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The fourth world war has begun by Subcomandante Marcos

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  • Romi Elnagar
    I found this wonderful essay in an anthology called THE ZAPATISTA READER, edited by Tom Hayden.  Since his eyes opened up in about 2006 to the true nature of
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 28, 2013
      I found this wonderful essay in an anthology called THE ZAPATISTA READER, edited by Tom Hayden.  Since his eyes opened up in about 2006 to the true nature of the Palestinian struggle, I feel a lot more comfortable reading anything with Hayden's name on it, and this particular volume is pretty good. I recommend it to anyone interested in the struggle of indigenous people in Mexico.

      Hajja Romi/"Blue"

      The fourth world war has begun
      A political earthquake
      hit Mexico on 6 July with its elections. For the first time in almost 70 years, the Institutional Revolutionary Party lost its absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies. It also lost several states and the
      mayorship of Mexico City. In Chiapas, the Zapatista National Liberation
      Army issued no directives about the elections, choosing instead to
      withdraw to the sheltering greenery of the Lacandona Forest. From this
      sanctuary the head of the ZNLA, Sub-Commandant Marcos, sent us this
      original and geostrategic analysis of the new world picture.
      by Subcomandante Marcos
      “War is a matter of vital importance for the
      it is the province of life and death, the road which
      leads to survival or elimination. It is essential
      to study it in depth”.
      Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

      As a world system, neoliberalism is a new war for the conquest of
      territory. The ending of the third world war - meaning the cold war -
      in no sense means that the world has gone beyond the bipolar and
      found stability under the domination of a single victor. Because,
      while there was certainly a defeat (of the socialist camp), it is
      hard to say who won. The United States? The European Union? Japan?
      All three?

      The defeat of the "evil empire" has opened up new markets, and the
      struggle over them is leading to a new world war - the fourth.

      Like all major conflicts, this war is forcing national states to
      redefine their identity. The world order seems to have reverted to
      the earlier epochs of the conquests of America, Africa and Oceania -
      a strange modernity, this, which progresses by going backwards. The
      twilight years of the 20th century bear more of a resemblance to the
      previous centuries of barbarism than to the rational futures
      described in science fiction novels.

      Vast territories, wealth and, above all, a huge and available
      workforce lie waiting for the world’s new master but, while there is
      only one position as master on offer, there are many aspiring
      candidates. And that explains the new war between those who see
      themselves as part of the "empire of good".

      Unlike the third world war, in which the conflict between
      capitalism and socialism took place over a variety of terrains and
      with varying degrees of intensity, the fourth world war is being
      conducted between major financial centres in theatres of war that are
      global in scale and with a level of intensity that is fierce and

      The ineptly-named cold war actually reached very high
      temperatures: from underground workings of international espionage to
      the interstellar space of Ronald Reagan’s famous "Star Wars"; from
      the sands of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam;
      from the frenzy of the nuclear arms race to the vicious coups
      d’état in Latin America; from the menacing manoeuvres of NATO
      armies to the machinations of the CIA agents in Bolivia, where Che
      Guevara was murdered. The combination of all this led to the
      socialist camp being undermined as a world system, and to its
      dissolution as a social alternative.

      The third world war showed the benefits of "total war" for its
      victor, which was capitalism. In the post-cold war period we see the
      emergence of a new planetary scenario in which the principal
      conflictual elements are the growing importance of no-man’s-lands
      (arising out of the collapse of the Eastern bloc countries), the
      expansion of a number of major powers (the United States, the
      European Union and Japan), a world economic crisis and a new
      technical revolution based on information technology.

      Thanks to computers and the technological revolution, the
      financial markets, operating from their offices and answerable to
      nobody but themselves, have been imposing their laws and world-view
      on the planet as a whole. Globalisation is merely the totalitarian
      extension of the logic of the finance markets to all aspects of life.
      Where they were once in command of their economies, the nation states
      (and their governments) are commanded - or rather telecommanded - by
      the same basic logic of financial power, commercial free trade. And
      in addition, this logic has profited from a new permeability created
      by the development of telecommunications to appropriate all aspects
      of social activity. At last, a world war which is totally total!

      One of its first victims has been the national market. Rather like
      a bullet fired inside a concrete room, the war unleashed by
      neoliberalism ricochets and ends by wounding the person who fired it.
      One of the fundamental bases of the power of the modern capitalist
      state, the national market, is wiped out by the heavy artillery of
      the global finance economy. The new international capitalism renders
      national capitalism obsolete and effectively starves their public
      powers into extinction. The blow has been so brutal that sovereign
      states have lost the strength to defend their citizens’

      The fine showcase inherited from the ending of the cold war - the
      new world order - has shattered into fragments as a result of the
      neoliberal explosion. It takes no more than a few minutes for
      companies and states to be sunk - but they are sunk not by winds of
      proletarian revolution, but by the violence of the hurricanes of
      world finance.

      The son (neoliberalism) is devouring the father (national capital)
      and, in the process, is destroying the lies of capitalist ideology:
      in the new world order there is neither democracy nor freedom,
      neither equality nor fraternity. The planetary stage is transformed
      into a new battlefield, in which chaos reigns.

      Towards the end of the cold war, capitalism created a new military
      horror: the neutron bomb, a weapon which destroys life while sparing
      buildings. But a new wonder has been discovered as the fourth world
      war unfolds: the finance bomb. Unlike the bombs at Hiroshima and
      Nagasaki, this new bomb does not simply destroy the polis (in
      this case, the nation) and bring death, terror and misery to those
      who live there; it also transforms its target into a piece in the
      jigsaw puzzle of the process of economic globalisation. The result of
      the explosion is not a pile of smoking ruins, or thousands of dead
      bodies, but a neighbourhood added to one of the commercial
      megalopolis of the new planetary hypermarket, and a labour force
      which is reshaped to fit in with the new planetary job market.

      The European Union is a result of this fourth world war. In Europe
      globalisation has succeeded in eliminating the frontiers between
      rival states that had been enemies for centuries, and has forced them
      to converge towards political union. On the way from the nation state
      to the European Federation the road will be paved with destruction
      and ruin, and one of these ruins will be that of European

      Megalopolises are reproducing themselves right across the planet.
      Their favourite spawning ground is in the world’s free trade areas.
      In North America, the North American Free Trade Agreement between
      Canada, the United States and Mexico is a prelude to the
      accomplishment of an old dream of US conquest: "America for the

      Are megalopolises replacing nations? No, or rather not merely
      that. They are assigning them new functions, new limits and new
      perspectives. Entire countries are becoming departments of the
      neoliberal mega-enterprise. Neoliberalism thus produces, on the one
      hand, destruction and depopulation, and, on the other, the
      reconstruction and reorganisation of regions and nations.

      Unlike nuclear bombs, which had a dissuasive, intimidating and
      coercive character in the third world war, the financial hyperbombs
      of the fourth world war are different in nature. They serve to attack
      territories (national states) by the destruction of the material
      bases of their sovereignty and by producing a qualitative
      depopulation of those territories. This depopulation involves the
      exclusion of all persons who are of no use to the new economy
      (indigenous peoples, for instance). But at the same time the
      financial centres are working on a reconstruction of nation
      states and are reorganising them within a new logic: the
      economic has the upper hand over the social.

      The indigenous world is full of examples illustrating this
      strategy: Ian Chambers, director of the Central America section of
      the International Labour Organisation, has stated that the worldwide
      populations of indigenous peoples (300 million people) lives in zones
      which house 60 % of the planet’s natural resources. It is therefore
      "not surprising that there are multiple conflicts over the use and
      future of their lands in relation to the interests of business and
      governments (...). The exploitation of natural resources (oil and
      minerals) and tourism are the principal industries threatening
      indigenous territories in America (1)." And then come pollution,
      prostitution and drugs.

      In this new war, politics, as the organiser of the nation state,
      no longer exists. Now politics serves solely in order to manage the
      economy, and politicians are now merely company managers.

      The world’s new masters have no need to govern directly. National
      governments take on the role of running things on their behalf. This
      is what the new order means - unification of the world into one
      single market. States are simply enterprises with managers in the
      guise of governments, and the new regional alliances bear more of a
      resemblance to shopping malls than political federations. The
      unification produced by neoliberalism is economic: in the giant
      planetary hypermarket it is only commodities that circulate freely,
      not people.

      This economic globalisation is also accompanied by a general way
      of thinking. The "American way of life" which followed American
      troops into Europe during the second world war, then to Vietnam in
      the 1960s, and more recently into the Gulf war, is now extending
      itself to the planet as a whole, via computers. What we have here is
      a destruction of the material bases of nation states, but we also
      have a destruction of history and culture.

      All the cultures which nations have forged - the noble past of the
      indigenous peoples of the Americas, the brilliance of European
      civilisation, the cultured history of the Asian nations and the
      ancestral wealth of Africa and Oceania - all these are under attack
      from the American way of life. Neoliberalism thus imposes the
      destruction of nations and of groups of nations in order to fuse them
      into one single model. The war which neoliberalism is conducting
      against humanity is thus a planetary war, and is the worst and most
      cruel ever seen.

      What we have here is a puzzle. When we attempt to put its pieces
      together in order to arrive at an understanding of today’s world, we
      find that a lot of the pieces are missing. Still, we can make a start
      with seven of them, in the hope that this conflict will not end with
      the destruction of humanity. Seven pieces to draw, colour in, cut out
      and put together with others, in order to try to solve this global

      The first of these pieces is the two-fold accumulation of wealth
      and of poverty at the two poles of planetary society. The second is
      the total exploitation of the totality of the world. The third is the
      nightmare of that part of humanity condemned to a life of wandering.
      The fourth is the sickening relationship between crime and state
      power. The fifth is state violence. The sixth is the mystery of
      megapolitics. The seventh is the multiple forms of resistance which
      humanity is deploying against neoliberalism.

      Piece no. 1: The concentration of wealth and the distribution
      of poverty

      Figure 1 is constructed by drawing a sign for money.

      In the history of humanity, a variety of models have fought it out
      over the erection of absurdities as the distinguishing features of
      world order. Neoliberalism will have pride of place when it comes to
      the prize-giving, because in its "distribution" of wealth all it
      achieves is a two-fold absurdity of accumulation: an accumulation of
      wealth for the few, and an accumulation of poverty for millions of
      others. Injustice and inequality are the distinguishing traits of
      today’s world. The earth has five billion human inhabitants: of
      these, only 500 million live comfortably; the remaining 4.5 billion
      endure lives of poverty. The rich make up for their numerical
      minority by their ownership of billions of dollars. The total wealth
      owned by the 358 richest people in the world, the dollar
      billionaires, is greater than the annual income of almost half the
      world’s poorest inhabitants, in other words about 2.6 billion

      The progress of the major transnational companies does not
      necessarily involve the advance of the countries of the developed
      world. On the contrary, the richer these giant companies become, the
      more poverty there is in the so-called "wealthy" countries. The gap
      between rich and poor is enormous: far from decreasing, social
      inequalities are growing.

      This monetary sign that you have drawn represents the symbol of
      world economic power. Now colour it dollar-green. Ignore the
      sickening stench; this smell of dung, mire and blood are the smells
      of its birthing...

      Piece no. 2: The globalisation of exploitation

      Figure 2 is constructed by drawing a triangle.

      One of the lies of neoliberalism is that the economic growth of
      companies produces employment and a better distribution of wealth.
      This is untrue. In the same way that the increasing power of a king
      does not lead to an increase in the power of his subjects (far from
      it), the absolutism of finance capital does not improve the
      distribution of wealth, and does not create jobs. In fact its
      structural consequences are poverty, unemployment and

      In the 1960s and 1970s, the number of poor people in the world
      (defined by the World Bank as having an income of less than one
      dollar per day) rose to some 200 million. By the start of the 1990s,
      their numbers stood at two billion.

      Hence, increasing numbers of people who are poor or have been made
      poor. Fewer and fewer people who are rich or have become rich. These
      are the lessons of Piece 1 of our puzzle. In order to obtain this
      absurd result, the world capitalist system is "modernising" the
      production, circulation and consumption of commodities. The new
      technological revolution (information technology) and the new
      revolution in politics (the megalopolises emerging from the ruins of
      the nation state) produce a new social "revolution". This social
      revolution consists of a rearrangement, a reorganisation of social
      forces and, principally, of the workforce.

      The world’s economically active population (EAP) went from 1.38
      billion in 1960 to 2.37 billion in 1990. A large increase in the
      number of human beings capable of working and generating wealth. But
      the new world order arranges this workforce within specific
      geographical and productive areas, and reassigns their functions (or
      non-functions, in the case of unemployed and precarious workers)
      within the plan of world globalisation. The world’s economically
      active population by sector (EAPS) has undergone radical changes
      during the past 20 years. Agriculture and fishing fell from 22 % in
      1970 to 12 % in 1990; manufacture from 25 % to 22 %; but the tertiary
      sector (commercial, transport, banking and services) has risen from
      42 % to 56 %. In developing countries, the tertiary sector has grown
      from 40 % in 1970 to 57 % in 1990, while agriculture and fishing have
      fallen from 30 % to 15 % (2). This means that increasing numbers of
      workers are channelled into the kind of activities necessary for
      increasing productivity or speeding up the creation of commodities.
      The neoliberal system thus functions as a kind of mega-boss for whom
      the world market is viewed as a single, unified enterprise, to be
      managed by "modernising" criteria.

      But neoliberalism’s "modernity" seems closer to the bestial birth
      of capitalism as a world system than to utopian "rationality",
      because this "modern" capitalist production continues to rely on
      child labour. Out of 1.15 billion children in the world, at least 100
      million live on the streets and 200 million work - and according to
      forecasts this figure will rise to 400 million by the year 2000. In
      Asia alone, 146 million children work in manufacturing. And in the
      North too, hundreds of thousands of children have to work in order to
      supplement family incomes, or merely to survive. There are also many
      children employed in the "pleasure industries": according to the
      United Nations, every year a million children are driven into the sex

      The unemployment and precarious labour of millions of workers
      throughout the world is a reality which does not look set to
      disappear. In the countries of the Organisation for Economic
      Cooperation and Development (OECD), unemployment went from 3.8 % in
      1966 to 6.3 % in 1990; in Europe it went from 2.2 % to 6.4 %. The
      globalised market is destroying small and medium- sized companies.
      With the disappearance of local and regional markets, small and
      medium producers have no protection and are unable to compete with
      the giant transnationals. Millions of workers thus find themselves
      unemployed. One of the absurdities of neoliberalism is that far from
      creating jobs, the growth of production actually destroys them. The
      UN speaks of "growth without jobs".

      But the nightmare does not end there. Workers are also being
      forced to accept precarious conditions. Less job security, longer
      working hours and lower wages: these are the consequences of
      globalisation in general and the explosion in the service sector in

      All this combines to create a specific surplus: an excess of human
      beings who are useless in terms of the new world order because they
      do not produce, do not consume, and do not borrow from banks. In
      short, human beings who are disposable. Each day the big finance
      centres impose their laws on countries and groups of countries all
      around the world. They re-arrange and re-order the inhabitants of
      those countries. And at the end of the operation they find there is
      still an "excess" of people.

      What you have now is a figure resembling a triangle: this depicts
      the pyramid of worldwide exploitation.

      Piece no. 3: Migration, a nightmare of wandering

      Figure 3 is constructed by drawing a circle.

      We have already spoken of the existence, at the end of the third
      world war, of new territories waiting to be conquered (the former
      socialist countries) and others to be re-conquered for the "new world
      order". This situation involves the financial centres in a threefold
      strategy: there is a proliferation of "regional wars" and "internal
      conflicts"; capital follows paths of atypical accumulation; and large
      masses of workers are mobilised. Result: a huge rolling wheel of
      millions of migrants moving across the planet. As "foreigners" in
      that "world without frontiers" which had been promised by the victors
      of the cold war, they are forced to endure racist persecution,
      precarious employment, the loss of their cultural identity, police
      repression, hunger, imprisonment and murder.

      The nightmare of emigration, whatever its cause, continues to
      grow. The number of those coming within the ambit of the United
      Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has grown
      disproportionately from 2 million in 1975 to more than 27 million in

      The objective of neoliberalism’s migration policy is more to
      destabilise the world labour market than to put a brake on
      immigration. The fourth world war - with its mechanisms of
      destruction/depopulation and reconstruction/reorganisation - involves
      the displacement of millions of people. Their destiny is to wander
      the world, carrying the burden of their nightmare with them, so as to
      constitute a threat to workers who have a job, a scapegoat designed
      to make people forget their bosses, and to provide a basis for the
      racism that neoliberalism provokes.

      Piece no. 4: Financial globalisation and the generalisation of

      Figure 4 is constructed by drawing a rectangle.

      If you think that the world of crime has to be shady and
      underhand, you are wrong. In the period of the so-called cold war,
      organised crime acquired a more respectable image. Not only did it
      begin to function in the same way as any other modern enterprise, but
      it also penetrated deeply into the political and economic systems of
      nation states.

      With the beginning of the fourth world war, organised crime has
      globalised its activities. The criminal organisations of five
      continents have taken on board the "spirit of world cooperation" and
      have joined together in order to participate in the conquest of new
      markets. They are investing in legal businesses, not only in order to
      launder dirty money, but in order to acquire capital for illegal
      operations. Their preferred activities are luxury property
      investment, the leisure industry, the media - and banking.

      Ali Baba and the Forty Bankers? Worse than that. Commercial banks
      are using the dirty money of organised crime for their legal
      activities. According to a UN report, the involvement of crime
      syndicates has been facilitated by the programmes of structural
      adjustment which debtor countries have been forced to accept in order
      to gain access to International Monetary Fund loans (3).

      Organised crime also relies on the existence of tax havens: there
      are some 55 of these. One of them, the Cayman Islands, ranks fifth in
      the world as a banking centre, and has more banks and registered
      companies than inhabitants. As well as laundering money, these tax
      paradises make it possible to escape taxation. They are places for
      contact between governments, businessmen and Mafia bosses.

      So here we have the rectangular mirror within which legality and
      illegality exchange reflections. On which side of the mirror is the
      criminal? And on which side is the person who pursues him?

      Piece no. 5: Legitimate violence of illegitimate powers

      Figure 5 is constructed by drawing a pentagon.

      In the cabaret of globalisation, the state performs a striptease,
      at the end of which it is left wearing the minimum necessary: its
      powers of repression. With its material base destroyed, its
      sovereignty and independence abolished, and its political class
      eradicated, the nation state increasingly becomes a mere security
      apparatus in the service of the mega-enterprises which neoliberalism
      is constructing. Instead of orienting public investment towards
      social spending, it prefers to improve the equipment which enables it
      to control society more effectively.

      What is to be done when the violence derives from the laws of the
      market? Where is legitimate violence then? And where the
      illegitimate? What monopoly of violence can the hapless nation states
      demand when the free interplay of supply and demand defies any such
      monopoly? Have we not shown, in Piece 4, that organised crime,
      government and finance centres are intimately interlinked? Is it not
      obvious that organised crime has veritable armies on which it can
      count? The monopoly of violence no longer belongs to nation states:
      the market has put it up for auction.

      However, when the monopoly of violence is contested not on the
      basis of the laws of the market, but in the interests of "those from
      below", then world power sees it as "aggression". This is one of the
      (least studied and most condemned) aspects of the challenges launched
      by the indigenous peoples in arms and in rebellion of the Zapatista
      National Liberation Army against neoliberalism and for humanity.

      The symbol of American military power is the pentagon. The new
      world police wants national armies and police to be simple security
      bodies guaranteeing order and progress within the megalopolises of

      Piece no. 6: Megapolitics and its dwarfs

      Figure 6 is constructed by scribbling a doodle.

      We said earlier that nation states are attacked by the finance
      markets and forced to dissolve themselves within megalopolises. But
      neoliberalism does not conduct its war solely by "unifying" nations
      and regions. Its strategy of destruction/depopulation and
      reconstruction/reorganisation also produces a fracture or fractures
      within the nation state. This is the paradox of this fourth world
      war: while ostensibly working to eliminate frontiers and "unite"
      nations, it actually leads to a multiplication of frontiers and the
      smashing apart of nations.

      If anyone still doubts that this globalisation is a world war, let
      them look at the conflicts that arose out of the collapse of the
      USSR, of Czechoslovakia and of Yugoslavia, and the deep crises which
      have shattered not only the political and economic foundations of
      nation states, but also their social cohesion.

      Both the construction of megalopolises and the fragmentation of
      states are founded on the destruction of the nation state. Are these
      two independent and parallel events? Are they symptoms of a
      mega-crisis about to occur? Or are they simply separate and isolated

      We think that they represent a contradiction inherent in the
      process of globalisation, and one of the core realities of the
      neoliberal model. The elimination of trade frontiers, the explosion
      of telecommunications, information superhighways, the omnipresence of
      financial markets, international free trade agreements - all this
      contributes to destroying nation states and internal markets.
      Paradoxically, globalisation produces a fragmented world of isolated
      pieces, a world full of watertight compartments which may at best be
      linked by fragile economic gangways. A world of broken mirrors which
      reflect the useless world unity of the neoliberal puzzle.

      But neoliberalism does not merely fragment the world which it
      claims to be unifying; it also produces the political and economic
      centre which directs this war. It is urgent that we embark on a
      discussion of this mega-politics. Mega-politics globalises national
      politics - in other words it ties them to a centre which has world
      interests and which operates on the logic of the market. It is in the
      name of the market that wars, credits, buying and selling of
      commodities, diplomatic recognition, trade blocs, political support,
      laws on immigration, breakdowns of relationships between countries
      and investment - in short, the survival of entire nations - are

      The world-wide power of the financial markets is such that they
      are not concerned about the political complexion of the leaders of
      individual countries: what counts in their eyes is a country’s
      respect for the economic programme. Financial disciplines are imposed
      on all alike. These masters of the world can even tolerate the
      existence of left-wing governments, on condition that they adopt no
      measure likely to harm the interests of the market. However, they
      will never accept policies that tend to break with the dominant

      In the eyes of mega-politics, national politics are conducted by
      dwarfs who are expected to comply with the dictates of the financial
      giant. And this is the way it will always be - until the dwarfs

      Here, then, you have the figure which represents mega-politics.
      Impossible to find the slightest rationality in it.

      Piece no. 7: Pockets of resistance

      Figure 7 is constructed by drawing a pocket.

      "To begin with, I ask you not to confuse resistance with political
      opposition. Opposition does not oppose itself to power but to a
      government, and its fully-formed shape is that of an opposition
      party; resistance, on the other hand, cannot be a party, by
      definition: it is not made in order to govern but... to resist."
      (Tomás Segovia, "Alegatorio", Mexico, 1996)

      The apparent infallibility of globalisation comes up hard against
      the stubborn disobedience of reality. While neoliberalism is pursuing
      its war, groups of protesters, kernels of rebels, are forming
      throughout the planet. The empire of financiers with full pockets
      confronts the rebellion of pockets of resistance. Yes, pockets. Of
      all sizes, of different colours, of varying shapes. Their sole common
      point is a desire to resist the "new world order" and the crime
      against humanity that is represented by this fourth world war.

      Neoliberalism attempts to subjugate millions of beings, and seeks
      to rid itself of all those who have no place in its new ordering of
      the world. But these "disposable" people are in revolt. Women,
      children, old people, young people, indigenous peoples, ecological
      militants, homosexuals, lesbians, HIV activists, workers, and all
      those who upset the ordered progress of the new world system and who
      organise and are in struggle. Resistance is being woven by those who
      are excluded from "modernity".

      In Mexico, for example, the so-called "Programme for Integral
      Development of the Tehuantepec Isthmus" is conceived as constructing
      a large industrial zone. This zone would consist of industrial
      factories, a refinery to process one third of Mexico’s crude oil, and
      plant to make petrochemical products. Transit routes between the two
      oceans would be built: roads, a canal, and a trans-isthmus railway.
      Two million peasants would become workers in these industrial and
      transportation sectors. In the same way, in the south-east of Mexico,
      in the Lacandona Forest, a long-term regional development programme
      is being set up with the object of making available to capital
      indigenous lands that are rich not only in dignity and history, but
      also in oil and uranium.

      These projects would end up by fragmenting Mexico, separating the
      south-east from the rest of the country. They are also framed within
      a strategy of counter-insurgency, like a pincer movement attempting
      to encircle the rebellion against neoliberalism that was born in
      1994. At the centre are to be found the indigenous rebels of the
      Zapatista National Liberation Army.

      While we are on the subject of rebellious indigenous peoples, a
      parenthesis would be in order: the Zapatistas believe that in Mexico
      recovery and defence of national sovereignty are part of the
      anti-liberal revolution. Paradoxically, the ZNLA finds itself accused
      of attempting to fragment the Mexican nation.

      The reality is that the only forces that have spoken for
      separatism are the businessmen of the oil-rich state of Tabasco, and
      the Institutional Revolutionary Party members of parliament from
      Chiapas. The Zapatistas, for their part, think that it is necessary
      to defend the nation state in the face of globalisation, and that the
      attempts to break Mexico into fragments are being made by the
      government, and not by the just demands of the Indian peoples for
      autonomy. The ZNLA and the majority of the national indigenous
      movement want the Indian peoples not to separate from Mexico but to
      be recognised as an integral part of the country, with their own
      specificities. They also aspire to a Mexico which espouses democracy,
      freedom and justice. Whereas the ZNLA fights to defend national
      sovereignty, the Mexican Federal Army functions to protect a
      government which has destroyed the material bases of sovereignty and
      which has offered the country not only to large-scale foreign
      capital, but also to drug trafficking.

      It is not only in the mountains of south-east Mexico that
      neoliberalism is being resisted. In other regions of Mexico, in Latin
      America, in the United States and Canada, in the Europe of the
      Maastricht Treaty, in Africa, in Asia and in Oceania, pockets of
      resistance are multiplying. Each has its own history, its
      specificities, its similarities, its demands, its struggles and its
      successes. If humanity hopes to survive, and to improve itself, its
      only hope lies in these pockets which are created by the excluded,
      the marginalised and those who are considered "disposable".

      So what we have here is a drawing of a pocket of resistance. But
      don’t attach too much importance to it. The possible shapes are as
      numerous as the forms of resistance themselves, as numerous as all
      the worlds existing in this world. So draw whatever shape you like.
      In this matter of pockets, as in that of resistance, diversity is a
      Having now drawn, coloured and cut out these seven pieces, you
      will notice that it is impossible to fit them together. This is the
      problem. Globalisation has been seeking to put together pieces which
      don’t fit. For this reason, and for others which I cannot develop in
      this article, it is necessary to build a new world. A world in which
      there is room for many worlds. A world capable of containing all the
      * * * * *
      A post-script which speaks of dreams couched in love. The sea
      rests at my side. For a long time it has shared my anxieties, my
      uncertainties and many of my dreams, but now it sleeps with me in the
      hot night of the forest. I watch its rippling movements in its sleep
      and I am struck with wonder again at finding it unchanged: warm,
      fresh, and at my side. The stifling heat of the night draws me from
      my bed and guides my hand and my pen to summon up old Antonio, today,
      as he was many years ago...

      I asked old Antonio to go with me on an exploration up the
      river. We took only a bit of stew to eat. For hours we followed the
      winding riverbed, and in the end hunger and the heat began to get to
      us. We spent the afternoon following a herd of boars. It was almost
      night when we eventually caught up with them. Suddenly, a huge wild
      boar detached itself from the group and attacked us. Summoning up all
      my military know-how, I threw away my gun and climbed the nearest
      tree. Old Antonio was unarmed, but instead of running away he placed
      himself behind a thicket of canes. The giant boar ran straight at
      him, with its full force, and found itself caught up in the
      undergrowth. Before it could disentangle itself, old Antonio lifted
      his big old stick, and with one blow provided our evening meal.

      The next morning, when I had finished cleaning my modern
      automatic rifle (a 5.56mm M-16 with a range of 460 metres, a
      telescopic sight and a drum magazine holding 90 bullets), I settled
      down to write my field diary. Omitting most of what had happened, I
      noted only: "Met wild boar. A. killed one. Height 350 metres. Did not

      While we were waiting for the meat to grill, I told old Antonio
      that my portion would serve for the festivities that were being
      prepared back at base. "Festivities?" he asked, poking the fire.
      "Yes," I said. "Whatever the month, there’s always something to
      celebrate." And I embarked on what I thought was a brilliant
      dissertation on the Zapatistas’ historical calendar and celebrations.
      Old Antonio listened to me in silence. Then, imagining that he was
      not finding it interesting, I settled down to sleep.

      While I was still half awake, I saw old Antonio take my
      notebook and write something in it. The next day, after breakfast, we
      shared out the meat and each went our separate ways. When I reached
      camp, I reported back and showed the notes I had made in my notebook.
      "That’s not your writing," someone said, pointing to the page in
      question. There, beneath what I had written, old Antonio had written,
      in large letters: "If you cannot have both reason and strength,
      always choose reason, and leave strength to the enemy. In many
      battles, it is force that makes it possible to win a victory, but the
      struggle as a whole can only be won by reason. The strong man will
      never be able to draw reason from his strength, whereas we can always
      draw strength from our reason."

      And down below, in smaller letters, he had written "Happy

      Obviously, I was no longer hungry and, as usual, the Zapatista
      festivities were indeed happy.

      Sub-Commandant Marcos.

      * Zapatista National Liberation Army, Chiapas,

      (1) Interview with Martha García, La
      Jornada, 28 May 1997.
      (2) Ochoa Chi and Juanita del Pilar, “Mercado
      mundial de fuerza de trabajo en el capitalismo
      contemporáneo”, UNAM, Economia, Mexico City,
      (3) The Globalisation of Crime, United Nations,
      New York, 1995.


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