The Other Campaign
The Other Campaign
Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Meeting with Political Organizations of the Left
August 6, 2005
Tzeltal Selva Region
[translated by irlandesa]
I want to more or less explain to you about the format weâ€™re proposing: our proposal is that first weâ€™re going to talk and to explain some questions about the Sexta, about what weâ€™re proposing, and maybe there weâ€™ll be able to respond to some doubts you sent us, like what about LÃ³pez Obrador, like what happened with the CND, all that, and then weâ€™ll have a bit of a rest, and weâ€™ll listen to your words. Then thereâ€™s two possibilities: those who want to speak in front of everyone, and those who want to talk with the zapatista leadership behind closed doors, with the understanding that the closed door meetings arenâ€™t clandestine. Everything thatâ€™s said weâ€™re going to make public with all those people who are joining the Sexta, but there are things that are better presented in brief, then the organizations which come can agree to speak their word here and have a meeting separately. Our work is serious, and weâ€™re going to be here all day and all night resolving your questions.
Let me again repeat the welcome from the compaÃ±eros of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, the compaÃ±eros and compaÃ±eras who are here, Comandantes and Comandantas who are part of the Sexta Committee, in this case theyâ€™re compaÃ±eros from the Tzeltal Selva region, as in this case, there are compaÃ±eros and compaÃ±eras who were volunteers for the work of the Sexta, from the Border region which is the Tojolabal region, from the region of Los Altos which is the Tzotzil region, the Northern region which is the Chol region, and the Tzotz choj region, which is the one you know as Altamirano. Some of them will be at some meetings, and youâ€™ll see others at other ones. Their main work is to present all of you, to inform the support bases as to what is being expressed. My work is to act as a bridge between the Comandancia and the Committee or the organizations, persons, groups, who are going to be working with us in the Sixth Declaration.
Today the meeting is with political organizations. A political organization is one which lays claim to being a political organization, as it says in the San AndrÃ©s Accords: indigenous is that which lays claim to being indigenous, political organization is that which lays claim to being a political organization. We know there are compaÃ±eros who are planning to come on their own, theyâ€™ll all be well received, but at every meeting preference will be given to the word, attention to the proposals being made, which in this case will be political organizations. If, however, people come on their own, theyâ€™ll be welcome, but we ask them to respect the compaÃ±eros whose turn it is, thatâ€™s how the words will go. Now itâ€™s the turn of the political organizations of the left, and we want to thank them for having come. In the first place, because the relationship between the EZLN and the political organizations of the left has been bad, primarily because of our clumsiness and our inexperience starting in January of 1994 in figuring out what the national scene was and the work those organizations were doing in different places. Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that it was basically our fault that our relationship had been damaged, at no point have we questioned the legitimacy you have gained in the social movements with the people who have responded. The recognition and admiration youâ€™ve provoked in us, at this stage of the game, with the entire neoliberal and capitalist offensive, people who define themselves as being leftist to participate no matter what happens, especially when itâ€™s the fashion to be centrist or moderate right. The majority of the organizations of the left which are present here are engaged in important work, they work with the base. You have our guarantee that we recognize that work, not only are we not going to question it, weâ€™re going to publicly recognize it when weâ€™re participating.
We know that you ran risks in coming here, because no matter how much is said, the EZLN is still a different political-military organization, and it is weighed down by different kinds of threats â€“ what are they called?â€¦â€rule of law.â€ We know, then, that when you come here to be with us, or to establish a relationship with us, you are running a risk. I believe all those organizations which are present here are aware that we are going to be confronted with a very intense campaign of disparagement, greater than the one the UNAM Strike movement of 1999 received, and Iâ€™m sure that there are many bets in many places that this is going to fail, and that any attempt to make accords with the left is destined to failure by definition. And, therefore, the EZLNâ€™s initiative of trying to have relations with other organizations of the left is bound to fail. Weâ€™re willing to fail, like we failed before in our relationship with that party â€“ I believe, Iâ€™m not quite sure, itâ€™s the Revolutionary Democratic Party [PRD], with what was cardenismo a long time ago and with certain sectors, letâ€™s say progressives, intellectuals, civil society. Starting with these assumptions, we want to make it clear, first, that the Sixth Declaration posits two levels of relationship: direct participation, under equal circumstances with us in the planning and carrying out of the Other Campaign. I donâ€™t know what your thoughts are concerning the length of time, but weâ€™re not thinking about an action like the March of the 1,111 or the Consulta of â€™99, nor the March for Indigenous Dignity: we are thinking about political work of a decade â€“ ten years - to refute the 6 year administration plan â€“ if itâ€™s less, weâ€™ll give it our all. In this regard, even though itâ€™s being presented in the face of the 2006 election, what the EZLN is proposing in the Other Campaign goes beyond that, not just in its political positions, but also in its calendar, despite the fact that the EZLN comes and goes during the elections, and it will continue the work independently of what is going on in the electoral process. The invitation we are extending to those who are joining in with the Sixth is for them to participate with us under equal circumstances, in the framework of the preparation meetings, which is what this is right now. We decided, weâ€™re the hosts, we have the order of the day. Our thinking is that after these meetings are over, it wonâ€™t be like this anymore, but in accord with the political and social organizations, NGOs and with all those people who are going to be coming, a kind of agreement will be reached, and then weâ€™ll be there sometimes in order to clarify things, as the work is being agreed to. The other level of relationship with the EZLN is that of proposing bilateral relations, they could be separate from participation in the Other Campaign. The political organizations of the left would be interested in organization to organization relationships with the EZLN. This could be done through common accord. It doesnâ€™t involve having to be in just one. I would ask you, please, to announce in your organizations that you can be in both, in just one or in neither. I would like to repeat that we thank you very much for having passed through the communities in order to come here or where youâ€™re going to pass through, with the hope that things turn out well.
During this first meeting, weâ€™re going to give preference to those organizations which have said they support the Sexta. We know there are organizations which have come to express other problems, but the meeting that was convened is clear. We donâ€™t refuse to speak with others, but first weâ€™ll do so with those who are supporting the Sexta, then, if thereâ€™s the time and the means, those who wish to propose something else can do so, and weâ€™re going to listen to them.
I am telling you clearly that we are going to listen with respect, but any argument regarding supporting LÃ³pez Obradorâ€™s candidacy or the PRD is doomed to failure with us. If anyone has the patience and the guts to hear arguments in favor of that, we wonâ€™t object, not us.
There have been 12 years of seeing what a party has done. If anyone has any doubts as to what LÃ³pez Obrador is proposing, I have here the summary of the interview he gave the NY Times, and the Financial Times, along with the 50 commitments, along with his history as head of the government of DF and along with the history of the PRD. If anyone says there are bases inside the PRD which should be rescued, rescue them. Not us.
If you want to debate the possibility of the PRD and the left, we can bring the compaÃ±eros who were shot by paramilitaries in ZinacantÃ¡n, all the committees who turned their backs when the indigenous law was voted on, the compaÃ±eros from these villages who have been attacked by the PRD ORCAO, the compaÃ±ero who was kidnapped and tortured by the PRD CIOAC, and all those who have been systematically attacked by that party which says itâ€™s leftist.
Weâ€™re not going there.
If someone wants to tell us something about this, then weâ€™ll listen to it and all that, but weâ€™re going above the PRI, against the PAN and against the PRD. No one should have any room for doubt, but if any of you think you can get a deputy seat in exchange for raising a leftist movement or has the futile hope that a large movement will move LÃ³pez Obrador to the left, agreed, we just ask that you be honest with us and with the people. If youâ€™re going to plan that, tell us and tell the people â€œour plan is this: we donâ€™t believe in LÃ³pez Obrador, but if we create a big fuss, he might give us a deputy seat.â€ Agreed, itâ€™s a strategy, it can work or not, but be honest with us. Donâ€™t tell us â€œno, what youâ€™re saying is very good. And, below, what are you going to give us.â€ Weâ€™re not going to be frightened of anything, really, but yes, what weâ€™re not going to allow is for you to be dishonest with us, because we are indeed being honest with you. As of now, we are going to share everything: if a proposal from Fox comes saying he wants to speak with us, youâ€™re going to know. If Martha SahagÃºn wants the Other Campaign to support her, you are going to know. If at the very hour we decide to go with a suitable candidate, youâ€™re going to know. In this regard, anything that could be kept secret, weâ€™re not going to keep secret â€“ weâ€™re going to share with you, and weâ€™re going to say what our position is. You might not be accustomed to that, but what the Sexta says is what it says, thereâ€™s nothing else hidden. There are many definitions still remaining. I believe weâ€™re going to be on the same wavelength - that a definition of the State is lacking, a definition of position in the face of State power is lacking, of the nature of the organic composition of capital, social classes, factions, theâ€¦. All of that is still undefined for a simple reason â€“ itâ€™s not the place to define them. The Sixth Declaration doesnâ€™t say itâ€™s for socialism, because in reality our hidden agenda is that we want to reimpose feudalism. Any other definitions which are left unresolved there â€“ in the Sixth Declaration â€“ we think are going to be the product of two processes: the development process of the Other Campaign which meansâ€¦and seeing what happens with the process of the relationships between the EZLN and the organizations of the left. We think that all those things which are unresolved in the Sixth Declaration are going to be defined along with you.
You can believe us or not, but we have been honest ever since we were born as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, in that it is our conviction not only not to be the vanguard of a movement of transformation in Mexico, but we also think that the movement of transformation of Mexico is the result of the action of many political forces of the left, among which we are a part. This action strongly needs the participation of workers, campesinos, students, workers in the city and the countryside. We see as legitimate any organization of the left which aspires to build and to participate in the struggle of all these sectors.
The EZLN doesnâ€™t do work with workers, nor with students, their work is fundamentally with the indigenous. We are not going to fight with you for the moral direction or legitimacy which the popular worker campesino movement - or however you want to call it - has gained. Nor are we going to fight with you for the leadership of those movements. The Sexta is quite clear â€“ we want to join our struggles with the struggles of the workers and campesinos, we donâ€™t want to lead the struggle of the workers and campesinos. You have the work you have, Iâ€™m not going to go into details here, you know, and you have earned the legitimacy and the recognition of those people. It doesnâ€™t matter if you donâ€™t appear in the media. The media and quantitative logic that an organization is important according to the number of persons it has doesnâ€™t go over well with us. We began with 6. When they say â€œdonâ€™t talk with that organization, because itâ€™s very small.â€ If theyâ€™re more than 6, itâ€™s worthwhile, it can grow. And, if weâ€™re going with the quantitative, the PRI would be seated there â€“ in any event, itâ€™s the one that has the most people. Thatâ€™s what weâ€™re asking you, to help us. Weâ€™re not asking you to follow us, nor to do what weâ€™re going to tell you to do. You have your work with workers, work with students, with neighbors, with campesinos, with popular groups, non-governmental. Weâ€™re asking you, then, to be the bridge so the EZLN can listen to what the compaÃ±eros have to say about those points. The Sixth Declaration is clear â€“ when the EZLN comes out, itâ€™s not going to say that wealth was formed because a little bee went and carried pollen to another. Wealth has its origin in exploitation. Weâ€™re not going to help you in that â€“ we want to listen to any word which is in keeping with an anti-capitalist movement against exploitation.
If the workers, campesinos, students and whatever are anarchists, it doesnâ€™t matter, we want to talk with them. If they are Trotskyites, it doesnâ€™t matter, we want to speak with them. Maoists, Stalinists, whatever they are, as long as they have a project and a proposal along the length of this great anti-capitalist band. We want to hear it, one, and, two, we want to see if itâ€™s possible to join our struggle with your struggle. That is what we want, and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re going for. The Other Campaignâ€™s proposal is not one of drawing lines, itâ€™s not promoting armed struggle. It is going and asking the people what they think, how they see things. Weâ€™re not guided by polls. If the polls say thereâ€™s a large movement supporting LÃ³pez Obrador, itâ€™s LÃ³pez Obradorâ€™s problem, and the problem of those people being paid. What we want to hear is what the people think about their problems, how theyâ€™re resolving them and, above all, for them to tell us of their experiences of struggle. You know about them, because youâ€™re working there. We arenâ€™t going to tell the compaÃ±eros of San Salvador Atenco how to oppose an airport, how to organize a resistance movement there. Nor are we going to teach the compaÃ±eros and compaÃ±eras from the Retired Persons Frente how to resist the offensive. We want to go and talk with you and to have you tell us what your history was like and where you see the path, and we might find points in common. And weâ€™re going to go everywhere weâ€™re invited. Iâ€™m letting you know: we are going to fulfill the Sixth Declaration even if weâ€™re alone and if no one wants to work with us. Weâ€™re going to put up a sign that says: â€œHammock cords cut, chickens plucked.â€
We would find it completely natural if we were to go to speak with some campesinos in a region, and the brothers of one organization or another were to say â€œcome with us.â€ What we arenâ€™t going to say is come with the EZLN. Weâ€™re not going to do that. The work of the Other Campaign means not promoting the growth of one organization, but we would find it natural that you would promote it. Let us make it clear in that regard that the EZLN holds its line, it will continue promoting the appearance of new social subjects, the appearance of new organizations, of new forms of organization and of new worlds. Weâ€™re not going to offer the people an organizational structure, but weâ€™d find it natural, normal and necessary for disputes over the campaignâ€™s political options to indeed be offered to the people until theyâ€™re persuaded and they enter into a new political program. The Other Campaign is not positing a method for transforming society â€“ you are indeed clear on that.
We are not going to promote people entering political organizations, but neither that they not enter. Itâ€™s not our problem. Our problem is trying to unite our struggles. If the struggle of those from San Salvador Atenco has a political leaning, it doesnâ€™t matter. What we want is to join our struggle with yours, with the pensioners and retired persons of the IMSS, with the students from UNAM, with the cultural movements, for the struggle for human rights.
But the Other Campaign is quite clear â€“ we are not going to promote nor propose, weâ€™re not even going to toy with the possibility that perhaps, who knows, depending on what they give us, we would support the candidate of any of the parties. We are not going to do that. If someone here were to tell us I entered the Other Campaign, but LÃ³pez Obrador must be supported, weâ€™re going to be honest, and weâ€™re going to tell you thatâ€™s how you see it, because weâ€™re going all out. Weâ€™re not going to bespatter them, without firing a shot, compaÃ±eros, without campaign teams, without image consultants, without paid television ads, and, alive or dead, free or imprisoned, theyâ€™re all going to pay for what theyâ€™ve done. Weâ€™re either going together to hold them accountable, or weâ€™re going alone, but theyâ€™re all a bunch of freeloaders, compaÃ±eros. Theyâ€™ve mocked us and many other people, and theyâ€™re going to pay because theyâ€™re going to pay. It doesnâ€™t matter to us if they promise us something or other. This is what we want to say, and everything is welcome. We are honest, and we are asking you to be honest, compaÃ±eros. We donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going to happen here, the movement might grow a great deal, it might not grow at all, we might end up fightingâ€¦
The moment might come when the movement is going to have to define itself at a certain point. Weâ€™re prepared to discuss all of this, but with these principles, that no one tells us â€œweâ€™re going to participate in the Other Campaign,â€ and, just when they go up on the stage, says â€œcompaÃ±eros, LÃ³pez Obrador has to be supported.â€ Weâ€™re not going to strike out, but weâ€™re going to say â€œDonâ€™t believe him.â€ Weâ€™re going to tell him here it is, read La Jornada, but also the NY Times. Then say what heâ€™s proposing, at least those who say he wants to return to the populist past. He doesnâ€™t want to return to the populist past, heâ€™s going to give us the knockout punchâ€¦ In an interview he gave to the NY Times, they asked him if he was known for being authoritarian, and he said that social movements demanded a strong handâ€¦They know what happened there with popular urban movement during his government, but even so, we made a bet. Not only did we lose it, but they betrayed us. Not only did they betray us: they mocked us, they didnâ€™t respect us. Weâ€™re prepared for them to kill us, to put us in jail, to disappear us, but not for them to disrespect us. And thatâ€™s what weâ€™re going to settle, and not just that, if we keep on hoping he can do it, hoping the other will, thereâ€™s going to come a moment when there are no solutions, compaÃ±eros. The discussion youâ€™re having is serious. If we donâ€™t do anything, itâ€™s not going to matter anymore if youâ€™re a Trotskyite, Maoist, thereâ€™s not going to be a program anymore. The other thing we want to tell you is that weâ€™re going to respect the people in this process, like we respect you. We still have to speak with the indigenous, with the social movements, with NGOs, with collectives, with all of them, and everything will come from the collective. And thereâ€™s going to be a whole series of suggestions and proposals which have to come out of everything that results from these encuentros. Now not just with the EZLN, but with the Other. The EZLN has a position internationally which means, in the case of Cuba, that we are with the people of Cuba. Thereâ€™s a lesson there, and weâ€™re taking a position. If someone doesnâ€™t agree, thereâ€™s no problem. We can work in the Other Campaign if weâ€™re in agreement in Mexico. If someone thinks that they have to adjust their ways for neoliberalism, we donâ€™t think so. That if we lose this war, there wonâ€™t be another war to fight. The generation of the link which follows is that of the penguin. Therefore, in that broad range of the international, there can be differences in how Bolivia is characterized, Ecuador, the resistance movement in Europe. Whether China is communist, or it isnâ€™t. I donâ€™t know what everyone believes. We donâ€™t have any reason to fight, otherwise this battle can take three months. Because itâ€™s quite clear in Mexico, from the other geometry and what we see in the administration, what it is we think.
Iâ€™m going to tell you a story which I hope might help to answer, among others, the question asked by the compaÃ±eros En Lucha: â€œWhat happened with the CND?â€ Because they ask, reasonably, â€œWhy are those who werenâ€™t convened by the CND now the ones being convened, and those who were convened by the CND, arenâ€™t being convened now?â€ We explain it like this â€“ with the general idea that the transformation in Mexico is not the result of one single force, but it requires alliances with our peoples. In 1994, we analyzed, and we defined that force of cardenismo. Cardenismo came out of that fraud of 1988, out of a large mass movement and out of the moral authority that had been built around a person who was CuauhtÃ©moc CÃ¡rdenas SolÃ³rzano, the engineer, as we call him. It was in 1994, as we are now in an election, we werenâ€™t for the elections. We were for this movement, and two large positions were defined around CuauhtÃ©moc CÃ¡rdenas. There were more people saying that yes, a transformation process could be brought into place by what was cardenismo and CÃ¡rdenas with his candidacy. And there were those who said no, and, at the time of choosing, we chose yes, that it would be possible with cardenismo and the forces gathered around him, we could be able to achieve a transformation process that would include the demands of the 11 points along with the demands of the Indian peoples. According to us, what happened later was a process of accelerated decomposition of the political class which reached the PRD at the moment it won the elections in DF. That decomposition process was so large it reached the point where personal commitment as a cardenista faction and as part of the PRD of promoting the demands of the EZLN and of the Indian peoples, were no longer worth crap. With a simple political calculation that went: â€œIt suits us better if the EZLN stays in the mountains of the Mexican southeast than to have them here, fighting politically like any other organization.â€ Then they decided: â€œIt doesnâ€™t suit us to have them doing politics, if we recognize the San AndrÃ©s Accords, the EZLN will be engaging in open political work, itâ€™s better they stay there.â€ That was clearly a political calculation made in secret meetings. And at some point, I donâ€™t know how, CÃ¡rdenas decided to support this proposal. For us, the breaking point with the political class, not just with the PRD, was April of 2001, at the moment when everyone agreed to vote on the Cocopa law, and, according to us â€“ we could be wrong - they said â€œno, this is just the same old crap.â€ According to us, it wasnâ€™t crap yet, it was still in process.
Also according to us, the decomposition process of the political class is so great that there is no longer anything to do there. Certainly LÃ³pez Obrador doesnâ€™t steal, but thereâ€™s more than a capacity to show it exists, unless theyâ€™re betting on LÃ³pez Obrador being a dictator, then yes. We understand, then, that itâ€™s just useful, because a popular movement is going to be generated around LÃ³pez Obrador. We think not, but we can understand that some people might make this calculation. If they want to go, go, weâ€™re not. To those who say there are bases which should be rescued in the PRD, like Mario Saucedo says, that they wear zapatista shirtsâ€¦then keep them well saved. If theyâ€™re honest people, then theyâ€™re going to leave. Weâ€™re not going to keep waiting, Zedillo, failed, Fox failed, LÃ³pez Obrador, hell, failed, and then, whoâ€™s next, the niÃ±o verde?
Many things are beginning to happen in this process on different sides, social security.
This meeting is a symbolic place for us. This was a finca prior to 1994, this symbolic place. The finquera lived there (in the building), the peons didnâ€™t enter it. The foreman was the one who gave orders. The people living here are the ones who were the peons. They are the ones who are now living on these lands. What the EZLN did here was to run off the finqueros, and the land was divided up, in collective work. I donâ€™t remember who said that the land belongs to he who works itâ€¦We think that is going to be the process at the national level, for campesinos as well as for workers.
And thatâ€™s how it is, there will be many options. Weâ€™re inviting you to discuss it, but weâ€™re telling you clearly, if you tell us the same thing as in 1994, that the PRD is an option of the left, there are other platforms, and not with us. What we saw is that we did everything we could, and we ran out of patience, for all the support which reached the national and international level, what we think is that we need to join together with other struggles. That is the spirit of the Sexta. The other clear definition of the Sexta is that we think that an alternative for transformation in Mexico is only going to come from the left. Itâ€™s not going to come from the center, nothing is going to come out of the right, only from the left. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re interested in talking with you yourselves. Of course, weâ€™re going to have a lot of time when they put us in jail. We have to listen to all your proposals, your analyses and to learn.
The backbone of the Other Campaign is going to be the Indian peoples. Next week we have a meeting with them, and weâ€™re going to suggest to them that they be the headquarters for when the zapatista delegation passes through when it does its work with the compaÃ±eros and compaÃ±eras who join the Sexta. If the zapatista delegation wants to visit UNAM, it will go to those political organizations which it has a relationship with, which it has work with. There wonâ€™t be a committee formed like before.
Weâ€™re going to go about talking with the organizations which participate, but we wonâ€™t have any problem with you being in front of us. There are just things we donâ€™t have to put up with. The Sextaâ€™s proposals are to ally itself with other unregistered political organizations. It doesnâ€™t say they donâ€™t fight for power, nor that the electoral struggle isnâ€™t part of their strategy. Since the Other Campaign isnâ€™t engaging in elections, we donâ€™t want it to be used for registering a candidate by those who are registered. The problem we see is that, during the elections, they want to involve that problem of supporting some of their candidates. The first meeting with you is to open, you can decide not to support the Other Campaign. However, you can have bilateral relations, because the position and attitude you assume are going to depend on many things. Because if you decide to involve another area of discussion in the campaign with the ideological enemies of the same band, theyâ€™re going screw up, and the proposals are going to fail, and the people who approached are going to move away.
We are proposing places of discussion, which, in the Other Campaign, we are centering on making a national plan for listening to the main points where struggles exist. We are not asking you to abandon the work you have in front of you, but to help us speak with them. That you share your proposal for social transformation with us, and, as well as in these 2 proposals, we will build something else - we donâ€™t know what it will be. In addition to the penguin, we are also putting our lives into this process. Weâ€™re not asking you to risk your lives nor your organizational structures as organizations. We are asking you to respect us and to be honest with us. If you want to deceive the gringos and lie that weâ€™re neoliberals, and at just the right time weâ€™ll turn around, say so, and weâ€™ll discuss it. Letâ€™s be honest, not registered candidates, or NGOs with registered support, or PRDâ€¦be honestâ€¦
The way weâ€™re thinking about the campaign in these organizational tasks, weâ€™re asking whoâ€™s going to come in. Some here are going to say â€œyes, weâ€™re in,â€ and others â€œweâ€™re not coming,â€ deciding whoâ€™s coming, sending delegates to the meetings which follow so they can have their delegates from their organization for the Sexta.
Once all the meetings are over, in mid-September weâ€™ll put out a document, a pronouncement. That will no longer be from the EZLN, not just from the EZLN, instead it will be signed by the organizations, individuals and persons who are in agreement with it.
Our idea of the campaign is, first weâ€™re going to send a person to measure how deep the river is - if they donâ€™t kill him, if they donâ€™t disappear him, or take him prisoner - according to the agreement we have with you and with other organizations.
We have to resolve that problem of what is going to happen to us. That, in broad strokes, is what the Sexta proposes.
[Please note: this is taken from a transcription of a verbal presentation, not a written document, and it reads as such. Except for punctuation, I have translated it literally â€“ irl]