(en) 2 inc. - Corrispondenza da Madrid (it)

Steve Wright (sjwright@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au)
Mon, 28 Jul 1997 09:39:25 +1000


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Another report from the Roman comrades of TMC . . .

26 July 1997

It's the first official day of the 2nd Intercontinental Encounter of Peoples against Neo-liberalism, but for two days already the Velodrome Centre of San Sebastian de Rey has been full of people, for the most part Italians (around 700).

Three fitted-out Sports Centres, about 4 km distance from each other, are available to the participants over these days. You get to sleep in the gyms, which are full of sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses, backpacks. People arrive under their own steam; some are picked up from the airport or station. The Swiss arrive in hired taxi-buses [pulman-taxi], but most come by air.

Many don't speak Spanish, and those who do must interpret between them and the organisers. As is obvious, what seems practical on paper is less so in real life. The difficulties are manifest, but then again self-organisation was one of the presuppositions of this Spanish Encounter: those who can give a hand at improving the organisation of available space are doing so.

People camping in tents are staked out on a soccer field (much to the sorrow of those who want to play on it!).

The Encounter has still to begin, and already those who have been to Chiapas are recounting their stories. But also amongst the Italians there is a lot of catching up to do. We're all here, you could say, and at times it seems just like home.

The EZLN too has sent a delegation to take part in the Encounter. "For the first time a delegation made up of EZLN members will participate in an international event outside Mexican borders. In this way the EZLN has decided yet again to breach local, regional, state and national encirclements, to bring the voice of the Zapatistas from the lips of the Zapatistas."

Rather than "personalities", it is representatives of those in struggle who have come from the Zapatistas. They participate because, as they put it, "the world does not belong to leaders or caudillos". It will not be as easy for them to arrive as it has been for us, and the difficulties involved should not be glossed over - but already on past occasions they have shown that a possibility can become a certainty if the right way to transform it is found.

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon, the first assembly of Italians is held on the steps outside the sports centre. The intention is to talk about the demonstration to be held in Madrid on the 27th, but also to begin to understand the realities that have confronted us here, relations between ourselves and others, the Spaniards' problems and difficulties of political expression.

The usual confusion, amplified by different languages, and by our often uncertain Spanish. Our confusion, their confusion: the only ones who seem at ease are the civil protection volunteers whom the local council has organised to bring material aid.

But yesterday there was also the first festa organised for us, at the "Gacia Lorca" centre, with dinner and music. And there was still time for a chat, a laugh, to exchange hellos. But the opening ceremony is drawing close: at 10pm, in the Plaza de Toros, the 2nd Encounter will officially begin, and we will be able to verify ideas, possibilities, forms of struggle, working towards the construction of new intentions, achievable utopias.

"Corrispondenza di Tactical Media Crew da Madrid 26-7-97"

Translated by Steve Wright, Zapatista Solidarity Collective, Melbourne Australia

Visit the TMC Encuentro page for updates on photos from Spain - http://vivaldi.nexus.it/commerce/tmcrew/chiapas

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