“We learned a long time ago that we should never subject ourselves to the schedules of the powerful. We had to follow our own calendar and impose it on those above.” - Subcomandante Marcos
Here is a chronological list of mobilizations, events, and gatherings this year that somehow relate to the Zapatistas' Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the Other Campaign, and the Zezta Internazional.
Most of the entries below include some information about how you can become personally involved and, for most of them, you could begin organizing today. There are many ways to struggle from below and to the left for a better world, here are just a few of them...
The Cucapá Camp in Defense of Life, Culture, and Nature
-February 26 through May in El Mayor, near Mexicali, Baja California-
Building off of agreements made during his tour of Mexico last year building the Other Campaign, Subcomandante Marcos issued an invitation on behalf of the Zapatista, Cucapá and Quilihua indigenous people, as well as various elements of the Other Campaign, for people from around the world to join them in a camp on Cucapá territory during this year's fishing season. National and international press have also been invited to report and broadcast, first hand, the life conditions and history of the Cucapá and Quilihua whose indigenous identities and rights are neither recognized nor respected by the Mexican government.
This is already underway and there are many aspects to the initiative. Check out the Nomadic Sound System's Cucapá site as well as this post at Intercontinental Cry for more info on how to get involved and to read the regulations the Cucapá have established for the camp.
The Huitepec Camp in Defense of Life, Culture, and Nature
-March 13 and onward in Huitepec, near San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas-
A Zapatista camp and a national/international camp have been established alongside each other in Huitepec, a Zapatista Community Ecological Reserve. This camp is crucial in defending the reserve from multinational corporations seeking to exploit its natural resources and from government and paramilitary forces attempting to kick the Zapatistas off of the land.
The Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas is coordinating trainings for the encampment. Alternative and free media workers are specifically invited to help link this encampment to the aforementioned Cucapá camp...and, if you will be joining, just remember to follow the rules.
Zapatistas Launch Second Stage of Participation in the Other Campaign
-March 25 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas-
According to a major communique released earlier this week, 15 members ("seven comandantas, eight comandantes and a subcomandante"...now there might be 16 with one more comandante) of the Zapatistas' Sixth Commission and NGO adherents to the Other Campaign in Chiapas will gather in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas today to launch an international solidarity campaign with the Zapatista indigenous communities and in defense of indigenous autonomy (see Chiapas Indymedia for today's coverage).
From here, the Zapatista delegates will travel to join Other Campaign organizing in the Northern Zone of Mexico and also to join the work of the National Indigenous Congress. These delegations will remain until the beginning of June and then, in the second half of the year, Zapatista delegations will be installed in the Central and Southern Zones of Mexico.
The Zapatistas' Sixth Commission has also signalled that it will be participating in mobilizations marking the first anniversary (May 3-5) of the repression against the people of Atenco, the Peoples Front in Defense of the Land, and the Other Campaign and for the freedom of those compañer@s who remain behind bars in the prisons of Texcoco, Santiaguito, and La Palma (more info below).
Movement for Justice in El Barrio's Other Campaign Events
-April 5 onward in New York City, New Haven, Connecticut, and beyond-
East Harlem's Movement for Justice in El Barrio is hosting a series of events as part of their adherence to the Other Campaign. These are a great way for people to learn more about, support, and connect to participants in the Other Campaign here in northeastearn USA! Check out my post in the Narcosphere for details...
Coalition of Immokalee Workers vs McDonald's
-April 13-14 in Chicago, Illinois-
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community-based worker organization made up of largely Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida, are taking on McDonald's! They are also adherents to the Sixth Declaration and you can check out their poetic message of adherence at the bottom of this post.
Join them this April 13 and 14 for two historic days of action at and around McD's headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Whether or not you can make it, check out their site and the site of the Student/Farmworker Alliance for ideas on how you can support this inspiring struggle for "Fair Food, Real Rights, And Dignity!"
Mobilizations for Atenco!
-May 3-5, Worldwide-
The people of Atenco rose up and blocked the theft of their land in 2001, joined the Other Campaign in 2005, and were brutally repressed by Mexican government forces during the visit of the Zapatista Sixth Commissions' Delegate Zero (Subcomandante Marcos) to Mexico City in May of 2006.
The government attack on Atenco was seen as both an act of revenge and an attack on the Other Campaign. A truly inspiring national and international solidarity movement joined the self-activity of the people of Atenco in seeking redress for the brutal attack. The hundreds of political prisoners were whittled down to thirty and the government cover-up was exposed.
There is much to say about the beauty and success of the movement that rose up to defend Atenco, and yet some of their most powerful voices remain behind bars. Some members of the Other Campaign failed to sustain their commitment to the people of Atenco in light of the electoral crisis and, in other cases, there were initiatives that lost steam.
The one year anniversary of the repression will be a moment to commemorate this resistance and to strengthen the ongoing struggle to free Atenco's remaining prisoners. Get creative and find a way to build or join a mobilization in solidarity with Atenco this May 3-5!
Allied Media Conference
-June 22-24 in Detroit, Michigan-
The Allied Media Conference (AMC) moves to Detroit! I'm working with a few people to have 10,000 bi-lingual (Spanish/English) copies of the Zapatistas' Sixth Declaration published newspaper-style to give away at the conference. Okay, okay...actually about half of them will go directly to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Movement for Justice in El Barrio. I'll be distributing bundles from the other half to attendees of the workshop I'm co-organizing at the AMC entitled "Zapatismo and Allied Media." See you there?!
United States Social Forum
-June 27 to July 1 in Atlanta, Georgia-
The United States Social Forum (USSF) process may just be our best opportunity in decades to build a broad movement "from below and to the left" in this country. It could also be a space for education and analysis around the Sixth Declaration, for networking and strategizing amongst Mexicans and Chicanos in the US who are a part of the Other Campaign, and for those of us who are building the Zezta Internazional...and it will be up to us to make this happen!
The window for submission of workshop and activity proposals is open until April 27 so there is still a month left to get them in.
On a personal note, I'm not yet sure exactly what I'll be doing at the USSF although it looks like I may be involved in some childcare support for parents that we partner with through Regeneración and I am definitely working with the Men's Collaborative of Generation Five and others to create a series of workshops that will, in the words of G5's Alan Greig, "...address men's violence across the spectrum from interpersonal to institutional violence...understanding this work in terms of challenging male supremacy and other, inter-linked systems of oppression." Building up to this, we're also mobilizing a caravan from here in NYC down to Durham, North Carolina to support the National Day of Truthtelling.
With respect to my zapagringo duties, bare minimum I'll be coordinating another Sixth Declaration giveaway like the AMC one described above...so come get copies for you, your crews, and your communities!
Encuentro of the Zapatista Communities with the Peoples of the World
-July 21-31 in the Zapatista Caracoles of Chiapas-
The Five Caracoles of the Zapatista communities of Chiapas will be hosting an expanded gathering with people from throughout Mexico and the world on the last ten days of July. I indexed, in a prior post, coverage of the first such Encuentro that was attended by a registered 2,156 individuals and collectives from 48 countries of four continents over the new year.
This gathering is an excellent opportunity for people to learn about the alternative structures of the Zapatista communities, to build direct relationships between your work/community and theirs, and to share your own insights and experience with the Zapatistas and people from throughout the world. This will also be one more opportunity for face-to-face discussions around building an actual Intergalactic gathering to build the Zezta Internazional initiative of the Sixth Declaration.
Continental Indigenous Encuentro
-October 11-14 in Vicam, a pueblo in Yaqui Territory in the Municipality of Guaymas in Sonora, México-
The Indigenous National Congress, the Zapatistas, and the Kumiai of Baja California invited indigenous people from throughout the Americas to meet with them and declare "that after 515 years, they neither conquered nor discovered us. We still continue to exist here."
Details for the Encuentro were released in Spanish on April 22 and the list of convenors has grown. Check out Encuentro Indígena for more information. If you are not indigenous, perhaps you will find a way to get this information to indigenous folks you are connected to and to support them if they are interested in responding to the call...
No Borders Camp
-second week of November, Calexico/Mexicali-
"From Oaxaca to the Otra Campaña, a movement is rising that will end with nothing less than the fall of this border." -No Borders Camp 2007
An informal network of groups and individuals on both sides of the border are planning this camp and are adapting the Hallmarks of the Zapatista-inspired Peoples' Global Action network as the basis of unity for this mobilization:
[This] is a process…Before, during and after the camp itself, we envision a series of caravans, a variety of forums for dialogue and planning, coordinated actions and propaganda campaigns.....and whatever else you can think of.
During the camp, we hope to see actions against the border, detention and migration controls. We envision the creation of an independent media center with community radio, television and Internet. We look forward to a wide variety of artistic interventions and collaborations.
Several regional encuentros have already happened or are currently being planned. You can check out this zine and visit deletetheborder.org for more information.