The Walls Above, The Cracks Below (And To The Left)
The Storm On Our Path
For us, as Zapatista originary peoples, the storm—the war—has been going on for centuries. It arrived to our lands with the lies of the dominant civilization and religion. At that time, the sword and the cross bled our people dry.
Over time, the sword was modernized and the cross was dethroned by the religion of capital, but it continued to demand our blood as an offering to the new god: money.
We resisted, we always resist. Our rebellions were displaced by the dispute between various forces for Power. Those forces, always from above, demanded that we struggle and die to serve them. They demanded obedience and submission under the guise of liberating us. Like those who said and say they fight, they came and come to rule. There were supposed independences and false revolutions, those past and those to come.
Since then, those above have taken turns and continue to take turns in order to govern, badly, or aspire to do so. In past and present calendars, their proposal continues to be the same: that we offer our blood, while they lead or pretend to lead.
Before and now, they forget those of us who do not forget.
And always, yesterday and today, the woman is below, even in the collective that we were and are.
But as the calendars went by, they not only brought pain and death to our people. Upon expanding its dominion, Power created new brotherly and sisterly bonds in tragedy.
We saw then the worker and the peasant become one with our pain, lying under the four wheels of the mortal carriage of Capital.
As Power advanced in its path through time, those below grew increasingly more, broadening the base over which Power is and has Power. We saw that we were joined then by teachers, students, artisans, small business people, professionals, and the etceteras with different names but identical sorrows.
But that wasn’t enough. Power is an exclusive space, discriminatory and selective. Thus different kinds of difference were also openly persecuted. By color, race, creed, and sexual preference, they were expelled from the promised land and given hell as a permanent residence.
Next came young people, children, and elders. Power thus converted the calendars one holds into cause for persecution. Everyone below is guilty: for being a woman, for being a child, for being a young person, for being an adult, for being an elder, for being human.
But, upon expanding exploitation, displacement, repression, and discrimination, Power also expanded resistance… and rebellion.
We saw then and now the raised heads of many [muchas, muchos, muchoas]. All different, but similar in their rage and refusal.
Power knows that it is what it is only when wielded over those who work. It needs them.
It responded and responds to every rebellion by buying or fooling a few and imprisoning or murdering many. It is not afraid of their demands; it is their example that terrifies it.
Still it was not enough. Having dominated nations, the Power of Capital sought to put all of humanity under its heavy yoke.
Even that wasn’t enough. Capital now attempts to manage nature, to dominate, domesticate, and exploit her. That is, to destroy her.
The destructive advance of Capital, always through war, demolished the first fiefdoms and kingdoms. Upon their ruins it raised nations.
Later it devastated nations and upon their ruins erected a new global order: the market.
The entire world became a big warehouse for commodities. Everything can be bought and sold: water, wind, land, plants and animals, governments, knowledge, fun, desire, love, hate, people.
But it is not only commodities that are exchanged in the great market of Capital. “Economic freedom” is a mere illusion that simulates mutual agreement between those who buy and sell. In reality, the market is based on dispossession and exploitation. The exchange then is one of impunity. Justice is transformed into a grotesque caricature and upon its scale, money always weighs more than truth. The stability of this tragedy called Capitalism depends on repression and disrespect.
But that wasn’t enough either. It is not possible to dominate the world if one does not dominate ideas. Religious imposition was intensified and reached the arts and sciences. Philosophies and beliefs emerged and emerge like passing fashions. The sciences and the arts ceased to be something distinctively human and instead were placed on a shelf in the global supermarket.
Knowledge became private property, as did recreation and pleasure.
Capital thus consolidated itself as a giant shredder, using not only humanity in its entirety as raw material for commodity production, but also knowledge, art, and…nature.
The destruction of the planet, the millions of displaced, the rise in crime, unemployment, poverty, the weakness of governments and the wars to come are not products of the excesses of Capital, or of a mistaken detour of a system that promised order, progress, peace, and prosperity.
No, all of these tragedies are the essence of the system.
It feeds on them; it grows at their cost.
Destruction and death are the fuel for the great machine of Capital.
Attempts to “rationalize” or “humanize” its functioning were, are, and will be futile. Irrationality and inhumanity are its key parts. There is no possible repair. There wasn’t before, and there is no way now to mitigate its criminal path.
The only way to stop this machine is to destroy it.
In the current world war, the dispute is between the system and humanity. That is why the anticapitalist struggle is a struggle for humanity.
Those who still try to “repair” or “save” the system are really proposing to us a mass global suicide, like a posthumous sacrifice to Power.
In the system there is no solution.
Neither horror, condemnation, nor resignation are sufficient, nor is the hope that the worst has passed and things can only get better.
No. What is certain is that things will get worse.
For these reasons, in addition to what each of us can add from our particular calendars and geographies, we must resist, rebel, say “no,” struggle, organize.
That is why we must raise the wind from below with resistance and rebellion, with organization.
Only then will we be able to survive. Only then will it be possible to live.
And only then, as we said 25 years ago, will we be able to see that….
“When the storm calms, when the rain and fire leave the earth in peace once again, the world will no longer be the world, but something better.”
The War and the Walls Outside and Inside
Provoked by the greed of big money, the intention above is to make those suffering the current nightmare pay for it. Borders are no longer just lines drawn on maps and customs checkpoints, but walls of armies and police, of cement and brick, of laws and persecution. In the world above, the hunting of human beings increases and is celebrated with clandestine competitions: whoever expels, incarcerates, confines, and murders the most wins.
As we have been saying for more than 20 years, neoliberal globalization did not bring about a global village, but rather the fragmentation and dissolution of the so-called “Nation-States.” Then and now we called this process by the name that best describes it: “world war” (the fourth, according to us).
The only thing that was globalized was the market, and with it, war.
For those who operate the machines and bring the land to life, borders continue to exist and continue to be what they always have been: prisons.
Two decades ago, our assertion of this reality provoked mocking smiles from the international intelligentsia, tied to its old and expired dogmas.
Those same people today stutter in the face of a frantic reality, or they recommend old recipes, or they move on to a currently trendy idea that, through complex theoretical elaboration, hides the only truth at hand: they haven’t the slightest idea what is happening, nor what is coming, nor what brought on the current nightmare.
They lament this. The thinking from above had promised them a world without borders, and the result was instead a planet crammed with chauvinist trenches.
The world was not transformed into a gigantic metropolis without borders, but rather a great sea writhing in an unprecedented storm. In that sea, millions of displaced (who are grouped together by the media paintbrush as “migrants”) flail in small boats, waiting to be rescued by the gigantic ship of big Capital.
Not only will it not rescue them, but big Capital is the principal cause of the storm that threatens the existence of humanity in its entirety.
Under the awkward disguise of fascist nationalism, the most retrograde dark times return, claiming privileges and attentions. Tired of governing from the shadows, big Capital dismantles the lies of “citizenship” and “equality” before the law and the market.
The flag of “freedom, equality, and fraternity” with which capitalism adorned its conversion into the dominant world system is merely a dirty rag, tossed in the garbage bin of history from above.
Finally the system unmasks itself and shows its true face and vocation. “War Always, War Everywhere,” reads the name on the proud ship that navigates through a sea of blood and shit. It is money and not artificial intelligence that fights humanity in the decisive battle: that of survival.
No one is safe. Not the naive national capitalist who dreamed of the bonanza that was offered by open global markets, nor the conservative middle class surviving between the dream of being powerful and the reality of being the flock for the shepherd in turn.
Then there are the working classes of the city and countryside who increasingly find themselves in even more difficult conditions, if that were possible.
And, to round out the apocalyptic image, the millions of displaced and migrants piling up at the borders that have suddenly become as real as the walls that governments and criminals raise with every step.
In the global geography of the mass media and the social networks, the displaced, nomadic ghosts without name or face, are merely a statistic that identifies their location.
The calendar? Just one day after the promise of the end of history, of the solemn declaration of the supremacy of a system that was to have guaranteed wellbeing to those who worked for it, of victory over the “communist enemy” who sought to restrict freedom, impose dictatorships and create poverty, of the promised eternity that would annul all genealogies. The same calendar that announced just yesterday that world history was only getting started. And it turns out that no, it was all nothing more than a prelude to the most frightening nightmare.
Capitalism as a world system is collapsing, and the great captains, now desperate, can no longer figure out where to go. That’s why they are withdrawing into the lairs from which they came.
They offer the impossible: local salvation against global catastrophe. And this rubbish sells well among a middle class that is blurring into those from below in terms of its income, but which aspires to make up for its unmet economic needs with authentications of race, creed, color and sex. Salvation from above is Anglo-Saxon, white, religious, and masculine.
Now, those who lived on the crumbs that fell from the tables of big capital watch desperately as walls are erected against them, too. And the worst part is that they intend to head the opposition to this warlike policy. Here we see the intellectual right making contrary gestures and attempting timid and ridiculous protests. Because, no: globalization was not the triumph of freedom. It was and is the current age of tyranny and slavery.
Nations are not Nations anymore, although their respective governments might not have noticed it yet. Their flags and emblems are threadbare and discolored. Destroyed by globalization from above, sick with the parasite of Capital and with corruption as their only sign of identity, the national governments try with inept haste to protect themselves and attempt the impossible reconstruction of what they once were.
In the airtight compartments created by their walls and customs checkpoints, the system drugs the middle sectors of society with the opium of a reactionary, nostalgic nationalism, with xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia as a plan for salvation.
Borders multiply within every territory. Not just the ones that are drawn on maps; also, and above all, the ones that are erected by corruption and crime turned into government.
The postmodern bonanza was nothing but a balloon inflated by finance capital. And then reality came to pop it: millions of people displaced by the great war fill the land and waterways, they pile up in customs and begin making cracks in the walls already raised and the ones still to be built. Encouraged before by big Capital, fundamentalisms find fertile ground for their proposals for unification: “from terror will be born a single way of thinking: ours.” After being nourished with dollars, the beast that is terrorism threatens the house of its creator.
It’s the same thing in the United States as in Western Europe or neo-czarist Russian; the beast writhes and tries to protect itself. It extols then (and not only then) the crudest stupidity and ignorance, and, in its government figureheads, synthesizes its proposal: “Let’s go back to the past.”
But no, America will not be great again. Never again. Nor will the whole system in its entirety. It doesn’t matter what those above do. The system has already arrived at the point of no return.
Against Capital and its Walls: All the Cracks
The international offensive of Capital against racial and national differences, in promoting the construction of cultural and legal walls as well as those of cement and steel, seeks to shrink the planet even further. In this way they are trying to create a world where the only ones who fit are those above who are equal amongst themselves.
It may sound ridiculous, but this is how it is: to face the storm, the system is not looking for roofs to protect itself, but rather walls behind which to hide.
This new period of Capital’s war against Humanity must be faced, yes, with organized resistance and rebellion, but also with solidarity and support for those whose lives, freedoms, and goods are being attacked.
For this reason:
Whereas the system is incapable of stopping the destruction.
Whereas below and to the left there must be no room for conformity and resignation.
Whereas it is time to organize to struggle and to say “NO” to the nightmare they impose on us from above.
THE SIXTH COMMISSION OF THE EZLN AND THE ZAPATISTA BASES OF SUPPORT CONVOKE:
I.- A global campaign:
In the face of Capital’s walls: resistance, rebellion, solidarity, and support from below and to the left.
With the objective of calling for organization and global resistance in the face of the aggressiveness of big money and its respective overseers on the planet, which already terrorize millions of people all around the world:
We are calling for people to organize themselves in autonomy to resist and rebel against persecutions, detentions, and deportations. If someone has to go, let it be them, those above. Every human being has the right to a free and dignified existence in the place that they deem best, and has the right to fight to stay there. Resisting detentions, displacements, and expulsions is an obligation, just as it is an obligation to support those who are rebelling against those arbitrary actions REGARDLESS OF BORDERS.
It is necessary to let all those people know that they are not alone, that their pain and rage are seen even from a distance, that their resistance is not only welcomed, it is also supported, even with our limited possibilities.
It is necessary to get organized. It is necessary to resist. It is necessary to say “NO” to persecutions, expulsions, prisons, walls, borders. And it is necessary to say “NO” to the national bad governments that are and have been accomplices to that policy of terror, destruction and death. Solutions will not come from above, because that’s where the problems were born.
For this reason we are calling on the Sixth in its entirety to organize itself, according to its times, ways, and geographies, to support activities for and by those who are resisting and rebelling against expulsions. This may be by supporting their return to their homes, by creating “sanctuaries” or supporting the ones that already exist, through legal advice and support, with money, through the arts and sciences, through festivals and mobilizations, through commercial and media boycotts, in cyberspace, wherever and however possible. In all the spaces we move through it is our duty to support and be in solidarity with each other.
The time has come to create solidarity committees with the criminalized and persecuted of humanity. Today more than ever before, their house is also our house.
As the Zapatistas we are, our strength is small and, although our calendar is wide and deep, our geography is limited.
For this reason, and to support those who are resisting detentions and deportations, over the last several weeks the Sixth Commission of the EZLN has begun contacting individuals, groups, collectives and organizations around the world that are adherents to the Sixth, to figure out how to send them a small bit of assistance that may serve as a base to launch or continue all kinds of activities and actions of favor of the persecuted.
To start, we will send them works of art created by indigenous Zapatistas for last year’s CompArte, as well as organic coffee produced by the indigenous Zapatista communities in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. This is so that, through their sale, they can undertake artistic and cultural activities that will concretize support and solidarity with migrants and displaced people who, all over the world, are seeing their lives, freedoms, and goods threatened by xenophobic campaigns promoted by the world’s governments and the far-right.
That’s just for now. We will be thinking of new forms of support and solidarity. The Zapatista women, men, children and elders will not leave them on their own.
II.- We also invite all of the Sixth and anyone who is interested to the seminar of critical reflection, “THE WALLS OF CAPITAL, THE CRACKS OF THE LEFT,” to be celebrated April 12-15, 2017, at the CIDECI-UniTierra facilities in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Participants include:
Don Pablo González Casanova.
María de Jesús Patricio Martínez (CNI).
Paulina Fernández C.
Gilberto López y Rivas.
Luis Hernández Navarro.
Carlos Aguirre Rojas.
Sergio Rodríguez Lascano.
Christian Chávez (CNI).
Carlos González (CNI).
Sixth Commission of the EZLN.
We will provide more details soon.
III.- We convoke all artists for the second edition of “CompArte for Humanity” with the theme: “Against Capital and its Walls: All of the Arts” to be celebrated around the world and in cyberspace. The “real” part will take place between July 23-29, 2017, in the caracol of Oventik and at the CIDECI-UniTierra. The virtual edition will be August 1-12, 2017, on the web. We will provide more details soon.
IV.- We also ask that you be on the lookout for the activities to be convoked by the National Indigenous Congress as part of its process of formation of the Indigenous Council of Government.
V.- We convoke the scientists of the world to the second edition of “ConCiencias for Humanity” with the theme: “The Sciences Against the Wall,” to be celebrated December 26-30, 2017, at CIDECI-UniTierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and in cyberspace. We will provide more details soon.
That’s not all. It is necessary to resist, it is necessary to rebel, it is necessary to struggle, it is necessary to get organized.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.
Mexico, February 14 (the day of our dead), 2017.