Galeano: Don’t get confused, the EZLN doesn’t bet on the electoral path to reach power


Sup Galeano

Sup Galeano of the EZLN. Photo: Chiapas Paralelo

By: Isaín Mandujano

At 33 years from the foundation of the National Liberation Forces (Fuerzas de Liberación Nacional, FLN) in the Lacandón Jungle, the seed from what would later be the Zapatista Nation Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Galeano clarified today that he doesn’t struggle for taking power and one more time clarified that the independent indigenous woman candidate in 2018 is a proposal that the armed group made to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) that made it theirs and will impel it.

And that it doesn’t matter if they win la presidency of the Republic or not, “what matters is the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total break with the image of the indigenous as an object of alms and pity.”

Faced with the polemic unleashed, Subcomandante Galeano clarified that the indigenous woman postulated will not be from the EZLN’s ranks, and that nobody supplants the initials of the armed group for that of the CNI because the EZLN continues firm in its word of not betting on the electoral path, that it will not convert into a political party and that it will not seek to attain power through the armed path, because they took to arms to make use of them and not to become enslaved with them.

On November 17, 1983, that first armed group arrived, headed by Fernando Yañez, alias Comandante Germán, who in the heart of the Jungle planted the first seed of what would be the EZLN, was called the FLN, an organization persecuted and repressed since the seventies in different parts of the country. It had a Marxist-Leninist cut with views of achieving power and installing socialism.

In recent weeks, the EZLN as a member of the CNI caused a polemic, because they proposed a consultation to postulate an indigenous woman as an independent candidate in the 2018 presidential elections, a theme that has provoked the most hostile reactions in the Mexican political class, the media and Mexican analysts.

In his missive, “A history to try to understand,” Galeano made clear that they were the ones that made that proposal last October 13 to the CNI, a conglomerate of indigenous peoples from different regions of the country. That occurred within the framework of the 20th anniversary of that national body, but not in a way that they will have active participation in concretizing that candidacy.

“No, not the EZLN as an organization, nor any of its members, are going to participate for a “popular election position” in the 2018 electoral process. No, the EZLN is not going to convert into a political party. No, the EZLN is not going to present a Zapatista indigenous woman as a candidate to the presidency of the Republic in the year 2018. No, the EZLN “has not taken a turn” of any degrees that may be, nor will it continue its fight through the institutional electoral path,” Galeano said.

Then the EZLN is not going to postulate an indigenous Zapatista woman for president of the Republic?  They are not going to participate directly in the 2018 elections? To answer that question, he responds with a “No.”

“Why not; because of the arms?

 No. Those who think that are roundly wrong because: the Zapatistas took up arms to be useful to us, not to be enslaved by them.

 Then, because the institutional electoral political system is corrupt, inequitable, fraudulent and illegitimate?

 No.  Even if it were transparent, equitable, just and legitimate, the Zapatista men and women would not participate to attain and exercise Power from a post, a position or an institutional appointment.

 But, in determined circumstances, for strategic questions and/or tactics, would you not participate directly to exercise a position?

 No.  Although “the masses” may demand us; although the “historic juncture” may need our “participation;” although “the Homeland,” “the Nation,” “the People,” “the Proletariat,” (ok, that’s very out of style now) may demand it, or any concrete or abstract concept (behind which is hidden, or not, personal, family or group or class ambition) that is hoisted as a pretext; although the juncture, the confluence of the stars, the prophesies, the stock exchange index, the manual of historic materialism, the Popol Vuh, the polls, the esotericism, “the concrete analysis of concrete reality” and the convenient etcetera.


 Because the EZLN does not struggle to take Power.

Galeano said that the postulation of the indigenous woman as an independent candidate is no longer in the EZLN’s hands,

Therefore he asked that they stop awarding it to the armed group, because they are only part of that big organism of the country’s indigenous peoples.

Insisted that no one from the EZLN seeks a position of popular election and that the independent indigenous woman candidate will not come from their ranks.

“No insurgent, male or female, be it of the command or of the troops; nor any comandanta or comandante of the CCRI can even be authorities in the community, nor in an autonomous municipio, nor in the different autonomous organizational bodies.  They cannot be members of the autonomous councils, nor of the good government juntas, nor of the commissions, nor any of the responsibilities that the assembly designates, created or to be created in the construction of our autonomy; in other words, of our freedom,” Galeano explained.

“Our work, our task as the EZLN is to serve our communities, to accompany them, support them and not command them.  Supporting them, yes.  Sometimes we achieve it.  And yes, certainly, sometimes we obstruct, but then the Zapatista peoples give us a slap (or several, accordingly) so that we can correct ourselves,” he clarified.

When the EZLN made the proposal to the bosom of the CNI, they told them: “that it doesn’t matter if they win the presidency of the Republic or not, what was going to be important was the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total break with the image of the indigenous as the object of alms and pity –an image so settled in law and, who I should say, also in the institutional left of “real change” and its organic intellectuals addicted to the opium of the social networks-, that their daring would move the entire political system and that it would have echoes of hope not in one, but in many of the Mexicos of below… and of the world.”

He said that it is not sought that an indigenous woman from the CNI is president, but rather that what is desired is to carry a message of struggle and organization to the poor in the countryside and the city of Mexico and of the world.

“It’s not that we take into account that, if we get together the signatures or win the election, it goes well, but rather that it goes well if we can talk and listen to those who nobody talks or listens to. That’s where we’re going to see if it goes well or not, if a lot of people are going to find the strength and hope to get organized, to resist and rebel,” Galeano said.



Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


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