Chiapas Support Committee

New ORCAO attack on Zapatista community

 By: Chiapas Paralelo

The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center demanded guarantying the life and integrity of the Support Bases and respect for Zapatista autonomy, after receiving information from the Patria Nueva Good Government Junta in Ocosingo, in which they detailed that they have been under attack for three days from the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO).

With shots from firearms, Caracol 10, “Flowering the Rebel Seed,” assured that the ORCAO attacked the community of Moisés Gandhi, in Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality.

On January 18, 2021, from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm, ORCAO members resumed the armed attacks on homes in the Moisés Gandhi community. There were “around 170 large caliber shots and 80 small caliber shots.” On January 20, 2021, at 4:00 pm and 10:30 pm, new attacks were recorded, the human rights center said.

This Thursday, at approximately 12:30 am, 2:10 am and 2:55 am, shots were fired at homes in the community by a group of 20 ORCAO people from the communities of San Antonio, Cuxuljá, San Francisco and February 7, all in the municipality of Ocosingo.

The Frayba Center documents that, since April 2019, ORCAO members have attacked the Moisés Gandhi community, which has led to the destruction of property and physical and verbal aggressions.

Consequently, the Frayba Center made a call to the Mexican State to immediately intervene and stop the attacks on the Moisés Gandhi community, since the life and integrity of the women, girls, boys and men of the Maya Tseltal Pueblo are at risk.

More attacks

The National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council (CNI-CIG, their initials in Spanish) repudiated the attack by ORCAO members, which occurred in Saturday, August 22, 2020, around 11:00 am, since they robbed and burned the installations of the New Dawn of the Rainbow Commercial Center, which is located at the site known as the Cuxuljá Crossroads, Lucio Cabañas Autonomous Municipality, in the official municipality of Ocosingo.

In reaction, 239 signatories, including women, collectives, human rights centers and women’s spaces signed a letter in which they show solidarity with the women members of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), with their struggle against the patriarchal system and against the fire at the Compañera Lucha Diner, located in the New Dawn of the Rainbow Commercial Center.

Finally, members of the Zapatista Good Government Junta “New Dawn in Resistance and Rebellion for Life And Humanity” denounced the kidnapping and torture of one of its members, part of the Zapatista support base in the community of San Isidro, an annex of Moisés Gandhi, was detained by the paramilitary organization called ORCAO, on November 8 of last year. He was released after 4 days. They explain that they have identified Andrés Santis López, Nicolás Santis López, Santiago Sánchez López and Oscar Santos López, people from the San Antonio community as members of said paramilitary group.

In the communiqué they maintain that they have information that the San Antonio paramilitaries have received money that was destined for construction of a school, in the amount of 300 thousand pesos, but used to buy high-caliber weapons with which they have been intimidated.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, January 21, 2021

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2021/01/denuncian-nuevo-ataque-de-la-orcao-a-comunidad-zapatista/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

The necessary utopia

By: Raúl Romero*

We live in times of anguish and anxiety. Wherever you look, uncertainty is the protagonist. Most of humanity doesn’t see “the storm pass.” It’s not all of humanity, there are exceptions, those to whom the pandemic came “like a finger ring”: owners of pharmaceutical companies, telecommunications companies and others who enrich themselves with the tragedy.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has not only highlighted social inequalities; it has sharpened them. Millions of people see their incomes affected, their educational levels, their emotional and physical health. The effects are not equal for everyone: colonized, looted and impoverished communities, nations and regions bear the brunt of it. The pandemic and its multiple consequences, as well as the measures adopted by the financial centers to confront it, continue developing the underdevelopment of our peoples. In capitalism, the salvation and development of some means the underdevelopment and loss of the majority.

The scenario gets worse when the adversaries of freedom and democracy reappear, and that now clamor for curfews, punitive measures and a “heavy hand” to “make the people understand.” Although it might seem adverse, this authoritarian spirit finds allies in nihilist or anti-vaccine ideologies, or in business people and politicians who call to ignore measures in favor of the market.

In Mexico, the Covid-19 pandemic was linked with other problems: organized crime, femicides, forced disappearances, poverty and the murder of journalists and defenders of territory. Also, the continuity of militarization, extractivism and the pacts of impunity that mark the current administration, make the panorama more complicated.

The multidimensional crisis deepens, and its ethical and moral dimension surfaces more and more. The loss of meaning, horizon and hope is fertile terrain for the worst monsters.

What to do? Where to keep walking?

In The crisis of the utopias, Víctor Flores Olea proposed the “need for utopia,” to “reconstruct the principle of hope.” He identified in the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), in the new anticapitalist political parties and in the social movements after Porto Alegre, ideas and practices that contribute to constructing “another possible world.”

In the movements, peoples and organizations in resistance there are pre-figurative practices that put on the horizon the world that we want. They are not improvisations, many of these experiences are the resulted of theory and practice, of imagination, of trial and error.

From a quick reading of some of those “real utopias,” a scaffolding of practices and concepts emerge that we would do well to take up. It is spoken and constructed, for example, from or towards autonomy or the communal, where the common good is at the center of the organization of life and work.

Faced with the emergency due to Covid-19, practices and reflections about preventive, comprehensive and community health, the work of caring and taking care of life, of the common house and of the commons, as well as personal and collective self-care, gain great notoriety.

As alternatives to capitalist development, these movements place self- management, food sovereignty, recuperation of lands, agro-ecology, milpa, beekeeping, alternative currencies, self-production, cooperatives, the solidarity economy, fair trade, eco-technologies, free software, barter, the exchange of knowledge, trades and services, alternative markets, collective work, free community work and tasks.

Faced with the problems of violence that criminal capitalism deployed in our territories, different movements placed at the center of the debate concepts to give dimension to the problem: women’s struggles for recognition of the crime of femicide or the demand of relatives with disappeared persons to recognize the crime and implement searches while alive. Also, the movements of those aggrieved by the violence have constructed search brigades for people, or they have constructed anti-monuments and refuges, or they have carried out “popular trials” and commemorations, practices that materialize solidarity and memory.

To these movements are added others that in rural zones were organized to take charge of security and justice, and that even propose the replacement of punitive measures by re-education.

At the center of that “other possible world“ are the assembly and democracy, fundamental pillars of “another politics” where principles, consensus or agreement, rotation and accountability can be a guarantee that govern by obeying is real and not a slogan.

Many practices escape here, for example, liberating pedagogy, or the ones that impel sex-gender diversities. Practicing them and combining them with other present and past experiences that help us exit barbarism and orient us towards a world with democracy, liberty, dignity, social justice, sciences and the arts, will help us reconstruct utopia, to build the world that we want.

* Sociologist

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, January 17, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/01/17/opinion/013a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

Comandante Ismael of the EZLN dies

Comandante Ismael*

By: Elio Henríquez

Integrantes del EZLN en imagen de archivo. Foto Víctor Camacho

San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

A commander of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), Ismael (Miguel López Hernández), died early Tuesday morning, different sources reported. He died at 4:00 am, after a long battle against liver cancer that he had suffered for a couple of years and for which he was under medical treatment, they explained.

The Zapatista commander, a native of the Hermenegildo Galeana community, official municipality of Ocosingo, in the Lacandón Jungle, was currently the one responsible for the EZLN’s Caracol III, with headquarters in the community of La Garrucha, Francisco Gómez Zapatista [Autonomous] Municipality in rebellion, located in the official municipality of Ocosingo, they mentioned.

Ismael, was one of the first indigenous people of the zone who joined the EZLN —founded on November 17, 1983 in the Lacandón Jungle—, and was also a contemporary of Comandantes Maxo, Raúl and Tacho, among others.

According to the sources consulted, his wife and 8 children, the oldest 28 and the youngest 12, survive him.

Until this Tuesday, the EZLN had not officially released news about the death of Ismael, who also struggled for the fulfillment of the San Andrés Accords signed February 16, 1997 by the Mexican government and the Zapatistas.

*The photo was taken when Comandante Ismael participated in the 2001 March of the Color of the Earth.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 20, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2021/01/19/estados/fallece-el-comandante-zapatista-ismael/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

 

The Zapatistas will set sail for Europe

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

In July, August, September and October of this year, a delegation of the Mexico below will travel to Europe. The EZLN, the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Government Council and the Peoples Front in Defense of Water and Land of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala (hereafter, the Frente) make up the delegation. The initiative forms part of a wider tour that will travel, later, to Asia, Africa, Oceania and America.

The group will hold meetings, dialogues, exchange ideas, experiences, analysis and evaluations in the struggle for life. It will seek to know what’s different. Those who will meet share the understanding that the executioner of humanity is “an exploitive, patriarchal, pyramidal, racist, thieving and criminal system: capitalism” (https://bit.ly/2XmkIhN).

The Declaration for life that accompanies the mission was signed by hundreds of collectives, associations that struggle, personalities and activists in a multitude of countries that form an anti-neoliberal and anti-capitalist galaxy, crossed in different ways by Zapatismo. The International United Left greeted the expedition fraternally.

We’re clearly dealing with an initiative of the left, if we understand by that the definition given by the Austrian-French philosopher and journalist André Gorz. “Being left –he affirms– means feeling linked to all those who struggle for their own liberation, who don’t accept without more the determination from above of goals and objectives and who struggle, together or alone, for the elimination of all forms of domination and for the overthrow of all power apparatus of power.”

The European tour will take place at a time of an enormous confusion, uncertainty, chaos and insecurity throughout the world. The future is no longer what it was and it isn’t clear how it’s going to be.

The rebel journey will take place in a world shaken, among other things, by the intersection of the health and economic crisis precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, by the growing hegemony of digital capitalism in the process of global re-composition of this economic system, by the emergence of a new and timid Latin American progressivism articulated around the Group of Puebla, which appears to want to dispense with the influence of Cuba and Venezuela in the region, by the electoral defeat of Trumpism and its State self-coup, by the advance of the extreme right, racism and xenophobia in many European countries and/or by the growing rapprochement of China and Russia.

But it’s also because of the deployment of many resistance struggles, such as the one carried out in Greece by the tireless protests of grassroots collectives that forced justice of that nation to sentence the fascist party Golden Dawn (Amanecer Dorado) as a criminal organization and condemn some of its leaders to prison, or like the irruption on France of the yellow vest movement against the rise in the price of fuel, fiscal injustice and the loss of purchasing power, or the emergence of anti-fascist and anti-racist networks throughout the territory of the European Union that seek universal citizenship. There’s also the persistence of a powerful feminist mobilization.

To elaborate a vision about that old world that falls precipitously and the new one that emerges with great difficulties requires that it be lived, thought, analyzed, from the resistance struggles from below that make up the associative constellation in defense of life.

The European expedition should come as no surprise. In itself, many of the collectives that resist in Europe have accompanied the Zapatistas since 1994. Luca Casarini, an active participant for many years in the Italian Social Centers, said: “we have a dream. In that dream, we were born on January 1, 1994, at the side of the Zapatistas. The dream is good, and it’s not totally fanciful, but reality is different.”

That dream is not exclusive to Luca. Despite the years that have passed since the EZLN Uprising, many forces throughout Europe feel deeply identified with Zapatismo. A good number of them have played a key role in the movement of movements that confronted neoliberal globalization in the protests against the invasion and war in Iraq, in the fight against the fascist emergency, in the occupation of public squares, in the defense of migrants, in the struggle against evictions after the crisis of 2008 and a thousand and one more fights.

For more than 26 years, thousands of these activists have traveled regularly on solidarity missions to the rebel camps in Chiapas. The Mexican government deported dozens of them and prohibited them from returning to the country. They actively participated in the 1st Encuentro for Humanity and against Neoliberalism, convened by the EZLN in the Lacandón Jungle in 1996. The institutional left baptized them (with a hint of contempt) as aretudos (men who wear earrings), for the men’s fashion of wearing small earrings. Curiously, these “aretudos” championed a cycle of historic struggles around altermundismo (the belief that another world is possible) and renewed the European left from below.

The decision of the Zapatistas, the CNI-CIG and the Frente, to weigh anchor and sail to Europe, will thus be, a sort of return to meet with old friends to whom they have offered hospitality throughout two and a half decades. It’s an act of reciprocity to corroborate “the commitment to struggle everywhere and all the time,” until its destruction, against capitalism.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/01/12/opinion/012a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

The Zapatista tour, a gathering of rebels

Zapatista delegation gets ready.

By: Raúl Zibechi

What we are lacking are new forms of resistance capable of putting the brakes on the new world war, since the old ways of doing politics have shown their limitations, if not their failure. Hundreds of collectives across Europe are agreeing to organize the tour of the members of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the National Indigenous Congress – Indigenous Governing Council (CNI-CIG) and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Water and Land of Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala in the second half of this year.

There are thousands of militants and activists from the most diverse sectors and identities that are converging in support of the initiative launched months ago by Mexican neo-Zapatismo. In the first of six communiques, in October 2020, they underscore that despite the repression and crimes of the system, “it is again time for hearts to dance, and not to the music nor the steps of lament and resignation.”

This step, from withdrawal to the rupture of the media and military-police siege that all of the movements of the world are suffering is a decisive moment for the immediate future. All of the data we have suggests that 1% of the richest people on the planet intend to take advantage of the pandemic to impose a proportional defeat on those below.

As the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has pointed out, the epidemic offers the pretext to impose the suspension of constitutional guarantees through states of emergency and curfews, now that the argument of terrorism seems worn out and is no longer credible. Social distancing fulfills the measures for which it is intended, to drown all resistance of those affected by the model, those that are “left over” in Zapatista language.

In their analysis about what they consider the Fourth World War of capital against the peoples, the EZLN commits to “not confuse resistance with political opposition,” which only opposes a government but not the system (7 loose pieces of the global jigsaw puzzle, June 1997).

In this work, the late Subcomandante Marcos, underscores that neoliberalism proposes to “dispose of all those who have no place in its new apportionment of the world.” We are not facing a war between States, but rather the conquest of territories to depopulate and destroy them, in order to rebuild them according to the needs of capital accumulation.

In his analysis, he concludes that “the wars of the 21st century will be against those who want to be different. (“What are the characteristics of the Fourth World War?” November 20th, 1999). This includes all the differences: of skin color, of gender and sexual preference, of country and nationality, and of all those that simply want to continue being different or need to be so in order to not disappear as peoples.

Some, simply for living above water, oil or uranium reserves, are enemies of the capital that needs to displace them in order to continue converting natural resources into merchandise. We are facing a world war of dispossession. The conflict zones coincide, in Latin America but also in Europe, with the zones where there is an abundance of common goods to extract, which provides us with an exact map of this ongoing war.

We have a more-than-adequate analysis about what is happening before our eyes. What is lacking are new forms of resistance capable of stopping the new world war, now that the old models of doing politics have shown their limitations, if not their failure.

After the government of Syriza in Greece and the progressive governments in Latin America, it seems imperative to seek new ways to continue holding up the banner of the transformation of the world, and the objectives of social revolutions. To continue going down the institutional path does not seem the most appropriate in this decisive hour for humanity.

The Zapatista tour proceeds in a different direction, looking for an encounter between those from below and those on the left. A meeting place to get to know one another, accept our diverse ways and forms of walking and of changing the world. To strengthen and multiply the resistances in each place.

They don’t believe it is necessary to form hierarchical apparatuses with permanent leaders and large structures that end up reproducing the same world that they are trying to combat and transform. I understand that this is a point of disagreement in our ranks between those who reject capitalism, patriarchy and colonialism. It may, therefore, be a good moment to reflect, take stock, and illuminate new steps.

The great challenge for those who bet on this non-institutional course consists of stabilizing and making permanent these meeting spaces, something that we have rarely achieved. Keeping ourselves organized and active over time, relating in a horizontal way between organizations and individuals, is a great challenge that requires listening and mutual respect.

Maybe the 7 principles of the EZLN and the CNI can serve as a reference in this process of collective construction: to serve others, not serve oneself, to construct and not destroy, to represent and not replace, convince and not defeat, obey and not command, to work from below, not seek to rise, to propose and not impose.

This is not a simple recipe for collective work, but rather possible ways to respect the differences and even with them, to continue sharing spaces and walking shoulder to shoulder. It will not be easy. A new political culture is not born magically overnight, nor by the commitment of a few people. It requires a lot of time, working with individual and collective egos so that they are not obstacles, that is, to go against the current of the individualist culture proposed by the capitalist one.

This text is a call to get involved in the Zapatista tour, but more than that, to dare to share space-time with people that we don’t agree with, or don’t like for the most diverse reasons. To learn to live with those that are different is not a walk in the country on a spring day. It is an arduous task, but indispensable in order to survive a system that threw all of us that were “left over” in a bag – of resistance.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Naiz (Basque Country)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

https://www.naiz.eus/eu/iritzia/articulos/la-gira-zapatista-un-encuentro-de-rebeldias

English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

Modevite rejects National Guard barracks and SCLC-Palenque superhighway

In Cancuc, Chiapas, members of the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (Modevite) repudiated the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway and the installation of National Guard barracks. Photo: La Jornada

By: Elio Henríquez

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/01/05/estados/022n1est

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Yesterday, members of the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (Modevite) placed hand-painted signs in the municipality of Cancuc to express their rejection to constructing the San Cristóbal-Palenque superhighway and the installation of National Guard barracks (See article below).

“The Native peoples reject the SCLC-Palenque superhighway. No to the installation of the National Guard barracks,” they wrote on the signs [like the one pictured above] that they installed during the morning in the communities of Chacté and Centro, as well as in the gravel bank in Chilojá.

Modevite also released a document through the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) in which it rejects the highway project called the Transversal Axis, since “it only benefits transnational businesses.”

It warned that: “from the heart of the people, we will defend Mother Earth who is our millennial gift, which we have cared for and defended from generation to generation. We are against the megaproject, which affects life and territory, since it is the interests of selfish businessmen that directly affect the population and that are being imposed under the slogan of development and progress for the people.”

Modevite insisted that: “(the project) does not benefit us as Native peoples; to the contrary, it threatens our lives, in addition to the destruction and dispossession of Mother Earth, the opening of roads for megaprojects like dams and tourist centers, as well as evictions, pollution, militarization and division of the people.”

The group demanded that the right of Native communities to free self-determination be respected and that Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization be applied, as well as the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Source: https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/01/05/estados/022n1est


POLICE REPRESS AN INDIGENOUS PROTEST AGAINST CONSTRUCTION OF NATIONAL GUARD BARRACKS

The government is currently constructing 16 new military posts in Chiapas!

 By: Angeles Mariscal

Police repressed a demonstration that Tseltal campesinos and indigenous people from the municipality of Chilón held to protest against the construction of a National Guard (NG) post. Three indigenous people were arrested and several wounded. Soldiers remained guarding the area during the operation to contain the protest.

The events were recorded this Thursday morning, when at least 500 campesinos from different communities walked on the highway that connects to the area where the federal government intends to install one of the 16 new military posts in Chiapas.

The Tseltals were at the Temo Crossroads in the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido. In front they were carrying a banner that read: “NO NATIONAL GUARD,” when state police got in their way, grabbed the banner and started beating those they managed to reach.

Members of the National Guard (NG) were behind the police, reinforcing the operation to contain the indigenous and campesino people, who withdrew in the face of the operation without a confrontation.

Nevertheless, the men in uniform beat several of those at the front of the protest and arrested Juan Hernández Morales, José Luis Gutiérrez and Cesar Hernández Feliciano, whose whereabouts are unknown as of now. [1]

Before being repressed, the demonstrators explained that they “roundly oppose the National Guard installation in our municipality,” because the experience they have had with the soldiers that were in the region from 1994 to 2006, consisted of “a high index of murders, women raped, pregnant and abandoned, separation of spouses, abandoned children, an increase in alcoholism, drug addiction and prostitution, as well as the propagation of organized crime and insecurity.”

The region’s residents explained that for the current construction of the NG barracks, the government manipulated some campesinos in order to take possession of 4 hectares of ejido land “without consulting residents of the municipality.”

“We demand that the federal, state and municipal governments install effective measures to reverse the installation of this military base in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, as well as the respect for the rights and culture of the Native peoples of Chiapas and of Mexico,” they demanded.

After the repression that they suffered, the indigenous and campesino people decided to maintain a sit-in in the zone, in order to demand the release of the three detainees, as well as cancellation of constructing National Guard barracks on their land.

The federal government is currently constructing 16 new National Guard military posts in the Chiapas municipalities of Tonalá, Suchiate, Huehuetán, three in Las Margaritas, Comalapa, Chilón, Bochil, Palenque and San Cristóbal de Las Casas. [2]

Notes:

[1] Frayba reported that César Hernández Feliciano was located safe and in good health.

[2] The question is: Why does the Mexican government need 16 more military posts in a state that is already heavily militarized? Who or What are the National Guard there to protect?

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, October 15, 2020

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2020/10/reprimen-protesta-de-indigenas-contra-construccion-de-cuartel-de-la-guardia-nacional/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The EZLN and the Other Europe

By: Raúl Romero

In 1994, when the “fall of socialism” and the “end of history” were imposed as official global narratives and neoliberal capitalism was offered as the only way, the “Ya basta” launched by the organized Mayas of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) resounded strongly in Mexico, Latin America and in much of the world.

The EZLN provided discourse and hope to an entire generation that soon re-articulated the resistance to a global level. Militants, artists, intellectuals and people from all over the world came to infect themselves with the indigenous rebellion, traveling all the way to the Lacandón jungle. The slogan “Another world is possible” thus became the emblem for a new wave of global mobilizations. The struggle against neoliberalism and in defense of humanity that stretched across the planet, found one of its primary bastions in the state of Chiapas.

In Seattle, Genoa, Porto Alegre and many other places where the anti-globalization movement was present, the emblem of Zapatismo was made manifest.

Many years have passed since then. Many movements and other trials of alternative societies to capitalism have been built. Among all of them, the emancipatory project that the Zapatistas have built and are constantly updating continues to stand out.

This past October, in the midst of the pandemic, the EZLN announced that “various Zapatista delegations, men, women, others of the color of the earth, will go out to travel the world, we will walk or sail to the remote soils, seas and skies, not seeking difference, nor superiority, nor the affront, much less the apology and the pity. We will go to find what makes us equal.”

As their first destination, the Zapatista delegation will go to the Other Europe, over there where the Sami people, that historically have raised and herded reindeer, and that has its territory between Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, are today resisting dispossession and the effects generated by wind farms, mining, gas and oil extraction, as well as the the construction of the Arctic Train, a high-speed train that will strengthen the Arctic Corridor and promote trade between Europe and Asia.

In that Other Europe, some peoples and organizations of Italy have coordinated the No-TAP movement in order to confront the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, a project designed to carry gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. No-TAP points out that it was born “for the protection and safeguarding of territories,” as well as for “the self-determination of the populations that believe in a model of sustainable development, different from that which is imposed, against the financial speculation to the detriment of the communities.”

Also in this Other Europe, and more precisely in Notre-Dame-des Landes, in France, is the population that defended its territory against the attempt, on the part of the government, to build an airport. Farmers, townspeople and activists unleashed one of the most emblematic struggles in the recent history of France, spawning one of the largest territorial occupations in Europe today, and declaring the territory as a Zone to Defend (ZAD). With anti-capitalist and environmental approaches, the ZAD became a reference point for other struggles.

The list is long: in the UK, the resistance against the HS2 High Speed Train Line; in Greece, the movement for the occupation of houses and buildings; in the Spanish state, the historic struggles of the Basque people, of the General Confederation of Labor, and of the anti-capitalist organizations in Madrid.

Throughout the world we observe what Adolfo Gilly and Rhina Roux analyzed in their book, El Tiempo del Despojo (Time of Plunder): “what we are living through can thus be seen as a new historical phase of universal plunder of common goods, the privatization of what used to belong to everyone, the global redistribution of land income, and the surplus value generated by living labor.”

The time of plunder is advancing and everything points to its intensification in Mexico and in the world as a response to the pandemic. Coordinating the struggle at a global scale is urgent, not only for the “survival” of humanity, but in order to finish building the new world of which there are already signs.

At 27 years of its public appearance, at 27 years of betting on life, the sciences and the arts, the EZLN today proposes a new challenge: to go out and find oneself with others that, throughout the world with resistance and rebellion, are building a new world. The little girl Esperanza Zapatista said it well: “that is our mission: to be a seed that seeks other seeds.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, January 2, 2021

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/01/02/opinion/018a2pol

English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

The Death of the Bees and the Maya Train

Leydy Pech and the women of Muuch Kambal Photo: Facebook Muuch Kambal

By Silvia Ribeiro*

The Goldman Prize, considered to be the environmental Nobel Prize, was awarded this year to Leydy Pech Marín, community member and beekeeper from Hopelchén, Campeche.

The award highlights her participation in the opposition to the sowing of GMO’s, an effort of Muuch Kambal, the organization of Maya women of which Leydy Pech is part, and the Chenes Collective of Maya Communities, with the support of the team from Indignación, not only on the Yucatán Peninsula, but in seven states throughout México. It has not only been a struggle against Monsanto, but also against the entire model of agro-industrial development that is harming us, stated Pech. (https://tinyurl.com/y47ld6mf)

Despite international recognition and although the permit to Monsanto was cancelled, something that a court reaffirmed in 2020, the government has done nothing to ensure that transgenic soy is not planted on the peninsula or in other regions. This December 3rd, Mayan communities together with Greenpeace, Indignación and Cemda denounced that there are suspicions that transgenic soy, as well as glyphosate-resistant corn (“Roundup ready”) has been planted, which also is illegal having been suspended since 2012 due to an ongoing collective complaint. They filed a popular complaint with the Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection and SENASA, demanding inspection and surveillance in several areas (https://tinyurl.com/y35rh7vu).

Leydy Pech, Maya community member and beekeeper of Campeche

The Goldman Prize is given to people who are often at risk because of their environmental struggles. In addition to recognizing their work, it is a way of raising international awareness about the threats they face. Leydy Pech deserves every bit of this recognition, but as she emphasizes, it is part of a collective struggle from the community with the constant participation of other Mayan women, beekeepers, and peasant farmers in a defense that encompasses territory, forests, rivers and their traditional ways of life, something that many other communities and organizations share.

In an interview conducted by Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, Leydy Pech explains that the attacks on life and territory of the Mayan communities have multiplied and spread. Dedicated to the tending of native bees (meliponas), she knows very well, from direct experience that the integrity of the forest and of the entire territory is essential to the health of the bees, in addition to being a fundamental part of life, the economy and the values of the Mayan communities.

In the last decade, she says, the march of industrial agriculture has created enormous areas of deforestation — Campeche is the state with the greatest deforestation in Mexico — and serious contamination of soils and water with agro-toxins that are harmful to the health of people, animals, medicinal plants, and traditional crops.

With it, spraying of glyphosate and other agro-toxins increased with the use of light aircrafts that kill much more than the weeds. Toxic drift has caused cases of mortality amongst bees and also impacts in the communities. Besides the fact that the poison gets into the aquifers, we are also breathing it, warns Pech.  (https://tinyurl.com/y4vgqn8c).

It is important to remember the context of this situation. In addition to not carrying out the oversight tasks which are required to prevent the illegal planting of GMO’s the government is pushing the wrongly-named Maya Train against the will of many communities and appealing to simulated consultations that do not fulfill the rights of the indigenous communities established by the United Nations.

This megaproject, far from idyllic and false image that the government presents that it will only be a train that runs over tracks that already exist, is a key piece in order to exponentially increase the kind of industrial agriculture development that Pech denounces, and that threatens the traditional Maya subsistence and ways of life.

As the international organization Grain explains in a well-informed article, this is not about a train, but a model of multimodal land grabbing (https://tinyurl.com/y6r6fplk) that goes over the territories of Maya communities to displace them and disperse them in order to serve an industrial business model, where in the best case, they will be poorly paid workers or will migrate to become so elsewhere.

The huge hog facilities that poison the water of the cenotes and create new pandemics (https://tinyurl.com/y6r6fplk), the advance of agricultural and grain facilities like that of the Enerall company, founded by Alfonso Romo and now administered by his family that intentionally filled in a cenote (https://tinyurl.com/vgp2nfe), the industrial mega-facilities for energy that displace the communities, the large tracts of illegal transgenic monocultures and cereal grains with agro-toxins, the green deserts of oil-palm monocultures, all of these businesses will be facilitated by the Maya Train.

This Goldman prize is recognition of a just fight. It also demonstrates that the communities know which life they want, that they are fighting for it, and that it is not the one that the Maya Train is pushing.

*Researcher at the ETC Group

Originally published in Spanish in La Jornada

Saturday, December 5, 2020

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2020/12/05/opinion/025a1eco

English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas

Re-Published with permission by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

More than a train: territorial re-zoning

The Maya Train as new articulation infrastructure for the agro-industrial and tourist-real estate capitals on the peninsula. Cortesía: Gasparello and Quintana

By: Magdalena Gómez

The President’s visit to the southeast to supervise the progress of the so-called Maya Train offered a twist that, although it’s not new, is new because, despite the fact that he had kept his speech centered only on the train, he now opened and formalized the proposal for re-zoning land use, although still opaque. It was his officials who from the beginning brought up the intention to develop that plan starting with the stations of the aforementioned train.

The reactions of indigenous organizations against the project are located precisely on the impact to their culture and territories from the so-called development poles. For that they have resorted to filing lawsuits for protection (amparos) with different results, including the most recent order for a definitive suspension not complied with.

It was a tour for strategic presidential announcements. It’s not only the Maya Train, already recognized, it’s also infrastructure development: the expansion of Puerto Progreso; the completion of a section of the gas pipeline that was needed to bring fluid to the peninsula from Tabasco, only two pumping plants are lacking; two combined cycle plants will be constructed, two thermoelectric, one in Mérida and another in Valladolid.

He also decided that in order to protect the work and so that there is no temptation to privatize it, the operation of sections 1, 6 and 7 of the Maya Train, as well as the Tulum, Chetumal and Palenque airports, in addition to the Santa Lucia airport, will be left to the armed forces through a company whose purpose is to finance the pensions of soldiers and sailors. And at the same time security in the region will be guaranteed.

Lastly, he called on the governors of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo to subscribe to the Agreement on the Southeast Land Use Program, which defines the regulations for use of the soil to avoid disorder, corruption and that respects urban development plans planes in the five states. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the UN-Habitat representative in Mexico signed as honorary witnesses. The secretaries of Environment and Natural Resources, National Defense, the Navy, Communications and Transportation, Agrarian and Urban Land Development, Tourism, the general director of the National Fund for Tourism Promotion were also witnesses for the federal government. The municipal president of Tulum was also a witness. The content of the agreement was not disclosed, it will be important to know the land use regulations.

Nor was it reported on the still pending environmental impact statements, nor the current state of the ejido lands that will be affected, or negotiated, as they usually say. At this point it’s clear that the simulated consultation of one year ago is being deployed in some follow-up commissions with basically ejido authorities around the specific requests they made in the so-called forums. In this, they are concentrating on the federal agencies to “comply with them.”

At all the events on his tour, the head of the Executive insisted on the scope of the government’s commitment: “We must take care of the environment, we must take care of the flora and fauna, and we must also take care of the archaeological heritage. That’s precisely why the Maya Train is being made, to expose the greatness of Maya culture, which developed and flourished in this region. It would be mote than a contradiction to affect archaeological zones.” And once it’s finished and the train is operating, he pointed out that it would boost tourism a lot. All this without mentioning the indigenous peoples, the historical guardians of their territories and culture!

That is indeed the great contradiction. Only two indirect references, when mentioning the train’s route he pointed out: “Ending there in Xpujil or at the limits of Quintana Roo, where there is a dispute that I hope will be resolved well.” And the second was the reiteration of the focus on the individual beneficiaries of the different social programs, indicating the respective figures at each event. That is the cornerstone in the whole of the so-called 4T policy: the indigenous without their peoples. Perhaps that’s why there has been no response to the letter from six UN rapporteurs last September, headed by the rapporteur for Indigenous peoples, expressing grave and well-founded concerns about the so-called Maya Train project, given the impact on the peoples, as subjects of collective rights. That is the situation of a project that goes because it goes, and which accompanies others. For now, in Huexca, Morelos, the community opposition is under pressure that despite the legal protections they have achieved, the threat of initiating the operation of the thermoelectric plant is implemented before offering justice for Samir Flores.

——————————————————

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2020/12/22/opinion/018a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 Part One: A DECLARATION…

FOR LIFE

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

January 1st, 2021

TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD:

TO PEOPLE FIGHTING IN EUROPE:

BROTHERS, SISTERS AND COMPAÑER@S:

During these previous months, we have established contact between us by various means. We are women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, transvestites, transsexuals, intersex, queer and more, men, groups, collectives, associations, organizations, social movements, indigenous peoples, neighborhood associations, communities and a long etcetera that gives us identity.

We are differentiated and separated by lands, skies, mountains, valleys, steppes, jungles, deserts, oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, lagoons, races, cultures, languages, histories, ages, geographies, sexual and non-sexual identities, roots, borders, forms of organization, social classes, purchasing power, social prestige, fame, popularity, followers, likes, coins, educational level, ways of being, tasks, virtues, defects, pros, cons, buts, howevers, rivalries, enmities, conceptions, arguments, counterarguments, debates, disputes, complaints, accusations, contempt, phobias, philias, praises, repudiations, boos, applauses, divinities, demons, dogmas, heresies, likes, dislikes, ways, and a long etcetera that makes us different and, not infrequently, opposites.

Only very few things unite us:

That we make the pains of the earth our own: violence against women; persecution and contempt of those who are different in their affective, emotional, and sexual identity; annihilation of childhood; genocide against the native peoples; racism; militarism; exploitation; dispossession; the destruction of nature.

The understanding that a system is responsible for these pains. The executioner is an exploitative, patriarchal, pyramidal, racist, thievish and criminal system: capitalism.

The knowledge that it is not possible to reform this system, to educate it, to attenuate it, to soften it, to domesticate it, to humanize it.

The commitment to fight, everywhere and at all times – each and everyone on their own terrain – against this system until we destroy it completely. The survival of humanity depends on the destruction of capitalism. We do not surrender, we do not sell out, and we do not give up.

The certainty that the fight for humanity is global. Just as the ongoing destruction does not recognize borders, nationalities, flags, languages, cultures, races; so the fight for humanity is everywhere, all the time.

The conviction that there are many worlds that live and fight within the world. And that any pretense of homogeneity and hegemony threatens the essence of the human being: freedom. The equality of humanity lies in the respect for difference. In its diversity resides its likeness.

The understanding that what allows us to move forward is not the intention to impose our gaze, our steps, companies, paths and destinations. What allows us to move forward is the listening to and the observation of the Other that, distinct and different, has the same vocation of freedom and justice.

Due to these commonalities, and without abandoning our convictions or ceasing to be who we are, we have agreed:

First – To carry out meetings, dialogues, exchanges of ideas, experiences, analyses and evaluations among those of us who are committed, from different conceptions and from different areas, to the struggle for life. Afterwards, each one will go their own way, or not. Looking and listening to the Other may or may not help us in our steps. But knowing what is different is also part of our struggle and our endeavor, of our humanity.

Second – That these meetings and activities take place on the five continents. That, regarding the European continent, they take place in the months of July, August, September and October of the year 2021, with the direct participation of a Mexican delegation integrated by the CNI-CIG, the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa del Agua y de la Tierra de Morelos, Puebla y Tlaxcala, and the EZLN. And, at later dates to be specified, we will support according to our possibilities the encounters to be carried out in Asia, Africa, Oceania and America.

Third – To invite those who share the same concerns and similar struggles, all honest people and all those belows that rebel and resist in the many corners of the world, to join, contribute, support and participate in these meetings and activities; and to sign and make this statement FOR LIFE their own.

From the bridge of dignity that connects the Europe from Below and to the Left with the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

We

Planet Earth

January 1, 2021

[Many hundreds, possibly thousands of signatures from around the world can be read on Enlace Zapatista]

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

For the women, men, others (otroas), children and elderly of the Zapatista National Liberation Army,

Comandante Don Pablo Contreras and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico

Don Pablo González Casanova (Comandante Don Pablo Contreras)

 If you want to sign this Declaration, send your signature to firmasporlavida@ezln.org.mx.  Please sign the complete name of your group, collective organization or whatever sea, in your language, and your geography.  Signatures will be added as they arrive.