The Revolutionary Autonomous Zapatista Movement in Chiapas: a Primer

(This is a reprise from 2013 I’d titled: ‘Israelis help crush the Zapatistas & Here’s why‘.  That reason will come toward the end.  These militant indigenous and their allies are one shining example of  those who threw off the yokes of their neo-colonialist by oppressors shouting Basta! , and  acting on their militancy.  Against all odds, their communities are still alive and growing today.)

Where does one start a story of Chiapas and the Zapatistas?  One useful starting point might be during the Spanish conquest of the lands that comprised the narrow isthmus between North and South America.  At the time, the Chiapas lowlands were considered to be ‘the breadbasket’ to the indigenous of the region; I’ve read that over 125 different heirloom varieties of maize still exist.  But as the Spanish enlarged their appropriated holdings and began farming large coffee and cotton plantations, and created vast cattle ranches, the indigenous Maya were pushed into the rocky, thin-soiled highlands to eke out an agricultural subsistence.  When those lands proved inadequate to their needs, some Maya cleared the jungled hills to the east; some poor Spanish-speaking residents fleeing poverty in the south joined them.

As ever, when such an underclass is created by ‘the Victors’ of colonization, so does it evolve that a pernicious form of racism and bigotry is also created.  That condition still exists today.

Until the early part of the 20th Century, the land outside the native villages in Mexico was the property of the oligarch class.  In what now seems a remarkable feat, during the 1930s, President Lazaro Cárdenas created the ejidos system in which millions of hectares of land were distributed to Mexican peasants.  The land could not be sold, just passed down through the generations.  Cárdenas also nationalized the Mexican petroleum industry, which goes by the name Pemex.  During his tenure, he also helped to create a national labor union.

Over the decades, the ejido system was corrupted, and many of the 28,000 parcels of land once again came under the control of the feudal lords of Mexico, often Europeans.

Emilio Zapata, revolutionary hero to the Mexican peasants, often cried, ‘The land belongs to the people who work it’.  It became the anthem of those still infused with the spirit of the ejido concept as they their holdings fall prey to the greedy and powerful.  His murder by Mexican generals under President Caranza in 1919 in an act of betrayal as he sought a truce, reified his battle cry among the peasants, as did the sense of righteous power he willed to the generations who came after him.  That fervor would lie in quiet dormancy for some 40 or 50 years, waiting to be sparked anew.

Poverty and disease among the Maya in Chiapas and neighboring Oaxaca were rampant.  Rumblings of dissent began to emanate from the highlands, rolling among the people.  The recently created Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), or Zapatista movement, began to accrue more and more members.

Adding fuel to the Indigenous fire, in an arguably stolen election in the 1988, Carlos Salinas was elected President.  Under his corrupt rule, privatization of the ejido lands was legalized in 1992; forests, land and water were gobbled up by the feudalist class.  On the first of January, 1994, Zapatista communities approved a military offensive by the EZLN.  Guerillas seized control of the colonial city of San Cristóbal de las Casas and 5 towns in the surrounding Chiapas highlands.

“We have nothing to lose, absolutely nothing, no decent roof over our heads, no land, no work, poor health, no food, no education, no right to freely and democratically choose our leaders, no independence from foreign interests, and no justice for ourselves or our children. But we say enough is enough! We are the descendants of those who truly built this nation, we are the millions of dispossessed, and we call upon all of our brethren to join our crusade, the only option to avoid dying of starvation!”

– Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) Declaration of the Lácandon Jungle, 1993

January 1, 1994 was of course the day NAFTA took effect.  The call went out to the poor and disenfranchised throughout Mexico, and via internet to the wider anti-globalization, anti-neoliberalism movement, including the fact that NAFTA would be deadly to the peasants.  Non-indigenous had been joining EZLN, including their leader, Subcomandante Marcos (his nom de guerre).  His life’s story and writings are fascinating, even at Wikipedia.  It contains this explanation of the black knit masks that Marcos and his army sport (aside from keeping their identities secret from the military):

“Marcos, the quintessential anti-leader, insists that his black mask is a mirror, so that ‘Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal, a Jew in Germany, a Gypsy in Poland, a Mohawk in Quebec, a pacifist in Bosnia, a single woman on the Metro at 10 p.m., a peasant without land, a gang member in the slums, an unemployed worker, an unhappy student and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains’. In other words, he is simply us: we are the leader we’ve been looking for.”

The Mexican government’s military response to the short-lived revolutions was swift: planes and helicopters dropped bombs in the EZLN ejido villages; 145 people were killed.  In the towns, we have this from Democracy Now, 2004, “The Zapatista Uprising 1994-2004: A Look At How An Indigenous Rebel Group From Chiapas Took on Mexico and Corporate Globalization” (illuminating video here):

FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS: Within less than 24 hours, the almost jovial spectacle turned to full-fledged warfare as thousands of Mexican military and police forces confronted the rebel army and terrorized civilian populations. In one indigenous village, the men of the community were rounded up and three elders were assassinated. Sister Patti, who ran a small popular hospital in the area, was accused by the military of hiding weapons in the hospital. This sister remembers that day.

SISTER PATTI, WITNESS: It was the 5th of January in the afternoon, the federal army arrived. It was a day of incredible silence, an environment of great fear. The military began to give out food to the people. When the families went to receive their food, many of the men were taken by the military, tortured, and taken to the prisons.

FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS: During the 12 days of warfare, approximately 200 people were killed, most of them civilians. The images broadcast throughout the world of the corpses of poor indigenous men lying on the dirt with wooden guns by their side made people wonder what was behind the decision to make them risk their lives. In February, 1994, the Zapatistas entered the city again to begin negotiations. From the cathedral, they spoke about the importance of peasant and indigenous people’s rights to land.

EZLN REPRESENTATIVE: We decided to go to war so that the peasants could have land, not the ranchers. It wasn’t for one village nor for the state, but rather for everyone who doesn’t have land.

On Jan.12, a cease-fire was called.  The truce was arranged by the well-known Liberation Theologist Samuel Ruiz.  February: Peace talks began in February; the government peace proposal was rejected by the Zapatista communities.  In August, after holding the National Democratic Convention attended by 6000 Mayans and their comrades, the Zapatistas declared autonomy for 38 indigenous municipalities.  They have created cooperative agricultural systems, clinics, schools, and actual democratic institutions  for themselves.

Their point has long been that they simply want autonomous rule of their districts in which all people make the decisions in a true participatory ‘bottom up’ rule.

Not long afterward, a Feb. 1995 report from the Chase-Manhattan Bank surfaced, urging the Mexican government to ‘eliminate the Zapatistas’; their brand of state destabilization is bad for business and the value of a peso, you know.  A month later, the army mounted a massive invasion of Zapatista territory, implementing a strategy of low-intensity warfare (civilian-targeted warfare). The army displaced 20,000 campesinos, and occupied much of Chiapas.

The following years of rule by Zedillo and the PRI were hellish for the self-rule municipalities; Zedillo deported human rights workers by the droves.  There were brief respites of oppression under Vincente Fox’s rule, including dismantling some of the military bases and checkpoints, freeing some political prisoners.  When the Senate passed a weak-tea version of the San Andres Accords in April of 2011, the Zapatistas went home, and entered The Silence once again.

Allow me to neglect the intervening years of oppression and misery, and come to the winter solstice of 2012, when the Zapatistas walked out of the misty jungle highlands in silence, thousands of masked men, women and children.

 ‘To be heard…we walk in silence.’

From Leonidas Oikonmakusm this thrilling prose (and wonderful photos):

As the Maya calendar ends, a new cycle of struggle begins with thousands of Zapatistas peacefully and silently occupying town squares across Chiapas. The Zapatistas are back! Flowing like the water of the river that beats the sword. And while some were anticipating the Christmas holidays, some others the end of the Maya calendar, and others still the new Communiqué from the Comandancia General of the EZLN that was announced back in November, the main cities of Chiapas woke up today with memories of 1994.  New Age freaks around the world may have been gearing up for the end of the world, but it appears that some Mayas had a very different opinion on the matter. They preferred to send us another message: that of the new world they have been building in silence for two decades now.

Several pieces of news concerning the Zapatistas and Mexico have emerged this week.  From Intercontinental Cry comes information that:

“Earlier this month, Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca, Mexico’s newly-appointed secretary of public security in Chiapas, announced that discussions had taken place between his office and the Israeli defense ministry. The two countries talked about security coordination at the level of police, prisons and effective use of technology (and a pdf in Espanol). [snip]

In the twenty years since the uprising, the Mexican government has not ceased its counterinsurgency programs in Chiapas. When Llaven Abarca was announced as security head in December, human rights organizations voiced concerns that the violence would escalate, pointing to his history of arbitrary detentions, use of public force, criminal preventive detentions, death threats and torture. [snip]

According to declassified Defense Intelligence Agency documents [PDF] obtained via a freedom of information request, Israeli personnel were discreetly sent into Chiapas in response to the 1994 Zapatista uprising for the purpose of “providing training to Mexican military and police forces.”

The Mexican government also made use of the Arava aircraft to deploy its Airborne Special Forces Group (Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, or GAFE). GAFE commandos were themselves trained by Israel and the US. Several would later desert the GAFE and go on to create “Los Zetas,” currently Mexico’s most powerful and violent drug cartel.’

The authors list the weapons sold through out Central America to some of the worst purveyors of genocide, including recently convicted of genocide, Rios Montt in Nicaragua (his sentence has been stayed by the courts for now).  We know how the purveyors of war and neoliberalism operate, and that the CIA and cohorts may even be involved, as they were all over the region for decades.  Be careful, Zapatistas!  Here comes more…

Laura Carlson, writing at Counterpunch, has a piece up about Obomba’s recent trip to Mexico and Guatemala to strengthen ‘trade ties’.  She notes that the hideous drug wars aren’t mentioned, because…our part in all that would be embarrassing and signal corruption, deceit, and part of the Financialization of Fear we’ve come to notice all too well.  Instead, he used code words for strengthening NAFTA, and put in a plug for the TPP (which Carlson seriously low-balls, imo).  But in addition:

Obama threw his weight behind Peña Nieto’s reforms, referring obliquely to the education reform that has provoked thousands of teachers to take to the streets in defense of their jobs and the public education system. He also mentioned the crown jewel for U.S. oil companies and Pentagon planners—the privatization of the national oil company PEMEX.

At the joint press conference in Mexico’s National Palace, Obama stated   “I want to commend President Peña Nieto and the Mexican people for the ambitious reforms that you’ve embarked on to make your economy more competitive, to make your institutions more effective. And I know it’s hard, but it’s also necessary. Ultimately, only Mexicans can decide how Mexico reforms. But let me repeat what I told the President — as Mexico works to become more competitive, you’ve got a strong partner in the United States, because our success is shared,”

U.S. oil companies have long been chomping at the bit to share success in Mexican oil resources. For decades, Mexican governments have run the state-owned enterprise into the ground in anticipation of making the case for greater privatization, taxing away funds for even basic reinvestment and maintenance. Peña Nieto denies he’s promoting “privatization” but believes he can pass legislation to greatly increase areas where private investment is allowed.

Does all of this remind you of other US ‘non-intervention’ across the globe?  It’s just more of the same: Neoliberalism on the March, Military ‘Solutions’ to Civil Rights and Justice Problems.  Put down those who resist, and make way for Bidness.  Privatize Everything, Monetize Every Resource, and Send in the Clowns.  War by other Means.  They really seem to believe that they can keep starving, oppressing, and killing vast numbers of us without reprisal, even of the non-violent sort.

Some lengthy, but fascinating, background and Zapatista philosphy from a visitor to the Zapatista Little School: ‘“Practice First, Then Theory:” The Zapatista Little School Shares Lessons Learned During 19 Years of Self-Governance’, warrior publications, Sept. 2017

a brief snippet:

“Perhaps one of the Little School’s most important benefits for the Zapatistas occurred during its preparation.  The Little School’s four textbooks, Autonomous Government part I and II, Women’s Participation in the Autonomous Government, and Autonomous Resistance, as well as the two DVDs that accompany the books, were all created by Zapatistas themselves.  The textbooks are the result of Zapatistas from all five caracoles (Zapatista government centers) traveling to regions other than their own to collect testimonies and interview fellow Zapatistas about how they self-govern.” 

The Zapatistas’ bottom-up approach to government means that while all of the caracoles operate under the same basic principles and towards the same goals, their day-to-day operations sometimes differ drastically.  For example, every caracol has a Good Government Board, the maximum governing body in the region.  However, each caracol’s Board is structured differently.  Many of the Zapatistas’ questions to their compañeros from other caracoles in the interview portion of the textbooks revolved around their experiences and what has worked and what has not.”

The caracoles are ‘little snails’ that they say resemble human hearts.

The Schools for Chiapas website with even an online store is here.

This is the most recent communiqué from Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés at the EZLN website:  ‘Words from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, January 1, 2018’; 24th Anniversary of the beginning of the war against oblivion.  via enlacezapatista.ezln.org

It’s verbose to the Nth degree, but that’s how they do things (smile).  All articles and communiqués at enlace zapatista are merrily enough in Spanish, Portuguese, English, and German, sometimes in Italian and Greek (iirc).

And just because I love inspirational and earthy folk art, a few more:


(cross-posted from café babylon)

Share
up
0 users have voted.

Comments

wendy davis's picture

being so bolloxed up. and i really did try to 'easy copy' it three times, arrrgh. but it's still readable, yes, if you squint your eyes a bit (smile)? but as they say in these parts: 'good enuff for who it's for', eh?

'The Schools for Chiapas website with even an online store is here.

This is the most recent communiqué from Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés at the EZLN website: ‘Words from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, January 1, 2018’; 24th Anniversary of the beginning of the war against oblivion. via enlacezapatista.ezln.org

up
0 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

Put down those who resist, and make way for Bidness. Privatize Everything, Monetize Every Resource, and Send in the Clowns.

Thanks for the information. My knowledge of Mexican politics has been effectively the size of a grain of sand until now. A good number of Chiapistas live in my city but don't wear black masks.

Love the artwork.

up
0 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

and the reports on who will be the next prez of mexico (and the characteristics of the candidates) totally depend on the reporter's opinion.

there have definitely been assassinations of zapatistas since 2013, but nothing like earlier. how interesting that you have some in your community; the UK has a whole separate chapter, interestingly enough. and i reckon they don't wear masks, either, not having to hide from the mexican military and federales.

glad ya like the art. and from the simplest link i could find to give dk mich:

"Hosting Mr Trump two weeks ago, President Enrique Peña Nieto said that “making Mexico’s border with our friends and neighbours in Central America more secure is of vital importance for Mexico and the US”.

'Physical wall or legal wall... it appears Mexico agrees with Donald Trump that better walls make better neighbors... we just wonder what he thinks about Americans paying for it.'

Oh, ya don't have to wonder too much, tyler durden...

up
0 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

Media, Democrats silent as US Supreme Court rules immigrants can be indefinitely detained’, Eric London, 28 February 2018, wsws.org

"In a 5-3 decision handed down on Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Jennings v. Rodriguez that the government can arrest and indefinitely detain immigrants, depriving them of the fundamental right to bail.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of immigrants will be locked up in internment camps as their immigration cases proceed, with no opportunity for release until their cases are decided—a process that often takes years. Roughly 450,000 immigrants were jailed in detention centers at some point during the last year, and that number will increase astronomically after yesterday’s ruling.

The decision makes no distinction between undocumented immigrants and those with legal permanent residency. It means millions of immigrants living in the US are subject to arrest and indefinite detention.

This milestone event has passed with virtually no comment in the corporate-controlled press. As of Tuesday evening, the online front pages of the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and Politico had no coverage of the ruling, while the New York Times had a single article far down its page. At the same time, these five sites featured a combined 23 front-page articles on the anti-Russia witch hunt.

No major Democratic Party official has made a statement on the ruling, and the Twitter accounts of Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are all silent."

up
0 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis We can all be indefinitely detained. It's no surprise that the Roberts Court would support specifically extending that to immigrants.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

but i reckon as 'potential terrorists'? do tell me more about that. would charges have to be brought more quickly for non-immigrants? oh, such a fuzzy memory i have...

up
0 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis It was in the 2011 NDAA (the big military spending bill; as is Congress' wont, they put all sorts of crap into the bill which also maintains the basic spending that keeps the military running; that way few dare vote against it.) But the groundwork was well laid by the Patriot Act, in which it doesn't take much to be labeled an "enemy non-combatant." In the 2011 NDAA, it became clear that you could treat someone as a terrorist based solely on their association with someone or some organization that was against the "interests" of the United States, which remained conveniently vague.

Start this video at 6:00 minutes in; Jimmy Dore addresses some of this, as well as the horror that was Hillary Clinton's foreign policy:

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

coverage re: hedges v. obama and the various versions.

but still, not one mention by any of the 'serious Dems' on twitter, not even chuck '#i am a dreamer' schumer. pelosi was outraged! by trump's ICE roundup in california, though.

sorry i can't do jimmy dore; i'd never even heard of the fella before i came here. randy credico seems to like him, too. but yeah, the commentariat here is often after low-hanging fruit (smile), as is so at so many other sites.

up
0 users have voted.

Smug, arrogant, privileged, sneaky, corrupt, and slimey.

up
0 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

mimi's picture

@dkmich @dkmich

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

wendy davis's picture

@mimi

she hadn't said anything about the color of his skin.

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@wendy davis

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

wendy davis's picture

@dkmich

his 'deals' with peña nieto, giving mexico '$75m in equipment and training to help stop Central Americans from crossing illegally into Mexico' (2016), zerohedge. easier than deporting 1.5 million undocumented from the south, even if ya just keep them in dog kennels and a space blanket to sleep on. but yeah, orange julius is doubling down on that too, as i type.

loathesome fucker, but he did everything with a purdy smile, didn't he? even made the never-ending war on terr'a pleasing to his base. god god all-friday.

but he's doubled down on so much that O opened the door to, hasn't he? long list, but i reckon you know most of it. kinda too bad the D base doesn't attack him on the issues, mainly pink pussyhats and the mueller investigation.

up
0 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

this diary is an epic fail, especially given how many here tout not only revolution, but actual democracy and 'power to the people'.

but in any event, and h/t mr. wd: counterpunch has a piece up about the female EZLN/national indigenous congress candidate for prez of mexico doing whistle-stops (15 cities, the schedule's here) across amerika. woot! marichuy!

The Core Trembles: New York City for Marichuy!’ by Quincy Saul, march 1, 2018 it's long, but a teaser:

“In October 2016, from the mountains of the Mexican southeast, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation sent a message to the fifth National Indigenous Congress and to the world, titled with a warning that the earth would “tremble to its core.” The message proposed to name an Indigenous Governing Council whose will would be manifest by an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, as an independent candidate to the presidency of the country under the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in the electoral process of 2018.

And as the next communique announced, the earth trembled! The Indigenous Governing Council was formed in May 2017. “This council,” they declared, “proposes to govern this country.” Its council members were sworn in, and its spokeswoman nominated and elected in assembly. Her name is Marichuy. And since then, despite all attempts to stop her, she has been on the move, carrying the ripples of this political earthquake far and wide.”

up
0 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

in the Zapatistas. Haven't had time over the last couple of days to delve into this and give my responses, but I absolutely will.

The first time I ever received news from the internet before mainstream media reported it--in this case, three weeks before--was the early 90s revolution in Chiapas. I guess somebody in Mexico went to their computer and sent their local news out to the world.

Of course, these days, the mainstream media would never report on such a revolution, unless it was to perform a character assassination on the movement and its adherents. @wendy davis

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

require knowing where to look for it. actually this diary is a compilation of three i'd written earlier over the years. but i do remember there was some national coverage of the news that commandante marcos had stepped up, and commandante galeano (now moises?) took his place. it was a bit of sleight-of-hand, i think, which a couple folks had dubbed 'magical realism' at my.firedogake (smile). i can score the diary if you'd like.

but i'm grateful for your positing some reasons folks might be commenting, but as to not misinterpreting the silence', it reminded me of: 'we march in silence...so that we are heard'. bless your ♥.

up
0 users have voted.

@wendy davis

I suspect another reason beyond being pretty much left speechless might be because some of us are wondering why we (personally) don't have the guts and long-term vision people in so many other countries do.

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Alligator Ed's picture

@Ellen North rarely get their heads out of the daily struggle. Those that don't have to slave that hard, are often busy burying themselves in debt buying things they can't afford and don't need. A third reason, unfortunately a minority one, is that real activists find themselves somehow conveniently "indisposed" to make a large enough following--such as the Occupy movement.

up
0 users have voted.

@Alligator Ed

Was actually thinking of myself, although I still can't actually get around, even to the nearest store, often have trouble standing for any length of time, depending, and can get effectively knocked metaphorically flat on my fanny in any number of ways by a chemical whiff, which includes various perfumes or Off; probably best off staying out of the way, lol.

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Often I've noticed that people respond less to the meatier, deeper essays. Such essays require serious thought. They often require more time and attention to read, as well. A deeper piece of writing requires a deeper commitment from the reader.

When people are busy, or exhausted, it's easier to jump into an essay criticizing the Democratic party and briefly shake one's fist, than to absorb content that requires deep attention.

That's why I've gone two days without responding to this. And I'm seriously interested in the Zapatistas as one of the few successful revolutionary movements I know. (I've also had a lifelong interest in Latin America, perhaps because some of my family came from Cuba, and some from Spain, so I feel my family history intersects with the colonial history of the Spanish in this hemisphere, and the subsequent table-turning where the United States took the sons and daughters of colonizers and colonized them in turn. Or perhaps, rather than "the United States," I should say "the CIA." In the past 40-50 years, that would be a more accurate way of putting it.

Anyway, don't give up hope or feel your diary is a fail. The lack of response has nothing to do with the quality of the work, nor even, I'd bet, is it a sign that there's little or no interest in the Zapatistas on this site.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Ellen North Thank you, Ellen!

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Nothing intelligent to add, just - why the hell can't we get it together to organize like that in our countries?

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

wendy davis's picture

@Ellen North

term) 'scale up', but their philosophy, bottom up, back down to the caracoles, form of governance knocks me out. one key they use: 'if something doesn't work...try something else'. they collectively reckon that the main reason they're still alive is that they have the support of the people, by which they mean...the peasant class.

and fancy that a woman is who they collectively chose to run for prez of mexico! women have definitely long a long way in their collectives, they no longer walk a step behind the men, lol. and of course, winning isn't necessarily her/their goal, but as is often said: 'it's in the campaign where one makes a mark'. and boy, howdy, will she and the national indigenous congress make their marks.

thanks, ellen north.

up
0 users have voted.

@wendy davis

Not necessarily identical tactics but that 'never give in, never give in - we are united' and, as you say the willingness to try new things until something works. That's how Bernie managed to get some 'impossible' good things done for some of America's more vulnerable in what was considered to be an impossible situation.

Thank you! I wish you'd discovered 'here' earlier; your essays are a great addition 'muchly' appreciated.

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

wendy davis's picture

@Ellen North

as i am not a fan of his to put it mildly, lol. but here's the ezln (zapatista)/nci candidate for the president of mexico at intercontinental cry, a good consortium for global indigenous news:

‘Marichuy, Mexico’s indigenous candidate: “My goal goes beyond being president”, jan. 23, 2018, intercontinentalcry.org

We do not bring promises, we do not bring anything to give away, more than the heart, more than sweat, more than the effort of each day. It has been a difficult road because people no longer believe in anything and are tired of hearing promises. That is why we are not promising things. We are launching a call to the organization of society, to a union that goes beyond elections. This is the moment of youth, of childhood, of women. It is time for us to be aware that we can move forward together.”

“We want the original peoples to flourish again, we want the communities to be strengthened, how are we going to do it? Only by us giving our hand to each other, trusting those who are next to us, only making ourselves strong among us all.”

One of the things that characterize the electoral platform of María de Jesús Patricio, 54, an indigenous Nahua and a traditional doctor from Tuxpan, Jalisco, is her concern for protecting nature. Unlike most politicians, who speak little or nothing about the measures their governments will take to protect the environment, Marichuy focuses almost all of her speech on the need for all Mexicans to come together to defend forests, waters and life in general, in the face of the megaprojects that are devastating all the natural wealth of Mexico and all of America, and that with the recently approved Law of Biodiversity, the table is set to continue with the dispossession of protected areas.”

but what a nice compliment, ellen north.

up
0 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

I knew next to nothing about them. But when I'm around Occupy folks I'd hear their name invoked with reverence and fervency.

I think CStMS hit it right when she said, "When people are busy, or exhausted, it's easier to jump into an essay criticizing the Democratic party and briefly shake one's fist, than to absorb content that requires deep attention.

People can get a bit overwhelmed by a long, comprehensive piece, as excellent as it may be. It is much easier to rail at the latest outrage than consider the totality of what the Zapatistas mean.

Will be back by to your wonderful essay to learn more about how they collaborated to achieve autonomy, collectivism, self-government. It's really inspiring. I love the art too. Which is why so few of us know anything about them - the media has completely buried this story.

Wish we had some kind of repository at C99, in which to store valuable pieces like this, under possible headings such as people's revolution, socialism, autonomous cultures, the history of strikes, etc.

Thanks for all that you contribute here, Wendy. I also spent some time perusing your own site one day and was really impressed by it.

up
0 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

wendy davis's picture

@Mark from Queens @Mark from Queens

and yes, that theory may be correct. but here i hadn't thunk this was all that long, lol. (although as i said up yonder, i did keep grabbing things from other diaries i'd written). indigenous diaries rarely were noticed on most sites where i've written, and to me, they're the salt of the earth, and know exactly what the intersections of capitalism, neoliberalism, empire, and genetically tinkering with sovereign food do to The People, and the planet. as in: they often show us The Way.

in fact, when i covered the rio sustainability side conferences in 2012, the indigenous were exactly who made me most sincerely anti-capitalist (maybe marxist/anarchist as the zapatistas, but ish on labels, yes?).

as a side note, i think socrates said much the same about music, but i love that kurt also said it. glad you like the café; if you click on the current banner, it changes...then click again, and so on. sometimes i click in there just to be refreshed by the bounties of the natural world. the site's also very restful for my crap eyes and crazy brain. i even paid the big bucks to be able to jigger the css code (with help) to make tweets and videos...smaller.

good night, and thanks again. i'll put a lullaby up at the end; mr. wd and i were listening to it it...twice, as we read your comment.

up
0 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@Mark from Queens But way too often the tag lines are too non-specific to serve as a good reference. For instance "Awan Brothers" is a better tagline than "Debbie's supercolossal spy ring"

up
0 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

up
0 users have voted.

@Mark from Queens

... Wish we had some kind of repository at C99, in which to store valuable pieces like this, under possible headings such as people's revolution, socialism, autonomous cultures, the history of strikes, etc. ...

I know that while usually fail to keep up with incoming essays, there are times I half-remember very informative essays I'd like to revisit but can't find...

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Mark from Queens I want to cast my own vote as well for such a repository. Don't know how it would be structured, though. Stickies? Searchable database?

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Mark from Queens's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
But there have been a couple of different things I've noticed at other places that might help inform this idea.

I think TOP Neoliberal Cesspool had some feature in which you could designate an essay as "hotlisted" or something (not sure if I remember the nomenclature). But it was a place in which you yourself could do what Ellen was suggesting, which is to have a holding place for essays like the one we're on now, for future reading and reference.

At Jackpine Radicals I noticed they have a running list on the left side of the page, with such headings as "Main Forum", "Topics In Depth",""JPR Rooms" (which includes a Reading Room), and "Groups" (under which you can find ones for Humor, Cannabis, Elders, New Urbanism, Pets, Sports and Music). I like this kind of offering, where one can find other stuff than just straight politics, as a release valve of sorts. Lets folks unwind a little while after we've gotten into it over the latest outrage, while allowing community bonds to be strengthened too.

Not sure how it could be done, or if anyone would seriously be interested. But I kind of like both of those options/offerings.

up
0 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

wendy davis's picture

@Mark from Queens

"Rebecca Manski of Occupy Wall Street - a movement that sprang up in New York in 2011 to oppose social and economic inequality, financial greed and corruption - acknowledged the Zapatista influence after visiting Oventic last summer. "As soon as I arrived I saw that many of the principles, language, themes and ways of organising Occupy Wall Street had been taken straight from Zapatista philosophy," Manski told Al Jazeera.

But beyond the "romantic imagery" of the Zapatistas, their most "powerful contribution" to global politics has been the example they set by working outside of the state and the electoral system to form their own, more democratic society, Manksi argued.
"Without building direct links with other movements they've become a source of inspiration" and spurred "a complete rethinking of what radical left-wing organisation and action means", Holloway said."

i'd neglected to save the link, but it was by way of a hit piece on the movement, as in 'the movement is languishing as i type, will be gone soon', or close to that. good on manski, she seems to have been at zucotti park, and was quoted in an 'occupy succoth (succah)' tent that was erected. i liked that. maybe you'd met her there?

but still, i can't remember how or when i was made aware of them, but then...i remember so little any longer. mr. wd and occupied mancos, co every saturday for a few hours, no mic checks, as our GA was...just the two of us. but it was great how many people stopped by to disagree razz us, but as we listened to them, asked them questions, and so on, most left nodding their heads in understanding. (the links a diary w/ an internal link to an earlier one that says it has photos; beats me.)

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

I so appreciate reading this here, Wendy. When I can get past the heartache of it. Mexico is a place I dearly love. I'm still touchy about the US rip off of northern Mexico and the imposition of borders against the very people who inhabited the land for the past 30,000 years.

It is irritating to consider the pressure on Mexico to privatize its oil, but I have hopes for them now that they are part of China's One Belt One Road.

The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative that aims to connect whole of what is called Eurasia through maritime and landlocked routes is growing. In January 2018, Xi added the Arctic and Latin America to the aforesaid plan, leaving out only Canada, the US and Japan.

The Trans-Pacific Maritime Silk Road and Polar Silk Road connect Latin America and Arctic (respectively) with China, adding 33.7 million square kilometres. If China successfully integrates this considerable part of the world, it can pave its way to, as Xi put it in the party Congress, “moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind”. Economic integration manifests a more open Chinese policy, whereas, with Trump at the helm, the US is turning more inward looking.

Trade is changing fast. Mexico is moving on. It buys gas from China instead of the US:

(Bloomberg) -- Over the course of March, the oil tanker Nave Pyxis will slice through the Pacific Ocean as it makes an unusual journey of about 8,000 miles from China to Mexico.

Its cargo: almost 300,000 barrels of gasoline to power cars that zip through the Latin American country. A number of disparate events -- maintenance work at refineries along the American Gulf Coast, plant-crippling natural disasters in Mexico and a supply boom in China -- have converged to allow the Asian nation to dip its toes into what has traditionally been a U.S. market.
https://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/2018/03/01/oil-traders-go-on-sea-...

Trump and the policies of the past have driven China and Mexico together. Problems in the NAFTA talks have highlighted the US disdain for Mexico. This has changed geopolitics dramatically while the US acts clueless.

China is now Mexico’s third-largest export partner, receiving $5 billion in goods in 2016. Mexico also imports almost 20 percent — roughly $70 billion — of its goods from China. China is Mexico’s second-largest import partner, according to the World Integrated Trade Solution. Still, U.S. trade with Mexico is upward of $600 billion, overshadowing any other country, and the U.S. absorbs 80 percent of Mexican exports; almost half of Mexico’s imports come from the U.S.

“I don’t think it’s Mexico’s first option, but if it’s being pushed into a corner, China is looking more interesting and more attractive,” said Antonio Ortiz-Mena, former head of economic affairs at the Embassy of Mexico and current senior vice president of Albright Stonebridge Group.

In September, Peña Nieto visited China as one of Xi’s guests — alongside the leaders of Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan and Thailand.

And during that same trip, Peña Nieto inked a deal with Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce company that’s worth more than $500 billion. The memorandum of understanding between Mexico’s economy ministry and Alibaba aims to get more Mexican products on Alibaba platforms, while also helping small- and medium-sized enterprises export beyond Mexico and into China by helping with logistics, analytics and electronic payments. More than 200,000 Mexican companies are now listed on the Alibaba platform, according to ProMéxico, the Mexican government’s trust fund to promote trade and investment.

This is no small feat, experts say, as upward of 99 percent of Mexican enterprises are small and medium-sized. More than half of Mexico’s GDP comes from these enterprises, according to 2014 figures from Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography.

“By partnering with Alibaba, we can expand Mexico’s export options in China and in Asia more broadly, while enhancing Mexican SMEs’ knowledge of e-commerce and cross-border trade,” Peña-Nieto said at the signing ceremony.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/20/mexico-gets-closer-to-china-as...

How this affects the Zapatista Movement is another matter. I only know that the US is a bringer of chaos, and this is not the case with China. From China's point of view:

China has sought to present itself to Mexico as an alternative to the US. China has also taken advantage of recent energy reform in Mexico, which opens the door to foreign investment in the industry. The state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) plans to invest US$8 billion in Mexico over the next 30 years, indicating that both countries want to move the relationship forward.

The recent signing of the agreement between Mexico and Alibaba Group in Hangzhou last September can be understood of a sign of things to come for China and Mexico.

The main objective of this agreement will be to train Mexican SMEs in Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumers (B2C) sales through the internet, improving their cross-border e-commerce capabilities and logistics, and introducing them to the Alipay payment system.

The partnership between Mexico and Alibaba has already produced early results: 80 tons of Mexican avocado were sold in China through e-commerce in just two days following a campaign between ProMexico, the Mexican government agency in charge of export promotion, and the electronic sales platform Tmall, which is owned by Alibaba.

Likewise, Alipay’s venture into Mexico will increase the attractiveness of Mexico as a tourist destination for Chinese citizens.

This agreement can represent an opportunity for Mexican companies to finally overcome the obstacles that separate both countries, fitting into the Chinese economy’s transition from its exports-based model to one driven by domestic consumption.

However, great challenges await this new-found complementarity between both countries.

Mexico must make a concerted effort to diversify its economy outside of North America and establish its place in Asia-based value chains. Transitioning the Mexican economy towards Asia will require trade and investment that develops infrastructure, logistics, export capacity, financing, human resources, and a better understanding of business cultures.

::

In the 16th century, the Nao of China, or Manila Galleon, traversed the Pacific, carrying the silver of New Spain (now Mexico), after passing the Philippines, to the port of Shanghai. In exchange, China’s fine silks arrived at the port of Acapulco. With intelligence, prudence and the commitment from the public and private sectors, the integration of the Mexican economy with China may finally find its balance.
http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2017/12/26/china-mexico-developing-tr...

I can only emphasize that all of this is happening at a frightful speed. When the US Dollar is no longer accepted for international trade — an incoming black swan — Mexico will be holding huge deficits with the US. Mexico will be protected through its alliance with China. Perhaps Mexico will pay for that Great Wall after all.

Thanks again for posting.

up
0 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@Pluto's Republic @Pluto's Republic

and much of what you've quoted and linked i'll need time to read. but as to how any of it will effect the zaptistas in chiapas...likely not a lot, unless of course 'the earth trembles' and marichuy's elected prez, lol. or that a new government decides that the zapatistas should not survive, as the hegemon has maduro in VZ. but yes, the realignments are coming rapidly now, bye bye dollah reserve currency.

but you're very welcome, and may i leave this lullaby for tonight? sweet dreams if you're able... night all, and thank you for reading and commenting.

up
0 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@Pluto's Republic

links, and while china will help the bidness class in mexico and elsewhere, it's highly unlikely that any of it will help the peasant class, as in amerika and across the world. i remember reading that under nieto's neoliberal austerity programs, the poor got poorer, and the zapatistas had invited them to their clinics in chiapas. (i did stick up a sweat-labor school and clinic building diary at the café; no one commented, ha.)

trying to find that invitation, i came across:

"In a recent interview with teleSUR, analyst John M. Ackerman said the reforms are an attempt to "get rid of the revolutionary tradition" of education in Mexico.

"Enrique Peña Nieto has spent more than US$33 million to promote his education reforms in the media, according to official documents from the country's transparency watchdog, local press reported Friday; telesur english, june, 2016

“Next Sunday there will be a huge protest across the country to reject the authoritarianism exerted by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, who according to recent polls is one of the most unpopular presidents in the history of Mexico.”

i went to upsidedownworld as well, and this is one page of their archives on mexico.

Anti-Dam Resistance Faces Death and Detention in Guerrero, Mexico; Criminalizing Resistance: Militarization, Murder, and Extractivism in Chiapas; Mexico’s Drug War and Neoliberal Energy Reforms Could Be Good for Business, Especially Mercenary Companies; Grassroots Action Confronts Impunity Three Years After Ayotzinapa (the 30,000 'disappeared'); Sexual Torture of Women Prisoners is Growing Epidemic in Mexico’s War on Drugs; Mexico: Support for Families of Victims Pours in Following Massacre in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca (teachers murdered and wounded); and a few on the zapatistas.

as in: the peasants aren't faring so well under nieto.

up
0 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

sleep well, dream well if you can.

p.s. to can't stop the macedonian signal: if you might have messaged a few folks to have pity on a poor blind widow and comment on this thread: thank you (smile).

up
0 users have voted.