Chiapas Support Committee

Galeano: AMLO’s projects will destroy indigenous territories

By: Sandra Gayou

La Jornada Maya

 Caracol of Morelia, Chiapas

“The government chose from the four candidates the one that is more right-wing,” Subcomandante Galeano, of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) pointed out upon considering that the programs that president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants to implement, like the plantation with a thousand hectares of trees, the construction of the Maya Train and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec Corridor, will only destroy the territories of the indigenous peoples.

After the meeting of the Networks in Support of the Indigenous Government Council (Concejo Indígena de Gobierno, CIG), in which the creation of an International Network of Resistance and Rebellion was proposed, the insurgent Subcomandante affirmed last August 5 in the Caracol of Morelia that the “fourth transformation” that López Obrador promises is in reality the fourth transformation of the PRI. “They can change the governments,” but the “system of domination is maintained,” and the same thing will happen, he criticized.

In that regard, Galeano alluded to the company that will provide exemplars for the project for one thousand hectares (247,000 acres) of timber and fruit trees, about which, he said, its property owner is Alfonso Romo, who will be head the cabinet during the next government.

He also talked about the wall that Donald Trump proposed, about which he said, is not one on the northern border, but rather on the southern border, the Suchiate River, with the denial of entry of Central Americans to Mexico. “That’s why Trump congratulated Juanito Trump for winning the elections,” he expressed.

At the same time, he condemned the abandonment that the indigenous peoples suffer, by pointing out that they were already sent to the mountains in the past, when they were stripped of their lands. Now it turns out that those mountains possess great wealth and they want them for the nation. “We must defend them to the death, because I fear that the government will defend itself with violence,” he sentenced.

Galeano reported on the proposal of consolidating an International Network of Resistance and Rebellion (Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Internacional). Suppose that the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Indígena Nacional) will cease to be a movement of exclusively of Native groups, since it seeks to add every group or individual external to this process of government that he classified as “domestication.”

Moreover, this network will also expand to other nations, seeking those in any corner of the world that resist their system of government.

Apart from this principal action, the insurgent subcomandante reported on seven others, among which is the integration of rural men and historic groups that struggle to a network of support for the CIG, the discussion of each one of the committees (comités) formed, so as to coordinate efforts among networks, as well as an international meeting in one of the five Zapatista Caracoles in December.

[1] Apparently, AMLO has proposed planting 1 million hectares of fruit and timber trees in the Mexican southeast over a 6-year period, and up to 200,000 hectares would be in Chiapas. See:


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee







After 15 years of the Caracoles and JBGs, “Zapatista Hope” continues

Zapatistas at the 3rd Annual CompArte Festival in the Caracol of Morelia.

Altamirano, Chiapas, August 9, 2018

The smiles of the grandparents, the reflection of the women, the curious looks of the children are images that stand out at the Zapatista CompArte Festival 2018. “Our Caracoles are flourishing.” “Our struggle is not going to end,” and “democracy, justice and freedom,” were heard in the melodies that indigenous Chiapanecos interpret in this also XV Anniversary in which they celebrate their decision to organize into The Caracoles and The Good Government Juntas (Juntas de Buen Gobierno, JBG).

From the Caracol de “Morelia,” with songs and theater pieces about daily situations are recreated by children, youth and adult Zapatistas Support Bases, to exemplify what the families that have decided to be in “resistance and rebellion” experience.

The assistance programs of the federal and state governments are a constant in the rebel dramatizations, about how the State “demobilizes resistance.” Faced with government harassment the indigenous peoples of Chiapas have responded with organization and proposals in areas that range from health to education, justice, food and security, among others.

In a playful and profound way, the Zapatistas expose in their theatrical works problems in which children, adolescents, youths, women, elders and men of the community see themselves reflected are reflected. Such situations have to do with consumerism and its repercussions on health, economic, social and cultural problems.

In one of the CompArte 2018 presentations, the line that the capitalist system follows to affect the communities is clearly dramatized: bad food sickens the population, which has to ask for expensive medical attention, which leads women and men to sell their few properties and even their land to pay off their debts. In the other face that the indigenous peoples in resistance act out in their presentations, health is for the entire population and large sums are not needed to be cared for in their autonomous clinics and hospitals. And collective work is also summoned to support the sick person.

History also becomes present inside of Zapatista CompArte, and passages from the Revolution to last July’s presidential elections are brought up. Social problems like unemployment, exploitation, repression, criminalizing of social protest are exposed in the gathering of the indigenous Chiapanecos with national and international attendees.

The children Amado, Defensa Zapatista, together with the Cat Dog (Gato Perro), Zapatista Hope together with his Bear (Oso) and Pablito all participated in the principal message of the EZLN Comandancia. Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano were also found at the table, as well as the zone’s commander, Comandante Zebedeo. Sup Galeano exemplifies the current process of Zapatismo with the story: “The last slice of sweet bread (mantecada) in the Mexican southeast,” which is forthcoming.

“Caring for Zapatista hope” is the message that the EZLN emphasized, to the Comandant@s and thousands of Zapatista support bases, as well as national and international attendees. The Chiapaneco rebels indicated that if their “dreams and aspirations” don’t fit in one world, they would create another. “The world is not one,” they emphasized and they added that you can’t follow a single scheme or concept. The principal message to the “overseers (capitalist governments) past, present and future,” at the end of the participation of the insurgents, was the hand in the form of the Caracol.


PHOTOS: POZOL COLECTIVO, in collaboration with


Originally Published in Spanish by: POZOL COLECTIVO

Friday, August 10, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


The Trans-Isthmus corridor

The Trans-Isthmus Corridor stretches across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from Coatzacoalcos to Salina Cruz.

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

Many names; same project. The proposal to promote regional development through the construction of a dry canal that connects the Gulf of Mexico with the Pacific Ocean, linking the ports of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, has been baptized in many ways during the past 51 years. But, beyond what it’s called, the proposal is, in essence, the same.

The recent initiative in this direction came from the virtual president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). He informed Donald Trump of this in a letter that he sent to him through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And that’s how he announced it, by announcing the priority infrastructure projects.

The modern history of this megaproject is long. In 1967, President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz formed a commission to impel the inter-oceanic transport of containers. In 1974, Luis Echeverría, projected the expansion of the railroad constructed during the days of Porfirio Díaz (el porfiriato), at the time that he built the Cangrejera Petrochemical Complex and the Salina Cruz Refinery. In 1977, José López Portillo launched the Alfa-Omega Plan, a trans-Isthmus transport system for cargo using containers. In 1985, Miguel de la Madrid put his hands on a public work: the Nueva Teapa-Salina Cruz pipeline.

With slight variations, the fantasy continued from one presidential term to the next. In 1996, Ernesto Zedillo announced the Comprehensive Economic Development Program for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which sought to integrate the region into the global development of goods and services, of course, by means of an interoceanic transport corridor. In 2001, Vicente Fox rewound the initiative promoting the Plan Puebla-Panamá. In 2007, Felipe Calderón announced the Logistical System of the Isthmus, to auction off the Coatzacoalcos y Salina Cruz container terminals, and the operation of a modern freight railroad. Three years later, he communicated the cementing of a multimodal corridor. Enrique Peña Nieto promoted this megaproject at two different times: first, in 2013, with the Port of America Isthmus Plan, and three years later, he re-launched it by incorporating it into the Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Each and every one of these initiatives failed in their attempt to constitute the Trans-Isthmus Corridor.

AMLO’s new plan also considers the corridor a free zone and part of the SEZ, which his future Cabinet chief, Alfonso Romo, wants to extend to the entire territory of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero.

An SEZ is an enclave where the regulatory framework in which the companies must function (for example, the payment of taxes or the fulfillment of administrative obligations) is minimized in relation those existing in the rest of the country.

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is a region of enormous environmental and cultural wealth. According to the researcher Miguel Ángel García, the country’s most important humid tropical forests and jungles survive there, because of their biodiversity and preserved extension. It is a contact zone between the fauna and flora of North and South America, and is part of the group of ecosystems that still shelter between 30 and 40 percent of the world’s biodiversity. It is the region with the greatest availability of water according to its demand on a national scale and where the largest lagoon systems of the Mexican Pacific are generated. The project could damage the environment beyond repair.

The Isthmus is also a territory inhabited by 12 native peoples, who live in 539 communities: Chinantecos, Chochocos, Chontales, Huaves, Mazatecos, Mixtecos, Mixes, Zapotecos, Nahuatlacos, Popolucas and Zoques. Ancestrally they have resisted the “modernization” projects that seek to dispossess them of their lands, territories and natural resources in the name of “progress.”

The new government has announced that it will accompany the construction of the new Trans-Isthmus Corridor making those affected co-participants in its benefits, so (in the words of Tatiana Clouthier interviewed by Ernesto Ledesma) “that money falls into their pocket and that helps them to get better.” This would guaranty adding them to the project. Additionally, according to some analysts close to AMLO, a hypothetical approval of the San Andrés Accords would give the indigenous peoples tools for better defending themselves.

We’re talking about an excessively optimistic expectation. The federal government and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) signed the chapter on Indigenous Rights and Culture of the San Andrés Accords on February 16, 1996. The rest of the themes to be addressed remain pending. A lot of water has run in that river since then. The indigenous world has changed enormously in the last 22 years. The new mining and energy laws are a death sentence for the original peoples.

Beyond the will to transform and to struggle against corruption, the trans-Isthmus corridor, the extension of the SEZs, the pretension to convert Mexico into an investment paradise, announce the imminent clash of these projects with the indigenous peoples.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




“A call to all those who rebel in all corners of the world”

From the Zapatista Gathering in Morelia: “A call to all those who rebel in all corners of the world”

Banner welcoming support network compañer@s to the Gathering in Morelia.

Altamirano, Chiapas, August 6, 2018

The festival: CompARTE FOR LIFE AND LIBERTY, “Paint little caracoles to the bad governments, past, present and future,” convoked by the EZLN’s support bases, starts today in the Zapatista Caracol of Morelia. From August 6-9, in the Caracol located in the municipality of Altamirano, you will be able to appreciate musicians, actors, dancers, painters, sculptors, poets, etcetera, from the Zapatista communities in resistance and rebellion, the Sixth Commission of the EZ communicated. Artistic expressions from national and international attendees will also be presented.

This August 6, on the principal stage of the Caracol de Morelia, they will present theater works from the Zapatista Caracol of Oventic, Altos region: “The seven principles of Govern Obeying;” “Environmental and social destruction” and “The new way of Self-governing.”

From the Zapatista Caracol of Roberto Barrios, will entertain with mariachi music from the following groups: The Five Stars; Zapatista Pride; The People’s Voice; Rebel Youth and Chol Maya Renaissance. The soloists Chántee, The Rebel; King Being; Women’s Voice; Valero and My Root will also give presentations. We can’t lack a music trio, so therefore this Monday we’re going to hear the groups: The Flower and Seed of Freedom. In this start of the festival you will be able to enjoy the duo “Life’s Path” and the interpreters of Rap music: For Life and Here I Am.

Young men and women from the host Caracol will present a theater piece that invites reflection called: “Working to live or Working to Die?

From the Caracol of La Realidad, you can enjoy the music of groups like: Strugglers of the People; Cro Eleazar; Los Bamex; Cro Manayer; Touch me of you can, capitalist; Rebel Creators of the South; Rebel Dúc; Rebel Trio; Los Primos; Cro Yorch; Sons of the People; Butterfly of the South; Rebel Youth and Followers of the Struggle.

Prior to the start of the festival on Sunday afternoon August 5, at the end of the Gathering of support networks for the Indigenous Governing Council (Concejo Indígena de Gobierno, CIG), of the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI), upon speaking to those in attendance, Subcomandante Moisés repeated the reading about what the Zapatistas give to the current national and international context. The Zapatista spokesperson was blunt when he said that there is no “good boss,” in reference to the different forms of capitalist exploitation and dispossession and its representatives, who he equated with “Overseers” (neoliberal presidents), “Foremen” (governors) and “Supervisors” (municipal presidents).

Subcomandante Galeano, following the words of Subcomandante Moisés, indicated that any overseer “is going to be confronted;” that upon seeing that capitalism is returning to the methods that gave it origin, “war for the conquest of new territories.” By giving priority to consumption, the predatory global economy “will destroy as much as it can,” Galeano warned. He also pointed out that the new “merchandise” of capitalism, is in the territory of the Native peoples and includes: water, land and air, among others. Faced with the crisis that the system produces, like migration and natural catastrophes, “capitalism is testing an inward withdrawal as an anti-globalization to be able to defend itself,” the Zapatista spokesperson said. Different walls are going to continue to rise and will proliferate like archipelagos for separating the rich from the poor, he added.

Galeano also emphasized the role of the different collectives that worked in support of the CIG and its spokesperson María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, on collecting signatures so that “Marichuy” would attain her registration as a candidate to the presidency of the republic. “With everything against you, the collectives and the spokesperson, denounced the predatory system,” the insurgent expressed. Despite the fact that official registration was not attained, he said that together with the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) and the support groups, they will now consult about how to make the Council larger, so that this initiative “doesn’t absorb and annul differences; but rather that it strengthens them,” on the international level. “Our call is not only to Native peoples, but rather to all those who are rebelling in all corners of the world,” the Chiapas rebel shared.



Originally Published in Spanish by: POZOL COLECTIVO

Monday, August 6, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


The strategy of the caracol

[Administrator’s Note: Today is the the 15th Anniversary of the birth of the Zapatista Good Government Juntas and Caracoles, a revolutionary model for organizing and self-government. The anniversary is being celebrated at the Gathering in Morelia.]

Mural on front of the first offices of the  Good Government Junta in the Caracol of La Garrucha.

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

It has been fifteen years since the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) announced the creation of the caracoles and the Good Government juntas (Juntas de Buen Gobierno, JBG).

Today, when the in-coming government enunciates as its goal to “fulfill” said agreements (the San Andrés Accords, SAA) it would be good for it to find out that they were already fulfilled. Now more is needed, the SAA were only the first of four stages of interrupted talks to negotiate peace with the rebels and to fulfill the historic demands of the nation’s Native peoples. Faced with the neoliberal policies that established dispossession and aggressive extraction on their territories, many peoples stopped hoping. A risk of AMLO’s policy for indigenous peoples is that it starts from behind. It will be patronizing and directed at “poverty,” and it foresees a manner of “autonomy” and goes straight to the creation of important divisions. As if there were not too many already!

Slowly, quietly and efficiently, the rebel Caracol that has been functioning for 15 years accommodates and moves, updates, contracts and expands, and apparently has fun. Its demands don’t go through Sedesol waiting lines. Besides, its strategy went further and deeper, and embodies a culture that the State is obliged to respect.

Andrés Aubry, a great interpreter of the Chiapas rebel movement, wrote in Ojarasca that: “the fiesta of the Caracoles demonstrated that the rebels took seriously breaking the silence proclaimed by 30,000 Zapatistas and their comandantes on January 1, 2003 in San Cristóbal.

“Now we know that what filled this long silence in clandestinity was nothing other than a disciplined and progressive fulfillment of the San Andrés Accords.” Faced with the “heavy omissions” of the political class and the official powers, “the Zapatistas proclaimed that from here on this open rebellion would no longer be practiced in silence, but rather by means of a transparent resistance.”

In the heat of the events, Pablo González Casanova also wrote: “Among the rich contributions that the Zapatista movement has made to the construction of an alternative, the project of the caracoles unravels a lot of false debates from politicians and intellectuals.” In the words of Comandante Javier (the same one who had read the First Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on January 1, 1994), quoted by González Casanova in his splendid Essay interpreting the caracoles, they open “new possibilities for the resistance and autonomy of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and of the world, which include all the social sectors that struggle for democracy, liberty and justice for all.”

After the creation of the Caracoles and the JBGs, formed by the EZLN’s civilian structure in the autonomous rebel Zapatista municipalities (that has been evolving since December 19, 1994), González Casanova points out that: “the project postulates that the communities and the peoples must practice the alternative in order to acquire experience, not wait to have more power to re-define the new style of exercising it. It is not constructed under the logic of the State’s power.” Nor is it constructed to create an anarchist society. “It is a project of peoples-government that is articulated internally and seeks to impose paths of peace… without morally or materially disarming the peoples-government.”

It’s fair to recognize that the JBG and its likenesses are both government and a school of government. They opened central participation to women and youth, and made community public service horizontal without anything to do with the political parties or the dominant system.

González Casanova’s conclusion was of long reach: “More than an ideology of the power of peoples-governments, the caracoles construct and express a culture of power that emerges from five hundred years of resistance of the Indian peoples of America.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, August 6, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




The play on the Zapatista court

The Red Queen of Palenque (Chiapas) in Mexico City’s Templo Mayor. Photo: INAH

By: Daliri Oropeza*

A group of young women with ski masks collectively recite poems mixed with dance, slogans that make petals fly, fans raising corn, all in different circular formations, then linear, which encompass the space of the basketball court. The word of the rebel communities is also in performance art. With these representations they received María de Jesús Patricio in the five Caracoles of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipalities (Municipios Autónomos Rebeldes Zapatistas, Marez). They also receive indigenous communities of the country and of the world with art.

It’s no coincidence that the Zapatista communities represent the autonomy that they experience occupying the space of a court, not a theater. After the armed uprising, the Dialogues for Peace in San Andrés Sacam’chen began on a basketball court. To the government, a basketball court seemed like a strange place to dialogue, but no; according to the cross reference that the writer Juan Villoro proposes, the Zapatista communities, of Maya descent, carry in them the meaning of the ball game as the moment in which the wheel of the cosmos bounces on the courtyard of the world, a court that they called taste. There are even records of the importance of taste because of its direct association with the sacred landscape, with the spaces of daily life and collective activities, to the degree of symbolizing the community.

But now there is art on the Zapatista basketball courts and in this performance art there are very clear messages. In their works they recreate the exercise of political participation, their vision of autonomy, the strength of women, autonomous justice or about their history before and after the uprising. Everything that was dialogued on the San Andrés basketball court is first at practice and later in the representations. The Trans-disciplinary Collective of Critical Investigations (Cotric, its Spanish acronym) describes that in Zapatista art there is a system of “stable” signs and symbols and five recurring themes: The history of the past, from the colonial to the caciques; the revolutionary past up to the 1994 Uprising; the present in resistance and autonomy; the future with this distinct form of governing; and the trans-temporal that connects the different times.

What happens on the basketball courts of the Marez leaves in ridicule the idea that the team of the winning candidate of the presidential election offers: “fulfilling the San Andrés Accords,” because it would be not recognizing that entire indigenous nations already carry them out: “a catchy political discourse,” affirms the Ñuú Savi lawyer Francisco López Bárcenas, but as a government proposal it’s late. On the court, the Zapatista bases demonstrate the exercise of their cultural rights, signed in the Accords.

But now on the basketball courts they represent through art their political participation and the women in charge, but also the differences between the dynamics between neoliberal capitalism and Zapatista autonomy that they live day by day. Not only the Zapatista communities, hundreds of communities, from the north to the south of Mexico exercise one or all the points of the San Andrés Accords, with or without the laws approved in 2001, dozens never left their own organization. It is no coincidence that within the same communiqué where the EZLN criticizes the recently completed electoral political dynamics is the same one that invites us to the celebration of the 15 years from the start of the five Zapatista Caracols and to the third edition of the CompArte Festival.

The relationship between the country’s indigenous peoples, society and the State is not the same since the Zapatista Uprising or the activation of the five Caracols that function autonomously. They start from a different exercise of their identity in front of this new government. What’s going to happen if there’s no counterweight? That evidence that Marichuy’s campaign achieved by baring the dysfunctional electoral system, demonstrating that it’s the “left drunk with victory” that attacked the proposal of the CNI and the EZLN, with the argument that it was a “strategy to divide the left.”

With this performance art, the Zapatista support bases put the cultural rights of the original nations on a court. These rights are the most unprotected because of not being covered by international treaties. They are so broad that they encompass rituals, language, identity, current artistic creations of the communities and also the intangible cultural heritage, the meaning of ancestral practices and even the bio-cultural relationship, which give meaning to the autonomy that the peoples exercise. More than advisers, as Father Solalinde says, I see a court in the middle of the forest, women, children and grandparents struggling, in rebellions re-creating and exalting their own history with art. There are teams that play in dignity until the last minute.



Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



Did they listen?

Art from the Zapatista communities, part of the art on display at CompArte: the Emiliano Zapata Community Festival, August 11 at the Omni Commons in Oakland.

By: Raúl Romero*

It was 1995 and Ernesto Zedillo was president of Mexico. Violence and the economic crisis created a difficult atmosphere for his mandate. In order to gain legitimacy, Zedillo proposed resolving the conflict that had exploded one year before in the country’s southeast, where the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) rose up in arms as a response to the genocide against the indigenous peoples and in demand of jobs, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence, liberty, democracy, justice and peace for all Mexicans; demands to which they would later add autonomy and information. The causes of the uprising remain in effect.

Zedillo’s strategy consisted in publicly simulating peace and dialogue, at the same time that he prepared the military operation with which it sought to arrest the Zapatista comandancia. Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, then Secretary of Governance, was a key piece in the operation: while he simulated dialogue, Zedillo ordered the revelation of the alleged identity of Zapatista leaders and unleashed orders of capture against them.

On February 9, 1995, the Mexican Army took several Chiapas villages. There were illegal arrests, searches, bombings, young children murdered and women raped. “The February betrayal,” as this event was known, failed in its final objective: arresting the Zapatista commanders.

Recently, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) ratified that Esteban Moctezuma will be the Secretary of Public Education in his administration. He also named Alfonso Romo as one of those currently responsible for the transition in economic matters and his future cabinet chief. Romo has been an impresario spoiled by the system. AMLO himself denounced Romo several times.

Romo, just like Víctor Villalobos –proposed by AMLO to head the Secretariat of de Agriculture and who Víctor M. Toledo in these same pages classified as a “soldier of the transnationals” (– openly promotes the use of genetically modified organisms and improved seeds, a measure that is rejected by campesinos in Mexico.

Likewise, to the express question of whether they will support the Special Economic Zones (SEZ), Romo stated last July 1 that they would make them bigger and that all of Mexico would have to be an “investment paradise.” The SEZs are true colonial enclaves, “new links to dispossession,” as Magdalena Gómez pointed out ( ). [1]

We could mention other names that represent the system of privileges, impunity and corruption and that will occupy key charges in the next cabinet. These examples are enough to point out that the doubts about a 180 degree change of the next government are legitimate, doubts that are fed by the rambling speeches typical of Salinismo, but now enunciated by mediators of the future government, like Alejandro Solalinde, who referred to the EZLN as “extremists,” “indigenous people influenced by mestizos” and a “radical minority.”

But the doubts about what will happen above do not underestimate what moved in those below last July 1. Of the more than 30 million people that voted for AMLO, many also or above all, voted against the war, against the impunity and against the femicides. They voted for the presentation of disappeared persons, for memory, for truth and for justice. They voted against the hikes in gas prices (gasolinazos), against the education reform and for dignified employment. The discontent accumulated over many years decided to manifest that day. The organizational experience of the victims movement, of the teaching profession, of youth, of the social-environmental resistances, of women, of sexual diversity, of journalists and of many others conquered fraud.

All those voices must be heard. And for that to be the case, social, critical and independent movements are necessary. Movements that will break the neoliberal consensus that the ruling classes seek to expand. The worst thing that could happen to us now is that we derive into a neoliberalism legitimized with the false argument of unity from the 30 million voters. You must listen well: many people voted against neoliberalism, voted against the system of death, dispossession and corruption that is called capitalism. A non-corrupt capitalism does not exist, nor does dispossession equal the wellbeing of the peoples.

In Mexico we know what happens when organizations of our peoples become an extension of the State. We don’t want to relive that history. Even worse, if democratic organizations of the left do not occupy that place soon, right-wingers from the hand of Claudio X. González will fill the vacuum.

They have to listen carefully to what those below said and will say these days. Now that the tsunami is over, the islands of the new world will continue being the horizon that guides the walking.


[1] For more on the Special Economic Zones, see also:


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



Join us for CompArte III: The Springtime of the Peoples


The Chiapas Support Committee is inviting you to the third annual CompArte: The Emiliano Zapata Community Festival, being held on Saturday, August 11, 2018, 1:00-5:00pm at the Omni Commons community center, 4799 Shattuck Avenue, in Oakland.

This year’s gathering is called “La primavera de los pueblos | The springtime of the peoples,” to celebrate our struggles and movements for justice, human rights and equality for all with music, art, poetry and community speakers to uplift solidarity with the Zapatistas and Indigenous people’s struggles for self-determination, autonomy and land justice in Mexico and the U.S

 CompArte: Community, Art, Justice & Solidarity with the Zapatistas

Come enjoy an afternoon of great music, art, poetry, bread & the company of people dedicated to building a community of love, justice & solidarity!

The gathering is free and family friendly.


Keynote Speaker:
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author & activist, An Indigenous People’s History of the United States and Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.

Featuring artwork by;
Jesús Barraza
Derrick Bell
Anh Bui
Lisa Castellanos
Daniel Camacho
Melanie Cervantes
Emory Douglas
Yadira Gonzalez
Xóchitl Nevel Guerrero
Carlos Jackson
Priya Handa ,
Eddie Lampkin
Gilda Posada,
Zapatista community artists from Chiapas

Madelina y Los Carpinteros, Latin American music ensemble
Francisco Herrera, Trabajo Cultural Caminante
Mogauwane Mahloele, South African master percussionist, vocalist and storyteller

Arnoldo García
Antonieta Hensley
Taj James
uPhakamile uMaDhlamini
And others

Available at CompArte:

Artesanía from the Zapatista women’s collective, including hand-embroidered blouses, Zapatista items & art

Light food & refreshments will be provided.

CompArte III — La primavera de los pueblos

La primavera de los pueblos | The springtime of the peoples: CompArte III | The Emiliano Zapata Community Festival

Saturday, August 11, 2018, 1:00-5:00 pm

Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609

Free | Sponsored by the Chiapas Support Committee


Initially convened by the Zapatistas in July of 2016 to celebrate and strengthen the imagination and vision of the anti-capitalist movement and build the fight “For Humanity and Against the Walls of Capitalism,” CompArte is a space for the art of communities, social justice and liberation that brings together artists, painters, sculptors, musicians, rappers, hip-hop, muralists and cultural workers to showcase the deep cultural roots of our movements.

CompArte literally means “share art,” and for us it means to listen together to each others dreams and visions of a revolution against the winters of capitalism.

CompArte III will feature an art show that will be on display at the Omni starting August 1 and run through September 23.





Narco-states versus freedom

By: Raúl Zibechi

Wealth accumulated by the one percent is being protected by an alliance between drug trafficking networks and sectors of the state apparatus that serve the interests of large multinationals but at the same time have been formed as an important factor of power. This alliance operates by clearing territories for mining and energy undertakings, from which it benefits by creating broad spaces under its control that it uses to lubricate its illegal businesses.

Recently, analyses started to be published about this reality that, under the mane of drug trafficking (narcotráfico), designs a mode of domination and control of populations. We should not lose sight of the fact that the narco-states are not deviations from the tradition of the nation-states, but rather their new configuration in accordance with extractivism/fourth world war, which complicates both the resistances of popular sectors and the emancipatory struggle in general.

The formation of narco-states (and narco-institutions) seems to be increasing and the space is not restricted to Latin America. In some European countries the mafias allied with politicians achieve setting up camp in municipalities and even entire regions, reaching a decisive influence in the configuration of the political map, particularly in Italy.

In several Latin American countries this alliance operates together with the evangelical and Pentecostal churches, especially in Brazil and Colombia, where they support right-wing parties and candidates, although some of them arrived to sustain the government of Lula for years, only to then take a sharp a turn in the opposite direction.

In recent months a violent conflict reappeared over control of the city of Medellín (Colombia), which had been held up as a paradigm of the pacification of one of the most violent cities, thanks to a municipal management that used the urban architecture to generate a culture of peace. The outbreak of violence en this showcase city shows the limits of public policies for controlling drug trafficking, as well as baring its alliances and modes of operating.

An excellent report from the journalist Camilo Alzate about the war underway in Commune 13, assures that “the city of economic prodigies is under control of the mafias” and adds a revealing phrase: “The real power that formal power needs.” After the progressive management of Mayor Sergio Fajardo (2004-2007) the city had become the showcase of pacification and hosted international business forums for the global elites.

In some countries, like in Uruguay during the presidency of José Mujica, Medellín was held up as an example of the successful combat against crime, which would be solved constructing sports spaces, public libraries and meeting places where young people would discover the wonders of life and get away from the criminal gangs.

The basic idea is that good management can solve structural inequalities without touching privileges, including the endemic corruption of the state apparatus. The concept of “urban acupuncture,” which had functioned decades before in the Brazilian Curitiba was reclaimed to solve social problems through punctual interventions in the city.

What’s certain is that that experience for export failed without those responsible facing it. The social leaders of Commune 13 told authorities: “We don’t trust in the institutions, and above all we don’t trust in the police.” And they conclude: “If the community cannot trust in the police, what do we have left?”

This is the central point. There are no sectorial policies for solving the problem of drug trafficking, because it has already been integrated into the state apparatus, the real power that utilizes the institutions. In Medellín there are hundreds of people threatened and displaced by the criminal gangs that imposed a permanent curfew at night. The police limited themselves to attacking young people, who they always consider suspicious, while protecting the mafias.

On various visits to Medellín I was able to verify how in the communes this narco power controls transportation, forcing the drivers to pay them a fee, as well as all the businesses within a territorial limit that they control. The business of cans of gasoline, of cell phones and television, are all in the hands of the narcos, in a broad geography that goes from Medellín to Río de Janeiro, passing through a good part of the continent’s cities.

How is this narco-state power dismantled?

Impossible to do it from inside, as all known experiences show.

It is a central theme for the anti-systemic movements, since this power is dedicated to destroying all popular organization because they covet complete control of territories. Therefore we know that only by organizing ourselves at the margin of these powers will it be possible to construct solid and lasting emancipatory movements.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, July 20, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




It’s capitalism!

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez (Marichuy)

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

Without a doubt, we’re experiencing an historic moment in contemporaneous Mexico, because for the first time in many decades the popular will expressed at the polls was respected; a State fraud was not imposed, nor the fall of the system, nor the cynical “it has been as it has been” of Felipe Calderón; this is a transcendent conquest of the Mexican people, without diminishing or underestimating, it’s necessary to analyze from the critical thinking and struggle of the original peoples in defense of territories, Mother Earth and life.

This transition is not due to a sudden democratic calling of the PRI regime, but rather to three interrelated factors that prevented the imposition of the traditional State fraud: 1) The extraordinary citizen participation of more than 60 percent of registered voters. 2) The fracture of the political class in the principal parties, the PRI and the PAN, which went to the election separately, and with internal divisions that deepened during the campaign. 3) The vote of punishment from millions of voters that spoke out for change.

However, it highlights the ability of the State to reconstitute itself: the triumph of the citizenry’s massive intervention was rapidly turned into a “victory of the institutions” and the “democratic system.” Gone was the violence deployed throughout and during the electoral process, and the 132 candidates murdered were quickly forgotten.

The recognition from the officialist candidate on election night, and the terse sequence of events that culminates with the message of Enrique Peña Nieto and the conciliatory speech of the winning candidate, suggests a concerted action starting with there will be no punishment for the outgoing government’s crimes of State and against humanity, or criminal litigation over the visible plundering of the treasury and the evident complicity of the three levels of government with organized crime.

At the same time, it is significant that in his first speech as the winning candidate, López Obrador sends a message to capitalist corporations to calm them that he will not take “radical measures,” “contracts will be respected,” “there will be no expropriations” and one must understand his preferred slogan in that context: “For the good of everyone, first the poor,” about which it’s appropriate to ask: Who is “everyone”?

Also, the guiding-almost-unique idea of the whole campaign that corruption is the matrix of all the country’s evils was reiterated, AMLO denying that it is inherent to capitalism, whose cornerstone is the expropriation of labor from the working class and the dispossession of strategic-natural-resources-territories by its corporations. The president-elect denies that the law of value-exploitation-surplus-value-class-struggle applies to Mexico, insisting on the corruption factor.

This peculiar perspective of López Obrador, which corrects the “classics” of Marxism, is very important for the direction that the resistance of the original peoples follows versus the process of re-colonization of the territories for the capitalist transnationals, which is made visible by the Indigenous Government Council (Consejo Indígena de Gobierno, CIG) and its spokeswoman, Marichuy, during the campaign. Mining companies, trans-Isthmus corridor, refineries, highway projects, bullet trains and a honeymoon with impresarios, are bad signs for the original peoples.

For their part, leaders of indigenous organizations around AMLO presented a programmatic document that, with the phraseology of Zapatismo, including the use of “govern obeying” (“mandar obedeciendo,” proposes, in sum, and as a principal proposal, a return to the indigenismo already overcome since the San Andrés dialogue, now under the leadership of an indigenous bureaucracy that would form a new State secretariat.

Marichuy declared that what’s really significant will come now and that the transcendent thing is to organize if you wish to take the country towards a real change; it’s about resisting the capitalist corporations and the governments that protect them, acting from where you are, in barrios, districts, cities or indigenous towns.

The limitation of representative democracy is that citizen participation is concentrated on just one day, and therefore, public issues are the monopoly of a class of professional politicians that ignore the electorate. The EZLN and the CIG, on the other hand, propose a new kind of democracy, an autonomist democracy that is founded on a construction of power and citizenship from below; as a way of everyday life, of control and exercise of power from what ought to be; that is, based on ethical terms. It is not a means or procedure of reproduction of bureaucratic estates, but rather a social and political pact, a constituent of everyday that operates unitarily in all spheres and orders of life.

The struggle for this democracy will continue, shoulder to shoulder with the peoples, below and to the left.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, July 6, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee