(AA) ++ Europe and the Zapatistas

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Thu, 27 Jun 1996 05:40:06 +0200

the intergalactic meeting, 27/8/96
La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico

At the end of May over a thousand activists from almost every
European country, including East Europe, representing the widest
spectrum of oppositional revolutionary perspectives, dragged
themselves to Berlin, following the proposal of a small band of rebel
indian guerrillas in the mountains of Southern Mexico, in order to talk
about Neoliberalism and global resistance. Wait a minute... am I
dreaming? No. I was there, it happened and guess what.... it worked!=20

In January the Zapatista rebels of Chiapas made the proposal. The start of=
third year of their uprising, often named a post-modern revolution, should=
a new dimension entering into the traditional concept of international
with oppressed peoples in revolt. Drawing on the massive wave of support
that they have received from all over the world they proposed to turn the
tables. Instead of us in our fortified metropolis declaring our support for
struggle, we should try to think about how we can see their struggle as part=
our struggle and vice-versa we should think about the ways that what they=
fighting has similarity with what we are fighting. They proposed a meeting=
every continent in preparation for a great 'intergalactic meeting' in=
Chiapas in
August. For Europe they proposed Berlin with its symbolic value as the place
where the so-called end of history happened, the apparently final victory of
capitalism over forms of social and economic organisation.=20

What is Neoliberalism

I don't think too many of us were too sure about this as we packed our bags
to go, particularly there was scepticism about whether the situation in
Southern Mexico could be compared in the slightest with that in the European
metropolis. Neoliberalism is an economic term that seems difficult to=
We see it in action for example in the North American Free Trade Agreement
NAFTA whereby trade restrictions are loosened up allowing companies to
transfer their workforces to economically underdeveloped countries. The
workers in these countries get paid wages well below the subsistence level
and are dispossessed of their land by large scale land-owners working as
contractors to companies in the metropolis. Thus the two basic demands of
the Zapatist rebels: Land and Freedom. In the metropolis on the other hand
we see a dramatic rise in unemployment and the disintegration of social
structures into the opposing blocks, rich and poor, oppressors and
This we can see today in Europe. Rich countries like Germany import labour
force from poorer countries in Eastern Europe, not to mention from GB, pay
them considerably less than German workers, and employ them under
precarious conditions. Meanwhile conditions for native workers become ever
worse, unemployment rises, and the welfare state gets steadily dismantled.
This goes hand in hand with an increase in racism, fortress Europe tightens=
controls, and the construction or reinforcing of moral codes. In general we
can say that society becomes divided into a mynad of minority groups,
exposed to random oppression mechanisms applied according to the dictates
of traditional oppression structures, for instance the categories White,=
National, Immigrant, Man, Woman etc. etc.=20

Anyway, lets not get carried away here, what happened in Berlin? The event
opened with music, greetings from the Zapatistas and a podium discussion. It
was emphasised that this was not supposed to be some sort of intellectual
congress, rather a "meeting" in the true sense of the word, where people can
get to know each other, listen to music, and conduct their exchanges on a
personal level. After that there were a total of 47 Workshops discussing=
imaginable facet of analysis and resistance. These went on for a day and a
half, and on the final day the results of the workshops were presented=
the full assembly and various resolutions were passed. What seems to have
been thematised in practically every workshop was the question of
networking. It seems obvious that as Capital and Power achieves an
increasing level of globalisation the resistance should also be globalised.=
is of course in the spirit of the Zapatist proposal for the meetings.=20
It was decided not to send delegates to the meeting in Chiapas in August,
rather that whoever could organise to go would have just as authentic a=
to report from Europe as someone who had been delegated. People
organised in structures should however make attempts to lighten the=
burden for those of their members-who are going. It was also resolved that
the intergalactic meeting would still take place, despite the threatened
repression in Mexico, which a recent wave of arrests and the massing of the
army around the area occupied by the rebels would seem to indicate. This,
even if it means, as an absolute last resort, having it in the USA.=20
We didn't just write this flyer to inform people in England, of whom there
were painfully few, of what happened in Berlin but also to attempt to
encourage contact. Therefore, here are a couple of addresses of groups why
are working to build a networking structure for the translation and
dissemination of information from different European countries in their=
whether it concerns Chiapas solidarity or not. There are vague plans to hold=
European networking meeting in France in the near future. Contact:

21 ter rue voltaire
75011 Paris
Email SYLVBARB @ worldnet, fr
ART-B@WL BERLIN.comlink.de

L'Europe des luttes
c/o Schwarzmarkt
Kl.Schaferkamp 46a
20357 Hamburg =20
Fax: 40 4108122

One particular project should be mentioned before signing off. A French
group is co-ordinating a Europe-wide organised project to send a ship to
Chiapas. The idea is to mobilise as imaginatively and publicly as possible,=
break the silence with which the Zapatists are surrounded. They are also co-
ordinating a European magazine for the intergalactic meeting, written in
English and Spanish. The closing date for entries is 20th June. Get in touch
with them!!

147 Rue d'Etretat, 76000
Le Havre,
Tel/Fax 35 417029