EZLN: Marcos: THEM AND US VII – The Smallest Ones 2. How is it done?

Protected: THEM AND US VII. – The Smallest Ones 2. -How is it done?

THEM AND US                 

VII. – The Smallest Ones 2.                                     images         

2. – How is it done?

February 2013.

Note:  Compas, at another time (if it comes to pass) we will explain how our EZLN is organized.  Now we don’t want to distract you from the “Sharing.“  We just want to clarify that you are going to see something from an “Information Commission.”  This Commission is formed by compañeras and compañeros, comandantes and comandantas (The CCRI or Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee), who examine the work of autonomy, support the Good Government Juntas and keep the Zapatista support bases informed of how everything goes. Here go, then, more fragments from the Zapatista “sharing:”



  We do the work in this way. Like here in the last one it says: how are problems resolved?  Yes, there have been problems in the municipio [1]. Problems of land, problems with threats, problems with electricity, yes it exists and I believe that those problems exist in all the towns, because we don’t live with just those who are support bases, it’s more when we live in the official towns where the enemies are, where those that govern are, where the paramilitaries are, therefore those problems exist.  But we have to look at the way in which we must govern, although really learning does cost you because, as some compañeros say, there is no instructive.  There is no form from which to guide each other, there is no writing where we must guide ourselves, but we must remember what was useful to our ancestors when they were not named by the officials but rather by the people and they served the people and there was no paycheck.  Now the corruption began, the bad service began and it’s when the paycheck entered.

   Therefore in this way, the little that I have been in my town, in my municipio, it’s how I have been able to serve although still, as I have said, we continue learning, not because now we age.  We continue learning with everyone.  I believe that this is the function of the different levels, as well as the commissioners and agents, also have their function but also lack how to resolve a problem.  Yes it’s lacking because we are not prepared, because we as campesinos focus more on the countryside, our law is the machete and lime, and the pozol that we carry. Well I don’t know if I am bad, compañeros, but that is what I manage to share with you.




  We held many meetings and we made many agreements; not only once was the agreement made, we saw that it is a heavy job. It is not easy to do. Why? Because just as I said a little while ago, we have no guide, we have no book where we can look, to follow; we were working with our people.



  Compañeros, that is what we are talking about, and no longer is there much that I am going to complete. Just like we were saying about the way in which we want to manage the work.  Many times the Junta cannot do it alone, although it passes in our mind, although the thought comes to us, one must be the base of coordination with the councils, comités [CCRI], so that that idea can be made from what we think, because it that way in some cases.

   For example, we talked about the positions, the responsibilities; there we see the difficulties that there are many jobs to do.  The time when I was in charge we saw that at times the members of the Junta fail and the work exists; for example, at that time there were no drivers for the clinic, the Junta has to be the driver, has to be the cook, has to go looking for firewood, had many jobs and also the work inside of the office has to be done, we have to study what’s pending (lacking), the jobs that remain pending or some work of the municipio that has not been resolved, as there is not enough time.  Now I see, and that crossed our mind, that we were indeed in need of help, with another separate driver, because at times it was up to us to go get an urgently sick person at midnight, the Junta has to go, it arrives at three in the morning, at four in the morning. That crossed our mind but we could not resolve it, it was present but we just couldn’t.

   An example in my turn, about the municipios, diagnosing the most frequent sickness in the municipios and it couldn’t be defined in the Junta, nor with information.  I had to ask for help if it could be done or not, and with help from the commander, which is what was needed. The municipio was asked and some municipios did not act again, some municipios gave that response, consulted the people about what the most frequent illness was, because there was an outbreak of typhoid but the councils didn’t do it.  When all the work is done then it functions well. It’s like a machine.  When a machine doesn’t function a piston or a cylinder in the car doesn’t rise, it has no power.  That is what happens to us in our authority, although the Junta thinks or wants to put its proposal for approval with the assembly at times, many times it can’t be done and it stays there like that.

   But it is indeed a need. At that time I saw there was a lot of work in that year because there was no driver. Right now I see that now drivers are rotating for the clinics, apart from their work, that doesn’t work on the Junta, washing its car, checking the tires, filling it with gas are separate.

  It’s improving a little more in that step and I believe that way little by little it’s going to be improving, always and when we are thinking and seeing what the necessities are that are being presented, because the work of the zone or of the municipio is increasing little by little.  Little by little more compañeras are participating because the work is being born. That is what we see that is very important, the coordination between everyone and taking ourselves into account between everyone to be able get the proposals and new ideas about how to be able to work.

   The importance is to not lose contact with the peoples in these times of work. I hear that there are things that were done with analysis from the people and now they can be done without consulting the people, they can change some letters without the people knowing it, then that is also a problem that we can run amok of the people, because when we teach the people, we explain to them and when we suddenly set the people aside, they speak, they discuss.

   That can bring non-conformities or they speak ill of the authorities, and many times one needs to explain it to the people, like we were saying today, the Junta has to be clear with the seven principles. [He refers to the 7 principles of govern obeying” that guide the Good Government Juntas, which are: To serve and not Serve yourself; To Represent and not Supplant; To Construct and not Destroy; to Obey and not Order; to Propose and not Impose; to Convince and not Conquer; to Descend and not Climb].

  It is convincing the people and not surmount by force whatever an authority wants, he must explain the reason for modifying any rules or agreements, it must be explained to the people; because if I am an authority and I no longer explain to them that no, but that point came from the people?  It can bring non-conformity although the people understand it; but with explanation it is trying to convince and not force it on them, so that the people don’t become discouraged, don’t lose control. That is what I can explain a little more, because disagreements are born from that and the people go around demoralized, that’s why I say it, because I saw the problem that way.

   One must always be rooted with the people.

   There are also towns that also want to do something without a majority, then one must also explain to that town that it cannot be done, because some cases of that type happened to us.  There are peoples that come into the office and even raise their voice against the authorities but we cannot accept it because it depends on the majority.  One must be clear in that, but it is to explain to the people and try to convince them de, let them understand the reason why these things are done.  That’s my opinion, compañeros, and that is what I try to explain about the seven principles, it is what I understood, what I learned a little.  I didn’t learn much because I only worked three years and little by little I was learning, at the same time one cannot do the work easy because we entered new without help, but not now, there are compañeros that still remain for one year accompanying the new authorities, so that one is more or less supported.

   But not when we started, there was no help like that other than the comités [CCRI] because they were here, we helped each other with that and little by little we learned.  I understood a little, it’s the little that I was able to explain, compañeros.


  How were they named?

   They were named through the assembly; it is an example of how we are now.  Each municipio called the base to an assembly, and then they directly chose that group of compañeros to do the work of autonomy.

   What work did they have? What work are those compañeros going to do because we had practically no knowledge? Perhaps some did have, but a majority doesn’t have knowledge. What are we going to do?  We are going to work on autonomy; we are going to govern ourselves. The question that emerged is how; what is it we are going to do?  It’s just that no one, just that it doesn’t have, didn’t know the answer, but as time passed, when they were already authorities, then the problems came out. There were really problems in each one of our towns, in our municipios.

   What are the problems that those who were authorities at that time confronted?

   At that time the principal problem that we confronted was alcoholism, family problems, problems between neighbors and some agrarian problems.

   Then what did that group of compañeros do when a problem was presented?

   What they did is they discuss it. First comes the complainant and later the problem he has is heard, it listened, when they already listened they cite the other party. The two parties are heard.  Then what that group of compañeros did is to listen, what they did is that those brothers that have a problem were heard first as to what the problem is that they have and at the same time was heard who is right.  As soon as we saw that the complainant was right then one must speak with the other brother with whom he has the problem.

   What the authorities did at that time is that they were giving ideas, in other words they were convincing the two parties to reach a peaceful solution without so much fuss.

   The authorities did the same thing with other types of problems, they did that in agrarian questions, they also convinced the brothers not to fight with each other, that they not fight with each other over a piece of land; if the brother is really take a piece of land away then one must also give the reason that the other one is taking away land that he should be doing. What it is, it is.




  Yes, that so, but then my question is whether it’s necessary to make a rule, and then who proposes the idea? Where is the idea born of how a rule ought to be made? Who is it that says ‘I propose that’? Where is the idea born? And directly then, how do you do it so that it unites the voice of the people, because if it is now appropriately up to the Junta, does it assume that or must it still be supported by the compañeros of the Information Commission? Or who is it that says that one must make a rule here?

Response of another compañero:  Thus there may be an initiative purely from compañera authorities, from what comes the initiative how to make a rule, now just from pure compañeras that are functioning from a position of authority, that does not exist yet.

   No, compa, my question is as a Good Government Junta, not as compañeras.  As the Good Government Junta and it is an example that I am giving, it is not especially about regulation or about law.  When they see that there is a need or there is a problem, therefore I give the example of a regulation, because that demands the relationship, because the Good Government Junta is not going to impose a law, then we would like them to speak with us how it is that they do that.  Because here is where the play of democracy enters, then what we want to understand, well not all the time, like you told us, it’s not going to be all the time the insurgente commanders either. We understand that one day it won’t be the Information Commission all the time either, in other words the CCRI [Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena].  Then how do you, as the Good Government Junta, make a thing that is needed, that is already law that is now a problem start to go around, about any issue that is necessary to take forward, a project or whatever. What is the relationship between the Good Government Junta, the MAREZ [Autonomous Zapatista Rebel Municipios], the authorities and the towns?

 In other words, how does one make democracy?



(It will continue…)

 I atttest.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, February 2013.


1. Municipio – We did not translate the Spanish word into English. The literal translation is municipality. In Zapatista territory, the autonomous municipios are like rural counties.

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Listen and watch the videos that accompany this text:


Alfredo Zitarrosa, maestro perhaps involuntarily of an Eastern generation that still struggles with South American ballads, sad love songs and street dances.  Here singing “Adagio in my country” and by country, it’s clear, he refers to each corner in which many worlds abound and run together.


Arturo Meza with the song “The Rebelliousness of Light.” In one part of the song maestro Meza mentions each one of the original peoples that, in Mexico, resist and struggle.


Daniel Viglietti, our brother and compa, reads a story called “The Story of Noise and Silence” that tries, in vane, to explain the Zapatista silences and glances.

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