

Although we could not replace the money that had been allocated for food and transportation for our artistic community, as Zapatistas we sought a way not only to reciprocate the efforts of the artists who responded to our invitation to CompArte, but also to make them feel the respect and admiration their artistic work inspires in us.

We would like to inform you of the decision that we have come to:

We will present, though in different calendars and geographies, some of the artistic work that we Zapatistas prepared for you. The presentations will take place according to the following schedule:

Caracol of Oventik: July 29, 2016, from 10:00 national time to 19:00 national time. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tzotzil, Zoque, and Tzeltal originary peoples from Los Altos in Chiapas.

CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas: July 30, 2016. A Zapatista delegation will attend CompArte as listener-viewers.

Caracol of La Realidad: August 3, 2016, from 09:00 on August 3 through the early morning hours of August 4. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tojolabal, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, and Mame originary peoples as well as mestizos from the Selva Fronteriza zone.

Caracol of La Garrucha: August 6, 2016, from 09:00 on August 6 through the early morning hours of August 7. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tzeltal and Tzotzil originary peoples from the Selva Tzeltal zone. (Continuar leyendo…)

radio
Subcomandante Moisés, Subcomandante Galeano

Open letter on the aggressions against the people’s movement in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
MEXICO

July 21, 2016

To the current governor and the other overseers of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas:

Ladies (ha) and Gentlemen (double ha):

We do not send greetings.

Before it occurs to you to try (as the PGR[i] is already attempting in Nochixtlán) to blame the cowardly aggression against the people’s resistance encampment in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas on ISIS, we would like to provide you, at no charge, the information we have collected on the subject.

The following is the testimony of an indigenous partidista[ii] (PRI) brother from San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico:

“At 9am (on July 20, 2016) the Verde party followers were called to the governor’s palace. They went and were told to do again what they had done the other day.”

(NOTE: he is referring to the incident in which a group of indigenous people affiliated with the Partido Verde Ecologista (Green Ecology Party) put on ski masks and went to create chaos at the [teachers’] blockade between San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas. When they were detained by the CNTE’s [teachers’ union] security, they first said they were Zapatistas (they weren’t, aren’t, and never will be), and later admitted they were partidistas.

But this time they were supposed to dialogue so that the people at the blockade would let the trucks from Chamula that do business in Tuxtla go through. The municipal president (who belongs to the Verde Ecologista Party) sent police patrols and local ambulances. The municipal president of San Cristóbal sent some more police. The governing officials in Tuxtla sent a bunch more. See, they [the people from Chamula] had made a deal with the police—they already had a plan. So they went in there like they were going to dialogue but one group went into the blockade’s encampment and started destroying things, stealing or burning everything they found. Then they started shooting—the Verdes are indeed armed—but shooting like a bunch of drunks and druggies. The police were acting like their security detail, their backup. We don’t agree with what the Verdes did. Now the tourists are scared to come to the municipal center (of San Juan Chamula) and this screws everybody over because it really hurts our businesses. It’s not the blockade but rather the fucking Verdes that are fucking us over. Now we’re going to go protest in Tuxtla and demand they remove that asshole of a president. And if they won’t listen to us, well then we’ll see what we have to do.”

With regard to that clumsy attempt to dress paramilitaries in ski masks and say they were Zapatistas, it was a total failure (in addition to being a tired old trick that has been tried before by Croquetas Albores).[iii] Questioned on whether they thought it had been Zapatistas who destroyed the blockade and committed these outrageous acts, here are the comments of two townspeople, without any known political affiliation:

(Continuar leyendo…)

radio
Subcomandante Moisés, Subcomandante Galeano

The geography? Oventik. The calendar? July 29, 2016

The geography? Oventik.
The calendar? July 29, 2016.

ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
MEXICO

July 17, 2016

To all the artists participating in the CompArte:
To the National and International Sixth:

Sisters and brothers:
Compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas:

We send our greetings. We are writing to let you know the following:

We want to make sure that all of the artists who have committed to participating in CompArte know and feel our admiration and respect. But also, and above all, we want them to know of our conviction that in the dark hours of the present and the dark hours to come, their work and creativity will be required to find the path that we, humanity as a whole, want, need, and deserve.

When we speak of darkness, we are not only referring to the horrors that emerge and destroy all across the suffering world geography. We are also talking about the political and economic mercantilism that, without really caring much about the actual deaths and tragedies, pounce on the still-warm cadavers of the victims in an attempt to take advantage of and profit off their misfortune.

If the machine imposes a perverse logic in which every tragedy numbs rather than enrages, perhaps it could be the Arts that remind humanity that people not only kill and destroy, impose and dominate, humiliate and doom to oblivion, but can also create, liberate, and remember. Don’t even the most heartbreaking and painful artistic works throb with life and liberty?

(Continuar leyendo…)

radio
Subcomandante Moisés, Subcomandante Galeano

For la Maestra, with affection

July 2016

To the maestras [female teachers] of the teachers in resistance:

To the national and international Sixth:

To the attendees and participants of the CompArte all over the world:

Compas, hermanoas,[i] etcéteras:

We send you all [todas, todoas, todos] our greetings and respect. We hope that your health is good and your spirits high.

We are writing to send you a few videos of the contributions that the Zapatista bases of support had prepared for the CompArte. For now we are including two videos dedicated to women below and to the left, and especially to the maestras in struggle. Here goes:

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TO DANCE A THOUGHT”

This first video that we will show you is from the Caracol of La Garrucha. It a bailable [choreographed dance] entitled “The Rights of Women.” As is the case with almost everything here, it was prepared collectively by men and women, young people trained in the Zapatista autonomous education system. Zapatista bases of support wrote it, practiced it, and prepared to present it at the CompArte. The MC [maestra or master of ceremonies] explains everything. If you end up repeating the chorus, that’s to be expected. But we can tell you one thing: when you are capable of, as the compañera MC says, “singing a thought,” then perhaps you will have to rethink the idea that Art only comes from above, while below what we have are “crafts” [artesanías].

(Continuar leyendo…)

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