By Andrew S. Vargas for Remezcla – The Zapatistas are dipping their toes into Mexican electoral politics. Last week, the near-mythical army of indigenous resistance released a communiqué summarizing the basic points of discussion that characterized the 5th National Indigenous Congress (CNI) in Chiapas, and it included a bombshell announcement. After ticking off an infuriatingly long list of violations of indigenous rights and sovereignty across Mexico (with a shoutout to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests,)
By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim for New Internationalist – Over a thousand artists gathered in San Cristobal, Chiapas in July to attend the alternative art festival, CompArte for Humanity. Supported by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), the festival drew 1,445 artists from 45 different countries and from every continent. The aim of the festival was to promote art as a way to create dialogue across social movements, and as a form of social and political expression. Over the course of the week long festival, from 23 to 30 July, dozens of artists spoke out about the political, social and cultural messages of their art.
By Levi Gahman for The Solutions Journal – One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering.
By Levi Gahman for ROAR Magazine – The story of the Zapatistas is one of dignity, outrage, and grit. It is an enduring saga of over 500 years of resistance to the attempted conquest of the land and lives of indigenous peasants. It is nothing less than a revolutionary and poetic account of hope, insurgency and liberation—a movement characterized as much by adversity and anguish, as it is by laughter and dancing. More precisely, the ongoing chronicles of the Zapatista insurrection provide a dramatic account of how indigenous people have defied the imposition of state violence…
By EZLN for ROAR Magazine – The whole time the only terrorists have been those who for more than 80 years have so badly governed this country. You are simply the sink where the genocidaires go to wash their hands and together you have converted the judicial system into a poorly built and clogged latrine, the national flag in a reusable roll of toilet paper, and the national shield into a logo made of undigested fast food. Everything else is pure theater in order to simulate justice where there is only impunity and shamelessness, feigning “institutional government” where there is nothing more than dispossession and repression.
By Jack Balkwill for Dissident Voice. There have been many victories and we need to celebrate them. Among the victories was stopping the northern portion of the KXL pipeline, various new laws in 24 states to prevent police violence and an increase inprosecutions of police who commit violence, and the increase in wages across the country and winning the critically important battle for net neutrality. These were people-powered victories that showed when we act together we have the power to defeat corporate interests. Another ongoing series of victories is seeing local people, who have not been involved in activism, working along with experienced, often young, energy activists, taking on big energy companies in an aggressive way. This is a victory.
By Hilary Klein for Tele Sur – The anniversary of the EZLN’s uprising is a chance to reflect on the Zapatista movement’s achievements and lessons that are still relevant today. Jan. 1 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Zapatista uprising and more than 30 years since the formation of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (Zapatista Army of National Liberation, EZLN). On January 1, 1994, the EZLN captured the world’s imagination when it rose up to demand justice and democracy for the indigenous peasants of southern Mexico.
By EZLN for Enlaze Zapatista – Good evening, good day compañeras and compañeros, today we are here to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the beginning of the war against oblivion. For more than 500 years we have endured the war that the powerful from different nations, languages, colors, and beliefs have made against us in order to annihilate us. They wanted to kill us, be it through killing our bodies or killing our ideas. But we resist. As original peoples, as guardians of Mother Earth, we resist.
By The Zapatistas – The Zapatistas On the Elections: Organize Elections Divide the People, Have them Fighting Against Each Other, When they Produce the Same Bad Governments. The Truth is “no one will solve their problems for them, but that instead we have to solve them ourselves, as organized collectives.” We understand that there are those who think that it is possible to change the system by voting in elections. We say that’s a difficult spot because it is the same Ruler that organises the elections, who decides who the candidates are, who says how, when, and where to vote, who announces who wins, and who says whether the election was legal or not.
By CNI and EZLN in Enlace Zapatista – Given the violent events perpetrated against the indigenous community of Santa María Ostula on July 19, 2015, by a large commando made up of members of the Federal Preventative Police, the Secretary of National Defense, and the Secretary of the Navy in which Ostula community police commander Cemeí Verdía Zepeda was detained, in which federal soldiers murdered, WITH A BULLET TO THE FACE, THE 12-YEAR-OLD CHILD EDILBERTO REYES GARCÍA, and in which the following people were injured: the child Yeimi Nataly Pineda Reyes, 6-years-old; Edith Balbino Vera; Delfino Antonio Alejo Ramos, 17-years-old; Horacio Valladares Manuel, 32-years-old; José Nicodemos Macías Zambrano, 21-years-old; and Melesio Cristino Dirzio, 60-years-old… WE DENOUNCE: The criminal behavior of the above listed military and police bodies and their complicity with organized crime, in this case the Knights Templar, enacted in order to escalate the war of conquest that has been waged for years now against the Nahua indigenous community of Santa María Ostula.
Volumes have been written about the Mayan indigenous Zapatista social movement of Chiapas, Mexico since they made their first public appearance on January 1, 1994. There have been detailed histories, political analysis, academic theorization, movement studies, activist ethnographies, non-fiction novels, attempts at cultural and symbolic translation, etc. The movement’s primary spokesman, the prolific Subcomandante Marcos, has also contributed numerous communiqués, satires, children’s stories, erotica, pop culture commentary, political and philosophical ruminations. However, until now, we were missing the direct voices of women from the communities themselves. Hilary Klein’s Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories(Seven Stories Press) reveals their perspectives as contemporary indigenous women who are active subjects together with men in shared processes of change and liberation.
Some 2,600 people from 48 countries (2,050 from Mexico and 550 from other countries) gathered for the first Worldwide Festival of Resistances Against Capitalism. The festival took place all over Mexico and the majority of participants travelled together in a mass caravan of buses (not without mechanical problems and police interference) to the different regions to share and listen stories and strategies of resistance, to strengthen their cultures of resistance, and to build lasting networks locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Thanks to the excellent organizing by EZLN and CNI the impacts of the festival will reverberate amongst the participants and their resistance communities for years to come. During the festival of resistance we learned about the inevitable horrors of ongoing capitalism, the destruction of remaining ecosystems, the continued genocide of indigenous peoples, about global state violence against people. We also learned that people everywhere are fighting back, even when it means putting our lives on the line. One of the most common responses to speakers was a chant from the crowd that they are not alone. That we are all in this together and are fighting the same fight. And, as the relatives of the Ayotzinapa massacred say, we cannot sleep until we defeat these evils. ¡La Lucha Sigue! The Fight Goes On!
This month, the Zapatistas are organizing a major international meeting in Chiapas: the World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism. They don’t say “how are you?” Instead, they prefer to ask “what does your heart say?” If you are well, you respond “jun ko’on” (my heart is united). If not, you have to respond that your heart is in pieces (“chkat ko’on“). And you have to be honest. The verb “to struggle” does not exist in their language. Instead, they use the phrase “to form the word.” If one wants to understand the Zapatista struggle, it is important that first you understand their language. They are the tsotsiles Zapatistas of the Los Altos region and the Caracol II of Oventik, and they are getting ready to host the first World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion against Capitalism.