Summary: A call to participate in the Consultation with the victims in mind.
Going to the polls. It is suggested that if you dislike or distrust the Supreme, and rightly so, and think that your participation would be used to legitimize those from above, or that that it is a rehearsal for a later consultation which would extend the mandate of the executive, or that is a waste (yet one more) of pay, or that what the Supreme wants is to negotiate with the exes to bring down the bad vibes a notch, or it is demagoguery pure and simple, then don’t go to the polls.
Instead of this, it is proposed that you write a letter, either individual or collective and that you send it off to an organization of victims, telling them that you honor their pain and that you support them in their demands for truth and justice. Or a newspaper column, a tweet, a comment on your blog, in your newsletter, on your facebook, instagram, or wherever. Or a painting, a song, a mural, a poem, a speech, a sonata, a pirouette, a figure, a play, some art. Or an article of analysis, a colloquium, a lecture, a conference, a seedbed. Or whatever occurs to you. And even more, to make your non-conformity clear, do it extemporaneously, say one or several days after August 1st, and continue it for the rest of the year and the following years. It is stressed that you must get organized because, without even knowing it, you make up part of the future and probable victims of “the political decisions made in the present and coming years by political actors” of the Mexican State. It is that or resign yourself to the fact that when you are the victim, the “political actor” responsible for preventing this from happening to you, of investigating, pursuing, and punishing the guilty parties, declares the you “asked for it,” that he condemns the act and of course, it will be investigated “to the ultimate consequences, regardless of who falls” — as your name, and your personal story, pass into a number and a statistic.
First: The Zapatista communities will participate extemporaneously in the so-called “Popular Consultation,” following the usos y costumbres of the indigenous peoples, with community assemblies. The results will be sent to the organizations of victims of violence, the search for the disappeared, and prisoners of conscience. Those who have the INE (National Electoral Institute) credential (in fact there are very few), will go to the polls. We ESPECIALLY call upon our indigenous sisters and brothers, organized in the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council to participate also, according to their times and ways, without losing sight of the victims, and holding present all of the murdered brothers and sisters and communities that have been victims of the decisions of those from above before and now, like the long history of plunder, of deceit, of mockery and of contempt, of destruction of territories and disappearance of indigenous languages and cultures.
Second: The question to be asked is not about the former presidents, or.. not that alone. But rather all of the political actors — federal executives and their legal and extended cabinets; state and municipal governments; federal and local deputies, senators; judges and the entire justice apparatus; decentralized agencies, autonomous agencies (formerly the IFE and now the INE, the National Electoral Institute); the Army, Air Force and Navy; federal, state and municipal police.
Nor is it about judging or condemning anyone. It is about the rights of the victims, their right to justice and to truth.
Their right to know why such actions and omissions were decided upon, which laws provided them with legal support. And who were or are those responsible or irresponsible, from the highest to the lowest level. That would be the truth, and its consequence would be justice.
Neither one or the other are in question. The question is whether we are in agreement with supporting the victims who demand to know what happened, why, and by whom; and to demand justice.
When one puts a time period of “years past” it can be deduced that it includes up until the 31st of December 2020. And if the months of January to July of 2021 are “past,” well, that also.
Whether anything more than a simulation follows from these demands for Truth and Justice, will depend on the victims, their families and those that support them.
Third: the Risks. Yes, it is more than likely that both the government as well as the “opposition,” use the participation in the consultation and the result. Either as a way of legitimizing its government policy, or as a plot to hide their guilt and evade justice. Both the number of “contemporary” participants, as well as the responses can be hijacked by one side or the other. But that will only last for a while.
What matters to us is that the victims feel accompanied and encouraged in their painful journey. But their pace, their rhythm, their speed, their company and their destiny, is up to them and only for them to decide.
Yes, there is also the risk that the government uses this popular consultation to support those false “consultas” with which it has covered up the predatory nature of its megaprojects in the indigenous territories. Well, “consultations” those were not. They were shameless rides, with ridiculous results. Agreement was blackmailed and paid for, and even then, they failed in terms of participation. They were not previous, nor informed, nor free, nor according to the ways and times of the indigenous peoples. But in the event that someday indigenous peoples were consulted, they were well-informed of the pros and cons, BEFORE the megaprojects were implemented, ALL of those affected participated, etc. and the proposal for destruction of nature and the annihilation of the indigenous people as such won, then the conclusion would be that the work of explanation and convincing was lacking and we would have to continue insisting. And in the meantime? Resistance and Rebellion.
Of course, this consultation could also be a sham…if we don’t turn it into something inopportune, unseemly, inconvenient, “extemporaneous.” That is, if we do not turn it into something more. Although you would first have to pull away what they are saying and arguing up above; and then later, continue with gatherings, forums, festivals, and support for the victims. A National Campaign for Truth and Justice. In short, “accompaniment,” not “direction.”
Fourth: Wouldn’t it be good if the Mothers Seeking the Disappeared in Sonora, the Trackers of El Fuente, Sinaloa, the mothers of the kidnapped Yaquis, the displaced of Pantelhó, the families of the disappeared in Guerrero, Guanajuato, Veracruz, Baja California Sur, Querétaro, Jalisco, Coahuila, Morelos and almost every state of the Mexican Republic, as well as the family members of the immolated migrants in México, the family members of the disappeared of Ayotzinapa, could meet with ….
… the families of the victims of the dirty war, with the families of infants with cancer and without medicin, with the women who were assaulted in Atenco, with the feminist movments that struggle against femicide and violence against women, with the defenders of the LGBTQ+, with the families of the ABC Nursery, with the family members of the deceased in line 12 of the Metro in Mexico City….
…with the family of Samir Flores Soberanes and those who organize to resist the Thermoelectric Plant in Morelos, with the communities that resist the plunder and destruction that are meant by the poorly-named “Mayan Train,” TransIsthmian Corridor, Santa Lucía Airport, open-pit and underground mining, with the organizations for political prisoners and disappeared persons, with the Abejas de Acteal, with the survivors of El Charco, with those close to Tomás Rojo and Simón Pedro, with so many organized and unorganized sorrows?
Think about that person that finds herself alone, looking for a loved one without any more strength than those of her womb and her heart, and in addition, she should suffer the mockery and the contempt of others, others that say that “she deserved it,” or “she had bad habits,” “you complain because you are part of the mafia of power,” or it is your fault for not educating her well.”
And they don’t even let her respond: “my daughter went on an errand to the corner and didn’t come back,” or “she went to a party,” or “my daughter is less than 10 years old,” or “my husband was coming from work and they killed him twice — once with bullets, and again with lies that he was a criminal,” or “instead of receiving a photo of my daughter/son graduating, they gave me the results of a DNA test and a bone fragment in a shred of clothing he wore that day, that afternoon, that night that since then, never ends.”
Or not even that: in no place, neither alive nor dead –disappeared.
Could it be that this is how she knows that she is not alone? Could it be that this is how she discovers that not only is she not the only one in pain, but that there are others who seek truth and justice?
Won’t she discover, in this way, the same that we, the Zapatista communities have? Namely: sorrows do not add up, but rather multiply when they meet.
The danger will not be that the government or the opposition uses these meetings to their advantage. Rather, it will be if this already organized pain is not respected and that they try to direct it in a way other than to achieve the truth and justice that every human being, independent of their race, color, culture, creed, gender, sexual orientation or preference, political affiliation or ideology, or social class, deserves and needs.
Because it is not enough to settle for mourning a new murder, a new disappearance, a new mass grave with bones and shreds of clothing. Public complaints suffocated by the scandal of the day are not enough. A statistic, a number, an oversight is not enough.
That woman deserves to know the truth. What happened to her child and why. And she deserves not only to be accompanied in this search for truth. But also in the demand that those responsible for those crimes receive their punishment.
This geography called “Mexico” deserves to know the truth about what happened and is happening. And it deserves justice. Whether they be “chairos”1 or “fifis,”2 neoliberals or neoconservatives, Pro-4T or anti-4T, or whatever dichotomy you can think of.
But nevertheless: if you decide that it doesn’t do any good to participate in this other consultation, well maybe it means that you are doing something more and better.
Fifth: The Middle Class and the Consultation.
As the native that I am of the middle class, I know that we are classified and pigeonholed according to interests from above. They classify us so much as middle class that we look like spanish keys: there are fifteen sixteenths, a quarter, three eighths, nineteen twenty-seconds, a quarter-til-six-oh-my-god-how-late-it-is, and half middle-middle class — which is the last straw, and so on. “Did you see that one who thinks she is so thirteen sixteenths when she doesn’t even get to three eighths, poor thing?… and that other one, that overnight climbed almost fifty seventy-seconds, he’s probably a drug dealer… or worse, a politician.”
Or as the orthodox classify us — petit bourgeoisie. And here a similar system comes in, the nano bourgeoisie, micro bourgeoisie, quasi-petit bourgeoisie, self-proclaimed petit bourgeoisie, bourgeoisie in process, and bourgeoisie between blue and the middle of the night…yeah, the hot dog without mayonnaise, please. I, for example, don’t even get that. I am barely a “pequebú” (baby bourgeoisie). But as the deceased would say, “It all depends on the make and model of the phone with which you take your selfie.”
We also get blamed for the failures and deviations of the various political choices of the ideological spectrum, and none of their achievements.
I understand, and not infrequently, I share the irritation and indignation for the bickering that comes out of the latrine up there, for the thinly veiled insults, and for the attacks of people that being from the middle class, now call themselves the “vanguard” of the people or “enlightened” who guide and lead the flock. And who, as such, despise knowledge, intelligence, creativity, genius…and sense of humor. In addition to pretending that the sciences and art are militant in their political choice…or they are neither sciences or arts. In fact, my first reaction was to summarize our position like this: “From the government that holds raffles that are not raffles and Mayan trains that are not Mayan, now — the consultation that is not a consultation. You’d better get organized!”
But the idiotic and cynical opposition is also lurking. The sudden “realizations” of the former ruling criminals who, disparaging memory, now are champions of defense of human rights, of the indigenous communities, of the environment, and who criticize the government economic policies after they have had their fill of pillage and plunder. The supposed “opposition,” incapable of boasting any achievement, bets it all on the mistakes and follies of the government, which are not few. And of course, they bet on oblivion, on memory buried by the screaming on social media, the opinion columns, and the perverse management of information. Because the misnamed “fake news” is not only false news, it is the manipulation of information. The alchemy that makes them not credible, but digestible. And more than anything, into ammunition for the “heroic” combat on the social networks and the media.
And it could be that out of desperation, you elect one side or another.
But, if you manage to escape from that curse, even for a moment, direct your gaze at the victims.
If you are not one of the victims, just one more, and you haven’t formed a community police force, well, the odds are stacked against you and you would do well to prepare yourself.
If you don’t do it out of empathy and human sensitivity, at least do it for the sake of “today for you, tomorrow for me.”
Crime statistics might serve, certainly, to criticize a government policy; but more than anything they are a warning: “you’re next.”
Get organized. In this geography called Mexico, there could well be an organization of future and probable victims of “political decisions made by political actors” that is born.
Sixth: Participate in the so-called Popular Consultation. If you don’t want your feelings to be used by one or another, don’t go to the polls. Shout, scratch, paint, sing, make gestures, be silent, walk, run, stand still. You decide what and let the victims know. And do it after the 1st of August…all year long and for the years to come.
Or get together with others, and analize, discuss, and debate. If you want, write down in some kind of minutes or common letter, your unanimous or divided decision, and send it to an organization of families of victims. (I doubt that you don’t have one in your geography.) Remember that the INE does not count feelings, solidarities, brotherhoods or demands for truth and justice.
And your age doesn’t matter, whether you are extemporaneous or contemporary, if you are above, below, or in the middle, if you are “chairo” or “fifi,” if you like cumbia or rock, if you watch anime or westerns, if you are hetero o “ultimately what does it matter to you what I am or am not.”
Don’t do it because you support the government or because you oppose it. Do it if only to tell that woman that cries in the absence of her partner, her child, her sister, her mother, her family member, her acquaintance, her friend, her compañera, her love, that her tenacious search for truth and justice, her determination, her pain, her nightmare, do not go unnoticed by you.
Do it because maybe, under all of the classifications, flags, emblems and slogans, you are a human being.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Sans Papiers. (Without Papers)
Neither contemporary nor extemporaneous.
Published in Spanish by Enlace Zapatista on July 25th, 2021.
This English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas.
- A pejorative word used to describe a stereotypical adherent of the left who holds a leftist values and uncritically follows candidates or political personalities with a religious zeal. The expression has numerous twists in its etymology in Mexico, and came to refer to an AMLO voter in the 2005 election.
- Originally used to describe a person of the upper class who supported Porfirio Diaz, came to mean an effeminate man who held the latest style. In AMLO’s usage the term has come to refer to the “conservative, two-faced puppets” of his opposition.