Working on this new server in php7...
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

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




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities 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 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

View article without comments

Peltier & Zapatista Poetry for Cinco de Mayo

by Peltier & Marcos Sunday, May. 06, 2001 at 10:25 PM Pele's Cauldron

Our most ancient ones taught us that the celebration of memory is also a celebration of tomorrow. They told us that memory is not turning one's head and heart towards the past. It is not a sterile remembrance which speaks laughter or tears. Memory, they told us, is one of the seven guides which the human heart needs in order to make its journey.

errorPeltier & Zapatista Poetry for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates the victory of Mexico over France in the 1862 "Batalla de Puebla". A battle won by 5000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians, against 6500 well-equipped French soidiers. The victory forced France out of Mexico for a year.

It is celebrated mainly in Mexico in the city of Puebla, where the battle occured, and in the U.S. in cities with large populations of Chicanos. This significant day is celebrated with parades, mariachi music, folklorico dancing and other types of festive activities. Enjoy!

GaiaCore Hawai'i has sent you a Cinco de Mayo Care2 e-card!

To view your card, simply click on this address:

Sending Care2 e-cards and e-mail helps support Environmental Defense,
Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Wildlife Federation !

A Poem by Leonard Peltier
Silence, they say, is the voice of complicity.
But silence is impossible.
Silence screams.
Silence is a message,
just as doing nothing is an act.

Let who you are ring out and resonate
in every word and every deed.
Yes, become who you are.
There's no sidestepping your own being
or your own responsibility.

What you do is who you are.
You are your own comeuppance.
You become your own message.

You are the message.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier



June is a significant month in both the history of the Peltier case and the history of the Lakota People. On June 26, 1975 the tragic shoot-out which, led to Leonard Peltier's unjust imprisonment occurred. Two years later, on June 1, 1977 Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

Almost a century prior to the shoot-out, on June 23, 1876, the Lakota People defeated Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Over a decade later, on June 23, 1876, the Ghost Dance was inaugurated on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

We want to dedicate this June to raising awareness about Leonard Peltier and related issues in our own communities. The activities will begin on Peltier's sentencing date - June 1st and conclude on June 26, the 26th anniversary of the shoot-out:

June 1 - 8
Congressional Outreach Week (letter drives, visits to district offices, and phone bank planning)

June 9 - 15
Letters to the Editor Week (send letters to your local newspapers)

June 16-26
Community Outreach Week (organize video showings, literature tables, book readings, and leafleting).

Initiate Peltier Awareness Month in your community. Contact us for more resources and organizing tips. Please let us know at the earliest possible date if you are organizing activities so that we can publicize them through our network, and let people in your area know what you are doing, should they ask. Also, your ideas and plans may help inspire others to take action.

Celebration of memory is also a celebration of tomorrow


To the boys, girls, old ones, young people, men and women of Argentina. Latin America, Planet Earth.

Brothers and sisters:

Here, Zapatista Mexico.

There, dignified Argentina.

SupMarcos is speaking to you, in the name of all the men, women, children and old ones of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

We would like to take advantage of this opportunity which the brothers and sisters of Argentina have given us to say our word during this event, which is for the purpose of giving truth and memory the place they deserve.

Because there are, and have been, those who believed, and believe, that, by assassinating persons, they are also assassinating thoughts and dreams which are, by times, words and, by times, silences. The one who believes that does, in fact, fear. And his fear takes the face of authoritarianism and arbitrariness. And he seeks the mask of impunity and forgetting in the dregs of blood. Not so that everything will be left behind, but in order to assure themselves that they will once again be able to act out their fear against those who are different.

Our most ancient ones taught us that the celebration of memory is also a celebration of tomorrow. They told us that memory is not turning one's head and heart towards the past. It is not a sterile remembrance which speaks laughter or tears. Memory, they told us, is one of the seven guides which the human heart needs in order to make its journey.

The other six are truth, pride, consistency, honesty, respect for oneself and for the other, and love.

That is why, they say, memory always points towards tomorrow, and that paradox is what prevents nightmares from be repeated in that tomorrow, and so that the joys - which also exist in the inventory of the collective memory - will be new.

Memory is, above all, say our most first ones, a powerful antidote for death, and an indispensable food for life. That is why the one who cares for and guards memory is caring for and guarding life. And the one who does not have memory is dead.

The ones who were power above bequeathed us a pile of broken pieces: deaths here and there, impunity and cynicism, absences, faces and histories blotted out, despairs. And that pile of rubble is what they are offering us as an identity card, so that saying "I am" and "we are" will be an embarrassment.

But there were those who were, and are, below. They bequeathed us, not a new world, complete and finished, but some keys and trails in order to unite those disperse fragments and, in putting together the puzzle of yesterday, a crack will be opened in the wall, a window will be drawn and a door built.

Because it is widely known that doors were windows before, and before that they were cracks, and before that they were, and are, memory. Perhaps that is why those of above are afraid, because, when one has memory, one has, in reality, a door in ones future.

There are many of us who are seeking parts of our faces in seeking memory. Those who ask us to forget are asking us to remain incomplete, to use the crutch which the Power offers.

Today, in Argentina, in Mexico, and in other parts of the world, there are many guardians of memory gathering together for a ceremony as ancient as the word: that of conjuring history from oblivion and the forgetting.

Today, those who have Argentina as patria are teaching us that the one who walks memory is, in reality, walking life. And we want all of you to know that we are listening to your footsteps, and, when we hear them, we remember that the main attribute of human beings is, still, dignity.

Dignified Argentina: the zapatistas of Mexico salute you.

Vale. Salud, and may stupidity never again be allowed to democratize fear and death.

>From Mexico City.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, March of 2001. 6:00 PM, Mexican time.

P.S. - Don't finish the steak, because I'm always left with nothing but hot sauce. You can proceed with discretion with the mate, but don't finish the emapanadas. We'll see you later in Corrientes Street so we can play a little soccer and do a tango, because memory is also guarded with games, music and dance.

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Biopiracy in Mexico

Fax the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
(SEMARNAT) and the Environmental Commission of the Mexican Senate to
call for a moratorium on all bio-prospecting projects.

Biopiracy is the illegal appropriation and patenting of life --
plants, animals, soils, humans -- by transnational corporations,
universities and governments using indigenous knowledge to facilitate
their research. Biopiracy is an often-overlooked violation of the
human rights and the autonomy of indigenous peoples all over the
world. As a result, underdeveloped countries with indigenous
populations and rich environments are now becoming the laboratories
for new drugs, seed varieties, chemicals, and cosmetics.


The Columbia Deception

Paramilitary death squads are terrorizing the Columbian countryside, killing community leaders. Texaco and BP are hiring paramilitary troops to defend oil pipelines. In the Putamayo region, Monsanto herbicide is being sprayed from the air, sickening thousands and destroying food crops. President Bush is aksing for an increase in U.S. funding for the war, up from 1.3 billion dollars last year.

I attended a disturbing lecture last night. A human rights worker came to speak about her visit to Columbia. She works with Columbia Support Network. She traveled with a high level delegation that included U.N. representatives and people trying to stop School of the Americas. They visited several villages in war torn areas, as well as meeting top officials in Bogota.

She showed us pictures she had taken of devastated crop fields where banana trees were lying dead, and plantains rotting. Monsanto Roundup is being sprayed indiscriminately on everything. Four planes fly overhead, spraying the herbicide, flanked by fighter jets or black hawk helicopters. They spray very high and the spray drifts everywhere. They spray Roundup at a strength five times what Monsanto recommends for U.S. crop spraying.

In one village, three hundred people were hospitalized after they were sprayed. Children are suffering nausea and dying of diarrhea. But that is not the worst of it.

Paramilitary death squads are gaining strength. They travel from town to small city in the coca and oil producing regions, terrorizing the inhabitants and forcing them off their farms and out of their homes. They kill human rights leaders and farming leaders. Our presenter described how she had to meet with many human rights leaders in secret because if they talk to Americans they can be killed. During one meeting, the leader of a woman's shelter that takes in refugee women and children, received a telephone threat from the paramilitary death squad while the American delegation was meeting with her.

We saw pictures of the homeless encampments in Bogota where the refugees forced from their villages take refuge in the lower levels of parking structures and under bridges. Many are women with children whose husbands were killed by the paras.

The area where paramilitary activity is highest is near the center of Columbia. Strangely enough this is not a big coca producing area. Rather it is where the majority of Columbia's oil is produced for U.S. companies. The paramilitary comes in to town, driving in jeeps and announcing they will kill everyone. Then they come back and chop up the town leaders in front of everyone. They say they will return in one week. Mostly everyone leaves town. Property is then available for drilling, at no cost. Texaco and BP have hired local paramilitary groups for "security," as the left-wing guerillas from the FARC often target the oil pipelines.

The whole thing is very disturbing. We saw pictures of one small town in the Putamayo region where the mayor is constantly surrounded by bodyguards carrying Uzis. He has been in office one year and is proud that he has lasted longer than any mayor in recent years. The others were killed by the paramilitary groups.

A local refugee from Columbia spoke about how he and his family were forced to flee because of his father's connections with the FARC. His father was a farmer and social activist, and received death threats. The man had been a policeman and described how the police were paid to go to refugee encampments in villages and kick over their cooking pots and throw away their food. He was crying as he spoke, but so happy that people here are learning about the problems.

Poverty is intense in Columbia. The land is very rich, and farming could be very profitable, but food distribution is not set up. Many farmers do not have trucks and even if they do the roads are bad. So they grow a lot of food, but they cannot get it to market. They grow great chocolate, but none of it goes direct to the U.S. market. The distribution channels are not set up, so they cannot make very much money off their crops.

When FARC rebels offer to help them grow cocaine and pay them one hundred times what they make off food crops it is very enticing. They can send their children to be educated. They can buy different foods for their family.

Then the FARC says they will pay more if they will fight with the guerillas. Then the paramilitary groups come in and offer even higher pay if they will fight with the paras. The paramilitary even offers health insurance - and how can they do that without total state complicity.

The woman named Kate, who presented the slides an photographs showed pictures of the delegation's meeting with Columbia's attorney general. The attorney general showed copies of warrants for the leader of the paramilitary (AUG) forces, and many of his top killers, but neither the military nor the state police will take action on the warrants. These military and police received 1.3 billion in aid from the U.S. this year.

President Bush, Dick Cheney and their friends are heavily invested in companies that do business in Columbian oil and military supply. Bush is asking for an increase in the military aid we are providing to Columbia. An increase from the current 1.3 billion dollars.

Please try to write to your Congresspersons and tell them to oppose military aid. Out of the 1.3 billion dollars, 80% goes to the military. 20 % is designated for social programs, but these social programs have not materiliazed. We should demand that any aid package be designated for social programs, not military activity.

The fumigation program is sickening thousands at the profit of Monsanto corporation. You might want to divest from investment funds that own Monsanto, and write an e-mail to Monsanto describing why you have done so. Or write CEO Hendrik A. Verfaille at 800 N. Lindberg Blvd., Creve Coeur, MO 63167.

Thousands have disappeared in Columbia, similar to past situations in Nicaragua and El Salvador. It is time that we act to stop these atrocities. Families are being torn apart and poverty is increasing as Columbians are forced off their family farms and out of their villages. Strangely enough, cocaine acreage has increased over the last five years by five times! The paramilitary leader, in an interview on national television, said that the paramilitary gets seventy percent of its money from cocaine. So are we winning the war on drugs?

We are being deceived.



Ramor Ryan

Analysis- Where next for the Zapatistas?
Is it a sive-fisted triumph? Are the Zapatistas being rendered harmless by co-option? Who can trust the conservative, neo-liberal goverrnment of President Fox? When will the USA announce a Plan Colombia for Mexico?


Surreal and unimaginable events taking place in Mexico, writes Ramor Ryan.

7 years after first rising up in armed insurrection and declaring war on the Mexican state, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation triumphantly marched into Mexico City on March 3, 2001 welcomed by hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Viva la Revolution!

But not quite.

They looked like a traditional guerrilla-insurgent band, wearing balaclava masks over their faces, rebel bandanas tied around their necks, military style clothing and black boots...They acted like insurgents, addressing the mesmerised crowds with rabble-rousing speeches and trenchant demands; they were all called 'Comandante' (except the 'military commander', whom they called 'Sub-Comandante'); the people greeted them like conquering heroes, waving flags, fists raised, chanting revolutionary slogans, the streets and plazas filled with joy and celebration. 'Aqui Estamos!' 'Here we are!" they announced before 250,000 ecstatic people representing their support base in the Zocalo. It could have been Cuba in 1959 when Fidel and Che entered Havana, or Nicaragua in 1979 when the Sandinistas rolled into Managua. These very same streets welcomed Zapata and Villa's revolutionary armies less than a century ago. Except, today, year 2001, here they are, the rebels, the National Liberation Army has arrived triumphantly into the Capital, and there is not a gun or a bullet in sight. Not one re-appropriated tank, not a tractor converted into an armoured vehicle, no sea of kalashnikovs waving in the air. Most significantly, the arrival of the triumphant rebels does not come in a wake of blood, of piles of corpses, of a country in ruins. What's going on?

The Zapatistas transform the idea of revolutionary struggle for the new era. The notion of violently seizing the state and imposing a proletarian dictature in its place is redundant, a relic of old struggles of the 20th century. That strategy didn't work. The Zapatistas took up arms to make a point- that Mexican's indigenous were excluded and marginalized from society, and that it was intolerable. They then proceeded to become the first non-violent guerrilla army in history. The guns were there to be seen, but were only used as a threat. 'If you don't listen to us, if you don't address our demands, then we will use them.. '

Even in the worst days of the 7 years of low-intensity warfare in the remote mountains of Chiapas, when state-armed paramilitaries murdered 45 villagers in a
church in Acteal, 1997, the Zapatistas still stood firm to their strategy of non-violence. They answered bullets with words of truth, and pleaded, not for revenge, but justice. The army and military went into their communities, killed unarmed citizens, tortured and raped, burned houses, uprooted villages, incarcerated hundreds, but still the Zapatistas fought with the best weapons they had, righteousness, dignity, the word, and popular support.

The Zapatista Caravan arrived in Mexico City on March 3, led by 23 indigenous Comandantes and accompanied by charismatic spokesperson and PR extraordinaire Sub-Commander Marcos. The caravan snaked up through southern Mexico for 2 weeks, bringing out local people in their multitudes at every village, town and city. It was an extraordinary expedition for masked rebels, and the popular response was overwhelming. The unarmed insurgents, the non-violent guerrillas brought home their message in a spectacular way. The Mexican Army was nowhere to be seen, the political parties were absent, the state was not represented in any manner. It was a carnival of resistance, a reclaim the streets on a massive scale.

They demand autonomy, self-determination, a society that does not exclude anybody. They demonstrate their ideas in their practice, in the grass-roots democracy of their movement, in the traditions and customs of the indigenous communities. They do not want to remake society in their own vision, but want to create a world where each and every vision has a space and a place. They don't want to take power, but they fight for the redistribution of power.

They have no revolutionary programme. We are rebels, they say, not revolutionaries. They change strategy, tactics; they mutate with circumstances. They are at once flexible and hardcore. They are armed reformists and realistic utopians. They demand the impossible and negotiate what is achievable.

Comandante Esther and 3 other Comandantes addressed the Mexican Congress in a special session about Indigenous Rights. This was the intended purpose of the Zapatista caravan .To break out of Chiapas, out of the military encirclement they suffered there, and mobilize the masses in their support, then address the National Congress in an attempt to pass legislation to comply with demands for Indigenous autonomy and self-determination. It may not be a revolutionary road to take, to lobby Congress, but the implementation of such legislation would revolutionize the lives of Mexico's 10 million indigenous. And, say the Zapatistas, this is just the first demand.

Is it all a ruse? Is it a five-fisted triumph? Are the Zapatistas being rendered harmless by co-option? Who can trust the conservative, neo-liberal government of President Fox? Will the powerful military allow any of this 'nonsense'? When will the USA announce a Plan Colombia for Mexico? Are the powers that be tolerating all this because they see the Zapatistas as no threat, merely an irritant, bad for business, bad for their international public image?

And what next then? Will the Zapatistas emerge from clandestinity? Remove their masks? In Congress they assured the nation that they would do so and become, if not a political party, a social and political movement .Will they symbolically hand in their guns? Will their 'Military Chief', Sub-Commander Marcos do the right thing, disappear and appear a few years later somewhere else like Sub-Saharan Africa in a new role? Will the Zapatistas return to Chiapas, to till the land they have fought for and won, to defend the gains and enjoy the fruit of their long sacrifice?

Maybe. But the Zapatistas remain a great inspiration for those who struggle, where ever they are in the world, whatever the conditions. They teach revolutionaries how to revolutionize their own thought; they demonstrate how imagination and daring can be used to effect unprecedented situations. Their voice resonates globally, and the spirit of their struggle is manifested in the new resistance movement from Seattle to Port Alegre. They have been both a bridge between old struggles and new, and a catalyst for a whole regeneration of resistance. The Zapatistas span the space/time geography between the old armed, insurrectory anti-imperialist struggle to the new unarmed mass movements resisting neo-liberal globalization .

There is no doubt this story is not over yet. But if the Zapatistas were silenced and rendered impotent , their legacy as it stands today remains historically enormous. The achievements of this gaggle of ragged rebel communities resonates on multiple levels. Locally - a sustainable autonomy and self-determination for the rebel territories of Chiapas. Nationally - to have been most instrumental in the downfall of the PRI- dictatorship and the democratic transformation of the Mexican political system. Globally - to renovate ideas of revolt and inspire an effective international solidarity network. These achievements are all tangible and ongoing realities.

Comandante Esther, an indigenous farmer who lives in a house with a dirt floor, in a village that does not even have a paved road leading there, spoke before the nation's Congress, masked and dignified in her address. Before outlining the demands for Indigenous autonomy, she thanked the Zapatista Army for bringing the struggle this far. " They, our men and women fighters, have accomplished their mission, thanks to the support of the popular mobilization in Mexico and around the world. Now it is our hour."

Now is our hour, too.

FZLN MayDay statement

The FZLN speaks on the Congressional reforms, the legislature and the way forward.

Originally published in Spanish by the FZLN

To the People of Mexico.

On this May 1, 2001, we, the workers of the city and of the countryside

THE DEPUTIES AND SENATORS OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNION USURPED THE POPULAR WILL. The Chamber of the Senate, unanimously, and the Chamber of Deputies, with 386 votes from the PAN, PRI and PVEM, have betrayed the sovereign will of the people, the demand by millions of indigenous and non-indigenous Mexicans who, through a multitude of peaceful demonstrations, have expressed our demand for the constitutional recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples contained in the Cocopa proposal. Heedful of the interests of their party leaders, of their personal and group interests, the Congress is imposing a law which is closer to Zedillo's, which has nothing to do with the Cocopa proposal on Indigenous Rights and Culture, which recognize rights but makes it impossible for them to be exercised, which continues to leave millions of indigenous Mexican brothers as second-class citizens, excluded. How much more indigenous blood do those "representatives," - who live off the people's money - want? How much more blood of honest Mexicans will be necessary for THOSE WHO GOVERN, TO GOVERN OBEYING and FOR THOSE WHO LEGISLATE, TO LEGISLATE OBEYING THE MANDATE OF THE PEOPLE?

This same Congress, a fitting heir to Zedillo, is the same one going about putting taxes on medicines, food and schools, while protecting with its laws bankers who continue to take the money out of our country. The same one which is more concerned about changing the laws in order to allow casinos than about the rights of retired persons and pensioners. The same one which is preparing to promote a labor counter-reform which will demolish what was fought for the entire 20th century, and which will leave us completely at the mercy of the savage capitalism which the legislators themselves are protecting. Because of all of this, we are saying: THIS CONGRESS DOES NOT REPRESENT US.

We will not be resigned, we have dignity, we shall continue to fight, we shall continue to resist until, in this our Patria, there is: Liberty! Democracy! Justice! for all Mexicans.






Zapatista Front of National Liberation (FZLN)

Paths of Dignity: Indigenous Rights, Memory and Cultural Heritage

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the English poet of the cusp of the 18th and 19th centuries, wrote: "If a man were to cross through Paradise in a dream, and they gave him a flower as proof that he had been there, and if, upon awakening, he were to find that flower in his hand...what then?"

In this March of Indigenous Dignity, we zapatistas have seen a part of the map of the national tragedy which is not shown on primetime on the radio and television news programs. Any of those present here might argue that that has no merit whatsoever, and that a march wasn't necessary in order to realize that the Mexico of below is the majority, in numbers and in poverty.

But I did not come to talk to you about poverty rates, about constant repression, or about deceptions.

During this march, the zapatistas have also seen part of rebel Mexico, and this seeing themselves and seeing others, is nothing other than dignity. The Mexico of below, especially the indigenous, speak to us of a history of struggle and resistance which comes from afar and which beats in the today of every place. Yes, but it is also a history which looks forward.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast to the Zo'calo of Mexico City, the zapatistas have crossed a territory of rebellion which has given us a flower of dark dignity as proof that we were there. We have reached the center of Power, and we find that we have that flower in our hands, and the question, as in Coleridge, is "what then?"

Contrary to what the columnists of the political class might suppose, the question does not refer to what follows, but rather to what that dark flower means. And, above all, to what it means in the future.

I know that, in these times of modernity, where intellectual quotients are replaced by bank accounts, poetry by advertising spots, and science by verbal diarrhea, speaking of dreams can only sound anachronistic.

Nonetheless, the struggle of the Indian peoples for their dignity is fundamentally a dream, indeed, a very otherly dream.

The indigenous struggle in Mexico is a dream which not only dreams the tomorrow which includes the color of the earth, it is, also and above all, a dream which fights to hasten the awakening of that tomorrow.

We Indian peoples have reappeared precisely when what they have denied us has seemed most strong and solid. And our dream has already exactly foretold that the monuments which neoliberalism is erecting to themselves are nothing but future ruins.

The power wants to ensnare the indigenous struggle in nostalgia, chest beating and the crafts "boom." It wants to fence in the Indian struggle within the framework of the past, something like "the past reaches out to us with its unpaid accounts," to use the marketing language which is so fashionable. As if settling these accounts would be the effective solvent for wiping out that past, and then the "today, today, today" which Fox used as an election platform and uses as a government program, could reign without any problems. The same "today" which neoliberalism has converted into a new religious faith.

If we warn that they are trying to make the indigenous movement fashionable, we are not referring only to the PR efforts which are trying to contain it.

After all, fashion is nothing more than a return to a past whose final horizon is the present, the today, right now, the fleeting moment.

In the struggle for dignity, there is an apparent turn to the past, but, and this is fundamental, the final horizon is the future.

To put it in other terms, neoliberalism, which is nothing other than a fashion - that is, a turn to the past with the horizon of the present (that is why the "neo" which gives the present to the liberalism of yesteryear) - conceives of the current world as the only one possible, as the culmination of the ages (that's why Fox says, and says to himself, that all progressive struggle has now ended with his reaching Power), and his intellectuals and image advisors (that is, if there is any difference between the two) take aim at the clock of history in order to stop time, and thus ensure that there will be no tomorrows other than the one they are presiding over.

Neoliberal intellectuals, in contrast with their predecessors, have renounced the historic initiative, and they are no longer announcing the future. Not because they are unable to see it, but because they are afraid of it.

The Mexican indigenous struggle has not come to turn back the clock. It is not about returning to the past and declaiming, in an emotional and inspired voice, that "all previous times were better." I believe they would have tolerated, and even applauded, that.

No, we Indian peoples have come in order to wind the clock and to thus ensure that the inclusive, tolerant and plural tomorrow - which is, incidentally, the only tomorrow possible - will arrive.

In order to do that, in order for our march to make the clock of humanity march, we Indian peoples have resorted to the art of reading what has not yet been written. Because that is the dream which animates us as indigenous, as Mexicans and, above all, as human beings. With our struggle, we are reading the future which has already been sown yesterday, which is being cultivated today, and which can only be reaped if one fights, if, that is, one dreams.

To the skepticism made State doctrine, to neoliberal indifference, to the cynical realism of globalization, we Indian peoples have countered with memory, the word and the dream.

By throwing ourselves with everything we have into this fight, the Mexican indigenous, as individuals and as collective, have operated with a universally human impulse, that of rebellion. It has made us a thousand times better than before, and it has turned us into an historic force, not for its significance in terms of books or monuments, but for its ability to make history, in that way, in lower case.

The key of the story "The Player" is not in the old boot full of mud which interrupts and subverts the media chess game of the gentlemen of power and money, and the game that exists between those who have made politics the art of simulation and deception. The essential is in the laugh which the indigenous laughs, and that he knows something. He knows that the other player, who is himself, is missing there, and the other who is not him but who is also other and who is missing. But he knows, above all, that it is not true that the fight has ended and that we have lost. He knows that it has barely begun. And he knows it not because he knows, but because he dreams.

In short, we indigenous are not part of yesterday, we are part of tomorrow.

And, given boots, culture and tomorrows, we are reminded of what we wrote some time ago, looking back and dreaming ahead:

"A boot is a boot which has lost its way, and which is looking for what all boots long for, that is, a bare foot."

And it comes to mind because, in the morning which we are dreaming, there will be no boots, nor jeans nor soldiers, but bare feet, which is how feet should be when the morning is barely beginning.

Thank you.

>From the National School of Anthropology and History.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, March of 2001.

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

On the Motivations of Foreigners in the Zapatista Caravan


But why have all these foreigners really come to take part in this colourful bevy of PR and Politics?

Of course there is a variety of motivations among the individuals making up the Caravan, a lot of them being historical in the sense of earlier involvement in Zapatista solidarity in their respective home countries. To elucidate this I will give a brief account of my own involvement with the events that have changed Chiapas, Mexico and indeed the World over the past seven years.

Back in 1995 I attended a congress on autonomy in Berlin, that had been organised by the remnants of the German Autonomous Movement, an alliance between sectors of the undogmatic radical left that had been forged in the early 1980s in the old West of the country, the Federal Republic of Germany. Inspired by the Autonomia Operaia in Italy and combining a spectrum of ideologies encompassing communist ideas as well as anarchism, the movement had grown out of an effort to resist the deployment of Nuclear Weapons by NATO, the further development of atomic energy and its infrastructure as well as the experiences of collective living and politics in the squatted buildings which were a common sight in Europe at the time. The congress sought to present the leftovers of leftwing undogmatic radical politics and featured a vast array of panels ranging from gender politics, communal living and The Fortress Europe to antifascist youth groups, political prisoners and international solidarity. One of the panels was on the Zapatista movement in Chiapas and had been organised by two solidarity groups, one made up mainly of squatters and situated in East Berlin, the other one with a more mixed membership in the Western part of the city. They showed a film made by a Swiss team during the first 14 months of the uprising when large parts of the Caadas and the Selva Lacandona had been liberated territory and gave the interested audience a captivating account of the 1995 February offensive by the Mexican Federal Army and its dreadful consequences for the local population.

I ended up joining one of the groups, thus coming in contact with more detailed information on the issue like the communiqus of the Revolutionary Indigenous Clandestine Committee General Command of the EZLN and the letters to National and International Civil Society written by Marcos, which at that time already were available in German translations. They read like poems to me but with the urgency of the actual, with the immediacy of the present. I perceived them as a kind of call to action, as if I was to miss out on something magnificent but fleeting if I was to ignore them.

The group I took part in was not very efficient in raising money and awareness and served more as an image generator within a scene where everybody was expected to engage in some type of political activity and as a platform for squabbles between individuals who hated each others guts. We managed to stage some events but I left after six hard months of weekly struggles to be accepted by a core group who all lived in the same borough of squats. I took a break from any meetings but planned a trip to Mexico. Shortly before leaving I contacted the other group and got myself some preparatorial talk as a prospective peace camper.

Ever since the attack on Zapatista base communities by the Mexican Federal Army on the 9th of February 1995 and the escape of the inhabitants into the mountains, there had been efforts by an alliance of NGOs to prevent further encroachments and Human Rights violations by the army. One of them was the setting up of so called peace camps, simple huts staffed by camera equipped foreigners (including inhabitants of urban Mexico) situated in villages along the roads where military convoys were passing or directly adjacent to an Army Base. The idea behind the peace camps was that the presence of people who were obviously not from the indigenous villages would deter any harassments or worse by uniformed officials. When I got to Chiapas in March 1996 there were about 60 of these camps, many of them being empty for long stretches of time, and the coordinating NGO was on the constant lookout for potential campamentistas. At that time almost anyone was welcome who had two weeks to spare and a basic knowledge of Spanish. You did need some form of accreditation from some organisation back home but that was easily obtained and largely seen as a reassurance, someone to contact in case something happened to you. This has changed now, but back then people from all walks of life ended up in a peace camp, many of them not having had the faintest idea of what the Zapatistas were about when embarking on their trip to Mexico. They did give us an introductory workshop but the reality of a Chiapanec indigenous community hit me hard on first impact. There was utter incommunicado, suspicion, absolute lack of privacy, parasites, disease and the constant confrontation with myself as a privileged alien who had only the vaguest notion what all of this was about. After 11 days of being woken up at 5.30 in the morning, having been fed with tortillas only, constantly explaining the life I knew in rudimentary Spanish to men with unending curiosity crowding my hut and after having been put to use as a surrogate teacher for the 50 or so children in the village, I was ready for a break. My plane was scheduled to leave back to Germany and I made my way northwards to Mexico City. Once I got there, however, I realised that the past two weeks had been the best thing that had happened to me in a very long time. For once, on this journey I had not been appreciated for my money or my status or what people thought they might get off me but simply for my presence. That felt good. I decided against a continuation of my life as I knew it and three days later I was back in that village.

I eventually did return to Berlin and the life I had there a few months later, but my agenda had changed. I was inspired by the way these humble peasants who had shared their lives with me were working their world. The way they organised as collectives, the manner decisions were made in the Zapatista base communities I regarded as important to share with others, in need of being spread. Accordingly I got involved once more organising events ranging from the European Encuentro in 1996 which took place in Berlin, information evenings in Cafs and the University, Solidarity Fund raising parties blockades in front of the Mexican Embassy up unto the a Consulta support gig in 1999. Since that first time I have returned to Chiapas twice and stayed for many months. I happened to be there when the march to Mexico City was announced and it for me it was a matter of course to take part in it.

I do not know how many of the other foreigners in the march share similar background, but there should have been a good few of them. From what I gathered, maybe half of the people had joined because of a spontaneous impulse, the whish to enrich their travel experience with an event of historic significance, with only a vague notion of what the Zapatistas were on about. The other half had previously been active in Zapatista solidarity, been a peace camper or worked as a NGO volunteer on some project in a base community. No matter what the background was in each individual case, however, I feel weve all learned something in the process and I believe therell be a hell of a lot of teaching going on when people go back to he countries they came from.

Spinning Hawaii's independence option


Two recent opinion polls show strong support for independence among both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, and strong opposition to the "Indianization" proposed by the Akaka Bill, yet mainstream media have marginalized the islands' pro-independence forces who view the upcoming ADB meet as an chance to highlight their own development model.

Despite continuing efforts by mainstream media to marginalize pro-independence forces in Hawai`i, recent polls show increasing support for independence and strong opposition to the Akaka Bill among both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian households.

The Hawaiian sovereignty movement is now polarizing around the choice between independence and "indianization" (as proposed by the Akaka Bill), and the former may be gaining popular support as the latter gains favor among Hawaii's elite .

Progressive groups throughout the islands now express concern that their independence vision has not gotten equal time in the media, and point to the hot new alliance of Hawaiians United for Liberation and Independence (HULI ) as an example of recent shifts in movement support.

"If less than one-half of our residents support the Akaka Bill and more than one-third support independence, why haven't we seen more discussion of what independence would look like?" asks Ken Ka`imi Stokes of Kauai's Ho`okipa Network .

Disparate groups have previously articulated elements of a pro-independence platform , yet HULI represents the first time that prominent sovereignty leaders, including Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell (Ka Pakaukau), Vicky Takamine (Ilio`ulaokalani), Bumpy Kanahele (Nation of Hawai`I), Lynnette Hi`ilani Cruz (Ahupua`a Action Alliance), and Keanu Sai (Hawaiian Kingdom) have rallied around a common political strategy .

Some analysts have observed that support for independence among non-Hawaiians goes far beyond cultural and legal issues to include an alternative vision of Hawaii's future role in the geo-politics of the Pacific.

As the global spotlight shifts to Hawai`i and the ADB Annual Meeting in May, these independent voices will have an excellent opportunity to highlight the accelerating convergence of cultural and ecological forces here.

The new Hawai`i Independent Media Center (IMC ) team is helping rally broader support for independence as a promising path toward a new, more Pacific development model and a new, more community-based governance process in these islands.

"American Indians share a history rich in diversity, integrity, culture and tradition. It is also rich in tragedy, deceit and genocide. As the world learns of these atrocities and cries out for justice for ALL people everywhere, no human being should ever have to fear for his or her life because of their political or religious beliefs. We are in this together, my friends, the rich, the poor, the red, white, black, brown and yellow. We share responsibility for Mother Earth and those who live and breathe upon her. Never forget that."

--Leonard Peltier

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal"
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.


"Be the change you want to see in the world."

-- Mahatma Gandhi

Weird Wonderful Books, CDs, DVDs!!!

HumanKind Survival Earth



"We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with... injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience... before it can be cured."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Show me your garden and I shall
tell you what you are."
-- Alfred Austin

Radikal Youth Party Earth

ride a bike

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

watch your spelling

by deedee Monday, May. 07, 2001 at 8:47 PM

The country is colOmbia,,, not columbia.

people from latin america like to have the names of their countries spelled correctly.

small detail, but significant.

respect is spelled R E S P E C T

as aretha always said.

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

© 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