October 12: the choice for dignity and life

March in Mexico City for the Day of Indigenous Resistance and Dignity.

Magdalena Gómez

I am interested in highlighting the high political and symbolic value that once again the indigenous peoples show us and with this, at the end of this text, I would like to enunciate the complex agenda that is present and pending with respect to society as a whole.

For the commemoration, from the peoples, of the 531 years of resistance and dignity, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) issued a call directed to the peoples of Mexico and the world, to the people, collectivities and peoples who defend life, inviting them to join the global action to stop the war against the peoples of Mexico and the world, towards the Zapatista peoples and the native peoples. This global action will be nourished with activities that contribute to denounce the war that exists against the native peoples. Without placing the focus on its 27th anniversary, it did show its consolidation by pointing out that the strength and determination of the native peoples has acquired new meanings: the anti-colonial resistance of the first ones, the defense of their territories and ways of inhabiting the world, are a source of knowledge and inspiration in the struggle against predatory and ecocidal capitalism. They added that their struggle is also against militarization in Mexico, for the defense of the Zapatista communities and their autonomous territories, as well as the freedom of organization in all of Mexico. They specified that the war being waged today is against life and that the main actors in this war are the organized crime groups, the repressive bodies of the State, the political class, the State and the institutions that live off corruption.

As we can see, the sharp demarcation with the so-called Day of the (Latin American)Races, so present in the official history, is consolidated. In fact, on October 12, numerous organizations and communities throughout the country and abroad will carry out activities to denounce in real time the conflicts they are facing in their regions, within the above-mentioned framework, and about which denialism or exaggeration is absurd.

On that day in Mexico City, representatives of the different peoples and individuals who in an organized manner have been supporting the struggle for life and dignity will congregate in a march. From these spaces they issued a statement that gave an account of the participation of the peoples, from below, in the historical struggles of our country to highlight the turning point that meant the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (1/1/1994) and the formation of the National Indigenous Congress (12/10/1996), they placed at that point in history the moment in which the indigenous peoples went on the offensive against neoliberal assimilation and its accelerated dispossession. And they emphasized that, as in the past, indigenous peoples are organizing today to resist neo-development that attempts to disguise dispossession as wellbeing.

This intensive campaign around October 12 assumes and poses the challenge of the call to fight for life in Mexico and the world, while showing the strengths and/or weaknesses that today characterize the people and their communities. And we are not talking about a problem of will alone. They are facing a web of de facto and formal power that uses co-optation, divisionism and open violence, in the face of which the State fails, by action or inaction, to guarantee the indigenous peoples the exercise of the rights they have achieved. We are already in an early election year and we know, therefore, that there is no way to even imagine a change of direction in favor of the peoples. The six-year extension that they want to guarantee augurs the intensification of the bet on the megaprojects underway, administered and protected by the military. The peoples know well that their struggle does not have a six-year term, that is why they do very well to strengthen their organization and resistance and to broaden alliances, for the time being with the so-named unsubmissive Europe that is actively accompanying a struggle for the life of the peoples, and with them of the whole of humanity.

And in that respect, as a society, it is also time to recognize what we lack in conscience, conviction and commitment to strengthen our participation in favor of indigenous peoples, because, let us not deceive ourselves, capital has inherent interests and will continue to defend them as it has up to now; we also know that there are conservative sectors that actively practice racism and classism. By the way, I leave on the agenda the hegemonic role of the Army, which will end the six-year term excluded from the historical accountability and benefiting from a sort of anticipated exoneration issued from the Presidency of the Republic, which by the way was issued retroactively. Neither in 1968 nor in 2014 was he responsible. Neither October 2 nor October 12 are forgotten.

Original text published in La Jornada on October 10, 2023. https://www.jornada.com.mx/2023/10/10/opinion/024a1pol
English translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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