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EZLN Could Bring Indigenous Anticapitalist Platform Into Mexico's Mainstream Politics

Rasec Niembro - Jacobin
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January 30, 2017

On October 14, during the Fifth National Indigenous Congress (CNI) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced a historic decision: they would support an independent candidate for the presidency in the 2018 elections. After this historic pronouncement Subcomandante Marcos — now called “Galeano” — ended with a short but significant battle cry: “The time has come to attack.”

Although they have not selected a candidate yet, they have announced it will be an indigenous woman, carefully chosen through a democratic process and extensive consultation with all communities. At the end of the conference, the CNI declared that it had decided to “remove the power ... that only offers a panorama of death, violence, plunder, and destruction.”

The statement went on:

We confirm that our struggle is not for power; rather we are calling upon native peoples and civil society to organize to stop this destruction, to strengthen our resistance and rebellion in defense of the life of each person, each family, collective, community, and neighborhood. To build peace and justice working from below, from where we are what we are.

It is time for rebel dignity, to build a new nation for all people, to strengthen the power of the anticapitalist left, and to make offenders pay for the pain of the people of Mexico.

On January 1, 2017, the National Indigenous Council announced it had created the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG), which will serve as the voice for the 525 indigenous communities in Mexico. In May, the CIG will appoint an indigenous woman as spokesperson, and she will run in the 2018 elections. The platform will be presented after the candidate is announced, but it “will be based on the protection of mother nature, fair wages, universal and free health care, and public, scientific and secular education.”

Even though the Associated Press briefly mentioned the announcement, Mexican mainstream media did not cover the decision at all. Only some progressive publications provided analysis. In truth, people are still skeptical about the true scope and significance of this movement.

The pronouncement raised a firestorm of controversy.

Read the rest at Jacobin

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