¡Presente! Brad Will’s Ghost at the NYC Mexican Consulate
Protesters, Friends and Others Honor Brad's Life and Struggle by Bringing “One More Night At the Barricades” to the Streets of New York City
By RJ Maccani
(originally published on The Narco News Bulletin)
Brad’s smile beamed over the hundreds of people who had gathered at the Mexican consulate this morning to protest the murder of their friend on Friday. Brad Will was reporting for NYC Indymedia when a police chief and several government officials shot and killed him at a barricade in Oaxaca City—he was one of three killed that day. The call went out straight from the people of Oaxaca: “Bring the barricades to every Mexican embassy and consulate in the world!”
And that’s just what Brad Will’s friends did. You see, Brad’s been around for a while, and his friends aren’t only his colleagues at Indymedia, but also the Lower East Side squatters, radical environmentalists, “Reclaim the Streets” activists and many others with whom he worked for over a decade. Basically, they picked the wrong journalist to fuck with.
Word of Brad’s death got to his friends in New York City quickly. It was Halloween weekend and just hours after his murder, people began pouring into Bluestockings, a radical bookstore and activism center in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, to mourn…and to plan. On Saturday night they held a candlelight vigil outside of the Mexican consulate. They returned to the consulate this morning, not with candles this time, but with the barricades.
From Grief To Anger
Grief turned into anger over the weekend as Brad’s mourners realized that the Mexican government was using Brad’s death to justify sending federal forces into Oaxaca to quell the uprising that has been going on there for five months; the same uprising that Brad was standing with when killed by government forces.
Here in the US, the commercial media claimed Brad as one of their own and repeated the lie that he was killed in “cross-fire” between pro and anti-government forces. The government killed Brad – the killers were photographed as they did it – and since then they’ve been identified. All of this is easily available on-line and it doesn’t take an investigative journalist to figure that out, but apparently it takes an authentic one to report it.
In an echo of the government’s attack on Atenco in early May, federal police descended upon Oaxaca City yesterday, leading to at least two confirmed deaths and over fifty arrests of civilians and movement activists, while the local government and paramilitary forces who have been murdering members of this nonviolent movement remain free. This was too much for us to bear.
Determined not to let Brad’s death become just a personal interest story for the US media, and a cover for more repression against the people of Oaxaca, we came to the consulate this morning with four demands:
1. All armed forces acting on behalf of the government against the people of Oaxaca be removed immediately;
2. The illegitimate governor Ruiz be removed immediately;
3. The federal government negotiate directly with those people who man the barricades in Oaxaca;
4. Guilty parties on all levels be identified and held accountable for the assassinations of Brad Will and the other civilian victims in Oaxaca.
We began assembling at around 9 am and within half-an-hour the crowd in front of the consulate had swelled to well over 200. Through skillful on-site negotiation with the police we managed to stay on the sidewalk and take over a lane of traffic without the NYPD caging us in with metal barricades… the barricades came later. For now, the mood vacillated between solemn and cheerful. Two large banners, one featuring the four demands and the other a blown-up photo of Brad playing with a child, were held along both sides of the entrance to the consulate and served as altars for the many flowers, candles, and mementos that people brought with them. A “ghost bike” was built for Brad and chained up to the entrance’s fence.
It started with an old friend of Brad’s, Tim Doody, climbing the lamppost in front of the consulate to station himself there, supporting a giant painting of Brad smiling with the words “One more night at the barricades” written beneath his portrait. A perennial face at actions in the city, Brad’s friends made sure that they would be able to see him on the front lines one more time. Doody was even wearing Brad’s old climbing harness.
A crowd surrounded the lamppost as Doody began to climb, thus ensuring that the police would not be able to take him down. Meanwhile, another activist, Tim Keating, locked himself down to the main gated-entrance of the consulate while two more blockaded a secondary entrance. Now things began to get nasty.
The main entrance to the Mexican consulate in NYC has something like an outdoor foyer. There is a big gate with a single entrance and then a large space the length of the consulate, about ten feet deep, before you get to the actual door of the building. In this outdoor space you will usually find people milling around, consulate workers on smoke breaks and others waiting for services. Protest organizers were afraid that their actions would bring repression down upon Mexican immigrants who had not come to the consulate to protest. This nearly happened.
As soon as they realized that he was locking himself to the gate, the police rushed Keating and the other protestors who were accompanying him. Caught in this scuffle was a family waiting in the outdoor foyer. As the police rushed the protestors, an organizer of the protest who was near the family shouted to them, “Are you OK? We’re gonna do our best to make sure you don’t get hurt!” The mother shouted back, “I’m great!” Even though the gate that Keating chained himself to ended up breaking during the scuffle, he managed to prop it up sideways across the entrance and hold his position. The action not only succeeded in shutting down the consulate in solidarity with the movement in Oaxaca, but also gave a bit of cheer to many who hate the way they are treated when they come to the consulate for services.
So there we were, an unruly crowd swelling to three or four hundred people: anarchists and socialists, Mexican activists, radical teachers, pedestrians and, mostly, friends of Brad Will. The banner hang and lock downs were in effect and now people began lying in front of vehicles in the street. The entire block, and the consulate itself, were shut down. As the police came in with wooden barricades to trap us on the sidewalks, people began pouring out into the streets dragging the barricades with them. With chants of “Oaxaca Vive! La Lucha Sigue!” and Brad’s smiling portrait hanging over the crowd, it was indeed “another night” on Oaxaca’s barricades—brought now against Mexican embassies and consulates across the world.
It wasn’t until around 10:30, almost 45 minutes later, that the police finally succeeded in unblocking the consulate entrances and bringing Doody down from the lamppost. But various conflicts in the street led to more arrests. It wasn’t until after 11 that they finally got traffic moving again and then the protest still continued along the sidewalks.
The action attracted a large commercial media presence, especially amongst the Spanish-language press. Those interviewed stressed the four demands mentioned above and that we are angry about all the murders of organizers and civilians in Oaxaca and especially troubled by the Mexican government’s use (with the help of US and Mexican commercial media) of Brad’s death to justify Sunday’s invasion of Oaxaca by federal police.
La Lucha Sigue
At the end of accounts, 12 people were arrested at today’s action including one accredited journalist who had her camera confiscated. At least two people have been killed in Oaxaca in the past two days and at least fifty have been arrested, even as the people of Oaxaca continue to hold the city center and control various radio stations (the movement’s main form of communication). Spirits are still high in Oaxaca just as they are here in NYC while people continue to support their jailed compañeros.
Word has just come from the Zapatistas that they will begin road blockades in their territories and are calling on all adherents to the Other Campaign to join them throughout Mexico and “on the other side” this Wednesday. They are also calling for a nationwide General Strike in solidarity with Oaxaca on November 20. International adherents to the Sixth Declaration are called upon to join in solidarity actions on both of these days. Brad’s friends and other NYC organizers are considering this call as they continue to plan this week of action, and to continue on in the future.
This consideration is appropriate as Brad was an international adherent to the Sixth Declaration himself and was part of the alternative media within the caravan that followed Delegate Zero on the first leg of his tour through Southern Mexico. I can still remember Brad’s poetic dispatches as he covered Marcos’ meetings in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Chillingly, he is the second member of this caravan to be murdered by the Mexican government—the first was Alexis Benhumea who died of injuries he sustained during the early May assault on Atenco.
This morning’s actions were part memorial and part direct action, an effective and cathartic experience for all of us who knew Brad and could still, out of the corner of our eyes, see his cheshire grin beaming alongside us today. The organizers of today’s protest have committed to continue shifting the focus of their actions to all of the dead and disappeared of Oaxaca, as well as to the Oaxacan peoples’ ongoing struggle to depose their corrupt governor, Ulises Ruiz. After all, that is the story that Brad put his life on the line so he could report it to us all. If the actions here in NYC continue to be as ingenious, loving, and yes, messy, as the one today, then perhaps we will give Brad reason to continue walking with us, as he most certainly was today…
¡Oaxaca Vive! ¡La Lucha Sigue!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
¡Presente! Brad Will’s Ghost at the NYC Mexican Consulate
Monday, October 30, 2006
Urgent Call to Action in Support of the APPO for November 1st and 20th
(hasty) translation by Zapagringo
Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN)
October 30th, 2006
To the People of the World
To our Compañer@s who are adherents of the Zezta International
From the Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN
Sisters and brothers.
Compañeras y compañeros.
To the people of Oaxaca who are calling on us, and because of this we are also making a CALL. We should show our commitment to each other in our actions. They are not alone. Just as the compañer@s of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca are showing us their dignity in struggle.
The call is to create peaceful actions. The occupation of embassies, blockades, marches, encampments, meetings, and protests everywhere in the world on the 1st of November 2006 and again on the 20th of November of the same year. Let us create this global mobilization together on November 1st and November 20th.
Because yesterday [Mexican President] Fox and the government of the rich of Mexico entered with their Federal Police and their helicopters with Mexican soldiers to make an unjust war against the town of Oaxaca, this is what Fox calls dialogue.
There are dead, wounded, incarcerated.
Because of this our call is for:
1. The immediate departure of the Mexican army and federal preventive police.
2. Immediate freedom for our detained compañer@s.
3. Justice for our murdered compañer@s and the punishment of the murderers.
4. Immediate departure of the murderer Ulises Ruiz.
We demand the freedom of our compañer@s political prisoners of the town of Atenco.
Our strength brothers and sisters, because we are the poor of the world, is that we fight together.
The people of Oaxaca are counting on us.
Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN.
Insurgent Lieutenant Colonel Moisés.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Interview with Florentino López Martínez
-a spokesperson for the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO)
by Carla from Grassroots Projects
(interview conducted on October 7th)
Editor's note: the situation in Oaxaca continues to shift daily...this interview came over the list of the Oaxaca Study-Action Group...also, exciting developments at the border from last weekend's Border Social Forum to the wednesday and thursday meetings of the Other Campaign at the Tijuana/San Isidro border...where Marcos suggested that the Zapatista Comandantes may one day set up shop in the US and Canada as well...but for now, here's an interview from Oaxaca :-)
1. What is APPO and how is it organized?
APPO was started on June 17th 2006 as a reaction to the eviction. APPO is an umbrella organization in which very different organizations are united, such as labor unions, farmers’ organizations, neighborhood committees, organizations of indigenous peoples, women’s groups, regional groups, and individuals.
Every organization has its representative in the central meeting. Decisions are made based on consensus, so decisions are not based on the majority of votes. APPO has a programme of basic assumptions and goals, such as aiming for a real democratic system, and the struggle against capitalism, imperialism and fascism. The fundamental problem is capitalism; it is because of capitalism that Oaxaca has such a tyrant as governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. APPO wants democracy, in which everybody can participate. The situation as present is the result of fascism, which shows that the working class is being repressed.
2. What happens when the first demand of APPO, that governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz resign, is complied with?
Our aim is a more democratic government that listens to the people more than the current government does. We will continue to fight against repression and for the advancement of human rights and equality. It partially resembles ´La Otra Campaña´ of the Zapatistas, but the organizations united in APPO are much more diverse than those united in ´La Otra Campaña´.
APPO is not part of, or associated with, any political party. APPO concentrates on a struggle that is broader than only the struggle in Oaxaca. Together with other organizations in the country we have to get out onto the streets to counter the current crisis in Mexico. Besides being a local struggle, it is also a national as well as an international struggle to change the world.
3. What do you understand by your use of the term ‘ democracy’?
It is not about having elections every few years, but about the functioning of the system. In Mexico today, there is a huge difference in power and wealth. Democracy is not only something political, but also something economical and social. An example is the fact that TV channels in Mexico are in the hands of a cartel, a group of people that decide on the news that the people will see. In Mexico, people have no rights and people can disappear just like that. There is no equality. In a democracy on the other hand, everybody is equal and people are protected by the law.
4. How does APPO organize the food, drink and money to keep this action running for all these months?
The occupation of the city centre is the only way to be able to change something. After the eviction on the 14th of June, when the people reoccupied the city centre, supporters came to bring us food and drink. This continues to happen up to today. There is much solidarity and help, also from other parts of Mexico and from abroad, for instance from labor unions.
5. Many people in Oaxaca have lost their income or jobs because of the action, which is lasting for 4 months now. How does the APPO deal with this problem?
That is the consequence of our action. Also among them, there is much solidarity. It is a way to build up something. The situation, as it is now, is not the fault of APPO, but of the governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. The repression has been going on for years now, and lately the difference between rich and poor has increased massively. And despite the fact that the people have little to no income, they support APPO.
6. How do you see the future, for instance what will it be like in 10 years time?
The struggle in Oaxaca is a contribution to the global struggle. Both locally and globally, people are struggling for emancipation, against repression and for the downfall of the system. We will be able to harvest the fruits of this struggle in the coming years. The people are taking their lives into their own hands and are looking for new ways to live. Ideas of other organizations and struggles have been of influence to both the struggle in Oaxaca and the basic assumptions of APPO. This is the last stage of the struggle against capitalism. To be able to exist, we have to keep struggling against the new forms of repression that neo-liberalism brings forth. And we have to find new ways ourselves. It is a struggle that is being carried out in the whole of South America. There are the struggles in Venezuela and in Cuba, the struggles of our migrant brothers worldwide, the struggle of the poor and of students in France, and the struggle for land and freedom in Palestine. It is a global struggle and therefore we have to mobilize globally. It is the struggle of workers, who are moving into the same direction.
7. Of which organization within APPO are you a member?
The Revolutionary Popular Front - Oaxaca
8. Is what you say being supported by all the organizations affiliated with APPO?
Before the launch of APPO there were of course many ideas within the individual organizations about building up a new social system and for a revolution. Now, we work together for a better system of living. There is only one way to do this.
9. What does APPO consider an example? Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia?
All organizations that are anti-capitalist and anti-fascist contribute to the international struggle. There are many ways to build up something, for instance in Bolivia the struggle against energy multinationals, and the Zapatistas with the caracoles.
The struggle is very broad, and we have to do our own activities and struggle together on the international level. Another example is the struggle that the people in Atenco have carried out against the building of an airport. By doing actions, the people in Atenco were successful in stopping this airport being built. Nobody holds the absolute truth about how the struggle can best be carried out.
The only truth is learning by doing, progressing in the struggle by carrying out the struggle.
10. What position do women hold within APPO?
A very important position. From August onwards, there has been a separate platform for women, Coordinacion de Mujeres. There has been a women’s rally, for which mobilization has been massive. Women hold a special position within APPO.
Among women in Oaxaca, illiteracy rates are even higher than among men. Many women have had no chance at all. APPO has a special women’s manifesto. The position of women in indigenous communities is very different than in other Mexican groups, in indigenous communities there is less ´machismo´.
11. Could you tell something about yourself?
My name is Florentino López Martínez. I belong to the Mixtec. The Mixtec are one of the most ancient ethnic groups in Oaxaca. I come from a Mixtec village in the surroundings of Oaxaca and also speak the Mixtec language.
12. Could you tell a bit more about the struggle of indigenous peoples?
It is the struggle of the majority of the country. There are many indigenous peoples, all with their own language. Within APPO many indigenous peoples are represented. The organizational forms of indigenous peoples are much more democratic than those of other groups. Therefore this has been used as a model for APPO. Consensus decision-making is traditional among the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca. In the central meeting of APPO we work in this way. All good traditions and customs of the indigenous peoples are being used in the process of democratization.
Friday, October 13, 2006
You'll read all about the project Rethinking Solidarity in the essay below. Since this essay's original publication, the RS crew has grown to include some editors of Left Turn as well as members of Critical Resistance NYC and we've gone on to do a couple speaking engagements and last Monday's honoring of Indigenous Peoples' Day with one last event about Mexico at the old Refugio space...
by Adjoa Jones de Almeida, Dana Kaplan, Paula X. Rojas, Eric Tang, and M. Mayuran Tiruchelvam
(Originally appeared in print in Left Turn Magazine's fifth anniversary issue)
If Huey Newtown were alive today, he’d be on the verge of a political comeback. Not because of the supposed shout-out he’s getting from the Boondocks cartoon, but because of a concept he was pushing during the early 1970s—revolutionary intercommunalism.
The idea was simple. We no longer live in a moment where nation-states have the grand relevance they once did. The rise of a truly global capitalism, by its very nature, has always gone beyond territorial limitations. Therefore, as revolutionaries, Huey said, we need to start thinking about ourselves “intercommunally” as opposed to internationally.
If placed in present-day dialogue, Huey’s concept is anything but new. But for his time, Huey was dropping something rather remarkable, if not blasphemous: intercommunalism, a vision unfulfilled. We may have accidentally stumbled upon it again here in 2006 as we attempt to rethink solidarity.
In 2005, dozens of grassroots activists from communities throughout New York City traveled to Global South countries of the Americas, including Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Mexico. Our travels and experiences in these countries inspired a desire to “rethink solidarity” and initiate a dialogue back in our communities around the question of solidarity and revolution. This was the starting point for organizing the “Rethinking Solidarity” events series. On four evenings over four months, folks came together at Refugio, a community space in Brooklyn, to share food, fellowship, videos, and conversation on the struggles of communities in resistance in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chiapas, Mexico. The attempt was to connect those struggles and the relationships built during our travels to movements of resistance here in New York and the United States.
At these monthly gatherings, we attempted to model some of the practices of powerful grassroots movements from the Global South. We created a space for all community members to participate, not just professional organizers and college-educated activists. One of the strengths of the series was in creating a comfortable community space which was accessible and friendly to many different folks. People of all cultures, languages, educational backgrounds, and ages (children especially were right in the middle of our discussions, not hidden away in a separate room) came together to learn how we can be accountable to and in solidarity with each other right here in our own communities and defeat the monster of globalization and capitalism right here in its brain.
Solidarity has always been a contested concept. It has historically meant different things to different activists. Some see it primarily as economic activism (fair trade/commercial justice). Others view it more in terms of the personal and political connections they make with the people of a particular community. Finally, there are those for whom solidarity is more about taking direct action targeted at policies and institutions ranging from the US military to various forms of corporate globalization, institutions that disproportionately affect people living in the Global South.
Yet if these different forms of solidarity hold one thing in common, it’s the unaltered position of power and privilege that much of this activism rests upon. This involves the access to resources such as foundation funding, the travel privileges that come with US citizenship, the dominance of the dollar—everything one brings to the encounter with the Global South that enables this particular form of social justice. Some argue that these privileges are perhaps not as bad as they seem—after all, those who live inside the “belly of the beast” should mobilize such resources in service of the “other.” That is how we hold ourselves accountable.
But accountability is a process, one that moves in both directions and requires more thoughtful reflection of our position in this country in relation to others. This point is lost among those who believe that solidarity means forever assuming the posture of charitable support (“What can we do for the folks down there?”). And while at face value we may ask for nothing in return, few can deny the cachet that comes with having traveled abroad, the almost consumptive pleasure of immersing yourself in the culture of another’s political movements. This is the pitfall of activist tourism—the privilege of visiting other counties and movements and informing oneself with a firsthand account without the responsibility of full engagement, of being a stakeholder. So long as social movements remain something to go and see as opposed to something we live, then despite our best intentions, we find ourselves only taking up space and inserting ourselves in communities in a way that reflects our internalized colonial attitudes and privileges.
Practicing a more horizontal, reciprocal type of solidarity is difficult. When international exchanges happen, its often relatively privileged US-based activists who get to travel to interact with others. Occasionally folks from Global South movements come north and speak at US events, but even then those spaces are often limited to academic or intellectual elite circles, many of which mistakenly see themselves as some sort of US social movement representatives. But alternative and more powerful connections amongst North-South organizers are possible. This past year members of the Argentinean MTD (Movement of Unemployed Workers) were able to sit with members of the Pachamama childcare cooperative in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to talk about the similar obstacles they face and what processes are being tried on the local level. The Bushwick crew was inspired and the Argentineans felt the human warmth that speaking at colleges and lecture halls doesn’t always provide.
The Rethinking Solidarity series was, in part, a collective search that came out of this dilemma of how to create horizontal solidarity. And it helped to be reminded that Zapatistas do not consider their allies in the United States to be living so much in the “belly of the beast” as in the “brain of the monster” (el cerebro del monstro). In other words, the US is the place where neoliberal policies aimed at subverting global democracy are hatched and executed in communities around the world—including right here in the United States.
This brings us closer to the kind of solidarity we are advocating. Being in solidarity with the people of the Global South means building relationships and strong communities of resistance here; by doing so we are linking to those standing up to the vast, global systems of control. This may seem vague, even counterintuitive, for how can you be in solidarity abroad by focusing within? But think of the converse logic of those from the United States claiming to be in solidarity with others, when their homeland is very much a “backward” country in many ways. Indeed, few can deny that when it comes to building strong social movements, those in the United States are in need of desperate aid from the Global South. Activists in the United States are still suffering from the way social movements have been crushed and “professionalized” over the past thirty years. We have lost touch with the basics, the foundation of movement building, which is about building relationships and sustainable communities while breaking out of the confines of single-issue organizing.
This doesn’t mean that we stop sending necessary support and resources to those abroad who need it. But our accountability lies in what we do within our own communities here. If our own communities are not strong enough to stand up to neoconservatives, then the work of those who promulgate war without end, the dictatorship of the free market, and the stealing of indigenous land will be made all the easier.
What’s more, focusing on communities here in the United States compels us to understand First World “privilege” as not purely nation-bound (i.e., if you reside here, you’ve got privilege). On the contrary, privilege is layered by histories of slavery, colonization, patriarchal control, etc. Our solidarity struggles must therefore find ways to address these inequalities within. This involves learning from the struggles of the Global South as well as offering what we can from within the US, including the perspectives and learned lessons of oppressed peoples in the US.
The political moment calls for the kind of intercommunal solidarity that Huey had in mind. The upsurges in Latin America are truly mass movements that seek power at all levels, not just in the form of a nation-state grab. Only rarely has the left taken state power, and even then usually only for a blink. But its historical, if not relentless, presence and long-term impact in places such as South America is undeniable. One is left to conclude that its power has always seemed to reside elsewhere, outside the state. Today’s movements fully recognize that sustainable power has always been located in communities seeking to do the “impossible” (at least what’s considered impossible here in the United States)—that is, the literal building of new societies that may provide alternatives to the nation-state model. Solidarity is to attempt the impossible wherever you might stand.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Stuff happens so fast that it can be hard to keep track. Here's a run-down of what's (really) going on with Oaxaca, the Other Campaign, and the Intergalactic...
I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in NYC there are many, many different groups of people organizing various forms of solidarity with the movements in Oaxaca. The most visible actions are the consulate protests organized by (depending on the day of the week) Mexican, teacher, and/or revolutionary socialist and anarchist organizations. In addition to these local actions is the call put out by Oaxacan civil society organizations for people from throughout Mexico and the world to come to Oaxaca and support them in resisting government repression...
Meanwhile, hundreds of Oaxacans-including members of the Oaxacan teacher's union and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca-have arrived on foot into Mexico City and are organizing in the nation's capital for justice in their homestate.
The Other Campaign:
Delegate Zero has resumed his tour of Mexico and will be at the Tijuana/San Diego border in a week. He is joined on this leg of the tour-Mexico's 11 northern states and the border-by members of the Indigenous National Congress (CNI) and a delegate from the town of Atenco. He continues to be accompanied, as well, by a team of authentic journalists-including two of our friends from Left Turn working there with Narco News-who are bringing the stories of struggle that Delegate Zero and the delegates from the CNI and Atenco are hearing to the rest of the world. Narco News' Al Giordano just published an excellent refresher of the tour so far and of what is coming just around the corner...
Meanwhile, Zapatista Comandantas Miriam and Gabriela and Comandante Zebedeo continue organizing in and around Mexico City for the freedom of the remaining 27 political prisoners of the attack on Atenco.
Not only have the Zapatistas called for two international gatherings in their autonomous territories in Chiapas, but now Intergalactic adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle are being encouraged to attend-in person, in writing, or by voice mail-the border meeting of the Other Campaign that is happening next week...check it out:
Greeting Intergalactic brothers & sisters,
On Wednesday, 10/18 and Thursday, 10/19 of October, the 6th
Delegation, and amongst them, the Zero Delegation, will arrive in
Tijuana and will meet with all of the adherents who are here known as
The Intergalactic Commission of The Other Campaign on The Other Side
with the rest of The Others on the side of the United States will have
all of Thursday in order to meet with the Delegation.
We invite all those Intergalactics throughout the entire Intergalactic
who would like to make their word known to the 6th Delegation and the
Zero Delegation to send their salutations, questions, support, critique
or whatever else you would like to the email of the Zezta LA:
The members of the Intergalactic Commission who will be at the meeting
will bring your words to the Delegation in person. Because we will
have this opportunity, we would like to make sure that it is open to
all those who for whichever reason will not be able to attend this
Remember that there is only one week left and if you would like to send
something, please do it soon.
If you would like to record your voice so that it may be heard by the
Delegation on the day of the meeting, you can call and record your word
by telephone at (310)424-7646. This telephone is only for messages and
is a United States phone number.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Here is a communiqué from the Zapatistas calling for two gatherings "between the Zapatista people and the peoples of the world" to take place in their autonomous communities in Chiapas, Mexico. The first is proposed for December 30 through January 2nd and the second for July 21st through the 31st of next year (just three weeks after the US Social Forum).
For an in-depth discussion of the Intergalactic network, check out Enter the Intergalactic!
Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee
—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation
Intergalactic Commission—Sixth Commission
October 2, 2006
Translated to English by El Kilombo Intergaláctico
To the peoples of the world.
To the adherents of the Zezta International of the five continents
Compañeros and Compañeras:
The EZLN, through its Intergalactic Commission and Sixth Commission, convoke: encounters of the Zapatista people with the peoples of the world.
The first will be held December 30-31, 2006 and January 1-2, 2007, in the Caracol of Oventik with the following objectives:
One: That the different organizations, groups, collectives, and individuals from other countries who struggle and resist on the five continents for humanity and against neoliberalism get to know the experiences of struggle of the Zapatista indigenous communities and how they organize their governments by talking directly with the five Councils of Good Government.
Two: That the Zapatista communities and their authorities get to know the histories and experiences of struggle of other countries on the five continents that struggle and resist for humanity and against neoliberalism, in their own voice.
Three: That the Zapatista communities and the organizations, groups, collectives, and individuals from other countries that struggle and resist in the whole world against neoliberalism and for humanity relate directly to each other, without intermediaries, in order to offer mutual support and solidarity.
Four: To propose and agree on means, modes, and forms of communication between the organizations, groups, collectives, and individuals that struggle and resist on the five continents.
Five: To give a message of encouragement to the struggles that, against the power of money, currently sustain communities in diverse parts of the planet.
Sixth: To make and discuss proposals for the next Intergalactic Encounter, including dates and places.
The second Encounter will be held July 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 of 2007.
To be celebrated in the five caracoles, with the same objectives.
July 21st in the Caracol of Oventik, Inauguration.
July 22nd Work.
July 23rd Transfer to Caracol of Morelia.
July 24th Work.
25th Transfer to Caracol of Roberto Barrios.
27th Transfer to Caracol of La Garrucha.
29th Transfer to Caracol of La Realidad.
30th Work and Closing.
31st Return to San Cristobal.
In each Caracol the authorities of the MAREZ and the Council of Good Government, compañeras comandantas, and compañeros comandantes will participate in order to tell of the experiences of struggle in their autonomous governments, but above all in order to discuss proposals for the next real Intergalactic Encounter, including dates and places.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.
Lieutenant Colonel Insurgente Moisés.
Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Sixth Commission of the EZLN
Monday, October 02, 2006
Comandanta Hortencia's Words in Atenco
September 30th, 2006
translated by Zapagringo
and Lupita holding her teddy bear in a plastic bag :-)
Seven indigenous leaders (four women and three men) of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) traveled from their autonomous communities in Chiapas to Mexico City recently. They are there to, amongst other things, speak with the people of Atenco and to participate in national meetings of the Other Campaign. Three of those leaders (Grabiela, Zebedeo, and Miriam) will stay in Mexico City to continue to organize for the freedom of the prisoners of Atenco while the other four (Gema, Hortencia, David, and Tacho) will soon return home to reportback to their communities on what they have learned about the national situation. Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is delegate zero of the Sixth Commission of the EZLN and these seven leaders are delegates one though seven.
On September 30th, many of them spoke to the people of Atenco. Amongst them was Comandanta Hortencia (Delegate Five), who is traveling with her daughter, Lupita...Delegate Five-and-a-Quarter ;-) As someone who works with alot of mothers and children, I was especially excited to read the words she spoke and, so, I've translated them here for you!
I am Comandanta Hortencia, Delegate number 5.
In the name of my compañera support bases, insurgents, militia-women, and in the name of all of the compañeras of different ranks of authority in the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, I am going to say some words for our compañeras who are imprisoned in the jails of the bad government.
Us women, as Zapatistas, know that you are fighting. We know that you have struggled. And we know that you are resisting. And just as the bad government has its plan to take your lands, you are resisting the plans of the bad government.
Therefore, your struggle is very important. Like you, men and women, who have shown your resistance to the plans of the bad government. But we also come to say to the women of the Other Campaign who are prisoners in the jails, who are workers, students and indigenous-just as our compañera Magdalena is indigenous [a prisoner from Atenco]-.
Us Zapatista women, we fell the pain, courage, anger, and despair that, day after day, you endure in the jails of the bad government. But also we come to say to you compañeras who are in jail, you are an example for many women, how you have shown your resistance, rebelliousness. Because it is an example of how you have defended your dignity, not surrendering yourself, not humbling yourself before the plans of the bad government. The example set by these women is a very important example for us and other women.
Because in this way they are protesting the bad government and the political class. There it is being shown, that they will never be able to conquer and humble the organized women and communities. In this way, the jailed women are proving this.
But we also wish to say to our jailed compañeras that you not lose hope that sooner or later you will go free, because you have not committed a crime. You are innocent. Your only offence was to defend your land, your rights. It is only for this that you are in jail. This is not just.
For the government us women are nothing. Because of this we are seen as no more than objects. And they take us as the spoils of war. And many times they allot us to those that repress. This is what the bad government does, the injustice that they always give to the communities. It is what it has done to the indigenous and peasant communities.
On the other hand, there is the political class that is in power. Those that gave the order to attack and that repressed the community of Atenco on May 3rd and 4th, well, they are free. The truly guilty ones are not in jail. But this is not OK, they should be in jail, not the women, nor the men [of Atenco]. Because the women and the men [of Atenco] are not guilty. They only defended their land, their territory. For this and nothing more they are in jail.
The offenders are the rulers, those that attack the community. They should be in jail, they should not be governing as they are now. They are the murderers , the violators of human rights and the violators of women. But for them, what they have done is not a crime to the bad government. They are accustomed to this. They have been doing this for decades. They have now grown accustomed to it and, therefore, feel nothing.
Because this is what it has done: kill and violate Mexicans. Therefore they now don't feel that what they've done are crimes. Therefore, compañeras, it is what the bad government has done and is doing. Therefore we should unite our voice, our power, to demand the punishment of the guilty, those who are intellectually and directly truly responsible for what was done in Atenco. Because it is not just. The true murderers are free. They have to pay for their offenses.
But also, as women, we need to continue our struggle, whatever the cost. Because many times, as women, there are many things that impede us from fighting, from participating. There are many things, because we are women, we are indigenous, we are peasants. Therefore we encounter many problems, many obstacles. Therefore we shouldn't pay attention to the obstacles, but should look for how to struggle, how to move forward.
But what we should keep clear is that we don't need to ask anyone's permission. Much less ask permission from the bad government. Because the bad rulers, if we ask their permission they will never give it to us. And besides, they only bring us things that are not for the good of the communities. They only promise us things, they deceive us, manipulate us, give us all that is not good. It is what they have done for many years.
The bad rulers are never concerned with resolving the problems of the communities, but they have tried to destroy the indigenous and peasant communities. Therefore, with the bad rulers we shouldn't wait for anything from them. But we, the men, the women, the children, the youth, the elders, should organizer ourselves so we can have what we want.
But also, we wish to say, the indigenous Zapatista women, and the women of the Other Campaign, that we should look for how to struggle for the freedom of the prisoners of Atenco. But not only them, but we also need to fight for the freedom of all the political prisoners in the different jails of Mexico. Lastly, I want to say to the women of Atenco, to our indigenous compañera Magdalena, and to the women of the Other Campaign, that they not surrender, that they not be disheartened. Us Zapatista women are with you. And will continue fighting for freedom for all of you. Therefore, us, all the Zapatista women of Chiapas are with you and accompany you always. This is all of my word, much thanks.
Theme(s): other campaign