In a recent communiqué, the Zapatistas announced that on 9 and 10 August they will celebrate the tenth anniversary of their Good Government Juntas, and explained that all the efforts of the people and the authorities will be concentrated on the organization of a school where they will offer their experience of self-government to civil society.
In the communiqué, signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, the new Zapatista political initiative, which began on December 21, 2012 with the silent mobilization of tens of thousands of support bases in five municipal centres in Chiapas, sets out the dates, modes and geographies for the party and the teaching – learning about autonomy: 9 and 10 August for the birthday (which is available to all those who feel called to attend) and 12-16 August for a school that will allow prospective students to be housed and cared for by a rebel family.
Unlike the celebrations, for the Zapatista school, “we are going to invite you directly,” says, Moisés, also the principal of the school, who states that this is only the first level because this learning “takes time”. Each student will be cared for and fed by the communities, because this school will be “free and secular”, guaranteed the insurgent commander.
The rebels, who rose up on January 1, 1994 in the municipal seats of Chiapas (San Cristobal de las Casas, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, Oxchuc, Huixtán and Chanal), established the “Aguascalientes” for their meetings (encuentros) with civil society. With the advancement of their autonomy, in 2003 they became the Caracoles and Good Government Juntas.
Through many gatherings in Zapatista territory and statements, the rebels have shown civil society their way of defining the new world, which they said, in the first years of the uprising, that they sought to build. After a period with no public appearances by the General Command, the Zapatistas showed their strength with a silent demonstration on the morning of December 21 in Ocosingo, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Palenque, Altamirano and Las Margaritas. On that occasion, the Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Chol, Tojolabal, Zoque, Mam and mestizos raised their fists at the government palaces while they looked below at the bases who support the movement every day.
It is these bases who will support and teach the students the theory and practice, methods and achievements of the political movement which has revolutionized the politics of below, but [the course] can also be studied from a distance with the support of the independent media. The recently presented Subcomandante Moisés says “it will be up to the compañero or compañera what they do with what they see, hear and learn”; acts of discrimination will not be tolerated; also students will have to take a course so that “no crime will be committed” through their ignorance of the customs of the communities.
The people and the authorities, the communique says, will not be addressing other matters, because they will be concentrating on moving the school forwards. Registration is called for from 18 March.