(en)E;FZAP/LA On FZLN Congress, results and March, Sep 29

Ilan shalif (gshalif@netvision.net.il)
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 16:23:04 +0200

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FWDed by me Ilan From: fzapla@igc.apc.org To: owner-chiapas95@mundo.eco.utexas.edu, chiapas-l@profmexis.sar.net,

ncdm-gc@igc.org, ncdm-ally@igc.org, tc0mjll@corn.cso.niu.edu, mexico.2000@mep-d.org, owner-chiapas95@mundo.eco.utexas.edu, amanecer@cyberspace.com Subject: E;FZAP/LA On FZLN Congress, results and March

Three members of FZAP/LA were present for the EZLN march on Sept 12 and FZLN Congress held September 13-16 in Mexico City.

You had to see it to believe it and to some degree you had to experience it to tell about it.

Everyone we talked to from cab drivers to merchants to passersby knew about the anticipated arrival of the Zapatistas.The march of the 1,111 Zapatistas into Mexico city was truly incredible. Even with the massive media turnout, I've yet to see photographs or film that adequately capture the moment. By 8 PM when they reached thee Zocalo, it was completely filled with people awaiting their arrival.

There was much misunderstanding and deliberate disinformation on the part of the government that led to the misconception that the Zapatistas were laying down their arms in order to incorporate into the FZLN. Of course, the Zapatistas who participated in the march, did leave their arms behind for the duration of the march and return. However, the EZLN decided not to incorporate into the FZLN because of the implications of such a misunderstanding. They made it clear that conditions simply did not exist for such incorporation given the continued intransigence on the part of the government with regard to the non-compliance of the San Andres Accords and excessive militarization and violence in Chiapas.

There was some confusion, which because of events that unfolded during the course of the week, require some clarification. The organizing entity of the march was not the FZLN but rather the CNI (simultaneously holding their congress), other groups, and some members of the FZLN but was never directed by the FZLN. The FZLN organized the Congress only--for among other reasons, the FZLN did not have the wherewithal to organize both. Despite the ups and downs of the organizing of each, it was an organizational triumph for both, especially when contrasted to previous efforts by more established organizational structures with far greater monetary resources.

The meeting hall was filled to capacity for each session. There were 2,591 participants who sat in what was often a very stuffy room and painstakenly went through the ballot points, already reviewed in the 14 workshops. Several were given the floor on election day in an effort to incorporate their proposal or to amend the ballot. The determination to see this tedious process through was more than admirable.

Anyone who read the various proposals on the FZLN web page (http://spin.com.mx/~floresu/FZLN), submitted from April through July, can appreciate the enormous task of attempting to incorporate them all into a single ballot. The result was 137 plus point ballot, some of which was

understandably confusing but most importantly inclusive.

As observers, we witnessed the voting process and even accompanied the

members of the various committees back to the FZLN and witnessed, at least a portion of the vote counting task.

The voting results were released Wednesday, September 24 and the results indicated clear tendencies of choice. Because a 75% majority vote was needed to prevail, and because there were multiple choices to most ballot points, that percentage was not achieved in most cases but it can certainly be useful as a referendum although not officially designated as such.

Of the 2,591 present at the congress, 1,048 were women and 1,543 were men.

The Declaration of Principles received 84% of the vote.

72.9% voted to hold an annual national congress.

The vote was 67.1% against double militancy, upholding the Fourth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. Members of the FZLN cannot also be a member of another political party. However, 88.6% voted that members of a social organization may be members of the FZLN. Supporters of the FZLN, without member voting privileges, may also participate as voted by 84.4%. A 55.6% majority voted in favor of participation of individuals who are not part of a committee of dialogue.

The specifics of organizational structure was more complex with no clear majority vote. There was a provisional structure with Javier Elorriaga

voted in as the Coordinator of the National Network Commission consisting of one representative from each state and a team to work with the coordinator. In the next two months, this provisional structure will move ahead where the mandate was clear, and work to clarify and synthesize where the voting results were close.

On September 16, the preliminary voting results were announced; the mood was a very positive one. An acceptance that even if the vote did not go the way some may have wished, it was OK. Most we spoke with verbalized that they felt they had had a voice in a democratic process that was not only foreign to government but also, historically to Left organizing. That such a process had just been successfully realized was a significant milestone.

In our opinion, the FZLN has launched what will hopefully be an irreversible move toward a thoughtful process of principled inclusion. As solidarity, we believe we can look forward to concrete tasks of support for the FZLN as well as a model for organizing and unity through diversity as exemplified in the march and congress.


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