Communiques Announcing Various Deaths and the Restructuring of the Zapatista Autonomy
First part: The Motives of the Wolf
The Motives of the Wolf
cherub’s, celestial tongue,
the minimal and sweet Francis of Assisi,
finds himself with a rude and grim animal,
fearful beast, of blood and theft,
furious jaws, evil eyes:
the wolf of Gubbio, the terrible wolf,
rabid, has devastated the land;
has cruelly destroyed all the flocks;
has devoured the lamb, has devoured the shepherds,
deaths and damages he has caused are countless.
were destroyed. The hard fangs
accounted for the toughest dogs
as if they were goatlings and baa-lambs.
and searched for the wolf
at his burrow.
Near the cave, he found the enormous beast,
who, upon seeing him, ferociously jumped
at him. Francis, with his sweet voice,
and raising his hand,
told the furious wolf: – Peace, brother
wolf! – The animal
gazed at the man with the rough sackcloth;
let down his surly air,
closed the aggressive open jaws,
and said: –Alright, brother Francis! –
What is this! –exclaimed the saint—. Is it the law that you live
by horror and death?
The blood spilt
by your diabolical snout, the grief and terror
that you spread, the crying
of peasants, the screams, the pain
of so many creatures of Our Lord,
should they not contain your diabolical bitterness?
Do you come from hell?
Have, perhaps, Luzbel or Belial,
instilled you with their eternal resentment?
And the great wolf, humbly: Winter is hard,
and hunger is horrible! In the frozen forest
I found nothing to eat; so, I searched for cattle,
and sometimes ate cattle and shepherd.
The blood? I saw more than one hunter
on his horse, carrying a goshawk
on his fist; or running behind the wild boar,
the bear or the deer; and I saw more than one
get stained in blood, hurt, torture,
from the hoarse trunks to the deaf clamor,
the animals of Our Lord.
And it was not due to hunger that they were hunting.
When he is born, he comes with sin. It is sad.
But the simple soul of the beast is pure.
You will have,
from this day onward, something to eat.
You will leave in peace
herds and people in this country.
May God mellow your wild being!
Alright, brother Francis.
in faith of promise, give me your paw.
of Assisi, who in return gave his hand.
They walked to the village. People saw,
and what they saw, they almost could not believe.
Behind the religious man went the fierce wolf,
and, with a low head and still, it followed him,
as a house dog, or a lamb.
and there he preached.
And said: Here is an amiable hunt.
Brother wolf comes with me;
he swore to me not to be your foe,
and not to repeat its bloody attack.
You, in exchange, will feed
this poor creature of God. Amen!
Answered the people form the whole village.
And then, as a sign
the good animal moved head and tail,
and entered the convent with Francis of Assisi.
in the holy asylum.
His large ears listened to the psalms
and his light eyes became moist.
It learned a thousand talents and played a thousand games
When he went to the kitchen with the laymen.
And when Francis prayed,
the wolf, the poor sandals, caressed.
He went out to the street,
he went to the hill, came down to the valley,
came into the houses, and was given
some food. They saw him as a gentle greyhound.
One day, Francis went away. And the sweet wolf,
the meek and good wolf, the honest wolf,
disappeared, went back to the mountain,
and his howling and fury began again.
Again, there was fear, there was alarm,
among neighbors and shepherds;
filled the surroundings with fear,
courage and arms were no good,
for the fierce beast,
never gave truce to his fury,
as if he had
the fires of Moloch and Satan.
all came to him with complaints and tears,
and with a thousand wails they gave testimony,
of what they suffered and lost
by that infamous demon wolf.
He went to the mountain
To look for the false butcher wolf.
And found the vermin by his cave.
In the name of the father of the holy universe,
I conjure you – he said –, Oh wicked wolf!,
to answer to me: why have you gone back to evil?
Answer. I hear you.
As in a deaf struggle the animal spoke,
the foaming mouth and the fatal eye:
– Brother Francis, do not come too near…
I was quiet there in the convent;
I visited the village,
and if they gave me something, I was happy,
and ate meekly.
But I started to see that in all of the houses
there was envy, anger and rage,
and in every face burnt fathoms
of hatred, lust, infamy and lies.
Brothers made war to brothers,
the weak lost, the evil won,
female and male were like dogs and bitches,
and then came the day when they all hit me with sticks.
They saw me humble, I licked their hands
and feet. I followed your sacred laws,
all creatures were my siblings:
brother men, brother oxen,
sister stars and brother worms.
And thus, they hit me and threw me out.
And their laughter was like boiling water,
and the beast revived within my gut,
and I suddenly felt a bad wolf again;
but always better than those bad people.
And restarted to fight here,
to defend myself and to feed myself.
As the bear does, as the wild boar does,
that in order to live they have to kill.
Leave me in the mountain, leave me in the crag,
let me be at my liberty,
go back to your convent, brother Francis,
go back to your way and sanctity.
Looked at the wolf with a profound gaze,
and parted with tears and heartbroken,
and spoke to the eternal God with his heart.
The wind from the forest carried his prayer,
which said: Our father who art in Heaven…
Second Part: Do dead people sneeze?
SupGaleano died. He died just as he lived: unhappily.
Of course, he took care, before passing away, of returning the name to the one who is flesh and blood inherited from Master Galeano. He recommended keeping him alive, that is to say, fighting. So Galeano will continue walking in these mountains.
In all other regards, it was something simple. He started humming something like “I know I’m piantao, piantao, piantao”, and, just before he expired, he said, or rather asked: “Do dead people sneeze?”, and that’s it. Those were his last words. No sentence for history, nor for a tombstone, nor for an anecdote told in front of a fire. Only that absurd, anachronistic, extemporaneous question: “Do the dead sneeze?”
He then remained still, his tired breathing suspended, his eyes closed, his lips finally silenced, his hands clenched.
We left. Almost as we left the ‘champa’, already at the doorway, we heard a sneeze. SubMoy turned to look at me and I at him, with a barely hinted “bless you.” None of us had sneezed. We turned back to see where the deceased’s body lay and nothing. SubMoy just said “good question.” I didn’t say a word, but I thought «he must surely be hanging with the moon walking down Callao.»
Then of course, we spared the funeral. Although we lost the opportunity for coffee and tamales.
I know that no one is interested in another death, and least of all that of the now deceased SupGaleano. In truth, I tell you this because he left that poem by Rubén Darío with which he began this series of texts. If we ignore the obvious hint to the Nicaragua that resists and persists – it could even be seen as a reference to the current war of the State of Israel against the people of Palestine, but, at the time of his death, the terror that overwhelms the world today had not restarted-, he left that poetry as a reference. More as a response to someone who asked how to explain what is happening now in Chiapas, Mexico and the world.
And, of course, as a discreet tribute to maestro Galeano –from whom he inherited the name-, he left what he called a “reading report”:
Who started it? Who is to blame? Who is innocent? Who is the god guy and who is the bad guy? In what position is Francis of Assisi? Who failed: him, the wolf, the shepherds or all of them? Why does the man from Assisi can only conceive making an agreement based on the wolf giving up being what he is?
Even though this happened months ago, the text sparked allegations and discussions that continue to this day. So, I will describe one of them:
It is a kind of meeting or assembly or some sort of roundtable. The best of each house is there: learned specialists in everything, militants and internationalists of all causes except of those in their own geography, spontaneous people with a PhD in social networks (the majority), and one or two who, upon seeing the noise, approached to see whether they were giving away buckets, caps or t-shirts with the name of whatever political party it was. There were quite a few who came near to find out what all the fuss was about.
– “You are nothing more than an agent of expansionist and imperial Zionism!” – shouted one.
– “And you are just a propagandist of fundamentalist Arab Muslim terrorism!” – responded another, furiously.
There had already been several outbreaks of quarrel, but it had not yet gone beyond a “meet you outside” kind of pushing and shoving.
That point was reached because they were analyzing Rubén Darío’s poem “Los Motivos del Lobo”.
Not everything had been an exchange of adjectives, jabs and bad faces. It started like everything else in those parts: with good manners, forceful phrases, “brief interventions” – which usually lasted half an hour or more –, and a great deal of quotes and footnotes.
Purely male, of course, because the debate was organized by the so-called “Toby’s Hipertextual Club”
“The Wolf is the good guy,” someone said, “because he only killed out of hunger, out of necessity.”
“No,” argued another, “he is evil because he killed sheep, which were the shepherds’ sustenance. And he himself admitted that “sometimes he ate lamb and shepherd.”
And another: “the bad guys are the people from the village, because they didn’t fulfill the agreement.”
One sitting over there: «it’s Assisi’s fault, who gets the agreement by asking the wolf to stop being a wolf, which is questionable, and then doesn’t stay to hold the pact.»
And one sitting over here: “But Assisi points out that human beings are bad by nature.”
They reaffirm themselves on both sides. But it turns out that, if a poll were taken right now, the wolf would have a comfortable double-digit lead over the shepherd village. But a clever maneuver on social networks managed to get the hashtag “killer wolf” to be TT far above #deathtotheshpherds. So, the triumph of the pro-shepherd influencers over the pro-wolf influencers was clear, although only on social networks.
There were some who argued in favor of two States coexisting in the same territory: the Wolf State and the Shepherd State.
And some others for a Plurinational State, with wolves and shepherds, living under the same oppressor, sorry, I meant under the same State. Another responded that this was impossible, given the background of each party.
A man in a suit and tie stands up and asks to speak: “If Ruben (he said this, ignoring the Darío bit), followed the legend of Gubbio, then we can do the same. Let’s continue the poem:
The shepherds, using their legitimate right to defend themselves, attack the wolf. First by destroying his burrow with bombings, and then by entering with tanks and infantry. It seems to me, colleagues, that the end is set: the terrorist and animal violence of the wolf is annihilated and the shepherds can continue their bucolic life, shearing sheep for a powerful transnational corporation that makes clothing for another equally powerful multinational corporation that, in turn , owes an even more powerful international financial institution; which will lead the shepherds to become efficient workers on their own lands – yes, with all the legal labor benefits -, and will elevate that village to first world levels, with modern highways, tall buildings and even a tourist train where Visitors from all over the world will be able to appreciate the ruins of what once were meadows, forests and springs. The annihilation of the wolf will bring peace and prosperity to the region. Sure, some animals will die, no matter the number nor the species, but they are just perfectly forgettable collateral damages. After all, bombs cannot be asked to distinguish between a wolf and a sheep, nor to limit their blast wave so as not to damage birds and trees. Peace will be achieved and no one will miss the wolf.”
Someone else stands up and points out: “But the wolf has international support and inhabited that place in advance. The system cut down trees for pasture fields, and that altered the ecological balance, reducing the number and species of animals that the wolf consumed to live. And it is to be expected that the descendants of the wolf will take fair revenge.”
“Ah, so the wolf also killed other beings. “He’s just like the shepherds,” someone replies.
Thus, they continued, giving as good arguments as those indicated here, full of wit, a wealth of erudition and many bibliographical references.
But the restraint did not last long: it went from wolf and shepherds to the Netanyahu – Hamas war and the discussion escalated until it reached what heads this anecdote, postmortem courtesy of the now deceased SupGaleano.
But at that moment, at the back of the room, a small hand was raised asking to speak. The moderator couldn’t see whose hand it was, so he gave the floor «to the person who is raising his hand back there.»
Everyone turned to look and was about to shout out in scandal and disapproval. It was a girl who was carrying a teddy bear, almost equal to her in size, and she was wearing a white blouse with embroidery and pants with a kitten near her right ankle. Anyways, the classic “outfit” for a birthday party or something like that.
The surprise was such that everyone remained silent and kept their eyes on the girl.
She stood up on the chair, thinking that this way they would hear her better and asked:
“What about the kids?”
The surprise then turned into a condemning murmur: “Which kids? What is this girl talking about? Who the hell let a woman enter this sacred precinct? And worse, she is a girl-woman!”
The girl got down from the chair and, always carrying her teddy bear with clear signs of obesity – the bear, of course -, headed to the exit door saying:
«The kids. That is, the pups of the wolf and the pups of the shepherds. Their little babies, ‘pues’. Who thinks about the kids? Who am I going to talk to? And where are we going to play?”
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
Captain Insurgent Marcos.
Mexico, October, 2023.
P.S.— Unconditional freedom for Manuel Gómez Vázquez (taken hostage since 2020 by the state government of Chiapas) and José Díaz Gómez (hostage since last year), indigenous Zapatista bases imprisoned for that reason, for being Zapatistas. Afterwards, don’t ask who sowed what you reap.
P.S.— OTIS Hurricane: Collection center for indigenous peoples in the state of Guerrero: at the address of the “Casa de los pueblos ‘Samir Flores Soberanes’”, located at Av. México-Coyoacán 343, colonia Xoco, Alcaldía Benito Juárez, Ciudad de México, C.P. 03330. Deposits and bank transfers in support of these towns and communities in the account number 0113643034, CLABE 012540001136430347, SWIFT code BCMRMXMMPYM, BBVA bank in Mexico, branch 1769. In the name of: “Ciencia Social al Servicio de los Pueblos Originarios”. Phone number: 5526907936.
Third Part: Deni
The late SupMarcos said that the reasons for the uprising could not be understood without first knowing the story of Paticha, the girl under 5 years old who died in his arms due to lack of a fever pill. I now tell you that you will not be able to understand what Insurgent Subcommander Moisés will later explain to you in detail if you do not know the history of Deni.
Dení is an indigenous girl, of Mayan blood and Mayan roots. She is the daughter of an “insurgenta” and an “insurgente” indigenous Zapatistas. When she was born, about 5 years ago, they gave her that name to honor the memory of a woman comrade who died many years ago.
The late SupGaleano met Dení when she was a Patz. In other words, a tamalito, because of how fat she was. In fact, that’s what the Sup called her: “Patz.” Now she is skinny, because she walks from one place to another. When the insurgents meet to do a job, Dení begins, according to her, to give them autonomous health classes. And she draws some doodles that, as she later explained, are health promoters. She says that female promoters are better because from time to time, men do not understand “as women that we are.” She firmly posits that, to be a health promoter, one has to know how to inject in a way that does not hurt. “Because, what if you need an injection and you don’t want to, because it hurts?”
Now we are in a meeting of the Zapatista leaders. Dení’s father and mother are not present, but the girl arrived following Tzotz and Pelusa, who are lying at the feet of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and, apparently, are paying attentiont to what is being said.
Someone is explaining:
“Deni is present here and she is, let’s say, the first generation. In 20 years, Dení will have a female offspring and she will name her “Denilita”, she would be the second generation. Denilita, 20 years later, is going to conceive a girl who will be called “Denilitilla”, she is the third generation. Denilitilla, now 20 years old, is going to have a girl who will be called “Denilititilla”, she would be the fourth generation. Denilititilla, when she turns 20, will give birth to a girl and will call her “Denilí”, the fifth generation. At 20 years old, Denilí is going to have a girl who will be called “Dení Etcétera”, she is the sixth generation. «Deni Etcetera, 20 years later, that is, in 120 years, will have a girl whose name we cannot see, because her birth date has already been removed from the calendar, but she is the seventh generation.»
Here Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés intervenes: “So we have to fight so that that girl, who is going to be born in 120 years, is free and is whatever she wants to be. So we are not fighting for that girl to be a Zapatista or a ‘partidista’ or whatever, but rather for her to be able to choose, when she has judgment, what her path is. And not only that she can decide freely, but also and, above all, that she takes responsibility for that decision. That is, take into account that all decisions, what we do and what we don’t do, have consequences. So, this is about that girl is able to grow up with all the elements to make a decision and to take responsibility for its consequences.
That is to say, that she doesn´t blame the system, the bad governments, her parents, her relatives, the men, her partner (whether male or female or whatever), the school, her friendships. Because that is freedom: being able to do something without pressure or obligation, but being responsible for what was done. In other words, knowing the consequences beforehand.”
SubMoy turns to look at the now deceased SupGaleano, as if to say “your turn.” The deceased who is not yet deceased (but who already knows that he will soon be), foresees that one day he will have to talk about this to strangers and begins:
“Will that Deni to the N Power no longer speak ill of the darned men? Yes, she is going to do it, as usual. But her arguments will not be that because they made fun of her, despised her, violented her, harassed her, raped her, beat her, disappeared her, murdered her, dismembered her. No, it’s going to be because of normal things and issues, like the darned man farting in the bed and stinking the blanket; or that he doesn’t hit the toilet bowl; or that he burps like a calf; or that he buys his favorite team’s shirt, puts on shorts, socks, and special soccer shoes, and then sits down to watch the games while stuffing himself with popcorn with lots of hot sauce; or that he takes great care in choosing the “outfit” that he will wear for decades: his favorite t-shirt, his favorite pants, and his favorite flip-flops; or because he doesn’t let go of the television control; or that he doesn’t tell her that he loves her, even though she knows that he loves her, but a little reminder is not bad from time to time.»
Among those listening, the women nod their heads affirmatively as if to say “well, yeah, as usual”; and the men smile nervously.
The SubMoy knows that it is SupGaleano’s trick and that now he is going to start, in what he calls “gender solidarity”, to ill speak about women, so he interrupts him just when the now deceased is starting to say: “But the thing is that the women…»
“Well,” says SubMoy, “now we’re talking about a girl who’s going to be born in 120 years and we’re going to focus on that.” The one who senses that he will be dead sits down, regretting not having been able to present his brilliant thesis against women. The SubMoy continues:
“Then we have to think about that girl. To see far, pues. And, looking at what seems very far away, we need to see what we have to do for that girl to be free.
And this is important because the storm is already upon us. The same one we warned about almost 10 years ago. The first thing we see is that the destruction comes faster. What we thought would happen in 10 years is already here.
You have already explained it here. You have told us what you see in your Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Cho’ol, Tojolabal, Mame, Zoque, Quiché areas. You already know what is happening with Mother Earth because you live and work on it. You know that the weather is changing. “The climate”, as the citizens say. That it rains when it’s not the time for it, that it is dry when it’s not supposed to. And so. They know that sowings can no longer be decided like our previous ones did, because the calendar is crooked, changed, pues.
But not only. We also see that the animals’ behaviors have changed, they appear in areas that are not their custom and in seasons that are not their turn. Here and in the geographies of brother peoples, what they call “natural disasters” increase, but they are a consequence of what the dominant system, that is, capitalism, does and does not do. There is rain, as usual, but now it is fiercer and in places and seasons that are not the same as before. There are very terrible droughts. And now it happens that, in the same geography – for example here in Mexico -, on one side there are floods and on the other there is drought and they are left without water. There are strong winds, as if the wind became angry and said “ya basta” and wanted to knock everything down. There are earthquakes, volcanoes, plagues like never before. As if Mother Earth were saying that’s it, no more. As if humanity were a disease, a virus that must be taken outside, vomiting destruction.
But, in addition to seeing that Mother Earth is as if dissatisfied, as if protesting, there is the worst part: the monster, the Hydra, capitalism, which is like crazy stealing and destroying. He now wants to steal what he didn’t care about before and continues destroying the little that remains. Capitalism now produces misery and those who flee from it: migrants.
The COVID Pandemic, which is still ongoing, showed the inability of an entire system to give a real explanation and to take the necessary measures. While millions died, a few became richer. Other pandemics are already looming and the sciences give way to pseudo-sciences and quackery turned into political projects for government.
We also see what we call Disorganized Crime, which are the very same bad governments, from all political parties, that hide and fight over money. This Disorganized Crime is the main trafficker of drugs and people; the one who gets the majority of federal supports; the one who kidnaps, murders, disappears; the one who makes business with humanitarian aid; the one who extorts, threatens and collects “derecho de piso” with taxes that are used so that a candidate may say that now things are going to change, that now they are going to behave well.
We see brother indigenous peoples who, tired of scorn, mockery and lies, arm themselves to defend themselves or to attack the Caxlanes. And the citizens are getting scared, when it was them, with their shitty ways, who fueled that hatred that they now suffer and that no longer has control. Just as in the proud Jovel, they reap what they sow.
And we also see with sadness that they fight even among indigenous people of the same blood and language. They fight among themselves to get the miserable supports of bad governments. Or to take away from one another the little they have or that arrives. Instead of defending the land, they fight for alms.
We warned the citizens and the original brothers of all this almost 10 years ago. There will be those who paid attention, and there are many who did not even take us into account. As they saw and still see as if all that horror was very far away, in time and distance. As if they only saw what’s in front of them. They don’t see any further. Or they see, but they don’t care.
As we know, in all these past years, we have been preparing for this darkness. For 10 years we have been preparing for these days of pain and sorrow for those of us who are all the colors of the earth. 10 years self-critically reviewing what we do and what we don’t do, what we say and don’t say, what we think and look at. We have prepared ourselves despite betrayals, slander, lies, paramilitaries, information sieges, contempt, resentment and attacks from those who reproach us for not obeying them.
We did it in silence, without noise, calmly and serenely because we looked far away, as our previous ones taught us todo. And out there yelling at us to just look here, just a calendar and a geography. What they want to make us look at is very small. But as Zapatistas that we are, our gaze is the size of our heart, and our journey is not one day, one year, one six-year period. Our step is long and leaves a mark, even if we do not look at it now or ignore and despise our path.
We know well that it has not been easy. And now everything is worse, and anyway we must look at that girl in 120 years. In other words, we have to fight for someone we are not going to know. Neither us, nor her children, nor her children’s children, and so on. And we have to do it because it is our duty as Zapatistas that we are.
Many misfortunes are coming, wars, floods, droughts, diseases, and in the midst of collapse we have to look far away. If migrants now number in the thousands, soon they will be tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands. Fights and death will come between brothers, between parents and children, between neighbors, between races, between religions, between nationalities. The great buildings will burn and no one will be able to say why, or who, or for what. Although it seems like not anymore, but yes, it’s going to get worse.
But, just as when we work the land, before planting, we see the tortilla, the tamales, the pozol in our homes, so we have to see that girl now.
If we don’t look at that girl who is already with her mother, but in 120 years, then we won’t understand what we are doing. We are not going to be able to explain it to our own colleagues. And much less will be understood by people, organizations and sister people from other geographies.
We can now survive the storm as Zapatista communities that we are. But now it is not only about that, but about going through this and other storms that will come, it’s about surviving the night, and reaching that morning, 120 years from now, where a girl begins to learn that being free is also being responsible for that freedom.
For that, looking at that girl there in the distance, we are going to make the changes and adjustments that we have been discussing and agreeing on together in these years, and that we have already consulted with all the Zapatista peoples.
If someone thinks that we are going to receive a prize, or a statue, or a museum, or some golden letters in history, or payment, or gratitude; well, it’s time for him to look elsewhere. Because the only thing we are going to receive is that, when we are about to die, we will be able to say “I did my part” and know that it is not a lie.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés remained silent, as if waiting for someone to walk out. Nobody did. They continued discussing, contributing, planning. Lunch time arrived and they came to ask when they were going to stop to rest.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés answered: “After a while, within 120 years.”
I’m going to be honest with you, as usual. I, the captain, can dream of that moment when a girl is born without fear, that she is free and that she takes responsibility for what she does and what she does not do. I can also imagine it. I could even write a short story or a tale about it. But these women and men that I have in front of me and by my side, Zapatista indigenous people all of Mayan roots, my bosses, do not dream or imagine that girl. They see her, they look at her. And they know what they have to do so that that girl is born, walks, plays, learns and grows in another world… in 120 years.
Just as clearly as when they look at the mountain. There is something in their gaze, as if they were looking beyond time and space. They look at the tortilla, the tamales and the pozol on the table. And they know that it is not for them, but for a girl who is not even in the intention of those who will be her parents, because they have not been born. Neither them, nor their parents, nor their grandparents, nor their great-grandparents, nor their great-great-grandparents, and so on up to 7 generations. Seven generations that begin to count from this Dení, the First Generation Dení.
I tell you, we are going to achieve it. It’s just that it’s going to take a little time, but not much either.
Just a little over a century.
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
Capitán Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, November 2023.
P.S.- Every bomb that falls in Gaza also falls in the capitals and major cities of the world, it’s just yhat they haven’t realized it yet. From the rubble the horror of tomorrow’s war will be born.
P.S. SEVERAL WARS BEFORE (the day before, almost 120 years ago):
– “Wouldn’t it be better to declare war frankly?
The professor answered simply: -Our Government undoubtedly wants others to declare it. The role of the victim is always the most pleasant and justifies all subsequent decisions, no matter how extreme they may seem. Over there we have people who live well and do not want war. It is convenient to make them believe that it is the enemies who impose it on us, so that they feel the need to defend themselves. Only superior spirits come to the conviction that great advances are only achieved with the sword, and that war, as our great Treitschke said, is the highest form of progress.” The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1916). by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (Spain 1867–1928).
Fourth Part and First Approach Alert. Several Necessary Deaths.
To the people who subscribe the Declaration for Life:
We inform you of the following:
FIRST. – A few months ago, after a long and profound critical and self-critical analysis, and after consulting all the Zapatista towns, it was decided to disappear the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ) and the Good Government Juntas.
SECOND. – All seals, letterheads, positions, representations and agreements with the name of any MAREZ or any of the Good Government Juntas are invalid from this moment on. No person can present themselves as a member, authority or representative of any MAREZ or Good Government Junta. The agreements held before this date, with Non-Governmental Organizations, social organizations, collectives, solidarity groups and instances in Mexico and the world are maintained until their expiration, but new agreements cannot be made with these bodies of Zapatista autonomy, for the simple reason that they no longer exist.
THIRD. – The Caracoles remain, but they will remain closed to the outside world until further notice.
FOURTH. – We will tell you the reasons and process by which this decision was made little by little in the following texts. I can only tell you that this evaluation, in its final phase, began about 3 years ago. We will also explain to you what the new structure of Zapatista autonomy is like and how it has been developing.
All that, and more things, will appear at the right time.
FIFTH. – We inform you that we will hold a celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the war against oblivion. This, in the months of December 2023 and January 2024. All people who signed the “Declaration for Life” are invited.
However, it is our duty, while inviting you, to discourage you. Contrary to what the official press, self-proclaimed cool-progre-chill, reports and misinforms, the main cities of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas are in complete chaos. The municipal presidencies are occupied by what we call “legal hitmen” or “Disorganized Crime.” There are blockades, assaults, kidnappings, “cobro de piso”, forced recruitment, shootings. This is the effect of the protection of the state government and the dispute over the political charges that is in process. What is being confronted are not political proposals, but rather criminal societies.
So, of course we tell you that, unlike other years, it is not safe.
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán, Las Margaritas and Palenque, to mention some municipal seats, are in the hands of one of the disorganized crime cartels and in dispute with another. This is confirmed by the so-called hotel, tourism, restaurant and service industries. Those who work in these places know this and have not reported it because they are threatened and, furthermore, because they know that any request is useless, because the state and municipal authorities are the ones who commit crimes and know no limit in the robbery they are doing.
In rural communities the problem is even more serious. This is what is being shouted by those who live in all the regions of Chiapas, particularly in the entire border strip with Guatemala.
What is read, heard and seen in the majority of local and national media is just a bad and shameless echo of the state government’s social networks. The truth is that the official authorities are the problem. Yes, like in the rest of the country.
Federal, state and local military and police forces are not in Chiapas to protect the civilian population. They have the sole purpose of stopping migration. That is the order that came from the North American government. As is their way, they have turned migration into a business. Human trafficking is a business of the authorities who, through extortion, kidnapping and buying and selling of migrants, shamelessly enrich themselves.
So, we do not advise you to come. Unless, of course, you organize yourselves very well to do so.
So, although we are not waiting for you, we are inviting you. The tentative dates of the commemorations are between December 23, 2023 and January 7, 2024, the central celebration being December 30–31 and January 1–2. We will tell you the place afterwards. That is to say, we do want you to come, although we don’t recommend it.
Even if you don’t arrive, don’t worry. We will still send you photos and videos.
Well, that is if there still is a world in those dates, anyway.
See it for yourselves.
From the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés
Mexico, November 2023.
Fifth Part: “Sorry for the blow, lad”
P.S. THAT WARNS. – We were already going to tell you what this whole thing is about, but reading, seeing and listening to the string of atrocities that the «specialists» in everything and knowledgeable in nothing say and write (about supposed withdrawals, dismantlements, advances of organized crime and «returns to the past” – Coletos had to be the majority -), we decided rather to let them continue burping.
With their deep analysis and well-founded research, the zapatologists state: “an example of the Zapatista defeat is the loss of indigenous identity: young indigenous people already wear cowboy boots, instead of walking barefoot or in huaraches. And they get ready to flirt, new pants and shirt – or ironed! -, instead of wearing blanket pants and buying their wives according to indigenous uses and customs. And they ride motorcycles, instead of carrying their women coletas bosses on their backs. The only thing left is for young indigenous women to wear pants or, what a horror!, play soccer and drive vehicles, instead of serving the coleta ladies. They even dare to dance cumbias and ska instead of Bolonchon, and sing rap and hiphop instead of psalms and odes to the landowners. And, as another sign of the loss of their indigenous identity, they even pretend the absurdity of being subcommanders, commanders, and women commanders! And pretend to govern themselves. And they don’t ask permission to be however they want to be. And they travel and get to know other lands. And they work and earn their pay without a ‘tienda de raya’. And they do not have them in concentration camps, like in Gaza, so that they do not pick up “Sinaloa” ideas, that is, foreign ones – because the mayo-yoreme in Sinaloa, are all about narcocorridos, my man –. Because of Zapatismo, we anthropologists will no longer have any jobs. What a shame. And all because they did not follow the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat or MORENA, same thing. A serious mistake of Zapatismo not to obey us. Because today, the indigenous people no longer look down when you bump into them. They look at you with irreverence, with defiance, with rage, as if we were the intruders and not them, as if we were the criminals and not them. Before, only the Zapatistas did that, now any ‘Chamulita’ stands up to you. And, as Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism-Maoism-Trotskyism-all-isms say, any indigenous person who is not like the anthropology manual says is a narco.”
We know for sure that, later, when the full meaning of this stage is known, they will have the minimum of honesty to say and publish: “We do not have the slightest idea of what they did, what they do or what they will do. The best thing would have been to ask the Zapatistas and not the anti-Zapatistas.” Or are they not honest?
Tell those “journalists” that it is always better, although more uncomfortable and not profitable, to interview the actors, not the spectators, ‘villa melones’ and lazy paramilitaries. Investigative journalism is a professional job that often requires risks and discomfort. But, don’t worry, we understand that everyone looks for a living the best way they can.
So, as a greeting to the “zapatologists”, we continue with these P.S. made with love:
P.S. OF THE CAPTAINTY OF PUERTO DE MONTAÑA. – We had prepared a series of clever phrases to make fun of the political class as a whole (government and opposition), but now we think that there is no point, since each flock has its shepherd or each shepherd has its flock. Or does someone naively believe that the matter is between two shepherdesses?
Our silence in these years was not, nor is, a sign of respect or endorsement of anything, but rather that we strive to see further and seek what everyone, men, women and ‘otroas’, is looking for: a way out of the nightmare. While you learn, from subsequent writings, what we have been doing, perhaps you will understand that our attention has been elsewhere.
But we understand that more than one suffers from what we Zapatistas call a “theoretical torticollis” which is caused by looking up, too much, and affects good judgment, common sense, decency and honesty – in addition to being addictive and creating chronic dependency. We understand the limitations of your horizons of analysis. One thing is the desk, the academy, the journalistic column, the commissioned report, the government position, the revolutionary coffee gossip or social networks, and another thing is reality.
The latter not only does not pay, but it also charges very expensively. Shakira has already said it: ‘la realidad factura’ (reality costs), and it does not include VAT. Sorry.
We will not make firewood out of the fallen trees up there. Reality, that implacable fool, will do its thing and the last splinters will be those that organized crime takes from the “cobro de piso” in the proposals of each of them.
Some masturbate with the ‘mañanera’ (morning presidential conference). Others with destruction, deaths, murders, rapes, disappearances, hunger, war, diseases, pain and sorrow. None of them have a viable and serious political proposal, they just entertain… until they don’t anymore.
And, since we are talking about autoeroticism: given the choice between Bertha and Claudia, well, Wendy.
Okay, cheers and now what am I going to do with my costume to dance corridos tumbados? “Compa, que le parece esa gorra?”… What? That’s not the way it goes? Don’t I tell you? It is the loss of indigenous identity. I hope anthropologists arrive soon to save us.
From the mountains of the mexican southeast.
(Looking very handsome with his cowboy hat, not for bragging. Ajúa my people!)
Mexico 40, 30, 20, 10 years after
P.S. «CONTEXTUAL». – Televisa being Televisa and anthropologists being anthropologists: nmas.com.mx/noticieros/programas/en-punto/videos/ezln-cierra-caracoles-avance-crimen-organizado
Sixth Part: Postscript Who Seeks Hoping to Find.
P.S. THAT SAYS WHAT IT SAYS. – As one of the late Sups said: “history repeats itself twice: once as a tragedy and the other time as well.” And this axiom of life comes to the point, because I received a package with a small note. No, it is not from SEGALMEX (those export, they do not import). The package has a postmark from “a distant geography”, in distant Europe. The date is blurred, but on the return address appears: “I am not Don Durito de La Lacandona, do not confuse. I’m just an AI entity.” That sentence should have been enough to put me on alert, but anyway I read the note and opened the package. The note is brief and says:
“My dear and never missed Cyrano: I will be brief and precise. I’m going over there to help you. Don’t wait for me because I’m going incognito. I still haven’t decided whether I’m dressing up as a cloud or as Bad Bunny or as Luis Miguel or as Al Pacino. In any case, something that allows me to go unnoticed, if you know what I mean. For now, and since it’s stormy, I’m sending you my latest book. That’s all. From a corner in… Slovenia?… hey, what’s the name of this place? Cyprus? Hey? I think I’m going to put “Eastern Europe”… Huh? It’s not that either? Ok, then to hell with the geography up there: “from Fuck The Cardinal Points” Known Address. Zip Code… Hey, what’s the zip code? Huh? 666? Nah, just kidding, right? Right? Can anyone out there confirm that this is a joke? Hello? Hello? Signature: Durito disguised as an AI.”
Yes I know. But believe me, when it comes to Durito, this is a brief and precise message. The book has on the cover, does anyone doubt it?, a beetle… in a tuxedo?!, and the very reassuring title «Survival Manual in the Case of World Collapse.» And, further down, “Everything you wanted to know to face the end of the world with style and elegance. Design the ideal outfit for the end of time. Be the sensation in the Apocalypse. Yessss!”
The book in question only has a blank page and a postscript lost in a corner: “LOOK FOR THE ONE WHO ALREADY LIVES THE HELL THAT AWAITS YOU ALL. SEEK THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING”.
P.S. FOR THE SEEKERS. – Before them, we only knew, for example, about the FNCR ladies. But later others appeared, it seems to me that since the six-year term of Vicente Fox. First a few and scattered throughout the geography. Then more. Then in groups. Now, in this entire clandestine graveyard called “Mexico,” they go from one place to another, looking for who they need. There is no one to help or support them. They are alone in the sense that they only have themselves. Yes, there are men too, but the majority are women. No, they are not fashionable. The disappeared do not vote, and that is what it is about. The entire electoral political spectrum, all the electoral flags, all the party acronyms, have already passed through the governments, and the profession of “SEEKER” is growing.
Years ago, in the written procedures, there was a line where “occupation” was written. Typically, women wrote “housewife,” “office worker,” “employee,” “professionist,” “student,” and so on.
The monstrosity of a system has created another occupation: that of “seeker.” Perhaps the most terrible, distressing, painful and anachronistic of all occupations.
Few things are a greater sign of the failure of a political proposal in power than the existence and growth of the SEEKER occupation.
Imagine someone interviews you: “Hey, what do you do?” She answers “I seek.” “And how much do you earn for that job?” «Nothing». “And how do you do it?” “I don’t know, but I know I have to do it. And I have to do it because she/he knows that I will not rest until I find him/her.” “Is there anything you want to tell other people?” “Yes, look at me, I am you in the future if we do nothing.” The reporter starts crying. She is still crying. What about them? Well, they keep seeking.
Meanwhile, someone in the mountains of Southeast Mexico writes:
“To the Seekers:
We had thought of organizing a meeting with you that would not be one of pain, but of joy. You know: dances, songs, poems, movies, plays, children’s drawings, things like that. Not something that relieves you or heals that wound that does not close, but just a celebration, which your fight deserves.
But a nefarious being, one of those that is never absent, wanted to turn that meeting into an electoral lever for the ill-called opposition. Calling for a “critical vote” for Bertha and that nonsense that only serves to get an opportunist into office. That’s why we haven’t done it… yet. We were not going to allow your noble efforts to be tarnished.
But we tell you here what we were going to tell you there: Don’t stop seeking. Those absent people are valuable because of the blood they inherited, which is your own. We do not know those whom you are missing, but we know you and the nobility of your struggle. Don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t claudicate. Although the horror you face is unfashionable, your cause is just and noble. And no politician can say the same thing. Your stubborn dignity teaches and shows the way. We wish more people would look at you the way we Zapatista people see you: with admiration and respect.”
P.S.- In Gaza. – The murdered Palestinian children are not collateral victims, they are Netanyahu’s main objective, they always were. This war is not to eliminate Hamas. It’s to kill the future. Hamas will only be the collateral victim. The government of Israel has already lost the media battle, because it turns out that the genocide, although disguised as revenge, does not have as many followers as they believed. Now it is capable of the most unimaginable cruelty. The one who perhaps could stop the massacre is… the people of Israel.
Cheers and may he who seeks find.
From the mountains of the mexican southeast.
40, 30, 20, 10 years after.
Seventh part: A Streaming Beetle
Durito forwarded me this that reached one of his millions (so he said) of fans:
And he adds the following:
“Although it is a nice touch that they have changed the black color to blue, which protects my secret identity, the reason might be that they want to avoid paying copyright. Above all, for my discreet participation in the SAG-AFTRA strike, alongside my admired Susan. In any case, I appreciate HBO’s humble tribute to the greatest superhero that planet Earth has ever given birth to: myself.»
Almost at the same time, I received this from the HBO Community Manager:
«In relation to the announcement of the programming of the aforementioned film, HBO clarifies that it does not refer to Don Durito (DD for legal issues) nor is it a reference to the next anniversary of the EZLN. It’s a mere coincidence. HBO reiterates its commitment to the system and is already taking steps to reprimand those responsible for our programming for this regrettable misunderstanding. HBO does not make films, nor does it schedule the exhibition of films, of real superheroes, only fictional ones. And, anticipating demands from the aforementioned DD, we want to warn that all the documentation that protects our innocence is already in our legal department. We will not accept demands greater than 10 million USD, although we would be willing to redirect the compensation to Guerrero, as long as it is a reasonable amount that does not exceed the amount referred to and is discussed by the Union Congress of the cemetery called Mexico. We are at your disposal to reach a reasonable arrangement. Sincerely. The CEO of HBO»
I think this has already gotten out of control.
Now Durito will be unbearable. Well, that was it, but more (or is it Max?).
From the office of the DD Artistic Representative (for legal issues).
Eighth Part: P.S. What You Have to Read to Know What It’s About.
Legend has it that, in the times when time did not matter, rain and night covered the House of Beings. Then the power went out. Everything was darkness. Women, men and ‘otroas’ were stumbling and crashing with each other. For this reason, they argued and fought between brothers and neighbors. They didn’t even recognize each other, even though they were family members and acquaintances, because it was very dark. They scolded each other a lot.
The first gods, those who created the world, were lazy, lying in their hammocks, telling jokes and stories. But all the noise coming from the House of Beings reached them. “Whose noise is this?” asked one. “Who knows,” said another. Ixmucané, who was the mother goddess, said: “Let’s see what the noise is about,” but when she got out of the hammock, she fell and her face landed on the ground and it looked like it was dented, that is, like it had cracks. Ixmucané got up from the ground and did not swear because swear words had not yet been invented. She dusted herself off. She raised her skirt a little and ran towards the House of Beings.
The gods looked at each other and said nothing, but they thought, “Are we going to let a woman beat us?” and they got down from their hammocks, but carefully, and ran to catch up with Ixmucané. But it turns out that, since they had been lazy, they had not made or cleared path and there was a lot of bush. Pure ‘Acahual’, you see. There was an abundance of tzaw ch’ix (thorns), dry branches, sharp grass (which is also called gezau h’ak) and ch’oox tz’an, which is a vine with thorns. But there they went running and jumping as best they could and complaining on the way, those gods, because they were not going to allow a woman to beat them. They later arrived at the House of Beings, all scratched and dented on their faces and hands. But no one looked at them and noticed that they were all beaten up, because there was no light. That is why it is believed that the gods do not have wounds.
The gods didn’t look at anything either. Everything was dark. Just by the sound you knew there were more people. “And now?” the gods asked themselves. Ixmucané did not wonder anything, but remained thinking. The male gods were always very boastful and began to say that you have to go for ocote. Another said that they had to invent the the lamp. Another one said that had to gather a lot of fireflies. And so.
Ixmucané thought: “We have to replace the light. But to replace it, we have to find it. And to find it, we have to know where to look for it. And to know where to look for it, we just have to know what happened.”
Ixmucané gathered the men, women and ‘otroas’ of corn. At that time there were only men, women and ‘otroas’ made out of corn, they came in many colors and everyone had their own way. There were no religions, no nations, no States, no political parties, nor everything that was born later as seeds of war. So, when Ixmucané said “come, little brothers and sisters,” guided by her voice, all the men and women arrived, and ‘othroas’ too – because they did not feel excluded.
So they met in an assembly. They didn’t look at each other because there was no light, but they could talk and listen to each other.
Ixmucané asked them “What are we going to do?” The men, women and ‘otroas’ did not look at each other – because there was no light – but remained silent. Until a voice said “Well, you tell us what we are going to do.” The applause was not seen, but it was clearly heard. Ixmucané laughed heartily and said, “Do you think I know. We don’t know as it is, but maybe gathered together, in an assembly and talking, suddenly some ideas emerge about what we are going to do.» They were all silent, wondering what they were going to do.
The only noise that could be heard was the noise of the male gods who were fighting among themselves, saying where the hell was the ‘ocote’, and whether someone had remembered to create the fireflies, and whether it was not me, and whether that was up to I don’t know who but he always plays dumb or acts like a duck, and someone asked what is a “duck”, because the ducks were not made yet. And so.
In the assembly they were already talking and proposing how to do it. First just a few voices, then more. Then they had to make a list in order to speak in turns and have someone write if there is an agreement. Since there was no light to write or read, there was only the spoken word, so they named Ixmucané, for her to keep in her head everything that is said, and then talks about it.
Many ideas and words were said, and they no longer fit in his Ixmucané head. Then she began to keep them in her hair and her hair became long, that’s why women have long hair. But then it wasn’t enough either, although she adjusted her hair and that’s when the “hair press” was invented, which, as its name indicates, means “grab ideas.” Ixmucané’s hair was already reaching the ground and they continued speaking ideas and words. Then Ixmucané began to keep her ideas in the wounds she had gotten when she fell and with the thorns and vines. She had wounds everywhere: on her face, on her arms, on her hands, on her legs. Her entire body was full of wounds, so she was able to save everything. That’s why they say that old people, that is, sensible people, who have many wrinkles and scars, means that they have many ideas and stories. That is to say they know a lot.
In another turn I will tell you what they agreed on in that first assembly that took place in the House of Beings, but in this one I will tell you what Ixmucané said: “Well, we already have, as it were, a plan to face this problem that we have. Since the world is just being born and we are giving a name to each thing, so as not to confuse ourselves, we are going to call this thing we did «in common», because we all participated: some giving some ideas, others proposing other ideas, and there are those who speak and there are those who keep notes of what is said.”
There was silence first. Heavy, strong was the silence. Then you could hear someone start to applaud, then another, then everyone applauded and you could hear that they were very happy. And they didn’t dance because you could see nothing at all. But they laughed a lot because they had found a new word called “in common,” which means “to seek the path together.” And it was not that the first gods invented it, those who created the world, but it came to be that it was men, women, and ‘otroas’ made of corn, who, in common, found the word, that is, the way.
Ixmucané was the most knowledgeable of all the gods and, as she was the first to arrive at the House of Beings, she had more wounds, from the fall and from the race she did in the ‘Acahual’, and thus she was marked with those scars. “Wrinkles” and “scars,” they were called. Since then, wrinkles and scars represent wisdom. More wrinkles and scars, more knowledge. Of course, back then there were no social networks and no one was wearing makeup and modifying their photos with a well-known virtual application. And then it happens that you see the profile photo and then you see reality, and you want to run away. No, the wrinkles and scars were a source of pride and not something anybody could have. Even young men and women painted wrinkles and scars, or simply went into the mountains so that the thorns and vines scratched their faces. Because it didn’t matter who was prettier, but rather who was more knowledgeable. Instead of “followers” and “likes” they looked for who had the most wrinkles and scars.
And that’s it.
Yes, I would also like to know what happened to the lost light. Maybe later, in another postscript, we will know. For now, we have to learn to walk and live like this in the dark. There is no other way.
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
November 2023. 40, 30, 20, 10 years after.
Ninth Part: The new structure of Zapastista Autonomy
Brothers, sisters, comrades:
I am going to try to explain to you how we reorganized the autonomy, that is, the new structure of the Zapatista autonomy. I will explain more to you later in more detail. Or maybe I won’t explain more, because practice is what matters. Of course you can also come to the anniversary and watch the plays, songs, poems and the art and culture of this new stage of our struggle. If not, Tercios Compas will send you photos and videos. At another time I will tell you what we saw good and bad in the critical evaluation of MAREZ and JBG. Now I’ll just tell you how it looks. Here it goes:
First: The main base, which is not only where autonomy is sustained, also without which the other structures cannot function, is the Local Autonomous Government, LAG [GAL for its acronym in Spanish]. There is a GAL in each community where Zapatista support bases live. The Zapatista GALs are the core of all autonomy. They are coordinated by autonomous agents and commissioners and are subject to the assembly of the town, ranchería, community, area, neighborhood, ejido, colony, or however each population calls itself. Each GAL controls its autonomous organizational resources (such as schools and clinics) and the relationship with neighboring non-Zapatista brother towns. And controls the proper use of the pay. It also detects and reports mismanagement, corruption and errors that may exist. And is attentive to those who want to pass themselves off as Zapatista authorities to ask for support or aid that they use for their own benefit.
So, if before there were a few dozen MAREZ, that is, Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipalities, now there are thousands of Zapatista GALs.
Second. – According to their needs, problems and advances, various GALs are convened into Collectives of Zapatista Autonomous Government, ZAG [CGAZ for its acronym in Spanish], and here discussions are held and agreements are made on matters that interest the convening GALs. When they so determine, the Collective of Autonomous Governments calls an assembly of the authorities of each community. Here the plans and needs of Health, Education, Agroecology, Justice, Commerce, and those that are needed are proposed, discussed and approved or rejected. The coordinators of each area are at the CGAZ level. They are not authorities. Their job is to ensure that the work requested by the GAL or that are deemed necessary for community life. Such as, for example: preventive medicine and vaccination campaigns, campaigns for endemic diseases, courses and specialized training (such as laboratory technicians, x rays, ultrasound, mammograms and those that we learn on the way), literacy and higher levels, sporting and cultural events, traditional festivities, etc. Each region or CGAZ has its directors, who are the ones who summon assemblies if there is an urgent problem or one that affects several communities.
That is to say, where before there were 12 Good Government ‘Juntas’, now there will be hundreds.
Third. – Next, the Assemblies of Collectives of ZAPATISTA Autonomous Governments, ACZAG [ACGAZ for its acronym in Spanish]. Which are what were previously known as zones. But they have no authority, and depend on the CGAZ. And the CGAZ depend on the GAL. The ACGAZ convenes and presides over zone assemblies, when necessary according to the requests of GAL and CGAZ. They are based in the caracoles, but move between regions. In other words, they are mobile, according to the towns demands for attention.
Fourth. – As will be seen in practice, the Command and Coordination of Autonomy has been transferred from the JBG and MAREZ to the towns and communities, to the GAL. The zones (ACGAZ) and the regions (CGAZ) are governed by the towns, they must be accountable to the towns and must find a way to meet their needs in Health, Education, Justice, Food and those that arise due to emergencies caused by natural disasters, pandemics, crimes, invasions, wars, and the other misfortunes that the capitalist system brings.
Fifth. – The structure and disposition of the EZLN has been reorganized in order to increase the defense and security of towns and mother earth in the event of aggressions, attacks, epidemics, invasion of companies that prey on nature, partial or total military occupations, natural catastrophes and nuclear wars. We have prepared so that our towns survive, even isolated from each other.
Sixth. – We understand that you may have problems assimilating this. And that, for a while, you will struggle to understand it. It took us 10 years to think about it, and of those 10 years, 3 to prepare it for its practice.
We also understand that it seems to you that your thinking is scrambled. That is why it is necessary to change your channel of understanding. Only by looking far away, backwards and forwards, can the present step be understood.
We hope you understand that it is a new structure of autonomy, that we are just learning and that it will take a while to get going well.
In reality, this statement has only the intention of telling you that Zapatista autonomy continues and advances, that we think it will be better for the towns, communities, places, neighborhoods, colonies, ejidos and rancherías where they live, that is, the bases of Zapatista support. And that it has been their decision, taking into account their ideas and proposals, their criticisms and self-criticisms.
Also, as will be seen, this new stage of autonomy is made to confront the worst of the Hydra, its most infamous bestiality and its destructive madness. Their wars and business and military invasions.
For us, there are no borders or distant geographies. Everything that happens in any corner of the planet affects us and concerns us, worries us and hurts us. To the extent of our very small strength, we will support human beings in distress regardless of their color, race, nationality, belief, ideology and language. Although we do not know many languages or understand many cultures and ways, we know how to understand the suffering, pain, sorrow, and proud rage that the system provokes.
We know how to read and listen to brother hearts. We will continue trying to learn from them, their stories and their struggles. Not only because we have suffered from this for centuries and we know what it is like. Also, and above all because, as for 30 years, our fight is for life.
Surely we have made many mistakes in all these years. We will surely do more in the next 120 years. But we will NOT give up, we will NOT change path, we will NOT sell out. We will always be reviewing our struggle, its times and ways with a critical eye.
Our eyes, our ears, our heads and our hearts will always be ready to learn from others who, although different in many things, have our same concerns and similar desires for democracy, freedom and justice.
And we will always seek the best for our people and for our sister communities.
We are, therefore, Zapatistas.
As long as there is at least one man, one woman, one ‘otroa’ Zapatista in any corner of the planet, we will resist in rebellion, that is, we will fight.
See it for yourselves, friends and enemies. And those who are neither one thing nor another.
That is it, for now.
From the mountains of the mexican southeast.
Insurgent Subcommander Moisés.
Mexico, November 2023.
More than 500, 40, 30, 20, 10 years later.
P.S.- Here I leave you a drawing to see if you understand it a little.
Tenth Part: Regarding pyramids and their uses and customary regimes.
Conclusions from the critical analysis of MAREZ and JBG. (Fragment of the interview with Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés during the months of August-September 2023, in the mountains of Southeast Mexico)
Who built Thebes of the 7 gates? In the books you will read
the names of kings. Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished, who raised it up so many times?
In what houses of gold glittering Lima did its builders live? Where,
the evening that the Great Wall of China was finished, did the masons go? Great Rome
is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them?
Known is the obsession that dominant systems have, throughout their history, in rescuing the image of the defeated dominant classes or castes. As if in the winner inhabited the worry of neutralizing the image of the defeated: avoiding his fall. In the study of the remains of the defeated civilization or culture, emphasis is usually placed on the great palaces of the rulers, the religious buildings of the high hierarchy, and the statues or monuments that the dominant people of that time made of themselves.
Not always with genuine anthropological or archaeological interest (it is not the same thing), for example, are the pyramids studied. Its architectural-religious sense –sometimes also scientific–, and what tourist brochures (and political programs across the spectrum) call “the splendor of the past.”
It is natural that the different governments take notice and, not without longing sighs, concentrate on kings and queens. The great palaces and pyramids can be pointed out as references of the scientific advance of those times, of the social organization and of the causes «of its development and decline», but no ruler likes to see his future reflected in the past. That is why they twist past history and it is possible to reschedule foundations of cities, empires and “transformations». So, without realizing it, every selfie taken at archaeological sites hides more than what it shows. Up there, the winner of today will be the defeated of tomorrow.
But, if there are no mentions about these constructions having someone who designed them –their architects, engineers and artists–, there will be even lesser references to «the labor force», that is, to the men and women on whose backs (in more than a sense) were built the wonders that amaze tourists from all over the world, while they make time to go to the club, the mall and the beach.
From that point to ignoring that the descendants of that “labor force” remain alive and active, with language and culture, there is only one step. The natives who built, for example, the pyramids of Teotihuacán and the Mayan area in the Mexican southeast, exist (that is, resist) and, sometimes, they add to their resistance that subversive component that is rebellion.
In the case of Mexico, the different governments prefer the natives as living crafts and, sometimes, as choreography ad hoc. The current government does not represent any change in this (well, not only in that, but that is not the point). Native peoples continue to be objects of alms (that aspirin for scoundrels), electoral hauling, artisanal curiosity and a vanishing point for those who administer the ongoing destruction: “I am going to destroy your life, that is, your territory; but don’t worry, I’m going to preserve the pyramids of those who exploited your ancestors and those funny things you say, and dress and do.»
Having said this, this “image” of the pyramid –the narrow upper tip and the wide lower base–, is now used by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés to explain to us something of what was the analysis (ferocious and implacable, in my opinion) of the work of the MAREZ and Good Government Juntas.
Some history, not much, just 30 years
The MAREZ and Good Government Juntas were not all bad. We must remember how we got to them. For the Zapatista towns they were like a school of political literacy. A self-literacy.
Most of us did not know how to read, write, or speak Spanish. Furthermore, we spoke different languages. That was good, because then our idea and our practice did not come from outside, but rather we had to search in our heads, in our history as indigenous people, in our own way.
We had never had the opportunity to govern ourselves. We were always governed. Even before the Spanish, the Aztec empire, which the current government loves very much –I think because they like bossy people— oppressed many languages and cultures. Not only in what is now Mexico, also in what is now Central America.
The situation we were in was one of death and despair. They closed everything to us. There were no doors, no windows, no cracks. As if they wanted us to drown. So, as they say, we had to open a crack in that wall that enclosed us and condemned us. As if everything were darkness and with our blood we lit a little light. That was the Zapatista uprising, a little light in the darkest night.
Then it came that many people asked for a ceasefire, that we had to talk. The citizens already know about that. The same thing had happened to many of them as to us, that bad governments never fulfilled their word. And they do not comply because governments are the main oppressors. So we had to choose if we hope and wait that one day they comply, or if we look for a solution on our own. And we chose to find our way.
And well, you had to organize for that. We had organized and prepared for 10 years to take up arms, to die and kill. And then it turns out that we had to organize ourselves to live. And living is freedom. And justice. And to be able to govern ourselves as people, not as little children which is the way governments see us.
That’s where it got into our heads that we have to make a government that obeys. In other words, that it did not do as it pleased, but rather, did what the people say. In other words, “command by obeying”, which are the words that today’s scoundrels plagiarize (in other words, they do not only plagiarize theses. Editorial note).
So with the autonomous municipalities we learned that we can govern ourselves. And that was possible because many people supported us, without any interests, to find the path of life. In other words, those people did not come to see what they could get –like those that I imagine you are going to tell outsiders when you talk about 30 years—, but rather they really committed themselves to a life project. And there were those who wanted to tell us how we should do it. But we did not take up arms to change the boss. There is no good boss. But there were other people who did respect our thoughts, our way.
The value of the word.
When we obtain that support, it is like a commitment that we make. If we say that we need support to create schools and clinics, to prepare health and education promoters, to give an example, then we have to comply. In other words, we cannot say that it is for one thing and use it for another. We had then and have now to be honest, because these people do not come to exploit us, but to encourage us. That’s how we saw it.
So we have to put up with the attacks and the bullshit from the bad governments, from the landowners, from the big companies, who are trying hard to test us to see if we can endure it or it is easy for us to fall into a provocation so they are able to accuse us of telling lies, that we also want power and pay. And the thing about power is that it is like a disease that kills good ideas and corrupts, that is, it makes people sick. And there you have a person who seems like a good person, well, with power, he goes crazy. Or maybe he was already crazy and power sort of stripped naked his heart.
So we think that we need to organize, for example, our health. Because of course we saw and see that what the government does is a big lie that is only to steal and does not care that people die, especially if they are indigenous.
And it happened that, when we make that crack in the system and look out, we see many things. But also many people see us. And among those people, there are those who looked at us and took the risk of helping and supporting us. Because what if we are liars and don’t do what we say? But hey, they took a risk and they committed us.
Look, out there, in the cities, giving your word is no good. They can say one thing in one moment, and a minute later they say the opposite and is as if nothing had happened, all is calm. There is, for example, what they call “mañanera”, that one day they say one thing and another day the opposite. But, as it pays, they applaud him and are happy because he gives them alms that do not even come from his work, but from what working people give to governments with taxes, which are like the “cobro de piso” of disorganized crime.
So those people support us and we start little by little with preventive medicine. Since we had already recovered the lands, we improved our diet, but more was needed. So, health. We must recover herbal knowledge, but it is not enough, science is also needed. And thanks to doctors, that we call “fraternities” because they are like our brothers, who got on board and guided us. So the first Health trainers were born or formed, that is, those who prepare the promoters.
And also education, especially Castilian. Because for us Spanish is very important because it is like the bridge through which we can communicate and understand each other between different languages. For example, if you speak Tzeltal, you are going to struggle to communicate with the Cho’ol language, or Tzotzil, or Tojolabal, or Zoque, or Mame, or Quiché. So, you have to learn Spanish. And autonomous schools are very important for that. For example, our generation speaks combined tongue and Spanish, that is, not all well, that is, we speak crooked. But there are already generations of young people, who learned in autonomous schools, who know Castilian better than some citizens. The late SupMarcos said that these young people could correct the writings of university students. And you know that, before, to make a complaint, you had to go to the Command to write it. But then not anymore. In each autonomous authority there was one writer, and well, it worked.
Then it is like one advancement kind of pushes another. And soon after, these young people want more, to learn more. So we organize our health in each town, each region and zone. We are advancing in each area of health, midwives, medicinal plants, bones, laboratories, dentists, ultrasound, among other areas, there are clinics. And the same in school, that is, education. We say school, because we adults also lack education, it is very broad for us, education, and not just children and adolescents.
Furthermore, we organized productive work because we already had land, which was previously in the hands of landowners. And so we work as a family and as a collective in the cornfield, the bean fields, the coffee fields, vegetables, and farms. And some livestock, which is used more for economic emergencies and for holidays. The collective work allowed the economic independence of women comrades and that brought many more things. But they have already talked about that.
In other words, we learned to govern ourselves and thus we were able to put aside bad governments and organizations that say they are leftist, progressive and I don’t know what else. 30 years learning what it means to be autonomous, that is, we direct ourselves, we govern ourselves. And it has not been easy, because all the governments that have passed from PRI, PAN, PRD, PT, VERDE and MORENA, their desire to destroy us does not end. For this reason, just as in past governments, in this one they say that we have already disappeared, or that we have already fled, or that we are already very defeated, or that there is no longer any Zapatista, that we went to the United States or Guatemala. But you see, well here we are. In resistance and rebellion.
And the most important thing we learned in the MAREZ is that autonomy is not about theory, about writing books and making speeches. It is something that needs to be done. And we have to do it as towns, and not wait for someone to come and do it for us.
All of this is, let’s say, the good thing about MAREZ: a school of practical autonomy.
And the Good Government Juntas were also very important because with them we learned to exchange ideas about struggles with other brothers from Mexico and the world, where we saw it right we took it and where we saw it was not, we discarded it. Some tell us that we have to obey just as they say. Where is that going to happen? If we put our lives at stake. In other words, that is what we are worth: our blood and that of generations that came before and those to come. We are not here for anyone to come and tell us what we are going to do, even if they say that they are very knowledgeable. With the JBG we learned to meet and organize, to think, to give an opinion, to propose, to discuss, to study, to analyze and to decide for ourselves.
So, as a summary, I tell you that the MAREZ and JBG helped us learn that theory without practice is pure words. And practice without theory, well it is as if you walked like a blind man. And since there is no theory of what we started to do, that is, there is no manual or book, then we have also had to make our own theory. We stumbled through theory and practice. I think that’s why the theorists and the revolutionary vanguards don’t like us very much, because we didn’t just take away their jobs. We also showed them that talking is one thing and reality is another. And here we are, the ignorant and backwards, as they call us, the ones who cannot find the way because we are peasants. But here we are and even if they deny us, we exist. Too bad.
Well, now it’s time for the bad things. Or rather not bad, but it proved that it will no longer be useful for what is to come. In addition to the inherent flaws. As you tell me, we will talk later about how all of this started, about how it got into our heads, we’ll see it later.
The main problem is the damn pyramid. The pyramid separated the authorities from the towns, they distanced themselves between towns and authorities. The proposals from authorities did not go down as they were to the people, nor do the opinions of the people reach the authorities.
Because of the pyramid, a lot of information is cut, the guidelines, suggestions, support of ideas that the CCRI comrades explain. The Good Government Junta does not fully transmit and the same thing happens when things are explained to the Authorities of the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipalities, the same again is repeated when the MAREZ inform the assemblies of authorities of towns, and finally this is what happens with the authorities of the towns when they explain to each town. Many cuts of information or interpretations, or additions that were not there originally.
And many efforts were also made in the training of authorities and every 3 years new ones leave and enter. And the main base of village authorities is not being prepared. In other words, no relays were formed. “Government collective” we said and it was not fully fulfilled, the work was rarely done this way and the greater part what not fulfilled, both in MAREZ and in the JBG.
It was already falling into wanting to decide themselves, the authorities, the tasks and the decisions, as in MAREZ and JBG. They wanted to leave aside the 7 principles of commanding by obeying.
There were also NGOs, who forcefully want the projects that they had in the JBG and the MAREZ to be accepted and they are not what the people needed. And people who visited remain friends of a family or a town and they only sent some help to them. And some visitors outright wanted to direct us and treat us like their waiters. And so with great kindness we had to remind them that we are Zapatistas.
And there was also, in some MAREZ and JBG, poor administration of people’s resources, and, of course, they were sanctioned.
In other words, in summary, it was seen that the structure of how we were governed, as a pyramid, was not the way. It’s not from below, it’s from above.
If Zapatismo were only the EZLN, it is easy to give orders. But the government must be civil, not military. Then the people have to find their way, their way and their time. Where and when to do what. The military should be only for defense. Pyramid may be useful for military purposes, but not for civilian purposes. That’s what we see.
On another occasion we will tell what the situation is here in Chiapas. But now we just say that it is like anywhere else. It is worse than last years. Now they kill them in their homes, in their streets, in their towns. And there is no government that sees and listens to the demands of the people. And they don’t do anything because they themselves are the criminals.
Not only that. We have already said that we see many misfortunes that are going to arrive or that are already here. If you see that it is going to rain or that the first drops are already falling and the sky is black as a politician’s soul, then you take out your nylon and look for where you are going to go. The problem is that there is nowhere to protect yourself. You have to build your own shelter.
The thing is that we saw that with MAREZ and JBG we will not be able to face the storm. We need the Deni to grow and live and for all the other seven generations to be born and live.
-For all this and the rest, we entered into a great series of reflections and came to the conclusion that we only have left a great discussion of all the towns and analysis, of how to face the new and bad situation and at the same time how we are going to continue to govern us. Meetings and assemblies were held, area by area, until an agreement was reached that there would no longer be Good Government Juntas or Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipalities. And that we need a new structure, that is, to accommodate ourselves in another way.
Of course, this proposal is not just about reorganizing. It is also a new initiative. A new challenge. But I think that’s what we’ll say later.
So in general, without much fuss, then, the MAREZ and JBG were very useful at that stage. But another step follows and those clothes are already too short for us, and they break and even though you mend them, it’s for nothing. Because there will come a time when you’re left with pure rags.
So what we did is cut the pyramid. So we cut it from the tip. Or rather, we turned it upside down.
Do we celebrate the past or the future?
We have to keep walking and in the middle of the storm. But we as towns are already used to walking with everything against us.
This coming December and January, we do not celebrate the 30 years of the uprising. For us every day is a celebration, because we are alive and fighting.
We will celebrate that we began a path that will take us at least 120 years, maybe more. We’ve been rolling for more than 500 years, so it won’t be long, just over a century. And that is no longer so far away. It is, as José Alfredo Jiménez says, “just there behind the mound.”
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcommander Insurgent Moisés.
(Fragment of the interview conducted by Captain Marcos, for the Tercios Compas. Copyleft Mexico, November 2023. Authorization of the JBG… ah wow, if there are no more Juntas… well, of the MAREZ… well, neither… Well, the thing is that it is authorized. The interview was conducted the old-fashioned way, that is, like reporters used to do, with a notebook and pen. Now they don’t even go to the place to look for the note, they take it from social networks. Yes, a shame, my man).
The Captain, practicing the cumbia “Sopa de caracol”. Dance! No matter there’s mud!
Eleventh Part: Meanwhile, in the mountains of the Mexican southeast...
[Video (not included) about Zapatista communities making use of bicycles —Librarian]
Produced by Los Tercios Compas. Mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Copyleft November 2023 With a Little Help from My Friends, Lennon and McCartney. Joe Cocker version
Twelfth part: Fragments
Fragments of a letter written by Subcommander Insurgent Moises sent, a few months ago, to a geography distant in space but close in thought:
“Sixth Zapatista Commission.
Because then it would be something like, in the face of the terrible storm that is already hitting every corner of the planet, even those who thought themselves safe from all evil, we did not see the storm.
I mean, we don’t just see the storm, and the destruction, death and pain that it brings. We also see what comes next. We want to be the seed of a future root that we will not see, which will then be, in turn, the grass that we will not see either.
The Zapatista vocation, if someone pushes us to a laconic definition, is “to be a good seed.”
We do not intend to leave for inheritance a conception of the world to the next generations. Neither to inherit our miseries, our resentments, our pain, our phobias, or our philias. Nor for them to be a mirror with a more or less approximate image of what we assume is good or bad.
What we want to leave for inheritance is life. What other generations do with it will be their decision and, above all, their responsibility. Just as we inherited life from our ancestors, we took what we considered valuable, and we assigned ourselves a task. And, of course, we take responsibility for the decision we made, for what we do in order to accomplish that task, and for the consequences of our actions and omissions.
When we say that “It is not necessary to conquer the world, it is enough to do it again”, we move away, definitively and irremediably, from the current and previous political conceptions. The world we see is not perfect, not even close. But it is better, without a doubt. A world where everyone is who they are, without shame, without being persecuted, mutilated, imprisoned, murdered, marginalized, oppressed.
What is that world called? What system supports it or is dominant? Well, that will be decided, or not, by those who live there.
A world where the desires to hegemonize and homogenize learn from what they caused in this time and other times, and fail in that world to come.
A world in which humanity is not defined by equality (which only hides the segregation of those who “are not equal”), but by difference.
A world where difference is not persecuted, but celebrated. A world in which the stories told are not those of those who win, because no one wins.
A world where the stories that are told, whether in intimacy, or in the arts, or in culture, are like those that our grandmothers and grandfathers told us, and that teach not who won, because no one won and, therefore, nobody lost.
Those stories that allowed us to imagine terrible and wonderful things and in which, between the rain and the smell of cooking corn, coffee and tobacco, we managed to imagine an incomplete world, yes, clumsy too, but much better than the world that our ancestors and our contemporaries have suffered and are suffering.
We do not intend to leave for inheritance laws, manuals, worldviews, catechisms, rules, routes, destinations, steps, companies, which, if you look closely, is what almost all political proposals aspire to.
Our goal is simpler and terribly more difficult: to leave life for inheritance.
Because we see that this terrible storm, whose first gales and rains are already hitting the entire planet, is arriving very quickly and very strongly. So, we don’t see the immediate. Or yes, but according to what we see in the long term. Our immediate reality is defined or in accordance with two realities: one of death and destruction that will bring out the worst in human beings, regardless of their social class, their color, their race, their culture, their geography, their language, their size; and another of starting over, from the rubble of a system that did what it does best, that is, to destroy.
Why do we say that the nightmare that already exists, and that will only get worse, will be followed by an awakening? Well, because there are those, like us, who are determined to look at that possibility. Minimal, it’s true. But every day and at all hours, everywhere, we fight so that this minimal possibility grows and, although small and unimportant –just like a tiny seed—, it grows and, one day, it becomes the tree of life that will be of all colors or won’t be at all.
We are not the only ones. In these 30 years we have leaned out into many worlds. Different in ways, times, geographies, own stories, calendars. But equal only in the effort and the absurd gaze placed on an untimely time that will happen, not because of destiny, not because of divine design, not because someone loses so that someone wins. No, it will be because we are working on it, fighting, living and dying for it.
And there will be a meadow, and there will be flowers, and trees, and rivers, and animals of all kinds. And there will be grass because there will be roots. And there will be a girl, a boy, a child who will be alive. And the day will come when she/he will have to take responsibility for the decision she/he makes about what to do with that life.
Isn’t that freedom?
And we will tell you the story of the indigenous woman of Mayan roots, over 40 years old, who fell dozens of times while learning to ride a 20-wheeled bicycle. But also, got up the same number of times and is now riding a 24 or 26-wheeled bicycle and, with it, she will reach the medicinal plants courses.
Of the health promoter who will arrive on time, to a remote community without a paved road, to administer anti-viper serum to an elderly man attacked by a nauyaca viper.
Of the indigenous, autonomous authority who, with her ‘nagüa’ and her ‘morraleta’, will arrive on time to an assembly of “as women that we are” and will be able to give the talk on feminine hygiene.
And that, when there was no vehicle, gasoline, driver or passable road, to the extent of our development and possibilities, health would reach a champa in a corner of the Lacandon jungle.
A champa where, around a stove, raining and without electricity, the education promoter will arrive, also by bicycle, and, among the smell of cooked corn, coffee and tobacco, she will hear a terrible and wonderful story, told in the voice and tongue of an old woman. And in that story there will be talk about Votán, who was neither man nor woman nor “otroa”. And it was not one, but many. And she will hear her say: “that is what we are, Votán, guardian and heart of the people.”
And that, already at school, that education promoter will tell the Zapatista boys and girls that story. Well, more like the version that she will make of what she remembers having heard, because it couldn’t really be heard, due to the noise of the rain and the muffled voice of the woman who was telling the story.
And about “the cumbia of the bicycle” that some musical youth group will create and that will relieve us all from hearing “the cumbia of the frog” for the umpteenth time.
And our dead, to whom we owe honor and life, perhaps will say “well, we have finally entered the age of the wheel.” And at night they will look at the starry sky, without clouds to hide it, and they will say “Bicycles! From there, the spaceships follow.” And they will laugh, I know. And someone alive will start a tape recorder and a cumbia will be heard that all of us, the living and the dead, hope is not “la del moño colorado.”
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
In the name of the Zapatista boys, girls, men, women and ‘otroas’.
Subcommander Insurgent Moisés.
General Coordinator of the “Tour for Life”.
Mexico, April 2023.”
These fragments are taken from the original, and with the authorizations of the sender and recipient.