Thursday, August 25, 2005

Letter from Marcos to Belanzaurán

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation


August 22, 2005

For: Fernando Belanzaurán
Secretary de Formación [of Training] for the CEN of the PRD

From: SupMarcos
Secretary of De-Formation of the Waistline, EZLN

Señor Belanzaurán:

Forgive me for not having responded immediately to your letter, published in La Jornada’s Correo Ilustrado of August 18, 2005, but it so happens that we were rather busy with the preparation meeting with social organizations and movements which support the Sixth. But here I am now, willing to improve my manners (although not my figure).

Let me tell you that your letter moved me almost to tears. I understand your distress at finding yourself “in the gallows of the moral bonfire” where we frequently place those who publicly dissent from our positions. I imagine that it would be more comfortable to receive bullets, kidnappings and torture (which is what you do with those who “publicly dissent” from the positions of the PRD), incidents which, as you make quite clear, are not “sufficiently serious” (after all, they were just a few indigenous who, in addition, are leaders of nothing but their own destiny, and they do not hold any political training positions) to justify the wrath which, in addition to the tummy, the former zapatudo sex symbol, c’est a dire, the Sup, is exhibiting.

But, even being aware of your difficult situation, that is not why I have been moved by your words, but rather the justified indignation they reflect. Believe me, Señor Belanzaurán, that I understand that the indigenous are ingrates (“and wretches,” María Félix would say). It so happens that the PRD saved their lives twice (because in January of 1994 and in February of 1995, the people were mobilized by the PRD, isn’t that so?), and these ungrateful and irreverent Indians, not satisfied with staying alive, are still demanding democracy, liberty and justice. Even more, those ill-mannered persons had the audacity to denounce the bad faith and betrayal of that “Olympus” of good consciences which is the PRD leadership. As to lack of understanding, no way.

Listen Señor Belanzaurán, allow me a question. It is obvious that the PRD’s Political Training does not include the subjects of “principles,” “party history,” “debate and discussion,” “self-criticism,” and “review.” But how, when you are training your political groups, do you explain to them that the president of their party, Leonel Cota Montaño, left the PRI when they wouldn’t give him the candidacy for governing Baja California Sur, and then he went over to the PRD, he won and during his administration flaunted his nepotism and corruption by privatizing, to the benefit of the large hotel owners, a series of mangrove swamps, an act which will destroy the ecological equilibrium of that state of the Mexican Republic?

I say so because I imagine that you do explain to them how you saved the lives of the zapatistas and why you are the hope of the grateful ones (which, since we are ungrateful, leaves us out - such a shame). But I cannot imagine how you justify to them that so many salinistas are on the team close to AMLO, who says he is being persecuted, attacked and hampered by salinismo.

I understand that AMLO has close to him those who gave advice as to how to fight the EZLN. After all, the ezelenitas are a bunch of ill-mannered ingrates (you have so noted, with dates and all), and you must rein them in (especially the one whose aforementioned width is excessive).

What I do not understand, Señor Belanzaurán, is how you explain to your groups that Gastón Alegre López, one of the richest men in Quintana Roo, bought the PRD nomination for governor of the state for the bargain price of 75,000 dollars. That their candidate for the government of Puebla, Alejandro Villar y Borja, came from a PRI-PVEM coalition district. That Javier Corral Jurado, a PAN senator, was a candidate for the government of Chihuahua for the PRD-PAN (in the propaganda and the webpage for the PAN-PRD alliance, the PRD candidates appear dressed completely in blue and white). That Dante Delgado, rejected previously by the PRD (when AMLO was their president) because of his connections with drug-trafficking, was recently the PRD candidate for the government of Veracruz. That PRD federal deputy Guadalupe Rubio previously won the Benito Juárez Delegation in DF for PAN. That Pablo de Anda, a PAN member from the Benito Juárez Delegation, also in DF, was a local PAN deputy and then a candidate for the PRD for a federal district. That Jorge Campos Murillo, former Assistant Prosecutor of Criminal Proceedings of the Fox PGR (hmm, the same one involved in the desafuero plot) was a PRD candidate for the government of Durango. That José de Jesús Calderón Ojeda, an undercover cop for the Autonoma of Sinaloa, expelled in 1973, Secretary of Government for the PRI Alfonso G. Calderón, accused of participating in the disappearance of political dissidents, joined the PRD and was candidate for the party presidency. That one of the most battle-hardened campaign alchemists of the PRI, cacique from the state of Hidalgo and assassin of PRDs, José Guadarrama Márquez, was a PRD candidate for the government of Hidalgo, and now he controls the party in that state. Excuse me if I don’t go on with more examples. These are just some of the ones sent to us by PRD bases, the ones you concealed in order to avoid responsibilities. Maybe you might provide more data.

Well, then, Señor Belanzaurán, how do you persuade the groups that the PRD-AMLO pair is the option of the left and that everything is going to change when it gains power? How do you convince them to be led by those who persecute, imprison and assassinate their compañeros? How do you instruct them so they can convince the people that they have to vote for the PRD in order to prevent the return of Salinas, the PAN and the PRD?

Fine, Señor Belanzaurán, I won’t take any more of your time. You surely have a lot of work to do, designing the strategy for fighting the salinismo represented by the PRI and the PAN.

Vale. Salud and, I believe, I did not say any bad words this time.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

By the ungrateful, ill-mannered and vulgar ones of the EZLN.


Mexico, August of 2005

Marcos: the next meeting & a special offer

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation

August 23, 2005

To all those who support the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona:

Compañeros and compañeras:

Informing you that the next preparation meeting is for Non-Governmental Organizations, Groups, Collectives, etcetera. Arrival is on Friday, August 26, the meeting is Saturday, the 27th, and departure is Sunday, August 28.

The meeting will be in the village of San Miguel, in the territory of the Francisco Gómez MAREZ, Caracol of La Garrucha. San Miguel is about an hour and a half from Ocosingo, on the highway that goes to San Quintín, some 20 minutes after passing Carmen Pataté and the village of Javier Hernández (which is where the meeting with Indigenous Organizations and Indian Peoples was held). According to the latest polls, 98% of those surveyed think that Frayba will provide the audience with a little map showing them how to get there. The other 2% believe, naively, that the map will include chips and chocolates for losing their figure.

We’re waiting for you here! Bring your masks of the Unmentionable and your white-and-blue and tricolor flags! Throw your girdles, books and reducing equipment into the trash! (Note: all those who are “slim” can attend, but you’ll be looked upon with disapproval and annoyance by the whole assembly…well, by the majority…well, by a few…well, by the presidium…hmm…well, I’m going to give them a dirty look).

By the Sixth Committee of the EZLN

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, August of 2005

PS Which Paints Its Graffiti - “Be patriotic, adopt someone chubby”

PS, Special Offer - Are you chubby? Are you ill-mannered and crude? Do you put your elbows on the table during meals? Do you flick your ashes on the carpet? Do you yawn unreservedly when they read you the 50 points of the “Alternative Program of the Nation”? Do you leave the toothpaste uncapped? Do you belch whenever you feel like it? Do you not wash your hands before going to the bathroom or after eating? (or the reverse). Do you not thank them when they betray, shoot, kidnap and torture you? Do you put your legs up on the sofa? In short, are you a transgressor of bad manners? Join the Sixth Declaration! Enter the “Other Campaign”! There will be a drawing for a Manual of Carreño [a 19th century Book of Etiquette]! Take advantage of it! Final days!

The Sup, adjusting on his (still) well turned legs the fetching black garter belt (”Oh my darling, yes, more, more, oh yes, ah!” model) which, regrettably, the articles won’t report in order to play into the slender Right.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Marcos: History of a Zapatista Village

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

History of a Zapatista Village

by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

From the opening remarks to the third preparation meeting for the Other Campaign, held in Dolores Hidalgo, Chiapas on August 20, 2005.

I’m going to tell you a story. Some parts of it were related to me by zapatista compañeros and compañeras, and others I saw and lived. If there are any inaccuracies, let us leave their clarification to the historians. With their demonstrable facts, their legends, their inaccuracies and their empty spaces, this is part of our struggle, the history of the EZLN.

This place where we are was a finca by the name of Campo Grande. The history of this place forms a quick summation of the history of the Chiapas indigenous. And, in some parts, of all the indigenous of the Mexican southeast, not just of the zapatistas.

Campo Grande lived up to its name: more than a thousand hectares of good and level land, with abundant water, roads specially made for taking out cattle and precious woods, landing strips so the owners wouldn’t get dusty or muddy traveling by way of the dirt roads and so they could come in their light aircraft. Thousands of indigenous whom they could exploit, despise, rape, deceive, jail, murder. That is how the PRI agrarian reform, the institutionalized revolution, was realized in Chiapas: the good and level land for the finqueros; rocky ground and hills for the indigenous.

The owner of Campo Grande was Segundo Ballinas, known among the residents as an assassin, rapist and exploiter of indigenous, primarily of women, boys and girls. Later, the finca was divided up: one part was called Primor, and its owner was Javier Castellanos, one of the founders of the Owners Union of the Segundo Valle of Ocosingo, one of those associations the finqueros used to disguise their white guards. Another part was called Tijuana, and its owner was a Colonel in the Mexican Army, Gustavo Castellanos, who kept the people subjugated with his personal guard. And another part was the property of José Luis Solórzano, a member of the PRI and their candidate for different offices, known in the region for his unfulfilled promises, his brazen lies and his arrogant and contemptuous treatment of the indigenous. And so, the Powers in Chiapas in short: finqueros, army and PRI-Government. For this evil trinity, Chiapas could be a pasture for cattle; a hacienda for exercising droit de seigneur, even with girls; a firing range against human targets and one of the laboratories for the PRI’s most modern “democracy”: here it wasn’t necessary to know the candidates, not even their names or their proposals, or for knowing the election date, or what the options were, or any identification. Hell, it wasn’t even necessary to go to the polls.

During each election, in the municipal seat of Ocosingo, in the offices of the owners and ranchers associations, the job of stuffing ballot boxes was paid for with a sandwich and a drink. That “democracy” had its excesses, of course: in one election prior to 1994, the PRI got more than 100% of the vote. Maybe there were too many sandwiches and drinks.

During one August like this one when we are welcoming you here, but in the year 1982, the finqueros and their white guards violently evicted the residents of the Nueva Estrella village. They fired upon, beat up and took various male indigenous prisoners. Some were murdered. They separated the women and forced them to watch their houses being burned. They took everything away from them. After some time, they returned. When someone asked them why they returned in spite of everything they had done to them, they responded with this gesture (Marcos opened a hand with his fingers upwards, making it understood “por huevos”).

In 1994, on the first of January, thousands of indigenous from this Tzeltal region, along with thousands more from the Tojolabal, Chol and Tzotzil regions, after more than ten years of preparation, covered their faces, changed their names, and collectively called the “Zapatista Army of National Liberation,” rose up in arms. The finqueros fled, their white guards did the same, and they abandoned their weapons with which they had supported their domination. The zapatistas recovered the lands. Note: they did not “take” them, but they “recovered” them. This is what the compañeros and compañeras call this act of justice that had to wait dozens of years to be carried out. These lands which had belonged to the indigenous and which were usurped, are now indigenous once again. They have, therefore, been recovered. The lands were divided up. Hundreds of indigenous families, who had previously been crowded together in a space of 2 hectares, founded - along with other indigenous sans tierra from other villages in the region - this zapatista village which is welcoming us today. This village is now inhabited by, among others, those people who were attacked by the finqueros in 1982.

This zapatista village is called Dolores Hidalgo, and, as the founders, veterans of the 1994 uprising, tell me, the meaning of “Dolores” is the sorrow that we have from more than 500 years of resistance, and the name “Hidalgo” is for Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who fought for independence.

Note that they said “500 years of resistance” and not “500 years of domination.” That is, despite the domination, they have never stopped resisting it. And when we talk about domination, when we recount our history, we are also talking about resistance. And now we are not talking about our history as the EZLN, but about our common history, the one we share with you, with your social organizations and your movements. Our common history, that one which, when they say “I rule and dominate,” we and you say “I resist and I rebel.”

But the zapatistas who founded Dolores Hidalgo are not referring just to the resistance. They are also naming its sorrow. The sorrow of the length of the path, the sorrow of exhaustion, the sorrow of those who betrayed along the way, the sorrow of defeats, the sorrow of errors, and, above all, the sorrow of continuing to move forward in spite of the sorrows.

You will tell us of your history as organizations and as movements, of your sorrows and your resistance and rebellion. We shall surely recognize ourselves in more than one of the stories. Many others will seem foreign to us. But in all of it we shall be learning from you. And we will tell you what we have told others: that we want to continue to learn. We shall learn with you, and with many others like you, to think well, to speak well and to feel well when we say “compañero, compañera.”

Welcome compañeros, welcome compañeras.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Marcos Rejects Promoting Abstention

Originally published in Spanish by EFE
Translated by irlandesa

El Universal
Dolores Hidalgo, Chiapas
Saturday, August 20, 2005

Marcos Rejects Promoting Abstention

“Subcomandante Marcos,” leader of the zapatista guerrillas, stated today that his new political proposal does not support any candidate for the Presidency of Mexico in the 2006 elections, but neither does it encourage abstention.

The masked leader today initiated the third of six meetings with social organizations which are seeking a broad front of the left. The meeting is being held in the community of Dolores Hidalgo (Chiapas, south), in what was previously a finca and which is now in the hands of rebel indigenous.

When the six meetings, which are being held on weekends, are concluded, in mid-September, the zapatistas will be undertaking a trip throughout the country in what has been called “The Other Campaign,” a rebel version running counter to the contest between the political parties which are seeking the presidency in the 2006 elections.

Marcos appeared in this community on horseback, with a stepped up guard of eight armed insurgents, in order to meet with 88 organizations and social movements, mostly from the Federal District, which make up a collective of more than 300 persons.

The rebel leader, who has directed strong attacks against the leftist Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), stated at the beginning of the meeting that, while he is not calling for voting for any candidate, neither is he calling for abstention.

“You’re free to vote for whomever you want,” he said, and he noted specifically that those who join in with the zapatistas in “The Other Campaign” won’t be compromising their electoral principles.

The leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation did, however, attack the three main Mexican political parties which, he said, are without any sense of principles programs or plans.

He criticized the governing party, the National Action Party (PAN) for having maintained the neoliberal model of its predecessor, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which he said was counting on the peoples’ “lack of memory.”

The PRI was in power for seven decades until it was defeated at the polls in 2000 by Vicente Fox, the standard-bearer for the PAN.

Marcos was adamant in his criticisms of the PRD and its main figure, the former mayor of the capital, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is currently leading in the polls for the presidential election to be held on July 2, 2006.

The leader of the EZLN has called PRDs “traitors” and has accused López Obrador of having the same social economic model administered by President Carlos Salinas (1988-1994).

Attending the meeting in the community of Dolores Hidalgo were, among others, representatives of the Communist Party of Mexico, university organizations and the Francisco Villa Popular Front.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More words from indigenous organizations and Indian peoples meeting

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Opening Words by the EZLN
For the Second Preparation Meeting for the Other Campaign
Indigenous organizations and Indian peoples

Saturday, August 13, 2005
Community of Javier Hernández

Words of Welcome from Comandante Gustavo

Good day to everyone. Welcome, indigenous brothers and sisters throughout Mexico. In the name of my compañero comandantes from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, General-Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, I would like to thank all the Indian peoples of Mexico who have come here to this place at the invitation of the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona.

Welcome to all the indigenous organizations who are here with us. We are here to listen to your words, in order to inform the peoples where we work and the rest of the Clandestine Revolutionary Committee…We hope that you will be happy, even though we have received you with but little, but we are very happy to have you. That is all for today. Thank you. We will turn the word over to Comandanta Kelly.

Words of Welcome from Comandanta Kelly

Good day to everyone. In the name of my compañera comandantas from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, General-Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, we are welcoming most cordially all the women of the Indian peoples of Mexico. We are greeting you all and all of us as women, we have the right to participate, to engage in any kind of work; the right to govern ourselves and to organize as women; to have our cultures respected, our languages as the women we are. Let us learn to struggle together, to walk so that in that way we will have the strength to do our work. We demand that our rights as indigenous be respected. That is why we are fighting for the thirteen demands. That is why we are organizing the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, so we can walk together. We hope you will be happy and pleased. We are here to listen to your words and opinions. That is all. Thank you very much.

And we are also giving the word to compañero:

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Good day. Welcome to everyone…

…Well, compañeros, compañeras, who come from various parts of the Republic and from various indigenous organizations. We would first like to talk to you about this place where we are. This was a finca prior to the ’94 uprising. It was called San Juan. The finquero put the peons to work, to clear the land in order to make a field, and he said he wasn’t going to pay them until he saw the [finished] work. So then the brothers cleared the mountain. The finquero took a long time getting back, and when he returned the growth had reappeared. Then he told them: no, you didn’t clear it well. And he didn’t pay them, and there had been days and days of work, and so this finquero just cheated them. Since there wasn’t any water, the compañeros had to make a well in order to get water. The finquero wouldn’t let them walk through the land, making them walk through a ravine. Then he left them without water, and he also treated them like animals, worse than animals, because the animals didn’t even have to go through that ravine. He then forbade the people there from crossing his land, and he ordered the vaqueros to pursue the people of the village who entered his land, or he passed through it. And, see, there were a lot of pigs there, in the village. And sometimes they went on the finca land. The vaqueros grabbed the pigs, they killed them and they ate them. There wasn’t any indemnification or anything of the kind.

In 1994, on the first of January, the finquero fled. The finca’s status remained uncertain until it was known what accords the government was going to reach. Finally, the San Andrés Accords were not fulfilled, and the Agrarian Commission of the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipality, the municipality called Francisco Gómez, divided up the land to campesinos sin tierra from several villages, and they named it Javier Hernández. Javier Hernández was a compañero from here in Carmen Pataté, a Militia sergeant for the EZLN who disappeared during the combat in Ocosingo in January of 1994. He’s one of several compañeros who we presumed died, and he was one of those who appeared in the first photos in ’94, shot in the head. The federal government never said what happened to those compañeros. He has been disappeared ever since then. We assume he died in combat, and his body was buried in a common grave. That is the history of this place where we are, compañeros. Welcome, then. The name, I remind you, is Javier Hernández. It was a finca, and now it belongs to the campesinos.

Marcos on social organizations' meeting

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation


August 16, 2005

To all those who support the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona:

Compañeros and compañeras:

As we announced, the next preparation meeting for the “other campaign” is for Social Organizations and Movements who are supporting the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona. Arrival is this Friday, August 19; the meeting is on Saturday, the 20th and departure on Sunday, the 21st.

The location will be in the zapatista community of Dolores Hidalgo, which is on one side of – very close to – the old village of Nueva Estrella. The village is in the “San Manuel” MAREZ, belonging to the Caracol of La Garrucha. There are two ways of getting there: the complicated one and the more complicated one.

The complicated one is: from Ocosingo head towards San Miguel, turn left towards San Rafael (which is where the meeting with political organizations was held, and you can ask there) and go straight past, until you reach Agua Dulce. There, turn towards Monte Líbano, but don’t go all the way there. About an hour before you reach Agua Dulce, there’s a small bypass for Arena and for Dolores Hidalgo. That’s where the banners will be, and that’s right where the village is where the meeting will be held. The travel times are approximately: from Ocosingo, about an hour and a half to San Miguel, and about another two or two and a half hours to Dolores Hidalgo. Or about 4 hours from Ocosingo.

The more complicated one is: leaving Ocosingo, don’t turn towards San Quintín, but towards Toniná, and, at the Quexil crossroads turn towards Agua Dulce. Pass through San Pedro and Pamalá (where you can ask if you’re doing alright), and further ahead is Agua Dulce. There, turn towards Monte Líbano, and, in about an hour and a half, you’ll see the banners and the village of Dolores Hidalgo. The approximate travel times are: 40 minutes from Ocosingo to Quexil; another 40 minutes to Agua Dulce, and one more hour to Dolores Hidalgo. Or about 2 and a half hours from Ocosingo. It’s more complicated, but shorter.

If you don’t understand anything, don’t worry, because I don’t, in fact, even know how to go from there to there. I’m sure the people at Frayba know it quite well, and perhaps they’ll give you a little map and some caramels (for when your courage fails). Maybe you think we’re making it complicated to see if you’re really determined, but, no, what’s going on is that’s how the work was divided up in the towns. Whatever, don’t be late, because this girdle is killing me (what one has to do to regain their “sex appeal” – sigh).

By the Sixth Committee of the EZLN

From the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, August of 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Little unarmed paper boats

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Mexico, October 12, 1998.

These bridges which are little unarmed paper boats

To national civil society and to the members of the working meeting for the preparation of the encounter between the EZLN and the signatories, those who signed on and those who are neither signatories nor have signed on, but who wish to meet with us.

Brothers and sisters:

Greetings, bows, handshakes, hugs, respectful inclinations of the head.

From here, along with the pretense of aid to those affected by the rains, can now be added the grotesque operetta of some local elections which, despite the gifts and threats, did not manage to convoke even a fourth of the possible voters. So, mending the stage curtains and worn-out sets, the federal and state governments are no longer counting on having their lies believed, but only that they do not cause scandals or indignation. They are counting on exhaustion, and that the pyrotechnics of an early presidential succession will distract you and us from the forgetting, from the postponements, from the legal victories of usury (ah, the rule of law!! So far from justice and so close to crime!!), from the arbitrary acts and from the natural and the neoliberal catastrophes. We are waiting and we are preparing.

And, speaking of preparations, a few days ago we received a document with the main proposals and ideas which were made at your meeting on the...the..I do not know what day, but it's been some days since you met. Here we are sending you a response as to the place and date of the meeting. While we are meeting, we will continue to use these letters which some call "communiques," and which are no more than bridges to solve distances and differences, and so we go.

And things are not easy. Here you have, for example, these sheets of paper with ink (or this screen with the Internet with little lights, because we do not want to forget that we are in the age of the information highways). You read the letters and, with a little luck, you are able to understand what they are saying. And it seems easy to you, there the letters are now, arranged in a way which may or may not please, but understandable and, in any case, the work is yours, because the letters have to be arranged and made into what some call words, and manage to have meaning. But do not believe it, gathering all those letters was quite difficult, getting them to remain quiet required seven-tailed whips, threats of all kinds, supplication, pleas and promises. Then the nightmare began, trying over and over to put the jigsaw puzzle together so that it would approximate, even moderately, the other jigsaw puzzle which we have in our head. Then, and only then, science and technological development came to our aid, and so we opted for the very efficient and effective mechanism of making a little paper boat, painting a little flag with a fierce skull supported by crossbones, putting inside it a little rubber monkey which the sea gave me, and which did not know (the little monkey) that its future would be that of being a sailor in such a fragile craft.

And then we continue to wait for the rain, which is not fussy or considerate these days, and here comes a little stream with twigs and mud and then the little stream becomes clear and it takes the little paper boat towards the West and down the mountain, and hours later (believe me it does not fail) the little paper boat appears unarmed now in the middle of your newspaper or on your computer screen and up top it reads: "Zapatista Army of National Liberation," and a little further down it says: "To civil society and etcetera," and you know these letters are directed to you and you start to read and you make your best effort to put the puzzle together and we-others are sad here, not for putting the puzzle together, but because the little paper boat is unarmed and it is a shame, look how pretty, with what gallantry it dodged little branches, little rocks and not so "little" toads, and then we cure the sadness by making more little paper boats and Pedrito says horses would be better and I that seahorses would be better and soon I have a flotilla with all of them and their aircraft carriers and Pedrito plays with the horses, and meanwhile my stupendous flotilla is brought back to reality by the rains, or the mud, and it is for that I am writing to you, because hope is also a little paper boat, a 'no' which becomes a yes. And then I remember I read Benedetti the other day, who is a man who looks to the heavens, and he saw a fleeting star and he made many wishes which are one single wish and, for example, he asked the just "to take up all their no's in order to establish the one great affirmation," and I already know that Benedetti says he's from Uruguay, but I do not believe it, he only says that to disturb dictatorships and to bother, in those customs and borders places - with which those from above fragment the dream of those from below - and below, as ever, no's are dreaming, and that is what I am saying, if we meet together and join all the no's which, like the just, are the great majority in this country, then perhaps we can try to put together the puzzle of the morning, and we will find, with so many well-accompanied no's, that is, with justice and dignity, there will come a yes, which is not many yes's, but will be worth as much as the no's which stop it, and now I remember that Old Antonio said that dialogue is like putting a puzzle together and perhaps Old Antonio did not say it, but he should have said it, and all the better then are these bridges which are little unarmed paper boats, or, because we say many no's and you say many no's and at the best you and we suspect that your no's and our no's are the same no's, I say, no?

And so here we are lookingatandreadingeachother (which comes from the verb "mirolear," the action of jointly looking, in reciprocity, mutually). Bring your somewhat organized no's (because neither are we speaking of "no-ing" - the action of sharing no's - without thinking), we will carry ours in little paper boats, so if no one comes to meet with us we will be able to put them in the little streams which, most certainly, will not be lacking.

Vale. Salud and may the looks and the words be joined tomorrow.

From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. October of 1998.

Marcos on How the World began

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

As To How the Entire World Began *

By Subcomandante Marcos

As this is the meeting of Indian peoples and indigenous organizations, we are going to try and talk about what our way is like, among the indigenous, among the Indian peoples. And a small part of that is the history recounted by our Mayan ancestors as to how the entire world began. They said then, so our old ones recounted, that in the beginning there was nothing, and in reality the world began to run, started to run, when the word appeared. But the word did not appear just like that, the word, so say our old ones, began by being thought inside oneself, by, they say, reflecting. By using the word, the first gods, those who made the world, began consulting among themselves, they spoke, they reached agreement and they reflected.

And then, since they had made accords, they joined together, joined their thoughts, and that is when the world began to run. That is how everything began, with the word being thought within, or being reflected in the heart, which is mirror within, for us to look at what we are. And therefore then it was the word that met with other word.

The first word did not fight, it did want to dominate, not want to conquer another word, and that is because the first word which came out met a word that was like its sister, because it was equal yet different. Or as if they had the same root, but it was branch or leaf of the tree of the world. Or as if the first word was not alone, but there was another word, and, according to this way of thinking of our Mayan ancestors, the world began being birthed when that one word and that other word met each other and they did not quarrel, rather they met and reached accord because they each respected the other and they spoke and they listened.

Then there was accord, because the first word was not born alone, instead it had ear, and with the ear, by listening, is how the first words began to grow because they made accord, and the first words which found each other reached accord and first they thought up the world and then they made it. As if they did not just set about making the world with its rivers, its mountains, its animals, its night, its day, its sun, its moon, its maize, its men and women, instead the first words first thought and then they made.

But then it came to pass that someone said he was better than the rest and he wanted to rule, he wanted to have more and better than the rest, and then the one who wanted to rule more, he stole from others, he took what they had away from them by force, he took away from others what was theirs, or as if, as is said, he deprived them, which means he took away from them what they possessed. And then he also dominated them and dominated their work, he divested them of what they produced, or as if, as is said, he exploited them. And that is how the one who has more and better was born. He was not born because he just arrived, but because of the depriving and the exploitation. And thus began, as is said, the problem. Because, as that is how the one who wants to dominate and dominates came forth, so the one who did not allow himself to be dominated also came forth. And so the history of the world is the history of that struggle between those who want to dominate in order to impose their word and their way, taking away from others their wealth, and those who do not allow themselves to be dominated, those who rebel.

And these who rebel, who are called rebels, they do not want to be the ones who dominate, instead they want everyone to be even, without there being those with more and those with less. Without there being those with reason to rob and exploit and those with no reason to be robbed and exploited. These rebels want us to be branches and leaves of the tree of the world, each one in their own place and in their own way. That is how our Mayan ancestors so recount. The Mayan indigenous who were the very first to people these lands. And so this way was passed down to their sons and daughters, to the grandsons and granddaughters, and so from one time to another, which means from one generation to another, and the way then remained among the Mayan indigenous who have various names and whose house extends to Yucatán and Guatemala, Campeche, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and here in our state which is Chiapas.

Then what came to pass is that way remained with us, as they then said, and so we the zapatistas, or neo-zapatistas as they call us, or we are like new zapatistas, we also have this way that first we think up the world which is and what to do from within, and then we take out the word and we seek other sister words and we look to find if there is accord speaking and listening, and so the word is made large and thus the world we are dreaming is also made large. But now the beginning of the world is not up to us, but what is up to us now is that there are those who divest and exploit and there are those who rebel and want liberation and then we chose to be by the side of those who are struggling for liberty, the side of those who are dominated and who are stolen from and are exploited.

And therefore then this history. The compañeros and compañeras from indigenous organizations already know it, because we have been walking together for a good while. And together we saw that we must join together and reach accord and that was how what is called the National Indigenous Congress was born. And accords and marches and mobilizations were made, and those who rule and dominate did not want to recognize our word of how we are. Then each one thought once again, and new struggles were born to put our way in place, even if they did not recognize the laws of the rich. And that is what we hope we shall talk about a bit with the brothers and sisters who come from other sides, from other Indian peoples and from other indigenous organizations.

* Read at the second preparation meeting for the Other Campaign.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Just a reminder. That this is, indeed, our Library.

The Two Campaigns by Carlos Montemayor

[Una nota - I'm pleased to present the first of what I hope will be a series of translations of reportage and opinion pieces from the Mexican press. The translations will be done by a number of good people who have offered to lend their hand. Given the dearth of serious news in the English language press, and the interesting times, I felt we all needed more. - irl]

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by zapapaz

La Jornada
August 11, 2005


The Two Campaigns, Part 1 of 2

By Carlos Montemayor

Five years of the Fox administration have already passed, and we have serious setbacks on multiple fronts: diplomatic, economic, agrarian, immigration, police and ecological. In this context of deterioration and social tension we cannot expect the conflict in the state of Chiapas to improve. The militarization in the region has not had any substantial changes on the part of the Mexican Army. In regard to the paramilitary groups, their strengthening and growth have been constant, thanks to a selective outpouring of economic aid carried out by both the federal and state governments. The risk of losing those economic resources facilitates, on the one hand, the docility of many non-zapatista communities; on the other hand, it facilitates confrontation and social tension with the zapatista communities. The intent to involve the EZLN with the cultivation of drugs, after all, was a serious signal from the army.

The red alert of the EZLN was intended to reveal to the world and the country that the militarization remains and continues to constitute the greatest risk of violence in the region. The paramilitary groups have in fact become stronger, although at this moment they may be hidden, rather than actively shooting. But they are the ones who assure that the development budgets of the federal and state governments flow selectively to the communities and regions where they themselves are located, in such a way that we could say that in a certain way their influence now is economic and political. On this front we can speak of coincidences, or of the continuity of federal politics in regards to the conflict in Chiapas during the administrations of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox. Because, in reality, President Fox did not clarify which day, year, decade, or century those minutes would pertain to when he affirmed that in "fifteen minutes" he would resolve the conflict in Chiapas; therefore the social clocks still await this mythological quarter of an hour.

That said, many people are asking, in Mexico and outside of Mexico, if with the eventual triumph of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the coming federal elections of 2006, there could be a solution to the Chiapas conflict. We would reply that it is difficult to say, because it isn't just about conviction on the part of one government figure, but rather about a real negotiation that is profound, and therefore gradual, with long-existing political and economic forces in Chiapas and other parts of the country. I mean to say that the solution to the so-called Chiapas conflict cannot be the result of a single personal decision, nor can it be contemplated as an immediate and decisive action, but rather as a complex social process. The hope (to use a word close to the followers of López Obrador) for a rapid solution to the conflict originates possibly in a premise that does not correspond fully to reality: to believe that the power of a government figure is sufficient to transform the entire society. Or, closer still, to believe that with the change of a government figure, the entire society will change. This type of premise forms an inalienable part of the traditions of state power.
In Bolivia they have changed several presidents of the republic in a short period of time without those changes having provoked any social transformation of the state sufficient to have eliminated precisely the social causes which provoked the continuous demissions of the rulers. In Ecuador and Peru changes of governments, whether violent or electoral, did not automatically bring the hoped-for social transformations. In Mexico the installation of a PAN chief executive only reaffirmed the economic policies of the two previous PRI presidents, in such a way that the change consisted of, paraphrasing Ovid and Rubén Bonifaz Nuño, saying (and doing) the same thing in another way.

Changes of leadership do not automatically bring with them social transformations. But to exaggerate the image of a leader is a natural dynamic in the systems of state power and among the party elite, because it is the only recourse to create differences in political platforms that are identical or more and more like one another all the time. For that reason, the fashion parade of hopeful candidates continues to be just a change of lights in the continuum of the political elite. In this context of state power, who can assure us that one or two prominent figureheads of the PRD elite could transform our country in a positive way? Perhaps our society is a passive object which waits for a leader to give the order to change so that it can begin to transform itself automatically? In this context, I insist, why have the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona and recent communiques and expressions of the EZLN and Subcomandante Marcos caused such disconcertation and unease in many media outlets and in the PRD leadership?

Though finally cleared up by La Jornada and by Subcommandante Marcos' letter to Benito Rojas Guerrero that at no time did he say, in reference to the followers of López Obrador, "if they are with them, they are not with us", nevertheless there remains, for the PRD and those outside it, the hot topic of the relative position, self-designation, or definition of the forces of the left in the country. However, I think that the fundamental question planted by the EZLN is more profound and clear: to call for a reordering of the left and of national social change, not from the perspective of state power, but rather from the grassroots. Because in fact the politicians continue to forget that among the elites in power a country is seen differently than it is from the reality of the people. Political campaigns for that reason stem from a reinforcement of party identity, as we will see tomorrow in the next installment.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Letter from Marcos to Don Fermín

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation


August 8, 2005

To: Don Fermín Hernández
From: SupMarcos

Don Fermín:

Greetings from all of us. We have read with interest and respect your letter which, along with others, El Correo Ilustrado of La Jornada published today. We would ask for your patience and nobility in reading these lines we’re writing you, and, hopefully, which La Jornada, generous as always, will publish so that you and others, who, like you, are feeling disconcerted by what we’re saying and doing, might be able to learn more about why we’re doing what we’re doing. Please note that I’m not trying to convince you to support us or to abandon your convictions (which I sense are deep and consistent), we are only asking you, you and others, to try to understand, to understand us.

There are, in effect, many compas who, like you, have supported the zapatista struggle for indigenous rights and culture. Without being on the stage or having their pictures on the front pages, people like you made possible, first, for the war to be stopped; later, that we were listened to; later on you helped us in all the peaceful initiatives which we undertook over these last almost 12 years with the goal of recovering for the indigenous their place in this Nation. Not all, but many of those persons, like you, are in the PRD or sympathize with that political organization. In addition, they are now hopeful and determined that López Obrador and the PRD will win the Presidency of the Republic, and, with that, things will change in our country with a government of the left. There are some people like you (believe me, because of what I’m going to say further along, there are very few) who feel identified with the acronym of the PRD and, at the same time, with the EZLN’s struggle, and they feel that both struggles should walk together or, at least, to agree on the basics. And they feel not only that it’s not contradictory to be PRD and to support zapatismo, but it’s also logical. And not just to support zapatismo, but to support any of those struggles, large or small, which are raised in our country for democracy, liberty and justice. Then they become angry, irritated or, in the best of cases (which I believe is your case, Don Fermín), they become disconcerted, and they ask what is going on. Well, Don Fermín, what happened, happened. Let me tell you:

In 1994 some leaders of the PRD, invited by us, came here. Don Pablo Gómez, for example, came. Today, Señor Gómez is coordinator of the federal PRD Deputies, and he has stated that the PRD could not have betrayed the EZLN because “we’ve never signed anything with Marcos, because he’s never wanted any agreement” (similarly, AMLO’s replacement in DF, Alejandro Encinas – while nervously awaiting the showing of the video in which he has the starring role – has said that there’s no betrayal because we’ve never been allied – the PRD and the EZLN).

Well, Don Pablo Gómez came then, and he spoke with us. He told us he supported the struggle of the zapatistas, clarifying pointedly that he did not agree with the armed struggle. That our cause was just, and he would do whatever possible to see that our demands found a just and peaceful solution. Given what Señor Gómez is now saying, instead of believing in his word, we should have asked him to sign a paper with that commitment, because then he could argue, in effect, that he never committed himself to the fight for indigenous rights and culture (note: with that struggle, and not with the armed struggle), and, given that he never signed any document, you can’t talk about betrayal.

And it was not only Don Pablo Gómez. Other individuals also came here. For example, Señor Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano (at that time PRD candidate for the Presidency of Mexico, and, for a long time, the natural and unquestioned leader of the PRD, in addition to being, then, a referent for the peaceful struggle for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans). We spoke with Señor Cárdenas, and he committed himself the same as Señor Gómez had done. We did not, of course, sign any paper with that commitment.

Many more came, almost the entire top brass of the PRD (the majority without having been invited, but as “gatecrashers” when Cárdenas Solórzano, whom we did invite, came), and they always said, stressing that they weren’t in agreement with the armed struggle, that they would support the struggle of the zapatista indigenous. In 1996, I don’t remember what we were doing in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, but we were meeting then with Jesús Ortega and a few others who were accompanying him. They told us the same thing. No, they didn’t sign anything either. Around that time we also met with López Obrador, who was then the president of the PRD, who told us the same thing and who didn’t sign any paper.

Then, in this regard, it could be said that all those who are now saying that the EZLN cannot talk about betrayal by the PRD because nothing was ever signed, are right. In any event, the error is ours, because we should not have believed in their spoken word. You see that one always learns. Now we have learned this: nothing matters to the PRD that hasn’t been filmed…excuse me, signed.

Fine, but it so happened, as you will remember, there was a dialogue with the federal government, and accords were reached, the San Andrés Accords. At that time, those political parties with deputies and senators formed a commission that was called the “Commission of Concordance and Peace,” the Cocopa. Fine, then, the Accords were signed, but they were not carried out. The Cocopa’s work was to help secure an agreement between the EZLN and the federal government, and so it offered to prepare a legislative proposal that would fulfill those accords regarding constitutional reforms. In the Cocopa at the time were, among others, the current distributor in Chiapas for the laminate factory “Zintro Alum,” Luis H. Álvarez and the current Secretary of Tourism, Rodolfo Elizondo, both from PAN. There were also, from the PRI, Jaime Martínez Veloz and Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía. For the PRD, there were the now deceased Don Heberto Castillo and Juan N. Guerra, along with other PRD members. For the PT there was José Narro.

I mention them in particular because they were the legislators with whom we had the most direct contacts and because, except in the case of Don Heberto Castillo, they can refute or confirm what I’m now going to tell you.

Well, the Cocopa members met, and then they did indeed hit a wall, because Zedillo didn’t want to fulfill the accords, and the EZLN didn’t want to return to negotiate what had already been agreed. They then thought a new proposal had to be made, one that was neither Zedillo’s, nor the EZLN’s. They met with us and presented us what would then become known as the “Cocopa Indigenous Law Proposal.” They told us it was all they could do, and that if the EZLN and Zedillo didn’t accept it, they just wouldn’t be coming back anymore and, consequently, they would resign from the Cocopa. We accepted. Zedillo first said yes, and then no. What happened afterwards is already known, and I’m not going to repeat it, but it so happens that I found the original of that proposal here, and that document does indeed have the signatures of the PRD legislators. Perhaps Don Pablo Gómez, Alejandro Encinas and the bunch of yobs from the PRD hierarchy (at the time I’m sending this, I’m reading the statements from the pathetic Cota), who have been making statements left and right now disclaiming those signatures.

Look, Don Fermín, the PAN then backed out, and their legislators voted against the proposal - which they had already approved, you understand. After everything, that Right has increasingly betrayed the democratic principles which brought them into being as an electoral force. Their contempt for the indigenous (and all humble people in general) is so deep-rooted that it could be in their declaration of principles without contradicting any of them. As for the PAN and for the Right which finds within it a space for striking the history of Mexico over an anvil – one can only expect stupidity dressed in name-brand suits…and crimes concealed behind them. You’ll see when the PAN candidate begins his campaign: Fox will look illustrious compared with that silly, babbling little man.

The fact that the PRI would go back on what it had agreed was nothing but a confirmation its history: the prostitution of politics; having created the sentence that “politics is crime perpetrated by other methods” and confirming it with the blood of their opponents…and their cohorts; Herod’s law as a statement of principles; racism elevated to a constitutional level. Whether the PRI candidate is Montíel or Madrazo, nothing will change of that party’s “uses and customs”: it will continue to be the political arm of organized crime…and those who graduate from the PRI then move on to the PRD, depending on how the polls go during the election campaigns and on who wins the election.

But for the PRD to betray its word was something we didn’t understand then. We could have understood that they would have had no interest in keeping their word WHICH THEY SIGNED with the EZLN (they already clarified the fact that they didn’t fulfill what they said they spoke), after all, we’re just some “damn” uppity indigenous. But we didn’t understand why they ignored the entire mobilization which took place concerning the Cocopa proposal, why they looked down on the Indian peoples and indigenous organizations (some of them close to the PRD) who had embraced the demand for the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.

We didn’t understand, Don Fermín, but we hoped. Perhaps someone was going to go to the trouble of explaining to us and giving us some reason, even if they were absurd (something like that currently fashionable: “if we had recognized indigenous demands, we would have played into the Right and to Salinas, in addition to opening the door to the return of Madrazo and the PRI, that’s why we didn’t keep our promise”), but no.

Even so, we thought, as they then said that the PRD bases - those who say they are also zapatistas – were going to protest and to mobilize and demand, at the very least, the removal of those PRD legislators who had committed that larceny. But nothing happened, Don Fermín. It was said there was a tactical error, but the PRD continued legislating against the Cocopa Law. Still nothing happened. We thought no way, the “zapatista” PRD bases certainly have their reasons for not doing anything.

We were left wounded then, with that sensation of having been mocked once again (that sensation which is known quite well below), frustrated, because we had concentrated all our energy into that effort…and we had asked many people, people like you Don Fermín, but you’re not PRD, to do the same thing along with us. Then we thought we had committed an error, and never again were we going to count on anything from any State institution or from the political parties who fight to run them. As you know, we withdrew in order to strengthen our indigenous autonomy, and the Caracoles and Good Government Juntas were created.

And then what happened, happened: the PRD government of Zinacantán cut off the water to some support base compañeros in that municipality. The compañeros went to the Good Government Junta, and the Junta sought agreement through dialogue. The PRDs refused, and the Junta found a way to send them water. Look, Don Fermín: it wasn’t decided to send a zapatista military unit to defend them from the PRD government, it was decided to send them water. The PRDs mocked the compañeros, telling them they were alone, that no one paid them any attention, that for the PRD government what the zapatistas were doing in making autonomy meant nothing to them. And so time passed.

Then the compañeros thought they would have a march to carry water and in order to demonstrate that the zapatista support bases of Zinacantán were not alone and that they walked with the support of the entire EZLN. They consulted me, and I recommended strict vigilance so that none of the compas, who were now, as we say, “caliente,” would get into a fight with the others. Just carrying water and saying they weren’t alone. The march arrived, they delivered the water and made their speech (read about it, Don Fermín, you can find it in La Jornada on the days following the march, April 10, 2004, and say whether or not it was an invitation to reach agreements). As the compañeros were withdrawing, they found the road blocked with logs, and, as they were taking them away, the shootout began. The compañeros’ order and discipline permitted a withdrawal, and prevented it from turning into a massacre, but several compañeros received gunshot wounds. None of the wounded, Don Fermín, were from Zinacantán, but from other zapatista municipalities, and they were there in order to carry water to their brothers in struggle, not to attack PRDs.

One of the wounded has a bullet in his head. Yes, he still has it there. One millimeter more to one side or the other, and he would have died. And that’s not all. The doctors left the bullet, because even attempting to remove it could cause his death. The compa walks around like that, with a bullet in his head. But, do you know what? Don Fermín: that bullet wasn’t fired by paramilitaries from the PRI or by the clandestine commandoes of the YUNQUE (or PAN), but by persons from the PRD, from the PRD government. Many things were said at that time (the Chiapas government, demonstrating that stupidity isn’t the prerogative of one political faction, said that the zapatistas had staged a provocation), but nothing happened.

We waited to see if the zapatista PRD bases were going to go and protest, but nothing happened. There was just one letter (it can be found in El Correo Ilustrado in La Jornada during those days), Don Fermín, from a PRD brother who condemned the incident, in addition to a lukewarm statement from the state PRD, and that was it. Nothing. The PRDs continued in the government in Zinacantán, they were candidates for the PRD in the last election, they continue in Power and they were the first to form one of the “citizens nets” in support of AMLO.

And do you know how that whole matter started in Zinacantán, why the PRD government cut the compañeros’ water off? Well, because the zapatista support bases didn’t want to take the jobs the PRDs offered them, because, the compañeros said, explaining the rejection, “zapatistas don’t fight to become the government.” It was in order to pressure them to take the jobs that they cut off the water. Yes, Don Fermín, the PRDs attacked us with gunfire because we didn’t want government jobs.

Fine, but it wasn’t just the PRD vote against the recognition of indigenous rights and culture, nor just the attack in Zinacantán. It so happened that, months before, in another region, one we call the “Border Selva,” and where La Realidad is located, an indigenous, who was not zapatista, presented a denuncia for theft against someone else, who was also not zapatista. The autonomous authority investigated and determined that the theft had occurred. The criminal, who admitted his guilt, was detained, and it was determined that he would remain imprisoned until he repaid the victim the amount that had been stolen. You can see, Don Fermín, in La Jornada of that time period, how it was: non-governmental human rights organizations went to La Realidad, and they confirmed that the detainee had not been tortured, he was found to be in good health and none of his rights had been violated. Well, it so happened that the PRD CIOAC of that region decided that what the Junta had done was bad. No, Don Fermín, they didn’t go talk with the Junta. What they did was to kidnap several compañeros (some of whom were not zapatistas but belonged to another organization), and they held them in a truck that belonged to the Junta. They tortured the kidnap victims, and they kept moving one of them, a zapatista compañero, from one place to another (“so the EZLN wouldn’t rescue him”), under humiliating conditions. No, it wasn’t the police. No, neither was it the army. Yes, they were PRDs. They left them all beat up. Then the state government intervened and paid the amount that had been stolen. The detainee was freed, and the accuser’s demand for justice was met. You know what zapatista humor is like, and the compañeros changed the name of the truck (it’s a custom to give names to vehicles), and now it’s called “Kidnapped.” What I’m telling you, Don Fermín, wasn’t a matter of hours, but days. I could tell you of similar attacks and harassment by the PRD ORCAO in the municipalities of Ocosingo and Altamirano. Was there any statement from the PRD? Any protest by the PRD bases over what their party compañeros had done against us? No.

Let’s add them up, Don Fermín. Let’s add up and face the consequences of everything that happened: the injustices; the silence in the face of arguments of “not playing into the Right”; looking the other way because, at the end of the day, “they’re just damn Indians”; the tactical and strategic calculations of “everything goes” in order to reach Power, even though they do the same thing they say they’re fighting. Ask yourself, Don Fermín, ask if the PRDs living inside zapatista territories have been attacked with firearms, ask if they have been kidnapped and tortured. You will see they have not. You will see that we did not respond to those attacks with violence. We responded with patience. We waited.

You see now, Don Fermín, that to us you are not “a poor idiot,” but a sincere, noble and constant person, who feels that there’s something bad in all this that’s going on. And, yes, something is bad, but it’s not what’s happening now. Perhaps now you’ll see why we’re mad, indignant, furious.

As for the rest, Don Fermín, you shall see that, if we’re wrong, we shall apologize to you and to everyone we’ll need to apologize to. You, and everyone, know that that is how we are, that when we’re wrong, we say so quite clearly. Because perhaps we are wrong, and we should indeed be betting everything on one person, and even on a political party that has done everything to us that it has done to us. Perhaps we should keep waiting for what we now think we have to build from below to come from above. Perhaps we were wrong to denounce that we have been deceived, attacked, mocked. If all this happens, you will see us state publicly that we committed an error, and we will apologize to all those we hurt with our word (and never with bullets, kidnappings and torture). But, meanwhile, we shall continue expressing the feelings of our peoples, the rage and indignation in the face of the PRD’s cynicism and lack of memory. And so, excuse us, Don Fermín, we’re going to continue being a nuisance.

Another thing, Don Fermín. We understand that some media, whenever we say anything, place more emphasis on what we say against the PRD and AMLO. And you know what? They want to rein in López Obrador. They don’t like that he goes about so freely, rocking in his hammock while his accomplices cover for him. And, on the other side of the coin, ALMO wants to rein in the media, make them over in his own fashion. They both use what they have at hand: the media looking for the PRD’s weak points (which, incidentally, are many), and López Obrador finding all criticisms to be a plot by Salinas de Gortari, the PRI and the Right. That’s how it is. But you’ll see that they’ll end up getting it sorted, they always end up getting it sorted. Then you’ll see that everything about the “other campaign” is no longer important news. It will end up on the “inside” pages, it will turn into a “little lost note” there, and then it will disappear completely, far from what someone called the “public.” Then the “other campaign,” and with it the Sexta, will continue in its determination to construct another way of doing politics, to build a national program of anti-capitalist struggle and to fight for a new constitution.

Anyway, that’s what we’re going to be up to, Don Fermín. The election campaigns are going to take place, and that’s where we’ll be. Perhaps López Obrador is going to campaign where you live. If you can, ask him if he’s going to privatize the electricity industry, oil, water, social security, education. López Obrador is going to tell you he’s not going to privatize. Of course, you’re going to be happy, and you’re going to think “Damn, Comanche, you’re wrong.” But don’t stop there, Don Fermín, and keep on asking. Ask him what he’s going to do then, and AMLO is going to respond that he’s going to “promote investment.” You’re going to keep thinking, and you’re going to be turning that little word over. Then you’re going to investigate what “co-investment” means, and you’re going to find out that that’s what it’s called when the State puts one part of the money into an industry, and private capital puts in the other part. But keep on, you’ll also see that also means that one part of that industry is the property of the State, and the other part is private property. Then you’re going to understand that it’s not going to be privatized all at once, but piece by piece. In other words, one piece of the Patria is going to be sold, then another, and another, and another, until nothing is left.

Listen, Don Fermín, if you’re able to approach AMLO, also ask him, if he says that all criticisms are coming from Salinas de Gortari, the PRI and the Right, why, then, is he surrounded by salinistas, ex-PRIs and Rightists. And ask the PRD leaders why they’ve turned the party into a recycling machine for the worst of the PRI, one more circus ring for those who jump to the beat of the budget. Ask AMLO why, if many people assume his program is leftist, his “”Alternative Project for the Nation” is not. Ask him why he supports Marcelo Ebrard for the DF government if he’s not leftist. Ask him why he’s offering the gringos and the businessmen a centrist government, “facilitating private investment” (favoring the rich), and to the rest he’s telling them that he’s leftist (favoring the poor). Ask him, perhaps he might indeed respond to you – why, when we pointed all that out (and many other things), he responded that he was happy, sleeping in a hammock so he wouldn’t be embarrassed.

Afterwards, the elections are going to be over, Don Fermín, and we’ll be there. Perhaps the majority of the Mexican people will support López Obrador and the PRD with their votes. If they don’t recognize the victory, you and many like you will mobilize, and, believe me, we will be by your side, shoulder to shoulder, fighting against that injustice and denouncing it, just like we did with the desafuero. But perhaps they’ll win, and the victory will be recognized. Perhaps they’ll make it to the Presidency of Mexico. Perhaps it will happen that López Obrador lied to the gringos and to the businessmen, and he’s not going to carry out what was promised. Perhaps then a great transformation of the country will indeed be initiated, a transformation of the left. Then what can I tell you, Don Fermín, then there’s going to be a lot of commotion, joy, fiesta. Perhaps then you might see there, in your town, a little poster with an invitation to a meeting for the “other campaign.” And you’re going to hear that there are men and women going about, asking the people what their struggle is like, how they organize, what they think of the world, of our country, of their place. Perhaps you’ll go see what it’s about. Perhaps you’ll see me there and stand in front of me and say to me “Comanche, I am Don Fermín of that letter.” I’m going to look at you, and I’m going to smile. You’re going to smile as well, and you’re going to tell me: “Damn Comanche, you were wrong.” And I’m going to tell you: “Damn Don Fermín, I was wrong.” And neither you nor I are going to be offended by the “damn” stuff. And we’re going to give each other a big hug, and we’re going to smile, the both of us, together, and we’re both going to be happy: you, because we were wrong, and we, also because we were wrong.

But listen, Don Fermín, is it true that if we are not wrong, you and those who are like you, are not going to remain silent if indigenous rights aren’t recognized, if they attack us, if they kidnap us, if they torture us, if the PRD officials don’t fulfill what they promised, if they continue selling our Patria, completely, or in pieces, if corruption and betrayals continue? Is it true, Don Fermín, that you’re not going to just do nothing, arguing that you can’t play into Salinas, the PRI and the Right? Is it true, Don Fermín, that you’re not going to leave us alone again, like you’ve left us since 2001?

Vale. Salud and I’m not sending you an embrace because I know you’re angry, and so it remains on hold.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, August of 2005

Letter from Marcos to Don Benito

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation


August 8, 2005

To: Don Benito Rojas Guerrero
From: Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Don Benito:

We send our greetings, and we are writing you in order to comment on some things in your letter which was published in Correo Ilustrado [Letters to the Editor] in today’s La Jornada. Since my understanding is that it was summarized due to space requirements, I will only touch on what was published.

First - When we referred to the scoundrels and crooks in the PRD, we were talking about, and we will be talking about, the same ones whom you noted as being inconstant, who hijacked the party, to those whom ideas and principles don’t matter, who use the PRD (and people like you) for their personal interests. That is how those attending the August 6 encuentro understood it, and that is how, according to what I’ve seen in various publications, it was understood by other PRD members who are dissatisfied with the direction their party has taken (like Marcos Rascón). I know you would prefer it if the distinction were to be made, but what always happens is, in differentiating, they hide behind that to say “they’re not talking about us,” or they accuse their current rivals (in the fight for positions and jobs). And it is those rascals and crooks who are leading the PRD and who are surrounding López Obrador. And they are the ones who are responsible for our current position, because, in addition to everything you point out, we would add those attacks which they’ve made on us.

Second - I have reviewed the articles and reports by Elio Henríquez and Hermann Bellinghausen who were present at that meeting for La Jornada, as well as the recording and transcription of what I said in the two speeches I made on August 6. At no point did I say “you’re with López Obrador or you’re with the EZLN.” If you review the articles by the two journalists, the recording and the transcription (which will be available, complete, on the Revista Rebeldía web page), you will see that not only did I not say that, but, in addition, some of the statements speak to the exact opposite. As you can see for yourself in the articles, and by speaking to any of those present, a compañero from one of the organizations of the left who was there expressed his concern that a condition of joining “the other campaign” was that one had to be against AMLO. To which I responded: “It’s not a condition for being here, being against him or anyone. What is clear is that we can’t tie the other campaign to the election campaign. We have to be very clear about that, we’re not going there.” I can also tell you that another compañero from another organization defended, in a long speech, the position that AMLO had to be supported (he even went so far as to compare AMLO with Hidalgo, Morelos, Zapata, Villa…and the Virgin of Guadalupe). When one of those attending the meeting, irritated more by the length of the speech than by what he was saying, tried to silence him, we intervened in order to ask that we listen to everything that compañero wanted to say.

Ask that person if he were run off, or mistreated, or if we behaved rudely to him (at the end, he gave us several books, so that we could learn more about his organization’s positions). We did not shoot him, we did not kidnap him, we did not torture him, nor did we beat him, nor did we harass him. Like the PRD did with our compañeros in Zinacantán, Las Margaritas, Altamirano and Ocosingo (those are indeed examples of the application of the “Bush doctrine” of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us…and we’ll attack you”). Believe me, all the thoughts that were expressed there were respected. But also believe me that we shall make it quite clear that we do not share those [thoughts] that say the PRD and AMLO have to be supported.

Third - What we are doing, Don Benito, is not a result of decisions made by the subcomandante, but by the entire EZLN, backed by an internal consulta, following an analysis and discussion about the consequences and responsibilities of what we are doing and will be doing: criticizing the political class (of which the PRD forms part) and trying to build an alternative of the left to it (including an alternative of the left in the face of the PRD) with another way of doing politics and with the objective of a new constitution. I believe, with pride, that if anyone has demonstrated that they assume responsibility for the consequences of what they do, it is the EZLN.

Fourth - We could invite you and those, like you, who are in the PRD and who are honest and consistent, to come and speak with us, and in that way try to convince us to support López Obrador and to accept our being led by those who despise and repress us. We could try and convince you to leave the PRD and not to continue supporting, by your presence, a politics that has nothing revolutionary nor democratic, let alone leftist, about it. Better that you make another organization and join the “other campaign” under the same circumstances of equality and respect which we have already agreed to with other political organizations. We do not do so because it is not our way to tell anyone what they should or should not do. Everyone knows where they are, and, in effect, as you pointed out, assumes the consequences and responsibilities for their decisions.

Fifth - I do not know why you say we are ungrateful when we criticize the PRD. Should we have been thankful after the vote on the indigenous counter reform, after the attacks, the beatings, the harassment and armed attacks we have suffered? After the complicit silence “in order not to play along with the right”?

Sixth - Those crooks and scoundrels of the PRD are, in addition, cheats. They pretend they are indignant about what we say, but they don’t take their eyes off the polls, and they breathe easily: distancing themselves from zapatismo has always been their obsession, and now “the one possessed,” Marcos, is solving that problem. Speak with them, and, if they are sincere (which I doubt), they’re going to tell you that they’re happy. That it’s no longer necessary to say they are “centrist” in order to win conservative votes, because the stridency of the one on the psychoanalyst’s couch (the Sup) has automatically placed them in that (nonexistent) political region. Now no one can accuse AMLO and the PRD of being radical, because the radicals are in the “other campaign.” And now the PRD can continue talking with the big businessmen and the most conservative sectors, warning them that, if they don’t support López Obrador, the option of the radical left could grow, shouting, “with a few kilos more,” “from the mountains of the Mexican southeast.”

Look, Don Benito, none of the PRD “leaders” (who represent you and others like you) have really responded to what we pointed out. On the contrary, they have resorted to the trick of answering as if what the EZLN were complaining to the PRD about was their not supporting their armed struggle. There you have it: they’re scoundrels and crooks.

Seventh - Don Benito, I know that you, and many like you, are deeply upset by our position. We will always receive the criticisms and reflections of people like you with respect and seriousness. And be assured that we will not resort to the methods the PRD uses to confront those who don’t share their policies, methods with which that party has confronted us ever since their betrayal of the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.

I won’t take any more of your time, Don Benito. I hope that, through the Revista Rebeldía web page or by any other means you find convenient, you will send us your complete letter. We are interested in learning of it. Meanwhile, once again, our greetings and respect.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, August of 2005

Marcos: The Other Campaign begins - August 6

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

[The following is a transcript of the words of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, from a recording made on August 6, 2005]

The Other Campaign Begins

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Meeting with Political Organizations of the Left
August 6, 2005
Tzeltal Selva Region

I want to more or less explain to you about the format we’re proposing: our proposal is that first we’re going to talk and to explain some questions about the Sexta, about what we’re proposing, and maybe there we’ll be able to respond to some doubts you sent us, like what about López Obrador, like what happened with the CND, all that, and then we’ll have a bit of a rest, and we’ll listen to your words. Then there’s two possibilities: those who want to speak in front of everyone, and those who want to talk with the zapatista leadership behind closed doors, with the understanding that the closed door meetings aren’t clandestine. Everything that’s said we’re going to make public with all those people who are joining the Sexta, but there are things that are better presented in brief, then the organizations which come can agree to speak their word here and have a meeting separately. Our work is serious, and we’re going to be here all day and all night resolving your questions.

Let me again repeat the welcome from the compañeros of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, the compañeros and compañeras who are here, Comandantes and Comandantas who are part of the Sexta Committee, in this case they’re compañeros from the Tzeltal Selva region, as in this case, there are compañeros and compañeras who were volunteers for the work of the Sexta, from the Border region which is the Tojolabal region, from the region of Los Altos which is the Tzotzil region, the Northern region which is the Chol region, and the Tzotz choj region, which is the one you know as Altamirano. Some of them will be at some meetings, and you’ll see others at other ones. Their main work is to present all of you, to inform the support bases as to what is being expressed. My work is to act as a bridge between the Comandancia and the Committee or the organizations, persons, groups, who are going to be working with us in the Sixth Declaration.

Today the meeting is with political organizations. A political organization is one which lays claim to being a political organization, as it says in the San Andrés Accords: indigenous is that which lays claim to being indigenous, political organization is that which lays claim to being a political organization. We know there are compañeros who are planning to come on their own, they’ll all be well received, but at every meeting preference will be given to the word, attention to the proposals being made, which in this case will be political organizations. If, however, people come on their own, they’ll be welcome, but we ask them to respect the compañeros whose turn it is, that’s how the words will go. Now it’s the turn of the political organizations of the left, and we want to thank them for having come. In the first place, because the relationship between the EZLN and the political organizations of the left has been bad, primarily because of our clumsiness and our inexperience starting in January of 1994 in figuring out what the national scene was and the work those organizations were doing in different places. Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that it was basically our fault that our relationship had been damaged, at no point have we questioned the legitimacy you have gained in the social movements with the people who have responded. The recognition and admiration you’ve provoked in us, at this stage of the game, with the entire neoliberal and capitalist offensive, people who define themselves as being leftist to participate no matter what happens, especially when it’s the fashion to be centrist or moderate right. The majority of the organizations of the left which are present here are engaged in important work, they work with the base. You have our guarantee that we recognize that work, not only are we not going to question it, we’re going to publicly recognize it when we’re participating.

We know that you ran risks in coming here, because no matter how much is said, the EZLN is still a different political-military organization, and it is weighed down by different kinds of threats – what are they called?…”rule of law.” We know, then, that when you come here to be with us, or to establish a relationship with us, you are running a risk. I believe all those organizations which are present here are aware that we are going to be confronted with a very intense campaign of disparagement, greater than the one the UNAM Strike movement of 1999 received, and I’m sure that there are many bets in many places that this is going to fail, and that any attempt to make accords with the left is destined to failure by definition. And, therefore, the EZLN’s initiative of trying to have relations with other organizations of the left is bound to fail. We’re willing to fail, like we failed before in our relationship with that party – I believe, I’m not quite sure, it’s the Revolutionary Democratic Party [PRD], with what was cardenismo a long time ago and with certain sectors, let’s say progressives, intellectuals, civil society. Starting with these assumptions, we want to make it clear, first, that the Sixth Declaration posits two levels of relationship: direct participation, under equal circumstances with us in the planning and carrying out of the Other Campaign. I don’t know what your thoughts are concerning the length of time, but we’re not thinking about an action like the March of the 1,111 or the Consulta of ’99, nor the March for Indigenous Dignity: we are thinking about political work of a decade – ten years - to refute the 6 year administration plan – if it’s less, we’ll give it our all. In this regard, even though it’s being presented in the face of the 2006 election, what the EZLN is proposing in the Other Campaign goes beyond that, not just in its political positions, but also in its calendar, despite the fact that the EZLN comes and goes during the elections, and it will continue the work independently of what is going on in the electoral process. The invitation we are extending to those who are joining in with the Sixth is for them to participate with us under equal circumstances, in the framework of the preparation meetings, which is what this is right now. We decided, we’re the hosts, we have the order of the day. Our thinking is that after these meetings are over, it won’t be like this anymore, but in accord with the political and social organizations, NGOs and with all those people who are going to be coming, a kind of agreement will be reached, and then we’ll be there sometimes in order to clarify things, as the work is being agreed to. The other level of relationship with the EZLN is that of proposing bilateral relations, they could be separate from participation in the Other Campaign. The political organizations of the left would be interested in organization to organization relationships with the EZLN. This could be done through common accord. It doesn’t involve having to be in just one. I would ask you, please, to announce in your organizations that you can be in both, in just one or in neither. I would like to repeat that we thank you very much for having passed through the communities in order to come here or where you’re going to pass through, with the hope that things turn out well.

During this first meeting, we’re going to give preference to those organizations which have said they support the Sexta. We know there are organizations which have come to express other problems, but the meeting that was convened is clear. We don’t refuse to speak with others, but first we’ll do so with those who are supporting the Sexta, then, if there’s the time and the means, those who wish to propose something else can do so, and we’re going to listen to them.

I am telling you clearly that we are going to listen with respect, but any argument regarding supporting López Obrador’s candidacy or the PRD is doomed to failure with us. If anyone has the patience and the guts to hear arguments in favor of that, we won’t object, not us.

There have been 12 years of seeing what a party has done. If anyone has any doubts as to what López Obrador is proposing, I have here the summary of the interview he gave the NY Times, and the Financial Times, along with the 50 commitments, along with his history as head of the government of DF and along with the history of the PRD. If anyone says there are bases inside the PRD which should be rescued, rescue them. Not us.

If you want to debate the possibility of the PRD and the left, we can bring the compañeros who were shot by paramilitaries in Zinacantán, all the committees who turned their backs when the indigenous law was voted on, the compañeros from these villages who have been attacked by the PRD ORCAO, the compañero who was kidnapped and tortured by the PRD CIOAC, and all those who have been systematically attacked by that party which says it’s leftist.

We’re not going there.

If someone wants to tell us something about this, then we’ll listen to it and all that, but we’re going above the PRI, against the PAN and against the PRD. No one should have any room for doubt, but if any of you think you can get a deputy seat in exchange for raising a leftist movement or has the futile hope that a large movement will move López Obrador to the left, agreed, we just ask that you be honest with us and with the people. If you’re going to plan that, tell us and tell the people “our plan is this: we don’t believe in López Obrador, but if we create a big fuss, he might give us a deputy seat.” Agreed, it’s a strategy, it can work or not, but be honest with us. Don’t tell us “no, what you’re saying is very good. And, below, what are you going to give us.” We’re not going to be frightened of anything, really, but yes, what we’re not going to allow is for you to be dishonest with us, because we are indeed being honest with you. As of now, we are going to share everything: if a proposal from Fox comes saying he wants to speak with us, you’re going to know. If Martha Sahagún wants the Other Campaign to support her, you are going to know. If at the very hour we decide to go with a suitable candidate, you’re going to know. In this regard, anything that could be kept secret, we’re not going to keep secret – we’re going to share with you, and we’re going to say what our position is. You might not be accustomed to that, but what the Sexta says is what it says, there’s nothing else hidden. There are many definitions still remaining. I believe we’re going to be on the same wavelength - that a definition of the State is lacking, a definition of position in the face of State power is lacking, of the nature of the organic composition of capital, social classes, factions, the…. All of that is still undefined for a simple reason – it’s not the place to define them. The Sixth Declaration doesn’t say it’s for socialism, because in reality our hidden agenda is that we want to reimpose feudalism. Any other definitions which are left unresolved there – in the Sixth Declaration – we think are going to be the product of two processes: the development process of the Other Campaign which means…and seeing what happens with the process of the relationships between the EZLN and the organizations of the left. We think that all those things which are unresolved in the Sixth Declaration are going to be defined along with you.

You can believe us or not, but we have been honest ever since we were born as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, in that it is our conviction not only not to be the vanguard of a movement of transformation in Mexico, but we also think that the movement of transformation of Mexico is the result of the action of many political forces of the left, among which we are a part. This action strongly needs the participation of workers, campesinos, students, workers in the city and the countryside. We see as legitimate any organization of the left which aspires to build and to participate in the struggle of all these sectors.

The EZLN doesn’t do work with workers, nor with students, their work is fundamentally with the indigenous. We are not going to fight with you for the moral direction or legitimacy which the popular worker campesino movement - or however you want to call it - has gained. Nor are we going to fight with you for the leadership of those movements. The Sexta is quite clear – we want to join our struggles with the struggles of the workers and campesinos, we don’t want to lead the struggle of the workers and campesinos. You have the work you have, I’m not going to go into details here, you know, and you have earned the legitimacy and the recognition of those people. It doesn’t matter if you don’t appear in the media. The media and quantitative logic that an organization is important according to the number of persons it has doesn’t go over well with us. We began with 6. When they say “don’t talk with that organization, because it’s very small.” If they’re more than 6, it’s worthwhile, it can grow. And, if we’re going with the quantitative, the PRI would be seated there – in any event, it’s the one that has the most people. That’s what we’re asking you, to help us. We’re not asking you to follow us, nor to do what we’re going to tell you to do. You have your work with workers, work with students, with neighbors, with campesinos, with popular groups, non-governmental. We’re asking you, then, to be the bridge so the EZLN can listen to what the compañeros have to say about those points. The Sixth Declaration is clear – when the EZLN comes out, it’s not going to say that wealth was formed because a little bee went and carried pollen to another. Wealth has its origin in exploitation. We’re not going to help you in that – we want to listen to any word which is in keeping with an anti-capitalist movement against exploitation.

If the workers, campesinos, students and whatever are anarchists, it doesn’t matter, we want to talk with them. If they are Trotskyites, it doesn’t matter, we want to speak with them. Maoists, Stalinists, whatever they are, as long as they have a project and a proposal along the length of this great anti-capitalist band. We want to hear it, one, and, two, we want to see if it’s possible to join our struggle with your struggle. That is what we want, and that’s what we’re going for. The Other Campaign’s proposal is not one of drawing lines, it’s not promoting armed struggle. It is going and asking the people what they think, how they see things. We’re not guided by polls. If the polls say there’s a large movement supporting López Obrador, it’s López Obrador’s problem, and the problem of those people being paid. What we want to hear is what the people think about their problems, how they’re resolving them and, above all, for them to tell us of their experiences of struggle. You know about them, because you’re working there. We aren’t going to tell the compañeros of San Salvador Atenco how to oppose an airport, how to organize a resistance movement there. Nor are we going to teach the compañeros and compañeras from the Retired Persons Frente how to resist the offensive. We want to go and talk with you and to have you tell us what your history was like and where you see the path, and we might find points in common. And we’re going to go everywhere we’re invited. I’m letting you know: we are going to fulfill the Sixth Declaration even if we’re alone and if no one wants to work with us. We’re going to put up a sign that says: “Hammock cords cut, chickens plucked.”

We would find it completely natural if we were to go to speak with some campesinos in a region, and the brothers of one organization or another were to say “come with us.” What we aren’t going to say is come with the EZLN. We’re not going to do that. The work of the Other Campaign means not promoting the growth of one organization, but we would find it natural that you would promote it. Let us make it clear in that regard that the EZLN holds its line, it will continue promoting the appearance of new social subjects, the appearance of new organizations, of new forms of organization and of new worlds. We’re not going to offer the people an organizational structure, but we’d find it natural, normal and necessary for disputes over the campaign’s political options to indeed be offered to the people until they’re persuaded and they enter into a new political program. The Other Campaign is not positing a method for transforming society – you are indeed clear on that.

We are not going to promote people entering political organizations, but neither that they not enter. It’s not our problem. Our problem is trying to unite our struggles. If the struggle of those from San Salvador Atenco has a political leaning, it doesn’t matter. What we want is to join our struggle with yours, with the pensioners and retired persons of the IMSS, with the students from UNAM, with the cultural movements, for the struggle for human rights.

But the Other Campaign is quite clear – we are not going to promote nor propose, we’re not even going to toy with the possibility that perhaps, who knows, depending on what they give us, we would support the candidate of any of the parties. We are not going to do that. If someone here were to tell us I entered the Other Campaign, but López Obrador must be supported, we’re going to be honest, and we’re going to tell you that’s how you see it, because we’re going all out. We’re not going to bespatter them, without firing a shot, compañeros, without campaign teams, without image consultants, without paid television ads, and, alive or dead, free or imprisoned, they’re all going to pay for what they’ve done. We’re either going together to hold them accountable, or we’re going alone, but they’re all a bunch of freeloaders, compañeros. They’ve mocked us and many other people, and they’re going to pay because they’re going to pay. It doesn’t matter to us if they promise us something or other. This is what we want to say, and everything is welcome. We are honest, and we are asking you to be honest, compañeros. We don’t know what’s going to happen here, the movement might grow a great deal, it might not grow at all, we might end up fighting…

The moment might come when the movement is going to have to define itself at a certain point. We’re prepared to discuss all of this, but with these principles, that no one tells us “we’re going to participate in the Other Campaign,” and, just when they go up on the stage, says “compañeros, López Obrador has to be supported.” We’re not going to strike out, but we’re going to say “Don’t believe him.” We’re going to tell him here it is, read La Jornada, but also the NY Times. Then say what he’s proposing, at least those who say he wants to return to the populist past. He doesn’t want to return to the populist past, he’s going to give us the knockout punch… In an interview he gave to the NY Times, they asked him if he was known for being authoritarian, and he said that social movements demanded a strong hand…They know what happened there with popular urban movement during his government, but even so, we made a bet. Not only did we lose it, but they betrayed us. Not only did they betray us: they mocked us, they didn’t respect us. We’re prepared for them to kill us, to put us in jail, to disappear us, but not for them to disrespect us. And that’s what we’re going to settle, and not just that, if we keep on hoping he can do it, hoping the other will, there’s going to come a moment when there are no solutions, compañeros. The discussion you’re having is serious. If we don’t do anything, it’s not going to matter anymore if you’re a Trotskyite, Maoist, there’s not going to be a program anymore. The other thing we want to tell you is that we’re going to respect the people in this process, like we respect you. We still have to speak with the indigenous, with the social movements, with NGOs, with collectives, with all of them, and everything will come from the collective. And there’s going to be a whole series of suggestions and proposals which have to come out of everything that results from these encuentros. Now not just with the EZLN, but with the Other. The EZLN has a position internationally which means, in the case of Cuba, that we are with the people of Cuba. There’s a lesson there, and we’re taking a position. If someone doesn’t agree, there’s no problem. We can work in the Other Campaign if we’re in agreement in Mexico. If someone thinks that they have to adjust their ways for neoliberalism, we don’t think so. That if we lose this war, there won’t be another war to fight. The generation of the link which follows is that of the penguin. Therefore, in that broad range of the international, there can be differences in how Bolivia is characterized, Ecuador, the resistance movement in Europe. Whether China is communist, or it isn’t. I don’t know what everyone believes. We don’t have any reason to fight, otherwise this battle can take three months. Because it’s quite clear in Mexico, from the other geometry and what we see in the administration, what it is we think.

I’m going to tell you a story which I hope might help to answer, among others, the question asked by the compañeros En Lucha: “What happened with the CND?” Because they ask, reasonably, “Why are those who weren’t convened by the CND now the ones being convened, and those who were convened by the CND, aren’t being convened now?” We explain it like this – with the general idea that the transformation in Mexico is not the result of one single force, but it requires alliances with our peoples. In 1994, we analyzed, and we defined that force of cardenismo. Cardenismo came out of that fraud of 1988, out of a large mass movement and out of the moral authority that had been built around a person who was Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano, the engineer, as we call him. It was in 1994, as we are now in an election, we weren’t for the elections. We were for this movement, and two large positions were defined around Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. There were more people saying that yes, a transformation process could be brought into place by what was cardenismo and Cárdenas with his candidacy. And there were those who said no, and, at the time of choosing, we chose yes, that it would be possible with cardenismo and the forces gathered around him, we could be able to achieve a transformation process that would include the demands of the 11 points along with the demands of the Indian peoples. According to us, what happened later was a process of accelerated decomposition of the political class which reached the PRD at the moment it won the elections in DF. That decomposition process was so large it reached the point where personal commitment as a cardenista faction and as part of the PRD of promoting the demands of the EZLN and of the Indian peoples, were no longer worth crap. With a simple political calculation that went: “It suits us better if the EZLN stays in the mountains of the Mexican southeast than to have them here, fighting politically like any other organization.” Then they decided: “It doesn’t suit us to have them doing politics, if we recognize the San Andrés Accords, the EZLN will be engaging in open political work, it’s better they stay there.” That was clearly a political calculation made in secret meetings. And at some point, I don’t know how, Cárdenas decided to support this proposal. For us, the breaking point with the political class, not just with the PRD, was April of 2001, at the moment when everyone agreed to vote on the Cocopa law, and, according to us – we could be wrong - they said “no, this is just the same old crap.” According to us, it wasn’t crap yet, it was still in process.

Also according to us, the decomposition process of the political class is so great that there is no longer anything to do there. Certainly López Obrador doesn’t steal, but there’s more than a capacity to show it exists, unless they’re betting on López Obrador being a dictator, then yes. We understand, then, that it’s just useful, because a popular movement is going to be generated around López Obrador. We think not, but we can understand that some people might make this calculation. If they want to go, go, we’re not. To those who say there are bases which should be rescued in the PRD, like Mario Saucedo says, that they wear zapatista shirts…then keep them well saved. If they’re honest people, then they’re going to leave. We’re not going to keep waiting, Zedillo, failed, Fox failed, López Obrador, hell, failed, and then, who’s next, the niño verde?

Many things are beginning to happen in this process on different sides, social security.

This meeting is a symbolic place for us. This was a finca prior to 1994, this symbolic place. The finquera lived there (in the building), the peons didn’t enter it. The foreman was the one who gave orders. The people living here are the ones who were the peons. They are the ones who are now living on these lands. What the EZLN did here was to run off the finqueros, and the land was divided up, in collective work. I don’t remember who said that the land belongs to he who works it…We think that is going to be the process at the national level, for campesinos as well as for workers.

And that’s how it is, there will be many options. We’re inviting you to discuss it, but we’re telling you clearly, if you tell us the same thing as in 1994, that the PRD is an option of the left, there are other platforms, and not with us. What we saw is that we did everything we could, and we ran out of patience, for all the support which reached the national and international level, what we think is that we need to join together with other struggles. That is the spirit of the Sexta. The other clear definition of the Sexta is that we think that an alternative for transformation in Mexico is only going to come from the left. It’s not going to come from the center, nothing is going to come out of the right, only from the left. That’s why we’re interested in talking with you yourselves. Of course, we’re going to have a lot of time when they put us in jail. We have to listen to all your proposals, your analyses and to learn.

The backbone of the Other Campaign is going to be the Indian peoples. Next week we have a meeting with them, and we’re going to suggest to them that they be the headquarters for when the zapatista delegation passes through when it does its work with the compañeros and compañeras who join the Sexta. If the zapatista delegation wants to visit UNAM, it will go to those political organizations which it has a relationship with, which it has work with. There won’t be a committee formed like before.

We’re going to go about talking with the organizations which participate, but we won’t have any problem with you being in front of us. There are just things we don’t have to put up with. The Sexta’s proposals are to ally itself with other unregistered political organizations. It doesn’t say they don’t fight for power, nor that the electoral struggle isn’t part of their strategy. Since the Other Campaign isn’t engaging in elections, we don’t want it to be used for registering a candidate by those who are registered. The problem we see is that, during the elections, they want to involve that problem of supporting some of their candidates. The first meeting with you is to open, you can decide not to support the Other Campaign. However, you can have bilateral relations, because the position and attitude you assume are going to depend on many things. Because if you decide to involve another area of discussion in the campaign with the ideological enemies of the same band, they’re going screw up, and the proposals are going to fail, and the people who approached are going to move away.

We are proposing places of discussion, which, in the Other Campaign, we are centering on making a national plan for listening to the main points where struggles exist. We are not asking you to abandon the work you have in front of you, but to help us speak with them. That you share your proposal for social transformation with us, and, as well as in these 2 proposals, we will build something else - we don’t know what it will be. In addition to the penguin, we are also putting our lives into this process. We’re not asking you to risk your lives nor your organizational structures as organizations. We are asking you to respect us and to be honest with us. If you want to deceive the gringos and lie that we’re neoliberals, and at just the right time we’ll turn around, say so, and we’ll discuss it. Let’s be honest, not registered candidates, or NGOs with registered support, or PRD…be honest…

The way we’re thinking about the campaign in these organizational tasks, we’re asking who’s going to come in. Some here are going to say “yes, we’re in,” and others “we’re not coming,” deciding who’s coming, sending delegates to the meetings which follow so they can have their delegates from their organization for the Sexta.

Once all the meetings are over, in mid-September we’ll put out a document, a pronouncement. That will no longer be from the EZLN, not just from the EZLN, instead it will be signed by the organizations, individuals and persons who are in agreement with it.

Our idea of the campaign is, first we’re going to send a person to measure how deep the river is - if they don’t kill him, if they don’t disappear him, or take him prisoner - according to the agreement we have with you and with other organizations.

We have to resolve that problem of what is going to happen to us. That, in broad strokes, is what the Sexta proposes.

[Please note: this is taken from a transcription of a verbal presentation, not a written document, and it reads as such. Except for punctuation, I have translated it literally – irl]