The Zapatista School of Freedom is Coming!
- The Little School of Freedom According to the Zapatistas
Sub commander Moises writes about dates and detailsZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION
MEXICO. March, 2013.
Compañeras and compañeros, brothers and sisters of the Sixth:
Regarding visits, caravans, and projects.
As you all know, we are preparing our classes for the little schools; that is what we will be focusing on for now so that they turn out well and make for good students.
And we, together with the [autonomous] authorities, think that there are things that we will not be able to attend to so as not to distract ourselves from this task, for example: agreeing to do interviews, or exchanging experiences, or receiving caravans, or work teams, or discussing ideas for a project. So please don't make a trip here for nothing, because neither the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council], the autonomous authorities, nor the project commissions will be able to attend to you in these matters.
If a person, group, or collective is thinking of bringing a caravan with some kind of support for the communities, we ask you to please wait for the appropriate time, or if you have already arranged the trip, then please leave whatever you bring in CIDECI, with Doctor Raymundo, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
We aren't saying that caravans of support can never come, but they CAN'T come now, because we want to focus on the little school. We want to let you know this, so that you don't misunderstand why you are not attended to.
We want to let you know this so that you don't plan trips that require conversations with our authorities; we won't be able to attend to you for the simple reason that all of our efforts will go toward our little school, which is for you, for Mexico and the world, and that is why we are directing all our efforts there.
So while we will be in the Juntas de Buen Gobierno of the 5 caracoles; we won't be able to attend to you, but you can visit the caracoles.
The same goes for ongoing projects in the 5 Juntas, there are things that we won't be able to attend to, we can only do what is within our ability and which does not require consultations or a lot of movement for our people. If something does require these things, it will be tended to at another time.
We want you to understand us; for us, it is not the time for caravans, projects, interviews, exchanges of experiences, or other things. For us Zapatistas (women and men), it is time to prepare for the little school. We WON'T have time for other things, unless the bad government wants to really mess with us and then yes, that would change things.
We believe that you, compañeras and compañeros, brothers and sisters, understand us.
Regarding the School
Here we will give you the first details about the little school, so that those of you who will take classes can begin to make preparations.
1. Everyone who feels convoked is invited to the fiesta of the Caracoles. The fiesta will be in all 5 caracoles, so you can go to whichever you want. The arrival date will be August 8th, the fiesta will be on the 9th and 10th, and the return date will be the 11th. Note: The fiesta to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Caracoles is not the same thing as the little school. Don't confuse them.
2. With this fiesta, the Zapatista bases of support celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, but not only that.
3. These days will be the beginning of our little school, which is very other, where our bosses-that is to say, the Zapatista bases of support-will give classes on their thought and action on liberty according to Zapatismo: their successes, their failures, their problems, their solutions, the things which have moved forward, the things that have gotten bogged down, and the things that are missing, because what is missing is yet to come.
4. The first course (we will have many, depending on when those who attend are able), of the first level is 7 days long, including the arrival and departure time. The arrival date will be August 11th, the class begins on August 12th, 2013 and ends on August 16th, 2013. And the departure date will be August 17th, 2013. Those who finish the course and would like to stay longer can visit the other caracoles outside of where they had their course. The course is the same in all of the caracoles, but people can visit caracoles different from the one they were assigned, but at that point they will be on their own.
5. Little by little, we will explain how registration works for the little school of liberty according to the Zapatistas, but we will let you know now that it is laic and free of cost. The pre-registration will be with the Support Teams of the Sixth Commission, national and international, on the Enlace Zapatista web page, and by email. Students will then register at CIDECI, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. We will begin sending the invitations, according to our capacities, as of March 18, 2013.
6. The school is not open to anyone who wants to come; rather, we will invite people directly. We will take care of these compas who we invite, we will give them food, a place to sleep that is clean and satisfactory, and we will give each of them a guardian (or guardiana), their own "Votán,"[i] who will make sure that they are well and that they don't suffer too much in the class, only a little, but always, yes, some.
7. The students will need to study very hard. The first level has 4 themes: Autonomous Government I, Autonomous Government II, Participation of Women in Autonomous Government, and Resistance. Each theme has its own textbook. The textbooks have between 60 and 80 pages each, and the parts that SupMarcos already gave you to look at are only a tiny part of each book (3 or 4 pages). Each textbook costs 20 pesos, which is what we calculated as the cost of production.
8. This first level of the course lasts for 7 days and/or however much time a compa has available, because we know people have their work, their family, their struggle, their commitments, that is to say, their own calendar and geography.
9. The first course is only first grade, there is still much more to come, meaning that the school isn't finished quickly; it will take a long time. Whoever passes the first level can go on to the second one.
10. Regarding costs: each compa has to cover their own costs to get to CIDECI, in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, and to get back to their corner of the world. From CIDECI they will go to the little school to which they are assigned and when they finish, they will return to CIDECI and from there each one will go home. In the school, which is in the village, they won't want for anything; it may be beans, rice, or vegetables, but their table will not be lacking. There the costs for each student will be covered by the Zapatistas. Each student will live with an indigenous Zapatista family. During the days that they are in school this will be the student's family. They will eat, work, rest, sing, and dance with this family, who will also walk them to their assigned school, to the education center. And the "Votán," the guardian or guardiana, will always accompany them. That is, we will watch out for each student. If they get sick we will cure them, or if it is serious we will take them to a hospital. But whatever is in their head when they arrive and when they leave, well, we can't do anything about that; what each compañero or compañera does with what they see, hear, or learn, is their responsibility. That is, we will teach them the theory; the practice they will see about themselves in their own corner of the world.
11. The costs of the school we will figure out ourselves. Maybe we'll have a festival of music and dancing, or some paintings or artisanal goods, but don't worry, because we will find a way and in any case, there are always good people who support good things. For those who would like to make a donation to the school, we will leave a jar in the student registration area at CIDECI, with the compas from the University of the Earth, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Whoever wants to donate some money can put it in the jar, no one will know who gave money or how much they gave; this way those who gave a lot won't think too much of themselves and those who gave a little won't feel sad. We will not allow gifts of money or other things to be given in the schools, Caracoles, or families to which you are assigned. This is to avoid an unfair situation where some people receive things and others do not. Whatever people would like to donate should be left at CIDECI, with the compas from the University of the Earth, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. They will collect it all and then we will divide it evenly among everyone later, that is, if there is anything. If not, it doesn't matter, what matters is you.
12.- There are other ways of taking the course at the little Zapatista school. We are going to ask for support from the compas of the free, independent, libertarian, and autonomous media, and from those who know about this thing called videoconferencing. Because we know that many people will not be able to come because of work issues, or personal issues, or family. We also know that there are people who don't understand Spanish but do want to learn how the Zapatistas have done what they have done and undone what they have undone. So we are going to have a special course that one can take via video camera wherever there is a group of willing students who are ready with their textbooks, and that way, over internet, they will be able to see the course and ask questions of the teachers-the Zapatista bases of support. In order to plan this, we will invite some alternative media to a special meeting in order to come to an agreement on how to do the video conferences and also so that they can photograph and videotape the places that we will talk about in the classes, so that everyone can verify if what the professors (men and women) say is true or not.
Another form by which people can take the class is with the DVDs we will make of the course, for those who can't go anywhere and can only study in their house, so that they can also learn.
13. In order to attend the little Zapatista school, you will have to take a preparatory course where the life of the Zapatista communities and their internal rules will be explained. So that you don't commit any infractions. And also so you know what you need to bring. For example, you shouldn't bring those things called "tents" that aren't good for anything anyway; we are going to provide you accommodations with indigenous Zapatista families.
14. Once and for all we want to make it clear that the production, commercialization, exchange, and consumption of any kind of drugs or alcohol is PROHIBITED. The carrying or use of any kind of weapon, loaded or unloaded, is also prohibited. Whoever asks to join the EZLN or anything militarily related will be expelled. We are not recruiting nor promoting armed struggle, but rather organization and autonomy for liberty. Any kind of propaganda, political or religious, is also prohibited.
15. There is no age limit to attend the little school; but any minors should come with an adult who is responsible for them.
16. When you register, after having been invited, we ask you to clarify if you are a man, woman, or other, in order to accommodate you, as every one is an individual (individuo, individual, or individuoa)[ii] and will be respected and cared for. Here we do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender, sexual preference, race, creed, or nationality. Any act of discrimination will be punished with expulsion.
17. If anyone has a chronic illness, we ask you to bring your medicine and let us know about it when you register so that we can keep an eye out for you.
18. When you register, after being invited, we ask that you make clear your age and health condition so that we can accommodate you in one of the schools where you won't suffer more than necessary.
19. If you are invited and you can't attend at this first date, don't worry. Just let us know when you can attend and we will do the course for you when you can come. Also, if someone can't finish the whole course or can't come after having registered, no problem, you can finish or make it up later. Remember though you can also attend the videoconferences that will be given outside Zapatista territory.
20. In other writings I will continue explaining more things and clearing up any doubts you might have. But what I have said here are the basics.
That's all for now.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.
Rector of the Little Zapatista School.
Mexico, March 2013.
P.S. I put SupMarcos in charge of adding some videos to this text that relate to our little school.
Francisco Gabilondo Soler, Cri Cri, with a track that is now a classic: "Caminito de la escuela" (The Path to School).
Caminito de la escuela - Cri Cri - animaci??n
The Little Squirrels of Lalo Guerrero with "Vamos a la escuela" (Let's go to school) and Pánfilo's excuses not to go to school.
Las ardillitas de Lalo Guerrero: Vamos a la escuela
School squabbles to the rhythm of ska, with Tremenda Korte and this track "Por Nefasto".
por nefasto la tremenda korte
[i] In the lexicon of the EZLN, Votán is usually used in reference to the legendary Votán - Zapata, in which the spirit of Zapata lives as "the guardian and heart of the people." See "Closing Speech to The National Indigenous Forum," EZLN, January 9, 1996.
[ii] The EZLN often uses the suffix -oa (individuoa, compañeroa) to provide a noun form that is not strictly feminine or masculine.This LONG email offers English translations of all seven parts of the Zapatista written plans to create ~"The Little School of Freedom According to the Zapatistas". Original videos and songs are included!Them and Us VIIThe Smallest of them AllIntroduction.
For several years now, while in the politics of above they fought over the booty of a shattered nation, while the media was either silent or lied about what was happening, while the original peoples of this land went out of fashion and returned to a corner of oblivion, their lands looted, their inhabitants exploited, repressed, displaced, disrespected...
The indigenous Zapatista peoples,
Surrounded by the federal army, pursued by state and municipal police, attacked by paramilitary groups formed and equipped by governments from across the political spectrum in Mexico (PRI, PAN, PRD, PT, PVEM, MC and the other names taken by the parasitical Mexican political class), hounded by agents of the different national and foreign spy agencies, seeing their bases of support, men and women, beaten, displaced, imprisoned...
The indigenous Zapatista peoples
without any imperative other than duty,
without instruction manuals,
without any leaders but ourselves
without any referent other than the dream of our dead,
with only our history and memory as weapons,
looking near and far into calendars and geographies,
with our guide: Serve, not Serve yourself/ Represent, not Supplant/ Construct, not Destroy/
Obey, not Command/ Propose, not Impose/ Convince, not Defeat/ Go Below, not Climb Above.
The Zapatista peoples, the indigenous Zapatistas, the indigenous Zapatista bases of support of the eezeelen, with a new way of doing politics,
We will make
Note of clarification:
The texts that will appear in this seventh and final part of "Them and Us" are fragments taken from the "First Grade Notebook from the Course: Freedom according to the Zapatistas. Autonomous Government I," and "First Grade Notebook from the Course in: Freedom according to the Zapatistas. Autonomous Government II." The Spanish version is ONLY for compas who are part of the Sixth (We hope there will be versions in the original languages as determined by the National Indigenous Congress, as well as in English, Italian, French, Portuguese, Greek, German, Euskera, Catalonian, Arabic, Hebrew, Galician, Kurdish, Aragonese, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Japanese, and other languages, according to the support of compas of the Sixth around the world who know about the task of translating). These notebooks form part of the support material for the course that the Zapatista bases of support will give to the compas of the Sixth in Mexico and from around the world.
All of the texts are authored by the Zapatista bases of support, men and women, and they include not only the process of the struggle for freedom, but also their critical and self-critical reflections about our path. That is, they demonstrate how we Zapatistas see freedom and how we struggle to achieve it, exercise it, and defend it.
As our compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés has already explained, our compas from the Zapatista bases of support are going to share the little we have learned about the struggle for freedom, and the compas of the Sixth can see what is useful or not for their own struggles.
This class in the little Zapatista school, as you now know, is called "Freedom according to the Zapatistas," and it will be given directly by compañeros and compañeras who are bases of support of the eezeelen, who have carried out the various tasks of government, vigilance, and other diverse responsibilities in the construction of Zapatista autonomy.
In order to be admitted to the little school, in addition to being invited, the compas of the Sixth and special invitees will need to take a few preparatory, previous, or propaedeutic courses (or however you say what comes before kindergarten), before passing into "first grade." These courses will be given by compas from the support teams of the EZLN's Sixth Commission and have as their only objective to give you the basic elements of neo-Zapatista history and our struggle for democracy, liberty, and justice.
In geographies where there aren't compas from the support teams, we will get you the syllabus so that all invitees can prepare.
The dates and times, that is, the calendars and geographies in which the courses will be given by the Zapatista bases of support, will be announced in the appropriate moment, always carefully taking into account the situation of each individual, group, or collective invitee.
All of the invitees to the course will receive it, no matter if they can come to Zapatista territory or not. We are studying the possible forms or ways to reach your hearts, whatever your calendar and geography may be. So don't worry.
Okay then. Cheers, now just prepare your heart, and, of course, your pencils and notebooks.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Mexico, February of 2013.
P.S. THAT GIVES LESSONS IN MANNERS. This seventh and final part of the series "Them and Us" consists of various parts and is ONLY for the compasof the Sixth. Along with part V (which, as its numeration indicates, is called "The Sixth") and the last of part VI. The Gaze 6: We are He," form part of the private correspondence that the EZLN, through its spokespeople, directs to the compas of the Sixth. In each of these parts, as in the present writing, we clearly signal to whom the texts are addressed.
For those who are not compas and try to mock, enter into polemics, argue, or respond to these texts, we remind you that reading or commenting on the correspondence of others is what is done by gossipers and/or police. So you should keep track of what category you're in. In addition, your comments only reflect a vulgar racism (you're so critical of TV and yet you merely repeat its clichés), and reiterate your lack of imagination (which is a consequence of lack of intelligence... and laziness about reading). Although, of course, you will have to broaden your silly little chant of "marcos no, ezln yes" to "marcos and moisés no, ezln yes," and then later, "CCRI-CG no, ezln yes." Later on, if you hear the direct word of the Zapatista bases of support (which I doubt will happen), you will have to say "ezln no, ezln neither"), but it will already be too late.
Oh don't be sad. When we put up music videos by Ricardo Arjona, Luis Miguel, Yustin Bibier or Ricky Martin, you can feel interpellated. Meanwhile, stay seated, keep looking at the calendar from above (those 3 or 6 years pass quickly), move a little to the right (as you are accustomed to doing), and step aside a little, we don't want to splash [implicate] you...
¡Órales razaaaaaa! ¡Y venga a darle al baile! ¡Ajúa!
Watch and listen to the videos that accompany this text:
"La Estrella del Desello" with Eulalio González El Piporro. The track appears also as a shorter version, in the film "La Nave de los Monstruos" (1959, by Rogelio A. González). It doesn't have anything to do with the eezeelen, I put it here out of stubbornness, and to greet the compas of the north: don't give up, even though you're far away, we're going to include you in our gaze. ¡Ajúa!
EL PIPORRO. LA ESTRELLA DEL DESEO.wmv
with Manu Chao and Radio Bemba, in an indigenous Zapatista community.
Manu chao-infinita tristeza-en vivo para EZLN
"Brigadistak" with Fermín Muguruza. In the struggle against Power, there are no borders! ¡Marichiweu! (We will win a thousand times, in Mapuche)
BRIGADISTAK FERMIN MUGURUZA*********************************Traducción del Kilombo Intergaláctico.
*********************************Them and Us VII
The Smallest of them All 1
1.- Learning to govern and govern ourselves, that is, to respect and respect ourselves.
Note: the notebooks that make up the support material for the course "Freedom According to the Zapatistas," are a product of meetings that the Zapatista bases of support in all zones have carried out to evaluate their work in the organization.
Compañeras and compañeros from the communities in resistance of the 5 caracoles,[i] tzotziles, choles, tzeltales, tojolabales, mames, zoques y mestizos, gathered to ask and answer questions among themselves, exchange experiences (which are different in each zone), and to criticize, self-criticize, and evaluate what they have done so far and what they still have to do. These meetings were coordinated by our compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, and were recorded, transcribed, and edited for the notebooks. Since during these meetings the compas shared among themselves their thoughts, histories, problems, and possible solutions, they themselves named the process: "the sharing." These are a few loose fragments of the Zapatista sharing:
We are here to share our experiences, and one of these is, as we Zapatistas say, that we govern together, we govern as a collective. What can we share about the way in which you govern together, collectively?
The way we work is by not separating ourselves from the people. Always, with issues of regulations, plans, activities, and work, we have to get information from the people, and the [community] authorities have to be present in making the plans, making the proposals.
We are thinking and working through various things, and we think that part of the duty of autonomous government is to attend to whoever comes to our office with an issue. Whether or not that issue can be resolved, it must be heard. This is for whoever comes in, Zapatista or not, that is how we work. The exception to this is people from the government or people sent from the government, in which case they are not attended to. But as long as that is not the case, anyone from any social organization is heard. Also in our work we are always vigilant about honoring the seven principles of "rule by obeying." We consider this to be necessary, to be our obligation, in order not to make the same mistakes and develop the same habits of the entities of bad government. So the seven principles are what govern us.
The first Aguascalientes, built in Guadalupe Tepeyac, was where we took our first step toward organization and toward our own way of exercising our rights. This Aguascalientes was a cultural, political, social, economic, and ideological center. When Ernesto Zedillo[ii] betrayed us in a [military] offensive that dismantled the Aguascalientes, he thought our organizational politics would come to an end. But the opposite happened, because that same year, 1994, it was declared that we would build five more Aguascalientes.
These municipalities decided where their municipal seat would be, and began to think about names for the municipalities, what they would be called when the Aguascalientees was ready. The first autonomous municipality, La Garrucha, was called Francisco Gómez; the municipality that is today San Manuel was before Las Tazas; Taniperlas was renamed Ricardo Flores Magón; San Salvador was named Francisco Villa. All of these names honored compañeros. Francisco Gómez, a name we all know now, was a compañero who gave his life to our cause, he died in combat in Ocosingo on January 1st. San Manuel honors the compañero Manuel, founder of our organization. Ricardo Flores Magón, we know was a warrior of social struggle in our history. And Francisco Villa was also a revolutionary that we all know. So our municipalities were formed as agreed in our community assemblies, and in the regional assembly we decided on their names. Compañeros, those are the few words that I have to say and now other compañeros or compañeras will explain what comes next.
The principal problems that we had since the beginning of [inaudible], the problem of alcoholism, how is this problem now in your zone?
So in those days, at the beginning of 1994, a little after the war, some joined [the organization] out of fear. The war started, we all got together, we joined up for various reasons, but we joined up. Some did so consciously, but others out of fear. So those that joined out of fear, well of course they weren't happy doing the work of the organization, so what did they do? We had the order not to drink alcohol, but they drank anyway, while trying to hide it. So what did we do? We didn't punish them, what we did-and this is why we have the commission of elders-was have this commission explain to them why we made this rule, and explain the damage they were doing to themselves. So those who want to obey keep going, and those who don't leave. That is our answer.
Compañeros and compañeras, good afternoon to everyone. I come from a village called ____, which is part of the municipality Francisco Villa. I am here representing the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council], my cargo[iii] was Consejo["Council"], from 2006 to 2009. I am going to explain how the responsibilities we have today came about. It's not my job yet to explain where we started in 1994, rather, I'm going to tell a little about where we started after 1994. Before, in 91, 92, what was the cause of the armed uprising? It was the domination, marginalization, humiliation, injustice, and the norms or laws of the bad governments and the landowning exploiters. In those days, our parents and grandparents were not taken into account, they suffered, and didn't hav
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