Friday, February 01, 2013


Sundiata Acoli has been in prison like forever (If you don't know much about him click here).  He knows his stuff.  He may be locked up, but he is not shut up.  Sundiata, in the post below for Scission Prison Friday, takes a look at mass incarceration in the USA and more.  He also suggests a strategy for dealing with it, something those on the outside can do that maybe, just maybe, might have an impact.  He is talking about racism, he is talking about white supremacy, he is talking about injustice, he is talking about prison, he is talking about history,  he is talking about solidarity, and he is talking about MASS DECARCERATION.

The following is from Sundiata

PP’s, Mass Incarceration and What’s Possible for Social Movements

The following article by PP/POW Sundiata Acoli was written to accompany Dan Berger, author, anarchist and college professor on his January, 2013 book tour thru Germany. Dan is author of “Outlaws in America: The Weather Underground Organization” and is the editor of “The Hidden ’70s.”
PPs, Mass Incarceration and What’s Possible for Social Movements
America has millions of prisoners locked away in its dungeons, many for 20, 30 and 40 years or more – yet astonishingly, it claims there are no Political Prisoners or Political Prisoners of War (PP/POWs) in its prisons – and that it has no PPs.
That makes the u.s. the only country in the world that has MASS INCARCERATION, has more prisoners period than any other country – and has prisoners locked in secret CIA prisons around the world, but no PPs.
Since it has no PPs it obviously  has no masses of poor, hungry, homeless or unemployed people, nor does it have hordes of oppressed nationalities and lower classes herded into reservations, barrios, ghettoes, ‘hoods, trailer parks and housing projects who are daily subjected to various forms of discrimination, racial profiling  and police brutality, murder and mass imprisonment.
If the u.s. has no PPs, then apparently there’s no MASS INJUSTICE in america because that’s where MASS INCARCERATION and PPs come from. MASS INCARCERATION is the barometer, the  main indicator of MASS INJUSTICE in society.
PPs are those in every land and thru out every era, who are imprisoned for fighting INJUSTICE in their societies and the same holds true today for the relationship between MASS INJUSTICE, MASS INCARCERATION and PPs in u.s. society – and who must be freed! Not only PPs – but ALL those imprisoned by unjust policies.
The latest 30-year prison-building/mass-incarceration spree has left the land dotted with thousands of new prisons overfilled with millions of prisoners – all of which has convinced state legislators that they cannot incarcerate their way out of the defects in this political system and that the current budget-busting levels of incarceration are too costly to sustain any longer.
So at this moment it seems very possible for social movements to succeed in reducing  prison populations. But any reductions under the present policy would only postpone the next INCARCERATION binge to some more cost-efficient time in the future altho MASS INCARCERATION itself is the problem! Not crime, not drugs nor violent offenders per se, but MASS INCARCERATION itself is the problem.  Crime rates, for serious crime, were as low in 2011 as they were in 1964. Rates for violent and nonviolent crimes have been declining for at least five years but the national prison population is functionally the same size. So it’s clear that incarceration rates are “policy” driven, not “crime” driven. And history shows that america’s incarceration is driven primarily by “unjust racial/class” policies.
The 1st instance of america’s unjust racial policy occurred at inception with its incipient genocide against Indigenous american, theft of their land and Chattel Slavery – unjust on its face – became racially so when it switched to enslaving Blacks ONLY. Confinement of Indigenous americans on reservations, their captured Chiefs and Braves in military prisons and the enslaved Afrikans on plantations for 300 years was the first MASS INCARCERATION committed by the colonial nation. Every slave confined on a plantation or runaway detained in jail was a POW. So was every Indigenous american forced onto reservations or detained in military prisons – as was any other person detained for resisting american genocide, enslavement, rape and robbery of their lands and nations.
The 2nd instance, which began at the end of the Civil War and continued until the 1970s, was the use of Black Codes and Jim Crow segregation laws to re-enslave the newly freed Blacks and people of color in general thru mass imprisonment in the penal system.  At the time Whites were the overwhelming majority of the nation’s prison population when the percentage of Blacks in the southern prisons jumped from near zero to 33% within 5 years. Others imprisoned  during the ensuing 100 year struggle against Jim Crow segregation and other racial/class oppressions were the increasing number of poor immigrants and other such agricultural and industrial workers, union organizers, war resisters, ghetto heroin addicts and the rising number of Civil  Rights workers and revolutionaries of all stripes: Black Panther Party, Puerto Rican Young Lords, Anti-imperialist Weather Underground Organization, Chicano Brown Berets, American Indian Movement, the Asian I WOR KUEN and numerous others which resulted in the defeat of Jim Crow (de jure) segregation during the mid-’60s. By 1975, Black and other people of color made up nearly half of the 250,000 prison population. The between 1865 and 1975 produced a great number of PP/POWs, including Big Bill Haywood, Sacco and Vanzetti, Sitting Bull, Marcus Garvey, and Pedro Albizo Campus; George Jackson, Angela Davis, Marilyn Buck, Huey P. Newton, Assata Shakur and many others.
And the 3rd instance of unjust racial/class policies began around 1975, a decade after the defeat of Jim Crow (legal, not actual) segregation. In that intervening period and beyond, numerous revolutionary organizations who were fighting injustice–the Black Liberation Army, FALN of Puerto Rico, American Indian Movement, Weather Underground Organization, the United Freedom Front, MOVE and others– were attacked by the police who killed or imprisoned several of their members. Those imprisoned joined the ranks of other unrecognized PP/POWs already in prison. Ronald Reagan set widespread injustice in motion by flooding South Central L.A. with “crack” cocaine to secretly finance the Nicaraguan Contra War in the early 1980s, and incarceration rates skyrocketed. “Crack” spread quickly, devastated ghettoes nationwide and escalated the racist hypocritical War on Drugs and racial profiling schemes that mainly targeted people of color, White hippies and the poor as crime suspects and targeted communities of color for saturation with  Street Crime Units to terrorize, mass imprison and paint its inhabitants with felony convictions later used to deny their right to vote, deny their right to work jobs/trades requiring certain licenses and certificates, deny the right to live in public housing, deny food stamps, deny student loans for college/trade course etc., all of which relegated felons to a permanent 2nd-class status, exploded the prison population from 250,000 in the mid-’70s to 2.3 million today and so aptly verified noted author Michelle Alexander’s statement that: “MASS INCARCERATION is the New Jim Crow.”  This era produced PP/POWs Oscar Lopez Rivera, Kuwasi Balagoon, Mumia Abu Jamal, David Gilbert, Leonard Peltier, Move 9, Susan Rosenberg, Carlos Alberto Torres, Tom Manning, Jaan Laaman and numerous Muslim, Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front, Environmentalist and Occupy Wall Street PPs, plus  Sekou Odinga and the liberation of Assata Shakur followed by her political asylum in Cuba.  Blacks had become the absolute majority of the prison population at about 55% but the number is even higher since approximately 5 to 10% of the Black population is hidden in under the “Hispanic” ethnic category in the census, which often omit racial designations so that the “official” percentage of Black prisoners is listed at about 45% followed by a fast growing number of Browns: Latino/as, Hispanics, Indigenous americans and Asians, with Whites declining to less than 20%.
Since america’s MASS INCARCERATION is driven by unjust racial/class policies then the real solution to MASS INCARCERATION is MASS “DECARCERATION.”  In other words, drastic cuts to ALL prisoner’s TIME, since TIME is the currency, the legal tender, the great equalizer and righter of wrongs in prison.
Many prison and human rights activists are in agreement with a position forwarded by Michelle Alexander, which calls for incarceration rates to be reset to 1980 levels, or even to the post-Jim Crow level of the 1970s, which are levels before Ronald Reagan flooded South Central and set off the “Crack” epidemic in america. Decarceration opens the door to struggle over the life and scope of the system more generally; it can be shrunk well beyond its earlier levels! To “DECARCERATE,” many activist advocate some form of time-served plus prisoner-age combination that automatically put a prisoner out the door when the combination adds up to a certain number. The main proposal for this strategy, advocated by POWs like Russell Maroon Shoatz, calls for 25/50 and out: that is, if a prisoner is over 50 and has served 25 years or more, than s s/he is “automatically out the door” or discharged immediately. This strategy will free those imprisoned by, or long held for, biased and unjust policies – including many PPs as well.
Thank you for your attention – and i hope we can find ways to work together in support of PPs, prison struggles and progressive movements in both our countries. Our main PP organization is The Jericho Movement at Feel free to contact them on any issue regarding solidarity work for PPs in the u.s.
i also bring you solidarity greetings from those who have been on a rolling on hunger strike in the California state prisons. They’re joined in a fierce struggle to end solitary confinement, some of whom have been held in solitary 20 years or more; 20 years in conditions described by their outside representative thusly:
“The long-term (indeed life long) indefinite isolated solitary confinement in 7′ 7″ x 11′ 7″ concrete boxes for 22 1/2 hours per day in California’s Pelican Bay and Corcoran Secure Housing  Units (SHUS) is torture. It is cruel. Without phone calls, without human touch, degrading and humiliating routines, bad food, insufficient clothing, no fresh air and they NEVER see natural sunlight, terrible mattresses… without hope of ever escaping, all this most often for reasons that have nothing to do with behavior, or even disciplinary  matters. This is unprecedented in the history of the United States. Isolated for life for alleged associations, for what books you read, what art you draw or for what you believe in…. this is commonplace in the California system – a system which takes up more than half of California’s budget.”
They’re also struggling against an insidious gang debriefing program that requires them to “give up” or “make up” info (i.e., “snitch”) on another prisoner as their only ticket out of solitary. As expected, or designed, the program creates or greatly aggravates hostility between prison gang members and ethnic groups. In return the Hunger Strike leaders have initiated a Truce Movement among the various gangs and ethnic groups that’s well worth your support and worth emulation by other states. To find out how you can support the California Prisons’ Hunger Striker contact their outside representatives at:
Anne Weills and Carole Travis
Siegel and Yee
499 14th St. Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94612
and/or contact any of the following prisoner Hunger Strike leaders:
Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry) C35761, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
Pelican Bay mail to prisoners is addressed to:
P.O. Box 7500
Cresent City, CA 95532
Thank you.
In Struggle,
Sundiata Acoli

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I haven't said anything about Mali, have I?  Kind of held off until I had a better grasp of the "how come" element. I mean no one seeemed to care about Mali for the last I don't know how many years, then, kaboom, it's back to Africa time with the French in the lead.  As the Voltairenet points out:

Mali, with a population of some 12 million, and a landmass three and a half times the size of Germany, is a land-locked largely Saharan Desert country in the center of western Africa, bordered by Algeria to its north, Mauritania to its west, Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger to its southern part. People I know who have spent time there before the recent US-led efforts at destabilization called it one of the most peaceful and beautiful places on earth, the home of Timbuktu. Its people are some ninety percent Muslim of varying persuasions. It has a rural subsistence agriculture and adult illiteracy of nearly 50%. Yet this country is suddenly the center of a new global “war on terror.”

I mean, what is that all about, Alfie?

THEY say it's about terrorists and Muslim extremists.  Some OTHERS say it's really all to do with weapons floating around from Libya, Libya blowback.  And what about the indigenous tribes in the north of the country.

Well, probably all those things are in there in one way or another, but that just seemed to simple to me...the Empire doesn't go to war for just anything these days.  That just isn't prudent, an one of our old Presidents used to say.

Try resources on for size.  The world is running out of them and that part of Africa has some things, including uranium, that lots of folks on all sides of the Empire (and especially the province of France) want...and the Chineese, too.

Those zany Chinese have been turning up all over Africa in recent years.  Some call them neo colonialists, others call them friends.

The Western wing of the Empire call them a problem.

The Center for Research on Globalization reports the following:

Several cables in 2009 revealed French hostility toward various obstacles that were placed before French corporation Areva as it attempted to secure the rights to mine uranium at a site in the country’s south. On June 17, 2009, US ambassador Frederick Cook dispatched a cable, “French-CAR relations seriously strained,” that concluded: “Bozizé may believe that he has successfully rendered himself the least of the evils in the CAR political landscape. He thus appears to imagine himself indispensable to his neighbours and the French, an assumption that AmEmbassy Bangui believes may be badly mistaken.”

Another cable sent five months later was headed “Growing Chinese influence in the CAR evident.” It detailed the extent to which both American and French interests were losing ground to Beijing, which was “ramping up its military cooperation, public diplomacy and development efforts.” The cable noted that whereas there were only four resident diplomatic agents in the American embassy in Bangui, the Chinese embassy had about 40 employees. It added that approximately 40 CAR military officers were being trained in China every year, compared to the two or three officers who went to the US and 10-15 to France.

Making clear the predatory calculations behind the US and French presence in the Central African Republic, the cable referred to the country’s “rich untapped natural resources” and warned: “With French investments moribund and French influence in general decline, the Chinese are likely positioning themselves as the CAR’s primary benefactor in exchange for access to the CAR’s ample deposits of uranium, gold, iron, diamonds, and possibly oil.”


It is not going to stop with Mali.

This from the Fourth Media,

As British Prime Minister David Cameron declared, the crisis in Mali “will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.” Backing up such bluster, Britain has reportedly joined France in dispatching special commando teams to Mali, in addition to surveillance drones.

In Washington, the talk of a long war to be waged across the entire Sahel region of Africa has also begun. As one U.S. official speaking on the Western intervention into Mali warned Monday, “It is going to take a long time and time means that it could take several years.”

But wait, don't we want to contain the terrorist threat?  Well, sure, that is the story behind the war of the police all over the world these days.  Hell, where would be without those terrorists?  We don't rreally want to defeat them.

Again from the Fourth Media,

 After all, a vanquished al-Qaeda would really denote something of a strategic setback for Washington. It would deprive the U.S. a source of proxy war foot soldiers, while also leaving Washington struggling to justify its global garrisoning. In the end then, the al-Qaeda menace — that gift that keeps on giving — is simply too useful to defeat.

 All the attention on combating al-Qaeda in northern Mali has provided the perfect cover for the U.S. and its junior Western partners to pursue their grand strategy of containment against China. And with China increasingly out competing Western interests throughout Africa, one understands the sudden neo-colonial urge in the West.

According to Razia Khan, the regional head of research for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, bilateral trade between Africa and China is nearing $200 billion annually, having grown at an average rate of 33.6 percent per year over the past decade. What’s more, in the coming years Africa stands to become China’s largest trade partner, surpassing both the EU and the U.S.

None of this has been lost on Washington. As the presumptive next U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, noted during his Senate confirmation hearing, the U.S. is knowingly playing from behind.

“Now with respect to China and Africa, China is all over Africa — I mean, all over Africa. And they’re buying up long-term contracts on minerals, on … you name it,” Kerry commented. “And there’re some places where we’re not in the game, folks. And I hate to say it. And we got to get in.”

And that brings us back to resources.  The Chinese need them, too.  I mean you don't rapidly develop your country out of thin air. 

 Mali is rich in resources, from uranium to gold...and maybe even lots of oil. Votlairenet reports:

According to Mamadou Igor Diarra, previous mining minister, Malian soil contains copper, uranium, phosphate, bauxite, gems and in particular, a large percentage of gold in addition to oil and gas. Thus, Mali is one of the countries in the world with the most raw materials. With its gold mining, the country is already one of the leading exploiters directly behind South Africa and Ghana. 

There is also  lignite, kaolin, salt, limestone, gypsum, granite, marble, diatomite, hydropower, iron ore, manganese, tin, lead, zinc, and copper.

Are you getting the picture.

But was a war against terrorism in Mali really necessary.  It is true that a fierce bunch of midevil Islamic fundamentalists have been in control of northern Mali for a while now.   Well,  as Counterfire  puts it:

Had the rebels expressed their love of the West and outlined their intentions to open up Mali's market to foreign companies (allowing the leaching of resources), we would not have heard a word of objection from France, the United Kingdom or any other power. Instead, we are greeted with the scramble to take a big slice out of this African cake. Everyone is rushing to fight 'terrorists' in Mali. France is ensuring energy security. There should be no disruption in the flow of uranium through France's nuclear reactors. The so-called rebels are bad for business.

 The Empire wants to control the human and natural resources of the poor regions of the world.  It has to control them. France, remember, generates almost 80% of its electricity from nuclear power.  Mali and nearby Niger have lots of that uranium stuff.  Hmmm...   The French company Areva is presently constructing in Imouraren, Niger, what will become the second-largest uranium mine in the world..  Mali is number three worldwide in gold.  Gold is always good for the Empire

If you believe the West is worried about a few measly Islamic fundamentalist poking around in the middle of nowhere, then you probably never even heard of China. 

 Did I mention China?

Did I mention Niger?

Even more importantly, did I mention the whole of Africa remains rich in resources?

Say goodnight, Gracie.

The following is from  the Global Research.

Mali “Resource War” Extends into Niger: France sends Troops to Secure Niger Uranium Mines

Barely two weeks after invading Mali with over 2,000 troops of the Foreign Legion, France has dispatched special forces troops to neighboring Niger to secure uranium mines run by the French state-owned nuclear power company Areva.

The new French military intervention in northwest Africa was first reported by the weekly magazine Le Point and confirmed by military sources contacted by other sections of the French media. Le Point reported that French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had quickly agreed earlier this week to a “major innovation” in ordering the Special Forces Command to send troops to protect the Areva uranium production sites in Imouraren, and 80 kilometers away in Arlit. The magazine noted that this is the first ever use of the French commandos to directly defend the assets of a corporation.

The magazine reported that French government officials had taken the decision following the botched attempt to rescue the French hostage, Denis Allex, in Somalia and the recent bloody hostage-taking incident and siege at the Armenas gas facility in Algeria, where over 80 people were killed.

Those two events “in addition to launching the ‘Serval’ operation in Mali have significantly increased risk factors for French installations, including industry and mining in the region,” Le Point reported.

In reality, the dispatch of French commandos to the uranium mines in Niger only underscores the overriding economic and geo-strategic motives behind the French military intervention in Mali. Under the cover of a supposed war against Islamist “terrorists” and a defense of the central government in Mali, French imperialism is using its military might to tighten its grip on its resource-rich former African colonies.

Official spokesmen at both Areva and the French Defense Ministry refused to discuss the new military deployment, citing security concerns.

In Niger itself, officials denied any knowledge of the dispatch of the special forces commandos. “It’s true that the terrorist threat has increased today, but as far as I know there is no such agreement in place at the moment,” one official told Reuters.

A Niger army officer told the news agency that there were already security arrangements in place that had been agreed to with France and imposed after the September 2010 kidnapping of seven employees of Areva and one of its contractors in the northern Nigerien town of Arlit.

“We also have counter-terrorism units in the Agadez region,” said the officer. “For now, I don’t know of a decision by the Nigerien government to allow French special forces to base themselves in the north.”

Failure to inform the Nigerien government of its plans would not be out of the question. Ever since its independence in 1960, France, which had ruled the country as a colony for 60 years, has treated Niger as a semi-colony.

The uranium extracted from the mines in Niger have been considered of strategic importance by successive French governments. The yellowcake produced from Niger’s uranium ore has been used to make France’s nuclear bombs as well as to fuel its nuclear reactors, which account for over 75 percent of the country’s electricity.

While vast profits have been reaped from Niger’s uranium, the mining operation has benefited only a thin layer of the country’s subservient bourgeoisie. According to the United Nations human development index, Niger is the third poorest country on the planet, with 70 percent of the population continuing to live on less than $1 a day and life expectancy reaching only 45.

Moreover, the mining has exacerbated ethnic and regional tensions within Niger. Uranium production is concentrated in the northern homeland of the nomadic Tuareg minority, which repeatedly has risen in revolt, charging that whatever resources do accrue from the mining operations go to the southern capital of Niamey. One of the main demands of the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ), a largely Tuareg armed militia that has battled the Nigerien army, has been the more equitable distribution of uranium revenues.

Moreover, the exploitation of uranium by Areva has created an environmental and health disaster in the mining areas. The environmental group Greenpeace found in a 2010 report that water wells in the region were contaminated with radiation levels up to 500 times higher than normal. In Arlit, site of one of the major Areva mines, deaths from respiratory diseases occur at twice the national average.

France has every reason to fear that its intervention in Mali, which has already seen the bombing of civilian populations and the torture and execution of civilians by the French-backed Malian army in predominantly Tuareg areas, could cause armed conflict to spill over the border into Niger.

However, in addition to securing its profitable facilities from “terrorism” or popular revolt, France has other reasons to flex its military muscle in Niger. In an attempt to increase its share of the uranium profits, the Nigerien government has recently issued exploration permits to Chinese and Indian firms. By dispatching armed commandos, Paris is asserting its domination of the former colony as part of its African sphere of influence.

As France stepped up its African intervention, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used testimony before a Senate committee Wednesday to affirm Washington’s determination to escalate its own intervention in the region.

“We are in a struggle, but it is a necessary struggle,” said Clinton. “We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven.”

Clinton acknowledged that the rebellion in Mali as well as the hostage siege at the gas plant in Algeria had been fueled in large measure by the US-NATO toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, where Washington and its allies armed and supported Islamist militias as a proxy ground force in the war for regime change.

“There is no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya,” she said. “There is no doubt that the Malian remnants of AQIM [Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb] have weapons from Libya.”

She argued that, while there was no evidence that any of these forces in North Africa posed a direct threat to the US, Washington should launch a preemptive campaign against them anyway. “You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it,” she said.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


All of the sudden the Zapatistas (EZLN) have been issuing communiques as if they are on speed.  What's up?  

Kristin Bricker, who has been documenting the struggle in Mexico for a long time and who translates lots of these communiques for all of us,  was asked about this in a recent interview.  She says,

 I interpreted it as a response to all of the chatter in the Mexican and international media over the past few years that the Zapatistas had run out of steam, were losing ground, had failed to make any gains, and that Marcos was either dead or had been fired. As Marcos says in that communique, "We never left, even though media from all over the spectrum have dedicated themselves to making you believe that, and we are reemerging as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be...."

...Personally, I think the new communiques are uplifting. We've suffered so much under the drug war, myself included. It's debilitating to be constantly bombarded with carnage, guns held to your head, kidnappings, extortion… Can you imagine what it is like to be afraid to look out your window to see what that noise was in the street because you're afraid that you'll be seen seeing something you shouldn't have? I think that, for many people outside of Mexico, it's impossible to imagine living under those conditions, much less organizing under them. When 40,000 Zapatistas took the streets and then they began releasing these new communiques, I felt hope and energy for the first time in two years. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. I'm excited to see what they have to say, and I'm excited to be a part of it. If anyone knows how to go through hell and emerge stronger, the Zapatistas do.

She adds this interesting tid bit, 

The Zapatistas are now closely watching the indigenous Mapuche's struggle for autonomy and indigenous and land rights in Chile. Marcos has mentioned the Mapuches in three of the four "Them and Us" communiques that have been published, at this point. I think we'll see a greater collaboration between those two struggles in the near future.

The EZLN has intimated that there are new political actions coming soon, they have said that the Other Campaign and the Zezta International cease now to exist.  They have said those coming together soon will "gather around the Sixth, as the new stage of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle will be named."  The EZLN says:

Being part of the Sixth “does not require affiliation, fee, inscription,” only “commitments and consequences of those commitments.” “Those who, with the EZLN’s resurgence, hope for a new season of stages and big mobilizations,” will be “disillusioned.” The “pace of the Sixth is in long strides,” “we don’t just want a change of government, we want to change the world.”

 I think the best thing I can do here is go ahead and publish these communiques (at least the ones of which I am aware here.  I am taking them and this information from a number of web sites including The Flower of the World Will Not Die, Companero Manuel, and the Crooked Bough.  

This should keep you busy for a while.  Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but I would save these and read them as time permits.  That's my plan.


I. – The (lack of) reasons 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 and 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 kaos [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 and that we should disappear.
Art: Bansky
“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 a patrimony that cannot be expropriated.  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 paintcans 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,
SupMarcos, Planet Earth, January 2013
Listen to and watch the videos that accompany this text:
a.- Pachuco
“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 la 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.”
  1. “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 Bricker

subcomandante 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.
Translated by Kristin Bricker on her webpage
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) usessupositorio, 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.”

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 had 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 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 at:
“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 re-tweeted 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 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 Kuykendall
Juan Francisco Kuykendall
Imagine that, in spite of all your efforts and good deeds, you can’t seem to hide your skin or hair color./ 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! /
Now imagine that a campaign is launched to eliminate all of those who are like you.
Uriel Sandoval
Uriel Sandoval
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.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.
You still don’t see it?
Ok, imagine that you are… (use masculine, feminine, or other pronouns, depending on the case).
Celedonio Prudencio Monroy
Celedonio Prudencio Monroy
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.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 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
Adrián Javier González Villarreal
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 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 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.
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.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.
Cruz Morales Calderón
Cruz Morales Calderón
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.
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 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.
Juvencio Lascurain
Juvencio Lascurain
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.
An indigenous Nahua in the offices of a transnational mining company.  Men in uniforms kidnap him.  “We’re investigating,” say respective governments.A youngster and/or student or unemployed worker at a military-police-civil guard-carabineer checkpoint.  The last thing he heard?  “Shoot!”
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.
Matias Valentín Catrileo Quezada
Matias Valentín Catrileo Quezada
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 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.
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.”
Franciso Sántiz López
Franciso Sántiz López
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.


January 2013
To: The compañeros adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle all over the world.
From: The Zapatistas from Chiapas, Mexico.
Compañeras, compañeros, and compañero/as:
Compas in the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity:
Greetings to Everyone 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.
We would like to take advantage of this meeting of yours, not only to salute your perseverance, but also and above all to salute, through you, all of the compas in Mexico and in the world who have stood firm in this link that unites us and which we call the Sixth.
Know that it has been an honor to have you as compañero/as.
We know that seems like a farewell, but it’s not. It just means that we have ended a phase on the path on which the Sixth leads us, and we think that it’s necessary to take another step.
The troubles we’ve suffered, sometimes together, sometimes everyone in their own geography, have not been few.
Now we want to explain and communicate to you some changes that we will make in our journey, and one that, if you agree and you accompany us, we well go back, but in another form, to that extensive recounting of pains and hopes that were previously called the Other Campaign in Mexico and the Zezta Internazional in the world, and which will now be called simply La Sexta. Now we will go beyond that, to….
The Time of the No, the Time of the Yes.
Compañeras, compañeros:
The who we are, our past and current history, our place and the enemy that we face is defined in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, what remains outstanding is to define why we struggle.
With the “no’s” being defined, what’s missing is to delineate the “yeses.”
And not just that, the responses to the “how,” “when,” and “with whom” also remain to be defined.
All of you know that our thinking is not to construct a great organization with a central premise, centralized command, a boss, be it individual or collegiate.
Our analysis of the dominate system, of its functioning, of its strengths and weaknesses, has led us to point out that unity of action can be achieved if what we call “the ways” of each person is respected.
And all this about “the ways” is nothing other than the knowledge that each one of us, individual or collective, has of their geography and calendar. That is, of their pains and their struggles.
We are convinced that any attempt at homogeneity is nothing more than a fascist attempt at domination, even if it is hidden behind a revolutionary, esoteric, religious, or other similar language.
When one speaks of “unity,” it isn’t stated that this “unity” is under the leadership of someone or something, individual or collective.
On the false altar of “unity,” it’s not just differences that are sacrificed; the survival of all of the small worlds of tyrannies and injustices that we suffer are also hidden.
In our history, the lesson is repeated time and time again. As the world turns, the place of the oppressed, the despised, the exploited, the dispossessed is for us.
That which we call the “4 wheels of capitalism:” exploitation, plundering, repression, and scorn, have been repeated throughout our history, with different names above, but we are always the same below.
But the current system has reached a state of extreme insanity. Its pillaging ambitions, its absolute disdain for life, its delight for death and destruction, its determination to install apartheid for all of those who are different, that is, all of those below, is bringing humanity to its disappearance as a life form on the planet.
We can, as someone could suggest, wait patiently for those from above to destroy themselves, without noticing that their unhealthy pride has led to the destruction of everything.
In their ambition to be more and more above, they dynamite the floors below, the foundation. The building, the world, will end up collapsing and there will be no one to blame.
We think that yes, that something is wrong, very wrong. But that if, in order to save humanity and the battered house that it lives in, someone has to go, it must be, it has to be those above.
And we don’t mean banishing the people above. We’re talking about destroying the social relations that make it possible that someone can be above at the cost of someone who is below.
The Zapatistas know that this great line that we have traced across the geography of the world is not at all conventional. All this about “above” and “below” bothers, causes discomfort, and irritates. Yes, this is not the only thing that irritates, we know, but now we’re not referring to this discomfort.
We could be wrong. Surely we are. Soon the thought police and commissioners will appear to judge us, condemn us, and execute us… hopefully it’s only in their flamboyant texts and they don’t hide their job as executioners behind their job as judges.
But that is how the Zapatistas see the world and its ways:
There is sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, or however it’s called, but it’s one thing to be a woman above and quite another to be one below.
Yes, there’s homophobia, but it’s one thing to be a homosexual above and quite another to be one below.
Yes, there’s disdain to those who are different, but it’s one thing to be different above and quite another to be different below.
There’s a Left as an alternative to the Right, but it’s another thing to be Left above and quite another (and opposite, we would add) to be Left below.
Put your identities in this parameter that we note and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
The most deceiving identity, fashionable every time the modern State enters into another crisis, is that of “citizenship.”
The “citizen” of above and the “citizen” of below don’t have anything in common and yes everything opposite and contradictory.
Differences are persecuted, cornered, ignored, disdained, repressed, plundered, and exploited, yes.
But we see a bigger difference that cuts across those differences: above and below, those who have and those who don’t have.
And we see that that great difference has something substantial: above is above on top of that which is below; that which possesses because it plunders the have-nots.
Always, according to us, this about above and below determines our looks, our words, our ears, our steps, our pains, and our struggles.
Perhaps there will be another opportunity to explain more about our thinking on this. But now we’ll only say that looks, words, ears, and steps from above tend towards the conservation of that division. Clearly that doesn’t imply immobility. The conservatism appears to be very far from a system that discovers more and better forms of imposing the 4 wounds that the world below suffers from. But these “modernizations” or “progresses” don’t have any other goal than keeping those who are above in the only way that is possible, that is, on top of those below.
The look, the word, the hatred, and the steps from below, according to us, are determined by questioning: “Why is it so? Why them? Why us?”
In order to impose answers to those questions upon us, or in order to keep us from asking them, gigantic cathedrals to ideas have been constructed, some more elaborate and some less, more often than not so grotesque that one doesn’t only admire that someone has built them and that someone created them, but also universities and centers of studies and analysis that are based in them have been constructed.
But a party-pooper always appears and ruins the successive celebrations of the culmination of history.
And that malora (troublemaker) responds to those questions with another: “Could there be another way?”
That question could perhaps be what detonates rebelliousness in its broadest sense. And it could because there’s a “no” that gave birth to it: it does not have to be that way.
Sorry if this confusing circumlocution has irritated you. Blame it on our way, or on our uses and customs.
What we mean, compañeras, compañeros, compañero/as, is that what convoked us in the Sixth was this rebellious, heretic, rude, irreverent, bothersome and uncomfortable “no.”
We’ve arrived here because our realities, our histories, our rebelliousness have brought us to that “it doesn’t have to be that way.”
That and, intuitive or elaborately, we’ve responded “yes” to the question, “Could there be another way?”
A response to the questions that one trips over after that “yes” is necessary.
How is that other way, that other world, that other society that we imagine, that we want, that we need?
What needs to be done?
With whom?
We have to search for the answers to those questions if we don’t have them. If we have them, we should tell each other about them.
With this new step, but in the same path as the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, as Zapatistas we will try to apply something of what we have learned in these 7 years and we will make changes in the rhythm and speed of the step, yes, but also in the company.
You know, one of the many and biggest imperfections that we have as Zapatistas is memory. We remember who was when and where, what they said, what they did, what they silenced, what they undid, what they wrote, what they erased. We remember the calendars and the geographies.
Don’t misinterpret us. We don’t judge anyone, everyone constructs their excuse for what they do and undo however they can. The stubborn turns of history will tell if it was a wise move or an error.
As for us, we’ve seen, we’ve listened, we’ve learned from everyone.
We saw who only approached the Other Campaign for their own political gain, who hops from one mobilization to another, seduced by the masses, in that way alleviating their inability to generate something for themselves. One day they’re anti-elections, another day they wave their flags in the fashionable protest; one day they’re teachers, another students; one day they’re indigenists, the next day they ally themselves with estate owners and paramilitaries. They clamor for the avenging fire of the masses, and they disappear when the water cannons start to shoot.
We will no longer walk together with them.
We’ve seen who appears when there’s stages, dialogues, good press, attention, and disappears when it’s time to do work that isn’t sexy but necessary, as the majority of those here who listen to or read this letter know. During all this time, our gaze and our ears weren’t for those who were on the stage, but rather on those who built it, those who made the food, cleaned up, kept watch, drove, passed out flyers, se la rajaron (worked hard), as they say here. We also saw and listened to those who climbed over others.
We will no longer walk together with them.
We’ve seen who are the professionals of the assemblies, their techniques and tactics to ruin meetings so that only they, and whoever follows them, remain to approve their proposals. They hand out defeats wherever they show up directing moderated roundtables, sidelining the “preppies” and the “petit bourgeois” who don’t understand that the future of the global revolution is at stake on the agenda. Those who look down on any movement that doesn’t end in an assembly led by them.
We will not longer walk together with them.
We’ve seen who are those who present themselves as fighters for the freedom of [political] prisoners in events and campaigns, but who demanded that we abandon the prisoners of Atenco to continue the Other Campaign tour because they already had their strategy and their programmed events.
We will no longer walk together with them.
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 calls us, and the commitment to construct the necessary “yeses.”
Compañero/as, compañeros, compañeras:
On behalf of the EZLN we say:
1. – To the EZLN, there will no longer be a national Other Campaign and a Zezta Internazional. From now on we will walk together with those whom we invite and accept us as compas, on the Chiapas coast the same as in New Zealand.
So our activities’ territory is clearly delimited: the planet called “Earth,” located in the Solar System.
Now we will be that which we are: “La Sexta.”
2. – To the EZLN, being with La Sexta does not require affiliation, dues, registration on a list, an original and/or copy of an official identification, reporting, to be judge, or jury, or the accused, or the executioner. There are no flags. There are commitments and consequences for those commitments. The “no’s” convoke us, and the construction of the “yeses” moves us.
2. – Those who, with the resurgence of the EZLN, hope for a new season of stages and large mobilizations, and the masses looking for glimpses into the future, and the equivalent of the assaults on the summer palace, will be disappointed. It’s better that they leave now. Don’t waste your time, and don’t waste our time. The way of the Sexta is long strides, not for midget thinkers. For “historic” and “opportunistic” actions there are other spaces that you will surely find comfortable. We don’t just want to change the government; we want to change the world.
3. – We ratify that as the EZLN we will not ally ourselves with any electoral movement in Mexico. Our perception has been clear about that in the Sexta and there is no change. We understand that there are those who think that it is possible to transform things from above without turning into another one of those above. We hope that’s true and that consecutive disappointments don’t turn you into that against which you struggle.
4. – Our word that will propose organizational, political, and dissemination initiatives will be EXCLUSIVELY for those who we require and accept, and sent by the website’s email to the addresses we have. They will also appear on the Enlace Zapatista website, but you’ll only be able to access the complete content by means of a password that will be continually changed. We’ll get you that password somehow, but it will be easy to deduce for those who read with attention that which is visible and for those who have learned to decipher the feelings that become letters in our word.
Each individual, group, collective, organization, or however each person is called has the right and freedom to pass this information to whomever they think is advisable. All of the adherents to the Sexta will have the power to open the window of our word and of our reality to those who desire; the window, not the door.
5. – The EZLN asks for your patience as we make public the initiatives that, during 7 years, we’ve matured, and whose main goal will be that you are in direct contact with the Zapatista support bases as, in my humble opinion and long experience, is the best, that is: as a student.
6. – For now we’ll let you know that whoever can and wants to, that you are invited expressly by the Sexta-EZLN, to save up some dough, some cash, some money or however you call the currency in each part of the planet, to be able to travel to Zapatista territory on dates that will be announced. Later we’ll give you more details.
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 compañero/as 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.
P.S.- For example, the password to see this writing on the webpage is, as is evident, “marichiweu”, just like that, in lower case and beginning at the left.
Listen and watch the videos that accompany this text
“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.


Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army Mexico

Communique from the EZLN
January 2013
Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army
December 30 2012.
To the People of Mexico:
To the People and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:
In the early morning hours of December 21, 2012, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and took, peacefully and silently, five municipal seats in the southeast Mexican state of Chiapas.
In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristóbal de las Casas, we looked at you and at ourselves in silence.

Ours is not a message of resignation.

It is not one of war, death, or destruction.

Our message is one of struggle and resistance.
After the media coup d’etat that catapulted a poorly concealed and even more poorly costumed ignorance into the federal executive branch, we made ourselves present to let them know that if they had never left, neither had we.
Six years ago, a segment of the political and intellectual class went looking for someone to hold responsible for their defeat. At that time we were, in cities and in communities, struggling for justice for an Atenco that was not yet fashionable.
In that yesterday, they slandered us first and wanted to silence us later.
Dishonest and incapable of seeing that it was within themselves that there was and still is the seed of their own destruction, they tried to make us disappear with lies and complicit silence.
Six years later, two things are clear:
- They don’t need us in order to fail.

- We don’t need them in order to survive.
We, who never went away, despite what media across the spectrum have been determined to make you believe, resurge as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be.
In these years, we have significantly strengthened and improved our living conditions. Our standard of living is higher than those of the indigenous communities that support the governments in office, who receive handouts that are squandered on alcohol and useless items.
Our homes have improved without damaging nature by imposing on it roads alien to it.
In our communities, the earth that was used to fatten the cattle of ranchers and landlords is now used to produce the maize, beans, and the vegetables that brighten our tables.
Our work has the double satisfaction of providing us with what we need to live honorably and contributing to the collective growth of our communities.
Our sons and daughters go to a school that teaches them their own history, that of their country and that of the world, as well as the sciences and techniques necessary for them to grow without ceasing to be indigenous.
Indigenous Zapatista women are not sold as commodities.
The indigenous members of the PRI attend our hospitals, clinics, and laboratories because in those of the government, there is no medicine, nor medical devices, nor doctors, nor qualified personnel.
Our culture flourishes, not isolated, but enriched through contact with the cultures of other peoples of Mexico and of the world.
We govern and govern ourselves, always looking first for agreement before confrontation.
We have achieved all of this without the government, the political class, and the media that accompanies them, while simultaneously resisting their attacks of all kinds.
We have shown, once again, that we are who we are.
With our silence, we have made ourselves present.
Now with our word, we announce that:
First – We will reaffirm and consolidate our participation in the National Indigenous Congress, the space of encounter with the original peoples of our country.
Second – We will reinitiate contact with our compañeros and compañeras adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in Mexico and the world.
Third – We will try to construct the necessary bridges toward the social movements that have arisen and will arise, not to direct or supplant them, but to learn from them, from their history, from their paths and destinies.
For this we have consolidated the support of individuals and groups in different parts of Mexico, formed as support teams for the Sixth and International Commissions of the EZLN, to become avenues of communication between the Zapatista bases of support and the individuals, groups, and collectives that are adherents to the Sixth Declaration, in Mexico and in the World, who still maintain their conviction and commitment to the construction of a non-institutional left alternative.
Fourth – We will continue to maintain our critical distance with respect to the entirety of the Mexican political class which has thrived at the expense of the needs and desires of humble and simple people.
Fifth – With respect to the bad governments – federal, state, and municipal, executive, legislative, and judicial, and the media that accompanies them, we say the following:
The bad governments which belong to the entirety of the political spectrum without a single exception have done everything possible to destroy us, to buy us off, to make us surrender. PRI, PAN, PRD, PVEM, PT, CC and the future political party RN have attacked us militarily, politically, socially, and ideologically.[i] The mainstream media tried to disappear us first with opportunist and servile lies followed by a complicit and deceptive silence. Those they served, those on whose money they nursed are no longer around and those who have succeeded them will not last any longer than their predecessors.
As was made evident on December 21, 2012, all of them failed. So, it’s up to the federal, executive, legislative and judicial governments to decide if they are going to continue the politics of counterinsurgency that have only resulted in a flimsy simulation clumsily built through the media, or if they are going to recognize and fulfill their commitments by elevating Indigenous Rights and Culture to the level of the Constitution as established in the “San Andrés Accords” signed by the Federal Government in 1996, which was at the time led by the very same political party that today occupies the executive office.
It will be up to the state government to decide if it will continue the dishonest and despicable strategy of its predecessor, that in addition to corruption and lies, used the money of the people of Chiapas to enrich itself and its accomplices and dedicated itself to the shameless buying off of the voices and pens of the communications media, sinking the people of Chiapas into poverty while using police and paramilitaries to try to brake the organizational advance of the Zapatista communities; or, if instead, with truth and justice, it will accept and respect our existence and come around to the idea that a new form of social life is blooming in Zapatista territory, Chiapas, Mexico. This is a flowering that attracts the attention of honest people all over the planet.
It will be up to the municipal governments if they decide to keep swallowing the tall tales with which anti-zapatista or supposedly “zapatista” organizations extort them in order to attack and harass our communities; or if instead they use that money to improve the living conditions of those they govern.
It will be up to the people of Mexico who organize in electoral struggles and resist, to decide if they will continue to see us as enemies or rivals upon which to take out their frustration over the frauds and aggressions that, in the end, affect all of us, and if in their struggle for power they continue to ally themselves with our persecutors; or if they finally recognize in us another form of doing politics.
Sixth – In the next few days, the EZLN, through its Sixth and International Commissions, will announce a series of initiatives, civil and peaceful, to continue walking together with other original peoples of Mexico and of the continent, and together with those in Mexico and the world who struggle and resist below and to the left.
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:
Before we had the good fortune of the honest and noble attention of various communications media. We expressed our appreciation then. But this has been completely erased by their later attitude.
Those who wagered that we only existed in the communications media and that, with the siege of lies and silence they created we would disappear, were mistaken.
When there were no cameras, microphones, pens, ears, or gazes, we continued to exist.
When they slandered us, we continued to exist.
When they silenced us, we continued to exist.
And here we are, existing.
Our path, as has been demonstrated, does not depend on media impact, but rather on comprehending the world and all of its parts, on indigenous wisdom that guides our steps, on the unswerving decision that is the dignity of below and to the left.
From now on, our word will be selective in its destination and, except on limited occasions, will only be able to be understood by those who have walked with us and who continue to walk without surrendering to current or media trends.
Here, not without many mistakes and many difficulties, another form of doing politics is already a reality.
Few, very few, will have the privilege of knowing it and learning from it directly.
19 years ago we surprised them taking with fire and blood their cities. Now we have done it once again, without arms, without death, without destruction.
In this way we have distinguished ourselves from those who, during their governments, distributed and continue to distribute death among those they govern.
We are those, the same, of 500 years ago, of 44 years ago, of 30 years ago, of 20 years ago, of just a few days ago.
We are the Zapatistas, the very smallest, those that live, struggle, and die in the last corner of the country, those that do not give up, do not sell out, those that do not surrender.
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:
We are the Zapatistas, receive our embrace.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico. December of 2012 – January of 2013.
[i] PRI (the party of the 70 year dictatorship and home of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari); PAN (the right-wing party of recent president Felipe Calderón which oversaw the total devastation and the deaths of tens of thousands of Mexicans due to its “war on drugs” during the last twelve years); PRD (the institutional “left” party which joined the PAN and the PRI in blocking constitutional reforms on Indigenous Rights and Culture and which until recently was the party of Andrés Manuel López Obrador); the PVEM (Partido Verde Ecologista de México), PT (Partido del Trabajo), CC (Convergencia Ciudadana) and RN (Regeneración Nacional, the political party that is now being built by Andrés Manuel López Obrador after his friendly exit from the PRD).