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(en) Mexico, Zapatista, Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona - Part 2 - How We See the World

Date Mon, 04 Jul 2005 13:50:57 +0300

Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
III - How We See the World
Now we are going to explain to you how we, the zapatistas, see what is going on
in the world. We see that capitalism is the strongest right now. Capitalism is
a social system, a way in which a society goes about organizing things and
people, and who has and who has not, and who gives orders and who obeys. In
capitalism, there are some people who have money, or capital, and factories and
stores and fields and many things, and there are others who have nothing but
their strength and knowledge in order to work. In capitalism, those who have
money and things give the orders, and those who only have their ability to work obey.

Then 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. So capitalism is based on
the exploitation of the workers, which means they exploit the workers and take
out all the profits they can. This is done unjustly, because they do not pay
the worker what his work is worth. Instead they give him a salary that barely
allows him to eat a little and to rest for a bit, and the next day he goes back
to work in exploitation, whether in the countryside or in the city.

And capitalism also makes its wealth from plunder, or theft, because they take
what they want from others, land, for example, and natural resources. So
capitalism is a system where the robbers are free and they are admired and used
as examples.

And, in addition to exploiting and plundering, capitalism represses because it
imprisons and kills those who rebel against injustice.

Capitalism is most interested in merchandise, because when it is bought or sold,
profits are made. And then capitalism turns everything into merchandise, it
makes merchandise of people, of nature, of culture, of history, of conscience.
According to capitalism, everything must be able to be bought and sold. And it
hides everything behind the merchandise, so we don’t see the exploitation that
exists. And then the merchandise is bought and sold in a market. And the
market, in addition to being used for buying and selling, is also used to hide
the exploitation of the workers. In the market, for example, we see coffee in
its little package or its pretty little jar, but we do not see the campesino
who suffered in order to harvest the coffee, and we do not see the coyote who
paid him so cheaply for his work, and we do not see the workers in the large
company working their hearts out to package the coffee. Or we see an appliance
for listening to music like cumbias, rancheras or corridos, or whatever, and we
see that it is very good because it has a good sound, but we do not see the
worker in the maquiladora who struggled for many hours, putting the cables and
the parts of the appliance together, and they barely paid her a pittance of
money, and she lives far away from work and spends a lot on the trip, and, in
addition, she runs the risk of being kidnapped, raped and killed as happens in
Ciudad Juárez in Mexico.

So we see merchandise in the market, but we do not see the exploitation with
which it was made. And then capitalism needs many markets…or a very large
market, a world market.

And so the capitalism of today is not the same as before, when the rich were
content with exploiting the workers in their own countries, but now they are on
a path which is called Neoliberal Globalization. This globalization means that
they no longer control the workers in one or several countries, but the
capitalists are trying to dominate everything all over the world. And the
world, or Planet Earth, is also called the “globe”, and that is why they say
“globalization,” or the entire world.

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. So neoliberalism is like the theory, the plan,
of capitalist globalization. And neoliberalism has its economic, political,
military and cultural plans. All of those plans have to do with dominating
everyone, and they repress or separate anyone who doesn’t obey so that his
rebellious ideas aren’t passed on to others.

Then, in neoliberal globalization, the great capitalists who live in the
countries which are powerful, like the United States, want the entire world to
be made into a big business where merchandise is produced like a great market.
A world market for buying and selling the entire world and for hiding all the
exploitation from the world. Then the global capitalists insert themselves
everywhere, in all the countries, in order to do their big business, their
great exploitation. Then they respect nothing, and they meddle wherever they
wish. As if they were conquering other countries. That is why we zapatistas say
that neoliberal globalization is a war of conquest of the entire world, a world
war, a war being waged by capitalism for global domination. Sometimes that
conquest is by armies who invade a country and conquer it by force. But
sometimes it is with the economy, in other words, the big capitalists put their
money into another country or they lend it money, but on the condition that
they obey what they tell them to do. And they also insert their ideas, with the
capitalist culture which is the culture of merchandise, of profits, of the

Then the one which wages the conquest, capitalism, does as it wants, it destroys
and changes what it does not like and eliminates what gets in its way. For
example, those who do not produce nor buy nor sell modern merchandise get in
their way, or those who rebel against that order. And they despise those who
are of no use to them. That is why the indigenous get in the way of neoliberal
capitalism, and that is why they despise them and want to eliminate them. And
neoliberal capitalism also gets rid of the laws which do not allow them to
exploit and to have a lot of profit. They demand that everything can be bought
and sold, and, since capitalism has all the money, it buys everything.
Capitalism destroys the countries it conquers with neoliberal globalization,
but it also wants to adapt everything, to make it over again, but in its own
way, a way which benefits capitalism and which doesn’t allow anything to get in
its way. Then neoliberal globalization, capitalism, destroys what exists in
these countries, it destroys their culture, their language, their economic
system, their political system, and it also destroys the ways in which those
who live in that country relate to each other. So everything that makes a
country a country is left destroyed.

Then neoliberal globalization wants to destroy the nations of the world so that
only one Nation or country remains, the country of money, of capital. And
capitalism wants everything to be as it wants, in its own way, and it doesn’t
like what is different, and it persecutes it and attacks it, or puts it off in
a corner and acts as if it doesn’t exist.

Then, in short, the capitalism of global neoliberalism is based on exploitation,
plunder, contempt and repression of those who refuse. The same as before, but
now globalized, worldwide.

But it is not so easy for neoliberal globalization, because the exploited of
each country become discontented, and they will not say well, too bad, instead
they rebel. And those who remain and who are in the way resist, and they don’t
allow themselves to be eliminated. And that is why we see, all over the world,
those who are being screwed over making resistances, not putting up with it, in
other words, they rebel, and not just in one country but wherever they abound.
And so, as there is a neoliberal globalization, there is a globalization of

And it is not just the workers of the countryside and of the city who appear in
this globalization of rebellion, but others also appear who are much persecuted
and despised for the same reason, for not letting themselves be dominated, like
women, young people, the indigenous, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexual
persons, migrants and many other groups who exist all over the world but who we
do not see until they shout ya basta of being despised, and they raise up, and
then we see them, we hear them, and we learn from them.

And then we see that all those groups of people are fighting against
neoliberalism, against the capitalist globalization plan, and they are
struggling for humanity.

And we are astonished when we see the stupidity of the neoliberals who want to
destroy all humanity with their wars and exploitations, but it also makes us
quite happy to see resistances and rebellions appearing everywhere, such as
ours, which is a bit small, but here we are. And we see this all over the
world, and now our heart learns that we are not alone.

1V - How We See Our Country Which is Mexico

Now we will talk to you about how we see what is going on in our Mexico. What we
see is our country being governed by neoliberals. So, as we already explained,
our leaders are destroying our nation, our Mexican Patria. And the work of
these bad leaders is not to look after the well-being of the people, instead
they are only concerned with the well-being of the capitalists. For example,
they make laws like the Free Trade Agreement, which end up leaving many
Mexicans destitute, like campesinos and small producers, because they are
“gobbled up” by the big agro-industrial companies. As well as workers and small
businesspeople, because they cannot compete with the large transnationals who
come in without anybody saying anything to them and even thanking them, and
they set their low salaries and their high prices. So some of the economic
foundations of our Mexico, which were the countryside and industry and national
commerce, are being quite destroyed, and just a bit of rubble - which they are
certainly going to sell off - remains.

And these are great disgraces for our Patria. Because food is no longer being
produced in our countryside, just what the big capitalists sell, and the good
lands are being stolen through trickery and with the help of the politicians.
What is happening in the countryside is the same as Porfirismo, but, instead of
hacendados, now there are a few foreign businesses which have well and truly
screwed the campesino. And, where before there were credits and price
protections, now there is just charity…and sometimes not even that.

As for the worker in the city, the factories close, and they are left without
work, or they open what are called maquiladoras, which are foreign and which
pay a pittance for many hours of work. And then the price of the goods the
people need doesn’t matter, whether they are expensive or cheap, since there is
no money. And if someone was working in a small or midsize business, now they
are not, because it was closed, and it was bought by a big transnational. And
if someone had a small business, it disappeared as well, or they went to work
clandestinely for big businesses which exploit them terribly, and which even
put boys and girls to work. And if the worker belonged to his union in order to
demand his legal rights, then no, now the same union tells him he will have to
put up with his salary being lowered or his hours or his benefits being taken
away, because, if not, the business will close and move to another country. And
then there is the “microchangarro,” which is the government’s economic program
for putting all the city’s workers on street corners selling gum or telephone
cards. In other words, absolute economic destruction in the cities as well.

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. Under
neoliberalism which is being imposed by the bad governments, the economy has
not improved. Quite the opposite, the countryside is in great need, and there
is no work in the cities. What is happening is that Mexico is being turned into
a place where people are working for the wealth of foreigners, mostly rich
gringos, a place you are just born into for a little while, and in another
little while you die. That is why we say that Mexico is dominated by the United

Now, it is not just that. Neoliberalism has also changed the Mexican political
class, the politicians, because they made them into something like employees in
a store, who have to do everything possible to sell everything and to sell it
very cheap. You have already seen that they changed the laws in order to remove
Article 27 from the Constitution so that ejidal and communal lands could be
sold. That was Salinas de Gortari, and he and his gangs said that it was for
the good of the countryside and the campesino, and that was how they would
prosper and live better. Has it been like that? The Mexican countryside is
worse than ever and the campesinos more screwed than under Porfirio Diaz. And
they also say they are going to privatize – sell to foreigners – the companies
held by the State to help the well-being of the people. Because the companies
don’t work well and they need to be modernized, and it would be better to sell
them. But, instead of improving, the social rights which were won in the
revolution of 1910 now make one sad…and courageous. And they also said that the
borders must be opened so all the foreign capital can enter, that way all the
Mexican businesses will be fixed, and things will be made better. But now we
see that there are not any national businesses, the foreigners gobbled them all
up, and the things that are sold are worse than the those that were made in

And now the Mexican politicians also want to sell PEMEX, the oil which belongs
to all Mexicans, and the only difference is that some say everything should be
sold and others that only a part of it should be sold. And they also want to
privatize social security, and electricity and water and the forests and
everything, until nothing of Mexico is left, and our country will be a
wasteland or a place of entertainment for rich people from all over the world,
and we Mexican men and women will be their servants, dependent on what they
offer, bad housing, without roots, without culture, without even a Patria.

So the neoliberals want to kill Mexico, our Mexican Patria. And the political
parties not only do not defend it, they are the first to put themselves at the
service of foreigners, especially those from the United States, and they are
the ones who are in charge of deceiving us, making us look the other way while
everything is sold, and they are left with the money. All the political parties
that exist right now, not just some of them. Think about whether anything has
been done well, and you will see that no, nothing but theft and scams. And look
how all the politicians always have their nice houses and their nice cars and
luxuries. And they still want us to thank them and to vote for them again. And
it is obvious, as they say, that they are without shame. And they are without
it because they do not, in fact, have a Patria, they only have bank accounts.

And we also see that drug trafficking and crime has been increasing a lot. And
sometimes we think that criminals are like they show them in the songs or
movies, and maybe some are like that, but not the real chiefs. The real chiefs
go around very well dressed, they study outside the country, they are elegant,
they do not go around in hiding, they eat in good restaurants and they appear
in the papers, very pretty and well dressed at their parties. They are, as they
say, “good people”, and some are even officials, deputies, senators,
secretaries of state, prosperous businessmen, police chiefs, generals.

Are we saying that politics serves no purpose? No, what we mean is that THAT
politics serves no purpose. And it is useless because it does not take the
people into account. It does not listen to them, it does not pay any attention
to them, it just approaches them when there are elections. And they do not even
want votes anymore, the polls are enough to say who wins. And then just
promises about what this one is going to do and what the other one is going to
do, then it’s bye, I’ll see you, but you don’t see them again, except when they
appear in the news when they’ve just stolen a lot of money and nothing is going
to be done to them because the law – which those same politicians made –
protects them.

Because that’s another problem, the Constitution is all warped and changed now.
It’s no longer the one that had the rights and liberties of working people. Now
there are the rights and liberties of the neoliberals so they can have their
huge profits. And the judges exist to serve those neoliberals, because they
always rule in favor of them, and those who are not rich get injustice, jails
and cemeteries.

Well, even with all this mess the neoliberals are making, there are Mexican men
and women who are organizing and making a resistance struggle.

And so we found out that there are indigenous, that their lands are far away
from us here in Chiapas, and they are making their autonomy and defending their
culture and caring for their land, forests and water.

And there are workers in the countryside, campesinos, who are organizing and
holding their marches and mobilizations in order to demand credits and aid for
the countryside.

And there are workers in the city who do not let their rights be taken away or
their jobs privatized. They protest and demonstrate so the little they have
isn’t taken away from them and so they don’t take away from the country what
is, in fact, its own, like electricity, oil, social security, education.

And there are students who don’t let education be privatized and who are
fighting for it to be free and popular and scientific, so they don’t charge, so
everyone can learn, and so they don’t teach stupid things in schools.

And there are women who do not let themselves be treated as an ornament or be
humiliated and despised just for being women, but who are organizing and
fighting for the respect they deserve as the women they are.

And there are young people who don’t accept their stultifying them with drugs or
persecuting them for their way of being, but who make themselves aware with
their music and their culture, their rebellion.

And there are homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals and many ways who do not put
up with being ridiculed, despised, mistreated and even killed for having
another way which is different, with being treated like they are abnormal or
criminals, but who make their own organizations in order to defend their right
to be different.

And there are priests and nuns and those they call laypeople who are not with
the rich and who are not resigned, but who are organizing to accompany the
struggles of the people.

And there are those who are called social activists, who are men and women who
have been fighting all their lives for exploited people, and they are the same
ones who participated in the great strikes and workers’ actions, in the great
citizens’ mobilizations, in the great campesino movements, and who suffer great
repression, and who, even though some are old now, continue on without
surrendering, and they go everywhere, looking for the struggle, seeking
justice, and making leftist organizations, non-governmental organizations,
human rights organizations, organizations in defense of political prisoners and
for the disappeared, leftist publications, organizations of teachers or
students, social struggle, and even political-military organizations, and they
are just not quiet and they know a lot because they have seen a lot and lived
and struggled.

And so we see in general that in our country, which is called Mexico, there are
many people who do not put up with things, who do not surrender, who do not
sell out. Who are dignified. And that makes us very pleased and happy, because
with all those people it’s not going to be so easy for the neoliberals to win,
and perhaps it will be possible to save our Patria from the great thefts and
destruction they are doing. And we think that perhaps our “we” will include all
those rebellions…

(To be continued…)

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

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

Mexico, in the sixth month of the year 2005.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

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