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(en) Mexico, The Zapatistas and the Other: The Pedestrians of History Part V. The Hour of Definitions

Date Tue, 03 Oct 2006 06:58:14 +0200

In the collective heart that we are, the Zapatistas don't know exactly
how our word in the Sixth Declaration arrived to you all. What we do
know is that it was there, in your places, your histories, and your
struggles, where you all responded "yes" to the invitation to the
Sixth and what later became known among us as the Other
Campaign. It is in this heart that each one of us, sometimes as
individuals, sometimes as collectives, as indigenous peoples, as
political or social organizations, as NGOs, as collectives, as groups,
as individuals, where it was decided to take this step that is no longer
just Zapatista but rather many, the all that we are.

In this past year, since the plenary in the caracol of la Garrucha
(September 16, 2005) up until these agitated days, we have seen that
some go, some stay, that others near, that some work, that others
are just making trouble and creating obstacles in the path, that
some—the majority—have made this project theirs. These
fluctuations have not only provoked "noise" within the Other
Campaign; they have also made more widespread its face, its word,
its path.

As Zapatistas, we think that this year that has passed has functioned
well to get to know each other. And also to know who has come to
us only for purposes of political opportunism—sometimes in order
to try to capitalize on the supposed "media" impact of the EZLN,
sometimes to try to create hegemony in the Other Campaign,
sometimes to direct it toward a politic of alliances for their own
benefit, sometimes to see what it was about and later go somewhere
else to keep looking, sometimes to try to homogenize it according to
their own ideas.

We think that this has been due in part to our own mistakes (some
of which we have recognized and pointed out and others which you
all add), and in part because the Other Campaign carries with it a
good dose of indefinition.

What was a virtue at the beginning, because it helped to convoke a
wide spectrum of the best of the national anticapitalist movement,
now starts to become a detriment.

The basic definitions of the Other Campaign, while fundamental, are
too general, above all with regard to the organizational structure, the
politics of alliances, the place of differences, and with regard to who
is convoked and who is not.

In addition, according to what we have seen and heard in our
journey and in the different meetings and assemblies, it is necessary
to pronounce if the current characteristics are complete or not. As
one example, it has been pointed out more than a few times that the
Other should include "anti-patriarchal" as a basic characteristic.

Another serious and urgent problem is that we haven't defined how
we make decisions of the Other Campaign as a movement. Thus at
times the position of a person, group, or organization (including the
EZLN) is presented as if it were the position of the whole Other.

In the reflections that we have presented here, we have explained
that we had first conceived the Other Campaign as something that
would be necessary at a future point and, for that reason, we had a
bit of time to go about getting to know, accommodating, and
defining ourselves.

As we also already explained, we think that this moment of political
crisis above, where a leftist anticapitalist alternative is necessary, is
already here.

Although the profundity of the political crisis above is palpable, we
the Zapatistas know very well that, if there is no alternative below,
those above will end up fixing things and giving themselves another

We think that that hour of the Other, the hour of the nobody that we
are, has arrived.

That we should begin now our direct contact with all those from
below, our people, and begin to construct with them a national plan
of struggle.

Now it's not just knowing each other, spreading the word, and
linking all the resistances in our country together, but beginning to
organize ourselves according to this plan, its content, its objectives,
and the steps and ways to carry it out.

But we don't yet have our own face as the Other Campaign. We
think it is now time to do this all together. And it is now time for
those who do not feel identified with the majority thinking of the
Other to leave, and time for those who do recognize themselves in
this collective face that we build to stay, or to join.

We think, that is, that the hour of the definitions that were left
pending is upon us.

The definitions that we think are principal are grouped into the
so-called 6 points: the characteristics of the Other; who is convoked
and who is not; the organizational structure (including here the
mechanism or mode for the making of decisions); the place of
differences; the politics of alliances; and the immediate tasks ahead.

These issues we detected in the preparatory meetings, and in the
first plenary we proposed that they be be put to discussion and
decision of all the adherents. But there was no date set, nor was it
established how to take into consideration everyone's voice on these

And taking everyone into account is one of the things that
distinguishes us from other proposals, projects, or political

For more than year we have advanced a lot or a little in the
discussion of these 6 points. We think that we should now conclude
this phase and that everyone should take a position and that we
should assume a position as the Other Campaign.

That is, to respond—now as the Other—to the questions: Who
are we? Where are we? How do we see the world? How do we see
our country? What do we want to do? How are we going to do it?

For all the reasons we here state, and because of what we have seen,
heard, and said in this year, we propose:

1. That all of the adherents conclude now our analysis, discussion,
and definition, and that we take a position with respect to:

1) The fundamental characteristics of the Other Campaign (its
collective identity)

2) Its structure (how we relate to each other).

3) Its politics of alliances (who we support, with whom we unite).

4) The place of differences (where we are)

5) The common tasks for all adherents (in addition to those everyone
has in their own struggle).

2. That the conclusion of this analysis, discussion, and definition is
carried out in the place where each adhesion [to the Sixth] was
decided: as an indigenous people, political or social organization,
NGO, group, collective, family, individual. This is where each of us
resist and struggle. And it is there where each of us discusses and
decides what kind of Other is the best for what we propose to

3. That for this analysis and discussion, all those who so choose can
make known to every else their positions and arguments. For now
we don't have a common space other than the electronic pages of
the Sixth Commission as well as those of the organizations, groups,
and collectives. We think, though it may be little and limited, that we
should put at the service of this analysis and discussion all of the
means we have at our disposal. Via articles, alternative radio or TV
programs, "blogs," emails, round tables, meetings, conferences,
flyers, newspapers, assemblies, or however possible, the positions
individuals, families, groups, collectives, and organization on these
issues can be made known to the other adherents; for example,
regarding being anti-patriarchal (what that means, why the Other
should be it, and how). In sum, to generate an intense, though
always respectful, debate on everyone's ideas and proposals.

4. That this analysis, discussion, and debate internal to the Other be
carried out during the months of October and November of this year,

5. That the decision of each be manifested in a consulta
[referendum] of all the adherents, a universal internal consulta,
where the opinion of each and every one of the adherents will be
taken into account, regardless of where they are, what language they
speak, their age, their race, their sexual preference, their level of
education, whether they know how to speak in public or not, etc,; it
matters only that they are adherents of the Sixth Declaration. A vote,
then, of all adherents.

6. That this consulta be carried out December 4-10 of this year.

7. That the carrying out of this consulta be taken on by the distinct
organizational work units that exist or are created for this purpose.
That although someone cannot attend an assembly or meeting for
whatever reason, someone from the Other should go to the place
where they work, study, or live and ask and take note of their opinion
on each of the points, no matter if it is one or many people.

8. That the ways each and every one uses to express themselves and
make their opinion known be respected, whether that be a
pronunciation by individual, family, group, collective, organization,
or indigenous people.

9. That each organizational work unit decide the form and content
for the carrying out of the consulta and the environment in which it
will be held.

10. For those who so choose, the Sixth Commission of the EZLN
offers itself to receive and consider any opinion (even though it
doesn't coincide with ours or is contrary to what we maintain as
Zapatistas) in the internal consulta of the Other.

11. That, finishing the consulta, each organizational work unit make
publicly known, on the Enlace Zapatista webpage, the results they
obtained and from where. In that way we will all be able to analyze
the results and know what the majority has decided.

12. That, when we all know the final result, we will inform all the
adherents using the same means used to consult them.

13. That in this way, the Other will have clearly defined its
characteristics, its organizational structure, its politics of alliance, the
places of everyone, who is present and who isn't, as well as the
common tasks to be done, by the end of this year.

14. That in February 2007, another phase of the Other begins in
which we put into effect the National Program of Struggle, with the
direct participation of the delegates of the Sixth Commission of the
EZLN in the direct contact with our peoples, as well as in the
general tasks that are agreed upon, such as the struggle for liberty
and justice for the prisoners of Atenco, the liberation of all the
political prisoners in the country, the appearance of the disappeared
(alive), and the cancellation of all arrest warrants against social

15. That the adherents that are in agreement with this proposal
should let us know by diverse types of correspondence, through their
organization work units of the Other in all of Mexico, or by whatever
means they consider convenient.

This is our proposal, compañeras and compañeros of the Other

For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine
Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for
National Liberation

Sixth Commission of the EZLN

Comandanta Grabiela (delegate one)

Comandante Zebedeo (delegate two)

Comandanta Miriam (delegate three)

Compañera Gema (delegate four)

Comandanta Hortensia (delegate five)

Comandante David (delegate six)

Comandante Tacho (delegate seven)

Subcomandante I. Marcos (delegate zero)

Mexico, September 2006
Translation El Kilombo Intergalactico
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