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News :: Globalization

Zapatistas Lift Red Alert

Update from Jen Lawhorne, Richmond IMCista in Mexico:

After putting the world on its toes, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced on July 11 that it was going to lift its red alert on indigenous Zapatista communities and later explained how the Zapatista movement would carry out its initiative of forging a new grassroots political left in Mexico.

“And so the EZLN has resisted 12 years of war, of military, political, ideological and economic attacks, of siege, of harassment, of persecution, and they have not vanquished us. We have not sold out nor surrendered, and we have made progress. More compañeros from many places have entered into the struggle so that, instead of making us weaker after so many years, we have become stronger,? reads the first part of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle.

The second section, issued a day later on June 30, is a strong indictment on capitalism and the Mexican government’s involvement in neoliberal politics. “…Capitalism means that there a few who have great wealth, but they did not win a prize, or find a treasure, or inherited from a parent. They obtained that wealth, rather, by exploiting the work of the many,? it says. “And neoliberalism is the idea that capitalism is free to dominate the entire world, and so tough, you have to resign yourself and conform and not make a fuss, in other words, not rebel.?

“And then what happens is that, with the people’s economy being totally screwed in the countryside as well as in the city, then many Mexican men and women have to leave their Patria, Mexican lands, and go to seek work in another country, the United States. And they do not treat them well there, instead they exploit them, persecute them and treat them with contempt and even kill them,? it continues.

The third part of the declaration puts forth a proposal to the Mexican people “to go about building, along with those people who, like us, are humble and simple, a national program of struggle, but a program which will be clearly of the left, or anti-capitalist, or anti-neoliberal, or for justice, democracy and liberty for the Mexican people.?

The EZLN hopes to bring together all different sectors of Mexican struggle to construct a new Mexican left free of corrupt party politics. They are making themselves open to different peoples’ movements’ suggestions and proposals by sending EZLN delegations to where they are invited. The EZLN also plans to hold an international encuentro in Chiapas during some time in December or January.

“We are inviting all indigenous workers, campesinos, teachers, students, housewives, neighbors, small businesspersons, small shop owners, micro-business persons, pensioners, handicapped persons, religious men and women, scientists, artists, intellectuals, young persons, women, old persons, homosexuals and lesbians, boys and girls- to participate, whether individually or collectively, directly with the Zapatistas in the national campaign for building another way of doing politics, for a program of national struggle of the left, and for a new Constitution,? the declaration says.

Julio Cèsar Ortega from the Center for Political Analysis and Social and Economic Investigations (CAPISE) in San Cristobal said, “The proposal offers us an exit to this difficult situation we are living in Mexico. Everything depends on the reaction of civil society.?


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