Video of welcome to the Zapatista Caracol of La Garucha (marching band, chants, and large crowds) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4CoX4tmMjyyZTdpY2NLaEk0ZjQ/view
This week (Oct. 14 to Oct. 19, 2017), Zapatista Maya communities throughout Chiapas have closed their schools while opening their doors and their hearts to a small indigenous woman from the central part of Mexico. Her name is María de Jesús Patricio Martínez ~ her nickname is Marichuy. Her first language is Nahuatl and she has spent her life providing herbal medicines and natural health care to her own indigenous communities. Now Marichuy is spokeswoman for the Indigenous Governing Council (CIG). Every Zapatista student and every Zapatista teacher and every Zapatista autonomous government are participating in this massive greeting. Therefore, Schools for Chiapas / Escuelas para Chiapas is using this blog space to share photos, English language translations, as well as the original audio recording, videos, and official transcripts of these historic meetings. More coming soon!
(Many photos and Spanish originals are also available here: https://actividadesdelcigysuvocera.blogspot.mx/
Here are the recorded words of Marichuy in Oventic (English translation coming soon.)
Marichuy’s Speech in Guadalupe Tepeyac
Oct. 14, 2017
Good afternoon brothers and sisters bases of support, brothers and sisters of the National Indigenous Congress, brother and sister council members, and invited brother and sisters, as well as the free and the paid press.
Indigenous brothers and sisters, the hour of the people has arrived. It is the moment for us to turn and look to our communities, to turn and look to our brothers and sisters. Whatever we’re suffering, they’re suffering too. Even if they are a different color than we are, even if they think differently than we do, we have to unite this pain that we have, this rage caused by all that has been done to us for years, to our ancestors, to our brothers and sisters, all that the capitalist system is doing to destroy our communities, to rob them, to dispossess them of all that our ancestors spent years fighting for.
Now is the moment to join these efforts and struggle together against this system. If we don’t unite these efforts, we’re going to keep suffering the same thing for years, and maybe worse. That’s why we indigenous peoples who have come together in the National Indigenous Congress said that it was important to walk together and take this step, in order to topple this gigantic monster that’s destroying us, destroying our lands, destroying our territories, our language, our way of organizing in our communities. Now is the time, brothers and sisters, to speak up, to come together, to come to an agreement about what we’re going to do so that our communities don’t continue to be destroyed. Now is the moment to make the effort and turn to face the brothers and sisters who are beside us and think together about how we’re going to organize to tear down this capitalist system, which isn’t only destroying our peoples; it’s going to destroy everything.
That’s why we say the hour of the people has arrived, because we have been here since this country began. As long as the earth has been here, we have been here. And others have arrived with bad intentions, seeing indigenous peoples and thinking only of how they can extract wealth, how they can take advantage of the riches that we have in our communities. That’s why we must forget those who have divided us and have made us fight among ourselves. We have to unite among indigenous brothers and sisters, we have to unite with the people of civil society who live in the cities and who are also suffering and also have been struggling for years.
We have to think together about how we’re going to keep our communities alive. We who think there is a common enemy out there must unite. We must unite among those of us who can see that it’s that enemy out there making us fight within our communities, that it’s that enemy making us think that the person next to us is the one who’s destroying us. But it’s not true. That enemy is above! And it is that capitalist system that only wants to destroy us in order keep all the riches from our lands.
And we’re not going to allow it. That’s why we say the time of the people has come. It’s time for the people to raise their voices, for them to organize, and we’re going to struggle not only for indigenous peoples, we’re going to struggle for the whole world. And how are we going to do it? By uniting, speaking up, raising consciousness. And we’re going to be walking together. And we’re going to be fighting for everyone, for all Mexicans and for the whole world. That’s why we say it’s the time of the people, it’s the moment to come together brothers and sisters, it’s the time to realize that if we don’t take this step that we in the National Indigenous Congress see as so important, later we may end up asking, why didn’t I pay attention?
We need to walk together, and together be able to defend our communities, be able to defend those who live in our communities, the wealth that we see around our communities. It’s up to us to defend them, brothers and sisters, and only united can we accomplish this.
And right now women have to take an important step in this organizing process. If we women give it our all alongside our men, we are going to be able to topple this capitalist system that is destroying us.
Thank you, brothers and sisters.
————————————– Original Spanish ————————————-
Marichuy in Palenque denounces specific obstacles and deceptions on the part of the INE to block registration of supporters to as a candidate for president of Mexico
English translation of the words of Commander Miriam in the name of the CCRI-CG of the EZLN in Morelia, Chiapas, Mexico, Oct. 15, 2017
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the International and National Sixth
To the Indigenous Governing Counsel
With special consideration for the compañera Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, Spokeswoman of the Indigenous Governing Council (CNI) of Mexico.
To the brothers and sisters that have come for the first time.
Brothers and sisters,
We find ourselves here in this meeting space in a corner of Mexico and the world, not for pleasure but because we, workers of the countryside and city, know it is necessary to fight in order to get where we want to be.
I am going to talk a little about the history of women, of the grandmothers and our great-grandmothers, of our great-great-grandparents who were exploited in the plantations. First, when the plantation owners controlled this area our grandparents were exploited and discriminated because nobody cared about them: women were useless and worthless except for having kids and taking care of the house. Our grandparents suffered thru slavery for a long time because they were suppressed by so much work at the hands of the bosses. Our grandparents woke up very early in order to complete all of the necessary work at home because they knew at dawn they would have to go to work at the boss’s estate.
When our grandparents got sick, the boss wouldn’t allow them to rest unless it was mandatory; they had to work. When they (our grandmothers) worked on the plantations they were humiliated, mistreated, and looked down on for being poor and women. Before starting their day in the bosses’ estate, they had to leave food ready for their own kids and husband. When they arrived at the bosses house their days were occupied with washing clothes, sweeping the house, washing dishes or whatever the boss said.
Young women worked directly with the boss, taking off his shoes, getting his things ready for bathing and living by his whims which often led to the women being raped. This was the suffering of our grandmothers because they were given the hard jobs. The hardest job was grinding the salt for livestock. Then, when it was time for harvesting the coffee the women were given a sack of beans to un-shell. They did that all day, our grandmothers, and on their “off day” they were told not to come to the bosses’ house because the women were rotated. But, they weren’t really days off to rest but rather days filled with going to the cornfields, hauling firewood and cleaning the fields because our great-grandparents could never pay off their debt on the small piece of land they rented. It was a cycle of bonded labor.
That is what happened to our grandmothers but there are others. Orphans without families were taken in by the boss as his servants and always stayed in the house. They were considered property of the boss and exploited. These servants took care of the animals (the chickens, pigs, dogs), fetched water and firewood and ground up the corn. Yes, these were little kids. If the kids could not grind up the corn, the boss would put their hands inside of anthill until they cried. When the boss had parties with his friends, these orphans were placed at the door as guards making sure that not even a dog entered the house to disturb the boss. They weren’t given food all day, sometimes only given a little time to eat a little pozol. Nobody defended or heard them and that is how they suffered for many years compañeros .
When they became grown men, their jobs were changed. They were treated like mule drivers transporting goods, like the harvests, to the cities. They were very mistreated. In fact, sometimes it makes us sad when they tell us. When they went to the cities to take goods, they used the very little bit of money they had to buy necessities from the company store, thus continuing the cycle of debt that they owed to the boss. This is how our grandparents suffered and this is how the mistreated women suffered that never had the right to complain about everything that happened to them.
Then, our grandparents said, one day they realized they were being exploited and mistreated so they left and went up into the mountains because the ‘masters’ had all of the good land but didn’t want the forest because it was rocky. Our grandparents fled to take shelter from the exploitation. Each family fled to the mountains. They looked for water and there they lived for a long time. Then they realized that things shouldn’t be that way: separated. Our grandparents had to look for land where they could live together as a community and this is how they united and grew, working in collectives.
Thankfully our grandparents never stopped working in collectives and therefor were able to build their communities. However, they were not free completely. Having the mindset from years under the bad bosses, the men soon started disrespecting the women. They mistreated the women, abusing and humiliating them. That is what happened to us, compañeros and compañeras.
After, when I was born, babies born female were not welcomed yet those born male were given celebrations upon birth simply because boys were worth more. Boys could do the work but girls were only useful for domestic chores and childcare. This is what our grandparents had in their heads. Then when schools opened, our mom sent us. Why? Because they taught us how to carry our little brothers and sisters, how to do laundry, to grind the corn, to make tortillas. Basically, we were taught what we had always been told: that when we got married we would know how to take care of our husbands. That is what our mothers said.
Years passed in this way compañeras, this is why many women now don’t know how to write. We have now realized how thankful we are that the organization (EZLN) has given us a place as women, even though there is still work to be done. We need to take back our place that was robbed from us for so long. Our rights were denied too long. That is why we are taking back our place as women. This doesn’t mean that we are going to put down the men, our companeros, as if we are better than them.
What we want everyone to understand is that we have to respect each other. Yet, what we are seeing is that there is another power trying to trick us again: the government. They try to trick us with their economic resources, with their culture of politics where they want to instill in us bad ideas and where they want to take away our land once again. And they don’t only want to take away our good land but rather everything, even the forests. That is what the government is doing now, it is what they want to take away. But, we will not allow this. We know that the governments neoliberal plan doesn’t only plan to conquer our country but the whole world. If we do nothing and don’t organize then things will return to the way they were for our grandparents. We will be exploited, probably worse, and this we will not allow compañeros and compañeras.
However, don’t even think that the Indigenous Governing Council will save us, not even the Spokeswoman. We, each of us, need to save ourselves because it is the community that is in charge. It is the community that has to give our Spokeswoman strength and it is the community that is in charge and the Spokeswoman and our Indigenous Governing Council who have to listen. This is what we want, compañeras, to not be afraid of anyone, to fight not matter where we are whether in our community, with our partner or in our work. This is what we are asking.
Hopefully you understood a little. This is the end of this part but we are continuing onto the next. Hopefully it will be useful. There is part of a song that I am going to share with you, even if I cannot sing good:
If you don’t fight now, nobody is going to do it for you
You should stand up now, you should stay the way you are
They will say yes, yes, yes. They will say no, no, no
Don’t be afraid even if they talk bad about you
We need to organize consciously and bravely
Today we can together create a better world
They will say yes, yes, yes
They will say no, no, no
Together we will succeed
Additionally, I want to talk about art, culture and communication. For us art, culture and communication are important because they don’t exist for the poor but rather in the hands of the capitalists who are using them purely for business and their own self benefit. Those of you who work in the arts should also organize and decide your own destinies, making decisions by how you see it necessary.
Nobody will come to save you. We have heard the little lies of shitty politicians enough to know that they are not the solution. We are witness that they can talk with promising words, and let me remind you that it is all lies and tricks. Not even us, the Zapatistas, are the solution. The real solution is all of you and with time you will see that if you succeed in organizing yourselves, you will find reasons for doing so. Change will not come because we say so, or because you want to or don’t, but because it is required for equality in life.
In the culture we, the indigenous of the world, have encountered so much distain for our way of dressing, our language and our ways of life that we are not wishing to impose our way of life on anyone else but rather are demanding respect for our culture and for the understanding that we want to remain as we are. The indigenous peoples need and deserve respect.
For example, the Catalan, the Basque and the punks all have their cultures which deserve to be respected. In this way, we respect each culture.
Those of you working in the press and media need to work harder to make sure that the truth is told for the communities instead turning it into big business. Plant and cultivate a culture of truth. We know that those of you working in the paid press are controlled by your bosses. We understand that it is not your decision what is publish but rather that of that bosses that censor what is written and work together with the bad governments that don’t allow the truth to be told. The press needs to organize and remember the words of Emiliano Zapata that the land belongs to those who works it.
We say the same thing about those who work in the arts and communications, it belongs to those who take part in it. Culture too belongs to those who create and maintain it. That is why organization is needed in which nobody controls, limits or harasses for the freedom of expression. You are the ones who need to change the way things are organized and leave behind the system that exists now because we are punished and harassed for organizing ourselves and speaking the truth. Organization consists of the mutual collaboration with each member, like what we have built where we are now. This is a full effort of the Zapatista bases of support including men, women elderly and children. Everything we have is the result of 20 years of collective work within all of the communities.
The concept of organizing ourselves remains important since the four wheels of capitalism including exploitation, repression, dispossession and scorn are very much alive and getting stronger still in order to fuck us over. The bad people of the capitalist world and the government do nothing to help us. On the contrary, they side themselves with the neoliberals to modernize the four wheels more and more. Without a doubt, they are studying how to modernize exploitation and advancing their forms of repression through techniques like legalizing the extraction of our rich resources. There is no doubt they look down on us, the indigenous. They are imagining all of the ways in which they can extract our rich resources and kick us off our land, all in their own way. They will NOT succeed.
There is a question going around and we ask, could it be true that god wants us to be poor? Or could it be that our destiny is to be fucked? Could it be that our reward for being so dark from working hard all day under the sun is poverty? We say NO. We are poor because of the parasites of society which exploit us. These evil people are the same who come up with ways to exploit us, repress us, dispossess us of our lands and treat us with scorn. When, brother and sisters do you see a rich person working all day under the hot sun? That is not how one becomes rich. Instead of working they spend their days sitting, while being guaranteed a salary which increases more and more. So, why do the poor work all day in the hot sun to only be more fucked in the end? We, the indigenous, carry with us day and night the four wheels of capitalism. But, there is something that makes us proud: that we have been in resistance for a long, long time and are still here fighting just like all of the indigenous people around the world.
We understand the meaning of freedom, justice and democracy just as good as all of the other continents. What I believe we will never be able to understand is Trump. Fuck Trump.
Palabras de la Comandanta Hortencia a nombre del CCRI-CG del EZLN en Oventik, Chiapas, México, el 19 de octubre del 2017