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|[Nettime-bold] Electronic Disturbance Theater request the removal of it’s splash page on Rhizome.org|
Because, for us, the nightmare with you is ending today. Another could follow it, or the dawn could finally appear, we do not know, we shall do everything possible so that it will be the morning which flourishes." -- Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Mexico, November of 2000. Calling Zapatista rebels freedom fighters and his predecessors tyrants, the first opposition candidate to become governor of Chiapas was inaugurated Friday, promising to bring great change to the troubled state.Pablo Salazar said his first move as governor would be to release all "prisoners of conscience in the state, including Zapatista prisoners." His remarks echoed sentiments expressed by President Vicente Fox, who attended the inauguration. In his first acts as president, Fox submitted an Indian rights bill to Congress and began a troop pullback in Chiapas. -- TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico (AP) 12/8/00 7:33 PM Electronic Disturbance Theater request the removal of it’s splash page on Rhizome.org, designed and implemented by EDT member Brett Stalbaum, entitled "An Anchor for Witnessing". We make this request in order to celebrate the shift in policy by the new Mexican government towards the Zapatista communities this December 1, 2000, when the new Mexican government came into power. The splash page is based on a java applet which mediates an art-conceptual performance strategy that had been included in previous Virtual Sit-In’s performed by EDT using the FloodNet software developed by EDT. In the custom versions of EDT’s FloodNet electronic protests system, the applet had been used to flood the error logs of the past President of Mexico's (Zedillo) web servers with the names of the 45 Tzotzil Mayan women, children and men who were gunned down (after gathering in a chapel), by PRI supported paramilitaries in the town of Acteal, December 22nd, 1997. This was done as a symbolic return of the dead to the machines of those responsible for the massacre. As a distributed anchor for witnessing this injustice. The technique was also used to flood the search engine on the same web site with search queries like "justice" and "egalitarianism", all of which are search terms that, not surprisingly, yield no relevant documents on the website of the PRI presidency responsible for the ethnic cleansing and forced relocation of the Mayan people of southern Mexico. The EDT splash page presented on Rhizome.org uses this latter strategy ironically and in a visually apparent manner, without flooding the Mexican Presidents website. The green frame on the left contains the applet, which uses a database of search terms to form a search URL on the targeted site. (http://www.presidencia.gob.mx/) This URL is called into the middle (white) frame, actually calling the search results from the President of Mexico's server into that frame. The results are always similar to the following: "No documents matching the query: 'Equality and Peace'." In the right (red) frame, the names of the Acteal dead scroll upwards as an act of bearing witness. The green, white and red frames symbolize the Mexican flag, inside of which search queries for justice can not be found. Since the project depends upon the search engine on another web site for it's ironic political critique, (meaning that the behavior of this website could be changed without notice by Mexican authorities). EDT realizes that this shift in policy, maybe, yet another trick in a long line of governmental efforts to destabilize the autonomous communities in Chiapas with more talks followed by very little action. But, a small glimmer of light has appeared in the Lacandona dawn and so for now we will stand down. This does not mean that we will not be vigilant, like many others, EDT will continue to keep our gaze and hearts on constant alert and ever watchful of the new Mexican governments gestures. EDT will be ready to return if the need arises. We hope that will not be necessary and that a new the morning in Chiapas will indeed flourish. EDT would like to thank Rhizome.org and The Thing (bbs.thing.net), as well as the many other individuals and groups who have supported our electronic actions and the Zapatistas during these past 3 years. Zapata Vive!! http://www.ezln.org Electronic Disturbance Theater http://www.thing.net/~rdom/ecd/ecd.html P.S. Dear Zaps we will ride our digital horses into Mexico City D.F. with you on Feb 14, 2001. A Day of True Hearts! ********* A note from Harry Cleaver A Time to Celebrate Fox's order for a withdrawal of military forces from Zapatista communities, and the rescinding of the immigration citation of the Italians bringing a generator to La Realidad should not only be seen as steps in the right direction --toward the reversal of the Mexican government's terrorist policies in Chiapas-- they must also be seen, and appreciated, as victories for the Zapatista communities that have held out with so much courage during these long years of repression. Whatever happens next, these current actions, that reportedly include the dismantling of military checkpoints on roads and a pull back from Amador Hernandez, should be celebrated as the fruits of these years of struggle. Let us give credit where credit is due: to the communities, to the EZLN and to everyone everywhere whose actions have staved off worse repression and forced these reversals in government policy. Assuming these first steps are followed by continued withdrawal and that Fox sends Cocopa's version of the San Andres Accords to the Mexican congress and it passes, the Zapatista movement will gain greatly enhanced room for manoeuvre and autonomous activity. At the very least, we can hope for the level of freedom from repression the Zapatistas enjoyed before the February 9, 1995 military assault. Hopefully, there will be more than that. If the military withdraws to its positions before 1994, rather than before February 9, 1995 things will be even better. A Time to Stay on Guard At the same time, however, not only has that withdrawal not yet taken place, but there are a whole panoply of other forces arrayed against the Zapatistas that need to be "withdrawn" --from the corrupt local, state and national police forces to the paramilitaries they have financed, armed and allowed to act with great impunity. The dismantling of this apparatus of repression and state terror must be accomplished, and, as with what has been achieved so far, it is likely to be accomplished only through continued pressure on the Mexican government. While we should savor each victory in this process, it is only through vigilance and continued mobilization that victory will follow victory. It is way too soon to relax. Moreover, while Fox has given the orders, he is also firmly committed to the pursuit of the very economic policies that led to the uprising in the first place: neoliberal policies that subordinate the desires of people to those of business for profits and social control. The Zapatistas rose up in response to such policies, including NAFTA, and they have continued to denounce them and oppose them. The encounters they organized, beginning with the Continental and Intercontinental Encounters in 1996 (that begat the Geneva, Seattle and Prague protests) were Encounters "For Humanity, Against Neoliberalism." The reduction of direct police and military repression will not remove the more subtle repression of neoliberal economic policies. The struggle will continue in Chiapas as it is continuing in the rest of the world. And we can be certain that such state repression is not about to be removed from the capitalist bag of tricks, neither in Mexico, or elsewhere as the police arrests and beatings in Prague made quite clear, as so many examples of continuing repression constantly remind us. Fox's policies vis a vis Chiapas, and the grassroots movements throughout Mexico, seem likely to take the form of a mix of repression (currently we hope being reduced) and co-optation --just like those of the PRI before him. His embrace of "free market" policies (an oxymoron of course) may involve support for small business in an attempt to differentiate people and communities, a la Hernando de Sota, buying time for the final enclosure of the countryside to take place (whose basis was laid by Salinas who ended protection for ejidal lands). Fox's man in Chiapas, Pablo Salazar, due to take over as governor of Chiapas, has toured the US soliciting business investment in Chiapas, offering peace and cheap labor for maquiladora development, another arrow in the quiver of neoliberalism, another arrow aimed at the heart of indigenous communities and everything non-capitalist about them. It is impossible to say, at this point, exactly how Fox et al will pursue their goals (which were also those of Salinas and Zedillo and Wall Street and the IMF) but they WILL pursue them. Assuming their tactics shift from police state repression to more subtle means, so must ours. Unless "human rights" advocates shift their understanding of repression in such a manner as to grasp economic repression as well as police state repression as a problem, such changes in strategy may well strip the Zapatista support network of many of its militants. At the moment it seems unlikely that those who have volunteered as international observers to stand between the Zapatista communities and their oppressors will know how to replicate something like that role vis a vis neoliberal economic development. Up to the present, and probably for some time to come, their role has been vital, but if Fox really carries out these kind of shifts, then other strategies and other kinds of action will be needed. Beyond the problem of resistance, however, is the more appealing problem of building better worlds. Reduced pressure on the Zapatista communities will mean greater latitude for pursuing their own agendas, and greater ease for others to support those agendas. Beside inspiring through their courage, the Zapatistas have inspired through their vision of and efforts to create alternatives to the current subordination of humanity to capital. In domains as diverse as agriculture, education and politics they have pursued, as much as circumstances have allowed, alternatives paths. There is no reason to assume that any strategy by Fox to undermine such efforts will succeed. On the contrary, evidence suggests that despite all the repression and expenditures by the PRI, Salinas' efforts to undermine collective land in Mexico has mostly failed and indigenous communities everywhere continue to carve their own roads into the future. With less repression it will be easier for those of us elsewhere to learn about and learn from such efforts, as well as to share our own efforts with those in Mexico. Such accelerated circulation of experience should strengthen the struggle against capitalism everywhere as it becomes clearer and clearer that very real alternatives are possible. ******* 2 Communiqués by the EZLN Zapatista Army of National Liberation Mexico. November of 2000. To the National and International Press: Ladies and Gentlemen: Here once again. The letters are off, for the one who is now leaving (fortunately), and an invitation for you to a press conference. We will do everything we can to not get hung up and be on time. Vale. Salud, and, no, you don't have to worry, Martha Sahagu'n is not going to be here. >From the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Mexico, November of 2000. (Zedillo's last moments!) Yepa! Yepa! Yepa! Andale! Andale! Andale! Arriba! Arriba! Arriba! PLAYWRIGHT's (ja!) PS WHICH SAYS WHAT IT SAYS. - First Act. - Characters: the political class, announcer, the headlines, the public. Place: Mexico. Date: Prior to the elections of July 2, 2000. (The curtain goes up. There are a television and a radio on the stage, turned up at full volume. In the background, the headlines of a national newspaper. The audio on the TV and the radio is the same: commercial jingles. The newspaper headlines are changing as they are signaled.) The political class: "We are in the media, therefore we exist. We should now confront our greatness with the most difficult test in the supreme art of governing: the ratings. Call for the image consultants! (clapping of hands)." The headlines: "THE IFE IS CREATED, THE FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF POLLS. The bother of going to the voting booths will be eliminated, says its boss." The consultant (entering from the right): "Here I am (turning to the public). Modern political science consists not just of discovering which product will have the best acceptance in the marketplace, but - and here I have the science - in converting anything into something which resembles that product as far as possible (he takes a complete makeup kit out of his briefcase) (He painstakingly apples cosmetics to the face of the political class)." The headlines: "CYBERNETIC CHALLENGE A DEMOCRATIC ADVANCE: EZPL" The political class (sneezing): "Achoo! I think I'm allergic to this dust. What is it?" Consultant (offering a handkerchief): "Bless you! It is the latest word in fashion, it is democratizing dust." The political class (sighing in resignation): "Okay, anything to survive" The headlines: "CANDIDATES' PRICES WILL BE GOING DOWN: SECOFI." Announcer (entering hurriedly from the left): "Quickly! Hurry up! The sponsors are getting anxious! We have to tape the program." Consultant: "The sponsors? I thought the members of the audience would be the ones who were anxious..." Announcer: "No, no, no. The rhythm of politics is not set by clocks or calendars, but by program times. Hurry up! We don't have much time between the commercial breaks." The political class (fixing itself up in front of a mirror being held by the consultant): "Good, how do I look?" Consultant (smiling in satisfaction): "Magnificent! You are unrecognizable..." The political class (to itself): "Commercial breaks! In the good old days there were no breaks other those produced by the happy sound of the rattles and slogans of "You can see it, you can feel it, the PRI is omnipotent." (The consultant moves to one side). Announcer: "Lights! Camera! Action!" Announcer (turning to the public): "Welcome to our program: 'The Modest Truth'! Today, as a special guest, we have...the political class! (loud applause is heard, the public is still, but an audio tape is keeping them from the grueling task of having to applaud)." The political class (turning to the announcer): "Is my tie okay?" Announcer: "Tell us, political class, excuse me, can I call you 'tu'?" The political class (fixing a decal which looks like a smile on its mouth): "Of course." Announcer: "Good, tell us, what can the audience expect from the upcoming election?" (The political class moves its lips, but no sounds at all come out). Announcer: "Very interesting! Almost as interesting as these commercial messages from our sponsors!" The political class (to the announcer): "Are we still taping?" Announcer: "No. It went perfectly. Now we're waiting for the consultant to send us the audio of your response after he's done his marketing studies." The political class: "Then can I leave now?" Announcer: "Yes." (The political class leaves. Someone comes and turns off the radio and television. The headlines disappear. The curtain falls. The audience yawns. An audio breaks into enthusiastic applause.) Second Act - Characters: The political class, Senora X, a young man, Y; and Senor Z. Place: Mexico. Date: July 2, 2000. (The curtain rises. There is only an empty street on the stage). The political class (to itself): "We see faces, we do not know votes." Senora X: "No." The young man, Y: "No." Senor Z: "No." The political class (to the public): "We see faces, we do not know votes." The public (breaking into the script, to everyone's shock): "No!" This play is a problem. Those directing it are making a huge effort to convince the audience that it's already over. Not only is the public not leaving the premises, they're also insisting on getting up on the stage. The director and the actors are tearing their hair out. It is no longer possible to know where the stage is and where the seats are. Suddenly, apparently without an agreement having been reached, and with stern expressions on their faces, all the members of the public yell: "Third act! Third act! Third! Let's begin." Does the curtain fall? What? You didn't like it? Well, La Mar did. Okay, at least she smiled. What? Dari'o Fo, Carballido, Gurrola, Savariego and Lenero are going to reprove me? Let them do so. They reproved Einstein for his hygiene (or was it for his mathematics?). The Sup in the box office. *************************************************** #2 Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Mexico. November of 2000. To Senor Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon. Enroute to nowhere. Planet Earth. Senor Zedillo: Six years ago I wrote to you in the name of all zapatistas, welcoming the nightmare. Many now think we were right. Throughout this administration, your term of office has been a long nightmare for millions of Mexican men and women: assassinations, economic crises, massive impoverishment, the illicit and brutal enrichment of a few, the selling off of the national sovereignty, public insecurity, the strengthening of ties between the government and organized crime, corruption, irresponsibility, war...and bad jokes badly told. Throughout your administration you have striven to destroy the indigenous who rose up in defiance of everything that you represent. You strove to destroy them. When you came to power you were free to choose how to confront the zapatista uprising. What you chose and what you did is now history. In your role as Commander-in-Chief of the federal army - and with all the power given to the head of the Executive - you could have chosen the path of dialogue and negotiation. You could have given signals of de'tente. You could have carried out what you signed in San Andre's. You could have reached peace. You did not do so. You chose, rather, the double strategy of feigning a willingness to dialogue and of continuing the path of violence. In order to achieve that, you tried to repeat the history of the Chinameca betrayal (February 9, 1995), you squandered thousands of millions of pesos trying to buy the consciences of the rebels. You militarized the indigenous communities (and not just in Chiapas). You expelled international observers. You trained, equipped, armed and financed paramilitaries. You persecuted, jailed and summarily executed zapatistas (remember Unio'n Progreso, June 10, 1998) and non-zapatistas. You destroyed the social fabric of the chiapaneco countryside. And, following the slogan of your putative child, the Red Mask paramilitary group ("We will kill the zapatista seed"), you ordered the massacre of children and pregnant women in Acteal on December 22, 1997. We could understand why, being able to follow the path of dialogue, you opted to make war against us. It could have been because they sold you the idea that you could take us prisoners, that you could defeat us militarily, that you could achieve our surrender, that you could buy us, that you could deceive us, that you could make the Mexicans forget us and our struggle, that you could make people from other countries give up their solidarity with the indigenous cause. In short, that you could win the war against us. That we could understand. But, Senor Zedillo, why Acteal? Why did you order the assassination of children? Why did you order your henchmen to finish pregnant women off with machetes who, wounded or terrified, were unable to escape the massacre? What, in fact, did you not do in order to finish off the zapatistas? But were they finished off? They slipped through your ambush of February 9, 1995. They rebelled once more against your failure to fulfill the San Andre's Accords. They escaped from your military siege as often as they wanted. They resisted your ferocious offensive, directed by the 'croquetas' Albores, against the Autonomous Municipalities. Over and over again they demonstrated with mobilizations that their demands had the support of millions of Mexicans. No, the zapatistas were not finished off. And not only were they not finished off. In addition, they spread throughout the world. Do you remember the times that you had to leave, surreptitiously, through emergency exits, events being held in other countries, while zapatista solidarity committees were protesting your Chiapas policies? Is there any ambassador or consul who has not reported to you with desperation the actions carried out by international zapatistas at Mexican government events and buildings abroad? How often was your foreign affairs service estranged because of the failure to carry out the San Andre's Accords, for the militarization of Chiapas and the lack of dialogue with the zapatistas? And, when you ordered the expulsion of hundreds of international observers, did solidarity actions throughout the world diminish? And what do you have to say to me about Mexico? Instead of remaining "limited to 4 chiapaneco municipalities," zapatismo spread to the 32 states of the federation. It became worker, campesino, indigenous, teacher, student, employee, driver, fisherman, rocker, painter, actor, writer, nun, priest, sportsman, housewife, neighbor, independent unionist, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, soldier, sailor, small and medium-sized business owner, street vendor, handicapped person, retiree, pensioner, people. Such were these 6 years, Senor Zedillo. Being able to choose between peace and war, you opted for war. The results of this election are obvious: you lost the war. You did everything you could to destroy us. We simply resisted. You are going into exile. We will still be here. Senor Zedillo: You came to power through a crime which still continues unpunished. And your administration has been filled with unpunished crimes. In addition to carrying forward the privatization policies of your predecessor (and now open enemy), Salinas de Gortari, you disguised as law that other crime which is called FOBAPROA-IPAB, which involves not just poor Mexicans "rescuing" the rich and making them richer, but also causing that heavy burden to affect several future generations. For more than 70 million Mexicans, the country's purported economic solidity has meant poverty and unemployment. While you have been scrupulously attending to the invasion of foreign capital, medium and small businesses were disappearing in the national market. During your term of office, the borders which divide government and organized crime were erased, and the continuous scandals caused serious problems in the press: it was impossible to deduce which news stories belonged in the political section and which in the crime blotter: "suicides," former governors on the run, prosperous businessmen who were "only" tortured, police officers "specialized" in fighting organized crime taking over universities. Today, the same as your predecessor, you are leaving with those who worshipped you, served you, and who served themselves, having now become your worst enemies, prepared to pursue you. And so, Senor Zedillo, you will know, beginning tomorrow, what it is to be pursued day and night. And it will not last for only 6 years. Because, beginning tomorrow, the line will be very long of those who want to make you pay for what you owe them and for insults. It is clear that we were right when, 6 years ago, the zapatistas told you welcome to the nightmare. But, now that you are going, is it over yet? Yes and no. Because, for us, the nightmare with you is ending today. Another could follow it, or the dawn could finally appear, we do not know, we shall do everything possible so that it will be the morning which flourishes. But for you, Senor Zedillo, the nightmare will only continue... Vale. Salud, and it does not matter where you hide, there will be zapatistas there as well. >From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. Mexico, November of 2000. PS - By the way, before I forget: a year ago, in September of 1999, you sent us an open letter thorough your Secretary of Government (and current candidate for the presidency of the PRI). I believe the letter was called "One More Step To the Abyss," "A More Ignominious Step," "A More Cynical Step", or something like that. In it, only 3 years late, your government was supposedly responding, with lies, to the conditions which we had set for the renewal of dialogue in September of 1996! The open letter was an attempt, more than deceiving us, of tricking national and international opinion. Something which it certainly did not achieve. Whatever it was, the lying letter told us we would be pleased with what was stated there, and it invited us to return to dialogue. It would be discourteous on our part to let it go without a response, especially now that you are leaving (finally!). Excuse the delay, but allow me to take advantage of these lines in order to respond. Our answer is: NO! You are welcome. ****** December 2, 2000. Communique' from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation Mexico. To the people of Mexico: To the peoples and governments of the world: Brothers and sisters: Considering: 1. That it is not possible to conceive of a dignified Mexico without a dignified place for the country's indigenous peoples. 2. That the constitutional recognition of the rights and culture of the indigenous peoples is unresolved, and its resolution cannot be deferred any longer. 3. That the people of Mexico and the peoples of the world have been sensitive to the indigenous demands, and they have been in solidarity with them according to their abilities. 4. That the EZLN has supported the importance of the indigenous cause. 5. That everyone is aware of the current federal Executive's commitment to the fulfillment of the San Andre's Accords and to sending the indigenous legislative proposal drawn up by Cocopa in December of 1996 to the Congress of the Union. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation declares: First: It calls on the National Indigenous Congress, on national and international civil society, on political and social organizations and on everyone in general, to a great mobilization for the purpose of obtaining the Mexican Congress of the Union's constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture, according to the Cocopa proposal. Second: That it has decided to send a delegation of the CCRI-CG of the EZLN to Mexico City for the purpose of heading this mobilization in order to address the honorable Congress of the Union and to argue the goodness of the so-called "Cocopa indigenous legislative proposal." Third: That said delegation will be made up of 24 members of the CCRI-CG of the EZLN, these companeros and companeras represent the Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, Chol, Zoque, Mame and mestizo ethnic groups, their names are: Comandante David Comandante Eduardo Comandante Tacho Comandante Gustavo Comandante Zevedo Comandante Sergio Comandante Susana Comandante Omar Comandante Javier Comandante Filemo'n Comandante Yolanda Comandante Abraham Comandante Isai'as Comandante Daniel Comandante Bulmaro Comandante Mister Comandante Abel Comandante Fidelia Comandante Moise's Comandante Alejandro Comandante Esther Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Comandante Maxo Comandante Ismael Fourth: That the zapatista delegation will travel to Mexico City in the month of February of the year 2001, on a date that shall be subsequently specified. Fifth: That we are calling on the National Indigenous Congress, and on all the Indian peoples of Mexico - independent of their political affiliation -to organize themselves, mobilize and come together with our delegation, in order to demand the recognition of indigenous rights and culture from the Congress of the Union. Sixth: That we are calling on Mexican civil society to organize themselves and to mobilize in order to support this demand. Seventh: That we are calling on solidarity committees, groups and individuals throughout the world to speak out regarding this demand. Eighth: The zapatista delegation is calling for, and hoping for, the accompaniment of civil society as a whole, without distinction or preference, for which it will shortly be announcing the program and route of the trip to Mexico City, whose organization will be in the sole and exclusive hands of the EZLN. Ninth: The trip by a zapatista delegation to Mexico City will take place regardless of whether or not the dialogue with the federal government has been resumed. We are going to address the Legislative Branch, certain that we shall find the sensitivity to be heard. Democracy! Liberty! Justice! >From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.