With the Zapatistas: Community, Solidarity & Love across Borders

December 2016


Dear Friends & Supporters of the Chiapas Support Committee:

We are asking you to join us in 2017 to continue supporting our work of education on Indigenous struggles in Mexico and organizing solidarity with the Zapatistas who continue building autonomous community and powerful connections for justice and rights. Click here to make your contribution!

Your support is critical to help us take on the emerging political era that promises difficult challenges to our communities.

The results of the U.S elections have had a devastating impact on many of our communities. The next four years of a Trump presidency promise greater attacks on civil rights, reproductive rights, environmental protections and cutback of social services for working people, especially our most vulnerable communities.

In 2016, which marked the 33rd year anniversary of the founding of the EZLN, members of the Chiapas Support Committee have spent time reflecting on the strengths of the Zapatista movement and how we in the U.S. can learn those lessons and their meaning for our daily lives here during this moment.

Two Zapatista practices we can strive for in our communities, both of which are grounded in principles of socially just community-making, are the commitment to standing up together to protect and support each other without being divisive, and to embody and practice loving each other to humanize each other’s experiences.

Community, solidarity and love

The Zapatista’s practice of community building has reinforced a powerful grassroots movement that has grown beyond Zapatista communities. These communities live in solidarity, resisting the extractive capitalist economic models that dehumanize and exploit us, preventing us from being more united at this critical moment.

Recognizing this need, the EZLN recently announced their decision with the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI, National Indigenous Congress) to carry out a consultation with all Indigenous peoples and their communities in Mexico to find out if they support forming an Indigenous government council and to run an indigenous woman as their presidential candidate in the 2018 elections.

The CNI-EZLN’s bold decision, taken at the CNI’s fifth congress held during October in Chiapas, sent shock waves throughout the Mexican political system, provoking racist anti-indigenous vitriol and raising the challenge to the wider social justice movements of how to struggle against the system itself in new ways.

The CNI-EZLN proposal is about lifting up the dire situation and oppression being imposed by the Mexican government and neoliberal capitalism on Indigenous people.

The Zapatistas stated that this decision represents their work to unite all Indigenous peoples and uplift Indigenous struggles for justice, autonomy and land, while exposing the ferocious Mexican governmental repression directed against Indigenous people and civil society.

Trumpocracy vs. Community

In the U.S, we are on the precipice of political crisis, fueled by the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency.

Trump represents a sharp right turn promising to accelerate the neoliberal project of privatization and cutback of public services, drastic deregulation and re-regulation of labor, environmental and social protections, the transfer of investments, services and jobs to regions in the U.S. and abroad that will allow capitalists ever greater profits.

The election of Trump has triggered a wave of racist attacks against Muslims, Mexicans and other Latinos and police abuse of Black lives that continues to escalate.

Trump has promised draconian immigration round-ups and deportations; renegotiating NAFTA, the “free” trade pact between Canada, Mexico and the U.S., to give “American” workers and capitalists a better deal. To make good on these attacks, Trump has been nominating billionaires, racists and neoliberal ideologues to his cabinet and inner circle, a Trumpocracy based on white supremacy, an authoritarian neoliberal project and gutting the remaining social protections.

Trump’s agenda spells disaster for U.S. and Mexican workers and a deepening political and economic crisis especially in Mexico, which is still reeling from the narco-wars that have caused the deaths, disappearances and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans.

¡Show community, solidarity & love to the Zapatistas!

We must also prepare and change to take on this potentially devastating political storm. Our alternative is to build communities rooted in justice, solidarity and love that will defend and embrace its members and provide a space for dreaming a different world and resisting the onslaught that built up and created the emerging Trump regime.

In 2016, the Chiapas Support Committee:

  • Sent economic support for the construction of dormitories for secondary (middle) school students in the La Garrucha zone
  • Convened in July a parallel community-based cultural gathering, CompArte, bringing together poets, rappers, painters and other artists to share their work and words at the same time that the Zapatistas held CompArte in Mexico
  • Celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the founding of the EZLN on November 17, hosting a key speaker sharing the struggles and vision of the water protectors at Standing Rock and showed a film to discuss the interconnections of struggles being led by Indigenous and non-indigenous movements and communities
  • Hosted a speaker direct from Chiapas in December to share updates on Indigenous struggles for autonomy, land and other rights; and
  • Continued publishing a print newsletter, a Facebook page and the Compañero Manuel blog, with thousands of readers, sharing information, updates and news from Mexico and the Zapatistas.
  • You can make your contribution by clicking here.

In the midst of this period of political transition, turmoil and uncertainty, members of the Chiapas Support Committee believe that our movements for justice (rooted in Indigenous people’s struggles, communities of color, migrant workers and working people) remained firmly rooted in a solidarity that links struggles and communities across issues and borders.

Our commitment is to continue building solidarity with Indigenous struggles everywhere and strengthen our relations and support for the Zapatista communities while supporting and taking part in the struggles in our cities and neighborhoods for a more just and humane society.

The members of the Chiapas Support Committee are asking you to make a generous donation to continue strengthening the ties between our communities and the Zapatistas. Your contribution will go towards creating a more powerful grassroots justice and solidarity movement that is connected to key struggles and a deeply rooted movement for justice without borders.

Your donation will support the building of the Zapatista educational system, which strives to develop and include the pedagogical tools needed to deepen their vision of indigenous self-determination and liberation, anchored in their revolutionary principles.

Strengthen Community, Build Resistance in 2017!

The Chiapas Support Committee became a member of the Omni Commons (Omni) in Oakland and moved into a shared office space. The Omni is a thriving community of collectives dedicated to social justice that just purchased 22,000 square feet of space for community events and organizing.

Becoming a member of the Omni Commons has created more opportunities for the Chiapas Support Committee to bring you events like CompArte, along with films, educational workshops and guest speakers from Spain, Mexico and the United States.

In 2017 we hope to host more film nights showcasing media arts work from Mexico that has to be translated and subtitled. Your donation will help to make this possible. CSC is also planning to make CompArte an annual community justice and cultural gathering, as well as a big Dance Party on January 28th to fundraise for education projects in Zapatista communities.

The Chiapas Support Committee is asking you to make a generous donation to support the Zapatistas’ work to build autonomous communities in Chiapas, as well as to help support the education and organizing work we would like to launch in 2017. All donations are tax deductible if you itemize; we really appreciate your solidarity in supporting our all-volunteer collective.

For your convenience, you can make your contribution via PayPal by the going to our new website https://chiapas-support.org/home/donate/ or you can send a check payable to Chiapas Support Committee to P O Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609.

We are also registered with Amazon Smile and The Network for Good.

We thank you for your continued interest in and support for the peoples of Chiapas and assure you that your support makes a critical difference in the lives of many and that we and the Zapatista communities will thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

For community, solidarity & love!

The Chiapas Support Committee Board

José Plascencia, Chair

Alicia Bravo

Francisco Díaz

Carolina Dutton

Todd Davies

Arnoldo García

Laura Rivas-Andrade

Mary Ann Tenuto-Sánchez

One Comment on “With the Zapatistas: Community, Solidarity & Love across Borders

  1. Pingback: ¡Felices Fiestas! Happy Holidays! from CHIAPAS SUPPORT COMMITTEE | Blog of Zapatista Support Group Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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