archivos de los protestos globales

Speech given by Subcomandante Marcos on Monday, March 12

Marcos

(Origionally in Spanish, translator: Tom)

The Word of the EZLN

Text presented by Subcomonante Marcos in the intercultural meeting "The
Roads of Dignity: Indigenous Rights, Memory and Cultural Patrimony"
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Date: March 12th, 2001
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TEXT PRESENTED BY THE INSURGENT SUBCOMANDANTE MARCOS IN THE INTERCULTURAL
MEETING "THE ROADS OF DIGNITY: INDIGENOUS RIGHTS, MEMORY AND CULTURAL
PATRIMONY" CELEBRATED THE 12TH OF MARCH 2001 IN THE STADIUM OF OLYMPIC
VILLAGE, CALLED BY ENAH AND WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF JOSÉ SARAMAGO, ALAIN
TOURRAINE, MANUEL VÁZQUEZ MONTALBÁN, BERNARD CASSEN, CARLOS MONSIVAÃÚS, ELENA
PONIATOWSKA, CARLOS MONTEMAYOR AND PABLO GONZÁLEZ CASANOVA.

MARCH 12TH, 2001.

GOOD AFTERNOON TO ALL:

WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE COMMUNITY OF THE NATIONAL SCHOOL OF ANTHROPOLOGY
AND HISTORY FOR THE OPPORTUNITY THEY ARE GIVING US TO SPEAK OUR WORDS BESIDE
THESE PEOPLE WHO, BY THEIR ABILITY TO GIVE LIGHT TO WORDS, ADD TO THEIR
HUMANNESS BY ACCOMPANYING A STRUGGLE THAT IS ONLY A PART OF THE GREATER
STRUGGLE FOR HUMANITY.

Beginning this discussion is not easy.

Not only because the lights that are here with us are shining and leaving
very few dark spaces, the favorite place of shadows like us.

But also because an impertinent beetle has prevented me from preparing
something settled and well-worded, interrupting me with all kinds of absurd
and unintelligible things.

Maybe you have heard of him. He goes by the name of "Don Durito of
Lacandona" and he has assigned himself the task of, as he says, righting
wrongs and helping the needy and the helpless. For some reason that I don't
begin to understand, Durito has decided that I belong to the category of the
needy and the helpless, and that, as he puts it, my whole life is a wrong.

So now you know that what has been keeping me awake all these nights was not
the flood of Fox's contradictory declarations, nor was it the death threats
generously lavished on us by the PAN [the right-wing National Action Party,
of which Fox is a member. ╣translator]. No, it was Durito, who has insisted
that the bus is not a bus but a ship, and that the march in reality doesn't
march, but sails, since the sea holds it up.

According to the little that I was able to understand, Durito will attend
the rock concert that will take place today in the Zocalo Square in Mexico
City and in which will participate, so they tell us, Joaquín Sabina, Maldita
Vecindad, Santa Sabina and Panteón Rococó, plus a whole bunch of young
people.

But that, like everything else on this march, is history yet to happen.

It is in the cultural sphere that Zapatismo has been able to find open
audiences and echos that speak their own dignity. In music, particularly in
rock, in the visual and scenic arts, in literature and in science we have
met good people, humane even, who follow their own path of dignity. So we
would like to take this opportunity to salute all those who, through
cultural activities, are fighting for humanity.

In order to speak like Zapatistas about roads of dignity, we will tell a
story called :

THE OTHER PLAYER.

"In their serious corner, the players
move the slow pieces. The chessboard
keeps them until dawn in its severe
enclosure in which two colors hate each other.

(...)

When the players have gone,
When time has consumed them,
The ritual will certainly not have stopped.

(...)

The player is also a prisoner
(the sentence is of Omar) of another chessboard
of black nights and of white days.

God moves the player, and he in turn moves the piece.
What God is there behind God who starts the scheme
Of dust and time and dreams and agonies?"

CHESS.
Jorge Luis Borges.

This is the story:

A group of chess players is engrossed in an important high-level chess game.
An indigenous person comes by, watches for a while and asks what it is that
they are playing. Nobody answers. The Indian approaches the board and
contemplates the position of the pieces, the serious and scowling faces of
the players, the expectant attitude of those around them. He repeats his
question. One of the players takes the trouble to respond: "It's something
you wouldn't be able to understand; it's a game for wise and important
people." The Indian keeps silent and continues to watch the board and the
movements of the contestants. After a time, he ventures another question:
"And why do you play if you already know who is going to win?" The same
player that responded to him before says: "You will never understand. This
is for specialists; it's out of your intellectual reach." The Indian doesn't
say anything. He continues to watch, and goes away. In a little while he
comes back bringing something with him. Without so much as a word he
approaches the table and puts right in the middle of the chessboard an old
boot covered in mud. The players are perplexed and look at him angrily. The
Indian smiles maliciously while asking: "Check?"

The End.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet from the end of the 18th and the
beginning of the 19th centuries, wrote: "If a man walked across Paradise in
a dream, and if they gave him a flower as proof that he had been there, and
if, upon awakening, he were to find that flower in his handŠthen what?"

In this March for Indigenous Dignity, we the Zapatistas have seen a part of
the map of the national tragedy that doesn't get on prime time radio or TV.
Any one of those present can argue that that isn't worth anything at all,
and that a march was not necessary for people to realize that the Mexico of
the downtrodden is great in number and in poverty.

But I do not come to speak to you of indexes of poverty, of constant
repression or of deceit.

On this march we the Zapatistas have also seen part of the Mexico of rebels;
we have seen them see themselves and see others. This, and nothing else, is
dignity. The downtrodden of Mexico, particularly the indigenous, speak to us
a history of struggle and resistance which comes from far away and which
thrives in the today of every place. Yes, but it is also a history that
looks forward

From the mountains of the Mexican Southwest to the Zocalo Square in Mexico
City, we the Zapatistas have walked through a territory of rebellion that
has given us a flower of dark-skinned dignity as proof that we were there.
We have arrived at the center of Power and we find that we hold that flower
in our hands and the question, as in Coleridge, is "then what?".

Contrary to that which the columnists of the political class suppose, the
question does not refer to what follows, but rather to the meaning of that
dark-skinned flower. And, above all, what it means for the future.

I know that in these times of modernity, when bank accounts take the place
of brains, publicity spots of poetry, and verbal diarrhea of knowledge,
talking about dreams can't help but sound old-fashioned.

Nevetheless, the struggle of the indigenous peoples for their dignity is at
bottom a dream; yes, it is a dream which is very Other.

The indigenous struggle in Mexico is a dream which not only is dreamed by
the morning that will include the color of the earth; also, and above all,
it is a dream that struggles to hurry the awakening of that morning.

We, the indigenous peoples, rise again precisely when that which denies us
seems strongest and most daunting. And it is precisely our dream that
already has seen that the monuments which neoliberalism erects are nothing
but future ruins.

The powerful want to ensnare today's indigenous struggle with nostalgia,
blows to the chest and the boom in native crafts. They want to characterize
the indigenous struggle with the mark of the past, something like "the past
reaches us with pending doubts", to use the language of the marketplace that
is so fashionable. As if settling those accounts were a solvent to erase
that past, and the "today, today, today" that Fox used as an electoral
platform and uses as a government program could run the country without any
problem! This is the same "today" that neoliberalism has converted into a
new creed.

If we announce that the indigenous movement wants to be converted into a
fad, we aren't just referring to the PR firms that are eager to engulf it.

When all is said and done, a fad is nothing more than a turn towards the
past whose final horizon is the present, today, these days, the fleeting
instant.

In the struggle for dignity, a similar turn is taken towards the past; but,
and this is fundamental, the final horizon is the future.

To put it in other terms: neoliberalism, which is nothing but a fad, that
is, a turn towards the past with the horizon of the present (whence the
"neo" that they give as a gift to the liberalism of yesteryear), conceives
of the world as the only one possible, as the culminating product of time
(that's why Fox says and other people say that every progressive struggle
has ended with its assuming Power); and its intellectuals and image
promoters (if there is any difference between the two) shoot the clock of
history in order to stop time, and in order thus to ensure that there won't
be any morning other than the one of today, over which they preside.

Neoliberal intellectuals, unlike their predecessors, have rejected
historical initiative, and don't try to predict the future anymore. Not
because they can't see it, but because they fear it.

The Mexican indigenous struggle has not come to set back the clock. There is
no question of returning to the past and declaiming in a voice full of
feeling and inspiration that "all past time was better". I believe that they
would have tolerated this and even applauded it.

No, we the indigenous peoples have come to wind the clock up and thus to
ensure the coming of a morning which is inclusive, tolerant and pluralistic
that, let it be said in passing, is the only possible morning.

In order to do this; in order, with our march, to get the clock of humanity
running again, we the indigenous peoples have resorted to the art of reading
that which has not yet been written. For that is the dream that excites us
as indigenous, as Mexicans and, above all, as human beings. By our struggle
we read the future that was planted yesterday, that is cultivated today and
that can only be harvested if we struggle, that is, if we dream.

Against skepticism which has been made the doctrine of the State, against
neoliberal indifference, against the cynical realism of globalization, we
the indigenous peoples have countered with memory, words and dreams.

By throwing ourselves with everything we have into this struggle, we the
Mexican indigenous, as individuals and collectively, have operated with a
universal human impulse: that of rebellion. It has made us a thousand times
better than before and has converted us into an historic force, not by its
transcendent books or monuments, but rather by its capacity to make history;
so, in lower case.

The key to the story "The Other Player" is not in the old boot covered in
mud that interrupts and subverts the chess game of the lords of power and
money, and the game that there is between those who have made of politics an
art of falsification and deceit. The essential is in the smile that the
Indian smiles, and it is that he knows something. He knows that they are
lacking the other player, who is himself, and the other that is not himself
but who is also Other and not present. But above all, he knows that it is
not true that the contest is over and that we have lost. He knows that it
has barely begun. And he knows it not because he knows it, but because he
dreams.

In summary, we the indigenous are not part of yesterday; we are part of
tomorrow.

And given these boots, culture and mornings, let's remember what we wrote a
while ago, looking back and dreaming forward:

"A boot is a boot that lost its way and that seeks to be what every boot
desires, that is, a bare foot."

And this is pertinent to the point, because in the morning we dream of there
will be no boots, nor cowgirls nor soldiers, but rather bare feet, which is
how feet should be when the morning has barely begun.

Thank you.

>From the National School of Anthropology and History.

Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos.
Mexico, March 2001.

P.S.-I know that it may disconcert some that , in order to speak about
indigenous culture, I have had recourse to other voices, Borges and
Coleridge in this case, but this is how I remind myself and you that culture
is a bridge for all, over calendars and borders, and as such it must be
defended. Therefore we say and we declare: no to cultural hegemony, no to
cultural homogeneity, and no to any kind of hegemony and homogeneity.
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Mexico Struggles | Actions 2001 | www.agp.org