Friday, December 28, 2007

Goodbye Marcos, For Now

According to Naomi Klein, at the conclusion of last week's international colloquium in memory of Andrés Aubry, Subcomandante Marcos remarked that it would be his last public appearance for some time because of the grave new threat of a counterinsurgent attack against the Zapatista communities.

For those wondering what is going on with the Other Campaign, amongst other things, Marcos gave an illuminating interview at the end of November that was just recently published in the Colombian magazine Gatopardo. Since you can only read that interview in its entirety if you actually pick up the magazine itself, below is my translation of the on-line report from Mexico's El Proceso. With the Womyn's Encuentro beginning today, this report brings us up to speed and also serves as a good follow-up to last year's "Thoughts on Marcos and Leadership" post...

Calderón enlists counterinsurgent attack: Marcos

Protagonismo and attacks against AMLO [the center-left candidate in Mexico’s 2006 presidential elections] have isolated zapatismo, he admits in an interview given to the magazine Gatopardo

Mexico City, December 14. The public reappearance of Subcomandante Marcos in San Cristóbal de las Casa, Chiapas, this past Thursday the 13th, coincided with the publication of an interview in which the Zapatista leader confesses that the movement “is already out of style”; confirms that the government is preparing a counterinsurgency strategy, and says that there is no hunger now in the Zapatista communities and that women play a more important role in the Councils of Good Government.

In addition, he recognizes that the struggle has been worth the trouble, and anticipates that in 2008 the EZLN [Zapatista Army of National Liberation] plans to launch a new form of action that aspires to be, he says, “a new revolution to that of one hundred years ago, not through the armed option but through an other one that junks the political system and refounds the country.”

The interview appears in print in the most recent edition of the magazine Gatopardo. Interviewed by the reporter, Laura Castellano, at the beginning of November, in La Garrucha, Chiapas, Marcos recalls that he and the EZLN were the center of attention in 1994, with the uprising, but recognizes that “we are now out of style.”

It’s like we are in 1993, but the other way around. Then we prepared the uprising without the media and without people [outside support]. Now the government is the one that is preparing the offensive,” he warns.

According to Marcos, the government of Felipe Calderón is preparing a counterinsurgency strategy. In this strategy, he explains, the government has intentionally encouraged polarization locally in giving other indigenous groups land that has been appropriated by the EZLN. “In this way an artificial social conflict is created, cultivated as if in a laboratory, and thus then government forces enter to bring peace.”

The reporter asked him what would be there response in the case of a possible attack, and the Zapatista leader responded that for now they are only taking preventative measures. Nevertheless, he warned that they are not going to remain with their arms crossed.

In the interview, Marcos speaks later of the remarkable overcoming that is actually taking place in the Zapatistas communities, in relation to the absolute marginalization that they experienced before 1994. “It is not that the Zapatista communities are rich, but there is no longer hunger,” he says.

He points out, also, the noticeable drop in the indices of infant mortality and the active participation of women in the Councils of Good Government. “The question of gender begins to concern itself with where resources go,” he emphasizes.

On the decline of the Zapatista movement in the media, Marcos places the beginning of the descent when he made critiques of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, within the framework of the 2006 presidential campaign, which, he says, he took to break with the intellectuals who supported Obrador.

He says that the decision was made during the legislative failure of 2001: “I felt the responsibility and pain of having failed, of not having foreseen what was going to happen.”

Marcos confesses that then the possibility of taking up arms again was considered, but clarifies that after analyzing the situation at great length, they desisted.

He relates, nevertheless, that they decided it was better to break with the political class and intellectuals that supported this [political failure], knowing full well that that was going to isolate them.

In the final part of the interview, the reporter gets Marcos to talk about Marcos.

--Is it a lot of work being Marcos?

The Subcomandante, who accepts that he’s already lost his “little waist”, but even so will agree to pose in exchange for some dollars, responds, sharply: “Yes.”

He explains that the name weighs on him now, that it is a great weight because, he states, (the idea) still prevails that the errors of the EZLN are due to Marcos and the successes are due to the communities.

Marcos mentions that, sometimes, he also feels vulnerable, mainly, he clarifies, when he leaves to [work on] "the Other Campaign." I feel disinclined because it is not my territory, I don’t have the means, my compañeros, the resources…”.

Twenty-four years after having arrived in the mountains of Chiapas, to realize his dreams, Marcos maintains that the struggle has ultimately been worth the trouble. “If I had to do it again, I would do it without changing a thing.” Without finishing the idea he soon makes a clarification: “If I would think of changing something it would be this, that I had not been such a protagonist with respect to the media.”

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Friday, December 21, 2007

A Call from India

UPDATE Jan 29 '08: Check out the round-up of the WSF 2008 Day of Action and Mobilization here

World Social Forum India:
Call for Day of Action and Mobilisation:
26-27 January 2008 and the week 23rd to 30th January 2008

From the Zapatista uprising in 1994 and the Seattle demonstrations in 1999, the worldwide alliance of movements against neo-liberal globalisation, war, patriarchy, racism, colonialism and environmental disasters has grown from strength to strength.

In India, the movements against the neo-liberal policies have gained momentum and resistance intensified against the neo-liberal policies; and together we all have celebrated the defeat of fascist forces in last general elections. Everywhere in the country mobilisations have happened within farmers, workers, women, dalits, indigenous peoples, students, and other communities against the poverty, attack on livelihood and natural resources, environmental degradation, violence against women, state terrorism, religious fundamentalism; and for a right, just, and equitable society. We are in struggle against the onslaught of MNCs on natural resources, sources of livelihood and successfully derailed their sinister designs of land capture and natural resources across the country through Special Economic Zones (SEZs). There is a growing resistance to the attempts to make India a strategic partner of the US. If the governments are getting in hand and glove with the corporations then we, the people's movements, unions of working people, workers, have also fought hard for our rights, sovereignty and dignity. Our movements in the last few years have grown enormously, and though rooted in national struggles and local realities have had global dimensions. We have struggled together against the sinister designs of the imperialist forces in West Asia and expressed solidarity in the struggles for democracy, peace and autonomy in Burma, Palestine and Iraq. We have told and shown to the world that's its possible to ACT LOCALLY TO CHANGE GLOBALLY!

The World Social forum is an important part of this movement. Peoples' movements everywhere have received a fillip from the World Social Forum process since 2001 in Porto Alegre, through London, Florence, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Karachi, Caracas, Delhi, Nairobi and many other places all over the globe. The WSF 2004 which was held in Mumbai, India became a rallying point for Indian movements and has been a landmark in the history of the World Social Forum.

WSF 2004 in India brought forth the participation of grassroots activists drawn from the peoples directly affected by imperialist globalisation. In India, the WSF process led to building solidarity between movements at a national and international level. The Indian process and has led, amongst many organisations, to a very vibrant and dynamic process of mutual learning, understanding and coalition building. The slogan "ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE!" inspired movements across the country. The mobilisations happened from a cross section of society - youth, workers, women, adivasis and dalits. Issues of Imperialist globalisation, Militarism and peace, Communalism, religious fanaticism and sectarian violence, Racism, casteism, work and descent-based exclusions and discrimination and Patriarchy were debated, strategies worked out, networks created.

WSF 2008 is going to be an international Global Day of Action and Mobilisation on 26 January 2008, when the global corporations and business elite, meet in Davos, Switzerland. This would consist of small decentralized and simultaneous activities conducted regionally and/or locally all across the world. A website will have a map on which organisations across the world will announce their various actions, for the information of everyone else.

In Australia, South East Asia, Russia, Europe, Africa, the Latin American countries, USA, Pakistan, actions are being planned on the global Day of action. A world press conference at exactly 12 noon will be organised in every part of the world, a few days before the global day of action. The first conference will, therefore, be in New Zealand, and Australia, followed by the South Eastern countries, rest of Asia, and so on as the earth rotates.

All over the world people across nations and boundaries will rise up on January 26th in a coordinated global day of action against the war, militarization, violence, corporate onslaught of the capitalist forces to convey ENOUGH IS ENOUGH . The Global Assembly of Social Movements has supported the call. So have many other networks in different continents. We in India have to be part of this huge global action. In India the call is for 26th as well as 27th , since 26th is India's Republic Day.

Today also we face a harsh attack on all fronts - be it labour flexibility, job-loss, displacement of poor people, decline in real wages, starvation deaths and workers suicides affecting all categories of working people – be they in agriculture, forest based work, construction, mining, fishing, manufacture, public service, self-employment, and all other diverse forms of employment and livelihood. But our resolve to resist and these capitalist forces has not diminished and gained strength from our collective struggles.

These offensives have only strengthened our resolve against the global march of capital and say it aloud that ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE ! The resistance to the capitalist offensive is also growing. The last few years have witnessed the emergence of progressive governments in Latin America and heroic resistance to imperialism in West Asia.

What Can We Do?

The Global Days of Action on 26-27th is neither the beginning nor the end of our struggles. It's a landmark effort at establishing solidarity all across the world on one day, one time and to tell the capitalist – imperialist forces that their days are numbered. No action is small, everything counts in this struggle for creation of another world of hope and of our collective dreams based on Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for humanity:

There is no end to our imaginations and we can think of our own ways to express and be a part of this global action on January 26/27th. Whatever we do, let everybody - comrades and fellow beings elsewhere in the country or worldwide - know. Let us reach out our messages through our various communication means - posters, leaflets, local mobilisations, songs, dance, theatre, kala jathas, films, press conferences, radio, television, internet and anything else.

And please send us the information or directly write to / For more information on the Global Day of Action in all parts of the world please see the website : / .

WSF India Mobilising Committee

WSF India Office 14/187 Lower Ground Floor, Malviya Nagar, Shivalik Road,
Adjacent to Sunil Hospital New Delhi-110017 INDIA Telephone: +0091 11 26674123

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Friday, December 14, 2007

A Book for "the Holidays"

Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB) is selling copies of The Speed of Dreams, a collection of Zapatista writings from 2001 to 2007, to help spread Zapatismo and to raise funds to continue their transnational struggle. If you buy the book directly from MJB, 50% of the proceeds go towards their fight for justice. You can order copies by sending them an email at MJB also has Zapatista calendars from Spain available at $15 a pop. The one catch is that you'll need to be able to pick the books and calendars up in Manhattan! If you can't make it out here, you can at least order the book from City Lights Press at the link above.

You can also make a donation directly to MJB by going here!

Other than giving money to MJB, another reason why I'm excited about this book, which is the follow-up to Our Word is Our Weapon, is that The Speed of Dreams was edited by Canek Peña-Vargas, a member of Regeneración Childcare NYC! Although we've lost him to his hometown of LA (sniff, sniff), his art will live on with us, it is featured not only on Regeneración shirts and website, but also on our just self-published and beautifully bound collection of reflections from the US Social Forum...So we have plenty to remind us of Canek now, not just this new collection of "indigenous myths and legends, visions of the future of Mexico, searing critiques of the U.S. war in Iraq, and clandestine radio broadcasts from the jungles of Chiapas."

And if you can't pick up a copy of The Speed of Dreams beforehand, you can get one at MJB's Book Launch Event on January 27th (UPDATE: This event has been CANCELLED. The movie will be screened later in the year...) where they will also give a New York City premiere screening of "A Very Big Train Called the Other Campaign.” The film follows preparatory meetings between Zapatista indigenous communities and Mexican civil society and the launching of the national tour that took place as part of the first stage of the national Mexican movement called the Other Campaign. The book launch and movie premiere is at St. Mark's Church on Sunday, January 27th, 2008 at 6p, see you there!

Read More!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


UPDATE Mar 3 '08: Slingshot Hip Hop is having its NYC premiere on April 5th and 6th as part of the MoMA's New Directors/New Films Exhibition... tickets go on sale March 7th!

UPDATE Jan 29 '08: Check out the round-up of Slingshot Hip Hop at Sundance above

UPDATE Jan 10 '08: All 4 of Slingshot's Park City screenings at Sundance are sold out...and the festival doesn't start for another week!

Zapagringo's gonna be on hold for a sec as we all slip into high gear getting our housemate's film Slingshot Hip Hop ready to have its world premiere in Sundance Film Festival's 2008 Documentary Competition!!! This is a huge opportunity for Palestinian voices to be heard -- please consider donating to the film and spreading the word.

No worries either, Zapagringo will be back in effect soon enough...with more Palestine/Mexico connections and even a joint zine with my homegirl from The Butch Caucus, you can peep our last collabo here :-)

Slingshot Hip Hop
a film by

Jackie Reem Salloum




Slingshot Hip Hop, the first feature-length film from Palestine's emerging hip hop scene, is unlike anything else you've seen on contemporary life in Palestine and Israel and has the potential to reach and raise the consciousness of millions of people around the world.

THE SLINGSHOT HIP HOP CREW is for those grassroots SUPPORTERS WHO CAN DONATE OR RAISE AT LEAST $500 between now and the world premiere of Slingshot Hip Hop on January 18th, 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival!

Each penny you donate or raise will go directly towards graphics and final production costs, legal fees, promotional materials, and to bring the rappers from Palestine out to Utah to represent themselves at Sundance.

Whether through soliciting donations from friends and family, or by organizing a fundraising party, or through a courageous donation of your own:
Every person that raises $500 or more during this drive will receive Slingshot Hip Hop gear SIGNED BY ALL THE PALESTINIAN RAPPERS WHO WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE AT SUNDANCE!!!


Contact us at

ALSO: A BIG THANK YOU to the dozens of people who donated over the past week and a half to help us meet our matching funds goal! Thanks to you we are moving confidently towards a successful world premiere on January 18th, 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival AND WE NEED TO KEEP PUSHING!


Thank you for joining us in completing this groundbreaking and powerful project!

The Slingshot Hip Hop Fundraising Team

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rebel Imports

I struggle every year to make the most of all these really wack holidays. Thankfully, friends like Rebel Imports help me turn the whole consumerist affair into an educational and solidaritous activity --> check out their pitch below and support the Zapatista and Palestinian struggles this "holiday season."

And on this National Day of Mourning, let us take heart in the fact that two adherents to the Zapatistas' Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB) and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), are taking the struggle back to where it came from: England. Yesterday, Anti-Slavery International presented the CIW with their 2007 Anti-Slavery Award. You can check out CIW's exploration of London and slavery here. And in the year to come, MJB will be traveling across the Atlantic to confront East Harlem's most powerful gentrifier, the London-based investment bank Dawnay, Day.

ALSO, for those in NYC!:

--> Come to Carlitos Café on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH for their closing celebration featuring DJ Liberation sound, Camrade Chris and MC Zuzuka Poderosa who is coming all the way from Brazil. For those that don't know, Carlitos Café and Gallery has been an important pro-Zapatista space in East Harlem since opening its doors in 2003...come out, celebrate, party, and buy some crafts to support the SAVE CARLITOS campaign to find another space.

--> (UPDATE: This event has been CANCELLED. The movie will screen later in the year...) Mark your calendars for SUNDAY, JANUARY 27TH, 2008, when Movement for Justice in El Barrio will be hosting the New York City Premiere of "A Very Big Train Called the Other Campaign," at St. Mark's Church starting at 6p. You can also make a donation to them directly by going here.

Saludos Rebeldes from Rebel Imports!

It's that time of year again, when just about everyone you know expects presents and you find yourself asking, "What do I get for that hard-to-shop-for revolutionary anti-capitalist in my life?" Lucky for you, now you can buy Zapatista-made jewelry, textiles, coffee, and more at

Who we are

Rebel Imports is a volunteer-run organization that aims to build sustainable fair markets for artisans and farmers, especially those in conflict zones or with connections to social movements. Zapatista women told us that more than charity, they want dignity and fair prices for their artesania... so Rebel Imports was born.

New products

The Xulum Chon cooperative's popular EZLN Book Bags are available in new, fabulous colors like dark blue, purple, orange, and gray.

We've added a lot of exciting clothing, like Nichim Rosa's embroidered skirts, Xulum Chon's embroidered pants, and t-shirts in two designs, Sowing Dignity and Bike Revolution, from Colectivos de Apoyo, Solidaridad, y Accion (CASA, formerly the Chiapas Peace House). Check back soon for new shirts from the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Secondary School teacher’s collective--they're on their way!

We now have Narco News' first book, Nancy Davies' The People Decide: Oaxaca's Popular Assembly.

We sold out of the Magdalenas de la Paz Collective's ironwork last year, so this year we stocked up on their keychains, hooks (which make great curtain rod holders), and decorative wall hangings. Same goes for the textiles produced by the women in the collective--last year we couldn't keep their intricately-woven change purses and tote bags in stock!

Everyone loves Zapatista coffee--in addition to being addictive, it's delicious. For the tea drinkers in your life, Mut Vitz also makes raw coffee flower honey.

Palestinian extra virgin organic olive oil is back! This will be your last chance to get it in the heirloom flip-top glass bottles, while supplies last.

Happy holidays from Rebel Imports!

En solidaridad,
Rebel Imports / Importaciones Rebeldes

Rebel Imports is a member of the ZapaRed Zapatista Network, a network of networks north of the Rio Grande.
Importaciones Rebeldes es miembro de la ZapaRed, una red de redes al norte del Rio Bravo en solidaridad con la lucha zapatista.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Maori and the Zapatistas

Maori freedom fighter Tame Iti is out on bail

Members of the Maori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa (known to many by its colonial name "New Zealand"), were amongst those who founded the Zapatista-inspired Peoples' Global Action network (PGA) in 1998. A month ago, under New Zealand's 2002 Terrorism Suppression Act, over 300 police raided houses across the country seeking up to 60 activists in Aotearoa's Tino Rangatiratanga, peace and environmental movements. Among the 17 people arrested in the sweeps were some of these same founding PGA members, along with current Zapatista solidarity activists. With these networks of solidarity in place, though, a massive response came from all over the world denouncing the raids and arrests...and the terrorism charges were dropped.

Here is a recent film featuring Tame Iti, one of the arrestees, and below is a piece by regional PGA convenors "Aotearoa Educators" from 2001....

Neo-Liberalism and the Tino Rangatiratanga Movement

Eight thousand dollars! Eight thousand fuckin' dollars!
That's what I owe the Government to learn my own language...
the language they stole from my parents!
- a Maori student on the student loans scheme


"...what the Right offers is to turn the world into one big mall where they can buy Indians here, women there ..."
- Subcomandante Marcos 1996

PEC, GATT, MAI, NAFTA, WTO, IMF, globalisation, privatisation, neo-liberalism, neo-colonisation...I am trying to resist giving you definition upon definition of these neo-liberal acronyms, -ations and -isms that have been bombarding the world since it took this new liberal economic spin and trying to focus on what this all means for Tino Rangatiratanga.

When I talk about globalisation I'm not talking about the "global village" where we are all holding hands in a virtual cyber-world contemplating the assassination of JFK (for the record I think it was Kevin Costner) for, sure, there are some benefits to globally becoming more politically and socially interdependent. Instead, the globalisation that I'll be ranting on is just one type of globalisation called neo-liberal globalisation, nicely explained by Renato Ruggerio, ex-Head-Goon of the World Trade Organisation, when he said: "We are creating a single global economy". This notion of a single global economy is underpinned by an economic theory called neo-liberalism. To kick off, I guess we need some kind of definition of what neo-liberalism is. So instead of hiring a neo-liberal economist to define for us what neo-liberalism is (they're all sucking up to Mike Moore for a job at the WTO) and to keep it quick I'm going to paraphrase a few basic points that I nicked off the net.

Basically "neo" means new. "Liberalism" comes from the liberal school of economics which became famous in 18th century Europe when Adam Smith, an English economist, along with others advocated the abolition of government intervention in economic matters. No restrictions on manufacturing, no barriers to commerce, no tariffs, he said; free trade was the best way for a nation's economy to develop. Human beings are rationally economic units and the free market is a rationally operating framework within which perfect competition exists. Such ideas were "liberal" in the sense of no controls. This application of individualism encouraged "free" enterprise, "free" competition - which came to mean free for the capitalists to make huge profits as they wished.

Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the nasty WTO (World Trade Organisation). This new form of global capitalism is dangerous. The popular concept of nation-states exercising sovereignty on behalf of the national interest and of the interests of the various groups residing within their borders is being heavily challenged by the locating of economic power within transnational corporations whose wealth exceeds that of many countries. The architects and beneficiaries of this global capitalist order are powerful businessmen, heads of transnational corporations who also sit in powerful positions of influence within powerful governments.


"Ka whawhai tonu matou ake ake ake" (We will fight on forever, ever and ever)
- Rewi Maniapoto 1864

Maori have a long tradition of struggle and resistance against colonisation and the Crown sponsored theft of Maori land and resources. This tradition is rooted in conflicts over the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori resistance in the "Land Wars", inspired by the prophet warriors Titokowaru and Te Kooti Arikirangi, the philosophies of Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi, the strategies of the Kingitanga, the resilience of Rua Kenana, the foresight of Ratana, and those countless ancestors whose blood soaks this land.

In the modern context this tradition has been held up by new groups and individuals such as Nga Tamatoa, WAC (Waitangi Action Committee), Te Kawariki, Black Women, Te mana motuhake o Tuhoe, Te Kawau Maro (the list goes on and on) who in turn drove and were inspired by such events as the occupations of Bastion Point (Takaparawha), the Land March and the countless marches on Waitangi, resistance to the infamous fiscal envelope and the occupations it set off (Pakaitore, Takahue, etc.), the establishment of the Tuhoe Embassy, the occupations at Waikaremoana, and resistance to the MAI and Singapore FTA. The tradition of struggle has become the Tino Rangatiratanga movement.

There are many different meanings for Tino Rangatiratanga and the concept itself is part of a rich and ongoing debate in Maori society. The word "tino" is an intensifier and the word "rangatiratanga" broadly speaking relates to the exercise of "chieftainship". Its closest English translation is self-determination - although many also refer to it as "absolute sovereignty" or Maori independence. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Maori have with Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous people for self determination.


"...its just a different version of the same old cavalry"
- a Native American Activist

Understanding the impact of globalisation on indigenous peoples can be best explained in terms of colonisation (for this indigenous person at least!). The first wave of colonisation was undertaken by colonial powers such as Britain, France, Portugal, Spain and Holland. They were caught up in the development of a new capitalist system which was expanding on a global scale in search of new sources of raw materials, cheap labour (either slave or indentured labour) and new markets for the goods produced by capitalists at the centre of the empire. The second wave of colonisation and capitalist expansion has been pushed by transnational companies and corporates supported and regulated by international mafia rackets like the WTO, World Bank and IMF. So in the same way that the colonisation of Aotearoa was a part of a global process of capitalist expansion based on the destruction of the territorial and cultural integrity of the indigenous populations, neo-liberal globalisation is that same process carried out by transnational corporations and neo-liberal institutions, but this time it will impact upon the indigenous and non-indigenous alike.

For indigenous peoples struggling for liberation this means there are two waves of colonisation to fight. The first wave of colonisation has left the indigenous amongst the most disenfranchised, disempowered and dispossessed groups on the planet. This is well documented. The object of deliberate genocide, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of indigenous people have died during our time in the struggle to retain the right to live on and care for their territories to which they not only depend for survival but also have ancient, deeply-held spiritual and genealogical connections.

Not surprisingly, in this context the "fiscal envelope" and the fiasco around the Sealords deal was not about restitution for unjust deeds done to Maori but rather a shoddy attempt to get rid of any semblance of Treaty rights that Maori had in lands, fisheries, rivers, so that New Zealand could waltz into the "free" market. After all any economic resource (land or otherwise) is very commercially unattractive when it seems that another party may actually own it! What silly hua would buy it? Of course, this didn't stop some Maori who, like their buddies in big business, wanted to become global players in this "free" market. So by cashing in on the momentum created by Tino Rangatiratanga advocates, this Maori elite cashed in generations of Maori for only a small fraction of what the land, fisheries and other resources were worth (and for some Maori assigning a monetary value to Papatuanuku or Tangaroa is obscene).

These "corporate warriors" (truly the funniest thing since the chicken crossed the road) monkeyed the Pakeha capitalists which led them to turn tribes into corporate companies (for our benefit we're told - but not with our permission!). All of this was done without mandate and in real dodgy ways. The settlements that they sought saw the gains and successes achieved by those who fought the first wave of colonization negotiated, cashed up and wiped away. The settled amounts they got from the Government are minuscule and will only end up benefiting a small sector of Maori society, the elites in Maori society.

Maori nationalism alone is not enough any more to win the struggle against the continued alienation of our lands, language and culture. We need to be internationalists. Unfortunately, not all Maori are part of this kaupapa. These corporate warriors and tribal capitalists have been pursuing the expansion of their own asset bases, and enriching themselves at the expense of the vast majority of Maori. They have a self interest in neo-liberal globalisation, and they share the profit-seeking mentality that characterises the multi-national companies. The struggle of ordinary Maori for Tino Rangatiratanga is also the struggle against these tribal capitalists.

We do not want your charity, we do not want your loans. Those in the North have to understand our struggle and to realise it is also part of their own. Everywhere the rich are getting richer, the poor poorer, and the environment is being plundered. Whether in the North or South, we face the same future... Globalisation should mean we want to globalise human society, not business. Life is not business.
- A farmer from Karnataka, India

The same year (1994) the NZ government launched its neo-liberal attempt to kill off indigenous rights via the "fiscal envelope," the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, and two thousand indigenous people from several groups came out from the mountains and forests. Masked, armed and calling themselves Zapatistas, their battle cry was "Ya Basta" - "Enough is Enough". These masked rebels were not only demanding like us that their own land and lives be given back; they were talking about neo-liberalism, about the "death sentence" that NAFTA and other free trade agreements would impose on indigenous people. They were demanding the dissolution of power while encouraging others all over the world to take on the fight against the enclosure of our lives by capital. "Don't join us - do it yourself" was their message.

Working and networking with others does not mean that we give up our own autonomy and sovereignty (get off the grass!). Rebuilding our tikanga, iwitanga and haputanga is no one's business but ours! (Self-determination is about us determining ourselves). It's about recognising that we are not the only people facing neo-liberal globalisation and that it will manifest itself in the context of numerous diverse societies. Being able to share and exchange experiences and strategies and build upon common strategies is what internationalism is about. It's about recognising that Maori society doesn't exist in its own societal cocoon but rather that a commonality of struggle exists with other peoples, movements, and groups across the globe. The mobilisations against the MAI (the Multilateral Agreement on Investment) are a good example of how Maori have networked, worked, and struggled as part of an international dynamic. Wahine Maori led the charge to end the MAI negotiations here in Aotearoa, stopping it in its tracks.

The key message here is to act locally while thinking globally, recognising that there are numerous other groups fighting the same issues. It's all about getting active and doing it for ourselves.

See you on the streets!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Organizing Against Repression

Nearly five months have passed since the Other Campaign held its National Forum Against Repression. With everything that continues to unfold, from Plan Mexico to the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" and New Zealand's attack on the Maori (among them former convenors of the Zapatista-inspired Peoples' Global Action network and current Zapatista solidarity activists), the relevance of the ideas shared that Forum has only increased.

In many cases the responses of our networks seem to be pretty successful, such as the recent release of imprisoned Kuna (another former Peoples' Global Action convenor) in Panama due to outside pressure, and some are still in motion, such as the campaign to defend the Zapatista communities currently being carried out by Vía Campesina and other groups and networks throughout Mexico and the World.

As the Other Campaign in the Forum recognized the connections between the forms of control being forced upon the people of Iraq and those forms being imported into Mexico from the US, it seemed to me that translating this proposal into English may be useful to a wider audience as well...

Organizational Proposal of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation for the National Instancia Against Repression
delivered by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos on June 10, 2007
at the Other Campaign's National Forum Against Repression

It’s name could be the National Forum Against Repression, or the National Coordinator Against Repression, or the National Front Against Repression. With regards to the name, we will not favor any one of those proposed or of those that have been thrown out at this meeting. We only say that the name is something that will gain its place and its legitimacy in the actions that it takes.

This national instancia should include, we think, in addition to those that govern our movement of the Other Campaign, at least the following PRINCIPLES:

1. INCLUSIVE IN ITS DEMANDS: To assume a political position of solidarity with all the prisoners, disappeared, exiled and deported, even though we do not work directly with all, that is to say, whether or not they are part of the Other Campaign. To denounce and to mobilize against the repression or threat of repression that exists anywhere in our country, even when it does not affect adherents to the Other Campaign.

2. INDEPENDENTLY SUSTAINED: To maintain this fight with dignity, maintaining no bonds with the electoral parties, groups related to them or with electoral pretensions, neither with groupings of power whether they be syndicates, states, social or business mafias.

3. HONEST IN ITS WORK: To not supplant the prisoners, disappeared and exiled as their spokespeople, to not benefit politically or economically from the prisoners. To not conditionalize solidarity based on political, ideological or organizational affinities.

4. DIRECT IN ITS RELATIONS: To seek direct links with the prisoners, the exiled, and the relatives of those disappeared in the fight for freedom, with the people and movements who are victims of repression, and with those that face threats, persecution and exile; including them in the thinking, actions, and decisions of the national instancia against repression.

5. FOCUSED ON ITS PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: Theoretical discussion, debate and sharing political analyses and reflections are necessary and important, but the instancia (FNCR, or CNCR, or FNCR, or whatever it is called) has to define the places and times for these questions, so that they do not impede our joint actions against repression.

6. NATIONAL: and not focused on one city, region, movement or organization. Constructed from below, from each locality and each region.

7. HORIZONTAL AND PARTICIPATORY. That it is not entrusted to the “specialists”; that a management does not form, however collective it may be or seem to be; that we do not permit the division between those that give orders and make declarations on one hand, and those that work and make activism on the other. That it be, then, a space of encuentro, a network of organizations and actions, truly national, against repression.

8. WITH HISTORICAL MEMORY: That it recuperates and documents the experiences that have occurred in our country in this struggle, as well as the current affairs of its demands. And I am thinking of Mamá Corral, of Juárez City, Chihuahua, who, along with many other relatives of the disappeared, continue in the struggle for the presentation with life of their loved ones. That the recovery of our history, that is to say, of our memory, be from all the localities and from where it happened and happens, is something essential for all of us. And here I want to point out the privilege that we have to count on and see at our side the Union of Mothers with Disappeared Children of Sinaloa and the Committee of Mothers of the Political Disappeared of Chihuahua.

In addition to the principles, the OBJECTIVES should be clear (and I return to the reflections of those that convoked this Forum and others who joined it with their proposals).







The principles and objectives are what will give identity and direction to this national instancia against repression.

And, with identity and direction, we are able to specify a plan of action.




For this we propose that, following the experiences of the work of the Other Campaign in each place it's been carried out, stable and constant working groups form (note: not bureaucracies) in order to respond, when needed, to....

1. The repression in each locality, region, zone.
2. Solidarity with the others.
3. Take propagandistic measures of prevention.

That they are a bridge, a permanent one, of support and solidarity between the victims of the repression, across the national instancia.



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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Brad Will in Context

a new memorial for Brad Will in Oaxaca city (photo: Katie Orlinsky)

With the one year anniversary of his murder here, Brad Will is back in the media... mostly thanks to the efforts of John Ross. His parents and other family members, and some of his close friends, are the ones not letting the case rest, though. On Saturday I attended a memorial for Brad organized by them at St. Mark's Church in Manhattan's East Village. The request was that I speak to the context in Oaxaca surrounding Brad's death. After hearing how hard his parents and others are struggling to bring some sort of justice to Brad's case, I took it a bit further than that...

Brad Will in Context
on the one year anniversary of his murder in oaxaca
Delivered at his memorial on October 27, 2007
St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery

Hi everyone. I'm RJ Maccani and I was asked to come and share a bit of the context in Oaxaca surrounding the murder of Brad Will. I'm very grateful that I've been invited to speak to all of you today, so many of Brad's family members and close friends. I'm going to put Brad Will not only within the context of what was going on in Oaxaca at the time of his murder, but also within a longer context of what is going on on this continent, and connect it back to New York City as well.

I knew Brad for several years. While I was in Oaxaca at the beginning of 2006 reporting for Narco News on the Other Campaign, I was reading dispatches from Brad who was in the Yucatán Peninsula reporting on... the Other Campaign. The Other Campaign is a new national movement to transform Mexico "from below and to the left," meaning a movement where the poor and working people of Mexico reclaim their right to live and to control their lives, to govern themselves without the deeply corrupted political class. This was an aspiration that Brad, living as he did in the USA, could relate to.

Indeed, it was presidential election time in Mexico when Brad arrived at the beginning of 2006 and the most popular candidate - the one who was expected to win and, so it seems, did win the most votes - was a guy named Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a candidate who said he was on the left and would solve the problems of the poor. This supposed "candidate of the left", Obrador, was the Mayor of Mexico City and during his tenure contracted the active support of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani - a leftist if there ever was one - to help him manage the city. Brad Will had spent many years defending squats, community gardens, and Reclaiming the Streets during that brutal period of "Giuliani Time" here in NYC. Brad came to Mexico to cover the Other Campaign, a movement that was against this friend of Giuliani and for direct, participatory democracy.

So it's no surprise that when the annual teacher's strike in Oaxaca exploded into a months-long experience of self-rule in June of that same year, Brad would again take notice. One of the reasons Brad said he wanted to go to Oaxaca was because he wanted "to be part of a revolution." In these times, that is quite understandable and commendable.

I want to place Brad in a much deeper context. Brad Will is part of a legacy that goes back over 500 years on these lands. Brad was inspired to go to Oaxaca by the authentic democracy he witnessed being practiced by the original inhabitants of those lands. You don't hear much about it, but the pilgrims and puritans were also running off in droves to join the "Indians." The Boston Tea Party and the US Constitution were inspired by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. You don't hear about that much and it's not really taught in schools yet, but it's that same story that Brad traveled to Oaxaca to tell.

So what was the context in Oaxaca when Brad arrived there? As I mentioned earlier, Oaxaca City and many other parts of the state were under direct control of the people. Police had been kicked out of the city for months and crime had gone down. The many different peoples who make up Oaxaca had already had alot of practice, or at least the memory, of running things themselves. Hundreds of municipalities still elect their representatives and run their lands through popular assembly. In June of 2006 they were rising up against decades of despotic, one party rule that was pushing them off of their land and into sweatshops. This uprising against tyranny and this example of a more authentic democracy is the story Brad went to Oaxaca to tell.

Arriving in Oaxaca City in October of last year was to enter a tinderbox. Paramilitary attacks were being undertaken against the movement throughout the city. Brad took up with members of the "Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magón", or "CIPO," in their neighborhood of Santa Lucia del Camino. This was a tough thing to do. Anyone who had spent any time with the social movements in Oaxaca City - before or after the uprising - could tell you that Santa Lucia del Camino was also crawling with paramilitaries.

Rather than crawl under their beds and hide, the people of Oaxaca City - including the residents of Santa Lucia del Camino - went out in their streets and set up blockades to directly stop the paramilitaries who were roaming their streets, kidnapping and killing their family and friends. It was at a barricade in Santa Lucia del Camino where Bradley Roland Will, working as an Indymedia journalist, was shot and killed.

As has already been mentioned, the three most likely suspects in Brad's murder, the ones who were photographed firing guns on the barricade: Police Officer Juan Carlos Soriano, City Personnel Director Manuel Aguilar, and Public Safety Chief Avel Santiago Zárate, are still free, never even having been interrogated.

These men were arrested, never interrogated, and let go
photograph published in El Universal

Why is everyone in power doing everything they can to avoid addressing the October 27, 2006 murder of Brad Will? The murders of Emilio Alfonso Fabián and Eudocia Olivera Díaz that same day? All the murders and disappearances in Oaxaca? Well, I think you can answer that question yourselves.

So what now? As I'm sure all of us here know, Brad loved Halloween. So it's only fitting that we remember Brad, and honor his memory, as this time of the year rolls around. As you also know, it will soon be Mexico's Day of the Dead as well... and you can be sure that the name Bradley Roland Will will be among those honored throughout Mexico this year, just as it was last year. So in honoring Brad, let us also honor all who have fallen and all who live and continue to carry on the long journey towards freedom.

It has been a year since Brad was murdered. The struggle continues in Oaxaca. I sincerely hope that you will all come back here to St. Mark's Church on Thursday to see the New York City premier of Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad - "A Little Bit of So Much Truth" - the best film yet on the recent happenings in Oaxaca... and Brad is of course a part of the story told. And what a better way to learn more about the context in Oaxaca during Brad's time there than to see a film that not only documents the same struggle against tyranny and for authentic democracy that Brad went to Oaxaca to cover, but that does it through the lens of the alternative medias employed by that same struggle?

And the Other Campaign that Brad covered eight months prior to coming to Oaxaca also continues throughout Mexico and here in the USA as well: from Movement for Justice in El Barrio's struggle against gentrification in East Harlem to this month's Gathering of Indigenous Peoples of América. And the powerful are continuing their plans as well: the Security and Prosperity Partnership - think NAFTA combined with the War on Terror - and Plan Mexico [Mérida Initative]. So not only is Mexico suffering under the dumping of subsidized US corn through NAFTA, which undermines local producers and forces them into multinational sweatshops, but now they could be faced with a hyper-militarized War on Drugs program that will, just as in Colombia, only strengthen the narco-traffickers hold on power.

So let's respond to the cynical and brutal plans of those in power with some plans of our own. What about a "Plan Turtle Island?"

Let us honor Brad Will by joining in that long tradition here of which he was a part. Let's join with the original inhabitants of these lands, and with everyone else in struggle, to fight together for authentic freedom.

That's all. Thank you.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Zapatismo in Spanish Harlem

Zapatismo in Spanish Harlem

The Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Inspired by the Zapatista Other Campaign, Brings New Yorkers Together to Fight Gentrification
By RJ Maccani
Originally appears at The Narco News Bulletin
en español aqui
Find their reportback on the encuentro here

An echo that turns itself into many voices, into a network of voices that, before the deafness of the Power, opts to speak to itself, knowing itself to be one and many, acknowledging itself to be equal in its desire to listen and be listened to, recognizing itself as different in the tonalities and levels of voices forming it. A network of voices that resist the war that the Power wages on them.
- excerpt from the Zapatistas' Second Declaration of La Realidad
Over thirteen years since their famed uprising in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, the Zapatistas’ words continue to reverberate throughout the world. Last Sunday, October 21, they echoed from East Harlem and throughout New York City at the first ever “NYC Encuentro for Humanity and Against Gentrification.”

Billed by hosts Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB) as “…a way of sharing developed by the Zapatistas as another form of doing politics: from below and to the left,” at least 15 different organizations working against gentrification from throughout the city in addition to observers from groups based in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania came to MJB’s East Harlem seeking to create “…a place where we can all speak, we will all listen, and we can all learn.”

The result was a multi-lingual and multi-media evening of sharing hope and resistance in the struggle against gentrification. A key element of the encuentro was a fish-bowl style innovation on the typical panel presentation wherein five of the participating organizations rotated in responding to various themes while the other hundred or so in attendance listened. Similar in style to gatherings of the Other Campaign, MJB laid out the four stage flow of the discussion passing from “Who we are” to “Conditions we face and root causes” to “Our forms of struggle” and concluding with “Sharing our dreams.”

Many Struggles (and Some Common Enemies)

“We are fighting the landlords and a government who have no heart,” began Bin Liang, an elder member of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, which has been organizing "across diverse, low-wage, and poor Asian communities in New York City for over 20 years." With translation from CAAAV’s Chinatown Justice Project organizer, Helena Wong, Liang went on to describe how landlords will leave them without heat or hot water during the winter in apartments where ceilings collapse. In one case, a hole was left in the ceiling such that “the people living in the fourth floor apartment could watch us using the bathroom in our third floor apartment.”

Desiree, Jay, and X from FIERCE!, a community organization for Queer youth of color in New York City, followed with a look at their continued struggle over Pier 45, commonly known as the Christopher Street Pier, on the coast of Manhattan’s Far West Village. A decades-long common gathering point for queer youth of color from throughout the city and beyond, the Hudson River Piers have increasingly become sites of police harassment for FIERCE!’s members as “revitilization plans” are pursued by the city and private developers.

The next two participating groups were The Union of New York Tenants (UNYTE), a city-wide tenants empowerment group, and the SRO Law Project, which provides free legal services and organizing assistance to some of the most vulnerable tenants in the city. “SRO” refers to the single room occupancy buildings that house tenants who usually earn less than $10,000 a year, paying over half of that in rent and sharing a bathroom and kitchen with other residents. Matt Wade, an organizer with the SRO Law Project, reported that over four-fifths, or 100,000 units, of SRO housing in the city has been lost in the last decade to real estate developers who have been aided by the city’s politicians.

Indeed, every participant in the dialogue spoke to the problem of collusion between the city’s politicians and capitalist developers. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) was a common site of struggle. Concluding each go around with a different member, MJB’s Oscar Dominguez spoke to the way that “HPD plays favorites with the rich landlords, the city allows them to come into El Barrio to establish luxury restaurants and stores while kicking out the street vendors and community-run stores.”

Strategic Convergence

As the dialogue continued, the places where struggles overlapped and could complement each other began to come into view. Rob Hollander, an organizer with UNYTE who lives on the Lower East Side, signaled that luxury hotel development on the Bowery, one of Manhattan’s last true north/south running streets, will spell doom for the immigrant communities of his neighborhood as well as for those of Little Italy and Chinatown: “Immigrants are being pushed out by people with money and it is changing the color of our neighborhoods. It is changing what is beautiful about New York.” CAAAV’s Bin Liang followed up on this to point out that her landlord had a hand in gentrifying Harlem before moving on to Chinatown.

After announcing many of their recent victories in the struggle over Pier 45, FIERCE! named Pier 40 as another site of struggle now that a $700 million development plan dubbed “Vegas on the Hudson” is underway. The Hudson River Park Trust is currently in the process of reviewing proposals to create what will likely be a massive, Vegas-style complex, not only erasing some of the last open space in the city but also radically altering much of the surrounding neighborhood. As with the development at Pier 45 and wherever gentrification takes place, the FIERCE! youth are anticipating greater harassment of queer youth of color as police seek to appease the area’s increasingly wealthy clientele. In a move that could benefit those in struggle throughout the city, FIERCE! announced their participation in the launch of a city-wide Cop Watch movement as part of the People's Justice Coalition.

From tenant associations and rent strikes to press conferences and lawsuits, the groups struggling against gentrification in New York City not only share common enemies, but also a wide range of common tactics. One aspect that stood out was MJB’s approach, similar to that of the rest of their compañeros in the Other Campaign, to democracy and politicians: “We represent ourselves,” remarked MJB member Victor Caletre, “each of the 23 buildings we work in has its own tenant association that decides what they will do and how they will choose to struggle. And the rest of the organization supports their decision…It’s not only an organization that is struggling, but a community, and that community has the right to decide.” With this in mind, MJB recently carried out a Consulta del Barrio in which they consulted residents in East Harlem in order “to hear from people about where we should direct our next struggle.”

MJB has undertaken this community consultation while at the same time deligitimizing their City Council Representative, Melissa Mark-Viverito. Caletre announced at the Encuentro that not only did Mark-Viverito give herself a raise (increasing her salary to $112,000 a year while representing a neighborhood where nearly 40% of its residents live below the poverty line), but she has also attempted to buy him off. Apparently two young men visited him at his apartment recently to offer him a position with the city, under the condition that he stop working with MJB!

A First Step

Through employing many different forms of presentation, and patient translation, the Encuentro succeeded in working across barriers of language (Spanish, English, and Chinese), culture, and age. The fish-bowl style dialogue portion of the Encuentro concluded with a rousing gentrification-themed play and series of group songs led by Brooklyn-based members of Make the Road New York. This was followed by two videos, one from CAAAV depicting a moment in their victorious campaign against a landlord on Delancey Street and one by MJB from their first “Mega-March” to confront East Harlem’s three worst landlords, as well as HPD and, of course, Councilmember Mark-Viverito.

The presentations concluded just as they had opened, with a video of the Zapatistas. The gathering opened with footage of EZLN Major Ana Laura speaking at the First Intercontinental Gathering for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism and it closed with the Zapatistas retaking their land from the Mexican military. The entire event closed with a horde of kids taking their turns hitting the neoliberal gentrification piñata.

The NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Gentrification was a new first step in bringing together struggles against gentrification. As MJB’s Oscar Dominguez pointed out, “It is not just the landlords that we are against, but the interests behind the landlords. Our common enemy is neoliberalism.” Helena Wong, of CAAAV, shared this sentiment, remarking, “The connections are close. The money driving gentrification in the USA is coming from all over the world.” It is no surprise then that the Encuentro received support from the Right to the City Alliance, composed of groups struggling against gentrification all over the U.S., and the International Alliance of Inhabitants, a world-wide network seeking to make connections across borders for adequate housing and livable cities.

MJB is already following up on the gathering. They held an evaluation meeting with their membership on Tuesday and will soon be seeking feedback from all attending organizations. If the early reports are any sign, there will be much enthusiasm for future collaboration. Checking in with members of CAAAV after the Encuentro, Liang remarked to me, “I’m really happy that we were able to come together and are all enthusiastic about fighting capitalism.”

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Vícam Declaration

Reports from the Encuentro of the Indigenous People of América are still coming in. I was hoping to share with you an English version of the Encuentro's "Vícam Declaration," but I've not yet found it available in print...and the task of translating from the audio recording seemed too daunting. So here in its place is a solid piece by Hermann Bellinghausen:

Rebel Imports' Kristin Bricker has translated the Vicam Declaration! You can read it here.

The Vícam Declaration:
“we will defend mother earth with our lives”
by Hermann Bellinghausen
Originally published in La Jornada
Translation by Zapagringo

Vícam, Sonora, October 14. The rebellion that will shake the continent will not repeat the paths and ways of others that have changed the course of history, subcomandante Marcos proclaims tonight in the closing ceremony of the Encuentro of the Indigenous Peoples of América. “When the wind that we are dies down," he adds, “a new time will open in which we will be all of the colors."

After greeting in the languages of Yoeme, Castilian [“Spanish”], and English, and taking words from the Yaqui tradition, Marcos declares before the audience, which has doubled itself on this night in Vícam: “The four wheels of the vehicle of money are rolling again over the path of the blood and the pain of the peoples of the continent," in what he calls “the largest war in the history of humanity, which is already 515 years old." The war that they commemorate every October 12.

This war now reproduces “the age and methods of the great trusts and estates, of the epoch in which the crowns of Europe dominated through blood and fire." Referring to the repression that armies and paramilitary forces use, “just as in the times of the Conquest," in order to eliminate entire populations.

"Nevertheless, something has changed: there has never been so much destruction and stupidity by the governments, such brutality against the earth and people." Because, indicates the Zapatista delegate, "it happens that they are killing the world." They say that it is "electoral democracy" that thing with which the “bossy people” make the “business” of bringing the world to catastrophe. There above “there is no hope for the Indian peoples."

In this encuentro, “memory has been the invisible thread that unites our peoples," explains Marcos, and concentrates the cause of their struggles into just one word, which comes from the birth of humanity: “freedom”. It is what the people want, he continues, "and it cannot exist without justice or democracy." It trusts that there will be "a world without rulers," something that "seems impossible" today.

They denounce the growing plunder of the land

In turn, the Rarámuri Francisco Palmo reads the final declaration of the Encuentro of the Indigenous Peoples of América. It is directed against the arrogance of power, because the plundering of the land and resources of the people “grows with each passing day." But, it adds, “the resistance and indignation of the people grows as well."

The 570 delegates from 67 indigenous peoples, coming from 12 american nations, affirmed, in the Declaration of Vicam: “We are descendents of the peoples, nations and tribes that first gave name to these lands; that were born of mother earth and maintain a sacred respect towards her that provides us with life and keeps us in death; thus we declare to the entire world that we will care for and defend mother earth with our lives." They tell of the “pain suffered from the attack of the invaders, supported in the false arguments of cultural exclusivity and arrogant civilizing presumptions, with the purpose of plundering our territories, destroying our cultures and disappearing our peoples."

The participants in the encuentro proclaimed their historic right to free self-determination, “respecting the different ways that, for the exercise of this, our people decide, according to their origin, history and aspirations." Also, they reject “the war of conquest and capitalist extermination imposed by the transnational companies and the international financial organizations in complicity with the great powers and nation states."

They express their rejection of “the destruction and sacking of mother earth by means of the occupation of our territories for industrial, mining, agribusiness, touristic, savage urbanization and infrastructure activities, as well as the privatization of the water, land, forests, oceans and coasts, biological diversity, the air, the rain, traditional knowledge and all that is born of mother earth."

They oppose “the registration of the land, coasts, waters, seeds, plants, animals and traditional knowledges of our peoples with the aim of privatizing them," and they reject the occupation and destruction of sacred centers and places, as well as the mercantilization of their culture. They also reject the Escalera Náutica or Sea of Cortés megaproject and the construction of the coastal highway inside of Yaqui territory.

The encuentro ratifies its rejection of the 2010 Winter Olympics “in Vancouver, Canada on sacred territory, stolen from the Turtle nation with the goal of installing ski runs."

They denounce that the war of conquest and capitalist extermination “worsens like never before the exploitation of the members of our peoples on plantations and in sweatshops, or as migrants in cities and distant countries, where they are hired in the worst conditions, finding themselves in situations of slavery and forced labor."

The rejections extend to the big transnational stores, “that plunder the economic resources of the communities," and to neoliberal policies, which debilitate communitarian economies and food sovereignty and result in the loss of native seeds. They commit to seek the integral reconstitution of their peoples and to strengthen their cultures, languages, traditions, organization and self-government.

“Supported in our culture and vision of the world, we will reinforce and recreate our own educative institutions, rejecting the educative models that the nation states impose on us to exterminate our cultures.”

They pronounce against “all form of repression towards our peoples, expressed in the militarization and paramilitarization of our territories, forced displacement, mass deportation, the imposition of borders in order to divide and fragment, and the imprisonment and disappearance of those who struggle for the historic revindication of our peoples”.

The absent indigenous “political prisoners” are a strong “presence”. Some sent greetings from El Amate (Chiapas) and Molino de Flores (Texcoco, in particular the Mazahua Magdalena García Durán). “They were” the Oaxacans of Loxicha, San Isidro Aloapam, the organization VOCAL and other members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca; also the Zapatista prisoners in Tabasco, as well as the Lakota leader Leonard Peltier. They demanded immediate freedom for all.

The Yaqui of Vicam and from other towns came in great numbers to the closing, in which the traditional dances of the Deer and the Pascola were offered. Thus, nearly 3 thousand people participated in the culminating moment of the encuentro.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Other NY Denounces Repression Against Zaps

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.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Casa Atabex Aché : Womyn's Encuentro

12/31/07: Bilingual coverage of the Womyn's Encuentro at Indymedia Chiapas
12/23/07: Information, themes and schedule for the encuentro here

Womyn of color here in NYC are organizing to attend the Third Encuentro of the Zapatista Peoples with the Peoples of the World "Comandanta Ramona and the Women Zapatistas," also known as "
The Womyn's Encuentro". One of the groups leading the effort is Casa Atabex Aché. Below is a call out with dates for organizing here in NYC and, below that, an interview that Casa members conducted with Zapatistas this August, which they distributed as part of their participation in last week's "The Zapatistas and the World" event.

Also, the Center for Political Analysis and Social and Economic Investigations (CAPISE) has concluded that the Zapatistas are facing the worst government offensive in 9 years - read the English translation of their report for details and stay tuned here for updates and calls to action. And although the Zapatistas have canceled their upcoming Other Campaign tour of Central and Southern Mexico in order to organize peaceful actions in defense of their communities, they are sending delegates to the Yaqui town of Vicam, in Sonora, Mexico, to participate in the Indigenous Encuentro of the Americas. In fact, the first of four regional pre-meetings for the Encuentro begins in Oaxaca today to gather those delegates coming from indigenous groups in South and Southeast Mexico.

Casa Atabex Aché : Womyn's Encuentro

We are going to speak, us women Zapatistas, with compañeras from Mexico and the world and you will be able to ask questions of how we organize ourselves, the women Zapatistas, more directly with women. We are going to ask the compañeros men Zapatistas that they help us with logistical questions. Compañeros from Mexico and the world may also come to hear us, but remain silent, same as our compañeros men Zapatistas. -Compañera Everilda announcing the Womyn's Encuentro
Collaborate with Casa Atabex Aché, Coatlicue Theater Company, Estación Libre & womyn of color from NYC to organize a delegation to the Womyn’s Encuentro in Chiapas (Dec 28, 2007 – Jan 1, 2008):
  • October 9th: First delegation meeting 6-8pm bring fundraising ideas, questions and art/theme for delegation flyer. Come hear us speak about the summer in Chiapas. During the summer Casa Atabex Aché had the opportunity to organize a second delegation of women of color and attend the 2nd Encuentro. Below you will find our conversation with the community and the Clinica de Guadalupe as Casa embarks on a journey to create a sustainable autonomous healthcare cooperative in the South Bronx. The meeting will happen at Casa's space at 471 East 140th St.
  • November 2nd: Fundraiser from 8p to Midnight celebrating Dia de los Muertos with a performance by the Coatlicue Theater Company on the Zapatistas
For more information please call 718-585-5540.

Goals for the delegation:
  • Explore Womyn Zapatistas strategies of autonomy and self-determination.
  • Identify commonalities and differences in our practice of social transformation & spirituality.
  • Discuss demands that Zapatista womyn made which challenge patriarchy and violence against womyn within their movement.
  • Self-healing work in community: How do womyn of color heal from internalized oppression and strategize collectively to create the world we want to live in and make sure we are at the forefront of our movements?
Our sisters in Chiapas have put a call out to us to join them in this once in a lifetime event - A powerful day for womyn worldwide. Come dialogue and create an action plan for autonomy and liberation in NYC. The Zapatista womyn are celebrating themselves and womyn all over the world for saying “YA BASTA” and playing leading roles on all fronts in the struggle to build alternatives in the movement for social and economic justice.

During our delegation we will speak about Zapatista women's collective strategies of resistance, the creation of cooperatives (development of alternative economies), rotating leadership, collective community governance, community health clinics and community schools. In addition, we will discuss how communities of color can come together and use some of these principles to create autonomous communities in NYC, challenging the non-profit industrial complex & patriarchy, sexism within our movements. Promote a sustainable model of community organizing itself within a spiritual and political framework. Discuss the leadership of womyn & people of color in organizing and self-sustainability.

During the summer Casa had the opportunity to organize a second delegation of women of color and attend the 2nd Encuentro. Below you will find our conversation with the community and the Clinica de Guadalupe as Casa embarks on a journey to create a sustainable autonomous healthcare cooperative in the South Bronx.

Casa Atabex Aché - A Conversation with the Zapatistas
August 19th, 2007

ON HEALTH - Health is not only the services that hospitals and clinics give. It is also the nutrition of a community, the education of a community, the well being of a community and all of the needs of a community being met at the same time.

NUTRITION/ALIMENTACIÓN- People think that malnutrition comes from not having something to eat. But that is not it…. It is also about the quality and the conditions of the food not just about having or not having something to eat. We want the community to change consciousness from “ I am producing these foods to economically sustain myself and sell it” to “ I am producing this to eat and feed my family. It is not about what we think people should eat or us telling them--we want the community to get this themselves. We want community to look at the problem and then make their own decisions, their own change. Example: Look at capitalism and its effect. It’s not about you stopping the drinking of Coca-Cola its about you understanding the bigger impact that Coca-Cola has a cooperation and what it is doing to the people and the land, the role it plays in capitalism.

ON BUILDING ALTERNATIVE CLINICS - Indigenous communities don’t have access to services and hospitals. That is why we started our clinic. The Clinica de Guadalupe provides basic services, there is only one coordinator, 300 health promoters - they are still building strength, have many difficulties and necessities, and are still building the infrastructure of the clinic. The difference between their clinic and the government hospitals is that they give adequate healthcare while the government just gives a service. Adequate healthcare includes earning community trust and providing “JUST” service. That is why we are focusing on developing clinics for autonomy that the community has control over.

This clinic is many years in the making from communities that are in resistance. This is a war because we are looking for change - change not only overall but within the person, family and community, to sustain something bigger than us. Little by little (it’s big work) it’s years in the making. It’s about community participation in creating the world they want. Unity and consciousness is not easy. Changing fundamental consciousness is our primary goal and economic resources are secondary.

ON BUILDING AUTONOMOUS, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES - Health is integrated in the development of the communities and in the process of autonomy. If a community is sick they are not capable of organizing themselves and focus on what's important.

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