Monday, August 31, 2009

'08-'09 Year in Review

Zapagringo began three years ago following a trip I took to cover the beginnings of the Other Campaign from Oaxaca. Inspired by the zapatistas' Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle (the Sexta), most of the Oaxacan organizers I met remarked that this Other Campaign they were building would "take at least ten years." And here we are three-and-a-half years since Subcomandante Marcos left the zapatista communities to tour Mexico, and four years since the release of the Sexta.

In 2006, Mexico was shaken by the Other Campaign, the Oaxaca Commune and another stolen election. In these few years that have followed, the regional, national and global organizing related to these Mexican initiatives have continued to simmer, build and transform. Some of this you'll be able to find documented here (check out the '06-'07 and '07-'08 years in review).

For zapagringo's 3rd season, I slowed to keeping a pace of one post a month to make room for all the work and changes that have taken place in my political and personal work. We started off this round with the 3rd Anniversary of the Other Campaign last September, wherein the zapatistas reaffirmed their commitment to struggle for the freedom of the political prisoners of Atenco and convoked the first World Festival of Dignified Rage.

The World Festival of Dignified Rage was held in Mexico City, the zapatista Caracol of Oventic and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas over the last week of 2008 and the first of 2009. Here you'll find reports of activities and analysis generated in the lead up to, during and following that gathering 1,2,3,4.

It was also during this same time that Israel launched a brutal military offensive against the people of Gaza; messages and actions of solidarity rang out from Chiapas, Oaxaca, NYC and so many corners of the world. Thinking more long term and along the lines of the kind of direct connections between communities-in-struggle that is proposed in the Sexta, an initiative to link indigenous youth on Turtle Island to youth in Palestine literally took flight this year -> here's a post from a cross-struggle, solidarity-building fundraiser for the Indigenous Youth Delegation to Palestine, as well as a link to that delegation's blog.

Some powerful zapatista-inspired thinking/practice has come out of the US as well in this past year. There's Kolya Abramsky's piece written in the days before the first World Festival of Dignified Rage. Grace Lee Boggs and crew at the Boggs Center continue to develop a powerful analysis from their home in Detroit as do the compas building El Kilombo Intergaláctico in Durham, North Carolina 1,2. There was some exploration of "science fiction from below" and, in response to the crises of the moment, the international Midnight Notes Collective put out some excellent analysis.

Moving closer to (my) home, Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB) continue their organizing against displacement in East Harlem and beyond 1,2. Especially important to their participation in the Other Campaign has been their persistence in organizing for Freedom and Justice for Atenco. Amongst other actions, they held a special International Women's Day event, shut down the Mexican Consulate in NYC, and held a live cross-border press conference at this year's Allied Media Conference to raise awareness and seek freedom for Atenco's political prisoners. MJB recently published a report from this press conference, which can be found (in Spanish) here. To learn more about the people of Atenco, in their own words, check out this letter from the People's Front in Defense of the Land to the zapatistas.

Looking forward to the year ahead, we may just see the ongoing struggles in Mexico burst forth once more as rebels seize on the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence (1810) and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution (1910) to take the initiative in transforming their country. For my own part, I'm hoping to finally find some space to write again after a tumultuous past year. Perhaps a good English-language piece on all that has been going on around Atenco and the Other Campaign? Maybe some collectively written pieces from my work with Regeneración Childcare NYC, the Challenging Male Supremacy Project and Another Politics is Possible... or perhaps I'll be publishing a piece by you, dear zapagringo reader?

Although the frequency may change from time to time, this is still your channel for zapatista-inspired struggle on Turtle Island and throughout the galaxy - hasta pronto, compas!

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