Sunday, September 18, 2005

Marcos on the Plan for the zapatista departure

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
on Friday, September 16, 2005

Compañeros and compañeras, in keeping with our brief tradition, I am informing you how the campaign of support closed as of this September 11, two months after we began the call: 55 political organizations of the left have joined, a month and a half ago there were 30; 103 indigenous organizations and Indian peoples of Mexico, and there were 32 a month and a half ago; 162 social organizations and movements, and there were 47 a month and a half ago; 453 non-governmental organizations, collectives and groups, and there were 210 a month and a half ago; 1624 individuals or persons representing their families, barrios or communities, and there were 690 a month and a half ago.

Compañeros and compañeras, there’s this thing which is fashionable now having to do with models of oratory: for example, there’s the: “Which is my best side?” Like Catherine Deneuve says, la gauche, the left, and then someone goes like this and starts talking as if he really were thinking about what he’s saying. He bursts onto the airwaves with the precise words, and there are large pauses, and not because he’s mentally deficient, but because he’s taking up more time on television: I’m pausing. And he uses this technique because no one is watching the morning conferences, so there aren’t any commercials they can put in between pause and pause. There’s also the method of power confronting the polemic: “Señor Subcomandante Marcos, what do you have to say to Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the PRD?” “What my little finger says (the middle finger).” There are other oratorical methods which are also fashionable: “My crown fell off, and my brassiere is there”…There is the genealogical model: “My papa taught me that those who love Mexico sell it off completely, not in pieces.” The other, the self-deprecating model: “Because I’m mediocre, that’s why I want to be president.”

Those are more or less the styles of oratory recommended by image consultants, and they are very expensive. I can give you a few sentences for free. There are other methods of oratory. That method that goes “All of you close your eyes,” and here the public is divided between the bad thinkers who snatch purses and the good thinkers who say: “I thought you were never going to ask me”…That says “We’re all going to take each others hands” and then someone next to you begins gasping and rolling his eyes, “What’s going on, compañero, compañera?” “That’s not my hand.” There’s the punster “Compañeros and compañeras, we’re in a hole, pay attention.” There are the techniques we learned in the preparation meetings, where someone starts by saying: “I’ll be brief,” and half an hour later, it can be understood why he’s going to be brief. There’s the method of didactic help “One, two, three, four…vote.”

There’s also the method that’s used above a lot, the one with of the admonishing finger: “Honorable Congress of the Union,” I won’t say who, because…There’s that one that’s also used a lot: he’s bent over because he carries the weight of responsibility for the world on his shoulders: “We have to be serious, we can’t be laughing (pounds on the table)…laugh, compañeros, and we have to laugh because what we’re going to do is very serious.”

What we are going to do, together, is to shake this country from below, raise it up, turn it on its head. So then all the deprivations will be on display, all the contempt, all the exploitation. We are going to shake it, and perhaps we’re going to discover that it’s not complete. That it shouldn’t be that way. Then we’re going to have to broaden it once again, without any other above or any other below than those which are marked by its mountains, its valleys, its rivers and its lakes, and we’re going to put it together once again, anew, between the Pacific and the Atlantic and between the Rio Grande and the Suchiate, and then it will indeed have to start working.

What we have to build should not be decided on platforms, by the charismatic, or by the virtues or defects of oratory. It should be discovered below, decided below, worked below. Platforms should serve only for gathering together one word and many listeners. Its place should be secondary, because it is, in itself, a choosing and an exclusion. We do not trust orators.

We have to prepare ourselves for a mobilization, but compañeros and compañeras also have to be preparing themselves for repression. When Lieutenant Colonel Moisés spoke to us, he explained how the replacements were planned and organized. We are recommending that the social, political, non-governmental organizations, all of them, clearly establish their replacements, in such a way that any repressive action doesn’t leave the Other Campaign without leaders, and it will be able to continue forward.

We have to learn to name our prisoners and to name our repressions. At one of the meetings there was talk of the case of repression in Guadalajara against the young altermundistas. The ones who were speaking couldn’t give the prisoners names. That’s incredible. We, as the Other Campaign, cannot do that. We have to be loyal to our compañeros and not leave anyone alone, nor forget about anyone. And I’m going to name here, at one of the extremes, two compañeros, a man and a woman, who are prisoners and who – if we believe their relatives who came to one of the meetings – joined the Sexta. They’re the compañero Jacobo Silva Nogales and the compañera Gloria Arena Asís, prisoners from the Revolutionary Army of Insurgent People.

I’m going to read a poem by Jacobo Silva Nogales, which is called “Secondary Effects,” which he wrote exactly two years ago in the Almoloya jail:

If I could, perhaps
up there by the entrance
of the entrance I would put a sign
and it would say: “Warning,
drive with care.”
At very high doses,
it can produce sadness,
anxiety, neurosis, insomnia,
depression, suicide attempts,
family disintegration, loneliness, bitterness,
addictions to medicines or drugs,
to insipid TV programs,
to any sport, entertainment,
to sleep,
eyes closed or open,
claustrophobia, perhaps narcissism,
onanism or change of sexual option.
A brief contact could produce
repressed anger, a knot in the throat, burning in the eyes.
Prolonged exposure,
even indirect,
could produce hearts that are hard,
even more so than rocks.
And in extreme cases,
hidden sadism behind an austere face,
very serious.
Those are the rules.
In sensitive hearts,
it can cause a desire for some change,
and some little drops of effort.
And on the last line,
the label would read:
instead of the eternal “Consult your physician,”
just a simple:
“Consult yourself
and do something, god damn it!”

August 10, 2003, Almoloya of Juárez
Jacobo Silva Nogales

The Other Campaign should, then, name our prisoners and our disappeared, but also our dead. When we do this work, we are not looking to the future, or we are, but let us do so in reverse: looking towards our past, towards our dead. If we only look forward, inhibitions appear, the realism that “you have to be mature, prudent,” “you have to think about what can happen,” and “let’s not do this,” “let’s not do the other thing,” “be careful.”

Let us together, then, turn the indebtedness we have accumulated into debts. Let us struggle for them, for our dead, and for us ourselves. Then the morning will exist, with its own strength, and it will be, beyond a doubt, something else.

If we look to the future while forgetting where we came from, inhibitions will appear, good sense, prudence, fear, surrender and the worst betrayal of all, the betrayal of ourselves.

In an attempt to pass on liberties to generations yet to come, we would be passing chains and burdens on to them. Let us allow them to decide their own destiny, because that, and nothing else, is what it means to be free.

In that way the world will be a little better, and others, later, will give it form, direction, path, speed and destiny. Because it cannot be forgotten: there will always be what’s missing is missing.

The EZLN is putting its life into the Other Campaign and the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, its survival as an organization, its moral authority, the modest advances it has made. In sum: everything we have. In exchange for that, we are asking: everything for everyone, nothing for us.

Let everyone tell yourselves how much you will put into this endeavor and what you’re willing to do. Then, in accord with that, establish your commitment and what you expect in exchange.

The unity we need is not the one to which we’re accustomed, unity as hegemony and homogeneity. Someone who wins and leads all the others and makes them equal. In that unity, someone wins and someone loses, but not the one who should lose, the one above.

Building unity with a thirst for hegemony and homogeneity is condemned to failure.

Before she left, Ramona gave me this piece of embroidery she made when she was in Mexico City, recovering. She gave it to someone from civil society, who returned it to us at one of the preparation meetings. I gave it to her, she returned it to me and told me: “This is what we want from the Other Campaign.” These colors, not one more, but not one less.

Perhaps what we have to do is to understand unity like this piece of Ramona’s embroidery, where every color and every form has its place. There is no homogeneity, nor hegemony.

Understanding, in the end, unity as agreement on a path.

And that unity means, above all else, loyalty to one’s compañeros. We, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, are offering you our loyalty as compañeros: the same as we have with our communities and with our troops.

It has to do with the No-one whom we are defending his place, his path and his destiny, and, above all, the multiplicity of feet and ways of walking in the Other Campaign.

Within everything, let us leave space for imagination. What is going to take place, compañeros and compañeras, will certainly be nothing like what we imagine. Hopefully it will better, and hopefully it will not carry the burdens which we could pass on to it. May it also be free from us.

A long time ago there was a poem which was made into a song and was converted into a hymn. The words were emasculated along with its meaning. I’m going to paraphrase it: no more dictators or supreme saviors, no Caesar, no bourgeoisie, no god; neither Andrés nor Marcos, No-one will be his own redemption, It was a part of the International, but modified now.

Compañeros and compañeras:


I’m going to present the criteria by which the Sixth Committee of the EZLN will be going out:

Finances. There will not be any bank accounts. The Sixth Committee’s delegation will travel and be housed and fed solely through the support of those who have organized in states, regions and municipalities. What is received will go to and be collected by the delegation, or they will send them money so they can go to their location. The zapatista delegation will present an accounting of what it receives in each place.

Personal gifts will not be accepted, not even symbolic ones. Anything anyone wishes to send, should be sent to the communities.

Historians recount, if we are to believe them, that the first places in Mexico where critical anti-capitalist thought, and the effort to build a new society with new social relationships, arrived were the Chiapas coast and the Yucatán peninsula, among coffee and agave fiber plantation workers. That is where the Other Campaign is going to begin.

The zapatista delegation will begin where it began twelve years ago, one first of January, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the first of January of 2006.

The week of January 2 to January 8: Chiapas
From January 9 to January 15: Yucatán and Quintana Roo
From January 16 to January 22: Campeche and Tabasco
From January 23 to January 29: Veracruz
From January 30 to February 5: Oaxaca
From February 6 to February 12: Puebla
From February 13 to February 19: Tlaxcala
From February 20 to February 26: Hidalgo
From February 27 to March 5: Querétaro
From March 6 to March 12: Guanajuato and Aguascalientes
From March 13 to March 19: Jalisco
From March 20 to March 26: Nayarit and Colima
From March 27 to April 2: Michoacán
From April 3 to April 9: Guerrero
From April 10 to April 16: Morelos
From April 17 to April 23: Mexico State and the Federal District
From April 24 to April 30: Federal District and Mexico State
From the first of May to May 7: San Luis Potosí
From May 8 to May 14: Zacatecas
From May 15 to May 21: Nuevo León and Tamaulipas
From May 22 to May 28: Coahuila and Durango
From May 29 to June 4: Chihuahua and the first meeting with the chicano compañeros on the other side
From June 5 to June 11: Sinaloa and Sonora
From June 12 to June 18: Northern Baja California, Southern Baja California and the second meeting with Mexicans from the other side.

From June 19 to June 25: We are proposing that on Saturday, June 24, on the night of San Juan, a Plenary-Report be held in the Federal District and Mexico State.

On June 25, we will return to Chiapas, and we will wait for whatever happens.

The first departure, as I have already explained, will begin in the month of January and end in the month of June. Delegate Zero, which we call ourselves, I, will travel the country for six months on a first trip in order to hold state meetings of the Other Campaign and see to the transportation, lodging and feeding and movement plans for the Sixth Committee. Bilateral meetings will also be held with compañeros who request them in each state.

The second departure will be in September of 2006 until March of 2007. Another delegation will appear, which will be the national delegation and the regional or state delegations. The Sixth Committee of the EZLN is going to have a group that moves throughout the country, and other groups which establish themselves in the states or in the regions in order to conduct the Other Campaign.

The national delegation will hold bilateral talks and meetings throughout the country, by states. As that moves forward, regional delegations will be established, and they will begin the visits to the struggles, resistances and rebellions.

In April of 2007, the national and regional delegations will be replaced by a new team.

And so on, until we finish, if we finish.

What we are proposing in this discussion, to everyone, is that there not be any bank accounts. No “progressive” businessperson is going to sneak in, like they say to others.

That all of us will be supported with the help of the people, with donations, with boteo, whatever, and always turning in a clear accounting.

Without any, without any help from institutions or institutional political parties.

Teams will be organized in the states for making a social evaluation regarding the situation in each state and for going about collecting the demands, and the struggles, as they discover them in the advancement of the Other Campaign, by states, regions and sectors.

We are proposing that there not be any special committees. The only thing that would do would be to duplicate duties and create bureaucracies.

Concerning human rights, the way we see it is that in the Other Campaign we have, supporting the Sexta, the best non-governmental organizations expert in human rights in Mexico. I don’t see any reason why we would have to create another special commission.

As for propaganda, we have groups and collectives, and I’ve been seeing some of their publications and the things they are doing, and they’re really very good, of very good quality and everything. So I’m also proposing that, as for all that, everyone do their own thing.

Regarding gender, the compañeras have been working in that for a long time. The same applies with differences, those who are already engaged in that. In other words, let the Indian peoples organize themselves, as well as homosexuals, lesbians, etcetera.

Compañeros and compañeras:

Zapatista Army of National Liberation


In the name of the women, men, children and old ones of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, I am formally, and in a shared manner, handing over the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona and the Other Campaign to those political organizations, indigenous organizations and Indian peoples, social organizations and movements, non-governmental organizations, groups and collectives, families and individuals, who have joined the Sexta and who have committed themselves to working in a campaign to go to all the corners of Mexico where we are invited, in order, through another way of doing politics, to listen and to learn about the struggles, resistances and rebellions; to support them and to link with them in the building of a national program of anti-capitalist struggle of the left.

The Sexta and the Other Campaign no longer belong just to the EZLN, but to everyone who embraces them.

By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Comandanta Ramona,
Comandanta Susana,
Comandanta Esther,
Comandanta Miriam,
Comandanta Hortensia,
Comandanta Gabriela,
Comandante David,
Comandante Tacho,
Comandante Zebedeo,
Comandante Ramón.

By the insurgent troops and militia of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation,
Lieutenant Colonel Insurgente Moisés

By the Sixth Committee of the EZLN,
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

La Garrucha Caracol, Francisco Gómez Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipality, Chiapas, Mexico

September 16, 2005.

It is yours, compañeros.