Category Archives: frontlines

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation Announces Next Steps

reposted from My Word is My Weapon – translation by Kristin Bricker

Mexico

December 30, 2012

To the People of Mexico:

To the Peoples and Goverments of the World:

Brothers and Sisters:

Compañeros and compañeras:

This past December 21, 2012, in the pre-dawn hours, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and we took over, peacefully and in silence, 5 municipal seats in the Mexican southeastern state of Chiapas.


San Cristobal, Chiapas. December 21, 2012

In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristobal de las Casas, we watched you and we watched ourselves in silence.

This is not a message of resignation.

It is not one of war, death, or destruction.

Our message is one of struggle and resistance.

After the media-driven coup d’état that exalted a poorly concealed and even more poorly disguised ignorance to the federal executive branch, we made ourselves present so that you would know that if they never left, neither did we.

Six years ago, a segment of the political and intellectual class went out in search of someone to blame for its loss. At that time we were in cities and communities, struggling for justice for an Atenco that was not fashionable at that time.

On that yesterday first they defamed us, and then they wanted to shut us up. Too incapable and dishonest to see that within themselves they had and have the seeds of their own destruction, they tried to make us disappear with lies and complicit silence.

Six years later, two things remain clear:

They don’t need us to fail.

We don’t need them to survive.

We never left, even though media from all over the spectrum have dedicated themselves to making you believe that, and we are reemerging as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be.

In these past years we’ve strengthened ourselves and we have significantly improved our living conditions. Our standard of living is superior to that of the indigenous communities that are linked to the governments in power, that receive charity and squander it all on alcohol and useless things.

Our homes improve without hurting nature by imposing roads upon it that are foreign to it. In our villages, the land that was previously used to fatten estate owners’ cattle is now used to grow the corn, beans, and vegetables that brighten our tables.
Our work has the double satisfaction of providing us with what we need to live honorably and to contribute to the collective growth of our communities.
Our boys and girls go to a school that teaches them their own history, that of their fatherland and of the world, as well as the sciences and techniques they need to grow without no longer being indigenous.

The indigenous Zapatista women are not sold as merchandise. The indigenous PRI members go to our hospitals, clinics, and laboratories because in those provided by the government there are no medicines, nor equipment, nor doctors, nor qualified personnell.

Our culture florishes not insolation, but rather enriched by contact with the cultures of other peoples of Mexico and the world.

We govern and we govern ourselves, always seeking agreement before confrontation.

All of this has been achieved not only without the government, the political class, and the media that accompanies them, but also while resisting their attacks of all kinds.

We have demonstrated, yet again, that we are who we are. With our silence, we were present.

Now, with our word we announce that:

First: we reaffirm and consolidate our membership in the National Indigenous Congress [CNI],a space for meeting with the original peoples of our country.

Second: we will resume contact with our compañeros and compañeras who are Adherents to the Sixth eclaration of the Lacandon Jungle in Mexico and around the world.

Third: we will try to construct the necessary bridges towards the social movements that have arisen and will arise, not to lead them or take their place, but rather to learn from them, from their history, from their journeys and fates.

For this we have achieved the support of individuals and groups in different parts of the world who comprise the support teams for the EZLN’s Sixth and International commissions, so that they will become communication links between the Zapatista Support Bases and the individuals, groups, and collectives that are Adherents to the Sixth Declaration in Mexico and around the world who still maintain their conviction and dedication to the construction of a leftist non-institutional alternative.

Fourth: our critical distance from the Mexican political class will continue; they have done nothing but prosper at the cost of the necessities and the hopes of humble and simple people.

Fifth: regarding the federal, state, and municipal bad governments–executive, legislative, and judicial–, and the media that accompanies them, we say to them the following:

The bad governments from all over the political spectrum, without exception, have done everything they can to destroy us, buy us, and make us give in. The PRI, PAN, PRD, PVEM, PT, CC, and the future RN party have attacked us militarily, politically, socially, and ideologically.

The corporate media tried to make us disappear, first with servile and opportunistic slander, later with cunning and complicit silence. Those whom they served and whose moneys breastfeed them are no longer around. And those who have taken their place won’t last longer than their predecesors.

As was evident on December 21, 2012, they’ve all failed.

It remains to be seen if the federal, executive, legislative, and judicial government decides to once again resort to the counterinsurgency policy that has only achieved a rickety farse clumsily based on media management, or if it recognizes and fulfills its duty and raises indigenous rights and culture to constitutional ranking as established by the so-called “San Andres Accords,” signed by the federal government in 1996, which was ruled by the same party that now controls the executive branch.

It remains to be seen if the state government will decide if it continues its dishonest and despicable strategy of its predecesor which, in addition to being corrupt and deceitful, used the Chiapan people’s money for his own enrichment and that of his accomplices and set about openly buying voices and pens in the media, while he heaped misery upon the Chiapan people, at the same time that he was using police and paramilitaries to try to stop the organizational advance of the Zapatista villages; or if it will instead, with truth and justice, accept our existence and the idea that a new form of social life is blossoming in Zapatista territory, Chiapas, Mexico. Blossoming that draws the attention of honest people all over the planet.

It remains to be seen if the municipal governments decide to keep swallowing the millstones that the anti-Zapatista or supposedly “Zapatista” organizations use to extort them to attack our communities, or if they instead use that money to improve the living conditions of their constituents.

It remains to be seen if the people of Mexico who organize themselves in electoral struggle and resist decide to continue viewing us as the enemies or rivals upon whom they can unload their frustration about the frauds and attacks that, in the end, all of us suffer, and if in their struggle for power they continue to ally themselves with our persecutors; or if they finally see in us another way of doing politics.

Sixth: in the coming days the EZLN, through its Sixth and International commissions, will announce a series of initiatives of a civil and peaceful nature, to continue walking together with the other original peoples of Mexico and the whole continent, along with those in Mexico and around the whole world who resist and struggle down and to the left.

Brothers and sisters:
Compañeros and compañeras:

Before, we had the good fortune of honest and noble attention from various media outlets. We thanked them for it then. But that was completely erased with their later attitude.

Those who bet that we only existed in the media and that with the siege of lies and silence we would disappear were wrong.

When there weren’t cameras, microphones, pens, ears, and looks, we existed.

When they defamed us, we existed.

When they silenced us, we existed.

And here we are, existing.

Our pace, as has been demonstrated, does not depend upon our impact in the media, but rather upon the world’s and its parts’ understanding, upon the indigenous wisdom that dictates our steps, upon the unflinching courage that comes from below and to the left.

From now on, our word will begin to be selective in its recipient and, with the exception of a few occassions, will only be understood by those who have walked and walk with us without giving in to the media and current trends.

Here, with not a few errors and a lot of difficulties, another way of doing politics is already a reality.
Few, very few, will have the priviledge of knowing it and learning from it directly.

Nineteen years ago we surprised them by taking over their cities with fire and blood. Now we’ve done it again, without weapons, without death, without destruction.

That is how we differentiate ourselves from those who, during their administrations, delivered and deliver death to their constituents.

We are the same from 500 years ago, from 44 years ago, from 30 years ago, from 20 years ago, from just a few days ago.

We are the Zapatistas, the smallest, the ones who live, struggle, and die in the last corner of the fatherland, those who don’t give up, those who don’t sell out, those who don’t give in.

Brothers and sisters:
compañeros and compañeras:

We are the Zapatistas, and we send you a hug.

Democracy!

Freedom!

Justice!

From the mountains of the Mexican southeast,
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee — General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico. December 2012-January 2013.

In Spanish: EZLN Anuncia sus Pasos Siguientes
Translation: Kristin Bricker

Frankfurt Update: Individual bans withdrawn, Actions start

from http://www.globalinfo.nl/tag/frankfurt/

Blockupy-actions are starting now. Police have announced to want to evict (‘temporarily’, but if they do not collaborate it might be for good) the occupy camp in front of the ECB that has been there since October 15 last year. Occupiers have declared that they will ‘resist peacefully’ and Blockupy called for solidarity. On Tuesday police started to surround the camp with fences.

Also the surroundings of the neighbouring ECB has been fenced off with barbed wire.

Latest newsletter with handy info (in German)

There is also (more) good news: police decided to withdraw the ‘personal bans’ that more than 400 people got sent home, forbidding them to be in the Frankfurt area from May 16-20. The reason to withdraw the ban is the fear that the bans might not hold in court.

Meanwhile many meanstream media report that the blockades are already functioning. The ECB is organising police escort for some of their personnel, and changing venues for some of their activities (Reuters: – The European Central Bank plans to hold its mid-month policy meeting early, move staff out of its headquarters and shift a farewell event for one of its board members out of town, all to avoid clashes with anti-capitalist ‘Blockupy’ protesters.

(…) The ECB has also shifted a farewell event for outgoing board member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo, due to be attended by policymakers from around the world. It was originally to be held at one of Frankfurt’s plushest hotels, just a stone’s throw from the ECB’s headquarters. Instead it will now be held out of town with guests to be told the exact location only hours beforehand.

Other banks decided to close down completely

The Commerz Bank is closing its offices from Thursday on

Others are boarding up, or removing signs from their buildings, in the hope that demonstrators don’t recognize them. Some smaller businesses have declared to be on the side of the demonstrators and to have made good business with demonstrators. One of the occupy-activists appears to be a trader himself.

Then there is this hilarious report that bankers have been instructed to ‘dress casually’ and not come to work in their usual dress (= suit and tie for men, women can be a bit more frivolous) but wear ragged jeans instead.

In an interview with two activists from an antifascist organisation we can also read about the propaganda from the side of the authorities. One of the arguments for all the repressive measures, is the fact that an anti capitalist demonstration on March 31 turned violent. One police officer was hospitalised, as media don’t stop repeating, claiming that he was ‘severely wounded’. He was, but it turned out that it was mainly pepper spray he got, and he could leave the hospital the next day after they examined him and had that outcome. Police sprays pepper spray on demonstrators as a habit almost, and in large quantities, but not one of the victims got any media attention.

John Holloway in the Guardian: Blockupy Frankfurt is a glimmer of hope in times of austerity (Popular protests such as Blockupy offer an alternative to capitalism for those facing a life hunting through garbage cans)

As the famous folksinger B.Dylan once wrote: You don’t need to be in Frankfurt to block a bank

More information:
http://www.blockupy-frankfurt.org
http://17to19m.blogsport.eu/
http://notroika.linksnavigator.de/
http://de.indymedia.org/
https://linksunten.indymedia.org/
http://www.ea-frankfurt.org/

Anatot attack – update and call to action

The following from Israeli anti-occupation activists:

================

Dear Friends and supporters,

We are confident that you have already heard of Friday’s two grave attacks at the Anatot settlement. Most media reports have been partial and biased; we wanted to give you a full update on the chain of events and keep you informed of our plans.

Last Friday afternoon, a group of activists visited Yassin al-Rifa’i and his family in the village of Anata village, whose lands have been taken over by the settlement of Anatot (also called Almon). The settlers of Anatot have abused the family for years; in repeated attacks, they uproot trees, block water sources, steal agricultural equipment, and harrass and attack the farmers attempting to reach their lands. On Friday afternoon, it was a Palestinian flag that Yassin put up over a tent on his land that gave the settlers of Anatot an excuse for their pogrom. Dozens of settlers, armed with sticks and rocks, brutally attacked Yassin and his family, as well as the activists that accompanied him. The police were present during the pogrom, but stood on the sidelines and did nothing. Three people were hospitalized with serious injuries, three activists were detained for interrogation. Not a single one of the attackers was arrested.

That same evening, forty activists returned to the scene of the pogrom, in order to protest. When we reached the gate of the settlement, we were forbidden enterance, and we remained in front of the locked gate to protest the settlers’ violence and the lack of police resposibility. The settlers of Anatot quickly amassed at the gate: some had participated in the afternoon’s pogrom, some were soldiers and police officers in civilian dress, youths and grown men seething with hatred and hungry for violence. A number of police officers in uniform that were present did nothing to restrain the raging crowd. The settlers demanded that the gates be opened, and under the aegis of the police officers, they charged us, with fists, rocks, and clubs. One of the attackers tried a number of times to stab activists with a knife. When we tried to get away from the place, the attackers chased us, chanting “Death to leftists!” They were accompanied by a group of uniformed police officers. About 10 demonstrators were injured, three of whom were evacuated for medical treatment. Six cars were seriously damaged, and some were totally destroyed. One car door was etched with Starof David. Despite the attack, which was captured by both stills and video cameras, the police did not arrest a single rioter.

It’s not easy to process the meaning of these events. The magnitude of the hatred that the settlers of Anatot – ostensibly non-ideological and non-extremist settlers – showed, and the forgiving and accommodating behavior of the media, are a troubling testimony to the indifference that characterizes Israeli society after years of occupation and repression. We don’t pretend to know how to continue from here. But we feel that the events in Anatot last Friday are – and must be – a watershed moment. We turn to you in hope that we can continue to count on your support and participation in the near future.

Call to action!

Six years ago, the settlers of Anatot decided to move the fence on the southern part of the settlement and to annex private lands owned by residents of the village of Anata. Today their access to their own lands is blocked, thanks to this illegal fence. In Anatot, like in the rest of the settlements, there is no justice and no accountability, and the settlers can do as they please. The violence that took place on Friday is the clear product of the settlement project, the same project advanced and supported by every single government in the past four decades. Its consequences are occupation and repression, theft and land expropriation, the marking dissidents as traitors.

This policy is maintained by the courts, the police that are in collusion with the settlers, the media that doesn’t do its job, and an Israeli society that keeps its mouth shut.

We will not remain silent.

In the next few days we will announce our plan of action for Anatot.

In the meantime, help us out.

Share this video of Friday’s pogrom in Anatot so that as many people as possible can see with their own eyes the true face of the occupation.

Share the following links and stay tuned for more reports and information as they come in.

Incidents in Anatot, September 30, 2011: updates, videos, and call to action!

Where Solidarity Ends | Sara Benninga

The Ugly Face of Occupation | Yael Kenan

Policeman identified among settlers who attacked activists

23 Israelis and Palestinians injured in settler attack outside Jerusalem

Testimonies fom attempted lynching by settlers at Anatot

A preliminary report with two clips and photos was published on Mondoweiss yesterday. A new (third) and longer clip from the attack was posted on Youtube today.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

A new report – translated testimonies

Israeli Activists report about the attempted lynching of Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by Anatot settlers, with Israeli police collaboration – 30/9/11

Background, as reported by activists:

For four years Yasin Abu Saleh el-Rifai and his wife Iman are fighting an almost doomed battle to save their land. The plot has belonged to his family, the el-Rifai family, for generations and it is his land, by inheritance. His grandfather’s tomb is situated there too. The impressive structure of the tomb still stands, but the settlers have desecrated it, removing the bones from the tomb and destroyed the any remains in order to eliminate the evidence. Unfortunately for him, and for many other residents of Anata, some of them members of his family, an Israeli settlement by the name of Anatot (aka Almon) was built on their land in 1982. This settlement has grown over the years and today its fenced-off area includes hundreds of acres of private, taboo-registered Palestinian land, which the Palestinian owners cannot access.

A few words about this settlement: the settlers of Anatot are some of the worst people. It is a secular, extreme right-wing settlement of police officers and army officers, some of them retired. So the law is with them…and far away from the public eye they do what they want, a constant rampage. Sicilian Mafia in Israel of 2011. Netanyahu’s personal driver is also a resident of Anatot.

El-Rifai’s story is somewhat different from the story of the other Palestinian landowners. He and his wife, an Israeli citizen, formerly Jewish with a “blue” ID are allowed to enter the settlement and they are not denied access to the land. This is not the case for the other landowners, who are not Israeli citizens, and are therefore required to conduct impossible coordination procedures in order to reach their land and cultivate it.

Their ‘blue’ ID cards have not spared el-Rifai and his wife a great deal of agony. In recent years Anatot’s settlers have been doing all they can to try to expel them from their land. The land that appears to be barren in the clip was once full of olive trees. Settlers ran over el-Rifai’s wife with a mini-tractor, the two were beaten on several occasions, requiring hospitalization. Yasin was also stabbed. Their share of misery has also included the uprooting of all fruit trees on the plot, destruction of agricultural equipment, contamination of the water well by throwing carcasses and garbage into it, burning the cave which is located within the confines of the plot, constant uprooting of any newly-planted trees, threats against the two as well as physical assaults on them. Countless complaints have been submitted to the police, but nothing has been done to stop the abuse. El-Rifai and his wife have not given up, and against all odds they are trying to hold on to their land. Yasin, desperate to find some support, contact activists through the Internet a few months ago.

Activist Tal’s account:

On Friday, a group of Israeli activists from various groups came down to sit with Yasin on his land, drink coffee, eat something, plant a few symbolic trees, and raise a Palestinian flag on his plot. We were certainly not looking for trouble. We were a small group, women and elderly people among us.

As we were sitting there, eating and laughing, Yasin received a call on his mobile phone, and the settlement’s security officer threatened him that “people want to come up and beat you to a pulp, if that’s what you want, keep the flag there”. The phone call was recorded. You can listen to it here.

Afterwards, seven police and military vehicles appeared on the main road. They stood there for half an hour. Then a few civilian (privately-owned) cars drove up to them, and there seemed to be an exchange going on. All of a sudden, all the military vehicles disappeared, except for one police car, and within minutes tens of private cars gathered on the road. Around 50 people came out of these cars, led by an army officer and a border police, who were not trying too hard to stop them…The rest is history. They came up to us, cursed us, beat us with stoned and clubs and iron rods, plundered. Yasin was thrown to the ground, his head cracked open with an audible bang (he’s not a young man, and he suffers from a heart condition and diabetes). He lay motionless on the ground for a few minutes, his wife holding his head and trying to stop the bleeding. We formed a protective ring around him, so that the bloodthirsty settlers don’t reach him. At that time I thought he was dead. I yelled “get an ambulance”, but no one paid attention. Miri (an activist) saw another activist, Edo, being beaten right next to a police officer, the settlers taking his camera. The officer was speaking on his phone. She approached him and said: “They stole Edo’s camera and now they are hitting him!”. The officer’s nonchalant response was “you’re interrupting my conversation”. I stood there trying to prevent the attackers from reaching Yasin. A police officer came and took me away saying he’s doing it to protect me. None of the officers protected Yasin. None of the attackers were pushed back or detained. Three of us were arrested on false charges and released later that evening because there was no case against them. The settlers chased us with their cars, causing damage to our cars, all the way up to West Jerusalem. Police officers who drove along, escorting us, did not think something had to be done about that. An entire spectrum of Anatot settlers, children, youths, women, the young and the elderly participated in the attempted lynching. No one would have cared if we had been killed there. Only the police who would have had to account for this.

Activist Guy’s account:

Three months ago, we, Taayush activists, received an appeal from the couple. They were almost desperate and they asked for our help. We came down there, another activist and I, and we met a lovely couple, whose sole request was not to be driven off their land and not to suffer physical abuse and damage to property.

Due to various constraints, it was difficult for us to help at the time, but we did try to enlist various activists and groups. In recent weeks, activists have come down a few times and planted new trees, but each time, after a short while el-Rifai found them uprooted.

Today, Friday 30.9.11, a few of us decided to come and visit the couple. We numbered around 15 people. we brought work tools with us, such as hoes. Needless to say, we were welcomed with open arms and much love.

A short time after our arrival, we saw the settlement’s security vehicle stop on the main road. It seemed that the security officer didn’t like our presence there and called the police. A Border police team arrived, but they didn’t intervene or interfere. Gradually, more and more settlers gathered on the main road, approximately 200 Meters in front of the hill where we were working. By noon, more than 20 settler cars could be spotted there. Then we saw two of them going up towards us, and I immediately called the police and alerted them to the danger. Below us, on the main road, we were able to see a few police cars, but they didn’t prevent the two settlers from approaching us. When they came near us, they cursed and threatened us. Other settlers began to go up the hill towards us, dozens of them…

I called the police again, I warned them that bloodshed was imminent, I begged them to send the policemen who were present uphill, towards us, but to no avail. The settlers came up to us, and attacked us. This was simply an attempted lynching. I was punched a few times, knocked down to the ground, and when managed to lift myself up, I saw a border police officer. I ran to him and begged him to protect me, to save me, I practically hung onto him. But they just kept hitting, not heeding his calls to step back. They broke one of the cameras which I was holding, snatching it and throwing it to the ground and trampling over it. More punches and I am screaming and seeing the end. Again, I find myself on the ground, again lifting myself up and starting to flee, my glasses are gone and I don’t know where I’m running, and I do see the settlers approaching me, and screaming at me. I ran towards the road and saw a police officer. Weeping and distraught, I asked him to save me.

He took me to the car and somehow I along with another activist managed to escape and exit the settlement.

But what about the rest?

They continued to be beaten, and the attempted lynching went on. Three of us are still at the hospital, one with a head injury, and I came out of all this, miraculously, with just one arm broken and lots of bruises

Views on London Riots

Courtesy of Variant magazine from Glasgow.

Darcus Howe, a West Indian Writer and Broadcaster with a voice about the riots.

An open letter to those who condemn looting (Part one)

Anarchists respond to the London riots – Solidarity Federation

Britain and its Rabble

A message to a country on fire

Moral Economy of the Crowd

A CALL FOR MORE UNDERSTANDING AND LESS MORALISING

Nothing ‘mindless‘ about rioters

There is a context to London’s riots that can’t be ignored

via Mute – A quick round-up of media which doesn’t fall into the backlash category

Criminality and Rewards – Max von Sudo