Saturday, February 9, 2013

Them and Us Part VI: The Gazes Part 3: Some Other Gazes by Subcomandante Marcos

Them and Us

VI. The Gazes 3.

3.- Some other gazes.

one: A dream in that gaze.

Photo: Moysés Zúñiga,
It's a street, a milpa, a factory, a mine shaft, a forest, a school, a department store, an office, a plaza, a market, a city, a field, a country, a continent, a world.

The Ruler is seriously wounded, the machine broken, the beast exhausted, the savage locked up.

The changes in name and flags didn't work at all, the beatings, the prisons, the cemeteries, the money flowing through corruption's thousand arteries, the "reality shows," the religious celebrations, the paid newspaper articles[1], the cybernetic exorcisms.

The Ruler calls for his last overseer.  He murmurs something into his ear.  The overseer goes out to confront the masses.

He says, asks, demands, requires:

"We want to speak with the man…"

Doubt crosses his face, the majority of those who are confronting him are women.

He corrects himself:

"We want to speak with the woman…"

He doubts himself again, there's more than a few "others" who are confronting him.

He corrects himself again:

"We want to speak with whomever is in charge."

From amongst the silence an elderly person and a child step forward, they stand in front of the overseer and, with an innocent and wise voice, they say:

"Here everyone is in charge."

The overseer shudders, and the Ruler's voice during his last scream shudders.

The gaze wakes up.  "Weird dream," is said.  And, without the geography or the calendar mattering, life, struggle, resistance goes on.

S/he only remembers a few words from the odd dream:

"Here everyone is in charge."

two: Other gaze from another calendar and another geography.

(fragment of a letter received in the eezeelen military headquarters, no date)

"Greetings, Compas.


My opinion is that everything was really fucking cool.  But I do not deny that all of this is in retrospective.  It would be very easy to say that I perfectly understood the silence and nothing surprised me.  False, I also became impatient with the silence (of course that has nothing to do with what is said about how before the Zapatistas weren't speaking, I did read all of the denouncements).[2]  The issue is that when seen with the advantage of what has already happened, and what is happening, well, of course the conclusion is logical: we are in the middle of a more daring initiative, at least since the Zapatistas' insurrection.  And this has to do with everything, not just with the national situation but also with the international situation, I believe.

Let me tell you what I understood about something which, it seemed to me, was the most significant moment of the [December 21, 2012] action.  Of course there are many things: the organization, the militant strength, the show of force, the presence of young people and women, etc.  But what really impressed me the most was that they were carrying some boards and that when they arrived at the plazas they made some stages.  According to what was said about what went on, many private media outlets, and some of the independent ones, speculated about the arrival of the Zapatista leaders.  They didn't realize that the Zapatista leaders were already there.  They were the people who got up onto the stage and said, without speaking, here we are, this is who we are and this is who we will be.

Those who should have been on the stage were there.  Nobody has noticed, I think, that moment and, nonetheless, I think, there it is, in a nutshell, the profound significance of a new way of doing politics.  That which breaks with all that is old, the only truly new, the only thing that is worth having [illegible in the original] "XXI century."

The plebeian and freedom-loving soul of those timely moments in history, has been built here without theoretical grandstanding.  Rather, with a practical burying.  It has been there for too many years to be just a fancy.  It is already a long and solid historical social process in the terrain of self-organization.

At the end they picked up their stage, turned it once again into boards, and we should all be a little ashamed and be more modest and simple and recognize that something unexpected and new is in front of our eyes and that we should look, shut up, listen, and learn.

Hugs all around.  I hope that you're alright, all things considered.

El Chueco [Crooked]"

three: "Instructions for what to do in the case… that they look at you"

If someone looks at him, looks at her, and you realize that…

He doesn't look at you as if you were transparent.

He doesn't want to convince you yes or no.

He doesn't want to co-opt you.

He doesn't want to recruit you.

He doesn't want to give you orders.

He doesn't want to judge you-condemn you-absolve you.

He doesn't want to use you.

He doesn't want to tell you what you can or can't do.

He doesn't want to give you advice, recommendations, orders.

He doesn't want to reproach you because you don't know, or because you do know.

He doesn't look down on you.

He doesn't want to tell you what you should or shouldn't do.

He doesn't want to buy your old car, your face, your body, your future, your dignity, your free will.

He doesn't want to sell you anything...
(a time share, a 4D LCD television, a super-ultra-hyper-modern machine with an instant crisis button (warning: don't confuse it with the ejection button, because the warranty doesn't include amnesia due to ridiculous media stunts), a political party that changes its ideology as the wind blows, a life insurance policy, an encyclopedia, a VIP entrance to the performance or the revolution or whatever heaven is fashionable right now, furniture in small installments, a cell phone plan, an exclusive membership, a future given as a gift from the generous leader, the excuse to give up, sell out, throw in the towel, a new ideological paradigm, etc.).

First.- Rule out if it was a degenerate man or woman.  You  can be as dirty, ugly, bad, rude, as you want, but, whatever it is, you have this sexy and horny touch that comes from working really hard; and that "that" can awaken anyone's most carnal passions.  Mmm… well, yes, a little hairstyling wouldn't be too much.  If it wasn't a degenerate man or woman, don't lose heart, the world is round and it spins, and see below (this list, understand).

Second.- Are you sure that he is looking at you?  Couldn't it be that deodorant ad that was behind you (you, understand)?  Or could it be that he's thinking (him, the one that's looking at you, understand): "I think that's how I look when I don't comb my hair"?  If you have ruled that out, continue.

Third.- Doesn't he look like a cop looking to complete the payment that he has to report to his superior?  If yes, run, there's still time to not lose the cost of the ticket.  If not, go on to the next point.

Fourth.- Return his gaze, fiercely.  A gaze that's a mix of anger, stomach ache, annoyance, and the "look" of a serial killer will work.  No, that makes you look like a constipated bear cub.  Try again.  Ok, passable, but keep practicing.  Now, he doesn't flee terrified?  He doesn't divert his gaze?  He doesn't get closer to you exclaiming, "uncle juancho!  I didn't recognize you!  But with that gesture…"?  No?  Ok, continue.

Fifth.-Repeat the first, second, third, and fourth steps.  There could be problems with our system (which, of course, is made in China).  If you come back to this point again, go on to the next one:

Sixth.- There's a high probability that you have run into someone from the Sixth.  We don't know if we should congratulate you or send you our sympathies.  In any case, what follows that gaze is your decision and your responsibility.

fourth: A gaze at a Zapatista post.

(calendar and geography not specified)

SupMarcos: "You have to hurry because time is running out."

The female health insurgent: "Hey, Sup, time isn't running out, people are running out.  Time comes from far away and follows its path allll the way over there, where we can't look at it.  And we are like little pieces of time, that is, time can't march on without us.  We are what makes time march on, and when we come to an end along comes another and s/he pushes time along for another bit, until it arrives at where it needs to arrive, but we're not going to look where it arrives but rather others are going to see if gets there alright or if suddenly it couldn't summon up enough strength to arrive and it has to be pushed again, until it arrives."


The female infantry captain: "And why did it take you so long?"

The female health insurgent: "It's that I was chatting about politics with the Sup, I was helping him to explain well that it's important to look far away, to where neither time nor gazes can reach us."

The female infantry captain: "Uh-huh, and then?"

The female health insurgent: He punished me because I didn't hurry the work and he sent me to the clinic.


fifth: Extract of the "Notes to gaze upon winter."


And yes, all of them got up on the stage with their fists held high.  But they didn't look very well.  They didn't look at the gaze of those men and women.  They didn't look at when they were crossing up [on the stage], they turned their gaze down below and they saw their tens of thousands of compañeros.  That is, they looked at themselves.  Up there they didn't look at us looking at us.  Up there they didn't understand, nor will they understand anything.

six: Put your gaze here (or your insults, even if they aren't minty).[3]


(To be continued…)

From any corner of any world.


Planet Earth.

Mexico, February 2013.


Listen to and watch the videos that accompany this text.

Daniel Viglietti and Mario Benedetti to a "duet" interpretation of the song "La Llamarada" and Benedetti's poem "Pregón."  Concert in Montevideo, Uruguay, Latin America, Planet Earth.  At the beginning, Daniel takes a moment to recognize all of those who are not on the stage but who make it possible that Daniel and Mario are.  Almost at the end, you can hear Mario Benedetti singing, singing to himself, singing to us, and without the calendar and geography mattering, and vice versa.


Amparanoia plays "Somos Viento."  At one point, Amparo Sánchez says "Ik´otik," which in tzeltal means "we are the wind ("somos viento)."


Amparo Ochoa, whose voice still reverberates through our mountains, singing "Quien tiene la voz (Who Has the Voice)" by Gabino Palomares.

Translated from the original Spanish by Kristin Bricker.

Translator's Notes:
  1. Some Mexican newspapers run articles that someone (often a branch of the government) pays for.  In the case of La Jornada, the only thing that sets the "paid insertions" apart from genuine news articles is that a "paid insertion" headline is in italics.
  2. Referring to the fact that while most media outlets report that the Zapatistas are breaking some sort of silence, they really haven't been silent.  They've been sending out a steady stream of denouncements against the government and antagonistic organizations.
  3. Play on words that only makes sense in Spanish.  "Mentada" is insult, but it also sort of sounds like "menta," which means mint.


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