<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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You Are Not Alone…

…That is the Message of The Other Campaign, Direct from Tuxtepec

By Daniela Lima and RJ Maccani
The Ricardo Flores Magón Brigade, Reporting for Narco News

February 6, 2006

Tuxtepec, a city in the northwest of Oaxaca near the frontier with the state of Veracruz, about a five hour drive north of Oaxaca City, known for its high temperatures and thick vegetation, received Subcomandante Marcos (“Delegate Zero”) and the Sixth Commission in the evening of February 4th at the grounds of CODECI. CODECI (Citizens’ Defense Committee and Aid to Rural Communities) was started in 1996 by indigenous Chinanteco campesinos who were being displaced by prison construction. Since than, they have united with Mazatecos, Cuicatecos and others to defend themselves against often brutal attacks upon their land and culture.

Marcos marches to the center of Tuxtepec, protected by supporters.
Photo: D.R. 2006 RJ Maccani
With the arrival of the Commission, organizations responsible for logistics and the program of events discussed with Delegate Zero a new agenda for Commission’s journey through the state of Oaxaca (we’ve attached the agenda below). This final schedule was a compromise between the desires of some groups in the state coordination of “The Other Campaign” and the two priorities that the Commission Sexta had set for the tour: 1) to listen to the testimony of adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and 2) to promote, through public events, the growth of “La Otra.”

The first event was a march from CODECI to Juarez Park, in the center of Tuxtepec, scheduled for the following morning. Taking off around 10:30 a.m. with a little over 100 people, the march picked up over 1,000 as onlookers and groups with banners representing the teachers’ union, indigenous organizations and socialist and communist parties joined along the way.

With the arrival of Delegate Zero and the Sixth Commission in Juarez Park, members of the Unified Movement for the Triqui People, Section 22 (the massive Oaxacan teacher’s union), the Revolutionary Popular Front, the Broad Front of Popular Struggle, and others took the opportunity to speak to the crowd that had formed. Judging from their speeches, there is a very wide range of opinion about what “The Other Campaign” is and for what they are fighting… including a mention of “dicatatorship of the proletariat.” And, yes, the Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) brought their Stalin poster. Members of the Francisco Villa Popular Front eventually hung their banner over the image of “Uncle Joe.”

Meeting of the Other Campaign in Tuxtepec.
Photo: D.R. 2006 RJ Maccani
Closing the event, Delegate Zero spoke about the spirit of this new campaign: “We bring not just the Zapatista word and the word of Chiapas but also the word of Yucatán, the word of Quintana Roo, the word of Tabasco, the word of Veracruz, and we will be bringing your word to those that follow.” Rather than have one group that will dominate the other groups and “lift someone into power,” the proposal is to create another way of doing politics, starting with building a network of stories “to put faces and a name to a national movement of rebellion” against a class and a system that organizes to “cut the country into little pieces and sell it.” Before leaving the stage, Delegate Zero emphasized the difference in building a movement from below: “Rather than going to listen to the speeches of the politicians, begin to construct a movement where each person and his or her voice counts.” Thirty-four new adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from Tuxtepec and other parts of Mexico (and a few from other parts of the world) signed up at the table created by the Oaxacan Zapatista Network.

In a state such as Oaxaca, publicly joining “The Other Campaign” is a brave and necessary act. Meeting with 250 adherents back at the grounds of CODECI, Delegate Zero recognized repression as a top concern. As Oaxaca is governed by an exceptionally repressive regime, it is essential that the governor also understands that any member of “La Otra” who is threatened or attacked will be defended by all: “We can build a national communication network to denounce and respond collectively to any form of repression against us.” And with a nod towards all the independent media workers in attendance, Delegate Zero encouraged CODECI and other organizations to open up spaces in their homes, buildings, and territories where media activists can join with them to build this communications network.

Before leaving for Juchitan at 3 p.m., Marcos listened attentively and took notes as adherents to the Sixth Declaration spoke of their struggles. Before leaving, he tied their stories of struggle for land, affordable electricity, and violence against women into the stories he had heard of similar struggles in the Yucatan, Quintana Roo and elsewhere. This is the proposal of “The Other Campaign”: that no one will be left alone and that through a network of communication, a movement that is building in one part of the country can be connected to other regions that are confronting the same problems, forming a network and campaign of national struggle. The idea is not that everyone will be a Zapatista, but that everyone will be members of “La Otra,” a juxtaposition (and not an imposition) of forces from widely different backgrounds committed to struggling together and defending each other’s right to exist. Near the end of the encounter, an adherent from Oaxaca’s powerful teacher’s union, Section 22, spoke to this: “I am sad to say that alone, we (the union) will not be able to defeat the new legislation being brought against us… we need all the support of The Other Campaign.”

Delegate Zero’s schedule in Oaxaca

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