"We declare the revolution" - Mexican Uprising begins in Guerrero

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David UK
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Mar 29 2008 12:14
"We declare the revolution" - Mexican Uprising begins in Guerrero

Here are some extracts from one of Mexicos bigest newspapers, La Journada. There has been a massive upsurge in Gurrillia groups in Mexico, along with regular Strikes in the Urban centers (Libcoms been good at mentioning them)

Quote:
Mountain of Guerrero, 24 of March.
Dozens of indigenous announced their integration to the Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People (ERPI) and announced that “we are not going to wait until 2010 to make the revolution in Guerrero; here in the Mountains we are already doing it. From here, we will defend our petroleum and natural resources. With militant action we are going to demand teachers, doctors and hospitals. We no longer believe in any political party, in Governor Zeferino Torreblanca or in Felipe Calderón,” affirmed indigenous militiaman Ramon.

Another statement made by one of the insurgents;

Quote:
“motioned that we cannot wait any longer, it is already overdue; that is how we see it. For us the indigenous of the Mountain of Guerrero, no other way now exists other than that of revolution, we have already tried all possible routes to secure indigenous rights, but the peaceful route has never produced anything, on the contrary, day by day the situation becomes more difficult”

And lastly

Quote:
“Today we have met to solve our problems. We are analyzing why the 1910 revolution began, and have reached the conclusion that it was because of the bad behaviour of the government. For this reason we say that dead or alive we are going to decide through way of revolution, because we no longer want to hear more speeches. The soldiers are not children of the rich but of poor people, and in a short while, when something happens (the revolution), we think that they are going to support us, for that reason we are calling on all the indigenous of the country to join the ERPI, because now we declare the revolution, many years have already passed, the indigenous race knows that our Mexico belongs to the poor.”

I avoided cuttign and pasting the whole article but if people want me to then there's no problem.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 30 2008 02:12

EDIT: Oops, hangover meant I confused acronyms. Let me get back to this in a second...

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Weaver
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Mar 30 2008 05:53

Could David UK or others post source links? thanks.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 30 2008 07:20

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2008/03/25/index.php?section=politica&article=012n1pol

The article he's translated is here.

To be honest, another guerrilla group in Mexico is hardly big news, which might explain why noone's talking about it in my faculty. At the time of the Zapatista uprising, the government estimated that there were over 70 active guerrilla forces in the country. There's guerrilla factions in my faculty (one girl from Latin American Studies was amongst those captured by the Colombian govt in Ecuador recently and 2 others from the fac were killed).

Guerrero's also the spiritual home of EPR, so I'd be wary of any connections they might have with them jokers. Basically, I'd like to discuss the possibilities in Guerrero, a state which saw the creation of an indigenous and autonomous (ie non-affiliated with the state) "community police force" and also one of the various Mexican states to follow Oaxaca's lead in forming a Popular Assembly in 2006. I visited Chilpancingo and was shocked by the amount of anti-state graffiti, police guarding every state building and private business and also an apparent gunfight going on in the hills around the town (OK maybe the last bit was influenced by too many Leone films but still...).

But no, obviously you'd rather focus on some Zapatista-lite poseurs with masks and machineguns.

EDIT: Also, bear in mind that the sierra in Guerrero hosts some of the biggest marijuana plantations in the country, and that Mexico's currently experiencing a bloody turfwar between state-sanctioned drugs cartels and non-state-sanctioned drugs cartels.

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Tacks
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Mar 30 2008 10:49

'mexican uprising begins in guererro'? Thats a bit OTT david having read the article. Cheers for posting it anyway its definitely a sign of something.

admin - derail nipped in the bud

- cheers admin i was going to request that smile

Escarabajo
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Mar 30 2008 12:05

yeah Dave, think you got a bit carried away with the title there.
1.Maybe another guerilla group in Mexico isn't big news, although La Jornada obviously thought it significant enough. What might be worthy of mention is their openly-announced intention to attempt to kick-start revolution in Guerrero and Mexico, starting right now, not waiting for 2010. Maybe not a clever idea, but its obviously a last resort, the mark of desperate people and to me at least, it is news.
2. Your faculty...yeah ok.
3. Maybe the EPR are jokers, maybe not. Certainly vanguardist twats whatever else they may be. Having translated the article it seemed apparent to me that ERPI had split from the EPR ages ago. Over 6 years absolute minimum. So they were linked to or part of them once, so fuckin what? Just like the Zapatistas began as orthodox Marxist-Leninists. Seems some people's politics actually evolve and adapt, shocking as it seems.
4. The interview lists the repression meted out on the community police as one of the reasons many indigenous are joining the ERPI. I think the community police is more interesting in and of itself as a model of self-organisation, but then again, just maybe the ERPI is as well. Its certainly becoming more popluar due to being seen as an instrument to protect and advance projects such as the police force etc.
5. Why assume the ERPI, community police force, Popular Assembly etc. are mutually exclusive? No way it could be a lot of the same people involved is there?
6. Guerrero has loadsa drugs being grown in it-and your point is what exactly? The guy in the interview didn't seem to be a friend of the narcos.
7.Following from point 5, you don't think that growing integration to armed movements, explained explicitly (in this case) as due to the failure of civil, peaceful methods might be in the slightest bit interesting?
8. Are they Zapatista-lite poseurs, really? Maybe they're an armed group with apparently similar politics and virtually identical grievances, who hide their faces because, well its the sensible thing to do if you're also active in community organising or anything else that might get you recognised.

Mate, I know the militant past and present of UNAM and while it certainly beats the shit out of anything here in the UK and that some faculties in particular have a militant rep, in my experience it left me pretty cold. I'm not dismissing it in any way, don't get me wrong, but the students of UNAM aint exactly where its at in Mexico right now, far as I'm concerned anyway.

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Tacks
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Mar 30 2008 12:11

...i believe thats the translator of the piece btw.

Ello mate, welcome aboard smile

posi
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Mar 30 2008 12:15

A friend who came back from Mexico recently tells me that the a recent arrival on the guerrilla scene is a bunch of late middle-aged radicals from the '60s and '70s, who have decided, after a long hiatus, that enough is enough and have returned to the armed struggle. The equivalent of hearing that Tariq Ali and Gerry Cohen were hiding somewhere in the home counties with alot of plastic explosives...

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madashell
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Mar 30 2008 12:26
posi wrote:
The equivalent of hearing that Tariq Ali and Gerry Cohen were hiding somewhere in the home counties with alot of plastic explosives...

Words can't even begin to express how awesome that would be cool

Escarabajo
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Mar 30 2008 12:27

Alright Tacks, you sniffed me out. Got tired of lurking in silent frustration finally. Good to hear from you.
Posi, dunno if its the old boys cashing in their pensions so to speak, but I like the image it conjures up. laugh out loud

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 31 2008 00:12
posi wrote:
A friend who came back from Mexico recently tells me that the a recent arrival on the guerrilla scene is a bunch of late middle-aged radicals from the '60s and '70s, who have decided, after a long hiatus, that enough is enough and have returned to the armed struggle. The equivalent of hearing that Tariq Ali and Gerry Cohen were hiding somewhere in the home counties with alot of plastic explosives...

Well, someone from FDPT (the Atenco lot) in a recent interview said that the organisation had now split between perredistas, integrantes in La Otra Campana and "underground guerrillas", so in that sense it represents the decomposition of broad social movements created by real life events and struggles. I don't think that that's incredibly positive but hey.

I also think a large amount of students and young radicals are recruited by very cynical older characters ("fósiles") on campuses and radical groups throughout the country. There's a real kinda folklorish reverence of armed struggle here, with the state celebrating Zapata, Villa etc and universities naming buildings after Che and space being given to uncritical lauding of any armed group that claims to be "anti-imperialist", "indigenista", "for Latin American independence" etc.

Calderon's definitely polarised the country. His support is basically concentrated in the north, and even that's fading cos the drugs war and the border problem have undermined security and increased violence. I think he'll survive his term (until 2012). I see a real lack of spirit in Mexicans to see more violence and death. Even in Oaxaca it was essentially desperation and in real terms self-defense (ooer, wait till Carousel reads that).

Escarabajo - welcome, I'm unbelievably excited to read your post but I'm a bit busy right now. I'll get back to you in a bit.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 31 2008 08:57

How well have you all actually read the interview?:

-They're accused of having links with FARC:

La Jornada wrote:
Rodolfo denies that they attempted to interfere at UNAM with the corporation of FARC and other Mexican revolutionary groups

-They appear to be fighting to keep the oil state property ("Defend our oil!" is in reference to the PRD-funded movement to keep Pemex, the Mexican state oil company, nationalised):

Rodolfo wrote:
From hereon in we're going to defend oil and other natural resources

-They appear to be "indigenista", or at least reluctant to acknowledge extreme poverty outside of an indigenous context as well as adopting a mind-blowingly homogenous approach to Mexico's many indigenous groupings, who are sufficiently diverse ethnically and culturally to include an estimated spectrum of around 100 languages (cos like, Mexico's quite big y'know and didn't exist as a nation state before the conquista):

Quote:
Soldiers are not from rich but poor families, and soon, when something happens, we believe that they will support us. Because of this, we call on indigenous people throughout the country to assimilate with the ERPI, because we've declared a revolution. Many years have passed, and the indigenous people [?] know that our Mexico is poor.

"La raza indígena" in this context can be compared to the term "People of Colour" (and likewise the apparent political practice of this group with the political practice of American activists who navigate that term) in its ignorance.

Another there appears to be about 80 of them, actually they claim that, and Fidel managed to blag having 200-300 guerrillas with an American journalist when actually he had 30 walking past the site of the interview several times over each.

Is this really the kinda thing that the new AF Platformist thing will be getting on then?

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jef costello
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Mar 31 2008 13:30

Any news on the strikes in Argnetina?
I read a report today that there were blockades against a new government tax on exports.
Government spokesman dismissed it as big business landowners, anyone know how much truth is in that?

David UK
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Mar 31 2008 15:12

Alan, I think you're criticisms are interesting, and I share many of them. What I will say is that neither me nor you actually know the facts about this specific organisation, (or if you do, please share them) so be weary of drawing such solid conclusions.

First thing I would want to know is their understanding of wider class-issues. Ones that affect say, urban workers as opposed to rural worekrs. Or in other words what exactly is "revolution" to them, national soverignty for Guerrero? and its resources? or the taking of all the means of production in Mexico unto the hands of the people that work them? Do they want to establish state rule? After some of this is answered I could comment on whether I support them or not.

Mexicos revolutionary history has always been one of numerous factions all fighting their own corner, the transient alliances, divisions, and betrayals make things very complicated. (the Anarchist-Syndicalists fought with the state against Zapata for example) This little group in Guerrero claiming it wants soverignty over the natural resources of Guerrero is fairly typical.

Class Conciousness is incredibly high in the south of Mexico, walking through poor areas in D.F you're likely to see red and black flags (strike flags, not anarchist ones) in windows, and revolutionary slogans of every type on every lampost. This is why it's easy to shout that the revolution is around the corner, even if this is with a pinch of wishful optimism (just a pinch) especially with the new threats aganst the zapatistas, and the liklihood of war.

Quote:
Another there appears to be about 80 of them, actually they claim that, and Fidel managed to blag having 200-300 guerrillas with an American journalist when actually he had 30 walking past the site of the interview several times over each

That's still bigger than the AF, and it's only a regional organisation. But what does it tell you about public opinion if a group of 80 feel confident in challenging the Mexican Federal Army? It tells me that the Mexican army isn't particularly popular in this region, and while i think the groups declaration of revolution is probably a bit absurd, it does highlight wider social sentiment in Mexico.

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Mar 31 2008 15:46
Quote:
But what does it tell you about public opinion if a group of 80 feel confident in challenging the Mexican Federal Army?

It tells me that this is the sort of thing that is probably quite common in Mexico. I think that we have about 40 armed leftist groups in Turkey. They are the sort of people like those who put a bomb at the company where I work today.

It is quite amazing that some 'anarchists' seem completely opposed to 'vanguardism' until a few leftists, or even nationalists pick up a few guns in a third world country when they rush to embrace it after quietly throwing out any class analysis they had remaining.

The basic principles of the ICC are quite clear on this issue of armed gangs:

ICC wrote:
*Terrorism is in no way a method of struggle for the working class. The expression of social strata with no historic future and of the decomposition of the petty bourgeoisie, when it’s not the direct expression of the permanent war between capitalist states, terrorism has always been a fertile soil for manipulation by the bourgeoisie. Advocating secret action by small minorities, it is in complete opposition to class violence, which derives from conscious and organised mass action by the proletariat.

It is a shame that some 'anarchists' aren't.

Devrim

Escarabajo
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Mar 31 2008 19:29

Alan, I think what you’re saying about the generalised movement splitting is spot on and also that its not a particularly positive development, but worthy of attention for all that. Same goes for the dodgy recruitment drives, as I understand it the 2 students killed and one wounded in the FARC camp had been there half a night and got sort of ‘recruited’ at some Bolivarian conference in Columbia.

As for reading the article properly, seeing as I translated it, I certainly did my best. Maybe I translated it wrong (as the English version you quote is a different one) but I understood and translated it as that they rejected the accusation of links between FARC, Mexican armed groups and UNAM, attempting to (pretty feebly it has to be said) – put UNAM in the clear. Maybe I was wrong, but I thought it was UNAM accused of having links, seeing as 3 UNAM students were found in the FARC’s camp.

To be honest, anarchist that I am, I still think state ownership of PEMEX preferable to privatisation and the job losses etc on the way.

Just like to point out it was an indigenous militiaman who made the reference to “the indigenous race” as were all those who took part in the interview. And I suppose it’d be fair to say that one thing the indigenous of Mexico are pretty homogenous in, is the general misery they live in and exploitation they face. The article also said that in addition to the 30 interviewed there were said to be another 50 in the area. So although that does make 80, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all there are. Although as you point out, it could well be less, it’d be a bold statement to make if they were so few. Agree it’s possible, though we’re both speculating a lot to be honest, no?

Again, as I understood the article, it was announcing the formation of exclusively indigenous columns within the ERPI. While I personally see little point in organising like that, I did take it to imply that there were also non-indigenous, otherwise they wouldn’t be announcing the existence of purely indigenous formations.
Anyway, I think it’ll be interesting to see what, if anything comes of this.

Sure I’ll be getting a load of flak from various sources for this but Devrim, dunno about the ICC, but personally I am an anarchist but am not against the use of terrorism as such, it just depends who its used against and whether its useful or not. Personally I think ETA’s actions when they stuck to blowing up politicians and cops were fine (as actions, not saying I agree with the aims behind it or that it was effective). I may be wrong but I don’t think they’ve ever killed or injured ordinary people in actions such as that.
Also, are you implying that ERPI are terrorists? If so, on what basis?
nick

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Mar 31 2008 19:53
Escarabajo wrote:
but personally I am an anarchist but am not against the use of terrorism as such, it just depends who its used against and whether its useful or not. Personally I think ETA’s actions when they stuck to blowing up politicians and cops were fine (as actions, not saying I agree with the aims behind it or that it was effective).

I think that the aims and the means are very connected. I don't think terrorist attacks on cops and politicians have anything to do with working class struggle.

Escarabajo wrote:
I may be wrong but I don’t think they’ve ever killed or injured ordinary people in actions such as that.
Wiki wrote:
There have also been a number of ETA attacks that have caused civilian casualties, such as the bomb in the supermarket Hipercor in Barcelona[36][37] (resulting in 21 killed and 45 seriously wounded, of whom 20 were left disabled) or the attack of Plaza de Callao in Madrid[38].
Escarabajo wrote:
Also, are you implying that ERPI are terrorists? If so, on what basis?

I know nothing about this group in particular. I am talking about the politics of armed gangs in general. Do you have any reason to think that this one is different?

Devrim

David UK
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Mar 31 2008 22:25
Quote:
I know nothing about this group in particular

I guessed as much mate grin

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Devrim
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Mar 31 2008 23:53
David UK wrote:
Quote:
I know nothing about this group in particular

I guessed as much mate grin

But, I don't think that it is necessary to comment upon them. As revolutionaries we have an analysis of these sort of gangs, and this sort of activity. Do you really think that it is necessary to read every quasi-Maoist/nationalist/Stalinist/Guevaraist/whateverist guerilla group?

Devrim

David in Atlanta
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Apr 1 2008 00:41

One need not be an ICC sympathizer or a strict pacifist to be critical of such groups.
As contributions to working class resistance, I'd rather see a two hour general strike or an eight hour assembly against war than small group armed attacks, however well targeted or reasoned. That being said, in situations of extreme police violence coupled with brutal poverty, such as exists in southern Mexico, such attempts are all but inevitable.. In this particular case I tend to support the ezln's attitude of avoiding contact. The zaps, whatever our critiques, have never been been exclusive and i assume they have local knowledge that makes them suspicious. In some circumstances I might lean towards critical support of fellow workers caught up in strategic blunders, but being forewarned, I'll pass.

That critique does not extend, obviously, to those involved in public clashes with the forces of repression such as the ezln base and the Oaxacan rebels. They may have political shortcomings, but they're not those based on isolation and clandestinity for it's own sake.

Escarabajo
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Apr 1 2008 14:51

Of course I agree that aims and means are interconnected.
I'm not sure on what basis you, the ICC or anyone else feels qualified to define exactly what does and what does not constitute working class struggle. To me it's obvious that anyone can be a part of a terrorist group, from the right, left, ruling or working classes, or wherever. Can someone please explain to me why terrorism is automatically nothing to do with working class struggle. For example, was Durruti and mates attempting to assassinate the of king of spain nothing to do with working class struggle?

As for having an analysis of armed gangs in general, I do actually try and look at the evidence available before making a judgement, which is why I’ve not expressed support for this group but merely noted it as being an interesting and I think, important development. I’ve seen no particular evidence that they’re a Maoist/Stalinist/Guevarist group at all, and I daresay no one else here has either…Also, no guerrilla group in Mexico since the 60’s at the least (my knowledge is a bit sketchy before that) has killed any civilians, so therefore no, I’ve got no reason to think that this group is any different.

David in Atlanta, I think I’d agree with you about a general strike etc. It just does my nut in to hear these knee-jerk, doctrinaire reactions and totally (so far) baseless assumptions. As for the Zaps, I’m assuming you’re referring to them avoiding clashes with the military since the ceasefire. If so, then again I’d agree, though I’d add that the reason they’ve done so is purely tactical (not wanting to be the ones to break the ceasefire first and obviously being militarily weaker than the Federal Army). Having said that, Marcos did declare when visiting the community police of this region in 2006 that the EZLN were prepared to return to open war http://www.narconews.com/Issue41/article1736.html
if certain projects went ahead, and now 2 years later has returned to Chiapas to prepare for exactly that.

Have to say though that many posters here are assuming that this group is isolated and without popular support in the region. Why? If anyone has any actual evidence to support this, I’d be really interested in hearing it. There is a decades-long history of guerrilla movement in the Mexican countryside, particularly there in Guerrero, which are clearly documented as having had massive popular support, to the extent that that Genaro Vasquez and Lucio Cabanas have entered the pantheon of popular heroes such as Zapata and Villa.

If I misunderstood and you meant that the EZLN has reason to be suspicious of this group and avoid contact, well maybe, I dunno. As you say, they’ve got a long history of avoiding contact with other armed groups, most of which I think has been sensible (especially as most of them have profoundly less libertarian politics than the Zaps). Mind you, the Zaps are an indigenous movement focused on Chiapas (cue more criticisms) who are not seeking to have their model reproduced exactly throughout the country, hence the creation of the Other Campaign which was to create a country-wide movement, as opposed to the Zaps’ localised one. And furthermore Marcos has repeatedly stated Zapatista support for political prisoners of the ERPI (and who are part of La Otra).

Again, dunno why there’s the assumption that ERPI’s politics are based on clandestinity and isolation for their own sake. What’s the evidence for this? As a largely indigenous group, in a largely indigenous area, with a history of militant, local struggle, I see no reason to view them as automatically isolated. Although there’s been numerous firefights between the military and the ERPI, the lions’ share of the repression (as always) hit the social movements hardest. As the article makes clear, people are choosing the clandestine route because its safer. Doesn’t make it isolated.

To return to the point about PEMEX (the state petroleum company), it’s the single biggest contributor to the Mexican economy, and whilst obviously fuck all gets to the ordinary people at the moment, to see it going cheap to Yankee businessmen under the guise of bankruptcy (last year was record profits by the way) is just adding insult to injury, as attested by many Mexican anarchists I've spoken to. It stands as yet another fuck you to the people, symbolic in this case but still fuckin important - Lazaro Cardenas expropriated foreign businesses and now they're being handed back. 2 months ago I was talking with a PEMEX oil worker in Veracruz, who said they all knew full well what it was really about, knew they were gonna lose their jobs, were really pissed off for obvious reasons, and who also, completely unprompted, announced the existence of and widespread support for yet another guerrilla group, (in Veracruz) who although largely silent, were in de facto control of numerous areas of that state and keeping the military out of the zone. Coming from an ordinary worker and no activist I think it can illustrate that there can be plenty of public support for armed groups in general (obviously this doesn’t make their politics any good).

One other thing worth mentioning is that whatever political criticisms people might make (I tend not to share them) of them, by far the most radically anti-authoritarian, militant and wait for it, organised, people in Mexico are the indigenous. They have seriously had enough, and I think it’d be a real shame if the traditional anarchist reaction in cases such as this gets repeated once again. Again, expect I’ll get a disbelieving, critical response to this, but as far as I’m concerned, this is our generation’s Spain and, ridiculous as it may sound, possibly one with more chance of success.
Let the piss-taking begin 

Escarabajo
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Apr 1 2008 15:11

Devrim, I accept I was wrong about ETA not having killed ordinary people (which was why I said I was unsure) but I think its a bit disengenous to quote only that specific portion of the Wiki article, seeing as it goes on to say [The horror caused then was so striking that ETA felt compelled to issue a communiqué stating that they had given advance warning of the Hipercor bomb, but that the police had declined to evacuate the area. The police claim that the warning came only a few minutes before the bomb exploded.]
Obviously, we're all free to choose whose version we believe but seeing as that was the first time ordinary people were killed since ETA's inception in 1959 and it hasn't been repeated in the 21 years since, (They were blamed for another incident in 200 but never accepted responsibility) I don't think it unlikely that the State deliberately let it happen to discredit ETA (same reason they blamed the Madrid train bombing in 2004 on them). Again, not saying I support their aims or indeed all their actions, but a bit of targeted assasination always makes the day go by a bit quicker. grin

David in Atlanta
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Apr 1 2008 15:54

Actually I was refering to the EZLN's repeated distancing themselves from the EPR

Escarabajo
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Apr 1 2008 15:57

oh ok. fair enough really, they're cocks.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 1 2008 21:29
Escarabajo wrote:
David in Atlanta, I think I’d agree with you about a general strike etc. It just does my nut in to hear these knee-jerk, doctrinaire reactions and totally (so far) baseless assumptions.

I haven't done that. You're right, it's once to watch, but ultimately it represents a merger of doomed tactics with ill-defined and rather sketchy politics. David UK asked what they considered to be the exploited. Well as I already said, they're calling for a revolution by "la raza indígena", which should make it pretty clear where their politics lie.

In real terms, it's utterly banal to support or denounce this group, it's the politics of dead end leftism to figure out a "position" on them. If Escarabajo's optimism is right and they are linked to APPG and the community police force, let's hope they spend more time engaged in that then adventurist insurrectionism that'll just end up in them getting killed. The military and police are assassinating 20-30 people a week under the guise of the drugs war, don't think that these guys will get off lightly. The Zapatistas had to manipulate the international liberal media behind them in a much more touristy (and therefore strategically important to the state) area in order to avoid their complete elimination, and these guys lack the charm, charisma and appeal of EZLN. And since 1994, Mexico's gone panista.

Quote:
As for the Zaps, I’m assuming you’re referring to them avoiding clashes with the military since the ceasefire. If so, then again I’d agree, though I’d add that the reason they’ve done so is purely tactical (not wanting to be the ones to break the ceasefire first and obviously being militarily weaker than the Federal Army). Having said that, Marcos did declare when visiting the community police of this region in 2006 that the EZLN were prepared to return to open war http://www.narconews.com/Issue41/article1736.html
if certain projects went ahead, and now 2 years later has returned to Chiapas to prepare for exactly that.

Actually as I understand that, they're taking a right battering off the Mexican army. They declared that 2007 was the most aggressive year for military interferences in the autonomous zones since their creation. Now that the spotlight's moved away from Chiapas, Calderon's seen an opportunity.

Quote:
Have to say though that many posters here are assuming that this group is isolated and without popular support in the region. Why? If anyone has any actual evidence to support this, I’d be really interested in hearing it.

Actually, I'd say the onus is on you to show they do have popular support.

Quote:
To return to the point about PEMEX (the state petroleum company), it’s the single biggest contributor to the Mexican economy, and whilst obviously fuck all gets to the ordinary people at the moment, to see it going cheap to Yankee businessmen under the guise of bankruptcy (last year was record profits by the way) is just adding insult to injury, as attested by many Mexican anarchists I've spoken to. It stands as yet another fuck you to the people, symbolic in this case but still fuckin important - Lazaro Cardenas expropriated foreign businesses and now they're being handed back. 2 months ago I was talking with a PEMEX oil worker in Veracruz, who said they all knew full well what it was really about, knew they were gonna lose their jobs, were really pissed off for obvious reasons, and who also, completely unprompted, announced the existence of and widespread support for yet another guerrilla group, (in Veracruz) who although largely silent, were in de facto control of numerous areas of that state and keeping the military out of the zone. Coming from an ordinary worker and no activist I think it can illustrate that there can be plenty of public support for armed groups in general (obviously this doesn’t make their politics any good).

Yes there is a certain faction who support armed struggle but then I don't really know what this demonstrates.

Quote:
One other thing worth mentioning is that whatever political criticisms people might make (I tend not to share them) of them, by far the most radically anti-authoritarian, militant and wait for it, organised, people in Mexico are the indigenous.

That's a complete load of generalised bollocks. The point is that "the indigenous" in Mexico only exist in the eyes of politicians, and even most of them aren't tactless enough to assimilate hundreds of groups, many of whom with histories of enmity stretching back long before the conquista. Honestly, you seem well-informed about Mexico, but you're gonna have to stop talking about the indigenous as a homogenous block cos it just doesn't exist and most people in comunidades indígenas would be offended by the concept.

The other worrying part of that sentence is your blind indigenismo which utterly fails to understand the actual dynamics of Mexican cultures. I suppose if you think Mexico's indigenous peoples are all the same you must think they're all like the Lacadona Mayas, Zapotecas and Mixteca who have involved themselves in recent anti-state uprisings. However, a large part of support among indigenous people is due to conservatism, reactionism and a sort of anti-mestizo primitivism. Many more indigenous groups are far too wrapped up in their own time bubble to even consider concepts such as the outside world. There are definitely progressive elements within the indigenous spectrum (and definitely certain customs which can be considered more progressive and anarchistic than those within Western society at large - which the Zapatistas and then la APPO have successfully exploited), but the majority of indigenous political forces are chauvinist and thus highly limited.

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expect I’ll get a disbelieving, critical response to this, but as far as I’m concerned, this is our generation’s Spain and, ridiculous as it may sound, possibly one with more chance of success.

Well Escarabajo I arrived here wondering if that was the case, but now I think Mexico's a long way from revolution. That the organised left has managed to pimp this Rumbo a 2010 bullshit shows just how weak it is organisationally. Most Mexicans believe even in the event of the country's hugely disparate groups reaching some kinda popular front scenario and launching a national revolution, their neighbours to the north wouldn't even let it start.

As for David UK's talk about of the ubiquity of red and black flags, yes over here it means "strike" not "anarchosyndicalism", which as an ideology is basically non-existent here. And most strikes are called by state-affiliated unions which frankly make the TUC look like FORA circa 1910 in terms of their politic, practice and association with the government. The exceptions are the interesting ones, but the totality of the CTM means that independent, rank and file union movements get repressed, such as the recent examples I've cited in Puebla and San Luis Potosí. The difference is that the balance of Mexican officialist politics means that these bureaucracies hold a lot of swing in the political discourse, but they're ultimately self-serving.

I think really the important thing in a country full of revolutionary rhetoric (not least from an ultra-derechista government) is to look at actions not words or symbolism.

David UK
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Apr 1 2008 22:01

Found this about them...

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In case anyone is interested, this is from the aforementioned book, addressing the ERPI's 24 point manifesto:

"The 24 point manifesto mostly seemed to address the ERPI's differences with the EPR. Read point one: 'The fundamental commitment of the revolutionary is with the people. No other commitment, neither personal or group, is above that.' It rejected 'the messianic conception by which revolutionary organizations have seen themselves as represenatives of the people, who can only participate in the revolution through their own mediation.'

"Point two demanded 'construction of Popular Power, beginning now, in every aspect and until the ultimate consequences.' It called for formation of Insurgent Councils to wield executive power, and the preparation of "organs of legislative and judicial power in every zone, region, and state,' eventually readying a national Insurgent Popular Assembly. Admitting that 'it is easy to say, but not so easy to achieve,' it stated that "PP" should be "directed effectively by the people,' through representatives who 'lead by obeying,' that the revolutionary organization 'should be subordinate' to 'the base'. It credited the EZLN with 'establishing a different relation' with the base, and cited the 'obligation' to 'find new and always better forms of applying this norm'.

"Point three: 'Until now we have been concerned to build the Army of the Party; it is now the hour to build the Army of the people'. Point four: 'The liberty of the people cannot be conquered by any supposed vanguard, but by the people themselves. For this reason, we do not aspire to be a vanguard marching before the people, but to march together with the people in the struggle for democracy, justice, and liberty.' Five: 'It is the hour to build a party of the people, and not a "party of revolutionaries", who consider themselves to be above the people.'

"Point six decried the tendency of revolutionary organizations to 'prioritize discipline of a military character and deminish the weight of democracy...It is now the hour to give greater weight to democracy.' Point seven: 'Revolutionary theory, the arm of the Revolution, has in some cases been converted into an...arm against the Revolution.' It noted with irony that fighting with World War I-vintage arms would be considered absurd by revolutionaries who cling to "theoretical conceptions' from the same era. 'Yes, our ideology has Marxism as a base, but not the dogmatic, rigid, wizened version...Our theoretical position is impregnated with a critical, practical, creative and flexible* vision.'

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 1 2008 22:27

OK not bad, but again, more words than actions and in this case, their apparent class analysis appears to be in contradiction to the trajectory of the La Jornada interview. Also, bear in mind that interview was their first noise in 5 years, and that really Escarabajo's claim that that La Jornada gifted them an interview demonstrates their relevance to Mexican politics is a little offkey. I mean, La Jornada's alright as goes the mainstream media in the country which is officially considered to have the second least freedom of press in the world, but it's hardly a benevolent organ. As with Fidel's NYT interview in 56, you need to consier the motives of that newspaper in running the interview.

Of course more important is the fact that not one compa in the fac has mentioned this group, neither has their propaganda even found its way onto the walls of CU or Mexico City or any of the radical internet sites I check. Effectively what's happened is they've cracked some deal with La Jornada to do an interview (possibly they have a sympathiser there, maybe it's months old and was simply awaiting a slow news day etc) and now David UK's declaring the start of the Mexican Revolution. You should know better than believe the mainstream press on revolutionary organisations.

Escarabajo
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Apr 1 2008 22:36

Hi,
actually Alan I wasn't referring to you when mentioning knee-jerk, doctrinaire attitudes, but still...and I agree its laregly pointless to adopt a position on behalf of this group, I was using them to illustrate a more general point.

I'd disagree that Mexico has gone PANista seeing as approx half the potential electorate don't vote at all and Obrador (PRD) won the last election...
Actually, having just returned from working with CAPISE, the organisation that produced the report of growing military presence that you cite, it is police and paramilitary aggression that has climbed steeply. There's been an internal reorganisation of the army in Chiapas, with the result that there are now less soldiers there. The fact that they've been replaced with special forces is the sign that open war is on the horizon that Marcos was referring to in December of last year when he stated in San Cristobal that he was returning to the jungle to prepare the EZLN for war. The military itself has not 'officially' broken the ceasefire due to its use of proxies, which is why the Zaps have not responded militarily.

I never claimed that this group has popular support, although I think its a fairly reasonable inference to make based on events in that region. I was simply asking why it is that people automatically assume groups such as this don't. Guerilla groups without local support tend to meet with unpleasant conequences, ask Che. smile

My point about armed struggle that there are certainly ordinary people who support it. Noting more, nothing less than that.

Actually, in my personal experience, its not just politicians who believe in the existence of 'the indigenous'. Fuck loads of the people in question do as well. Ask the Zapatistas for a start. Then the Yaquis, then all the other representatives of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and the rest of the American continent who sent delegates or messages to the Indigenous Encuentro that took place in Vicam, Sonora in October of last year and amongst other things, resulted in the decision to take militant action in defence of their rights as indigenous.

Mention the small fact of 500 years of domination, or the forced sterilisation of indigenous women happening in Guerrero or any number of shit that they go through because they are indigenous and I think you'll get a pretty clear response. i know that any number of them are extremely conscious of their status - less valuable than animals in many cases, and that it is due to the colour of their skin. Maybe you see it as unimportant but then you're not one of them are you?

I'm not sure where I was generalising or homogenising, other than in regard to the material conditions in which they live, and about which I am fully correct. I believe I said that the most radically anti-authoritarian, militant and organised groups in Mexico are the indigenous groups. I didn't apply it to all indigenous did I? Mind you, even the state-supporting indigenous are fuckin well organised and militant when it comes to forming paramilitary squads. Also, surely your claim on behalf of most of the indigenous people of Mexico (that they'd be offended by the term) is a case of the pot calling the kettle black don't ya think?

funny thing is I thought I was an anti-civ, insurrectionary platformist grin and not guilty of 'blind indigenismo' at all. sorry, my mistake. guess my time working with the Zapatistas and talking with numerous urban anarchist groups who repeatedly expressed their profound respect for many indigenous models, plus a healthy amount of common sense and cultural sensitivity has addled my mind.

Actually it was the Other Campaign, certainly not the traditional 'organised left' (although some of them are adherents) that started the whole 2010 deal and i don't see how that proves they are organisationally weak. It might even be the case, but you provide no evidence for it. Also, while some people certainly seem to see revolutions popping up everywhere, whether they might be there or not, the reverse is equally true for some others who deny it even when its right under their noses.

some may laugh at this, but in case you hadn't noticed, the revolution is already underway in Mexico and has been for some time. Whether it'll be successful or not is an entirely different matter, I admit.
I've gone back and forth over the issue of the US's response and must admit I'm not sure about it. What I'm pretty confident about is that the millions of migrant mexicans with families back in Mexico that prop up the already -faltering US economy might not take to kindly to it. And one thing that is 100% guaranteed to unite virtually all Mexicans (and most of the rest of Latin America ) would be a US invasion. If they did it by proxy it might be another matter, although the recent farce in Ecuador/Columbia/Venezuela shows that people might not be too accepting of that either.

I agree that virtually all the unions are bent, and everyone knows it. I'd say that they have virtually no input into the really interesting social movements of Mexico, typified but by no means limited to Oaxaca and the Zapatistas, the Other Campaign and yes, large numbers of the indigenous. The actions are happening everywhere, just got to look for them. And to finish, I don't mean to say that I think there's gonna be a happy end to all this, there usually isn't. Just that something is happening and it'd be foolish and a sadly missed opportunity for it to be ignored.
Best,
N

Escarabajo
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Apr 1 2008 22:53

Are you talking about the same La Jornada that has supported the Zapatistas since Jan 1994, publishes all Zapatista communiques, has two permanent correspondents virtually dedicated to propagandising the Zapatista and related struggles, has released numerous supportive films on them, reports on every solidarity action (with the Zaps), no matter how insignificant that takes place around the world and is one of DF's leading papers?
There's also more moderate voices and they also have a column written by Castro and I do'nt believe everything I read in it, same thing goes for the indie press.
I don't think La Jornada's so desperate for sales that it needs to go around cracking deals with obscure armed groups, which if you're corrrect about no-one knowing or caring about them, would have fuck all effect on sales anyway.
Again, I dunno what faculty you're in and whether anyone cares there or not. I have to say that on the main campus in CU there's very little political graffiti of any kind and most of the notices seems to be advertising salsa lessons or trips to the beach, so if there's none supporting ERPI, it doesn't surprise me. As i said, dunno what faculty you're in I know several people in Political Sciences who i'm sure would know of the ERPI. And finally (!) as I implied previously, I think you may be a little too focused on your faculty and students in general. i'd suggest looking a bit closer to the ground than UNAM's ivory towers.
I'm not trying to be offensive by the way, which may be a first for Libcom. grin

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Tacks
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Apr 1 2008 23:03
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Is this really the kinda thing that the new Platformist thing will be getting on then?

what, discussing politics with like-minded people on online forums?

why yes, yes it is alan smile

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Steven.
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Apr 1 2008 23:04

great discussion all, thanks - esp to alan - for the posts.