imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Tower of Babel

by Subcomandante Marcos Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2003 at 4:28 AM
mbatko@lycos.com

"This is the project of globalization: making a new tower of Babel out of the planet. Every relation should be uniform..The laws of the neoliberal tower forbid acknowledgment of differences. The subjugation of differences is the only allowed possibility."

The Tower of Babel

Between Masks and Back Rooms

By Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

[This March 2003 article is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.chiapas.at/turm_zu_babel.htm. Subcomandante Marcos is leader of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. More articles and communiqués are available on: http://www.ezln.org.]

I. The 21st Century

The new century proclaims the reappointment of its predecessor: the goal of politics consists in the subjugation or exclusion of others. What is new in this? War, lies, deception and death are instrumentalized as in the past. Power repeats history and tries to convince us that the pages will be written this time in beautiful letters.

The project of the neoliberal world is nothing but a new edition of the Babylonian tower. According to the Genesis narrative, people in their stubborn efforts to climb higher and higher resolved a tremendous project: building a tower to reach heaven. The God of the Christians punished this arrogance with diversity. Through the variety of languages, the people could not continue building and scattered. Neoliberalism plans the same building. Not striving for an improbably heaven but with one blow, neoliberalism attempts to liberate people from diversity felt to be a curse and to assure its power for ages.

The longing for immortality emerged at the beginning of the historical writing of the powerful. The neoliberal tower of Babel is not satisfied in creating the necessary homogeneity. The equality destroyed by diversity is the equality with a model. “Let us be like this one!”, the new religion of money tells us. People don’t experience unity with themselves or with others but with a schema championed by those who create the equality, who give the commands and sit at the top of the tower that is the modern world. Beneath them are the different. The only equality in the lower floors is renouncing on being different or on deciding to be different in a shameful way. The new god of money repeats the original curse in reverse. The diffeeent, the other, is cursed. Prisons and cemeteries proliferate in the boom of the profits of transnational corporations. Veneration of the powerful is the task of people in the new Babylonian tower. Lack of reason is compensated by an excess of force. The command resounds: Hide all the colors behnd a mask and only show the dull color of money. Colorfulness is only allowed in secrecy, in masks or back rooms.

This is true for homosexuals, lesbians, migrants, Muslims, indigenous, “colored”, men, women, young persons, senior citizens, maladjusted and all the other names worn by this other everywhere in the world.

This is the project of globalization: making a new tower of Babel out of the planet. Every relation should be uniform in its thinking, its culture and its guardianship, standardized by those who have force but not reason.

If unanimity was possible through the common language in the pre-historic tower of Babel, consensus in the age of neoliberalism is achieved through arguments of force, threats, encroachments and war.

Starting from the fact that we inevitably live in this world alongside diversity, only the choi8ce of ruling or being ruled is left to us. The places are filled and membership is hereditary for the first possibility. On the other side, there is always enough space to be oppressed. Everything exists to break with difference or hide difference. For those who live in the tower and not at the top, there are rules for countering the “maladjusted”: banishment or indifference, cynicism or hypocrisy.

The laws of the neoliberal tower forbid acknowledgment of differences. The subjugation of differences is the only allowed possibility. In the modern era, the nation state is like a house of cards in the face of the neoliberal wind. Local politicians imagine they are sovereign in their decisions as to the form and height of the building. However economic power has long stopped being interested in this game and allows local politicians and their vassals to play with a page that doesn’t belong to them. The only building interesting them is the new Babylonian tower. The foreman and commissars of national politics can quietly continue their spectacle (certainly the most expensive and most meaningless show) as long as the necessary raw materials (destroyed and repopulated areas) do not run out.

The architecture of the new tower is the war against diversity. Its cornerstones are our knees and the mortar of our blood. The big murderer hides behind the big architect (who doesn’t call himself “God” in order not to dirty himself with false modesty).

In the biblical narrative, the Christian God punishes human arrogance with diversity. In the modern history of power, God is no one but the press spokesperson of war (who can only call himself modern on account of the number of dead and the extent of destruction per minute).

II. The Geography of Words

Whether the original primal story ended three years ago or 20 centuries ago doesn’t seem to matter. Those above with power and fate persist in convincing us that history repeats itself even if the calendars say something different. The destruction of the other is always modern. Apart from their form, there is no difference between the catapults of the Roman empire and the “smart bombs” of Bush. Technological progress functions today as the new chaplain of the occupying forces (cheerful colors for what is always a crime far away) and as spectacular stage designer (the bombardments are transformed on television into the entertainment of “fascinating” fireworks, CNN).

Whether we notice or not, power constructs a new geography of words and enforces the construction. The names are same but the known or signified has changed. Thus error becomes a political doctrine and skill becomes heresy. The different becomes antagonistic and the other becomes the enemy. Democracy is consensus in obedience. Freedom is nothing but the freedom to vote how we hide our differences. Peace is inactive submission and war today is a pedagogical method for learning geography.

Dogma grows rampantly where reason is absent. Dogma gives the cause a support, distorts it and makes it into fate at the end.

In the telescope of power, the horizon is always the same, unchangeable and eternal. The lens of power is a mirror. The other is always unexpected. One encounters the unexpected with fear. Fear hardens into dogma to crush the unexpected.

In the telescope of power, the world is level, faded and dirty. A statesman is remembered on account of his crimes, not on account of his humanitarian work. Thus the history of power repeats itself. The “celebrities” of yesterday behold all their evil deeds today. Those “enlightened by God” are the heretics of tomorrow.

Words and pictures change. Earlier in the geography of statues, dogma became a stone to honor its followers. Today we find dogma in the headlines of newspapers and glossy magazines and in the news on radio and television. Dogma is remembered in the newspaper archives and serves as an alibi for promoting the nightmares of fundamentalists. In the modern theory of the state, people are born full of differences. Their binding in society consists in a learning process that would make the cruelest reformers pale withy envy. The whole state machine aims at “subjugating” this human being to the unity of the commanding one.

Social success is measured by how far one is removed or approaches a certain model. Standardization means that we all strive to be equal to this model, not that we could all be equal. The powerful decide how this model appears.

Standardization consists in our striving to obey. Equality demands that we all show the same love and the same will to obey (“serving”), not equal possession of wealth (not to mention that a few have this wealth at the expense of many others) or equal possibilities.

If the comparison between society and family teaches us the necessity of fixing certain rules of cooperative live, that these fixed rules represent the problem is “forgotten”. The words have changed their geography and no longer mean what they once meant but what suits the powerful.

Sometime in modern history, the law repressed justice. When the powerful violate the laws, the laws are adjusted for them. When those below violate laws, they are struck with the full rage of the laws and punished for non-compliance.

III. The Geography of Power

In the geography of power, one is not born at a certain place but with or without possibilities of subjugating every conceivable point of the planet. If superiority was established in the past by racial membership, this happens today through geography. Those living in the North are in the social North, not in the geographic North. They are above. Those who live in the South are below. Geography has become simpler: there is an above and a below.

The space above is limited and only includes several elect ones. The space below is so vast that it reaches every area of the planet and offers room for all humanity. In the modern tower of Babel, one society is superior by conquering others, not by developing a more sophisticated science, culture, works of art, better living conditions or a friendlier cooperative life.

In the modern age, the powerful wage numerous wars of conquest. By “numerous”, I mean “in many places and in the most different ways”. Thus the world wars of today are much more extensive than ever before. Obviously there is still only one victor. However the defeated are many and in many different places. Places are conferred with bombs as arguments. Those who throw them are in the North, above in the tower. Those who receive them are below in the South. Still the bombs do not change the geography. The bombs only determine the geographic distribution, the sphere of control. One rules today and another tomorrow in this space limited by points and lines. This rule is called “geopolitics”. In reality, the maps signal rulers, not raw materials, people, cultures or histories. For the powerful, all humanity is like a little child that can be either compliant or rebellious.

The bombs remind the human child how agreeable it is to be one and how disagreeable it is to be the other. The civilian population in Iraq, men, women, children, women and senior citizens are closely connected with the well-to-do entrepreneurs in the US. One builds the bombs and the others receive them. The North American and British soldiers assume the role of mailmen joining these points so far from one another on the map.

We must thank Bush, Blair and Aznar for accepting the nuisance of being born in this time. Modern geography would be inconceivable without people like them. However this war is not directed against Iraq or only against Iraq. It is directed against every intention of being disobedient in the present or future. This war is a war against rebellion and thus against humanity. In its effects, it is a global war above all in the northwest from where it starts.

III. The Fate of Polifem

The war of the tragic-comic Bush-Blair-Aznar axis and their collaborators in the western “democracies” experienced its first setback even before its beginning. We were told Iraq is in the Middle East. That isn’t true. As every decent geography book confirms, Iraq is in Europe, North America, Australia, Latin America, in the mountains of the Mexican southeast and in the rebellious worldwide “No” that designs a new map where dignity and pride are house and flag.

The demonstrations around the planet show us that this war is directed against humanity. The young understand that Iraq is at every point of the earth today. While others open the atlas and reassuringly count the kilometers between them and Baghdad, the young realize that these bombs (the bombs that explode and the bombs of disinformation) destroy the right to be different, not only Iraqi territory.

The rebellious youth use the “No” as a paint brush in their hands and faces to write and anticipate the new geography.

Like Polifem, the Cyclops of Greek literature, power makes hatred toward the other into a single eye. However in reality, power is much stronger and seems invincible. But like Polifem, power is also challenged by the specter that calls itself “no one”. When the powerful refers to the other, he calls him contemptuously “no one”. However “nobody” is the majority on this planet. When money recreates the world as a tower, it gives homage to its superiority. This “nobody” anxious that the wheel of history continues turning dreams of another world, a round world of dignity and respect comprised of all these differences.

Humanity strives for the earth, not for heaven. Thus “no one” wears down the walls of the new Babylonian tower. The earth must be round to turn. Unlike the present and past worlds, the genesis of this world to be created can be ascribed to several gods. Should someone ask `Who created this world?’, the answer is “no one”.

To anticipate this world and begin with its creation, we must look far into the geography of time. From above, the view is restricted. One errs when a mirror is confused with a telescope.

The people below, “no one”, don’t have to stand on tiptoe to see what is coming. The telescope of the rebels hardly reaches more than a few meters. It is nothing but a kaleidoscope in which figures and colors, their allies of light, are not instruments of the prophets but an intuition. The world, history and life become forms that we desire without knowing them.

With his kaleidoscope, the rebel sees further than the powerful with the digital telescope. He sees tomorrow.

Yes, the rebels ride through the night of history to reach the morning. The shadows don’t hinder them from doing something today. Their geography is marked out.

The rebels don’t try to correct the pages or rewrite history in order to change the words or the geographical division. They seek a new map where all words have a place…

Mustic is not composed with a single note. Dance doesn’t consist in repeating a single step up to exhaustion. Thus peace is not less than a concert of infinitely many words and many faces of another geography.

From the Iraq in the mountains of the Mexican southeast in the face of a darkened sky full of combat aircraft and helicopters of “Operation Watch Post”









Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Actually, Huey N. Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2003 at 5:34 AM
The poet warrior Sheepdog Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2003 at 5:57 AM
Hewey N. occasional writer Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2003 at 12:24 PM
turnip trucks gwb Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2003 at 2:10 PM
X occasional writer Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2003 at 3:01 PM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy