What is The Other Campaign?
The Other Campaign is given birth by the indigenous peoples of the south of Mexico; but who are these peoples? After centuries of being exploited and forgotten, in a context where Mexico, with its self-appointed government (imposed by means of a huge electoral fraud), has been inserted in the club of “rich and democratic” nations with the signing of NAFTA, and in contrast to the illusion of “economic prosperity”, there emerges the uprising of thousands of natives, demanding peace, justice and freedom with democracy. In response the Mexican state summoned its military for the physical extermination of the rebels, only to be stopped by actions in solidarity at an international level that demonstrated the great affection of the world community towards the insurgents, brotherhood that ran like powder.
The Zapatistas say: “everything for everyone, nothing for us”, the government must “command by obeying”, we fight “for a world where many worlds fit”; and their glance is not short sighted: “we fight for humanity and against neoliberalism”.
The government yielded, and pretended to listen to the resonance of a shout that said: ENOUGH!
In the face of world-wide solidarity the guns are put down and the neoliberal government sits down to negotiate, signing the San Andrés agreements on indigenous rights, which were later betrayed by the political class, both the right wing and the so called left wing that participates in the elections and legitimizes electoral frauds.
This was a new dawn for the Mexican indian and racially mixed peoples, and a systematic campaign of murder, torture and jail would begin headed by military men trained in the United States.
Throughout more than 20 years the natives built the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), and faced with the refusal of the government to comply with the signed San Andres agreements, they took steps to restore a civil, independent, indigenous self rule, in complete defiance of the Mexican state - constructing a system of government where privileges would be annulled, in which the equality of the women would be defended, and where rule by the people would be a reality. And these rebellious municipalities they called “Caracoles” (Snails).
The Zapatistas have passed from being an organization with a political-military structure (in its beginnings 1983), to being a group of communities where indigenous forms of organization that are based on self-government predominate. They detach themselves from the structure of the Mexican state governed by the three main parties; the governing PAN, representing the most fascist, racist, ignorant and obscurantist sectors that would like to return to the times of the Spanish colony and that kept control of the presidency through a clear electoral fraud, sponsored and legitimized by the right wing establishment and the government of the USA; the PRI, the party that governed as a dictatorship for more than 70 years, responsible for massacres of students (1968), workers, doctors, farmers and natives; partner and head of the drug trafficking organizations who often played the double role of being also government agents during the cold war; and the PRD, a creature of the PRI born in 1988 with the support of left wing militants, many of whom it later betrayed - to this day it has not sought for light to be shed on the assassinations of hundreds of its supporters (more than 300 deaths in a single state, Guerrero, where the beautiful port of Acapulco is). It has even reached the point of contracting the police and paramilitaries that have been responsible for such atrocities.
In summary, where the rulers of Mexico dwell there reigns indecency, brazenness, cynicism, and shamelessness. This is what we think about the political geometry in the Mexico from above. To say a different thing would be to lie and to try to deceive those who never have been deceived: in the first place we ourselves, but also people in general. It produces rage and indignation in us to see what we see, and we will fight to prevent the crooks of the political class from getting away with it. Because it is time to struggle so that all those who from above despise history and despise us, are forced to answer for what they have done, and to pay for it.
Having already formed their own legitimate self-government and in opposition for obvious reasons to the Mexican state, the Zapatistas made a call to all those who think that people are more important and indispensable than capital, to those who believe that we can coexist without destroying the environment, in a world where the violence towards women is in the past, and where the wealth of the workers goes towards building a future of freedom, brotherhood and equality, a world where the only ones that do not fit are those who humiliate and despise the dispossessed – that is to say, a world where solidarity drives human relations, not the pursuit of profit.
In June of 2005, amidst a state of red alert that served to prevent any aggression by the army or paramilitaries, and after a consultation to reach consensus collectively between all rebel communities, they Zapatistas published THE SIXTH DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, - “there we explained to Mexico and all the world what we are about, where we are now, how we see the world, how we see our country that is Mexico, what we want to do and how we are going to do it.”
From the Sixth comes the initiative of the Other Campaign where the Zapatistas summon organizations and individuals to organize in a nation wide movement, that seeks the reconstruction of social relations, the building of a program of national struggle, and the creation of a new political constitution for the Mexican Republic, where the legitimate demands of the Mexican people are taken into account.
From the point of view of the EZLN, the Other Campaign attempts to listen to the Mexican people, the organized ones and those that are not, all of them from bellow and to the left, who look to change the present state of the society, and are guided by certain principles such as: anti-capitalism, horizontal social structures, equality and several more that the movement itself will be defining in its path.
Then, as the first step in order to organize this national movement, the Sixth Commission of the EZLN, beginning with Delegate Zero (Subcomandante Marcos) traveled across the country starting on January 1st of 2006, from south to north finishing in November of the same year.
In a display of scorn and thirst for revenge from the government against the people of the town of San Salvador Atenco - who in 2001 successfully resisted government attempts to expropriate their lands for an airport, and who are now a very active organization within the Other Campaign – the first days of May, 2006 see the beginning of a period of institutional violence against mainly flower vendors and farmers that leaves a balance of a multitude of wounded, two deaths (Javier Cortés Santiago and Alexis Benhumea), sexual torture of women, hundreds of detainees and several disappeared. As a result of these facts and in protest against the state repression the EZLN again declares a state of red alert and the tour of the Other Campaign is stopped indefinitely, as all the adherents and supporters of the Sixth mobilize to demand freedom for the prisoners from Atenco, and justice for the crimes committed there by the authorities.
In October 2006, and with almost 30 comrades arrested, The Other Campaigns decides to resume its tour, continuing its conversations with the simple people of the countryside and the cities of the north part of the country. In November the Zapatistas send the call to the of the peoples of the world to meet with them in a gathering to be held on the 30th and 31st of December of 2006, and 1st and 2nd of January of 2007, in Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico, having as objective to prepare the next “Intergalactic Encounter”, that will seek to further unite the independent left wing people of the world.