Sent time:   Sunday, October 16, 2011 9:08:24 AM

I hope that what comes out of this conversation is a deeper understanding

of the zapatistas, as communities in resistance in mexico and as an

important force in the worldwide rebellion that OWS is now a part of.


If the NYCGA is at a place where it is not making endorsements than

there's not much to do about that... at least not before Wednesday when it

seems that Movement for Justice in El Barrio will be coming to speak.


As Grace Lee Boggs says in her recent message to OWS, "You have a long way

to go. This enemy of ours is not just wall street, it's a whole culture.

It's a way of looking at us and valuing ourselves and each other. And how

you are going to move beyond challenging Wall Street?" (entire message

here Local groups like Movement for Justice in

El Barrio, and movements further away such as the Zapatistas, are

incredibly vibrant and have many years, or decades, of experience in this

long journey that we will have to walk together.


I hope that when Movement for Justice in El Barrio comes to speak on

Wednesday, or whenever they come, that we'll be listening, and encouraging

those around us to listen as well. I believe that our capacity to listen

to those who are most targeted by the system we 99% are up against will

greatly determine this particular movement's staying power.


We need worry much less about crafting our message for the commercial

media than we do about how we build a movement with integrity. Through

independent action Occupy Wall Street has pulled the conversation in the

commercial media and the Democratic Party (both institutions owned or

funded by the 1%) toward the real concerns of the 99%. If OWS decides to

now play by the rules of the party politics and news cycles, it may

continue to be the darlings of these groups -> that is until it is

suffocated and sacrificed on the altar of the 2012 elections. If OWS

builds real roots in the struggle to transform the world, well these

groups might even come to despise us, but we will be on our way to

becoming a force much more powerful.


The zapatistas provide a lot of insight into how to build a truly

long-term, transformative movement. Their response to the question of

"taking state power vs not taking state power" is much more nuanced than

has been suggested here. Years ago the zapatistas could have parlayed

their immense popularity into an electoral victory, but it would have

signaled the defeat of their deeper objective. They seek not a change of

who is in power, but an entirely different world. For example, the left

governments of south america are now finding themselves repressing the

initatives of the 99% whose movements propelled them into office in the

first place. Certainly we in the US can relate, as the jubilation upon

Obama's electoral victory has morphed into the outrage of OWS.


Let's learn from groups such as Movement for Justice in El Barrio, and

especially the zapatistas, so that we can live longer than the news cycle

and warm weather, so that we can go that long way we have to go.





> I think an expression of solidarity would be interpreted as at least as

> strong as an endorsement by much of the country if not the world.

> On 10/15/11, Lycophidion wrote:I believe that, unfortunately, the

> comrades of the MJB are offering a

> straw-man argument regarding supposed accusations that it is violent,

> etc. That was never the issue. Lili merely stated a concern that,

> given the lack of democracy in THIS country, the fact that the EZLN is

> an armed revolutionary movement means that an endorsement by OWS could

> be turned against OWS by the media. I acknowledged this concern, but

> noted that it is secondary to the issue of whether or not a

> politically diverse movement like OWS, consisting of a wide range of

> political groupings and opinions can endorse a particular

> organization, which implies support for its program. I noted how this

> played itself out in the successful anti-apartheid movement. Robert

> said essentially the same thing, as did Andy. If MJB wishes to

> convince us of the validity of an endorsement, it would be better to

> address those arguments. On the other hand, Layan observed that the

> call was not for an endorsement but a statement of solidarity. That

> isn't at all clear from their above statement, which asserts: "We

> propose that at this upcoming Wednesday's General Assembly meeting,

> the OWS General Assembly consider, and ultimately endorse, a statement

> or resolution of support for the Zapatista communities of San Miguel

> Avilés and San Patricio." If Layan has additional information or

> insight, please share it... If what is at stake is a simple expression

> of solidarity, it would be far more useful and less divisive if we, as

> a movement, expressed solidarity with the specific communities

> involved, as such.


> Mike


> On Oct 14, 8:33 pm, wrote:

>> A few things...


>> The wildly irresponsible and misinformed commentary concerning the

>> Zapatistas, which has arisen in response to our humble proposal, have

>> obliged us to offer a rejoinder.


>> These baseless comments, which for example distort the Zapatistas as

>> "armed" and "violent," are - ironically enough - directly informed by

>> the

>> same oppressive media discourse that paints OWS as confused, aimless,

>> unproductive, disorganized, etc. Thus, in suggesting as much, you

>> reproduce and give legitimacy to the very people who seek to stigmatize

>> you - an even more "dangerous" media strategy.


>> Regrettably, this is but one example of several troubling misconceptions

>> surrounding the Zapatistas that some folks have circulated here.


>> We invite those with limited knowledge of the EZLN's profound 28-year

>> history of struggle, and its vast contributions to intellectual,

>> cultural,

>> and political life, to consult the document we provided in our proposal.

>> This document, the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle (again, in

>> English

>> here:,

>> clearly

>> articulates the EZLN's vision, methods, and goals. Upon reading it, you

>> will note that they are decidedly a non-violent movement.


>> In addition, we invite those who seem confused as to what constitutes

>> violence to remember the following: That the true violence -

>> malnourishment, poverty, displacement, rape, harassment, physical

>> attacks,

>> and death - is currently being faced by the Zapatista indigenous

>> communities of San Marcos Avilés and San Patricio, to whom we offer our

>> unwavering support and solidarity, as an affirmation of our shared

>> humanity.


>> -Movement for Justice in El Barrio