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Convivial Thinking

The Zapatistas’ “Journey for Life” and its Implications for a Global Solidarity

by Franca Marquardt

Meeting the Zapatistas

“We have given you the seeds of rebellion against colonialism and capitalism” – this is what the group of Zapatistas that visited us here in Leipzig announced on our last night together. I am still processing this important moment, one that now seems like a dream. But it was quite the opposite, something very real: a coming-together of worlds for the prospect of a global solidarity. The Zapatistas and their resistance against colonial capitalism have been an inspiration to me and to many fellow students and activists. I have never been to Chiapas or studied their political organisation in depth. But when I heard about this “journey for life” and the Zapatistas’ plan to travel to Europe and meet local movements, I was intrigued. As an anthropology student and social activist, I am constantly confronted with the impasse we face in our actions and reflections that are still contained within a limited, Eurocentric framework. Ultimately, a just transition cannot be advanced unless we take into account all voices and perspectives and form alliances between actors across the world. The journey of the Zapatistas, I thought, could be a chance to put these ideas into practice while dealing with socio-ecological issues in a way that considers local fights in a global context and provides the global movement with the most important tool: hope.

In October last year, the Zapatistas announced that they will “colonise” Europe to meet movements here and to listen and share ideas on a better life beyond capitalism. People across Europe have united under the prospect of this important moment, inviting the compass to their cities and towns, eagerly planning and organising their stay. As part of the Leipzig network, we have been meeting weekly, discussing ideas and plans. This was an empowering but difficult process, as it was never clear if or when the Zapatistas would actually arrive and what we needed to consider. At some point this summer, we weren’t even sure if the journey would still happen but we acknowledged that they had already archived one of their main objectives: motivating people and groups to get organised in their own “homes” and form alliances for change. It was even more amazing when we heard that the first delegation, the squadron 421, had set sail and finally arrived in Spain this June.

The first group was made up of seven compass who then went ahead to coordinate the arrival of the main delegation, together with local structures. This would turn out to be a difficult process, entailing struggles to obtain passports and visas, as well as restrictions caused by the ongoing covid crisis. This was representative for the mobility restraints that many marginalised and racialized people face when trying to enter European countries. Back in August we protested in front of the Mexican honorary consulate in Leipzig, to put pressure on authorities and make people aware of these facts. It was even more ironic when we found out that the consul is the CEO of Porsche Leipzig – not surprisingly he ignored our demands. Later this summer I participated in the climate camps in Leipzig and in Munich, where I held workshops on the topics of Zapatism, degrowth and pluriversality. I engaged in discussions about how we position ourselves as climate activists in Germany, and how we can relate our histories and struggles to those of the Zapatistas, the Rojava Kurds or to many smaller resistance movements that are ongoing.

Following the Munich camp, finally, the main delegation of 170 compass arrived in Vienna (out of all places) in mid-September. This all happened very fast and required people to work together to support the Austrian network, trying to organise accommodation and facilitate the arrival last minute. The atmosphere at the airport was very powerful, as we celebrated and sang songs to welcome the compass. Meeting them after all these months of anticipation and struggles was unbelievable, and an important source of hope. From this moment on, people were working day and night to plan the next steps of the journey. It was then decided that the compas will travel in groups of five to different regions across three stages. So, on the 22nd of September we welcomed two groups in Leipzig that stayed with us for a week, taking part in many events and encounters with local movements. Somehow, we managed to pull together a program, found local housing projects for them to stay in, and cook food. To our surprise, they preferred sausages, pizza and coca cola to pumpkin and rice – another proof that we cannot translate our moral standards onto different people’s contexts. As the compass made clear, the main objective of the journey was to meet with local movements in an intimate setting, rather than to speak at public events or lectures. Hence, we organised meetings with feminist organisations, postcolonial groups and the Latin American community in Leipzig alongside visits to significant places of resistance in and around the city.

The program was very strict, as the compass told us they wanted to meet as many groups as possible and focus on the “work” (after all, they were on a mission). Before coming to Europe, all delegates have been trained for months, thus knowing exactly what they wanted to share and what questions they wanted to ask. They told each group a detailed version of their history, starting way before the uprising in 1994, stressing the centuries long oppression that formed the basis of their resistance today. They also described their worldviews that are rooted in the indigenous identity and how this translates into their political and social organisation today. The compass was interested to hear about the history of Germany, especially Nazi Germany and the significance of the wall and eastern Germany. They stressed that each person’s history is important as their indigeneity is rooted in their interactions with their families, communities and the environment. The Zapatistas also asked many questions about how each group operates, how they are organised and how they sustain themselves. Communication wasn’t always easy, as everything had to be translated between Spanish and German, and two delegates only spoke the indigenous language Tzotzil.

My favourite moment was the visit to Pödelwitz, a town that used to run the risk of being evicted for coal mining. The compass took time to tell people about their history, their political organisation and their current struggles. They also listened to the residents’ accounts of their resistance and the oppressive consequences of coal mining industries in Germany, that have been a centre of environmental activism for several years. At the same time, another group of compass was visiting Lützerath, a town in the West of Germany that still runs the risk of being evicted. This way, I could feel the impact that the journey was making on many levels, by supporting these struggles and by providing hope and inspiration for people resisting and fighting for their rights in these places. As part of the organising network, I was lucky to witness some moments outside of these encounters that were even more insightful and sometimes surprising. It was beautiful to see how the compass interacted with people and the environment, as this was the first time that they left Mexico and were exposed to a different world. They were taking many pictures on their phones, of as the woods, the chestnuts, or the wild pigs in the forest. Being present in these moments made me rediscover some curiosity about the place I live in and reminded me to notice the small things that are so often overlooked while rushing through life.

So, what is it that we can learn from the “journey for life” and the initiative of the Zapatistas? Is this the start of something more powerful, a realisation of the interconnectedness of our lives and our struggles? How can we carry this seed further and combine local efforts and global alliances against social and environmental injustice?

Histories of resistance

Engaging with the Zapatista movement in its many forms, helps us understand the significance of colonial capitalism and how this relates to postcolonial subjects and social movements. It links historical issues of colonial dispossession and racism to contemporary global capitalism, while foregrounding the importance of transnational solidarity between actors worldwide. Since the 1980s, the Zapatistas have worked towards recovering land in resistance to the hegemonic growth of capitalism, to counter their oppression and to advance the project of autonomy and self- determination of Indigenous communities. The geo-political revolution in 1994 enabled radical democracy and egalitarianism through the temporary secession of the Mexican state. Thus, it represents in certain ways a successful fight against neoliberal capitalism and the creation of a postcolonial landscape. Since 2012, the Zapatistas and the CNI have initiated a process to share the issues and insights of Indigenous communities throughout Mexico into the national political sphere and popular media. This process of opening up and becoming more engaged within wider contexts, is also represented by the 2017/18 presidential elections, where for the first time an indigenous woman, Marichuy, took part as a candidate. The candidacy was not about winning elections, but about pointing out the triple impossibility of a poor, indigenous and woman president in the imagination of Mexican society and exposing the underlying racism and sexism. The Zapatistas have inspired and enriched the global struggle for climate justice and peace while reactivating and uniting struggles from the “left and the bottom”. Now, the journey in 2021 makes sense as the process of “coming out of their shells”, where members of the Zapatistas are actively fighting back against worldwide neo-colonial and capitalist oppression by showing their support for local groups across the world that share similar struggles.

Towards a decolonial praxis?

The Zapatistas stress how 500 years of indigenous dispossession led to this system of neoliberal control and exploitation. Their resistance and autonomy as a decolonial praxis, thus, is a productive lens to understand the contribution they make in challenging the mantra that there is no alternative to neoliberalism. According to the Zapatistas, their journey represents an antithesis to the “encounter” between European colonisers and indigenous populations in the Americas, as this time the indigenous people are “colonising” Europe. This juxtaposition of taken-for-granted history opens up a space for different agencies that are at play in drafting a just transition, and highlights the imperative of recognising perspectives by postcolonial subjects and oppressed people in many places.

It also provides an important reflection on the normative framings in Western academia that are deployed when discussing indigenous movements, or anti-capitalist transition ideas. For example, how can “degrowth” incorporate impulses and critiques from the global south into its blueprint for a just transition? How can we relate different worldviews and approaches while respecting their epistemological and cultural embeddedness?

What the Zapatistas remind us, is that decolonisation should, first and foremost, begin at “home”, within our own epistemological traditions and institutions. The meeting between the Zapatistas and European actors is, in a way, exemplary for the imperative of connecting different lines of thought that originate from different epistemic traditions and contexts. This way, it is an important starting point for sketching out ideas on pathways for social and economic change, to find out what agencies and tools are needed. Discussing decolonial degrowth perspectives in relation to the struggles of the Zapatistas and other indigenous and Southern-based movements is important to be able to grasp the depth of a just transition. It also provides a perspective on the value- based and ethical dimensions of the discourse and expressions of resistance to colonial capitalism. Inspired by the Zapatistas’ striving for “a world where many worlds fit”, multiple worldings and practices need to inspire the collective search for a socially just and ecologically stable world. If concepts only include one part of the population and essentialise others, they continue a cycle of systemic violence. Thus, in a carbon-constrained world, we must all work together for the same ends, but in pluriversally different ways that avoid this violence.

Towards a global solidarity?

Engaging with the Zapatistas’ embrace of values such as dignity, trust and autonomy, and their experience in the political organisation of grassroots democracy can be a starting point of building global solidarity as a viable agenda for a just, socio-economic transition. Through listening to each other’s histories and stories, actors are affirmed in their struggles, as they realise how people across the world are concerned with similar issues, in different ways.

This horizontal interaction between actors entails an emancipatory process of restored indigeneity and self-determination. In their communiques and speeches, the Zapatistas highlight the importance of relating their claims to oppressed and marginalised people everywhere (the poor, the women, the racialised). In this way, they construct a global consciousness that recognises the grievances and hopes of people worldwide as deeply intertwined. “Relating” as a value is antiracist and anti-essentialist as it defines identities according to a relation, rather than to a “root identity”, which is a tool for seclusion. Inspired by Glissant’s “poetics of relation” we might want to think about a relational conception of human existence as a tool to counter the West’s imposition of universalist values. As the Zapatistas always foreground, “we are equal because we are different”. Hence, we need to move from the conception of difference as a source of conflict, to difference as an implicit tool for the remaking of the word, making space for “a world where many worlds fit”. Difference and diversity should be a core principle of our discourse and actions rather than an “add on” or separate category.

Our contacts with people, groups, collectives, movements and organizations from different parts of the planet have shown us a diverse, multiple and complex world. This has reinforced our conviction that any proposal of hegemony and homogeneity is not only impossible, but above all criminal. (communiqué June 2021[1])

It is essential that environmental movements in the north create alliances with anti-imperialist struggles in the global south who have been focused on these issues for decades. As the only successful social movements for serious economic and social change have been the anti- colonial movements, that should be the force we need to mobilise around. Instead, during COP26 in Glasgow right now, “leaders” continue making empty promises while marginalising the voices of many from the global south and those oppressed within society, that know best what needs to be done in their communities to fight climate change and inequality. Although many activists made their way to Glasgow to challenge “business as usual”, the voices of women, of the poor, of racialised people continue to be side-lined, while the powerful leaders of the neoliberal world order (politicians and billionaires) take centre-stage. It is clear, that this can hardly lead to any lasting change in the struggle to protect our earth, our communities and ensure wellbeing for all. Hope can only be found outside these “official spaces”, at alternative gatherings, protests and meetings that emerge from the common frustration of those excluded from these events. The Zapatistas (actually the same group who was in Leipzig) visited Scotland right before the conference. By meeting with many local groups and communities, they affirmed actors in their struggles. In some ways, these encounters and actions are much more lasting than those commitments made at the summit.

The Zapatista worldview is in constant conflict with the interests of the industrialised world, which strives for “progress” and “growth”. Because colonial capitalism is operating globally, we also need to resist collectively and globally. This entanglement of global capitalism can be seen in the plan of the current megaproject “Tren Maya”. In Yucatan, Mexico, a 1500 km long railway line is to be built to boost tourism in this Mayan region. The project would cause the destruction of one of the last rainforests in southern Mexico, disregarding the rights of the indigenous population. It leads to land grabbing and displacement as well as additional militarisation in one of the most conflict-ridden regions of the country. German capital and German companies are also involved in the planning, construction and commissioning, with DB Consulting & Engineering, SIEMENS and TÜV Rheinland, as well as the German arms industry. The Deutsche Bahn markets itself as an ecological company and means of transport, yet the company repeatedly participates in neo-colonial projects that destroy ecosystems and livelihoods of people. On the 30th of October we protested for #NoAlTrenMaya in front of the Leipzig central station and many other locations across the world. This would not have been possible without the solidarity and mobilisation by the Zapatistas and exchanges throughout the journey.

What about you?

Through the “journey for life” and the encounter with the Zapatistas, we move beyond the space of resistance, illuminating spaces of possibility. At the same time, we need to build our own narratives and imaginaries of a better life, that are rooted in our own indigeneity and are enriched through relationality between plural experiences and actors. While practices of conviviality and care are ancient, they are also re-emerging and evolving as a part of a mosaic of movements that are struggling against neoliberal oppression. In Europe, people struggle to identify with their indigeneity, as neoliberalism pushes for an individualistic conception of the self and the environment. However, indigeneity simply means living in harmony with our ecosystems that we are embedded in and acknowledge our world beyond the simply human to break with the nature/culture divide. We need to acknowledge that indigenous ideas are still present and cannot be easily erased as they have existed for ten-thousands of years in comparison to the relatively new concept of the ‘West’. This also includes a different conception of time, as life plays out in a circular rhythm of a resurgence of indigeneity, rather than in a linear process from birth to death. While it is impossible to reproduce ideas from the Zapatistas and apply them to local contexts in Europe, a confrontation with their worldviews can inspire us to search for commons and leftover indigenous practices in our surroundings. For example, there is a resurgence of solidary agricultures (Solawis) in Germany that can be identified as sources outside of capitalist logic and thus as some forms of indigenous commons. This can be a source of hope and strength for dealing with the familiar and the “everyday” as a basis for resistance and for social mobilisation.

Soon there will be another megaproject or event that will demand a collective protest and resistance from the left and the bottom across the world. While the first chapter of the “journey for life” is soon coming to an end, the Zapatistas have encouraged us to keep questioning, to keep fighting and to keep hoping for a better world. It is down to us to plant the seed of resistance and keep these visions alive.

‘Is Zapatismo one more grand answer to the problems of the world?

No. Zapatismo is a bunch of questions. And the smallest can be the most disturbing: 

And you?

In the face of the capitalist catastrophe, does Zapatismo propose an old-new idyllic social system which would repeat the imposition of hegemonies and homogeneities now deemed “good”?

No. Our thought is small like us: it is the efforts of each person, in their own geography and according to their own calendar and customs, which will perhaps allow the liquidation of the criminal and, simultaneously, the remaking of everything. And everything is everything.’ (communiqué June 2021)

Franca Marquardt is part of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Leipzig, Germany. She tweets as @FrancaMarquardt



Escobar, A. (2018). Designs for the pluriverse: Radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds. Duke University Press.

Glissant, É. (1997). Poetics of relation. University of Michigan Press.

Khasnabish, D. A. (2013). Zapatistas: Rebellion from the Grassroots to the Global. Zed Books Ltd.

Nirmal, P. and Rocheleau, D. (2019). “Decolonizing degrowth in the post-development convergence: Questions, experiences, and proposals from two Indigenous territories.” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 2(3) 465-492.

Olesen, T. (2004). Globalising the Zapatistas: from Third World solidarity to global solidarity?. Third World Quarterly25(1), pp.255-267.

For a list of all communicados:

[1] Members of the Zapatistas have shared ‘communiques’ to the public since the announcement of the journey in the summer of 2020. This way, they regularly give updates on their visions and the meaning of the journey. English versions can be found here:

Avispa Midia

(Español) Cine documental: ¿qué lo hace extractivista o aliado de las comunidades?

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Por Claudia Ramos Guillén | Avispa Midia

El extractivismo como modelo que se implementa en los territorios genera enormes impactos en las formas de vida de las personas, sobre todo de mujeres, niñes y cuerpos racializades, exacerbando los niveles de violencia que de por sí viven. Este modelo de despojo por parte de la implementación de proyectos extractivos es causante de la desecación de ríos, la pérdida de nuestra agua, de nuestro tejido social y de las formas y estrategias de vida y tiene una raíz profundamente capitalista y heteropatriarcal.

Desde esta perspectiva cobra importancia reavivar la discusión sobre lo extractivo que puede llegar a significar el cine documental y las representaciones que se hacen de las realidades, pueblos, comunidades y personas que habitamos en los territorios.

El pasado 20 de noviembre, en el marco de la 5ª Edición del Festival Ocote, festival de cine documental en Chiapas, se realizó el conversatorio “documental aliado o documental extractivo”, dentro de las actividades de clausura de dicho festival en el Parque El Encuentro en la ciudad de San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

En este conversatorio participaron les realizadores Melissa Elizondo (El sembrador, 2018), Elke Franke (Kuxlejal, 2020) y Ange Valderrama Cayuman, quienes con la moderación de Gabriela Domínguez Ruvalcaba (La danza del Hipocampo, 2014), compartieron sus procesos creativos y su encuentro con las realidades que buscan reflejar, teniendo en cuenta los ejercicios de poder y violencia que se ejercen al interpretar realidades a las que no pertenecen.

(Continuar leyendo…)

London Mexico Solidarity

Our journey there felt like an odyssey

By Isabel Cortès

Isabel Cortes is a member of Chile Solidarity Network & Bordando por la Memoria. Isabel is also an organiser at United Voices Of the World.

Our journey there felt like an odyssey.

We spent one hour travelling and took 3 trains to arrive at our destination.

I didn’t sleep very much the night before,  I had that feeling I get just before am going into a space where I will be surrounded with love, power and acceptance.

 I think I had “the channels” which is the feeling seafarers get before the embarking on a voyage according to Comrade Mcintosh.

We arrived early, Pelusa and I, first and second generation together, sitting together, walking side by side, laughing, talking, bound together although there is over 30 years between us, by the same life changing events.

We were on our way to an event that we knew would be a learning experience, and ultimately a privilege and we told each other this.

We were on our way to meet the Zapatista delegation on their European tour, a closed meeting, no social media, no pictures, no recordings, a space where we leave our egos (and phones) at the door so we can share experiences, eat together and reflect.

Activists talk about holding space, a concept that is less about physical space and more a metaphorical one.

The physical space where we met, held us.

A Kurdish community centre, tucked away between a railway bridge and an unassuming residential area.

As we walked through the iron gates, decorated with a rising sun  (socialist dawn I thought) I saw a table outside the community centre, smiling young faces of people welcomed us at a registration table, a group of men, young and old, jet black hair, no hair, smoking and talking in Kurdish. This felt so familiar.

With registration out the way.  We walked into the centre and were met with the warm embrace of banners. Everywhere, on the floor directly in front of me, vinyl, handmade, with slogans in English, Spanish and Kurdish. Face of martyrs, banners and flags watched over us.

A table at the top of the hall, not a top table like a conference where people sit and tell you how it is,  instead a space to share and look at each other’s faces (or eyes in our case because we were all masked up), with chairs assembled in a horse shoe hugged me even tighter.

Smells of tea, coffee, stew and rice emanated from the kitchen! Yes at 9am, and I could smell rice. This was a community space. I immediately wanted to move in with ALL my family.

Young people were adding the final touches to the hall, testing the PA system and moving around excitedly.

Pelusa and I slipped in, no fuss, we were already part of the furniture when at the rising sun iron gates, so making ourselves at home on the front row was nada.

The event started half an hour late, just before it did as I was busy talking to Pelu, I heard her say “Buenos dias companeros” . I look up to see a group of small, brown masked men wearing masks and caps walk passed us smiling. I greeted them as we do, como compañeros.

And then lift off, the event began.

What can I say about the morning session… we had the mic first.

We spoke in the international solidarity section about the work of a lifetime, about being proud to be exiled, that we were like seeds scattered by the wind to all corners of the globe, that our fight is intergenerational, it’s international, that it was not only about looking back and preserving  historical memory and about tirelessly denouncing and demanding justice for our martyrs, for our disappeared but also about Chile today, about the practical solidarity we offer to those that held the streets, because we know what solidarity looks like, because it’s not a trendy term that we use off the cuff, but a real lived experience, that helped us to live, that taught us what and how to do. We talk about the role of organised labour and about women, the women that founded and drove all the spaces we were in. I told them they taught me, not a book, but they taught me through doing.

The mic was passed on and others spoke about climate justice, about Kurdish solidarity and anti-imperialism, de-colonising the mind, about how to treat each other, how to be activists together, how to not burn out, how to practice love and revolution, how to learn together and be self-critical. They were good, I was moved by their analysis, by their youth and optimism, their self care, and care for each other.

I realised that Pelusa never lost that joy and youthful rebelliousness, and that I never will either.

We had lunch together, we talked, we connected, we saw familiar faces and we shared stories.

The afternoon belonged to the Zapatistas, all Mayan, all members of EZLN. Faces covered, no pictures, pura clandestinidad. This was real. they were real. Real storytellers.

The told their story in 5 parts, each taking a section, starting with their great grandfathers and grandmothers and how they used to live at the hands of the landowners, in a cruel feudal system that used violence against women to control men and women. Talking in the first person, from the heart, short sentences, direct and plain language, that used “pues” to replace full stops, commas, and to help them catch a breath.

They took us through the 1930s as if it was yesterday, it was clear this was oral history handed down, a lived history, not read in history books. The interpreters struggled to translate this into English, I felt bad as I basked in the power of their words, no messing, no attempts at intellectualising, practical, honest and “then this happened” kind of story. My kind of storytelling ?

They took our hands and led us through their declaration of war, they named their martyrs using first names only, then onto their years in the jungle, how they set up their autonomous region and to today, how they continue to resist and rebel.

I tried to take notes but gave up I needed to be there, to listen and let my heart soak it all in.

The 7 principles is when I did take notes. I thought about the similarities with Allende’s 10 point plan, the panthers  plan. They have no jails, community work is how they do their justice, 50% women on their councils, each council has a rotating chair, and is autonomous. They work the land together, have their own schools, medical centres, they are truly autonomous.

They took questions on gender violence and trans rights – no rhetoric. “We respect and accept” is was what they said.

They delivered very simple but powerful words of wisdom during the 3 hours they told their story

“We came here to learn from you, we came here to tell you what and how we do. Do not do as we do, do what you need to do. El pueblo manda

The journey back was like travelling  on a cloud, I felt like I was floating on air, heart full. It was the feeling I get when I know I my soul has been nourished and the vitamins will take a while to wear off.  I woke up at 6am to write this, I had to get this down however rough and ready. Now to shower!

Medios Libres Roma

Entrevista de Medios Libres en Roma con Marichuy, vocera del CNI-CIG

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Entrevista con #Marichuy, vocera del Congreso Nacional Indígena – Concejo Indígena de Gobierno #México, desde una okupa en #Roma #Italia, el 10 de noviembre de 2021, #MediosLibresChiapas #RadioPozol, por Oscar García González #LaGiraZapatistaVa #TravesiaPorLaVida
Fotos: ¡Compas Arriba!

Coordinación para el Encuentro Zapatista en Eslovenia (Balkan Way)

(Español) Encuentro Zapatista en Eslovenia

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PILAR BALCÀNICO: Reunión junto al río Kolpa


El sàbado fue el dia indicado para la primera excursiòn zapatista fuera de la cuenca de Liubliana. En el marco del Pilar Balcànico, decidimos visitar Bela Krajina, para conocer las luchas locales y el règimen fronterizo de Schengen.

Tras una calurosa bienvenida por parte de la comunidad local en un lugar situado a lo largo del río fronterizo Kolpa, se realizó una amplia presentación de la situación de los activistas e investigadores fronterizos: desde la antigua composición de la población y la historia de la migración en la región, hasta el colapso de Yugoslavia, el cierre y la militarización de la frontera, y la actual xenofobia producida por el mantenimiento de la política europea de fronteras. Explicamos el sistema de retroceso masivo de los migrantes, que ellos mismos describieron sus propias experiencias al venir a Europa, todo lo cual proporcionó un buen punto de partida para comparar la situación en México, que también actúa como zona de amortiguación entre el centro imperial y el sur global. Por la tarde, la delegación zapatista se dirigió al público con una presentación de cinco puntos de su lucha.

Todavía quedaba luz suficiente para subir al punto histórico de la Base 20, donde debatimos sobre la lucha guerrillera, la administración del territorio liberado y el legado de la resistencia en nuestra región. La delegación regresó al valle en total oscuridad, pero sumamente inspirada.

25/09/2021, Ljubljana, Eslovenia

Coordinación para el Encuentro Zapatista en Eslovenia (Camino de los Balcanes)






PILAR MEDIO AMBIENTE Y ZONA RURAL: Encuentro con iniciativas medioambientales y reflexiones sobre el campo antiautoritario

Desde los primeros pasos de planificación, los que co-creamos el pilar rural-medioambiental insistimos en llevar a los compañeros y compañeras de Chiapas fuera de Liubliana, lo que hicimos, a pesar de las limitaciones de tiempo. Como sabemos que el capital ataca más a menudo a los que están en los márgenes, lo mismo ocurre, por supuesto, en el contexto de las luchas medioambientales, donde es claramente visible que los proyectos destructivos se sitúan en los entornos locales más vulnerables. Por eso es necesario aliarse allí con quienes luchan contra la degradación de la naturaleza, de la salud y la privación de la posibilidad de formas de convivencia.

El domingo por la mañana, partimos con nuestros compañeros y camaradas hacia Zasavje, donde nos reunimos con representantes de las iniciativas medioambientales Eko krog y Eko Anhovo y Soča Valley en una granja a una altitud envidiable. Comenzamos presentando varios ejemplos de ataques al medio ambiente y a la naturaleza, que se han hecho especialmente densos en el último año y medio, en el que las autoridades han aprovechado la crisis coronal para introducir una serie de cambios legislativos que abren la puerta a diversos proyectos destructivos. Tras la presentación del contexto medioambiental de Zasavje y el Valle de Soča y otras historias escritas por las luchas contra la destrucción del medio ambiente y la naturaleza, es decir, una sucesión de victorias, derrotas, pero sobre todo perseverancia y compañerismo, siguió un debate. En él descubrimos una y otra vez que reconocemos al capitalismo en proyectos destructivos en todo el mundo -tanto aquí como en otros continentes-, sea cual sea la imagen que adopte, ya sea la de las grandes multinacionales o la de las pequeñas empresas energéticas corruptas, la de los medios de comunicación o la de las autoridades locales y nacionales. Hemos afirmado que sólo hay un planeta y que, en la era del capitalismo globalizado, es necesario globalizar las luchas para preservar la naturaleza y el medio ambiente y, por tanto, la posibilidad de la vida.

Después de una bienvenida muy hospitalaria por parte de los lugareños y de las iniciativas de los compañeros en Zasavje, partimos hacia Slovenske Gorice, donde planteamos a la delegación zapatista algunas cuestiones que aún no se habían resuelto en la discusión de la mañana. Tocamos los dilemas de las energías verdes y el capitalismo verde, cuestionamos la “búsqueda de alternativas” y miramos en cambio nuestras propias necesidades, y luego, en el punto de la agroecología, que ya prefiguraba los temas del día siguiente, seguimos compartiendo nuestras experiencias en los cinco puntos que la delegación zapatista nos había preparado. Los compañeros nos hablaron de la forma de organización autónoma, de las estructuras y los principios de acción, de la posibilidad de autogestión en su contexto. Terminamos la jornada con poesía, cantos y cuentos, en el marco del programa cultural conjunto autoorganizado Muestra lo que puedes hacer, en muchas expresiones e idiomas.

A la mañana siguiente, a salvo de la lluvia, intercambiamos puntos de vista sobre los diversos procesos por los que el capitalismo está transformando el campo en distintas partes del mundo para acumular beneficios, imposibilitando así el trabajo de la tierra, condición básica para la autosuficiencia de una comunidad y el desarrollo de sus potencialidades. En primer lugar, hicimos un rápido repaso histórico desde el feudalismo hasta el socialismo y recordamos las jerarquías sociales que existían en la producción alimentaria rural. A continuación, a través de algunos ejemplos, esbozamos las tendencias contemporáneas que influyen en el desarrollo rural y cocrean su aspecto específico, así como los numerosos problemas a los que se enfrentan las poblaciones rurales tras la desintegración de Yugoslavia. Mencionamos los procesos de éxodo rural; la falta de incentivos para el desarrollo de pequeñas explotaciones de subsistencia y la burocratización de las políticas agrarias a favor de la agricultura intensiva; la transformación de las zonas rurales en suburbios con estilos de vida individualizados e infraestructuras de acompañamiento; la turistificación del campo o el emplazamiento de proyectos nocivos en el medio rural con la excusa de la creación de puestos de trabajo; la construcción de grandes proyectos de infraestructuras que destruyen la naturaleza para que la geografía local se sitúe en los flujos logísticos globales del capital; y el dilema de la jardinería urbana cuando coopta las prácticas locales tradicionales en aras de la rentabilidad.

Para finalizar, intercambiamos con la delegación zapatista algunas propuestas con las que estamos desarrollando la idea de un campo antiautoritario. Pensamos en cómo pensar en la autosuficiencia alimentaria urbana, en cómo conectarnos a pesar de la dispersión geográfica y la incrustación en los contextos locales de nuestras propias granjas y comunidades, y en cómo trabajar de forma autoorganizada más allá de los marcos de la agricultura cuantificados por las instituciones estatales. La alimentación y el medio ambiente son el punto de partida básico sin el cual ninguna comunidad política puede sobrevivir, independientemente del continente en el que resida. Por ello, el acceso a los alimentos y un medio ambiente sano son condiciones inseparables en nuestra lucha común por un futuro mejor.

26-27/09/2021, Zasavje, Slovenske Gorice.

Coordinación para el Encuentro Zapatista en Eslovenia (Balkan Way)




Noticias de Abajo

(Español) Noticias de abajo 28 de septiembre 2021

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(Descarga aquí)  

GLOBAL: Movilización mundial por el clima convocó a millones de personas a manifestar su voz ante la emergencia global de la crisis climática.
MUNDA CAPUCHA: EL EZLN y el CNI en Viena en la mega marcha de 20 mil personas en contra del cambio climático. Comunicado y audios. Y Movilización global contra la política paramilitar del Estado Mexicano en contra de los zapatistas y el pueblo que resisten al capitalismo.
CHILE: Las mapuche no callan ante la pedófilia. Contrahegemoniaweb
COLOMBIA: Comunicadores indígenas en peligro de asesinato. Servindi

CDMX: Sobre la toma y Okupa de la abandonada Casa Chiapas en CdMx .
MEXICO: La ciencia de la corrupción. El caso de los cientificos que desde una AC y el CONACYT le quitaron miles de millones al erario de forma corrupta y sin ética.
CDMX: La descarga de la violencia machista sobre les compañeres de tianguis sexodisidente y la respuesta de les activistas. El complot de las mafias ambulantes con la policía por sacar a las activistas LGBTTIQ de su entorno laboral y de protesta.
OAXACA: Entregan amparo a comunidad indígena del Istmo para frenar el proyecto eólico transnacional que amenazan sus tierras.
CDMX: Rodada Anti carelaria en CdMX por las presas.
CDMX: La Glorieta de las Mujeres que Luchan, La antimonumenta un espacio dedicado a las Mujeres Buscadoras y Rastreadoras de lxs cuerpos que la violencia de Estado nos ha arrebatado.

Camino Al Andar

An Extemporaneous Chronicle: Part One

An immersive record – as it is characteristic of Raúl Romero, describing the challenging trajectory of La Extemporánea from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Vienna, Slumil K’Ajxemk’Op’s territory.

By Raúl Romero.

Wednesday, September 8.

The wind farms and PEMEX compounds urge us to go faster. We don’t want night to fall on that stretch of the highway in the state of Veracruz. On other journeys we have been witness to criminal and state violence in that area. At nightfall, on this stretch of road, the commercial bus lines decide to wait for other units and travel in a caravan to support each other. Memory kicks in: “if they throw a stone at our window, don’t stop,” I tell my companion who drives the van we are traveling in. He replies: “It is not so easy, it depends on the amount of damage.” We both know that this is one of the practices used by some criminal groups to force you to stop, and then rob and/or kidnap you.

These are the things that we in Mexico have had to learn in order to be able to travel in a “more secure” way.

I finish sending the agreed message, at the agreed time, to the group monitoring us in Mexico City. I look up and a group of about ten people of African descent walks along the road. They are traveling with very few belongings and bottles of water, part of the migrant caravans that cross Mexico to reach the United States. The scene becomes commonplace. I try to keep count, but there are so many groups we encounter along the way that I have forgotten how many we have counted.

Photographs courtesy of Francisco Lion for CaminoAlAndar.

We arrive at our destination, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, at 8:30 pm. A couple of comrades are waiting for us.

We have a brief conversation, catch up. Hugs will be for another time: mouth covers, gel and disinfectant spray accompany our meeting. It’s time to rest. We have been on the road for more than 13 hours. We get settled in the space that we have been lent in solidarity to spend those two nights. In the early hours of the morning, I hear notifications of messages on my cell phone. I hear them in the distance, while dreaming.

Photographs courtesy of Francisco Lion for CaminoAlAndar.

The next day when I wake up I finally consult the phone.

“Don’t go out, there is turmoil in the village.”

“How are you? Don’t go near the north of Jovel.” These are some of the messages I read.

According to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, the night witnessed confrontations between criminal groups in the northern area of the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, near the community known as Molino los Arcos.

The situation is serious: people assassinated, houses burned, terror. In Chiapas this scene has also become common: paramilitary and organized crime groups carry out constant attacks against rural and urban populations.

The municipal and state governments do not seem to be concerned about stopping this situation; on the contrary, they guarantee impunity and free mobility to these groups. The interventions of the federal government are also insufficient, or complacent depending on how you want to see it. Chiapas is a powder-keg. Its governor, Rutilio Escandón, “is kept in the government with pins” and through agreements with other power constituencies.

Photographs courtesy of Francisco Lion for CaminoAlAndar.

On Thursday the 9th, the entire day consisted of preparations and informal meetings with compañeros and compañeras from other organizations. In the morning we went to the Center of Autonomous Resistance and Zapatista Rebellion Caracol Jacinto Canek, a Zapatista caracol in the heart of San Cristóbal de las Casas. We signed up on a list and announced that we would accompany the caravan. The next day La Extemporánea, the Zapatista airborne delegation will leave for Mexico City, where they will stay for a few days and then fly to Vienna, Austria. Outside the Caracol remain people of solidarity, comrades, filmmakers, independent journalists. We share information and tips for the trip.

In the afternoon of the same Thursday we attended a seminar held by some collectives of the region. The predominant theme of the interventions was the attacks that occurred in the early hours of the morning.

They talk about organized crime, corruption, dispossession, resistance, the struggle for life, the role of women, the objective of the intensification of the war in Chiapas, the situation of terror. There is fear and uncertainty.

An older man takes the floor and maps the links between local governments and organized crime.

He concludes: “we have to ask our allies in Mexico City to help us communicate what is happening in Chiapas. If we write it, they will kill us.”

Photographs courtesy of Francisco Lion for CaminoAlAndar.

Night falls again, a reminder that we must hurry.

We distribute the tasks between the three: buy food, water, put gas in the car. My travel partners go together, and I walk through the center of San Cristobal. I adjust my mask, dodging tourists and moving away from where I see the highest concentration of people. It seems that for the hundreds of visitors the pandemic is over: they go without masks, or healthy distance, or any other measure. I meet up with three comrades who live in town, friends of many years. We find a corner and quickly catch up. Jokingly I tell them, “the pandemic is over here, isn’t it?”. Their response is similar to what I have read in the press or heard from others: “The health measures here are a disaster. Listen to what the health workers say… In the protests against AMLO a few weeks ago there were not only the compas of the CNTE, there were also women and men doctors and nurses. Many people died in the communities who were not included in the COVID statistics.”

On Friday, September 10, very early, at 6:00 am, we arrived again at the Caracol Jacinto Canek. The Extemporánea has already boarded the four trucks that will take them to Mexico City. Also on the trucks are the Comando Palomitas, the group of boys and girls who have a special mission on the trip: to play. Also on board is Después de los 17. (The Ixchel-Ramona Militia Section). A total of 177 people make up La Extemporánea. At the head of the delegation is the spokesman of the EZLN, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, who is also the coordinator of La Travesía por la Vida – European Chapter.

The Extemporaneous is the second Zapatista delegation to travel to Europe this year. Just last May, Squadron 421, the Zapatista maritime delegation, composed of Lupita, Carolina, Ximena, Yuli, Bernal, Felipe and Marijose, left on the ship La Montaña for Europe. After several weeks at sea, in June 2021, Squadron 421 arrived at its destination, which it renamed SLUMIL K’AJXEMK’OP, which means “Rebellious Land”, or “Land that does not surrender, that does not yield”. During its stay in Insubordinate Europe, Squadron 421 met with different organizations. It also led the historic mobilization of August 13, 2021 in Madrid under the slogan: They did not conquer us.

The caravan of vehicles is formed and begins to take its course. A filmmaker runs alongside us with his camera in hand. From the truck in front of us, half of the body of another documentary filmmaker comes out of the window: camera in hand, making funny contortions to get better shots. They both want to record this historic moment.

Several cars break away from the caravan before leaving San Cristobal de las Casas. From there we will be four trucks, five vans and one car that will make the trip.

We have already identified ourselves and we know who should go where. In Tuxtla Gutiérrez we notice that a local police patrol is following us. They take pictures of us. They speed up and get between the cars of the caravan. The same scene will be repeated in Tabasco, Veracruz, Puebla and the State of Mexico: state police patrols passing us, taking photos, closing the road.

Something similar happens with the patrols of the National Guard and the National Migration Institute. These two groups stop us on at least three occasions. The treatment is cold, aggressive. In one of the stops the situation becomes more tense than in the previous ones. Migration and the National Guard stop us at the same time. They want the compas to get out of the trucks. The human rights observers accompanying us argue the right to free transit. Migration insists. All of us accompanying the caravan surround the agents. Some of us turn on our cell phone cameras and start recording. A colleague begins to transmit live via Facebook. The agents look surprised, they don’t expect that kind of reaction. They let us go. We get back on the road.

Photographs courtesy of Francisco Lion for CaminoAlAndar.

On two separate occasions we stop for food. The Zapatista delegation is well prepared: bananas, water, tortas. They organize themselves to distribute them. Everyone always wears masks and safety face shields.

Photographs courtesy of Francisco Lion for CaminoAlAndar.

16 hours after leaving the Caracol Jacinto Canek we arrived at our destination: Carmona y Valle no. 32 in Mexico City. The location shows off the murals and ribbons that a brigade of artists had painted a few weeks earlier. Other Zapatista sympathizers have attended the reception. The large contingent from the Otomí Community residing in Mexico City stands out. The arrival is, like the departure, quick and orderly.

The Extemporaneous has arrived safely at its first destination. It is time to rest.

Photographs courtesy of Francisco Lion for CaminoAlAndar.

Published originally in Mexican-Castillian language by Camino al Andar. Part one of two, the second part to be published tomorrow.

Chronicle by Raúl Romero, photographs by Francisco Lion.

Translation by taller ahuehuete.

Comisiòn Sexta Zapatista

For Life: The Departure of “La Extemporánea” to Europe

Zapatista Sixth Commission

August 30, 2021.

To the Europe below and to the left:

To the Sixth in Mexico and abroad:

To the organizations, groups, and collectives that seek truth and justice for the victims of forced disappearance:

Sisters, brothers, and hermanoas:

Compañeroas, compañeras, compañeros:

We would like to begin by saluting the struggle and the commitment of all those people who search for the disappeared, for their missing loved ones. Their struggle is also, and above all, a struggle for life. It is no coincidence that on this day, we announce the following:

First, after an endless string of paperwork, obstacles, and problems, we hereby announce that the Zapatista Airborne Company, which we have called “La Extemporánea,”[i] will leave Mexico City for Europe on September 13, 2021.

Second, the destination is the city of Vienna, in that geography called Austria, and we will travel in two groups.

Third, a first group will leave the Mexico City airport on September 13, 2021, at approximately 12:10hrs. It will arrive in the city of Madrid, in that geography called Spain, at 06:00hrs on September 14. After a 2-hour layover and connection, the flight will resume at 08:20hrs, to land in the city of Vienna, Austria, at 11:05hrs on September 14. A second group will depart on the same day, September 13 at 20:45hrs with a layover, also in Madrid, at 14:35hrs on September 14, resuming the flight at 16:00hrs and landing in Vienna at 19:00hrs on September 14. Fourth, La Extemporánea is organized into 28 “Listen and Share our Word” teams (made up of 4-5 compas each), plus one Play and Mischief team, and one Coordination team. La Extemporánea can thus cover 28 corners of the European geography simultaneously. A few days later, we will be joined by the delegation of the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land and Water. Along with that delegation of sister organizations, we will continue the work started by the 421st Squadron, which is currently covering that geography they call Switzerland.

Fifth, in a few days we will announce the date on which we will leave the Semillero “Comandanta Ramona” to gather in the caracol of Jacinto Canek in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. From there we will travel by land as a vehicle caravan to Mexico City where we will garrison at the premises on Carmona y Valle street until the day and time of departure. We include this in case anyone wants to accompany the departure and trip from San Cristóbal to Mexico City. Sixth, we dedicate this effort (which included many non-Zapatistas and some even anti-Zapatistas), to all the disappeared, to the families who suffer in their absence and, above all, to the women and men who fight to find them and achieve the truth and justice that we all need and deserve. Know that your example, your tireless work, and your refusal to give up, give in, or sell out are for us, the Zapatista peoples, a lesson in human dignity and authentic commitment to the struggle for life. While we are in Mexico City, we will deliver the minutes of the assemblies of the Zapatista, non-Zapatista and anti-Zapatista communities, with their agreements to support the fight for truth and justice for the victims of violence, according to the popular referendum that was held on the first day of August of this year, 2021.

That’s all.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés
General Coordinator of the Journey for Life—Europe Chapter
Still Mexico. Year 501.


[i] See the EZLN’s August 17, 2021 communique for an explanation of the use of “La Extemporánea” [the extemporaneous]:

Comisión de Coordinación y Seguimiento del Congreso Nacional Indígena- Concejo Indígena de Gobierno


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Al Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional
A los pueblos del México
A los pueblos del mundo
A la Sexta Nacional e Internacional
A las Redes de Resistencia y Rebeldía

La Comisión de Coordinación y Seguimiento del Congreso Nacional Indígena- Concejo Indígena de Gobierno, informamos que invitados por el Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, hemos nombrado y comisionado a 13 compañeros y compañeras del Congreso Nacional Indígena y del Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y el Agua, representantes de la lucha que somos en las geografías donde florecemos los pueblos, naciones, tribus, comunidades y barrios indígenas de este país México, de donde somos originarios, para participar en la GIRA POR LA VIDA en su primera etapa por el continente europeo.

Nos decimos listos y listas para pisar las tierras europeas, tenemos los pasaportes que nos acreditan como mexicanos y que logramos obtener gracias al apoyo del Colectivo «Llegó La Hora de los Pueblos», esto luego de que casi todos los delegados hubieran recibido negativas, requerimientos, nuevas negativas y nuevos requerimientos por ser “extemporáneos”. No todos lo lograron y en el caso de algunas comunidades, ni siquiera podrán acompañarnos por tal motivo.

O sea que vamos 13 delegadas y delegados, que, por ser extemporáneos, nos costó trabajo acreditar ser mexicanos, mas aún si tenemos una palabra que decir, un oído para escuchar y un corazón colectivo que siente la rebeldía por la vida de los pueblos del mundo.

(Continuar leyendo…)

Medios Libres o Como se llamen

(Español) ¡Alto a las fronteras! ¡Viva el Viaje de las Zapatistas en Europa!

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