An Invitation from the Chiapas Support Committee
“We would like to take this opportunity to invite The Sixth, The Networks, the CNI, and all honest people to come and participate, together with the Zapatista peoples, in building these CRAREZ [Zapatista Centers of Resistance and Rebellion]. You might contribute to this effort by collecting the necessary construction materials, by making an economic contribution, by hammering, cutting, carrying, and guiding others, and by sharing these moments with us—whichever might be the most convenient way for you.”
Words of Subcomandante Moisés in the August 17, 2019 CCRI-CG Zapatista communiqué “And We Broke the Siege.”
The Chiapas Support Committee invites you to close 2019 by giving generously to express support and to envision a new sisterhood/brotherhood with the Zapatista communities in Mexico who are building autonomy and self-determination. We believe that this is an urgent challenge and responsibility facing all activists and organizers working for a more just and peaceful world. (You can donate safely online through PayPal, Venmo: @Enapoyo1994, or create a fundraising campaign for the CSC on your Facebook page.)
In 2019, the Zapatistas marked the 25th year of their uprising by continuing to grow the movements in Indigenous and non-indigenous communities for a new relationship based on autonomy and self-determination.
And what a year 2019 turned out to be!
Seven + Four: Zapatista Centers of Resistance and Rebellion
In August, Subcomandante Moisés issued the Zapatistas’ surprise announcement that they had organized and opened seven new Caracoles and four new autonomous municipalities in Chiapas, some of them in parts of the state not previously thought of as having Zapatista influence. The Zapatistas’ announcement represents an important growth in the practice of radical democracy, which the Zapatistas call autonomy.
And Subcomandante Moisés is inviting us to support these new Zapatista Centers of Resistance and Rebellion construct what their people need: schools, clinics, and sustainable economic production.
We are sharing Subcomandante Moisés’ invitation and extending it to you to make a generous contribution to the Chiapas Support Committee for the construction of radical Zapatista democracy. All of your contributions go to the Zapatista communities.
The creation of the new Zapatista Centers of Resistance and Rebellion (CRAREZ) were in sharp contrast to the EZLN’s ominous New Year’s message on the 25th anniversary of their 1994 Uprising saying that they were alone, fighting off paramilitaries, surrounded by thousands of soldiers and threatened with the Maya Train project and PROARBOL (commercial tree farms).
Then the Zapatistas postponed the 2nd International Gathering of Women Who Struggle. In a February 11 message, the Zapatista women said they could not hold the 2nd Women’s Gathering in March 2019 because it wasn’t safe. The women denounced the threat of paramilitary groups connected to political parties and megaprojects: the Maya Train, commercial tree farms, mining and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec project.
Both messages said the Mexican government was “coming for” them. Both messages caused great concern among Zapatista supporters and an outpouring of international solidarity in the form of letters published in various media around the world.
Less than two weeks later, on February 20, we learned of the murder of Samir Flores Soberanes, a long-time delegate to the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) and an outspoken opponent of the thermoelectric plant in Huexca, Morelos.
In May, four members of the CIPOG-EZ, a campesino organization belonging to the CNI, were murdered in Guerrero. These murders revealed that criminal gangs allegedly connected to organized crime had surrounded several CIPOG communities and were murdering anyone who left those communities to obtain supplies. This prompted an international solidarity campaign to donate and deliver supplies to the surrounded communities via back roads and mountain trails.
Meanwhile, paramilitary violence continued in the Chiapas Highlands (Chenalhó, Chalchihuitán, Aldama, as well as other parts of Chiapas). At least 25 were reported killed and several thousand were displaced from their homes and communities. A recent report indicates that some are fleeing violence and displacement, and are currently in an encampment near the US border waiting to be called for an asylum interview.
Yet, in the midst of military and paramilitary violence, as well as megaprojects, the Zapatistas have been able to convince and organize thousands of previously non-Zapatistas to give up Mexican government handouts and enrich the culture of indigenous resistance and rebellion to practice radical democracy (autonomy), according to the organizing principles of Zapatismo. They have done so with their dignity, patient love of neighbor and consistent example.
An invitation to grow justice & autonomy
All our communities are invited—as a small committee, as members of an emerging network and as members of diverse social and economic justice movements—by Subcomandante Moisés to build our struggles for autonomy and justice where we live, work, study, worship and play.
And the Chiapas Support Committee invites you to help us support the Zapatistas’ CRAREZ by giving a generous donation before 2019 ends to support Zapatista community autonomy projects in Chiapas.
Please join us in making a generous contribution to the anti-capitalist and autonomous development of the new Zapatista Centers of Resistance and Rebellion (CRAREZ)!
You can donate on-line, create a birthday fundraiser on your Facebook page for CSC and/or with a check or money order payable to: CHIAPAS SUPPORT COMMITTEE and mail to:
Chiapas Support Committee
P O Box 3421
Oakland, CA 94609
To donate online, you can use:
The work of constructing autonomy in the new CRAREZ is of critical importance to the Zapatistas. Your contributions will reflect the urgent work of creating and strengthening relationships rooted in solidarity and justice across borders and movements.
Members of the Chiapas Support Committee and the folks we work with in Chiapas will thank you from the bottom of our collective heart for your contribution.
In resistance & solidarity,
Jose Plascencia, for the Chiapas Support Committee
Mary Ann Tenuto Sánchez