A Voyage for Life

by Raúl Romero*
Photo found on Twitter @regeneracion_r

Professor Douglass Rush-koff, specialist in media, technology, culture and economics published in 2018, “The Survival of the Richest:  The Wealthy Are Plotting to Leave Us Behind.”  (or in the Spanish translation, jump ship) (https://bit.ly/3w2krQa). In it, Rushkoff told how during 2017 he was invited to chat with five super-rich people about the future of technology. The professors interlocutors “were prepared for a digital future that had more to do with transcending the human condition and protecting themselves from the true and present danger of climate change, the rise of the levels of the sea, large migratory shifts, global pandemics and national panic or the exhaustion of resources, than with the building of a better world. For them the future of technology in reality consists of one thing: the ability to flee.”

The planet’s super-rich have long been preparing to face the climate and civilizational crisis. They are taking measures to save themselves and their kind. Their initiatives seem to be straight out of science fiction, like those of Elon Musk, the PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX magnate, who has proposed to build self-sufficient communities on Mars.

While investments and research to colonize other planets grew, the ruling classes managed to watch, from their places of luxury and comfort, the tragedies of millions of people pass by. In February 2018, Mark O’Connell narrated for The Guardian (https://bit.ly/3ygYVcC) how billionaire residents of Silicon Valley were getting ready to face the apocalypse in New Zealand, a kind of reinforced geopolitical haven where survival bunkers have been built.

The bunker business, which thrived in the U.S. with the nuclear threat of the Cold War, became more sophisticated to meet the demands of billionaires. On its website, Survival Condo offers a bunker for $1.5 million to $4.5 million, while Atlas Survival Shelters offers $5 million for its platinum shelter. Some of the shelters promise pathogen detectors, radioactive particle filters, swimming pools and bowling alleys.

For the ruling classes it seems more viable to think of the end of the world as we know it, than to think of the end of the system of exploitation and domination that has brought us to this situation.

For the poor men and women of the Earth there is no alternative and the EZLN is clear: the survival of humanity depends on the destruction of capitalism. In order for humanity to survive it is necessary to “fight, everywhere and at all times -everyone in their own terrain- against this system until it is completely destroyed.”

In order to meet and share experiences with others in the world who resist and are determined to defend life, the Zapatistas have begun a journey through the five continents, which they call the Journey for Life.

Their first port will be unsubmissive Europe, where Squadron 421, composed of seven indigenous Mayans (four women, two men and one other), will set sail on the ship La Montaña. They will be followed by the airborne delegation, and members of the Congreso Nacional Indígena and the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y el Agua de Morelos, Puebla y Tlaxcala, an organization to which Samir Flores belonged, will also travel.

La Montaña will sail the European seas, those that have become mass graves where thousands of migrants lie who have attempted to reach the old world in search of a better life. The crew will attempt to dock in the Port of Vigo, in Galicia, in the Spanish state — to later advance toward Madrid, where they will enter in August of 2021, 500 years after the supposed conquest of what today is Mexico. 

The unconquered, predominantly women and with one non-binary person, travel in the first place to the land from which the sword and the cross came, not to threaten, reproach, insult or demand. Not to demand that they ask our forgiveness. Not to serve them or to serve us, they go to meet with those who bet on life, because as capitalism is deployed throughout the world, the resistances are also across the planet.

In the so-called primitive (or original) accumulation Karl Marx wrote: the discovery of the gold and silver deposits of gold and silver of America, the extermination, enslavement, and burial of the aboriginal populations in the mines, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the conversion of the African continent into a hunt for black slaves, these are the deeds that mark the dawn of the era of capitalist production.

If in the discovery of America we find the beginnings of capitalism, this voyage, in the opposite sense of the one made more than 500 years ago, will help to connect the struggles for life, those that build worlds with peace, justice, dignity, freedom and democracy. In the old world the horizon is now in sight.

* Sociólogist

This article was published in La Jornada on May 15th, 2021. https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/05/15/opinion/017a2pol This English interpretation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapsas.