EZLN: We Are Preparing Our Next Steps

EZLN: We Are Preparing Our Next Steps

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August 29, 2006

Words of the Sixth Comission of the EZLN for the Second Indigenous Gathering of the Yucatan Peninsula
By Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, The Other Mexico

Candelaria, Campeche, Mexico

August 2006

Compañeras and compañeros:

We thank the Peninsular Indigenous Coordination and the National Indigenous Congress, who have given us a space for this meeting.

We also thank our friends of Candelaria, Campeche, for being the place where our words and thoughts find their place and march onward.

This is our word as the Zapatista indigenous that we are, not only greeting the Mayan roots that unite us to the Indian peoples who dignify the lands and skies of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche.

Also with the roots that make us one with all the indigenous of our country.

If at one time in the National Indigenous Congress we found indigenous dignity with different tongues, cultures and ways of life, struggle for our rights, now in the Other Campaign we have found more Indian peoples and other friends who make up those who are below and to the left.

Our cause as Indian peoples is alive and present, thanks to, among other things, our friends from the National Indigenous Congress, especially the Indian peoples of the Central-Pacific region.

With them, we have begun a new step which seeks a new way of doing politics, anti-capitalist and of the left, to raise a national program of struggle and a new constitution, and which we call the Other Campaign.

In this movement we are learning to call compañero and compañera the working man and woman, the farmer, student, teacher, the adult woman, teenage woman and girl, the elder, the little boy, the housekeeper, the artist, the intellectual, the devout religious person, the one who is different because of her sexual preference, the teenager, many people who are stripped, exploited, unappreciated, and repressed by a system that has made money its law and fakery its doctrine.

As different as we are, we have found equal ground when we searched for and found the party responsible for our pains: the capitalist system.

Our individual struggles haven’t been lost, but they have grown, not just because the anger inspired by them has united with that inspired by others’, but also because they have established who is the enemy and decided to confront it.

Our struggle for freedom, justice, and democracy knows that these are not possible within the system that has imposed itself on our country by blood and fire.

Freedom which has been taken from our friends the prisoners of Atenco, and from the hundreds of political prisoners, disappeared, and persecuted in our country.

Justice which is now denied to the Oaxacan people who, in the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, demand the exit of the bad governor Ulises Ruiz.

Democracy which was converted into fraud and shameless mockery in the past presidential elections, and which is at the point of converting itself into the fall of the electoral process.

Those of us in the Other Campaign search for an other freedom, an other justice, and an other democracy.

We know that towards that end we must destroy the capitalist system and search, together, for an other country.

Along the way, we also have to construct our space as different kinds of people, defending our identity and history.

As the Indian peoples that we are, this construction cannot be set aside nor subordinated.

It has its own pace, its own logic, its own destiny.

That’s how we have seen it within this great movement, wherein some people carry on without recognizing our differences, nor those of other men and women, and they wish to impose their own vision and decision.

That’s why, far from communications media and the “important” projects up there above, within the Other Campaign, we continue to advance as Indian peoples, we get together, we meet, we come to agreements, and we work on constructing an identity, our identity, within the Other Campaign and inside our country.

As well, as Zapatistas, we continue opening the heart and the ear to the thoughts of those who struggle beside us.

Without making a fuss, our ear picks up the word from different lands and realities, but all from below and to the left.

With that cordial thought we are preparing our next steps.

This meeting of Indian peoples, now in the Mayan lands of the peninsula, is part of this process we walk through.

And here is our word.

While above the noise and hurry of the powerful attempt to impose a bad governor once again, enthroning him with lies and disrespect.

While it is stated and repeated that the only thing that counts is the view and voice of the one appointed from up above.

While it is propagated among good and noble hearts that nothing matters if it doesn’t follow a movement that aspires to be up above.

While all around the lie which impedes a critical view and a deeper analysis is bought and consumed.

While it is continually forgotten that our color is the color of the earth, even by those who claim to look for the best in everyone.

While up there above they look at each other, and they don’t listen to one another.

In these times of noise and confusion, the word comes back to finding ourselves among those that are like us.

We women and men Zapatistas of the EZLN know, just as you do, we find tomorrow in the night, in the silence, in the shadows.

We know that the great nurturer of the world, the ceiba tree, the mother, has her roots in what is low, in the depths, in the unseen; and that from there they rise and hold up the world and the heavens which are seen and loved.

And such is our thinking.

The thinking which we are often passes and goes by in our heart before becoming the word and the road that invites destiny for those who are below with us.

And this way of ours exasperates those who are hurried and moved by the noise up above.

If we don’t walk at the speed and in the route of those up above, they say we don’t exist, that we fell, that we died, that it’s over, that we were mistaken, that we missed our chance, that we lost out.

But we, men and women, we know that every time we have always to the rhythm from above, and we have searched for a place for our word among those who are Power or who aspire to it by the road that Power itself sets up, we lose.

We know now that it’s not up above, not in time nor in space, where we will find what we are looking for, what we need, what we deserve.

We learned. Now we know.

It’s with those people who are like us because they are different.

Up there above they offer us a road full of lights, prestige, fame, applause, greetings from those whose work is thought and word.

But that road doesn’t lead to where we want to go.

If it’s going somewhere else, why should we add ourselves to that march, even if it’s a lot of others, on that road that they engineer from up above?

We learned. Now we know.

The place where our march will find liberty, justice, and democracy, doesn’t exist.

We have to create it.

And we have to do it alongside others different from us in their pain and history, but put on our level by that which robs and oppresses us, that which doesn’t value us and exploits.

And in that place must be the earth color that we are with its own way, with our way of doing things.


Here, in these Mayan lands, let us remember the ceiba tree mother and the history of thought that is embraced in her body. And we tell the story with the words of he who was our chief and who carried in his blood the dignity of the Mayan indigenous. This is…

The History of Thought

The most ancient of our ancestors, those wise elders of our peoples, said that the greatest gods, the ones who gave birth to the world and set it in motion so that later we would be the ones walking it, left everything unfinished.

And this they did not because they were lazy or because they got caught up in dance.

That was just how they planned it, because complete and finished worlds are the ones those up above impose, those who made money god and human stupidity sacrosanct and every time, like now, by way of the lie government is made.

So, it was a number of things that were left on hold in the first world that those earliest gods, the ones who birthed the road.

It is said, for example, that thought wasn’t born of the gods.

Or rather thought wasn’t born the way we now recognize it, but instead was just a seed that stayed right where it was so that somebody might take it and birth it and give it its form and style and road and destiny.

And since then there have been many thoughts that were born. And not just one or a few, but as many as the colors that painted the world we were on and still are.

And so it is, for example, with the thinking that says only one man or one woman matters, that the collective isn’t worth anything, doesn’t count, that individual well-being is what we should seek out, even at the cost of ending up with collective evil.

And this is the thought that’s right now in charge and is our government and truth imposed on our Indian lands.

And this is the thought that seeks to exterminate us as we are and try to convert our history, our culture, our land, our dignity to commodities.

But that thought wears many disguises which hide its true nature.

And sometimes it wears the costume of freedom, and it lies.

And sometimes it wears the suit of justice, and it lies.

And sometimes it wears the cloak of democracy, and it lies.

“Equality” demonstrates that he who is up above is there by getting rich off our pain.

And the freedom he promises is one that seeks to do business using our blood as trade.

And the justice he defends is one that leaves him unaccountable and goes after the one from below who won’t let himself be subjugated.

And the democracy he proclaims is one of resignation before the various faces of the same Power that robs us, exploits us, does not value us and persecutes us.

But there was and still there is another way of thinking.

The thinking that knows that the one who lives up above off our blood and the one who lives below making the world go round with his labor are not equal.

The thought that knows the history of struggle that pains that place below.

The thought that seeks to build an other something, an other world.

The thought that does not conform to what the eyes see and the ears hear, but instead begins to look and listen to what appears not nor makes a sound.

The thought that gives strength to our compañeros and compañeras from Atenco who are in prison, and with which they resist injustice and forgetting.

The thought that our friends in Oaxaca hold high, who struggle to free themselves of the bad government that oppresses them.

The thought that makes its path in those people who have adopted a new way of doing politics which neither looks toward nor aspires to nor sighs for the one up above who denies our worth.

The thought that as Indian peoples and as Zapatistas of the EZLN we struggle.


The Mayan legend which tells us that the mother ceiba tree that holds up the world – who digs her roots down to the underworld and over that force lifts and supports the heavens – doesn’t have her eye turned only towards the history of what we were; she also points to what we are now and what we will be that day of tomorrow that lies in the steps that we and others take.

As the Zapatistas that we are, as Indian peoples of Mayan roots, as comrades in struggle, we salute the words and stories spoken and found while we are here.

And here we say:

A tomorrow of freedom, justice, and democracy which we need and deserve will be our color, the color of the earth, or it will not be at all.

Compañeros and compañeros, accept our, the smallest thing in the world that right now is just a thought and a step in shadows, but which is beginning to peek through into the wee hours of a new day, one which will strip the morning of fear and shame.

With the Indian peoples!

Freedom for the prisoners of Atenco!

Justice for the people of Oaxaca!

Democracy for the Mexico from below!

For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

For the Sixth Commission of the EZLN

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, August 2006

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