(en) FZLN May Day Statement

Arm The Spirit (ats@locust.etext.org)
Wed, 14 May 1997 01:20:10 -0400 (EDT)

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FZLN May Day Statement

We, the Zapatista workers, declare on this May 1st:

The government says that the economy will recuperate, and that its electoral promise of "well-being for the family" will soon become a reality. They have been repeating this for at least 15 years, but the reality contradicts their words: the salaries in Mexico are some of the lowest in the world; more than 9 million workers are unemployed or underemployed; and each year 1.2 million young people enter the job market and don't find a job. This dramatic situation is the result of the merciless application of a policy of death named neo-liberalism, and its results are there for all to see: more than 40% of the Mexican population lives in conditions of poverty, and out of a total of 25 million workers, more than 3 million make less than the minimum wage, while close to 12 million make between one and two minimum wages, which doesn't even provide enough for them to eat. Faced with this picture of hunger and misery in which the majority of Mexicans find themselves, a small group of large entrepreneurs, with the support and goodwill of the government, have accumulated fabulous fortunes which place them among the richest men in the world. We, the workers, have been the sector hardest hit by these neo-liberal policies: our collective work contracts have been mutilated, many unions destroyed, and social conquests such as the Social Security system are being privatized in favor of the large bank owners, by way of the retirement savings program ('Afore'). With the complicity and the support of the corporativist and sold-out union leaders, the working class is subordinated and its principled struggles savagely repressed. The result of all of this is the confinement of millions of workers within the walls of syndical corporativism, personified by the Congress of Labor (CT). Today, the Congress of Labor is passing through a grave crisis and finds itself divided. Not only because it is no longer useful to the government for guaranteeing electoral control, or because it no longer serves the large enterprises which push for a union model reduced to its minimal expression; but rather because the worker discontent accumulated in recent years is seeking to organize itself and say, "Enough!", such as that pronounced by the indigenous peoples of Chiapas on January 1st, 1994. We remember that on February 16th, 1996, the EZLN and the federal government signed the San Andres Accords, committing themselves to recognize indigenous rights at the constitutional level. Nevertheless, the government attempts to step back, going against its word. This we cannot permit. When the rights of the indigenous peoples and communities are recognized in the Constitution, it will fortify the struggle of the workers for union freedom and democracy. In that sense, the last two May 1st celebrations are an example of that awakening of the workers, who look to recuperate their place in the struggle for democracy in our country. The path will be closed to those "new" union leaders who only seek to accommodate themselves in order to substitute Fidel Velazquez, and whose pretense is to sell out and gain positions as spokespersons of the government, convinced that the neo-liberal policies of the government requires "modernization" and a makeover of the worn-out mechanisms of corporativist control. Companero/a worker: we invite you to organize yourself in the Zapatista Front of National Liberation (FZLN), inspired by the example of the indigenous peoples of the EZLN who struggle for a just, free, and democratic Mexico. We are civilian Zapatistas, workers just like you, and we invite you to incorporate yourself into the FZLN and work together for democratic unions in which the principle of "lead by obeying" is followed, unions which are no longer organisms at the service of the government and the bosses.

Total rejection of the neo-liberal policies! Union freedom and democracy! Emergency salary raise! Fulfillment of the San Andres Accords!

Liberty, Justice, and Democracy.

Zapatista Front of National Liberation (FZLN) May 1, 1997

(Source: http://www.peak.org/~joshua/fzln/)

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