Beginning the New Year in Reality, Chiapas, Mexico author: jw A description of the new year's events in La Realidad, and how movements in the US need, now more than ever, to try and learn from the examples set by the Zapatistas:|
"That we are not a collection of individuals dispersed by the world, but rather a living harmony of colors and voices, a constant shout of desires and thoughts that are born, that grow, that lovingly fertilize in one heart and one will, woven of hope. We call this existence and form of harmonic and collective thinking communal. That we don't resign from being who we are. That we will continue defending our autonomy and defending it. We will also defend everyone who is like us, who want to live differently for their color, their song, their vision of their own lives and freedom, with dignity." ~ Declaration of the Indigenous National Congress in Nurio, Mexico, March 2-4, 2001
Reaching the place called Reality is daunting. We were on a mission, 16 of us piled into a van really meant for 12, pulling away from the San Cristóbal zócalo long before breakfast. Most of us were Mexican, but also Chicana, Italian, Quebecois, and from the US. We came from different backgrounds: writers, musicians, photographers, videographers, anthropologists, a biologist, and representing three different collectives. It was the first time for all of us to visit the community known as La Realidad.
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The Zapatistas are the masters of innovation and also the masters of silence. The two are closely entwined. It is often only during those periods of silence that new ideas can be born. If we in the North continue to chase summits without pausing to reflect, to reconsider, to critique, and to brainstorm, we will continue dwindling in numbers, in strength, in effectiveness, and in relevance. Without retreating from street action, we must also be developing our autonomy, practicing disobedience and refusal on a daily basis, and not only in the hot spots of confrontation with the police, where we will always be fenced out and met with the brutal "model of Homeland Security."
The reality in which we live, whether in the mountains of southeast Mexico or in the concrete jungles of the United States, requires endurance. As the anonymous representative of the Junta de Buen Gobierno said on 1 January, 2004, "We are the thorn in the side of neoliberalism. We are here. We have always been here. We will continue being here. We will always continue to stab them."
photos from La Realidad