EZLN Breaks the Racist Siege For Now

A member of La Extemporanea shows her passport at the airport in Mexico City. Photo: @Caminoalandar2

By Magdalena Gómez

The 177-member Zapatista airborne company, La Extemporanea (The Extemporaneous), took off from Mexico City yesterday bound for Vienna, Austria, with a stopover in Madrid. It was not easy to overcome the structural racism related to the prospect that anyone in the country can obtain a passport. It was necessary to denounce and publicly expose the discourse and disqualifications of public employees in charge of the offices of passport procedures, who had the “backing” of a long line beginning with the birth registry of the Zapatista applicants, which is certainly not foreign to the vast majority of Mexicans who do not represent the urban and classist ideal behind the accreditation requirements. Thus, they became persons of suspect. Why and for what reason did they want a passport?  Cultural prejudices plagued with offenses. Luckily,  the denunciation led to interventions by officials from Foreign Affairs as well as from the Interior, to overcome the obstacles. If we add to this the context of the pandemic and access to vaccines that meet the requirements of European countries, we can imagine the challenges to the will that the realization of this phase of the Journey for life implied. Certainly, the numerous European collectives, in tandem with the accompaniment of maritime Squadron 421, who returned this past Saturday, have made arrangements for measures to be taken upon arrival in Vienna.

In line at the Mexico City airport, the Zapatista airborne delagation awaits their flights to Vienna. Photo: @Caminoalandar2

The EZLN reported that La Extemporanea, named for the recurring designation that they received on their birth registries, “is organized in 28 teams of Listening and the Word, made up of 4-5 compas each; one of play and mischief, and one coordinator, so that it can cover 28 corners of the European geography simultaneously. […] A few days later the delegation from the National Indigenous Congress – Indigenous Governing Council and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land and Water will join them.”

As evidence of the proverbial consistency that characterizes them, the Zapatistas promoted [their position] of why yes to the consultation and yes to the question. With it they launched the National Campaign for Truth and Justice. And today, they dedicate the effort of this journey “to all of the disappeared, to the families that suffer their absence, and above all, to the women and men who struggle to find them and to attain the truth and justice that we all need and deserve.” Fittingly, they carry with them the minutes from the assemblies of Zapatista, non-Zapatistas and anti-Zapatista communities, with their agreements to support the struggle for truth and justice for the victims of violence, according to the consultation held last August 1st, 2021.

Moreover, in light of the manhunt on migrants in Chiapas these past days, on September 4th subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano put out an energetic call, Against Xenophobia and Racism, the Struggle for Life. They broke down the official arguments to reveal the background of this policy, which has this status as a result of being linked to agreements with the United States’ government. 

It is unacceptable to suggest that only two immigration agents beat up migrants and then were suspended. The images of the persecution of the caravans, by elements of the National Guard and employees of the National Institute of Immigration are all over what once were the blessed social networks. In a show of solidarity that evokes the one they organized on behalf of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) in the the days of intense mobilization, they now report that the 12 Good Government Councils (Juntas), as well as the Sixth Commission, gathered a sum of money to send to shelters and humanitarian aid organizations working with migrants in Chiapas. 

In Europe the stigma and persecution of migrants is also found, the struggle against megaprojects and the realities of so many struggles that now organize themselves to receive with dignity the Zapatistas who will listen to and learn from them. They are objectively approaching the central concept that capitalism is not limited to a single country.

The outcome of the intense activity deployed by the maritime command Squadron 421 remains to be seen — they sailed the seas for seven weeks in the opposite route of those who arrived to conquer us, to today respond that they did not conquer us. This was affirmed at the beginning of the 501st year of resistance, and in the arduous deployment in the lands of Insubordinate Europe over three months.

Members of La Extemporanea dedicate their effort and their perserverance in the Journey for Life to the struggle of those seeking their loved ones.

The displays of structural racism articulated here, including the persecution of migrants, and especially of Haitians who are easily persecuted for the color of their skin, are just an example of that which  is normalized in mainstream society. A whole task to be integrated into the anticapitalist struggle, without reductionism.

This article was originally published in La Jornada on September 14th, 2021. https://www.jornada.com.mx/2021/09/14/opinion/016a1pol This English interpretation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapas.