Wednesday, October 19, 2005

EZLN: Other Campaign Plenary Narrative, Part 2

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN for the Other Campaign
*************************************
Translated by irlandesa




[Due to the length, I am translating this document in 10-15 page increments. This is Part 2 of this translation – irl]



Narrative of the First Plenary Session of the Other Campaign
September 17 and 18, 2005
Caracol of La Garrucha




23. José Antonio Yáñez, from the Reflection in Action collective
We believe that the Other Campaign is an opportunity for all of us to see, in practice, what we really are, if we are really democratic and inclusive. In addition to being peaceful and civil, the Other Campaign should be radical, even though this doesn’t necessarily mean carrying out extreme acts. If we call ourselves inclusive and democratic, but we’re not able to present proposals and projects, we run the risk of excluding or being excluded. Insofar as the Other Campaign is radical, it should address the root problems in order to establish a new model of social relationships. In order for the Other Campaign to not be just about dissemination, or propagandizing and the lifting of spirits, it has to be oriented towards real social change. We believe that, as we achieve the ability for analysis and understanding, we will be able to build a program of struggle which is not just anti-establishment. Specifically, if we want this Other Campaign to be different from the one the parties are carrying out, it should go to the fundamental and stress that we are different in practice.

Armando (from the same collective) (The assembly protested and asked him to sit down. He apologized in the name of his collective. He said he hadn’t intended to monopolize the time. He withdrew without speaking.)

24. Julio Muñoz Rubio
UNAM Professor, Faculty of Sciences. There is a risk that this campaign will be a campaign strictly tied to the political. This would be a mistake, because it would lead to limiting the campaign to just one part of the problems of the world, of the country and of the left. I am therefore proposing that the campaign be cultural in nature, which should not be confused with the artistic, because the cultural is much broader. We have the wrong idea about what capitalism is, because it’s thought to be a strictly economic system with political consequences. That is false. Capitalism dominates all aspects of life, in philosophy, the arts, the natural and social sciences, technology. Capitalism is an entire world vision. It is true that it’s a fragmentary, partial and limited conception of the world, but, at the end of the day, it is a vision which must be confronted by another world vision, another global vision, but one which is coherent and integrated. If this campaign doesn’t emphasize all this, it’s going to fall short, because it’s not going to be able to provide an answer for the totality of the forms of domination and of capitalist oppression: the classic capitalist oppression against wage earners, but also the domination and oppression of human beings against nature (including the mistreatment of animals), that of the adult or “mature” against children or adolescents, the heterosexual and monogamous against all other forms of sexuality and affective relations, of the “healthy” against the sick; the “whites” against other populations (not races), of all society against the indigenous cultures, and the urban countercultures being dominated in the arena of ideas, scientific theories and pseudo-scientists who justify all these oppressions. The Other Campaign should question capitalism’s ethical, epistemological and ontological values, especially in Mexico. Their esthetic bosses, their words in the political world and in the media, their dehumanizing, vulgar hedonism contained in various kinds of entertainment. Finally, the Other Campaign should emphasize the way capitalism has inserted in our minds the authoritarian values and principles of its behavior in order to convert us into reproducers of those values in all arenas of daily life. The campaign should, therefore, be “counter-hegemonic”, understanding hegemony as a world vision. That is why the struggle should be against capitalism and for the building of another vision. I am proposing that the Other Campaign declare itself to be “contra-hegemonic.”

25. David Domínguez
What I’m bringing are some proposals for broadening the campaign in the sense of security, because we’re all exposed to dangers by the State’s apparatus of repression. That we should, among ourselves, form self-help groups in order to protect each other. If anything were to happen to anyone, they would be recovered immediately. Also that we would have martial arts classes in order to defend ourselves. They are questions of security. If we don’t think the State has really swinish apparatuses of repression, this isn’t going to grow, and it’s going to fail from the beginning. It’s a proposal I have.

26. Mauricio Villegas
I think this could turn into an act of self-deception if we don’t understand the spirit of the Other Campaign. We say we’re anti-capitalist, but how many products have we decided not to buy from the big companies? We keep on buying, consuming. If we don’t sabotage things, like Gandhi did, we’ll be left with just very general positions. If Marcos and the EZLN want to direct this great movement, we have to sabotage the products of the big companies, promote fair trade in the communities. If we don’t do it, we’re going to come up short, we won’t get anywhere.

27. Alejandro Cruz, of the OIDHO
He belongs to Indian Organizations for Human Rights in Oaxaca. A question came up at a meeting with his peoples: How should this meeting be dealt with? After discussing it, they concluded they had to listen to other thoughts. How to respond to ideological confrontation, and how can it be resolved? The solution would be to deal more with the practical, organizing without going so much into the ideological. Placing more emphasis on how to engage in the practical before theorizing. He is willing to share his experiences in struggle against repression. That is why his concrete proposal is to create unity. They are worried because many compañeros are going to come to the meetings, but accords have to be created. We have to change the way of doing politics, create processes of accord and unity. He cited: “A cause doesn’t triumph because of its justice, but because of the strength and work of its followers.”

28. Cihuatl Arroyo
Greetings, and I hope everyone listens (Reads a poem)

“Here we are the forgotten ones even by ourselves…”
“Even here it is all the same.”
“I wish it were something else.”
“I hope the women speak a lot. There, with you in the other, on the left side of the heart…”
“Is it true that you are here? That your encouraging voice is full of love for the land”
“I hope your voice will be a call for attention, but not for a López, Sánchez…the adversary is called consumerism and indifference.”
“Let us move forward with the work which awaits us every day.”

29. Claudia López, from the Promotora
While we reach agreement, we have to look for what unifies us, what makes us brothers. Our thoughts unite us, our identity, the mother, those thoughts that are born from these lands. We are lost when we look for people to fight with, and nonetheless we should join together because of the land. Of what use is victory if, when it comes, we’re going to be dressed in Nikes and we forget our identity? My proposal is to center ourselves in what identifies us as Mexicans, to reclaim the identity and those values which we share.

30. Cecilio Pérez Hernández, from CNPI
They have a proposal-invitation: to come to San Felipe, Ecatepec. Proposes fighting for the defense of the lands and for rejecting government programs; that throughout the country education be redirected to the education of the indigenous peoples and that ancestral values be taken into consideration when learning history. That the free determination of the peoples be respected.

31. Francisco Reyes
Only National Front of Active Workers, Retirees and Pensioners of the IMSS. We believe that the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona is, right now, the best expression of the struggle of the workers of the countryside and the city, of the oppressed and exploited sectors. In the past, other efforts attempted to unify the struggles, and they lost their opportunity (like the front against privatization of the Electricity Industry). They lost by playing the election game, and their strength was reduced until it reached the point of extinction. They became institutionalized. The Sexta concurs with everyone’s desire to not engage in scattered struggles. The Sexta should form the organizations for the anti-capitalist left that we will be building. We should gather strengths in order to make a qualitative leap that will tell us that we are prepared for something wonderful. Everyone who should be here isn’t, but they will join together along the way. Meanwhile, the responsibility of those of us who are here is to care for each other, everyone from their movement, so that the Other Campaign is successful.

32. Enrique Guerrero, of the Friends of Puerto Rico committee
We have a proposal for the Sexta: That it explicitly include Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence and against US colonialism and imperialism (We’re bringing a gift, an independence flag from Puerto Rico).

33. Pietro Ameglio, of the Gandhi collective Pensar en Voz Alta [Thinking Out Loud]
The nature of the Sexta is primarily political, nationally and internationally, and they believe that the key aspect is educational. The Other Campaign is educational in nature, we cannot let that remain implicit. Knowledge must be constructed. The Other Campaign is going to allow there to be a map of autonomías and of social struggles in the countries. We have to create a shared knowledge of how to struggle better, to create a tactical and strategic plan for civil, peaceful struggle. The EZLN established three guidelines: listening, opting for moral strength and trusting in civil organization. All of this is summarized in our proposal which states the educational nature of study-action in the Other Campaign.

34. Sister Edith Hernández González
Brothers, sisters, my proposal is that the Other Campaign have the following characteristics:
1. That it be fully revolutionary. That all of us here break with our concepts of compañeros and families and see ourselves as a family. That we leave aside egoism, we have to listen to each other.
2. That we enter into a profound process of spiritual, personal, family and social transformation. We need to be born again, like Jesus said to Nicodemus.
3. To become aware of the fact that we ourselves have to become aware, to reorganize ourselves in this Other Campaign. We are going to become subjects of change, to be really anti-capitalist.
4. The Bible says that one does not have to follow the currents of the world.
5. That during the trip those who are going to go out in order to train ourselves, we should hold our meeting, see how we are going to do it and see what was accomplished. Then reorganize what comes next.

35. Alejandro Castillo
I think that, in the building of the Other Campaign, there are many aspects which can be developed from the cultural identity of the peoples. Recover the teachings of the Indian peoples. We have to present the discussion quite well, and the way the relationship with other peoples is presented, a dialogue with the world. We have to have a true debate through multiple points of view, from positivism, the dialectical, theological and from a neo-positivism.

36. Victor Guzmán, of Xi Nich
What stands out is that the indigenous peoples who talk about the characteristics of the Other Campaign are for a multicultural country, where all the recognized peoples of this country fit, and it should be oriented towards accompanying the struggle of the indigenous peoples in all corners of the country, for recognition, for the autonomías and the territories. They are struggling for the reconstitution of the peoples and for autonomía. The Other Campaign should be for the reconstitution of the country.

37. Martha Figueroa
A concrete proposal for the Other Campaign: the women’s organizations are not going to apologize. As women, we make up more than half the population, and we are mothers of the other half. As part of these others who think and feel differently, we came to propose that agreements are reached for this campaign in which equality of gender, class, ethnicity, differences and self-determination are expressed in all the struggles. We hope that these equalities will be considered to be irreplaceable principles for this campaign. That we who are different, women, indigenous, who have another political form of expressing ourselves, will have a place that will be guaranteed in an egalitarian manner. This is our unwavering principle. This vision of culture - which is the collective as being sometimes above the individual - means it must be guaranteed that all visions are part of which the Other Campaign is built. It should be a transversal vision. Forms of affect which are a political position. We do not want little separate houses. There are specific forms for each of our participations. This identity is made manifest every time we participate as young people, as indigenous. Participating in the campaign in all places is part of our identity and of this struggle which we want to continue engaging in.

38. Javier Fernández
I would suggest that, as this initiative is disseminated, the discussion should not be centered just around the political class, but directly on capital, that is the issue. We have to deal with the issue of capital and attack it. The other campaigns, those of the political parties, don’t want to affect capital. We have to accustom them to the fact that it is going to change. On the other hand, I sense that there’s not much emphasis on what has been presented, especially in the manner of linking with social struggles. There’s the case, for example, of the IMSS pensioners. We should seek the proper means of linking ourselves with everyone and of participating in and strengthening other struggles.

39. Beatriz Baños, of the Colectivo Homo Sapienz [Homo Sapiens Collective]
Came out in favor of the Other Campaign stating that it is of the left and anti-capitalist, that alternatives be proposed for fighting capitalism. It has to be extended throughout the world.

40. Mariana Mora
I have a concrete proposal about how to build an anti-capitalist struggle for the transformation of the nation. We have been fighting for eleven years for the recognition of indigenous rights and culture. It was never a separate point. It was always a central point for the transformation of the nation. We have listened to Comandantas Esther and Ramona over these last few weeks, who have also talked about the right of women to participate as a focal point of the struggle. We have heard about the right to different forms of love, but also of speaking, understanding the idiom, not just of the peoples, but also as forms of communication, for example, as young people do it. That is why the issue of respect for differences is a focal point, a principle which has to be part of the characteristics of the Other Campaign. My concrete proposal is that the Other Campaign include that it is against discrimination against indigenous peoples, against sexism, against homophobia and in favor of a Mexico where many Mexicos fit.

41. Faustino Santiago, of the Only National Front of Active Workers, Retirees and Pensioners of the IMSS
We aren’t for the government’s politics, a politics of handouts which have done much damage to our culture. It is difficult, but not impossible, to destroy this system. We reaffirm our support of the Sexta. A very important goal of this train that is the Other Campaign is that we will be going very far. Some will want to get off at the next stop. But we don’t. We are going much further.

42. Reinaldo Beltrán, of the Che Guevara Collective
They are in agreement with declaring the Sexta anti-hierarchical and anti-capitalist. Given that the Other Campaign will be fighting capitalism, there has to be a program for linking different economic programs, through the creation of self managing economic programs in different communities and to create networks of production and consumption. They said the Other Campaign should assume the basic infrastructure for the other economic program. They proposed that the only flag that the members of the Sexta should carry is Comandanta Ramona’s embroidery piece.

43. Virginia Ortega
I’m from the Popular Defense Committee of the Valley of Mexico. We are here because of the interest we have had in this struggle over the last eleven years. The Sexta is ours. We have supported it, we are participating and we issued a communiqué to all our bases to be with us. We are holding assemblies in order to release the communiqués from this important place. We have come in order to join and to tell Marcos that he is not alone. He can count on our associations in the DF. We will continue holding assemblies and adding more people for a new country, a patria we have forgotten. Our country has always been large, combative, well-informed. We will continue being committed to giving our people all the information about everyplace we are. The Other Campaign is, for us, information. The people are not ignorant, it’s a lack of information. We have to exercise the right to do, say and state. We are doing so. That is going to be the Other Campaign’s success.

44. Martha Patricia Ortiz
We are saying our small word from the village of Tetelzingo, Morelos. Greetings from those in Tetelzingo who have joined with the Sexta. We want a new world without exclusion, where the poor listen to the poor and believe in their word. We are ratifying our support of the Sexta. That is why we are here. Saludos.

45. Mayan Peninsular Forum of Quintana Roo
They summarized some affirmative characteristics and proposed some additions. They proposed that the Other Campaign be representative, democratic, plural, popular and responsive to the needs of the people, establishing democratic procedures for decision making. In addition it should establish conditions for a more just society, promote the development of liberty and enforce universal rights. They proposed that this campaign doesn’t just turn into a place for crowds, instead it should establish itself as organized social classes. Another aspect is to transform from dominant and working class and install democracy and a socialized system in order to make the indigenous and the citizens compatible in their constitution. Form a multicultural Nation State which recognizes equality and differences.

46. Gregorio Miranda
Revolutionary Left Force of the People. Ratifying the Sexta and the point [agenda point under discussion], we are proposing that it state that the Other Campaign is the accumulation of the resistance and of the rebellion of hundreds of years and of thousands of Mexicans who have said basta to capitalism. That it is the response of thousands of Mexicans in response to the great election banquet which is trying to maintain this system. Today we are coming out as Mexicans for national liberation. A Mexico and a new world is possible.


47. Alan Tapia
Ciudad Juárez is the laboratory of our future. Forty years of the capitalist economic model has resulted in very serious problems, among them, and importantly, the feminicides and the maquiladora industry, which is predatory and exploitative. We have managed to raise the issue of the murders of the women on the national and international level, but they have not been solved. The murders of the women are classist. We propose that solving and ending the murders be put on the same level as the defense of energy, that is, that it not be a local demand, but rather a demand of all of us who are participating in the Other Campaign. What is happening in Juárez is what happens to a city when it counts only on international capital and it rejects community work and society’s work.

48. Sergio Rodríguez Arona, from the Citizens Collective Front of Southern Baja California
The Sexta proposes building from below and for below in order to destroy neoliberalism, which doesn’t have only to do with marches, but also with the resistance we see in our tables and homes. He proposed that we all build an Economic Development Program in order to confront the neoliberal program. The ejido no longer exists in BCS [Southern Baja California], everything is privatized and in foreign hands. The PRI and the PAN have handed over sovereignty. They want help in forming the economic development program.

49. Compañero Édgar, from the Women and Men for Equality Organization in Tepito
I am telling you that we embrace the Sixth Declaration, and we support the Other Campaign. We are proposing that a vote of confidence be given to the EZLN and in that way conclude the debate.

50. Beatriz Torres
That the Other Campaign not be an alliance just with humanity, but rather a man/nature alliance. That we pay attention to the environment and know how to listen to it. It’s not only the neoliberals who could do away with it.

51. Rodrigo Ibarra
Who are the ones who didn’t come? Those who didn’t have the money, but there are also many others who didn’t come, those who are resigned to sorrow, those who have been blinded by hunger, those who don’t move because despair has left them in oblivion. Are they not our brothers? Are we willing to build all of them a new world? This campaign is a very otherly hurricane which is born from our mouths and our hearts. It will not be stopped until it carries fertile water to the deserts. When it arrives, we will all be there, and the caracol will be called Mexico. Strength is on the path and in the link with the dream. Proposes that we see it without forgetting that it is path, creative process, and that we are defining the first steps.

52. Sergio Santiago Cruz
From the Martín Lancero Popular Defense Committee, of Cosoleacaque, Veracruz. As we already stated on August 20 in Dolores Hidalgo, we join in with the Sexta. We are waiting for you in the southeastern region of Veracruz. Seven compañeros are willing to give their lives in order to protect Sub Marcos. They have written in their own hand their complete commitment. During your next visit, even though you are going to listen and not speak, we are asking that, when they speak and tell you about all their problems and all their struggles and everything the government is doing to them, you tell them what they are going through is pure neoliberalism, savage capitalism. We are proposing to everyone that we be more of a people. That we learn to feel what the people feel. We are delivering our document of commitment to the EZLN and a document we delivered to the government about the problems we have with the CFE about a dam.

53. Yoyo, from Jerusalén
We want a cultural, spiritual and environmental revolution. If we don’t take these issues into account in the Other Campaign, we will be forgetting the most important. We are proposing to reform the use of the word anti-capitalist. We are for an alternative democracy. It is inconsistent to attack capital if we continue consuming products. We are all accomplices of capitalism as consumers. We can speak of alternatives through sustainability. The foundation of these alternatives is the organic, autonomous self-sustaining communities. We are proposing that the Other Campaign reevaluate its methodology and, instead of traveling through the cities where the foci of capital are located, go by horseback through the rural communities.

54. Enlace Civil
They wanted to add characteristics: that the Other Campaign take into account all the aspects of dignified life. That it be exemplary and self-critical, that it favor mutual ethics over ideologies, that it be a joint place of collective conscience and that it express itself against discrimination.

55. Jorge Salinas, from the zapatista telephone workers collective
We in the collective are very happy to be in this community after eleven years of a successful movement by civil society which was able to bring help here. It’s worth remembering. Towards a program of struggle is one of the aspects of this first point. We are making a very concrete proposal. In 1990, Carlos Salinas de Gortari awarded the telephone company to Carlos Slim. Today Peje has awarded him the historical center because he has the telephone industry in his hands. This great popular group should take the struggle for recovering the telephone industry into their own hands, once again into the hands of the nation. Take it away from that swine Carlos Slim and the pro-management unions. If the telephone industry were returned to the hands of the nation, the wealth could be used for the nation’s demands.

56. Gregorio Pérez Núñez, from Matías Romero
Fraternal greetings. We can’t be beating each other up. It’s said we’re looking for unity, that’s why we can’t be enemies between brothers. If we want a new country, we have to work shoulder to shoulder in order to be successful. If we want a new country, we have to build a new program.

57. Juan Trujillo, Political Science student at UNAM
The Other Campaign has to put emphasis on the artistic-cultural. During the Sixth Committee’s trip, the cultural organizations will be not only a weapon, but also a means of judgment against capitalist forms. Theoretical-philosophical discussion centers can be organized now in order to achieve unity for constructing the utopia of a better life and for creating a solid movement. They proposed developing political consciousness and achieving legitimacy. We need to recover the pre-Hispanic vision, the Other is a metaphor which is looking for results not in one year, but over several years. In order to understand it, we need to recover cyclical time, the land. Solidarity with Latin America has to be the general nature of the Sexta and the Other Campaign, perhaps not in the short and mid term, but using words, performances, art, etc., in order to link the struggles.

58. Jorge Huerta
From the Native Art collective. We’re in agreement with what the EZLN has presented, but we’re proposing that the organizations make real the statement that we are broad and plural. When we propose a boycott, they tell us it’s out of context. As for the professor of the Science faculty, the struggle has to embrace all aspects. We should say what kind of products we’re going to boycott. These struggles aren’t out of context. The problem of pre-Hispanic history has to be addressed in depth. There is the problem of identity. If we are engaged in a national struggle, we have to make clear what the uses and customs are that we should be defending. The indigenous are fighting for their uses and customs to be respected, because they’re clear as to what they are. But we, as mestizos, should fight for uses and customs which bring us closer to the land. Consuming nopal, consuming beans and the products which bring us closer to our national identity, class, which make us more like other struggles. To make clear which are the products which bring us close to capitalism and we have to eradicate. Make a list of the uses, customs and products that we’re proposing should be rejected because they belong to the culture imposed by capitalism, as well as promoting a list of uses, customs and products which help us create an alternative economy and helps us rescue and create a national and class identity (products which bring us closer to our land), as well as rescuing our pre-Hispanic history.

59. Martha Mendoza (in defense of animals)
We are proposing that in the Other Campaign the changing of the patriarchal mental structure be promoted, as well as sensitizing the heart so that as human beings we respect non-human beings. Since we are against the system doing violence to us, we, as non-violent human beings should not abuse non-human beings and their habitats. If we achieve that, we will be better quality and conscientious beings with our goal of creating a world where many worlds fit.

60. Óscar Chávez
Comes from Anarcopunk Space, reporting on the situation of the prisoners in Guadalajara: the two compañeros who were talked about yesterday have not been able to leave, since their case is continuing. In addition, there are 31 other prisoners. There has been one year and four months of repression, resulting in 12 people sentenced, one free and four guilty minors. Their concrete proposal is that the Other Campaign be in solidarity with the prisoners. Networks must be created for freedom for political, indigenous, worker and student prisoners. Down with prison walls.

61. Eva Macossay, from the Popular Culture Movement of Yucatan
We have to be humble and a little self-critical. It’s fairly obvious how much we’re lacking in terms of organization. If the zapatistas and indigenous organizations have taught us anything, it’s that capacity for organization. Reach an agreement, but not just that. Also, do it, not just say it. We don’t need the microphone for expressing solidarity and recounting our histories, because that is built with our struggles. Use it for proposing and building. Proposal: that we be consistent with our words about getting rid of conventional methods (westernized). That the Other Campaign not forget about an issue that’s fundamental: racism and discrimination (subtle levels, psychological). You’re not going to get rid of five centuries of racist culture in a flash. We have to make an effort at introspection in search of that little racist we all carry inside ourselves so we can see how it manifests itself in our daily lives. We have to look for and discuss experiences in order to try and explain this phenomenon in the present. I propose that we especially work on this with the children, racism in schools (in formal education, but also in informal education), because they are the ones who can have the road half done. That the Other Campaign work with children and young people, orient them ideologically and educate them on justice and solidarity.

62. Hermenegildo Aguilera, from Nezahualcóyotl


Greetings to those with whom we’re sharing this dialogue. We want to tell you that we join in with this program. It is part of our ideology to support popular movements and be in solidarity with them. The popular movements are those which are fighting for their rights and recognition. We have followed your struggle, and we respect it. The EZLN has the stature to call on us for a struggle for a better Mexico. It is calling on us to struggle for a place for the left, strengthening the resistance. The Other Campaign is necessary in order to question the practices of the political class.

63. The compañera E. González
Her concern – being from Oaxaca – is the safety of the Sup when he goes out for his trip. We need to pick that responsibility back up and decide who is going to enter in a serious manner. We have to be more open and sure about what we’re going to do. There is very great repression in Oaxaca with the new government.



[Translator’s note: You will see the voice move between first and third person, which is how these narratives were compiled: the nature of taking minutes – irl]

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

CCRI-CG/EZLN: requesting aid for storm victims

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
*************************************
Translated by irlandesa


Communiqué from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Mexico


October 17, 2005

To the People of Mexico
To the Peoples of the World
To the Other Campaign

Brothers and Sisters
Compañeras and Compañeros:


First - As everyone is aware, the heavy rains of the last few weeks have caused serious damage to the poor population of several states of the Mexican Republic, among them the state of Chiapas. Owing to this catastrophe, the very poorest have been left with nothing, and, in addition to the burden of pain at having lost what little they had, they must now put up with the bad leaders’ inability to provide humanitarian aid, politicians using the media to plunder their misfortune and the one who turns the disaster zones into an election bulletin.

Second - Apart from the bureaucracies and corruption of the Mexican political class (which has turned the misfortunes of the poorest into a publicity spot), honest non-governmental organizations, groups, social organizations, political organizations of the left and individuals are organizing help for the affected persons.

Third - At the present time, authorities of the Good Government Junta of the Selva-Border Region and the “Tierra y Libertad” Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipality, which includes communities in the Border, Sierra and Coast of Chiapas, have gone personally to the affected area in order to see how the zapatista support base compañeros and compañeras who reside in those places are doing.

Fourth - The Good Government Committee has only been able to reach a few areas, because the roads to some zapatista communities and villages are cut off. The first report from the Good Government Junta notes, up to now, that there are close to 300 zapatista support bases who are suffering from damage caused by the rains, hill slides and rivers overflowing. 62 homes were destroyed, 37 of them completely and 25 with severe damage.

Fifth - The Good Government Junta of La Realidad is devoting part of its resources to helping these compañeros and compañeras. The zapatista peoples in other areas are also organizing aid, and the EZLN has already earmarked part of its war funds for helping our support bases in those places, but it is not enough, and we are having difficulties with transportation.

Sixth - The CCRI-CG of the EZLN is, therefore, respectfully addressing their compañeros and compañeras from the “Other” Campaign and individuals, groups and collectives from other countries, and it is calling on them to organize, below and to the left of governments and political parties, direct aid for this region. We are especially directing ourselves to the compañeros and compañeras of the “Other” Campaign in Chiapas so that they can provide premises and transportation.

Seventh - As offered to the Good Government of Junta of La Realidad, aid can be received at the following locations in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas (to be then moved from there to those places that need it): Desmi A.C., Enlace Civil and Melel Xojobal. The humanitarian aid will be received directly by the zapatista indigenous victims.


Democracy!!
Liberty!!
Justice!!


From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, October of 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

Autonomías warn of pending attack on Olga Isabel

Originally published in Spanish by the MAREZ
*******************************
Translated by irlandesa


Corazón del Arcoiris de la Esperanza Good Government Junta


Caracol 4, Torbellino de Nuestras Palabras, on October 16, 2005, we are making a denuncia concerning a threat from the OPDDIC organization.


To Public Opinion:

Brothers and Sisters, Nationally and Internationally:


On October 14, 2005, members of the OPDDIC organization held an assembly in the community of Chak Akolja. Present at the assembly were the representatives or leaders of that organization along with the ejidal commissioner of Mukul Lim Bachajon, Barrio San Sebastián, Jerónimo Deméza Jiménez, president of the security council, Domingo García Pérez, secretary of the council and as Secretary General of OPDDIC, Leonardo Moreno Jiménez.

Where [at the assembly] the OPDDIC members planned to once again open up the rift and possessions, given that it is land recovered by the zapatista compañeros in 1994 and the Olga Isabel Municipal seat.

They also made plans to dismantle the Olga Isabel Autonomous Municipality, to destroy the houses, offices, bodegas, schools, health centers and the compañeras’ crafts center and to detain the most well-known autonomous authorities.

If there are any attempts to prevent these actions, there are 35 persons who have high powered firearms who are determined to open fire on the zapatista support base compañeros of that municipality.

There are 300 persons gathered together from various communities and ejidos in order to carry out these actions:

- Jetjá, Nuevo Joto Aquil, and others who will be coming from the Selva.
- The leaders agreed to contribute $50 for transportation for those who live far away, and then laminate will be distributed in order to recover the money.
- They said this action would be carried out on October 17 or 18 of 2005.
- These groups will gather together in the municipality itself.


Sincerely,

The Good Government Junta


Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion:

Vicente Guerrero, Primero de Enero, Lucio Cabañas, Che Guevara, 17 de Noviembre, Olga Isabel and Miguel Hidalgo

Caracol IV, Torbellino de Nuestros Palabras, Chiapas, Mexico
[Signature and Seal]

Thursday, October 13, 2005

EZLN: 2 communiques in support of the IMSS

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
*************************************
Translated by irlandesa


[Two communiqués follow: the first from the CCRI-CG of the EZLN and the second from Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos]



Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Mexico


October of 2005

To the Workers of the IMSS:
To the Other Campaign:
To the People of Mexico:

Compañeras and Compañeros:

We are sending you our greetings and respect. We are writing in order to tell you that we are supporting you in your struggle to prevent Vicente Fox’s government from achieving the privatization of public health and for the defense of your rights and social achievements. We know quite well that there have been many attacks against you and that you are now, as previously, the object of a media campaign to discredit you and to set the Mexican people against you. That is why we want to tell you that we know quite well that the lies they are saying against you conceal the truth about the big business which the federal government, headed by the National Action Party (PAN) has been turned into.

We know that your struggle, against management, against the government and against the pro-management unions, is not just to defend your rights as workers, but it is also to defend the union victories of all workers, and it is also for the right of the people to health care.

We know of your decision to not surrender and to not sell out, and that you are willing to go as far as mounting a strike. That is why we want you to know that the men, women, children and old ones of the EZLN will help you in any way we can, and we will be alert to see that no evil is done to you, because strikes are a right of the worker and should be respected.

We are calling on the people of Mexico to not let themselves be deceived by the lies spoken about those workers, because that is just what the powerful do, when someone rebels against injustice, they invent crimes and falsehoods so they will be left by themselves, without the help of the humble people.

We are making a special call to all the compañeros and compañeras of the “Other” campaign, to mobilize in support of these compañeros and compañeras, workers of the IMSS, in the ways and times they establish; to disseminate true information about the IMSS and their workers; and that we carry out joint actions so that these compañeros know they are not alone.

Lastly, we are telling the workers of the Mexican Institute of Social Security that they can count on us, the zapatistas of the EZLN, to be as we, in fact, are: as compañeros and compañeras of struggle.

Democracy!
Liberty!
Justice!

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, October of 2005

***************************************************

After the Storm Comes…
the “Other” Storm


“and by the strength of our weaknesses
we will be the strongest of the world,
of history and of the right struggles.”
Roque Dalton


October of 2005.

I hope you are well. We are, more or less, recovering little by little from the shipwreck, and worried about the compas on the Coast and in all the affected states. Surely those supporters of the Sexta who are still dry will extend bridges below for that support which is owed between compañeros and compañeras. What is happening above is nothing but a publicity spot, and, when prime time is over, the histories of the omissions, lack of responsibility and inefficiencies of the state and federal governments which aren’t even good for entertainment will remain buried (like under the water and the mud).

Behind the images and the sounds of the catastrophe the storm provoked down here, one can see the government program which, with different colors and initials, is being waged up above: turning our country into a huge disaster zone and the Mexicans into a large mass of victims, victims suitable for instantaneous media charity (because one doesn’t have to exaggerate, they say, after all, the most important thing is still the election campaigns).

You know what? You can sense a certain desperation up there. As if the “respectable” public were increasingly reluctant to consume the plastic, transgenetic news stories that they’re being offered one after another: a helicopter which fell or “was felled” and the habitual absence of an official whose death snuffed out that of Miguel Ángel Mesino M. and that of Tomás Cruz Zamora (the latter the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to Parota – CECOP). In other words, there are deaths above and deaths below. Those of above deserve headlines, prime time, speculations. Those of below…well, what better example than the attitude of the Governor of Guerrero, Zeferino Torreblanca (who reached the position with the initials and colors of the PRD), who asked “that these crimes not be magnified.” And then there aren’t, as they then said, “favorable conditions”: during the celebration of the sub 17 world victory, the rains came to ruin everything and to remind us that misfortune also has a class predilection and preferentially embraces those who have little and then lose it.

Fox already said that “after the storm comes the calm.” The only thing he missed was asking “don’t magnify these things.” Now the news will go somewhere else, and in the devastated areas the networks of corruption and complicity, which will ensure that history repeats itself, will be rebuilt in silence. And the millions of victims? They will move from being a news item to being a campaign item: “if you vote for me, this won’t happen again…because others will be the ones to profit from their misfortune.”

But up above they don’t see that after the storm the calm doesn’t come, but instead an “other” storm, one that will go from below to above, which will shake this sorrow we call Patria and which will return to it what it once had: dignity. And, like a small and weak wind, perhaps just a little cloud, the “other” campaign will begin to raise up everywhere, from the irate Suchiate to beyond the Rio Grande.

You ask me about the problem of the compas from the IMSS, about the media campaign against them (one day they’re “spoiled” workers and the next they’re “anti-Semitic” nazis) and about the Other Campaign’s role in this and in other movements.

Well, during the preparation meetings we heard from some persons (mostly women) who are engaged in that movement: they don’t receive any pay whatsoever for their political work, they take time from their free moments in order to organize, study and struggle for their rights, they are more concerned for the generations of workers to come than they are for themselves (yes, like the student movement of 1999-2000), and we spoke with that camaraderie of those who know they are engaged in the same effort. They recently sent us some documents. As far as I understand what they wrote me (and without trying to replace their voice) about the struggle of the IMSS workers, and at the risk of being too succinct, I can tell you the following:

- The premise of a state or para-state owned company is not the same as that of a private company. While the latter is only interested in profits at all costs (even extending to crime), the former is interested in social service, service to the community (or it should be). Private companies seek to benefit the businessman, the state and para-state owned ones seek (or should) to benefit the people, the workers, or however they want to be called.
- Leaving aside the issue of whether the existence of state or para-state owned companies are a palliative for social discontent, a means of control, or an achievement of social struggle (for us, it is, above all, the latter), those who are employed there are workers (with rights to win and to defend in the face of an owner (the State, in this case). Ergo, they have the right to organize in unions, union wings, collectives, groups, circles or however they want to call themselves and to operate.
- In present-day capitalism, the thirst for capitalist profits doesn’t stop at the State boundaries. That is why they try to gain control of everything that does, or can, create profits, including state and para-state owned companies. This buying/selling of State property is one of the characteristics of neoliberalism, and it counts on the complicity of officials (who, being politicians, transform themselves into managers).
- The common premise of neoliberal governments is: take over a state or para-state owned company; team up with stupid and/or corrupt officials and corrupt and/or stupid union leaders, in order to loot the patrimony; make it inefficient and costly; argue that it has to be sold so it can deliver good service and be competitive; modify or violate the laws that prevent privatization; sell it; get rid of the workers and/or their organizations; declare that the country is making progress because direct foreign investment has increased, “which reflects the high level of confidence which Mexico has gained at the global level in an increasingly competitive world” (grammatical infamy, the responsibility of the current official).
- In Mexico, at least since the administration of Miguel de la Madrid, successive governments have made privatization the backbone of their economic program. The results are obvious: the quantity and quality of services decrease, unemployment grows and salaries fall, businessmen’s profits increase and social well-being decreases. In sum: with this politics, more are increasingly worse off, and fewer are increasingly better off.
- For two decades the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) has been one of the principal objectives of neoliberal governments. On the one hand it has carried out a policy of looting and undercapitalizing the IMSS in order to justify its privatization. The idea isn’t just to have the IMSS “run out” of funds, but to “transfer” them to the big capitalists. With the approval of the Reforms to the Social Security Law – in which pension funds were privatized by creating AFORES – a profit of 60 billion pesos has been created, which has gone into the coffers of big banks which today are already in the hands of international financial capital. The employer’s contribution for illness and maternity insurance was reduced by 33%. In addition, instead of investing in the maintenance and modernization of equipment in the IMSS, they have put it into private hospital medical services such as ambulances, surgeries and clinical studies (in other words, private companies being financed with public money). In addition, there is the following: salary reductions of up to 70%; precariousness in employment; budget reduction; increase in salaries and benefits for top officials; the toleration of the extension and evasion of employer’s contributions.
- When the Reforms to the Social Security Law were approved in 2004, the Federal Labor Law and the Collective Labor Contract were violated, because two labor regimens were established: one for those who had already been working prior to the reform and another for those who entered the workforce afterwards. There are worse provisions for retirement for the latter than for the former.
- All of this demonstrates to us a conscious policy by businessmen, politicians and union bureaucrats of the pro-management unions to undercapitalize the IMSS in order to deliver it the final blow and to carry out the privatization of public medical services.
- This is aimed not only at those who are working at the IMSS, but also at all workers and their families.
- The workers in the IMSS who are struggling against this plan of destruction are for: turning back the 2004 reforms; not allowing the existence of two kinds of labor relationships; making an audit of the IMSS finances in order to detect the dirty deals of successive boards; carrying out mobilizations in order to prevent pro-management unions from betraying the accords; defending the IMSS and the demands of its workers; preparations for a national strike if the neoliberal plan doesn’t back off; wage increases of 10%; and earmarking 50% of surplus oil profits for financially strengthening the IMSS.
- The struggle of the IMSS workers is nothing less than the defense of health care, of social security, of labor rights, of collective contracts and of the unions.
- As might be expected, this movement has been the object of a real slander campaign in the media. The common argument is that the IMSS workers, and the pensioners in the IMSS regimen, are “privileged” workers as regards pensions. A pensioner from the IMSS regimen receives close to 22,000 pesos per year (less than 2000 pesos a month), while the Fox government supports the truly “privileged” : the banks (during the administration of “change” close to one billion, 400,000 million pesos will be paid out for debt service); the ex-presidents (there are 4 of them, and they receive close to 45 million pesos each per year – or more than 2 million pesos a month); the ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (more than 133 million pesos a year for each one of those living or for their widows – or more than 10 million pesos monthly).

In summary: these compañeros and compañeras of the IMSS have managed to raise an intelligent and dignified struggle in order to check the privatization offensive of above. On the other hand, pro-management unions don’t have it easy: if they take the side of the workers, they will be of no use to management and the government; and if they take the side of management, they’ll be of no use to the workers. And, looked at carefully, these movements are also useful for that: for demonstrating the uselessness of the charros [the term means both cowboys and also pro-management unions] for anything other than folklore for bewildered tourists.

And if the government does not stop, and it insists on imposing its privatization, then it will be confronting not just the IMSS strike, but also the support which the entire Other Campaign in general, and the EZLN in particular, will have to offer them as the compañeros we are.

As for the rest, what can I tell you: that the Other continues to grow (as of October 2 there are now 64 political organizations of the left, 118 indigenous organizations. 197 social organizations, 474 NGOs/groups/collectives and 1898 individuals), slowly but inexorably. The assessments of the Plenary are beginning to arrive, the opinions on the 6 points of definition and the proposals (some of them including weight loss diets) for “Agent X’s” first trip.

We believe that the eagerness for self-purification when we’ve just begun will soon be overcome, and the stage of “ismos” (sometimes as praise and sometimes as insult) will pass when it becomes understood that to be of the left in the Mexico of today is to be, at the least, not in the center, but to the left of the right. I don’t know very well what will happen, but, believe me, the results will not be a left agreeable to the right, it will be an “other left.”

I’ll say goodbye now. Be sure to write, since sometimes we also walk in words.

Vale. Salud and may the wind which we are continue to grow.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, October of 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Other Campaign Plenary Narrative [Part 1]

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN for the Other Campaign
*************************************
Translated by irlandesa


[Given the length of the narratives, I’m going to be translating and posting them in 10 to 15 page increments – irl]



Narrative of the Plenary Session of the Other Campaign [Part 1]

September 17 and 18, 2005, Caracol of La Garrucha



AGENDA

1. Concerning the ratification, broadening or modification of the features of the Other Campaign as proposed in the Sixth Declaration.
2. Concerning the definition of who is being convened and who is not.
3. Concerning the organizational structure of the Other Campaign.
4. Concerning the special place of differences in the Other Campaign: indigenous, women, other loves, young people, children and others.
5. Concerning the Other Campaign’s position vis-à-vis other organizational efforts (Promotora, Frentote, National Dialogues).
6. Concerning immediate national political/general organizational tasks (dissemination and information).
7. Concerning what is missing.


The EZLN is announcing that it will be holding bilateral meetings throughout the month of October with all those member organizations, persons and groups who wish to disseminate the Other Campaign. I am asking them to note those bilateral meetings through Revista Rebeldía.

The EZLN is proposing that there be political, artistic and cultural events throughout the country in memory of our dead, political prisoners and disappeared on October 29, 30 and 31, as well as on November 1 and 2. It is also being proposed that a large event be held in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The EZLN is proposing that the month of November be for dissemination, and that an event or several events be held in December for the Other Campaign.

Present for the EZLN are Comandantas Rosalinda, Kelly, Yolanda, Gabino, Gustavo, Omar, Zebedeo, Tacho, David, Hortensia, Miriam and Lieutenant Colonel Moisés. Comandantas Hortensia and Miriam will be in charge of recognizing speakers. Comandantes Zebedeo, David and Tacho will be in charge of monitoring the time for members of the audience so they don’t run over their five minutes.


AN INITIAL DISCUSSION TOOK PLACE CONCERNING TASKS

1. POS: We propose that there be immediate tasks and that a package be prepared of different kinds of tasks. That a distinction be made for some national political tasks. That the point be divided in two: national political tasks and the rest of the tasks. If this is what we do, that this point take place prior to the definition. Before that point. And that afterwards the Other [Campaign’s] position vis-à-vis the Promotora, the Frentote and the rest.

THE DIVISION OF IMMEDIATE TASKS INTO TWO PARTS WAS APPROVED

2. Comité de Lucha José Martí [José Martí Committee of Struggle]: proposes that general or global projects be presented and the discussion not be about small details, but rather involve large proposals which are to be voted on at a general level. That each organization present global proposals.

3. Mariana, of the SCLC, proposes devoting a specific space for gender, ethnicity, but not just a special place, instead that these issues be addressed within each point in order to ensure that these points are discussed in each issue. How to build a “we” which includes a space against discrimination at all different levels.

Whether differences should be addressed in all the points or if they should be handled in a special manner was put to a vote.

If they should be addressed in all the points:
247 in favor

If they should be handled in a different manner:
419 in favor

Subcomandante Marcos:
It stands as it is.

4. Armando Martínez Verdugo: As a first point, the national political situation. It is not possible for us to begin seeing the characteristics of the Other if we don’t clearly define what the challenges are which must be confronted. We should first discuss the political situation here in Mexico.

THE PROPOSAL WAS NOT APPROVED.

5. Jesús Franco, DF: Concerning the proposal by the compañera concerning differences in each point, that two very specific points be included. If it remains as one point, you run the risk that it would be nothing more than a general statement, and we won’t all discuss it. Everyone understanding the national political situation. That what we understand within the Other concerning other excluded sectors be very precise and that it guide the discussion a bit.

6. Angélica, from Un Puente a La Esperanza [A Bridge to Hope]: This campaign is an opportunity and a political space for reinforcing the autonomous projects of the indigenous communities. They exist in Xochimilco and Zirahuén. That it serve to build ties, networks and to strengthen the autonomías. That we can begin to build and to provide new ways of doing politics that are more than just words.

7. A compañera: First of all, we’re missing the contents: what kind of opposition are we going to engage in against the political parties.

8. A compañero: We support what the compañera said. It’s not necessary to travel all over the country, but rather an economic self-management effort. Creating the brigades. That they deal with it in all the tasks.

9. María Elena, of the FZ: That the agenda stay the same, because it’s part of the identity of number five [fifth Agenda point, see above]. They are organizational and structural proposals. That the fifth stays as it is, and then the tasks, the how-to.

APPROVED

The discussion concerning the agenda begins:

FIRST POINT. Concerning the ratification, broadening and modification of the features of the Other Campaign as proposed in the Sixth Declaration.

Sup:
The list of speakers is opened.

1. Coordinadora Anarquista Feminista [Anarchist Feminist Coordinating Group]

As to the first point, where the features of the Other Campaign have to be defined, the Coordinadora proposes that it be civil, peaceful, national and in solidarity with resistance struggles throughout the world. That it be anti-capitalist. We are proposing that the Other Campaign be of the left, but an anti-hierarchical and antiauthoritarian left. A left which tries to change relationships.


2. Jesús Franco, DF:
Proposing that listening is emphasized in the Other Campaign, we have to turn around all the propaganda from the political parties, where they conceal the country’s problems, and, like Subcomandante Marcos said, turn the country on its head. All of us are ready here to make a statement, to take a position and to debate, but it seems like we’re not ready to listen to other people’s proposals. And so I’m proposing that what we really stress in the first parts of the Other Campaign is linking ourselves with diverse organizations, NGOs of various types that work in different places, not just sector organizations or political organizations. We have to work a lot with human rights compañeros, so we can find out and see the real conditions in the country, in order to build a national program of struggle.


3. Francisco, of POS
Mentioned that one of the activities is to hold an international encuentro, which is very important because the movement has to be linked with struggles in the world. But the Sexta posits that the encuentro be convened against neoliberalism and for humanity. This statement is ambiguous, and that is why it would be appropriate to specify that it should be convened on the same basis as that of the Sixth Declaration. Concern that the international encuentro would be a copy of the world forums which have demonstrated their limitations. Da Silva attended some of them, and that is why it has to be clear from the beginning. There has to be correlation between the national and the international encuentros. The national even has to go further. Proposes that it be clearly defined as anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist at the national and international levels.


4. Alejandro Varas Orozco (UNIOS)
We want to strengthen one of the criteria used in the Sexta regarding the kind of political and social movement that the Other Campaign will be. It seems to me, after yesterday’s speech by the Comandancia, that many compañeros and compañeras might have the feeling that it is an anti-establishment campaign against the presidential campaigns which have already, in fact, begun and to which the Mexican political regime has given 13 billion pesos. As the name says, this Other Campaign basically seeks to position itself, as Marcos defined it, below and to the left. That is why it seems to me today that we have to strengthen the issue that it is a political and social movement in defense of those who are struggling, of those who are victims of this neoliberal system, of this savage capitalism. In this regard, definitions are fundamental. It is not an election campaign, but it is national, and it speaks well of you that you are calling on us to build another country. A country where we will be able to change the direction of the economy in favor of the workers. We have to go out now and organize the trip which is being planned and begin the work of the Other Campaign in favor of the Social Security workers, in defense of sovereignty. Solidarity with other peoples is fundamental. I join in with it.


5. Andrés, from CLETA
Regarding the Other Campaign’s decisions, it would be good to respond as to how we are going to transform the social relationships of domination and exploitation in community relations. Political, social and cultural mediations must be found in order to create a fabric and networks of collaboration. While at the same time creating a permanent space for theoretical discussion, from below – micro-politics it’s called – in order to create new relationships in the political sphere, which will clarify and allow us to discuss the direction, the path.


6. Emiliano Thibaut
Invitation to be precise in the presentations. It is necessary to define this new project as being of the left, anti-capitalist and not Stalinist. His argument is that Stalinism has been a burden which has destroyed wonderful programs. Capital and the US government are also guilty, but something which weighs on the left, like a tumor, is Stalinism. I propose that the huge image of Stalin which is hanging in the auditorium be taken down, because he is was guilty of genocide.


7. Marcos, ONPP
I would like to talk about the Sexta. All of us meeting here are supporting the Sexta because it provides us with a fundamental point of agreement. But the Sexta has to present the specific theme of re-founding the nation in perspective. We need a concrete nation proposal. What we will present in response to the great national issues. This is what is going to allow us to build a popular unity. The building of popular unity has to do with the unity of resistances, not just of the people who like to make speeches to us, instead linked with the process of resistance which is going on in other places. All forms of resistance. The Other cannot be an election campaign. It is for re-founding the nation, in order to build national dialogue, in order to posit that Mexico can recover its libertarian traditions and create a new program, not just for the country but for the world. To fill those words – which sound so pleasant to everyone, like anti-capitalism – with meaning. We have to explain what anti-capitalism is so we don’t end up delivering slogans. This is one of the risks we face. We have to be the people, Lucio Cabañas said. We have to merge with the people. The Sexta is a good starting point, but we need the First to come from all of us gathered together here, because the Sexta does not meet all the needs of all of us meeting here. This is just the first step.


8. La Guillotina
We would like to insist on the Sixth Declaration and the Other Campaign work from a territorial and municipal manner, in order, by sectors, to discuss the problems. Experience has been gained, we believe that the experience of the zapatista consulta of 1999 must be revisited, which called on already structured organizations and which set the political class aside. We are proposing an assembly and a horizontal method of work.

We should also work on very precise and defined initiatives, in a territorial and horizontal way, so we structured organizations can make way for new forms of popular organizations and in that way not repeat the faults and errors of the political class.


9. Nuria Fernández, of No en Nuestro Nombre [Not in Our Name]
What should be included in the Other Campaign is the definition of what we want and what we don’t want. What we don’t want is for it to be an inverted mirror of the official campaigns, even if it’s just criticism. If we limit ourselves to what they say, we are limiting ourselves to a very impoverished world. It’s necessary to start thinking about the Other Campaign like a blank slate. The blackboard and the chalk make up our experiences, but we need new ideas. If we impose old ideas, and we don’t create new things, we’re not going to create an Other Campaign nor another world. What limits us is thinking like a Nation State. The Other Campaign says we have to think about humanity and against neoliberalism. Those who have died in Iraq, more than three thousand persons, and in other parts of the world, demonstrate what is happening outside. A central point of the Other Campaign is to be tied to world struggles and not to be restricted to Mexico, because if we do that then we will be their mirror. What is happening here will not be over on July 6. In order to achieve it we have to begin thinking about the world in an open manner, with new ways of doing politics. I am struck by the fact that when voting here, one of the things zapatismo has taught us is to seek consensus. Or why we don’t shout for people to sit down or be quiet, they haven’t taught us that. The affection we have as brothers will be reflected in what we are building as the Other Campaign. I’m proposing that we should add stating No to the War as a central point, since it’s not just a problem for those outside, but also for those inside, for us.


10. Arnoldo Borjas, Mexicanos sin Fronteras [Mexicans Without Borders]
Compañeros: We are grateful first for this humble but sincere effort at rescuing our nation and the values for which we are fighting: Dignity, liberty, justice, democracy, equality and progress. We salute rebellion.

We, the absent children of the Mexican Patria consider our struggle for our rights as Mexican migrants to be, first, a struggle for Mexico.

We consider our struggle from abroad for a just, free and democratic patria to be legitimate. As our right to fight against those who attack our country and our Mexican brothers is legitimate.

We believe that we cannot conceive of our nation’s past, present and future without us.

We will leave our first contribution to the campaign in summary form in these points:

- That the bi-national nature of the Other Campaign be recognized since it will be able to count on the participation of Mexicans residing abroad.
- That we are offering the Other Campaign our collaboration, our office which is located in Washington, DC (capital of the United States) and our resources in order to carry out and coordinate these efforts with persons and organizations who decide to participate in the Other Campaign from abroad.
- That we are leaving our invitation to the Comandancia of the EZLN, and to everyone participating in the Other Campaign, open to visit us.
- That the Other Campaign promote the autonomous organization of Mexicans residing abroad.
- That the Other Campaign adopts our proposal to create a national migrant congress for the purpose of achieving real representation for Mexicans abroad.
- That we refuse to recognize the Mexican government and any employee or official as our legitimate representatives: We can never accept as our representatives those who deny us our rights and who are directly responsible for our circumstances.
- That we will not accept anyone negotiating in our name and our circumstances with any other nation’s government.
- That the Other Campaign adopts our demand for a constitutional reform of the general population law of the Mexican Constitution which guarantees full respect for the rights of migrants, which guarantees security and respect for human and civil rights on the Mexican borders, and which limits and guides the sovereignty of the Mexican migration policy, currently subordinated to the interests of the United States.
- That we Mexicans residing abroad are guaranteed our constitutional rights in full, the same as all Mexicans in Mexico.
- That the right not to migrate be recognized within the constitutional rights.
- That our economic contribution through remittances should not be used for profit-making ends, participating in speculative projects, nor charitable, nor to promote the exploitation of Mexicans, but rather to help autonomous community projects of a sustainable nature which dignify the lives of our families.
- That the discussion of the Other Campaign’s issues be done in public forums.


11. Luis Miranda Reséndiz, PPS
We should look at the possibility of building a great alliance that would liberate Mexico from imperialism in order to win our second independence and to establish democracy. We are going to present how we can link everyone’s efforts in the great Campaign that’s being proposed. We are open, we should be flexible and listen to all the proposals. We have to control the effort suitably and stress what the EZLN stated: an alliance of parties of the left conjoined together in a broad front. And this demands respect for the autonomy and independence of the organizations and resisting the temptation to put ourselves in the lead. We should act with humility, respect differences and put the emphasis on areas of agreement.

Proposals:

Definition that we are for a different society with justice, democracy and liberty.

State definitively that there is no possibility today for change via the electoral route, because all the parties are neoliberal, and they are at the service of capital.

Create a broad and inclusive social block, of different classes and social sectors, capable of conquering neoliberalism.

Take back up the experience of the fronts which already exist (Frente, Promotora, National Dialogue).

That space should include the demands of every social class and each sector, and, above all, avoid being sectarian.


12. Manuel Fernández Guasti
Proposes including that the Sexta should be an initiative of direct participation. This is what is talking place at this plenary: all of us are participating and deciding. Don’t delegate the important questions to representatives and have them decide for us. This kind of direct participation must be implemented inside and outside, that is, inside our process as well as in fighting for it to take place in various government and power decision making bodies. In those areas where autonomías are not viable, direct participation must be implemented as its counterpart, through mechanisms such as plebiscites, referendums, popular initiatives and recall. If the branches of the union aren’t wanted or are incapable, plebiscites!


13. La Neta Amorfa
First of all I would like to offer a reflection, because we are being invited to reflect on the Declaration and the Other Campaign regarding its civil and pacific nature. But first I believe we have to demonstrate that we are capable of behaving with civility and peacefully amongst ourselves. If we do not do things with love, it will be difficult to achieve the results we’re seeking. In this regard, with your permission: Regarding the points of the Other Campaign as being civil, peaceful and national, we in the SLP so ratify, and we are now stating, on the other hand, that as we have been carrying out local struggles, that now we are moving from the general to the particular. That we carry the struggle from the general to the particular. Concerning dissemination and propaganda, we are offering in the SLP, in the valley of Tangamanga and Cerro de San Pedro, that the persons who are going to be addressing that work are already implementing it. That everyone come with a specific program about what is going to be taking place further along instead of coming to talk about the theoretical. That we pass from the theoretical to the practical.


14. Neftalí Miranda, of the FZLN
After attending, with delegates, the preparation meeting for the Other Campaign held with the EZLN and political organizations of the left, and with observers at all the other preparation meetings, the FZLN ratifies its support of the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, as well as its unconditional participation in all the work and political accords which are collectively reached in the building of the Other Campaign.


15. José Antonio Almazán
He is a retiree from the Electricians Union. Proposes that the rejection of structural reforms be stressed, that they support the rejection of the privatization of oil and electricity, that they come out against the privatization of education; reject fiscal reform, in defense of sovereignty, the patria and for union democracy, for the autonomy and political independence of workers of the countryside and the city.


16. Édgard Sánchez
In addition to what we have to say here, we are circulating our statement on some points. In summary, concerning the nature of the Other: it is not another election campaign, it is not engaging in the system’s rules of the game, but it is an alternative campaign. Some people have expressed the proper concern that it not be contrarian or “anti”, defined in terms of the others. This is correct, but it’s clear that what we are committing ourselves to is an alternative campaign alongside the context of parties and political system. As the PRT, we made a proposal which we circulated prior to the Sexta, an alternative campaign to the official system, critical of it, with an unregistered candidate. At one of the preparation meetings which was held with political organizations, we presented the proposal that it be Antonio Almazán. But we want to tell you that for us that is secondary. What is important is agreeing that the Other Campaign is a social force and a political alternative. Moises said that the compañero who would be going out first will be the Subcomandante. We believe that it is better represented with the figure of Marcos himself. We withdraw this unregistered candidacy from discussion. The proposal presented last night strongly symbolizes the alternative of a political and social force of the anti-capitalist left, which is what we want to construct.


17. Alejandro Cerezo, Promotora Por La Unidad Nacional Contra el Neoliberalismo
How we understand and propose the Other Campaign to be: We agree with the need to listen. To listen and to be listened to. To listen to the other and to listen to each other, among ourselves. We are all going to speak, and we are all going to listen to each other. It has to do with listening in order to analyze the social actors, the struggles and the local resistances. It has to do with listening in order to identify local, regional and sector agendas. It is about listening in order to identify the national agenda of all the social movements. That is what it is about, a great dialogue of those of below, in order to build, as part of the process, the National Program of Struggle. Listening and dialogue, accepting proposals and the recovery of popular experiences. In that regard, the organizations and members of the Promotora will contribute the Non-Negotiable Minimum Program and Statement of Querétaro. In addition to listening, the Other Campaign is a magnificent opportunity for making visible, for nourishing and strengthening local and sector resistances, for coordinating them, in dialogue and in action, in order to connect local struggles with the great mobilizations that are national in nature. In that way, that same process of listening and engaging in dialogue should resolve how the resistances will be coordinated. Listening and engaging in dialogue with all sectors in struggle also creates the necessity for supporting and accompanying the different struggles and demands. Because of that, the Other Campaign should also be understood as a campaign of mobilization, mobilization of ideas and popular mobilization in the streets. In summary, we understand, and propose, the Other Campaign to be a combination of efforts directed towards listening, to creating dialogue between those of below, to connecting struggles and unifying resistance, to strengthening the mobilization against neoliberalism, to demanding the resolution of the demands of the peoples and organizations, to building a national program of struggle, and to defining the route for achieving a New Constitution. Thank you for your attention.


18. Liga de Unidad Socialista [League for Socialist Unity]
The situation in the country is difficult, because the workers who filled the streets in 2003 and in 2004 reached a dead-end, because the union machine took the movement to a pact with this country’s institutions, with the government of the bourgeoisie. Organizations against structural reforms can only work against the country’s institutions, they cannot be work within institutions. A collection of forces promoted the struggles to create another country, where the workers could change the relations of forces in order to solve the problems. The problems of these movements still exist. An example of this is the 20 plants which are being closed, the country’s petrochemical plants which are being sabotaged. The compañeros from the IMSS are proposing the struggle against privatization. In their new program, in Guanajuato, on the 24th, at a meeting of oil owners, they called on activists against the privatization of water and other struggles to seek forms of organization. They linked their struggle with the Other Campaign in order to seek solutions and new social relationships.


19. Compañero Sergio, from Tlaxcala
We cannot reduce the Other Campaign to one campaign by the EZLN in two time periods throughout the country, where they travel to our places of origin, where they go there and then comes the forgetting and desolation. We need to build the popular power of those of below. We should understand it as a permanent campaign of agitation, of dissemination, a campaign whose starting point is the complex of struggles or fights which are going to be coming over the next weeks and months. From that concrete fight that frees our compañeros so a political fight can spring up. We need a strategy of dialogue, the social construction of that political program, in order to build the democratic and popular part. That will have to be the nature of the social transformation we’re all looking for. A program which presents what the necessary conditions are for re-founding the nation. We should try to emphasize the fundamental points that will make possible the construction or reconstruction of the free and popular patria. Not just the recovery of our energy sources, but the development of our autonomías in the full exercise of our territoriality as the central focus of the campaign. A program centered around these points is fundamental for confronting the oligarchy.

That the campaign be summarized in three great slogans:

1) Raise the resistance, occupy all the territories.
2) Develop control from those of below and eliminate all forms of the neoliberal oligarchy’s control.
3) During this first stage, it’s absolutely necessary to form not the committees of the Sexta, but popular committees for the transformation of the country.


20. Aurelio Ángel Villanueva, of the Rumbo Proletario collective [Proletarian Direction]
This is the first time we’ve been here, and we are here in order to contribute to the work which the compañeros of the EZLN have presented us. We do not want to be more zapatista than them. We came, humbly, in order to build. It seems to us that the Other Campaign is not just about going out through the national territory and saying that we’re making the Other Campaign. No, what is fundamental is building a new Mexican society. We are in agreement with the discussion points, but we are presenting other propositions:

That the Other Campaign should build a mobilizing, progressive and inclusive project for the construction of a new democratic form.

That we not only carry out actions in the national territory, but also study how the people who aren’t here are participating, those millions who don’t have the opportunity to travel. The Other Campaign should be inclusive and purposeful.

It’s necessary for all sectors to say what demands they’re fighting for and for which programs we should all be fighting.


21. Ángel Librado Cruz, from the Reflexión en La Acción collective [Reflection in Action]
Proposes that we should make up an historic block through a system of new alliances and of various currents against neoliberalism. Proposes that the new historic block replace the hegemonic block which currently exists. This is necessary because that’s the only way the system can be overthrown.


22. Gabriela Arteaga, from the Reflection in Action collective
Also in the name of the Reflection in Action collective. We believe we are experiencing an historic moment. At this moment we are building, and we’re going to continue doing so. The Other Campaign should take on the space for outlining the revolutionary direction which is going to include the forces which are present here and those which could not accompany us. We’re fed up with the evil system which keeps us in poverty. We want to overthrow it. We are going to study it. We’re building. This, the revolutionary direction, is a guarantee for popular victory. Either the evil capitalist project is consolidated or space is given for the inclusive and democratic project in which all of us are going to put all our efforts so the peoples’ demands can be met. We are at the moment where the necessary conditions are in place for building the guarantees for our victory.

We propose the following five points:

1) Building a popular movement.
2) That the project includes all of us.
3) Defining the spaces that are identified for the struggle.
4) Alliances.
5) This, which we’ve already seen here: the revolutionary direction.

Let’s keep joining in, compañeros. There’s room for everyone. Those who are here and those who aren’t.


23. José Antonio Yáñez, from the Reflection in Action collective
We believe that the Other Campaign is an opportunity for all of us to see, in practice, what we really are, if we are really democratic and inclusive. In addition to being peaceful and civil, the Other Campaign should be radical, even though this doesn’t necessarily mean carrying out extreme acts. If we call ourselves inclusive and democratic, but we’re not able to present proposals and projects, we run the risk of excluding or being excluded. Insofar as the Other Campaign is radical, it should address the root problems in order to establish a new model of social relationships. In order for the Other Campaign to not be just about dissemination, or propagandizing and the lifting of spirits, it has to be oriented towards real social change. We believe that, as we achieve the ability for analysis and understanding, we will be able to build a program of struggle which is not just anti-establishment. Specifically, if we want this Other Campaign to be different from the one the parties are carrying out, it should go to the fundamental and stress that we are different in practice.

Armando (from the same collective) (The assembly protested and asked him to sit down. He apologized in the name of his collective. He said he hadn’t intended to monopolize the time. He withdrew without speaking.)


24. Julio Muñoz Rubio
UNAM Professor, Faculty of Sciences. There is a risk that this campaign will be a campaign strictly tied to the political. This would be a mistake, because it would lead to limiting the campaign to just one part of the problems of the world, of the country and of the left. I am therefore proposing that the campaign be cultural in nature, which should not be confused with the artistic, because the cultural is much broader. We have the wrong idea about what capitalism is, because it’s thought to be a strictly economic system with political consequences. That is false. Capitalism dominates all aspects of life, in philosophy, the arts, the natural and social sciences, technology. Capitalism is an entire world vision. It is true that it’s a fragmentary, partial and limited conception of the world, but, at the end of the day, it is a vision which must be confronted by another world vision, another global vision, but one which is coherent and integrated. If this campaign doesn’t emphasize all this, it’s going to fall short, because it’s not going to be able to provide an answer for the totality of the forms of domination and of capitalist oppression: the classic capitalist oppression against wage earners, but also the domination and oppression of human beings against nature (including the mistreatment of animals), that of the adult or “mature” against children or adolescents, the heterosexual and monogamous against all other forms of sexuality and affective relations, of the “healthy” against the sick; the “whites” against other populations (not races), all of society against the indigenous cultures, and the urban countercultures being dominated in the arena of ideas, scientific theories and pseudo-scientists who justify all these oppressions. The Other Campaign should question capitalism’s ethical, epistemological and ontological values, especially in Mexico. Their esthetic bosses, their words in the political world and in the media, their dehumanizing, vulgar hedonism contained in various kinds of entertainment. Finally, the Other Campaign should emphasize the way capitalism has inserted in our minds the authoritarian values and principles of its conduct in order to convert us into reproducers of those values in all arenas of daily life. The campaign should, therefore, be “counter-hegemonic”, understanding hegemony as a world vision. That is why the struggle should be against capitalism and for the building of another vision. I am proposing that the Other Campaign declare itself to be “contra-hegemonic.”


25. David Domínguez
What I’m bringing are some proposals for broadening the campaign in the sense of security, because we’re all exposed to dangers by the State’s apparatus of repression. That we should, among ourselves, form self-help groups in order to protect each other. If anything were to happen to anyone, they would be recovered immediately. Also that we would have martial arts classes in order to defend ourselves. They are questions of security. If we don’t think the State has really swinish apparatuses of repression, this isn’t going to grow, and it’s going to fail from the beginning. It’s a proposal I have.


26. Mauricio Villegas
I think this could turn into an act of self-deception if we don’t understand the spirit of the Other Campaign. We say we’re anti-capitalist, but how many products have we decided not to buy from the big companies? We keep on buying, consuming. If we don’t sabotage things, like Gandhi did, we’ll be left with just very general positions. If Marcos and the EZLN want to direct this great movement, we have to sabotage the products of the big companies, promote fair trade in the communities. If we don’t do it, we’re going to come up short, we won’t get anywhere.


27. Alejandro Cruz, of the OIDHO
He belongs to Indian Organizations for Human Rights in Oaxaca. A question came up at a meeting with his peoples: How should this meeting be dealt with? After discussing it, they concluded they had to listen to other thoughts. How to respond to ideological confrontation, and how can it be resolved? The solution would be to have more to do with the practical, organizing without going so much into the ideological. Placing more emphasis on how to engage in the practical before theorizing. He is willing to share his experiences in struggle against repression. That is why his concrete proposal is to create unity. They are worried because many compañeros are going to come to the meetings, but accords have to be created. We have to change the way of doing politics, create processes of accord and unity. He cited: “A cause doesn’t triumph because of its justice, but because of the strength and work of its followers.”

[Translator’s note: You will see the voice move between first and third person, which is how these narratives were compiled: the nature of taking minutes – irl]

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Zermeño: the US, globalization and the boomerang effect

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
**************************************
Translated by Maria Garrido


La Jornada
September 29, 2005


Why are Americans like this?

Sergio Zermeño

In the last days of September, the 11th reunion of the European Association of Development Institutes (EADI) took place in Germany. Reading from the conference’s program and proceedings, in which close to 300 research centers participated, one wonders why we [Mexicans] get to live globalization on the side of the United States.

In the second paragraph of the conference’s program, EADI questions if globalization shouldn’t be perceived as another threat, and maybe even the worst, to the safety of humanity in the period after the Cold War, together with AIDS, international terrorism, civil wars, organized crime and environmental disasters. Furthermore, EADI strongly asserts: “while trying to improve economic efficiency and quality of life, many countries opened their frontiers to international exchange, however, such openness increases their vulnerability to different types of risks generating poverty and inequality between rich and poor countries, and exacerbating the conditions within poor countries themselves. Poverty has been associated with different illnesses and environmental degradation, and this vicious circle can only be broken if the international community makes an effort to work in a coordinated way to improve the capacity of poor countries to resolve their problems”. That way, the principal objective is not economic growth but human security and wellbeing.

It is a shame that in Mexico the elite responsible for the management of our country worries exclusively about interest rates and the growth of the domestic product, thinking innocently that if these economic indicators improve (given the fact that in 20 years they haven’t) the situation for the poor will improve as well. Even the World Bank accepted that the current levels of poverty will not decreased by 2015 [as agreed on the Millennium Development Goals] and sets a new target year in 2050.

But for a country like ours, dependent on that evil empire, and where growth will probably mean that our maquiladora model has improved its competitiveness to defend itself better against China, things could not be worst. “Improved its competitiveness” in this context will mean that salaries will further decrease and that needs will intensify. This in turn will cause – we know it by memory – an increase in the statistics of feminicides, an acceleration of the exodus of our campesinos to the North, defeated by the products that come into the country at half price, submerging their families, now broken and left behind, in sadness.

We have reached an extreme in which it would not surprise us if Fox would be advised to rent the National Palace to Wall-Mart so it could, once and for all, from this privileged position, destroy all the small and medium retailers from the downtown area, and even all the informal commerce in the country.

Who knows what kind of knowledge our scholarship holders received in the universities of the northern country, or how they used this knowledge only to fulfill their own interests, but the fact is that, while Korea, Japan, France and other countries close their frontiers in the areas where competition is not viable, and the European Union has compensated the weakest countries in areas that were in trouble, the American formula has been the destruction of everything in the search for the immediate profit.

It seems clear that they [Americans] still don’t understand that there is not an outside and an inside, that the destruction and the human and ecological regression they produce beyond their borders is coming back to haunt them like a boomerang.