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Zapatistas Announce International Seminar – “Critical Thinking in the Face of Capitalist Hydra”


Zapatistas Announce International Seminar – “Critical Thinking in the Face of Capitalist Hydra”

Subcomandante Galeano announces the seminar to be held on 3rd May in Oventic


Elio Henriquez

La Jornada, 3rd April, 2013

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas – The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) questioned those who in the face of ”the catastrophe and storm that are coming,” continue ”resorting to the same tactics of struggle: the marches, actual or virtual; with elections, surveys, meetings and rallies.”

The EZLN asserted that Zapatista men and women look and listen ”that a disaster, a storm, in all senses of the word, is on its way”, but ”we also watch and listen to what people with great knowledge have to say, sometimes with their word, always with their attitude, that everything goes on as usual.”

Moreover, ”the reality being presented to us amounts to nothing more than small variations that do not alter the landscape in any important way.”

003n1pol-1_miniIn a communiqué signed by Insurgent Subcomandante Galeano the Zapatista Army said: ”We Zapatistas see one thing, and they see something else. We see the same methods of struggle being resorted to; while, at the same time, new parameters of ‘success’ emerge. A kind of ‘applause meter’ is developed that in the case of protest marches, [the results are] inverse: the better the appearance might be (i.e, while less is protested), the greater their success. Partisan organizations are formed. Plans, strategies and tactics are drawn up, which involves a real juggling act with the concepts.”

The State: Functioning As It Did 20, 40, 100 Years Ago

It is, he said, ”as if the State, the Government and the Administration were equivalent entities. As if the State were the same, as if it had the same functions as 20, 40, 100 years ago. As if the system was also the same with the same forms of subjugation and destruction.

“Or, to put it in terms of the Sexta: the same forms of exploitation, repression, discrimination and dispossession. As if up there, power had preserved its operation intact. As if the Hydra had not regenerated its multiple heads.”

Ceiba Tree, Sacred Tree of Life in Maya Culture

Ceiba Tree, Sacred Tree of Life in Maya Culture

Then the EZLN communiqué explained: ”We think that there is the ‘sentry syndrome’ in us or in them. In reality, we Zapatistas look askance at those movements. Then we pay more attention. We climb to the top of the Ceiba tree to try to see farther, not what has already happened, but what is coming.”

The insurgent group said that ”We don’t see anything good. We see that something terrible is coming—even more destructive, if that might be possible. But again we see that those who think and analyse say nothing about that. They keep repeating what was 20 years, 40 years, a century ago. And we see that organizations, groups, collectives, people, continue on the same path, presenting false, exclusive options, judging and condemning the Other, the Different One. And more: looking down on us for what we say we see.”

The communiqué added: ”Well, you see, we are Zapatistas. And that means many things, such that there are no words for this in the dictionaries of your language.”

But I also want to say, the communiqué continues, ”that we always thought we could be wrong. Perhaps everything continues without fundamental changes. Maybe the Boss continues giving orders just as he did decades, centuries, millennia ago. It could be that what is coming isn’t anything gravely serious, but just an imbalance, a rearrangement of things that aren’t worth much. Then it’s nothing to think about, analyse, theorize about … it’s the same old thing as always.”

EZLN Seminar to Start May 3, 2015: ”I’ll tell you my thinking; You tell me yours”

The communiqué said that’s why we Zapatistas have concluded that ”we have to ask the Others, from other calendars and different geographies, what it is they see.”

This is what will be taking place at the seminar titled “Critical Thinking in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra“, which will begin on May 3 in the Caracol of Oventic, Municipality of San Andrés, with the presence of numerous guests from different countries.

The seminar will be ”an exchange of thoughts, not of merchandise, as in capitalism. It will be an exchange as if we might have said ‘Let’s see what happens when I tell you my thoughts and you tell me yours‘. So, it is to be a meeting of minds (…) very large, worldwide.”

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation emphasized that the gathering aims to be ”a hotbed of ideas, discussion, critical thinking and thoughts about how the capitalist system is nowadays, because there are critical thinkers throughout the world wondering ‘what’s happening, why, what are we doing, how’, and all the things that are analysed in theory.”

Translated by Jane Brundage