Protected: THEM AND US. V. – THE SIXTH
THEM AND US
V. – THE SIXTH
ZAPATISTA NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY
To: The compañeros adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle all over the world.
From: The Zapatistas from Chiapas, Mexico.
Compañeras, compañeros, and compañero/as:
Compas in the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity:
Greetings to Everyone from the women, men, children, and elders of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the smallest of your compañeros.
We’ve decided that our first word specially directed at our compañeros [who are adherents to] the Sixth should be made known in a space of struggle, such as the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity. But the words, feelings, and thoughts that are sketched here are also meant for those who are not here. And, above all, they’re for them.
We would like to thank the support that you have given to our communities, to our Zapatista support bases and to the prisoners who are adherent compass in Chiapas, throughout all this time.
Your words of encouragement and your collective hand that connected with ours are guarded in our heart.
We are sure that one of the points to be discussed in your meeting will be, or has already been, setting up a campaign to support the compa Kuy, to denounce the attack that he was subjected to, and to demand justice for him and for all of the others who were injured on that day, to demand unconditional freedom for all of the detained in Mexico City and Guadalajara during the protests against the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto as head of the federal executive branch.
Not just that, but it is also important that this campaign contemplate fundraising to support compa Kuy with his hospital bills, and for the costs of his subsequent recuperation, which the Zapatistas hope will be soon.
To support this fundraising campaign, we’ve sent a small amount of cash. We ask you, even though it might be small, to add the money you’re able to get together for our compañero in the struggle. As soon as we can put together more money, we will send it to whomever you [the Network Against Repression] designate for this work.
We would like to take advantage of this meeting of yours, not only to salute your perseverance, but also and above all to salute, through you, all of the compas in Mexico and in the world who have stood firm in this link that unites us and which we call the Sixth.
Know that it has been an honor to have you as compañero/as.
We know that seems like a farewell, but it’s not. It just means that we have ended a phase on the path on which the Sixth leads us, and we think that it’s necessary to take another step.
The troubles we’ve suffered, sometimes together, sometimes everyone in their own geography, have not been few.
Now we want to explain and communicate to you some changes that we will make in our journey, and one that, if you agree and you accompany us, we well go back, but in another form, to that extensive recounting of pains and hopes that were previously called the Other Campaign in Mexico and the Zezta Internazional in the world, and which will now be called simply La Sexta. Now we will go beyond that, to….
The Time of the No, the Time of the Yes.
The who we are, our past and current history, our place and the enemy that we face is defined in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, what remains outstanding is to define why we struggle.
With the “no’s” being defined, what’s missing is to delineate the “yeses.”
And not just that, the responses to the “how,” “when,” and “with whom” also remain to be defined.
All of you know that our thinking is not to construct a great organization with a central premise, centralized command, a boss, be it individual or collegiate.
Our analysis of the dominate system, of its functioning, of its strengths and weaknesses, has led us to point out that unity of action can be achieved if what we call “the ways” of each person is respected.
And all this about “the ways” is nothing other than the knowledge that each one of us, individual or collective, has of their geography and calendar. That is, of their pains and their struggles.
We are convinced that any attempt at homogeneity is nothing more than a fascist attempt at domination, even if it is hidden behind a revolutionary, esoteric, religious, or other similar language.
When one speaks of “unity,” it isn’t stated that this “unity” is under the leadership of someone or something, individual or collective.
On the false altar of “unity,” it’s not just differences that are sacrificed; the survival of all of the small worlds of tyrannies and injustices that we suffer are also hidden.
In our history, the lesson is repeated time and time again. As the world turns, the place of the oppressed, the despised, the exploited, the dispossessed is for us.
That which we call the “4 wheels of capitalism:” exploitation, plundering, repression, and scorn, have been repeated throughout our history, with different names above, but we are always the same below.
But the current system has reached a state of extreme insanity. Its pillaging ambitions, its absolute disdain for life, its delight for death and destruction, its determination to install apartheid for all of those who are different, that is, all of those below, is bringing humanity to its disappearance as a life form on the planet.
We can, as someone could suggest, wait patiently for those from above to destroy themselves, without noticing that their unhealthy pride has led to the destruction of everything.
In their ambition to be more and more above, they dynamite the floors below, the foundation. The building, the world, will end up collapsing and there will be no one to blame.
We think that yes, that something is wrong, very wrong. But that if, in order to save humanity and the battered house that it lives in, someone has to go, it must be, it has to be those above.
And we don’t mean banishing the people above. We’re talking about destroying the social relations that make it possible that someone can be above at the cost of someone who is below.
The Zapatistas know that this great line that we have traced across the geography of the world is not at all conventional. All this about “above” and “below” bothers, causes discomfort, and irritates. Yes, this is not the only thing that irritates, we know, but now we’re not referring to this discomfort.
We could be wrong. Surely we are. Soon the thought police and commissioners will appear to judge us, condemn us, and execute us… hopefully it’s only in their flamboyant texts and they don’t hide their job as executioners behind their job as judges.
But that is how the Zapatistas see the world and its ways:
There is sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, or however it’s called, but it’s one thing to be a woman above and quite another to be one below.
Yes, there’s homophobia, but it’s one thing to be a homosexual above and quite another to be one below.
Yes, there’s disdain to those who are different, but it’s one thing to be different above and quite another to be different below.
There’s a Left as an alternative to the Right, but it’s another thing to be Left above and quite another (and opposite, we would add) to be Left below.
Put your identities in this parameter that we note and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
The most deceiving identity, fashionable every time the modern State enters into another crisis, is that of “citizenship.”
The “citizen” of above and the “citizen” of below don’t have anything in common and yes everything opposite and contradictory.
Differences are persecuted, cornered, ignored, disdained, repressed, plundered, and exploited, yes.
But we see a bigger difference that cuts across those differences: above and below, those who have and those who don’t have.
And we see that that great difference has something substantial: above is above on top of that which is below; that which possesses because it plunders the have-nots.
Always, according to us, this about above and below determines our looks, our words, our ears, our steps, our pains, and our struggles.
Perhaps there will be another opportunity to explain more about our thinking on this. But now we’ll only say that looks, words, ears, and steps from above tend towards the conservation of that division. Clearly that doesn’t imply immobility. The conservatism appears to be very far from a system that discovers more and better forms of imposing the 4 wounds that the world below suffers from. But these “modernizations” or “progresses” don’t have any other goal than keeping those who are above in the only way that is possible, that is, on top of those below.
The look, the word, the hatred, and the steps from below, according to us, are determined by questioning: “Why is it so? Why them? Why us?”
In order to impose answers to those questions upon us, or in order to keep us from asking them, gigantic cathedrals to ideas have been constructed, some more elaborate and some less, more often than not so grotesque that one doesn’t only admire that someone has built them and that someone created them, but also universities and centers of studies and analysis that are based in them have been constructed.
But a party-pooper always appears and ruins the successive celebrations of the culmination of history.
And that malora (troublemaker) responds to those questions with another: “Could there be another way?”
That question could perhaps be what detonates rebelliousness in its broadest sense. And it could because there’s a “no” that gave birth to it: it does not have to be that way.
Sorry if this confusing circumlocution has irritated you. Blame it on our way, or on our uses and customs.
What we mean, compañeras, compañeros, compañero/as, is that what convoked us in the Sixth was this rebellious, heretic, rude, irreverent, bothersome and uncomfortable “no.”
We’ve arrived here because our realities, our histories, our rebelliousness have brought us to that “it doesn’t have to be that way.”
That and, intuitive or elaborately, we’ve responded “yes” to the question, “Could there be another way?”
A response to the questions that one trips over after that “yes” is necessary.
How is that other way, that other world, that other society that we imagine, that we want, that we need?
What needs to be done?
We have to search for the answers to those questions if we don’t have them. If we have them, we should tell each other about them.
With this new step, but in the same path as the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, as Zapatistas we will try to apply something of what we have learned in these 7 years and we will make changes in the rhythm and speed of the step, yes, but also in the company.
You know, one of the many and biggest imperfections that we have as Zapatistas is memory. We remember who was when and where, what they said, what they did, what they silenced, what they undid, what they wrote, what they erased. We remember the calendars and the geographies.
Don’t misinterpret us. We don’t judge anyone, everyone constructs their excuse for what they do and undo however they can. The stubborn turns of history will tell if it was a wise move or an error.
As for us, we’ve seen, we’ve listened, we’ve learned from everyone.
We saw who only approached the Other Campaign for their own political gain, who hops from one mobilization to another, seduced by the masses, in that way alleviating their inability to generate something for themselves. One day they’re anti-elections, another day they wave their flags in the fashionable protest; one day they’re teachers, another students; one day they’re indigenists, the next day they ally themselves with estate owners and paramilitaries. They clamor for the avenging fire of the masses, and they disappear when the water cannons start to shoot.
We will no longer walk together with them.
We’ve seen who appears when there’s stages, dialogues, good press, attention, and disappears when it’s time to do work that isn’t sexy but necessary, as the majority of those here who listen to or read this letter know. During all this time, our gaze and our ears weren’t for those who were on the stage, but rather on those who built it, those who made the food, cleaned up, kept watch, drove, passed out flyers, se la rajaron (worked hard), as they say here. We also saw and listened to those who climbed over others.
We will no longer walk together with them.
We’ve seen who are the professionals of the assemblies, their techniques and tactics to ruin meetings so that only they, and whoever follows them, remain to approve their proposals. They hand out defeats wherever they show up directing moderated roundtables, sidelining the “preppies” and the “petit bourgeois” who don’t understand that the future of the global revolution is at stake on the agenda. Those who look down on any movement that doesn’t end in an assembly led by them.
We will not longer walk together with them.
We’ve seen who are those who present themselves as fighters for the freedom of [political] prisoners in events and campaigns, but who demanded that we abandon the prisoners of Atenco to continue the Other Campaign tour because they already had their strategy and their programmed events.
We will no longer walk together with them.
The Sixth is a Zapatista convocation. To convoke is not to unite. We aren’t trying to unite under a leadership, neither Zapatista nor any other affiliation. We do not seek to co-opt, recruit, take anyone’s place, feign, fake, cheat, direct, subordinate, use. The destination is the same, but the different, the heterogeneity, the autonomy of the ways of walking, are the Sixth’s richness, they’re it’s strength. We offer and will offer respect, and we demand and will demand respect. One adheres to the Sixth without any other requisite other than the “no” that calls us, and the commitment to construct the necessary “yeses.”
Compañero/as, compañeros, compañeras:
On behalf of the EZLN we say:
1. – To the EZLN, there will no longer be a national Other Campaign and a Zezta Internazional. From now on we will walk together with those whom we invite and accept us as compas, on the Chiapas coast the same as in New Zealand.
So our activities’ territory is clearly delimited: the planet called “Earth,” located in the Solar System.
Now we will be that which we are: “La Sexta.”
2. – To the EZLN, being with La Sexta does not require affiliation, dues, registration on a list, an original and/or copy of an official identification, reporting, to be judge, or jury, or the accused, or the executioner. There are no flags. There are commitments and consequences for those commitments. The “no’s” convoke us, and the construction of the “yeses” moves us.
2. – Those who, with the resurgence of the EZLN, hope for a new season of stages and large mobilizations, and the masses looking for glimpses into the future, and the equivalent of the assaults on the summer palace, will be disappointed. It’s better that they leave now. Don’t waste your time, and don’t waste our time. The way of the Sexta is long strides, not for midget thinkers. For “historic” and “opportunistic” actions there are other spaces that you will surely find comfortable. We don’t just want to change the government; we want to change the world.
3. – We ratify that as the EZLN we will not ally ourselves with any electoral movement in Mexico. Our perception has been clear about that in the Sexta and there is no change. We understand that there are those who think that it is possible to transform things from above without turning into another one of those above. We hope that’s true and that consecutive disappointments don’t turn you into that against which you struggle.
4. – Our word that will propose organizational, political, and dissemination initiatives will be EXCLUSIVELY for those who we require and accept, and sent by the website’s email to the addresses we have. They will also appear on the Enlace Zapatista website, but you’ll only be able to access the complete content by means of a password that will be continually changed. We’ll get you that password somehow, but it will be easy to deduce for those who read with attention that which is visible and for those who have learned to decipher the feelings that become letters in our word.
Each individual, group, collective, organization, or however each person is called has the right and freedom to pass this information to whomever they think is advisable. All of the adherents to the Sexta will have the power to open the window of our word and of our reality to those who desire; the window, not the door.
5. – The EZLN asks for your patience as we make public the initiatives that, during 7 years, we’ve matured, and whose main goal will be that you are in direct contact with the Zapatista support bases as, in my humble opinion and long experience, is the best, that is: as a student.
6. – For now we’ll let you know that whoever can and wants to, that you are invited expressly by the Sexta-EZLN, to save up some dough, some cash, some money or however you call the currency in each part of the planet, to be able to travel to Zapatista territory on dates that will be announced. Later we’ll give you more details.
To end this missive (which, as is evident, has the disadvantage of not having a video or song that accompanies it and completes the written version), we want to send our best hugs (and we only have one) to the men, women, children, and elderly, groups organizations, movements, who however each one of you calls yourselves, who have never during all this time distanced us from your hearts, and resisted and supported as compañeras, compañeras, and compañero/as that we are.
We are the Sixth.
It’s going to be very difficult.
Our pains won’t be lessened by opening ourselves up to those that hurt all over the world. The path will be the most torturous.
We will fight.
We will resist.
We will struggle.
Maybe we’ll die.
But one, ten, one hundred times, we’ll always win always.
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the
Zapatista National Liberation Army
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Chiapas, Mexico, Planet Earth.
P.S.- For example, the password to see this writing on the webpage is, as is evident, “marichiweu”, just like that, in lower case and beginning at the left.
Listen and watch the videos that accompany this text
“Nadie mira” [No one looks] by the group “RABIA.” With Iker Moranchel, Guitar and vocals. Alejandro Franco, Drums and vocals. Manco, bass. Camera, Sara Heredia. Editing, Eduardo Vargas, Recorded and edited in Gekko Audiolab, Mexico City, July 2012. Also on the disc “Rola la lucha zapatista.” Rrrrrrrrrrrrrock! Translated from the original Spanish by Kristin Bricker.