The Other Campaign Begins its Tour Through Nuevo Leon, November 15
Meeting with Adherents in Monterrey and Apodaca at the Dr. Margil Museum House
By Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
The Other Mexico
November 19, 2006
Good, well… well now you all have really depressed me. I already regret asking you all to speak about how Nuevo Leon is doing.
Look compañeros, we are presenting ourselves in the stage we´re in right now. The defining stage continues, as the tour was suspended after what happened in Atenco. Here I respond to the compañeros who asked this. When we were in the Federal District they attacked the compañeros in Atenco – a compañero from the People’s Front in Defense of the Land is coming to the meeting tomorrow, I think – is the meeting tomorrow? – he´s going to speak, to tell what happened there.
We are confronted with the dilema of trying to build a movement where we are all compañeros –without everyone being the same – and we couldn´t go on as if nothing was happening in the hour that compañeros were being beaten. So we decided to suspend the tour of the Sexta Commission, thinking also that we would raise a big mobilization and succeed in getting them out soon.
What happened was that we were wrong, but not completely: yes we got out quite a few but there are a few still in there. The problem was that we had to fulfill our committment – I think it’s the committment of everyone who is an adherent – to be compañeros to one another, right?
Thanks to this we were then able to pass through the north of the Republic and were trusted by other movements and organizations that feel when they are saying they are compañeros there will be actions in support and solidarity, and not that it’s nothing more than a declaration.
What then happened was that the north was left pending by yourselves, as said in the Sixth Declaration: “This is who I am and this is where I am, this is how I see my problem,” so that the rest of the country would know. In this way the matter of the elections passed, and after the elections it was reaffirmed… Now they are talking much about stereotypes that say the north is blue and the south is yellow and that’s it.
That is, the country is divided by its electoral preferences and this has to do with living standards. So in the rest of the country is was thought – or is still thought, but we are trying to combat this – that the north is conservative. That it is conservative because of its standard of living.
When the tour began through the north – when it resumed – well, our big intellectuals on the left predicted failure: they said “no one is going to pay attention there, there everyone is PAN and has a high standard of living and that the Other Campaign doesn’t have anything to offer them, ending in failure.”
What the Other Campaign passing through the north has achieved has thrown this completely off, has it not? Not just that there have appeared at many struggles, organizations, sparks of resistance –as we say– but that also many people who don’t know about the Other Campaign have come close and have expressed disagreements that don’t have another place to be declared except than in the Other Campaign.
I once was in Monterrey, working here a long time ago and we were much fewer then than are now – can you remember? Now we are a good many. But I see that at the time when each person begins to speak about who they are and how they see the region, Monterrey, the urban cone zone, and the state of Nuevo Leon, well it’s as if they had said: recreation! And everyone went off to eat and hang out. And that there are now only a few left of the media compañeros who came from outside, right? Maybe its because you already have known each other for a while, right? Because you already know the roles.
I see that a lot of you insist that it’s time to leave behind these roles and move on to action. But we see here a series of groups and collectives which run the risk of believing what they are seeing as what is really happening.
This can happen with many organizations or groups that have been around for many years. There is a stereotype that in Monterrey the people are apathetic, that they don´t want to participate. Even though there is this meeting, even though it is after an electoral process that has produced fraud. Even though it is here, as a campaign of mental cleaning – as you all explained to us – that there are youth, there are workers, there are teachers, housewives, groups of sexual difference, and all that, and that they decide to be here in this space.
And in this space, which is important to maintain, you must form this maintainance by not closing off yourselves, but rather by tending the bridges in the north, as well as the rest of this country.
Look, what´s going to happen is that all this is going to turn itself over – I refer to all the country – its going to turn itself over and its not going to stick that the people are apathetic and don´t want to participate.
The conditions that you all have explained to us are in effect a broth of cultivation – as the traditionalists later said – for organization and popular struggle. But there is the problem that the political struggle that has the majority of the people, is refered to as the electoral political parties. Always when a movement or organization rises up, it ends up sold-out by its leader, or it ends up with a small group fastening itself in power.
So all this apathy that we see and that we are going to touch outside, has to do with the those parties and the political electoral organizations, and also with the attitude of the State towards those elections, no?
It will be difficult – we believe – to be able to convince the people that they must participate in elections after what happened when they imposed Felibe Calderón, no?
So, the effort of the Other Campaign is to be able to come together outside, to convince the people that it must begin another way of doing politics. And this other way of doing politics cannot be constructed if it is not constructed from the inside. If the Other Campaign says: “to you we offer to listen and take you into account,” how is it possible then that the Other Campaign doesn’t listen to itself and take itself into account? Which is what the compañeros signaled with the six points.
It cannot be that each person is listening to him or her self, or is listening to his or her own sector, because there is where it comes up against the wall, “it can’t be done, it can’t be done, the people are apathetic, I have to change the role.” Because of all that each doesn’t turn to look at his or her own compañeros.
If this can´t be built in Nuevo Leon, the chances are worse of it being built as the bridge Nuevo Leon needs with San Luis Potosí –that is coming to a head– Zacatecas, Chihuahua, the Lake Region, we are still missing the other part of Coahuila, but the Lake Region is in worse condition than it was in porfirismo (era under Porfirio Diaz´s rule) and in conditions of organization and rebellion similar to the uprising of 1910.
And it´s not, it´s not something subjective that we come to know, but that the very people are not manifesting that way. How is it possible that after a failed electoral campaign – as was the one with the political parties was – a movement presents itself that is not offering baseball caps, or dispenses, or tee-shirts, or anything, to say that the only thing that it promises is to struggle –nothing else, there is no other promise– and people arrive from all social stratas, fundamentally poor people, humble, that have been displaced, that are exploited, that are despised and repressed.
If Nuevo Leon remains on the margins of this – and I refer to the Other Nuevo Leon, not state of the Nuevo Leon – well then I cannot tell you that if the dream of seperating and becoming a state of the American Union is fulfilled it will be saved. Becuase it´s happened that we have also spoken with the undocumented and with the chicanos of the other side and it is also coming to a head on that side. If they are going to really close the border – as the republicans and democrats are proposing – the wave of pressure is going to make it crumble.
Look, in San Luis Potosí they explained this to us: people rose in their standard of living –like here–and later the price of agricultural products fell and wages fell. To maintain their standard of living people emigrated, they went to the other side. And their positions are now occupied by indigenous from Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz. They say “it was a step up,” yes? Part of San Luis Potosí was depopulated and is being repopulated with people from the south.
If things continue as they have been planned for us, well the same will happen in Nuevo Leon, its going to be depopulated and repopulated as we have been told about, right? But if they close the border, where does the next step up lead to? It starts to come up against the wall. And this is going to create a wave of discontent in the sector – we believe – that you all call, almost with disdain, the middle class. Those that had a certain standard of living, certain labor conditions, that – as the telephone operators told us – are already heading backward.
When I worked here, they were cutting down to the last chair of telephone operador and that they wouldn´t be hurt and everything would turn out okay. That is, demands on the offensive –as we called them. And now it even goes until retirement. As if all the workers movement – the same as the campesinos, the same as the indigenous – are up against the wall. But what is a lie – what we have seen in the rest of the country – is that there is a wall behind us; there is not a wall, there is a precipice.
And these conditions are making the people take a step forward, but there isn’t an alternative. For that is the great success of which the mesiahs speak, “ Before I, from above, must come the poor” and all that, because it is presented as an option, even though in the end it doesn’t work out.
So, as this alternative doesn’t appear, the people are going to start resolving their problems exactly as you all outlined it: with the “I-I.” “I have this problem,” I teacher, I student, I in the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, I in Monterrey Tech –I already said it- in the UDM or in the colony, or in the problem of housing. And one begins to search for where and yes, in the Other Campaign they find this space, but one still has to fight so that his or her compañeros in Nuevo Leon hear it.
And the example that the compañera from the lesbian movement gives us is clear, because what she left out in saying was that inside the Other Campaign one has to conquer a space for sexual difference. And there, at best it comes against the wall with the regiomontanos – and another already said that we really are macho – but it’s going to find bridges to other parts of the Republic, where this movement is steadier, or steadying itself, more or less.
A debate about identity must be constucted, for example, with lesbian dissidence: if it’s dissidence, if it´s difference, it’s what it is. All this goes along the pathway of modifying laws or goes along the pathway of imposing its presence and making its rights matter.
And that way in each place, or in each sector, perhaps the workers union movement finds bridges to other workers union movements that are rising, or workers groups that have not yet planned the union option. Those are the workers of the maquilas. They have salaries of 45 pesos a day with workdays of 14 hours, 16 hours, against the wall. Moreover, its a workers movment with indigenous roots, and I will tell you about the latter.
So, the normal workers emigrate to the other side, and it’s the indigenous of the mountains: for example in Puebla there are indigenous who have come down the mountain and now they are workers, but they still remain indigenous. So this gives a very otherly composition, very much ready to confront the owner through the production line and rebel against him. And it´s a generation between 15 and 20 years old, that doesn´t have another choice but to survive and struggle.
In the moment that we see, the moment that another possibility or another pathway is opened up, is when many people come close, but with skepticism: “we’re going to wait to see what happens.” Those people who are outside that say it’s so bad and so alienating –as they have said – if we bring them into this assembly, then they say, “no, better not me.” Because they are the same roles as always, the same lament, the complaint –as the compañera said- and there isn´t the proposal at all that we are going to succesfully convince these people. This is the faith or this foolishness – as we´ve said – that the left must have, that when everything is against us, however foolish it is, that we go on.
So we´ve said that these assemblies or these meetings serve to introduce ourselves and to know each other. But yes we feel – as the compañero said at the end – that up until here we are getting to know each other. And that´s the first part. But it is also getting to know those in San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas. And later its going to get to know Tamaulipas, thi is the way of the Other Campaign.
The rest of the speech has yet to be posted.
Posted in Spanish on November 17
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