By: Gilberto López y Rivas
Last January 1 one more anniversary was completed of the uprising of the Zapatista Mayas by which the existence of an insurgent group in the majority composed of Indigenous was made public, and which based on Article 39 of the Constitution declared war on the “bad government” of the usurper Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Twenty-four (24) years after that event of multiple historical meanings, which shook Mexico and the world, the First Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, in which the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) addresses the PEOPLE OF MEXICO (like that with capital letters), remains more valid than ever: “We, upright and free men and women, are aware that the war we declare is a last but just measure. The dictators have been applying an undeclared genocidal war against our peoples for many years, therefore we ask for your decided participation in support of this plan of the Mexican people that struggle for work, land, housing, food, health, education, independence, liberty, democracy, justice and peace.”
That genocidal war that the Zapatistas denounced in 1994 not only didn’t cease, but rather intensified until making Mexico the second deadliest country, after Syria, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies of London, which identifies an “unrecognized armed conflict,” as a human catastrophe in which the prolongation of homicidal violence lasts for more than a decade, with constant intensity. At the same time, the structural reforms promoted by the governments of national betrayal that have succeeded each other during these years through the regime of State parties, that legalize re-colonizing dispossession and the de-nationalization of territories and strategic resources, as well as the Homeland Security Law, that legalize the militarization of the country and the heavy hand of the armed forces against the people, have provoked that the Zapatista demands are more current and legitimate all the time. Mexico starts this year of 2018 in the worst situation that has been recorded since that other armed conflict from 1910-1917, which cost the lives of a million peoples, when the total population was 16 million.
During these 24 years, the EZLN has persisted in its emancipatory plan, and time and again they summon us in different ways with different initiatives to all Mexicans to join their plan to radically transform the tragic national reality. We remember the opening of the San Andrés Dialogue to civil society, the National Democratic Convention, the March of the Color of the Earth, the Intergalactic Gatherings, the Escuelita, the seminars for stimulating critical thought in intellectuals, artists and scientists, and the multiple forms of being in solidarity with the struggles of those below and to the left. The Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle was the synthesis of the EZLN’s permanent search for the articulation of libertarian struggles in the national ambit: “We will continue fighting for the Indian peoples of Mexico, but not only for them and not only with them, but rather for all the exploited and dispossessed of Mexico, with all those in all the country (…) We’re going to listen and speak directly without intermediaries or mediations, with the simple and humble of the Mexican people and, according to what we are hearing and learning, we’re going to construct, together with that people that are like us, humble and simple, a national program of struggle, but a program that is clearly of the left; in other words anti-capitalist, or anti-neoliberal, that is for justice, democracy and the freedom of the Mexican people.”
During all these years, the EZLN has been the incorruptible critical conscience before the State and society. It has been the mirror in which the institutionalized left and the systemic intellectuals see reflected their loss of moral principles and anti-capitalist anchors, their autism in the face of the war of social cleansing against the people, their shift toward a comfortable alternation that doesn’t endanger in the slightest the system of exploitation of the cheapest labor force in the planetary ambit, nor the imperialist domination that the United States exercises over a country in ruins. From there the visceral hatred of the anti-Zapatista ex officio prosecutors of an intelligentsia that renounced critical thinking a long time ago, and that personifies and projects its frustrations and resentments onto the figure of subcomandante Marcos-Galeano.
During these years, the Maya peoples grouped together in the EZLN have set an example of pro-positive resistance building their autonomy, strengthening their governments in which they are obeying, and in which thousands of women and men have prepared to be authorities of a direct and participatory democracy. Girls and boys, young people of both sexes have been socialized, educated and trained on the basis of the Zapatista’s seven ethical principles: to serve and not to serve, to represent and not to supplant, to build and not to destroy, to obey and not to command, to propose and not impose, to convince and not win, to go down and not up; a conception of the world and of politics, of for all everything, nothing for us, which is situated in the pole opposite the individualist narcissism of the “selfie” generation.
The latest of the initiatives that emerged in the bosom of the Zapatista Mayas has been the proposal assumed by the National Indigenous Congress is to create the Indigenous Government Council, whose spokesperson, María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, Marichuy, is written on the ballot for the presidential elections of this year. Once again, they call upon us to organize ourselves for confronting the capitalist hydra, the bad government and the partidocracy that sustains it. Will Mexican civil society, workers, intellectuals, youth, principally, be prepared for this challenge that the Zapatistas and the CNI throw out to us? Will we let this opportunity pass for uniting to struggle against the bad government, for justice, democracy and freedom for the peoples of the Mexican fatherland-motherland?
Fraternal congratulations to the men and women insurgents, milicianos and support bases of the EZLN, on the 24-year anniversary of the war against oblivion.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, January 12, 2018
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee