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The Comite Zapatista De Los Angeles' First (introductory) Declaration

by CZLA Friday, May. 10, 2002 at 7:27 PM

The text of a flyer from the Comite Zapatista De Los Angeles -- in English and then in Spanish -- introducing itself to Los Angeles and the World.


We are a committee that takes on as its own the struggle for the same demands made by Zapatistas around the world: Land, Work, Education, Nourishment, Health, Culture, Housing, Free Exchange of Information and Communication, Liberty, Peace, Justice, Democracy, Autonomy.

We are a committee that pursues the goal of creating autonomous spaces based on self-determination.

We are a committee that practices nonviolent, civil resistance.

We are a committee that supports projects of autonomy in Mexico such as Casa de la Cultura Benito Juarez Votán-Icán A.C., the Smaliyel Coffee Cooperative (Grupo Yaxalchi), and the Tierra Viva Social Ecological Community.

We are a committee composed of different languages, different cultures, and different peoples, which supports the struggle of all peoples around the world who are practicing resistance. The world we want is one in which there is room for all languages and peoples who use the word as a weapon.

We are a committee that celebrates and honors the word and the history of our peoples in order to never be forgotten and to never fall into divisions or hierarchies.

We are a committee that bases its struggle on grassroots building from the ground up: “To work from below and not seek to rise.”

We are a committee that seeks not to attain power, but to struggle for truth.

We are a committee based on the seven Zapatista principles for the development of collective resistance and organization:

1. To propose; not impose

2. To convince; not conquer

3. To represent; not replace

4. To serve; not self-serve

5. To construct; not destroy

6. To work from below and not seek to rise

7. To lead by obeying

We are a committee that has worked and is currently working to develop and support various activities like the caravan to Chiapas (December, 2001), the Taco Bell boycott, information tables, discussions with students in universities and other schools, and educational workshops (with themes like Plan Puebla Panama, NAFTA, ALCA, The San Andres Accords, and Autonomy in Mexico and the World).

We are a committee that seeks dialogue with other committees, organizations, and members of civil society, in order to create change in our communities.

For more information, please call 323-269-2012, or 323-850-0622; or e-mail:

Comité Zapatista de Los Angeles supports the following projects and organizations:


The Smaliyel Coffee Cooperative (smaliyel is Tzetzal for “Hope”) is an effort by Chiapas communities in resistance, coordinated in Mexico City by the Yaxalchi organization (yaxalchi is Tzetzal for “green deer”) that comprises various social organizations. Coffee cultivation has generated an economy based on autonomy and self-determination for the people who grow the coffee beans, helping the self-development of communities in resistence. The income generated helps the cooperative attain basic necessities and equipment for better coffee production. In addition, a percentage of income is designated for health care (to help bring an end to the large number of deaths by easily curable disease), and education (to fight ignorance), and to assist with these two areas of vital concern to the people. The coffee is 100% organic, grown fertilizer-free using the traditional, centuries-old techniques of the indigenous growers. Currently, the cooperative operates a plant in Mexico City where coffee is processed and packed before being distributed throughout the city and to other states, with the goal of expanding distribution on an international level. Funds are needed in order to purchase a truck for transporting the coffee beans from the growers to the city. More information: contact the Comité Zapatista de Los Angeles.


Casa de Cultura Benito Juarez was born March 21, 1996 in a barrio of east Mexico City in Iztapalapa, one of the poorest areas of the Districto Federal. The children, women, men, and elderly who make possible this space for community, communication, and learning, work to promote culture in all its forms of expression, the history of the people and their word, respect for the dignity of all humanity and above all, the people’s right to self-determination in order to organize themselves for resistance and to build alternatives for a better, more just world.

Currently, we have workshops on aerobics, ceramics, dressmaking, decorations, legal issue studies, music, theater, capoeira angola, public speaking, and English. Through others, we also provide a multidisciplinary forum called Aguascalientes VI in which conferences, educational workshops, fairs, discussion forums, videos, and music events are conducted. All of these activities take place in the same location, which also has cafeteria service, and which serves as an outlet for the coffee grown by communities in resistance. We also maintain a popular reference library. The space is completely self-sustaining and generates its own income on a basis of complete autonomy. The community itself maintains the space with small fees charged for the workshops or through support from other collectives operating in solidarity around the world, and of course, we do not receive any support from the government, public institutions, or political parties.

This work has been carried out in various communities, especially among the indigenous peoples of Mexico and marginalized zones of Mexico City, offering the opportunity to take and learn from traditional popular culture for those who do not have access to its different forms of expression. This makes the statement that it is possible to create collective spaces that help the community to organize ourselves and to seek a better life, a life less alienated and more collective, in order to face the problems created by our society that cause so much damage and destruction in our lives. Currently, we are in need of funds for construction and improvement of our facilities, as well as for purchasing equipment for other community activities. More information: contact the Comité Zapatista de Los Angeles.


Tierra Viva Social Ecological Community is a project in the Iztapalapa area of Mexico City that is working to create a model of sustainability and to share alternative techniques with communities who seek to be self-sustaining within urban zones. Carried out by youth and having as a base the constructive force and solidarity of youth collectives committed to nature, Tierra Viva is a project whose intention is the improvement of our own distinctly urban habitat, bringing together diverse ecological and social techniques to be applied in the city.

Our main characteristic is the promotion of self-generated activities—the active participation of youth who are seeking solutions to the problems that affect us by planning, projecting, building and working in a practical, fun and non-hierarchical manner which is at the same time committed to the Earth. Tierra Viva is betting on creativity: We know the world we yearn for belongs to us by measure of how we are able to build it. We know, want and can construct the world which we have always desired. We are counting on the hope that it is still possible to live in a dignified manner without having to abandon the cities. This constitutes one of the few options of being able to truly be protagonists of our own destiny. We are currently in need of support in order to attain a permanent space. More information:; Apartado Postal #137-030, México D.F. C.P. 09291;


Comité Zapatista de Los Angeles believes that our communities need to collectively create tools and opportunities to help ourselves practice self-determination, without external, institutional aid or services. We are responding to this need with the goal of creating a political-cultural community center and co-operative in Los Angeles. This project will empower our community by creating a space to dialogue, educate and express ourselves, celebrate our cultures and past struggles, and cohesively organize alternatives to social/economic exploitation. The center will provide opportunities for classes, workshops, discussions, film and art shows, events, and political meetings. We also hope to offer computers, a library, a community garden and a co-op store, which can help us move toward self-sufficiency while allowing us to support fair trade interactions with our Mexican allies. We invite everyone to participate in this effort; please contact us for more information.


Somos un comité que toma y hace suyas también las demandas de por las cuales luchan los Zapatistas en todo el mundo: Tierra, Trabajo, Educación, Alimentación, Salud, Cultura, Casa, Información/Communicación, Libertad, Paz, Justicia, Democracia, Autonomía.

Somos un comité con la meta de crear espacios autonomos basandonos en la libre-determinación.

Somos un comité de lucha pacifica y civil.

Somos un comité que apoya proyectos de autonomía en México como Casa de la Cultura Benito Juarez Votán-Icán A.C., Cooperativa de Café Smaliyel (Grupo Yaxalchi), y Comunidad Ecológica Social Tierra Viva.

Somos un comité formado por diferentes lenguas, diferentes culturas, y de diferentes pueblos, que apoya la lucha de todos los pueblos en resistencia en el mundo. El mundo que queremos es un mundo donde quepan todos los pueblos y sus lenguas con su palabra.

Somos un comité que toma la palabra y la historia de nuestros pueblos, para así, no morir en el olvido, para no caer en diviciones, ni en jerarquias.

Somos un comité que basa su lucha en construir desde abajo: “Bajar y no subir”.

Somos un comité que no lucha por el poder, pero que lucha por la verdad.

Somos un comité que se basa en los siete principios de los Zapatistas para desarrollar la colectividad:

1. Proponer; no imponer

2. Convencer; no vencer

3. Representar; no suplantar

4. Servir; no servirse a sí mismo

5. Construir; no destruir

6. Bajar y no subir

7. Mandar obedeciendo

Somos un comité que hemos desarrollado y estamos apoyando diferentes actividades como la caravana a Chiapas (diciembre, 2001), el boycott contra Taco Bell, mesas de información, platicas con estudiantes en universidades y escuelas, talleres de diferentes temas (como por ejemplo, Plan Puebla Panama, NAFTA, ALCA, Los Acuerdos de San Andres, y Autonomía en México y en el Mundo).

Somos un comité que busca el diálogo con otros comites, organizaciones, y miembros de la sociedad civil para así crear cambio en nuestras comunidaes.

Para mas información, favor de llamar al 323-269-2012, o al 323-850-0622; o mandar correo electrónico al:

Comité Zapatista de Los Angeles apoya los siguientes proyectos y organizaciones:


La cooperativa Smaliyel, que su nombre en Tzetzal significa “Esperanza”, es un trabajo de las comunidades en resistencia en el estado de Chiapas, coordinado en la ciudad de México por la organización Yaxalchi (que en Tzetzal es “venado verde”), y la conforman distintas organizaciones sociales. El cultivo del café a generado una economía en base a la autonomía y libre determinación para los pueblos que lo cultivan el grano, ayudando al autodesarrollo de las comunidades en RESISTENCIA. La economía que se genera ayuda a la cooperativa a seguir avanzando en las necesidades básicas de las instalaciones y equipo para un mejor proceso del café, también se destina un porcentaje que las comunidades deciden junto con las autoridades autonomas para las areas de salud (para que ya no haya mas muertes curables), y educación (para curar la ignorancia), y para seguir avanzando en estas dos demandas que tanto preocupan a los pueblos. El café es 100% organico, es decir que no tiene fertilizantes y que se cultiva con las técnicas tradicionales que los pueblos han utilizado durante siglos. Actulamente se cuenta con una bodega en la ciudad de México donde se procesa, enbasa y distribuye en la ciudad y otros estados de la república, teniendo como visión futura la distribución internacional. Se requiere de apoyo economicos para poder comprar un camión de 10 toneladas para sacar el café de los pueblos a la ciudad. Mas información: favor de contactar el Comité Zapatista de Los Angeles.


Casa de Cultura Benito Juarez nació el 21 de marzo de 1996 en un barrio al oriente de la ciudad de México en Iztapalapa, una de las zonas mas pobres del D.F.. Los niños, mujeres, hombres, y ancianos que hacen posible este espacio comunitario de encuentro, comunicación y aprendizaje en la comunidad se dan a la tarea de fomentar la cultura en todas sus expresiones, la Historia de los pueblos, su palabra, el respeto a la dignidad humana y sobre todo a la libre-determinación de los pueblos a organizarse para resistir y construir alternativas, para luchar por un mundo mas mejor, mas justo.

Actualmente contamos con talleres como aerobics, ceramica, corte y confección, decoración, regularización escolar, música, teatro, capoeira angola, lectura en voz alta, e inglés. Entre otros, contamos con un foro multidisiplinario llamado Aguascalientes VI donde se realizan conferencias, talleres educativos, exposiciones, foros de discusión, video, y música. En este se encuentra dentro de la misma casa y tiene servicio de cafetería, y el café que se vende es de las comunidades en resistencia. También contamos con una biblioteca popular de consulta. El espacio es totalmente autogestivo y genera su propia economía en base a la autonomía, es decir la propia comunidad mantiene el espacio con las pequeñas cuotas que se cobran en los talleres o ayudas económicas de parte de otros colectivos solidarios de otros países, y por supuesto que no recibimos apoyos del gobierno o otras instituciones públicas o partidos politicos.

Este trabajo se ha realizado en diferentes comunidades, especialmente en los pueblos indigenas de México y zonas marginadas de la ciudad de México, llevando y aprendiendo de la cultura tradicional-popular para todos aquellos que no tienen acceso a sus diferentes formas de expresión. Esto quiere decir que es posible la creación de espacios colectivos que ayuden a nuestra comunidad para organizarnos y buscar una vida mejor, una vida menos individual, mas colectiva para enfrentar los problemas en nuestra sociedad que tanto nos destruyen. Actualmente se requiere de apoyos económicos para la construcción y el mejoramiento de las instalaciones y para compra de equipo para crear otras actividades comunitarias. Mas información: favor de contactar el Comité Zapatista de Los Angeles.


Comunidad Ecológica Social Tierra Viva es un proyecto en la zona Iztapalapa de la ciudad de México que trabaja en crear un modelo de sustentabilidad y compartir técnicas alternativas con comunidades que buscan ser auto-sustentables dentro de las zonas urbanas. Realizado por jóvenes tomando como base la fuerza constructiva y solidaria de colectivos de jóvenes comprometidos con la naturaleza, Tierra Viva es un proyecto cuya intención es el mejoramiento de nuestro hábitat netamente urbano, conjugando diversas técnicas ecológicas y sociales para su aplicación en la ciudad.

Tierra Viva tiene como principal característica la autogestión, es decir la participación activa de jóvenes en la búsqueda de soluciones a los problemas que nos afectan, planeando, proyectando y trabajando de forma horizontal, práctica, divertida y a la vez comprometida con la Tierra. Comunidad Ecológica Social Tierra Viva es una apuesta a la creatividad: Sabemos que el mundo que deseamos nos pertenece en la medida en que sepamos construirlo. Pensamos, queremos y podemos ser arquitectos del mundo que siempre hemos deseado. Nosotros apostamos en la esperanza de que aun es posible vivir dignamente sin tener que abandonar las ciudades. Esto constituye para quienes participamos en este proyecto una de las pocas alternativas de ser verdaderamente protagonistas de nuestro destino. Actualmente se requiere de apoyos para obtener un espacio permanente. Mas información:; Apartado Postal #137-030, México D.F. C.P. 09291;


El Comité Zapatista propone que nuestras comunidades necesitan crear colectivamente instrumentos y oportunidades para practicar el libre-determinación, sin ningún ayuda externo de institución o servicio. Entonces respondemos a esta necesidad con la meta de crear un espacio co-operativo, comunitario, y politico-cultural en Los Angeles. Este proyecto le dará poder a nuestra comunidad con un espacio para diálogo, educación y libre expresión, para celebrar nuestras culturas y luchas, y para organizar cohesivamente alternativas a la explotación social/económica. El centro contará con oportunidades para tener clases, talleres, discusiones, eventos de cinema y arte, otros eventos, y reuniones políticos. Además, esperamos ofrecer computadoras, una biblioteca, un jardín comunitario, y una tienda cooperativa, cual nos podrá ayudar a ser autogestivos y también a apoyar a nuestros compañeros Mexicanos con sus esfuerzos de tener un comercio alternativo y justo. Invitamos a todos a que participen en este esfuerzo; favor de contactarnos para mas información.

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