Thursday, May 05, 2011

Zibechi on Bachajón & Zapatista Prisoners

Third video message from San Sebastián Bachajón

The struggle to free the five remaining political prisoners of the Other Campaign adherent community San Sebastián Bachajón continues, along with the struggle to free the recently dispossessed and imprisoned Zapatista support base Patricio Domínguez Vázquez. One of the most recent steps in this struggle was the "5 MORE Global Days of Action for the Bachajón 5", which took place from April 24-28, and the "Global Day of Action for the Zapatista Political Prisoner" on April 29, both convened by Movement for Justice in El Barrio. Leading up to the days of action, groups from India, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Slovenia, France, Austria, Canada, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Dorset and Glasgow, the United States and from throughout Mexico confirmed their participation. Hermann Bellinghausen reported yesterday in La Jornada that there were demonstrations in 33 cities in France alone (really?!), and in 20 other countries.

This struggle is taking place concurrently with rapidly rising civil resistance to that US-backed war against the Mexican people often referred to as the "War on Drugs." Convoked by poet
Javier Sicilia, whose son and six others were recently murdered and falsely tied to organized crime, a march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City began today and will be joined by actions throughout Mexico and the world in the days ahead. The Zapatistas, and many other members of the Other Campaign, are actively engaging the initiative. In this letter to Javier Sicilia, Subcomandante Marcos describes the action the Zapatistas will be taking in Chiapas. Here in NYC, Movement for Justice in El Barrio will be bringing the heat to the Mexican Consulate tomorrow followed by a march from the Consulate to the United Nations organized by other folks on March 8th.

It's all very exciting and necessary, yes, but to bring us back to the theme of this post -> here are some sage words from compañero
Raúl Zibechi...

Montevideo, May 2, 2011

Dear compas from Movement for Justice in El Barrio and The Other Campaign New York:

The only crime the people of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido have committed is that of wanting to live in their lands—the lands of their grandparents, of their most distant ancestors—which now risk being appropriated by the multinationals of money and death. The five from Bachajón, imprisoned since February 3, like Patricio Domínguez Vázquez, who was detained in mid-April in the ejido Monte Redondo of Frontera Comalapa, are victims of the political class that works in the service of multinational corporations.

Today’s war is for the land: To appropriate the life that it provides for and reproduces, and for this reason, the indigenous peoples and campesinos are the primary obstacles that must be done away with. Ever since capital decided that everything is a commodity for doing business and accumulating more capital, no space on earth remains – not even the slightest corner – that can free itself from this ambition. In order to seize the land, they unleashed what the Zapatistas have termed the “Fourth World War.” In Latin America this war lies in the displacement of millions of people from roughly one hundred million hectares in dispute. The huge open-pit mining projects; the monocropping of sugarcane, maize, and soy to produce gasoline; and the planting of trees to create cellulose are all killing life and people from South to North.

In some cases, such as Patricio’s, where not only was he imprisoned, but his house was burned down and destroyed because, in reality, they wanted him to abandon his land. That is the war that has existed for 60 years in Colombia, which allowed more than four million hectares to pass from the hands of the farmers to those of the paramilitaries, since they are offered as a form of security by the multinationals. A war to expel farmers – over three million in the last twenty years – in order to free up territories so that they may be converted into spaces for the speculation of capital. In Colombia, the territories of the war coincide precisely with the territories that the big mines and infrastructure megaprojects desire.

The same thing is taking place throughout the entire continent. The Brazilian government is turning the Amazonian rivers into cheap energy sources for the big businesses from Brazil and the North. It is constructing enormous dams that require ten, fifteen, and even twenty thousand poorly paid and miserably housed workers: They are the new slaves for governments obedient to capital. When they rise up, as they did in Jirau (in the state of Roraima) last March, they become labeled as “bandits.”

What is most painful, and most revealing, is how the political class that once claimed to be of the Left unites with the perennial political class of the Right in the displacement and imprisonment of indigenous peoples and farmers, and in doing so, demonstrates that they are all the same in their attack against those from below to make businesses for those from above. And they use “ecological” arguments because they learned the politically correct excuses to downplay displacement.

From this corner of the continent, I join you all in New York who are carrying out the campaign to free the Bachajón 5 and Patricio. Movement for Justice in El Barrio, who I was able to meet in January 2009 at the Festival of Dignified Rage in San Cristobal de las Casas, shows that community solidarity and camaraderie know no borders, and that we cannot hope for anything from those from above or their institutions. We only depend on ourselves.

Raúl Zibechi

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