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.


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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.

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