Zapatistas - split from queer theory

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Catch 22
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Apr 28 2006 22:34
Zapatistas - split from queer theory
Devrim wrote:
The idea that trade unions can fight for the working class, that national liberation isn't reactionary, and that you should support nationalists like the Zapatistas in Mexico.

They all seem like queer theories to me. wink

Devrim

Still, it seemed in one post that you were looking for a way to support the moaists in Nepal. Now that would be strange.

Seems like this might be a good time to split.

The zaps seem pretty internationalist these days. The Selva had a boatload of stuff about solidarity with oppressed people the world over. Marcos' statements from the "otra campana" also denote an internationalist tone. Hell the whole strategy behind the sexta is to unite with anyone who shares their principles.

I know they have a strong mayan cultural identity, but I wouldn't call that nationalist, more along the lines of cultural anti imperialism.

Mike Harman
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Apr 29 2006 12:41
Devrim wrote:

Yes, maybe it is time to split the thread. Can it be done, please admin from Catch 22's post? I have an English version of something that we wrote about this in a letter to the Turkish autonomist group recently. It doesn't address your points exactly, and it does concentrate on our disscusion with them. Maybe some of it is a bit abstract, but it could serve as a useful starting point for a disscusion.

Quote:
Following our discussion in the café after the anti-war demonstration, I wanted to point out a few things about the Zapatisata movement in Mexico.

Firstly I claimed that they were ‘left nationalists’, and you disagreed. Well, even if you disagree to discount their name EZLN (National Liberation Zapatista Army), which I think gives us a bit of a clue, you only have to look at their communiqués to see that they are basically a nationalist grouping.

Lets for example take the sixth communiqué issued in the run up to the 1996 elections, which calls for “...a full and coordinated defence of national sovereignty, through intransigent opposition to the privatisation of electrical energy, oil, water and natural resources.”, or when they continue to say that “And they also say they are going to privatise, or rather sell to foreigners, the businesses that the State once used to help the people's welfare.” Maybe you failed to notice the ‘defence of national sovereignty’, or the fact that their objection to ‘selling to foreigners’ seems to be the main point of disagreement. Of course if all the owners were ‘good Mexican capitalists’ they would obviously continue to ‘use these businesses to help the peoples welfare’. Of course maybe we are wrong, but when we hear them promoting the "defense of national sovereignty" and talking about the "fatherland", it leads us to believe that our original conclusions were right. And just maybe, there was actually a bit of a clue to this in their name. Of course the fact that they regularly sing the Mexican national anthem at their meetings should give us a clue too.

Then we discussed their activity, and one of your comrades claimed that we can support them whereas we could not support the Maoist guerillas in Nepal. I asked why, and you answer was that it was about the form of their struggle, and about how they instituted ‘direct democracy’ in the areas that they had liberated. I replied that you have to look beyond the mere form of a movement, and to look at its content. As far as I know in the areas that they have taken over, they have made no attempt to destroy capitalist relations. Their programme is one of redistributing land, and defending nationalized industries, which is quite natural for a group that has its background in the Che Guevara inspired Fuerzas de Nacional Liberacion (Forces of National Liberation, FLN). You replied that the form, and content of a movement are indivisible, but direct democracy is possible within capitalism. Look at the Swiss commune system if you need an example. There are parts of what seems to be the democratic programme, which are intrinsic to communism, meetings of workers where everybody can have their say for example, but there are also times when minorities of workers act on their own outside of the bourgeois democratic process. In the English miners strike workers went from pit to pit on ‘flying pickets’ appealing directly to other workers to come out, and support them. The importance of a movement is judged by its content. Is it a struggle, which brings workers together in their own interests, is it a movement towards the proletariat being ‘a class for itself’. If I thought that either the Zapatistas, or the Maoist rebels in Nepal were this sort of movement, I would support them. I don’t believe this about either of them, so I support neither of them.

Finally you claimed that capitalism is what defines these classes, and we have to overcome that. This was in response to my question ’what is the revolutionary class within society’. Yes, of course capital divides society into classes, but this is a reality. The only way that we can destroy the class system is to destroy the system, which perpetuates it, capitalism. And the only way to do that is through working class revolution.

I have tried to present your opinions here honestly without distorting them, and to explain My objections to them.

In solidarity,

Devrim Valerian

EKS

Catch 22
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Apr 29 2006 18:32

I think a lot of zapatista criticisms are targeted towards their past actions and politics. To be sure, the zapatistas have had some shitty ideas and stances. The indigenous bill of rights and their early obsession over “stolen elections” denote a movement that began with some exceedingly unrevolutionary ideas and confused politics. That said, the current incarnation of the zapatistas shows maturity and an understanding of the political/economic forces that dominate Mexico. There’s a definite move from the old politics of “left nationalism” and anti privatization.

They have renounced electoral politics as universally corrupt; they have also renounced capitalism and its extreme brother neoliberalism. I don’t know how much of the “other campaign’ you have followed, but the themes and ideas behind it are very anarchistic. They’re helping to build a genuinely organic movement of the working class. There’s no vanguard party leading the way, and there’s no planned dictatorship over the proletariat. Marcos has also made a very definite point on the nature of “Mexican capitalists”; they’re no friends of his or the Mexican people. He has repeatedly attacked the Chapultepec Pact, which epitomizes the wants and desires of the Mexican capitalist class. Rule of law, increased “ social capital”, encouragement for private investment, infrastructure improvements etc. If the zapatistas were looking for a left nationalist regime, one would assume they’d be interested at the very least.

As a side note, I wouldn’t say that an opposition to privatization and defense of sovereignty is necessarily nationalist. The zapatistas oppose these things because they further imbed the US hegemony over Mexico, which can only hurt the oppressed people of Mexico even more. It’s anti imperialism not nationalism, and while there’s a fine line between them, the EZLN doesn’t cross it in my opinion.

Some articles on the Pact if you haven’t heard of it.

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/miami/15945.html

http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/article1533.html

Dundee_United
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Apr 29 2006 19:44

There's also the question of PR. The only thing that has stopped them being annihilated has been spectacularly good diplomacy. Altho the extent to which the FLN still exists and exerts control raises real questions.

We need to see wht pans out with the other campaign. It's very odd. The idea that the Mexican state should let this man go into prisons where political prisoners are being held and hold meetings and talk to people is utterly bizarre. Myself and two comrades discussed this last night. In Britain Marcos would be a dead man long ago.

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OliverTwister
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Apr 29 2006 20:02

In Mexico he would have too except he has an army and large sections of civil society behind him.

WillsWilde
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Apr 29 2006 20:04

The Zapatistas are egaged in a brave experiment... they were shrewd enough to solicit international attention, without which I believe they would have been crushed like a bug long ago...the terms of 'National Liberation' allow them protection (supposedly) under the Geneva Convention. I have met folks who maintain a house down there, the stories are fascinating. I see an archetypal story. Authoritarian Marxist academics dig in and commit themselves to the liberation of the indigenous, to a brave anti-capitalist struggle...their experiences lead them to conclusions whoich are decidedly more 'organic'/anarchisitic in their nature...there are contradictions, failures, tragedies, that's part of the story, folks...I believe that their will is good, a constructive critique is necessqary, but I highly doubt they can be 'told anything they don't already know'. It's a process, just because it isn't pure, doesn't mean it isn't worth supporting.

'Those who lead by obeying'...

Catch 22
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Apr 29 2006 23:54

The politics of the Zapatistas aren't always the most clear and concise. They've synthesized new ideas and critiques as they have matured as a movement. Anomalies and strange contradictions abound, but the general message is one of change “from below and to the left” by the “humble people that struggle”. Sound awfully like an organic people’s movement to me.

Also has anyone noticed the huge amount of magonist inspired groups working with the Sexta? Interesting how well his ideas have endured.

Dundee_United
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Apr 30 2006 00:51
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In Mexico he would have too except he has an army and large sections of civil society behind him.

He has a tiny poorly armed guerrilla army in some part of Chiapas and they are hopelessly outgunned, outnumbered and surrounded. The Mexican state could annihilate the EZLN in a moment if it wanted to. In the only pitched battle fought during the uprising in Ocosingo the EZLN were resoundingly defeated.

The popular support for the Zapatistas is also vastly overstated. Most people 'below and to the left' in Mexico think the Zapatistas are just concerned with the indigenous. There is a vocal minority who we get to hear about but they are not the huge phenomenon that they are portrayed as, even if 'El Sup' is a national spectacle.

Quote:
The politics of the Zapatistas aren't always the most clear and concise. They've synthesized new ideas and critiques as they have matured as a movement. Anomalies and strange contradictions abound, but the general message is one of change “from below and to the left” by the “humble people that struggle”. Sound awfully like an organic people’s movement to me.

The EZLN is a top down Leninist organisation. Commandante Herman, leader of the FLN, appears still to be the real leader of the EZLN. He was "the communities' " delegate to that conference thingy a fair while ago, and he keeps randomly appearing in events. The communities may be directly democratic and all but they don't speak for themselves and there are obvious tensions at work in a set-up like that.

It is sure an organic people's movement but there's no reason to be uncritical.

I stand by what I said before I can't see why the Mexican state don't just kill Marcos. There must be something else going on.

Catch 22
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Apr 30 2006 01:22
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He has a tiny poorly armed guerrilla army in some part of Chiapas and they are hopelessly outgunned, outnumbered and surrounded. The Mexican state could annihilate the EZLN in a moment if it wanted to. In the only pitched battle fought during the uprising in Ocosingo the EZLN were resoundingly defeated.

The popular support for the Zapatistas is also vastly overstated. Most people 'below and to the left' in Mexico think the Zapatistas are just concerned with the indigenous. There is a vocal minority who we get to hear about but they are not the huge phenomenon that they are portrayed as, even if 'El Sup' is a national spectacle.

Yes and partially yes. The other campaign is aimed at braking out of their isolation in the chiapan jungle and creating a national solidarity network of all groups of resistance in Mexico. The current phase of the campaign has been deliberately kept on the small size even. After marcos finishes up his national tour the plan is to flood the country with organizers and coordinators to begin building a true mass movement.

Quote:
The EZLN is a top down Leninist organisation. Commandante Herman, leader of the FLN, appears still to be the real leader of the EZLN. He was "the communities' " delegate to that conference thingy a fair while ago, and he keeps randomly appearing in events. The communities may be directly democratic and all but they don't speak for themselves and there are obvious tensions at work in a set-up like that.

By EZLN do you mean the communities or the army itself? The communities operate outside of the army proper, serving as a support base but largely governing themselves. And the vast majority of comandantes are from the autonomous communities anyway. Besides, the FLN consisted of fewer than a dozen members iirc, and most of those left after years of jungle drudgery. The indigenous dominated the group years prior to the uprising.

Quote:
It is sure an organic people's movement but there's no reason to be uncritical.

I don’t think anyone here has been uncritical. Like I said before, they’ve had some downright idiotic ideas. “Pass the indigenous bill of rights and we will disarm” comes to mind.

Quote:
I stand by what I said before I can't see why the Mexican state don't just kill Marcos. There must be something else going on.

Because it would be a PR nightmare. Killing marcos would undermine the hopes of the Mexican capitalist class to recast itself as “modern” rulers, who are “liberal democrats sensitive to human rights and the rule of law”. Especially if AMLO wins the presidency, the state will want to co opt the left rather than brutally smash it, at least not the internationally known portions of it. They don’t mind assaulting townspeople in Oaxaca (who have chased out the mayor and seized the town hall). But they do have an issue with killing Marcos. Simply because they would draw the ire of groups and governments across the globe.

Further, one can’t forget the mask problem. Any attempt to assassinate marcos could just as well backfire, creating millions of “you didn’t shoot the right marcos” scenarios.

Dundee_United
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Apr 30 2006 01:47
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By EZLN do you mean the communities or the army itself?

I mean the EZLN. If I'd meant the communities I'd have said the zapatistas or 'the communities'.

Quote:
Besides, the FLN consisted of fewer than a dozen members iirc

That isn't true. They had a tiny presence in Chiapas which was then wiped out. After that they got in properly and after some heavy groundwork they got into contact with the cladestine campesino unions, but they have branches across the whole country.

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Because it would be a PR nightmare.

Yeah if the cops killed him, but there's no reason to be that dumb. They could engineer a situation where he gets killed by an angry leftist, and then there could be a public enquiry that leaves no stone unturned or something like that.

Quote:
Further, one can’t forget the mask problem. Any attempt to assassinate marcos could just as well backfire, creating millions of “you didn’t shoot the right marcos” scenarios.

Are you seriously suggesting that Marcos has body doubles attending mass meetings and giving presentations and so on?

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 30 2006 17:09
Dundee_United wrote:
Quote:
By EZLN do you mean the communities or the army itself?

I mean the EZLN.

Well as far as I understood it, the EZLN had a fairly conventional military structure and hierarchy, due that being believed to be the most practical.

The Mexican government's softly softly approach towards the Zapatistas can probably be put down to their attempts to appear like a normal, functioning liberal democracy in order to attract US business. Civil conflict is bad PR. Presumably if/when the Zapatistas start threatening Mexican business interests they'll launch another offensive against them. In the meantime, they'll oscillate between attempting to recuperate the "ringleaders" into the bourgeios political system (hence inviting negotiations in 2001) and occasional attacks, so as to retain a seige mentality in the communities and decrease the inhabitants' quality of life and morale.

If/when the full out offensive comes, the Zapatistas' best hope is try and fabricate a popular insurgency. Hence the Other Campaign.

That's how I understood it anyway....I could be wrong.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 30 2006 17:14
Dundee_United wrote:
Are you seriously suggesting that Marcos has body doubles attending mass meetings and giving presentations and so on?

I'd go as far as to conjecture as to whether Marcos isn't just a pseudonym used in Zapatista communiques.

Dundee_United
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May 1 2006 00:25
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I'd go as far as to conjecture as to whether Marcos isn't just a pseudonym used in Zapatista communiques.

I wish it was true. However Marcos is an intellectual called Raphael Guillan <sp?>, who was a philosophy professor in D.F. He helped gun-run to the Sandinistas and was involved with the FLN before to being appointed FLN Commander in Chiapas prior to the uprising. It was an FLN decision to launch the uprising ASFAIK, based on the FLN/EZLN losing support at the time and the need for action.

He's a very clever guy, a funny and witty orator who captures people's attention and imagination and a very good writer for the task at hand (keeping the international left enraptured). However it is just him. Behind the balaclava it's always the same guy with the big nose and pipe.

Catch 22
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May 1 2006 01:09
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I mean the EZLN. If I'd meant the communities I'd have said the zapatistas or 'the communities'.

Well you kinda did say connect herman to the leadership of the autonomous communities. Anyway, the army itself is somewhat hierarchical, run along the lines of the CNT militias afaik. Comadantes are elected and recallable and the rank and file members are involved in the decisions making process. The same old same old for an anarchistic insurgent army.

Quote:
That isn't true. They had a tiny presence in Chiapas which was then wiped out. After that they got in properly and after some heavy groundwork they got into contact with the cladestine campesino unions, but they have branches across the whole country.

From what I’ve read the FLNers that entered chiapas either left, turned states witness or remained in the jungle, cooperating with the natives to form the EZLN. I wish I had my copy of “the zapatista reader”, can’t find the fucking thing. It had some good stuff on the formation of the EZLN. The army itself is long deceased though, at least as far as all the sources I use. FNn came and gone before the uprising.

Quote:
Yeah if the cops killed him, but there's no reason to be that dumb. They could engineer a situation where he gets killed by an angry leftist, and then there could be a public enquiry that leaves no stone unturned or something like that.

Marcos is under constant security when he’s in public. How do you suggest the Mexican State to assassinate him cleanly under those conditions? Its just too messy right now. The capitalists want foreign investment and internal stability. No use stirring up a hornet’s nest like marcos. If and when the campaign starts to seriously disrupt the functioning of the state. Then they’d consider killing him.

Even so, the zaps could just find another eloquent speaker and trot him out as Marcos. People would think he’s different, but all you'd need is strength in oratory and language. The mask could do the rest.

Quote:
I wish it was true. However Marcos is an intellectual called Raphael Guillan <sp?>, who was a philosophy professor in D.F. He helped gun-run to the Sandinistas and was involved with the FLN before to being appointed FLN Commander in Chiapas prior to the uprising. It was an FLN decision to launch the uprising ASFAIK, based on the FLN/EZLN losing support at the time and the need for action.

That’s what the Mexican intelligence apparatus claims. The profile definitely fits, but it’s still just a profile. For all we know Marcos could be a completely different person.

Btw, where are you getting all this stuff on the FLN? I’ve been drawing on what I’ve read in ya basta, zapatista reader and various net sources. For the most part the FLN is treated as a dead organization. I'd love to find some more information on the FLN.

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Steven.
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May 1 2006 01:43

BTW Dundee_United you never provided any evidence for your claim that the zapatistas booted out 46% of the population who disagreed with them - have you now withdrawn this?

Caiman del Barrio
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May 1 2006 01:48

EDIT: Discretion.

Dundee_United
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May 1 2006 03:55
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BTW Dundee_United you never provided any evidence for your claim that the zapatistas booted out 46% of the population who disagreed with them - have you now withdrawn this?

No. Just forgot about it. Will get on it as soon as possible. No guarrantees that I'll be able to publicly publish it tho as its part of a mate's personal research. He seemed iffy about publishing it anyway last time I spoke to him about it. Think it's quite an important fact tho. Will forward this conversation to them.

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aketus
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May 1 2006 05:38

When you refer to the FLN are you referring to the now-defunct FZLN?

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aketus
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May 1 2006 05:41

Incidentally, who the fuck cares if a different 'Marcos' was presented to the public as Marcos? At the end of the day, most of what Marcos is able to convey is via communiques etc. The certain translators constantly receiving stuff from him (sometimes directly) or the EZLN are able to, in their profession, distinguish whether it is Marcos writing/talking. There have been incidents in the past where it has been 99% certain that a communique signed by Marcos was actually written by one of the comandantes.

And I'm not going to back this up with evidence, probably because I've overstepped my mark on the subject already in terms of what should be said

Caiman del Barrio
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May 1 2006 10:46
aketus wrote:
There have been incidents in the past where it has been 99% certain that a communique signed by Marcos was actually written by one of the comandantes.

Yeah that was what I was thinking when I questioned Marcos' actual physical existence. I did a little bit of research last night, and the Guillen profile does seem to fit, but it proves little.

And RE: Dundee. I don't think anyone's offering "uncritical support" to the Zapatistas (whatever difference it makes), but to dismiss them for not having a perfect communist agenda is somewhat brash I think (which I wouldn't accuse you of, but it's done by many). i also seem to remember at the time of you producing the 46% statistic that there was a general consensus on here that that was more or less understandable. Like Catch 22 said, it seems to be a genuine, organic people's movement within the shell of a rampantly neoliberal capitalist state (and more importantly, in the US' backyard), and has all the problems that such a movement entails.

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May 1 2006 10:46
aketus wrote:
When you refer to the FLN are you referring to the now-defunct FZLN?

No AFAIK the FLN was the Maoist group that set up the EZLN

Catch 22
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May 1 2006 19:30
aketus wrote:
When you refer to the FLN are you referring to the now-defunct FZLN?

When did the Frente become defunct? Last I checked it was still doing ok. It hasn't done a whole lot other than sit there, but it has a snazzy website.

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May 2 2006 04:18

Here ya go

http://aketus.anarcobase.com/2006/01/08/goodbye-fzln/

Back in late October from memory

Dundee_United
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May 2 2006 09:51
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And RE: Dundee. I don't think anyone's offering "uncritical support" to the Zapatistas (whatever difference it makes), but to dismiss them for not having a perfect communist agenda is somewhat brash I think (which I wouldn't accuse you of, but it's done by many). i also seem to remember at the time of you producing the 46% statistic that there was a general consensus on here that that was more or less understandable. Like Catch 22 said, it seems to be a genuine, organic people's movement within the shell of a rampantly neoliberal capitalist state (and more importantly, in the US' backyard), and has all the problems that such a movement entails.

No, no. Exactly. I support the Zapatistas and what they're doing, and I don't particularly give two tosses if they burn out some PRIistas houses or not - they didn't shoot them or anything. And it's not as if given the chance state and party sponsored death squads wouldn't do a lot worse, and living in a community in rebellion against their government isn't conducive to living alongside a card carrying government flunkie.

It's just there are lots of contradictions there and having a Leninist leadership is problematical even if, as it's obvious they actually are, ridiculously competent.

I guess my main problem is that they are always telling us they are the voice from below, the honest voice of the indigenous peoples when in fact half the things Marcos (a middle class, Ladino intellectual) writes would never, under any circumstances, be accepted in the communities (largely, it has to be said, because those communities are not necessarily the most progressive places) and it's pretty obvious that if they were to be read out in those communities and seen by some of the people he's purporting to be a humble delegate for then there would be problems. So as I said there's a real tension there, and a real opportunity for Herman and company to set themselves up as dictators, altho they don't appear to be doing that at the moment.

In a sense I accept it has to be that way tho. If they were to be authentic then instead of Mayan folktales and flowery literary allusions Zapatista and EZLN communiques would be littered with references to the Holy Trinity or somesuch, and there's no chance the international left and 'civil society' would have remained so enraptured, which in turn would probably have meant lights out for the Zapatistas.

Just think that any critical analysis of the Zapatistas from us needs to take congnizance of these facts and we need to keep close tabs on what the FLN/EZLN leadership are up to.

Quote:
No AFAIK the FLN was the Maoist group that set up the EZLN

Yes, they set up the EZLN, which was the FLN section in Chiapas. They're a bit of a mixed bag - Leninist/Guevarraist/National Liberation type stuff. In the 70s they - FLN - were cutting about setting up Cuban Solidarity front groups and things like that. They seem to have had a lot of cross pollination with exiled Sandinistas, and other left types from across Latin America who ended up in hiding in Mexico City.

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May 2 2006 10:01

Agreed. There are numerous interviews with apparent indigenous who appear dissatisfied with the EZLN, lately specifically of Marcos and his failure to address some of their concerns town to town.

I had hoped following the thirteenth stele, that the autonomous municipalities would lessen the grip the army command had over the communities, as I don't agree with that, but certainly it hasn't happened 100%.

The most positive thing I've seen about the Other Campaign is that Marcos seems to spend a lot of time listening to the needs of the people, rather than preaching, and I think that's the way forward: more listening, it helps to lower the level of the EZLN to a point where they are entirely submissive to the people - in effect, what they say they are, but aren't, in their Leninist nature

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May 2 2006 14:12

A few observations....

The EZLN does have support from across Mexico. How tangible this is is difficult to gauge. they are not restricted to the maya.

The FLN? I have seen no sign of them anywhere here in Mexico. Maybe they still function as a clandsestine grouping in the EZLN, but as for being organised acroos Mexico? No I doubt this. My understanding is that they were largely wiped out in the 70s and 80s.

Many of the remaining Maoists and Maoist bases went into the PT who are part of AMLOs election coalition. At the moment it looks like he will lose the election to Calderon of the PAN.

Other guerilla do however exist - the EPR and EPRI are the most notable of these, and they are unreconstructed leftists.

The FZLN disbanded last year, as part of the move to the other campaign.

the other campaign is here in DF at the moment, it is very much organised at base level across a v wide spectrum. Impact? not sure yet.

Nothing i have seen from the EZLN ties with national liberationism. They seem very much to be developing their ideas as they go along. Complete with contradictions, weaknesses etc. but well worth supporting imo.

Magonists - good. They have a well organised indigenist magonist group in Oaxaca a state with a long guerilla history.

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May 2 2006 14:16
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Nothing i have seen from the EZLN ties with national liberationism.

From the US, and it was more a comment about the FLN.

Catch 22
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May 2 2006 19:30
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It's just there are lots of contradictions there and having a Leninist leadership is problematical even if, as it's obvious they actually are, ridiculously competent.

Maybe they’re ridiculously competent because there is no Leninist leadership. You’ve made a lot of claims about FLN domination, but you’ve yet to materialize any sources that say so. Most everyone, including coyote who’s in Mexico right now, agrees that the FLN is long defunct as any kind of recognizable organization. They may exist in some clandestine form, but it’s obviously so tiny that nobody can tell the difference.

Quote:
I guess my main problem is that they are always telling us they are the voice from below, the honest voice of the indigenous peoples when in fact half the things Marcos (a middle class, Ladino intellectual) writes would never, under any circumstances, be accepted in the communities (largely, it has to be said, because those communities are not necessarily the most progressive places) and it's pretty obvious that if they were to be read out in those communities and seen by some of the people he's purporting to be a humble delegate for then there would be problems. So as I said there's a real tension there, and a real opportunity for Herman and company to set themselves up as dictators, altho they don't appear to be doing that at the moment.

How do you know this? How do you know that these indigenous communities wouldn’t accept these ideas? They seem to have followed them throughout the autonomous communities. I remember reading an article on women’s rights in EZLN zones. Prior to the zapatista movement women were married off for rum. The women took action and now they hold equal rights with men in the public sphere.

And what’s this constant jabber about Herman becoming a dictator? What evidence do you have that shows any possibility of this happening? They would have to abrogate their entire ideology of “leading by obeying” the democratic will. Don’t you think that’s a wee bit on the far-fetched side?

If we are to create a critical dialogue on the zapatista movement. We first need to critically examine our own accusations. Too often anarchists jump at any scent of Leninism, only to needlessly attack what is a genuinely libertarian organization. Instead of clutching at straws about Leninist domination and dictatorship why don’t we examine some real problems, that can be verified to exist.

For example, anyone here worried that the zapatistas may blunt their general assault? After the uprising they increasingly capitulated demands, painting themselves into an indigenous rights and reformist corner. Does anyone think this will happen again?

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May 2 2006 20:59

*yawn* a hierarchial army is not a libertarian organisation. Commanders are not libertarians. Look at the word, and think about it for a bit. Anarchists may jump at the whiff of Leninism, but there is no need for others to work to death trying to defend something that is, at the end of the day, an army. Yes some more important questions need to be asked. But lets not get into that age-old debate about 'how libertarian are they?' It's an army, or at least an organisation under the command of an army. End of story, surely.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
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Joined: 7-05-06
May 2 2006 21:13
Quote:
*yawn* a hierarchial army is not a libertarian organisation. Commanders are not libertarians. Look at the word, and think about it for a bit. Anarchists may jump at the whiff of Leninism, but there is no need for others to work to death trying to defend something that is, at the end of the day, an army. Yes some more important questions need to be asked. But lets not get into that age-old debate about 'how libertarian are they?' It's an army, or at least an organisation under the command of an army. End of story, surely.

Please don't mistake this as being said as a defence of the present zapatistas; but even the 'libertarian' armies such as the original Zapatistas and Makhnovists had their 'leaders' - though I think they rose to their positions on the basis of their tactical military skills. (By all accounts, Zapata and Makhno never exploited these positions hierarchically). But even if few of us are likely to ever fight a rural guerilla war, the military aspect of some struggles does raise questions; of co-ordination, and divisions of labour which locate some people in certain roles they excel at, but may then lead others to become dependent on these figureheads. When the leader/figurehead is killed off the movements seem to die. Or is it just that when the enemy can get that close to the central figures, then the movement is on its last legs anyway?

Is there any link between the recurrence of unifying figureheads in peasant movements and the survival of religious icons/mythical warriors in peasant culture?

Catch 22
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Joined: 1-04-06
May 3 2006 01:55
aketus wrote:
*yawn* a hierarchial army is not a libertarian organisation. Commanders are not libertarians. Look at the word, and think about it for a bit. Anarchists may jump at the whiff of Leninism, but there is no need for others to work to death trying to defend something that is, at the end of the day, an army. Yes some more important questions need to be asked. But lets not get into that age-old debate about 'how libertarian are they?' It's an army, or at least an organisation under the command of an army. End of story, surely.

It's a semi hierarchical army much like the anarchist liberation armies of yore. You got a better suggestion? Perhaps we should make tactical decisions by committee, that should prove useful. Come on dude, what do you expect? The RIAU liberated a lot of land, were they authoritarian too?

The army is near extinction anyway. The military aspect of the zapatistas is just for show and we all know it (the zapatitsas included). The real "libertarian organizations" lay within the autonomous communities and the growing Sexta networks. The guns and the balaclavas won't be used in any substantive way, not with the well-armed Mexican military and the US hegemon next door.