Saturday, April 7th, 2001
Peña Zapatista SEIU Hall, 26th & SE Powell
UNA PEÑA GLOBAL:
Amid authentic Latin American cuisine and songs and poems by local
artists, the Peña Zapatista blossomed as dedication to the colorful
struggle we fight together with our counterparts, the working class, around the world. Guitarists, a poet, and a mime from Portland joined the Mexica Tiahui Aztec dancers from Salem and a guitarist living in Woodburn.
"We are all Zapatistas" characterized the preeminent attitude. People on the frontlines against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) testified about their struggles. Sophia Urby from the Frente Autentico del Trabajo (FAT), an independent labor union involved in a multitude of difficult organizing campaigns in Mexico, took to the stage just before a representative from the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment. Ramon Ramirez of Piñeros y Campesinos Unidos del Noreste (PCUN, the Farmworkers' union) outlined the hardships and victories experienced by the farmworkers who nourish the Northwest. "Todos somos Zapatistas" echoed again and again in different voices and languages.
THE CEASEFIRE HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD:
Because they took the boldest, most humane, and most coherent assault on the global financial system from their strongholds in the Lacandon jungle, the Zapatistas revived faded memories of humanity that inspired a new wave of revolt from all sectors against global capitalism. It shook not only the Mexican state of Chiapas; but Geneva; Seattle; Washington; D.C.; and Prague as well. Soon Quebec City will tremble too, when a meeting of the greediest interests of our hemisphere — embodied in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) — is confronted by people from around the world who refuse to accept the investors' paradigm that declares dignity defiled and humanity deceased, and would legislate to us a model for the world in which we're forced to bury our neighbor to survive.
But the schools of little fish are starting to take collective action... The Zapatistas challenged those living in the global north to "do it ourselves." This means redoubling and reanalyzing our efforts to transform our own societies, rather than focusing on one more guerilla battlefield in the global south. The Zapatistas challenged us to spread our arms into a network of autonomous groups operating in solidarity with each other, respecting differences and dismantling all oppression.
Finally, apart from our metaphorical solidarity, the FAT is also taking with them the majority of the over two thousand dollars raised from the two hundred fifty persons in attendance. Funds will also go to workers in El Salvador who are resisting yet another wave of privatization schemes dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the name of Western investors, making basic services such as health care and education unaccessible to the majority of the population. Supporting our brothers' and sisters' struggle around the world is not just the right thing to do, it is essential for our own survival.
la lucha sigue,
"Thanks to you King Burger,
Now I know what it must have been like,
For my ancestors,
To live with colonization."
--- excerpt from a song at the Peña relating the old and new forms of colonization