Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Zapatista Network

Date: April 27, 2006

To the compañer@s in every corner of the so-called US and Canada,
To all the peoples of the continent of so-called America,
To the struggling Peoples of the Global South and the world,
To all the adherents of the Sixth Declaration, the Other Campaign,and the International Campaign,
To the national and international alternative press,

We, the Zapatista Network, are reaching out as a newly emerging "network of networks" to invite companer@s in the so-called U.S. and Canada to "walk together" as Zapatista grassroots and community-based groups who support the Zapatistas and are inspired by Zapatismo. Our intent has been to create spaces of encounter so that diverse groups can share ideas, resources and projects as part of a larger process to strengthen each collective's work, solidarity efforts and rebellion; as well as to encourage new Zapatista inspired collectives to form. By saying "network of networks" we propose one of many overlapping webs of resistance taking place all over the world.

Since January 1, 1994 when the EZLN declared !Ya Basta! Mexican and International Civil Society have responded in solidarity creating a broad base of support. The Zapatistas' commitment to encounter and dialogue has made it possible to collectively imagine "a world where many worlds fit." Some communities working in solidarity with the Zapatistas have responded with aid, while others used direct action to help halt the military and state repression, drawing attention to the low intensity war directed against the Zapatistas. The response to the Zapatista rebellion has been unique not only in its diversity but its intensity. Solidarity efforts have served to keep people informed, provide material support, and protest the cruel excesses of military and state repression. More importantly, communities around the world and in the US have pursued their own resistance locally, attempting to imagine and realize a different way of doing politics.

In August 2004 the Committee of Indigenous Solidarity-DC-Zapatistas sent out a call to form a zapatista network in the U.S. and Canada that was initially referred to as red "Plan Morelia-Polo Norte" (in response to and in solidarity with the Plan La Realidad-Tijuana in Mexico). This call was made in order to construct one avenue of many for zapatista inspired groups in this region of America to dialogue and construct networks of support. Of the Zapatista related collectives and groups who responded to this initial call, we began talking together about encuentro, Zapatismo, Zapatista solidarity and how to reach out to others so that we all know that we are not alone.

Regarding the Zapatistas as offering profound new political strategies and alternatives whose relevance goes well beyond Chiapas there have been two encuentros inspired by this effort to form a bi-national network and in response to the Zapatistas' proposals in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. One was in August 2005 in Oakland, California and the other in November 2005 in Los Angeles,California. Both were amazing successes and have lead to a stronger networking among the numerous Zapatista groups and individuals in California.

As these encuentros have strengthened networks and community in California, we would like to see this spread in other parts of the U.S. and Canada alongside Mexico and the whole of the Americas. Additionally, through sustained dialogue, the grassroots organizations and collectives involved thus far have come to eight "points of agreement" (preliminary and subject to change by the collective voice). These are: A commitment to horizontal, egalitarian, fully inclusive and transparent structures and processes in all aspects of our activities and interactions; reciprocal respect for the autonomy and independence of all member organizations; support for the Zapatistas' "Other Campaign" in solidarity with the efforts of our Mexican Compa~er@s to unify the struggle, and in recognition of the need to pursue a similar project north of the Rio Grande, throughout the U.S. and Canada; a commitment to carry out our solidarity support work for the autonomous Zapatista communities of Chiapas in full accordance with the protocols established by the Good Government Juntas and the autonomous rebel Zapatista municipalities (MAREZ); a commitment to advance Zapatismo as political thought and as a method for resistance in our local struggles; solidarity in principle with all global struggles being waged by the people of the world for humanity and against neoliberalism; support and respect for the choices of the autonomous Zapatista communities to struggle in defense of their lives, humanity and environment and against neoliberalism in any way they deem necessary; a commitment to participate to the best of our abilities in the operational processes and development of the Zapatista Network ("Zapared").

As the "Other Campaign" advances, we see it as urgent that this network is available to support such initiatives. Consequently, we are publicly announcing the existence of this emergent network which we are calling the Zapatista Network and are reaching out to Companer@s in the U.S and Canada in the hope to encourage more connections and strengthen webs of resistance.We invite you to join us, as we begin this dialogue to create a "world where many worlds fit." As a medium to facilitate an ongoing encounter, there is an interactive website with a private blog for collectives and an open forum available for individuals. There will also be a resource archive. For more information about the network, visit our web site at: http://zapred.revolt.org.

If you're interested in participating, feel free to contact the Zapatista Network atzaparedinfo@list.riseup.net, or contact any of our member organizations directly:

Acción Zapatista de Humboldt (Arcata, CA) Manolo Callahan, mc92@humboldt.edu
Acción Zapatista of Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA) Jordan Camp, jcamp@umail.ucsb.edu
Chiapas Support Committee (Oakland, CA) Mary Ann Tenuto-Sánchez, cezmat@igc.org
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity-DC Zapatistas (Washington, DC) Adrián Boutureira , cis-dcz@riseup.net
El Machete (Austin, TX) Simón, elpinchesimon@yahoo.com
Estación Libre (Los Angeles, CA) Pablo Gonzales, aztlan71@yahoo.com
Protesta y Apoyo Zapatista (Santa Barbara, CA) Jordan Campjcamp@umail.ucsb.edu
Zapatista Solidarity Coalition (Sacramento, CA) zapa@zsc.org
Colectivo Caracolero Chicagotra (Chicago, Il) Dora T. y Kora M., chicagotra@gmail.com
Rebel Imports (Maryland) Kristin Bricker, krisbricker@gmail.com
Colectivo Zapatista Tz' ajal Ek' 32 (San Diego, Ca.) Elizabeth Saenz-Ackermann,Tzajalek32@gmail.com