Encounters with the Zapatistas By Rebecca Solnit Bactrim without prescription, I grew up listening to vinyl records, dense spirals of informationthat we played at 33-1/3 revolutions per minute. The original use ofthe word revolution was in this sense -- of something coming round orturning round, the revolution of the heavenly bodies, for example.
It's interesting to think that just as the word radical comes from theLatin word for "roots" and meant going to the root of a problem, sorevolution originally means to rotate, to return, or to cycle,something those who live according to the agricultural cycles of theyear know well.
Only in 1450, says my old Oxford Etymological Dictionary, does it cometo mean "an instance of a great change in affairs or in someparticular thing." 1450: 42 years before Columbus sailed on his firstvoyage to the not-so-new world, not long after Gutenberg inventedmoveable type in Europe, where time itself was coming to seem lesscyclical and more linear -- as in the second definition of this newsense of revolution in my dictionary, "a complete overthrow of theestablished government in any country or state by those who werepreviously subject to it."
We live in revolutionary times, but the revolution we are livingthrough is a slow turning around from one set of beliefs and practicestoward another, a turn so slow that most people fail to observe oursociety revolving -- or rebelling, bactrim. The true revolutionary needs to beas patient as a snail. The revolution is not some sudden change that has yet to come, but the very transformative and questioning atmosphere in which all of us have lived for the past half century, since perhaps the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, or the publication of Rachel Carson's attack on the corporate-industrial-chemical complex, Silent Spring, in 1962; certainly, since the amazing events of 1989, when the peoples of Eastern Europe nonviolently liberated themselves from theirSoviet-totalitarian governments; the people of South Africa underminedthe white apartheid regime of that country and cleared the way forNelson Mandela to get out of jail; or, since 1992, when the Nativepeoples of the Americas upended the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in this hemisphere with a radical rewriting of history and an assertion that they are still here; or even 1994, when this radical rewriting wrote a new chapter in southern Mexico called Zapatismo, bactrim without prescription.
Five years ago, the Zapatista revolution took as one of its principalsymbols the snail and its spiral shell. Their revolution spiralsoutward and backward, away from some of the colossal mistakes ofcapitalism's savage alienation, industrialism's regimentation, andtoward old ways and small things; it also spirals inward via new wordsand new thoughts. The astonishing force of the Zapatistas has comefrom their being deeply rooted in the ancient past -- "we teach ourchildren our language to keep alive our grandmothers" said oneZapatista woman -- and prophetic of the half-born other world inwhich, as they say, many worlds are possible. They travel both ways ontheir spiral.
Revolutionary Landscapes Bactrim without prescription, At the end of 2007, I arrived on their territory for a remarkablemeeting between the Zapatista women and the world, the third of theirencuentros since the 1994 launch of their revolution. Somehow, amongthe miracles of Zapatista words and ideas I read at a distance, I lostsight of what a revolution might look like, must look like, Buying generic bactrim, on theground -- until late last year when I arrived on that pale, dustyground after a long ride in a van on winding, deeply rutted dirt roadsthrough the forested highlands and agricultural clearings of Chiapas,Mexico. The five hours of travel from the big town of San Cristobal delas Casas through that intricate landscape took us past countlesssmall cornfields on slopes, wooden houses, thatched pigsties andhenhouses, gaunt horses, a town or two, more forest, and then moreforest, even a waterfall.
Everything was green except the dry cornstalks, a lush green in whichDecember flowers grew. There were tree-sized versions of what lookedlike the common, roadside, yellow black-eyed susans of the Americanwest and a palm-sized, bactrim no rx required, lavender-pink flower on equally tall, airilybranching stalks whose breathtaking beauty seemed to come from equalparts vitality, vulnerability, and bravura -- a little like the womenI listened to for the next few days.
The van stopped at the junction that led to the center of thecommunity of La Garrucha, bactrim without prescription. There, we checked in with men with bandannascovering the lower halves of their faces, who sent us on to a field oftents further uphill. The big sign behind them read, "You are inTerritory of Zapatistas in Rebellion. Here the People Govern and theGovernment Obeys." Next to it, another sign addressed the politicalprisoners from last year's remarkable uprising in Oaxaca in which, forfour months, the inhabitants held the city and airwaves and kept thegovernment out. It concluded, "You are not alone. Bactrim without prescription, You are with us. Order cheap bactrim, EZLN."
As many of you may know, EZLN stands for Ejército Zapatista deLiberación Nacional (Zapatista Army for National Liberation), a nameakin to those from many earlier Latin American uprisings. TheZapatistas -- mostly Mayan indigenous rebels from remote, ruralcommunities of Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost and poorest state -- hadmade careful preparations for a decade before their January 1, 1994uprising.
They began like conventional rebels, arming themselves and seizing sixtowns. They chose that first day of January because it was the datethat the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, whichmeant utter devastation for small farmers in Mexico; but they had alsobeen inspired by the 500th anniversary, 14 months before, ofColumbus's arrival in the Americas and the way native groups hadreframed that half-millenium as one of endurance and injustice for theindigenous peoples of this hemisphere.
Their rebellion was also meant to take the world at least a stepbeyond the false dichotomy between capitalism and the official statesocialism of the Soviet Union which had collapsed in 1991, bactrim without prescription. It was tobe the first realization of what needed to come next: a rebellion,above all, against capitalism and neoliberalism. Fourteen years later, online bactrim,it is a qualified success: many landless campesino families inZapatista-controlled Chiapas now have land; many who were subjugatednow govern themselves; many who were crushed now have a sense ofagency and power. Five areas in Chiapas have existed outside the reachof the Mexican government, under their own radically different rules,since that revolution.
Beyond that, the Zapatistas have given the world a model -- and,perhaps even more important, a language -- with which to re-imaginerevolution, community, hope, and possibility. Bactrim without prescription, Even if, in the nearfuture, they were to be definitively defeated on their own territory,their dreams, powerful as they have been, are not likely to die. Andthere are clouds on the horizon: the government of President FelipeCalderón may turn what has, for the last 14 years, been alow-intensity conflict in Chiapas into a full-fledged war ofextermination. A war on dreams, Bactrim in bangkok, on hope, on rights, and on the oldgoals of the hero of the Mexican Revolution a century before, EmilianoZapata: tierra y libertad, land and liberty.
The Zapatistas emerged from the jungle in 1994, armed with words aswell as guns. Their initial proclamation, the First Declaration of theLacandon Jungle, rang with familiar, outmoded-sounding revolutionaryrhetoric, but shortly after the uprising took the world by storm, theZapatistas' tone shifted. They have been largely nonviolent eversince, except in self-defense, though they are ringed by the Mexicanarmy and local paramilitaries (and maintain their own disciplinedarmy, a long line of whose masked troops patrolled La Garrucha atnight, armed with sticks), bactrim without prescription. What shifted most was their language, whichmetamorphosed into something unprecedented -- a revolutionary poetryfull of brilliant analysis as well as of metaphor, imagery, and humor, compare bactrim prices,the fruit of extraordinary imaginations.
Some of their current stickers and t-shirts -- the Zapatistas generatemore cool paraphernalia than any rock band -- speak of "el fuego y lapalabra," the fire and the word. Many of those words came from theinspired pen of their military commander, the nonindigenousSubcomandante Marcos, but that pen reflected the language of a peoplewhose memory is long and environment is rich -- if not in money andease, then in animals, images, traditions, and ideas.
Take, for example, the word caracol, which literally means snail orspiral shell. Bactrim without prescription, In August 2003, the Zapatistas renamed their fiveautonomous communities caracoles. The snail then became an importantimage. Cheap bactrim tablet, I noticed everywhere embroideries, t-shirts, and murals showingthat land snail with the spiraling shell. Often the snail wore a blackski mask. The term caracol has the vivid vitality, the groundedness,that often escapes metaphors as they become part of our disembodiedlanguage.
When they reorganized as caracoles, the Zapatistas reached back toMayan myth to explain what the symbol meant to them, bactrim without prescription. Or SubcomandanteMarcos did, attributing the story as he does with many stories to "OldAntonio," who may be a fiction, a composite, or a real source of theindigenous lore of the region:
"The wise ones of olden times say that the hearts of men and women arein the shape of a caracol, and that those who have good in theirhearts and thoughts walk from one place to the other, awakening godsand men for them to check that the world remains right. They say thatthey say that they said that the caracol represents entering into theheart, that this is what the very first ones called knowledge. Theysay that they say that they said that the caracol also representsexiting from the heart to walk the world…, bactrim prescription. The caracoles will be likedoors to enter into the communities and for the communities to comeout; like windows to see us inside and also for us to see outside;like loudspeakers in order to send far and wide our word and also tohear the words from the one who is far away."
The caracoles are clusters of villages, but described as spirals theyreach out to encompass the whole world and begin from within theheart. Bactrim without prescription, And so I arrived in the center of one caracol, a little furtherup the road from those defiant signs, in the broad, unpaved plazaaround which the public buildings of the village of La Garrucha areclustered, including a substantial two-story, half-built clinic.
Walking across that clearing were Zapatista women in embroideredblouses or broad collars and aprons stitched of rows of ribbon thatlooked like inverted rainbows -- and those ever-present ski masks inwhich all Zapatistas have appeared publicly since their first momentout of the jungles in 1994. (Or almost all, a few wear bandannasinstead.)
That first glimpse was breathtaking. Seeing and hearing those womenfor the three days that followed, living briefly on rebel territory,watching people brave enough to defy an army and the world's reigningideology, imaginative enough to invent (or reclaim) a viablealternative was one of the great passages of my life. The Zapatistashad been to me a beautiful idea, an inspiration, a new language, a newkind of revolution. When they spoke at this Third Encounter of theZapatista Peoples with the People of the World, they became a specificgroup of people grappling with practical problems, bactrim without prescription. I thought of MartinLuther King Jr. when he said he had been to the mountaintop. Buy bactrim on line, I havebeen to the forest.
The Words of the Third Encounter
The encuentro was held in a big shed-like auditorium with a corrugatedtin roof and crossbeams so long they could only have been hewn fromlocal trees -- they would never have made it around the bends in thelocal roads. Bactrim without prescription, The wooden walls were hung with banners and painted withmurals. (One, of an armed Zapatista woman, said, "cellulite sí,anorexia, no.") An unfinished mural showed a monumental ear of cornwhose top half merged into the Zapatista ski mask, the eyes peeringout of the corn. Among the embroideries local artisans offered weredepictions of cornstalks with Zapatista faces where the ears would be.
All of this -- snails and corn-become-Zapatistas alike -- portrayedthe rebels as natural, pervasive, and fruitful.
Three or four times a day, a man on a high, roofed-over stage outsidethe hall would play a jaunty snippet of a tune on an organ and perhaps250 of the colorfully dressed Zapatista women in balaclavas orbandannas would walk single file into the auditorium and seatthemselves onstage on rows of backless benches. The women who hadcome from around the world to listen would gather on the remaining benches, and men would cluster around the back of the hall, bactrim without prescription. Then, cheap bactrim in usa, one caracol at a time, they would deliver short statements and take writtenquestions. Over the course of four days, all five caracoles deliveredreflections on practical and ideological aspects of their situation.
Pithy and direct, they dealt with difficult (sometimes obnoxious)questions with deftness. They spoke of the challenge of living arevolution that meant autonomy from the Mexican government, but alsoof learning how to govern themselves and determine for themselves whatliberty and justice mean. Bactrim without prescription, The Zapatista rebellion has been feminist from its inception: Many ofthe comandantes are women -- this encuentro was dedicated to thememory of deceased Comandante Ramona, whose image was everywhere --and the liberation of the women of the Zapatista regions has been acore part of the struggle. The testimonies addressed what this meant-- liberation from forced marriages, illiteracy, domestic violence,and other forms of subjugation. The women read aloud, some of themnervous, their voices strained -- and this reading and writing wasitself testimony to the spread both of literacy and of Spanish as partof the revolution. Bactrim online pharmacy, The first language of many Zapatistas is anindigenous one, and so they spoke their Spanish with formal,declarative clarity. They often began with a formal address to theaudience that spiraled outward: "hermanos y hermanas, compañeras ycompañeros de la selva, pueblos del Mexico, pueblos del mundo,sociedad civile" -- "brothers and sisters, companions of therainforest, people of Mexico, people of the world, civil society." Andthen they would speak of what revolution had meant for them.
"We had no rights," one of them said about the era before therebellion, bactrim without prescription. Another added, "The saddest part is that we couldn'tunderstand our own difficulties, why we were being abused. No one hadtold us about our rights."
"The struggle is not just for ourselves, it's for everyone, cheap bactrim pharmacy," said athird. Another spoke to us directly: "We invite you to organize aswomen of the world in order to get rid of neoliberalism, which hashurt all of us."
They spoke of how their lives had improved since 1994. On New Year'sEve, one of the masked women declared:
"Who we think is responsible [for the oppressions] is the capitalistsystem, but now we no longer fear. Bactrim without prescription, They humiliated us for too long,but as Zapatistas no one will mistreat us. Even if our husbands stillmistreat us, we know we are human beings. Now, women aren't asmistreated by husbands and fathers. Now, some husbands support andhelp us and don't make all the decisions -- not in all households, butpoco a poco. We invite all women to defend our rights and combatmachismo."
They spoke of the practical work of remaking the world and setting thefuture free, of implementing new possibilities for education, Cheap bactrim on internet, healthcare, and community organization, of the everyday workings of anew society. Some of them carried their babies -- and their lives --onstage and, in one poignant moment, a little girl dashed across thatstage to kiss and hug her masked mother, bactrim without prescription. Sometimes the young daughterswore masks too.
A Zapatista named Maribel spoke of how the rebellion started, of thesecrecy in which they met and organized before the uprising:"We learned to advance while still hiding until January 1. This iswhen the seed grew, when we brought ourselves into the light. OnJanuary 1, 1994, we brought our dreams and hopes throughout Mexico andthe world -- and we will continue to care for this seed. Bactrim without prescription, This seed ofours we are giving for our children. We hope you all will struggleeven though it is in a different form. The struggle [is] foreverybody…"
The Zapatistas have not won an easy or secure future, but what theyhave achieved is dignity, a word that cropped up constantly during theencuentro, as in all their earlier statements. And they have createdhope, cheapest generic bactrim online. Hope (esperanza) was another inescapable word in Zapatistaterritory. There was la tienda de esperanza, the unpainted woodenstore of hope, that sold tangerines and avocados, bactrim without prescription. A few mornings, Ihad café con leche and sweet rice cooked with milk and cinnamon at acomedor whose handlettered sign read: "Canteen of autonomouscommunities in rebellion…dreams of hope." The Zapatista minibus wascrowned with the slogan "the collective [which also means bus inSpanish] makes hope."
After midnight, at the very dawn of the New Year, when men wereinvited to speak again, one mounted the platform from which the NewYear's dance music was blasting to say that he and the other men hadlistened and learned a lot.
This revolution is neither perfect nor complete -- mutterings aboutits various shortcomings weren't hard to hear from elsewhere in Mexicoor the internationals at the encuentro (who asked many testingquestions about these campesinas' positions on, say, transgenderedidentity and abortion) -- but it is an astonishing and fruitfulbeginning.
The Speed of Snails and Dreams
Many of their hopes have been realized. The testimony of the womendealt with this in specific terms: gains in land, rights, dignity,liberty, autonomy, Bactrim generic, literacy, a good local government that obeys thepeople rather than a bad one that tramples them. Bactrim without prescription, Under siege, theyhave created community with each other and reached out to the world.
Emerging from the jungles and from impoverishment, they were one ofthe first clear voices against corporate globalization -- theneoliberal agenda that looked, in the 1990s, as though it mightsucceed in taking over the world. That was, of course, before thesurprise shutdown of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999and other innovative, successful global acts of resistance againstthat agenda and its impact. The Zapatistas articulated just howaudacious indigenous rebellion against invisibility, powerlessness,and marginalization could be -- and this was before other indigenousmovements from Bolivia to northern Canada took a share of real powerin the Americas. Their image of "a world in which many worlds arepossible" came to describe the emergence of broad coalitions spanninggreat differences, of alliances between hunter-gatherers, small-scalefarmers, factory workers, find bactrim, human rights activists, andenvironmentalists in France, India, Korea, Mexico, Bolivia, Kenya, andelsewhere.
Their vision represented the antithesis of the homogenous worldenvisioned both by the proponents of "globalism" and by the modernistrevolutions of the twentieth century, bactrim without prescription. They have gone a long way towardreinventing the language of politics. They have been a beacon foreveryone who wants to make a world that is more inventive, moredemocratic, more decentralized, more grassroots, more playful. Now, Bactrim purchase, they face a threat from the Mexican government that could savage thecaracoles of resistance, crush the rights and dignity that the womenof the encuentro embodied even as they spoke of them -- and shed muchblood.
During the 1980s, when our government was sponsoring the dirty wars inCentral America, two U.S. Bactrim without prescription, groups in particular countered thosepolitics of repression, torture, and death. One was the Pledge ofResistance, which gathered the signatures of hundreds of thousands whopromised to respond with civil disobedience if the U.S. invadedSandinista-run Nicaragua or otherwise deepened its involvement withthe dictatorships and death squads of Central America. Another wasWitness for Peace, which placed gringos as observers and unarmedprotectors in communities throughout Central America.
While killing or disappearing campesinos could be carried out withease in countries like El Salvador and Guatemala, doing the same toU.S. citizens, or in front of them, was a riskier proposition, bactrim without prescription. TheYankee witnesses used the privilege of their color and citizenship asa shield for others and then testified to what they saw. We have cometo a moment when we need to strengthen the solidarity so manyactivists around the world have felt for the Zapatistas, strengthen it into something that can protect the sources of "the fire and the word"-- the fire that has warmed so many who have a rebel heart, the wordthat has taught us to imagine the world anew.
The United States and Mexico both have eagles as their emblems, cheapest bactrim prices,predators which attack from above. The Zapatistas have chosen a snailin a spiral shell, a small creature, easy to overlook. Bactrim without prescription, It speaks ofmodesty, humility, closeness to the earth, and of the recognition thata revolution may start like lightning but is realized slowly, patiently, steadily. The old idea of revolution was that we would trade one government for another and somehow this new government would set us free and change everything. More and more of us now understand that change is a discipline lived every day, as those women standing before us testified; that revolution only secures the territory in which life can change. Launching a revolution is not easy, as the decade of planning before the 1994 Zapatista uprising demonstrated, and living one is hard too, a faith and discipline that must not falter until the threats and old habits are gone -- if then. Truerevolution is slow.
There's a wonderful passage in Robert Richardson's biography ofThoreau in which he speaks of the Europe-wide revolution of 1848 andsays of the New England milieu and its proliferating cooperativecommunities at that time, "Most of the founders were more interestedin building models, which would be emulated because they succeeded,than in the destruction of the existing order, bactrim without prescription. Still American utopiansocialism had much in common with the spirit of 1848."
This says very directly that you can reach out and change the stateand its institutions, which we recognize as revolution, or you canmake your own institutions beyond the reach of the state, Cheapest bactrim, which isalso revolutionary. This creating -- rather than simply rebelling --has been much of the nature of revolution in our time, as peoplereinvent family, gender, food systems, work, housing, education,economics, medicine and doctor-patient relations, the imagination ofthe environment, and the language to talk about it, not to speak ofmore and more of everyday life. The fantasy of a revolution is that itwill make everything different, and regime revolutions generally makea difference, sometimes a significantly positive one, but the makingof radical differences in everyday life is a more protracted,incremental process. It's where leaders are irrelevant and every lifematters. Bactrim without prescription, Give the Zapatistas time -- the slow, unfolding time of the spiral andthe journey of the snail -- to keep making their world, the one thatilluminates what else our lives and societies could be. Our revolutionmust be as different as our temperate-zone, post-industrial society isto their subtropical agrarianism, but also guided by the slow forcesof dignity, imagination, and hope, as well as the playfulness theydisplay in their imagery and language. The testimony in the auditoriumended late on December 31. At midnight, amid dancing, the revolutionturned 14. May it long continue to spiral inward andoutward.
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