Saturday, November 26, 2005

Letter from the FZLN to the EZLN

Originally published in Spanish by the FZLN
Translated by irlandesa

To the Comandancia General – Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

On January 1, 1996, in its Fourth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation called for the establishment of the Zapatista Front of National Liberation. At the end of the second of the three parts which made up the declaration, and after having cited the political characteristics of the new organization they were calling for, you wrote the following: “With the organized unity of the civilian zapatistas and zapatista combatants in the Zapatista Front of National Liberation, the struggle which began on January 1, 1994 will enter into a new stage. The EZLN will not disappear, but its most important efforts will be directed to political struggle. At the proper time and circumstances, the EZLN will participate directly in the establishment of the Zapatista Front of National Liberation.

Twenty months later, during the Founding Congress of the FZLN which was held in Mexico City and which was attended by 1111 zapatista delegates who had left the mountains of the Mexican southeast, the EZLN explained the following: “…Many people are asking why we have come just to observe your Congress and not to participate in it directly. Many are asking why we have stated over the last few days, again and again, that the EZLN will not form part of the FZLN, and we will be two sister, but different, organizations…When we called for the establishment of the FZLN, we thought peace was close and our rebellion had to seek new paths and means of struggle in order to continue its determined march…We thought we would soon be like you and next to you. With the same rebellion in the face of the powerful, but without the necessity of arms…With the same dignity for the morrow, but without the face hidden by the black of sorrow or the red of blood. But we were wrong, Frentista brothers and sisters…Peace was not close. Peace is still far away. Before and now the government used and uses the lie of peace that it imagines as nothing but surrender and punishment. But nor could we continue holding you back or asking you to wait for us, not to move forward, not to grow, not to make yourselves large, not to organize until there was a just and dignified peace and the EZLN could share present and future with you. It will not be a military force which directs your civilian steps and puts you at risk. This should not and cannot be like that.”

More than eight years later, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation issued the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, and, along with several thousand more Mexican men and women, it undertook the construction of what has been called the Other Campaign. And then, just like they said in the Fourth Declaration, they are going to do, among other things, the following: “We are going to go and listen to and speak directly with, without intermediaries or mediations, the simple and humble people of Mexico, and, according to what we hear and learn, we are going to build, along with those people who are like us, humble and simple, a national program of struggle, but a program which will be clearly of the left, anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberal, for justice, democracy and liberty for the Mexican people.

In short, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation is going to come out in order to engage directly in politics, a new way of doing politics, in all corners of the country.

And then we, the Zapatista Front of National Liberation, got together with you, compañeros from the EZLN, the ones who called on us to form the organization and gave us name. At that meeting we saw that the FZLN had fulfilled its duty in that stage from the Fourth Declaration until the Sexta came out, but now the new stage has become too much for us because of what is to come. And so we made an internal consultation among all the members of the FZLN, with the following results:

Of the 127 Civil Committees of Dialogue which make up our FZLN, 123 declared themselves for the FZLN to be completely dissolved as a national, political organization and for the name to be returned to the compas from the EZLN.

Three Committees said we should continue as an organization, but with another name, although two of them stressed that if the majority accepted something else, they too would accept it.

And one said that it would not make a specific declaration, instead it resigned from the FZLN.

In addition, nine individual Frentistas came out for the option of dissolving the FZLN and returning the name to the EZLN.

And so, the agreement having been made by majority, we would like to communicate the following to you:

The Zapatista Front of National Liberation is completely dissolved as a political organization, and it is returning its name to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation so that it, in turn, can decide what to do with it. Those committees and individuals who so decide can remain together in each location and join the Sexta and the Other Campaign, but no longer using the name of an FZLN committee.

Lastly, we would like to tell you, dear compañeros and compañeras of the EZLN and of all the indigenous zapatista communities, of the zapatista autonomous municipalities, of the Good Government Juntas, that it has been an honor for the Frentistas to have walked with the name you gave us for all these years. We know we committed many errors, and things did not always turn out as we had thought they would and how they should have turned out, but everything we have learned from you and your dignified struggle for a better Mexico and World for everyone, will certainly serve as a first step for us in joining this path that is beginning now with the Other Campaign, where we will also try to be, in order to collaborate from each one of our spaces, along with thousands more, in the building of a more just, more free and more democratic Mexico, from below and to the left.

Zapatista Front of National Liberation

October of 2005