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Mike | 15.08.2003 22:08 | Globalisation | Social Struggles | Zapatista | World

5,000 Zapatista supporters gathered at Oventik, Chiapas on 8-9-10 August 2003 to celebrate a major step forward in the indigenous movement's struggle for autonomy.
The last few weeks have seen the Zapatistas issue several communiques of major importance.
“It is possible to govern and to govern ourselves without the parasite that calls itself government.”

the entry to the caracole..
the entry to the caracole..

zapatistas in thier traditional clothes
zapatistas in thier traditional clothes

the caracoles get announced
the caracoles get announced

the commandantes of the EZLN
the commandantes of the EZLN

the crowd
the crowd

the house of the Junta de Buen Gobierno
the house of the Junta de Buen Gobierno


Five thousand Zapatista supporters gathered over the weekend of 9-10 August at Oventik, Chiapas to inaugurate five assemblies of “just government” in Zapatista rebel territory. The vast majority were indigenous peasant villagers, accompanied by supporters from throughout Mexico and the world.

"You are in autonomous rebel Zapatista territory: here the people govern, and the government obeys" , reads a sign at the entrance to the Caracol of Oventik. A festive atmosphere prevailed at the gathering, with the speeches by the Zapatista comandantes and the introductions of the committees interspersed with basketball tournaments and dancing late into the night.

This is a major new stage in the struggle, declare the Zapatistas. They are putting into practice indigenous autonomy, in defiance of the Mexican government. “It is possible to govern and to govern ourselves without the parasite that calls itself government.”

“The EZLN has decided to completely suspend any contact with the Mexican federal government and the political parties, and the Zapatista peoples have reaffirmed that resistance is their primary means of struggle”, declares a recent Zapatista communique.

Delegates from each of the 30 Zapatista autonomous municipalities will comprise the five assemblies of just government situated in the five different areas of Chiapas where the Zapatistas have a strong presence. Following the uprising in 1994, the Zapatistas have reclaimed hundreds of estates of private land into communal control, and created their own systems of grass-roots democracy, autonomous education and autonomous health care.

In oppositon to the capitalists’ Plan Puebla Panama, the Zapatistas have called for the implementation of the people’s Plan La Realidad Tijuana. “The Plan involves linking all the resistances in our country and, along with them, rebuilding the Mexican nation from below.”

The Zapatistas have declared their support at the world level “for Venezuelan sovereignty, for the people of Iraq and for all those struggles in resistance against the power of money.” Comandante Zebedeo announced that “the word of the Zapatistas” would take part in the mobilisations against the WTO in Cancun, Mexico in September.

The weekend also saw the public birth of the Zapatista Radio Insurgente - now accessible via Indymedia Chiapas - transmitting from atop a Ceiba tree deep in rebel territory.

For more information,
See the ongoing coverage, including the Zapatista comandantes’ speeches at Oventik, at Indymedia Chiapas, Report on the Oventik event, and read about the recent zapatista communiques, see below -

The recent Zapatista communiques, all issued July and August 2003:
CHIAPAS 13th Stele, Part Seven: An Invitation
...the final invitation to the fiesta in Oventik....bring your own cake...tortillas supplied (maybe)

CHIAPAS 13th Stele, Part Six: A Good Government
“in order to see to it that, in rebel zapatista lands, governing is governing obeying, the “Good Government Assemblies” will be formed on August 9, 2003.
They shall be seated in the “Caracoles”, with one assembly for each rebel region, and will be formed by 1 or 2 delegates from each one of the Autonomous Councils of that region.
The following will continue to be the exclusive government functions of the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities: the provision of justice; community health; education; housing; land; work; food; commerce; information and culture, and local movement.....
Perhaps a new world is being built.....”

CHIAPAS 13th Stele, Part Five: A History
This communique describes the operations of the zapatista grass-roots democracy, autonomous health and education services and other activities of the autonomous municipalities, such as questions of justice.

“The history of the rebel zapatista Autonomous Municipalities is relatively young, it is 7 years old, going on 8. Although they were declared at the time the December 1994 siege was broken, the rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (the MAREZ) still took a while to become reality.

Today, the exercise of indigenous autonomy is a reality in zapatista lands, and we are proud to say that it has been led by the communities themselves. “
“What I mean by this is that the EZLN's military structure in some way "contaminated" a tradition of democracy and self-governance. The EZLN was, in a manner of speaking, one of the "undemocratic" elements in a relationship of direct community democracy (another anti-democratic element is the Church, but that's a matter for another paper).
When the Autonomous Municipalities began operating, self-governance did not move just from the local to the regional, it also emerged (always tendentially) from the "shadow" of the military structure.
The EZLN does not intervene at all in the designation or removal of autonomous authorities, and it has limited itself to only pointing out that, given that the EZLN, by principle, is not fighting for the taking of power, none of the military command or members of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee can occupy a position of authority in the community or in the Autonomous Municipalities. Those who decide to participate in the autonomous governments must definitively resign from their organizational position within the EZLN. “

CHIAPAS: The 13th Stele, Part Four: A Plan
Analysis of the Plan Puebla Panama, and counterposing to it assorted peoples’ plans, including the Plan La Realidad Tijuana.....
“The Plan involves linking all the resistances in our country and, along with them, rebuilding the Mexican nation from below. There are men, women, children and old ones in all the states of the federation who do not surrender and who, even though they go unnamed, are fighting for democracy, liberty and justice. Our plan involves speaking with them and listening to them. “

CHIAPAS: The 13th Stele, Part Three: A Name
in which Marcos announces a birth.. The naming of the new Caracoles where the Assemblies of Just Government are based.....and Marcos runs into wet weather

CHIAPAS: The 13th Stele, Part Two: A Death
In order to explain the context in which the Zapatista Augascalientes are to die, and be born again as the Caracoles, Marcos goes into a history of the zapatista struggle.
Plus why some NGOs are being banned from zapatista lands, as all projects must be controlled by the communities themselves.
“it is possible to govern and to govern ourselves without the parasite that calls itself government.”

CHIAPAS: The 13th Stele, Part One:
This is part 1 of 7 latest commuiques from the Zapatistas , explaining their reorganisation, the banning of certain NGO's who work in the Chiapas,and new steps they will be taking in their struggle against Neoliberalism...

Communique of July 19, 2003.
The communique below gave notice of the changes to be announced in the following 7 communiques, and gave a short statement on where the zapatistas stand..“July 19, 2003.
To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
This is our word:
FIRST. - The globalization of power has demonstrated throughout the world that it has entered its most aggressive stage by making military war its primary weapon of domination. Nonetheless, the attack against the people of Iraq not only bore witness to globalization's true destructive nature, but it also provoked the greatest worldwide condemnation in the history of humanity. Despite the fallen statues, worldwide resistance and rebellion have been maintained and are growing. The Zapatista rebellion is just one small part of the great demonstration of human dignity throughout the planet..............”

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Chiapas Solidarity activity in Scotland

25.08.2003 11:54

All interested in solidarity activity with the Zapatista communities in resistance at this important time, are invited to contact the Edinburgh-Chiapas Solidarity Group. We have regular meetings and activities and welcome new people. You are invited to join our e mail list - low load, about one message every 2 weeks - by writing

Our next meeting is on sunday 31 August at 7.30pm at ACE, 17 W Montgomery Place, EH7 5HA, which is also our postal address.

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