Movement for Justice in El Barrio Rallying Against Gentrification in East Harlem
The Indigenous Encuentro of the Americas begins today in Sonora, Mexico amidst a campaign of corporate media disinformation, state harassment of caravans traveling across Mexico to attend the Encuentro, and the denial of visas to some international participants. Meanwhile the Zapatista communities continue to denounce mounting repression against them in Chiapas. As a result, almost the entire Sixth Commission of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation has remained in their communities sending Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos as their sole representative to the Encuentro. Here in New York City, as Other Campaign adherents Movement for Justice in El Barrio are finishing preparations for the NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Gentrification, they are also preparing to mobilize as needed to help halt this repression against the Zapatistas:
en español aqui
To Our Zapatista Sisters and Brothers:
To All Organizations, Groups, Collectives, Families, and Individuals in “The Other Campaign:”
To All Mexicans and Chicanos in The Other Campaign in the United States:
To All International Adherents to the Sixth Declaration:
We send a fraternal embrace to Mexico, from adherents of the Other Campaign here in New York, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio. Compañeros and Compañeras, we send this urgent message so that you may know that here in New York we're all paying attention to the threats and to the hostile manner in which military officials have treated the Sixth Commission on their way to the Encuentro of the Indigenous Peoples of America in Vicam, Sonora and of the hostility and aggressive threats that they are confronting, first with the verbal hostility directed towards them during their participation in a round table discussion in the City of Mexico, and now of the confrontations with the military as they tried to detain them along their way. We want you to know that we are prepared to organize actions here in New York against the repression being carried out in Chiapas and against any repression that may arise during The Sixth Commission’s journey to the Encuentro of the Indigenous Peoples of America.
We seriously lament the interruption of the Second Stage of The Other Campaign due to the repressive actions carried out in Chiapas by the federal government, the PAN, and the state government, the PRD. Here in New York, in cities across the United States, and everywhere that we hold public forums, we have made sure to spread the word about The Other Campaign's Second Stage, and everywhere that it was announced, it was always received with much enthusiasm. We know that the Second Stage will continue, but for the time being, it will do so without the participation of the Zapatista delegation, which was cancelled due to the repressive actions in Chiapas.
According to the Center for Political Analysis and Social and Economic Research, there has not been such heavy military presence and brutal displacement since 9 years ago under the government of Zedillo, when Zedillo ordered the dismantling of autonomous Zapatista communities. Now under the federal government of Felipe Calderon and the state government of Juan Sabines, there are 79 permanent military camps, more than half of which, 56 of them, being directly on indigenous territory. Hundreds of families live under the threat of being displaced, while many have already been displaced and arrested under false pretenses. While numerous people have been arrested for supposed "ecocide" and families that are taken from their homes remain under police surveillance, under conditions that lack basic necessities and services: being fed only rice and not being allowed to use the restrooms for the simple reason of being indigenous. These actions are being conducted by both the federal government (PAN) institutions, such as the Federal Investigation Agency and the Attorney General of the Republic, as well as the state government (PRD) institutions, such as the State Investigation Agency, the District Attorney’s Office for the Jungle Region and the Secretary of the State.
We, adherents of The Other Campaign here in New York, are fighting in our own ways against a different kind of Neoliberal-driven displacement. We understand that these displacements may be different but have the same end results, and that our struggles also have the same goals. Because of this, we also understand that displacement imposes on us pretexts and crimes that we are not guilty of. Over there they call it "ecocide", over here they call it "being illegal". Both here and there they call us illegal. Here, because we are Mexican and poor, they try to throw us out of the apartments we rent, for the neoliberal remodeling of our communities; so they may build luxury condominiums, banks, hotels, and elegant offices. They use our cheap labor and yet they call us "illegal" for working. We know that over there, because you are indigenous and poor they are looking to push you out of your autonomous communities so that big business and transnational corporations can build hotels, tourist centers, banks, and luxurious buildings in what was once the jungle, the lands that you work, the land that belongs to those who work it, as Zapata use to say.
Because of this and much more we identify with your struggle and declare that we are against neoliberal displacement, here and over there. We want to tell you that we will not allow displacement either here or over there.
We also want to make a side note that this brutal neoliberal displacement that is being lived in New York, better known as gentrification, intensified under the administration of ex-Mayor Giuliani; who afterwards was contracted by ex-Mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Along with our local struggles, we're organizing a contingency plan of action against the repression being implemented in Chiapas by the federal government, the PAN, and the state government, the PRD. We will continue to keep ourselves informed. We wish the delegates of the Sixth Commission a good journey, and we send our greetings along with a congratulation to the participants of the Encuentro of the Indigenous Peoples of America.
Zapata Lives! The Struggle Continues!
An End to Neoliberal Displacement here and over there!
From the Other Campaign New York.
Movement for Justice in El Barrio
From the Other Side, October 2007.