They also announce the characteristics of those who will (and won’t) accompany its new initiatives
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) ended “a phase on the path” of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and announced the start of its next political steps, which include upcoming meetings (encuentros) in its territory and the explicit selection of those who will accompany future initiatives, that will have as its main objective: “to be in direct contact with the Zapatista support bases in the way that, in my long and humble experience, is the best: as students,” said Subcomandante Marcos.
In this next phase, say the rebels from Chiapas, “we will endeavor to apply some of what we learned in the last seven years, and, yes, we will make changes in the pace and speed, but also in those who accompany us.” And they warn that one of their “major flaws” is “we remember when and who was where, what they said, what they did, what they kept quiet, what they messed up, what they broke, what they wrote, what they erased. We recall calendars and geographies.”
The EZLN’s General Command had not been visible for over a year, until December 21, when over 40,000 support bases reappeared peacefully and silently, taking five Chiapas municipalities, in an action that was seen as the return of Zapatistas to the national and international scene of political organization. Since then, they have released 12 documents, including letters, cartoons, postscripts and communiqués, plus videos and songs that they have disseminated to accompany the reading.
“Now we want to explain and communicate with you some changes we will make in our walk. If you agree with us and walk with us, we will return, but in a different form, to the long recount of pains and hopes, formerly called the Other Campaign in Mexico and the Zezta Internazional worldwide; and which now will be simply “The Sixth”, Marcos said in a letter sent, in his capacity as spokesperson and Zapatista commander, to the National Network Against Repression and for Solidarity.
For the initiative now only named The Sixth (La Sexta), the EZLN explains that joining doesn’t require a “membership fee, registration list, original and/or copy of an official ID, accountability, being in the place of the judge, or the jury, or the defendant, or the executioner. There are no flags. There are commitments and the consequences of those commitments.”
He warns that “those who expect with the resurgence of the EZLN another season of stages and large concentrations, and masses peering into the future, and the equivalent of the assault on the Winter Palace, will be disappointed. You had better go at once. Do not waste your time, and do not waste our time. The gait of the Sixth is long, not appropriate for small minded people. For ‘historical’ and ‘circumstantial’ actions, there are other spaces they will surely feel comfortable. We not only want to change the government, we want to change the world.”
The Zapatistas ratify the political stance in which they have remained during their more than 19 years of public life, saying that there will be no electoral alliances with any movement in Mexico. “We understand that there are some who believe that it is possible to transform things from above without becoming one more of those above. Hopefully consecutive disappointments won’t transform them into what they are fighting against,” he said in a statement released on January 26.
In the document, which appeared on Enlace Zapatista, the EZLN official website, they explain that from now on their word about organizational, political and media initiatives, “will be exclusive to those we need and have accepted, and sent by mail from the website to the email addresses we have.”
The EZLN asks for patience while they reveal their initiatives, which have developed over seven years (since they released the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, in June 2005), and which will have as their “main objective to be in direct contact with the Zapatista support bases, in the way which my humble opinion and long experience tells me is the best: as students”. And upcoming meetings on their territory should be anticipated, on dates still to be confirmed.
After thanking the National Network against Repression and for Solidarity for their support and assistance, the Zapatistas referred to Kuykendal, a member of the Other Campaign, wounded by police during demonstrations protesting against the inauguration of the president Enrique Peña Nieto. It is important, they suggested, to have a campaign which includes “raising funds to support the compa Kuy with his medical costs, and his subsequent recovery, which the Zapatistas hope will be soon.” And, in this sentiment, they have sent “a small amount of cash”, to add “to the collection for our compaňero in this struggle.”
In the first definitions that limit those who will accompany their upcoming initiatives, the EZLN explains that it will no longer walk with those who have taken political advantage from the Other Campaign for their own good; nor with those that one day are anti-election, and another day display the flags of the latest movement in fashion; nor with those who appear when there are stages, dialogues, good press, attention, but disappear when is the time to do the jobs that don’t stand out but are necessary; nor with the professionals of assemblies; with those who presented themselves as fighters for the freedom of prisoners at events and campaigns, “but demanded that we abandon the prisoners of Atenco and continue the journey of the Other Campaign because they already had their strategy and events scheduled,” among others.
The Sixth, indicates Marcos, does not intend to “unite under one leadership, whether Zapatista or any other affiliation.” Nor is it looking to co-opt, recruit, impersonate, pretend, simulate, cheat, direct, subordinate or use.
The EZLN concludes, “It is going to cost us a lot. Our pain will be no less in opening ourselves to the pain in the world. The path will be more tortuous. We will struggle; resist; fight. Maybe we will die. But one, ten, a hundred, a thousand times, we will always win, always.”
Translated by Nélida Montes de Oca