By: Luis Hernández Navarro
One after another, five women take the word in their language. They are EZLN comandantas. Amada does it in Chol, Everilda in Tojolabal, Yésica in Tzotzil, Miriam in Tzeltal, and Dalia in Spanish. They send a greeting to the president of the United States: “Vete a la chingada, Trump!” Galeano is in charge of translating into English: “ Fuck you, Trump!”
That’s how the seminar The walls of capital, the cracks on the left began, realized by the EZLN in the portentous installations of Cideci/University of the Earth, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, between last April 11 and April 16. An event that had as its “main objective” giving collective hug to don Pablo González Casanova, of those who “are proud to accompany him, his critical word and, above all, his commitment without tepidness or bending over.”
The seminar was part of the global campaign: Faced with the walls of capital: resistance, rebellion, solidarity and support for below and to the left, convoked by the Chiapan rebels. Its objective consists of “calling for organization and worldwide resistance, facing the aggressiveness of big money and its respective overseers on the planet that already terrorizes millions of people around the world.”
Organized within the context of Donald Trump becoming president of the United States, it calls for “organizing with autonomy, resisting and rebelling against persecutions, detentions and deportations.” It maintains that: “every human being has the right to a free and dignified existence in the place that seems best to them, and has the right to struggle to stay there.”
The U.S. president was remembered throughout the seminar. In very interesting works, Gilberto López y Rivas, Tom Hansen and Sergio Rodríguez analyzed the nature of the Trump project. On April 14, while he read the paper Lessons of geography and globalized calendars, Subcomandante Galeano placed a wooden figure of Mister Trump on the table, which was brought down by a cloth doll that represents the little girl named Defensa Zapatista.
“When Trump talks about reclaiming U.S. borders –read Galeano– it’s the border with Mexico, but the finquero’s gaze aims at Mapuche territory. The struggle of the original peoples cannot not should be circumscribed to Mexico, it must raise the eye, the ear and the word, to include the whole continent, from Alaska to Tierra de Fuego.”
A couple of days before, at the start of the gathering, Subcomandante Moisés explained, in a speech titled The capitalist world is a walled finca, how the entire planet is being converted into a finca and the national governments into overseers that simulate power and independence. “Be cause he that governs –he pointed out– is no longer the one that commands. The one that commands is the capitalist owner. Those that say they are governments: the one of Peña Nieto, the one in Guatemala, that one in El Salvador and all the rest are overseers. The majordomos: the governors. The municipal presidents are the cattle bosses. Everything is at the service of capitalism.”
Trump’s arrival in power represents a new threat to those who have undertaken am exodus to the neighbor country to the north. Moisés himself, in a speech titled Organized coffee against the wall (https://goo.gl/CCcbG1) expressed his support for those who have emigrated to the United States, due to the poverty and violence in their place of origin, where they exploit, repress and dispossess them, like on a finca of one hundred years ago. “The migrants –he pointed out– didn’t leave because they wanted to, but rather because they could no longer stay on their finca, better known as a country.”
Faced with this emergency, the Zapatistas decided to be in solidarity with immigrants on the other said of the border. They will do it by donating 3, 791 kilos of roasted coffee (5 thousand kilos in parchment) to their struggles “They are just like us,” asserts Moisés. One must support those that supported us. It falls to us to tell them to struggle with resistance and with rebellion, because there’s nothing else left to do.
Café against the wall is a formidable example of how the Chiapas rebels are changing social relations, making them leaders. Coffee was for many a finca crop destined for export that has become a campesino and indigenous product because the day laborers that harvest it in conditions of barbaric exploitation grew it on their own plots of land; also, through the combined action of the agrarian reform and state extension.
Since almost three decades ago, the small producers started to appropriate the productive chain and to export their grain without intermediaries. Better organized, they were able to enter into cooperative relationships with conscious consumers from countries in the north to try to construct a just market.
The Zapatista coffee growers took a leap in these experiences to organize themselves and to function without receiving one single cent of government aid. Working collectively, they defeated the local coyotes and gradually began to acquire the infrastructure to industrialize their grain. For years, transnational collectives close to them, have acquired the coffee paying prices above those of the international market.
Today, the Zapatistas have given “the turn of the tortilla” to that relationship, and of being the beneficiaries of international solidarity, they have been converted, despite the scarce material with which they live, into generous donors. They don’t give them what’s left over. “Those of us below need to help each other, to show that we don’t need those who give conditioned aid,” Moisés pointed out.
On the way, they have formed cooperatives like Yach’il Xojobal Ch’ulchan (New Light of the Sky), with a presence in more than eight municipios of Los Altos, and with offices in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Besides coffee, they commercialize honey, cacao and lemon tea.
They explain the advance of their project as dreams that they are realizing. And, when they are asked how they make it so that the coffee, which is useful for not sleeping, produces so many dreams, they answer: we don’t rest, we are bat men, men of the night.
There they send a greeting you a greeting, Mister Trump…
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee