(Mexico) Anarchist Statement to those who support the National Indigenous Congress
Anarchist Statement to those who support the National Indigenous Congress
“What are they going to forgive us for?
For bringing rifles into combat
Instead of bows and arrows?
For having learned how to fight before doing it?”
– Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
As anarchists and other libertarian individuals, we see electoral representation as a hoax in the processes of individual and collective liberation of the people: to enter into the legal, public and symbolic mechanisms of the STATE is to delegate our freedom to others so that they may decide for us; what in practical terms translates into the voluntary abdication of our capacity for choice and action, that is to say, the voluntary abdication of exercising our freedom.
Be it under the control of capitalists, bureaucrats, indigenous or workers, the STATE itself is the antagonist to personal, environmental, and social freedom. Why do we say that? Because it is the highest organizational form of control, surveillance, coercion and repression that civilized humanity has created. For that reason, it is absurd to us that Marichuy, the candidate for the CNI (National Indigenous Congress), is adopting the legal, symbolic and moral mechanisms that the state legitimizes in order to exercise power. To do so is to legitimize the main executioner of freedom. We know full well that they don’t want to come to power, nor to govern the nation, nor can they win the elections. The problem we have with her candidacy is something more serious, in our opinion. We are referring to the morality that Marichuy is bringing to the people, that morality of the Shepherd and the flock, which is the morality of the spokespeople, leaders, priests, bureaucrats, prophets, businesspeople and parties who guide people by claiming to represent the will of the majority and in doing so denying them – the people and communities – the freedom of immediate action to conquer their own freedom. Political representatives are filters, blockers, dispensers, who limit and/or impede direct action, keeping people and communities from giving themselves freedom and from realizing that they need no intermediaries to do so.
The logic of commanding and obeying, of the master and their followers, of the tyrant and their slaves, of the bourgeois and their employees, of the spokesperson and their supporters. It is the old song of obeying the one who commands because they know, because they supposedly know the correct path for all at any time and place. Myths! Specifically, that morality is the shepherd who guides their herd to the slaughterhouse. It is absurd to believe and support charismatic leaders who promise you freedom, since no one can give you freedom and well-being. One must procure them oneself, through self-care, solidarity and mutual aid that don’t require large organizations, nor parties, sympathetic mediators, or mass projects that require a large organization where the agency of individuals is reduced to a political project’s dogmatic collectivization.
We do not want nor will we accept being governed by anyone or anything. We will fight to the death all types and projects of governance, control and coercion; therefore that slogan of “Indigenous GOVERNING Council” disgusts us. We know that all government is force and repression – as CRASS would say – or as P.J. Proudhon noted and outlined:
“To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.” (1851) [i]
Whoever it may be, we will always reject proposals that we be led and organized by a charismatic leader or by populist spokespeople who in reality only represent themselves and their lackeys, thirsting to wield power. It doesn’t matter if the person seeking to rule is mestizo, black, white or indigenous, they plan and carry out governing projects, they make proposals to control the will of people other than themselves, they therefore deny the inherent freedom that belongs not just to us human beings, but to all beings. The decision to act DIRECTLY in our lives is annulled by that moral and social apparatus called democracy, be it direct or representative. We know very well that their campaign is not in it for the votes (although they are in it for the power granted by the state through the National Electoral Institute – INE) and that what they are doing is calling for organization, but this call is a message from the shepherd to their sheep, from the master to their servants. To obey the dictates of the CNI implies that people are not organizing of their own accord, but rather in the interests of their leaders and their desire to wield power over society, that is, to GOVERN. Supporters of Marichuy are organizing themselves according to the implicit morality of following the leader who promises hope for liberation. They say it is a strategy. What strategy? That of defending Mexican territory, through the mechanisms of the state, from the neoliberal extractivism with which they are supposedly at war? How do they hope to do that when the means they are now using – asking the INE to place Marichuy on the ballot for the 2018 federal elections, for example – are means that are in line with the murderous state and industry, that are used to neutralize legitimate autonomous projects and that PACIFY INSURRECTIONS which truly seek to do away with all forms of government, including leftist ones.
Reading multiple statements, interviews and watching countless documentaries on the EZLN [Zapatistas] and the CNI, we realized that their strategy is NATIONALIST and therefore implicitly upholds the value of national territory, which is equivalent to asserting that territorial borders must be upheld, that they must be protected by an army and guarded from the inside by police. It is a nationalist order destined for surveillance, punishment, coercion, suffering, and submission to a series of laws that protects this fanatical, orthodox, proudly racist collectivity that we call Mexico. The same Subcomandante Marcos said that when they were fighting the government they realized they weren’t confronting the state but rather an extra-national power called global capitalism. So is that why they have turned their struggle over to the mechanisms of the state in order to protect the Mexican nation from the big capitalists? In the hopes that its bureaucratic, police and military apparatuses will limit the invasion of foreign capital? Absurd! Territory, nature, peoples, and individuals know how to and can defend themselves without mediators. It is precisely because of those mediators (state/leaders/bureaucrats) that the forests and communities are being destroyed, because they limit the capacity for action, defense and attack against the onslaughts of industrial civilization. We know well that to confront industry and the state entails directly confronting the police, the army, paramilitaries and even civil society, which sees in the destruction of nature a form of progress. Only in direct confrontation with the executioners of life can things be truly defended – not through democratic, legal or pacifist means. Pacifist and legalist movements end up being crushed by the state when territorial disputes occur. For example, when rural communities oppose a megaproject: there are arrests, prison sentences, torture and death, and after a few years the megaproject is put in and all the efforts were for naught. It does happen – in the minority of cases – that the state’s laws rule in favor of the communities and the megaproject is suspended. Yet the same thing happens, the megaproject remain open, latent, only postponed in its implementation, waiting for the moment in which the law (the judges) provide better conditions for its realization. If one is going to defend the land, the rivers; if one is going to fight against gentrification, it is done directly, without arbitration or ridiculous pacifist posturing that only serves to reproduce the logic of victimization. We’re fed up with all these human rights organizations that live off of state resources in order to put out documentaries and reports about how communities and individuals are brutally repressed. Fed up with struggles being mediated. Fed up with issuing demands in supposed defense of those impacted by the state, demands that are never met. It’s absurd that the state would punish itself!
The peace of legality is the peace of the cemetery. That is why we see in the head-on struggle against industrialization and the state the only way to defend our lives from the devastation that happens every day. To respond blow for blow, death for death to the executioners is the only way to beat those life-taking bastards. We don’t want peace, we want victory! We know that you say it is impossible to defeat the state, but it so happens that it is possible. How many times have insurgencies done away with state domination? How many times have libertarian projects triumphed? Many, many times! But what happened is that leftists who longed for the old order returned society to state organization. And with it, government. And with government the means of control, surveillance, punishment and submission that blocks the freedom of all beings. We say it in that way because it is not only the freedom of our species that matters, but the freedom of all of them.
Now, before feeling scorned – which we know some of you feel – by us anarchists and our irrepressible stance of fighting all forms of control, government, or party, be it right, center or left, remember that the anarchist movement was that which provoked and initiated the Mexican Revolution and never rejected violent methods. Remember that Emiliano Zapata’s revolutionary ideology was decisively influenced by anarchists, despite Magonistas refusing in 1913 to join forces with his ranks, considering his struggle to be limited, regionalist and reformist.  Remember that the phrase Land and Freedom is of anarchist origin. Remember that phrase everything for everyone, nothing for ourselves – which the entire world thinks is from Subcomandante Marcos – is a phrase from the Flores Magón brothers, anarchists who were jailed and killed for refusing to ever accept, make a deal, or negotiate with the state. That is why, from a historical and current analysis of the situation, the CNI’s strategy seems to us a waste of energy. We consider the pacification of struggles that Marichuy’s candidacy is causing to be counterproductive, as this candidacy signifies agreement and negotiation with the murderers who administer the state, that is, to accept and recognize the supposedly legitimate functions of the government to control, surveil and punish. It is to submit to the institutional calendars of those who command and those who obey. Why envision their struggle via a candidacy occurring within the space and timeframe of federal elections? To barge in on state power? Not at all! They’re just going along with the state. It only ends in explicitly legitimizing and implicitly complying with the decisions and orders of those who rule and administer this massacre called progress, called the state and industry.
Now, we have another thing to saw – that’s how it is, more things. We want to question the rules that the EZLN uses in its letter of introduction and that many of its followers have accepted uncritically. To begin, with the title “Good Government” things are getting ugly enough, because there cannot be good governments since – as has been repeated many times already – the government is surveillance, punishment, control, obedience. With respect to obedience, the first point of the EZLN’s statement on Good Government says, “Obey, not command.” This logic only favors precisely those in government and political parties who command. (How clever of the leaders of the EZLN and CNI!) One of humanity’s greatest problems is and has been mass obedience. Humanity’s problems have occurred precisely because of obedience and due to not disobeying. Regarding the second point that says, “Represent, not supplant,” isn’t it the case that representation – in political terms – is to supplant the other because this other has renounced, by force or voluntarily, their free will to act? As said at the beginning of this text, political representation is the denial of people’s capacity to take direct action for their freedom and destiny. Perhaps this dynamic of political representation is a comfortable one for the middle and upper classes who see in the CNI and MORENA hope for change without having to get their hands or clothes dirty? Regarding the fourth point, “Serve, not serve yourself.” It’s the morality of slaves which benefits those who rule large political organizations, whether center, right or left. It’s a logic that aids spokespeople and leaders of parties such as the CNI. The fifth point says, “Go below, not climb above,” which is another value of slavery, victimization and self-abasement so that those who are above remain so forever. For us, it’s not about going up or down but about building new worlds horizontally (without politically going up or down) that in different ways are all equal, without political self-abasement! Regarding the last point that says, “Give life, don’t take it.” For us this is the most delicate statement because life is the most precious, most beautiful thing in existence. So to give it for a political party, for a charismatic leader, or for administrators and their popular and democratic values seems absurd to us. The logic of the martyr is also the morality of slaves who sacrifice themselves for causes that they often don’t fully understand or which are not entirely theirs. For us, to give one’s life fighting the state or the industrialization of existence is not a sacrifice nor a duty imposed by social norms, by or for a party, or by popular will. Rather, it is a commitment we assume from the moment we decide to be free and to be free through direct action, without mediators who live like parasites off of power and the obedience of those who surround and follow them. And for us, to kill a banker, strongman, biotechnologist or the fascist on your block is something beautiful, a beautiful violence that does not strive for peace but rather victory. To kill is ugly, terrible, but sometimes it is necessary to take lives, depending on the context and why it is done. But we would never turn it into a commandment, much less a moral rule in a “Good Government letter.” And yes, we prefer to give life than to take it, but sometimes to give it one has to kill those who murder life with industrial projects shielded by the state.
This letter has been written by anarchists who love freedom, by cheerful saboteurs of governments and companies. That we so harshly criticize the CNI and some aspects of the EZLN does not mean that we oppose at any moment the legitimate struggles of the indigenous peoples of America or the world for freedom and liberation. On the contrary, we are complicit with all those “Indians” who refuse progress, who have sabotaged machinery, who have put up blockades and barricades to stop the ecocidal progress of megaprojects of death. We are complicit with all those who directly confront power, who resist and, more than resist, fight blow for blow, death for death, the murderous governments and businesses, which after all are two sides of the same coin. As anarchists and other libertarian individuals and collectives, we have suffered death threats, persecution, imprisonment, and the deaths of compañeros. We know perfectly what it means to fight without respite against the murderers who exercise power through the economy and industrial and civilized legality. We don’t see ourselves as victims because of that, nor do we negotiate with the state or businesses. On the contrary, we increasingly take on the role of free warriors that attack clandestinely, striking strategic, hard and lethal blows to the system of death where it hurts most. And in daily life we continue weaving networks of affinity, carrying out endless self-sustaining projects, providing support to all the autonomous and liberatory projects that people have decided to undertake. This criticism is because we see in the candidacy of Marichuy something that, far from advancing liberation, sets it back. Anarchist support for the indigenous communities of Mexico and the world has always been there and it will continue to be, because one of the most serious problems of humanity has been colonialism and we will not stop fighting against it until we see it burning in the flames of direct action.
Some anarchists for Anarchy
November 28, 2017, from somewhere in Mexico.
 The book Magonismo: historia de una pasión libertaria 1900-1922, by Salvador Hernández Padilla, compiles some information showing the differences and connections that existed between Zapatismo and Magonist anarchism. Among the information, what stands out is the personal correspondence between Emiliano Zapata and members of the Organizing Junta of the Mexican Liberal Party.
[i] Proudhon, P.J., The General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century. 1851.
Some anarchist for Anarchy