The recent anouncement by the EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress that they plan to present an indigenous woman as candidate to the presidential election in 2018 [read statement here] provoked hysterical reactions from some sectors of the official Mexican left, specially from Lopez Obrador, his party MORENA and some intellectuals supporting it, accusing the Zapatistas of wanting to "divide the left". Here is the response to these criticisms from the Sup.-Tlaxcala
October 20, 2016
To Whom It May Concern:
Questions without answers:
—So what about the women murdered for the grave crime of being women? Will the fact that they have demanded that the attacks stop and, with their blood, raised the topic not just to the national agenda but the global one, make them the object of mockery, disdain, and accusations that they are playing to the right? Because they aren’t dying, they are being killed. What if they refuse to accept that this is a problem that can be solved by addressing corruption? And if they dare to say that the origin of this murderous hate is located in the system itself? What if they come up with the crazy idea to sideline men with regard to the most vital decisions (yes, as in questions of life of death)? And if they decide to take their destiny into their own hands? Would any part of that, or all of it, be a governmental maneuver to avoid… etcetera?
—What about the others (loas otroas)? Must they wait for the political class to turn its haughty gaze on one of the most vilified peoples below? Must they resign themselves to be knocked off until the murder rate finally gets high enough to attract attention? And what if they organize themselves and demand respect, if they decide they’ve had enough of the fact that being disrespected means being killed? Would they be told that their problems are not a priority, that their position is not generally politically correct and is in fact counterproductive with regard to the electoral race, and that their demands should unite and not detract?
—The parish priests, nuns, and laypeople of the progressive church see and feel firsthand, without intermediaries, the pain, angst, and desperation of migrants, the families of the disappeared, and entire peoples under attack, as well as the rage concerning impunity and the frustration of suffering injustice which has been made law with pomp and circumstance. Are they trying to use this pain to their own benefit? What would they gain by making those cries theirs, by identifying themselves with that rage? And if from that perspective, formed not just in the face of threats of all kinds but at the risk of their own earthly lives, they claim openly and reflectively that the solutions offered on the horizon are not sufficient, are they thus opposed—being who they are and accountable to what they are—to a real change?
—If the mere possibility of an indigenous woman existing as a citizen (with all of its rights and obligations) has the effect of causing “the earth to tremble at its core,” what would happen if her ear and her word traveled through all of Mexico below?
"Margarita''s hour" "I want to continue Felipe''s work"
—You who are reading this: would you be bothered by watching and listening to a debate between the Calderona[i] from above, with her “traditional” luxury brand clothing, and a woman below, of indigenous blood, culture, language, and history? Would you be more interested in hearing what the Calderona promises or what the indigenous woman proposes? Wouldn’t you want to see this clash of two worlds? Imagine, on the one side, a woman from above, born and raised with every luxury, educated to feel superior in race and color, complicit and promised heiress of a psychopathic enthusiast of alcohol and blood,[ii] representative of an elite that is steering the Nation toward total destruction, and chosen by the Ruler to be his spokesperson. Imagine on the other hand a woman who, like many, made her way working and struggling every day, every hour, and everywhere, not only against a system that oppresses her as indigenous, as poor, and as a worker, but also as a woman who has faced a system reproduced in the image and likeness of the brains of men, and not just a few women. Wouldn’t she, with everything against her, today, without yet knowing it, have to now aspire to represent not only herself, her collective, or her originary people, tribe, nation, or barrio, but also millions of women who are distinct in their language, color, and race but equal in their pain and rage? Would this not be a situation in which on one side would appear a white criolla woman, the symbol of oppression, mockery, scorn, impunity, and shamelessness, and on the other a woman who would have to lift her indigenous spirit above the racism that permeates every level of social strata? Isn’t it true that, almost without knowing it, you would cease to be a spectator and desire, from the deepest part of you, that the victor of this debate, after a good battle, would be the one who had everything against her? Would you not applaud that, in the name of this indigenous woman, it was truth that won and not the power of money?
—Are you worried that the indigenous woman won’t speak Spanish well, but not that the current head of the federal executive branch doesn’t know how to speak at all?
—How solid can the Mexican political system be, and how well-founded and reliable the tactics and strategies of the political parties, if, when someone says publicly that they are thinking about something, that they are going to ask their peers what they think of what they are thinking, the entire political party system becomes hysterical?
—To what degree does the proposal that an indigenous governing council (concejo with a “c”),[iii] that is, a collective and not an individual, be in charge of the federal executive bolster-presidential-rule-become-complicit-in-the-electoral-farce-contribute-to-reinforcing-bourgeois-democracy-play-to-the-oligarchy-and-to-Yankee-Chinese-Russian-Judeoislamic-millenarian -imperialism-in-addition-to-betraying-the-highest-principles-of-the-global-proletarian-revolution?
—Should we follow the inertia of the political class, “thinking” heads and acrobats of all kinds, and respond to the unfounded criticism—as well as well-founded critiques that challenge us and provoke thought—with dismissals that, in addition to being lazy, are boring (like peñabots, paniaguados, pejezombis, perderistas,[iv] and etceterists)?
—A million-dollar idea (or an effort to raise money to collect signatures and for the campaign—oh, oh, looks like they’re serious): an application that self-censors on twitter when one writes something stupid. Handy, because the screen shots are unforgiving. What? That’s already occurred to you? Well, get to it, because when the CNI authorizes us to explain, erasing those tweets will be useless.
Rankings for the first week:
Finalist for the best meme: El Deforma[v] (not really much of a prize for them, because El Deforma is like the Barcelona F.C. of memes).
Finalist for the best tweet on a well-founded suspicion: “What seems most suspicious to me is that the #EZLN always becomes fashionable in the winter and then the fucking skimasks get really expensive.”
Finalist for the best series of tweets on the topic: “Hey listen, with regard to all this, do the Zapatistas even use Twitter?/ I’m asking because we’re here scolding them, mocking them, ridiculing them, telling them, ordering them what they should and shouldn’t do/ and if they aren’t even paying attention/ if they aren’t hearing us, then it’s like/ masturbating while watching, aroused, a box of cereal, you know/ heads up, don’t forget to erase this series of tweets/. Warning! Your Twitter account has suffered an attack by a screen shot.
Listen, a bit of well-intentioned counsel (consejo with an ‘s’): a lesson in reading comprehension wouldn’t hurt you. And speaking of letters, a composition lesson wouldn’t be a bad idea either… providing it is one with a limited horizon of the 140 characters.
—A non-Confucian maxim: “although it may seem unbelievable, it seems there is not just one but many worlds outside of social networks.”
Defensa Zapatista, Chicharito Hernández, and Lionel Messi
I don’t know how the hell the ball ended up in my tent, but the thing is that behind it came a little girl about… how old? I estimate between 8 and 10; in the communities that could be years or decades. It’s not the first time that the irreverent and happy tone of Zapatista childhood erupts in the solitary room where I at times stay, so I didn’t pay too much attention and continued reviewing and reading the storm across social networks and free and paid media. I wouldn’t even have noticed the little girl’s presence if she hadn’t said, in a knowing voice, “it’s like the thing with Chicharito and Messi.” I realized that the little girl was looking over my shoulder at the screen of my laptop. Remembering that old maxim that the best offense is defense, I asked her: “And you, who are you? I don’t know you.” The little girl responded, “my name is Defensa Zapatista,” as if stating the obvious, as if she had said “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” Pointing to the screen she added, “Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona and Messi doesn’t play for the Chiapas Jaguars.” I turned back around to see if I had switched hashtags without realizing it, but no, the header still read #ezln. What occurs in the head of a Zapatista little girl is not so much a world but rather a Big Bang in continual expansion. Nevertheless, I asked her, “And what the hell does that have to do with anything.” The little girl answered with a face that says, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
“It’s like they’re criticizing Chicharito for not scoring goals for Barcelona and Messi for not doing anything to help the Jaguars. Some say that Chicharito is going to recover; others say he’s done. Some say that Messi is sad because his home country doesn’t support him; others say it’s that his shoe is too tight and if he changes it he’s going to shoot well again.
But the thing is Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, nor Messi for the Jaguars. Meaning, they’re getting all worked up for nothing.”
I was evaluating the change in paradigm underlying Defensa Zapatista’s line of reasoning when she started in again: “Hey Sup, why don’t we organize a soccer game for when those who are like us show up here? Well, we haven’t actually finished putting together our team and sometimes Pedrito, the little jerk, thinks he’s really tough, and the cat-dog barely obeys orders, and the one-eyed horse falls asleep a lot, and the other players, well sometimes they come and sometimes they go. But look, I already thought about what song we should play we win the final. Do you know the tune? What would you know, you’re the sup!” I advise you to study the sciences and the arts, so that you can see clearly that the problem is that Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, and Messi doesn’t play for the Jaguars, and so you shouldn’t worry, to hell with the lot of them. I have to go now because the team isn’t complete yet and what if we’re up to play for, like they say, the inauguration.”
Already at the door, the little girl turned around and said: “Hey Sup, if my moms comes and asks if you saw me, you just tell her clearly that Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona and Messi doesn’t play for the Jaguars. I mean don’t tell lies, because mothers always know when you’re lying. So what you have to do is change the game, pretend you’re headed one way, but really you’re going in another. I can explain that to you later, but study first, because if you are going to go to the autonomous school they are going to make fun of you, and Pedrito will be the worst, because the little jerk is bragging that he finished grade school. But he’ll see that I’m going to finish too and then get outta here, to hell with him. About the team, don’t worry, there will be more of us. Sometimes it takes a while, but there will be more of us.” The little girl left.
SubMoy showed up and asked me, “Do you have the text with the explanation ready?”
“No, but Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, nor Messi for the Jaguars,” I answered, following Defensa Zapatista’s advice.
SubMoy looked at me and took out his radio, giving the order, “send someone from the health commission with an injection.”
I ran, what else could I do?
[i] A reference to Margarita Zavala, the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and likely PAN candidate for the presidency in 2018.
[ii] A reference to her husband, ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012).
[iii] Concejo with a “c” means council, often referring to some level of governing council. Consejo with an “s” means advice or counsel, or is used to refer to an entity like a board of directors.
[iv] Derogatory terms used to discredit supporters of the various institutional political parties.
[v] A satirical Mexican website http://eldeforma.com/
Zapatista fotball team, Mexico-City, March 15, 1999