CNI and EZLN: UNITED AGAINST DISPOSSESSION
By: Luis Hernández Navarro
Gatherings of popular organizations are celebrated practically every month in the most hidden corners of the country. In them it is sought to confront the dispossession of their lands, territories and natural resources, at the hands of oil, mining, wind farm, soft drink, tourist and construction companies; and also from federal, state and municipal governments.
The approval of the laws on hydrocarbons and “temporary occupation” of lands have multiplied the alarm signals in the rural world and the assemblies for confronting them. To the old spoliation that agrarian communities and nuclei have suffered are added new aggravations, which will be justified in the name of the country’s “energy modernization.”
Those gatherings and meetings are like small bubbles that are formed when water is at the boiling point. They are an indicator of the growing uneasiness that exists among Indigenous peoples and campesinos. They are moments in which information is exchanged, responses are analyzed and the reigning common feeling is exchanged. They are places in which what is believed are private problems are demonstrated as collective.
Many of these gatherings have an ephemeral life. For as much as their promoters propose to give them continuity, their zeal has an expiration date. On the other hand, others are watersheds of organizational processes of longer breath. Por more modest than they appear, they become foundational acts of long-term convergences. That is the case of the first Exchange (Sharing) of the Original Peoples of Mexico with the Zapatista Peoples, celebrated in La Realidad, Chiapas.
In this first sharing, representatives of 28 peoples, tribes, communities and indigenous organizations from almost all of the country met in rebel territory with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). There, besides expressing their unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian people, the victim of the Israeli State’s aggression, a map was drawn of the resistance of the original peoples in the face of neoliberal dispossession and devastation and a dramatic inventory was given of their deaths and assassinations. “That blood, those lives, those struggles, that history are the essence of our resistance and of our rebellion against those that kill us; they live in the life and struggle of our peoples, ” the delegates pointed out.
Those that attended the sharing met with a central objective: confronting the plunder and pillage against their lands, in which they see their roots. “The dispossession of what we are as original peoples is the pain that unites is in the spirit of struggle,” they explained.
The first sharing takes on the impulse for reorganizing the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the broadest and most representative organization of the ethnicities in the country, which had its “starting signal” in August of last year, in the Seminar Tata Juan Chávez Alonso. A reorganization that seals the alliance established more than 20 years ago now between the Zapatistas and the national Indian movement, and that profiles one of the most relevant and consistent networks of resistance against the dispossession on a national scale.
Different from other events, in which the attendees prepare for a struggle that they have not yet entered, all the attendees at the sharing carry many years fighting. Now they joined together not to be disposed to struggle, but rather to advance in the proposition of doing it a different way.
Their previous history of congruent and unwavering resistance gives this network a consistency and potentiality that other groupings do not possess. The combination between profound roots, genuine leadership and a horizontal faithfulness to their memorial of offenses augur a new stage in the resistance against the plunder. As they themselves point out in their declaration: “They have wanted to kill us many times, killing us as peoples and killing us individually. And after so much death we continue being the peoples alive and collective.”
We’re not dealing with a “sectarian” observation. Inside the re-emergence of the campesino movement that has emerged starting with the reform of the countryside and the opposition to the laws of hydrocarbons there are leaders that seek to assume before the State a representation of the indigenous world that they don’t have. Besides, one part of the organizations that make up this new convergence has formally rejected the dispossession of lands and territories only to negotiate other demands in exchange. That is not going to happen with the network formalized in the sharing.
According to the CNI and the EZLN, dispossession is diverse and has only one name: capitalism. That dispossession forms part of a new war of neoliberal conquest that has been declared on the peoples. We’re dealing with the new face of an old war of extermination that has now lasted 520 years.
“The current rulers –the EZLN and the CNI assert in the Sharing’s second declaration– are delivering our territories and riches that are in the name of the nation to the big national and foreign corporations, seeking the death of all the peoples of Mexico.
“All that –they add– while the bad governments don’t stop threatening to disarticulate indigenous self-defense as a right, by incarcerating or killing community leaders, which is a sign of destruction.”
As the second declaration of the sharing remembers, in the history of Mexico there is a long tradition of rebellion and resistance to exploitation and dispossession. In it, indigenous peoples have been in the first line of combat. It has no reason to be different in this new stage.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Tuesday, August 12, 2014