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Re: <nettime> ontogram: noticias digest [EZLN, "Studies in Conflict and
Ricardo Dominguez on Sun, 25 Sep 2005 11:26:02 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> ontogram: noticias digest [EZLN, "Studies in Conflict and Terrorism"]

[[Hola onto and all the other zaps and zap friends,

Here are some more intergalatic notes on the *other campaign* and *silence*
that I thought you might enjoy.

see you on the other side. - rdom]]


Marcos to Launch Six Month Tour of All of Mexico Beginning January 1, 2006

The Zapatista Subcomandante Is Not Coming to Speak, but to Listen, "to the
Simple and Humble People who Struggle"

By Al Giordano
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
September 19, 2005

".it is our duty to explore the terrain where we will bring our compa~eros
and compa~eras of our people, as well as our soldiers. There is always
someone who goes as a vanguard. We call whoever goes forward and views the
terrain that we still don't know the vanguard. And the task of he who goes
forward as the vanguard is to detect what is there: if the terrain is
swampy, stony, or spiny, and of other situations the vanguard observes, and
this informs us so we can know what to do and how to do it.

"We know that you understand a vanguard to be someone who leads, or those
who know how the fight should be waged, or who give orders, and who are the
only ones who are right, those who know more and better. But we don't
understand it that way. The vanguard for us. is he who goes to understand
the terrain, for us unknown terrain, and it is necessary to go to that
terrain to advance the struggle. This is soldier's work, the exploration of
the terrain.

"The vanguard's work of exploration of the terrain for the Other Campaign
has been given to compa~ero Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. He will be the
first to go out and we will come behind him in turn to do the work."

- Lieutenant Colonel Moise's
Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN)
September 16, 2005
clandestinely in Mexico's southernmost and poorest state of Chiapas,
Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos is coming out to the rest of the country:
Unarmed and alone, he will visit all 31 Mexican states and the Federal
District of Mexico City. His six-month investigative mission - "to listen to
the simple and humble people who struggle" - begins on January 1, 2006.

Subcomandante Marcos
Photo: D.R. 2005 tiros {AT} indymedia.org, Chiapas Indymedia
Marcos came out just once before - during the 2001 Zapatista Caravan,
together with 23 masked guerrilla commanders - but anyone who is expecting
the kind of media circus and parade behind him that characterized that
pilgrimage ("NASCAR with buses," wrote our correspondent Reber Boult at the
time) is probably mistaken. According to Marcos' recent statements, there
will not be speeches from stages or grand demonstration podiums, as there
were in 2001 or in the 1997 caravan by 1,111 of his comrades. He is not
coming out to speak. He is, rather, coming out to chart the terrain for
other rebel organizers to follow, to discover who and what awaits them
throughout the Mexican Republic, in a painstakingly careful and slow process
of collecting information, of scouting the terrain for a long-term radical
transformation of a nation.

Anyone seeking an historical parallel to what comes next may wish to look at
Mohandas K. Gandhi's return to India on January 9, 1915. After 21 years of
exile in South Africa, where he had led a victorious struggle against some
of the apartheid system's most repressive laws, Gandhi arrived by boat to
the port of Bombay and received "a hero's welcome," according to biographer
Shri B.R. Nanda. The revolutionary organizations and currents throughout
India looked to Gandhi to lead, immediately, the revolution for independence
from British rule. His convocatory power had, during his absence, surpassed
that of any other leader or sector. But Gandhi, already a kind of legend at
age 45, a popular writer, journalist and social fighter, noted aloud that
after two decades away he did not know his own country. He imposed a year of
public silence - of not making statements to the media - upon him self and
embarked upon a lonely tour of the forgotten provinces of his India.

"Gandhi was in no hurry to plunge into politics," wrote the biographer
Nanda. "During 1915. Gandhi eschewed politics severely. In his speeches and
writings he confined himself to the reform of the individual and the society
and avoided the issues which dominated Indian politics. His restraint was
partly due to self-imposed silence and partly to the fact that he was still
studying conditions in India and making up his mind." Gandhi's abstention
from politics lasted three years (indeed, it would be 15 years of plodding
organizing work before the Great Salt March and strike of 1930 caused the
world to take the Indian Independence movement seriously; and 31 years
before India won its independence). Confronted with movements and leaders
impatient to spark an immediate revolt, Gandhi found their own methods to be
very far from his own, and decided, instead of plunging into the existing
political organizational structures, to interact with his country's people
and places on a local, rather than national, level.

Gandhi's silence on the national stage did not constitute an eschewing of
struggle. Where he found simple and humble people fighting for a better
life, he joined forcefully in their causes. According to Nanda:

"In the summer of 1917, he went to the indigo-growing district of Champaran
and took up the cause of the tenants against the European planters. The same
year he led the textile workers of Ahmedabad in a strike against the
mill-owners. The following year, he agitated for reduction of land tax in
Kaira district where crops had suffered from the failure of rains. The local
officers were perturbed by Gandhi's activities but the Government was
anxious not to precipitate a showdown. Gandhi himself took care to localize
these conflicts and sought solutions which secured a modicum of justice to
the workers and peasants without creating a national crisis."

And if we listen, kind reader, truly listen to what Marcos and the
Zapatistas have been telling us during seven public meetings and umpteen
communique's this summer in the jungle canyons of the Mexican Southeast, the
indigenous guerrilla plan reveals itself to be closer to the strategies of
the Indian pacifist in 1915 than of any historic example from this
hemisphere. Like Gandhi in his loin cloth, Marcos and the Zapatistas who in
September 2006 will follow him and fan out across the land have already
pronounced that they will refuse gifts (even symbolic ones) of any kind
during this upcoming marathon tour, they will not open any bank accounts,
they will not be riding first-class. their vanguard, or scout, the masked
Marcos, will, in a sense, live off the land. that is to say, strictly and
only on the support of the simple and humble people who struggle.

The Schedule

Twelve years from the 1994 New Year's morning when the Zapatista Army of
National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials) appeared on the balcony
of the City Hall in San Cristo'bal de Las Casas and other Chiapas
municipalities, having taken those seats by force from drunken cops the
night before, Marcos announced on Friday night that he will begin his
six-month exploratory mission to the rest of Mexico, once more, in San
Cristo'bal on January 1, 2006.

>From there he will begin the national voyage in the places where, "the
historians tell us, if we are to believe them. critical anticapitalist
thought and the desire to create a new society with new social relations
first arrived in Mexico. the coast of Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula;
among workers on coffee and henequen (the agave plant that produces sisal
fiber) cactus plantations. That is where the Other Campaign will begin."

Kind reader: If you haven't already read or heard Marcos' comments from
September 16, do so. Meanwhile, here is the itinerary of where Marcos is
going, and when he will go there:

The week of January 2 to January 8: Chiapas

>From January 9 to 15: Yucata'n and Quintana Roo

>From January 16 to 22: Campeche and Tabasco

>From January 23 to 29: Veracruz

>From January 30 to February 5: Oaxaca

>From February 6 to 12: Puebla

>From February 13 to 19: Tlaxcala

>From February 20 to 26: Hidalgo

>From February 27 to March 5: Quere'taro

>From March 6 to 12: Jalisco

>From March 20 to 26: Nayarit and Colima

>From March 27 to April 2: Michoaca'n

>From April 3 to 9: Guerrero

>From April 10 to 16: Morelos

>From April 17 to 23: State of Mexico and Federal District (Mexico City)

>From April 25 top 30: Federal District and State of Mexico

>From May 1 to May 7: San Luis Potosi'

>From May 8 to 14: Zacatecas

>From May 15 to 21: Nuevo Leo'n and Tamaulipas

>From May 22 to May 28: Coahuila and Durango

>From May 29 to June 4: Chihuahua and the fist meeting with Chicano
compa~eros on the other side

>From June 5 to 11: Sinaloa and Sonora

>From June 12 to 18: Baja Californa Norte, Baja Califonia Sur, and the second
meeting with the Mexicans from the other side

>From June 19 to June 25: It is proposed that on Saturday, June 25, on the
night of the festival of San Juan, a plenary-debriefing meeting be held in
Mexico City and the state of Mexico.

On June 25, we return to Chiapas and wait for whatever will happen to

A week later, on July 2, 2006, Mexicans will vote for a new president, who
will take the oath of office on December 1 of that year.

While the winner of that election prepares to take power, a second wave of
Zapatistas will fan out across the land. According to Marcos:

The second trip out will be in September 2006, going until March, 2007.
Another delegation will appear, the national delegation and regional or
state delegations. That is, the EZLN's Sixth Committee will have a group
that travels around the entire country and others that plant themselves in
states or regions to carry out the Other Campaign.

The national delegation will hold meetings throughout the country,
state-by-state. According to how we advance in this, regional delegations
will be installed and will begin to visit the struggles, resistances, and

In April 2007, a new team will replace the national and regional delegation.

And so it will be until we finish, if we finish.

In other words, indigenous Maya - primarily of the Tzotzil, Tzeltal,
Tojolabal and Chol ethnic groups - with 22 years of experience as Zapatistas
and a heritage of 514 years of experience resisting impositions from above
and outside will go to the places and people throughout Mexico that their
vanguard, or scout, Marcos recommends. Some of them will be going to live,
work and organize for six month tours of duty, implanting themselves in
communities, in the homes of real people, near workplaces, factories, farms,
organizations and collectives, where thousands upon thousands of other
Mexicans will be able to observe and collaborate, up close, with Zapatista
organizing techniques and other ways of being.

"Let teams be organized to take social X-rays of the situation in each
state, and to join with the demands that are detected, as well as the
struggles, to advance the Other Campaign by States, regions, and sectors,"
noted Marcos. The scenario suggests a kind of military service without guns
by the indigenous rebel bases from the Lacandon jungle and the highlands of
Chiapas. By the time that the next Mexican president takes office on
December 1 of that year, the towns and cities throughout the land will be
already three months ahead of him on the process of reorganizing a nation
"from below and to the left." There is a potential, in other words, for the
Zapatistas (and their allies in "The Other Campaign") to set the agenda and
tone for the land and people that the next Mexican government will attempt
to govern.

The Communications War

Last Friday night, on Mexico's Independence Day, in the community of La
Garrucha that is the regional capital of Zapatista autonomous municipalities
(that is to say, town governments that accept no money or interference from
the state or federal governments), there appeared, before dusk, a double
rainbow in the sky. followed by a rainforest torrent dumping water over all
and turning the earth to mud. The storm caused a power outage and suddenly
the carefully tested microphones and speakers erected for 2,079 delegates
(not including hundreds from the press) to hear the proceedings went silent.

In a small cinder-block building near the tin-roof assembly hall, a handful
of techies from Chiapas Indymedia, Radio Insurgente, the Centro de Medios
Libres, and a score of other alternative media projects raced to rebuild a
weapon from scratch: they had planned an historic live Internet broadcast -
via satellite transmission - of the weekend's planned assembly to decide and
launch "the Other Campaign."

The circumstances in the wet and mud, with the clock ticking toward the 8
p.m. showtime, could not have been more adverse. Wires had to be rerouted. A
portable gasoline-powered electric generator was fired up. Tiny screwdrivers
and tweezers were wielded to recalibrate the technological gizmos and
appliances that were woven together, seeming more like a Rube Goldberg
machine built with borrowed parts than a sleek international radio studio
control room. Further complicating matters, operatives from the Frente
Zapatista came in pleading help from the alternative media operatives to fix
the sound system inside and outside the assembly hall. Pirate radio workers
from Radios Sabotaje, Zapote, Pacheco, and others rushed to the hall to fix
the direct access to the microphone's soundboard. A journalist from Rebeldi'a
magazine, meanwhile, had to restring the lights in the assembly hall:
onlookers gaped in awe as, standing on a wobbly bench, he twisted live
electric wires in the rain with his bare hands. (Narco News acting publisher
Luis Go'mez' adage, "the job of an authentic journalist is to solve
 problems," came to your correspondent's mind more than once while taking
notes on the battle underway.)

Lt. Colonel Moise's with Comandantes Davi'd and Tacho
Photo: D.R. 2005 Juana Machetes
Moise's, a coordinator from here in La Garrucha of Internet and radio
communications, with the Chiapas Indymedia worker known as Timor and a web
designer named Adolfo, were at their posts in this little building where the
future of rebel communications was about to make a great leap forward: Timor
and Adolfo at their laptop computer screens, with a chat window opened to
all the other media-makers - Radio Livre Brasil, Ke'-Huelga in Mexico City,
and others - and techies in other lands and regions were preparing the
Internet mirror sites and live pirate radio broadcasts of the meeting. An
activist with earphones and a wireless microphone came in get his signal
adjusted. Chiapas Indymedia worker Xun, fresh from his work in Bolivarian
Venezuela, couriered word and supplies back and forth, running through the
mud and rain and two thousand participants standing around waiting for the
event to begin, between the studio and the assembly hall stage. Phrases that
your correspondent barely understood, like, "connect it directly to the
console," and "with what cable?" were shouted aloud.

Miraculously, it seemed to your correspondent, by the time the masked
avengers Marcos, the fifteen members of the Zapatista Sixth Commission,
Comandantes Ramona, Susana, Esther, Tacho Davi'd, and Lieutenant Colonal
Moise's arrived at the meeting hall, the signal was up and running again, and
the proceedings were being broadcast, live, via Internet and the many radio
stations receiving it, to the world. (The speaker system, however, in the
back of the assembly hall was not yet working, though: Your correspondent
and another journalist-of-the-pen, Mariana of Chiapas Indymedia, struggled
inside the Internet-radio studio with ears pinned to a tiny speaker to hear
the words being spoken by the rebels over the din of the tech workers here
who were making the broadcast happen: this, while trying not to block our
notebooks from the sole flickering light of one little candle that
illuminated the room.)

Although similar live Internet broadcasts have been accomplished in the past
(for example, from the World Trade Organization protests in Cancu'n in
September 2003), this one, under adverse jungle rainforest circumstances,
constituted the first achievement of its kind broadcasting an historic act
of this magnitude. The cooperation between independent media projects - long
plagued by protagonisms and turf wars, and still with miles to go before it
sleeps - bode well for the kind of cooperation that will be required by
different organizations and tendencies as the Other Campaign takes form.

Journalist Envy

"The aim of journalism should be service," the aforementioned Gandhi once
said. As communicators in service of the people and convoked by the Other
Campaign draw closer together, the gap between career journalists (those
affixed on power from above) and service journalists (from below) continues
to become more polarized. Indeed, the Spaniard news agency EFE griped:

"Fifty non-traditional media organizations, united in the alternative
Indymedia movement, made it possible for the voice of Subcomandante Marcos
to be heard by whomever had an internet connection, simultaneous as the
meeting attendees in the faraway town of La Garrucha in the state of
Chiapas. Meanwhile, the majority of the journalists that attended this
meeting, deprived of electricity for most of the time and with the
impossibility of Internet access, had to drive hours by car over earthen
roads to find a place from which to transmit their reports."

Right. Here's another Kleenex, donated free of charge from authentic
journalists to those self-pitying Commercial Media workers that had their
own cars - gas, expenses and time paid for by their bosses - to go file
their "reports," and, gasp, had to spend time working and using those
resources. A key difference, of course, between two opposite forms of media
that collide in the Other Campaign is that the individuals and organizations
that worked so hard to bring everyone that broadcast are vocal adherents to
the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, known as the Sexta, and
therefore part of it. There is no law that prevents other journalists, media
workers or communicators from doing the same. As Marcos defined a week ago,
after another of these mountain meetings:

"We would also like to thank the media workers for their patience and work
(although they were crafty about it, only appearing at the beginning and at
the end and not staying for the entire meeting). Like others, they continue
to need their own preparatory meeting to tell us of their story and their
struggle. I imagine that it has to happen. When you finally decide to
subscribe yourselves to the Sexta, you will have, in us, an attentive and
respectful ear."

It may be that while no law prohibits Commercial Media journalists from
adhering to the Sexta, their employers would retaliate against them or fire
them for doing so. If that is the case, though, Commercial Media journalists
as a class have even more necessity to fight for their freedom and join
together in struggle. If they don't fight for themselves, who, really, will
fight for them? In other words, those journalists that have not yet fought
to establish a space for their own press freedom are precisely the ones that
need most to fight for it. So get to work, colleagues, and don't complain
when those who have fought and do fight for our freedom make advances as a
result of our struggles.

Unarmed Zapatista insurgents
Photo: D.R. 2005 Juana Machetes
To be fair, a couple of international Commercial Media workers, this week,
distinguished themselves as more thoughtful and better listeners than so
many others that have circled, at times like vultures, over this Other
Campaign. Mark Stevenson of Associated Press termed this meeting part of an
"historic transformation. the likes of which have rarely been seen in the
Americas." And Jo Tuckman of the Guardian of London (report pending)
distinguished herself as the first international Commercial Media journalist
in seven jungle meetings this summer to remain carefully listening and
reporting throughout the entire 20-plus hours of proceedings.

(Contrast those examples with New York Timesman James W. McKinley's
statement this month to a Narco News source that he doesn't consider the
Zapatista Other Campaign as news: "It would only be news," he said,
according to the source, "if they started shooting again or laid down their
arms." Of course, McKinley's arrogant presumption caused him to miss exactly
that story, part of what Stevenson called an historic transformation: the
Zapatista soldiers at this meeting, for the first time in a public gathering
with their commanders in their own territory, appeared without guns, and, as
previously mentioned, Marcos will come out to the rest of the country
unarmed. Here's a famous Mexican saying to help the struggling linguist
McKinley learn to better understand Spanish: Camarones que se duermen se
llevan al coktel, or "shrimp that sleep wake up in the cocktail." Mmmmm.
Coktel de camaro'n.)

The First Revolution

The presence of Comandanta Susana at Friday night's opening session invoked
memories of what Subcomandante Marcos years ago called "the first uprising
of the EZLN," when, in March of 1993, prior to the New Year's uncloaking by
the EZLN to the public, Susana organized the Zapatista women into proposing
the Zapatista Women's Law, bringing unprecedented rights for indigenous
women in Chiapas. "It was headed by Zapatista women," recalled Marcos of the
uprising. "There were no casualties and they won. things of this land."

In this fine tradition, on Saturday morning, when the marathon session to
decide the terms of the Other Campaign began, came two new uprisings.

The first came right at the start of the assembly meeting. As has become
habit in these weeks of preparatory meetings, videographers and
photographers - from Commercial and Alternative Media alike - set up their
tripods in the front row hours before the session began. And as the meeting
was called to order, the participants on the benches behind them began
shouting "Sit down! Sit down!" to limited degrees of success. This time,
though, the masked commandantes on stage joined in the call. "Yesterday you
took photos," Marcos commented to the camerapersons. "Today we are here to
work." Some photographers moved to the sides, but others remained standing,
blocking the view of other participants.

The shouts of "que' se sienten" ("sit down!") became a resounding chant from
the bleachers, repeated each round with increased volume. Marcos approached
the microphone anew, saying: "We are not going to begin until you go to the
back." He sat down on his own bench and silently waited. Incredibly, one
cameraman in a key position refused to budge. This went on for various
interminable minutes. Another Zapatista comandante approached the mic,
asking the photographer to please "move to the back, or to the sides."
Still, he did not move. Finally the audience could take it no more,
screaming and chanting at the guy, "Move it! Sit down!" Whistles, catcalls
and insults ensued as the meeting remained delayed from starting. Finally,
sufficiently shamed, the cameraman moved to the side, to the applause of
all. It was the First Revolution of the Other Campaign. And significantly,
it was part of the repositioning underway of how a movement relates to the
Media. Gone are the days when social movements geared themselves to getting
mere scraps of attention from the press by sucking up obsequiously to its
representatives. What is happening here will happen with or without the
Fourth Estate. And after all, that is the only way to earn the respect of
anybody - including the press: to stand up for one's own dignity first.

Wanted: A New Political Literacy

The Second Revolution of the Other Campaign came about an hour later. The
first hour of debate - topic one was "the characteristics of the Other
Campaign" - was dreadful. Political group after political group marched up
to the microphone (this time with an agreed-upon time limit of five minutes
per comment), and many engaged in Old Left-style orations about national
issue platforms and other matters that seemed to have little to do with the
immediate and pressing stages of the Other Campaign as it had been outlined.
There was nary a reference to the upcoming six-month listening tour or the
other aspects that had been announced the night before. Much moaning and
groaning and shifting in seats could be heard from the gathered public. The
first plenary session of the Other Campaign - in which political, social,
non-governmental, artistic, collective, indigenous and other organizations,
as well as individuals are now taking part in the decisions - seemed adrift
toward an iceberg of irrelevancy.

"These political types have no idea of what it means to practice a new kind
of politics," one man from San Cristo'bal complained to your correspondent.
"It's like a form of political illiteracy," said his companion. "We need an
ABCs of how to practice the new form of making politics."

To wit: One speaker took the stage, droned on for five minutes about vague
matters of anti-capitalism, and the need for a large national front to lead
the fight, followed by another from the same organization that said
essentially the same thing. Since the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon
Jungle already defines the Other Campaign as against capitalism, the calls
for it to be such seemed at minimum redundant, and, worse, to be coming from
those who must not have read it (although to be at the podium meant that
they had signed their names to it). This was evidently frustrating for all
those - the so far silent majority of this plenary meeting - who had read
what they signed. Then followed a third man from the same organization
repeating the same (the blabber did not, at the time, awaken enough interest
in your correspondent to write down the name of the organization; something
its members are probably grateful for today). By the time the next speaker
came to consume five minutes of everyone else's time, and identified him
self as from the same organization, the people in the audience had had
enough. They began whistling and hurling insults at the speaker about his
group's gamesmanship and disrespect for the process at hand. They would not
let him finish, and at some point he limped off stage. The next speaker -
now the fifth - was also from the same organization. He began by begging
pardon, saying, "it was not our intent" to dominate the microphone. "Then
what are you doing there?" shouted someone from the crowd. People whistled
loudly and made it impossible for him to even offer an apology, and off he

And thus, the Old Left practice of stacking a speaker's list and trying to
dominate a meeting's agenda on the part of one small group, so common to
political meetings and assemblies in Mexico and elsewhere, hit a brick wall
on Saturday. That marked the Second Revolution of the Other Campaign: a
victory for "a new way of making politics" over the old. After that, the
quality of the meeting improved substantially (and some of the national
groups famous for that kind of tactic remained, for the rest of the
sessions, uncharacteristically quiet as church mice). Rare displays of
candor and self-doubt on the political left began to find voice. "We don't
have enough cohesion yet to construct autonomous regions as the Zapatistas
have done," confessed Manuel Ferna'ndez of Mexico City. "First we need to
demonstrate that we are capable enough to conduct our own proceedings with
civility," said a man from a group calling itself La Neta Amorfa. Old Left
veteran Edgar Sa'nchez, who had proposed in a previous preparatory meeting
that the Other Campaign mount "a candidate without a registered political
party" (in other words, one that does not appear on the ballot) spoke to
withdraw his original proposal. "Now that we know it will be Subcomandante
Marcos on the road for the Other Campaign," said Sa'nchez, "our proposal is
no longer necessary. There is no one better than Marcos to embody the
campaign for the public."

National University professor Julio Mu~oz Rubio spoke in counterpoint to
many of the more traditional left groups that restricted their words to a
political or economic analysis of the capitalist system. "The character of
the Other Campaign should be otherwise. We run the risk of falling into a
campaign strictly based on political and economic positions. It is simply
false to say that capitalism is only an economic-political matter. It is
also scientific, genomic, and robotic. It involves technologies that affect
our health and our environment. Capitalism also affects the artistic and the
cultural realms of society. We need a campaign that is also against any form
of ideological domination, one that is counter-hegemony in all forms."

"How do we deal with the plurality of the attendees of this meeting here?"
asked Alejandro Cruz Lo'pez, the recently released political prisoner from
Oaxaca's Emerald Coast. "We, as indigenous people, have been thinking hard
about what we bring to this effort. We wonder how to do this without getting
too ideologically deep. We need to stand each other, all of us, to make a
huge effort to make alliances. Many of us talk about a new form of politics,
but we don't practice it. But as indigenous organizations, we want to say
that we are available to meet with everyone who wants to meet with us."

The difference in speech patterns, choice of words, emphasis, etcetera
between many indigenous participants and the "educated left" (that is to
say, those who attended universities) continues to strike your
correspondent. Cruz, for example, addressed his comments in plain language
directly to the others there. He was not making an oration or addressing the
applause-meter, the media, or some invisible power from above. He was, in a
word, conscious of who he shared this hall with, and eager to get to know
new people and forces with the goal of making alliances (in private, he
remained the same: interested in other people's struggles, seeking common
ground and action). His intervention was not one of "talking at" people, but
rather seeking a conversation with them. As the proceedings continued well
into the night and into the next day, the stark contrast between the
leftspeak of some organizational activists and the human touch of some
indigenous and other speakers revealed itself as an ongoing challenge for
the Other Campaign.

A Shotgun Wedding

Any reader familiar with similar problems of the Old Left will note from the
quotes above that a huge predominance of those who flocked to the microphone
in the early hours of this plenary meeting were men. For the first part of
the day, the women held back. This did not reflect the demography of the
attendees, but it sure did skew the discussion into some rigid ideological
cul-de-sacs that tend to be the domain of the minority gender that is male.
During a break in the meeting, Nanny Alves, born in the northeastern Brazil
state of Recife, now six years living in Cuba as a dancer with the National
Ballet of Havana, who came, she said, "because I want to see how my Ame'rica
struggles," offered that ideological rigidity is part and parcel of the
problems that many of us have gathered here to fight.

"So much of what I've heard so far," Alves told Narco News, "reminds me of
the man described by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in the Dialectica de
Esclarecimento." (That's Portuguese for Dialectic of Enlightenment,
originally published as part of a 300-page mimeographed pamphlet in 1944 by
those two philosophers of the Frankfurt School.)

In that text, Adorno and Horkheimer set out, they said, "to explain why
humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new
kind of barbarism," writing about how humankind's "fear of the unknown" (or
of The Other) leads to a society based on domination: of human over nature,
and of human over human. Adorno and Horkheimer ruthlessly dissected the
entire concept of "ideology" as itself a form of domination:

"All are free to dance and enjoy themselves, just as they have been free,
since the historical neutralisation of religion, to join any of the
innumerable sects. But freedom to choose an ideology - since ideology always
reflects economic coercion - everywhere proves to be freedom to choose what
is always the same."

Again and again, the meeting seemed to clash along this fault line. A member
of the Coordinadora Anarquista Feminista (the "Anarchist Feminist
Coordinator" organization) came back to the Zapatista definition of the
Other Campaign as being "of the left." She said, "'Of the left' should
explicitly mean anti-hierarchical and anti-authoritarian."

Indeed, the longest debate of the day was over whether the Other Campaign
should be organized "vertically" or "horizontally" with the dividing line,
more less, coming from older left organizations in favor of verticality and
a generally younger post-Zapatista wave of collectives and individuals
insisting that only horizontality - in which each organization and
individual maintains its absolute autonomy, with no person or group having
authority over another - would allow their participation.

Your correspondent's educated guess is that a simple show of hands would
have revealed an overwhelming majority in favor of organizing horizontally
and non-hierarchically. But votes were not taken. The comments and various
opinions on the organizational structure and other aspects of the Other
Campaign are now being emailed to all the adherents to the Sixth Declaration
for further debate, so that all can participate. As Marcos at the end of the
plenary noted, "91 social organizations out of 162 came, meaning that 71
social organizations didn't make it. 36 political organizations came,
missing 19 still to come. 129 NGOs, groups and collectives came, 324 are
still needed. 26 indigenous organizations came, leaving 29 more to come. 196
individuals arrived, missing 1,428. In no way do we constitute a majority
and we have to construct something so that any of these compa~eros that
couldn't come for whatever reason know that their place is reserved when
something happens." The summaries of the debates at the plenary session;
about the character of the campaign, who is included and not, the
organizational structure, the concerns of women, indigenous, "other loves,"
etcetera, are posted at the Rebeldi'a magazine site for further comment. So
there's another victory for "horizontality" in organization: one doesn't
have to attend the meeting to have a say.

And here's another paradox, revealed in Marcos' written notes that responded
to a second intervention by the Anarchist Feminist Coordinator, when, during
a discussion of "who is convoked, and who is not" to participate in the
Other Campaign, the anarcho-feminists proposed that "political parties and
organizations that seek power, or that are authoritarian, or hierarchical,
or that have exercised any kind of violence against women" should be
excluded from the Other Campaign.

In his notes, Marcos replied, "That would leave us (the Zapatista army)
outside, because we are hierarchical."

And so it is, as the Other Campaign takes its baby steps, as organizations
and individuals with very different views of them selves, of each other, and
of the world, strive to work together, many for the first time: the
old-style left is having to learn to live with the new-style left, to accept
the difference in the other; the different ways of self-managing, and the
different demographic characteristics and styles. Conversely, the new-style
left, if it insists that everyone else at the table self-organize exactly as
it does (non-hierarchical, etcetera) quickly comes to mirror the very old
left that it breaks from through the old style ideology that insists on
imposing a sameness upon all: Acceptance of differences in The Other is a
two-way street. And in this shotgun wedding between those of all stripes
that must fight together because they (we) are under attack by the same
impositions from above, we've barely reached the courting stage.

In any case, there is time, plenty of time, believe it or not. It will be
nine more months before Marcos completes his fact-finding mission across the
country. And only then will we have a better x-ray of where the struggle is
located, and with whom to go into battle. Like Gandhi returning to India, it
's been 22 years since he has known his own country. Welcome back,
Subcomandante. Have a good voyage. We - and many, many others - have got
your back.


Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Plenary Meeting
Final Words of the EZLN
Mon, 19 Sep 2005 03:14:01 EDT

We are going to bring things to a close, compañeros and compañeras.

We are going to deliver a short message, compañeras and compañeros, in
closing this meeting in which we handed over the Other Campaign to you.  First
all, we apologize to you for the errors we committed while leading this
assembly, while realizing that the act of recognizing our errors is not going to
exonerate us from criticisms you make about what we have done.  Some things we
realized, like this last one about the immediate tasks.  Perhaps we were not
of other errors, but we are willing to learn that work also.  We are going to
ask a few things of everyone who's here and of those who are not.  Since we
have already handed over the Other Campaign, it's no longer the EZLN's, not
just the EZLN's, so I'm going to ask the compañeros and compañeras of Revista
Rebeldía to send an email to all those compañeros who have joined who they have
on their list and ask for their authorization for allowing, or not allowing,
their information to be collectivized - to be passed on to the other supporters.
We have to do it like that because there are people, individuals and
organizations who are trusting in us.  To others we have to say that it's no
with us, it's with everyone, so let them rectify or ratify whether they are
going to share this information so they can be contacted.  When we have this, in
no later than one month - we're going to set that as a deadline - the
directory of the Other Campaign, as of September 11, is going to be sent to
and then you're going to be able to get into contact with each other by towns
or states.  We are also respectfully asking all organizations, individuals and
groups, those who are here and those who are not here at the moment, to send
us your proposals, as you're organizing, for the dates when you're going to
relocate - what someone here called Agent X - to your states, taking into
account the days we're going to be there for the meetings which are going to be
held.  We are also asking you, as the EZLN, if you could make an assessment of
what the meeting was like and send us a critical assessment so we can know how
you saw it, and also tell us if we can make it public, if we can send it to the
others.  Everyone, persons, individuals, organizations, etcetera.  And we want
to make it quite clear here - because it was alluded to in some of the
presentations - that neither the EZLN nor Marcos are going to agree to be the
spokesperson for the Other Campaign, because that would mean establishing a
which has no place.  Marcos is the spokesperson for the EZLN, nothing more.
Compañeros, there is a problem regarding immediate political tasks which has
been pointed out, which we noted, when we invited people to the Other Campaign.
We told the people we were going to take them into account.  That is why we
thought that when the Other Campaign was handed over, everyone had to be
consulted, everyone had to be taken into account.  That is what is going to
guarantee to the people that this is different.  That no one is larger, or
that the one who knows how to speak isn't worth more than the one who doesn't.
That the one who has the money to be able to travel isn't worth more than the
one who has to stay put.

We have to look at the methodology for consulting on everything, because we
cannot decide on the criteria.  We'll consult on that, but not on this.  I know
this presents problems for urgent tasks which come up, but it's something we
have to build, to know how to build, and, first, that everyone is guaranteed
that decisions on the building and on the direction of the Other Campaign will
be made by everyone.  Every word is going to be taken into account the same as
any other, nothing, then, is going to be decided through subjugation, ganging
up or opportunism.  Everything which is done in the name of the Other
Campaign, since we have already turned it over to you, we will have to say that,
everyone counts.  Then we cannot decide like that, this will be consulted and
this not, or any criteria whatsoever, because then we would be demonstrating
a lack of respect for the people.  If we don't want the same thing to happen
in the Other Campaign that happened with the other political parties - who say
chin two decades later, they left us for the other side, and we didn't do
anything at all - then in that building and in that direction of the Other
Campaign, it's going to be decided with everyone, from the smallest to the one
has the most people.  That is what we're proposing, but it's not for us to deci
de which things are priorities and urgent in the Other Campaign.  So we are
proposing that everyone be consulted as to what is urgent and basic.  The Other
Campaign should be in solidarity with and help those who make it up.  Then it
won't be possible for some compañeros to be attacked - because when you
leave, or all of us leave, there will begin to be an atmosphere of threats
everyone.  Therefore the first thing the Other Campaign has to do is to look
after all the supporters - we cannot tolerate something happening to one of us,
and we are going to mobilize with all the civil and pacific means we have in
order to protect him, help him, be in solidarity with him.  Also urgently,
however, because that will allow many things to be done, since the immediate
reflection of an organization is protecting those who are part of it.  We are
asking you to express yourselves as soon as possible concerning the different
points which are being presented.

The EZLN is going to send this letter tomorrow to all supporters, asking them
to express themselves, as quickly as possible, on the different points which
are being presented, but especially on this one, insofar that, starting now,
any one of us could be subjected to some action or threat, as has already been
noted here.  Several urgent issues have also been noted.  I can imagine the
desperation of the compañeros who were hoping there would be a declaration in
this assembly about these important and urgent matters.  We are also desperate,
but we feel we have to wait for the Other Campaign to take hold of its
direction and to give itself form.  The problem of the Social Security workers
pointed out, of the metallurgical workers, of Fox's energy program.  So, making
use of its prerogative as an organization supporting the Sexta - and the
respect which is established for the autonomy and independence of organizations
the EZLN, as the EZLN, commits itself to sending a message (it is a shame that
the calendar doesn't allow us to go personally) to the compañeros, Social
Security workers, on the day of their Congress, a message of encouragement, of
support and, obviously, of unity with them.  And the EZLN also commits itself to
calling on all political organizations, persons, political groups, NGOs,
collectives and persons supporting the Sexta to join with the mobilization the
Social Security workers will be organizing on the day of the Congress.  We will
make this public.  It is not a secret to anyone that there have been bilateral
meetings between the EZLN and other organizations and collectives.  We told
everyone the same thing.  Independent of the development of the Other Campaign,
these relationships can allow for joint actions.  What we are pointing out here
is that the Other Campaign, which all of us are part of, is one thing, and
each organization, each individual and each person, is another thing.  In this
regard, we are proposing to those political, social and non-governmental
organizations, collectives, groups and individuals who find it relevant, that
draw up a joint message which the EZLN will sign along with these other
organizations, groups and individuals.

Regarding the mobilizations which are going to be held in a few days against
Fox's energy program, what we are proposing to you here is - making use of
your autonomy and independence - that you meet, draw up a joint draft, send it
us and we will sign it jointly with you.  We can't go any further right now.
We think that after the first exploration of the environment, as Lieutenant
Colonel Moisés said, we will then be able to participate personally in these
meetings.  Similarly, we will also commit ourselves to a message, to sending a
message to the compañeros, metallurgical workers of Lázaro Cárdenas Las Truchas
Iron and Steel, about their problem, and we are also calling on organizations
to make a joint statement, but not as the Other Campaign, rather as
organizations, persons and individuals, and to pass it along to everyone who
wants to
support it.  And I am also proposing to organizations that have contact with
the Mexican Electricians Union, or with other sectors of workers in the city or
in the countryside, that they compose a joint invitation, a joint letter,
inviting them to join the Other Campaign, and that they do the work that will
make that take shape.  We believe we can overcome obstacles in that way, and go
about building a new organization where everyone has their place, without losing
our independence and our autonomy as organizations, compañeros.  I'm going to
tell you:  91 social organizations came out of 162, 71 social organizations
did not come;  36 political organizations came, 19 were missing;  129 NGOs,
groups and collectives came, 324 were missing;  26 indigenous organizations
came, 29 were missing;  196 individuals came, 1428 did not.  In no way are we
the majority, and we have to build something so that any one of these
compañeros, who couldn't come for any reason, will know that their place is
going to be saved for them, like when something happens.  In total, there were
2069 of us gathered here, counting national and international observers and
without counting the press.  So I am leaving that message for social and
political organizations about the problems of Social Security, of electricity
and energy in general, about Lázaro Cárdenas Iron and Steel.

Compañeras and compañeros, the Other Campaign is no longer ours.  I mean it
is no longer just ours because of what I have listened to at this meeting, what
we listened to in the preparation meetings and what we have found out in
various places.  We want you to know that, as the Zapatista Army of National
Liberation, it is an honor for us to have you, from now on, as compañeros and
compañeras.  And, in saying that, I am telling you we will repay you with
compañerismo, with honesty, and, above all, with loyalty to all of you.  The
loyalty which we have had, the compañerismo and honesty with our communities,
we will now also have with you.  After having heard and seen you work, we think
we are very lucky to have met you.  You are men, women, others, children and old
ones. Some of the best in the country.  How good that we met you.  Hopefully we
will continue on together, ahead, for a long time.

I would like to thank, in ending, first the zapatista community of La
Garrucha, which welcomed us, the autonomous authorities of the Good Government
Junta  of the Caracol, the authorities of the Flores Magón, San Manuel,
Francisco Villa and Francisco Gómez Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities,
the support bases of the Tzeltal Selva region who worked to build all this, the
militia compañeros of the Third Regiment of the Zapatista Infantry who were
looking  after us with just their batons and who had to put up with the
impertinence of  some imbecile photographer who called them perros because they
didn't let him through and who didn't respond to the provocation.  Thank you,
militia compañeros, for taking care of us.

Thanks to my compañera comandantas and my compañero comandantes of the
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee.

Compañeros, compañeras, men, women, others, children, old ones, thank you
very much.

That is all.

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