The Zapatistas have long been an inspiration for anti-capitalists around the world. Since 1994, the indigenous communities of Chiapas have risen up against the Mexican state, reclaimed their land, and fought against state repression.
Their autonomous communities are continually under threat. They have been fired upon, had their crops burned, and had their cows poisoned. Moreover, they have faced forced displacement, disappearances, the seizure of land, torture, and murder. Now, the Zapatistas say they’re on the “verge of civil war”.
Their statement came after Zapatista Jorge López Santíz was shot in a paramilitary attack perpetrated against the autonomous Moisés Gandhi community – which lies within the Lucio Cabañas municipality controlled by the Zapatistas – on 22 May.
The Zapatistas stated that the attack was carried out by the Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO), which has been harassing their communities for years.
The group released a statement, signed by more than 800 organisations around the world, as well as more than 1,000 individual political and culture figures, including Gael García Bernal and Noam Chomsky.
The statement said:
Chiapas is on the verge of civil war between paramilitary groups and gunmen from various cartels fighting turf wars and local self-defense groups. This is happening with the active or passive complicity of the state and federal governments of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas and Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
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The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), that has kept the peace, developed its autonomous project in its own territories, and has tried to avoid violent clashes with paramilitary and other forces of the Mexican state, is constantly being harassed, attacked, and provoked.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a global radical trade union, has also extended its solidarity to the Zapatistas. It said:
Our union and its members have for decades extended our solidarity with the communities and the peoples in Chiapas.
Fellow workers have worked closely with the indigenous communities who have developed new forms of inspirational horizontal grassroots structures since their uprising in the mid nineties. Their development has been a continuous process of learning and educating, as part of their own revolutionary process. The liberated territories under attack by paramilitary forces of the state must not be left isolated or intimidated. As a revolutionary union, we share the concerns of the indigenous communities in the Chiapas region at what is unfolding at this time.
Global day of action
The Zapatistas and signatories have called on everyone around the world to take action on 8 June to try to prevent paramilitary violence in Chiapas. They said:
We call upon ourselves to demonstrate in the streets, embassies and consulates, study centers and workplaces, in social media, everywhere possible and essential for us, against military, paramilitary and organized criminal violence, and in defense of Life.
Meanwhile, the IWW said:
We call upon fellow workers across the union to participate in the international day of action on June 8th, which includes solidarity protest actions, demonstrations and pickets, banners drops, and solidarity photographs. If there is an action in your area, join it. If there is none close to you, then create one. We must not remain silent in the face of state terror and oppression.
The Zapatista movement is one of the few successful anti-capitalist revolutions of our time. We must all stand in solidarity with those on the frontline of brutal state violence.Support us and go ad-free
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