An invitation to: “The Impossible Movie Theater”
Sixth Commission of the EZLN, October 2018
ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION
Sixth Commission of the EZLN
To the persons, groups, collectives and organizations of the national and international Sixth:
To the support networks for the Indigenous Governing Council:
To those for whom cinema is a hobby, vice, or obsession:
Part I and only:
THE IMPOSSIBLE MOVIE THEATER.
(Opening scene: The Serpent Offers the Apple)
You’re walking without a destination. You don’t know where you’re going, much less why. Behind you is the busy street which runs along the wall whose crumbling facade mocks the also deteriorating poster of the Happy Family. In the distance lies the monumental stadium and its impertinent question: “Who rules?” Anyway, right now you have no idea where you are and you’re starting to wonder if you should turn back…but you don’t know where or why you’d go in that direction either. So you stop, but only for a moment because a little girl grabs your hand and hurries you along: “Hurry up or we’ll be late to the movie.” You don’t have a chance to respond because you’re immediately faced with a colorful sign declaring: “All adults must be accompanied by a child [niño].” But someone has crossed out “un niño” and written “a girl [una niña].” Another anonymous hand has scratched that out to write “unoa niñoa.” Someone else crossed that out and wrote instead, “None of that matters here.”
Someone wearing a ski-mask stops you, but the little girl says to the masked face, “he’s with me.” The masked person allows you to pass. You walk down a slope partially covered in cement, through puddles, rocks, and mud. Off to the side there are multiple wood structures with tin roofs. The fog is heavy, so the humble structures appear and disappear with every step you take, like “fade in” and “fade out” scenes. You keep going without knowing where you’re headed. The atmosphere reminds you of an old mystery movie…or a horror film.
300, Part II: A Continent as a Backyard, a Country as a Cemetery, Pensamiento Único as a Government Program, and a Small, Very Small, Ever So Small Rebellion.
A Continent as a Backyard, a Country as a Cemetery, Pensamiento Únicoi as a Government Program, and a Small, Very Small, Ever So Small Rebellion.
From our analysis of the world we move to the level of the continent.
If we look above…
We see the examples of Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina, where supposedly progressive governments have not only been removed from power but prosecuted, and the governments that have taken their place are ones that have been trained as good overseers—obedient to capital, that is—ready to take on a realignment of the world plantation (though, to be fair, even in their cynicism they’re still pretty clumsy). Take Temer in Brazil, Macri in Argentina, and that guy in Ecuador who was supposed to be good because he was chosen by the now-persecuted Correa (a man of the “citizen’s revolution”, “a leftist” according to the progressive intelligentsia who backed him) but who, it turns out, is actually on the right: Lenin Moreno (yeah, paradoxically his name is Lenin).
Under the watchful eye of the State that has become the policeman of the region—Colombia—threats are issued, destabilization efforts are undertaken and plans are made for provocations that would justify “peace force” invasions. In all of South America, we see a return to the brutal times of the Colonies, now characterized by a “new” extractivism—really just the same ancestral plunder of natural resources, categorized as “raw materials”—but endorsed and promoted among the progressive governments of the region as “Left extractivism”. This is supposed to be something like a Leftist capitalism or a capitalist Left, or who knows what it’s supposed to be because it destroys and dispossesses just the same, only it’s for a “good cause” (??). Any criticism or movement that opposes the destruction of the originary peoples’ territories is written off as having been “promoted by Empire” or “backed by the right-wing”, among other equivalents to being “a conspiracy by the mafia of Power.” In sum, the “backyard” of Capital extends across the continent all the way to Cape Horn.
But if we look below…
We see resistances and rebellions, first and foremost among the originary peoples. It would be unfair to try to name them all since there’s always a risk of leaving some out, but their identities are clear in their struggles. There where the machine encounters resistance to its predatory advance, rebellion dresses in colors so old they’re new again and speaks “strange” languages. Displacement, also disguised as the leasing of lands, tries to impose its commodity logic on those who refer to the Earth as “Mother.” These resistances are accompanied by groups, collectives, and organizations which, while perhaps not themselves composed of originary peoples, share the same effort and the same destiny, that is to say, the same heart. That is why they suffer insults, persecution, imprisonment and, not infrequently, death.