One year after the Zapatista uprising, today we say:
“The motherland lives! And she is ours! We have been disgraced, it is true; our luck has been bad many times, but the cause of Mexico, which is the cause of the people’s rights and justice, has not succumbed; it has not died and it will not die because there still exist committed Mexicans, in whose hearts burns the sacred fire of patriotism. Wherever in the Republic weapons are clenched and the national banner flies, there, as well as here, will exist, with vitality and energy, the protest of Right against Force. Understanding well the gullible man who has accepted the sad mission of being the instrument for enslaving a free people: his vacillating throne does not rest on the free will of the nation, but rather on the blood and cadavers of thousands of Mexicans who have been sacrificed without reason and only because they defend their freedom and their rights. Mexicans: those who have the disgrace to live under the dominion of the usurpers, do not resign yourselves to putting up with the yoke of oppression that weighs on you. Do not delude yourselves with the perfidious insinuations of the followers of the consummated deeds, because they are and have been always the followers of despotism. The existence of arbitrary power is a permanent violation of people’s rights and Justice, which neither the passage of time nor arms can ever justify, and whose destruction is necessary to honor Mexico and humanity. I declare myself: in action and deeds, just as resolute as in the first day.”
Benito Juarez, January 1865, Chihuahua
To the people of Mexico: To the peoples and governments of the world: Brothers and sisters:
The first day of January of 1994 we released the “First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle”. The 10th of June of 1994 we released the “Second Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle”. First one and then the other were inspired by the fervor of the struggle for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans.
In the first one we called upon the Mexican people to take up arms against the bad government, as the principal obstacle to the transition to democracy in our country. In the second one we called Mexicans to a civic and peaceful effort. This was the National Democratic Convention, which was to achieve the profound changes that the nation demanded.
While the supreme government demonstrated its falseness and haughtiness, we, by one gesture after another, dedicated ourselves to showing the Mexican people our social base, the justness of our demands and the dignity that motivated our struggle. Our weapons were laid down, and were put aside so that the legal struggle could demonstrate its possibilities…and limitations. In the “Second Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle” the EZLN attempted, by all means, to avoid the re-initiation of hostilities and to look for a political, dignified and just solution to resolve the demands contained in the 11 points of our program for struggle: housing, land, work, food, health, education, justice, independence, liberty, democracy and peace.
The pre-electoral process in August 1994 brought hope to many sectors of the country, that the transition to democracy was possible by means of the electoral process. Knowing that elections are not, in the current conditions, the road to democratic change, the EZLN accepted being put to one side in order to give legal political opposition forces the opportunity to struggle. The EZLN pledged its word and its effort, then, to seeking a peaceful transition to democracy. In the National Democratic Convention the EZLN sought a civic and peaceful force. One which, without opposing the electoral process, would also not consumed by it, and that would seek new forms of struggle which would include more democratic sectors in Mexico as well as linking itself with democratic movements in other parts of the world. August 21 ended the illusions of an immediate change through peaceful means. An electoral process that is corrupt, immoral, unfair and illegitimate culminated in a new mockery of the good will of the citizens. The party-State system reaffirmed its antidemocratic vocation and imposed, in all parts and at all levels, its arrogance. In the face of an unprecedented level of voter participation, the Mexican political system opted for imposition and cut off, therefore, the hopes for the electoral process. Reports from the National Democratic Convention, the Civic Alliance, and the Commission for Truth brought to light what the mass media had hidden, with shameful complicity: a gigantic fraud. The multitude of irregularities, the inequity, the corruption, the cheating, the intimidation, the robbery and the lying–they made the elections the dirtiest ones in Mexico’s history. The high absentee rates in the local elections in Veracruz, Tlaxcala, and Tabasco showed that skepticism would reign within civil society in Mexico. Not satisfied with this, the Party/State system repeated the fraud of August, imposing governors, mayors and local congresses. As at the end of the 19th century, when the traitors held “elections” to justify the French intervention, today it is said that the nation greets with approval the continuation of an authoritarian imposition. The electoral process of August 1994 is a State crime. They should be judged as criminals and held responsible for this mockery.
On the other side, gradualism and hesitation appear in the lines of the opposition who accept a perception of this great fraud as a series of small “irregularities”. A great dilemma in the struggle for democracy in Mexico reappears: the civic struggle bets upon a transition “without pain”, a final blow which will light the road to democracy, and only prolongs the agony.
The case of Chiapas is only one of the consequences of this political system. Ignoring the longings of the people of Chiapas, the government repeats its dosage of imposition and domination.
Confronted by a broad movement of repudiation, the Party/state system opts to repeat to society the lie of its triumph and to exacerbate the confrontations. The present polarization in southeastern Mexico is the responsibility of the government and demonstrates its incapacity to resolve, at their roots, the political and social problems of Mexico. Through corruption and repression they try to resolve a problem that can only be solved when the legitimate triumph of the will of the people of Chiapas is recognized. The EZLN has maintained itself, until now, at the margins of the popular mobilizations, even though they have been subjected to a great campaign of defamation and indiscriminate repression.
Waiting for signs of the government’s willingness to accept a political, just and dignified solution to the conflict, the EZLN watched, powerlessly, as the best sons and daughters of the dignity of Chiapas were assassinated, jailed and threatened. The EZLN watched as their indigenous brothers in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chihuahua and Veracruz were repressed and received mockery as an answer to their demands for a solution to their living conditions.
During all of this period the EZLN resisted not only the military blockade and the threats and the intimidations by federal forces; but also resisted a campaign of slander and lies. As during the first days of 1994, they accused us of receiving foreign military support and financing; they tried to force us to give up our flags in exchange for money and government posts; they tried to delegitimize our struggle by reducing the national problem to a local indigenous context.
Meanwhile the supreme government prepared a military solution for the indigenous rebellion in Chiapas and in the nation despair and impatience arose. Covered by an expressed desire for dialogue that only hid the desire to liquidate the Zapatista movement through asphyxiation, the bad government let time and death run rampant through the indigenous communities in the country.
Meanwhile the Revolutionary Institutional Party, the political arm of organized crime and drug traffickers, went into its most acute phase of decomposition, by resorting to assassination as the method of solving its internal conflicts. Incapable of a civilized dialogue within its own party, the PRI bloodied the national soil. The shame of seeing the national colors usurped by the emblem of the PRI continues for all Mexicans.
The government and the country again forgot the original inhabitants of these lands. Cynicism and laziness returned to take possession of the sentiments of the Nation. Along with their rights to the minimal conditions of life with dignity, the indigenous peoples were denied the right to govern and govern according to their own reason and will. The deaths of our members become useless. Seeing that they did not leave us with any other alternative, the EZLN risked breaking the military blockade that surrounded it, and marched with the help of other indigenous brothers, who were fed up with the despair and misery and tired of the peaceful means. Seeking at all costs to avoid bloodying Mexican soil with the brothers’ blood, the EZLN saw itself obliged to call the Nation’s attention anew to the grave conditions of Mexican indigenous life. We called attention especially to those who supposedly had received government help, and yet continue living in the misery that they inherited, year after year, for more than five centuries. With the offensive in December 1994, the EZLN sought to show, to Mexico and to the world, its proud indigenous essence and the impossibility of resolving the local situation without simultaneous profound changes in the political, economic and social relations throughout the country.
The indigenous question will not have a solution if there is not a RADICAL transformation of the national pact. The only means of incorporating, with justice and dignity, the indigenous of the Nation, is to recognize the characteristics of their own social, political and cultural organization. Autonomy is not separation; it is integration of the most humble and forgotten minorities of contemporary Mexico. This is how the EZLN understood the issue since its founding, and this is how the indigenous communities who make up the leadership of our organization have defined it.
Today we repeat: OUR STRUGGLE IS NATIONAL We have been criticized for asking for too much. We, the Zapatistas, it is said, should be satisfied with the handouts that the bad government offers us. Those who are willing to die for a just and legitimate cause have the right to ask for everything. We Zapatistas are willing to give up the only thing we have, life, to demand democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans.
Today we reaffirm: FOR EVERYONE, EVERYTHING, NOTHING FOR US! At the end of 1994 the economic farce with which Salinas had deceived the Nation and the international economy exploded. The nation of money called the grand gentlemen of power and arrogance to dinner, and they did not hesitate in betraying the soil and sky in which they prospered with Mexican blood. The economic crisis awoke Mexicans from the sweet and stupefying dream of entry into the first world. The nightmare of unemployment, scarcity and misery will now be even more wearing for the majority of Mexicans.
1994, the year that has just ended, has just shown the real face of the brutal system that dominates us. The economic, political, social and repressive program of neo-liberalism has demonstrated its inefficiency, its deceptions, and the cruel injustice that is its essence. Neoliberalism as a doctrine and as a reality should be flung into the trash heap of national history.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
Today, in the middle of this crisis, decisive action by all honest Mexicans is necessary in order to achieve a real and profound change in the destinies of the Nation.
Today, after having called first to arms and later to a civic and peaceful struggle, we call the people of Mexico to struggle BY ALL MEANS, AT ALL LEVELS, AND IN ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, for democracy, liberty and justice, by means of this…
III DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE
We call upon all social and political forces of the country, to all honest Mexicans, to all of those who struggle for the democratization of the national reality, to form a NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT, including the National Democratic Convention and ALL forces, without distinction by religious creed, race or political ideology, who are against the system of the State party. This National Liberation Movement will struggle from a common accord, by all means, at all levels, for the installation of a transitional government, a new constitutional body, a new constitution, and the destruction of the system of the Party- State. We call upon the National Democratic Convention and citizen Cuahtemoc Cardenas Solorzano to head up this National Liberation Movement, as a broad opposition front.
WE CALL UPON THE WORKERS OF THE REPUBLIC, THE WORKERS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE CITIES, THE NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENTS, THE TEACHERS AND THE STUDENTS OF MEXICO, THE WOMEN OF MEXICO, THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY, THE HONEST ARTISTS AND INTELLECTUALS, THE RESPONSIBLE RELIGIOUS MEMBERS, THE COMMUNITY- BASED MILITANTS OF THE DIFFERENT POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS, to take up the means and forms of struggle that they consider possible and necessary, to struggle for the end of the Party-State system, incorporating themselves into the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION if they do not belong to a party, and to the National Liberation Movement if they are active in any of the political opposition forces.
For now, in keeping with the spirit of this III DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, we declare:
- FIRST– that from the federal government custody of the Motherland be taken. The Mexican flag, the justice system of the Nation, the Mexican Hymn, and the National Emblem will now be under the care of the resistance forces until legality, legitimacy and sovereignty are restored to all of the national territory.
- SECOND–The original Political Constitution of the United Mexican States is declared valid, as written on the 5th of February of 1917, with the incorporation of the Revolutionary Laws of 1993 and inclusion of the Statutes of Autonomy for the indigenous regions, and will be held as valid until a new constitutional body is installed and a new constitution is written.
- THIRD–We call for the people of Mexico to struggle for recognition for “the transitional governments to democracy”. These shall be social and political organizations, as they are defined by the distinct communities for themselves, which maintain the federal pact agreed upon in the 1917 Constitution, and which are included, without regard for religious creed, social class, political ideology, race, or sex, in the National Liberation Movement.
The EZLN will support the civilian population in the task of restoring the legality, order, legitimacy and national sovereignty, and in the struggle for the formation and installation of a national transitional government for democracy with the following characteristics:
1. The liquidation of the system of Party-State and really separates the government from the PRI.
2. The reform of the electoral law in terms that guarantees: clean elections, legitimacy, equity, non-partisan and non- governmental citizen participation, recognition of all national, regional and local political forces, and that convenes new general elections in the federation.
3. The convening of a constitutional body for the creation of a new constitution
4. The recognition of the particularities of the indigenous groups, recognizing their right to inclusive autonomy and citizenship.
5. The re-orientation of the national economic program, putting aside lies and deceptions, and favoring the most dispossessed sectors in the country, the workers and the peasants, who are the principal producers of the wealth that others appropriate.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
Peace will come hand in hand with democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans. Our path cannot find a peace with justice which our dead demand, if it is at the cost of our Mexican dignity. The earth does not rest; it walks in our hearts. The mockery to our dead demands that we struggle to wash away their shame. We will resist. The oppression and the arrogance will be overthrown.
As with Benito Juarez in the face of French intervention, the Motherland marches today at the side of the patriotic forces, against the anti-democratic forces and authorities. Today we say:
The Motherland lives! And she is ours!
Democracy! Liberty! Justice!
From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico
Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee–General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army Mexico
TODAY WE SAY “WE WILL NOT SURRENDER”
“…It is not only those who carry the swords that make blood flow and shoot out fleeting rays of military glory, who are privileged to choose the personnel of the govemment of a people who want democracy; it is a right as well of the citizens who have fought in the press and in the tribunals, who are identified with the ideals of the Revolution and have combated the despotism that fouls our laws. For it is not just shooting off missiles on battlefields that sweeps away tyranny. It is also by hurling ideas of redemption, slogans of freedom and terrible anathema against the executors of the people that dictatorships are toppled and empires brought down…And if the deeds of history show us that the demolition of all tyranny, that the overthrow of all bad government is a combined work of the idea and the sword, then it is an absurdity, it is an aberration, it is unheard-of despotism to want to exclude the healthy elements that have the right to elect the government. The sovereignty of the people is constituted by all the healthy elements that have full conscience, who are conscious of their rights, whether they be civilians or accidentally armed, but love liberty and justice and labor for the good of the Country.”
– Emiliano Zapata, as spoken by Paulino Martinez Zapatista delegate to the Supreme Revolutionary Convention Aguascalientes, Ags., Mexico, October 27, 1914
To the people of MEXICO:
To the peoples and governments of the world:
Brothers and Sisters:
The EZLN, steadfastly at war against the bad government since January 1, 1994, addresses you in order to let its thoughts be known.
I. Mexican Brothers and Sisters:
In December, 1993 we said ENOUGH! The first day of January, 1994 we called upon the legislative and judicial powers to assume their constitutional responsibilities in order to stop the genocidal policy that the Federal Executive imposes on our people, and we founded our right on the application of Article 39 of the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico:
National sovereignty resides, essentially and originally, in the people. All public power emanates from the people, and is constituted for the benefit of the same. The people have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter or modify the form of their government.
The response to this call was a policy of extermination and lies; the powers of the Union ignored our just demand and let loose massacre. But this nightmare only lasted 12 days, as another force, superior to any political or military power, imposed itself upon the conflicting sides. Civi1 Society assumed the duty of preserving our country; it demonstrated its disagreement with the massacre and obliged a dialogue. We all understand that the days of the party eternally in power, which uses the product of the work of all Mexicans to its own benefit, can no longer continue; that the presidencialismo that sustains it impedes liberty and must not be allowed; that the culture of fraud is the means by which they impose themselves and block democracy; that justice exists only for the corrupt and the powerful; that we must make whoever commands do it obediently; that there is no other way.
All honest Mexicans of good faith, the Civil Society, have come to understand this. The only ones who oppose it are those who have based their success on the robbing of the public treasury; those who, prostituting justice, protect the traffickers and murderers; those who resort to political assassination and electoral fraud in order to impose themselves. It is these political fossils who plan once again, to turn back the history of Mexico and erase from the national consciousness the cry that gripped the whole country on the first of January ‘94: “ENOUGH!”
But we will not allow it. Today we do not call on the failed powers of the Union who didn’t know how to fulfill their constitutional duty, thus allowing the Federal Executive to control them. The legislature and the magistrates had no dignity, so others will come forward who do understand that the must serve the people and not one individual. Our call transcends one single presidential term or an upcoming presidential election. Our sovereignty resides in CIVIL SOCETY. It is the people who can, at any time, alter or modify our form of government, and who have already assumed this responsibility. We now make a call to the people, in this SECOND DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE in order to say:
First. We have without fail carried out our military actions within the international conventions on war; we have received tacit recognition as a belligerent force, nationally and internationally. We will continue to comply with said agreements.
Second. We order our regular and irregular forces everywhere in national and foreign territory to carry out a UNILATERAL EXTENSION OF THE OFFENSIVE CEASE-FIRE.
We will continue to respect the cease-fire IN ORDER TO PERMIT CIVIL SOCIETY TO ORGANIZE ITSELF IN WHATEVER FORMS IT CONSIDERS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ACHEVE THE TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IN OUR COUNTRY.
Third. We condemn the threat hanging over Civil Society by the current militarization of the country, complete with specialized personnel and modern equipment of repression, on the eve of federal elections. There is no doubt that the Salinas government is trying to impose itself via the culture of fraud. WE WLL NOT PERMIT IT.
Fourth. We propose to all independent political parties that they now recognize the state of intimidation and the lack of political rights that our people have suffered the past 65 years and that they declare themselves ready to form a government capable of the political transition to democracy.
Fifth. We denounce all the manipulation and the attempts to dissociate our just demands from those of the people of Mexico. We are Mexicans and we will not lay aside our demands nor our arms until Democracy, Liberty and Justice are achieved by everyone.
Sixth. We reiterate our disposition to a political solution in the transition to democracy in Mexico. We call upon Civil Society to take on once again the central role it played in stopping the military phase of the war and to organize in order to conduct peaceful efforts toward Democracy, Liberty and Justice. Democratic change is the only alternative to war.
Seventh. We call the honest elements of Civil Society to a National Dialogue for Democracy, Liberty and Justice for all Mexicans.
Therefore we say:
II. Brothers and Sisters:
Once there was a war started in January, 1994, the organized outcry of the Mexican people stopped the confrontation and called for a dialogue between the contending sides. To the just demands of the EZLN, the federal government responded with a series of offers that did not touch the essential point of the problem: the lack of justice, liberty and democracy in Mexican territory.
The federal government’s limited capacity to follow through on its offers is what characterizes the political system of the party in power. This system is what has made it possible for another power to thrive and override constitutional law in rural Mexico, a power whose roots, in turn, make it possible for the same party to stay in power. It is this system of complicity which makes possible the existence and belligerence of cacicazgos, the omnipotent power of the cattle ranchers and businessman and penetration of drug traffic…The mere offer of the so-called Committments Toward a Dignified Peace in Chiapas provoked a massive revolt and open defiance by these sectors.
The single-party political system tires to maneuver within the limited horizon that its own existence as such imposes; it cannot affect these sectors without attacking itself, and it cannot leave things as they were without provoking an increase in the belligerence of campesinos and indigenous people.
In sum: the fulfillment of the committments implies, necessarily, the death of the State party system. Whether by suicide or by firing squad, the death of the current Mexican political system is a necessary, although insufficient, condition for the transition to democracy in our country. There is no solution to the problems of Chiapas separate from a solution to the problems in Mexico.
The EZLN understands that the problems of Mexican poverty is not just a lack of resources. All efforts to combal Mexican poverty will only postpone a solution if they do not take place within a new framework of national, regional and local political relationships: a framework of Democracy, Liberty and Justice.
In this new framework, the problem of power will not be question of who the incumbent is, but rather of who exercises the power. If the majority of the people exercise the power, political parties will see themselves as obliged to confront the majority instead of each other.
A new way of approaching the problem of power in this framework of Democracy, Liberty and Justice will create a new political culture within the parties. A new kind of politician must be born and, no doubt, a new type of political party.
We are not proposing a new world, but rather a much earlier stage: the entryway to the new Mexico. In this sense, this revolution will not conclude in a new class, fraction of class or group in power, but rather in a free and democratic “space” of political struggle.
This free and democratic “space” will be born on the grave of presidencialismo and the putrid cadaver of the State party system. A new political relationship will be born. it will be a new politics, based not on the confrontation among political organizations themselves, but rather on the confrontation between different social classes over various political proposals. Political power will depend on the REAL support of these social classes, not on the exercise of political power, itself.
Within this new political relationship, each of the different groups with proposals for differing systems or directions (socialism, capitalism social-democratic, liberalism, Christian-Democratic, etc.) will have to convince the majority of the Nation that its proposal is the best for the country. Moreover, they will be aware that they are being “watched” by the country, and will be obligated to account for themselves on a regular basis, and the judgment of the Nation will determine if they stay in office or are removed. The plebiscite is a regulated -form of Power-Party-Politician-Nation confrontation, and it deserves an important place in the highest law of the land.
Current Mexican legislation is too narrow for these new political relationships between the governed and their governors. A DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION is necessary, out of which should emerge a PROVISIONAL or TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT whether by means of the resignation of the Federal Executive or by the electoral process.
The DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION and TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT must produce a new Magna Carta which convokes new elections. The pain of this process will be less than the damage produced by a civil war. The prophecy of the Southeast is valid for the whole country; we can learn now from what has happened and make the birth of the new Mexico less painful. The EZLN has an idea of what system and direction the country should have. But the political maturity of the EZLN, its coming of age as a representative part of the Nation’s sensibilities, depends on the fact that it doesn’t want to impose its idea on the country. The EZLN hereby declares what is already evident: Mexico has come of age, and has the right to decide, freely and democratically, the direction it will take. From this historic entryway will emerge not only a better and more just Mexico, but a new Mexican as well. On this we bet our lives, so that the next generation of Mexicans will have a country in which it is not a disgrace to live.
The EZLN, in an unprecedented democratic exercise within an armed organization, consulted its entire membership on whether or not to sign the federal government’s proposal for peace agreements. Seeing that the central questions of Democracy, Liberty and Justice had not been resolved, the bases of the EZLN, primarily indigenous people, decided to refuse to sign the government’s proposal.
Under conditions of siege and pressure on various fronts by those who threatened us with extermination if the peace agreements were not signed, we, Zapatistas reaffirm our pledge of life and death to achieve a peace with justice and dignity. In us, our ancestors’ history of dignified struggle has found a place. The rebel Vicente Guerrero’s cry of dignity, “Live for Country or Die for Liberty,” sounds again in our throats. We cannot accept an undignified peace.
We opened our path of fire when we faced the impossibility of a peaceful struggle for our essential rights as human beings. The most valuable of those is the right to decide, with liberty and democracy, on our own form of government.
Now the possibility of peaceful transition to democracy and liberty faces a new test: the electoral process of August, 1994.
There are those who are betting on the post-election period, preaching apathy and disillusionment from the pulpits of their own immobility. They would exploit the blood of the fallen on all fronts of combat, violent and peaceful, in the city and the countryside. They base their political project on the pre-electoral conflict and, doing nothing, wail for political demobilization to open once again the gaping doorway of war. They will save, they say, the country.
Others bet even now that armed conflict will begin again before the elections, and that they will be able to take advantage of the ingovernability of the country in order to say in power. Yesterday they usurped the popular will with electoral fraud; today and tomorrow, with the river churning from a pre-election civil war, they will try to prolong the agony of a dictatorship which, masked by the State party, has already lasted decades. Still others, sterile prophets of the apocalypse, reason that war is now inevitable and they sit down to wait, watching for their enemy’s corpse to pass by…or their friend’s.
The sectarians erroneously suppose that the mere shooting of guns will be enough to crack open the dawn that our people have awaited since the night fell—with the deaths of Villa and Zapata—over Mexican soil. All of these thieves of hope suppose that behind our arms there is ambition and self-interested leadership, and that this will determine our path in the future. they are mistaken. Behind our firearms there are other arms—those of reason. And both are motivated by hope. We will not let them rob us of it. Hope with a trigger had its place in the beginning of the year. Now it is crucial to wait. The hope that always accompanies great mobilizations must regain the central leadership role that now belongs to it by right and reason. The flag is now in the hands of those who have name and face, of good and honest people who travel by routes that are not ours, but whose goal is the same one we yearn for. We salute these men and women, we salute them and we hope that they carry that flag to the place where it ought to be. We will be waiting, at attention and with dignity. If that flag falls, we will know how to raise it again…
May hope get organized, may it travel through the valleys and cities as it did yesterday in the mountains. Fight with your own weapons; don’t worry about us. We will know how to resist to the last. We will know how to wait…and we will know how to return if all the doors to dignity close again. Therefore we address our brothers and sisters of the non-governmental organizations, of the campesino and indigenous peoples’ organizations, workers of the countryside and of the city, teachers and students, housewives and neighborhood residents, artists and intellectuals, those of the independent parties, Mexicans:
We call you to a national dialogue with the theme of Democracy, Liberty and Justice. For this we send out the present call for a Democratic National Convention.
We, the EZLN, struggling to achieve the democracy, liberty and justice that our country deserves, and considering:
First. That the federal government has usurped the legitimacy—left to us by its heroes—of the Mexican Revolution.
Second. That the Magna Carta that rules us no longer represents the popular will of Mexicans.
Third. That it is not enough for the usurper of the Federal Executive to step down, our country needs new laws which must be born of the struggle of all honest Mexicans:
Fourth. That all forms of struggle are necessary to achieve the transition to democracy in Mexico.
Therefore, we call for a Democratic National Convention, supreme and revolutionary, from which must emerge the proposals for a transitional government and a new national law, a new Constitution that guarantees the legal implementation of the popular will.
The revolutionary convention will be national in terms of its composition—representation must include all the states of the federation; plural in the sense that all patriotic forces will be represented; and democratic in decision-making, deferring always to consultations throughout the nation.
The convention will be presided over, freely and voluntarily, by civilians: public figures of recognized prestige, regardless of their political affiliation, race, religious creed, sex or age.
The convention will be formed via local, regional and state committees, in ejidos neighborhoods, schools and factories, by civilians. These committees will be entrusted with arguing for their own grassroots proposals for the new constitutional laws and for the demands which the new government, once it emerges from the convention, will have to meet.
The convention must require that free and democratic elections must take place, and they must struggle, without rest, to see that the popular will is respected.
The EZLN will recognize the Democratic National Convention as the authentic representation of the interests of the Mexican people in its transition to democracy.
The EZLN is already present throughout the Nation, and is able to offer itself to the people of Mexico as a security guard for the implementation of the popular will.
For the first meeting site of the Democratic National Convention, the EZLN offers a Zapatista village and all the facilities that includes. The date and place of the first session of the Democratic National Convention will be announced when possible and appropriate.
III. Mexican Brothers and Sisters:
Our struggle continues. The Zapatista flag still waves over the Mexican Southeast and today we say: We will not surrender!
Facing the mountain we speak with our dead so that they will reveal to us in their word the path down which our veiled faces should turn. The drums rang out and in the voice of the earth our pain spoke and our history spoke.
“For everyone, everything,” say our dead. “Until it is so, there will be nothing for us.”
“Speak the word of other Mexicans, find in your heart an ear for their word. Invite them to walk down the honorable path of those who have no face. Call everyone to resist, so that nobody accepts anything from those who command commanding. Convince them not to sell out a flag that belongs to everyone. Ask that we receive more than just words of hot air to alleviate our pain. Ask that they share, ask that they resist, ask that they reject all the handouts that come from the powerful. Ask that today all the good people of these lands organize the dignity that resists and does not sell itself out, that tomorrow dignity organize itself to demand that the word that lives in the heart of the majority is met with truth, and is welcomed by those who govern, that the good road is imposed, in which the person who commands, commands obeying.
Do not surrender! Resist! Do not let down the honor of the true word. Resist with dignity in the lands of the true men and women; may the mountains blanket the pain of the men of corn. Do not surrender! Resist! Do not sell yourselves! Resist!”
So spoke the word of the heart of our forever dead. We saw that our dead’s word was good; we said, there is truth and dignity in their counsel. Therefore we call upon all our Mexican indigenous brothers and sisters to resist with us. We call upon all the campesinos to resist with us, upon the factory workers, the clerks, the neighborhood residents, the housewives, the students, the teachers, those who make thought and word their life, all of those who have dignity and pride, we call everyone to resist with us, since the bad government is opposed to having democracy on our soil. We will accept nothing that comes from the rotten heart of the bad government, not a single coin nor a medicine nor a stone nor a grain of food nor a crumb from the handouts that it offers in exchange for our dignified path.
We will take nothing from the federal government. Even if our pain and our grief deepen, though death may still be with us, at the table, in the land and on the roof; though we may see that others sell themselves to the hand that oppresses them; though everything might ache and grief weeps even from the stones…we will take nothing from the government. We will resist until the person who commands, commands obeying.
Brothers and sisters: Do not sell yourselves. Resist with us. Do not surrender. Resist with us. Repeat with us, brothers and sisters: “We will not surrender! We will resist!” So that it is not only heard in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, but in the north and on the peninsulas, so that on both coasts it is heard, so that in the heartland it is heard, so that in the valley and the mountains it becomes a cry, so that it resounds in the city and in the country. Join with your voices, brothers and sisters, cry out with us, make our voices yours:
“We will not surrender! We will resist!”
May the dignity break the siege with which the bad government’s dirty hands are smothering us. We are all besieged: they don’t allow democracy, liberty and justice to enter Mexican territory. Brothers and sisters, we are all besieged: don’t surrender! Resist! Be dignified! We must not sell ourselves out!
What good are the riches of the powerful if they can’t buy the most valuable thing in the lands? If the dignity of Mexicans has no price, what is the power of the powerful for?
Dignity does not surrender!
Democracy! Liberty! Justice!
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. CCRI-CG of the EZLN. Mexico, June 1994.