…with deep gratitude to Peter and Susan.
Dearest compañer@s, compañeras, y compañeros,
We wish you all, wherever you are, resilience and renewal, as the shimmering new green (at least in the northern climes) emerges and all the little leaves begin to nourish the growth of the coming year.
We know it’s been awhile since our last formal communication. Over these past two years, as you are well aware, we have had to change everything about how we work and how we imagine our continued work in the future. In addition, Schools for Chiapas has come to an important crossroads, a transition, as some of our leadership steps back —taking a much deserved retirement — and leaving the legacy of 27 years of innovative solidarity in the hands of trusted comrades. Peter Brown and Susan Beattie, we (and so many others) thank you for your labors of love. We carry on guided by the 7 Zapatista principles, and the example of dedication to education you leave in your stead. We wish you both wonder (and some relaxation) in your adventures to come.
Friends, in the past two years, you have given of your time, energy and resources to bring well over $200,000 (4 million pesos) to the Zapatista struggle for life and autonomy, and even more in in-kind contributions and donations through our various Gifts of Change, not to mention support of solidarity economies through our online store. And this month, through our Mother Seeds in Resistance project, we will be supplying autonomous clinics with more than 500 healing plants for their medicinal garden! As some might say, this is HUUUUUUGE. We are sincerly honored by your continued support, and we thank you.
In 2022, the Omicron variant has surged around the globe (now nearly forgotten), and we continue in the global mayhem of the invasion of Ukraine. As all of this transpires in the trends of social and mainstream media, in Chiapas, the Zapatistas are watching and honing their analysis of these wars and where they are waged from. They see quite clearly, that in the pandemic as well as in Ukraine, the capitalists are hedging their bets, calculating their “earnings” and keeping the machines of propaganda and profit turning. Meanwhile, courageous individuals, collectives and communities from below around the globe stand in defense of life. On March 13th, upwards of 18,000 Zapatistas in Yajalón, San Cristóbal, Palenque, Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, and Altamirano mobilized in solidarity with those who struggle against all the capitalist wars, and in this moment, explicitly with those in Ukraine and Russia.
Chiapas continues to be a powder keg. In their September communique “Chiapas on the Brink of Civil War,” Zapatista compañerxs shared the serious consequences of state collusion with paramilitary forces, and warned of the effects that intentional mismanagement by the heads of State in Chiapas would have in time. The narco-state perpetrated by the Governor of Chiapas, and willfully ignored and abetted at the federal level, tears at the very fabric of indigenous communities.
In the Zapatista communities in Aldama, Moisés Gandhi and Nuevo San Gregorio (among others), we witness their brave resolve to defend their autonomy in the face of threats to their lives and livelihoods. Despite the endless siege against them, the Zapatistas sent delegates to SLUMIL K´AJXEMK´OP, the insubordinate Europe, to listen to the resistances there. We continue to be inspired by their example in their own communities and in the world, for their creative and courageous struggle for a planet where life and diversity can prevail. And as they themselves said of the Ukrainians and Russians in resistance:
So compañeros, we are here, as we have always been, now forging ahead in new roles. And as the autonomous communities of Chiapas confront a dynamic and challenging landscape, we are committed to remain alongside them. We thank you for your solidarity and support in our efforts to:
- Support autonomous education, in all of its forms and facets, in health, agroecology and technology.
- Promote and train volunteers and human rights observers in Chiapas.
- Reproduce medicinal plants and seeds available to communities in resistance.
- Invest in increased local production and distribution of products through expanding the capacity of our store.
- Maintain and share the ever-changing context of the Zapatista struggle in Chiapas and beyond on our blog and social media.
And as our relationships evolve, we look forward to sharing this journey with you.
– The Schools for Chiapas team, in Chiapas and the U.S.