ikkevold (Nonviolence)

How Mahatma Gandhi is inspiring this man in a remote island to observe Aqua Satyagraha

While India continues to stay divided on who Gandhi’s legacy actually belongs to, an activist far away, in the Lelu Islands, has decided to observe ‘Aqua Satyagraha’, a non-violent, Gandhian way of letting the fracking and the LNG industry know that the rich natural elements of his state are not theirs’ to exploit.

Christian Tatonetti, an activist from Canada, says, “Gandhi is about the only person who brings me hope for the world during these incredibly difficult times. I wish someone like him was around to help us all tone down the rhetoric of fear and division, to come back to the root of peace and truth (and reconciliation).”

Sounds incredibly like what India and its caste politics is doing to the people of the country, right? But Tatonetti is referring to the Pacific NorthWest LNG’s plan to export liquefied natural gas from Lelu Island on B.C.’s northern coast. Protests have swelled up in the region as many have objected to the proposed terminal site because it is next to Flora Bank, an ecologically sensitive area that nurtures juvenile salmon in the Skeena River estuary.

Two years back, Tatonetti walked about 600 kms against fracking and tar sands pipelines in British Columbia. He also lead a protest where he went into the forest to represent the “silent voice of nature which never gets a say in any of the big oil projects forced down the throats of animals and people.”

In this world, it is not possible to not have heard of Gandhi, the activist who lives in the wild outdoors, as a part of his ‘civil disobedience’, believes. “I have met a lot of Indians and I play the sitar as well. While I am disturbed by the developments of my province, I always keep in mind the philosophy of Gandhi while trying to bring a change,” he says. As if to highlight what he believes in, he shares how he went on a hunger strike for 18 days a few years ago; to bring back Omar Khadr, Guantanamo’s only child soldier to Canada, as Geneva Convention requires.

The term ‘Aqua Satyagraha’ came to Tatonetti, not too long ago. As he explains, the fracking industry destroys vast amounts of land and shoots trillions of gallons of litres of water deep down out of its cycle of life. It mixes really harsh toxic chemicals with water; water that could be put to far better use. «Like Gandhi’s Satyagraha, I am calling my civil disobedience towards the fracking and LNG industry as Aqua Satyagraha and hope it becomes a powerful mantra for activists worldwide,» he says.

 

How Mahatma Gandhi is inspiring this man in a remote island to observe Aqua Satyagraha – IBNLive.

Spain: Catalan President faces ‘civil disobedience’ charges over breakaway vote

 

 

 

 

 

 

The court also summoned two other members of his former regional administration to appear on October 13.

 

With nearly 100 percent of the vote counted, the “Together for Yes” group of secessionists headed by regional government president Artur Mas won 62 seats in the 135-member regional parliament Sunday, short of a majority and obliging it to seek support from the radical pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy party known as CUP, which won 10 seats.

“I hope this will end up in an agreement and that Catalans will obtain a better situation out of all this”, said Gloria Calvo, a receptionist from Barcelona as she walked in the streets of the Catalan capital.

With a general election set for December, Rajoy has ruled out the possibility of a referendum on the issue, despite polls which show most Catalans are in favor of having the choice.

“The management of all the money that is contributed by Catalonia should be more balanced”.

The main separatist alliance and a small pro-independence party won 72 of the 135 regional parliament seats.

But it was a win nevertheless, and Mas says he will unilaterally declare Catalonia independent in the next eighteen months on the strength of this vote.

At stake in Sunday’s Catalan parliamentary elections was Catalonia’s future relationship with Spain.

The three are accused of breaking the law by organising the ballot on November 9, 2014, in defiance of an injunction by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala said the announcement of the investigation was made after the Catalan elections because the judicial system did not want it to influence the voting. Efforts to increase Catalan autonomy within the Spanish state have been frustrated by a Spanish Constitutional Court perceived to be highly politicised, and a central government intent on clawing back control over several regional policy competencies.

Spain’s two dominant parties – the ruling People’s Party and the opposition Socialists – lost tens of thousands of votes compared with the last election in 2012, boding ill for their national ambitions, although the PP suffered a much deeper setback than its rival.

September 11, 2012: At the height of Spain’s economic crisis, more than a million people protest in Barcelona demanding independence for Catalonia.

In this way they asked the citizens of Catalonia to express themselves through their vote, “keeping in mind the great values that society must be built upon, such as the respect for the rights of persons, families and institutions, as well as the honesty and transparency of the political process”.

 

Spain: Catalan President faces ‘civil disobedience’ charges over breakaway vote | Jewocity.com.

‘Show Israel red card!’ Pro-Palestine protests at European Championships qualifier

Pro-Palestine activists plan to protest against Israel at the country’s European Championships soccer qualifier against Wales next month. Israel will play the Welsh team at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday, September 6.

The Palestine Solidary Campaign (PSC) will demonstrate against Israel’s treatment of Palestinian footballers and the country’s ongoing occupation of West Bank and Gaza on the same day of the match.

Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn is among those planning to attend the protest, which will take place less than a week before the party unveils the result of its election.

PSC has called on football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA to expel Israel from its competitions over its treatment of Palestinians.

The group accuses Israel of being an apartheid state which treats Palestinians as second-class citizens, denying them basic rights such as freedom of movement.

PSC advocates the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to mount pressure on Israel by embargoing its goods and institutions and pushing for sanctions against it.

Supporters of BDS compare Israel to apartheid South Africa and argue for the state to be isolated on the global stage until it complies with international law.

Labour leadership favorite Corbyn will join Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans, Welsh Green Party chief Pippa Bartolotti and Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian at the lobby.

Corbyn has been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism during his leadership campaign, allegations he rejected as “ludicrous.”

Cardiff Stop the War Coalition secretary Adam Johannes accused Israel of bombing Palestinian stadiums and raiding its Football Association’s Headquarters.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) executed a surprise search of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) headquarters in the West Bank in November 2014.

Asian Football Confederation President Sheik Salman Bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa condemned the raid at the time as setting “a dangerous precedent that requires the international sporting family to stand together and support the PFA.

Johannes also pointed to the case of Palestinian football player Mahmoud Sarsak, who was imprisoned in Israel for three years for allegedly having links with Islamic extremists. Sarsak was later released without charge.

Imagine if players in Wales’ national football team were regularly prevented from playing football and competing in tournaments by a military occupation, blocked from leaving Wales to play matches, some held in prison for months or years on end without trial, with armed forces sent to invade the headquarters of the Welsh FA, and Cardiff City Stadium bombed,” Johannes said.

This is what Israel does to Palestinian football. On September 6 Wales will play a country which regularly blocks Palestinians from participating in the beautiful game, competing in tournaments, and stops players traveling to matches.”

A petition calling for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the UK next month has reached close to 80,000 signatures, double the figure it stood at ten days ago.

The e-petition calls for Netanyahu to be arrested for “war crimes” committed during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge military incursion into Gaza, which saw 2,251 Palestinian and 72 Israeli deaths.

The UK government has issued a statement clarifying that under international law “visiting heads of foreign governments, such as Netanyahu, have immunity from legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained.”

It went on to back Israel’s right to self-defense and condemned Hamas.

The prime minister was clear on the UK’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law.

We condemn the terrorist tactics of Hamas who fired rockets on Israel, built extensive tunnels to kidnap and murder, and repeatedly refused to accept ceasefires,” the government statement said.

 

‘Show Israel red card!’ Pro-Palestine protests at European Championships qualifier — RT UK.

The IDF’s new tool for tracking Palestinian protesters: Drones

What has four propellors and a camera?

Participants in the weekly protests against the separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in were surprised Friday to find that the army was using a new tool to put down the demonstrations. For the first time, a small drone equipped with four propellors and a camera hovered above the protesters as they marched toward the wall and chanted slogans.

I asked the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit what the purpose of the drone was; I have yet to receive a response. The camera can be used for a number of purposes, although in light of past experience, it is likely to be used to assist soldiers in dispersing demonstrations or photographing protesters for arrests or to use in future trials. Bil’in photojournalist Haitham Khatib managed to snap a photo of the drone as it hovered above the protesters on Friday:

Photos taken at the demonstrations help the army arrest and interrogate protesters, especially young ones, are often used to incriminate protest organizers.

In April 2014, the army revealed yet another weapon for suppressing demonstration: a remote-controlled water canon that was installed atop the separation wall in Bethlehem, which allows the tracking and dispersal of protesters without the presence of soldiers.

 

 

 

 

The IDF’s new tool for tracking Palestinian protesters: Drones | +972 Magazine.

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Protests Were More Than Just a Student Movement

 

For almost three months in late 2014, what came to be known as the Umbrella Movement amplified Hong Kong’s bitter struggle for the democracy its people were promised when China assumed control of the territory from Britain in 1997. Originally a civil disobedience movement led by Occupy Central with Love and Peace, the pro-democracy movement began on September 28 when protesters blocked roads in the city’s political and business center, after police fired tear gas at participants trying to lay siege to the government complex. As smoke filled the streets, protesters, widely portrayed in the media and described by the government as “youth,” donned goggles and facemasks and opened umbrellas as shields.

Over the next 79 days, several major roads in three different neighborhoods filled with colorful tents and were fortified by makeshift barricades. Sporadic skirmishes broke out, when police and thugs allegedly from organized crime triads moved on protestors who stood their ground, committed to securing the vote they had come to demand. “I want genuine universal suffrage!” protesters shouted.

Fast forward to early June, 2015: The protestors’ efforts have not brought about the one-man, one-vote guarantee they sought, but neither have China’s leaders in Beijing emerged victorious-on June 18, Hong Kong legislators rejected a voting reform package allowing universal suffrage, but only for a slate of candidates pre-selected by Beijing.

To grasp the impasse reached in Hong Kong today, on the 18th anniversary of the territory’s return to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, it is important to understand who the initial protestors really were. People from all walks of life formed the chorus of voices demanding “genuine universal suffrage.” They weren’t just kids from local campuses. A survey we conducted in October proves that the umbrella movement was more than a student movement—it was inclusive and, we believe, has the potential to unite multiple generations and expand again.

Beijing and Hong Kong government attempts to frame the protests as a disruptive and unlawful student movement diverted focus from two key questions: Who were the protesters, actually? And why did they protest when Hong Kong has one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates, among the highest per capita GDPs, and its people benefit from China’s rise?

To answer these questions we surveyed 1,681 people one month into the action, from October 20-26, approaching them in the three Hong Kong neighborhoods they occupied. With the answers we gathered and observations we made, we were able to clarify some basic facts about the protests and explain how the Umbrella Movement, despite its failure to win government concessions, transformed Hong Kong politics forever right under Beijing’s authoritarian nose.

Our data showed us that the Umbrella Movement was indeed youthful—61 percent of participants were under 30 years of age and 85 percent were under 40. Protest participants’ median age was lower than the median age of the city as a whole, proving the youth demographic was key to the movement.

Here it is worth noting a separate University of Hong Kong poll that showed that 18 percent of respondents reported joining in. Had 18 percent of the city’s total population joined in, there would have been a turnout of 1.3 million people. By comparison, consider that the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, joined by 18 percent of that country’s population, nullified the presidential run-off and barred a pro-Kremlin candidate from winning the election. Similarly, the Arab Spring protests in Tunisia and Egypt both catalyzed regime change with participation rates of 16 and 8 percent of the general population, respectively.

But in Hong Kong, rather than producing compromises or triggering tangible reforms, the authorities’ shunning the protests as an unlawful assembly disrupting people’s lives and eroding the rule of law simply spawned a greater awareness of the depth of the city’s governance problems. The government even declared suspicion of “foreign forces” meddling behind the scenes. To further decry the protestors’ calls for democracy, pro-Beijing politicians attributed the movement to widespread discontent among young people over a lack of upward mobility. What went wrong, the politicians said, was not the political system, but the economy.

Among the 15 percent of participants who said they had never before participated in any rallies or demonstrations, the average age was even younger, with 56 percent of respondents stating their age as 24 years or younger. The Hong Kong protesters were a highly-educated lot, with 55 percent reporting having at least a bachelor’s degree—considerably higher than the 21.9 .percent of the overall Hong Kong population aged 15 and above. Although the movement was largely student-led, with youth leaders playing major roles at the start, it did not remain so as it unfolded. In fact, only 26 percent of our respondents were students; the bulk of the protesters, or 58 percent of respondents, were white-collar workers. Moreover, more than three-quarters, or 81 percent, identified themselves as “Hong Kongers,” a far larger share than the 40 percent of the general population identified themselves this way in a University of Hong Kong quarterly poll. Our data showed us that the Umbrella Movement was a highly educated and distinctly local movement. It was led by students, yes, but given broad support by young professionals, all tied together by a strong sense of Hong Kong identity.

Who Occupied Hong Kong?

Age of Occupy Central Participants Surveyed Percentage of Total Surveyed (1,562 respondents) Age of Hong Kong Population* Percentage of Total Hong Kong Population** <18 7.5% <20 16.2% 18-24 29.5% 20-24 6.1% 25-29 23.7% 25-29 7.1% 30-39 24.1% 30-39 15.7% 40-49 6.8% 40-49 16% 50-64 6.8% 50-64 23.8% >64 1.7% >64 15.1%

* Source: Census and Statistics Department
** 7.62 million, end-2014 estimate

Democracy as the Basis for Social Reforms

Given the tradition of organized and rather contained protest in the city, an action of such scale and intensity was unprecedented. And by most standards, Hong Kong would be an unlikely breeding ground for mass protests. Hong Kong’s 2013 per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power parity, stood at $53,366.7, ranking 10th in the world. Its economy grew 3.2 percent in 2013, an enviable figure for any developed economy. The city also boasts one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates, which stood at 3.3 percent as of February 2015. Moreover, as China rises, Hong Kong is set to reap further benefits from its proximity to the mainland and its competitive advantage in tourism, finance, professional services, and its esteemed rule of law, which promises a relatively safe arena for investment and disputes settlement. A mass protest is perhaps the least logical reaction to such a promising outlook and might, to some extent, tarnish the city’s international image and harm its relations with Beijing. Why are the youth willing to risk their city’s own prospects?

The rosy outlook belies a less spoken truth: Hong Kong is no social haven. It has a Gini coefficient—a common measure of income disparity between rich and poor—lying well above 0.5, the level at which sociologists and statisticians sound the alarm for unrest. Hong Kong also has some of the most expensive housing in the world.  Hence, the explanation for the protests favored by the pro-government politicians was that events were fuelled by young people’s frustration over a lack of upward mobility. Young people felt compelled to take to the streets, the argument goes, not to protest for democracy, but rather to highlight that they are finding it increasingly difficult to make a living. Our survey partially confirmed this, indicating that economic hardship played a part in the unrest. Almost 70 percent of respondents identified themselves as being lower-middle class or lower still. Even among those, nearly 50 percent of our respondents who either owned or rented private apartments (a proxy for middle class status), more than half called themselves members of the lower-middle class or the grassroots. The result was in stark contrast with previous mass protests where the middle class played a dominant role.

But that is only half of the story. Fear of a downward slide might have driven the youth to the streets, but certainly was not convincing enough to explain why the crowd held out for 79 days. When we asked survey respondents to rank the importance of their different motivations for participation in the Occupy protests, it became clear that fighting for “genuine universal suffrage” was their primary motivation, with 96 percent of them saying it was important or most important. Though some protesters said they joined late to show their disapproval of police use of tear gas, they said their anti-police sentiment was not what caused them to keep at it for nearly three months. More revealingly, they said economic matters were the least relevant to why they committed themselves.

 

Features

04.02.15 Frank Talk About Hong Kong’s Future from Margaret Ng

Margaret Ng, Ira Belkin, Orville Schell

Our survey showed us that even those young protesters stranded in dead-end jobs said they are more interested in a fair political system than in their economic well-being. As we spoke to the protestors, many tended to conceive of democracy as a prerequisite for a better livelihood. Though they were frustrated at the city’s skyrocketing property prices, at limited career prospects, and at a destiny of closer integration with China, they were not looking for subsidies or “sweeteners” from the government.

Larry Wong, a part-time university student who camped on Harcourt Road for most of the 79 days of the movement, told us how he turned politically active in August 2012 in the Anti-National Education Movement, after which time he became a frequent participant in public consultations and hearings. The experience of helping to rebuff the Hong Kong government’s proposal to introduce national education into the school curriculum—seen as an attempt to promote cultural assimilation with the Mainland—affirmed his belief in democracy.

“If there is no genuine democracy, the government will basically ignore us. Consultation is just a waste of time. There is no way ordinary citizens can influence the government,” Wong told us.

Meiling Chan, a 30-year-old social worker, was more worried about how Hong Kong might turn authoritarian under Beijing’s tightening grip. Over the past few years, she said, the Chinese government has been establishing and furnishing social welfare organizations in Hong Kong with abundant resources, turning them into de facto arms of government. “As the saying goes, you don’t bite the hand that feeds,” Chan said, “but we are here to resist that.”

“It’s Just the Beginning”

When police cleared the last protest camp on December 15, it was hard to say what exactly the Umbrella Movement had achieved. And yet there was a strong feeling that Hong Kong had changed forever, because the movement had redefined the way the city’s people participate in politics. Among the Umbrella Movement protesters we surveyed, many occupying the streets said they would be willing to try new strategies for change, even if that meant disrupting everyday life with contentious politics. Fifty-two percent said that they might participate in community development, while 60 percent said they would consider acting in non-cooperative movements. Fewer, some 27 percent, said they were prepared to occupy different targets (e.g. government buildings or major roads) or organize wildcat occupations. Protests might never be the same again. The most recent candlelight vigil at Victoria Park to commemorate the June 4 end of the pro-democracy movement at Tiananmen Square in Beijing saw a lower turnout than in the past few years, but its attendance was still significantly higher than pre-2008. In this year’s July 1 protest in Hong Kong on Wednesday, organizers claimed a turnout of only 48,000, the third-lowest turnout since in 2003, when half a million Hong Kong people marched in the streets. But we think it would be a mistake to see the drop in numbers as a sign of growing political apathy. Protesters now demand a more creative and direct protest strategy; they are no longer satisfied with just a march. A number of new civic and professional organizations have sprung up since the Umbrella Movement, focusing on civic education and community development. A more radical form of protest also is emerging, using small-scale mobilization and direct action to impose a greater threat on the authorities.

Those in power, whether they sit in Beijing or in Hong Kong, now face a society that will be increasingly difficult to govern in the same old way. Members of Hong Kong’s younger generations are now asking for what they believe they deserve—not a promising course of socio-economic development, but the right to determine one for themselves. For now, the city might have returned to normal. Traffic is flowing again, business as usual. However, if the government thought that all it took to return everything to normal was a clearing of the streets, history will prove them wrong. A few hours before the police cleared the streets of Admiralty of the last protestors, a large yellow banner bearing the image of an umbrella still hung saying, “It’s just the beginning.”

The Hong Kong Protests in Pictures
  • A pro-democracy protestor stands before a photographer in Hong Kong as thousands of others remain on the streets of the city after a weekend of protests. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
  • Protesters gather in the streets outside the Hong Kong government headquarters on September 30. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters have remained in the streets of Hong Kong for days of protests. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Police fire tear gas on pro-democracy demonstrators near the Hong Kong government headquarters. Parts of central Hong Kong came to a standstill September 28 in a dramatic escalation of protests that have gripped the semi-autonomous Chinese city for days. (Photo by Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A pro-democracy demonstrator runs as police fire tear gas on September 28 near government headquarters in the Admiralty District. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Police use pepper spray in an attempt to disperse pro-democracy protesters. (Photo by Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Protesters clash with riot police. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
  • A demonstrator, suffering from tear gas exposure, is assisted by fellow protestors. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A pro-democracy protester wraps his face with plastic to protect himself against tear gas. (Photo by Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A man raises his hands toward a police line outside of the government complex. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
  • A pro-democracy protester faces a policeman. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A protester instructs people to move to Chater Road in the Central District. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
  • A pro-democracy demonstrator gestures after police fired tear gas towards protesters. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Protesters sit on a street during a pro-democracy protest. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
  • A pro-Beijing demonstrator holds a Chinese flag and shouts to pro-democracy activists in Tamar Park on September 26. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Pro-democracy protesters shout slogans during a demonstration at Hong Kong government headquarters. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • An injured protester is tended to after clashing with riot police. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
  • Former legislator and founder of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party Martin Lee, wearing goggles and a mask to protect against pepper spray, talks to the media on September 28. (Photo by Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A man wearing a facemask and plastic wrap on his sunglasses sleeps at a pro-democracy protest on Nathan Road. (Photo by Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Police officers stand in front of pro-democracy protesters. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Police fire tear gas. (Photo credit by Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Pro-democracy demonstrators jump a barrier to escape a cloud of tear gas. (Photo by Xaume Olleros /AFP/Getty Images)
  • Police officers stand in a cloud of tear gas. (Photo by Xaume Olleros /AFP/Getty Images)
  • Pro-democracy protesters run away from tear gas fired by the police. (Photo by Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Police walk down a stairwell. (Photo by Dale de la Rey/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A protester sits on top of barricades used to block the road. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

 

 

 

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Protests Were More Than Just a Student Movement | ChinaFile.

The Struggle As The Women We Are: Communiques From The Zapatistas

UDW editorial note by Armando Carmona: From May 2nd to May 9th the Zapatistas hosted a tribute to fallen comrades, a celebration of resistance, and a seminar to “provoke thought, reflection, critique.” On May 2nd and May 3rd 2015 the Zapatistas convened a welcome ceremony for the families of Luis Villoro Toranzo, and Zapatista Teacher Galeano, in homage to their lives and their struggles. The celebration inaugurated the seminar, “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra,” to which they asked its participants to bring “seeds” that they could share with others.

 

“The seed that we ask of you for this seminar or seedbed is one that questions, provokes, feeds, and compels us to keep thinking and analyzing. It is a seed that allows other seeds to hear that they must grow and they must do it their way, on their calendar and in their geography.” The seminar was hosted in CIDECI (Centro Integral de Capacitation Indigena) in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas Mexico.

 

The following are links to the statements made by the Zapatista women during the seminar. They can all be found on the official website for the EZLN, including additional interventions made by the Zapatistas http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx including versions in French, Italian, English, Spanish.

 

Compañera Selena, Listener

 

 

 

Compañera Lizbeth, Zapatista Base of Support

 

 

 

Comandanta Dalia

 

 

 

Comandanta Rosalinda

 

 

 

Comandanta Miriam

 

 

Comandanta Dalia

 

Good evening compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters.

 

I’m going to explain a little bit of what compañera Comandanta Rosalinda said. Just as she explained, it is now my turn to talk about how we become authorities. From 1994 on, we knew that we had rights as women. That was when we woke up. This is how little by little we grew to understand the work of the compañeras.

 

In the communities, in the regions, we began the practice of organizing ourselves to fight for the good of the community, without having to have an education to do so.

 

In 1994, we realized that as women, as mothers and fathers, we had the courage to send our husbands, our sons, our daughters to fight, and we knew well that to confront the enemy is not easy and one can come back alive or dead. But we never dwelled on those things. We were clear that the women had the responsibility to raise whomever of our sons and daughters were left. This is when we understood that we thought the same way as the compañeros.

 

To be a suplenta [the second or substitute to an authority position], first one has to do the work, to give talks about the struggle. We came to see that there were more responsibilities for doing that work. There are meetings in the regions, municipalities, and zones. There are frequent visits to the communities to better organize the compañeras and compañeros in the collective work to sustain the resistance throughout the lands we recovered in 1994, which had been taken away from us by the large landowners. Since the time of clandestinity, we were doing collective work, and also giving talks in each community, to men, women, boys and girls, so that they could understand the struggle.

 

This was so our children didn’t grow up with these bad ideas; we don’t let them learn these bad ideas from the capitalist system.

 

This is how the work of the compañeras and their participation as Zapatistas kept advancing in all types of work and in any responsibility given to them by the community. In this way, the compañeras came to recognize their rights, that we do have this freedom, the freedom to give opinions, to analyze, to discuss, to plan, on any topic, and in that way the compañeros also understood the rights of women.

 

The first courage the compañeras showed was to permit their spouses and daughters to be in the struggle. Secondly, they gave their husbands this freedom, because we saw what the men were doing, and that as women we could also do that; we have that courage.

 

We also have words to offer, ideas to analyze, ways to look at problems. Even though it was very difficult for us, we made the effort. Even though the compañero men were bastards before, we knew how to get them to understand; there are a few that still act like little jerks sometimes, but now it’s not all of them.

 

But the majority now understand. The compañeras don’t just let it go, they don’t remain humiliated like before, and like compañera Comandanta Miriam said, now the women bring their complaints to the civilian authorities, such as the agentas or comisariadas [local autonomous authorities]. In each community we have agentas and comisariadas, and if it can’t be resolved by the agentas and comisariadas, it goes to the municipal authorities. They are able to resolve things according to the rules and agreements we have in each community.

 

But don’t think that all of the compañeras complain because they are scared of their spouses; rather, it is important to know these things and talk between compañeras. Whenever we have meetings people begin to talk, and we compañeras have to investigate. That is, we have to figure out how to fix things ourselves, because amongst ourselves we have a lot of patience, not like the men who don’t have patience.

 

So we saw that yes, we could do the work, and now we take the time and space to participate, and to train another generation, even if we make errors in the process. But if we make mistakes, we fix them ourselves. In this way, we are making our struggle, and we continue organizing; we have a lot of patience as women, which is why we move from local authorities, regional authorities, candidata, suplenta, to becoming part of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee [CCRI].

To better organize the compañeras and to help the youth understand more, we have to orient, convince, to be a kind of matchmaker and infect them, not with illness but with good ideas. It’s not a bad idea to help them understand that they shouldn’t live exploited by the capitalist system; this is what we are doing, and the young people are already organizing. And it’s just like you see here, present with us are these two compañeritas, young compañeras. Their names are Selena and Lizbeth; they are going to be our future authorities, fruits of their generation.

 

We are doing this in steps, steps without an end; that is why we are here as the CCRI with the Sixth Commission. Thanks to the organization, we have learned to read a little bit, to write a little bit, to speak a bit of Spanish.

 

Before we didn’t know how to speak even one word in Spanish. This is why we are not going to stop organizing as women in this capitalist system, because there is still sadness, pain, imprisonment, and rape. Just as the mothers of the missing 43 do not stop organizing.

 

This is why we are sharing with you brothers and sisters of the national and international Sixth. Thanks to our Zapatista organization, we Zapatista women are now taken into account; we men and women organize together because of the bad capitalist system.

 

We want change in everything, in the entire world, for the whole country. But if we don’t organize ourselves, and if we don’t fight against the capitalist system, it will continue until it finishes us all off; there will never be a change.

 

We need to be fighting at 100%, men and women. To have a new society where the people rule. We as Zapatista women are not going to stop fighting, even as the bad government kills us, because the bad governments are always persecuting us.

 

I’m sorry compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters, I don’t know how to speak Spanish very well. Since I don’t know it well, I hope you’ve heard what I said.

 

That’s all. Thank you.

 

 

 

The Struggle As The Women We Are: Communiques From The Zapatistas.

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