Tuesday, July 5

“We are not looking for the difference, but what makes us equal”: the Zapatista mission that reaches Europe through the port of Vigo

Last October, from the mountains of the Mexican southeast, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation issued a statement addressed to, among other recipients, “honest people who resist in all corners of the planet.” It was signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and said: “We are going to tell the Spanish people two simple things: one, that they did not conquer us. That we continue in resistance and rebellion. Two: that they do not have to ask us to forgive them anything. to play with the distant past to justify, with demagoguery and hypocrisy, current and ongoing crimes “. They are about to fulfill their promise: a plural and numerous delegation prepares in Vigo to receive a Zapatista delegation, probably this weekend.

Almost two months ago, Squadron 421 sailed from the port of Isla Mujeres (Quintana Roo, Mexico) aboard the ship The mountain. It is made up of four women (Lupita, Carolina, Ximena and Yuli), two men (Bernal and Darío) and a non-binary person (Marijose) for whom they use the noun another. The crew is German. “And this we have decided […] that various Zapatista delegations, men, women and other the color of our land, “says Moses’ statement, entitled A mountain on the high seas, “We will go out to travel the world, we will walk or sail to remote soils, seas and skies, seeking not difference, not superiority, not affront, much less forgiveness and pity. We will go to find what makes us equal.” They have christened their trip the Tour for Life.

It was on April 26 when the groups and individuals organized in the Xira pola Vida Galician Assembly received the news that the 421 Squad would enter Europe through the Vigo estuary. Thus they attended to the “passionate and emotional letters” that, from Galicia, they had been sent. “We are going to welcome you all and we are going to take care of all of you, ‘we told them,” explain sources from the organization. The Zapatistas accepted Galician hospitality and in Vigo they will spend at least a week, busy in political work and meetings with international groups. It will help them to specify the agenda of their European visit, whose motto is Wake up. Activists and militants from Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Iran and the Basque Country are already waiting in the Galician city. They will go to Madrid in August, exactly on August 13, “500 years after the supposed conquest of what is now Mexico”, or, in the words of Subcomandante Marcos, the beginning of “the long night of 500 years.”

The date of arrival is still unknown. The Galician assembly knows that on June 14, The mountain he left behind the Azores islands, where he had arrived on the 12th. Thus they entered the Schengen zone, as reported by Subcomandante Galeano in The Zapatista Passport, one of the texts about the journey that appear in Zapatista Link, the official website of the EZLN. “Captain Ludwig estimates that he will see the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula between June 19 and 20, although it could be earlier, because The mountain, reconciled with the wind, seems hasty to embrace her Portuguese and Galician sisters “, writes Galeano, the name that, in 2014, the mythical Subcomandante Marcos, head, and balaclava adopted, most visible of the Chiapas guerrillas. One more line below quotes verses from Galician anthem.

“The fight for life is not an individual matter, but a collective one”

These documents published in Zapatista Link They are the only means of communication that the Galicians maintain with the ship The mountain. Written with the characteristic EZLN style, allegorical, with a literary will, their own characters and a particular vocabulary, they make up the expedition’s logbook. From the boarding of the ship, about 47 meters in length, to “50 fathoms from the port” of Isla Mujeres, to the dolphins that were crossed on the way, or the arrival in Azores, is the record of the beginning of the Tour for Life. That the Zapatistas approach as a reactivation of the struggles after the strange time of the pandemic. Subcomandante Galeano explains it in detail.

“And now, all over the world, big capital wants to return to the streets so that people can resume their status as consumers,” he explains, “because it is the market’s problems that concern them: the lethargy in the consumption of goods”. To that description of the state of affairs, he opposes “retaking the streets, yes, but to fight.” “Life, the struggle for life, is not an individual matter, but a collective one. Now it is being seen that it is not a matter of nationalities either, it is global,” he adds.

The Galician assembly – of which unions such as CGT or the Sindicato Labrego Galego are part, social centers such as the Liceo Mutante de Pontevedra or A Comuna de A Coruña, the Marcha Mundial das Mulleres, environmental networks or food sovereignty groups – share perception. Members of the same understand that the Zapatista visit to Europe, where the 421 Squad will spend the whole summer doing political work, will help to rebuild “common spaces of struggle”, under minimums “since the counter-summit of the G-8.”

The uprising in arms of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in January 1994 marked a milestone in the worldwide opposition to neoliberalism. Its founding manifesto, the First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, demanded work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace. His delegation docks this weekend in Vigo with a similar commitment, expressed in A mountain on the high seas: “In front of the powerful trains, our canoes. In front of the thermoelectric plants, the little lights that the Zapatistas gave in custody to women who fight all over the world. In front of walls and borders, our collective sailing. In front of the great capital, a milpa in common. Faced with the destruction of the planet, a mountain sailing at dawn “.