Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 23, 2018

Zapatistas on Capitalism and its Prey 'A Farm, a World, A War, a Few Chances'


Participation of the Sixth Commission of the EZLN in the Meeting of Networks of Support to the CIG and its Speaker.

(Extended version)
TranslationsFor reasons of time, the Zapatista participation was not complete. We promised that we would then send them what was missing: here the original version that includes parts of the transcript plus what was not mentioned. You're welcome. There is no reason to give them.

First part:


August 2018.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano:

 Good morning, thank you for coming, for accepting our invitation and sharing your word.

 We will begin to explain what is our way to do analysis and valuations.

 We start by analyzing what happens in the world, then we go down to what happens in the continent, then we go down to what happens in the country, then in the region and then in the local. And from there we took an initiative and started to rise from the local to the regional, to the national, to the continent and to the whole world.

 According to our thinking, the dominant system worldwide is capitalism. To explain it to us and to explain it to others, we use the image of a farm.

 I am going to ask the Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés to tell us about it.

- * -

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés:

 Well, then, comrades, companions, we interviewed companions and companions great-grandparents and great-grandmothers who were in their lives - some are still alive and alive. This is what they told us, which led us to think -we now say- that the rich, the capitalists, want to convert what the world is into their farm.

 There is the farmer, the landowner, the owner then of thousands of hectares of land, and that's when he is not, because the employer has his foreman who is the one who takes care of the farm, and from there that foreman looks for his butler who is the that he will go and demand that his land be worked; and that foreman, ordered by the employer, has to look for another who is called the caporal, who is the one who takes care of the hacienda, of his house, then. Then they told us that in the farms there are different things than what is done there on the farm: there is a cattle ranch, there is a coffee plantation, there is a cane farm, where they make panela, and of milpa and beans. Then they combine it, they combine that; that is, in a farm of 10 thousand hectares there is everything there, there is livestock, pipe, bean, milpa. Then all his life people are circulating there,

 Foreman, because he completes his pay by stealing from the employer what the farm produces. In other words, in addition to what the boss gives him, the farmer, the foreman has his profit from stealing. For example, if 10 heifers and 4 bulls are born, then the foreman does not report full, but tells the employer that only 5 heifers and 2 bulls were born. If the employer notices the tranza, then it runs to the foreman and puts another. But always something steals the foreman or that is the corruption they say.

 They tell us that when the foreman, because the boss is not there, and then the foreman is the one who remains, and when the foreman also wants to leave, then he looks for someone he has there, who is just like him. demanding then; then while he is going to take his turn, he leaves someone named, that is, he looks for his friend who is going to leave his charge and then arrive and take the foreman again in his hand.

 And then we see that, that the boss is not there, the boss is in another side, because the foreman is the one we say that, like the countries or peoples that we say, because we see that it is not a country anymore; is the Peña Nieto as we say, the foreman. The butler we say that they are the governors, and the caporales the municipal presidents. It is structured in a way how they will dominate, then.

 We also see that this foreman, butler and caporal are the ones that demand from the people. And there in the farm, the great-grandparents tell us that there is a store there, which they call a raya store -as they told us that- means that the store is where it gets into debt; then the exploited, exploited that are there, waiters or wenches as we say, then, then they got used to that they go there to buy their salt, their soap, what they need, that is, they do not handle money; the boss has his store there and that's where they enlist, because they need the salt, the soap, the machete, the iron or the ax, then they buy there, not because they are going to pay with money but with their work force.

 And great-grandparents tell us that their life, as well as women and men, is that they give them little to eat today so that tomorrow they continue to work for the boss, and so on throughout all their lives that they spent.

  And check what they say our great grandparents because when we came out in '94, when we were taking the farms to get those exploiters, we find foremen and people acasillados , who are used to that what I told them to company stores, then those people Acasillada told us that they do not know what they are going to do, because now where will they find their salt, their soap, because their employer is no longer there. They asked us who is now going to be the new employer, because they want to go there because they do not know what to do, because where will they find their soap, their salt?

 Then we told them: right now you're free, work the land, it's yours, just like the boss that exploded you now you're going to work, but it's for you, for your family. But then he resists saying no, that this land belongs to the boss.

 This is where we find that there are people who are already found in slavery. And if they have their freedom, they do not know what to do, because they only know how to obey.

 And what I'm talking about is 100 years ago, more than 100 years ago, because our great-grandparents -one of them is more or less like 125, 126 years old right now, because he has been interviewing that company for more than a year- those who tell us

 Then we saw it, that follows that. Today we think that this is the way capitalism is now. He wants to turn the world into an estate. That is, but they are transnational entrepreneurs: "I go to my farm La Mexicana", according to what I want; "I go to my farm La Guatemalteca, La Hondureña", and so on.

 And it will start to organize capitalism according to its interest because, as our great-grandparents tell us, there is everything there in a farm, coffee, cattle, corn, beans, and in another farm, it's just a sugarcane panela, and in the other then something else. So they were organizing us, each finquero then.

 There is no good pattern, they are all bad.

 Although our great-grandparents tell us that there are good ones, they say, but when it comes to analyzing it, thinking about it, seeing it, simply because there is not so much physical abuse, is what our great-grandparents say that they are good at because they do not chicke then; but exploited, exploited, there is no salvation. In other farms yes, apart from that you are already tired of work and if you do not meet them anymore, then they chicotean.

 Then we think that all that happened to them is what is going to happen to us, but now it is not just in the country, but in the city. Because capitalism is not the same as it was 100 years ago, 200 years ago, its mode of exploitation is different and not only in the countryside does it explode now but also in the city. And its exploitation changes in a way, we say, but it is still exploitation. As it is the same enclosure cage, but every so often they paint it, as it is new, but it is the same.

 But as there are people who do not want freedom, but who was already to obey, and then just looking for a change of employer, foreman, that is not so bastard or is that exploit but treat well.

 So we do not lose sight of that because it's coming, they're already starting, and so on.

 That is what strikes us that it is that there are others, others, who see, think, compare, just as they are going to do to us?

 And what are these sisters and brothers going to do? Will they be satisfied with a change of foreman or employer, or is it that they want freedom?

 That is what I have to explain to them because it comes with what we think and see with our comrades, as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

- * -

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano:

 So what we see globally is a predatory economy. The capitalist system is advancing in a way to conquer territories, destroying as much as possible. Simultaneously there is an exaltation of consumption. It seems that capitalism no longer seems concerned about who is going to produce things, that's what machines are for, but there are no machines that consume goods.

 In reality, this exaltation of consumption hides a brutal exploitation and a bloodthirsty dispossession of humanity that does not appear in the immediacy of modern merchandise production.

 The machine that, automated at the top and without human participation, manufactures computers or cell phones, is sustained, not in the scientific and technological advance, but in the looting of natural resources (the necessary destruction / depopulation and reconstruction / reordering of territories) and in the inhuman slavery of thousands of tiny, small and medium-sized cells of exploitation of the human work force.

 The market (that gigantic warehouse of merchandise) contributes to that illusion of consumption: the merchandise appears to the consumer as "alien" to human work (that is, to its exploitation); and one of the "practical" consequences is to give the consumer (always individualized) the option of "rebelling" by choosing one or the other market, one or the other consumption, or refusing a specific consumption. Do not want to eat junk food? No problem, organic food products are also for sale, and at a higher price. Do not you consume well-known cola drinks because they are harmful to your health? No problem, bottled water is marketed by the same company. Do not want to consume in large supermarket chains? No problem, the same company will take you to the corner store. And so.

 So it is organizing the world society, apparently giving priority to consumption, among other things. The system marches with that contradiction (among others): it wants to get rid of the labor force because its "use" presents several problems (for example: it tends to organize itself, protest, make stoppages, strikes, sabotage in production, ally with others s); but at the same time it needs the consumption of merchandise by that "special" merchandise.

 Although the system aims to "automate", the exploitation of the workforce is essential. It does not matter how much consumption it sends to the periphery of the productive process, or how much it extends the chain of production in a way that seems (to "simulate") that the human factor is absent: without the essential merchandise (the labor force) capitalism is impossible . A capitalist world without exploitation, where only consumption prevails, is good for science fiction, social networking and the lazy dreams of the admirers of the suicides of the aristocratic left.

 It is not the existence of work that defines capitalism, but the characterization of work capacity as a commodity that is sold and bought in the labor market. This means that there are those who sell and there are those who buy; and, above all, that there are those who only have the option to sell themselves.

 The possibility of buying the labor force is given by the private ownership of the means of production, circulation and consumption. On the private property of these means is the vital core of the system. On this division of class (the possessor and the dispossessed) and to hide it, all legal and mediatic simulations are constructed, as well as the dominant evidences: citizenship and legal equality; the criminal and police system, electoral democracy and entertainment (increasingly difficult to differentiate); the neo religions and the supposed neutralities of the technologies, the social sciences and the arts; free access to the market and to consumption; and the nonsense (more or less elaborated) of the "change is in oneself", "one is the architect of his own destiny", "to bad weather put on a good face",light .

 But the machine wants profits and is insatiable. There is no limit to your gluttony. And the desire for profit has no ethics or rationality. If he must kill, he kills. If you need to destroy, destroy. Although it is the whole world.

 The system advances in its reconquest of the world. No matter what is destroyed, left or over: it is disposable as long as the maximum gain is obtained and as quickly as possible. The machine is going back to the methods that gave rise to it - that is why we recommend reading the Original Accumulation of Capital - that it is through violence and through war that new territories are conquered.

 As capitalism left a part of the conquest of the world in neoliberalism pending and that now has to complete it. In its development, the system "discovers" that new goods appeared and these new goods are in the territory of the original peoples: water, land, air, biodiversity; everything that is not yet maligned is in the territory of the native peoples and they go about it. When the system seeks (and conquers) new markets, they are not just markets of consumption, of buying and selling merchandise; also, and above all, seek and try to conquer territories and populations to extract everything they can, no matter that, when finished, leave a wasteland as an inheritance and trace of its passage.

 When a mining company invades a territory of the natives, with the alibi of offering "sources of work" to the "native population" (it falls to me that's what they tell us), it is not only offering these people the payment to buy a new cell phone. higher range, is also discarding a part of that population and is annihilating (in the full extent of the word) the territory in which it operates. The "development" and "progress" that the system offers, in reality hide that it is about their own development and progress; and, most importantly, it hides that these development and progress are obtained at the cost of death and the destruction of populations and territories.

 This is what the so-called "civilization" is based on: what the native peoples need is to "get out of poverty", that is, they need to pay. And then "jobs" are offered, that is, companies that "hire" (exploit) the "aborigines" (I am told that's what they tell us).

 "Civilizing" an original community is to convert its population into a salaried work force, that is, with the capacity to consume. That is why all State programs consider "the incorporation of the marginalized population into civilization". And, consequently, the native peoples do not demand respect to their times and ways of life, but "help" to "place their products in the market" and "to obtain employment". In short: the optimization of poverty.

 And with that of "original peoples" we refer not only to the so-called "indigenous", but to all the peoples who originally took care of the territories today under the wars of conquest, like the Kurdish people, and who are subsumed, through force, in the so-called National States.

 The so-called "Nation-form" of the State is born with the rise of capitalism as the dominant system. Capital needed protection and help for its growth. The State then adds, to its essential function (that of repression), to be the guarantor of that development. Of course, then it was said that it was to regulate barbarism, "rationalize" social relations and "govern" for all; "Mediating" between dominators and dominated.

 "Freedom" was the freedom to buy and sell in the market; "equality" was to cohere the homogenizing domain; and the "fraternity", well, we are all brothers, the boss and the worker, the farmer and the laborer, the victim and the executioner.

 Then it was said that the National State should "regulate" the system, safeguard it from its own excesses and make it "more equitable". The crises were the product of defects of the machine, and the State (and the government in particular), was the efficient mechanic always alert to fix those flaws. Of course, in the long run it turned out that the State (and the government in particular) was part of the problem, not the solution.

 But the fundamental elements of that Nation State (police, army, language, currency, legal system, territory, government, population, border, internal market, cultural identity, etc.) are in crisis today: the police do not prevent crime, they commit: the armies do not defend the population, they repress it; the "national languages" are invaded and modified (that is, conquered) by the dominant language in the exchange; national currencies are valued according to the currencies that dominate the world market; national legal systems are subordinated to international laws; the territories expand and contract (and fragment) according to the new world war; national governments subordinate their fundamental decisions to the dictates of financial capital; borders vary in their porosity (open for capital and goods traffic, and closed for people); national populations are "mixed" with those from other States; and so.

 At the same time that it "discovers" new "continents" (that is, new markets to extract goods and for consumption), capitalism faces a complex crisis (in its composition, in its extension and in its depth), which it produced with this predatory eagerness.

 It is a combination of crisis:

 One is the environmental crisis that is hitting in all parts of the world and that is also a product of the development of capitalism: industrialization, consumption and the plundering of nature have an environmental impact that alters what is known as "planet Earth" . The meteorite "capitalism" has already fallen and radically modified the surface and entrails of the third planet of the solar system.

 The other is migration. They are pauperizing and destroying whole territories and forcing people to migrate looking for life. The war of conquest, which is in the very essence of the system, no longer occupies territories and its population, but puts that population in the category of "leftovers", "ruins", "debris", so these populations or they perish or migrate to the "civilization" that, we must not forget, is based on the destruction of "other" civilizations. If those people do not produce or consume, they are redundant. The so-called "migration phenomenon" is produced and fed by the system.

 And one more - in which we are finding coincidences with several analysts around the world - is the depletion of the resources that make "the machine" go: the energetics. The so-called final "peaks" in oil and coal reserves, for example, are already very close. Those energetics are exhausted and are very limited, their replacement would last millions of years. The foreseeable and imminent exhaustion makes the territories with reserves - although limited - of energy, strategic. The development of "alternative" energy sources goes too slowly for the simple reason that it is not profitable, that is, the investment is not replenished quickly.

 These three elements of this complex crisis, put into question the very existence of the planet.

 The terminal crisis of capitalism? Now here near. The system has shown that it is capable of overcoming its contradictions and, even, working with them and in them.

 Then, in the face of those crises that capitalism itself provokes, which causes migration, it causes natural catastrophes; that approaches the limit of its fundamental energy resources (in this case oil and coal), it seems that the system is testing an inward retreat, like an anti-globalization, to be able to defend itself and is using the political right as guarantor of that withdrawal.

 This apparent contraction of the system is like a spring that retracts and then expands. Actually, the system is preparing for a war. Another war. A total: everywhere, all the time and with all the means.

 They are building legal walls, cultural walls and material walls to try to defend themselves from the migration that they themselves provoked; and it is trying to re-map the world, its resources and its catastrophes, so that the former are managed so that capital maintains its functioning, and the latter do not affect the centers where Power is grouped.

 These walls will continue to proliferate, according to us, until a kind of archipelago "from above" is built where, within protected "islands", the owners, let us say, those who have the wealth; and outside those archipelagos we remain all the others. An archipelago with islands for the bosses, and with differentiated islands -like the farms- with specific tasks. And, very apart, the lost islands, those of the disposable. And in the open sea, millions of barges wandering from one island to another, looking for a place to dock.

 Science Fiction of zapatista manufacture?  Googlee you "Barco Aquarius" and see the distance between what we describe and reality. Al Aquarius several nations of Europe denied him the possibility of docking in port. The reason? The lethal load that transports: hundreds of migrants from countries "liberated" by the West with wars of occupation, and of countries governed by tyrants with the approval of the West.

 "Occident", the symbol of civilization by self-denomination, goes, destroys, de-collapses and retreats and closes, while big capital continues its business: it manufactured and sold weapons of destruction, it also manufactures and sells machines for reconstruction .

 And who is supporting this withdrawal is the political right in several parts. That is, the "effective" foremen, those who control the peonage and ensure the profit for the farmer ... although more than one, one, one , stole part of the heifers and bulls. And, in addition, "chicoteen" too much to their respective population acasillada .

 All those who survive: either consume or have to annihilate them; you have to put them aside; they are-we say-disposable. They do not even count as "collateral victims" in this war.

 It's not that something is changing, it's already changed.

 And now we use the simile of the original peoples because for a long time, in the previous stage of development of capitalism, the original peoples were left as forgotten. Before we used the example of the indigenous infants, who were the non-born because they were born and died without anybody taking them the account, and those non-born lived in these areas, for example, in these mountains that previously did not interest them. The good lands (the "flatlands", we say), were occupied by the farms, by the large owners, and fanned the indigenous people to the mountains, and now it turns out that these mountains have riches, merchandise, which the capital and then there is nowhere to go for the original peoples.

 Or fight and defend, even to death, those territories, or there is no other, then. Because there will not be a boat that picks them up when they sail outdoors in the waters and lands of the world.

 A new war of conquest of the territories of the natives is underway, and the flag carried by the invading army sometimes also carries the colors of the institutional left.

 This change in the machine in what refers to the field or "rural areas", which can be appreciated even with a superficial analysis, also occurs in cities or "urban areas". The big cities have been rearranged or are in that process, after or during a ruthless war against their marginal inhabitants. Each city contains many cities within, but one central: that of capital. The walls that surround that city are formed by laws, urbanization plans, police and shock groups.

 The whole world is fragmented; the walls proliferate; the machine advances in its new war of occupation; hundreds of thousands of people discover that the new home promised by modernity is a barge on the high seas, the edge of a highway, or the overcrowding of a detention center for "undocumented persons"; millions of women learn that the world is a gigantic hunting club where they are the prey to charge; childhood is literate as a sexual and labor commodity; and the nature of the long account must, in its red balance, accumulate capitalism in its brief history as the dominant system.

 Of course, lack what they say women fighting, loas otroas below (for whom, rather than the glamor of the half - open closets upstairs, there is contempt, persecution and death), who spend the night in the neighborhoods and spend the day working In the city of capital, migrants who remember that this wall was not there since the beginning of time, the families of disappeared, murdered and incarcerated who do not forget or forgive, the rural communities that discover that they were deceived, identities are discovered different and make up for the shame pride and all, all, todoas l @ disposable s who understand that the destination does not have to be that of slavery, forgetfulness or mortal death.

 Because another crisis, which goes unnoticed, is the emergence and proliferation of rebellions, of organized human nuclei that defy not only Power, but also its perverse and inhuman logic. Diverse in its identity, that is to say, in its history, this irruption appears as an anomaly of the system. This crisis does not count for the laws of probability. Your chances of staying and deepening are minimal, almost impossible. That's why they do not count in the above account.

 Of the rebellions, for the machine, there is no need to worry. Few, few and pocoas , if ever reach 300.

- * -

 It is certain that this vision of the world, ours, is incomplete and that, with a high degree of probability, is erroneous. But that's how we see the system worldwide. And from this assessment we follow what we see and value at the continental, national, regional and local levels.

(It will continue ...)

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