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!

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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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