Volume 21, Number 3
Tiffany Ten eyck
Worst Places To Be Black
Mass Destruction U.
Global Recession I
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Zapatista Women's Encuentro
Just after midnight on January 1, 2008, the 14th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising began and the caracol of La Garrucha was alive with celebration. We watched from the top of a refurbished school bus as a mass of bodies danced below a sky littered with stars.
The celebration also marked the end of the third Encuentro (Encounter) of the Zapatistas with the people of the world and the first Encuentro of Zapatista women and the women of the world. From December 28, 2007 to January 1, 2008, women from around the world gathered in the mountains and jungles of Chiapas, home to the Zapatistas. Why a women’s encounter? “Because it was time,” repeated the voices of the masked women speaking before an audience of women from Zapatista support bases across Chiapas, as well as from social movements in Mexico and the world.
The revolutionary indigenous movement of the Zapatistas erupted in an armed uprising on January 1, 1994. However, as was heard throughout the Encuentro, “the struggle began before and continued after.” And it is important to remember that in 1993, clandestine Zapatista communities and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), experienced an internal uprising of Zapatista women who implemented the following Revolutionary Law for Women:
- Women, regardless of their race, creed, skin color, or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle, in the place and to the degree their willingness and ability permit
- Women have the right to work and receive just pay for their labor
- Women have the right to decide the number of children they will bear and care for
- Women have the right to participate in community affairs and hold political office if they are elected freely and democratically
- Women and their children have the right to primary medical care
- Women have the right to education
- Women have the right to choose their spouses and not to be forced into marriage
- No woman may be hit or be physically abused either by relatives or strangers. Rape assaults and actual rapes will be severely punished
- Women may hold leadership positions in the organization and hold military rankings in the revolutionary armed forces
- Women have all the rights and obligations set by the revolutionary laws and obligations
Zapatista women arrive for plenary session - photo by Tim Russo
Voices from different autonomous Zapatista regions offered testimony of their resistance. Representatives from the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Councils), education and health promoters, com- andantas of the EZLN, and support bases of young and old, told how Zapatista communities, and women in particular lived before the uprising and how they live now, how they resist the violence of the mal gobierno (bad government), and what their rights and responsibilities are within their movement.
We traveled to the Encuentro in a caravan of some 150 people from Mexico City organized by Mujeres y La Sexta (www.mujeresylasexta. org). Most of us, like many of the other non-Zapatistas who participated in the Encuentro, were adherents to the Other Campaign, or its international component, the Sexta International. With the release of the Sixth Declaration of the Lancandon Jungle in June 2005, the Zapatistas initiated a national plan to unite struggles “from the left and from below.” A delegation of EZLN comandantes traveled across Mexico in 2006 in the first wave of this Other Campaign, to listen to the voices of those who struggle against capitalism and neoliberalism in all its forms and to create new political spaces.
The days were filled with talk of the concrete measures Zapatista women and girls had taken to organize for self-determination, liberty, democracy, and justice in their own communities. Their voices were amplified by reflections of a collective experience. The lessons of the Other Campaign filtered through the plenaries like the fingers of sunlight through the wooden slats. They told us that in order to build a world in resistance, a world in which many worlds fit, we must listen and we must organize. As Comandanta Hortencia said, “To organize, we must identify why and for what.”
Companera representante in the caracol of La Garrucha on December 30th, 2007 - photo by Tessa Landreau-Grasmuck
The voices of Zapatista youth punctuated the plenaries with hope and solemnity. “Without the organization, I would not be alive,” said Marina, a well spoken 8-year-old girl. “I would’ve died of a curable disease.”
Despite the advances made thus far, the compañeras know that there is still a long and difficult road ahead. In the past six months Zapatista communities have faced heightened military and paramilitary aggression. In the conversations held around tables at meal times, people spoke of the recent shift in tactics of governmental repression. Rumors and propaganda incited by paramilitary provocations between Zapatista and non-Zapatista indigenous communities were creating violence and conflict that allowed the paramilitary to appear blameless. National and international civil society whispered of the strategic retreat of the Zapatistas.
“I’m calm in my struggle,” proclaimed Elisa, echoing words repeated often during the Encuentro; “There is no other path.” For those three days, men were given a decidedly secondary role. The com- andantas ran a tight ship in enforcing the rules posted on multiple signs throughout the gathering indicating that men were not allowed to represent or translate or sit inside the auditorium. Instead they were offered the tasks of cooking, childcare, cleaning the latrines, and hauling firewood.
Zapatista women listening during the encuentro - photo by Adolfo Lopez, Chiapas IndyMedia
When asked what non-Zapatista communities could do to support their work, the Zapatista women replied “Organize yourselves.” On the final day, international women responded. Women from the Other Campaign, Via Campesina, and students also addressed the Zapatista women. Letters were read from political prisoners around the world. In the afternoon, Trinidad Ramirez, holding her machete high, spoke for the rebel farmworkers and political prisoners of Atenco. “We are not capable of abandoning our sisters,” she told the crowd, teary eyed with her testimony of trauma and unbreakable resistance.
We watched this collective resistance from the top of our bus on New Years Eve. Midnight was met with silence to honor the fallen martyrs of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. The comandancia climbed onto the stage and people took off their hats. Fog swept over the caracol as we sang the Zapatista Hymn and embraced strangers and friends. The dancing picked up again and lasted all night. As the sun came up on another year of struggle, we carried with us a tiny piece of our responsibility to build a better world: to go home and organize.
Tessa Landreau-Grasmuck is a writer and activist from Philadelphia currently working on a children’s book about Mayan spirituality and struggle. Cory Fischer-Hoffman is an organizer with the Student Farmworker Alliance and is working on an MA degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas. Kaya Weidman is a farmer and activist from Upstate New York. Mandy Skinner is on the board of ENGAGE, an organizing network for students.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.