Waazzzzzuuuuuup!? Okay, glad to get that out. Been hoping to start a blog post like that for awhile. My apologies for the delay between this and my last update, as well as my lack of following through with the promised series quickly. All of the subjects mentioned will still be touched on in this blog, although not necessarily in the order and with the same titles as previously mentioned. This entry will touch on the following: I MISSED MY FLIGHT!, Zapatista compas ambushed and one murdered in the Caracol of La Realidad (the same caracol I visited as part of the Escuelita in December); prisionerxs: addiction, alcohol, counterinsurgency, drugs and revolution (a new project/blog and convocation); a brief reflection of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle and report of my presentation at UniTierra Oaxaca.
First and foremost, I MISSED MY FLIGHT! I had a flight scheduled at 4:48 pm on the 10th from Mexico City to Tijuana with Volaris. I showed up the the gate at 4:15pm and they told me it was too late, that I had to show up 45minutes early and that was the cut off. I thought I would still be okay to leave that same day, on another flight with Volaris, since I had purchased flight protection. Turns out that is life insurance and what I thought I was purchasing is actually called flexibility and still costs another 500 pesos if you miss your flight and need to take another. When I missed my flight leaving Seattle, with United, they just hooked it up with another flight later in the day…AND I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE INSURANCE! Yes, I realize I apparently have a problem with missing flights, generally with being timely, that is why my goal for the new year has been to abolish linear time. Well, I took a bus with a much cheaper than normal cost and also much more luxurious than the normal (300 pesos instead of 550+) to Guadalajara. Turn out a good friend loaned me the money for a flight to San Diego so I made it there the 12th and just got to Oakland today the full moon. So that is where I am at with that, just so y’all know.
Now, for the painful and enraging news. On May 2nd there was another ambush of Zapatista compas by the “Democratic” CIOAC, an apparently paramilitary campesino organization with strong ties to the Mexican state and state violence. This took place on just outside of and also inside of La Realidad, the same caracol I visited as part of the Escuelita Zapatista in December. This time there was a murder, compañero José Luís Solís López (Galeano) who was a zone level teacher in the Zapatista Little school.
There is a global week of actions planned in solidarity with the Zapatista compas under attack and to call for stopping the violence against those who have dedicated themselves completely to building a world in which many worlds fit from May 18 to 25. At the bottom of this post you can read a statement put out by the Junta de Buen Gobierno regarding the most recent attack as well as find links to more info. You can also find two letters of denunciation, one in English and one in Spanish, both from compas on the West Coast of the occupied Turtle Island/USA. If you as an individual and/or any organizations or collectives you work with are willing to sign on to either or both of the letters just post a reply/comment to this blog post with the appropriate information and it will be added to the list of signers.
In other news, some compas and I have launched a new project called Prisionerxs. For my readers who don’t speak Spanish, prisionero/prisionera are the masculine and feminine forms of prisoner in Spanish. The ‘x’ is used instead of ‘o’ or ‘a’ to make the word gender neutral, able to implicate both or either, and/or transgender. The project started with a plan to release a collaborative book project focusing on addiction, alcohol, counterinsurgency, drugs and revolution. Basically seeing addiction and various substances caught up in the drug war, but also legal drugs and alcohol, as a part of a counterinsurgency strategy directed by the CIA and the US government, among other actors, to maintain a system of top-down control, divide and conquer communities, and fuel mass incarceration and slavery.
The idea evolved from just being a book to now being a platform/plataforma where everyone who comes in contact with the project can share whatever they feel appropriate or applicable in their own way. We are still going to release the book, with talk of audio-visual content as well, but for the time being we have already launched a wordpress site so that folks globally can be aware of the project and submit whatever they feel on their own time.
The submission I am working on, which will be released in Spanish and English (as will the whole book), is titled “On the Need to Avenge My Father’s Suicide” and is basically a critical analysis of capitalism/modernity/progress as something that is fundamentally based on and requires addiction—in the deepest and broadest senses as well as the most particular—in order to function. I am also arguing that education exists primarily to teach each new generation to be addicts. My understanding of addiction borrows from a quote of Ivan Illich that says “who is not a prisoner of addiction is a prisoner of envy.” Envy being another form of addiction—to power and prestige rather than chemical substances—that fuels the desire necessary to the functioning of any hierarchical society for some to climb above others and hold power over them; in other words, I understand envy as addiction to power over others. Of course both chemical dependency and envy are not mutually exclusive forms of addiction, as can easily be proven with the operations of the cocaine industry/empires.
In any case, the title of the essay calls attention to my personal beef with addiction stemming from the suicide of my father due to his struggle with alcohol and heroin addiction and my quest to destroy addiction to avenge him. For more on this project, visit prisionerxs.wordpress.com
My second to last day in Oaxaca, I gave a presentation on Decolonize/Occupy Seattle at La Universidad de la Tierra, where I spent most of my time while in Oaxaca. Every Wednesday, since many years ago, from 4-6pm, they hold a seminar open to the public called Caminos de la Autonomía (Paths of Autonomy). My presentation began with an introduction to the Occupy Wall Street movement as beginning with the colonization of what is now called New York and the construction of a wall on Wall Street, Korvus will break it down for you real quick:
Then we jumped to the financial crisis of 2008 and the recent ‘death of the middle class’. I stated that this crisis as a starting point indicated very well the tension that was to characterize much internal conflict in the movement: the desire to regenerate the middle class and “save the American Dream” or a more radical (i.e. to the root) desire to decolonize the USA. Middle class privilege is based on the resources generated from colonization. The middle class itself is nothing more than pawns of empire paid with those resources to commit genocide and command slaves on behalf of that same empire. So then, with the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement in the fall of 2011, a very interesting choice came to the dying (or dead) middle class of the USA: to demonstrate their usefulness to the empire as slave controllers and keepers of a violent social order and demand/earn the restoration of their status OR to decolonize, to resist genocide, to begin a deep act of remembering of their own history of displacement from their own ancestral lands in whatever part of the world by the empire and to begin to act in solidarity with indigenous peoples of the Americas and to fight for the protection of their ancestral lands, build collective autonomy from the ground up and truly participate in weaving a world in which many worlds fit.
Concerning Seattle, I first gave a bit of context regarding SPD, the murder of John T Williams in 2011,
mass movement and organizing around that,
the tension between the human rights committee and native folks working on “reconciliation” and “reform” with the city and more irate natives, young folks, anarchists, and police abolitionist tendencies (for a start, see “Between the Zeal of the Young and the Patience of the Old”: Reflections on Seattle’s Recent Upheavals Against Police Brutality” by Black Orchid Collective and “Burning the Bridges They Are Building: Anarchist Strategies Against the Police in the Puget Sound, Winter 2011” by anonymous). I passed out a translation of the Declaration of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle and showed a video that I created subtitles for in Spanish, titled “Freedom of Religion Violated by Seattle PD”. The following Youtube video does not have the subtitles I created but you can download them here and watch the video below or download it with Download Helper for Firefox and watch on your hard drive through VLC media player and with that add the subtitles. This video was taken while we were holding the assembly to pass the declaration of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle and I find it to be rather powerful.
I then quickly ran through more video that I have started editing starting from the initial (re)occupation of Westlake Park by Occupy Seattle on October 1st, 2011 all the way until May Day 2014 (recognizing that not all actions and political activity in Seattle is the domain of ‘Occupy’). Amongst these videos I showed went through an edited piece I put together of November 2nd 2011, the day the CHASE 5 were arrested and when there was a mass movement attempting to make a ‘citizens arrest’ of Jamie Dimon as he was giving a speech on “leadership” to UW Foster School of Business students at the Sheraton in Downtown Seattle. Included in this footage is that of me getting maced by SPD for filming them beat non-violent protestors with their bicycles.
I concluded with some footage of the West Coast Port Shut Down and a nice image of the full color Rise and Decolonize banner making its way to the port from the perspective of an SPD camera and news footage including throughout the coast, up to Bellingham.
Questions ranged from curiosity regarding how the dynamics of race and identity function in the US and within the Occupy Movement, the participation of indigenous peoples in Occupy, decolonial actions beyond ritual and things that were accomplished or gained from the movement. I explained I consider decolonization to require the destruction of white identity, considering it only exists as fundamental to the process of extermination of indigenous cultural of the subject being converted to white. I explained a bit of my thoughts on racism in the US, that I find liberal “colorblind” racism to be much more dangerous than explicit self-identified white supremacists and (Neo)Nazis. I explained a bit of the context and threat of Nazism in the Pacific Northwest with organizations like the Northwest Front and an extensive network of armed militias and compounds in Eastern Washington. Regrettably, I did not get into the complexity of “Peace Nazis” tackling the antifascists who were using force to remove real Nazis from the camp our first night at Seattle Central Community College. I explained that there was a lot of participation of indigenous peoples from various nations from the beginning of Occupy Seattle, including Haida, Tlingit, Navajo, Lakota and more, despite Seattle being a majority white city. I shared some video of the Abolish Columbus Day rally of 2011 at Westlake, including song from Sacred water Canoe Family.
Westlake Park, Seattle WA. October 10, 2011
I think it was still a majority white movement, although I am not so sure it coincided with the demographics of the city (70% white to 30% non-white), definitely being more diverse in terms of folks I lived with in our encampments (at Westlake and SCCC). I pointed out this latter part could be because although Seattle is majority White, a vastly disproportionate number of the city’s houseless population is indigenous. Interesting fact of colonization and gentrification.Concerning the question of decolonial actions that were not purely ritual, I said there were various decolonial messages present at the port shutdown, including critique of the modern/colonial food system and a call to attention of the initial robbery of the lands from the Duwamish on which the Port of Seattle now rests. I explained a bit of solidarity actions with Idle No More struggles against the pipelines, tar sands, SSA Marine/Goldman Sachs proposed coal terminal on Lummi Nation land near Bellingham,
and presented the occupation of the Horace Mann school building by the More 4 Mann coalition as a decolonial action where the coalition has clearly presented the problem of colonization in Seattle via the destruction of black culture via the Seattle School system and resulting lack of autonomy for the black folks in Seattle to raise their own children with positive culture. Unfortunately that project was disrupted by the eviction perpetrated by SPD on November 19th, 2013 without a warrant.
And now for some random pictures (make sure to see info about attack on Z compas bellow)…
Summary of May 2nd ambush and murder in Zapatista territory, from El Kilombo Intergaláctico:
Our Zapatista brothers and sisters are under attack!
Summary of Recent Events
On May 2nd, 2014 the paramilitary group COIAC-Histórica destroyed the autonomous school and health clinic in the Caracol of La Realidad, and attacked a group of unarmed Zapatista bases of support, injuring 15 compañeros and beating and then assassinating compa Galeano (José Luís Solís López), a teacher from the course “Freedom According to the Zapatistas.” The mainstream media is falsely reporting this attack on the Zapatistas as an intra-community confrontation, but in fact this attack is the result of a long-term counterinsurgency strategy promoted by the Mexican government. These attacks must be stopped before they lead to more tragedies like the 1997 massacre at Acteal. More information follows below and will be posted here as it becomes available. For the latest updates, check http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx
EZLN Communiqué: Pain and Rage (May 8, 2014)
Denunciation from the Good Government Council at La Realidad, Chiapas (May 5, 2014)
El Kilombo denunciation of attacks against Zapatista communities (May 9, 2014)
We add our voices to the outrage and condemnation of the recent attack on the Zapatista bases of support in La Realidad, Chiapas, in which the compañero José Luis Solís López was killed and 15 other Zapatista members of the community were injured. We support the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council] of the Caracol of La Realidad in denouncing the attacks by the “CIOAC Histórica” as paramilitary activity organized and supported by the state and federal governments headed by Manuel Velasco Coello and Enrique Peña Nieto respectively.
We also condemn the bad faith of the media outlets that presented this incident as a “confrontation” arising from an intercommunity conflict and not as an attack on unarmed civilians stemming from a long-standing counter-insurgency strategy through which Power in Mexico and the world has sought to destroy our Zapatista compañer@s.
Since the 1994 uprising and through the 2014 Zapatista Little School, we have witnessed and experienced “the smallest of them all” constructing a whole new world with discipline and certitude. As adherents of the Sixth Declaration and students of The Escuelita, we are convinced that this new world they have created opens a path for all of us who are interested in building democracy, liberty, and justice. It is exactly because they have opened this path that Power seeks to murder our Zapatista brothers and sisters. We therefore call on all organizations, communities, collectives, and individuals who also struggle against the brutal marriage of capitalism and bad government, to denounce these aggressions against the EZLN as a direct attack on the other world that we must all struggle to build in the here and now.
Clicking here you can check out a letter en Español and below is more info pertaining to things you can do and Seattle in particular:
Hey Everybody,The reason for the communication is there was an attack on a Zapatista community support base, watch a short video with details (http://www.anattackonusall.org/find-or-plan-an-event-or-action/) a teacher was murdered and a clinic and a school were destroyed. We are currently writing a communication to denounce these actions committed by paramilitaries and the government. If you would like to sign the denouncement, please go to this link to sign it , its easyAwareness is our strength.Our friend created this song in solidarity with the Zapatistas when he heard of the recent attack.———————————————–What you can do now…Share this with your networksIt is helpful for the Mexican government to know that many people globally are watching these events unfold, and we can contact our local consulate through email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (206) 448.4771. Please share with your networks.An example of what you can say is. “Hi, my name is ________, I live in ________. I am calling/writing to inform you that I am aware of the current attacks on the Zapatista communities in Chiapas Mexico, in particular, the community of La Realidad. I ask that the government stop these aggressive attacks on the Autonomous Communities of the Zapatista people. We will be watching as things unfold.———————————————————————-What you can do next week….We Have put together a long weekend of Solidarity Events and Action In Solidarity with the Zapatista Communities and as part of a West Coast call to Action May 18-25th.Thurs May 22nd action at the Mexican Consulate (2132 3rd ave. Seattle, WA) at 11am, we will meet at the Consulate deliver the denuncia that is in this email and flood the embassy with info and phone calls.Friday May 23rd Free Movie Night at Pipsqueak (173 16th ave., Seattle, WA) at 8pm, This is a family friendly venue that is drug and alcohol free. Snacks and refreshments would be gladly accepted for sharing. The movies will show are made by the Zapatistas for the purpose of sharing there reality, they were created for the Zapatista Little School last year, they are in spanish FYI. Donations for the space are humbly accepted, but not necessary.Sat May 24th and Sunday May 25th at Pipsqueak (173 16th ave., Seattle, WA) 12pm-4pm both days. This is a family friendly venue that is drug and alcohol free. Snacks and refreshments would be gladly accepted for sharing. Children are Welcome to paint and create. On Saturday May 24th there is a memorial being held in the Caracol la Realidad (a Zapatista community support base), for teacher Galeano. We will open with a community ceremony to remember teacher Galeano so that his spirit will find it’s way back to his Ancestors. Please join us in creating a community altar, you can contibute fresh fruits or veggies, flowers,candles, special mementos or pictures of your ancestors or special people to you.
-Facebook link——here is the link to the full communication http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2014/05/10/pain-and-rage/
-Here are the points from the communique (link above),
SCI M announcing the suspension of the upcoming activities including the Escuelita. The reasons (if not already obvious):1) The ambush was a premeditated, highly organized militarily and paramilitarily against the bases de apoyoy de La Realidad.2) There are clear implications of all local political parties and the CIOAC-H involved3) Clear implications of the state of chiapas involved, and a yet to be determined to what extent the federal governments involvement.He also quotes the local governor Manuel Velasco Coello stating that the EZLN is better off dealing with this situation then worrying/planing for the arrival of “gueros” or “whiteys”.This letter also describes the assembly in La Realidad the General Command was called to participate in. The General Command asked if the bases de apoyo want them to stay and figure things out or leave. The assembly agreed the EZLN should carry out justice—thats what they are demanding, justice not revenge.SCI M closes with:“for us its been pain and rage (dolo y rabia) that brought us all the way here. If it reaches you to feel it too, where does it drive you?”——————————————Reading Group to start on Saturday May 31st, and every saturday until June 21st. The flyer is attached and we will be reading the translated books from the 2013 Zapatista Little School. We will be reading out-loud to each other and discussing and sharing ideas, and inspiration. Here is the link for the books (free download) and we will be starting with Autonomous Governance 1.——————————————–Other communications that have been released recently, here are the links.http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2014/04/25/editorial-2-rebeldia-zapatista-the-word-of-the-ezln/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EnlaceZapatista+%28Enlace+Zapatista%29With love and rebellion