Above Photo: From Solidarityfrombelow.org
The Mexican government is planning a series of mega-projects that threaten the autonomy of Zapatista communities and ways of life of indigenous peoples.
LETTER OF SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT FOR ZAPATISTA RESISTANCE AND AUTONOMY
We, intellectuals, academics, artists, activists and others in solidarity, as well as organizations, associations and collectives from across the world, express our solidarity with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in this critical moment in its history, and condemn the ongoing campaign of disinformation, lies, and slander directed against the Zapatistas.
For us, and for many others around the world, the Zapatista struggle is a key referent for resistance, dignity, integrity and political creativity. 25 years ago, the cry of Ya Basta! was a historically transcendent event and one of the first categorical rejections of neoliberal globalization at a planetary scale, because it opened the way toward the critique and refusal of a model that at that time seemed unquestionable. It was, and continues to be, an expression of the legitimate struggle of indigenous peoples against the domination and contempt they have suffered for centuries and for their rights to autonomy.
The self-government that the Zapatistas have put into practice with the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Councils) in the five Caracoles is an example of radical democracy that inspires people and should be studied in social science departments around the world. For us, the Zapatista construction of autonomy represents the persistent and honest search for an alternative and emancipatory model crucial for a humanity facing the challenges of a world that is rapidly sinking into a deepening economic, social, political, ecological, and human crisis.
We therefore express our concern for the Zapatista communities and many other indigenous peoples in Mexico whose territories are being attacked by mining, tourism, agribusiness, and large infrastructure projects, etc., as recently denounced by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Indigenous Governing Council (CIG) of Mexico.
At this very moment, the new Mexican administration is imposing a series of large-scale development projects — including the Trans-isthmus Corridor, a one million hectare commercial tree planting project, and the so-called “Mayan Train” — that Subcomandante Moisés, EZLN spokesperson, recently denounced as a humiliation and provocation that would have very serious impacts on the territories of the Mayan peoples of southeastern Mexican.
In addition to the devastating environmental effects and the massive tourist development the “Mayan Train” is designed to unleash, we are concerned about the pseudo-ritual asking permission from Mother Earth that was used to legitimize the race to begin laying its tracks, an act that the Zapatista spokesperson denounced as unacceptably mockery. We are outraged by ongoing preparation for further attacks on Zapatista territories and the denial of indigenous people’s rights, including their right to prior, free and informed consultation and consent, as established in ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples. This represents a serious violation of Mexico’s international commitments.
We echo the EZLN’s total rejection of these and other mega-projects that seriously threaten the autonomous territories and ways of life of indigenous peoples.
We denounce in advance any aggression against Zapatista communities, either directly by the Mexican State, or through groups or organizations of armed or unarmed “civilians.” We hold the Mexican government accountable for any confrontation that may arise through the attempted implementation of these mega-projects, which represent an already defunct, unsustainable and devastating model of “development” that is determined within the highest spheres of power in violation of the rights of original peoples.
We call on all good-hearted people to see through the current wave of disinformation about the Zapatistas and the proposed mega-projects, and to be alert to the imminent risk of aggression against Zapatista communities and other indigenous peoples.
Signatories include: Mumia Abu-Jamal, Arundhati Roy, Raoul Vaneigem, Pablo Gonzalez Casanova, Juan Villoro, Winona Laduke, Immanuel Wallerstein, Paul Leduc, Giorgio Agamben, Gustavo Esteva, Silvia Federici, Raúl Zibechi, Havin Güneser, Mike Davis, Raj Patel, Toni Negri, Peter Linebaugh, and many hundreds more…