// Sat 31st March, 10am till 6pm and Sun 1st April, 10am till 4pm.
// @ The Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton BN1 4JA
We are an open network of groups and individuals accross the UK commited to acting in solidarity with the Zapatista rebels of Chiapas, SE Mexico and similar struggles as part of the global anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian movements. We hold network wide gatherings every three months in different locations across the UK.
As the New Year arrived on January 1st 1994 and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was supposed to sweep unnoticed into law, 2000 masked indigenous people calling themselves the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and "the product of 500 years of struggle" seized 12 towns in the impoverished Mexican state of Chiapas, calling NAFTA "a death sentence" and declaring war on capitalist globalisation.
The Mexican state responded with a US backed onslaught of terror, killing over 100 people. Yet, the voice of the Zapatistas - in the form of poetic communiques by spokesman 'Subcommandante Marcos' - captured imaginations around the world. People took to the streets demanding an end to the war, and a ceasefire was agreed on day 12.
After a year of negotiations, the rebels agreed the 'San Andres Accords' with the federal government, guaranteeing more rights for indigenous people. However, the government betrayed this agreement leaving the Zapatistas no choice but to put their rights into practice themselves, without permission.
The Zapatistas now control 32 autonomous zones, each with thousands of villages, and here they self-govern using a radical direct-democracy. In these zones there has been a major increase in education, healthcare and womens rights amongst other things. Yet, realising that they are up against a wall known as capitalism, the Zapatistas have launched a new phase: The Other Campaign.
Aiming to unite diverse peoples "from below and to the left" across Mexico into The Other Campaign, and attempting a similar project globally with The Zesta Internazional, the Zapatistas aim to create a genuine grassroots anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian movement.
Global solidarity has been instrumental in maintaining the Zapatistas resistance this far, and as the Other Campaign begins to scare the Mexican political and economic upper-classes and new state-backed paramilitary organisations increase terrorism against the Zapatistas in Chiapas, our solidarity is needed now more than ever.
Each day the gathering will start with a shared breakfast, then have one session before lunch and another after lunch. On the Saturday evening we hope there will be opportunity to watch films showing the struggles of Mexicans in Oaxaca and Chiapas.
In addition to our solidarity activities with the Zapatistas, we will also be discussing what we can do in solidarity with the people of Oaxaca and Atenco, both of which have suffered severe state violence recently as payment for their dignity and courage in rebellion.
The Cowley Club is a collectively run libertarian social centre on the busy London Road in Brighton. It houses a cafe and bookshop during the day, a private members bar during the evenings, and is a base for a variety of other projects.
12 London Road, Brighton BN1 4JA
Tel: 01273 696104
NOTE: They don't have an email address - please phone or write or come in (!) if you want to get in touch
HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE GATHERING!