Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You're Invited to a Zapatista Party in August to Celebrate 10 Years of Autonomous Governement

Zapatistas love parties almost as much as they love autonomy.
Today Subcomandante Marcos released a postscript to his "Them and Us" series. I don't have time to translate the whole thing right now, but I do want to let you know about an upcoming party in Zapatista territory that was announced in the postscript.

Marcos acknowledged that a lot of people were upset about the Zapatistas' decision to password-protect some parts of future communiques.  This new postscript jokingly (as is his style) lets everyone know that the decision to password-protect some information will not mean that supporters will be left out of important Zapatista happenings:
"For example, if we put that an invitation that we're extending to you is for August 2013, when the Good Government Councils celebrate 10 years of carrying out free autonomy; and that there will be a small party in the Zapatista communities; and that it rains a lot around those dates, and that here, in addition to dignity, the only other thing there will be a lot of is mud, so those who come should bring what you need so that you don't end up being the color of the earth.  Well, those things, compass, we're going to password-protect, because most people aren't interested in that information, just those in the Sexta and some others who will be invited."
I'll post further details as the EZLN makes them public.  If you want to read the whole postscript in English, El Kilombo will surely have it posted to their site very soon.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Them and Us Part 5: The Sixth by Subcomandante Marcos

Password: marichiweu





January 2013.

To: The compañeros adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle all over the world.

From: The Zapatistas from Chiapas, Mexico.

Compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas:

Compas in the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity:

Everyone, greetings from the women, men, children, and elders of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the smallest of your compañeros.

We've decided that our first word specially directed at our compañeros [who are adherents to] the Sixth should be made known in a space of struggle, such as the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity.  But the words, feelings, and thoughts that are sketched here are also meant for those who are not here.  And, above all, they're for them.


We would like to thank the support that you have given to our communities, to our Zapatista support bases and to the prisoners who are adherent compass in Chiapas, throughout all this time.

Your words of encouragement and your collective hand that connected with ours are guarded in our heart.

We are sure that one of the points to be discussed in your meeting will be, or has already been, setting up a campaign to support the compa Kuy, to denounce the attack that he was subjected to, and to demand justice for him and for all of the others who were injured on that day, to demand unconditional freedom for all of the detained in Mexico City and Guadalajara during the protests against the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto as head of the federal executive branch.

Not just that, but it is also important that this campaign contemplate fundraising to support compa Kuy with his hospital bills, and for the costs of his subsequent recuperation, which the Zapatistas hope will be soon.

To support this fundraising campaign, we've sent a small amount of cash.  We ask you, even though it might be small, to add the money you're able to get together for our compañero in the struggle. As soon as we can put together more money, we will send it to whomever you [the Network Against Repression] designate for this work.


Hidden Text: Please click here to read the complete text: THEM AND US V - THE SIXTH.


Hidden Text: Please click here to read the complete text: THEM AND US V - THE SIXTH.


The Sixth is a Zapatista convocation.  To convoke is not to unite.  We aren't trying to unite under a leadership, neither Zapatista nor any other affiliation.  We do not seek to co-opt, recruit, take anyone's place, feign, fake, cheat, direct, subordinate, use.  The destination is the same, but the different, the heterogeneity, the autonomy of the ways of walking, are the Sixth's richness, they're it's strength.  We offer and will offer respect, and we demand and will demand respect.  One adheres to the Sixth without any other requisite other than the "no" that convokes us  and the commitment to construct the necessary "yeses." 


Hidden Text: Please click here to read the complete text: THEM AND US V - THE SIXTH.

To end this missive (which, as is evident, has the disadvantage of not having a video or song that accompanies it and completes the written version), we want to send our best hugs (and we only have one) to the men, women, children, and elderly, groups organizations, movements, who however each one of you calls yourselves, who have never during all this time distanced us from your hearts, and resisted and supported as compañeras, compañeras, and compañeroas that we are.


We are the Sixth.

It's going to be very difficult.

Our pains won't be lessened by opening ourselves up to those that hurt all over the world.  The path will be the most torturous. 

We will fight.

We will resist.

We will struggle.

Maybe we'll die.

But one, ten, one hundred times, we'll always win always.

For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the

Zapatista National Liberation Army

The Sixth-EZLN.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Chiapas, Mexico, Planet Earth.

January 2013.

Listen and watch the videos that accompany this text:

"Zapatista Cumbia" by the group "Sonido Psicotropical."  Part of the disc "Rola la lucha zapatista."  Move your tush to the cumbia rhythm!

"Nadie mira" [No one looks] by the group "RABIA."  With Iker Moranchel, Guitar and vocals.  Alejandro Franco, Drums and vocals.  Manco, bass.  Camera, Sara Heredia.  Editing, Eduardo Vargas, Recorded and edited in Gekko Audiolab, Mexico City, July 2012.  Also on the disc "Rola la lucha zapatista."  Rrrrrrrrrrrrrock!

Translated from the original Spanish by Kristin Bricker.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Them and Us Part 4: The Pains from Below by Subcomandante Marcos


IV.- The Pains From Below

January 2013.

How many times have the cops stopped us on the street for the crime of "having a suspicious face" or a mohawk, and then after a beating and extortion they let us go?

"Repression and Criminalizatoin," Anarchist Black Cross-Mexico.  January 2013

-And [what do you say] to the young people who see you as a hero and an example of a person who has been unjustly punished by a repressive system?

-That I'm not a hero.  That every one of the young people who hit the streets every day to organize and change this unjust society and this economic and political system are heroes.  They organize, they defend themselves… That they shouldn't be afraid, that fear is going to change sides--

Alfonso Fernández, detained in prison after N14 in the Spanish State, interviewed by Shangay Lily in Kaos en la Red.  January 2013. [1]

"An enemy is needed to give the people hope. (…) That said, the feeling of identity is based in the hatred of those who aren't the same.  It is necessary to cultivate hate as a civil passion.  The enemy is the people's friend.  They need someone to hate so that they feel justified in their own misery.  Always.  Hatred is the true primordial passion."

Umberto Eco.  The Prague Cemetery.

Where and when did the violence start?

Let's see.

In front of a mirror, on any calendar, and in any geography…

Imagine that you are different from everyone else.

Imagine that you are something very other.

Imagine that you have a certain skin or hair color.

Imagine that they look down on you and make fun of you, that they persecute you, that they jail you, that they kill you because of it, for being different.

Imagine that since the day you were born, the system has repeatedly told you that you are something weird, abnormal, sick, that you should be sorry for who you are and, after blaming it on bad luck or divine justice, you should do everything you can to change this "factory defect."

Juan Francisco "Kuy" Kuykendall
/ And of course, look, we have a product that easily works w-o-n-d-e-r-s with congenital defects.  This way of thinking relieves rebelliousness and that annoying complaining about everything.  This cream changes skin color.  This hair dye gives you a fashionable shade.  This course about "how to win friends and be popular on the internet" gives you everything you need to be a modern person.  This treatment will give you your youth back.  This DVD will show you how to act at the table, on the street, at work, in bed, during illegal muggings (robbers), during legal muggings (banks, government officials, elections, legally established businesses), at social gatherings… what?  Oh, they don't invite you to social gatherings? … ok, it also tells you how to make it so they do invite you.  In short, here you will know the secret of how to succeed in life.  Leave Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber in the dust on Twitter with your number of followers!  It includes a mask of your choosing.  We have them all!  Even a CSG [Carlos Salinas de Gortari] mask… ok, ok, ok, that was a bad example, but we do have one for any need.  So they won't look at you with disgust anymore!  So they no longer call you a degenerate, indian, prole, black, region 4, zombie, zapatistaphile! /

Imagine that, in spite of all your efforts and good deeds, you can't seem to hide your skin or hair color.

Now imagine that a campaign is launched to eliminate all of those who are like you.

Uriel Sandoval
It's not that there's an event to kick it off, or a law that establishes it, but you realize that the whole system starts to work against you, and against people like you.  The whole society turns into a machine whose goal is to annihilate you.

First there's looks of disapproval, disgust, distain.  Then there's the insults, attacks.  Then there's detainees, deportees, prisoners.  Then there's cadavers here and there, legal and illegal.  Finally there's an actual campaign, the machine at full capacity, to disappear you and all of those who are like you.  The identity of those who make up society is maintained through hatred towards you.  Your crime? Being different.


You still don't see it?

Ok, imagine that you are… (use masculine, feminine, or other pronouns, depending on the case).

Celedonio Prudencio Monroy
An indigenous person in a country dominated by foreigners.  A flock of military helicopters is headed toward your lands.  The press will say that the wind farm occupation impedes the reduction of pollution or that the jungle is being destroyed.  "The eviction was necessary to reduce global warming," says the Interior Minister.

A black man in a nation dominated by whites.  A WASP judge is going to sentence him.  The jury found him guilty.  Amongst the evidence presented by the prosecutor is an analysis of his skin color.

A Jew in Nazi Germany.  The Gestapo officer stares at him.  The next day the official report will say that the human race has been purified.

A Palestinian in present-day Palestine.  The Israeli army's missile is aimed at the school, hospital, neighborhood, house.  Tomorrow the media will say that they took out military targets.

An immigrant on the other side of any border.  The border patrol approaches.  The next day there won't be anything about it in the news.

A priest, nun, layperson who sided with the poor, in the middle of the Vatican's opulence.  The Cardinal's sermon is against those who meddle in worldly affairs.

 Adrián Javier González Villarreal
A street vendor in an exclusive mall in an exclusive residential zone.  A truck full of riot police parks. "We defend free trade," the government delegate will declare.

A woman by herself, day or night, on public transportation full of men.  A small tick in the "gender violence" statistics.  The cop will say: "it's that sometimes they provoke them."

A gay by himself, day or night, on public transportation full of machos.  A small tick in the "homophobic violence" statistics. 

A sex worker on a strange street and someone else's corner… a squad car pulls up.  "The government is cracking down on white slavery," the press will say.

A punk, a Rastafarian, a rudeboy, a cholo, a metal head, on the street at night… another squad card approaches.  "We're putting a stop to antisocial behavior and vandalism," says the elected official.

Cruz Morales Calderón
A graffiti artist "tagging" the World Trade Center… another squad car pulls up.  "We'll do everything necessary in order to have a beautiful and attractive city for tourism," says some official.

A communist at a rightwing fascist party meeting.  "We're against the totalitarianism that has done so much damage around the world," says the party president.

An anarchist in a communist party meeting. "We are against the petit bourgeois deviations that have done so much damage to the global revolution," says the party's chairman.

A segment from the "31 minutos" news broadcast on the CNN news ticker.  Tulio Triviño and Juan Carlos Bodoque look at each other, disturbed, but they don't say anything. [2]

An alternative band trying to sell its CD at a concert starring Lady Gaga, Madonna, Justin Bieber, whoever comes after them.  The cops approach.  The fans scream like crazy.

Juvencio Lascurain
An artist performing traditional indigenous dances outside of the great cultural center where the (yes-gala-invitation-only-we're-sorry-ma'am-you're-getting-in-the-way) Bolshoi ballet company is performing.  Security proceeds to reestablish calm.

An old man in a meeting chaired by Japanese finance minister Taro Aso (he studied at Stanford and just a little while ago asked that the elderly "hurry up and die already" because it's really expensive to keep them alive).  Social spending is cut even further.

An Anonymous criticizing a Microsoft-Apple shareholders meeting about copyrights.  "A dangerous hacker behind bars," the media will say.

A young Mapuche who, in Chile, demands his ancestors' territory as he watches the olive-green offensive roll in with tanks and carabineers.  The bullet that fatally wounds him in the back will not be punished.

Matías Valentín Catrileo Quezada
A youngster and/or student or unemployed worker at a military-police-civil guard-carabineer checkpoint.  The last thing he heard?  "Shoot!"

An indigenous Nahua in the offices of a transnational mining company.  Men in uniforms kidnap him.  "We're investigating," say respective governments.

A dissident in front of a grey metal fence that's been erected, while on the other side the Mexican political class bites their tongues about yet another imposition.  He's hit with a rubber bullet that causes him to lose an eye or break his skull. "It's called uniting for the good of the country.  It's time to put the bickering behind us," say the talking heads on the news.

 Francisco Sántiz López
A peasant in front of an army of lawyers and police hearing that the land that he works, where his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on were born and grew up, now belongs to a real estate company, and that you're depriving the poor businessmen of something that legally belongs to them.  Jail.

Someone who opposes the electoral fraud sees how 40 thieves and their boot-lickers are exonerated.  The mockery: "We've got to turn over a new leaf and look forward."

A man or woman approaches to see what all the ruckus is about and is suddenly surrounded by law enforcement.  While they shove, beat, and kick her or him as they take her to the squad car, you manage to see that a well-known television channel's cameras are pointed somewhere else.

An indigenous Zapatista in the bad government's (PRI-PAN-PRD-PT-MC) jail for years.[3]  He reads in the newspaper: "Why did the EZLN reappear now that the PRI has returned to power?  Very suspicious."


Are you still with us?


Do you feel with certainty that you're out of place?

Do you feel the fear from being ignored, insulted, beaten, mocked, humiliated, raped, imprisoned, murdered just because of who you are?

Do you feel the impotence of not being able to do anything to avoid it, to defend yourself, to be heard?

Do you curse the moment that you went to that place, the day you were born, the hour you began to read this text?


Several of the aforementioned examples have names, calendars, and geographies:

Juan Francisco Kuykendall Leal.  The compa "Kuy," adherent to the Other Campaign, professor, thespian, director.  Skull smashed open on December 1, 2012, by a shot from "law enforcement."  He planned to do a play about Enrique Peña Nieto.

José Uriel Sandoval Díaz.  Young student at the Autonomous University of Mexico City and member of the Student Struggle Committee.  He lost an eye in the repression on December 1, 2012, as a result of a "law enforcement" attack.  He was planning  to resist the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto.

Celedonio Prudencio Monroy.  Indigneous Nahua.  Kidnapped on October 23, 2012 by "law enforcement."  He was planning to resist the plundering of Nahua lands by mining companies and loggers.

Adrián Javier González Villareal.  Young student at the National Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon's Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department in Mexico, murdered in January 2013 by "law enforcement."  He was planning to graduate and become a successful professional.

Cruz Morales Calderón and Juvencio Lascurain.  Peasants taken prisoner in Veracruz, 2010-2011, by "law enforcement."  They were planning on resisting the plundering of their lands by real estate companies.

Matías Valentín Catrileo Quezada.  Young indigenous Mapuche, murdered on January 3, 2008, in Chile, Latin America, by "law enforcement."  He was planning on resisting the plundering of Mapuche land by the government, estate owners, and transnational companies.

Francisco Sántiz López, indigenous Zapatista, unjustly imprisoned by "law enforcement."  He was planning on resisting the government counterinsurgency campaign of [former Chiapas governor] Juan Sabines Guerrero and [former president] Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.


Now… don't despair, we're almost done...

Now imagine that you aren't afraid, or you are but you get it under control.

Imagine that you go and, in front of the mirror, not only do you not hide anything or cover up your difference with makeup, and instead you emphasize it.

Imagine that you turn your difference into a shield and weapon, you defend yourself, you find others like you, you organize, you resist, you struggle, and without even realizing it, you go from "I'm different" to "we're different."

Imagine that you don't hide behind "maturity" and "good judgement," behind "now is not the time," "the conditions aren't right," "we have to wait," "it's useless," "there's no way to fix it."

Imagine that you don't sell out, that you don't give up, that you don't give in.

Can you imagine it?

Ok, well even though neither we nor you know it yet, we're part of a "we" that's bigger and has yet to be built.

(to be continued…)

From any corner of any world.

Planet Earth.
January 2013.


Listen and watch the video that accompanies this text:

"Born Free" by M.I.A. (Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam).  Video director: Romain Gavras (son of Costa Gavras).  Photography: André Chemetoff.  Produced by: Mourad Belkeddar.  Executive Producer: Gaetan Rousseau / Paradoxal.  This video was censored by YouTube due to its content.

"Burnin' an Lootin" by Bob Marley.  Video is the beginning of "La Haine" ("The Hatred"), written and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995.  Subtitles in Spanish.

Translated from the original Spanish by Kristin Bricker.

Translator's Notes:
  1. N14: the November 14, 2012, general strike called by Spanish unions.
  2. 31 Minutos is a Chilean mock news program anchored by puppets.  Triviño and Boduque are puppets on the show.
  3. PRI = Institutional Revolution Party; PAN = rightwing National Action Party; PRD = center-left Democratic Revolution Party; PT = Workers' Party, a front for the PRI; MC = Movimiento Ciudadano, a PRD splinter party.  Marcos mentions all of the major political parties, even the so-called leftist parties, because the Zapatistas oppose all of them.  The PRD ruled Chiapas for years, and during that time the government and PRD party members attacked the Zapatistas (frequently physically) just as the other parties had done.

Read the rest of "Them and Us:"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Them and Us Part 3: The Overseers by Subcomandante Marcos


III.- The Overseers

Somewhere in Mexico…

The man hits the table, furious.

-Annihilate them!

-Sir, with all due respect, we've been trying to do that for 500 years.  Each successive empire that has arisen has attempted to do so with all of their era's military might--

-So why are they still there?

-Err…we're still trying to figure that out--the lackey glares reproachfully at the man in a military uniform.

The aforementioned man gets up and, standing at attention, extends his right hand frontward, with his hand out[1], and shouts enthusiastically:

-Heil!… Sorry, I meant to say that I salute you, sir -- After shooting a threatening look that shuts up the snickering from other guests, he continues:

-The problem, sir, is that those heretics don't confront us where we're strong, they turn around and attack us where we're weak.  If it were all just a matter of lead and fire, well, those lands, with their forests, water, minerals, people, would have been conquered a long time ago and you would have been able to offer them up as a tribute to the great Ruler, sir.  Those cowards, instead of confronting us with just their heroic bare chests, or with bows, arrows, and spears, and go down in history as heroes (beaten, yes, but heroes), they prepare, they organize, they reach agreements, they give us the slip, and they hide when they take off their masks.  But we wouldn't be in this situation if you would have listened to me when everything began-- and he glares reproachfully at the guest whose place card says "chupa-cabras version"[2]

The aforementioned guest smiles as he says:

-General, with all due respect, we didn't have an atomic bomb.  And even if we could have acquired one from our allies (the guest who has the ambassador place card expresses his thanks for the mention), we would have been able to wipe out the aboriginals, but we would have also destroyed the forests and the water; moreover, the work of mining exploration and operations would have been impossible for, say, a couple of centuries-.

Another one of the lackeys speaks up:

-We offered them songs and poems praising their sacrifice, ballads, movies, roundtables, essays, books, plays, statues, their name in golden letters when they died.  We told them that if they insisted on resisting and staying alive, we would spread rumors and doubts about why they haven't disappeared, why they haven't died, and we would say they were of our own creation, that we were going to bring forth a smear campaign that would even include the support of some intellectuals, artists, and progressive journalists -- The aforementioned guests make a gesture of approval, although more than one appears displeased by so many "-ists."

The man impatiently interrupts:


-They responded with this gesture -- (the lackey shows them a hand balled into a fist but with the middle finger raised).

The guests squirm indignantly and clamor:

-Proles! Degenerates! Louts! Plebeians! Hood rats! -

The lackey still has his hand up, facing the man.  The man rebukes him:

-I get it! You can put your hand down.

The lackey slowly lowers his hand winks at the rest of the guests.  Then he continues:

-The problem, sir, is that these people don't worship death, but rather life.  We've tried to eliminate their visible leaders, buy them, seduce them.


-Not only have we not succeeded, we haven't even realized that the bigger problem is the invisible leaders.

-Ok, let's find them.

-We already found them, sir.


-They're everyone, sir.

-What do you mean, everyone?

-Yes, everyone.  That was one of the messages they sent on the day the world ended.  We managed to keep the media from talking about it, but I think that we can say it here without fearing that someone else will find out.  They used a code so that we would understand: he who is on the stage is the leader.[3]

-What!? 40,000 leaders?

-Err… sir, excuse me, those are the ones we saw, you'd have to add in the many more that we didn't see.

-Then buy them!  I imagine we have enough money - he adds, addressing the guest with the place card that says "non-Automated Teller Machine."

The so-called ATM begins to stammer:

-Well, sir, we'd have to sell off a State asset, but we don't really have anything anymore.

The lackey interrupts:

-Sir, we've tried.


-They're not for sale.

-Then convince them.

-They don't understand what we say to them.  And to tell you the truth, we don't understand what they say, either.  They talk about dignity, freedom, justice, democracy…

-Ok, then we'll act like they don't exist.  That way they'll die of hunger, curable diseases, a good media blackout, no one will even notice until it's too late.  That's it, let's kill them with oblivion.

The guest who bears a striking resemblance to a chupa-cabras makes a sign of approval.  The man thanks him for the gesture.

-But sir, there's a problem.


-Even if we ignore them, they insist on continuing to exist.  Without our charity, sorry, what I meant is without our help, they built schools, they made the land productive, they built clinics and hospitals, they improved their homes and their diets, they lowered crime rates, they did away with alcoholism.  And not only did they prohibit the production, distribution, and consumption of narcotics, they raised their life expectancy and theirs is almost equal to that of big cities.

-Oh, so it's still higher in the cities -- content, the man smiles.

-No, sir, when I said "almost" I meant that theirs is higher.  The life expectancy in the cities went down thanks to your predecessor's strategy, sir.

Everyone turns to look with mockery and reproach at the man with the blue tie.

-You're saying that those rebels live better than those who sell out to us?

-Absolutely, sir.  But you don't have to worry about that, we've initiated an ad hoc media campaign to put a lid on it.


-The problem is that neither they nor our people watch television, or read our media, or have Twitter, or Facebook, or even a cell phone signal.  They know that they're better off and our people know they're worse off.

The guest with the place card that says "modern left" rises to her feet:

-Sir, if you'll allow me.  With the new program called Solid…sorry, I meant to say "National Crusade"…[4]

The lackey impatiently interrupts:

-Enough, Chayo[4], don't start with another one of your speeches for the media.  All of us agree that the main enemy is those damn indians and not the other unmentionable.  We have that one good and infiltrated and completely fenced in by people who belong to this man here.

The man with the "chupa cabras" place card nods with satisfaction and gratefully accepts the pats on the back that nearby guests give him.

The lackey continues:

-But you and I and everyone else who is here knows that all of this about social programs is a lie, that it doesn't matter how much money is invested, at the end of the bottleneck there's nothing.  Because everyone takes their cut.  After the señor, with all due respect, you take a big chunk, everyone else here does, too, and then the governors, the heads of the military zones, the local legislatures, the mayors, the commissioners, the leaders, those in charge, the cashiers, so little or nothing is left over for those below.

The man intervenes:

-Well we have to do something fast, because if we don't, the Ruler will look for other overseers and you are all well aware, ladies and gentlemen, of what that means: unemployment, ridicule, and maybe even jail or exile. 

The person marked "chupa cabras" shudders and makes an affirmative gesture.

-And it is urgent, because if those indians with the cracked feet… (the man's daughter makes an expression of disgust, the woman sits there, suddenly indisposed, and turns so green that, well, forget about the Green Lantern).  The woman leaves, saying something about a pregnancy.[6]

The man goes on:

-If those fucking indians unite, we'll have serious problems because…

-Ahem, ahem, sir -- the lackey interrupts.


-I'm afraid there's a bigger problem, that is, worse, sir-.

-Bigger?  Worse?  What could be worse than an indian insurrection?

-Well, if they reached an agreement with the others, sir-.

-The Others?  Who are they?

-Hmm… let me see… ok, well, peasants, workers, the unemployed, youth, students, teachers, employees, women, men, the elderly, professionals, fags and dykes, punks, Rastafarians, skaters, rappers, hip-hop artists, rockers, metal heads, chauffeurs, tenant farmers, NGOs, street vendors, crews, races, hood rats, plebes…-

-Enough!  I get it… I think.

The lackeys look at each other with a knowing smile.

-Where are the leaders we bought?  Where are the ones we've convinced that the solution to everything is to be like us?

-They're believing them less and less, sir.  They have less and less control over their people.

-Look for someone to buy!  Offer them money, trips, television programs, candidacies, seats in congress, governments!  But above all money, a lot of money!

-We're doing that, sir, but… -- the lackey looks doubtful.

-And? -- the man prods him on.

-We find more and more…-

-Magnificent!  More money is needed then?

-Sir, what I mean is that we find more and more who won't sell out.

-Terror, then?

-Sir, there's more and more who aren't afraid of us, or if they are, they have it under control.


-Sir, more and more think for themselves.

-We have to finish off all of them, then!

-Sir, if we make everyone disappear, we would disappear, too.  Who would sow the land, who would run the machines, who would work in the corporate media, who would serve us, who would fight in our wars, who would praise us?

-Then we have to convince them that we are as important as they are.

-Sir, not only are more and more people realizing that we're not necessary, it appears that the Ruler is doubting our usefulness, and by "our" I mean all of us.

The guests sitting at the man's table shift uncomfortable in their seats.

-Well then?

-Sir, while we look for another solution, because the "Pact"[7] didn't work at all, and seeing that we have to avoid the embarrassment of once again hiding out in a bathroom[8], we've acquired something better: a "panic room!"[9]

The guests stand up and applaud.  The all crowd around the machine.  The man gets in and takes the controls.

The lackey nervously warns him:

-Sir, just be careful you don't hit the "eject" button.

-This one?


The make-up artists and puppeteers run to provide first aid.

The lackey addresses one of the cameramen who recorded everything:

-You have to erase that part… And tell the Ruler to get a replacement doll ready.  This one always needs resetting.

The guests straighten their ties and skirts, comb their hair, cough, trying to draw attention.  The the cameras' clicks and flashes overshadow everything…

(to be continued…)

From any corner of any world.

Sup Marcos.
Planet Earth.
January 2013.

Information from Report #69 of the Autonomous Intelligence Service (SIA in its Spanish abbreviation) regarding what was heard and seen in an ultra-arch-extremely-hyper secret meeting which took place in Mexico City, in the backyard of the United States, latitude 19° 24´ N, longitude 99° 9´ W.  Date: a few hours ago.  Classification: eyes only.  Recommendation: do not make this document public because they'll burn us alive.  Note: send more pozol because Elías[10] drank it all when someone shouted: "Eat while there's lots of food!" and he's skanking to the Nana Pancha cover of the Tijuana No song "Transgresores de la Ley" [Law Breakers].  Yes, the song is cool, but it's tough to go in the mosh pit because Elías is wearing steel-toed boots.


Listen and watch the video the accompanies this text:

"Luna Negra" [Black Moon].  Lyrics by Arcadio Hidalgo.  Scored and played by Los Cojolites.  The other son jarocho.  ¡A zapatearle en el fandango raza![11]

"En esta tierra que me vio nacer" [On this land where I was born] with MC LOKOTER.  Greetings to the Other Zumpango [town in Mexico State].  Production and photography: Joana López.  Directed and edited by: Ricardo Santillán.  Production: BLASJOY DESIGNER.  Year 2012.
Note: An MC is something like a DJ with noble feelings and cool words, but with a hip-hop rhythm.  Rap!

"Transgresores de la ley" by Tijuana No, covered by Nana Pancha on their album "Flores para los muertos" [Flowers for the dead].  Every time Tijuana No played this song, they dedicated it to the EZLN, even when the Zaps weren't fashionable.  Greetings and a big hug to those who never forgot us.  Skaaaaaaaaaaaaa!  Everybody jump!

Translated from the original Spanish by Kristin Bricker.

Translator's Notes:
The "Ruler" is the United States government, "the man" (el señor) is current president Enrique Peña Nieto, "chupacabras" is former president Carlos Salinas, and the "man with the blue tie" is former president Felipe Calderón.
  1. The Mexican military salute looks a lot like the Nazi German military salute.
  2. The chupacabras is a mythical Mexican vampire beast that sucks the blood out of goats.  It was allegedly invented by Carlos Salinas to distract people's attention from the fact that he was running the country into the ground.
  3. Referring to the December 21, 2012, mobilization in which 40,000 Zapatistas took to the streets in silence.  The Zapatista communique released that day stated: "Did you listen?  It is the sound of their world crumbling.  It is the sound of our world resurging." 
  4. "Solidaridad" (Solidarity) was a public works program initiated by Carlos Salinas, who is Enrique Peña Nieto's godfather and widely considered to be the latter's puppet master.  So it was no surprise when Peña Nieto recently announced his new campaign, the National Crusade Against Hunger and Poverty, to which the Zapatistas responded with the middle finger.
  5. Chayo is a nickname for a woman named Rosario, in this case referring to Rosario Robles, the head of Sedesol, Mexico's Social Development Agency, which is responsible for implementing the National Crusade.  Here she's referred to as the "modern left" because she defected from the center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) to join the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which currently rules Mexico.
  6. Mexican indigenous people who live in rural areas often have cracked feet because they walk barefoot.  During the presidential campaign, Enrique Peña Nieto's daughter retweeted a tweet from her boyfriend referring to her father's critics as "a bunch of idiots" and "proles."
  7. When Enrique Peña Nieto took office, he announced a "Pact for Mexico" that would supposedly solve the country's problems.  Not many people were particularly impressed.
  8. During the presidential campaign, Peña Nieto was confronted by student protesters at the private Ibero-American University…so he hid in a bathroom.  The Ibero protest sparked the massive #YoSoy132 student movement.
  9. Panic rooms are being constructed in some Mexican courthouses to protect judges.
  10. Comandante Elías Contreras is the EZLN's head of intelligence.  Pozol is a corn drink popular in Chiapas and Tabasco, the two states with confirmed Zapatista presence.
  11. Son jarocho is a folksy musical genre from Veracruz.  Zapatear is how one dances to son jarocho; it involves stomping on a wooden platform in hard-soled shoes to make noise.  Fandango is a son jarocho dance party.  
This is Part 3 of a series of communiques from Subcomandante Marcos.  The English translation of Part 1: The (Lack of) Reason from Above and Part 2: The Machine in Almost Two Pages are also available.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Them and Us Part 2: The Machine in Almost Two Pages by Subcomandante Marcos


II.- The Machine in almost two pages.

January 2013.

The salesman speaks:

It's amazing, very "cool" so you understand me.  It's called "neoliberal globalization version 6.6.6," but we prefer to call it "the savage" or "the beast."  Yes, an aggressive nickname, one with initiative, very grrr.  Yes, I learned that in a self-help course called "How to sell a nightmare"… but let's get back to the machine.  Its operation is very simple.  It is self-sufficient (or "sustainable," as is sometimes said).  It produces, yes, exorbitant profits… What?  Invest part of those profits to alleviate hunger, unemployment, lack of education?  But those shortages are exactly what makes this baby run!  What do you think of that? A machine that produces the fuel it needs to run: misery and unemployment.

Of course, it also produces goods, but not just that.  Look: let's say that something completely useless is produced, something that no one needs, something without a market.  Well, this gem doesn't just produce useless stuff, it also creates a market where that useless stuff is turned into a basic necessity.

The crises?  Of course.  Just press this button right here… no, not that one, that's the "eject" button… the other one… yes.  Ok, push that button and ta-da!  There you have the crisis you need, everything is right there, with your millions of unemployed, your water cannons, your financial speculation, your droughts, your famine, your deforestation, your wars, your religious apocalypses, your supreme saviors, your jails and cemeteries (for those who don't follow the supreme saviors), your tax havens, your aid projects with theme songs and choreography included… of course, a little bit of charity always looks good.

But that's not all, let me show you this demo.  When you put it in "destruction/depopulation-reconstruction/restructuring" mode it performs miracles.  Look at this example: do you see those forests?  No, don't worry about those indigenous people…yes, they're Mapuches, but they could be Yaquis, Mayos, Nahuas, Purépechas, Mayans, Guaranís, Aymarás, Quechúas.  Ok, press the "play" button and watch how the forests disappear (and the indigenous people, but no one cares about them), now watch how everything becomes a wasteland, wait… here come the machinery and voila!  There you have your golf course that you've always dreamed of, with its exclusive parking and the works.  Ah, it's wonderful, don't you think?

It also comes with the latest software.  You can click here where it says "filter" and your TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube will only show psalms and praise for you and yours.  Yes, it eliminates any sort of commentary, writing, image, noise, all the bad vibes that every now and then those anonymous, dirty, ugly, bad, rude proles try to slip in.

It has a lever on the floor (even though you can put it on autopilot with just one click); a heliport; no plane ticket, because sometimes there's no place to run to, but it does include a spot on the next departing space shuttle; it also has a super-hyper-mega exclusive mall; a golf course; a minibar; a yacht club; a framed diploma from Harvard; a summer house; an iceskating rink… yes, I know, what would we do without the modern Left and its quick wit?  Ah, and with this gem you can be in "real time" simultaneously in any part of the world, it's as if you had your own exclusive global ATM.

Hmm… yes, it includes a papal bull to ensure you a V.I.P. spot in heaven.  Yes, I know, but we're already working on immortally.  Meanwhile, we can install an accessory (at an additional cost, of course, but I'm sure this isn't a problem for someone like you): a panic room!  Yes, you've seen how those vandals think they have the right to demand what's theirs with that "the land belongs to those who work it."  Oh, but you have nothing to worry about.  That's why we have rulers, political parties, new religions, reality shows.  But of course, that's an assumption*, because if they fail at some point? Of course, when it comes to security, no expense should be spared.  Of course, let me write that down: "Include Panic Room."

It also includes a study for TV, one for radio, and an editor's desk.  No, don't get me wrong.  They're not for watching TV or listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines, that's for jerks.  They're for producing information and entertainment for the people who run the machine.  Isn't that neat?

What? Oh… ok… yes… I'm afraid that problem hasn't been solved by our specialists.  Yes, if the raw material, I mean, if the plebeian masses revolt nothing can be done.  Yes, the "panic room" could be useless in that situation.  But we shouldn't be pessimistic, just keep in mind that that day… or night… is very far off.  Yes, I also learned all that "new age" optimism from a self-help course.  Huh?  What?  I'm fired?

(to be continued…)

From any corner of any world.

Planet Earth.
January 2013.


Listen and watch the video that accompanies this text:

Fuck Tha Posse -- El Fin de los Días [The End of Days] (Dr. Loncho, Oscar A Secas and Hazhe) -- 20 Minutos Mixtape Vol. 1


Regarding the Mapuche People's struggle.

*Translator's Note:  Instead of using the Spanish word for "assumption" (supuesto), Marcos (speaking as the salesman) uses supositorio, the Spanish word for "suppository."  He's making fun of the salesman with a play on words that can be best explained with the classic English saying: "When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."

Translation from the original Spanish: Kristin Bricker.  Part 1 of this essay is available in English here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Them and Us, Part 1: The (Lack of) Reason from Above by Subcomandante Marcos


I.- The (lack of) reason from above.

January 2013

Those from above say:

"We're the ones who make the rules.  We're more powerful, although there are fewer of us.  We don't care what you say-hear-think-do, as long as you are mute, deaf, immobile.

"We can impose halfway intelligent people in the government (although they're already getting to be difficult to find within the political class), but we chose one who can't even pretend to know what he's talking about.[1]

"Why? Because we can.

"We could use the police and military apparatus to persecute and jail real criminals, but those criminals are a vital part of us.  Instead, we choose to persecute you, beat you, detain you, torture you, jail you, kill you.

"Why?  Because we can.

"Guilty or innocent?  Who cares if you are one or the other?  Justice is just another whore in our little black book, and believe us, it's not the most expensive one.

"And even if you follow the rules that we impose to the letter, even if you don't do anything, even though you might be innocent, we will squash you.

"And if you insist on asking why we do it, we'll respond: because we can.

"That is having Power. A lot is said about money, riches, and those things.  But believe us when we say that what excites us is that feeling of being able to make decisions about anyone's life, liberty, and assets.  No, power is not money, it's what you can have with it.  Power is not just exercising it with impunity, it is also and above all, to do it irrationally.  Because having Power is to do and undo without having any other reason than the possession of Power.

"And it doesn't matter who stands out in front, hiding us.  Right and left are only references so that the chauffeur can park the car.  The machinery runs itself.  We don't even have to order them to punish the insolence of defying us.  Large, medium, and small governments all over the political spectrum, as well as intellectuals, artists, journalists, politicians, and religious leaders fight over the privilege to please us.

"So fuck you, screw you, rot in hell, die, get discouraged, give up.

"To the rest of the world you don't exist, you are no one.

"Yes, we've sowed hate, cynicism, rancor, desperation, theoretical and practical don't-give-a-fuck, conformity with the 'lesser evil,' fear turned into resignation.

"And, nonetheless, we fear that which has transformed itself into organized rebellious rage, without a price tag.  

"Because we control, manage, ration, and feed the chaos that we impose.  Our 'law enforcement' forces impose our chaos.

"But the chaos[2] that comes from below…

"Ah, that… we don't even understand what they say, who they are, how much they cost.

"And they're so rude that they don't beg, await, request, plead--instead, they exercise their freedom.  Have you ever seen such obscenity!

"That is the real danger.  People who look on the other side, who leave the mold, or break it, or ignore it.

"You know what's really worked for us? That myth about unity at all cost.  To only understand oneself with a boss, leader, ruler, or whatever they call themselves.  Controlling, managing, containing, buying one is much easier than many.  Yes, and cheaper.  That and individual rebelliousness.  It's so wonderfully useless.

"Rather, what's really dangerous in a true chaos is when every one becomes a collective, group, crew, raza, organization, and they learn to say 'no' and 'yes,' and they reach agreements amongst themselves.  Because the 'no' is directed towards those of us who give the orders.  And the 'yes,'… geez… that really is a disaster.  Imagine if everyone built their own destinies, and they decided who to be and what to do.  It would be like pointing out that we're expendable, excessive, that we get in the way, that we're not necessary, that we should be in jail, that we should disappear.
Art: Banksy

"Yes, a nightmare.  Yes, of course, for us.  Can you imagine how bad that world would be?  Full of indians, blacks, browns, yellows, reds, dreadlocks, tattoos, piercings, studs, punks, goths, cholos, skaters, that 'A' flag without a nation to buy it, youth, women, whores, children, the elderly, zoot suiters, drivers, peasants, workers, tacky people, proles, poor people, anonymous people… others.  Without a privileged space for us, the 'beautiful people'[3]… or, so you understand us, the 'good people'… because we can tell by the way you talk that you didn't study at Harvard.

"Yes, that day would be night for us… Yes, everything would be ruined.  What would we do?

"Hmm… we hadn't thought about that.  We think, we plan, and we execute what to do so that it doesn't happen, but… no, that hadn't occurred to us.

"Well, in any case, well….hmm… I don't know… perhaps we would look for who to blame, and then, well, we'd look for, I don't know, a Plan B.  Of course by then it would be useless.  I think that then we would remember what that damn red Jew said…no, not Marx… Einstein, Albert Einstein.  I think it was him who said: 'Theory is when you know everything and nothing works.  Practice is when everything works and no one knows why.  In this case we have combined theory and practice: nothing works… and no one knows why.'

"No, you're right, we wouldn't even be able to smile.  A sense of humor has always been an non-expropriable patrimony.  Isn't that a shame?

"Yes, without a doubt, these are times of crisis.

"Hey, aren't you going to take pictures?  I mean, so we can fix our hair and put on something a little more presentable.  Nah, we already tried that in 'Hola'[4]… oh, but what are we saying, it's obvious that you haven't gotten past [the comic book] 'El Libro Vaquero.'

"Oh, we can't wait to tell our friends that someone so… so… so… other came to interview us.  They're going to love it.  And, well, it's going to make us seem so cosmopolitan…

"No, of course we're not afraid of you.  Regarding that prophecy… bah, it's superstition… so… so… native… yes, so Region 4 [5]… hahahaha…what a good joke, let's write that down for when we see the kids…

"What?… It isn't a prophecy?…

"Oh, it's a promise…"

(…) (the tee-tu-ta-ta-tatatata sound, from the smartphone)

"Hello, police? Yes, I'd like to report that someone came to see us.  Yes, we think he was a journalist or something.  He looked so… so… so other, yes.  No, no, he didn't do anything to us.  No, he didn't take anything.  It's just that, as we were leaving to go to the club to see our friends, and we see that someone has painted something on the entrance to the garden.  No, the guards didn't see who it was.  Of course not!  Ghosts don't exist.  Well, it's painted with a lot of colors… No, we didn't see any paint cans nearby… Well, as we were saying, it is painted with a lot of colors, so colorful, very tacky, very other, not anything like the galleries where… what?  No, we don't want you to send a squad car.  Yes, we know.  But we're calling to see if you can investigate what the painting means.  We don't know if it's a code, or one of those strange tongues that the proles speak.  Yes, it's just one word, but we don't know why it makes us shudder.  It says:


(to be continued…)

From any corner of any world.

Planet Earth
January 2013


Listen to and watch the videos that accompany this text:

a.- Pacheco

"Pachuco," by La Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del 5to Patio.  Video is from the perspective of "from below," that is, in the middle of the mosh pit.  The moral of the story: don't record while you're on the trampoline.  And what the heck, Maldita?  Don't be so idem and get it together.  Or what, you're just going to leave the raza to the mercy of the Justin Beibers of the world?  Fine, greetings from Solin, because you guys really did understand that the communities are pure Kalimán.[7]


b.-"More for your money."

"More for your money."  Written and directed by Yordi Capó.  Guadalajara, Mexico, August 2003.


c.- "Of rats and cats."

Cartoons based on the words of Thomas C. Douglas (1904-1986).

Translator's notes:
  1. Referring to President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is turning out to be at least as inarticulate and factually challenged as George W. Bush.
  2. Marcos wrote "chaos" with the letter "k" in Spanish: "kaos."  Like anglophone anarcho-punks and other rebellious youth, Mexico's young rebels often replace the "c"s in certain works with "k"s in the written language.
  3. "The beautiful people" is written in English in the original.  Bourgeois Mexicans like to sprinkle English words and phrases into their vocabulary.
  4. Hola! is a Mexican magazine for women.  It featured exclusive photos and interviews regarding current president Enrique Peña Nieto's fairytale wedding to soap opera star Angelica Rivera.
  5. Region 4 is the DVD region code for Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and much of Oceania.  Mexico also uses Region 1, the region code for the US and Canada.
  6. A Mapuche phrase that means "we will win one hundred times over."
  7. "Pachuco" means "zoot suiter" in Mexico.  Marcos uses a lot of Mexico City slang here and is making reference to another Maldita Vecindad song called "Solín," which is about a poor man who reads about Mexican comic book hero Kalimán and decides to change his name and make a living as a carnival psychic.  Maldita Vecindad is a classic Mexican ska/punk band that has supported many Left causes since the band's inception in the 1980s.  The band is still popular and active, but they haven't put out an album in years--much to Marcos' chagrin, apparently.
Translation from the original Spanish: Kristin Brickier

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Only the People Defend the People: Guerrero Human Rights Center Weighs in on Uprising

by the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of la Montaña
translated by Kristin Brickier

Photo: Blog del Narco
On Saturday, January 5, 2013, at about 11pm, citizen Eusebio Alvarado García, commissioner of Rancho Nuevo, Tecoanapa municipality, was taken by force from his home by people who belong to the criminal groups that have overrun the Ayutla region.  Eusebio had recently arrived at his home with the news that he had been elected a subcommander of the Community Police.  That afternoon there was a regional assembly of the authorities of El Portrero, which is also in Tecoanapa, where there were also representatives from other municipalities such as Cuautepec, San Marcos, Cruz Grande, and Ayutla.  Previously, the communities in this corridor of the Costa Chica met to plan joint actions against organized crime, which for years has dominated as the scourge of the indigenous and peasant communities because of the authorities' indifference at all three levels of government.

According to residents, the situation became unbearable because of the cruel and abusive manner in which these groups acted.  That's why, in the assembly on Saturday they felt the pressing need to construct a basic structure that would confront this de facto power.  Various groups of police were formed, each with its own commander, who were given the order to practice armed self defense when faced with any circumstance that would put the fiscal safety, freedom, or life of their compañeros and compañeras in the struggle at risk.

The unease and outrage had risen due to the kidnapping of a commander from Ahuacachahue in the Ayutla de los Libres municipality.  The people managed to identify which persons had carried out this criminal act.  Days afterwards, due to a teachers union conflict that affected the entire Me'phaa indigenous community of Plan de Gatica, the municipal commissioner was the victim of a kidnapping.  The community's immediate reaction led to the compañero's release in Acapulco.  Likewise, as a result of their investigation, the community knew who the intellectual and material architects of the crime were.  The worst was when a citizen from that same town was murdered on December 26, 2012, due to the same teachers union conflict.

These and many other criminal acts that have multiplied so much in the Me'phaa and Na Savi indigenous communities of Ayutla, as well as the extortions, kidnappings, narco-taxes, and murders that the businessmen and businesswomen, students, teachers, mobile vendors, some cab drivers, fathers and mothers suffer daily in the Ayutla, Tecoanapa, Cruz Grande, San Marcos, and Cuautepec municipalities resonated with the Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG), which, due to its close work with the people in this zone, had the good sense, intelligence, ability, and bravery to make the largely poor and defenseless populace's suffering its own.  Faced with the urgency that the insecurity situation would further affect the indigenous and mestiza population's heritage, security, and lives, in its latest assemblies the UPOEG put aside the pressing issues on its agenda (such as the fight against high electric bills and the fight for infrastructure projects) in order to put the climate of violence and insecurity that the de facto criminal powers at the center of its agenda.

With skilled and painstaking citizen intelligence, they have a clear, in-depth analysis into crime's modus operandi: its centers of operation, allies, contacts, informants, accomplices, safe houses, etc.  Armed with this information, the communities made the decision to adopt self-defense in order to guarantee a true citizens' security, running the risks that using weapons (some of them in really bad shape) to confront those who were harming the population with weapons would entail.  They staked out the places were they generally operate, installed checkpoints, searched vehicles, detained those whom they managed to identify as members of those groups, seized weapons, and had to use their meager weapons against someone who resisted being searched and who tried to use his pistol against those who were leading the operation.

In a matter of hours, those responsible for searching for the commissioner located him.  Instead of being frightened by this intimidating act, they found the straw that broke the camel's back and set off an armed self-defense movement that forced them to take the populace's security into their own hands.  On Sunday, Three Kings Day, about 800 police arrived in Ayutla and immediately stationed themselves in strategic points in order to counteract any reaction from criminal groups.  They took control in order to institute order and detain those who were identified by the populace as perpetrators of crimes.

Without thinking twice, the 800 police who arrived armed with rudimentary weapons and modest clothing (which tells us something about their precarious economic situation) demonstrated to the authorities and society as a whole that determined and autonomously organized people are capable of instituting order and giving working people back their security.  This armed self-defense movement has achieved a power that is unprecedented in the state and in the country, because it is a tangible example of what citizens really have to do in order to recover the security we lost.

In order for the authorities to once again earn the people's trust, they have the obligation to correct their course, rectify their policies, and recognize that they have failed the citizenry because they are complicit in the tragedy that is bleeding us to death as a state.  The populace notices that various authorities work for the other side, because they don't act with conviction against the crime that festers in the government's own structures.  The vices that accompany corruption live on and are the gears that move a justice and security system that has turned into the citizens' enemy because it is in bed with organized crime.  This union leads to the humiliation, pillage, and devastation of a people besieged and subjugated by organized crime.

For their part, the politicians sit back and don't approach--not even by accident--the people from these communities that suffer the consequences of criminal acts.  They don't make their people's struggle their own.  Nor are they willing to respect and recognize indigenous people's efforts and contributions, which are based on internationally recognized collective rights which the governments have scorned.  Instead, the authorities in their crystal palaces become judges and and issue guilty verdicts, but not against those who have disrupted the populace's lives, but rather against the very police who defend the people and who are doing for free the work of those who continue to enjoy a comfortable life with outrageous salaries.

Now the state government is repeating what it has already done to the residents of Huamuxtitlán and Olinalá; it is asking those who have practiced self defense that they put down their weapons, that they give up their ambitions to establish order and stop detaining those who have committed crimes.  It asks, as it did 18 years ago with the nascent Community Police, that they turn their detainees over to the Public Prosecutor so that it can begin its investigations.  It is also trying to persuade them to go back to their communities and it promises that the saviors of the fatherland will come with Operation Safe Guerrero.  It intimidates them with the legalspeak that they are committing crimes and that they should have criminal investigations opened against them.

This governmental magnanimity is the another face of perversity and complicity, because it does not seek to get to the root of the citizens' security problems, nor does it have any intention of completely destroying the network of complicity and hidden interests that are entrenched in government institutions.  The purging and professionalization of the police departments and the state Attorney General's Office that society has demanded since the very beginning is a governmental issue and remains untouched.  All of the ministerial investigations have been distorted because they have turned into shams and quackery.

This past Sunday the communities once again exercised their right to consultation in order to make better decisions that will result in benefits for the citizens.  Their withdrawal is tactical, because they know that the Safe Guerrero program is not a panacea.  On the contrary, it could mean more risk, because no civil authority will guarantee that it will respect their human rights and that it won't impose martial law, which would generate even more fear, and would also inhibit, demobilize, and criminalize the population that organizes itself and defends its right to live safely.

This lesson of utmost importance is registered in the communities' memories.  Their most precious treasure is that they have ascertained their social and political potential.  They have realized that their power is unshakeable and their strength is unwavering.  These intangible goods are already part of their heritage and are their best community capital.  For that same reason, they are no longer willing to blindly obey nor naively believe in the authorities.  Their subjugation is another chapter in a dreadful story where governments mock and trample the people's dignity.  Trust can no longer be uncritically placed in authorities that have not demonstrated their commitment nor honored their word.  That's why they will remain vigilant and on the front lines in order to monitor those who are now in charge of security.  The communities will know when they have to decide to once again take the responsibility to provide security and guarantee justice into their own hands and apply their own cosmogenic systems based on internationally recognized indigenous peoples' rights.

Guerrero Community Police Denounce Attempts to Use Citizen Uprising to Divide and Militarize Their Region

Translator's Note: On January 6, residents of several indigenous towns in the war-torn state of Guerrero took up arms to defend themselves against organized crime.  What follows is the official communique from the Regional Coordinating Body of Community Police (CRAC) regarding the uprising and the government's and its collaborators'  plans to take advantage of it in order to further militarize CRAC-affiliated communities and disrupt their autonomous process.

Regarding the events that have been occurring since last week in the region of Ayutla de los Libres and Tecoanapa, we want to state the following: As everyone knows, residents of various communities in those municipalities appeared armed and masked, establishing search operations on the roads into Ayutla de los Libres, presenting themselves since day one as community police.  For that reason, we stated to the press on that same day, January 7, 2013, that that movement is not led by the CRAC - COMMUNITY POLICE and we stated that we had information that those who were behind the movement were leaders of the UPOEG (Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero), despite the fact that during the first few days, they said that it was CRAC who was leading the uprising; nonetheless, during the week this issue was made even more clear, to the point where it was the leaders of that organization who have met on over three occasions with the State Governor in order to define the direction they should give to said movement.  That makes it necessary for us to highlight the deceiving position and bad faith that the UPOEG leaders have maintained with the media since the beginning of the uprising, considering that they had the full knowledge that they themselves were the instigators of that uprising, [yet] they have insisted in involving us in a movement that is not typical of our way of doing things.

Likewise, we [wish to] highlight the behavior of the Governor and his officials.  He insisted on trying to making us part of this uprising, always referring to the people who are involved in it as Community Police, when we have publicly disavowed any participation in those actions.  We demand that the State Government respect our community institution, and that when it refers to the Community Police it makes sure that it is referring to our system.

We are concerned that he is taking advantage of the populace's legitimate feelings about the growing insecurity and violence, manipulating it and involving it in actions that require better planning, but in any case are aimed at strengthening the protagonist ambitions of some UPOEG leaders.  We express our respect to the compañeros from the grassroots communities who, without having better information, have involved themselves in said uprising with the goal of providing security for their own people, but we call for common sense and respect for the people.

We want to specify some practices that have been observed in the uprising and that clearly demonstrate that it is not the CRAC Community Police that leads it:

  1. At no point in time since 1995 when our community security [organization] was formed have our officers covered their faces with hoods or balaclavas.  Our identification has always been the uniform of a green shirt and black pants, we have credentials issued by the community authorities, and because we are named by our assemblies, all of our people know us, which is why we don't have any need to cover our faces.  Our community police will always show their faces.  We respectfully request that participants in this uprising stop using our uniform and/or shields during their operations.
  2. We are not at war nor in confrontation with drug trafficking.  Our mission is to protect our communities.  We cannot carry out operations in localities that are not incorporated into our community system.  That is why we have never at any point proposed pursuing crime wherever it might be.  We only carry out the detention of people when there is a prior complaint from an offended person, or if someone is found committing offense or error.
  3. In the 17 years that the Community Police has existed, no detainee or accused person has ever been executed or disappeared by the community system.  People who are detained can be visited by their families, who are always informed of their proceedings.
  4. Our System of Security and Justice has never, at any moment since its birth, established in any area a "curfew," nor has it ordered or even suggested the suspension of classes in the education system.  In the community territory, people can freely transit at whatever hour without fear, because it is the our police's work to guarantee their security and not the other way around.
  5. Our community institution has always proposed a respectful relationship with the government at its different levels, but we have never accepted nor will we accept that it tells us what to do or make conditions.  We will not be subordinated.  Our only leadership is the people.  We do not request coordination with other police agencies, the Army, or the Navy.

With all that has been stated above, it is plainly obvious that which our community institution denounced during the last assembly that occurred in the La Concordia community last December 22: the ambitions of the UPOEG leadership to make themselves the main leaders in the CRAC in order to direct our community institution's work towards the State Government's interests.  Today this is completely clear despite its leadership's attempts to hide its true interests.  We clearly see that the goal is to destabilize the whole region in which the CRAC-Community Police operates, to give the government pretexts to install state and federal police barracks and Army or Navy barracks (which is exactly what occurred in Olinalá), with the goal of militarizing our regions, legalizing paramilitary practices, and with all of that block the true people's organizations' organizational growth and work.  We see the the instances of the state are moving forward with its strategy of putting its seal of approval on the large projects of plundering and looting our resources, such as the mining concessions and biosphere reserves, generating instability in the populace, finding accomplices, and militarizing the regions that could organize themselves to protest.

We publicly denounce that the UPOEG is interfering in the CRAC's internal affairs.  Its leader, Bruno Placido Valerio, has told various media outlets about a supposed meeting with the CRAC last December 30, during which a second meeting was supposedly agreed to that would take place on January 19 in the Petrerillo Rincón community in the Malinaltepec municipality, in which "the CRAC's vision would be rectified."  We report that no CRAC representative convoked, nor was invited to that meeting on December 30, and for that reason no agreement that could have been reached in that meeting is valid under our community system.  Therefore, the supposed meeting called for on January 19 in Potrerillo del Rincón is not being convened by the CRAC.

We denounce the presence of the UPOEG's promotors in communities who are incorporated into the community system who are inciting the populace to join the uprising, and we call on the municipal commissioners and the community police to not let themselves get caught off guard, because if there were some sort of instruction or order to implement a security operation, they would be notified through our structures, which is the Executive Committee of the Community Police or the Regional Coordinators.  To the communities who are interested in joining the CRAC, we invite you to go to one of our houses of justice in order to learn about our incorporation procedures, as well as the principles of our community system.

To all of our towns and communities, to the brotherly organizations, to the collectives, collaborators, academics, intellectuals, and progressives, we call upon you to be attentive regarding this new assault that is being organized against our community institution by the dark nucleus of power, and that, unfortunately, can now count on the participation of people who were at some point an important part of our project.  Nonetheless, we are confident in our people's wisdom to push forward in the face of this new challenge that we now face.

Respectfully, only the people support and defend the people!  "Respect for our rights will be justice."

Regional Coordinators
Claudio Carrasco Hernández, José Mendoza Vázquez, Moisés Figueroa Estrada, Arturo Rojas Román, Asunción Ponce Ramos, Emilio Gálvez Flores, Felícitas Martínez Solano, Jelasio Barrera Quintero, Máximo Tranquilino Santiago, Pablo Guzmán Hernández, Carlos Morales Chávez, Rey Pastrana Peralta, Epifanio Venancio Hilario, Margarito Ramírez Micaela, Bernardino García Francisco, and Ernesto Morales Castro

Translation from the original Spanish: Kristin Brickier

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Citizen Uprising Against Organized Crime in Guerrero

Introduction and translations by Kristin Bricker


On January 6, residents of several indigenous towns in the war-torn state of Guerrero followed the example of Cherán in Michoacan and took up arms to defend themselves against organized crime.

The following is meant to be a primer on the uprising and provide the background needed to understand the context.

Guerrero's indigenous were the hardest hit by Mexico's Dirty War in the 1960s and 1970s.  Guerrero is the only state to be under continuous military occupation since the Dirty War.  The effects of this military occupation are painfully obvious: the rape and torture of indigenous women at the hands of soldiers, the murder of human rights defenders, and the murder and torture of students protesting for the right to study.  It was, then, to be expected that when former president Felipe Calderón declared war on drugs, Guerrero's Dirty War would dovetail into the Drug War with disastrous consequences.

Guerrero has a rich history of armed, autonomous, and social movements.  It was where one of Mexico's most beloved guerrilla leaders, Lucio Cabañas, organized and fought until the military murdered him in 1974.  Guerrero, like Oaxaca, has a strong democratic teachers union, one of the most powerful social-political organizations in the state.  It went so far as to go on strike against organized crime in 2011, something few workers have been valiant enough to do when threatened with extortion.  Guerrero is also home to the autonomist Community Police, a citizens crime-fighting initiative based on indigenous governance that pre-dates the drug war and ardently supports the Zapatistas.

The Community Police appear to be somewhat involved in this new uprising, although they don't lead it.  The Community Police have stated that they are not involved in the uprising in Ayutla.  As their legal advisor explains in the second article below, they are wary that the Guerrero state government is attempting to co-opt the young movement, much as it does with indigenous groups in Chiapas in order to prevent them from allying themselves with the Zapatistas. The Community Police argue that the government wants to use this uprising and the well-intented peasants who are participating in it in order to militarize, paramilitarize, and infiltrate communities who belong to the Community Police.  The Community Police's full statement on the uprising is available here.

Fed Up with Narcos, Townspeople Take Up Arms in Guerrero

by Ezequiel Flores Contrera, Proceso
January 9, 2013

Photo: Ezequiel Flores
Chilpancingo, Guerrero (apro).  Five days ago, inhabitants of Ayutla de los Libres and members of the Community Police took over public security in this municipality located in the Costa Chica region with the goal of expelling organized crime groups that have devastated the region.

This incident once again demonstrates the lack of authority and the government's indifference towards the levels of impunity and violence that persist in the area.

Citizens are fed up with the incessant wave of murders, extortion, and kidnappings, which has set off a series of social movements, mainly in the la Montaña region, where armed townspeople seek to lock up organized criminal gangs, a situation that has shed light on alleged links between local authorities and criminals.

Last year, inhabitants of the municipalities of Huamuxtitlán, Xochihuetlán, Cualac, and Olinalá decided to arm themselves in order to kick out the criminals that operated with impunity in that zone in the la Montaña region.

Now, that same phenomenon is repeating itself in Ayutla de los Libres, the place where on March 1, 1854, the Ayutla Plan was proclaimed by Florencio Villareal and Juan N. Álvarez to disavow Antonio López de Santa Anna as president of the country.

A series of extortions and kidnappings came to a head on Saturday, January 5, when Eusebio Alberto Alvarado García, commissioner of the town of Rancho Nuevo in the Tecoanapa municipality, was kidnapped, according to official reports.

Immediately, close to 400 townspeople from three municipalities, Tecoanapa, Ayutla de los Libres, and Florencio Villareal, with the support from members of the Community Police, mobilized to rescue the commissioner.

Due to the fact that they put up checkpoints along the federal highway that joins these municipalities in the Costa Chica region, Alvarado García was freed and the kidnappers fled.

Notwithstanding, the townspeople and members of the Community Police maintained the checkpoint in Ayutla and, on Sunday, January 6, they shot a taxi driver who refused to be searched, according to the state Attorney General's Office. [Translator's note: The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of la Montaña claims that the taxi driver was armed and tried to open fire on the men who tried to search his car.]

The justice agency opened a criminal investigation into the death of 40-year-old Cutberto Luna Chávez.

Notwithstanding, on Tuesday, January 8, governor Ángel Aguirre justified the Ayutla townspeople's actions, stating that armed self-defense "sheds light on citizens' desperation with organized crime and the absence of a response from the authorities," according to local media.

Some 200 armed civilians currently maintain a checkpoint at the entrance and exit of the municipal seat of Ayutla de los Libres and they claim they will not leave until they permanently drive out members of criminal groups that operate in the zone.


The Example of Armed Self-Defense Spreads in Guerrero Communities

  • The protection measures prove the government's failure against organized crime, says NGO
  • Local groups say that Governor Aguirre Rivero doesn't listen to them nor does he follow through
by Sergio Ocampo Arista, La Jornada

Nahuas from about 30 communities created the Popular Citizens Police this past December 2 in  Temalcatzingo, Olinalá municipality, in the Montaña Alta.  Photo: Sergio Ocampo
Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Janurary 12.  Dozens of communities in the la Montaña and Costa Chica regions of Guerrero have once again become the scene for actions of armed self-defense due to a lack of response from the three levels of government to deal with the people's demands for security against the organized crime that operates in those two regions in the southeastern part of the state, where Me'pha (Tlapaneco), Ñuu savi (Mixteco), and Amusgo indigenous peoples and Afro-Mexicans live.

Led mainly by contingents from the Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (Upoeg in its Spanish initials), the communities joined the movement of citizens who are tired of crime, violations, and extortion at the hands of criminal groups.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra of the Tlachinollan Montaña Regional Human Rights Center spoke about the causes of the popular uprising that began on January 6 in the municipal seat of Ayutla de los Libres following the kidnapping of Eusebio Álvarez Mendoza, a rancher and commissioner of the Rancho Nuevo community in the Tecoanapa municipality: "That is due to a vacuum of federal and local authority in the exercise of their functions in public security."

Townspeople from Ayutla de los Libres in the Costa Chica
work a checkpoint installed in the Guerrero
municipality without the Community Police.
Photo: Lenin Ocampo Torres
Without doubt, he added, "the security model and its policies have failed; regarding Operation Safe Guerrero, it's important to remember that last year it was in effect, but there weren't considerable advances.  What is happening is proof that the criminals were not apprehended nor did it have an impact on crime levels in that zone; on the contrary, [organized crime] was strengthened."

Rosales Sierra complained, "It can't be possible that peasants who are organized with low-calibre guns are standing up to the criminals in a matter of two days, while the Army, the Navy, and police with high-powered weapons haven't had an impact in three years; that is impossible, it doesn't merit further analysis.  That indicates that there is a high level of complicity and a total lack of authority; for example, the state Attorney General's Office does nothing, it knows about the relationships its police force has and it refuses to remove its personnel, and here we see the consequences."

He insisted that it is evident that "there is a high level of coexistence and complicity between the state authorities such as the Ministerial Police and the state police assigned to the El Limón community in Ayutla with the public prosecutors and judges which generated an environment that allowed organized crime to freely move in those places as if they were at home.  All of that complicity allowed crime to reign and abuse the population."

That vacuum created by the government led to locals organizing themselves.  "The people were fed up and decided to take security into their own hands, to rescue the principles of justice for the indigenous and mestizo peasants."

Perhaps the most important part of this popular uprising is that it demonstrates to Mexico that organized crime is not invincible and that once the people organize, they can keep crime in check, and that society shouldn't be paralyzed by the scourge "as they did these past months in the municipalities of Huamuxtitlán, Cualac, and Olinalá."

But he warned that "when the people return to their communities, [criminal groups] could react and put the safety of the peasants and their families at risk.  We will be watching to see how the authorities react, because this is not about sending in more police."

He proposed that the peasants strengthen themselves and respect "the systems of uses and customs [traditional indigenous governance], to resume the peoples' traditional justice systems, and to not simply organize in the heat of the moment without creating their own justice institutions to avoid that crime threatens them."

The Organizing Process

The first manifestation of the organization of the indigenous, mestizo, and Afro-Mexican peoples was the creation of the Regional Coordinating Body of Community Authorities-Community Police (CRAC-PC) in October of 1995; the municipalities of Huamuztitlán followed their example this past September 17 with their Popular Citizens Police (PCP), as did thirty Nahua towns in Temalacatzingo in the Olinalá municipality this past December 2.

One of the almost 300 volunteer
guards from the town of Tecoanapa,
in the Costa Chica region.
 Photo: Lenin Ocampo Torres
In Huamuxtitlán the PCP was created with over 100 members on September 17, 2012, following the kidnapping of 18 people by an organized crime group.  Guerrero's ex-Attorney General, Alberto López Rosas, was even given a file with over thirty violent crimes, including the kidnapping of former mayor Juan Carlos Jiménez, murders of taxi drivers, the appearance of cadavers in the municipal seat, home burglaries and stolen cars, extortion of business owners, and alleged threats to the ex-mayor Soledad Romero and her husband Víctor Echeverría Valenzuela, a former leader of the teachers union.

On November 25, over 200 Mixteco peasants from at least 30 communities in the Ayutla de los Libres municipality were sworn in as new members of the Community Police to combat organized crime.

With the Mixteco communities joining the CRAC, its territory has grown to 107 towns in thirteen municipalities in Costa Chica and la Montaña: San Luis Acatlán, Marquelia, Metlatónoc, Cochoapa El Grande, Iliatenco, Malinaltepec, Altamajalcingo del Monte, Tlapa, Tlacoapa, Acatepec, Ayutla, Azoyú, and Tlacoachistlahuaca.

The municipalities that have joined the Popular Citizens Police are Huamuxtitlán, Cualac, and Olinalá, which are on the border with the states of Morelos and Puebla.

Over a Year Without a Meeting

Valentín Hernández, the CRAC's legal advisor, recalls that almost as soon as Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero took office on April 1, 2011, they requested a meeting with him, "and it wasn't until May 28, 2012, when CRAC was given its one and only meeting, although afterwards there have been a few meetings with the compañeros with the goal of following up on the demands that were presented, which have only been minimally fulfilled."

He stated that the governor has not complied with the agreements that have been reached, "he only granted a budget of $500,000 pesos, which was given in very small payments; they only gave part of the 500 radios that they had promised, and beyond that, nothing, no uniforms, no weapons, no rations, no vehicles.  As a result of this breach of agreement, we give him the authority that someone who makes promises and doesn't follow through deserves."

He believes that the governor's indifference contrasts with how the towns of Ayutla and Tecoanapa have treated the uprising, which Upoeg is leading.  "Some of these issues have been raised in the Community Police assemblies, and others have come out in the media.  We don't care if attention is payed to other groups as long as it isn't detrimental to the CRAC's demands and organizing process.

"We've seen that while spaces for dialogue and fulfillment of agreements have been closed to the CRAC, other groups where the Community Police has a presence are given full support; this makes it clear that the rumors that have been circulating since December 22 when the regional coordinators and commanders were appointed in the El Paraíso House of Justice in Ayutla de los Libres are true: that the Upoeg is practically working with the state government."

"What's happening in Ayutla," he stressed, "is proof of that.  If you analyze the declarations the Upoeg has made this past week, it's clear that they were behind the uprising from the beginning, and that they are even inviting towns from the region, including those that belong to the CRAC, to join their movement."

Nonetheless, Valentín Hernández announced that CRAC will soon announce its official position.  "There was already a meeting where it was agreed that a position that has been condensed upon between the coordinators and the council members will be given, and we'll probably emit a formal communique on Monday."

Regarding the presence of organized crime in the communities that belong to the CRAC's houses of justice located in San Luis Acatlán, Espino Blanco in the Malinaltepec municipality, and Zitlaltepec in the Metlatónoc municipality, "there's tranquility, although we are on alert due to the situation in Ayutla, it's business as usual."

According to the lawyer from Tlachinollan, Aguirre Rivero has had a very distinct attitude towards the CRAC: "the insensitivity and lack of interest in the people's normative systems is plainly evident.  The government has distain for the CRAC's normative system, when it is a model that could put security back on track and show us how to resolve the problem of insecurity."

Instead, he insisted, the government, far from addressing problems, has criminalized social struggle, "it has designed and maintained the peoples in oblivion, and now it's going to have to face the problem because it's just around the corner and it has to deal with the communities' uprising, because it has to respond to this problem that demonstrates the failures of the state's justice system."