Fwd: <nettime> Zapatista Magazine + Silent Note from Marcos + BBC
phil.graham at MAILBOX.UQ.EDU.AU
Tue Nov 26 14:39:10 UTC 2002
This is an inspiring piece from Marcos, at least I find it so.
From: "ricardo dominguez" <rdom at thing.net>
To: <nettime-l at bbs.thing.net>
Subject: <nettime> Zapatista Magazine + Silent Note from Marcos + BBC
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 08:13:29 -0500
Sender: nettime-l-request at bbs.thing.net
Reply-To: "ricardo dominguez" <rdom at thing.net>
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From: FZLN <fzln at fzln.org.mx>
Date: Friday, November 15 2002 20:06:33 -0600
The first issue of the new magazine, Rebeldi'a, will be launched on November
17. The magazine's statement of purpose establishes: "We are not
concealing our position: we are zapatistas. We shall not feign a false
neutrality, full of hypocrisy."
Participating at the launch will be Dr. Luis Javier Garrido, Javier
Elorriaga, Dr. Paulina Ferna'ndez Christlieb and Sergio Rodri'guez Lascano.
The date is 1:00 PM this Sunday, November 17 (the start of the 20th year of
the Zapatista Army of National Liberation), at Casa Lamm, located at Alvaro
Obrego'n #99, Colonia Roma.
We appreciate your attendance.
<<A Silent Note from Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos about the Magazine>>
Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa
Monday, November 18, 2002.
Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
September of 2002.
For Fernando Ya'nez Munoz, Architect,
>From Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Please accept the usual greetings, almost as usual as the cold which will
soon be clothing the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
As you will remember, it has now been 18 years since I arrived in the
mountains of the Mexican southeast, that is, I have reached the age of
majority. This is an excellent excuse for writing you, for greeting you
and, in passing, for congratulating you, since I have found out that you
graduated with honors, which is how zapatistas graduate.
I received the letter where you told me about the project of Professor
Sergio Rodri'guez Lascano, the teacher Adriana Lo'pez Monjardi'n and Javier
Elorriaga, that of making a magazine whose name, as I understand it, will be
Regarding that, I would like to let you know that we can do nothing less
than applaud that intellectual effort and say how good that it is zapatistas
who are undertaking that task.
If that magazine, Rebeldi'a, does not follow the path of the publications of
the left, it is likely that they will even publish more than one copy and,
one fine day, they will launch it publicly, so that the entire world (that
is, those who make it and their friends and family) will know of it.
I have never been to a magazine launch, but I imagine that there is a table
where those who are presenting the magazine will sit, and they look at each
other, asking themselves, not unblushingly, why there are more people at the
table than in the audience.
But that is, in fact, assuming that the project doesn't stay shelved.
And, speaking of assumptions, the outlandish idea has occurred to me that
you might be present at the improbable launch of Rebeldi'a, and, if so, our
voice would be represented in your voice.
After all, it will be a magazine made by zapatistas, and we should be
present in some form.
As we are in silence - and the silence is not being broken, but tended - we
shall not be able to attend (indeed, I'm taking it as a given here that
those who are making the magazine would have the tact to invite us, although
I doubt that they'll do so, not out of a lack of courtesy, but because of
terror that we would speak of their publication).
If they do not invite us, make yourself the victim and, singing that song of
Aute's that says, "passing by here," slam the door and, when they are
yawning, ask to speak and come out with one of those lectures that leave
wounds. They'll definitely be asleep, but at least they'll have nightmares
instead of dreams.
Since I already know that you are asking yourself what you can talk about
since we are in silence, I'm sending you some thoughts here that can be used
for your presentation.
The problem is that they are written in that sparkling and playful style
which is the joy of young and old, and not in the stilted and serious style
of the anthropologists, but you can compose them into something very very
Here, then, are the thoughts (bear in mind they I have been very careful to
not refer to anything current or to the indigenous law; concerning these
topics, the word will come that comes; you also take care not to break the
ONE. The intellectual work of the left should, above all else, be a
critical and self-critical exercise.
Since self-criticism is always postponed for the next number, critique,
then, becomes the sole motor of thought.
In the case of the left in Mexico, that intellectual work now has, among
others, one central objective, the critique of politics and culture, and of
TWO. In present-day Mexico, the practice of politics and culture are full
Ergo, the critique by the left should combat those myths. And there are not
a few myths which inhabit the culture.
But there are myths and myths.
There is, for example, the cultural myth which chants: "Enrique Krauze is
an intellectual," when we all know that he's nothing but a mediocre
Or that other one which says: "Mari'a Felix was a diva," when the truth is
she was just a professional of herself.
There is the myth that "Viana sells cheaper," when you can get a better
price and better quality from any street vendor.
There are also myths in politics:
There is the myth that "The National Action Party is a party of the right."
Actually, it is not a party of the center or the left either.
The PAN is, in reality, nothing more than a placement agency for management
There is also that other myth that "The Democratic Revolutionary Party is a
Nor on the other hand, is it an alternative of the center or of the right.
The PRD is, simply, not an alternative of anything.
Or you have the myth: "The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a political
party." The PRI is, in reality, a cave with 40 thieves who are fruitlessly
waiting for their Ali Baba. Or that other myth, so beloved by the stagnant
left, that chants: "Going against globalization is like going against the
law of gravity."
Opposed to that, throughout the world, are the marginalized of all colors
who are defying both of them, and neither physics nor the International
Monetary Fund can prevent them.
And there is the myth for which the federal and the Chiapas state
governments are paying, and paying dearly, that says: "The zapatistas are
finished," when the only thing that the zapatistas are finished with is
I am sure there are other myths I have missed, but I am only mentioning a
And I am certain that Rebeldi'a magazine will unclothe them more radically.
And I am not doing it like that, because it is already known that the
zapatistas are famous for being "moderate" and "reformist."
That is what the alleged "ultras" of the CGH called us, who are today
undoubtedly lining up at the doors of the PRD closest to their hearts, and
their wallets, waiting for the chance to run in the next election.
THREE. The rebel is, if you will permit the image, a human being beating
himself against the walls of the labyrinth of history. And, so that there
is no misinterpretation, it is not that he is pummeling himself in order to
look for the path which will lead him to the way out.
No, the rebel beats at the walls because he knows that the labyrinth is a
trap, because he knows that there is no way out other than by breaking down
If the rebel uses his head as a club, it is not because it is a hard head
(which it is, have no doubt), but because breaking down the traps of
history, along with their myths, is a job that is done with the head, that
is, it is an intellectual work.
And so, as a consequence, the rebel suffers from a headache that is so
severe and continuous that it makes him forget about the most severe
FOUR. Among the traps of history is the one which says "all previous times
When the right says that, it is confessing to its reactionary nature. When
it is the parliamentary left which puts it forward, it is demonstrating the
capitulations of its present.
When it is the center which is speaking, then someone is delirious, because
the center does not exist. When the institutional left looks at itself in
the mirror of Power and says: "I am a responsible and mature left," it is
in reality saying "I am a left which the right finds agreeable."
When the right looks at itself in the mirror of Power and says "what
beautiful clothes I am wearing!", it forgets that it is naked.
When the center looks for itself in the mirror of Power, it does not find
FIVE. Neither the forms of struggle nor the times are for the exclusive use
of one social sector. Neither autonomy nor resistance are forms of
organization and struggle which concern only the Indian peoples.
And let me tell you something here: It is said that the EZLN is an example
of the construction of autonomy and resistance.
And yes. For example, every zapatista insurgent is a kind of autonomous
municipality, or he does what he wants to do.
And what better resistance than the one which opposes carrying out orders.
And all of that is a defect, but it is also a virtue.
There you have the enemy intercepting our communications and finding out
that the command is calling for a meeting at the G-spot (note that my double
entendres are now in the sublime).
The enemy does his work and sets up an ambush...but no one arrives.
What happened? Was it sexual incompetence? Did the zapatista
counterintelligence services function perfectly?
No, if one thoroughly investigates, it would be found that Pa'nfilo did not
arrive because he thought it would be better to meet on the other side.
Clotilde thought yes, but another day. And Eufrosino did not think, because
he was studying a sex education manual in order to see where the G-spot was
(by the way, your compa~era is still waiting for you to find it).
Are these not magnificent examples of zapatista autonomy and resistance used
as weapons against the enemy?
And, speaking of the G-spot, allow me another digression, since this letter
will not be made public.
The new disc by Joaquin Sabina will have, in addition to the song that is
not a song that the Sup wrote, another cut which is called 69 G-spot.
I am told that the record will sell like hotcakes (the 69 and the G-spot
being the hot), and not because it's a song by the Sup but, rather - between
us here - in spite of that.
Now I'm remembering another myth, the one that says "Sabina and the Sup are
in love," when the one they both love is Panchito Varona.
But fine, what I want to tell you, about Sabina, is that the other day I was
in a village, cutting a blue carnation for the princess, and a support base
compa~era arrived in order to show me her son.
"He is called Sabino," she told me.
I made a face like "Sabino?", but I didn't say anything.
The compa~era understood my gesture and clarified: "Yes, Sabino, like the
Sabina you're making the songs for. But since this one is male, he came out
Sabino and not Sabina."
About my making the songs for Sabina.
If they find out, they won't give us even one percent of the royalties.
Where was I?
Ah yes! In myths, in politics and in culture, in the continuous headaches
of the rebels in their zeal for breaking the traps of history.
SIX. The fundamental myth for why the Power is what it is, is in history.
Not in history as such, but in the one it invents for its convenience.
In that history, in the history of Power, the struggle of those of below,
for example, is made up of nothing but defeats, betrayals and capitulations.
You know very well that we are full of scars that do not close. Some of
them, the minority, are those bestowed by heartlessness.
The majority are those of our history, that of below, and, in our case, that
of the most below, the underground, the clandestine.
It is not that there have been no defeats and betrayals there, but not only
The river which carries it has more heroism and generosity than meanness and
And, speaking of history, I'm now remembering when I met you, 22 years ago,
you and Lucha, in the house we called La Mina.
And it was La Mina not because it contained a treasure, but because it was
dark and damp as a cave.
At that time Lucha was determined to make me eat, and you were determined to
teach me so many things which, you said, would be useful someday.
I believe that I was not a good guest nor a good student, but I well
remember the little figure of Che which you gave me on my birthday, and in
which you wrote, in your own hand, those words of Jose Marti' that go, more
or less: "The true man does not look at which side lives better, but on
which side duty lies."
Duty, brother, that kind tyrant which governs us.
During our history, I have had the good fortune of knowing men and women for
whom duty is their entire life and, in not a few cases, their entire death.
And that leads me to reflection number...
SEVEN. Given the need to choose between anything at all and duty, the rebel
always chooses duty. And so it goes.
I believe, big brother, that you should also regale them, those who are
listening to you on the day of the magazine launch, with that very phrase,
but made current. And I would say something like...
"Man, woman, homosexual, lesbian, child, youth, old one, that is, the true
human being, does not look at which side lives better, but on which side
Those words sum up better than anything else what the rebel's vocation is,
and they surpass anything I could say to you or to anyone on the subject.
Good, then, brother, now I'll say goodbye. All the compa~eros and
compa~eras send you greetings. They hope, as do I, that you are well
physically, because we already know that morally you are, as ever, strong
Vale. Salud and, if they press you, tell them that rebellion is just a
headache which is not worth being cured of...ever.
>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
It is September of 2002 and the rain has not been able to hurt the skin of
PS: It can be expected that there will be one or another member of the
Zapatista Front of National Liberation in the audience.
Give them our greetings.
We already know that they are working hard to give themselves a new face, a
And how good that the Frente's profile will no longer be that of the pupils,
but that it is given face and path by persons such as Don Manuel, tanned
former railway worker; such as Mirios, of modest heroism; such as
Colonel-Gisella, which is one and the other and not the same, but equal;
such as the young students who were in the CGH; such as the ones from UAM;
such as the ones from Poli; such as the ones from UPN; such as the ones
from ENAH; like the ones from other higher education centers; like those
from Veracruz who achieved the miracle that was Orizaba in last year's
march; like the ones from Oaxaca; like the ones from Tlaxcala; like the
ones from Nuevo Leo'n; like the ones from Morelos; like the ones from the
state of Mexico; like the ones from Jalisco; like the ones from
Quere'taro; like the ones from Michoaca'n; like the ones from Yucatan;
like the ones from Quintana Roo; like the ones from Guanajuato; like the
ones from Zacatecas; like the ones!
rom Durango; like the ones from Chihuahua; like the ones from Coahuila;
like the ones from the two Baja Californias; like the ones from Colima;
like the ones from Sonora; like the ones from Sinaloa; like the ones from
Tamaulipas; like the ones from Guerrero; like the ones from San Luis
Potosi', and like the ones from DF.
And, like all the base Frente members who, if we go by their numbers and
their work, turn out to be a kind of octopus, and, in addition, all of whom
know nothing of surrender.
ANOTHER PS. And now I'm remembering another myth which says that "the EZLN
doesn't love the frentistas," when it's clear that it's the frentistas we
don't love. No, that's not true.
We do indeed love all of them, what happens is that they also, in their own
way, are practicing autonomy and resistance...in front of us.
Because there are organized rebellions, as it is assumed should grow in the
FZLN, and disorganized rebellions, like the ones we experience in the EZLN,
and so we go.
PS. The last one and we're going. A favor: when you read something of
mine during the presentation of the magazine, cough from time to time. That
is in order to promote another myth, the one that says that I am very very
I hope they send me nuts.
PS. Yes indeed the last one. (note: this postscript heading voids the
previous postscript heading).
It can now be seen that, for being in silence, we are talking quite a bit.
It is probably owing to the fact that we are zapatistas. Because in Mexico,
"REBELDIA" is written with a "Z" for "nuez" and for "zapatista."
Vale de nuez de la India.
The very very sick (Ha!) Sup dreaming that Shadow-Light will finally walk
and that the horizon can already be seen.
<<<NOTE FROM THE BBC>>>
Subject: BBC,Silence in the Mexican south,Nov 16
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 15:06:37 +0100
Saturday, 16 November, 2002, 12:44 GMT
Silence in the Mexican south
The Zapatistas have now retreated into silence
By Nick Caistor in Chiapas
A tiny old man wearing a green oilskin hat and a red poncho comes shuffling
up to me in the street. He's got a huge plastic bag hanging down his back,
held on by a strap across his forehead, and he wants to sell me whatever is
He is one of the majority of indigenous people who live in this region in
Mexico's deep south.
They want to control us as if we were children, to look after our affairs
until they consider us adult enough to take responsibility for ourselves
We're in the town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the gateway to the
highlands of Chiapas.
It's an imposing colonial town, the capital of the state under Spanish rule.
It's situated about 11,000 feet up in the mountains, and is surrounded by
misty pine woods, which become denser and wetter in the forests even further
up in the mountains.
San Cristobal was the most important of the towns seized by the Zapatista
army in their revolt back in 1994, when their uprising alerted the whole
world to the misery and discontent of the local indigenous population.
Some 200 people were killed during the revolt, and there have been almost as
many deaths in the region since.
Eventually, the Zapatistas agreed to sit down with a government peace
commission. After several years of off-on talks, the two sides agreed on a
peace settlement - the San Andres accord.
This peace deal allowed the indigenous people of Chiapas and other states of
the Mexican federation - some 10 million people altogether - a large measure
President Fox's promises of change appear to have faltered
It agreed to let the indigenous communities to own their lands collectively
rather than individually. It allowed their traditional authorities to be the
ones who administered justice in indigenous areas and established other
mechanisms for the indigenous voices to be heard and respected as equals.
The government in power until 2000 did nothing to implement these peace
accords. But Vicente Fox, who swept to power in that year's elections on a
promise to bring change to all levels of Mexican society, boasted that he
could solve the indigenous problem in Chiapas "in 15 minutes."
He started well. He sent the San Andres peace agreement to the Mexican
Congress for it to be debated and signed into law. This guaranteed a new and
more just status for all Mexico's indigenous peoples.
But many members of Congress, particularly in the PRI party, did not like
the deal. They thought it was giving away too much, and transforming the
indigenous people from citizens without rights to citizens who had more
guarantees than anyone else in Mexico.
The "Indian law" has been rejected by the indigenous people
They were worried that the autonomy being offered to Zapatistas and other
groups might create states within Mexico, and make the country ungovernable.
So the federal Congress in Mexico City modified almost all of the clauses of
the peace agreement, and then passed this modified legislation into law.
Since then, the states in the Mexican federation with a large indigenous
population have rejected the new "Indian law".
"We're back to the Spanish colonial system," one indigenous commentator
argued. "They want to control us as if we were children, to look after our
affairs until they consider us adult enough to take responsibility for
The Zapatista response was even more emphatic. They rejected the new
legislation, and since then have refused to talk to anyone. They have
withdrawn to their strongholds in the Chiapas mountains and retreated into
Whereas before they made pronouncements, used e-mail and other electronic
means to give their views on the situation in Mexico and the rest of the
world, they are now saying nothing at all.
This silence is deeply worrying the Mexican authorities. They have no idea
what it might mean - could it be leading up to another armed revolt, as the
Zapatistas have never handed in their weapons. Or could it mean that the
most famous Zapatista leader, sub-comandante Marcos, is either very ill or
There are still some 20,000 federal troops in Chiapas, and though at the
moment there is no armed conflict, the danger of violence is still very
"We're in no hurry," one of the spokesmen for the indigenous groups told me.
"For 500 years now, the authorities have refused to listen to us. Now all of
a sudden, they're anxious to know what we think, what we're going to do.
That's their problem - we have time on our side."
I finally understood what the little old man was trying to sell me -
"tierra", or earth, soil for my pot plants. The sack on his back was full of
the rich earth from Chiapas.
When I tried to explain I had no use for it, he looked up at me in complete
disbelief. Then without saying a word, he shuffled off down the hill and out
of town, back into the mountains.
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