<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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“This System is Going to Collapse Soon,” Warns Marcos

There Is a Great Effervescence of Social Movements That See Nothing for Them Up Above

By Hermann Bellinghausen
Reporting for La Jornada

February 5, 2006

JALAPA, VERACRUZ, FEBRUARY 2: “This is going to fall,” said Subcomandante Marcos, referring to the social and political system favored by capitalism in its most advanced stage. He said this with urgency. The “Other Campaign” proposes a new path, one that is “unprecedented” but will be the only way to avoid going down with the system.

Before speaking to thousands of people in Lerdo Park, “Delegate Zero” met this morning with more than a hundred adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, some of whom raised issues that had not been expressed until today. The Zapatista delegate responded to these questions analytically and controversially, especially towards the supposed inevitability of capitalism, and the idea that one must adapt oneself to it even when in struggle.

“We can build something else that is more inclusive. I say this because there is nothing more exclusive than an armed, insurgent political-military organization. Not just because of what it represents, but also because of the destination that is chosen. We had a feeling of duty toward all of you. If we were able to survive and then work for the progress of the indigenous community without interference from local and state governments, it was because of your support and the support of many people in this country.

“But with every show of support we heard the question: ‘and what about us?’ We felt that the task was too great for us, and at the same time this decay was happening in our national life. It is not true that capitalism is creating dependency in many peasant farmers or small businesses, believe me, it is not true. The opposite is true; capitalism’s advance means their total disappearance. And it is not that I am making this up or deducing it from some kind of academic analysis, although those exist, too, and demonstrate the same thing. It is the people themselves who say it. Peasant farmers are losing their lands because of capitalism, and capitalism can’t offer them anything except to make them disappear.” He spoke about the legal traps and reforms to the constitution that are directed towards stripping the peasants of their land and even causing their extinction.

In the case of science, “it’s not that the scientists depend on capitalism for their own work; it means renouncing the ethical values that make them follow that path. No one decides to become a scientist in order to destroy nature, but this is happening nonetheless. The ‘factory’ of scientific knowledge expropriates that knowledge from everyone and gives it a purpose that no one with ethics – I don’t just mean people of the Left or anti-capitalists – would want. Their knowledge is used to destroy and to kill.”

Cynicism “Light”

Marcos added that there are those who realize what is going on and those that don’t, and that there are people who, “realizing what is happening, conform.” This is where the Other Campaign comes in, “because there are those who can say, ‘yes, but who cares, because what can I do?’ and get a sort of cynicism ‘light.’ They don’t dare to admit that human ethical values are being diluted in exchange for comfort, for a check. I’m not saying such people are selling out; they have to work out their material needs.”

“The Other Campaign is showing that there are those who will not sell themselves. I’m also talking about those fighters, like those that were talking here about ’68, who went through all the experiments in political participation, who were offered a way to give in to the system, that old trick of telling them that they could do more from the inside. There were people who said no, who could have gone over to the other side but stayed. The Other Campaign is a space for those people.”

The meeting was held in the offices of the group Matraca, the Movement to Support Children and Home Workers. There, Delegate Zero’s arguments abounded: “There is an anticapitalist current right at the time when people are saying that capitalism can’t be changed. The definition ‘anticapitalist’ is important, although we could all argue about what the word really means. Some say, and argue theoretically, that it is impossible to transform capitalism, and that what we must do is humanize it. In fact, it’s the corpus of the electoral platform of a candidate who sits in the vanguard of the Other Campaign.”

The audience laughed, as just yesterday the PRD candidate [Andrés Manuel López Obrador] was in Jalapa. Marcos mentioned that “just before the Sixth Declaration, if you remember, the political class was fighting over the center. When the Sixth appeared, some began to say, ‘well, maybe I am of the left, but the moderate left.’ And there the spectrum began to open toward the left, but before that everyone was fighting for the center, and it is from the ‘impossible geometry of power’ that this “left but not left” movement begins. Right at the time when the Other Campaign found others who want that space.”

Marcos said: “Our intuition, which we now know to have been correct, was that there were people like us, who no only refused to conform to existing options, but felt it was their duty to build something else. And we can’t say how it will all turn out; all we can do is draw a general outline and see if anyone else is on the same channel, then offer them the chance to decide on the characteristics of this other effort.”

The Other Campaign, he added, “defines its enemy, not its adversary. You can agree on some things with an adversary, but not with an enemy. When the Other Campaign defines itself as anticapitalist, it says: ‘we fight for our survival by bringing about the death of what is in front of us.’ Not the death of a person, but of a system. The EZLN says ‘we recognize your struggle, as small or as individual as it may be,’ and we are committed to the fact that Other Campaign maintain that at all times. We are going to use our moral and ethical authority, which we have earned, to defend that position.”

“This thing that we are doing, compañeros, has no precedent. Not even the past history of solidarity with the Zapatista cause, as now we are not talking about solidarity with indigenous communities. Nor do the ‘respectable’ social struggles serve as a reference point, or the political struggles or any of that, because we are proposing to walk in a direction where there is no road. No one has even thought about whether it’s possible to travel there. Until today, the education we have received, the training, has been that everything is obtained from above, and that which doesn’t come from above is destined to fail. So, the question that we bring to you, which we have heard in the states we’ve visited, is: how many more defeats are we willing to take?”

The Problem Is That We Are Below

The Sixth Declaration, he said, “refuses to use other people’s language. We are speaking as we are, the Indian peoples of Mexico, who talk to others and say to them, with our hearts in our hands: ‘this is going to fall down.’ The house is going to collapse, and the problem is that we are right below the roof.”

People say, said Marcos, that he “is promoting abstention in the elections. No, compañeros, what has happened is that we have found an abstentionist movement that identifies with us, because it is sickened by the political class. And if in the past abstention was seen as apathy, the Other Campaign is discovering that it really comes from a lack of alternatives.”

“We are not opposed to those who fight for power; in fact, many political organizations that are with the Other Campaign intend to struggle for power. What we are proposing is that right now, instead of looking up – because everyone is telling us, look up, look up, or else we won’t know what to do – we are going to unite with all those people to see if we can build something else.

“We are seeing effervescence below that doesn’t put its faith in anything from above. There is a great social effervescence that is not looking toward electoral politics and that is making the political campaigns look innocuous. Neither Madrazo, nor Calderón, nor López Obrador is rising, and it is not our fault, it is because of what they have managed to build in all these years. That is not apathy. We are looking at an effervescent movement, one that could explode at anytime with no coordination, no support.”

Dismissing the debate over whether he is a moderate or radical anticapitalist, Marcos said that the Other Campaign’s proposal is not to coexist with the Right: “Don’t be fooled.” He said this in response to one young man who said that “we need to break down the walls because we are all human beings.” Marcos replied:

“No. We are all human beings, but some are sons of bitches and some aren’t. That is the truth. They built up their wealth on the misery, death and exploitation of others. What we want is to organize, speak and raise the consciousness of that sector in order to fight together. Because if we don’t, if we leave them alone, they are going to end up destroying everything. They have already demonstrated that. If we don’t do something now there won’t be anything left to struggle for,” Marcos concluded.

That night, Delegate Zero traveled to the town of Tomatlán, where he also met with adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America