ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION.
SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE.
This is our simple word which seeks to touch the hearts of humble and simple people like us, but, also like us, dignified and rebellious. This is our simple word to tell about what has been our step and where we are now, to explain how we see the world and our country, to say what we intend to do and how we intend to do it, and to invite other people to walk with us in something very large called Mexico and something larger called world. This is our simple word to report to all hearts that are honest and noble on what we want in Mexico and the world. This is our simple word, because it is our intention to call out to those who are like us and unite with them, in all places where they live and struggle.
I.- ON WHAT WE ARE.
We are the Zapatistas of the EZLN, although they also call us “Neo-Zapatistas.” All right, well we the Zapatistas of the EZLN rose up in arms in January 1994 because we saw that there is enough of so many evils done by the powerful, who only humiliate us, steal from us, imprison us, and kill us, and nothing that anyone says even does a thing. That is why we said that “Enough is Enough!”, in other words, we are no longer going to allow them to make us less and treat us worse than like animals. And so, we also said that we want democracy, freedom, and justice for all Mexicans, although we concentrate more specifically on the Indian peoples. Because it turns out that almost all of us in the EZLN are purely indigenous people from here in Chiapas, but we do not want to fight only for their good of ourselves or only for the good of the indigenous from Chiapas, or only for the Indian peoples of Mexico, we want to fight together with all people who are humble and simple like us and who have great necessity and who suffer the exploitation and theft of the wealthy and their evil governments here in our Mexico and in other countries of the world.
And so our small story is that we got tired of the exploitation that the powerful were doing to us and so we organized to defend ourselves and to fight for justice. In the beginning we are not many, hardly a few we go from one place to another, talking to and listening to other people like us. We did this many years and we did it in secret, that is without making a racket. In other words, we gathered our force in silence. We spent about 10 years like that, and then later well we grew and well we already were many thousands. So we prepared well with politics and weapons and suddenly, when the wealthy are throwing new year’s parties, well we fell upon them in their cities and took the cities right then and there, and let everyone know that here we are, that they have to take us into account. And so then, the wealthy were given their good fright and sent us their large armies to get rid of us, just like they do whenever the exploited rebel, they order them to get rid of everyone. They did anything but get rid of us, because we prepared very well before the war and we made ourselves strong in our mountains. And there the armies were going around looking for us and casting their bombs and bullets at us, and they already were making their plans on that they kill all the indigenous once and for all because they do not know well who is a Zapatista and who is not. And we running and fighting, fighting and running, just as our ancestors did. Without turning ourselves in, without surrendering, without being defeated.
And so people from the cities go out into the streets and begin with their cries for the war to stop. And so well we stopped our war and listened to those brothers and sisters from the city, who tell us to try to come to an arrangement, i.e. an agreement with the evil governments so that the problem is resolved without massacre. And well we paid attention to them, because they are as we say, “the people,” that is the Mexican people. Therefore we put aside the fire and took out the word.
And it turns out that the governments said that yes they are going to be well-behaved and going to engage in dialogue and going to make agreements and going to implement them. And we said that’s good, but we also think that it is good that we know those people who went out to the streets to stop the war. So, while we are in dialogue with the evil governments, well we also talked to those people and we saw that the majority were humble and simple people like us, and we both understand well why we struggle, them and us, that is. And we call those people “civil society” because the majority was not from political parties, but was that kind of people, common and ordinary, like us, simple and humble people.
But it turns out that the evil governments did not want a good arrangement, but instead it was just their trick that we are going to talk and make an agreement, and they were preparing their attacks to eliminate us once and for all. And so well they attacked us several times, but they did not defeat us because we resisted well and many people throughout the world mobilized. And so the evil governments thought to themselves that the problem is that many people are seeing what happens with the EZLN, and it begun its plan to do as if nothing is wrong. And meanwhile, since it surrounds us well, in other words lays a siege on us, and hopes that, since our mountains are remote, well people will forget because Zapatista lands are far away. And every so often the evil governments test and they try to cheat us or they attack us, like in February 1995 when it threw a great number of armies at us but did not defeat us. Because, as they say, we were not alone and many people supported us and we resisted well.
And well the evil governments then had to make agreements with the EZLN and those agreements are called “San Andrés Agreements” because “San Andrés” is the name of the municipality where those agreements were signed. And in those dialogues we were not all alone talking with people from the evil government, but instead we invited many people and organizations that were or are in the struggle for the Indian peoples of Mexico, and everyone said their word and all of us came to agreement on how we are going to tell the evil governments. And that’s how the dialogue was, not only were the Zapatistas on one side and the governments on the other, but with the Zapatistas were the Indian peoples of Mexico and those who support them. And so in those agreements the evil governments said that they are going to recognize the rights of the Indian peoples of Mexico and going to respect their culture, and going to make everything law in the Constitution. But, then when they signed, the evil governments became as if they forget and many years pass and those agreements are anything but implemented. On the contrary, the government attacked the indigenous in order to make them that they move backward in the struggle, like December 22nd, 1997, date on which Zedillo ordered the killing of 45 men, women, elderly, and children in the Chiapanecan village called ACTEAL. This great crime is not so easily forgotten and is a demonstration of how the evil governments do not have a heart in order to attack and murder those who rebel against injustices. And while all that happens, well we the Zapatistas are going and going for the agreements to be implemented, and resisting in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
And so we began to talk with other Indian peoples of Mexico and the organizations that they have and we made an agreement with them that we are going to fight together for the same thing, that is for the recognition of indigenous rights and culture. And all right, well we also were supported by many people from throughout the world and people who are well respected and whose word is very great because they are great intellectuals, artists, and scientists from Mexico and from throughout the world. And we also held international encounters, in other words, we got together to talk with people from the Americas and from Asia and from Europe and from Africa and from Oceania, and we got to know their struggles and their ways, and we said that they are “intergalactic” encounters just to make ourselves the silly ones and because we also invited those from other planets but it appears that they did not make it, or maybe they did make it but they did not say so clearly.
But anyway the evil governments were not following through, and so well we made a plan to talk with many Mexicans so that they would support us. And so well first we held, in 1997, a march to Mexico City that was called “of the 1,111” because one compañero or compañera went for every Zapatista town, but the government did not pay attention. And then, in 1999, we held a nationwide consultation and there it was seen that the majority is in agreement with the demands of the Indian peoples, but the evil governments still did not pay attention. And lastly, in 2001, we held what was called the “march for indigenous dignity” which had a great deal of support from millions of Mexicans and from other countries, and it got to where the congresspeople and senators are, that is the Congress of the Union, to demand the recognition of the Mexican indigenous.
But it turns out that no, that the politicians who are from the PRI party, the PAN party, and the PRD party came to agreement among themselves and simply did not recognize indigenous rights and culture. That was in April of 2001 and there the politicians clearly demonstrated that they do not have any decency and are shameless people who only think about getting their good money like the evil rulers they are. This must be remembered because you are now going to see that they are going to say that they are going to recognize indigenous rights, but it is a lie that they tell so that we’ll vote for them, but they already had their opportunity and they did not follow through.
And so well there we saw clearly that the dialogue and negotiation with the evil governments of Mexico was for nothing. In other words, there is no point in us talking with the politicians because neither their heart nor their word is straight, but instead they are twisted and tell lies about following through, but no. In other words, the day that the politicians of the PRI, PAN and PRD approved a law that does not work, well they killed the dialogue outright and clearly said that what they agree to and sign does not matter because they do not keep their word. And well we then did not make any contact with the federal powers, because we understood that the dialogue and negotiation had been failed because of those political parties. We saw that they did not care about blood, death, suffering, the mobilizations, the consultations, the efforts, the national and international statements, the encounters, the agreements, the signatures, the commitments. So the political class not only closed, once again, the door on the Indian peoples; they also delivered a mortal blow to the peaceful solution, dialogued and negotiated from the war. And it also can no longer be believed that it will implement the agreements that it arrives to with anyone. There you see it so that you can get experience from what happened to us.
And so well we saw all that and we thought to ourselves in our hearts what we are going to do.
And the first thing that we saw is that our heart is no longer the same as before, when we began our struggle, but is larger because we now touch the hearts of many good people. And we also saw that our heart is more hurt, which would be more wounded. And it’s not that it is wounded from the deceit that the evil governments did to us, but because when we touched the hearts of others well we also touched their pain. In other words, as if we saw ourselves in a mirror.
II.- ON WHERE WE ARE NOW.
So, like the Zapatistas that we are, we thought that it was not enough to stop the dialogue with the government, but rather that it was necessary to continue forward in the struggle in spite of those idle parasites of politicians. The EZLN then decided to implement, alone and on its side (in other words, it is called “unilateral” because only one side), the San Andrés Agreements on indigenous rights and culture. For 4 years, from mid-2001 to mid-2005, we have devoted ourselves to this, and to other things that we are now going to tell you.
All right, well we then began to give encouragement to the Zapatista autonomous rebel municipalities, which is how the towns organized to govern and govern themselves, in order to make them stronger. This way of autonomous governance is not invented just like that by the EZLN, but instead comes from several centuries of indigenous resistance and from the Zapatista experience, and it is like the communities’ self-governance. In other words, it’s not that someone from outside comes to govern, but instead that the towns themselves decide, from among them, who and how governs, and if the person does not obey then they remove him. In other words, if the one who is in charge does not obey the people, they scare him off, he leaves authority and another comes in.
But then we saw that the autonomous municipalities were not equal, there were some that were more advanced and had more support from civil society, and others were more neglected. In other words, organization was needed for things to be more equal. And we also saw that the EZLN with its political-military element was getting involved in decisions that must be made by the democratic authorities, “civil” as they’re called. And here the problem is that the political-military element of the EZLN is not democratic, because it is an army, and we saw that having the military part above and the democratic part below is not good, because it should not be that what is democratic gets decided militarily, but rather should be the other way around: in other words, above the democratic politics commanding and below the military obeying. Or maybe it is better for nothing below but for everything completely level, without a military, and that is why the Zapatistas are soldiers in order for there to be no soldiers. All right, but then, from this problem, what we did was begin to separate what is political-military from what are the forms of autonomous and democratic organization of the Zapatista communities. And like this, actions and decisions that the EZLN took and made before, well they went being passed little by little to the authorities democratically chosen in the towns. Of course it is easy to say, but in practice it is very difficult, because the years are many, first the preparation of the war and then later the war itself, and it becomes a habit of the political-military element. But anyway we did it because it is our way that what we say well we do it, because if not, well then for what are we going to go around saying if later we do not do.
That was how the Good Government Committees were born, in August of 2003, and with them the self-teaching and exercise of “command by obeying” continued.
Since then and until the middle of 2005, the EZLN’s leadership has no longer gotten involved giving orders in civil matters, but has accompanied and supported the authorities democratically chosen by the towns, and, additionally, made sure that the towns and national and international civil society were well-informed about the aid received and what it was used for. And now we are passing the task of watching-over the good government to the Zapatista Support Bases, with temporary positions that rotate, so that everyone learns and carries out this work. Because we believe that a people that does not watch over its leaders is condemned to be enslaved, and we fight to be free, not for a change of master every six years.
The EZLN, during these 4 years, also passed the aid and contacts, achieved throughout Mexico and the world during these years of war and resistance, to the Good Government Committees and to the Autonomous Municipalities. Additionally, in that time, the EZLN was constructing an economic and political support that allows the Zapatista communities to advance with less difficulty in the construction of their autonomy and in improving their living conditions. It is not much, but it is far superior to what was there before the beginning of the uprising, in January 1994. If you look at one of those studies that governments do, you will see that the only indigenous communities that have improved their living conditions, that is their health, education, nutrition, housing, were those that are in Zapatista territory, which is what we call where our towns are. And all that has been possible because of the Zapatista towns’ advance and the very great support that has been received from good and noble people, who we call “civil societies,” and from their organizations throughout the world. As if all those people had made reality the saying, “another world is possible,” but with actions, not with pure blather.
And so the towns have had good advances. Now there are more compañeros and compañeras who are learning to be government. And more women, albeit little by little, are now entering this work, but there still continues to be a lack of respect for the compañeras and of more participation from them in the work of the struggle. And then, also with the Good Government Committees, coordination between the autonomous municipalities and the solution of problems with other organizations and with official authorities has improved. And things also improved with projects in the communities, and the distribution is more equal of projects and aid that civil society from throughout the world gives: health and education have improved although a good deal is still needed in order for it to be what it should be, the same with housing and nutrition, and in some areas the land issue has gotten much better because the land holdings recovered from the ranchers were divided up, but there are areas that continue to suffer from a lack of land for cultivation. And then well support from national and international civil society got much better, because before everyone went where they most felt like going, and now the Good Government Committees direct them to where it is most necessary. And, for the same reason, everywhere there are more compañeros and compañeras who are learning to interact with people from other parts of Mexico and the world, are learning to respect and to demand respect, are learning that there are many worlds and that everyone has their place, their time, and their way, and so there must be mutual respect among all.
All right, well we the Zapatistas of the EZLN devoted that time to our main force, that is to the towns that support us. And well the situation has improved somewhat, in other words, there is no one who says that Zapatista organization and struggle was for nothing, but rather, even if they finish us completely, our struggle was indeed of some use.
However not only the Zapatista towns grew, the EZLN also grew. Because what happened in this time is that new generations renewed our entire organization. In other words, as if they put new force into it. The comandantes and comandantas, those who were in their maturity at the beginning of the uprising in 1994, now have the wisdom from what was learned in the war and in the 12-year dialogue with thousands of men and women from throughout the world. The members of the CCRI, the Zapatista political-organizational leadership, now advise and guide the new ones who are entering our struggle, and those who are occupying new positions of leadership. For some time now the “comités” (which is what we call them) have been preparing an entire new generation of comandantes and comandantas who, after a trial and instruction period, begin to get acquainted with the work of organizational leadership and carry it out. And another thing that happens is that our insurgents, militiamen, militiawomen, local and regional people in charge, as well as the support bases, who were young in the beginning of the uprising, are now mature men and women, combat veterans and natural leaders in their units and communities. And those who were children in that January of ’94 are now young people who have grown up in the resistance, and have been shaped in the dignified rebellion raised up by their elders in these 12 years of war. These young people have a political, technical, and cultural formation that we who started the Zapatista movement did not have. This youth now nourishes, more and more, both our troops and the positions of leadership in the organization. And, well, all of us have seen the tricks of the Mexican political class and the destruction that their actions provoke in our homeland. And we have seen the great injustices and massacres that neoliberal globalization does throughout the world. But we will tell you about that later on.
Like this the EZLN has resisted 12 years of war, of military, political, ideological, and economic attacks, of siege, of harassment, of persecution, and they have not defeated us, we have not sold out or surrendered, and we have advanced. More compañeros from many places have entered the struggle, so that, instead of we make ourselves weaker after so many years, we make ourselves stronger. Of course there are problems that can be resolved separating the political-military more from the civil-democratic. But there are things, the most important ones, such as our demands that we fight for, which have not been fully achieved.
Following our thought and what we see in our heart, we have arrived at a point in which we cannot go further and, additionally, it is possible for us to lose everything that we have, if we remain as we are and do not do anything more to advance. In other words, the time has come to take another risk and take a step that is dangerous but worth it. Because maybe united with other social sectors that lack the same things as us, it will be possible to get what we need and deserve. A new step forward in the indigenous struggle is only possible if the indigenous join the laborers, peasants, students, teachers, employees… the workers of the city and the country, that is.
III.- ON HOW WE SEE THE WORLD.
Now we are going to explain to you how we the Zapatistas see what is happening in the world. Well we see that capitalism is what is strongest right now. Capitalism is a social system, i.e. a way how in a society things and people are organized: who has and who does not have, who commands and who obeys. In capitalism there are some who have money i.e. capital and factories and stores and farmland and many things, and there are others who do not have anything but instead only have their strength and knowledge to work; and in capitalism those who have money and things command, and those who just have their ability to work obey.
And so capitalism means that there are a few who have great riches, but it’s not that they got a prize, or that they found treasure, or that they inherited from a relative, but instead that they obtain those riches from exploiting the work of many. In other words, capitalism is based on the exploitation of the workers, which means that as if they squeeze the workers and take out all of the profit that they can. This is done with injustices because they do not pay the worker exactly what his work is, but instead scarcely give him a salary so that he can eat a little and rest a bit, and the next day back to work in the exploitery, be it in the country or in the city.
And capitalism also makes its wealth with plunder, that is with theft, because it takes what it wishes from others, for example land and natural resources. In other words, capitalism is a system where the thieves are free and are admired and put as an example.
And, in addition to exploiting and plundering, capitalism represses because it imprisons and kills those who rebel against injustice.
What interests capitalism most are commodities, because when they are bought and sold they produce profits. And so capitalism converts everything into commodities, it makes commodities of people, of nature, of culture, of history, of conscience. According to capitalism, everything has to be bought and sold. And it hides everything behind commodities so that we do not see the exploitation that it does. And so commodities are bought and sold in a market. And it turns out that the market, in addition to being for buying and selling, also serves to hide the exploitation of the workers. For example, in the market we see pre-packaged coffee, in its pretty little bag or jar, but we do not see the peasant who suffered to harvest the coffee, and we do not see the coyote who paid him his work very cheap, and we do not see the workers in the great company going and going to package the coffee. Or we see a device for listening to music like cumbias, rancheras, or corridos, or whatever one wants to, and we see that it is very good because it has good sound, but we do not see the worker from the maquiladora who struggled many hours to stick the cables and parts of the device, and they barely paid her a pittance of money, and she lives far away from work and spends quite a bit on the fare, and additionally runs the danger of being kidnapped, raped, and killed as happens in Ciudad Juárez, in Mexico.
In other words, in the market we see commodities, but we do not see the exploitation with which they were made. And so capitalism needs many markets… or a very large market, a global market.
And so it turns out that the capitalism of now is not the same as before, where the rich are content exploiting the workers in their countries, but now is in a step that is called Neoliberal Globalization. This globalization means that now not only in one country do they dominate the workers or in several, but rather the capitalists try to dominate everything throughout the world. And so the world, that is planet Earth, is also called the “globe” and that is why it is called “globalization” i.e. the whole world.
And neoliberalism well is the idea that capitalism is free to dominate the whole world and what can you do? One must resign and conform and not make any commotion, that is not rebel. In other words, neoliberalism is like the theory, the plan, that is, of capitalist globalization. And neoliberalism has its economic, political, military, and cultural plans. In all of those plans the idea is to dominate everyone, and those who does not obey well are repressed or separated so that their ideas on rebellion do not pass to others.
So, in neoliberal globalization, the great capitalists who live in the countries that are powerful, like the United States, want that the whole world gets made like a great business where commodities are produced and like a great market. A global market, a market to buy and sell all things in the world and to hide all the exploitation from everyone. So the globalized capitalists go everywhere, that is to all countries, to make their great businesses i.e. their great exploitations. And so they respect nothing and get involved however they wish. In other words, as if they do a conquest of other countries. That is why we the Zapatistas say that neoliberal globalization is a war of conquest of the whole world, a world war, a war that capitalism makes to dominate worldwide. And so that conquest at times is with armies that invade a country and forcibly conquer it. But at times it is with the economy, in other words, the great capitalists put their money in another country or lend money to it, but on the condition that it obeys what they say. And they also get involved with their ideas, that is with capitalist culture which is the culture of commodities, of profit, of the market.
So the one that does the conquest, capitalism, does as it wants, in other words, it destroys and changes whatever it does not like and eliminates whatever gets in its way. For example those who do not produce nor buy nor sell the commodities of modernity, or those who rebel against that order, get in its way. And those who are of no use to it, well it despises them. That is why the indigenous get in the way of neoliberal globalization and that is why it despises them and wants to eliminate them. And neoliberal capitalism also gets rid of laws that do not let it do many exploitations and have large profits. For example they impose the ability to buy and sell everything, and since capitalism has the money, well it buys everything. So as if capitalism destroys the countries that it conquers with neoliberal globalization, but also as if it wants to reposition everything or make it anew but in its way, i.e. in a way that benefits it and without things that get in its way. So neoliberal globalization, that is the capitalist one, destroys what there is in those countries, it destroys their culture, their language, their economic system, their political system, and it also destroys the ways in which those who live in that country relate to each other. In other words, everything that makes a country a country is left destroyed.
So neoliberal globalization wants to destroy the Nations of the world and that only one Nation or country is left, i.e. the country of money, of capital. And capitalism wants everything to be as it wants, or rather according to its way, and what is different well it doesn’t like it, and persecutes it, and attacks it, and puts it off in a corner and acts as if it does not exist.
So, as they say in summary, the capitalism of neoliberal globalization is based on exploitation, plunder, contempt, and repression against those who do not let themselves be. That is just as before, but now globalized, worldwide.
But it is not so easy for neoliberal globalization, because the exploited of each country well they do not conform and do not say that there is nothing to be done, but instead they rebel; and those who are left over and in the way well they resist and do not let themselves be eliminated. And so that is why we see that throughout the world those who are screwed are making resistances for themselves in order to not be left behind, in other words, they rebel, and not just in one country but wherever they abound, in other words, just as there is a neoliberal globalization, there is a globalization of rebellion.
And in this globalization of rebellion not just the workers of the country and the city appear, but also others who are persecuted and despised a great deal for the same reason: they do not allow themselves to be dominated, as is the case with women, young people, the indigenous, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, migrants, and many other groups that exist throughout the world but that we do not see until they shout that enough is enough of being despised, and they rise up, and well then we see them, and hear them, and learn them.
And so we see that all those groups of people are struggling against neoliberalism, that is against the plan of capitalist globalization, and are struggling for humanity.
And all this that we see causes us great wonder from seeing the stupidity of the neoliberals who want to destroy all of humanity with their wars and exploitations, but it also causes us great contentment to see resistances and rebellions wherever they turn up, just like ours which is a bit small but here we are. And we see all this all over the world and our heart now learns that we are not alone.
IV.- ON HOW WE SEE OUR COUNTRY WHICH IS MEXICO.
Now we’ll tell you about how we see what is happening in our Mexico. All right, well what we see is that our country is governed by neoliberals. In other words, as we explained before, the rulers that we have are destroying what is our Nation, our Mexican Homeland. And the work of these evil rulers is not to look after the well-being of the people, but instead they only pay attention to the well-being of the capitalists. For example, they make laws like those of the Free Trade Agreement, which end up leaving many Mexicans in destitute poverty, peasants and small producers because they are “eaten” by the great agroindustrial companies, as well as workers and small businesspeople because they cannot compete with the great transnationals that go in without anyone saying anything to them and even giving them thanks, and they put their low salaries and their high prices. In other words, as they say, some of the economic foundations of our Mexico, which were the countryside and industry and national commerce, are very much destroyed and there is hardly even a bit of rubble left which surely they are also going to sell.
And these are great misfortunes for our Homeland. Because well in the countryside food is no longer produced, except what the great capitalists sell, and the good lands are stolen with tricks and with the politicians’ support. In other words, in the countryside the same is happening as when Porfirsimo, except that, instead of hacendados, now a few foreign companies are the ones that have the peasant quite screwed. And where before there were credits and price protections, now there is only charity,… and sometimes not even that.
On the worker’s side of the city well the factories close and they are left without work, or what are called maquiladoras open up, which are from abroad and which pay a pittance for many hours of work. And so the price of the products that the people need does not matter because, even though it is expensive or cheap, well there are no wages. And if someone worked in a small or medium-sized business, well no longer, because it closed and a great transnational bought it. And if someone had a small business, well it also disappeared or they went to work clandestinely for the great businesses that exploit them terribly, and even put boys and girls to work. And if the worker was in their union to demand their rights legally, well no, since now the same union says that it is necessary to put up with they lower the salary or the working day or take away benefits, because if not well the business closes and goes to another country. And then well there is the “microchangarro” thing, which is like the government’s economic program so that all the workers of the city go off to sell gum or telephone cards on the corner. In other words, pure economic destruction in the cities too.
And so what happens is that, as the people’s economy is quite screwed both in the country and in the city, well many Mexican men and women have to leave their Homeland, that is Mexican soil, and go look for work in another country which is the United States and there they do not treat them well, but instead exploit them, persecute them, and despise them and even kill them.
So in the neoliberalism that the evil governments impose upon us well the economy has not gotten better, on the contrary, the countryside is in great need and in the cities there is no work. And what is happening is that Mexico is being converted just into a place where they are born and a while, and another while they die, those who work for the wealth of the foreigners principally of the rich gringos. That is why we say that Mexico is dominated by the United States.
All right, but not only this happens, neoliberalism also changed Mexico’s political class, that is the politicians, because it made them as if they are employees of a store, who have to do everything possible for selling everything and quite cheaply. You already see that they changed the laws to take away Article 27 of the Constitution and ejidal and communal lands could be sold. That was Salinas de Gortari, and he and his gang said that it is for the good of the countryside and the peasant, and that this way they are going to prosper and live better. Has it actually been like this? The Mexican countryside is worse than ever and the peasants more screwed that when Porfirio Díaz. And they also said that they are going to privatize, that is sell to the foreigners, the companies that the State had in order to support the people’s well-being. That because they do not work well and need modernization, and that it’s better to sell them. But, instead of improvement, the social rights that were conquered in the revolution of 1910 now are like for causing pity…and anger. And they also said that the borders must be opened so that all of the foreign capital comes in, that way Mexican businesspeople are going to make an effort and make things better. But now we see that there are no longer any national companies, the foreigners ate up everything, and what they sell is worse than what used to be made in Mexico.
And all right, well now the Mexican politicians also want to sell PEMEX, that is the oil that belongs to the Mexicans, and the only difference is that some say that everything is sold and others say that only a part is sold. And they also want to privatize social security, and the electricity, and the water, and the forests, and everything, until nothing is left of Mexico and our country is only like a barren land or a place for the enjoyment of rich people from around the world, and we the Mexican men and women are like their servants, attentive to what we can offer them, living poorly, without roots, without culture, without a Homeland, that is.
In other words, the neoliberals want to kill Mexico, our Mexican homeland. And the electoral political parties not only do not defend, but rather before anyone else are the ones who put themselves at the service of foreigners, principally from the United States, and are the ones who get put in charge of cheating us, making us that we look away while they sell everything and keep the money. All of the electoral political parties that exist right now, not just some. Think if they have done anything good and you will see that no, that pure theft and scams. And see how the electoral politicians always have their nice houses and their nice cars and their luxuries. And they still want that we give them thanks and that we vote for them one more time. And it is that clearly, as they say, they do not have a mother. And they do not have one because they do not have a Homeland, they only have bank accounts.
And we also see that drug trafficking is growing a great deal and crimes. And at times we think that the criminals are like they show them in the songs or the movies, and maybe some are like that, but they are not the real bosses. The real bosses go around well dressed, are educated abroad, are elegant, do not go around hiding but instead eat in nice restaurants and are in the newspapers very pretty and well dressed at their parties, in other words, as they say, they are “well-to-do people,” and some are even government leaders, congresspeople, senators, secretaries of state, prosperous businesspeople, chiefs of police, generals.
Are we saying that politics doesn’t work? No, what we mean is that THAT politics doesn’t work. And it doesn’t work because it doesn’t take the people into account, it doesn’t listen to them, it doesn’t pay attention to them, it just approaches them when there are elections, and now they don’t even want votes, it’s enough with polls to say who wins. And then well pure promises that they are going to do this and going to do that, and then later, well go-on-get-out and you don’t see them again, except when it shows up in the news that now they have stolen a bunch of money and they are not going to do anything to them because the law, which those same politicians made, protects them.
Because that is another problem, and it’s that the Constitution is now rumpled and changed. It is no longer the one that had the rights and freedoms of the working people, but instead now there are the rights and freedoms of the neoliberals to have their great profits. And the judges are there to serve those neoliberals, because they always give their word in favor of them, and those who are not rich well are hit by injustices, prisons, cemeteries.
All right, well even with all this mess that the neoliberals are making, there are Mexican men and women who organize and make a resistance struggle.
And like this we find out that there are indigenous people, whose lands are secluded here in Chiapas, and who make their autonomy and defend their culture and take care of the land, the forests, the water.
And there are workers of the countryside, that is peasants, who organize and hold their marches and mobilizations to demand credits and aid for the countryside.
And there are workers of the city who do not let their rights be taken away or their jobs be privatized, but instead protest and demonstrate so that what little they have is not taken from them and so what belongs to the country, like electricity, oil, social security, education, is not taken away.
And there are students who do not let education be privatized and fight for it to be free and popular and scientific, i.e. for there to be no charge, for all people to be able to learn, and for stupidities not to be taught in the schools.
And there are women who do not let themselves be treated like an ornament or be humiliated and despised just for being women, but instead organize and struggle for the respect they deserve as the women that they are.
And there are young people who do not accept being brutalized with drugs or persecuted for their ways of being, but instead make themselves conscious with their music and their culture, their rebellion, that is.
And there are homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, and many ways, who do not conform with being mocked, and despised, and mistreated, and even killed because they have another way that is different, and being called abnormal or criminals, but instead make their organizations to defend their right to difference.
And there are priests and nuns and those who are called laity, who are not with the rich nor resigned in praying, but instead organize to accompany the people’s struggles.
And there are those who are called social-justice fighters, who are men and women who have spent all their lives fighting for the exploited, and are the same ones who participated in the great strikes and workers’ actions, in the great citizens’ mobilizations, in the great peasant movements, and who suffered the great repressions, and anyhow, even though some are now of age, they continue without giving up, and there they go from one place to another seeking struggle, seeking organization, seeking justice, and leftwing organizations are made, nongovernmental organizations, human rights organizations, organizations for the defense of political prisoners and for the appearance of the disappeared, leftwing publications, organizations of teachers or students, i.e. social struggle, and even political-military organizations, and they just do not stay still and they know a great deal because they have seen and heard and lived and struggled a great deal.
And like this in general, we see that in our country, which is called Mexico, there are many people who do not let themselves be, who do not give up, who do not sell out. In other words, they are dignified. And that gives us much contentment and joy because with all those people well not so easily are the neoliberals going to win and maybe it is possible to save our Homeland from the great thefts and destruction that they do to it. And we think that hopefully our “we” included all those rebellions…
V.- ON WHAT WE WANT TO DO.
All right, well now we are going to tell you what we want to do in the world and in Mexico, because we cannot see everything that happens on our planet and just stay quiet, as if only we are where we are.
Well in the world what we want is to tell everyone who resists and struggles with their ways and in their countries, that you are not alone, that we the Zapatistas, although we are very small, support you and are going to see how to help you in your struggles and to talk with you in order to learn, because what we have learned, per se, is how to learn.
And we want to tell the Latin American peoples that we take pride in being a part of you, even if it is a small part. How good for us to remember when years ago the continent was also illuminated and a light was called Che Guevara, like before it was called Bolívar, because sometimes the peoples take up a name to say that they take up a flag.
And we want to tell the people of Cuba, who now carry many years resisting in their path, that you are not alone and that we do not agree with the blockade that they are doing to you and that we are going to see how to send you something, even if it is corn, for your resistance. And we want to tell the North American people, that we do not mix up and we know that one thing is the evil governments that you have and that go on to harm the whole world, and another very different thing the North Americans who struggle in their country and are in solidarity with the struggles of other peoples. And we want to tell the Mapuche brothers and sisters, in Chile, that we see and learn from your struggles. And tell the Venezuelans how good it is for us to watch how you defend your sovereignty or rather your Nation’s right to decide where it is going. And tell the indigenous brothers and sisters of Ecuador and Bolivia that you are giving a good history lesson to us, to all of Latin America because now you are indeed putting an end to neoliberal globalization. And we want to tell the piqueteros and the young people of Argentina this, that we love you. And tell those who in Uruguay want a better country for yourselves that we admire you. And tell those who are without land in Brazil that we respect you. And tell all the young people of Latin America that what you are doing is good and that it gives us great hope.
And we want to tell the brothers and sisters of Social Europe, i.e. the one that is dignified and rebellious, that you are not alone. That your great movements against the neoliberal wars enliven us a great deal. That we attentively watch your forms of organization and your ways of struggling so that maybe we’ll learn something. That we are seeing how to support you in your struggles and that we are not going to send you Euros because then they’ll be devaluated because of the European Union’s mess, but maybe we are going to send you crafts and coffee so that you can sell it and it helps you somewhat with your work for the struggle. And we may also send you pozol which gives much strength in the resistance, but who knows if we’ll send it to you because pozol is really from our way and what if it harms your stomach and your struggles grow weak and the neoliberals defeat you.
And we want to tell the brothers and sisters of Africa, Asia, and Oceania that we know that you are fighting also and that we want to know more about your ideas and practices.
And we want to tell the world that we want to make it large, so large that there is room for all worlds that resist because the neoliberals want to destroy you and because you do not leave yourselves just like that but instead fight for humanity.
All right, well in Mexico what we want to make is an agreement with just left-wing people and organizations, because we think that it is in the political left where there is the idea to resist against neoliberal globalization and to make a country where there is, for everyone, justice, democracy, and freedom. Not like right now where there is only justice for the rich, there is only freedom for their great businesses, and there is only democracy to paint the walls with electoral advertizing. And because we think that only from the left can a plan of struggle emerge so that our Homeland, which is Mexico, does not die.
And so, what we think is that, with these left-wing people and organizations, we’ll make a plan to go everywhere in Mexico where there are humble and simple people like us.
And it is not that we are going to tell you what you should do or order you around.
Nor is it that we are going to ask you to vote for a candidate, as we already know that those who exist are neoliberals.
Nor is it that we are going to tell you to do the same as us, nor to rise up in arms.
What we are going to do is ask you what your life is like, your struggle, your thought on how our country is and on what we can do so that they do not defeat us.
What we are going to do is take the thought of simple and humble people and maybe we’ll find in you the same love that we feel for our homeland.
And maybe we’ll find an agreement among those of us who are simple and humble and, together, organize across the country and bring our struggles into agreement which right now are alone, separated from each other, and we’ll find something such as a platform that has what all of us want, and a plan for how we are going to get that platform, which is called “national platform of struggle,” implemented.
And so, according to the agreement of the majority of those people who we are going to listen to, well we’ll make one struggle with everyone, with indigenous people, workers, peasants, students, teachers, employees, women, children, elderly people, men, and with each and every person who has a good heart and has the desire to struggle so that our homeland which is called “Mexico” and which lies between the Rio Grande and the Suchiate River, and on one side has the Pacific Ocean and on the other the Atlantic Ocean, does not finish being destroyed and sold.
VI.- ON HOW WE ARE GOING TO DO IT.
And so this is our simple word which goes out to the humble and simple people of Mexico and the world, and this our word of today we call:
Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.
And here we are to say, with our simple word, that…
The EZLN maintains its commitment to ceasefire and will not make any attack against governmental forces nor offensive military movements.
The EZLN still maintains its commitment to insisting on the way of political struggle with this peaceful initiative that we are now making. Therefore, the EZLN will continue in its resolve not to make any sort of secret relation with domestic or foreign political-military organizations.
The EZLN reaffirms its commitment to defend, support, and obey the Zapatista indigenous communities that form it and are its supreme command, and, without interfering in their internal democratic processes and to the best of its abilities, to contribute to strengthening their autonomy, good government, and improvement of their living conditions. In other words, what we are going to do in Mexico and the world, we are going to do without weapons, with a civil and peaceful movement, and without neglecting nor ceasing to support our communities.
In the world…
1.- We will make more relationships of respect and mutual aid with people and organizations that resist and struggle against neoliberalism and for humanity.
2.- To the best of our abilities we will send material aid like foodstuffs, crafts for the brothers and sisters who struggle throughout the world.
To begin, we are going to borrow the Truck called “Chompiras” from La Realidad’s Good Government Committee, and it appears to hold 8 metric tons, and we are going to fill it with corn and maybe two 200-liter barrels each one with gasoline or oil, whichever works for them, and we are going to deliver it to the Cuban embassy in Mexico so that they send it in their Cuban people as support from the Zapatistas for their resistance against the North American blockade. Or maybe there is a place more over here to deliver it because it is a long way to Mexico City and what if “Chompiras” breaks down and we are going to be in bad shape. And well not until the harvest comes which right now is greening in the field and if we don’t get attacked, because if we send it in these coming months well we’re sending nothing but corncobs and they don’t go well even in tamales, better in November or December, it depends.
And we also are going to make an agreement with the women’s craft cooperatives to send a good bit of embroideries to the Europes that maybe are no longer Union, and also maybe we’ll send organic coffee from the Zapatista cooperatives, so that you can sell it and get a little money for your struggle. And if it does not sell well you can always make a little coffee and chat about the antineoliberal struggle, and if it is a bit cold well you cover up with the Zapatista embroideries which do resist well even when washed by hand and stone and, additionally, do not lose their color.
And we are also going to send a little bit of non-GMO corn to the indigenous brothers and sisters of Bolivia and Ecuador and it’s just that we don’t even know where to deliver it so that it arrives right but we are willing in order to give this little bit of help.
3.- And we tell everyone who resists throughout the world that there must be other intercontinental encounters, even if there is only one more. Maybe December of this year or next January, we’ll all have to think about it. We do not want to say just when, because it is a matter of us making an agreement level in everything, on where, on when, on how, on who. And it should not be on a stage where a few talk and everyone else listens, but instead without a stage, completely level and everyone talks, but in order because if not well nothing but racket and the word is not understood, and with good organization everyone listens, and so they write down in their notebooks others’ words of resistance so that later each one talks about it with their compañeros and compañeras in their worlds. And we think that it should be in a place that has a very large prison, because what if they repress us and imprison us, and in order to not be all piled up but instead prisoners, of course, well-organized, and there in the prison we’ll continue the intercontinental encounter for humanity and against neoliberalism. So then there we’ll tell you how we’ll go about coming to agreement on how we are going to come to agreement. All right well that is how we intend to do what we want to do in the world. Now it continues…
1.- We are going to continue fighting for the Indian peoples of Mexico, but no longer only for them nor only with them, but instead for all the exploited and dispossessed of Mexico, with all of them and throughout the country. And when we say all the exploited of Mexico we are also talking about the brothers and sisters who have had to go to the United States to look for work in order to survive.
2.- We are going to listen to and talk directly, without intermediaries or mediations, with the simple and humble people of Mexico and, according to what we listen and learn, we are going to build, together with those people who are like us, humble and simple, a national platform of struggle, but a platform that is clearly left-wing i.e. anticapitalist i.e. antineoliberal, i.e. in favor of justice, democracy, and freedom for the Mexican people.
3.- We are going to try to construct or reconstruct another form of doing politics, one that once again has the spirit for serving others, without material interests, with sacrifice, with dedication, with honesty, which fulfills the word, whose only payment is the satisfaction of duty fulfilled, like the left-wing activists did before who would not stop even with blows, prison, or death, much less with dollar bills.
4.- We are also going to see about raising up a struggle to demand that we make a new Constitution i.e. new laws that take into account the demands of the Mexican people as they are: housing, land, work, food, health, education, information, culture, independence, democracy, justice, freedom, and peace. A new Constitution that recognizes the rights and freedoms of the people and defends the weak against the powerful.
FOR THIS END…
The EZLN will send a delegation of its leadership to do this work throughout national territory and for an indefinite time-period. This Zapatista delegation, along with left-wing organizations and people that sign on to this Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, will go to the places that we are explicitly invited to.
We are also announcing that the EZLN will establish a politics of alliances with non-electoral organizations and movements that define themselves, in theory and practice, as left-wing, according to the following conditions:
Not making agreements above to impose below, but rather making agreements for going together to listen to and to organize indignation; not raising up movements that are later negotiated behind the backs of those who make them, but rather always taking into account the opinion of those who participate; not seeking handouts, positions, perks, public posts, from Power or from those who aspire to it, but rather going further from electoral calendars; not trying to resolve from above the problems of our Nation, but rather constructing FROM BELOW AND THROUGH BELOW an alternative to neoliberal destruction, a left-wing alternative for Mexico.
Having reciprocal respect for the autonomy and independence of organizations, for their forms of struggle, for their way of organizing, for their internal decision-making processes, for their legitimate representations, for their aspirations and demands; and having a clear commitment to joint and coordinated defense of national sovereignty, with uncompromising opposition to attempts to privatize electric energy, oil, water, and natural resources.
In other words, as they say, we invite left-wing political and social organizations that are not registered, and people who claim to be left-wing who do not belong to registered political parties, to meet at the time, place, and way that we will propose to you at the proper time, to organize a national campaign, visiting all possible corners of our homeland, to listen to and organize the word of our people. So it is like a campaign, but very other because it is not electoral.
Brothers and sisters:
This is our word that we declare:
In the world we are going to make ourselves more of a family with the resistance struggles against neoliberalism and for humanity.
And we are going to support, even if it is only a little, these struggles.
And we are going, with mutual respect, to exchange experiences, stories, ideas, dreams.
In Mexico, we are going to walk throughout the country, through the ruins that the neoliberal war has left and through the resistances that, entrenched, in it flower.
We are going to look for, and to find, someone who loves these soils and these skies even as much as we do.
We are going to look for, from La Realidad to Tijuana, those who want to organize, struggle, perhaps construct the final hope for this Nation, which has been going at least since the time in which an eagle landed on a prickly pear cactus to devour a snake, not to die.
We are going for democracy, freedom, and justice for those of us to whom they are denied.
We are going with another politics, for a left-wing platform and for a new constitution.
We invite the indigenous, workers, peasants, teachers, students, housewives, tenants, small property-owners, small traders, small businesspeople, retired people, disabled people, religious men and women, scientists, artists, intellectuals, young people, women, elderly people, homosexuals and lesbians, boys and girls, so that, in an individual or collective manner you may participate directly with the Zapatistas in this NATIONAL CAMPAIGN to construct another way of doing politics, to construct a platform of national and left-wing struggle, and for a new Constitution.
And well this is our word on what we are going to do and on how we are going to do it. There you see it if it is what you want to join.
And we tell the men and women to have good your thought in your heart, to be in agreement with this word that we take out and to not be afraid, or to be afraid but control it, well to say publicly if you agree with this idea that we are declaring and well like that we’ll see all at once who and how and where and when it will be that this new step in the struggle gets made.
While you are thinking about it, we’ll tell you that, today, in the sixth month of the year of 2005, we the men, women, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation now decide and now sign this Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, and those who know how signed and those who do not put their fingerprint, but those who do not know how are now fewer because education has already advanced here in this territory in rebellion for humanity and against neoliberalism, that is in Zapatista sky and land.
And this was our simple word sent out to the noble hearts of simple and humble people who resist and rebel against injustices throughout the world.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Mexico, in the sixth month, that is in June, of the year of 2005.
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales. Some rights reserved: this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. When citing portions of this document, no attribution is necessary.
Last updated on December 25th, 2015.