Friday, November 03, 2006

New format for Other Campaign reporting

[photo: graffiti artists in Tijuana when the Other Campaign goes to the border]

New format for El Kilombo reporting from the Other Campaign:
In recent months, a community assembly has been formed at the El Kilombo Space in Durham, North Carolina. The purpose of the assembly is to make decisions collectively and democratically on how we organize the space, and to begin to discuss the problems and needs in our community and how to resolve them.

Due to this exciting development, we’ve changed the format of Other Campaign reporting, in order to accomodate its presentation and discussion in the assembly, to slide shows with audio in Spanish and English, found on our webpage at:
These presentations are specifically made for and tailored to our assembly in Durham, but they’re available here for anyone else who’s interested.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Communiqué from the EZLN Intergalactic Commission

July 26, 2006
Communiqué from the Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN

translation El Kilombo Intergaláctico



July of 2006

Compañeros and compañeras adherents of the Zezta Internazional,
Brother and Sisters of Planet Earth:

This is Insurgent Lieutenant Colonel Moisés writing to share with you the results of more than seven months of Consultation on the next Intergalactic Encounter. As we said in our November 2005 communiqué, the objective, the idea that is, of the intergalactic is that it is really up to all of you to determine how we organize this Encounter.

We truly want all adherents to participate in its organization, that the Intergalactic not be a decision of the EZLN. In the seven months of consultation that have passed since December 1st, 2005, there have been preparatory meetings in different countries, as well as cybernetic consultations. From these meetings we have received proposals for the Intercontinental, on themes to be discussed as well as the date and place for the Encounter.

Like we said above, here we want to report on how the consultations have gone up until now, and the proposals and discussions that have come up. You should let us know if we are missing something and what it is that we are missing. We will be here working, and pending your input.

For our part, our opinion is that we continue with more discussion and more proposals. We think it is necessary to continue thinking and accumulating ideas before coming together in the Encounter, seeing as it’s a fact that we’re going to have the Intergalactic, and that it will belong to all of us that create it.

The report that we have made for you in order to continue the discussion is the following.

Summary of the adherents and the international consultation for the organization of the Intergalactic Encounter:

I. Adherents: The total number of adherents to the Zezta Internazional registered on the webpage from December 1st, 2005 through July 25, 2006 is the following:

Total adherents in the world: 2,173 from 61 countries on 5 continents

By continent:
America: 1,301 adherents from 23 countries
Europe: 848 adherents from 25 countries
Asia: 8 adherents from 6 countries
Oceana: 10 adherents de 2 countries
Africa: 6 adherents from 5 countries

The countries in which there are adherents are the following:

America: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Martinique, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela

Europe: Germany, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, the Spanish State, Russian Federation, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Basque Country, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Asia: China, India, Japan, Palestine, Israel, y Uzbekistan.

Oceana: Australia and New Zealand

Africa: Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leon y Morocco

Information on the adherents in each country can be found on the Zezta Internazional webpage.

II. Proposals for place, date, and themes to be discussed

1. Place

We have received the following proposals for where to hold the next Intergalactic Encounter. We should mention that while some of the places were repeated in various proposals, we only list them here once each.

a) One of the Caracoles in Zapatista territory. Chiapas, México
b) San Cristóbal de las Casas. Chiapas, México
c) Cancún, México
d) Teotihuacan, México
e) In a border zone between Mexico and the United States
f) Quito, Ecuador
g) Bolivia
h) Miami, United States
i) New York, Estados Unidos
j) Venezuela
k) Barcelona

2. Dates

The proposals for dates on which the Encounter would be held that have thus far been sent to the Zezta Internazional webpage are the following:

a) Summer of 2006
b) Fall of 2006
c) December of 2006
d) January of 2007

3. Themes to be discussed

This list of proposed themes to be discussed in the next Intergalactic Encounter is long. The proposals came from many parts of the world, and we have here systematized them, for the purpose of this report, in the following manner:

1. Strategies of struggle against transnational industries that plunder and exploit the environment of poor countries.

2. Young people and their issues/problems.

3. International solidarity, what is it and what could it be?

4. The experiences of successful struggles in each country, so that at the end of the Encounter everyone returns to their home with a report on possible actions that have worked in other places.

5. Debate on the necessity of constructing a space of articulation, that would not be yet another electoral referent, but rather the development of a strategy for the accumulation of conscientious social force that would be a tool for those from below.

6. Reflection on the Sixth Declaration of the Lacondón Jungle and the possibility of contributing to it.

7. Neoliberalism and energy policies (struggles related to oil, gas, electricity, against privatization, for example).

8. Water and neoliberalism (struggles related to potable water access, against water privatization, for example).

9. The closing of unprofitable companies (the occupying of factories that were closed by their owners because they were “unprofitable,” and the formation of production cooperatives).

10. Gender and sexual orientation (struggles related to gender equality, the human rights of women, gay and lesbian people, and sex workers).

11. Protection of nature and the environment (struggles against the contamination of rivers, the cutting down of trees by large consortiums, struggles against the “double edge” of so-called “sustainable development,” the appropriation of “biodiversity” by transnational companies).

12. Organizational models and grassroots democracy

13. Democratization of knowledge and of information (struggles against the power of the media consortiums, for the horizontal circulation of information, the creation of alternative media, people’s universities, etc.)

14. Struggles against police and military repression. Debate on “security” as a repressive concept...what type of security do we want?

15. Global autonomous direct actions, and circuits of global autonomous cooperation

16. The struggle against capitalist globalization

17. How to support each other across international borders

18. Actions for the improvement of our communities through sustainable development

19. The creation of open networks against the system

20. The Free Trade Treaties and the unification of Latin America

III. Proposals for the preliminary organization of the Intergalactic Encounter

a) That there be more than one Intergalactic Encounter
b) That the Intergalactic Encounter be an collection of Encounters all over the world
c) That there be preliminary encounters at country and continental levels
d) That an internet chat be opened so that those who cannot attend can participate in the dialogue through cyber-tables with moderators
e) That the Encounter be named after Comandanta Ramona

IV. On the Participants in the Intergalactic Encounter

a) That the participation of those from below be promoted
b) That economic support networks be formed so that people from movements from below (principally in America, Asia, and Africa) that do not have resources can attend
c) That the political parties in Latin America that be convoked
Que se convoque a los partidos políticos de América Latina que reivindican el socialismo.
d) That participative priority be given to indigenous peoples
e) That young people’s movements and networks be taken into account

V. Proposals by Country or Continent

1. Hold various European encounters during the summer of 2006.

2. Interchange of experiences between women of Bolivia with compañeras of the EZLN.

3. Organize meetings of commissions to prepare proposals on a regional level throughout the American Continent

4. Hold an encounter in Costa Rica to discuss an ideology of “below and to the left”

5. Proposal for meetings in Chicago

6. Proposal to create an email list of Chilean adherents of the Zezta that want to participate in the discussion and diffusion of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacondón Jungle

VI. On Activities and Meetings preliminary to the Intergalactic

Although the EZLN communiqué on the Intergalactic came out in November of 2005, international activities were going on as of July of the same year, just days after the publication of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacondón Jungle.

From July 2005 through July 2006, 19 preliminary activities to the Intergalactic Encounter have been registered, in 16 cities in 9 countries around the world. Of those 9 countries, 6 are in the Americas and 3 in Europe.

The encounters were held in Barcelona, the Spanish State (July 2005); Bisegna, Italy (September 2005); Buenos Aires, Argentina (December de 2005); Germany (January 2006); Madrid, the Spanish State (February 2006); Buenos Aires, Argentina (February 2006); Barcelona, Spanish State (February 2006); Vancouver, Canada (February 2006); Paraná, Argentina (February 2006); San Salvador, El Salvador (February-March 2006); Los Angeles, United States (March 2006); Cosenza, Italy (March 2006); Chicago, United States (March 2006); Paraná, Argentina (April 2006); Rosario, Argentina (April 2006); La Garriga, Spanish State (May 2006); Brasilia, Brazil (June 2006); Montevideo, Uruguay (June 2006).

Reports from each of these activities can be found on the Zezta Internazional webpage.

Important note: There are surely omissions in this and previous lists. We apologize for this and we invite you to send information about any encounters, proposals, and adherents not here reported.

Compañeros y compañeras,

This is the report that we wanted to present to you on the Consultation that has been held over these months. The Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN, through the Zezta Internazional webpage and the listserves of adherents, will continue informing you about the proposals that we receive, until there is an idea of what it is that we want and how we are going to do it.

Keep working compañeros y compañeros! Let your voice be heard, don’t let it be left out of the next Intergalactic Encounter!

We also want to comment, brothers and sisters, that we are aware of all the actions that have been organized internationally to demand the liberation of our brothers and sisters of Atenco. You have held 209 mobilizations in 77 cities in 30 countries around the world. All have been good, but of course we say we must keep mobilizing because our compañer@s are still being held unjustly in prison, while those responsible for the repression are free in the streets.

What’s more, this is not the only injustice. We know that there are many more injustices in the world, like that suffered by our compañer@s farmers of South Central Farm in Los Angeles, who were evicted from their land where they lived and worked collectively. We have to support these brother and sisters so that they continue their struggle and do not give up.

There is also the injustice of the imprisonment of our Mapuche brothers and sisters in Chile. We have to tell them that we keep them present in our minds and hearts, that we know that how the bad government of Chile is, that it doesn’t think about the poor people from below, but rather is only interested in those of above, as usual.

We have to get used to struggling and we have to get used to organizing ourselves better. We have to accustom ourselves to seeing those from below and to struggling for what is a true LIBERTY, DEMOCRACY, AND JUSTICE.

The hour is upon us, it's time.
Onward compañer@s!

From the mountains of the Lacondón Jungle

Insurgent Lieutenant Colonel Moisés
Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN

Sunday, July 02, 2006


This post signals the end of this blog as it has existed until now, and its transformation into a space of analysis of the process of the Sixth Declaration via the formation of the Intergalactic. [photos from today’s July 2 march of the Other Campaign, those from below interrupting the farsical election day of those from above]

Today, as the scuffle and spectacle among those “above” climaxes in the Mexican presidential elections—what the mass media deems a brutal battle between left, right, and further right and what those from below see as a mere power struggle between neoliberal, semi-fascist, and clown, the Other Campaign makes itself visible again, not just in the thousands that marched to the Zocalo in Mexico City today, but in a new manifesto by adherents of the Sixth Declaration that represents the national organization of the Other Campaign and the fact that people all over Mexico have indeed, as the Zapatistas set out in the Lacondon Jungle last fall, taken the Sixth and the Other and made it theirs.

The current blog focused on the journey of the Other Campaign from December 31, 2005 through mid-June, 2006. With the instances of police brutality and state terrorism May 3-4 in San Salvador Atenco, and the pause of the Sixth Commission in Mexico City until all the political prisoners taken those two days are freed, the rhythm of the Sixth Declaration has changed, and the organization of the Other Campaign and the Intergalactic have accelerated.

El Kilombo proposes the continuation of this blog as a space of collective analysis, critique, and proposals toward the formation of the Intergalactic, not just the proposed encounter but the potential network. As many have analyzed, and as the Zapatista Sixth Commission has said explicitly in the journey of the Other Campaign, capitalism has no “seat”, no home, no headquarters. The global capitalist class employs state systems when and where it serves them, without loyalty to a nation, representivity of a population, or accountability to a people. As we have determined our own political project as El Kilombo, and in accordance with the spirit of the Sixth, we are responsible not just for organizing ourselves in support of the Other Campaign in Mexican territory, but in the formation of a global anticapitalist network of communities establishing their own autonomy. As people of color communities and working class communities in the United States have shown us, neither the violence and coercion of state repression nor the possibility of autonomous struggle is limited to Mexico and countries considered the global “south.” Our decision to choose a battlefield of struggle where we can construct our own autonomy is not a question of solidarity but of our own survival and dignity. That is, for most in the United States, health, well-being, and survival are increasingly difficult to secure without self-determined and self-sustaining systems. For others, depending on where we are positioned in the hierarchy of races, classes, and genders, lack of autonomy may not mean lack of food, but without our own struggle we can watch the destruction from the window of our stunted subjectivities, from the enslaved safety of our house on the hill, but we will never be able to go outside and create the world as we want it.
[photo: the El Kilombo space and community center, Durham, North Carolina.]
In this sense, as we declare in our explanation of why we chose “Kilombo” as our name, and as we have learned from the Kilombos, Palenques, and Maroon societies of history as well as the Zapatistas and other autonomous initiatives, in Argentina and Bolivia for example, of today, “an effective warfare against our captors is the one we wage on a daily basis with our hands and tools to create what has yet to be, and not the one limited to tanks, guns, and bullets directed at the destruction of what has already been.”

Welcome to the El Kilombo Intergalactico blogspot. Join us (here via comments section) in a project of creation.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Vamos por ellos

[photo: graffiti artist during the May 28 march in Mexico City, "don't vote, organize and struggle!]
Twelve years ago Mexico was set to enter the “first world” with the implementation of NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement) January 1, 1994. Then president Ernesto Zedillo had made multiple free trade deals, NAFTA being the most comprehensive and important, Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution protecting ejidal, or communally-held lands had been changed to allow for their possession as private property and thus their availability for sale or appropriation through debt. As businessmen and politicians celebrated their new capitalist tract, guaranteed to reap large profits for large companies and to leave farmers and peasants helpless in front of a global market, the indigenous Zapatista Army for National Liberation was coming out of the jungle and down from the mountains, armed with weapons that would successfully enable them to take seven major cities in the state of Chiapas and words that would catalyze not only a new politics in Mexico but a new global movement. When Mexico’s political and business elite woke from their hangovers January 1, the country and the world, with its eyes on the masked rebels in Mexico, was other.

The favorite, in polls and press, to win this year’s presidential elections in Mexico is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, (AMLO) candidate of the PRD, Mexico’s mainstream so-called “leftist” party. What AMLO promises for Mexico is a new management of capital, a more efficient and productive relationship between multinational capitalist interests and the national political class, a more complete and seamless integration of global capital into the work and lives of the people of this nation labeled Mexico. At the National Assembly of Adherents of the Sixth Declaration/Other campaign May 29th, representatives from every state in the Republic, the EZLN, and hundreds of groups, organizations, and individuals, met to organize what is now, as the EZ recognized at the assembly, a national anticapitalist organization. [photo: May 28, 2006 Free the Political Prisoners rally in the Zocalo, Mexico City] After hearing the reports from each state about the mobilizations held May 28th in demand of freedom for the political prisoners taken May 3 and 4 in San Salvador Atenco, proposed that the next national mobilization be held July 2, the day of the presidential elections.

In many stops on the Other Campaign the EZLN has said, “vamos por ellos,” or “we’re going after them.” We will not wait here anymore for them to come rob us of even our poverty. We are going after them. The July 2 proposal for mobilizations is in part this—they want us to stick to small protests and actions; the day of their “party” July 2, when they think no one can bother them, that is the day we will rain on their parade. But it also something else. Those that abstain from voting July 2nd do not abstain because we convinced them too, the EZ clarifies, but because the political class convinced them. We propose the 2nd of July, the EZ continues, “to present an Other Alternative for organization and struggle for our people, the people that will be once again cast aside July 3rd,” an alternative that goes against the system, not just against the government. The EZ recommends that each state, region, zone of the Other Campaign consider the proposal and decide if they concur. Because it is a very different thing, the EZ says, to close streets or occupy government buildings, to mobilize on the 2nd of July, then on any other day: if we do this, they warn, we have everything against us—the media, the political class, the people inconvenienced—“and the only thing we have going for us is our duty to our companeros prisoners, and our duty to our country to construct an alternative, an anticapitalist alternative.”

So as the political class and elite of Mexico excitedly prepare themselves to be the newly efficient managers and administrators of capital, to refine neoliberal policies into a more compatible and profitable relationship with the nation, once again their party will be interrupted desde abajo, by those from below.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

May 28 March: Free the May 3-4 Political Prisoners

"Today a new cycle of movements starts..." --Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, May 28th rally, Zocalo, Mexico City.
"The mobilizations that occured from the 19th of May through and on the 28th show that we now have a national leftist anticapitalist organization." --Subcomandante Marcos, 2nd National Assembly of Adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacondon Jungle, May 29th, Mexico City. The estimated numbers of participants of the May 28th march range widely, from 10,000 to 50,000. Some 25,000 might be a good estimate. [see Kilombo webpage on the Sixth for updates on the Intergalactic mobilizations] There were contingents from each state of the republic, international contingents, children's contingents, campesino contingents, women's contingents, released political prisoners contingents, punk contingents, and many more. The Abejas, members of the indgienous community of Acteal where paramilitaries massacred 45 men, women, and children in December 1997, marched under their banner, "Atenco, brothers, the Abejas of Acteal are with you." People carried signs with pictures of Javier Cortes, the 14-year-old shot in the chest and killed by police May 3rd, of Alexis Benhumea, the young student shot in the head with a tear gas bullet on May 4 who has laid in a coma ever since, of FPDT (Popular Front in Defense of the Land) leader Ignacio del Valle, held political prisoner in La Palma, a high-security federal prison in Toluca, of Felipe Alvarez, another FPDT leader and Hector Galido, human rights lawyer for the Atenco resistance, both also being held in La Palma, of America del Valle, daughter of Ignacio del Valle, who has been in hiding since the May 4 police operation, with arrest warrants hanging over her head, of Valentina Palma, the Chilean student studying in Mexico who was detained, beaten, sexually abused, and deported May 4th. These faces, names, voices, have been claimed by all of the Other Campaign, and of the 6th Declaration internationally, as compa~eros in struggle, as "one of our own." Now in addition to "Todos somos Atenco" "We are all Atenco," the Other Campaign shouts, "We are all America" (del Valle), "We are all Alexis," and "Todos somos todos," or "We are all 'us'!"
The campesinas from Veracruz, whose naked manifestation is their own protest for peasant rights, continue to support the mobilizations of the Other Campaign. They chanted with the Other Campaign marchers, "Free the political prisoners," "You are not alone!"
This woman went police officer by police officer, showing them her sign, referring to the rapes and sexual abuses by police of the women taken prisoner May 4, "If it had been your sister, your mother, you! Would you still stand here with your arms crossed?" If they refused to look at the sign she read it out loud to them. On the other side of her sign reads, "We are all Atenco." Other women, some of them who were taken prisoner May 3-4 and have been since released, shouted "rapist," "murderer," at the riot police lines.

At the rally, in addition to the contributions by representatives from various states, messages were sent to be read in the Zocalo from Trinidad, the wife of Ignacio del Valle, from America del Valle, from Valentina Palma, from the political prisoners still in Santiaguito, Almoyoloya, from those in permanent vigilance outside the prison. At the 2nd National Assembly of Adherents of the Other Campaign, May 29th, we hear reports from around the network of the Other: 26 prisoners in Santiaguito continue their hunger strike, they are now in day 29, and have insufficient medical monitoring. Of the prisoners 6 have severe untreated injuries, including multiple broken ribs, mental illness, and a paraplegic man who was dragged from his home and beaten on May 4. Alexis Benhumea has now been declared officially braindead. The permanent presence outside the prison is at risk of being evicted by police in the next couple days. The lawyer representing many of the political prisoners, an adherent of the Other Campaign himself, clarifies that the complaints and demands of the women prisoners against police are of charges of sexual torture, not just beating or sexual abuse. In each national adherents assembly we see more faces that before we had only known by their bloodied bodies on the videos taken in Atenco May 3 and 4. At the first assembly, Jorge Salinas Jardon, a telephone worker from Atenco, one of the most savagely beaten, who appeared on live tv the morning of May 3 under the flailing batons and boots of 24-27 police, appeared, bandaged and in heavy casts, but walking and talking and fighting. At the 2nd assembly the UNAM student whose bald head we knew from its bloodied appearance in the prison videos, appeared, wounds scabbed over, the white of one eye blood red, but walking and talking among us. The spirit of the Other, in the face of brutal violence and state repression, has been militant, of unprecedented compa~erismo and commitment and creativity, and most importantly, organization. "The worst we could do right now is be disorganized," a member of the prison sit-in declares. "My father taught me never to hate," America del Valle said, "to know our enemy, and to fight, but never to hate."
The EZLN Intergalactic Commission reports global solidarity mobilizations in the following cities (see the Kilombo webpage on the Sixth for the complete Intergalactic report): San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Riverside, La Puente, Santa Ana, San Diego, Houston, Sacramento, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Tucson, Portland, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Montreal, Vancouver, Bogotá, Quito, Caracas, San Salvador, San José, Buenos Aires, Rosario, Bahía Blanca, Mar de Plata, Brasilia, Cochabamba, Santiago, La Havana; Stockholm, Bilbao, Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, Munster, Heidelberg, Berlin, Paris, Toulouse, Athens, Venice, Rome, Mestre-Marghera, Bologna, Naples, London, Oslo, Copenhagen, Vienna, and Salzburg. In addition, letters in solidarity with Atenco and condemning repression directed by the Mexican government have been sent from: Palestine, Turkey, Basque Country, Greece, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Denmark and Belgium; and from Argentina, Puerto Rico, Canada, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Venezuela, United States, Cuba, and Chile.

Friday, May 19, 2006

And the Flowers Bled

[photo: from Indymedia Mexico City; sign by Chicana artist, from LA protests yesterday]
Yesterday's national and international day of action--"todos desde su lugar y en su modo;" or "everyone in their own place and their own way"--reaped at least 85 actions in 22 countries, including Catalunia, Argentina, Ecuador, El Salador, Chile, Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, United States, Brazil, Cuba, Basque Country, Austria, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, france, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Sweden, the UK, and Norway. Check the El Kilombo page on the Other Campaign for the complete account of the intergalactic actions May 19.

Currently 39 of the original 211 prisoners taken in Atenco remain in jail, 29 acused of kidnapping, the most serious charge, and another 10 for attack on channels of communication, a charge which allows them to pay bail. As many have left the prison their testimonies are made public, and the accounts of the May 4 police attack on Atenco and the subsequent transfer to the prison at Santiaguito, Almoloya are horrific. See the Narco News artice posted on our page:
Yesterday Mexico State government distributed over 2,000 buckets of white and yellow paint to residents of San Salvador Atenco, with the intent that they paint over the signs of support and graffitti in favor of the FPDT (Popular Front in Defense of the Land, the organized resistance in Atenco). La Jornada reports that the response by residents was "nil."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Struggle for Everything

[photo: Zocalo, Mexico City, May 1, 2006]

[This was a blog entry I prepared before the events in Atenco took place. I’m going to put it up here because some of the same themes are coming up again now, only with a greater intensity in light of the now clear willingness of the state to use a cruel and unrestrained violence to stop this movement. In Atenco-related news, some prisoners have been released and with new testimonies from both within and outside of the prison, the evidence accumulates with proof of the rapes, sexual assaults, and brutality waged by the police—and not in the heat of the moment; there was no resistance in Atenco May 4 when 3,000 police—this number now confirmed—entered Atenco and hauled people out of their houses. The police not only carried guns that day—something denied for weeks by officials—but also condoms. The content and brutality of the attack was not only premeditated, it came as an order from above. [photo: Police guarding Starbucks during May 1, 2006 march in Mexico City]In Mexico City and around the country the resistance continues, in road blockades, marches, sit-ins, strikes, occupations, etc. Tomorrow (Friday the 19th) in Mexico and around the world actions will take place in every place and every “way” chosen by adherents and supporters of the Other Campaign, followed by a week of information diffusion and mobilization culminating in the massive Mexico City march with the participation of contingents from all over Mexico May 28th].

“It is not possible to construct indigenous autonomy without a radical transformation of the system,” The EZLN has repeated in many spaces of the Other Campaign. “Not only is it not possible, it has a deadline.” If everything continues above as it is and we continue divided, separated, they continue, we will be destroyed. If we do not manage to create an alternative, an anticapitalist alternative, that creates something else at the same time as it destroys what is above, there will not be anyone left with whom to create solidarity, not people to fight with nor a struggle to fight….” Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

The are several important themes of the Other Campaign here at work: the radical transformation of the system, the biopolitical nature of the struggle, and the deadline.

First, briefly on the necessary radical transformation of the system, Kilombo North Carolina wrote me the other day observing that in many of the commentaries that were coming out in national and international opinion pieces, there are those that think this, the Zapatista struggle and the movement proposed by the Sixth Declaration and the Other Campaign, will be resolved if the San Andres Accords are passed into legislation. Or, in another example, there are the sectors in Mexico and the US that put primacy and priority into organizing electoral monitoring teams to ensure the “fairness” of the elections and to guard against fraud, an honest and valid project but one that promises little if one intends social transformation, as if the proper operation of the ballot box ensured the legitimacy of the representative system. Neither new legislation nor proper electoral procedure has anything to say to this movement now. It is both simpler and bigger than this. We don’t want just to survive, we don’t want just recognition, we are not fighting for the basics, the Other Campaign declares, we want everything. (I’ll return to this later.) [photo: May 1, 2006 march, Mexico City]

The deadline is also a recurring theme. In response to a participant in one meeting who stated that the results of this struggle would be a long time in coming, that maybe we, those present, would not see the changes worked for in the Other Campaign, maybe not even our children, but rather our grandchildren would see and live these changes, Subcomandante Marcos replied, no compañero, I think we’re going to see it, and I think we’re going to see it in the next few years.

That “something is going to happen,” an economic crisis, a social explosion, a culmination of the multiple crises of the system of representation, of nation-state sovereignty, and an unequal global economy, is fact; whether we are ready for it or not, whether we are part of it or not, whether we contribute to its direction or not, it’s going to happen. The EZLN said this at the very first stop of the Other Campaign, in San Cristobal de las Casas, and in many states along the way: the system is going to fall; we can wait and see what happens or we can decide what happens next.

They specify: we don’t think it is a correct attitude to think that everything will disappear up there above, that it will self-destruct, and that we’ll be fine here, with our life vests. It has never been that way. We have to create something else if there is going to be something else…”if we are to return the earth its function as producer of fruits and nurturance instead of cancer and sickness.” [photo: Rally, Zocalo, Mexico City, May 1, 2006]
Kilombo NC was saying the other day, imagine if, when a moment of crisis hits, when the system of representation falls, like in Argentina, like in Bolivia, in Ecuador, in places that have been subject to harsh neoliberal reforms without the wealth or global positioning to cushion the blow, there is an organized alternative project there to meet it? What if there is the “Other Campaign?” [and in recent interviews this week, Marcos confirms: in the country right now we see the same signs we saw in 1992 when the (zapatista) communities voted to go to war. If there had been an Other Campaign then, we wouldn’t have had to rise up in arms in 1994.]

Sup Marcos in Colima: Imagine when we gather all this pain together, in a pacifist and peaceful struggle, not to return to something else, the nostalgia of (Pancho) Villa and (Emiliano) Zapata, but in what we can be now, what you…want to be, but with us, the EZLN, with others, with workers, with some you will never see or meet…
And in Aguascalientes: This conviction that we have in the Other Campaign that gives us the impulse to build this movement, is about creating something new. You all have a place, you, compañera housewife, you have a place. What we have gathered in our trajectory is the rage and indignation of this country, but now with different matrix. [and in this week’s discourse: “…but our rage won’t be the rage of before, the rage of always. No. Now it is an organized indignation, an other rage.”]
And in Morelia, Michoacan: “The days that are coming are going to be terrible, hard, dirty, low, like few times this country has seen. If we don’t do anything it’s going to be like that. And if we do do something, well it’s still going to be like that. But there’s going to be hope, the hope of something else, of another organization of organizations, of another movement that provides an exodus from this night that they are proposing to make, and now for real, eternal, in the only way that things can be eternal, with death….”

The deadline is not a mere milestone after which things are reorganized: “Before we thought [if the struggle didn’t go anywhere] we could continue in our poverty. What we’re seeing now is that this isn’t going to be possible. They are coming for us, for our land…” (Sup Marcos, El Rincon, Guerrero) and “...even our poverty they want to take away from us,” (Sup Marcos, Aguascalientes, Guerrero). In a simple explanation of biopower and biopolitics (Morelia): “The Other Campaign, to put in terms we all understand, is the struggle for life. And capitalism is the struggle to impose, on all of us, death, and it doesn’t matter to them that they destroy the same world that they themselves inhabit. As long as there’s profit it doesn’t matter that the water is contaminated, that nature destroyed, that communities are left abandoned and deserted. And we must not forget to give this the name is deserves: capitalism. It is the enemy, not just in Mexico but in the whole world. This struggle that we are generating is for humanity, because on the other side….they need war, and the only war remaining is one against humanity. If they win, we disappear. If we win, not only do we survive, but we live with dignity, liberty, democracy, and justice.”

Also in Morelia, Michoacan, “…As Zapatistas we think that for particular circumstances that we won’t discuss here, (that will be the job of the historians of the 21st century) this work is falling to Mexico. It’s not just our duty and our hope in this country, but in the continent and the rest of the world. If in some way Zapatismo has achieved a synchrony of global sympathy, it’s not because we have made certain use of the word, or because of the unquestionable heroism of the indigenous communities, but because from this moment it was proposing an alternative, the seed of something else. And this is what the Other Campaign means to do: name the enemy, capital, and the ally of this enemy, the political class….we mean the defeat of this government and the destruction of capital. And then, like someone said once, we will have only just won the right to start over…but we will have to start where one always has to start, from below.”