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(en) The Zapatistas, the Mexican left and the PRD by Marcos - The Other Campaign begins

Date Tue, 16 Aug 2005 14:30:44 +0300

The release of the 6th Declaration of the Selva Lacandona following
the Red Alert over the summer in Chiapas has indicated a major turn to
the left by the Zapatistas. Over the weekend of August 6th the Zapatistas
hosted a gathering of the left - here we present a transcript of the talk
Marcos gave at this and the texts of letters he has sent discussing the
PRD (Party of Revolutionary Democracy - part of the 2nd international).
Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Meeting with Political
Organizations of the Left August 6, 2005 Tzeltal Selva Region I want to
more or less explain to you about the format we're proposing: our proposal
is that first we're going to talk and to explain some questions about the Sexta,
about what we're proposing, and maybe there we'll be
able to respond to some doubts you sent us, like what
about López Obrador, like what happened with the CND,
all that, and then we'll have a bit of a rest, and we'll listen to your
words. Then there's two possibilities: those who want to speak in
front of everyone, and those who want to talk with the zapatista
leadership behind closed doors, with the understanding that the
closed door meetings aren't clandestine. Everything that's said we're
going to make public with all those people who are joining the Sexta,
but there are things that are better presented in brief, then the
organizations which come can agree to speak their word here and
have a meeting separately. Our work is serious, and we're going to
be here all day and all night resolving your questions.

Let me again repeat the welcome from the compañeros of the
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, the
compañeros and compañeras who are here, Comandantes and
Comandantas who are part of the Sexta Committee, in this case
they're compañeros from the Tzeltal Selva region, as in this case,
there are compañeros and compañeras who were volunteers for
the work of the Sexta, from the Border region which is the Tojolabal
region, from the region of Los Altos which is the Tzotzil region, the
Northern region which is the Chol region, and the Tzotz choj region,
which is the one you know as Altamirano. Some of them will be at
some meetings, and you'll see others at other ones. Their main work
is to present all of you, to inform the support bases as to what is
being expressed. My work is to act as a bridge between the
Comandancia and the Committee or the organizations, persons,
groups, who are going to be working with us in the Sixth

Today the meeting is with political organizations. A political
organization is one which lays claim to being a political organization,
as it says in the San Andrés Accords: indigenous is that which
lays claim to being indigenous, political organization is that which
lays claim to being a political organization. We know there are
compañeros who are planning to come on their own, they'll all be
well received, but at every meeting preference will be given to the
word, attention to the proposals being made, which in this case will
be political organizations. If, however, people come on their own,
they'll be welcome, but we ask them to respect the compañeros
whose turn it is, that's how the words will go. Now it's the turn of
the political organizations of the left, and we want to thank them for
having come. In the first place, because the relationship between the
EZLN and the political organizations of the left has been bad,
primarily because of our clumsiness and our inexperience starting in
January of 1994 in figuring out what the national scene was and the
work those organizations were doing in different places.

Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that it was basically our fault that
our relationship had been damaged, at no point have we questioned
the legitimacy you have gained in the social movements with the
people who have responded. The recognition and admiration you've
provoked in us, at this stage of the game, with the entire neoliberal
and capitalist offensive, people who define themselves as being leftist
to participate no matter what happens, especially when it's the
fashion to be centrist or moderate right. The majority of the
organizations of the left which are present here are engaged in
important work, they work with the base. You have our guarantee
that we recognize that work, not only are we not going to question it,
we're going to publicly recognize it when we're participating.

We know that you ran risks in coming here, because no matter how
much is said, the EZLN is still a different political-military
organization, and it is weighed down by different kinds of threats
&endash; what are they called?…"rule of law." We know, then,
that when you come here to be with us, or to establish a relationship
with us, you are running a risk. I believe all those organizations
which are present here are aware that we are going to be confronted
with a very intense campaign of disparagement, greater than the one
the UNAM Strike movement of 1999 received, and I'm sure that
there are many bets in many places that this is going to fail, and that
any attempt to make accords with the left is destined to failure by
definition. And, therefore, the EZLN's initiative of trying to have
relations with other organizations of the left is bound to fail.

We're willing to fail, like we failed before in our relationship with
that party &endash; I believe, I'm not quite sure, it's the
Revolutionary Democratic Party [PRD], with what was cardenismo a
long time ago and with certain sectors, let's say progressives,
intellectuals, civil society. Starting with these assumptions, we want
to make it clear, first, that the Sixth Declaration posits two levels of
relationship: direct participation, under equal circumstances with us
in the planning and carrying out of the Other Campaign. I don't
know what your thoughts are concerning the length of time, but
we're not thinking about an action like the March of the 1,111 or the
Consulta of '99, nor the March for Indigenous Dignity: we are
thinking about political work of a decade &endash; ten years - to
refute the 6 year administration plan &endash; if it's less, we'll give it
our all. In this regard, even though it's being presented in the face of
the 2006 election, what the EZLN is proposing in the Other
Campaign goes beyond that, not just in its political positions, but
also in its calendar, despite the fact that the EZLN comes and goes
during the elections, and it will continue the work independently of
what is going on in the electoral process.

The invitation we are extending to those who are joining in with the
Sixth is for them to participate with us under equal circumstances, in
the framework of the preparation meetings, which is what this is
right now. We decided, we're the hosts, we have the order of the day.
Our thinking is that after these meetings are over, it won't be like
this anymore, but in accord with the political and social
organizations, NGOs and with all those people who are going to be
coming, a kind of agreement will be reached, and then we'll be there
sometimes in order to clarify things, as the work is being agreed to.
The other level of relationship with the EZLN is that of proposing
bilateral relations, they could be separate from participation in the
Other Campaign. The political organizations of the left would be
interested in organization to organization relationships with the
EZLN. This could be done through common accord. It doesn't
involve having to be in just one. I would ask you, please, to
announce in your organizations that you can be in both, in just one
or in neither. I would like to repeat that we thank you very much for
having passed through the communities in order to come here or
where you're going to pass through, with the hope that things turn
out well.

During this first meeting, we're going to give preference to those
organizations which have said they support the Sexta. We know
there are organizations which have come to express other problems,
but the meeting that was convened is clear. We don't refuse to speak
with others, but first we'll do so with those who are supporting the
Sexta, then, if there's the time and the means, those who wish to
propose something else can do so, and we're going to listen to them.

I am telling you clearly that we are going to listen with respect, but
any argument regarding supporting López Obrador's candidacy or
the PRD is doomed to failure with us. If anyone has the patience and
the guts to hear arguments in favor of that, we won't object, not us.

There have been 12 years of seeing what a party has done. If anyone
has any doubts as to what López Obrador is proposing, I have here
the summary of the interview he gave the NY Times, and the
Financial Times, along with the 50 commitments, along with his
history as head of the government of DF and along with the history
of the PRD. If anyone says there are bases inside the PRD which
should be rescued, rescue them. Not us.

If you want to debate the possibility of the PRD and the left, we can
bring the compañeros who were shot by paramilitaries in
Zinacantán, all the committees who turned their backs when the
indigenous law was voted on, the compañeros from these villages
who have been attacked by the PRD ORCAO, the compañero who
was kidnapped and tortured by the PRD CIOAC, and all those who
have been systematically attacked by that party which says it's leftist.

We're not going there.

If someone wants to tell us something about this, then we'll listen to
it and all that, but we're going above the PRI, against the PAN and
against the PRD. No one should have any room for doubt, but if any
of you think you can get a deputy seat in exchange for raising a
leftist movement or has the futile hope that a large movement will
move López Obrador to the left, agreed, we just ask that you be
honest with us and with the people. If you're going to plan that, tell
us and tell the people "our plan is this: we don't believe in López
Obrador, but if we create a big fuss, he might give us a deputy seat."
Agreed, it's a strategy, it can work or not, but be honest with us.
Don't tell us "no, what you're saying is very good. And, below, what
are you going to give us." We're not going to be frightened of
anything, really, but yes, what we're not going to allow is for you to
be dishonest with us, because we are indeed being honest with you.
As of now, we are going to share everything: if a proposal from Fox
comes saying he wants to speak with us, you're going to know.

If Martha Sahagún wants the Other Campaign to support her, you
are going to know. If at the very hour we decide to go with a suitable
candidate, you're going to know. In this regard, anything that could
be kept secret, we're not going to keep secret &endash; we're going
to share with you, and we're going to say what our position is. You
might not be accustomed to that, but what the Sexta says is what it
says, there's nothing else hidden. There are many definitions still
remaining. I believe we're going to be on the same wavelength - that
a definition of the State is lacking, a definition of position in the face
of State power is lacking, of the nature of the organic composition of
capital, social classes, factions, the…. All of that is still undefined
for a simple reason &endash; it's not the place to define them. The
Sixth Declaration doesn't say it's for socialism, because in reality our
hidden agenda is that we want to reimpose feudalism. Any other
definitions which are left unresolved there &endash; in the Sixth
Declaration &endash; we think are going to be the product of two
processes: the development process of the Other Campaign which
means…and seeing what happens with the process of the
relationships between the EZLN and the organizations of the left.
We think that all those things which are unresolved in the Sixth
Declaration are going to be defined along with you.

You can believe us or not, but we have been honest ever since we
were born as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, in that it is
our conviction not only not to be the vanguard of a movement of
transformation in Mexico, but we also think that the movement of
transformation of Mexico is the result of the action of many political
forces of the left, among which we are a part. This action strongly
needs the participation of workers, campesinos, students, workers in
the city and the countryside. We see as legitimate any organization
of the left which aspires to build and to participate in the struggle of
all these sectors.

The EZLN doesn't do work with workers, nor with students, their
work is fundamentally with the indigenous. We are not going to fight
with you for the moral direction or legitimacy which the popular
worker campesino movement - or however you want to call it - has
gained. Nor are we going to fight with you for the leadership of those
movements. The Sexta is quite clear &endash; we want to join our
struggles with the struggles of the workers and campesinos, we don't
want to lead the struggle of the workers and campesinos. You have
the work you have, I'm not going to go into details here, you know,
and you have earned the legitimacy and the recognition of those
people. It doesn't matter if you don't appear in the media. The media
and quantitative logic that an organization is important according to
the number of persons it has doesn't go over well with us. We began
with 6.

When they say "don't talk with that organization, because it's very
small." If they're more than 6, it's worthwhile, it can grow. And, if
we're going with the quantitative, the PRI would be seated there
&endash; in any event, it's the one that has the most people. That's
what we're asking you, to help us. We're not asking you to follow us,
nor to do what we're going to tell you to do. You have your work
with workers, work with students, with neighbors, with campesinos,
with popular groups, non-governmental. We're asking you, then, to
be the bridge so the EZLN can listen to what the compañeros have
to say about those points. The Sixth Declaration is clear &endash;
when the EZLN comes out, it's not going to say that wealth was
formed because a little bee went and carried pollen to another.
Wealth has its origin in exploitation. We're not going to help you in
that &endash; we want to listen to any word which is in keeping with
an anti-capitalist movement against exploitation.

If the workers, campesinos, students and whatever are anarchists, it
doesn't matter, we want to talk with them. If they are Trotskyites, it
doesn't matter, we want to speak with them. Maoists, Stalinists,
whatever they are, as long as they have a project and a proposal
along the length of this great anti-capitalist band. We want to hear it,
one, and, two, we want to see if it's possible to join our struggle with
your struggle. That is what we want, and that's what we're going for.
The Other Campaign's proposal is not one of drawing lines, it's not
promoting armed struggle. It is going and asking the people what
they think, how they see things. We're not guided by polls. If the
polls say there's a large movement supporting López Obrador, it's
López Obrador's problem, and the problem of those people being

What we want to hear is what the people think about their problems,
how they're resolving them and, above all, for them to tell us of their
experiences of struggle. You know about them, because you're
working there. We aren't going to tell the compañeros of San
Salvador Atenco how to oppose an airport, how to organize a
resistance movement there. Nor are we going to teach the
compañeros and compañeras from the Retired Persons Frente
how to resist the offensive. We want to go and talk with you and to
have you tell us what your history was like and where you see the
path, and we might find points in common. And we're going to go
everywhere we're invited. I'm letting you know: we are going to
fulfill the Sixth Declaration even if we're alone and if no one wants to
work with us. We're going to put up a sign that says: "Hammock
cords cut, chickens plucked."

We would find it completely natural if we were to go to speak with
some campesinos in a region, and the brothers of one organization
or another were to say "come with us." What we aren't going to say
is come with the EZLN. We're not going to do that. The work of the
Other Campaign means not promoting the growth of one
organization, but we would find it natural that you would promote it.
Let us make it clear in that regard that the EZLN holds its line, it will
continue promoting the appearance of new social subjects, the
appearance of new organizations, of new forms of organization and
of new worlds. We're not going to offer the people an organizational
structure, but we'd find it natural, normal and necessary for disputes
over the campaign's political options to indeed be offered to the
people until they're persuaded and they enter into a new political
program. The Other Campaign is not positing a method for
transforming society &endash; you are indeed clear on that.

We are not going to promote people entering political organizations,
but neither that they not enter. It's not our problem. Our problem is
trying to unite our struggles. If the struggle of those from San
Salvador Atenco has a political leaning, it doesn't matter. What we
want is to join our struggle with yours, with the pensioners and
retired persons of the IMSS, with the students from UNAM, with
the cultural movements, for the struggle for human rights.

But the Other Campaign is quite clear &endash; we are not going to
promote nor propose, we're not even going to toy with the possibility
that perhaps, who knows, depending on what they give us, we would
support the candidate of any of the parties. We are not going to do
that. If someone here were to tell us I entered the Other Campaign,
but López Obrador must be supported, we're going to be honest,
and we're going to tell you that's how you see it, because we're
going all out. We're not going to bespatter them, without firing a
shot, compañeros, without campaign teams, without image
consultants, without paid television ads, and, alive or dead, free or
imprisoned, they're all going to pay for what they've done. We're
either going together to hold them accountable, or we're going
alone, but they're all a bunch of freeloaders, compañeros. They've
mocked us and many other people, and they're going to pay because
they're going to pay. It doesn't matter to us if they promise us
something or other. This is what we want to say, and everything is
welcome. We are honest, and we are asking you to be honest,
compañeros. We don't know what's going to happen here, the
movement might grow a great deal, it might not grow at all, we
might end up fighting…

The moment might come when the movement is going to have to
define itself at a certain point. We're prepared to discuss all of this,
but with these principles, that no one tells us "we're going to
participate in the Other Campaign," and, just when they go up on
the stage, says "compañeros, López Obrador has to be
supported." We're not going to strike out, but we're going to say
"Don't believe him."

We're going to tell him here it is, read La Jornada, but also the NY
Times. Then say what he's proposing, at least those who say he
wants to return to the populist past. He doesn't want to return to the
populist past, he's going to give us the knockout punch… In an
interview he gave to the NY Times, they asked him if he was known
for being authoritarian, and he said that social movements
demanded a strong hand…They know what happened there with
popular urban movement during his government, but even so, we
made a bet. Not only did we lose it, but they betrayed us. Not only
did they betray us: they mocked us, they didn't respect us. We're
prepared for them to kill us, to put us in jail, to disappear us, but not
for them to disrespect us. And that's what we're going to settle, and
not just that, if we keep on hoping he can do it, hoping the other
will, there's going to come a moment when there are no solutions,

The discussion you're having is serious. If we don't do anything, it's
not going to matter anymore if you're a Trotskyite, Maoist, there's
not going to be a program anymore. The other thing we want to tell
you is that we're going to respect the people in this process, like we
respect you. We still have to speak with the indigenous, with the
social movements, with NGOs, with collectives, with all of them,
and everything will come from the collective. And there's going to be
a whole series of suggestions and proposals which have to come out
of everything that results from these encuentros. Now not just with
the EZLN, but with the Other.

The EZLN has a position internationally which means, in the case of
Cuba, that we are with the people of Cuba. There's a lesson there,
and we're taking a position. If someone doesn't agree, there's no
problem. We can work in the Other Campaign if we're in agreement
in Mexico. If someone thinks that they have to adjust their ways for
neoliberalism, we don't think so. That if we lose this war, there
won't be another war to fight. The generation of the link which
follows is that of the penguin. Therefore, in that broad range of the
international, there can be differences in how Bolivia is
characterized, Ecuador, the resistance movement in Europe.
Whether China is communist, or it isn't. I don't know what everyone
believes. We don't have any reason to fight, otherwise this battle can
take three months. Because it's quite clear in Mexico, from the other
geometry and what we see in the administration, what it is we think.

I'm going to tell you a story which I hope might help to answer,
among others, the question asked by the compañeros En Lucha:
"What happened with the CND?" Because they ask, reasonably,
"Why are those who weren't convened by the CND now the ones
being convened, and those who were convened by the CND, aren't
being convened now?" We explain it like this &endash; with the
general idea that the transformation in Mexico is not the result of
one single force, but it requires alliances with our peoples. In 1994,
we analyzed, and we defined that force of cardenismo. Cardenismo
came out of that fraud of 1988, out of a large mass movement and
out of the moral authority that had been built around a person who
was Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano, the engineer, as we call

It was in 1994, as we are now in an election, we weren't for the
elections. We were for this movement, and two large positions were
defined around Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. There were more people
saying that yes, a transformation process could be brought into place
by what was cardenismo and Cárdenas with his candidacy. And
there were those who said no, and, at the time of choosing, we chose
yes, that it would be possible with cardenismo and the forces
gathered around him, we could be able to achieve a transformation
process that would include the demands of the 11 points along with
the demands of the Indian peoples. According to us, what happened
later was a process of accelerated decomposition of the political class
which reached the PRD at the moment it won the elections in DF.

That decomposition process was so large it reached the point where
personal commitment as a cardenista faction and as part of the PRD
of promoting the demands of the EZLN and of the Indian peoples,
were no longer worth crap. With a simple political calculation that
went: "It suits us better if the EZLN stays in the mountains of the
Mexican southeast than to have them here, fighting politically like
any other organization." Then they decided: "It doesn't suit us to
have them doing politics, if we recognize the San Andrés Accords,
the EZLN will be engaging in open political work, it's better they
stay there." That was clearly a political calculation made in secret
meetings. And at some point, I don't know how, Cárdenas decided
to support this proposal. For us, the breaking point with the political
class, not just with the PRD, was April of 2001, at the moment when
everyone agreed to vote on the Cocopa law, and, according to us
&endash; we could be wrong - they said "no, this is just the same
old crap." According to us, it wasn't crap yet, it was still in process.

Also according to us, the decomposition process of the political class
is so great that there is no longer anything to do there. Certainly
López Obrador doesn't steal, but there's more than a capacity to
show it exists, unless they're betting on López Obrador being a
dictator, then yes. We understand, then, that it's just useful, because
a popular movement is going to be generated around López
Obrador. We think not, but we can understand that some people
might make this calculation. If they want to go, go, we're not. To
those who say there are bases which should be rescued in the PRD,
like Mario Saucedo says, that they wear zapatista shirts…then keep
them well saved. If they're honest people, then they're going to
leave. We're not going to keep waiting, Zedillo, failed, Fox failed,
López Obrador, hell, failed, and then, who's next, the niño verde?

Many things are beginning to happen in this process on different
sides, social security.

This meeting is a symbolic place for us. This was a finca prior to
1994, this symbolic place. The finquera lived there (in the building),
the peons didn't enter it. The foreman was the one who gave orders.
The people living here are the ones who were the peons. They are
the ones who are now living on these lands. What the EZLN did
here was to run off the finqueros, and the land was divided up, in
collective work. I don't remember who said that the land belongs to
he who works it…We think that is going to be the process at the
national level, for campesinos as well as for workers.

And that's how it is, there will be many options. We're inviting you
to discuss it, but we're telling you clearly, if you tell us the same
thing as in 1994, that the PRD is an option of the left, there are other
platforms, and not with us. What we saw is that we did everything
we could, and we ran out of patience, for all the support which
reached the national and international level, what we think is that we
need to join together with other struggles. That is the spirit of the
Sexta. The other clear definition of the Sexta is that we think that an
alternative for transformation in Mexico is only going to come from
the left. It's not going to come from the center, nothing is going to
come out of the right, only from the left. That's why we're interested
in talking with you yourselves. Of course, we're going to have a lot of
time when they put us in jail. We have to listen to all your proposals,
your analyses and to learn.

The backbone of the Other Campaign is going to be the Indian
peoples. Next week we have a meeting with them, and we're going
to suggest to them that they be the headquarters for when the
zapatista delegation passes through when it does its work with the
compañeros and compañeras who join the Sexta. If the zapatista
delegation wants to visit UNAM, it will go to those political
organizations which it has a relationship with, which it has work
with. There won't be a committee formed like before.

We're going to go about talking with the organizations which
participate, but we won't have any problem with you being in front of
us. There are just things we don't have to put up with. The Sexta's
proposals are to ally itself with other unregistered political
organizations. It doesn't say they don't fight for power, nor that the
electoral struggle isn't part of their strategy. Since the Other
Campaign isn't engaging in elections, we don't want it to be used for
registering a candidate by those who are registered. The problem we
see is that, during the elections, they want to involve that problem of
supporting some of their candidates. The first meeting with you is to
open, you can decide not to support the Other Campaign. However,
you can have bilateral relations, because the position and attitude
you assume are going to depend on many things. Because if you
decide to involve another area of discussion in the campaign with the
ideological enemies of the same band, they're going screw up, and
the proposals are going to fail, and the people who approached are
going to move away.

We are proposing places of discussion, which, in the Other
Campaign, we are centering on making a national plan for listening
to the main points where struggles exist. We are not asking you to
abandon the work you have in front of you, but to help us speak with
them. That you share your proposal for social transformation with
us, and, as well as in these 2 proposals, we will build something else
- we don't know what it will be. In addition to the penguin, we are
also putting our lives into this process. We're not asking you to risk
your lives nor your organizational structures as organizations. We are
asking you to respect us and to be honest with us. If you want to
deceive the gringos and lie that we're neoliberals, and at just the
right time we'll turn around, say so, and we'll discuss it. Let's be
honest, not registered candidates, or NGOs with registered support,
or PRD…be honest…

The way we're thinking about the campaign in these organizational
tasks, we're asking who's going to come in. Some here are going to
say "yes, we're in," and others "we're not coming," deciding who's
coming, sending delegates to the meetings which follow so they can
have their delegates from their organization for the Sexta.

Once all the meetings are over, in mid-September we'll put out a
document, a pronouncement. That will no longer be from the
EZLN, not just from the EZLN, instead it will be signed by the
organizations, individuals and persons who are in agreement with it.

Our idea of the campaign is, first we're going to send a person to
measure how deep the river is - if they don't kill him, if they don't
disappear him, or take him prisoner - according to the agreement we
have with you and with other organizations.

We have to resolve that problem of what is going to happen to us.
That, in broad strokes, is what the Sexta proposes.

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN

Translated by irlandesa

[Please note: this is taken from a transcription of a verbal
presentation, not a written document, and it reads as such. Except
for punctuation, I have translated it literally &endash; irl]
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