THE BAD AND NOT-SO-BAD NEWS
To the students who took or want to take the first grade course of the Zapatista Little School:
To whom it may concern:
Compañeros, compañeras and compañeroas
As is now custom, I have been designated to give you the bad news. So here goes.
FIRST – The accounts (and here I advise you to double check the additions, subtractions, and divisions because math isn’t one of my strengths. That is, it also isn’t one of my strengths):
A) Expenses from the first grade course in August of 2013 for 1281 students:
– Support materials (4 textbooks and 2 DVDs) for 1281 students: $100,000.00 (one hundred thousand Mexican pesos).
– Food and transport for 1281 students to go from CIDECI to the communities where their course was held and back: $339,778.27 (three hundred thirty-nine thousand seven hundred and eight pesos and 27 cents), which breaks down as the following:
Expenses for each zone to take students in vehicles from CIDECI to their host communities and back to CIDECI, in addition to food for the children of the students.
Realidad ————- $ 64,126.00
Oventik—————- $ 46,794.00
Garrucha————– $ 122,184.77
Morelia—————- $ 36,227.50
Roberto Barrios—- $ 70,446.00
Total overall —– $ 339,778.27
Note: Yeah that “77 cents” also caught my eye, but that’s how it appeared in the report. Meaning, we don’t do any rounding up around here.
-Transportation for 200 guardians to CIDECI, where they gave a course, and home again: $40,000.00 (forty thousand pesos). Their food was covered by the compañer@s of CIDECI-Unitierra. Thank you to Dr. Raymundo and all of the compas of CIDECI, especially those in the kitchen (note: you still owe me some tamales).
Total expenses for the Zapatista communities for the first grade course in August of 2013 for 1281 students: $479,778.27 (four hundred seventy-nine thousand seven hundred and eight pesos and 26 cents). Average expense per student: $374.53 (three hundred seventy-four Mexican pesos and 53 cents).
B) Income for the Zapatista Little School: Registration payments (from the donation container that was in CIDECI): $409,955.00 (four hundred nine thousand nine hundred and fifty-five Mexican pesos).
National pesos: $391,721.00
Average per student payment at registration: $320.02 (three hundred twenty pesos and 20 cents).
SECOND— Summary and consequences:
On average, the remaining $54.51 (fifty-four Mexican pesos and 51 cents) per student was covered through solidarity donations. That is, some students covered others. But that means that the numbers don’t work out, compas. It was thanks to some students who gave more than the 100 required pesos (and some didn’t give anything), as well as to generous donations from others that we could more or less break even.
For those who gave more and those who made extra large donations, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And we should also thank those who didn’t pay the full 100 pesos or didn’t give anything at all.
But we know very well that we can’t expect this to work out again this way, where some students pay the course for others, which leaves us with the following options:
a) – We close the Little School.
b) – We reduce the number of students to what we Zapatistas can pay for ourselves. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés tells me this would be about 100 per caracol, or 500 total.
c) – We raise the cost and make it obligatory.
We think that we shouldn’t close the Little School because it has permitted us to meet more people and for other people to meet us, people that we didn’t know before and who didn’t know us.
We think that if we reduce the number who can come, many people will be sad or mad because they already have everything ready to attend and it could be that they wouldn’t make the list. And above all, as you now know, the essence of the course is found in the communities and the guardians and guardianas, and if we reduced the number of students I would have to give them the bad news, and I would get the backlash.
So the only solution is to ask that you pay for your own transport and food. We know that this, in addition to bothering some people, might leave others out. That is why we are letting you know ahead of time so that you can find a way to pay your fee and/or the fee for other compas who want to come but can’t pay.
The cost now will be $380.00 (three hundred eighty Mexican pesos) per student, and should be paid at registration in CIDECI on the designated registration days. If on top of that you want to bring a pound of rice and a pound of beans, we would appreciate that too.
And please, we beg you, we plead with you, we implore you to clarify who is coming with you, how many of you there are, and each person’s age. The thing is that we get emails that say “I’m coming with my kids” and then they arrive and well, it’s like the cast for the “The Walking Dead.” All those who are going to attend must register ahead of time, this includes kids, adults, elders, and the walking dead.
Also please clarify the dates on which you will come. There are two dates now, one at the end of December and another at the beginning of January. It is important for us to know which one you are signing up for because, as you know, there is an indigenous family that is preparing to host and attend to you, a guardian or guardiana that is preparing to orient you, a driver who is getting his or her vehicle ready to transport you, and a whole village preparing to receive you. And clarify if you want to take the course in a community or in CIDECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.
Oh also, come to listen and learn, because there are some who came to give seminars on feminism, vegetarianism, Marxism, and other “isms.” And now they’re upset because we Zapatistas don’t obey them, these people who came to tell us that we should change the revolutionary law for women to their liking and not as determined by the Zapatista women, that we don’t understand the advantages of marijuana, that we shouldn’t make our houses out of cement because it’s better to make them out of adobe and palm, or that we shouldn’t wear shoes because by going barefoot we would be better in touch with mother earth. In sum, that we should obey those who come to give us orders… that is, that we should not be Zapatistas.
SPECIAL CASES: the Anarchists
Given the anti-anarchist campaign launched by those of “good conscience” and the well-behaved left united in a holy crusade with the old right to accuse the anarchists, young and old, of challenging the system (as if anarchism had another option), including the dismantling of their shows (this thing about turning the lights off, was that so we wouldn’t see the anarchists?), and the repetition ad nauseum of epithets such as “anarcho-hardliners,” “anarcho-provocateur,” “anarcho-thugs,” “anarcho-etcetera” (somewhere I read the epithet “anarcho-anarchist,” isn’t that sublime?), the Zapatista men and women cannot ignore the climate of hysteria that so firmly demands respect for windowpanes (which don’t reveal but rather hide what happens just behind the counter: slave-like work conditions, a total lack of hygiene, poor quality, low nutritional value, money laundering, tax evasion, and capital flight).
Because now, apparently, the robbery poorly disguised as “structural reform,” the assault on the teachers union, the national patrimony “outlet” sale, the theft imposed by the government on the governed through taxation, and the fiscal asphyxiation – which only favors the large monopolies – is the anarchists’ fault.
This includes blame for the fact that now “decent people” don’t go out into the street to protest anymore (“hey but what about the marches, sit-ins, roadblocks, graffiti, flyers…” “Yes, but those are teachers-bus drivers-vendors-students, that is, country bumpkins, and I’m talking people really-truly-from-the Federal District.” “Ah, the mythical middle class, so courted and yet so despised and cheated by the entire political spectrum and all of the media…”), the fact that the institutional left also evicts the protest rallies, the fact that the “only opposition to the regime”[i] has been overshadowed by the nameless again and again, the fact that the arbitrary imposition is now called “dialogue and negotiation,”[ii] the fact that the murder of migrants, women, youth, workers, children – all of this is the anarchists’ fault.
For those who fight as and claim the “A,” a flag without a nation or frontiers, and who are part of the SIXTH—but who really are in the struggle, not just as a fashion or a fad—we have, in addition to an embrace of solidarity, a special request.
Anarchist Compas: We Zapatista men and women aren’t going to blame you for our shortcomings (or lack of imagination), nor are we going to hold you responsible for our mistakes, much less persecute you for being who you are. Actually, I should tell you that various invitees to the August course cancelled because, they said, they couldn’t share the classroom with “young people who are anarchist, ragged, punk, pierced, and tattoo-covered,” and that they (those who are not young, nor anarchist, nor ragged, nor punk, nor pierced, nor tattoo-covered) expected an apology and a purging of the registry. They continue to wait in vain.
What we would like to request is that when you register, you submit a text, maximum one-page in length, where you respond to the criticism and accusations that they have leveled against you in the for-profit media. That text will be published in a special section of our website (enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx) and in a magazine-fanzine-or-whatever-it’s-called soon to appear in the globally global world, written and run by indigenous Zapatistas. It will be an honor for us to have your word together with ours in our first issue.
Yes, even a page with a single word taking up the whole space counts: something like “LIARS!!” Or something longer, such as “We would explain to you what Anarchism is if we thought you would understand;” or, “Anarchism is incomprehensible to those with little brains;” or, “Real change first appears in the police blotter;” or, “I shit on the thought police;” or the following citation from the book “Golpe y contragolpe” by Miguel Amorós: “Everyone should know that the Black Bloc is not an organization but a tactic of street struggle similar to “Street Fighting [Kale Baroka] that a constellation of libertarian, “autonomous” or alternative groups have been using since the struggles for the squats (“okupations”) in the 1980s in various German cities,” and add something like, “if you are going to criticize something, first do your research. Well-written ignorance is like well-pronounced idiocy: equally useless.”
In any case, I’m sure that you won’t be lacking in ideas.
THIRD – Some not-so-bad-news: a reminder of the dates and how to request your invitation and registration code.
Dates for the second round of the Little School:
Registration: December 23rd and 24th, 2013.
Classes: from December 25th until December 29th of this year. Return on the 30th.
For those who want to stay for the 20th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, to celebrate and commemorate the dawn of January 1st, 1994, the party will be on December 31st and January 1st.
Dates for the third round of the Little School:
Registration: January 1st and 2nd, 2014.
Classes: from January 3rd through 7th, 2014. Return on January 8th, 2013, everybody back to their corners of the world.
To request your invitation and registration, send an email to: escuelitazapDicEne13_14@ezln.org.mx
FOURTH – More not-so-bad-news is that I was going to begin this phase with a very different text, saluting our dead, SubPedro, Tata Juan Chávez, Chapis, the children of the ABC daycare, the teachers in resistance, and also with a story by Durito and the Cat-dog. But they told me that this business about the accounts and the finalization of the dates was urgent, so it will have to wait for another time. As you can see, the urgent leaves no time for the important. And so you have escaped reading about things that are not “significant-for-the-present-conjuncture”…for now.
Vale. Cheers and, believe it or not, the world is bigger than the most scandalous media conglomerate. It is a question of broadening the step, the gaze, the sound…and the embrace.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,
Little School Concierge, in charge of giving bad news.
Mexico, November 2013
Listen to and watch the videos that accompany this text:
Keny Arkana with this rap titled “V pour Verités.” In one part he says, “Blessed are those who stand up for something, those who construct something else.”
A clip from the movie “V for Vendetta” about the relationship between the media and obedience, and another way of understanding the words “justice” and “liberty.”
Pedro Infante with the song “I am who I am” by Manuel Esperón and Felibe Bermejo, in the movie “The Third Word” with Marga López, Sara García, and Prudencia Grifell, 1955, directed by Julián Soler. I’m including this one just to piss off those who want to make us do things their way.
[i] Translators’ note: The reference here is to Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, ex PRD politician (former Mexico City mayor and PRD presidential candidate) and now leader of MORENA, the “National Regeneration Movement.”
[ii] Translators’ note: The “arbitrary imposition” refers to the installation of PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto as president in 2012 in what was widely denounced as a fraudulent election. The “dialogue and negotiation” refers to Peña Nieto’s initiative for an agreement or “pact” between the three major political parties in Mexico, the PRI, PAN, and PRD, regarding how best to roll out the latest round of privatizations.