Subcomandante Moisés:”The Zapatista children are going over there to share”

Voices in Movement

Subcomandante Moisés:The Zapatista children are going over there to share.” Orginally published by Pozol.org on May 2, 2021, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

As spokesman for the EZLN Subcomandante Moises stands on the dock watching the Squadron 421 sail away from the horizon in the turquoise waters of Cancun, Mexico, he makes the following comment to the independent media, “we should have asked them what they are going to share with the Europeans … and whether or not it is important for us to share.”

“We’re following the route that (the Spanish) came from 500 years ago,” Subcomandante Moisés, told the Mexican media at the departure ceremony. “In this case, we’re following the route to sow life, not like 500 years ago. It’s completely the opposite. Men, women, people of all genders, all the Caracoles, all the Boards of Good Government will participate, but that is just the starting point of the journey.”

What are we going to say to the men and women of Europe? “We are going to share with them that life is at risk, as much for those in the city as for those in the countryside. It is time to wake up. Without life, there is nothing.”

In addition, the spokesman commented that it is necessary to “fight against capitalism because it destroys Mother Nature. The fact is that in 500 years we have not destroyed nature but capitalism has. It has polluted it, and it’s getting worse and worse, which is why we always warn that it will collapse one day, and that is when all hell will break loose.”

He also commented that collaboration efforts with the European compas “are moving forward, but we still have a long way to go.  We are heading over there to see how’s it going and how much organizational power there is.”

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés confirmed that Zapatista children will participate as delegates. “We are fighting for their passports, all of them. They are going to play with European children, and are going to paint cayucos like the ones we are sending over. The Zapatista children are going over there to share.“

Amongst lots of love and support for the Zapatista voyage, Subcomandante Moisés bids farewell to the crew.  He has helped maritime delegation preparation efforts such as taking care of the four cayucos from Chiapas but more specifically with the Squadron 421, which is currently sailing to Europe.

We wish you a safe trip, and look forward to the next reports from Tercios Compas.

IFA Communiqué – Mayday 2021

International Anarchist Statement on May Day

Sifuna Zonke, zabalaza.net

The ZACF is pleased to co-sign this statement along with anarchist groups around the world to commemorate May Day.

May 1st, 1886, a wide-ranging strike started in the United States demanding an eight-hour working day. The journey’s slogan was “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”, propagandised since the mid-19th century and through which the labour movement struggled to seize power from Capital and dispute worker’s time for life, culture, and enjoyment.

The strike was prepared in advance. The American labour movement decided on it in 1884. To carry it out, hundreds of meetings and rallies were held, funds were collected, at times when union organising was illegal. Manifestos and newspapers were circulated encouraging workers to join the planned strike.

International Anarchist Statement on May Day

May 1st, 1886, a wide-ranging strike started in the United States demanding an eight-hour working day. The journey’s slogan was “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”, propagandised since the mid-19th century and through which the labour movement struggled to seize power from Capital and dispute worker’s time for life, culture, and enjoyment.

The strike was prepared in advance. The American labour movement decided on it in 1884. To carry it out, hundreds of meetings and rallies were held, funds were collected, at times when union organising was illegal. Manifestos and newspapers were circulated encouraging workers to join the planned strike.

Yet the struggle for an eight-hour working day was not conceived as a mere reform. It was permeated with hope for a better tomorrow, a struggle which in turn made its way to another definite struggle for an egalitarian society, free of all oppression. Neither was it understood that this struggle should pass through congress, nor through the courts, but rather that it should succeed by means of direct-action lead by the popular masses.  The working class distrusted those deceitful institutions that meant for them a source of repression and hunger.

On May 1st, 1886, the strike proved to be massive, with demonstrations across the country, with its core at the populous industrial city of Chicago. There, police repression was strongly felt, as well as workers’ resistance; confrontations took place,  resulting in several dead and injured, including one worker who died in front of the McCormick industrial plant, where there were many scabs.

Challenged with fierce repression, workers called for a demonstration on May 4th at Haymarket Square. During the event, an unknown person threw an explosive device, in response to repression by the police. This instigated the police’s brutal response, launching a campaign of persecution, imprisonment and torture against workers, of which eight frontline militants and anarchist union leaders were crushed by the full burden of bourgeoise justice, after being convicted of conspiracy.

The court case was an anti-working class set up, just as only a few years later another two prominent anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, would be set up as well. Testimonies and evidence were fabricated, bringing down the bourgeoisie’s resentment on the working-class militancy. Even the prosecutor, Julius Grinnell, himself phrased it as follows: “Law is on trial. Anarchy is on trial… Gentlemen of the jury, convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and you save our institutions, our society”.

The following year, in November 1887, the bourgeoise law sentenced some of the accused anarchists to several years of imprisonment, and the others to death by hanging. Before the court, Adolph  Fischer declared:

“If I am to die on account of being an Anarchist, on account of my love for liberty, fraternity and equality, then I will not remonstrate. If death is the penalty for our love of the freedom of the human race, then I say openly I have forfeited my life; but a murderer I am not”.

Since then, May 1st (or May Day) is commemorated as the International Workers’ Day. First commemorated in 1890, May Day is commemorated as a day of workers’ strikes against Capital, as an occasion for tributes to the martyrs of the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago and to fight for the 8-hour workday. As a result of strikes and tenacious struggle, the 8-hour demand was slowly conquered by the working class in different countries, as it is the case of Uruguay and New Zealand before 1915, or in Spain with the Canadenca Strike in 1919.

What May Day means today

The 8-hour working day has already been conquered as a right in many countries, and May 1st is recognized as an international day of commemoration by the labour movement across the globe. However, today millions of oppressed people in the world still labour for long and exhausting working days in dire conditions, accidents still occur in factories and workshops, resulting in dreadful tragedies, as we have seen happening in Bangladesh numerous times. Transnational Capital has disproportionally spread production all over the planet, impoverishing the living and working conditions of entire populations in peripheral regions and countries, threatening, on top of it, the very existence of the planet.

Therefore, the demand for the 8-hour working day is still a current and valid one. And, above all, the society dreamed of and fought for by the Chicago Martyrs and generations of militants and workers is more valid than ever, for they carried in their hearts wishes for social justice for all humanity, knowing that the struggle against Capitalism and the State was decisive, as it is still today. They knew the oppressors and their institutions are on one side, and the oppressed classes on the other, those who bleed before machines, who starve, who are unemployed, whom the capitalist system despises, but who will build a fair new world.

Like those who took part in the Chicago strikes, we the oppressed know today that justice cannot be achieved within the system, that the current social order brings us, who depend on our everyday labour to live, nothing good. Capitalism only brings misery, hunger, violence and death. This is what the system has brought us for centuries, yet in the past thirty years it has advanced technologically in a grotesque manner.  Capitalism has started wars to control resources, generating chaos in countries and turning them into “failed states”, destructing their entire productive systems, and displacing populations, turning them into refugees or economic migrants desperately looking for jobs and welfare. The list of catastrophes generated by Capital’s uncontrolled ambition in its imperialist arrangement is a long, complicated, one.

It is the oppressed classes across the world who suffer the consequences of the reproduction of the capitalist system and its need to exploit nature and human labour, it is us who must hold high the banners of struggle of the Chicago Martyrs and their dreams of justice and freedom.

What Organised Anarchism must do

Anarchism, the ideology professed by the Chicago Martyrs, has not died, nor has it disappeared, as many belonging to the various ideological and political currents have claimed. On the contrary, Anarchism today has the power to prove its proposal is valid and useful for humanity, that its social approach is valid for present struggles and not a “relic of the past”. The Anarchist commitment, which aims at building a society where power, property, and the means of self-subsistence are socialized, and where collective freedom is an essential component of social order, is current and valid today.

This proposal cannot take place overnight, it takes patience, tenacity, and determination to build a different society to promote people’s organisation and support people’s struggles. We must improve this proposal day by day. This is possible through social insertion in the heart of society, in the popular and working classes.

It is of special interest for Organised Anarchism to have an influence on the segments of society where the oppressed struggle, particularly on workers, strengthening and developing union organisation, and the fight for better wages and working conditions. Also, it is of interest of Organised Anarchism to weave these struggles with those of other oppressed peoples and construct a strategy around the realization of a Front of the Oppressed, advancing in the creation of greater spaces for self-management and class independence, regarding what we call the construction of popular power (or power from below).

All rights and benefits belonging to the people have been fought for and won through struggle. The ruling classes do not give anything away for free; only through solidarity and the militant struggle of people’s organisation in unity have we guaranteed victories for the oppressed. In that struggle Organised Anarchism has a place, with our strategy, our proposals, and our methodology, which emphasizes the creation of popular power and not that of a political party, as vanguardists often do.

The yearnings for justice and freedom of the Chicago Martyrs will roam the streets again this coming May Day, together along the oppressed of the world, in their struggle for a better future. Their dreams live on in the struggle of all people, all across the globe, for bread and dignity, but also for a fully egalitarian and fair society.

LONG LIVE THE CHICAGO MARTYRS!
LONG LIVE THE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY!
Long Live Anarchism, Long Live Revolution
LET’S STRENGTHEN ORGANISED ANARCHISM!
FOR SOCIALISM AND FREEDOM!
Long live those who fight!

☆ Federación Anarquista Uruguaya – FAU
 (Uruguay)
☆ Federación Anarquista de Rosario – FAR (Argentina)
☆ Organización Anarquista de Tucumán – OAT (Argentina)
☆ Embat – Organització Llibertària de Catalunya (Catalonia)
☆ Devrimci Anarşist Federasyon – DAF (Turkey)
☆ Αναρχική Ομοσπονδία – Anarchist Federation (Greece)
☆ Organización Anarquista de Córdoba – OAC (Argentina)
☆ Die Plattform – Anarchakommunistische Organisation (Germany)
☆ Federación Anarquista Santiago – FAS (Chile)
☆ Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement – AWSM (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
☆ Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira – CAB (Brazil)
☆ Libertäre Aktion (Switzerland)
☆ Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – ZACF (South Africa)
☆ Alternativa Libertaria – AL/fdca (Italy)
☆ Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Colombia)
☆ Workers Solidarity Movement – WSM (Irland)
☆ Anarchist Communist Group – ACG (Great Britain)
☆ Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group – MACG (Australia)
☆ Organisation Socialiste Libertaire – OSL (Switzerland)
☆ Union Communiste Libertaire (France)

Mayday 2021


#killthebill

Reflections on the passing of the D of E.

D of E mid left, her maj the Q sixth from left, King of the jungle (deceased) foreground.

What can one say about an old man that died? Lifelong family man and public* servant, went to war, dedicated to the nation – ah, that old manifestation of class antagonisms. Nothing to speak of, nothing that couldn’t be said of countless unknown Working Class folk, many of whom will have died on the battlefield or perished in prison and poverty inflicted by the British ruling class, unsung and un-celebrated. No cannon fired for these – not yet.

* The word ‘public’ as in -interest, -property, -safety, -ownership, etc, means nothing more than ‘state’; and the state doesn’t represent any people, just a mode of production.

That he was so casually racist he was blissfully unaware of it, that when he used his influence he pushed downwards and backwards, that he was habitually miserable to animals and foreigners despite being one himself. Of course, when you’re a member of a European dynasty, descendant of the Romanov tyrants, grandson of the Prince Of Battenberg, cousin of the British Queen and heir to the Greek and Danish thrones, place of birth doesn’t count, borders are only for plebs*.

* In case you needed reminding, borders are there to maintain differentials in prices and wages, which boost the mark-up on manufacturing.

The nation that rejoices in drowning refugees sent a warship for the Greek royal family then under the Truman doctrine hired a gang of Nazi war criminals to wipe out its victorious wartime resistance and keep its people in check. Not a peep out of the blunt-speaking Phillip as his people became the underdogs of Europe, playthings of the C.I.A. and international capital. The self-described “refugee” likewise had nothing to say about the latter day asylum-seekers deported from his homeland in defiance of international law. You can’t credibly claim to be apolitical when laws are enacted, parliament convened and wars declared in the name of your ol’ lady.

A conservationist who shot a tiger, along with a crocodile and six mountain sheep on holiday in India and allegedly accounted for over thirty thousand peasants. I’m no vegan, but could a chap eat thirty thousand pheasants in a lifetime? That’s getting on for one a day.

Now don’t mistake me for someone who gives a shit, we will see his like again, and again. I’m only driven to comment by the shameless hypocrisy. His long awaited demise couldn’t have come at a better time for the executive with its institutions universally discredited. Pfeffle’s long-winded grandstanding, even to the extent of celebrating the Duke’s verbal gaffes, surpassed only by his own, is a exercise in bad taste. Career brown-nose Keir Starmer will struggle to get his head out of there before they bury the old codger, and even Sinn Fein queued dutifully to kiss the royal sphincter.

The Duke is a poster boy for the ruling class’ fascist revival: ultra-conservative, obedient, grateful, backward-looking and dedicated to the fiction of national interest. Keep your place, one step behind, take what you can get, never complain and never do anything worth mentioning.

– Mal Content.

“Only the people can save the people”- O.C.S.S.

Voices in movement

This is a communiqué from the Southern Sierra Peasant Organization (Organización Campesina de la Sierra del Sur (O.C.S.S.) released on February 24, 2021, from Tepetixtla, Coyuca de Benítez, Guerrero, Mexico. Translation by Shantal Monserrat Lopez Victoria from Pozol.org.

“The new Mexican government is an effort to revitalize capitalism,” O.C.S.S. Guerrero, Mexico

O.C.S.S. TO THE CIPOG-EZ, CIN-CIG AND THE CRAC-PC-PF.

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional)
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Indigenous Council of Government
To the people of Mexico and the world

We men and women of the rural towns of the Costa Grande of the state of Guerrero, were raised and taught the history of dignity by Generals Morelos, Guerrero, Zapata and our unforgettable compas and teachers Lucio Cabañas Barrientos and Professor Genaro Vázquez.

Twenty-six years after

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Newsletter from PSC Soton

See newsletter from PSC Soton

Dear PSC Soton Subscriber

I hope you are keeping safe and well.   I am just emailing you, on behalf of the local group, as a very valued member of PSC Soton mailing list.  I am attempting to follow in Cathryn’s heroic footsteps as the new secretary of the Soton branch so she can concentrate more on activities which she does so well.

This new mailing list format is one that is also used and approved by the National PSC Campaign.  And we also have a brand new twitter account you can follow us at called, unsurprisingly enough, @PscSouthampton

Anyway, here is some info about some forthcoming online events, etc, you might find of interest.  We very much look forward to meeting people in person again once it is safe to do so.

Best wishes

Andy

Collectives prepare for historical visit of Zapatista movement in Madrid

Voices in Movement

Written by Miguel Muñoz on February 1, 2021, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

On February 2, 2001, a march called La Marcha del Color de la Tierra set out from Chiapas, Mexico. On March 11 after thousands of kilometers it arrived to the capital Mexico City. The mobilization of the  Zapatista delegation proved symbolic and had a strong resonance with a whole generation of social movements throughout Europe. After two decades, another historic event will take place. Several Zapatista delegations will visit the European continent in July, August and September. In Madrid and other territories, different social movements are already preparing for the meeting.

“We have decided: That it is time for hearts to dance again, and that neither their song nor their steps should be those of lamentation or resignation. Diverse Zapatista delegations, men, women and other colored people of our land, shall go out to travel the world, we shall walk or sail to remote lands, seas and skies, seeking not the differences, nor superiority, nor offense, much less apologies and pity”. This is one of the paragraphs from  A Mountain on the High Seas communique announced last October by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN-Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) and endorsed by its current spokesperson, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

“After 20 years we set sail and march to tell the planet that, in the world that we perceive within our collective hearts, there is room for all of us, everyone, all of them. Simply and sincerely because this world is only attainable if all of us, all women and men, all together, fight to build it”, says another part of the text.

As a result of this declaration, the entire movement began organizing to receive the Zapatista delegation, which will not only be made up of the EZLN but also members of the National Indigenous Council and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Consejo Nacional Indígena o y del Frente de los Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra) . This past week the first assembly was held among the collectives that will be participating in the preparations.

“There have been collectives supporting Zapatismo all over Europe for years,” Danaé, a member of the Y Retiemble collective, created in 2017, tells Cuartopoder. In addition, coordination and networks have taken place all over Europe. “People in Madrid were already getting organized through a network called Europa Zapatista in order to join together and connect with Mexico,” he adds.

A member of Y Retiembre explains that one of the messages that has been very clear from the Zapatista movement is that they have to “mobilize and organize”. The first date for activities are August 13, with a gathering in Madrid for the anniversary of the arrival of Hernán Cortés to Tenochtitlán. This is a proposal of the Zapatista community itself. Next, the “Meeting of Struggles for Life” (Encuentro de Luchas por la Vida) is scheduled for September 6-19.

“It is a meeting in the traditional Zapatista style. We are using the term meeting in the context used by the Zapatistas. It’s not the usual forum type format but rather a meeting about all the struggles that are going on. To meet each other as people,” explains Danaé.

To achieve this, a framework of 7 main themes of struggles has been devised: social rights, feminist and gender identities; anti-racist struggles, internationalist and decolonial struggles; defense of  land and territory; historical memory and freedom of expression; work and migration; art, culture and media. In addition, more activities will be held between now and September to the extent it is possible due to the health situation.

“The Zapatistas come to listen to us and narrate their struggles,” explains Danaé. For that reason, it is also intended that through specific visits, they get to know different collectives and specific struggles in the city of Madrid. From now on, groups will be created by topic and planned activities will be announced. Some initiatives are already underway, such as the distribution of a board game on Zapatismo, which can be purchased online. The collected funds will be used to finance activities. More than 2,000 copies have already been sold. For support groups this is a “historic meeting”. “Normally the Zapatistas have received many people in Mexico, but a tour at this level has never happened before,” says Danaé.

However, there is a gap in the memory of a whole generation within the Zapatista movement. For many years the main figure of the EZLN was Subcomandante Marcos who was very present in the social and political struggles of our country. “There is a generation that is very aware of what Zapatismo is. That is exactly why we are having this meeting. The goal is to organize here, we want to say that we are fighting for life.  We are setting up this meeting hoping to restore these messages because we are aware many people don’t know about the Zapatista proposal. It is very important that these messages resonate with the struggles here because there are many things that coincide”, concludes Danaé.

Corona comment number six, from the South of England: Gulag archipelago, by Mal Content.

Since my last comment the bourgeois state has ratchet-tightened its grip on all aspects of life, with the apparent acquiescence of a large section of the British population – Leaving out the six counties, who seem most preoccupied with not being able to buy vegetables. The demagogues of the devolved administrations* crazed with a little power, vie with each other to boss their subjects about.

* Scots nationalists have blown their best chance of independence in a century with all guns pointed at their own feet, I wonder if MI5 had a hand in that.

As I have observed elsewhere, ‘Lockdown’ is a measure taken by prison governors to facilitate searching of inmates for contraband, apprehending a fugitive or putting down disorder. Doors are all locked forcing each prisoner to remain wherever they find themself. It is predicated on the idea that prisoners have no agency, they do not ‘own’ their flesh, their time or their productive and creative abilities. Incarceration in the United States is an extension of chattel slavery as permitted by the thirteenth amendment; in Britain it originates from the custom of holding a person hostage pending payment of a debt. Other cultures find their own justifications. The first use of this term in respect of the corona virus epidemic was in the People’s Republic of China, which is of course nothing but a giant gulag. It will be deeply offensive to many of our Class who have suffered such abuse.

The latest regulations blatantly reserve overseas travel for the rich, and whilst it will amuse us to watch entitled posh people treated like common prisoners there is a serious point. Jewish workers, whose recent ancestors fled Nazi Germany and other European pogroms find it disturbing to need “permission” to leave the country. We have refugees from the former Soviet bloc and other totalitarian regimes. They know what it means to have papers out of order.

The middle class, the stodgy, flabby rump of totalitarianism, continues to twitch its curtains on full pay, brags about attending ‘zoom meetings’ from the bath or not getting out of bed at all. They quibble about how many times they are “allowed” to walk the dog or whether to have their mum over for lunch. Whilst they sit around their computers knocking themselves off like safari-park chimps, the Working Class must run the gauntlet of crowded workplaces, dodgy PPE and weirdoes who thing it’s clever to gob in their faces.

Gulag:
Acronym of Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-Trudovykh Lagerey.
Russian: “Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps”

People are afraid, for sure, not just of the virus but of starvation and homelessness, of their kids condemned to the scrapheap, their parents dying alone. Rumours abound, of the cops using number plate recognition to clock how far a vehicle has travelled from its registered address. There are despicable class traitors who will grass on their neighbours. Although there is no stop and search power that requires anyone to answer questions*, we hear of people being threatened with arrest for refusing to identify themselves. Call their bluff I say, you waste my time I’ll waste yours.

* Unless you’re driving, then it’s name and address only.

Bosses are taking advantage of the ‘furlough’* to shed workers with protected characteristics, and the super-rich, as always, are making money hand over fist. The sums may seem abstract, but the only value of wealth is the expectation that someone, somewhere will labour to acquire it. This is achieved by limiting access to the product of our own labour. As Heywood put it: “if a man has a dollar he didn’t work for, someone else worked for a dollar he didn’t get”.

* Another prison term. ‘Furlough’ is temporary release. As most prisoners in the U.S. are no threat to anybody but themselves, should they become logistically inconvenient, or if there is no work for them to do, they can be put out to save the state the expense of feeding and housing them.

For years we were offered a false dichotomy between state control and free market – either way is unregulated aggregation of economic power. Somehow the state has been rehabilitated without ever lifting a finger on our behalf, and to contradict its nonsense is to be aligned with cranks with their own set of authoritarian delusions.

Now having had the ‘rona twice I don’t consider it a hoax, it was like sleeping sickness with a loss of mental focus and bodily appetites. The cough only set in after a week but it never quite went away. It tends to magnify symptoms you live with normally, in my case headache, joint pain and irregular digestion. But everybody’s different, some test positive with no symptoms at all, some clearly have it but test negative or inconclusive.

We hear a lot these days about “imagining new futures” but no-one has any answers beyond more of the same, with a bit of technological wizardry thrown in. You cannot “unite” a society built on domination and abuse that refines its exploitative mechanics with every crisis it visits on our Class. The idea that there is an alternative to the status quo that is still military-industrial capitalism is irredeemably stupid. It wasn’t too much of a surprise that fucking idiot Hancock is influenced by Hollywood films, he could have just read his government’s own report on preparing for a pandemic, published in 2016, if he were serious about becoming health secretary. Are we really going to let wankers like that get the better of us?

You cannot compromise with the ruling class because they won’t compromise with you. They will maintain their privilege at all costs – and it costs them nothing. Black people, and other disadvantaged groups will need to take matters into their own hands because the liberals and the reformists can do nothing for them. They will need to fight their oppressors with the same ferocity with which oppression was imposed on them. Compliance will eventually cost more of our lives than any pandemic. The proper response to the Colston situation was for a hundred thousand Bristolians to turn out on the streets and tell the ruling class we will not allow it to try these comrades, precipitate a real insurrection, there’s never been a better time.

There are no broad sunlit uplands on offer, only a brutal, vicious war with the prospect of the means of production finally under control of the producing Class – it’s got to be worth a fight, stuff your prison logic, let’s put our heads together and have a serious discussion about how to fuck shit up.

“We did what we had to do”-Subcomandante Moisés reflects on the EZLN uprising

Voices in Movement

On the 27th anniversary of the EZLN’s rebellion, Subcomandante Moisés stated: “We did what we had to do”. This is a conversation with the current Zapatista spokesperson who held the rank of major back on January 1st, 1994. We talk about the orgins of the uprising by the indigenous rebels.

Written & photo by Diego Enrique Osorno in Milenio. Translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria

-To understand 94, we have to go back, could you tell us about the years prior to the uprising?

-Yes, 1983 was the year when some of our members arrived to the mountains of the Mexican southeast and began to recruit comrades which is why the membership of the organization grew. Then from ‘83 to ‘93 was the period of recruitment in the villages, the ‘underground period’.

The comrades began to look for people one by one but then we changed our recruitment methods because the people, the indigenous communities, have a certain way of meeting people in groups, collectively. And this is how we recruited those with moral authority. And yes, from that point on we continued to organize ourselves with towns and other areas. A region can be made up of lots small towns and communities. Some regions are made up of 20 communities or 30 communities, which is what we call a region.

As our political influence grew in these towns and regions, we made military preparations. We organized the compañeros and compañeras, until the day came when it was decided: It is time for us to head out.

-How did the arrival of members from the city affect the organization in the towns during that time?

-Small communities began to see things differently because they (members from the city) organized in a different way. What I want to say is that with the arrival of the EZLN, women began to have an important role, where before they weren’t even considered. Although there were some organizations (with women), they weren’t really taken seriously. That’s what changed during that time, there was more organization and respect for women.

-On January 1st, 1994, you were a major, not yet a Subcomandante. What was it like to experience the preparations for that day?

– ​We all arrived, insurgents and troops, we all got ready. Before I became a major I was Insurgent Moisés. We had trained in the mountains and helped our fellow comrades prepare; It was there that the troops had to take exams to become a commander. Starting from second lieutenant, lieutenant, then second captain, first captain, then major and so on. So, yes, the rank I had when we left on January 1st, 1994 was major, as is publicly known. We received training and on top of that, other special trainings courses, because we also had to go out into the city. The mountains are very different than the city. I had to be with my commander, Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, who was teaching, preparing and training me.

And yes, there were a lot of the things he taught and explained to us before 1994 that I had to learn. He prepared me for times just like today with you, where we have to explain who we are, and talk to the people of Mexico; the teachers, the students, the workers and others.

-What other advice did Subcomandante Pedro give you during that training period?

-He would also say that we have to be prepared, because we do not know who will die, and he was right. We used to be underground but today we have organized ourselves with our comrades, for example with the National Indigenous Congress. We’re now openly working with the people. What happened in the past, is the past, as he would say. When we left at dawn in 1994, I had to do my part. He told me no matter happened I had to continue and take responsibility for my actions. Of course, I understood what he told me from the beginning: that whatever happens we have to continue fighting and here we are, still fighting.

-What was January 1st, 1994 like for you?

-Well, it was my duty to take over the Town Hall of Ocosingo along with Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro. He was in front of the town hall and I was off to the side, where the police were set up. Then we got separated, but we had said that we would be in communication when we were ready to head into the town hall.

I was waiting for his order, but it never came so I sent him a message to find out what was going on. I waited for a long time, but then I received a message that Sub Pedro had fallen in combat. So from then on, I had to take command and decide what we were going to do. The first thing we did was to check on our comrade Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, so I took him outside, lifted his head, talked to him to see if he was still alive, but nothing. We got him out of there and took his body to a Zapatista community.

So then, we had to continue, we had to move forward. And that’s what I was organizing, because we had to go to another city, which was Comitán, and that’s what I was getting ready for. But then we received the order from Subcomandante Marcos that we had to retreat, and we had to retreat because that was the order. And that was that.