The Shock Doctrine

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Communique VII - Feeling Red

Neither the center nor the periphery



"The difference between the irreparable and the necessary, is that for the former there is no need to prepare yourself. And only by preparation can you asses the latter."
Don Durito de La Lacandona

Earlier, not only in this discussion though we do discuss it here, we have pointed out the warmongering nature of Capitalism.

Now we would like to add that war is not the only manner - although an essential one - by which Capitalism imposes upon and implants itself on the outskirts of our society.

It is also a business in and of itself. A way to obtain winnings.

Paradoxically, it is during times of peace that it is most difficult to do business. And I say 'paradoxically' because it is supposed that the capital requires peace and tranquility in order to develop. Perhaps this was the situation before, I don't know, what we do see nowadays is that war is what is necessary.

Which is why peace is anti-capitalism.

It is not spoken of very much, at least when it occurs in Mexico, but the economic weight of the military industry and its enormous financial gains [which are obtained each time the supposedly ailing north american power decides to 'save' the world from a fundamentalist long as it's not their own, of course], are nothing to be scoffed at.

In theoretical aspects, as it is, certainly to our understanding, as Jean Robert pointed out a few hours ago, it is necessary to be continually questioning 'the foundations' on which a scientific certainty is laid down. We believe the the concept of 'war' in the theoretical anti-systematic analysis, can help to solidify as of yet swampy foundations.

But it is not only about a theoretical issue. Robert Fisk on one side, and Naomi Klein on the other, have both contributed enormously in tearing down the veil that occulted the scenography of the war in Iraq. Not from behind a desk or in front of a monitor that administers information from the beg media monopolies, but translated personally at the site of the acts themselves, and they both arrived at the same conclusions.

Give or take a few words, they tell us 'Wow! It turns out that we are not in fact liberating Iraq from Hussein's tyranny, but, instead, simply and clearly, we are doing business. And, indeed, the apparent failure of the invasion is a business as well'.

I am going to recommend a book to you. It's this one. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein. It is one of those books that is valuable to have in your hands. It is also a very dangerous book. It is dangerous because you can understand what it says.

As I write this I suppose that Naomi Klein has already exposed the central points of her thinking [within the text], so I will not repeat them. I will only point out that they have to do with aspects of capitalist functions which are ignored by and large by many left thinking theorists and analysts in the world.

Don Pablo Gonzalez Casanova is another one of those who have advanced the dethronement of both old and new realities of Capitalism in Mexico and abroad, and a generous look in it's time, and respectful of its' analysis of our comings and goings as zapatistas.

We have here two representatives of two generations of analysts of the capitalist system, serious, brilliant, and also feature something that tends to be forgotten in the theoretic and intellectual medium: they are pedagogues, or it is to say, they give us to understand.

Don Pablo Gonzalez Casanova is a wise man. He is the only intellectual that I have seen being spoken to in a familiar manner by his associates. I, who have more than twenty some odd years living within our villages, know how difficult it is to obtain that familiarity.

To Naomi, along with Don Pablo, we will give this little doll along with a conch shell. The conch shell, in our villages is used to convene public assemblies, and this is how we gather as a group. This is why we refer to it as 'the caller of the collective us'.

Our collective admiration and respect for Don Pablo, is also personal. I tend to say that, when I grow up, I want to be like Don Pablo Gonzalez Casanova. I should also add that he is one of those who provokes chauvinistic relapses and who makes us say that it is an honor to be a Mexican.

Don Pablo, I present to you as a gift this book by Naomi Klein. It contains new tools needed in order to understand the new paths that Capitalism is heading down. I am giving it to you because I already have an another copy.

I'd like to take advantage of this occasion to communicate something to all of you.

This is the last time, at least in a long while, that we have come out for these types of activities, I am referring to the colloquial, meetings, round tables, conferences, aside from, of course, interviews.

Some of those who have moderated these collective conferences have presented me as the voice of the EZLN, and this morning i read that someone refers to me as, on top of being the voice of, as "ideologist" of zapatismo. !Orales (generic mexican exclamation)! "Ideologist". Listen, and how much does that hurt?

Look, the ELZN is an army. Very different, this is true, but an army nonetheless.

And, despite whatever parts of the Sup you may want to see (I mean, aside from it's gorgeous legs), as the voice of, or "ideologist" or what have you, I've deduced that you are old enough to know what the Sup is, the military chief of the EZLN".

Something that has not happened in a long time, is happening now. Our communities, our co-workers, are being set upon/attacked.

It has happened before, this is true.

But it is the first time since that dawn of January, 1994 that the social outcry, national and international, has been rendered insignificant or null.

It is the first time that these aggressions have come boldfacedly from governments that are supposedly left-leaning, or that perpetuate themselves with the unconditional support of the institutional left.

In today's paper, you can read that the representative of the chiapaneco farmers who i spoke to you about yesterday, Mr. Constatino Kanter, has just been nominated as a functionary in the perredista government of Juan Sabines, in a position where financial resources for the paramilitary groups can flow without any hinderances.

It is also the first time that we have seen those spaces where the common people were able to find out what was happening within our movement, and of our reflections and calls to action, closed.

Not only me.

A few months ago, at one of the round tables held in Mexico City one of those characters who make up that modern group known as the 'sly shirts' of the Lopezobradorismo [and who employ, in the media, cretins and pencil pushers such as Jaime Aviles of the La Jornada newspaper] beseeched us zapatistas [present there were Commander Miriam, Commander Zebedeo and myself] in a petulant and inquisitory manner, - give or take a few words - why we wouldn't allow 'progressive people in the country to advnce the democratization of Mexico'. That's what he said. We had just finished giving a detailed account of a series of events that were the fundamental basis for why we maintained such a distance from the PRD and Lopezobradorismo which of course the well dressed lady did not listen to.

When it comes to the arguments we exposed, the 5 or 6 people sent first responded with lies (that AMLO had broken ties with governor Sabines and joined Felipe Calderon, that the CND was anti-capitalist, and things of this nature) followed by their chant/slogan of 'this a horror, being with a worker'. Commander Zebedeo asked me afterwards what we were doing there and who were these people who didn't even listen to what we had to say).

A few days later, the pussycat (with my apologies to all cats) who presides over the Party of the Democratic Revolution, Leonel Cota Montano, accused us of having provoked, with our criticisms, the electoral defeat (that's what he said) of Lopez Obrador in the presidential election of 2006.

Before, practically since the upstart of the Sixth Declaration of The Selva Lacandona, the Lopezobradorismo we have illustrated, found open spaces to attack us, all the while closing us down.

We had everything said to us, at this point in time. To paraphrase Edmundo Valadez, 'the shit had permission' and the intellectual progressive left was spoken about, drawn about and written about in ways that would make the most reactionary press in our country ashamed/embarrassed/blushing but were celebrated in the institutional left.

In the words of one 'leftist' intellectual, after the electoral fraud of 2006: 'we are not going to forgive Marcos for this one'.

I am pointing out a simple act. An act, that we foresaw even before that 19th of July, 2005 on which we made public our Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, and which we prepared ourselves for.

There have also been incidents, above all in during the last tour we did for the Encuentro de Pueblos Indios de America which took us to Vicam, Sonora, which warn us and prevent us.

We know and understand that you think that these things only happen if the media reports them. I am telling you that this is not the case, as there are many times that many things occur that are covered up or ignored.

We understand that our positions may not be accepted with the same openness and tolerance that they were years ago.

We understand about the giving of support and publicity to a certain political position, and that this position will be 'housed' in order to leave any opposing or dissenting views out in the cold.

We also understand that for some media outlets we are only newsworthy when we are killing or dying, but, at least for now we would prefer for them to be without their notes, and for us to keep moving forward consolidating the civil and peaceful effort of what is still called The Other Campaign, and, at the same time, to be ready to resist, on our own, the reactivation of the aggression by the forces against us, be it with armies, police, or paramilitary units.

Those of us who have waged war know how to recognize the paths via which it nears and prepares itself.

The signs of war on the horizon are clear.

War, like fear, has a scent.

And now you can begin to breathe its fetid odor in our lands.

In the words of Naomi Klein, we should prepare for the shock.

Besides that, in these two years that we have been outside, our theoretical production, reflexive and analytical has been more abundant than in the 12 previous years. The fact that this hasn't been recognized by the usual media outlets, does not mean that they do not exist. There are our foundations, if anybody cares to discuss them, question them or confront them with what is occurring now in the world and in our country. Perhaps, if they take a look, they will see there, as a warning, what the reality is today.

At the end, that's how it is. Perhaps now the term 'it's in your hands' is understood as a result of our participation.

When Zapatistas speak, we put forth the red heart that we collectively beat as.

It is impossible to understand what we say, do and will do, if you do not feel our word.

I know that there is no room for sentiment within theory, at least in the one that is currently stumbling about.

It is very difficult to feel with your head and think with your heart.

That the theoretical masturbations that the implantation of this possibility are not minor, and that our bookstores and libraries are filled with failed attempts or ridicule of what I am talking to you about.

We know and understand this.

But we insist that the implementation is right, what is wrong is that place that it is trying to implement itself.

Because for us, us Zapatistas, the theoretical problem is a practical problem.

It's not about promoting pragmatism or returning to the origins of empiricism, but to calmly point out that theories should not only not isolate themselves from reality, but should instead find in reality the loopholes that are sometimes necessary when one comes across an alley with no conceptual way out.

Well rounded theories, complete, finished, coherent, are good for presenting professional exams or to win awards, but tend to shatter upon the first gust of reality.

We have here, at this table heard sparks and glimmers that for us, the Zapatistas, give us strength and breathe.

That explosive blend of knowledge made sentiment which John Berger illumniated and moved us with;

the lucid and uncompromising questioning by Jean Robert;

the concrete analysis of Sergio Rodriguez;

the serene clarity of the reflections of Francois Houtart;

the honest history on what happened and what will happen that which we not only respect, and also admire, that of MST, told by the associate Ricardo Gebrim;

the rich and encompassing thoughts of Jorge Alonso;

the enthusiastic description by Peter Roset;

the brilliant reference that Gilberto Valdez made about the theoretical discussions that are put forth in revolutionary Cuba;

the advantageously provocative theories of Gustavo Esteva;

the noble lucidity of Sylvia Marcos;

the theo-analytic advances of Carlos Aguirre Rojas; the long-lived brightness of Immanuel Wallerstein; and a few moments ago, the wise sister and companion of Don Pablo, and the restless illumination that Naomi Klein places above capitalist cynicism.

We also acknowledge all those who moderated these town sessions.

My respect to those who worked on the translation of the presentations, and my sincere apologies for the problems they may have been cause by the 'idioms' of the Zapatista language of Mr. Buho, December, and Elias Contreras.

Although there is, however, something more that you don't see there, because you see what it does.

I am referring to those who we call resonant and luminous, and, above all, all the young indigenous people who study and work here in the CIDECI with Dr. Raymundo Sanchez Barraza.

Now that we have talked about how they look, I think we can at least not only see their work fundamentally it is them who have made this gathering possible, also look at them individually.

Very special thanks and warmth to the the team that supported the Sixth Commission of the EZLN. Thank you Julio. Thank you Roger.

I know that you find it strange for me to be saying this, being that we still haven't gotten to our homage of Andres Aubry that is set for tomorrow and the declaration of his doctorate.

I know that you find it strange for me to be saying this, being that we still haven't gotten to our homage of Andres Aubry that is set for tomorrow and the declaration of his doctorate.

For this event, mediating tomorrow, will be my bosses from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the Altos zone, along with the autonomous authorities and work commissions of the Junta de Buen Gobierno de Oventic.

They will all then our word, mine included, that we will speak out for them with all that we have.

As the last part of our extended intervention in this meeting, I would like to explain what we want to point out with the general title, that which is 'Neither the center, nor the outskirts'.

We think that it is not only about avoiding traps and concepts, theoretical and analytical in this case, that the center imposes on the outskirts.

It is also not about investing in and changing the gravitational center of the outskirts, in order to 'irradiate' the center.

We believe, in change, that that other theory, of which some of its' general remnants have been presented here, should also make a break from that logic having to do worth center and outskirts, and anchor itself in the realities that erupt, emerge and clear new paths.

If this type of encounter repeats itself, I think that they will be in agreement with me that the presence of anti-systemic movements, like the current Movement of those Without Land in Brazil, are particularly enriching.

Well, I think that is all.

Oh! Before I forget: I leave you with this.

Many thanks, to all.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México.
December 2007.
Jacket Cover