January 31, 2018

The Zapatistas' Dignified Rage

Zapatista spokesman Subcommander Marcos decreased his public appearances between 2007 and 2014, but simultaneously increased the depth of his analysis. Collected here in English translation for the first time, these talks include some of his most explicit, detailed, and inspiring criticisms of capitalism, political parties, academia, electoral democracy, disingenuous solidarity, and much more.

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November 16, 2016


This site has been inactive, but I most certainly have not been! Stay tuned for my next translation project, coming January 2018.

July 3, 2015

Ana Gatica Criticizes Rigoberta Menchú

Maestro Zapatista Galeano: Notes on a Life

Maestro Zapatista Galeano: Notes on a Life.
May 2nd, 2015.
Compañeros and compañeras of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation:
Compañeroas, compañeras, and compañeros of the Sixth Declaration:
People who are visiting us:
It is now my task to talk about compañero Maestro Zapatista Galeano.
Talk about him so that he lives in the word. Talk to you so that perhaps in this way you will understand our rage.
And we say “Maestro Zapatista Galeano” because that was the job or position or work which the compañero had when he was murdered.
For us Zapatistas, compañero Maestro Galeano synthesizes an entire anonymous generation in Zapatismo. Anonymous to the outside world, but a fundamental protagonist in the uprising and in these more than 20 years of rebellion and resistance.
The generation which, being young, was in the so-called social organizations and saw the corruption and falseness which nourished their leaders, prepared in secrecy, rose up in arms against the supreme government, resisted betrayals and persecutions with us, and oriented the resistance of the generation which today takes on responsibilities in the indigenous communities.
Violent, absurd, ruthless, cruel, unjust death reached him with the position of teacher.
A little later it would have reached him as an autonomous authority.
Sometime before it would have fallen upon him as an orienter.
Before that, death would have killed a militiaman.
Many moons before, the one who died would have been a young man who knew enough, knew what was necessary about the system, and sought, like many still, the best way to challenge it.
One year ago a trio of paid journalists, vulgarized by the government of Ario Velasco and his rotten court, held up a lie regarding his death.
The one who took the mournful photos of the murderers’ carefully-bandaged alleged blows, as a reward went to New York to present other mercenary photos.
Those who unashamedly swallowed the government shit and spread it front-page, now have an echo in those who dress up the news and present his murder as a the product of a confrontation.
Those who as accomplices shut up out of financial convenience or political calculus continue putting on that they do journalism and not poorly-concealed advertising.
Not many days before today’s event, we read in the paid press that the “heroic,” “selfless,” “professional,” and “untainted,” Mexico City police, had a “confrontation,” that’s what they said, with a group of visually impaired persons. The wicked blind people lashed out with their “weapons,” their canes, at the poor police who did nothing but fulfill their duty and had to respond with cudgel and shield blows to make them, the sightless, see that the law is the law for those from below, and for above it is not.
And also, a while ago, because of those seasonal speculations which tend to splatter not only the journalistic trade but the social networks too, when talking about something is hiding that there is nothing important to say or inform about, a journalist, of those who allege “professionalism” and “objectivity,” wrote about the death of a brother in-struggle and rain gather, Eduardo Galeano, and supposed a false connection between Galeano the writer and Galeano the teacher, militiaman, and Zapatista.
When making reference to compañero Zapatista Galeano, the paid journalist insisted that he had died in a confrontation and sent photos from her tourist colleague in New York.
Let’s take an ordinary case, on ordinary home or street, an ordinary geography, an ordinary day: there is a discussion, a fight, or not even that, just because he said so, because he is in charge, the man attacks the woman, the woman defends herself and manages to scratch the man, the man murders her with punches, stabs, shots, contempt. The man is treated and the scratches are cured and bandaged.
About this, the “professional” and “objective” journalist, as she claims to be, will write the following article: “a woman died in a confrontation with her partner, the man has wounds resulting from the fight. Below are photos of the poor wounded man after receiving medical treatment. The assailant woman’s family refused to allow her body to be photographed.” End of article and time to get paid.
That’s what news articles today are like: blind people armed with canes confront police armed with shields, batons, and teargas. Women armed with their nails confront men armed with knives, clubs, pistols, penises. These are the “confrontations” one finds out about in some paid media outlets, although some of these disguise themselves as free media, like some who registered here, thinking that we didn’t know them and weren’t going to let them in if they were paid media. But we know them and they are here “covering” this event.
Compañero Maestro Zapatista Galeano did not die in a confrontation. He was kidnapped, tortured, slashed, bludgeoned, macheted, murdered, and finished off. His aggressors had firearms, he did not. His aggressors were several, he was alone.
The “professional and objective” journalist will point to the photos and the autopsy, and will not have either. Because if she does not respect herself and does not respect her work, and that is why she writes what she writes without anyone questioning it and also getting paid for it; we the Zapatistas do respect our dead.
More than 20 years ago, in the battle of Ocosingo, which lasted 4 days, Zapatista combatants were executed by the Army after being wounded in battle. The Zapatistas’ firearms were replaced with sticks. The press was then called to cash in under the supervision of the government troops. That’s how they wove the tall tale, repeated until nausea even into the present day, that the EZLN troops went out with wooden weapons to confront the evil government. Of course, the small problem is that someone took the photos when the fallen Zapatistas had nothing by their side. And then that person contrasted them with those presented by the pro-government press. A lot of money is paid for the photos which portrayed reality to not be publicized.
Now, in the modern times of the paid media’s economic crisis, an art, journalistic photography, has turned into a poorly-paid commodity which sometimes only manages to induce nausea.
I’m not going to describe in-detail each and every one of the wounds suffered by compañero Galeano, nor show you photos of his defiled body. I’m not going to review the narrative cynicism with which his murderers describe the crime in-detail the way one talks about a feat.
Time shall pass. The executioners’ confessions will be known. The public will know the details of the tortures, the celebrations which they held with each drop of blood, the drunkenness of cruel death, the subsequent euphoria, the moral and ethylic hangover of the following days, guilt pursuing them, justice reaching them.
Compañero Maestro Zapatista Galeano will be remembered by the Zapatistas communities, without fuss, without front pages. His life, and not his death, will be joy in our struggle for generations. Hundreds of tojolabal, tzeltal, tzotzil, chol, zoque, mam, and mestizo boys will bear his name. And then will come the girl named “Galeana.”
The 3 members of the decadent media nobility, who made a call for war by spreading the lie, those who, with cowardice, kept silent, and the “professional and objective” journalist will continue being mediocre, they will live mediocre, they will die mediocre, and history will continue its course without anyone missing them.
And just to finish outright with stupid suppositions, compañero Maestro Zapatista Galeano did not take that name from the tireless gather of the word from below who was Eduardo Galeano. That link was a media invention.
Although it may sound absurd, the compañero took his name from insurgent Hermenegildo Galeana, a native of Tecpan, in what today is Guerrero, and who rose to the rank of lieutenant under the independence leader José María Morelos y Pavón. Hermenegildo Galeana was with the insurgent troops when, on May 2nd, 1812, they broke the position which the royalist army held in Cuautla, defeating the troops of general Félix María Calleja in their wake. Insurgent resistance then wrote a brilliant page in military history.
It is common in Zapatista towns for men and women to apply gender to their oh-so particular understanding. So, for example el mapa is “la” mapa. What the compañero did was “masculinize” the last name Galeana and turn it into Galeano. This was years before we came out into public view.
I am not going to say much more about compañero Maestro Zapatista Galeano.
His family members and compañeros and compañeras who today honor us with their presence will do so better and in more detail, compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés will do the same.
His absence still pains me a great deal.
I still remain unable to explain to myself the cruelty with which they came before him, wanting to kill him with weapons and with news articles.
I remain unable to understand the silent complicity and indifference of those who were elevated and aided by his generosity, and then turned their backs on his death after having used his life.
That is why I believe that, given that what we hold up is his life, it is better for compañero Galeano to be the one who talks to you.
The following fragments which I will read to you come from compañero Galeano’s notebook. The notebook, with these and other writings, was given to the EZLN General Command by the family of the compañero which we are missing today.
Supposedly he began to write in the year 2005 and the last writings are from the year 2012.
Here goes:
“For all those who read this brilliant story and so that one day my children and my compañeros will not say that I faded away.
I write my actions and steps in the struggle, but I also am critical because you will also know of my errors to not fall into them. But that does not mean that I am not a compañero.
Well I’m going to start from my young and civilian life from before.
When I was about 15 years old I always participated in the work and actions of an organization called “Union of Ejidos of the Jungle.”
I also knew that I was exploited because the weight of the poverty which fell on my burnt shoulders was enough to make me realize that exploitation still existed, and that someday someone would appear to lift us up and show us the path, to guide us.
Well, as I told you in the beginning I participated in a trip which (illegible number) of us indigenous took to try to exchange ideas on productive work. That’s what that program which they did was called according to our advisors in that so-called Union, which we participated in.
Well, for me it was useful for learning many things. In the first place I realized how those renowned advisors—Juárez and Jaime Valencia, among others—tried to cheat us. We went to Oaxaca, to a place where there are also indigenous compañeros like us, and who also had an organization called X led by a priest who was with them. But they are also in the same situation of oppression as us.
Well, anyway, we traveled to several cities in the country. There I realized how many beggars there are in the streets, homeless and without anything to eat. Truly, it was born in me that that must be our objective for interchanging ideas to try and to see how to demand a dignified life for all those who live in conditions of humiliating poverty, because of governments.
I also realized something which disgusted me and never again did I depend on those liar and trickster men who feign being with those from below. They made all those movements to enrich themselves at our expense, us dumbasses from those times believed in their slick and false idea.
Why do I say this? Well now you will see how things were. It turns out that they promoted government programs to cheat us, and then us cheat our people in our communities. On that trip, the government gave 7 million pesos in aid, which at the time was a great fortune because we talked about thousands and it wasn’t like now when we talk about pesos. At the time they told us that the government had given 7 million, but that they weren’t going to give us all of it, just 3 million and the rest was going to be for the upcoming trips, and we never knew where that money went.
Of course, they did not inform us, because the renowned advisors kept that money, and while we ate totopos with a small piece of cheese, there in Oaxaca, and slept in the halls of the Ixtepec, Oaxaca town hall, and where were they? Well you will see, they slept in good hotels and ate in good restaurants. Like this we went back to Chiapas.
We arrived to Puerto Arista. There they bought cases of beer to finish the damage. When the 3 million which the designees had to cover the expenses dried up. They told us that we were going to have to eat crackers and soda because there was no money left. But I knew that it was not true, that the representatives when doing the accounting made us believe that everything had run out, but the thing is they had already made an agreement with those advisor guys. And I told them to recount to see if it was true that the money had run out. But my proposal was not accepted and what happened is that they told me that the trip had finished in Motozintla. They gave me 40 thousand pesos (in that time’s money) to return to my house, because they already calculated what I was going to spend on bus fare to Margaritas and then to La Realidad, I would see how to make it work. It was fucked up, 40 thousand old pesos which Salinas turned nowadays into 40 pesos. Like so I returned to my town all sad and pissed-off at the same time.
That was when in ‘89, I met a true advisor, a man who passed himself off as a humble worker, a parrot vendor. He and I were practically friends, but in spite of the fact that we already knew each other, he had never told me who he was and what he really wanted and did. Many times we saw each other at Cerro Quemado, we talked and I saw that he was carrying a painted backpack, as we call it, and inside he carried his work tools. That was what my friend told me. How many people like me knew the tale of my friend without knowing the reality, who were going to see how many lies my friend said back then. Lies to make truth, lies to make Reality, true lies. He was my pal, I being so clumsy that I did not understand what was happening.
Until one day I ran into my friend again, but this time he was not dressed as a humble worker, nor was he carrying his painted backpack or a parrot cage.
What was he carrying them? You will see, well there was my friend, my pal, dressed all in black and brown, with a backpack and shoes, and a gun on his shoulders. It turns out that my friend was a brave guerrilla and soldier of the people. I was surprised, and I went home all sad and unable to understand what was happening there.
That was my error, not understanding quickly what that man wanted.
That was when he knew that I had already discovered him, and they called for me in the safe house along with my parents and my siblings. But the thing was that my father did not want to join and then my siblings too, but I had nothing more to do and say. That was how I fully joined the organization. They took me to train. Back then almost everyone was already a Zapatista. We went to train. Later they gave me the rank of corporal and it was like that until all of my relatives joined.
Until the day came which I knew who my liar true friend was and what his name was: back then he was Capitán Insurgente Z. there was that man who had to travel through all the Indian towns of Chiapas, all of their mountains, rivers, and canyons. He walked by night as a guerrilla; by day as the most humble seeker of employment, and sowing the seed of freedom step-by-step until it grew and bore fruit.
His suffering was so great, but the fruits he harvested and brought were so beautiful. And he earned with pride the rank of Major due to his intelligence and brave action in preparation.
But he was not the only one there, there was another great and valiant man and unforgettable revolutionary in the history of our clandestine period, the so-called and beloved Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, “Uncle,” as he was respectfully called by all the compañeros of our struggle. Loved by all because he was a true example who shared his revolutionary knowledge. He was a true master in discipline and compañerismo.
An example because he said that he would go in front during combat, and if it was necessary to die for people, he would do it.
On December 28th (1993) compañero Sup I. Pedro told me, you are going to Margaritas to buy gasoline and some batteries which we need, tell compañero Alfredo to take “el Amigo,” the community car, that is, but do not tell him that the war is going to begin. And I went. We got together some shelled corn to conceal things from the driver, because it was an emergency trip and in this way he would not suspect what was going to happen. But he already knew, but from gossip, that the war was going to begin, and asked, but I did not tell him anything, that was the order, and I followed it in spite of the fact that he was my pal. I did not even inform my parents about what was going to happen, because they lived in Margaritas then. We traveled all night and all day.
On the 29th (of December 1993) we got back to La Realidad at about 4 in the afternoon. I had completed my first mission. I reported and he told me: “prepare because we are going to fight, in half an hour we will have made the police in Margaritas surrender.” And it remained there recorded forever. Like other feats of Sup C. I. Pedro.
And he remained until the 30th (of December 1993) departure for Margaritas. There were also many accidents on the road. The advance of our troops was incredible. Without the enemy realizing, we advanced like ghosts in the middle of the dark night, just illuminated by the headlights of Zapatista cars and buses.
Before Las Margaritas there is a place, before Zaragoza. Close to that town everyone divided up with their revolutionary work: first group, take the town hall; second group, take and block the Margaritas-Comitán Highway; third group, take and block the San José Las Palmas-Altamirano Highway; fourth group, Independencia-Margaritas highway; fifth group: take radio Margaritas.
This was in the predawn hours of that glorious January 1st, when we were no longer ghosts out in the night, we were now the EZLN in the global spotlight. Everyone looked at us with amazement and with respect for our brave action.
That was when Sup C. I. Pedro fell in combat against the police. He died with great bravery, killing several police. He confronted them alone. His rage against those who murder the people was so great that he did not care about his life, and with that he had fulfilled what he had said: die for the people or live for the homeland.
What shock I felt when they told us that our beloved leader had fallen. I felt such great pain, but he had completed his mission, and also had arranged the command succession well. Because he knew that he was going to fight and that as a matter of fact these kinds of things can happen in a war.
That was when my friend Mayor Insurgente Z took command and once again the action of this brave guerrilla was seen. So our missions, in spite of the painful fall of our great leader, were now led by Mayor I. Z. The group went and took the ranch of general Absalón Castellanos Domínguez and he was taken prisoner and brought to the mountains as a prisoner, to later hold the trial for all the crimes committed during his government, since he was their intellectual author. In spite of everything he was charged with, and how guilty he was, and of being the murder of so many children, women, and elderly in Wolochán, his rights as a prisoner of war were respected. He was not tortured for any reason. On the contrary, what the troops ate was also given to him. That is how our comrade once again demonstrated his manners and good military work which he obtained during the clandestine period. Respect for the lives of those who fall prisoner in a war must be respected. And all those who read our history are reminded that respect is won by respecting those from below, but also those from above but if they demonstrate respect for those from below. Thank you. Die to live. Galeano.”
“In Las Margaritas I had to block the Margaritas-San José las Palmas highway. From there we went to the Margaritas-Comitán highway. We were there on January 1st all night until the next order arrived to go take the Conasupo warehouse which was in Espíritu Santo. We went with other insurgent compañeros to get things for the troops to eat. Then the order was given to retreat to the mountains and we came and positioned ourselves in Guadalupe Tepeyac. Then we made an ambush from La Realidad to kilometer 90 Cerro Quemado, then they sent me to recover a 3-ton vehicle belonging to some asshole named J de Guadalupe Los Altos.
I did not know how to drive well. I only had the theory of how to drive a vehicle, and that was where I passed into practice and began to move the vehicle. I got to La Realidad just in first gear. Compañera Capitán L and several more insurgents were already waiting for me and they told me, “Let’s go Galeano,” but I said, “I have not driven and much less with a load.
Die to live. Galeano.” (between 2005 and 2009)
“It does not matter, in war anything goes,” the compañera told me and we left, but there past Cerro Quemado, I had gotten confident, I began to go lighter, but on a curve I turned the steering wheel too much and went off the road entering into the grass about 15 m from the road. But anyway, I got it out the way I could and continued to carry out the mission.
Since that day I began to drive every day, until one day the helicopter saw us and shot at me with a machine gun. It spent about 10 or 20 minutes shooting at me, but I was already sheltered under a rock. Only the dust and rock smell and gunpowder got to where I was. And after the firing stopped and the helicopter went away, I left my hideout and continued with my mission. The mission was to go get the militiamen who were near Momón. I left and returned with my friend and military leader compañero Mayor Insurgente Z. we were always together in the days of war, even when there was the cease-fire.
In the work of the first Aguascalientes in Guadalupe Tepeyac, I participated in checking the people who came to the National Democratic Convention. They trained me as a bodyguard, I was the bodyguard of our commanders.
Then, the day of Zedillo’s betrayal, we went on February 9 to block the road in Cerro Quemado. The army was already in Guadalupe Tepeyac. Even so we advanced in darkness and worked making ditches and cutting down trees to prevent the federal army’s passage to La Realidad.
Then we retreated to the mountains for several days, until, once again, the people of Mexico and the world mobilized and halted the persecution of our commander compañeros and EZLN troops. After several days and nights camping in the mountains, we returned to our towns.
I participated in all the encounters which our organization organized. I was there as a bodyguard for our military leaders. I participated in the march of the 1,111 Zapatistas to Mexico City.
In all of the marches I always proudly traveled as the driver for “conejo,” for “tata,” for “chocolate.” Always carrying our compañeros in the marches to make our demands. When all the sergeants backed out, I stayed and they gave me the rank of sergeant. I participated as a regional responsible for clandestine youth groups and in times of war. In a thousand and one ways we have made war against the enemy, although the evil government has also done the same.
But we must value the great paths which we have traveled no matter the sacrifices and hardships. That has made us stronger and keeps me on the path of struggle, until we achieve the freedom which our people need. There is much left to travel, because as a matter of fact it is long and difficult, perhaps close, perhaps far, but we will triumph.
Then the Juntas de Buen Gobierno were formed, and they chose me as the driver for the first truck which the JBG obtained. It was called “el Diablo.” Then they kidnapped me along with another compañero and also brought us tied-up inside the same truck by the CIOAC-Histórica. They had me tied-up for several hours and then took me to a prison in Saltillo. And then they took me to Justo Sierra and held me without food, tied up, without communication. They wanted me to demand the liberation of a criminal, but I could not accept being exchanged because I was innocent and he was a thief of those who always abound in the social organizations.
I was captive for nine days until they realized that they were getting involved in problems with human rights and with the EZLN. And finally they released the truck after having it for three months. And then its (the truck’s) name was changed, it got the name “El Secuestrado Histórico.” Since then the work of the JBG and autonomy began. Die to live. Galeano.” (January 24, 2012)”
This is the last date which appears in his notebook. Along with that short autobiography, there are a few poems, probably of his authorship, and some love songs and those things.
As for me, all that’s left is to add that compañero Maestro Zapatista Galeano was like any of the Zapatista compañeras and compañeros, someone for whom it was well worth dying to make him be reborn again.
Upon finishing these lines, there may be a response to a latent issue. A question sown in the middle of history which is not written with words:
What or who made it possible for the Zapatista philosopher and the indigenous Zapatista to converge in the same space of struggle?
How was it that without ceasing to be a teacher, the philosopher became a Zapatista, and that the indigenous man, without ceasing to be a Zapatista, became a teacher?
Something happens in the world which makes this and other absurdities possible.
Why, to live, does the one bequeath to his own a hidden piece of his history’s puzzle?
Why, to not leave, does the other leave us in letters his look turned toward himself and his history with us Zapatistas?
This is what we try to answer every day, at all times, in all corners.
Now, about to put the final period on these words, the answer occurs to me, or at least a part of it, it is sitting at that table, it is in those who are in front of and behind me, it is in the worlds which lean out into ours for the struggle of those who, with secret pride, call themselves Zapatistas, professionals of hope, breakers of the law of gravity, people who without fuss at each step say to themselves and say: WE DIE TO LIVE.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.
Mexico, May 2nd, 2015.
The Zapatista listen compañera Selena has the mic…
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.

April 19, 2015

THANK YOU III. THE MOST EXPENSIVE BUILDING IN THE WORLD. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.



Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.  Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

February-March 2015.

Eve. Predawn. The cold bites under the clothing of the shadows. On the table which, solitary, furnishes the hut (which has no sign at all but it is known that it is now the general quarters of the Zapatista command), is the wrinkled piece of paper with handwriting where the accounting for the school-clinic’s construction in La Realidad Zapatista is detailed. The voice sums up looks, silences, smoke, rages:

  The accounting isn’t complete. The life of any Zapatista is worth more than Peña Nieto’s White House and than all the houses of all the rich people in the world put together. Not even the entire payment which it costs to make the huge buildings where the powerful hide to do their frauds and crimes, is enough to pay for even one drop of Zapatista indigenous blood. That is why we feel that this building is the most expensive which there is in the world.

  So of course we have to say that what doesn’t appear in the payment accounting, is compañero Galeano’s blood. Even all the paper in the history of the world would not be enough to write out that accounting.

  And so, do put it like that when you put your lists in the media, which say who richest, where poorest. Because the rich one has a first and last name. Lineage, pedigree. But the poor only have geography and calendar. Do put then that the most expensive building on the entire planet is in La Realidad Zapatista, Chiapas, Mexico. And that the Zapatista indigenous girls and boys attend the most expensive school in the world. And that the men, women, girls, boys, elderly, indigenous, Zapatistas, Mexicans, when they get sick in La Realidad, go to the most expensive clinic on earth to be treated.

  But the only way of completing the accounting is fighting to destroy the capitalist system. Not change it. Not improve it. Not make it more human, less cruel, less thuggish. No. Destroying it completely. Annihilating each and every one of the Hydra’s heads.

  And even like so it will be necessary, as we here want, to raise up something new and more better: building another system, one without masters, without bosses, without head honchos, without injustice, without exploitation, without contempt, without repression, without plunder. One without violence against women, childhood, that which is different. One where labor has its just payment. One where ignorance does not command. One where hunger and violent death are bad memories. One where no one is above at the cost of others being below. A reasonable one. A more better one.

  Then, and only then will we the Zapatistas be able to say that our accounting is complete.


  Many thanks to the others, men, women, girls, boys, elderly, groups, collectives, organizations, and whatever-they’re-called of the Sixth Declaration and not-Sixth Declaration of Mexico and the world, for the support which you gave us. This clinic and school are yours too.

So you now know that you have an autonomous health clinic and an autonomous school in La Realidad Zapatista.

We know that it is a bit far away, but one never knows, the world is round, it spins around and it could be, maybe, who knows… what if one ordinary pre-dawn morning you understand that, fighting to complete the accounting, is on your tab too.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.         Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

La Realidad Zapatista, Chiapas, México.

March 2015.


Notes on gender:

.- (…) That is why, as women in this country, we need to organize, because we see that there are many disappearances. Those of us women who are mothers are many, those who are suffering the pain, this great sadness for our disappeared sons, our dead daughters. Because now, this evil system, aside from the fact that we are humiliated, are despised, are exploited, aside from all this, they still come to kill and disappear our children. Such is the case of ABC and now with the 43 disappeared from Ayotzinapa, the disappeared women from Ciudad Juárez, the case of Aguas Blancas, and all this is the system. It is not going to resolve our problems, we will have no response from this current system. That is why brothers and sisters, we need to organize because it is there in the people itself where we are going to decide, where we are going to see the path that we want as peoples. As peoples of men and women, not only those from the countryside and the indigenous, also you sisters who live in the city, because it is among ourselves that we are going to govern, and it is there together with our men, between men and women, that we are going to build the new system, where we as women are really taken into account and maybe there compañeras, sisters, we will encounter the relief for the pain which we now have and for that collective rage which now unites us.

  (…) Now that we are in the 21st century, just a few women who benefit from wealth, in other words just the wives of the rich, just the wives of the presidents, of the governors, and just the female representatives, senators, but in our case as indigenous women we continue suffering from pain, sadness, bitterness, rape, exploitation, humiliation, discrimination, imprisonment, contempt, marginalization, torture, and many other things, because for us women, there is no government. It is because of this that for the rest of the woman in the country it remains the same, just as women before lived, as in the times of the ejidos, of the colonies, our grandfathers dragged along that bad culture which they lived with their bosses, they commanded, as if they were the little boss of the house, he still says: “I give the orders” and that is the father. And he ordered around his wife and that is how the most horrible thing arose, that women, that is the daughters, the compañeras earlier on were forced to marry because the fathers were those who chose the one which suited him as his son in-law. They chose whoever gave the most booze or most money and that is how it happened in the time of the ejidos, that women were never taken into account, like when the men organized, like when they were organizing for the work, but there women were never taken into account.

  (…) How many disappeared, dead, raped, exploited women, and no one says anything for them. Because those rich women, are only a few who benefit from the wealth of other exploited women. Those rich women do not suffer, do not feel the pain, the humiliation of being exploited for being poor. But not because of this are we going to stop organizing and fighting as women, because the women in the system there is only pain, sadness, imprisonment, humiliation, rape. Like the mothers of the 43 disappeared students, the ABC daycare, and the Pasta de Conchos mine. Just the same in Acteal, but not because of this are we going to stop organizing and fighting, from the country and from the city. That is why we are sharing with you for the first time in history.

  (…) just as in the system, there are men who do work which women do but it is not for the good of a new society as we do, as Zapatistas; we have an example then in some places in the great restaurants that there are such elegant men doing the work that well, what women do, but there men and women are exploited and while the women who occupied that position are taken to other places to give them another use, like a commodity, take photos of them to put in magazines, on movie covers, in Internet publications; just as we see then that life in this system in which we are well it is harder like 520 years ago, because the situation well what the evil government does to us they are the same grandchildren they are the same children of the landowners who continue exploiting us well now in this country and as we see that there is never a change in the system and the sisters and brothers continue bearing in this suffering in this pain from what the evil government now provokes in us. (Notes taken from the Zapatista contribution in the First Global Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism. Complete version in “Rebeldía Zapatista. No. 4,” forthcoming)

.- In this system being born, growing, living, and dying a woman can be like the elongated crawl through a tangle of barbed wire. But that pain is one of the many stains on history. What alleviates it is those women, more each day, who decide to stand up and like so walk upright. Not as if the barbs were flowers, but as if the scrapes, even the deadly ones, made them stronger… To go along opening the path. Not to change domination’s gender, but for there to be no more domination. Not in order to like so have a place in the history of above, but for the history of below to stop being an unhealed wound. Neither top dog nor bottom dog. Neither queen nor commoner. Neither Khaleesi nor Jhiqui. Neither boss nor employee. Neither master nor slave. Neither owner nor servant. But the terrible thing is not that each female-born being does it with that fraud of a calendar to come, in any political geography. The frightening thing is that those who raise up the cry for a better world, more than a few times weave with their own hands those wounding traps. But each while reality, which in Spanish is feminine, slaps the calendar of above and all the geographies of below. I attest.

Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.
Originally published on March 8, 2015.

Letter from the EZLN to Doña Emilia Aurora Sosa Marín, wife of Mayor Insurgente Honorario Félix Serdán Nájera. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.



February 2015.

For: Doña Emilia Aurora Sosa Marín.
From: Subcomandantes Insurgentes Moisés and Galeano.
EZLN, Chiapas, México.

Compañera Emilia:

Several hours ago we got the news. We do not know how long these lines will take to reach your hands, but we know that, no matter the calendar, you will know to read in them the collective embrace which we give you.

Because the death, last February 22nd in the pre-dawn hours, of Don Félix Serdán Nájera, honorary official who was part of our Zapatista Army of National Liberation, hurts and causes sorrow here too.

Here we remember Don Félix’s firm and tender gaze, but also your presence. As if the walk were completed in both. That is why we tell you that his absence pains us. But the pain which now hurts in your heart, Doña Emilia, also pains us.

That is why in these letters we not only want to salute compañero Félix Serdán’s memory, we also want to embrace you.

You and he have shown us in life, that commitment and being consistent is not for bragging about, is not measured in stages, spotlights, grand discourses, and ominous calendars.

Because the struggle is not a momentary lightning-strike which illuminates everything and disappears without further ado. It is a light which, although small, is fueled every day at all times. A light which does not intend to be exclusive and omnipotent. A light which aims to unite with other lights, not to light up a monument, but to illuminate the path and to get lost.

In a few words: the struggle does not sell out, does not give up, and does not give in.

He, like you, always spoke to us and spoke with the simple and true word of those who share dreams, pains, and endeavors.

And when we listened to him, we listened to both of you. And it was both of you whom we saw, and see, at our side in the long path of resistance.

Because although there is no word which can soothe the pain, both of you have instilled in us the commitment of being Zapatistas up to the last breath.

That example of you both, which is repeated and reflected in men, women, and others in every corner of the planet, demands and obliges us into the two steps which we who fight for justice, freedom, and democracy insist upon: resistance and rebellion.

And just as we look at you, in your look we see ourselves. Because you both have been on this side without being dependent on trends and circumstances. You are present because you recognized that the path here and the path there have the same destination.

Without being worn down by the gazes and words from above, you both have always had open hearts for those who are like us. For those of us who absolutely do not trust the system which oppresses us, cheats us, attacks us. For those, with the same tender rage which could be seen in Mayor Insurgente Félix Serdán’s gaze and in yours, Doña Emilia, who build without fuss, without useless ceremonies, and without thunderous statements, the thousand mirrors of freedom.

We saw that a flag, the red and black flag of the EZLN, clothed the final repose of our compañero. We the women, men, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation were and are with it and in it. With it and in it we are with you, Doña Emilia.

And in those who take shelter under that flag, both of your example will continue. The struggle will continue. Because it is true that death does not find relief if our gaze stops at the end. But here we think that death can only be cured with life, and life is only worthwhile with struggle. And struggle is only fertile when collective.

So we do not die with Don Félix. With his life we live. With his life and with that of many who die resisting and rebelling. Because although it appears that no one keeps record of the absences, there are those who are no one to forget it.

Receive our embrace which, even if it does not cure the absences, soothes by confirming, for you and for Don Félix, that your gazes are reflected here because the same steps are walked.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

In the name of the women, men, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés         Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, February 2015.

P.D.- According to the compas of the EZLN VI Commission Support Team, a small donation was given to you which we sent when we got the sad news. With this letter they should give you a bit more. It is not much because our possibilities are limited. But support between compas has no measure. We know well that it does not soothe the pain of absence. But we know that you also suffer from economic difficulties due to the long sickness of our compañero. We are sure that the compas of the Sixth Declaration throughout the world, like us, will be sure to support you with what is possible.

Note from the Sixth Declaration Commission Support Team.- The bank account if you wish to support the compañera is Banorte, in the name of Aurora Sosa Marín, account number 0245483284. 9676 Plaza Cuernavaca, branch 2507 Jojutla clabe 072544002454832840

Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.
Originally published on March 1, 2015.
Click here for original Spanish text.

January 24, 2015

Statement from the First Global Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism

Statement from the First Global Festival of
Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism

To the peoples of the world.
From Chiapas, Mexico, we raise our word to address the women and men from below, from the countryside and the city, in Mexico and the world, those who sow resistances and rebellions against neoliberal capitalism which destroys everything.
We gathered on December 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, in the Ñahtó community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Mexico State; on December 22nd and 23rd in the Nahua community of Amilcingo, Morelos; on December 24th, 25th, and 26th, in the Frente Popular Francisco Villa Independiente’s space, in Mexico City; on December 28th and 29th in the community of Monclova, Campeche; on December 31st and January 1st in the Zapatista Caracol of Oventic, Chiapas; on January 2nd and 3rd in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas. We gathered to carry-out exchanges, which is not only sharing, but learning and building together. Contributions which were grown with a profound pain which is ours and a rage which is ours, for the disappearance and murder of the students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Normal School in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. The criminal act which is in-turn the reflection of the politics of death which the evil governments and the capitalists have projected upon each corner of the country and of the world, as they, those who we are missing, are our disappeared and we will not stop fighting until we find them, from what we are in the National and International Sixth Declaration, in the Indigenous National Congress, in the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
The capitalists and their evil government foremen have left destruction in the heart of the individuals who we are and have left great destruction in the collective heart which we are, since we are the peoples, the fathers and mothers of the young people which they tore from us, and the solidary organizations determined to rebuild life where the powerful have sown grief and death.
In the indigenous communities which we are, the ravages of the capitalist system are suffered with the blood and with the pain of our children, who are also the only possible future for this planet which we call Earth, in which amidst the distances and different colors which they make us be and make us exist, we maintain the certainty that it is our mother and that it is alive, and for it to continue being so, justice is a demand which is woven with the actions and the convictions of we who are the world of below, we who do not aspire to rule it but to walk building it.
From the oceans, the beaches, the mountains, the cities, and the countryside, we build and rebuild together the assemblies, organizations, and collectives which weave, in various autonomous ways, the spaces and forms of organization and solidarity which are capable not only of containing this capitalist destruction which does not distinguish peoples or colors and which in its chronic blindness only recognizes all those who feed this very destruction dressed in permanent wars, unjust markets, and disproportionate profits for a certain few, values foreign to the peoples and against the ancient agreements with our mother Earth which gives meaning to life in the world, which give us freedom and make us dignified, dignified of living and defending life.
But the capitalists who claim to govern and who in reality only seek to dominate, administer, and exploit, have a limit, a great barrier, in the dignity of a person, of a family, of a collective, of a society which they have harmed deep down, have torn and killed part of its heart, detonating an explosion of rebellion like that illuminated by this Global Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism, which we call, “Where those from above destroy, we from below rebuild,” because we are below, from below we understand the world, below we care for it, below we look at one another, and from there, together, rebuild the destiny which we believed to be our own until the powerful tore it from us, and only then do we learn, only then do we know that what is truly ours is what we can build or rebuild where capitalism has destroyed.
The pain which turns into dignified rage in the family members of the murdered and disappeared students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Normal School is the pain which also kidnapped us and disappeared us, so we will never stop fighting until we find ourselves, together with the murdered, disappeared, tortured, exploited, despised, or plundered brother or sister in whichever point of the savage capitalist geography, on whichever border of the world, in whichever prison.
The paths of the world’s peoples both in the countryside and in the city with their own course go along on the trail left by their own ancestors, paths which divide, intersect, cross with ours, until they find a single course, marked by the rebel dignity which speaks in so many languages and has as many colors as nature itself which is woven with tiny embroideries to be able to build what we need to be.
Like so, brothers and sisters of this world, pained, but also joyous due to the rebellion which nourishes us, we invite you to continue walking with a small but firm step, to continue finding us, sharing, building, and learning, weaving the organization from below and to the left of the Sixth Declaration which we are. Only from our rebellion and from our resistance will the death of capitalism be born, will a new world for all live.
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, on January 3rd, 2015.
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.