The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) Mexico
“For everyone, everything, for us, nothing” (Para todos todo, para nosotros nada)
This is the slogan of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) a revolutionary movement hailing from Chiapas Mexico.
Otherwise known as the Zapatistas the EZLN are working towards better world for themselves and all creatures on this planet.
They are an example of some anarchist and libertarian principles in action and proof that a more participatory model of organising is possible.
The Zapatistas went public on January 1 1994 after spending years building allies within the indigenous and rural peasant communities of Chiapas.
This day marked the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement which like most neo-liberal policies would affect the poor/farmers of the region negatively.
3000 armed Zapatistas occupied towns and ranches in the region, the Mexican army responded by bombing indigenous communities and killing hundreds of indigenous people.
After a cease fire was called on January 12 and peace talks began the Zapatistas set about organising a National Democratic Convention and by years end had declared 38 autonomous municipalities.
The Zapatista movement and political organising has been fluid able to change with experience and necessity.
And almost 30 years after forming the Zapatistas are still a strong force in Mexico and have achieved much through their dictum of self determination.
They boycott the electoral process and government entirely even refusing to receive government aid.
In order to meet the needs of their communities the Zapatistas have developed their own textile-weaving and boot-making cooperatives, locally controlled schools, health promotion networks and collective garden patches conducted through self-sufficient production and exchange methods.
Below is the latest communique from Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.
The EZLN Announces Next Steps: Communiqué of December 30, 2012
December 30 2012.
To the People of Mexico:
To the People and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:
In the early morning hours of December 21, 2012, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and took, peacefully and silently, five municipal seats in the southeast Mexican state of Chiapas.
In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristóbal de las Casas, we looked at you and at ourselves in silence.
Ours is not a message of resignation.
It is not one of war, death, or destruction.
Our message is one of struggle and resistance.
After the media coup d’état that catapulted a poorly concealed and even more poorly costumed ignorance into the federal executive branch, we made ourselves present to let them know that if they had never left, neither had we.
Six years ago, a segment of the political and intellectual class went looking for someone to hold responsible for their defeat. At that time we were, in cities and in communities, struggling for justice for an Atenco that was not yet fashionable.
In that yesterday, they slandered us first and wanted to silence us later.
Dishonest and incapable of seeing that it was within themselves that there was and still is the seed of their own destruction, they tried to make us disappear with lies and complicit silence.
Six years later, two things are clear:
They don’t need us in order to fail.
We don’t need them in order to survive.
We, who never went away, despite what media across the spectrum have been determined to make you believe, re-emerge as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be.
In these years, we have significantly strengthened and improved our living conditions. Our standard of living is higher than those of the indigenous communities that support the governments in office, who receive handouts that are squandered on alcohol and useless items.
Our homes have improved without damaging nature by imposing on it roads alien to it.
In our communities, the earth that was used to fatten the cattle of ranchers and landlords is now used to produce the maize, beans, and the vegetables that brighten our tables.
Our work has the double satisfaction of providing us with what we need to live honorably and contributing to the collective growth of our communities.
Our sons and daughters go to a school that teaches them their own history, that of their country and that of the world, as well as the sciences and techniques necessary for them to grow without ceasing to be indigenous.
Indigenous Zapatista women are not sold as commodities.
The indigenous members of the PRI attend our hospitals, clinics, and laboratories because in those of the government, there is no medicine, nor medical devices, nor doctors, nor qualified personnel.
Our culture flourishes, not isolated, but enriched through contact with the cultures of other peoples of Mexico and of the world.
We govern and govern ourselves, always looking first for agreement before confrontation.
We have achieved all of this without the government, the political class, and the media that accompanies them, while simultaneously resisting their attacks of all kinds.
We have shown, once again, that we are who we are.
With our silence, we have made ourselves present.
Now with our word, we announce that:
First – We will reaffirm and consolidate our participation in the National Indigenous Congress, the space of encounter with the original peoples of our country.
Second – We will re initiate contact with our compañeros and compañeras adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in Mexico and the world.
Third – We will try to construct the necessary bridges toward the social movements that have arisen and will arise, not to direct or supplant them, but to learn from them, from their history, from their paths and destinies.
For this we have consolidated the support of individuals and groups in different parts of Mexico, formed as support teams for the Sixth and International Commissions of the EZLN, to become avenues of communication between the Zapatista bases of support and the individuals, groups, and collectives that are adherents to the Sixth Declaration, in Mexico and in the World, who still maintain their conviction and commitment to the construction of a non-institutional left alternative.
Fourth – We will continue to maintain our critical distance with respect to the entirety of the Mexican political class, which has thrived at the expense of the needs and desires of humble and simple people.
Fifth – With respect to the bad governments – federal, state, and municipal, executive, legislative, and judicial, and the media that accompanies them, we say the following:
The bad governments, which belong to the entirety of the political spectrum without a single exception, have done everything possible to destroy us, to buy us off, to make us surrender. PRI, PAN, PRD, PVEM, PT, CC and the future political party RN have attacked us militarily, politically, socially, and ideologically. [i]
The mainstream media tried to disappear us first with opportunist and servile lies followed by a complicit and deceptive silence. Those they served, those on whose money they nursed are no longer around and those who have succeeded them will not last any longer than their predecessors.
As was made evident on December 21, 2012, all of them failed. So, it’s up to the federal, executive, legislative and judicial governments to decide if they are going to continue the politics of counterinsurgency that have only resulted in a flimsy simulation clumsily built through the media, or if they are going to recognize and fulfill their commitments by elevating Indigenous Rights and Culture to the level of the Constitution as established in the “San Andrés Accords” signed by the Federal Government in 1996, which was at the time led by the very same political party that today occupies the executive office.
It will be up to the state government to decide if it will continue the dishonest and despicable strategy of its predecessor, that in addition to corruption and lies, used the money of the people of Chiapas to enrich itself and its accomplices and dedicated itself to the shameless buying off of the voices and pens of the communications media, sinking the people of Chiapas into poverty while using police and paramilitaries to try to brake the organizational advance of the Zapatista communities; or, if instead, with truth and justice, it will accept and respect our existence and come around to the idea that a new form of social life is blooming in Zapatista territory, Chiapas, Mexico.
This is a flowering that attracts the attention of honest people all over the planet.
It will be up to the municipal governments if they decide to keep swallowing the tall tales with which anti-Zapatista or supposedly “Zapatista” organizations extort them in order to attack and harass our communities; or if instead they use that money to improve the living conditions of those they govern.
It will be up to the people of Mexico who organize in electoral struggles and resist, to decide if they will continue to see us as enemies or rivals upon which to take out their frustration over the frauds and aggressions that, in the end, affect all of us, and if in their struggle for power they continue to ally themselves with our persecutors; or if they finally recognize in us another form of doing politics.
Sixth – In the next few days, the EZLN, through its Sixth and International Commissions, will announce a series of initiatives, civil and peaceful, to continue walking together with other original peoples of Mexico and of the continent, and together with those in Mexico and the world who struggle and resist below and to the left.
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:
Before we had the good fortune of the honest and noble attention of various communications media. We expressed our appreciation then. But this has been completely erased by their later attitude.
Those who wagered that we only existed in the communications media and that, with the siege of lies and silence they created we would disappear, were mistaken.
When there were no cameras, microphones, pens, ears, or gazes, we continued to exist.
When they slandered us, we continued to exist.
When they silenced us, we continued to exist.
And here we are, existing.
Our path, as has been demonstrated, does not depend on media impact, but rather on comprehending the world and all of its parts, on indigenous wisdom that guides our steps, on the unswerving decision that is the dignity of below and to the left.
From now on, our word will be selective in its destination and, except on limited occasions, will only be able to be understood by those who have walked with us and who continue to walk without surrendering to current or media trends.
Here, not without many mistakes and many difficulties, another form of doing politics is already a reality.
Few, very few, will have the privilege of knowing it and learning from it directly.
19 years ago we surprised them taking with fire and blood their cities. Now we have done it once again, without arms, without death, without destruction.
In this way we have distinguished ourselves from those who, during their governments, distributed and continue to distribute death among those they govern.
We are those, the same, of 500 years ago, of 44 years ago, of 30 years ago, of 20 years ago, of just a few days ago.
We are the Zapatistas, the very smallest, those that live, struggle, and die in the last corner of the country, those that do not give up, do not sell out, those that do not surrender.
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:
We are the Zapatistas, receive our embrace.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico. December 2012 – January 2013.
[i] PRI (the party of the 70 year dictatorship and home of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari); PAN (the right-wing party of recent president Felipe Calderón which oversaw the total devastation and the deaths of tens of thousands of Mexicans due to its “war on drugs” during the last twelve years); PRD (the institutional “left” party which joined the PAN and the PRI in blocking constitutional reforms on Indigenous Rights and Culture and which until recently was the party of Andrés Manuel López Obrador); the PVEM (Partido Verde Ecologista de México), PT (Partido del Trabajo), CC (Convergencia Ciudadana) and RN (Regeneración Nacional, the political party that is now being built by Andrés Manuel López Obrador after his friendly exit from the PRD).
Translation by El Kilombo Intergalactic. Re published from Compañero Manuel