During these 22 years of struggle of Resistance and Rebellion, we have continued to build another form of life, governing ourselves as the collective peoples that we are, according to the seven principles of lead by obeying, building a new system and another form of life as original peoples. One where the people command and the government obeys.
The mothers of Mexico’s disappeared have become experts in their own right—many have searched for their children on their own and have become the fiercest activists and critics of government impunity and state violence in Mexico.They have become the leaders of grassroots organization against a criminal state responsible for the disappearances of their children and thousands of others.
The history of Oaxaca has been interwoven with principles and values that display its deeply rooted comunalidad. For the Oaxacan people across many centuries, this has meant integrating a process of cultural, economic, and political resistance of great importance. In Oaxaca, the vitality of comunalidad as it presents itself witnesses the integration of four basic elements: territory, governance, labor, and enjoyment (fiesta). The principles and values that articulate these elements are respect and reciprocity.
The impact of the forced disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa normal school cannot be underestimated. It sparked the largest crisis of legitimacy the Mexican government has faced since the war on drugs began in December 2006.
On the night of October 2, 1968, 10 days before the Olympics in Mexico, Mexican security forces opened fire on a student demonstration in Tlatelolco plaza, killing and wounding hundreds of protesters. In a state of complete impunity, nobody from the ruling administration or the military was ever held accountable. Paco Taibo’s brilliant novel Calling All Heroes is placed in the aftermath of the massacre and is about coping with political tragedy.
“Your human rights stops with us,” we were told. That is the essence of a State that is beyond the rule of law. The entire country is being held hostage by a diverse group of tie-wearing and non-tie-wearing gangsters, with weapons and a lot of political influence.
“Just so that it’s very clear and you aren’t misled about what we say and don’t say. Our idea isn’t to promote voting. Nor is it to promote abstention or casting blank votes. Nor is it to impose our thinking on others… For us, Zapatistas, what we’re interested in is knowing how to resist and confront the many heads of the capitalist system that exploits us, represses us, disappears us and steals from us… it is the people themselves who are going to make the changes that are truly necessary. That is the only way that a new system of government is going to exist.”