The Other Campaign in the North of Mexico: Saying “Oaxaca” from Above and Below
Words of Delegados Zero, One, Two and Three During the Conclusion of the National Tour
By the Sixth Commission of the EZLN
December 6, 2006
THIS IS SO OTHER AND SO BIG THAT IT DOES NOT FIT IN THE GEOGRAPHY FROM ABOVE
WORDS FROM DELEGATE ZERO OF THE SIXTH COMMISSION OF THE EZLN.
DECEMBER 2, 2006. COPAI-México
I. The Other Campaign in the North of Mexico: saying “Oaxaca” from above and below
Hundreds of people detained illegally, dozens of people disappeared, tortures, searches, and beatings. Young men and women, indigenous people, children, elders. In other words: the people of Oaxaca who come from below. Above, there are the Federal Preventive Police, Ulises Ruiz’s paramilitaries, the mass media, the political class.
To be quiet in the face of this is to say “Oaxaca” from above, and to make top-down assessments that are cheerful…and idiotic.
Because up above they are prepared to declare that everything has returned to normal and that the “conflict” is controlled because “the leaders” have been detained, as if this movement had “leaders” to be bought, imprisoned or killed. They say that now we must look the other way. That is to say, we must turn a steady gaze to those above, to the paraphernalia of political power, to its simulations and its fronts, which command and give orders while the true Power doles out the day’s orders to its media, pundits, announcers, artists, intellectuals, police chiefs, military units and paramilitary.
To say “Oaxaca” from below is to say compañero and compañera, to draw near to those who are persecuted, to mobilize our own forces to demand the return of the disappeared and the release of detainees, to inform, to call for international solidarity and support, to not be quiet, to speak of this southern pain and to announce that it extends through the entire country and beyond its borders on all four sides, as though it were down below where pains walks, is named, spoken of and listened to.
Oaxaca is extending in pain, but also in struggle. Pieces of this people, as if parts of a puzzle, are scattered throughout the national territory and beyond its geographic limits, which, at least in the north, are more ridiculous than ever.
During the two months that we spent walking in the different corners of the Mexican north, Oaxaca appeared over after over. And it cloaked itself in pain and rage, and it spoke to us and watched us.
And the Other Campaign listened and keeps listening; and it extends its arms, as do the thousands of Zapatistas who blocked off the roads of Chiapas on two occasions in solidarity with Oaxaca and the Others in all of the corners of Mexico from Below, as well as the others in all of the corners of the world. As they extend their arms. As they will keep extending them even if no one pays attention; as we who are nobody will not become a fragmented mirror.
In front of Oaxaca, for Oaxaca and by Oaxaca, we say:
COMMUNIQUE FROM THE CLANDESTINE REVOLUTIONARY INDIGENOUS COMMITTEE-GENERAL COMMAND OF THE ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION (EZLN).
DECEMBER 2, 2006
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO:
TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD:
SISTERS AND BROTHERS:
THE ATTACK THAT OUR BRETHREN, THE PEOPLE OF OAXACA, SUFFERED AND ARE SUFFERING, CANNOT BE IGNORED BY THOSE WHO STRUGGLE FOR LIBERTY, JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY IN EVERY CORNER OF THE PLANET.
FOR THIS REASON, THE EZLN CALLS EVERY HONEST PERSON, IN MEXICO AND AROUND THE WORLD, TO BEGIN, FROM THIS MOMENT, CONTINUOUS ACTIONS IN SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT OF THE OAXACAN PEOPLE, WITH THE FOLLOWING DEMANDS:
FOR THE LIVE RETURN OF THOSE WHO HAVE DISAPPEARED, FOR THE RELEASE OF PRISONERS, FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF ULISES RUIZ AND FEDERAL FORCES FROM OAXACA, FOR THE PUNISHMENT OF THOSE GUILTY OF TORTURE, RAPE AND MURDER. IN BRIEF: FOR FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY AND JUSTICE FOR THE PEOPLE OF OAXACA.
WE CALL FOR THIS INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO SAY, IN ALL WAYS AND IN ALL PLACES WHERE IT IS POSSIBLE, WHAT HAS HAPPENED AND IS HAPPENING IN OAXACA, EACH PERSON IN THEIR OWN MANNER, TIME AND SPACE.
WE CALL FOR THESE ACTIONS TO CULMINATE IN A GLOBAL MOBILIZATION FOR OAXACA ON DECEMBER 22, 2006.
THE OAXACAN PEOPLE ARE NOT ALONE. WE MUST PROCLAIM THIS AND SHOW THAT IT IS TRUE, BOTH TO THEM AND TO EVERYONE.
By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, December 2006
II. 45,000 kilometers on the (OTHER) campaign trail
In its participation in the first stage of the Other Campaign, the Sixth Commission of the EZLN traversed around 45,000 kilometers (47,890, someone noted who was counting) in territory of what we can already call, with familiarity of cause, effect and destiny, the Other Mexico: the one belonging to those from below.
What we saw and heard overthrew something within the 31 states and one Federal District, now that we find ourselves with compañeros and compañeras from at least 35 entities: the 32 from the geography from above, more from the Comarca Lagunera, the Huasteca, and that entity creating its own identity to the north of the Rio Bravo.
The courage that drives the Other Campaign is so large that it does not even fit within these borders: north of the Rio Bravo, there is another Mexico.
“We will never lose. We are here. We will always be here,” said a Chicana girl who knows what she’s talking about.
We heard and saw many Mexicos, with distinct colors and languages, with different ways. And together we realized that all of them make one speak of pain and act in rebellion.
On foot, on motorcycle, on horse, on bicycle, in car, on train and on boat, we traveled 45,000 kilometers of a very other campaign trail and, to use the words of an indigenous Rarámuri woman in the Sierra Tarahumara, “we saw the sickness and there we found the medicine.”
The pain burned bright with its own light, and the tree of resistance with roots centuries deep in the below, began to twinkle.
We cannot continue to resist alone, each one on his or her own side. We need to unite, for ourselves and for everyone.
Briefly stated, Mexico can only live as long as the Mexico from Below lives.
And the Mexico from below can only live if the prisoners from Atenco are released, as well as all the political prisoners across the country, all disappeared are returned alive, and all orders for apprehension of social justice fighters are cancelled.
III. Neither blue nor yellow, the Other North does exist
The four wheels of capitalism – dispossession, depreciation, exploitation and repression – work to unite people below while polls and the wishes of the blue and yellow divide people from above.
The Other Campaign has recovered this country, has rediscovered that the north is also Mexico.
Here are a few samples:
Above, there is a line that unites Teacapán and Dautillo in Sinaloa, with Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo, and Puerto Progresso in the Yucatán: to Joaquín Amaro and San Isidro in Chiapas, Matamoros in Tamaulipas, and El Mayor in Baja California.
In these eight corners of the Mexico from below, fishing families are persecuted because of their work. This is how the criminalization of work happens, under the cloak of caring for the environment.
The environmental policy of the neoliberal governments, as much the federal as the state and municipal governments, is the destruction of nature…or snatching it away from its legitimate guardians to hand it over to the voracity of large corporations.
On the other hand, in three states – Sonora, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí – governed by the PRI, PRD and PAN parties respectively, it is already clear what constitutes this “maintenance of macroeconomic variables.”
In those states, one sees the destruction of the Mexican countryside and its depopulation through the expulsion of millions of Mexicans to the United States. And one sees the reconstruction of the old plantations in the style of Porfirio Díaz, redoubling in size with indigenous migrants from the southern and southwestern states of Mexico.
In Mexico, “modernity” means returning to the age of Porfirio Díaz.
IV. After the 20th century, above they continue with…the 19th century
The machine to make merchandise hides its cause but not its effect. The powerful nucleus of the system is hidden behind the market and salaries: that is, private control of the means of production and exchange.
The nine nations that are participating in the neo-conquest of Mexico are comprised of banks, industries and commerce, all of it foreign. And their armies of conquest and occupation are representatives, senators, municipal presidents, local representatives, governors, presidents of the Republic and Secretaries of State.
This is the present history that unites the north, center and south of Mexico. The end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th have returned:
- The dispossession of lands.
- The destruction of nature.
- The destruction of the social fabric.
- The destruction of the culture of organizing.
- Gender-based violence against women –domestic violence as well as social, cultural and institutional violence.
- A lack of appreciation for elders, the elderly.
- The commercialization of childhood.
- The criminalization of youth.
- The privatization of higher education.
- The dismantling of the elementary and secondary education systems.
- The dismantling of social security.
- The destruction and reconstruction of labor conditions to return conditions during the time of Porfirio Díaz.
- Pushing out street vendors and strangling small and mid-sized businesses; to the benefit of large foreign commercial capital.
- Discrimination and repression against sexual difference, including within the left.
- A perverse autism within the mass media.
“Hunger knocks us down, but indigenous dignity lifts us up,” an indigenous woman, chief of the Kumiai, told us.
In Mexico we work not to die and we die in our work.
V. We are who we are
The main body of the Other Campaign consists of indigenous people, youth and women. All of them are workers, from the country and the city.
In the north we encountered Oaxaca in the Triqui, Mixtecs, Zapotecs; also, in the Kumiais, Kiliwas, Kukapas, Tohono O’odham or Papágos, Comca’ac or Seris, Pimas, Yaquis, Yoreme Mayos, Rarámuris, Caxacanes, Coras, Wixaritari, Kikapoos, Maskovos, Teenek, Pams, Nahuas, Chichimecas, Tepehuanos, and Guajirios.
In the indigenous peoples, tribes and nations of the north it is more frequent to see women who are chiefs and leaders.
“We want to continue being who we are,” an indigenous Rarámuri told us. That could have been said by a young man, young woman, or woman.
“We want to spreading the word to give this world strength,” said the women, youth and indigenous in the north of Mexico.
VI. Below, a heart gets to know itself
The anti-capitalist struggle was not born with the Sixth Declaration and the Other Campaign. It has followed and still follows many paths within political, social and non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples, collectives, groups, families and individuals.
The Sixth [Commission] and the Other Campaign have been a call to find each other, get to know each other, respect each other and unite together.
This is why we are inviting people to participate in the internal consultation from December 4-10, 2006.
The Other Campaign is not another struggle from below; it is the struggle of each of us, but extending to create other ties, those of solidarity and support, those of similar pain and identical rebellion, those of respect, those of differences becoming familiar and getting to know each other once again.
The Other Mexico begins from below. And it does not end until it is remade, because there is more yet to come.
The Other Campaign turns an Other face to those above and to their mirrors. We will not come together or unite with them. Those who oppose Calderón from above are not looking for a change in this country, but rather to achieve Power. Those of us who oppose Calderón from below are against everything that above simulates ideas and practices disdain.
The official will be defeated, as will the “legitimate”; it does not matter what name is used by those who assume that everything will return to normal and that decisions will be made from above for and against the people from below in administrating the same nightmare that we are currently suffering.
This country is full of corners, nooks and crannies.
From those corners – and not from the palaces, seats of government and bunkers of the political class – another alternative will arise, grow and come into being.
All of this country lives in a jail, but there are jails that are obvious and these are the prisons. For this reason, the struggle for the live return of the disappeared as well as the release of political prisoners from Atenco, and now from Oaxaca, should be part of a national campaign.
In conjunction with this, national movements can be carried out to protest high electrical costs, to defend and protect the environment, to promote the informal and small business sector, and to boycott large corporations.
As Zapatistas, we are calling attention to the issues that the anti-capitalist struggles of various groups as well as anarchist and libertarian collectives have contributed through their own political self-development.
In Chihuahua, we were told about the Tlatoleros, the indigenous messengers who traveled to the different peoples inviting them to rise up against the viceroyalty. In one form or another, we have been and will continue to be these messengers.
While those who were looking above now return to the quotidian and fashionable issues, the Other Campaign will look towards itself, define itself and prepare.
Above, they are looking towards, speaking about and questioning what will happen in 2012. Below, the Other Campaign will continue asking who and what constitutes the National Program of Struggle, then asking about the how and when. Then the calendar of those above will be broken and a new one will emerge from below and to the left.
The hour has arrived. We will be who we are, but also better.
It is time to wake up.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Sixth Commission of the EZLN, Delegate Zero
Mexico, December, 2006
PS – In Shadow’s windowless little room, the clock is the only way to tell day from night. It is always early morning. Shadow now prepares to return to the shadows who gave birth to him and who sustains him. He takes stock and recounts. His broken heart, covered in scars and patches, repositions itself. He casts out anchors and unfurls the sails. He carries another country stuck to his feet, his skin, his ears and his gaze. He carries a pain and a rage that do not fit into the words of every language. In the mountains of the Mexican southwest, the collective brown heart who leads is waiting to receive a response that it has known for centuries: it is time for dawn to break, as it does naturally, meaning with pain and with rage. Shadow knows what he will hear from the brown mountain who guides him. Soothing the pain and giving hope to the rage, the mountain will say, in an ancestral tongue: “Do not worry too much, do not be afraid; the heart of our Patria is not sad, because there is more yet to come.”
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