Wednesday, July 27, 2005

True love

[As ever, keep scrolling down for the translations of all the latest EZLN communiques, and you shall find them]

Yes, I have been solemnly swearing to visit Bécquer and basques, to sooth and stir the heart, but la vida is nothing if not of its own mind.

As for the outing of the odd provocateur which I had also promised, I've come up with a much finer idea, a primer of sorts, a self-help manual so that you can share in the fun. Later in the week, I hope.

But now some words about words and minds. The committing of words to memory. How could that be anything short of perfection? Committing. Words. Memory.

I started much too young, for no good reason other than it seemed as natural as breathing and laughing and running. Marvell and Hardy and Houseman and Byron and cummings and Yeats and Teasdale and much too much Wordsworth. An infinity [and I was so very entranced by infinity] of couplets and sonnets and low verse.

And it never felt odd. Just the thing for entertaining my girlfriends at slumber parties, dissolving into giggles at 'stands like harper's hoar with beards that rest on their bosom.' Then providing endless fodder for angst and first loves. Schoolgirl crushes were always 'begotten by despair,' and Fate was determined 'to iron wedges drive.'

The words provided, and provide, harbour for every rough passage - reflecting, embracing and murmuring the memories of so very many moments.

Which, however circuitously, really does lead to Bécquer.

I had two especially delightful female teachers in high school. The one taught a World Literature class and compelled us to memorize thousands of lines every semester. It was unheard of, of course, so very, very out of line with the tenor of the times. But I was ecstatic, and it was the carrot that allowed me to plow through the Iliad, the Inferno and others of their ilk.

The other lady was from San Juan. An unrepentant romantic with the thankless task of teaching first year Spanish to 40 skittish adolescents using the new "dialogue" methodology. ["Donde queda la biblioteca? Allí delante. Vas ahora mismo?" Total, unmitigated and devastating crap.].

She managed to survive the horrors of the year by unabashedly "forcing" us to memorize "Volverán las oscuras golondrinas..." By Bécquer. Conquering my heart - and life - in the process. And, knowing a kindred soul when she saw one, having me tape the poem for the edification, and practice, of the rest of the deeply bored class. And, as heaven is my witness, her name was Señora Love.

When I moved to Barcelona, frantic with need to find a flat and quickly make a new home for my son and myself, the estate agent finally found the perfect place. Of course the street was Gustavo Bécquer. 25, as I recall.

And my son, by the way, also, and also for no good reason, memorized Blake's "Tyger, tyger burning bright" when he was 4 or 5.

I still have every single word, universes of them. And they still provide constant solace, pleasure and compass.

Next, as I keep promising, we shall do, and undo, corsets. And counterinsurgents.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The looking glass

[keep scrolling down, as always, for the latest EZLN translations]

So, one of our enquiring minds enquires as to why I choose not to vote. Which is actually a rather interesting way of opening up that discussion on non-electoral caveats which I had tried, with resounding failure, to provoke earlier.

I don't vote because I always feel they must be mistaken. Who, me? No, no. Wrong person, wrong time, wrong place. I must have wandered into an alt-universe if you think this applies to me. The candidates have been speaking to millions of people whom I have apparently never met. I simply could not walk into a polling station, pull a lever and look in the mirror the next morning. Despite the fact, believe me, that I have absolutely NOTHING against whoring.

But I also don't like the black and white of much that passes for political thought these days. Of course there are lesser degrees of horrors inflicted by one elected official or the other. I think the entire planet would be a far better place if Cheney and Rove and their evil coven weren't in such direct and intimate touch with the tools of power and control.

I think a Zapatero is worth a thousand Aznars and that Villaraigosa will know what to do with Venezuelan oil. Anyone who doesn't see that is of one of two minds. Either ingenuous and innocent and yet to have lived in the universe. Or of that particularly sleazy oldschool mindset that pretends to believe that the more repressive and tyrannical the Powers, the easier it shall be to shortcut to the Revolution. If only it were that easy.

And I suppose some might have found that prophecy fulfilled when Salazar Mendiguchía replaced La Croquetas. Better the overt dogs of war than the covert. Yes, in some ways it makes the work harder, of course, but that is not necessarily a horrid thing. More thought, more brilliance, more heart might indeed be required. But also a consummation devoutly to be wished.

No, unlike love, the reasons I choose not to vote aren't simple. Part of it, of course, is, as a charming gentleman once said, that I wouldn't wish to belong to any organization that would have me as a member. Part that the anarchist in me refuses to be told what I can and cannot do - thus, for me, a disconcerting dilemma La Sexta. I suppose I could dither and send a thoughtful missive to both email addresses.

And the largest part might be that I have taken, for so very long, to the alternative of voting with my feet. Serial expatriation, endless diaspora...the non writ simply and personally.

[And I do most solemnly swear that tomorrow shall be devoted to Bécquer and basques - yes, small "b", the corsets not the compas]

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hide and seek

[do keep scrolling down if you've come for the translations]

Another mind numbing day for news.

In Madrid, in the aftermath of the horrendous fire, they're still felling trees left and right. In Mexico, another high profile snatch and run kidnapping for large bucks, this time the coach of a major football team. In the States, Niger still means phantom uranium instead of...what it is. And in the States, the new Supreme Court nominee is being touted as "good-looking." No, not. Cute is, in fact, Villaraigosa [the new mayor of LA, for those who've not had the pleasure], on quite a few levels.

Tourism continues to plummet in Ireland and soar in Catalunya. As if the cachet of horrid weather, expensive everything and resolute dedication to the virtue of rudeness could last forever. Just walk the streets. In Dublin - and not just on the Northside - one must practice constant defensive maneuvers, and you'll still probably end up bruised and battered. But in Barcelona there is a certain duende to the to and fro, an exquisitely intuitive sense of the flow of bodies about one. Yes, precisely. Like the night and day difference between a boorish and a fine lover.

But tonight I'm playing my own version of pin the tale on the donkey. Eyes closed, pin in hand, globe spinning [always the last thing to be packed]...playing it like a ouija board, I imagine. Hoping that some smart part of my psyche will touch the fingers that hold the pin and finally find the precise spot where I've always meant to be.

Because reason fails, as it so often does. Reason might whisper Biarritz, because, even if the heavens were to fall, the cassoulet will always give comfort and make me weep. Or Budapest, because the flats are eminently affordable and the stuff of my dreams. Deeply unevolved dreams, of course, of fresh snowfall on ancient cobbled streets. Or Krakow because it still exists, especially in the long winter, an exquisite, implacably triumphant city of certain magic.

Yes, yes. The insistent allure of faded glory, still to be plumbed in the quiet detail of a place. A specific, knowable barrio or street corner or lamp. Just touch it and...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pomp and circumstance

[just keep scrolling down for all the translations of the latest EZLN communiques]

Perhaps a little bit of everything tonight. News and gossip, poetry and propaganda. Sweeping the parlour, as it were.

In Mexico, the most central issue of debate - where debate appears [I have found it in La Jornada and in the Frente comments]- has been the insistently non-electoral nature of the Sixth Declaration. Or, as I shall henceforth refer to it [as they are so doing in Mexico], The Sexta. Such a lovely ring.

The question is - can one be, in any way whatsoever, party to a political party? The Sexta says no, and the words come as no surprise. The groundwork was layed with the Stelae, a series of deeply detailed and occasionally lyric papers written by Marcos in 2003. Then further punctuated with the odd naming of names communiques.

I remember when the naming of names put one in mind of Acteal, where they still name the names every December 22. And I remember that I recalled, and recall, Yeats' words:


...Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child..


The exponentially nuanced expositions on this subject - the degree to which one might have any truck with political parties or official governments - are certainly better left to finer minds than mine. And, after all, purity is a good and lovely thing. We have only to ask Caesar's wife.

And, speaking of Caesar's spouse, we shall have to await a further communique to discover if the same criteria apply in the Intergalactic arena. I cannot imagine that Fausto Bertinotti, the Venice commune, many of the Basque Country compas and Danielle...among many others...are to be excluded.

As for me, I have never actually voted in any of those countries where I'm legally able to do so. I have, however, worked - fiercely and unabashedly - in two campaigns. In one the candidate was assassinated, and in the other he was elected. An eloquent dichotomy. Or just the usual enigma.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Fun in the dark

[as always, please just keep scrolling down for all the latest translations]

Just one or two suggestions this evening, and these are for those moments when one is - or at least I am - feeling...somewhat offline. More than a few football fields past, say, the onion.com

There is, for example, a fine little treatise on the role of H P Lovecraft films, past, present and future, at The Modern Word, which is itself a fine and lovely place. The kind you might wish to visit almost anytime, regardless of mood, moon or current events.

But one of the more deeply satisfying alternatives to tossing crockery is the Charles Bukowski Memorial Center for Classical Latin Studies. Precisely. Charles Bukowski and classic Latin literature, you gasp?! Yes, indeed. Divine for those who always wished their Catullus unexpurgated or for jaded, writerly rakes who require new challenges.

There are other places I could go with this, but I shall not.

Instead I shall, most likely, pay a visit to Greaves and Thomas and take heart.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

RSVPs

I'm not entirely sure I'm in the mood for typing this evening...it's Friday, it's balmy and someone, somewhere close by, is once again burning their olive oil. Just a note - if it's smoking, it's too damn hot, and the acrid smell will drift through untold alleys and cling to everything in its path.

That should make it abundantly clear that I'm not, right now, where I wish to be.

But I thought I really should make the odd comment abut yesterday's communiques. Since I - as well as the author, apparently - am aware that everyone does not always find the time to read each and every word...

The schedule has now been set for domestic gatherings with those who wish to - join in with, ally themselves with, express their adherence to, plight their troth with [the joys of having a chance to use all those words and phrases that murmur to me whilst translating and have to be given shrift] - the Sixth Declaration.

The international or "Intergalactic" phase shall be addressed in a subsequent communique.

And, of good importance, they have accepted the kind offer of the lovely compas at Revista Rebeldía [yes! and you've already had a heads-up, no?!] who will be providing a venue for your - yes, YOUR - expressions of support and/or critique. All it takes is an email, and there are 2 addresses. One for yea, one for nay. Say as much or as little as you wish, but be sure to provide your own email address, so we are told, though I assume the Master or Mistress of the Lists-to-Be could just...never mind. Do put your email address in the body of your message as well.

This is important, as, once you've registered yourself, you will receive all the information, and there's bound to be a bundle, of upcoming events, meetings, schedules, parties and so forth.

Now, the Frente is concerned that some might be a tad careless with the addresses, and they are urging us to be meticulous with each and every letter. I have much greater faith in my readers, of course, given that they are already demonstrating such heart in plowing through my posts [except, perhaps comradewill and similar compas who are encouraged to register their feelings PRIOR to indulging in their indulgence of choice; then, needless to say, please, do indulge]. So, here they are:

Those who wish to register their approval, write to:

conlasexta@revistarebeldia.org

Those who wish to say nay, write to:

contralasexta@revistarebeldia.org

Easypeasy. Just click and express yourself - you won't even have to worry about whether it's org or net or com. And the comandancia says that they will indeed read your words, even those which are critical.

So do, please, take the time. To express yourself, directly, to have your own voice heard. That is, in fact, the point of all of this. Write in English or Spanish, French or Italian, Catalan or Farsi. But write.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

New EZLN Communiques: Ways & means

[Two communiqués follow]


Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
*************************************
Translated by irlandesa


Communiqué from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Mexico.

July 13, 2005

To the People of Mexico:

This is our word:

First - The EZLN has now designated a committee from its leadership in order to take responsibility for everything having to do with the work of carrying forward the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona. It will work, jointly and respectfully, with those organizations, groups, collectives and individuals who join with us in this new civil and peaceful initiative in Mexico.

Second - The Sixth Declaration is clear in its contents and purposes, and it has been so understood by its recipients. Only the politicians and businesspersons of Mexico have demonstrated that they do not understand anything, and they have not missed the opportunity to behave ridiculously.

Third - The EZLN has read, with respect and attentively, the different analyses which have been made of this initiative. We are grateful to those who have warned of risks and dangers and who have given their opinion as to the best direction and steps for moving forward. The EZLN has, in addition, taken note of the many messages of support which it has received through various channels.

Fourth - In order to organize and systematize all of this, and in agreement with the Mexican magazine of the left, “Rebeldía,” the EZLN is advising that messages of support, of willingness to work together, positive and negative comments, constructive and destructive criticism, help, rejections and repudiations of the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona will be accepted at the following email addresses:

In order to subscribe to the Sixth Declaration and in order to start working, jointly with the EZLN, in the Plan for a National Campaign with Another Politics, for a National Program of Struggle of the Left and a New Constitution, the email address is conlasexta@revistarebeldia.org. We are asking you to please include some means of communicating with you so that you can stay informed about everything and so you can be invited to the meetings and activities which will be held.

For everything against the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, the email address is contralasexta@revistarebeldia.org . All of the opinions against will be read and seriously analyzed.

For all and any general information, consult the web page: www.revistarebeldia.org

Fifth - The EZLN committee responsible for the work for achieving the Sixth Declaration will – on August 1, 2005 – prepare a preliminary list of those persons and organizations of the left who have joined in with this work, in order to carry out a series of discussion and working meetings with them. They will be scheduled by groups and will be given sufficient notice.

Sixth - We respectfully ask the political and social, indigenous, non-governmental, cultural, artistic, scientific, gender, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, everyone-in-their-own-way organizations, groups, collectives and any other kind of associations – to promptly name their delegates or representatives who will be attending these working meetings.

Democracy!
Liberty!
Justice!

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Mexico, July of 2005.


*********************************************************

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
*************************************
Translated by irlandesa


Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Mexico.


July 13, 2005:

To those individuals, organizations, collectives, groups and associations of the left who support what has been proposed in the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona:

Compañeros and compañeras:

Greetings from all the men, women, children and old ones of the EZLN. I am writing in order to tell you a little of how we’ve been thinking we might move forward in the work for the National Campaign with Another Politics, for a National Program of Struggle of the Left and for a New Constitution.

Hmm…Perhaps we’d move forward a little if we began by changing the name, because it’s so long that once you’ve reached the end, you’ve already forgotten how it started. Fine, but we’ll see about that once we’re all working together, we will reach agreement on that and other things. For the moment, in order to abbreviate and synthesize, we’ll call it “The Other Campaign.”

Fine, then I’ll tell you first about how we organized the EZLN for this work. We agreed to divide up the tasks and, as is our way, to form committees. The committees are groups of compañeros and compañeras who are in charge of a work and who inform everyone how that work is going. And they don’t just do whatever they feel like, but rather according to how they are told. Then the zapatista leadership divided up the tasks:

One part, the majority, will be in charge of the zapatista towns, of defending them, of helping them in their autonomía and in giving them guidance in the struggle. This group is, in fact, the CCRI-CG of the EZLN.

Another part of the CCRI-CG, a small one, will be in charge of the international efforts proposed in the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona. We are calling this group the “Intergalactic Committee of the EZLN,” or, simply, the “Intergalactic Committee.”

And another part of the CCRI-CG, also small, will be in charge of the national arena, concerning the national campaign, etcetera, or “The Other Campaign.” We called this group the “Sixth Committee of the EZLN,” or, simply, the “Sixth Committee.”

Fine, right now I’m going to talk to you about the “Sixth Committee,” and then another time I’ll tell you about the “Intergalactic Committee.”

The “Sixth Committee” is the one which, firstly, is going to meet with all those of the left who are in agreement with “The Other Campaign” and who are not people or organizations who participate in elections. Then, with everyone, it is going to make a plan for traveling all over Mexico. Well, not all over. Only where they invite us. If there is a place where they don’t wish to receive us, then we won’t go. Because we don’t want to impose a way of thinking by force either.

This “Sixth Committee” has already reached agreement with the compañeros and compañeras of Revista Rebeldía, and, on August 1 of this year, the Rebeldías are going to send us a list of all those organizations and persons who noted that they are in agreement with the Sixth and with working in “The Other Campaign” (remember that the email address is conlasexta@revistarebeldia.org ). Of course, there might be some organizations which have not finished reaching agreement on the Sixth, or which are waiting to see if López Obrador announces his candidacy, or to see if Cárdenas leaves the PRD or runs as a candidate for another party. Or it might be that some people are still reading it or are waiting to receive it, and then they won’t manage to send their word prior to July 31. Don’t worry, you can come in at any time and join the work at whatever stage we’re at.

Fine, but as for those who let us know no later than July 31 that they’re ready and willing, we’re going to meet with them first in order to begin reaching agreements on “The Other Campaign” plan. These meetings will be in the month of August and part of September, because we’re not all going to meet en masse, rather first some, then others, and then everyone. This will be in Chiapas, in some of the zapatista communities which agree to receive us for this work. We have chosen weekends so that you won’t have to miss work…or not much. The calendar we’re proposing to you is the following (note: there might be changes, but we’ll let you know):

- Political organizations of the Left: Arrival on Friday, August 5; Meeting on Saturday, August 6, and Departure on Sunday, August 7.

- Indigenous Organizations and Organizations of the Indian Peoples of Mexico: Arrival on Friday, August 12; Meeting on Saturday, August 13, and Departure on Sunday, August 14.

- Social organizations of the Left: Arrival on Friday, August 19; Meeting on Saturday, August 20, and Departure on Sunday, August 21.

- Non-Governmental, artistic, cultural organizations, groups, collectives, etcetera: Arrival on Friday, August 26; Meeting on Saturday, August 27, and Departure on Sunday, August 28.

- Women, men, old ones, boys and girls, as individuals, as families, from communities, streets, barrios or neighborhoods: Arrival on Friday, September 2; Meeting on Saturday, September 3, and Departure on Sunday, September 4.

- Others (those who were unable to attend any of the previous dates): Arrival on Friday, September 9; Meeting on Saturday, September 10, and Departure on Sunday, September 11.

We think that, with the wind in our favor, we will be able to make a joint public statement (not just by the EZLN, but by everyone who has reached agreement) on September 16. With this public statement, and then with a committee of all of those who are going to engage in the work, we will continue meeting with groups and persons as they join in with this initiative.

Fine, we’re letting you know early on so you can see to how you’ll be going about naming delegates or representatives, paying for the trip, lunch, blankets, nylon (it’s raining a lot, and it’s going to be raining more), flashlights, batteries, boots for the mud, documents, notebooks and pencils for taking notes and thus fully informing others, etcetera.

We’re asking you to please bring some food you can prepare for yourself, so that we don’t add to the burden of the communities who, generous as always, will be welcoming us.

And to the organizations, groups and collectives, we’re asking that you not come en masse, but rather name some individuals for this work, so that we can discuss and reach agreement. If there are a lot of us, then it will be bedlam, and we’ll spend our whole lives discussing, and the politicians will end up doing away with our country before we end up reaching agreement in order to prevent it.

And, to everyone, we’re asking you to really put a lot into it, because we do indeed have something to lose: the Patria.

Vale. Salud, and may the heart beat where it, in fact, does, that is, on the left.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

By the Sixth Committee of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, July of 2005.

The sublime and the otherwise

[as always, just keep scrolling down for all the latest EZLN communiques]

So, as of tomorrow, the 15th, the communities will be back open for business.

I would really like to urge everyone who had made plans to go down there, and who had perhaps cancelled, to reconsider. And any of those who had been engaged in projects, to carry on. I am afraid that the Red Alert might have had the unintended effect of misconstruing the situation.

Whatever else one might think about any variety of related issues, the communities have been doing the work, our work in the greatest sense. And now, with the new openness, we have more opportunity to see, to share, to contribute and to learn from that work.

Now, back to some gossip...and I have found that the best way to actually get some is to start it here. I am wondering what has happened with plans to publish the detective novel that Marcos wrote with Paco Taibo II? They wrote it in classic serialized fashion [published weekly by La Jornada], and rights were said to have been secured by Seven Stories Press in the States and by Friction [George Galloway's latest fiery, media-friendly venture] in the UK. But I see no sign of it, in either place, though Gorgeous George is publishing one of Taibo's own. Que lástima... I think.

As for other reads [she murmurs ingenuously]...you might have a peek at Revista Rebeldía. It was started a few years ago, about the time, I believe, that the architect Yañez, I believe [still ingenuously], opened a retro cult museum somewhere or other [you guys really do have to do some of the work yourselves, for heaven's sake]. Anyway, I did do a number of translations, and if you scroll down their home page and check out the "más numeros" and scroll down that, you'll find traducciones inglés and you can read a few. Or not, of course.

Quite a bit of the above actually has to do with my previous promise of discussing tedious stereotypes. You can choose your own favorites. For my money, George is the man. Despite, of course, all the good work he's done [and he has], he is clearly incapable of avoiding every predictable flourish or overweaning gesture or tacky suit or florid, kneejerk soundbite in the known universe.

Perhaps tomorrow we might calm our nerves with some Gustavo Bécquer and fino. Qué es poesía, indeed. Or with outing the odd provocateur. Depending on my mood.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

CCRI-CG/EZLN - Red Alert lifted; communities reopening

Wherein the Red Alert is lifted, the communities reopened, and organizational changes announced.

You'll find it in the Library.

Red Alert lifted

I just received a communique, which I'll be translating and posting shortly, announcing the lifting of the Red Alert. Civil Society is being encouraged to renew all their activities and visits as of July 15. Cheers.

Here and there

I sense somehow that I should be waxing serious about something or other, given local events. And local is, for me, a rather many splendoured thing. It's here, there and most everywhere.

The Marching Season is upon us, in its most literal sense, proving, as it so often does, the colossal idiocy of institutionalizing idiocy. Perhaps the Coalition of the Willing might wish to introduce the concept in Baghdad, as part of their "democratization" policies. Just as they're beating a fast retreat, of course.

And in London they are refusing to use the "t" word and sternly abjuring the "new normal" cant that so terrorized the American public. Today's normal is yesterday's normal, thank you.

As for the EZLN [not even attempting segue here], no news. One assumes they are awaiting, receiving, invitations from other organizations in Mexico for the next zapatour. I have heard some musings as to where the December-perhaps-January Encuentro might be held.

Words like Cuba and Bolivia are murmured. Barcelona would know how to do it up right, and, if it were in Milan, there would be futbol. Biarritz would be fascinating and affordable in the off-season, and, having lived there, I can recommend the most paradisical stall at Les Halles. And I should imagine that the crossborder proximity might appeal to some.

Any other suggestions? Dublin could be brilliant, of course, for its overpriced pints and solidarity. Paris for Mme. Mitterand, Amsterdam for...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fitting solace

Despite the fact that I've already made an evening offering ["Pebbles in the parlour," below], I still feel compelled to soothe my heart with Herrick and stockings.

I have yet to find better solace for endlessly fervid political discussion or earnest boys hellbent on cementing the tunnel of their vision...than a nicely bound volume of my beloved Robert Herrick.

But I have also yet to find a website that offers much other than encyclopediac annotations or yes, sigh, shameful academic critiques of Herrick. Anyone who would dare deconstruct "Ode to Anthea" should be spanked out of the parlour.

So better, in all events, a small, insistently nonvirtual, chapbook. To be read, earnestly and fervidly, to one's beloved.

As for stockings...like chocolate, they require no words. Once again, and I hate to belabour the point...in Spain and France and Italy one can always find a small, locally owned, shop, just around the corner. If you are elsewhere, there is, of course, La Perla.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pebbles in the parlour

Since I was the one who suggested opening a civilized discussion on the Sixth Declaration...and since I suggested taking a peek at the Spanish comments on the Frente page....and since Andrew [see comment #2 - 'Fun and games' post] quoted the selfsame comment that I had printed out for my own edification several days ago...and since someone else then requested my finding the time/energy for translating some of these...

But first a necessary comment or two.

If I have learned anything in the last 10 years, it has been that people come to zapatismo from a universe and a lifetime of different experiences. Some have been engaged in radical - or not - movements for decades. Others are recently intrigued by the particular circumstances of Chiapas, the autonomías...or the high drama of masked "poet-warriors" hiding out in the jungle.

Serious or frivolous, jaded or innocent, knowledgable or naive. Or perhaps all of those depending on the moment and the stars.

I will try to provide the briefest of backgrounds as I post/translate these comments. But I will comment as afterwords, so as not to...presume.

The following was posted on the Frente site anonymously, and the author, in an earlier paragraph, had implicitly identified him/herself as indigenous.


...No social movement exists in Mexico, it must be bult, and, in order to accomplish that, the work of struggle and daily organization is necessary. Not just simply talking, because then the one who leads the questioning with his initiative will have nothing but the realm of words...which is speaking. You cannot lead off with the new constitution without first questioning. Because the people must internalize that demand within the dimension of their material struggle and etceteras. One can see the forms of persuasion now. They say no to vanguardism, but new forms of it are being brought back, hidden in holograms of democracy. From it arises the democracy of the people, what is forged in their struggle, from their power, from their concrete reality.

How can one define the methods of constructing the program of struggle beforehand if its points have already been defined, at least in one instance, regarding the new constitution? We must be critical so that we may grow. Emotional statements alone are useless - consciousness and commitment must be added to them. Another thing...concerning the social and political left...it is a media distinction. The one is the other, and if it isn't, it should be built. Identity is not a matter of resolving definitions prior to those which exist, but rather the reality which is being lived and fought for. It's the same with power. Talk with the humble while carrying no-power up one's sleeve? Specifically, it seems to me that you can't simply opt for a position which is not an expression of that which is experienced by the humble...Yes to building a popular power, from below. Would it be possible for the zapatistas to be reeducated through contact with the people? Isn't there a bit of arrogance by the sup in all this? Arrogance disguised as humility? We don't want persuasion! The new politics is the old politics which has always been denied to the people. A new way of politics isn't going to be established, it's going to continue being done as it's been done many times, through actions.

It is necessary to reflect, that's true, and to commit oneself to struggle. We don't want the middle class failures like the CND, the MLN and the FZLN to surround us like ghosts. The declaration must be taken on in order to confront it and to make it grow. Its merit is that in the nothing something can be made of value which will awaken and which will be - hopefully, as was said - finally an alternative of the left. It is not enough to simply self proclaim oneself as such.

And where are the Good Government Juntas? And the caracoles? Why did the military voice set them aside when it's assumed that they are the expression of the zapatista civil bases? Correct that, please. We want the JBG to continue to be the concrete political referent from which other sides are encouraged.

We should join in with the call, commit ourselves, be dignified, in struggle, but not indulge in saccharine rose-colored middle class sentiments. Or, if we do wax roseate, let it be because of what we do, rather than for escape or as compensation for the void.

A pebble in the shoe. Always necessary.


********************************
Notes

[and for those of you who know all this, please forgive - but I know many who do not]

"Pebble in the shoe" has been a longtime phrase used by Marcos as a descriptor for the zapatistas and the Powers.

The first 90 odd comments posted at the Frente regarding the Sixth were, indeed, effusive and well meaning expressions of positive sentiments ["vivas" as it were].

Zapatismo - mostly, but not exclusively, in Mexico - has had its share of...nonconformity. This new aperture...the opening up to other voices in order to join with them [rather, at least rhetorically, than the obverse - that they, "las voces" join in with them] is bound to be taken seriously by many.

The comandancia has, in fact, always related that it was they who learned, were taught by, the indigenous in Chiapas. That they came as naifs with preconceptions and formula, only to be utterly changed by local truths. That is what they have said.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Fun and games...

Just as I had been debating...opening a bit of a debate... nay, discussion, and a serious [and civilized] one at that - aluna1194 posts an exceptionally intriguing comment [see below, re: "Dissonance"].

Some of the same has been starting to appear on the Frente pages, for those of you who read Spanish. Check the comments on Part 3 of the Sixth Declaration [Spanish version]. If I can find the time, I may translate some of them - they are too good for synopsis. One of the many consequences of the EZLN's new direction is that they will once again be opening themselves up - as they state - to listening. And there are a multiplicity of voices that have not yet been heard. It shall be fascinating to watch, and to engage in, this process. Sans script.

One might consider what a social, "nonelectoral" organization might, in fact, look like.. Or the historical-cultural implications of firmly positioning said organization as "leftist" [a descriptor I have always assumed for myself, but which has particular context in Mexico], especially in the international arena. The translations, for example, have found their way to a variety of sites, including anarchist, libertarian [honest], indigenous and quite a few that would be hard pressed to locate themselves on any traditional, linear perspective.

There. Let's have some fun.

Speaking of which, and this is most especially for a dear compa Down Under, I promise to try never again to be as convoluted, esoteric and silly as I was the other night [with the "mastheads and bylines"]...but, then again, I do love a bit of intrigue. Now and again.

Which must mean, for this odd evening, tucking in with something in the way of Mysteries. For the music, when words are never enough.





Thursday, July 07, 2005

Chiapas travel update & hiding under blankets

Not an evening for words, but I do have an update for you on travel to Chiapas.

As I said, the Red Alert is still in effect, but I am now being told that the communities are also still engaged in consulta. Because of that, they are still officially closed, and the campistas are all gathered in San Cris. Which means that, in addition to having a chance to savor the delights of that delightful town, you could also enjoy especially stimulating encounters with a universe of compas.

You can check in with Enlace, where they'll be more than delighted to keep you current on travel to and from the communities. FrayBar (Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre) is right there, as are the eminent and delightful (and tireless) gentlemen from Ciepac. In addition, of course, to browsing the market, hanging with compas from Italy and Spain and everywhere else at the local bar of choice... and untold other adventures.

I assume by now everyone understands that the Red Alert was not a signal of any danger, but rather just a temporary step to be taken during a necessary period of turning inward. Go. I cannot imagine a more interesting moment to be there. And, if anyone needs more information, addresses or anything else, just ask.

Basta, for now.

Time for huddling under a blanket with Love in the Time of Cholera for the umpteenth time. Or, even more likely, with The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. Along with a very large bowl of rice pudding.

Dissonance

Perhaps the universe is, once again, speaking to me.

I had been in the mood for escape, but here I was, stalwartly carrying on, writing of Serious Things, like the intuitive dissonance of the photo ops coming out of Gleneagles, new ways to botch surveillance, when, as is their wont, things crashed.

I should simply have gone with my heart and written of Robert Herrick and high-denier stockings.

Nonetheless, the fact that George managed to inflict more damage on the Scottish constabulary than did the usual 200 with their endearing inability to keep their bandanas affixed...illustrates an ongoing irritant. Why, given the number of physicians it must take to calibrate and titrate George's meds when he's unleashed on the civilized world - and expected to cope with sentient persons discussing issues of purported importance - would they ever allow him to peddle a vehicle of any sort?

And has anyone else out there experienced a new wiretap routed through Trinidad & Tobago? I thought I had seen them all.

The issue is the unspeakable incompetence of security forces. So much money and so little time.

Turning to more pleasant arenas...and back to idle speculation. I have two words for those who might wish to wonder about current events and future directions of the zapatista sort. Mastheads and bylines.

I told you I would have to be doing deep camouflage.

And, as for the revolutionary tourism I had promised, Schools for Chiapas. Real work, real communities and the real thing. Brick by brick, quite literally. Unlike so many others, they never left. Tell Peter I sent you.

But now, given the quality of the night and the light, I think it's time to curl up with Andrew Marvell and a bit of Jameson.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Seduction, anarchism and speculation

[as always, please just keep scrolling down for the latest EZLN communiques]

Tonight a homage to seduction of the Italian sort, anarchism and spurious speculation.

First, a note to some of our friends:

Comandanta b - I posted Parts 2 and 3 of the 6th Declaration several days ago. Just scroll down, and you shall find them. I think Part 3 is much more relevant for what you are looking for. And, while the Red Alert has not, as yet, been officially called off, the internal consulta is complete, and, as far as I know, things are returning to normal. So, again with the caveat that this is merely my opinion, I would not, myself, hesitate to go there.

Comradewill - Most dear compa, please don't misunderstand me: I would never, ever counsel anyone to throw out their Dylan tapes [mine are resting snugly beside me, right between Manu Chao and Talking Heads, in fact. One of these days I shall sort them, alphabetically perhaps. Or not. And I'm afraid I didn't understand your reference to the "4th Decoration." If you would explain, I would be more than happy to...speculate.

Now, given that it's the beginning of summer, at least in most northern places, and given my penchant for divine words, the sublimely erotic and the dreaming up of worlds, it might be a suitable time to revisit Boccaccio. Decameron Web, indeed...I promise you will be seduced.

And, given the rash of uncivil words of late, a nod to another master of love, albeit of the romantic, generally unconsummated sort, Petrarch.

If, however, you're not in the mood for love, of any sort, but still wish to be seduced, there is always Umberto Eco.

Now, I had planned a marvelous segue to tonight's next topic - a delightful article on pie throwing, female anarchists with wit and Tute Bianche, the White Monkeys. However, and it should always be expected with anarchist sites, the ones I had in mind are down.

A fair enough segue, I suppose, to the Worker's Solidary Movement in Ireland. They are up, but the Irish Mexico Group, which shares the site, is struggling. They will understand why I grin. Regardless, the WSM is wide-ranging, deep and very smart.

If you're in the mood for something different, enagaging and always titillating, do stop in at Not Bored.

And, speaking of not-your-father's-anarchist-site, RTS - Reclaim the Streets - is, as you should expect, smart, hot and fine. You will be moved. Trust me.

As for the site that both you and your father might enjoy, Tao, the mother of us all [yes, I know]...it is huge, all embracing and always up. I can hardly believe I just wrote those words.

One last thought about how to while away your computer time. The Guardian is running one of their excellent weblogs from the G8. Real-time, excellent writers and much better coverage than you'll get from any US papers, god knows.

Now...speculation. Everyone keeps asking about a new Zapatour. Read Part 3 of the 6th. As for arms - the taking up and laying down of - read Part 3 of the 6th. As for voice, infighting and such, read Parts 1 and 3 and then Part 2. As for less serious dish...I'll slip it in where I can. Deeply camouflaged.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

On music, naysayers and the little picture

[please just scroll down a bit further for all the latest EZLN translations]

Well, for a simple thing like me, who couldn't afford even a tenth of the price of a ticket for any of the acts, it was all about the music.

Linkin Park was so very very good.

And Michael Stipes in his stunning metallic blue face paint mask. GreenDay, risking looking the fool and not giving a bloody damn, in their homage to Queen and 1985.

Snoop Dog still gets it, Pete Townsend still looks like someone you'd like to spend the weekend with [as long as you had plenty of cash for bail money] and Stevie Wonder still writes the words like an angel.

And if the very smart boys of Pink Floyd could set aside their not inconsiderable differences to once again grace us with their wall of sound...

As for the Debate and the naysayers [nattering nabobs of negativity, though I imagine I'm the only one who remembers that well-scripted phrase]...I can picture them all over the world. Muttering into their coffee, sneering with their compas. What matters if several millions of people learned a little something about the real world. Something they would never have otherwise learned in any another venue. After all, they don't read Rebelión or La Jornada or The Nation or the Guardian.

George Monbiot, whom I do read, has a few issues to take, of course. And some excellent points to make. But, dear George and most dear smug naysayers... Sir Bob and Bono are not fools, and I rather think they read the Guardian. And Chomsky and Sontag. They are also both Irish.

Sometimes I think it's a gender thing. And there is much in the Irish sensibility that plays the fool, the femme. The willingness to bleed in public, to take unseemly risks, whether in words or music or revolution.

As, perhaps, a mother might react if she saw her children wounded, in jeopardy, dying. She would rush to save them. Ignoring the stern, well-referenced [always] arguments of the gentleman standing above her. Insisting that she was in error. The cause of the carnage still walked the streets, and she was wrong to stop to save the ones she could. It was merely a bandaid, it would give the Powers more permission [as if they needed it], she did not see the Big Picture.

The neo-colonial wars, the plundering of the continent(s) for oil, water and human cannon fodder. They love to insist that one can't see both. Both the Big and the little picture.

After all, Big Men and Big Problems require Big Solutions. Absolutely, and god knows there are a plethora of Big Solutions about. In the meantime, cancel the fucking debt and make the bastards throw billions at malaria and AIDS. I somehow don't think the mothers of Africa give much of a bloody damn about the ethics of finely nuanced [but very smart] argument. Nor, I warrant, are they much in the mood for waiting for the Big Solution.

Music is marvelous for so many things. Perhaps the naysayers might put away their old Dylan tapes for a bit and just try a little Social D. Then they could move on to Rage and even, eventually, to Dr. Dre. And, in the interest of fairness, we who love our Coldplay, Linkin Park and Sublime might move back to the Clash and even, who knows, to Dylan.

All in the interest of starting to learn what inclusiveness really truly means.