The Other Campaign
The Other Campaign
Translated by Maria Garrido
Zapatismo has differentiated itself from the majority of the other social struggles in our country because it has been a movement of actors always building and proposing. Having the option to harbor itself on the evident, the situation of the indigenous people in our country, the victims of 500 years, the poor, the permanently affected, Zapatismo chose not to be a victim but rather to be an actor, not only to resist but to propose, to become an actor of its own path, its own walk.
These words are not intended to build sympathy or support in these moments when tensions are running high between the Zapatista proposal and the actions taken by the institutional left in Mexico. To affirm that Zapatismo is a movement that proposes and not only one that resists, a movement nourished by actors that continuously search for meaning in their actions and reject to be only passive victims, is based on the undeniable existence of the so-called caracoles. The fact that the Zapatistas were able to propose the formation of regional spaces (autonomous municipalities) that have as their underlying goal to improve the quality of live of its inhabitants by establishing a principle of authority in the juntas of good governance in each of the five local-regional spaces where they have established a clear influence.
This discussion is relevant because it is becoming evident that there are some aspects of the Other Campaign that are placing the proposals and the strategies for social reconstruction at the local-regional level - exemplified in the formation of the caracoles - into a secondary place and building an image in which excluded people (les damne's de la Terre) of all backgrounds are approaching zapatismo and Delegate Zero as the affected and the victims asking him to: "intervene so the political prisoners from Villaflores are freed"; "intervene in Huixtla so electricity fees are reduced and to create a resistance front"; "intervene so we are able to drive our bicycle-taxis without the need of paying a license to the municipality"; "intervene so the ejido of Lomas de Chapultepec, in Punta Diamante, Acapulco, recovers the land that was expropriated by Figueroa to develop luxury real state"...
The spaces of dialogue that zapatismo is trying to build with the Other Campaign, at least during the first six months, are not spaces to engage in dialogue with groups from the non-institutional left around the strategies to build consensus about the anti-capitalist path that our country should follow in the near future (those groups that are becoming scarce in this country in regression). The spaces of dialogue that the Other Campaign is trying to build will turn into a mere discussion with ordinary people, with the millions of inhabitants in our country that are NOT going to propose anything elaborated or systematic but that are only worried about their immediate subsistence.
To the extent that this happens, it is necessary to develop some sort of mechanism so that the meetings with the Other Campaign differentiate themselves from the journeys of political delegates from Tlalpan, Iztapalapa, or from any other municipality in our republic, where the complaints and pressing needs are infinite (obviously in these meetings, political delegates and municipal representatives promise to their constituency that if they get their vote and win they will resolve all these demands). In the case of the Other Campaign the mechanism of the vote it is, fortunately, not an issue. However, it doesn't help us to solve the puzzle.
It is already becoming clear what is the problem for the Other Campaign: nobody that comes from the outside and that only meets with people briefly (de pasadita) will solve any of the problems in a community, locality or region. These problems are extremely complex and require long-term solutions. Zapatismo will be able to keep listening to the long and endless list of demands in each community, but in my opinion, I believe that it would become stronger if it would show the moderate but evident successes in the Zapatista regions (Los Caracoles) and discuss the different organizational mechanisms and its lines of work in the regions where it is traveling, discussing with clarity the kind of support that is welcomed in the Zapatista regions (from civil society, for example) and the kind that is not accepted (from government or government-related organizations) and what does this mean, or to explain the need to break all the ties with academic and governmental institutions and things of this sort...
It is evident that we want to see in our country organized collective actors, proponents, and not victims in resistance complaining about their desperate situation.