Monday, March 31, 2008



Molly has blogged previously on this subject. See our article on the 'Projectile Anti-Nato Events' on March 15th on this blog. Right now here in Canada our dearly beloved comrade leader Stevie is brushing his teeth, gargling with Listerine and rechecking his lipstick collection, all in the vain hope of seeming to be important as he sets to shining George's shoes. The US sees this meeting to be held on April 2-4 as quite important in terms of getting further agreement on Afghanistan from the "alliance of the half-convinced" and also in its hopes of continuing its encirclement of now oil-rich Russia. Pundits expect Croatia, Albania and Macedonia to be admitted to NATO at this meeting. The possibility of admission of Ukraine (where the majority of people oppose such membership) and Georgia will also be on the list of subjects for discussion. The official NATO press release on this conference can be seen HERE.

In preparation for the summit the Romanian government has gone all out to eliminate stray dogs, beggars, mud puddles, traffic jams and April Fools jokes (literally!!!) from their capital. An amusing report of their efforts can be found HERE. As Molly can attest from visiting Athens soon after their Olympics such efforts rapidly fall to pieces once the event is over. In the case of Romania expect the woofers to be back on the streets by the morning of April 5th.

The Romanian anarchists haven't been idle in opposing this gathering. Please refer to their site Contra-Doxa for news of the events as they develop. In addition to what Molly has previously blogged on this matter here is a little guide to the NATO summit provided by the Romanian comrades. The following has been slightly edited for grammar.


Anti – Nato Week Bucharest 2008

By anarcha_erinye, on 28-09-2007 00:59

Published in : Documentation, Nato

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a military alliance, established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. With headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, the organization established a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

“ The Parties of NATO agreed that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence will assist the Party or Parties being attacked,individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. ”

The initial treaty was signed by Belgium, Netherlands,Luxembourg, France, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland which were followed after 3 years by Greece and Turkey. In 1954 Russia wanted to join NATO but was rejected by the NATO countries. In 1955 West Germany was incorporated into NATO, shortly after the Warsaw Pact was signed. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO. At the moment NATO includes the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, USA, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.

With the re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose in post-Cold War we could see a still ongoing expansion of NATO to Eastern Europe, as well as the extension of its activities to areas that had not formerly been NATO concerns. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first military action, shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the end of 1995 the war in Bosnia resulted in the Dayton Agreement, with the help of air strikes by NATO. On 24 March 1999, NATO saw its first broad-scale military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it waged an 11-week bombing campaign against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. A formal declaration of war never took place. The conflict ended on 11 June 1999, when Slobodan Milošević agreed to NATO’s demands. NATO then helped establish the KFOR, a NATO-led force under a United Nations mandate that operated the military mission in Kosovo.After September 11th NATO confirmed on the 4th of October 2001 that the attacks on one were an attack against the entire group of members.

On 16th of April 2003 NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which was the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside of the North Atlantic area. But most people do not realize that there are approximately 49,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, about one-third the number in Iraq. Of those troops, 28,000 are from the United States: 15,000 operate under NATO and 13,000 are part of the Pentagon’s Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The U.S.-NATO dichotomy is misleading, however, because the largest contingent of NATO troops is from the United States (the second-largest contingent from the UK is much smaller, only 7,700 soldiers). In addition, the military head of NATO operations, U.S. General Dan K. McNeill, is also the chief of OEF. In other words, America dominates all foreign troop operations in Afghanistan.In fact, U.S. and NATO troops are doing the same things in Afghanistan and Iraq: bombing civilian areas, invading villages, rounding up people without evidence, torturing detainees, causing deaths in custody, and shooting into crowds. At the 9th of May 2007 the NATO secretary general met with the North Atlantic Council in Brussels and had discussions on the subject of civilian deaths. But the conversation was less about how to reduce casualties, than about how to explain them to European governments. To most officials, the criminality and injustice of the civilian deaths alone are not enough to condemn them. But when they undermine the support base at home or in the host country, and threaten the crucial “winning hearts and minds” portion of NATO’s counterinsurgency campaign, they become a strategic problem.

The facts are also clear, that there were secret prisons, certainly in Poland and Romania; and that people who were suspected by the CIA of involvement in terrorism were interrogated and sometimes tortured in these prisons. NATO was also involved in the system of secret prisons and transports. After the US had, in 2001, issued a call for mutual support under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, NATO became a platform where the United States received the go-ahead and protective measures necessary in order to be able to begin the secret operations in the "war against terrorism". But of course NATO refuses to reveal details of the agreements concerning its involvement in the CIA Operation. But well who can be surprised if remembering that NATO also had a long held covert policy of training paramilitary militias such as ‘Gladio’, known as ‘stay-behind’ armies, for a possible Soviet invasion of Western Europe, whose role would have been to wage guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines.After September 11th Romania has expressed its willingness to join the USA in the war on terror and offered to help by sending military forces into Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2002 Romania was invited to the summit in Prague and began the accession process. In March 2004 Romania became a NATO member, as a ‘gratitude for it’s loyalty’. Romania now has military troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. There are 4 US military bases in Romania, hosting more than 2.000 American soldiers.


"We are here to thank the Government of Romania and the Romanian people for the support they have offered to us on several occasions. We are allies in the fight on terror, generally, in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are allies in promoting democracy and we appreciate the support of Romania’s President"

Stephen Hadley, Bush’s National Security Advisor, October 23, 2005

On 21st of September the Romanian Vice Foreign Minister Victor Micula and North-Atlantic Council Secretary Berndt Götze signed the memorandum for hosting the NATO summit in Bucharest in April next year. This 20th NATO summit will be the largest one in the history of NATO, as all the 23 member states of the NATO Partnership for Peace will attend, besides 26 member states of the alliance. Approximately 3.000 high-ranking officials are expected to participate in the summit, whose security will be guarded by some 9.000 Romanian troops, officers of the Special Guard and Protections Service, police officers and gendarmes. The expenses of the event are estimated at 30-35 million euro.Where to find a better place to hide than in the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, the summits venue?

The building known as Casa Poporului (the house of the people) was build during Ceausescu’s regime. It is 84 meters tall with 12 floors, being one of the top 5 tallest buildings in Romania. Its area surface (64.800 square meters) makes it the second largest after the Pentagon Building; its underground floors, measuring down to 92 meters below the ground (more that over the ground); it's volume (2,55 billion cubic meters), third largest in the world (after Cape Canaveral and the Quetzalcoatl pyramid in Mexico).

But even if you are not able to catch a guarded or even better ‘unguarded’ tour through Casa Poporului, or you are not even able to get any closer to the area,because of suddenly appearing stable or moving fences during your visit in April 2008, don’t worry there is much more to explore (still watch out for the local teams, who might be willing to take you on a tour).

Since you are in the capital, with an estimated 1.862.930 (2006) residents, many other institution, worth a visit, are located here. So for example Casa NATO, which promotes Romania as a reliable member of NATO as well as free market institutions and enterprises. Casa NATO is located in Bucharest’s Primaverii Palace, headquarters to Romania’s Euro-Atlantic Center and activities since 1992.

If you want to continue your travel a bit further east, you might want to stop by the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase near Constanta. Not only known for the US troops heading towards Afghanistan and Iraq, but also as a CIA detention center for Iraqis and Afghans.Surely you will find a worthwhile target, to make the ANTI-NATO-WEEK in Bucharest as disruptive, creative and long-lasting as possible.


As activists in Romania have never experienced protest against an event of this scale in the country, it is hard to draw from former experiences in regard to state repression.

So here will follows an introduction to the different forces you might be confronted with during your visit.

The main forces of repression in Romania are the National Police (Politia Română), the Romanian Gendarmerie (Jandarmeria Română ) and the Border Police. The Romanian police is devided into two forces, the Politia Română (the civil branch) and the Jandarmeria Română (the military branch).

Romania also has a paramilitary structure, besides a police force and a military force. The Jandarmeria is the structure that should really keep order, as the Police is meant only to investigate crime, while the military is meant only to defend the country from outside threats.
Politia Română
The Romanian Police is divided into 41 territorial inspectorates, corresponding to each county (judet), and the General Directorate of the Police in Bucharest. Each county inspectorate has a rapid reaction unit (Detaşamentul de Politie pentru Interventie Rapidă, Police Rapid Intervention Squad). The similar unit attached to the Bucharest Police is called Serviciul de Politie pentru Interventie Rapidă (Police Rapid Intervention Service).Before 2002, the National Police had military status and a military ranking system. In June 2002 it became a civil police force and its personnel was structured into two corps:.

Corpul ofiterilor de politie (Police Officers Corps) -corresponding to the commissioned ranks of a military force..

Corpul agentilor de politie (Police Agents Corps) -corresponding to the non-commissioned ranks of a military force.Politia Comunitară is the name for the local police in Romania - on city or commune level. They are subordinated to the mayors and their main duties are to enforce the local ordinances and to assist the National Police and the Gendarmerie.

Also worth mentioning:

*DIAS Detasamentul de Interventii si Actiuni Speciale[Police rapid intervention (local)] The Special Intervention and Action Detachments are the special units of municipal police in Romania. DIAS are called whenever a Police operation may encounter severe problems.

*SPIR Serviciul Special al Politiei pentru Interventie Rapida [Police rapid intervention (Bucharest)] The Special Rapid Intervention Service is the name of the much-expanded structure in Bucharest.

*SIIAS Serviciul Independent de Interventii si Actiuni Speciale[Police Special Forces]The Independent Special Interventions and Actions Service is an elite unit under the command of the Romanian Police.

*Politia de Frontieră Between 2001 and 2005, the Romanian Border Police has undergone four stages of reform of its internal structure, in order to bring it into compliance with similar structures of the European Union.

*SASI Serviciul Actiuni Speciale si Interventie[ rapid intervention force ] SASI was created on October 1st, 2005 and represents the rapid intervention unit of the Border Police.

*Jandarmeria Română The Romanian Gendarmerie(Jandarmeria Română) is the state’s specialized institution, with military status. The Romanian Gendarmerie is divided into 41 territorial inspectorates, corresponding to each county (judet), and the General Directorate of the Gendarmerie in Bucharest. Additionally, eight Gendarmerie Mobile Groups (Grupări Mobile) operate on a territorial basis, with headquarters in Bacău, Braşov, Cluj Napoca, Constanta, Craiova, Ploieşti, Târgu Mureş and Timişoara. The Romanian Gendarmerie was re-established on July 5, 1990. Starting in 2006, the corps abandoned conscription and in 2007 it became an all-professional military force.

The Romanian Gendarmerie is for example tasked to:

• ensure public order during meetings, marches, demonstrations, processions, strikes, and also other similar activities carried out in public areas and involving large crowds;

• re-establish public order when it has been disturbed by any kind of illegal actions;

• maintain public order during official visits or during other activities in which Romanian or foreign high officials take part, on Romanian territory, in the competence area and in the places where the activities are carried out.

The Romanian Gendarmerie has two brigades, the 11th Mobile Brigade ‘Baneasa’ and the Special Brigade ‘Vlad Tepes’, as well as the Batalionul 1 Interventii Speciale(anti-terrorist force) and the Batalionul 2 Misiuni Speciale (special missions).

The Brigade is divided in two units:Brigada Specială de Interventie a Jandarmeriei (Gendarmerie Special Intervention Brigade, BSIJ) is a special operations force belonging to the Romanian Gendarmerie. The unit carries the name "Vlad Tepeş".

• 1st Battalion "Actiuni Specifice şi Antitero" (Specific Actions and Counter-terrorism)

• 2nd Battalion "Misiuni Speciale" (Special Missions)


Well the usual stuff: you can find crowd control paddy wagons, water canons, as well as the use of horses and dogs. Water canons, tear gas and rubber bullets have been used by the Romanian police before, for example at the Gay Parade in Bucharest.


People from following countries are able to enter Romania without a visa for up to 90 days: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, South Korea, Costa Rica, Croatia (30 days), Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, United Kingdom, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Holland, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Holly See, El Salvador, Singapore (30 days), Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United States of America, Sweden, Hungary, Uruguay, Venezuela. Since January the 1st 2007 people from the Republic of Moldova can travel with a free issued visa. If you come from a country which is not listed above, you need an entry visa (if you are not intending to pass the green border, swim through the Danube river or overrun the border control with a huge crowd of other people protesting against the fortress Europe).

The law bans:

• the possession of narcotic substances, even if for personal use

• bearing arms, hunting or sports weaponry must be mentioned in your passport.

Bear in mind that the time difference to Central Europe is + 1 hour.In 2005 the new leu (RON) was introduced, phasing out the old leu (ROL) in 2006. The new Leu (plural: Lei) is 100 Bani (notes in 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 Lei, coins in 50, 10, 5 and 1 Bani). The exchange rate is something around 3.4 lei for 1 €. Romanian is the official language, with parts in the border regions where also Hungarian, German, Bulgarian and so on, is widely spoken.

Anyway, in good old ‘tradition’ some useful words and phrases:

please, thanks, sorry = te rog, multumesc, imi pare rau

where is… = Unde este

fuck off = Du-te naibiicome

with me = vino cu mine

move on = continua

the cops are coming = vine politia

cops are attacking = politia atacato

piss off = dispari

to attack = atac

attacking the cops = ataca politiaI

need help = ajutor

good, bad = bine, rau

I am not guilty = nusunt vinovat

I want to call my lawyer = vreau sa sun avocatul


also the nationalists, nazis and neo-legionaires are for sure mobilizing actions against the NATO summit in Bucharest. The main nationalist actor is ‘Noua Dreapta’ (New Right). You can check them out at also easy to identify by their T-Shirts with the face of Corneliu Codreanu.

The ‘usual’ nazis-scum are dressed like neonazi-skinhead, mainly with boots, shaved heads and even using openly signs like swastikas, celtic crosses or hate-bands. Also the football clubs are full with nazis, the most known are Steaua and Dinamo, both from Bucharest. Be aware of that and get informed at the actions in Bucharest, where the nazis might make a march or usually gather.

There will be a range of events in Bucharest and others place. Those coming from the north, can for example stop by at the ANTI-NATO info-point in Iasi (at the Ukrainian nd Moldavian border) before continuing their way to Bucharest. The city also held for a week in July the first squat ‘Rebil’ in Romania (an English report can be found at ttp://

If you are coming from the south you might be interested in joining the preparation for the ANTI-NATO bike tour and the critical mass, to be contacted over

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In Bucharest are plenty of opportunities to join into the ANTI-NATO week: a legal march, direct actions, probably the NoBorder from Timisoara seeking exile in Bucharest and many more.Still you should keep in mind, especially if coming from the west, that the ‘scene’ is not as big and equipped as you might be used to. So try to be as self-organized as possible: bring a sleeping bag, try to organize food (dumpster diving is not so common, but you can still find some stuff) or even join the local FNB group (or bring in your local group for joint actions). Organizing legal sleeping spaces en mass still requires money, so every soli-action is welcome. But also you might want to check out one of the plenty of abandoned houses in Bucharest, waiting for a better use.

The following is from the Polish anarchist news service Centrum Informacji Anarchistycznej which has an English language section. The comments to the article have been included because they supply important information. Stay tuned to Romania in the next few days for more news about eastern European protests as NATO holds its summit in Bucharest. The following has been slightly edited for spelling.
Peaceful Demo. in Poland Against US Missile Base Ends In Police Brutality

On Saturday March 29th over 700 people attended a protest at noon in the city of Slupsk, Northern Poland, against the Polish government's plans to permit the construction of a US missile base, part of their notorious 'Star Wars' program. On Friday and Saturday solidarity vigils were held with Polish activists in Prague, Dublin, London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Moscow, Washington and the U.S. spy base at Fylingdales in England.

The demonstration was organised by a wide range of Polish anarchist groups working together as the Polish Campaign Against Militarism. A variety of representatives from other political groups and anti-militarist campaigns attended the demonstration. The 'No Logo' guideline helped keep focus on participants opposition to the missile base and avoided a space which merely provided a marketing opportunity for political parties to promote themselves.

It was the first time a manifestation was held at the potential site for the U.S. government's missile defence program in Poland, where they intend to have 10 ground based interceptors costing billions of dollars. In return, the Polish government are requesting the U.S. help modernise the Polish army to the tune of $20 billion by 2015.

A recent poll conducted amongst residents of Slupsk city established that 60% of residents are against the proposed missile base and that 87% demand a referendum on the issue. The opposition level is similar throughout Poland. An agreement may be signed between both governments as early as June, construction would most likely occur from January 2009 and be completed by 2013.

Approximately 200 local residents listened and participated in a 'Hyde Park' public debate by the town hall while a 'No Missile Shield' newspaper was distributed outlining the arguments against the missile base and increased militarisation. The speakers included Australian Ciaron O'Reilly who has spent over 2 years in U.S., Australian and Irish jails fighting for peace and justice by nonviolently disabling military equipment. A large majority of locals who spoke from the platform and were in attendance were opposed to the missile shield.

The Food Not Bombs group kept participants strong and healthy with delicious vegetarian food.

Two excellent samba bands from Gdansk and Poznan and a street theatre group from Torun and Slupsk led the demonstrators through the streets after the public discussion has concluded. Placards had slogans including, 'We don't want to be a missile shield for the U.S.', 'No Shield, No War, We are for Peace', while participants chanted and danced around the city centre. It attracted a lot of attention and many local residents, both young and old, joined in.

At the end of the demonstration 100 people marched 4km from Slupsk to the ex-soviet military base next to the town of Redzikowo and likely site for U.S. weapons. Riot police blocked participants entrance and forced them from the area, which is currently a disused Polish military property undergoing.

The demonstration finished in Redzikowo town at 4.30pm where demonstrators had positive interactions with local residents, despite the bad weather. The reception we received bodes well for future co-operation. Appeals were made at a military barracks for Polish soldiers to stop fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and to resist defending the violent interests of the rich and powerful arms companies and politicians against their peaceful fellow citizens.
Police repression and revenge against activists
At 6am, on Sunday morning after the demonstration, police violently broke their way into an apartment in Slupsk, arresting 23 anti-missile defence activists under the pretext that they were disturbing the 'night silence'. They used tear gas and batons, forcing their way into the apartment and beating the 18-25 year old peace activists staying there. One person had his arm broken.

By noon on Sunday, 30 protesters had gathered outside the police station where the anti-militarist activists were being detained. The police are accusing some of the arrested of unethical force against a police officer and disturbing the peace. It remains to be seen whether the injured activists will bring charges against the police officers for their brutal revenge on those opposed to the U.S. missile base. Those present at the apartment during the police assault have stated that the police version of events is not true.

At 8pm Sunday 13 remained in police custody. They are due to be released by 3pm tomorrow. activists are due to be released.

Funds to support the repressed activists and the Campaign Against Militarism would be gratefully appreciated. If you want to donate to support the efforts to stop the construction of the missile base in Poland you can do so by transferring your donation to this account:
Jakub Gawlikowski
(PL) 05 1140 2004 0000 3702 4238 2269
BRE Bank S.A. Retail Banking, al. Mickiewicza 10, 90-050 Łódź
SORT CODE: 11402004
Very important:
Write "Against the Missile Shield" for general campaign support.
Write "For Repressed Activists" to support those currently arrested.
Videos of demonstration:
Polish Campaign Against Militarism
English Contacts: 0048607340093or 0048662535719

This is another article with new information about arrested people. Laure's article has slightly different numbers of participants, but people always count differently. :-) Also here are links to videos:

Protest Against Proposed US Missile Base in Poland: Good public support, politicians and police against the people.
On Saturday, March 29, about 800-1000 people demonstrated against the installation of a US missile base in northern Poland. The base, which the governments of the US and Poland would like to build in Redzikowo, just outside of Slupsk near the Baltic Sea, would house elements of the American Missile Defense program, namely so-called interceptor missiles (which can also be used for offensive purposes. Despite the fact that 60% of local residents and over half of all Poles are strongly against the base, and only a small fraction of the rest support it, the government is intent to go ahead and build the base. A radar base is also to be built in the Czech Republic, again despite the opposition of most citizens.
The Demo
The demonstration started with a Hyde Park / open meeting in front of the town hall. A few hundred local residents came to hear the arguments against the missiles, to demonstrate and to speak out. Many people spoke only the meeting had to be cut slightly short due to an impending downpour of rain. The only person who spoke in favour of the base was a paid lobbyist, Andrzej Jodkowski who was hired by the American Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance to make pro-missile propaganda in Poland. He was loudly jeered by the crowd and some old ladies tried to beat him with sticks. People of all ages came out but it was quite noticeable from both this demonstration and a meeting the day before that survivors of WWII are especially angry about the base and concerned about militarism and a few elderly people in their 70s and 80s spoke out.

During the Hyde Park, free food was served by Food Not Bombs and some theatre was made by the Autonomist Collective and Anarchist Federation group from Torun.

A lively demo followed through the city. Slupsk is a city of under 100,000 people which very few activists and the only other such demonstration held there since the fall of communism was a May Day march organized by the Anarchist Federation in 2002. It was quite a sight for local people, many who watched or joined in. Two nice samba bands played, a car went with music, people chanted “No Missile Shield” and lots of other slogans that don’t rhyme in English translation.
At the Base
After the main demo ended, a group of a bit over 100 people broke off and marched to Redzikowo, the site of the future American base, a former Polish airforce base during the PRL times, currently disused but still guarded by the military. The police and military started to show their strength, sending out a military helicopter and lots of police vans. (Police had to be sent in from Gdansk for this action. Although Slupsk is home of a police academy and has an extremely large police presence, they were not available as many of them had been sent to Kosowo.)

A small action was made at the side entrance and some people removed the ridiculous barricade made there and went on the territory, at which time the police started to act. However nothing happened since the police claimed to demonstrators that there was “nothing there” and “no base there” and therefore could not give a legitimate reason to the anarchists why they were not allowed on that area. They threatened to arrest people for not following police orders but not for trespassing.

The demonstration moved to the main gate of the base where there was some symbolic attempt to jump the fence. Some local residents came out to talk despite the fact that the large police presence and the cops with dogs could look a little scary. Again local residents, despite the fact that many of them were relatives of former military, complained about the base to the protesters. Mr. Jodkowski the lobbyist, who followed us during the whole march, could only walk around sheepishly trying to give the demonstrators cookies.
Unpleasant Actions and Police Violence
The whole action went without incident, accept perhaps not including problems with vanguardist frauds from the Young Socialists who openly disregard requests not to come with self-advertising, party flags. (They are known throughout Poland as being sleazy party-sponsored parasites who fraudulently present themselves as organizers of other people’s demonstrations.) However as soon as people left Redzikowo and dispersed, the cops took the opportunity to vent their frustration on some scapegoats.

For whatever reason, a small group of people stayed in Redzikowo. Police used dogs against them and one woman was bitten. They started to give people bullshit fines. One guy was fined for having a black flag on his car. Later, one guy was arrested and fined for cursing. The fine was almost 300 dollars US, really an incredible exaggeration for something like that which in no way should be a punishable offense.

The real problem happened lately on, in the early hours of the morning just before 5 AM. There was a concert/ after party. A group of people were followed from the party by the police. They returned to one guy’s place, where a group of people were already sleeping. Shortly later the police raided and attacked them, including people who were sleeping. The pretext was “disturbing the peace” although clearly sleeping people were not disturbing the peace. People were gassed and beaten. 23 people were arrested. One guy had his arm badly hurt – in fact he was sure it was broken. (It turns out not to be broken but just badly hurt.) The police also thought his arm was broken and he was taken to the hospital. He escaped and called people to tell them what happened.

The police at first denied that anything happened or that anybody was arrested but later changed their story (more than once). Few people were left in town, but those who were went down to the police station to demand the release of the arrested. The police are claiming that this brutal attack has nothing to do with the demo but present the arrested as being drunk and disorderly. They are charged with typical bullshit charges of “not respecting the police” and two are being charged with “violating the untouchability of the police”, which is more or less assaulting an officer. This charge is used against demonstrators quite often, usually in situations where the police is beating somebody and they try to ward off blows or get the police off them.

As of the time of this report, all but two of the arrested have been released, 8 of them being charged with “not respecting the police”. (The two still in custody will probably have the more serious charges against them.) They are going to file a complaint against the police.

Anarchist Solidarity and Anarchist Black Cross will try to help them: for more information or to send a donation for legal help, contact
The Struggle will Continue
The event was covered widely by local, national and some international press, although the American media refused to cover the event. Perhaps the action was not big and “spectacular” enough, but surely that’s not the only reason. No worry though; if they go ahead with the base, which looks to be a strong possibility, this will just be the beginning. The next demo will be much bigger and louder.

The demonstration was organized by the Campaign against Militarism (started by anarchists but open to others) together with big participation others like the Anarchist Federation, the Autonomous Collective, some local, non-affiliated activists, some members of Greenpeace and the Union of Syndicalists. Practically all of the anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups in Poland were in attendance as well as some anti-war activists and a small handful of leftists from different groups and parties. A good part of the crowd was also made up of Slupsk residents. Probably this was the largest and most successful action we have made in a couple of years and undoubtedly the most important action against this military base that has happened so far in Poland. Despite the fact that most people are against the base, few people publicly demonstrate their discontent. Unfortunately. The Campaign has decided to continue its work and, should the work on the base be started, to organize more radical protests and actions.

The campaign can be reached at
The website for the action includes lots of info in English about the missile bases:
Also see:
There are many press reports in Polish as well as photo reports. Here are a few links to photo and video:,80708,5068992.html (Main newspaper in Poland, video from TV) (Voice of Pomerania, videos, article. First video (multimedia) has English with speaker from Catholic Worker. Second, talking head in Polish, third has part of march.)

Legal update: all are free

Legal update: all are free now.



The following is a reposting from the New Zealand Anarchia blog. The author has posted a previous article over at the Carnival of Anarchy as to what he thinks should be done at this stage of the development of the anarchist movement. Check it out. The following post lays out the reasoning behind the proposals that he made in that post. What follows is a critique of the present day movement in his country, but I am certain that most of what he says applies to North America as well. Not that "activism" was or is all bad, but it is certainly a stage that anarchism has to outgrow is we want to build even further on the foundations already laid.


For revolutionary struggle, not activism
By Asher
“We need more people!” “If only there were more anarchists…”
These phrases and others like them are all too common amongst our anarchist communities across Aotearoa (and no doubt the rest of the world). But in themselves, they betray a fatal mistake in our goals, in how we see our role in moving towards a revolutionary situation.

An anarchist revolution will not come if we simply seek to convert more people to anarchism. Rather, more people adopting anarchist theory will be a by-product of successful anarchist organising and solidarity. There are a few issues we need to examine in order to best understand the role of anarchists in capitalist society.

Who will make a revolution?
An anarchist revolution cannot be made by a vanguard, by an elite group of activists, politicos or anarchists. A truly libertarian revolution, which all anarchists seek, can only be made by the great mass of the working class, in a broad sense of the term. This revolution will not magically appear the day we manage to get 51% of the population to call themselves anarchists, but rather by constantly seeking to expand upon the consciousness and militancy of the working class.

Genuine revolution will not be created by a specialist group of “professional revolutionaries”. While many anarchists have a sound critique of groups such as Greenpeace, SAFE or Amnesty International in that they posit themselves as the experts on activism, who the majority of people can pay to do political work, anarchists frequently fail to see that much of what they are doing is exactly the same, except they’re silly enough to do it for free! A large chunk of activism done by anarchists in Aotearoa in the last few years has been of this bent – we call the marches, we show up (perhaps with a few others, but rarely from outside of the wider activist circles), we hand out leaflets to bemused onlookers (who either ignore us or laugh at us, but certainly wouldn’t join in), then we go home. Ongoing organising be damned, we’re making a stand!

What are we doing?
Almost all anarchist activity in Aotearoa falls into two broad categories – activism (covering protests, single-issue groups etc) and propaganda (infoshops and publishing). It is activism that I will deal with here.

Activism deals primarily with issues far removed from the everyday lives of most people in Aotearoa – NZ troop involvement in overseas invasions, coal mines on the West Coast, a meeting of rich countries on the other side of the planet. In focusing on this type of issue, we ensure that we remain invisible to the vast majority of the working class, and out of touch with the very forces that can create the revolutionary situation we so desire.

In activism, we separate ourselves from the majority of the populace – protesting, marching, direct action etc are activities undertaken by “activists”, a specialist cadre of experts on social change.

Of course, there is no continuity in our activism, no real ongoing organising. Just jumping from protest to protest, deluding ourselves that we are having any effect whatsoever. Even our ongoing campaigns (for instance anti-war, or Save Happy Valley) are generally little more than semi-regular protests, with the odd press release in between. Almost nowhere is there any long term, strategic, grassroots organising taking place. Almost nowhere do we seem to acknowledge that things do take time to come to fruition. Instead, we bang our heads against a brick wall for a while, then move round the corner to the wall made of concrete, deceiving ourselves into thinking that we’re making progress.

Our activities are primarily oriented to other radicals, both in Aotearoa and overseas. We go to protests with each other, then head to a computer and post reports and photos on Indymedia, so our activist friends around the country can see what we did. If the demo was especially interesting, we might even all go together to a flat so we can see ourselves on the evening news! We are an insular collection of people, and even when we have the appearance of interacting with the public (for instance, on a march), we still ensure that we are separate from them, the “normals”. We don’t engage in conversation, just hand them a flier then move on, and after a while retreat back to the other radicals, safe behind a line of banners.
Against a subcultural orientation
The anarchist community in Aotearoa is thoroughly mired in subcultural politics. The punk and hippy subcultures between them supply the bulk of self-identified anarchists, with most of the remainder coming through the “alternative” liberal (ie – Green Party, fair trade, organics etc) community. That’s not to say that none of those people are working class, but rather that they are getting involved because of their subcultural identity.

There is a huge difference between a working class movement that is oriented to working class struggles and therefore attracts working class people, and a subcultural community that is oriented to specific subcultures and therefore attracts people from those subcultures. One of the above options could lead to a revolutionary situation. The other keeps us in our self-built ghetto.
For struggles of everyday life
If we are seeking to expand the consciousness and militancy of the working class, we need to stop focusing on battles which for most people appear to have little relevance, and are totally unwinnable for us few anarchists in Aotearoa anyway. We need to move away from the WTO and towards the workplace, away from the coal-mine and towards the community, away from the spectacular summit demo and towards the struggles of everyday life.

We need to stand in solidarity with workplace struggles that are taking place – standing on the picket lines and engaging with the workers taking part. We also need to be agitating with our workmates in our own work places. There are always grievances, it is our task to do all we can to promote collective action to fight for better wages and conditions, of course without any illusions that this will ever be enough in and of itself.

We need to be engaging with our own communities, whether they be geographical, ethnic or otherwise. In our geographical communities, we need to agitate with those around us and build a sense of purposeful connection now, so that when attacks come, we already have a base from which to struggle. When city councils attempt to impose extra charges (such as bin taxes or water metering), destroy community facilities such as libraries or swimming pools, or raise rents on council flats, we need to stand with our communities in opposition and fight.

This type of organising around the struggles of everyday life isn’t easy, it isn’t quick, and it isn’t sexy, but it is vital if we are to build a revolutionary movement against capital and state. The more we struggle, the more we build our bases in our workplaces and communities, the better chance we have of winning, and the broader and more interlinked our struggles will become.
For the broadening and intensification of struggle
“I am an anarchist not because I believe Anarchism is the final goal, but because I believe there is no such thing as a final goal. Freedom will lead us to continually wider and expanding understanding and to new social forms of life.”Rudolf Rocker, a German anarcho-syndicalist

It is the task of anarchists to always be broadening the terms of any given struggle, and to fight against its recuperation. In workplace struggles, we should be wary of union attempts to sell out workers. In community struggles, we should be wary of NGOs and community groups who may seek a swift resolution without the meeting of all demands.

We must always seek to bring to light the systemic roots of what we are fighting against, and to link our struggles with others happening within our communities and around the world.
We must also realise that the odds are stacked against us, and, for a long time, we will likely lose more than we win. This doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting, or retreat into our activist ghettos. For if we fight, we have a chance at creating a better society, but in giving up or retreating, we lose any chance we ever had.
Further Reading
The Myth Of Passivity by Toby Boraman
The Myth Of Passivity documents the class struggles against the neoliberal policies of the 1980’s, such as the Employment Contracts Act, “Ruthinasia”, and “Rogernomics”. It takes a critical look at the way major Unions opposed these policies as well as looking at resistance from groups such as Maori, the Unemployed and Anarchists.Available online at or order from
Beyond Resistance: A Revolutionary Manifesto by the Anarchist Federation (UK)
Beyond Resistance is the Anarchist Federation’s analysis of the capitalist world in crisis, suggestions about what the alternative anarchist communist society could be like, and evaluation of social and organisational forces which play a part in the revolutionary process.Available for order from
The Lessons Of The Bin Tax Struggle
Interview with Dermot Sreenan, Workers Solidarity Movement The opening years of the century saw a mass community based struggle against the shifting of taxation further onto the working class in Dublin, Ireland. Thousands of households were paid up members of the campaign and tens of thousands refused to pay this new tax over a period of years despite prosecutions, media hysteria and the jailing of over 20 activists.Available online at
Poll Tax Rebellion by Danny Burns
The gripping inside story of the biggest mass movement in British history, which at its peak involved over 17 million people. Using a combination of photos, text, and graphics, and drawing from the voices of activists and non-payers, it describes the everyday organization of local anti-poll tax groups and chronicles the demonstrations and riots leading up to the battle of Trafalgar. It shows how the courts were blocked, the bailiffs resisted, and the Poll Tax destroyed.Available for order from and see a review at
Also see the history, library and organise sections at

Hey, it's memory lane over at the Carnival of Anarchy. The latest carnival entails the participants posting what they thought was their best blog of 2007. Ah, the year that was. On the top of the pile the last time that Molly looked was 'A Proposal for an Aotearoa Anarchist Communist Federation' by Asher of the Anarchia blog down New Zealand way. More on this later. Why not drop over, sign up and show off your own personal best.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Here is the NEFAC (North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists) report on their recent anti-militarist demonstration in Québec City. Seems like a success.
Quebec city: anti-militarist demonstration
About 300 anti-militarists took the streets Friday, March 28 in Quebec city. In a rare showing of unity, the main anti-capitalists groups of the city marched together, along with delegations from other cities, such as Montreal and Sherbrooke. The marchers commemorated the 90th anniversary of the riots against conscription and took the occasion to again express their opposition to the war in Afghanistan.

Anti-militarist Quebec city
"Quebec city is not only a garrison town, it also has a proud anti-militarist past" said Mathieu, of the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC). It’s not on the agenda of the insipid 400th anniversary of the city, but 90 years ago, the city inhabitants rose against conscription. Five days of rioting occurred downtown, which ended in a bloodbath when the army opened fire on a crowd of civilians, leaving 4 dead and 35 injured. "It’s this popular history that we want to take out of oblivion" added the anarchist militant.

Resistance to war
Today, Canada is still involved in an imperialist war. It is remarkable that, despite a propaganda campaign by the military, the popular opposition to the war remains, poll after poll. Unfortunately, this opposition to the war has found little space to express itself. "Many people in Quebec city are opposed to the use of their taxes in this war, Let's stop it!" Said Antoine, of Gauche socialiste. "They make war in our name, without asking us our opinion. The opposition to the war must be able to express itself, which is why we participated in the demonstration Friday "
Gathering in Saint-Roch
The event began at 5PM with a rally in Saint-Roch, in front of the Gabrielle-Roy Library. After a few speeches and slogans, the anti-militarists took the streets to go to the district of Saint-Sauveur, at the corner of Saint-Vallier and St. Joseph, where there’s a memorial to the dead of 1918. The march ended at the Parc Durocher and was followed by an anti-militarist conference organized by Alternatives at the AgitéE.

The organizers
The demonstration was an initiative of the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC). It was organized jointly by the Collectif anarchiste La Nuit, the Collectif Piranhas and Gauche socialiste. The following groups formally endorsed it and mobilized: Québec Solidaire Capitale-Nationale, Regroupement autonome des jeunes, PCR-Québec, Personne n’est illégal-Montréal, Bloquez l’empire-Montréal, l’Association des Étudiantes et des Étudiants en Histoire, Convergence l’Autre 400e and PCQ-Québec. This large anti-capitalist diversity probably make this event one of the largest open mobilisation of the political far-left in the city since the Summit of the Americas.

Here we are again with Molly's irregular feature, 'The Best of the Blogs', where she goes down the blogs on her links section, choosing those that have particularly interesting recent content. Today we do the letter combination "an".
A. Over at the Anarchia blog Asher muses on the existential condition of loneliness in 'On Being Alone'.
B. The Anarchist Philosophy Blog is more didactic, and the author explores his thoughts as to what anarchism is and isn't in his 'Anarchism Essay'. Special emphasis on the fact that the philosophy is not merely "negative"
C. The Anglican Resistance blog is closing down. The author, an Anglican priest, will be moving most of his efforts to his parish blog, the Blog of the Good Shepherd. He also recommends a couple of other blogs where his work occasionally appears, The Episcopal Cafe and The Covenant Journal.
D. Meanwhile out on the west coast the Anarcho-Cyclist has some interesting material on the "local foods movement". Check out his 'Radical Gardening and Local Food Production' and 'Saltspring Seeds 'Zero Mile Diet' Seed Kit'.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

nmjn It seems that negotioniations of native land clains are Not going as well as our conservative government wants to pretend. Here is a news report from the Harper Index on this matter....

Apparent progess in first months of new tribunal has to do with which claims were processed, not now.

March 28, 2008:
This week the Globe and Mail reported that the Harper Conservative government has settled a remarkable 50 land claims, apparently validating its stated plan to speed up land claims resolution. corresponded by email with the native affairs analyst (who has requested anonymity), that it contacted last June (see below), about the government's claim it would speed up land claims. When asked how this week's news contrasted with his opinion last June, that the new process would result in little meaninful progress on land claims settlements, the analyst replied:
"The key sentence in the story: 'You want to do the low-hanging fruit first, that's for sure,' he [Prentice] said. 'I certainly gave no instruction that way, but it wouldn't surprise me.'
This approach has certain validity, but not without serious problems: 1) those who have been waiting for years and years had to wait still longer while the bureaucrats spent their time on the 'low-hanging fruit'; 2) the biggest reason while the fruit was 'low-hanging' was because the amounts were small, meaning the aggregate value of waiting claims was not reduced; 3) 50 claims out of 800 or so is still just 6% of the waiting claims and while the low-hanging fruit was being harvested, more than 60 new claims were filed.

It's sort of like being in the hospital and not being treated because the doctors are busy working on 'low-hanging fruit', and as a result, these patients' care being cheaper, saving on costs.
Key question to ask: total value of claims settled."

Here is the original article:
OTTAWA, June 13, 2007 — Yesterday, Stephen Harper announced a process, he says, will speed up Aboriginal land claims in order to clear up the 800-claim backlog and relieve native tensions. The changes give Harper a good-news story but, experts say, they will do little to achieve the stated goals.

A law professor, expert in native law issues, asks why Harper, not native affairs minister Jim Prentice, made the announcement, "given he's stayed far away from Aboriginal issues in the past." Bradford Morse of Ottawa University says Harper moved quickly because, "This government is looking to have positive things to announce, and this is a sector where it has been vulnerable." Like the Chinese head tax issue, which Harper took over from heritage minister Bev Oda, yesterday's announcement has important political audiences, such as voters Harper hopes will see him as a moderate. He is also reaching out to the transportation industry, which feels threatened by the possibility of summer blockades. Government-invited industry representatives attended the Parliament Hill announcement.

A veteran native affairs analyst (who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from the government as a source of contract work) says many aspects of the announcement create problems and raise suspicions. For one thing, although the tribunal will be "independent", the government alone will pick the judges. Harper and cabinet "still have a unilateral approach to things."

The analyst points out that the tribunal, with just six judges, will be unable to deal rapidly with the backlog. "They're expected to deal with a backlog of 800 claims; you figure it out."
"The real problem," says the analyst, "is what has to happen before it gets to the tribunal," which is only going to be set up to deal with cases where negotiations have, in the government's view, failed. "As long as the government can say "let's continue to negotiate," cases will not be heard. You don't get a free ticket to the tribunal just because you have a claim," said the source.
Furthermore, the number of cases that can be dealt with is limited by the annual budget of $250 million. This includes the costs of the process, which could bring the actual claim fund down to $200 million yearly. "The commission will be set up so it can only have before it [that amount] worth of claims. You're really creating another block to the tribunal, in that it can only consider at one point in time on its docket $200 million worth of claims. If today they settle two $50 million claims and one $100 million claim, then only three more claims can come across in the following year," — with 800 waiting.

The source questioned, as well, the notion that the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) would actually draft the bill with the government, saying this work is always done by legal experts and that citizens are never involved in the drafting of legislation. The source says "It's about 99 percent certain Cabinet has already set out drafting instructions," and in any case, "legislation is not necessary to accomplish what the government set out to do today." The promised bill is more for political purposes and reasons of delay, according to the analyst.

Why, then, did the AFN's Phil Fontaine offer such strong support to the move after making dire warnings of native impatience a few weeks ago? "It could be lack of analysis," says the source. "It could be he will feel differently about it the day after tomorrow, or in September." It could also be that Fontaine is being squeezed by the government. "They're not giving him money; he's a nobody to them. In the standing committee [on native affairs] today, all but one of the Conservative members left the hearing when he spoke. All the opposition members stayed. It's the way this government has treated him."

If land claims are sped up, it would appear to indicate a break with the positions of Harper's longtime mentor Tom Flanagan, a University of Calgary professor who has written in opposition to, and been used as an expert witness against, land claims.

Harper Index ( is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication

Molly reproduces the following article from the Autonomy and Solidarity site because of its importance. Molly has always had a "suspension of judgement" as to how Maoists could become libertarians as per the Zapatista movement, and there is little doubt that such debate occurs today in Chiapas. All that I can say on this point is that the libertarian point of view has prevailed because it is closest to reality.This is despite the fact, as will be obvious below, that there is great sympathy for Cuban Stalinism amongst the leaders of the The Zapatistas.This in undoubtedly connected to the fact that this is the one continent where the full savagery of Marxism in power has not been demonstrated because its only Communist dictatorship is rather mild in comparison to the mass murderers on other continents..In Chiapas they have held a "libertarian focus" for many years to this point. Yet, they are threatened today. The article below explains how.

Warning the World that Zapatismo Is in Danger

The Zapatistas have flashed a red alert to Mexico and the world. The problem is not just the growing military aggression, but rather that important sectors of Mexican society are ignoring the danger. Mexico will not be the only loser if Zapatismo is destroyed. Latin America and all of humanity will lose as well.

Jorge Alonso
Signs that the Mexican government is gearing up for war have led the Zapatistas to launch a red alert to the world. Increased activity is reported in the 56 permanent military bases in Chiapas, which are receiving modern weaponry, equipment and special forces. Activity by right wing paramilitary groups operating in Chiapas is also on the rise. Those aligned with the PRI, the army and state officials from the Agrarian Reform Office have mounted a series of attacks recently on Zapatista villages on lands liberated during the 1994 uprising. The attacks are of such intensity that the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) recently postponed its ambitious plans for participation in the Other Campaign.

Several years ago, after the government reneged on the San Andrés Accords, which among other things had recognized the indigenous peoples’ right to large areas of land that had been taken and collectivized by the Zapatistas, the Zapatistas devised a peaceful de facto solution: they simply exercised their right to the land in question by creating autonomous municipalities. The government’s violent response through paramilitary activity against many Zapatista towns, particularly since last September, has been documented and made public, but the Zapatistas’ call for support has largely been met with disinterested silence, especially in Mexico, where the Zapatistas refused to back Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) presidential candidate López Obrador against Calderón of the National Action Party (PAN).

The PAN federal government, the PRD state government in Chiapas and local Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and PRD municipal governments and political bosses are calculating that the time is ripe for smashing the Zapatistas. The key is in wresting away the lands on which their Caracoles and autonomous municipalities have been built. Plans sponsored by international institutions, in which the US government’s hand is hard to hide, are designed to dislodge Zapatista communities by turning resources over to transnationals in the guise of defending the environment.

The alert was issued in a symbolic setting
The Zapatistas reiterated the alert in December 2007 at an international colloquium organized by the University of the Earth, the EZLN and the magazine Contrahistorias to discuss the planet’s future and the situation of what are becoming known as the anti-system movements. The event was held at the university itself, which could not be a more symbolic locale. This non-formal learning center for indigenous communities fully living their autonomy receives nothing from the Mexican government; it even produces its own energy and controls its own water supply. Students from the communities gain hands-on experience cultivating organic products and there are also electricity, blacksmithing, mechanics and handcrafts workshops. They decide what they want to learn and how long they can stay.
Among the numerous speakers at the colloquium, the
EZLN’s Subcomandante Marcos made a seven-part presentation on behalf of the Zapatistas, the final one of which was titled “The Calendar and Geography of War.” He began by referring to capitalism’s warlike nature, its use of war as a profit-making venture. But rather than spend time on that point, he recommended The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, a recent book by journalist and “other world” activist Naomi Klein, who also spoke at the colloquium.

He then warned that the Zapatista communities were being attacked to a degree that had not occurred for some time, adding that this is the first time the aggressions are openly coming from a “supposedly” leftist government—a dig at the PRD government in the state of Chiapas. In fact, newspapers reported that same day that Chiapas’ Governor Juan Sabines had just appointed Constantino Kanter, the representative of Chiapas’ big farmers and an ally of López Obrador, a post in his government. Marcos noted that this would give Kanter the opportunity to provide even more resources to paramilitary groups, offering as evidence for such collusion Sabines’ accusation that the Zapatistas had caused López Obrador’s electoral loss and that his “institutional Left” party would never forgive them. He charged Kanter with having coined the phrase, “In Chiapas a chicken’s worth more than an Indian.”

Marcos listed many incidents squelched or ignored by the media that had occurred in his last trip to Vicam, Sonora, for the gathering of Indian Peoples of America. He acknowledged that the EZLN was itself an army, albeit a very different one, but said that the Zapatistas were continuing their peaceful Other Campaign while preparing to resist the army, police and/or paramilitaries. He also announced that this was the last time, at least for a good while, that he would be appearing at colloquiums, round tables, conferences, interviews and other activities of this sort. He added that this was hardly the first time the government had determined to wipe out the Zapatistas, but was, worryingly, the first time the national and international social response was insignificant and in some cases non-existent. Marcos concluded by warning that the stench of fear and war could be smelled in the Zapatista lands.

In the nineties, any danger to the Zapatistas triggered huge civil society demonstrations, which in Mexico City always included a sizable PRD contingent. Today, however, the prevailing feeling in that party is one of revenge because the Zapatistas didn’t line up behind López Obrador.

Blaming them for the PRD’s electoral defeat is way off base, however, because it ignores the fraud employed by the winning National Action Party (PAN) with help from the powers behind the throne: Mexico’s big money and influential media. Even if the Zapatistas hadn’t chosen to boycott the elections and criticize López Amador as just another cog in the system, it would not have altered such immense fraud. At the end of 2007, a prestigious polling firm found that if the presidential elections had been held at that moment, 69% of the population would have viewed them as either not very clean, not clean at all or frankly fraudulent.

Andrés Aubry: Zapatista Doctorate At the colloquium, Andrés Aubry was named Primus doctor liberationis conatus causa, which freely translated could be interpreted as a doctorate for his commitment to the effort and substance of liberation. This new doctorate was outlined in a paper signed by the EZLN’s Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee and by indigenous authorities of the Oventic Caracol and autonomous municipalities.

Historians Jerome Baschet and Jorge Santiago, both of whom spoke at the colloquium, briefly summarized Aubry’s life, above all in Chiapas. He had come to Mexico after the massive uprisings of May 1968 and following an anthropologists’ meeting in Barbados that had condemned missionary ethnocentrism, come out in favor of indigenous liberation, and argued for a liberationist anthropology. Aubry, who had an authentic spirit of liberation and was committed to the people, became a respectful apprentice in their struggles and wisdom. He accompanied the Zapatistas deeply and fraternally and because of that loyalty could look beyond appearances and live the secret of never being disillusioned. In September 2007, at the age of 80, he planned to drive to the meeting of indigenous peoples in Vicam. His doctor gave him permission to make the long trip, but he died in a highway traffic accident on his return to San Cristóbal de las Casas, just days before his planned journey.

The EZLN’s Comandante David, his voice breaking at one moment, declared that Aubry had been a constant, untiring friend and comrade. The Zapatistas would always remember him and his wife, who died some years earlier, with respect, honor and admiration. Diverse Zapatista groups, speaking in their native Totzil, Tzeltal, Chol, Tojolobal and Zoque tongues, explained that they had awarded this original doctoral honor to Aubry because he had genuinely accepted the lessons of the struggles and wisdom of the different peoples and cultures of Chiapas, Mexico and the world. He had learned from them, conceiving intellectual effort not as a privilege, a form of personal self-affirmation or a source of power over others, but as a collective experience that is necessary to resist, to nourish the good life and to change the world.

A time of tough questions and weak answers An ongoing seminar in the University of the Earth bears the name of social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein, a theoretician of the “Another world is possible” school, who also delivered the colloquium’s opening speech—mainly an overview of today’s anti-system strategies. He argued that before the 1968 world movement such strategies had centered on taking state power to transform the world, while today alliances are being sought among anti-system movements, in the style of the Zapatistas’ “Other Campaign.” He urged that the World Social Forum be kept alive as the only multi-varied international response to capital’s global power.

Contrahistorias director Carlos Aguirre Rojas lauded the Zapatista movement as one of the most advanced anti-system movements in the world, adding that these leftist movements no longer lean toward a central actor and do not have hierarchical structures. Rather, they are creating organizations from the ground up, generating a greatly varied resistance to capitalism.
Both during the sessions and in the corridors the discussion was lively among presenters and the many and varied groups of concerned young people from all over the world. There was general agreement that the existing frameworks don’t adequately explain what’s happening in the world or how to halt it. There was also basic agreement on the need to break with Euro-centric and metropolitan visions and to learn from the anti-capitalist movements, and most of the speakers acknowledged different aspects of the Zapatistas’ experiments with alternative political structures and social relations as inspiring and thought-provoking. Nonetheless, the prevailing atmosphere among these movements is still one of searching how to create an inclusive “other possible world” that is forged from below, and this search for new, useful theories and concepts for transforming from the grass roots was also a constant in the presentations, with questions generally in greater supply than answers. In other words, everyone agreed that something is dreadfully wrong with today’s world and shared a broad brushstroke vision of what a better world should look like, but ideas on how to get from here to there seldom exceeded principles of behavior, although several speakers are working with young anti-system movements of a whole new kind. Conspicuously absent, however, were any viable economic alternatives that reach beyond isolated pockets of resistance.

We can’t let ourselves be immobilized by perplexity .Although he couldn’t attend, one can intuit from his latest writings what Portuguese researcher Boaventura de Sousa Santos would have said from his South perspective. Like the other presenters, he sees neoliberalism as the most anti-social form of capitalist globalization, and has denounced the exclusion, oppression and destruction of the means of subsistence and sustainability of huge populations in the world. In this sense he has also criticized the conversion of Chinese communism into an extremely savage form of capitalism that he calls market Stalinism. But he is optimistic because the new information and communication technologies have enabled these situations to spark resistance actions that have led to the creation of alliances and struggles through local and global ties in distant parts of the planet. As a result, an alternative globalization is being built from the ground up.

Boaventura argues that understanding these new movements requires a new social theory and new analytic concepts because the Western modernity paradigm sheds little light on today’s world. He holds that we are witnessing the final crisis of the hegemony of that paradigm, and that in this era of transition tough questions and weak answers are inevitable. The questions are probing the future of the possibilities before us, each with its own roots and underpinnings, while the inevitably weak answers cannot assuage the perplexity generated by this uncharted territory and the frustration of wanting to change what is so seriously wrong without any models or precedents for how to do so.

He warns against pretending that this discrepancy between the force of the questions and the weakness of the answers is absurd or can somehow be eliminated. Instead we must recognize it as a symptom of the underlying complexity, of a new open field of contradictions in which the different possibilities compete, but in which there is also room for innovation. We must accept the invitation to mobilize, assume the risk of testing out new answers rather than allowing ourselves to be immobilized by the perplexity.

In this setting, practice resorts to a kind of theoretical bricolage according to the needs of the moment. Radical democracy is conceived as the transformation of unequal power relations into relations of shared authority in all fields of social life,a struggle for equality and recognition of difference that privileges rebellion over conformity, and an effort to stop activists turning into functionaries. Rather than an obstacle to unity, diversity becomes a condition for it, although fragmentation and atomization are the hidden face of diversity and multiplicity. Theoretical disputes must take place in a context of concrete collective actions, because resistance doesn’t occur in the abstract. Transformative collective actions begin in response to conflicts established by the oppressors, and their success depends on their ability to change the terrain and the terms of the conflict in the course of the struggle.

A new post-capitalist utopia
The Belgian priest François Houtart, founder and member of the World Social Forum’s international council and distinguished representative of the “other world” movement, presented his vision of 21st-century socialism, at the same time acknowledging that discussing socialism at all is controversial. Most of those who have been defined as “anti-system” believe the idea of both capitalism and socialism must be abandoned because they are two sides of the same coin. Others repudiate the term socialism because of its baggage—Stalinism, for example.
Houtart argued that actions without prior reflection lead to revolts with no future and that social processes are not decreed, but result from concrete actors. He said that capitalism’s destructive approach to nature and human labor has never been as intense or rapid as in the neoliberal period. The experience of social movements and convergences are delineating the focal points of a post-capitalism or new socialism. These include sustainable natural resource use, privileging use value over exchange value and establishing a representative and participatory democracy generalized in all social and economic relations rather than just political ones. This involves another philosophy of power and the construction of true multiculturality.

Hope is the conviction that struggling makes sense .Gustavo Esteva, a promoter of Iván Illich’s work and an activist and ideologue of grassroots movements such as that of the Oaxacan peoples, posited that the era of the world capitalist economy is over and US imperialism is reaching its end, given that, while it can still capture hearts and minds, it no longer has cultural hegemony. With neoliberalism now an empty shell, its end is generating chaos and producing new reactionary waves and religious fundamentalisms. He explained that some want to return to the now impossible welfare state modalities while others want to bring back socialism, which is equally non-viable because of the economistic perspective of both its philosophy and practice. Noting that the new social movements are having difficulties becoming anti-systemic because they were born in the old era, he exhorted his listeners to renounce socialism.

Esteva analyzed the Grassroots Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca and Zapatismo as a source of inspiration for such anti-system movements. He proposed channeling the general discontent from this perspective, transforming protests and denunciations into viable initiatives, and resistance into liberation by linking up pockets of resistance, building autonomous ways of organizing social life beyond the logic of capital. While it seems impossible to propose the convergence of all organizations attempting to situate themselves on the left, he counseled against accepting division and turning friends into the main enemy. Quoting British writer John Berger, he said that naming the intolerable in an increasingly desperate world is in itself hope, which he defined as the conviction that struggling makes sense, no matter what happens, rather than that things will happen as one thinks they will .

Redefining the concept of powerFor my part, I analyzed the social movements that are constructing a profound critique of neoliberalism and capitalism, and posited that there is a diversity of powers, the best known being that which is used by groups or individuals to get others to do what they want. This type of power can be backed by force or by subtle forms of acceptance based on the asymmetric construction of consensus, but it is always oppressive, a zero-sum game in which what is gained by one is lost by the others.

Another kind of power is one that does not hoard but shares, multiplies. An example of this is the power of common decision-making. The Zapatistas’ “lead by obeying” concept is a very different kind of power from that to which capitalism is accustomed.

A basic rule that has come out of the study of social movements is the need to learn from what people do. We mustn’t fall into a Manichean way of thinking, because the dominant ideology can easily be interjected and assumed in our social expressions given that we have all lived and absorbed capitalist alienation, but we do need to distinguish the remnants of oppressive power in incipient forms of alternative power.

I looked at how the movements are demonstrating that one important instrument against concentrated and ubiquitous powers of domination is the convergences among the emerging movements. I wasn’t talking about convergences between movements and parties, both because the political class has fallen into an irreversible deterioration and because the party form corresponds to now outmoded structures of the industrial model. It is thus imperative to seek new ways to engage in politics, as the Zapatistas are doing. Convergences are part of a process in which it is no longer possible to postulate a privileged actor of change; it now has to be a kaleidoscopic panoply of agents, in our case a pluralist set of subjects that are working toward identifying, proposing and finding agreement on a common goal of transformation.This essentially new mass is surmounting dispersion, fragmentation and merely spontaneous expressions by experimenting with new and innovative organic forms, thus forging a diverse and pluralistic conglomerate. Many social movements have been demonstrating how such convergences are needed to access other possible worlds in which justice, freedom, equality and respect for life reign.

The Landless Movementand the Peasant Way Brazilian lawyer Ricardo Gebrim, a member of that country’s Landless Movement (MST), described a grassroots consultation process in Brazil similar to the Other Campaign promoted by the Zapatistas, stressing that Zapatismo has been a pedagogical example for many movements. He explained that many processes, such as the one in Bolivia, are not so much electoral events as insurrectional acts resulting from resistance struggles of many years. He explained that, while the MST had supported Lula, it was now building alternatives of broad-based unity and emerging strategic thinking, given that the current democracy is still nothing other than a set of mechanisms of capitalist domination.
Food expert Peter Rosset, a member of the world organization Vía Campesina, stressed that capital’s re-territorializing processes are in effect a genocidal war against indigenous peoples, peasants and fishing people. He described the destructuring and privatizing of the countryside and its control by transnational corporations that espouse a false environmentalism to justify dispossessing indigenous peoples of their lands, water and other resources. He reported on the alliances being built among traditional peasant movements and the newer anti-system ones and said that sharing experiences and debates has the potential of turning pro-system movements into anti-system ones. He also reported how the Zapatista example had spread to faraway lands, with Zapatista-style Caracoles being created in Thailand, for example.

Subversive wordsand eyes that speakArchitect and energy specialist Jean Robert spoke on anti-systemic action in times of crisis, like the one affecting the capitalist system right now, but added his voice to those who do not believe it is on its last legs. It is surviving through inertia and as it becomes illegitimate is basing its power on violence. He then posed a fundamental question: how can we prevent the system’s feedback mechanisms from devouring the pockets of resistance? He challenged the audience to examine whether the system of domination doesn’t learn from resistance movements and whether this learning doesn’t actually reinforce it.

Another aspect he dealt with was language. Western languages, he explained, make us speak of “capitalism” in a way that makes it seem like the only possibility. Daily language feeds a vision and a way of thinking that reinforces the system, while those who do not speak Western languages can have subversive words. He urged us to “de-capitalize” our minds.

John Berger himself counseled looking beyond words altogether, since what we perceive is more important than the name we give it. He related his visit to the Oventic Government Junta and listed four things that caught his attention: 1) they have an authority stripped of authoritarian features; 2) rather than making them less human, the balaclavas the Zapatistas wear actually make them more visible, since the expression revealed in the eyes is hardest to control, and in those eyes he saw sincerity; 3) resistance can produce fatigue and that fatigue needs to be consoled; and 4) by telling their local history and their place in the world, the Zapatistas represent the antithesis of all politicians of both Right and Left, and that opposition is in their bodies, minds and souls.

Systematic lies and blinding fearsPablo González Casanova confessed that something happens to him with the Zapatistas that never happened to him in the world’s great universities: he worries about whether or not it’ll pass the test. He spoke about coherent, scientific lies—such as those used and justified by the World Bank under the principle of authority—which he wasn’t sure whether to call deceit or self-deceit. He called salaries a systematic lie, as paying for “free” labor, paying what that merchandise is worth in the free market, hides the exploitation. He valued “prohibited” knowledge, much of which is very important if those from below are to advance, explaining that prohibitions exist precisely to stop people thinking differently.

González Casanova also referred to psychological violence and violence by intimidation, which lead to ambiguities, and explained how fear is an epistemological problem because it stops people from gaining knowledge. He alluded to the differences between what people say and what they do, such as self-proclaimed socialists who support neoliberal policies. He also provided current data to prove that those proclaiming imperialism’s death have gotten way ahead of themselves; the only thing that has died is socialism, asphyxiated by the bureaucrats.

Disaster capitalismJournalist Naomi Klein, whose book on the current rise of what she calls “disaster capitalism” was lauded by Subcomandante Marcos, repaid the compliment by recognizing that the world anti-system movement had been born in Chiapas. She also spoke of the movements in the North that oppose the dominion of the huge corporations, but acknowledged that after September 11 some resistance movements in the North had been weakened and even splintered. In that regard, she explained that the mechanism of disaster capitalism is to use the state of shock or exception to impose its neoliberal measures. With public policies abandoned, disasters are exploited to privatize, weakening the state and strengthening the corporations.

Shock resistance is a powerful force that is confronting this, with some peoples using their historical memory to resist. What happened in Argentina in 2001 and in Madrid in 2004 were examples of resistance to shock. Because today life itself is under threat, she made a call to combat the capitalist narratives with anti-capitalist ones.

Women’s equality as partof the Zapatistas’ definitionFeminist Sylvia Marcos called for an assessment of women’s contributions to the anti-system movements by their refusal to subordinate themselves to the kind of subjugation women suffer under capitalism and by generating new conceptions and new practices. She critiqued patriarchal contradictions, such as thinking that anything relating to women has only to do with them and not with everyone. After defending the need for alliances with other movements and for embracing other problems as part of a viable common agenda, she expressed appreciation that a guerrilla movement such as the Zapatista one had taken on women’s equality as part of its own definition.

In fact, on January 1, 2008, the 14th anniversary of its uprising, the EZLN took pride in the fact that the celebrations took place under the sign of transforming the role of women in the communities in struggle. urthermore, the Third Gathering of Zapatista Peoples with the Peoples of the World, held in the Caracol La Garrucha in late December 2007, wasan international meeting exclusively for women. Over 2,000 people from 30 countries participated in the three-day event. Women delegates from Vía Campesina in Asia, Europe and the Americas joined others from Brazil’s Landless Movement and from many other collectives around the world. Comandante Dalia, who spoke for the Zapatistas, said that women will never forgive what capitalism has done to them and affirmed that the Zapatistas were organized to defend their lands.

Zapatista Women led workshops on the history of their movement, women’s role in the rebellion and the future of women’s participation, while men were assigned housekeeping tasks. The Revolutionary Women’s Law, promulgated in Zapatista communities in 1992, underpinned the gathering, which celebrated women’s rapidly changing roles in Zapatista communities.
By the evening of January 31, the official 14th anniversary celebration of the Zapatista uprising, more than 5,000 people crowded La Garrucha, enjoying speeches, songs and dancing. The meeting ended with the warning that Zapatismo is being attacked in a hidden war with paramilitary forces made up of peasants co-opted and trained by the federal army who are trying to dispossess the Caracoles and autonomous municipalities of their land base. In fact there were precarious security conditions in Zapatista communities, especially in the North and Selva regions, at the time of the international gathering.

Neither Center Nor PeripherySubcomandante Marcos’ seven talks under the general title of “Neither Center Nor Periphery,” offered a sharp and lucid counterpoint to the other presentations.

“Geography and the Calendar of Theory.”
In this first topic, Marcos announced that he was presenting the basis of a theory so different that it is actually practice. He went on to explain that when the conceptual stone touches the surface of theory, it produces a series of concentric waves that affect different scientific and technical activities. This continues until a new conceptual stone drops and a new series of waves changes theoretical production again. The density of the theoretical production determines whether these ripples reach the shore of reality.

He criticized the aseptic zeal imposed on the social sciences, which leads to the idea that if reality doesn’t conform to the theory, tough for reality. Such theory is used to hide reality and ensure impunity. He said that Calderón, the man who currently passes himself off as President in Mexico thanks to an electoral fraud, hid his responsibility and that of those who preceded him for the catastrophes that battered Tabasco and Chiapas in late 2007 by blaming them on the moon. He also bitingly criticized supposedly progressive intellectuals who argue that social relations can be transformed without struggle and without touching the privileges enjoyed by the powerful.

Marcos then presented seven theses on the anti-system struggle. First: the capitalist system cannot be understood and explained without the concept of war. Second: the forms capitalists use to increase their earnings are to increase productivity, produce new merchandise and open new markets. Third: they achieve the latter by conquering or re-conquering territories and social spaces in which they previously had no interest, such as ancestral knowledge and natural resources. Fourth: he refuted the thesis that capitalism will collapse by itself. Fifth: he defended the idea that the capitalist system will only be destroyed if one or many movements confront and defeat capital’s central nucleus: private ownership of the means of production. Sixth: a society’s real transformations are those directed against the system as a whole. And seventh: the great transformationsdo not start at the top but with small movements and with the organized consciousness of groups and collectives that mutually know and recognize each other below and on the left and construct another kind of politics.

“The Calendar and Geography of Difference.”
In his second intervention, Marcos described how theories that emerge in the metropolis are exported to the periphery, where they suffer the blockages of those geographies. Hecited the example of trying to impose a metropolitan feminism on the communities without consulting them or understanding what’s already being done. He contrasted this with what women from the Zapatista movement and The Other Campaign are doing in one of the weightiest, most complex and ongoing anti-system struggles for equality and difference. These struggles would rock not only the whole patriarchal system, but also those who are barely beginning to grasp the strength and power of that difference.

“The Calendar and Geography of Destruction.” Here Marcos criticized people who suggest we stop worrying about those who exploit, dispossess, repress and deprecate in order to debate and agree on what comes after this nightmare. He said that arrogance is usually a bad counselor on practical and theoretical issues, and spoke of the destruction of nature—deforestation, contamination, ecological imbalance—and the misnamed “natural” catastrophes, which hide the bloody hand of capital accompanying these adversities.He analyzed the catastrophe in Tabasco and Chiapas that affected a million people, recalling that the “self-declared” President Calderón had painted a picture of a nearly divine tragedy that had nothing to do with the development model that led to the closing off of old water routes. The inundations were a crime given the opening of the Peñitas dam, monopolized by individual interests for electricity production. In contrast with the politicians’ actions, Marcos highlighted the population’s solidarity, above all by the poor for the poor. On this point he told how the Zapatistas got help to stranded communities, which of course was not reported in the major media.

He also talked about Cuba and its history, which is one long braid of pain and dignity, and about the extraordinary challenge of building its own destiny as a nation, its own socialism. He stressed that its rebellion had come at the cost of an economic blockade and a massive demonizing campaign by the United States.

“The calendar and geography of the land.” Marcos described the uses and abuses by the big farmers in Chiapas before the Zapatista uprising. He recalled that in 1994 the Zapatistas fought against the federal army and central government of the time, which included various figures who now back López Obrador. The Zapatistas will keep talking about their persecutors, executioners and killers, adding that if they had supported the PRD’s supposed alternative to the Right, it would have been a betrayal of those who had died.

He referred to the revolutionary women’s law and the revolutionary agrarian law. Because of the latter, ranchers had been expelled from their huge holdings, which were then divvied up among the indigenous. The passing of the land into the hands of the Zapatistas was accompanied by processes that can now be seen in their territories: advances in government, health, education, housing, food, trade, culture, communication, women’s participation, etc. The Zapatistas have recovered the capacity to decide their own destiny, which among other things implies the right to make their own mistakes.

“The calendar and geography of fear.” In this segment, Marcos said that freedom must be built collectively, and not on the fear of others who, although different, are our equals. A movement’s ethics are more important than the number of people it has, its media impact, the forcefulness of its actions or the clarity and radicalness of its program. He pointed to the lack of ethics at the top, which is the ethics of fear. The capitalist system can be defined as the empire of fear. There are many fears: fear of gender, which not only implies women’s fear of men and vice versa, but women’s fear of women and men’s fear of men. There’s also fear of different generations, fear of others, fear of race…

He stated that the Zapatistas have no hierarchy of spheres and don’t claim that the struggle for the land has priority over the gender struggle, or that the latter is more important than recognizing and respecting differences. The Zapatistas want a broad movement with clear objectives: a radical transformation that involves the destruction of the capitalist system. They ask that their rights be recognized, to be allowed to be what they are and how they are. They aren’t interested in positions or posts or awards or honors. They simply want to be able to get up each morning without fear of being on the day’s agenda: fear of being indigenous, a woman, a worker, homosexual, young, old, a child… and that’s not possible in the capitalist system.
“The calendar and geography of memory.” In this intervention, Marcos underscored that the Zapatista uprising had been against being ignored and forgotten. He distinguished the way Zapatistas look from the way they are looked at, detailing the respectful look that anthropologist Andrés Aubry always had for them. He warned that those who look at them are incapable of taking in all that the Zapatista movement has been, is, means and represents. The way they are seen by social scientists, analysts and artists is a window through which others look at them. We need to be aware that this window only shows a small part of the Zapatistas’ great house, leaving aspects such as the communities’ heroic daily resistance unseen.

Cuba: A revolution that knows how to dance
Another position shared by the immense majority, Zapatistas at the head, was recognition of Cuba’s heroic role in the liberating process.
Cuban speaker Gilberto Valdés, who collaborates with Havana’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center, talked about his country’s culture of resistance, which has forged a very participatory people. He analyzed the current debate on the island, in which the people are seeking solutions to problems of all shapes and sizes. At the end of 2007, over two million specific proposals for responding to the daily problems and bureaucratization had been gathered. He proudly claimed that the Cuban revolution has continued to exist because it “ knows how to dance and sing,” referring to an anecdote by Marcos of a young woman who had told him she didn’t want to be invited to his revolution if it didn’t know how to dance. Valdés noted that one huge challenge in the new Latin American panorama, with its anti-imperialist, emancipationist and libertarian logic and its search for a response to the perverse mercantilist logic, is to figure out a model of alternative well-being.

Awareness of dangerAt one point, a presenter respectfully inquired why a hard-line, sell-out and illegitimate rightist presidency such as Calderón’s hadn’t been prevented from taking office, referring to the Zapatistas’ decision not to back the PRD candidate. It was explained that former PRI members who were the Zapatistas’ main persecutors and the instigators and organizers of paramilitary groups in Chiapas were now with the PRD in Chiapas’ state government, where they were continuing to attack the Zapatista peoples. This was presented as proof of Marcos’ argument that the Zapatistas cannot make alliances with their executioners.
The participants were deeply disturbed when they realized the grave danger
the Zapatista communities are facing today. Colloquium organizers and participants signed a declaration stressing that the Zapatistas had honored their word to put aside their weapons despite the formation of paramilitary groups, the massacre in Acteal and all the other terrible things the army had done in Chiapas. They had created the Caracoles and their peaceful activity was exemplary, yet in recent months paramilitary groups had been harassing them to get them off the land. The declaration demanded that the state and federal governments cease the aggression, since peoples should not be forced into using violence to defend against the violence they are suffering.

The Acteal massacre is a symbolThe gathering culminated on the tenth anniversary of the Acteal massacre, when the government and its intellectuals attempted to twist history to elude what had happened: a state crime. Jesuit Ricardo Robles wrote at the time: “Although governments, and behind them the de facto powers, are attempting to cover their crimes with silence, obscurity and oblivion, the dead continue their work; they care for their struggles so they don’t die with them. And their protests, proposals, utopias and slogans remain alive in truth. However much they are denied, the flames of Acteal remain alive. Acteal’s horror goes beyond today’s dirty war; it has become a symbol of all the horrors.”

Zapatismo is the whole world’s patrimonyAfter the colloquium, several participants used different media to call on people to mobilize to defend Zapatismo. Wallerstein stressed that the Zapatistas had set up de facto autonomous indigenous municipalities that are functioning well despite being under siege and constantly threatened by the Mexican army. He admitted that world support for the Zapatistas is suffering from some degree of fatigue and that the colloquium sought to resuscitate alliances.

Naomi Klein also echoed the Zapatistas’ red alert, given the evident signs of war on the horizon. She warned the world and Mexico in particular that new massacres such as the one in Acteal must be avoided. John Berger also demanded immediate support for the Zapatistas from Mexican civil society, arguing that everyone will suffer the consequences if this threatened project disappears.

There’s still time to stop the aggressionThe political parties, now hugely discredited for having acted against people’s needs, have lost the support of a large proportion of the population. The Zapatistas are legitimately seeking other paths and other ways of engaging in politics and that search has to be defended. Leaving the Zapatistas to their fate would be enormously shortsighted and an act of terrible complicity. There’s still time to raise voices from the media that claim to be democratic to halt a massacre of the Zapatista option.

If the political polarization in Mexico is tolerating this crime, there is still the international option. It is urgent that individuals and groups around the world be made aware of what is happening and act in time to halt the aggression against the Zapatistas. Zapatismo is the patrimony of those at the bottom everywhere in the world. It belongs to us all.

Jorge Alonso is a researcher for CIESAS West and envío correspondent in Mexico.