We need to recognise and acknowledge the grave seriousness of the current situation, which cannot be overstated.
Neither should we hide the fact that evil triumphs when people shrug their shoulders at it and return quietly
to their daily activities. Now is the time to act. Only with concerted and effective mobilisation can we prevent the
disaster that now threatens us.
In November 2007, 'Peace with Democracy', a group of independent thinkers who cannot be accused of partisan
or dogmatic exaggeration, and who stand out for the calmness and solidity of their judgements, stated "Mexico is
in a state of emergency". They presented many facts and reasons to substantiate their warning.
The tone of their new appeal last month shows that their reading of the signs they observed in our reality
increased their concerns. In response to the emergency, they said, "the organisation of autonomous communities
throughout the country is necessary and urgent; communities whose members autonomously and democratically
govern themselves in the production, sharing, exchanging and defence of their food, basic necessities, and
education need to come together with their children, women, old people and men for the defence of the lives, the
common heritage of the peoples and the nation, to preserve the natural environment and to strengthen independent
movements and spaces for dialogue, to join together their ideological differences and shared values". There is a
clear sense of urgency in their call.
They did not launch this message into an empty space. We have alert and active social groups who have shown their
vitality and their ability to act on many different occasions. But these forces have been showing signs of lethargy.
Occupied in the struggle for survival in conditions that are part of the national emergency, or distracted by internal
disputes or irrelevant quarrels, they have not been showing a clear awareness of the situation nor the mental
attitude that is needed.
Once again, like an antenna which is sensitive to what happens in Mexico and throughout the world, the Zapatistas
have become the focal point. This time we are not dealing with a new initiative for mobilisation, like those which have
woken up the country since the first of January 1994. This is an extreme situation: the attacks on Zapatista communities,
which have not ceased since 1994, are reaching the point where there seems to be no alternative but armed resistance.
'Peace with Democracy', together with a significant number of social and political organisations, recently presented a
timely denunciation of what is happening in Chiapas and made an urgent appeal: we cannot let this happen. This is
not one more call in the desert: it is a mandatory demand for action.
It should be clear to everyone that the Zapatistas cannot be displaced from their lands and territories, and that under
no circumstances will they surrender.
But it is not. Local and federal authorities might be fostering illusions that the relative isolation of the Zapatistas has
created the opportunity to get rid of them. But, as they say Talleyrand said in a similar situation, this is a crime, and it
is also a mistake. It was a similar mistake when Ulises Ruiz thought that the isolation of the teachers would allow him
to repress them without repercussions, and provoked a popular insurrection in Oaxaca. To repeat such a criminal
mistake in the case of the Zapatistas would have devastating consequences. We need to make it absolutely clear,
without reservation, that the Zapatistas are not alone. Many groups in about twenty countries are beginning to do this.
We must do it more clearly in Mexico.
At the same time, we need to co-ordinate our actions. It is increasingly clear that neither the law nor human rights are
considered important by those who currently occupy the offices of government, nor do they show political ability or
wisdom in their obsession with handing over the country to those who are already demanding delivery of the goods.
Little by little, throughout the country, the autonomous communities to which 'Peace and Democracy' are referring are
beginning to emerge. They can be found at every step, in neighbourhoods and villages deep in Mexico (Mexico Profundo).
But not enough. We must speed up the pace and increase the number of public initiatives. We need to build effective
dykes to hold back the wave of irresponsible decisions and initiatives that have created this state of emergency and
are today approaching a headlong disaster.
The war that is taking place does not just target the Zapatistas. But various factors and circumstances put them back into
the centre of confrontation and link their destiny with that of the country. It would be suicidal not to take them into account.