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Beyond Resistance: Everything,

PaperBoat Press, Durham, North Carolina, 2007.

An Interview with Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos and Kilombo Intergaláctico

(p.26) “We think that there does have to be a basic political definition, but that it has to respect, maintain, cultivate , and make grow its spaces of autonomy and rebellion. So, in broad strokes, we have these two results or these two axes: that of destruction, which is telling us that there is no longer any turning back, that this is the last call, as we say, and that if we take the slow road, little by little, we are not going to have anything to save or rebuild; and on the other side, that of the rebellions that are clamoring for a national organized space, without losing their identities.”

(p.26) Question: What would a new nation and a new constitution look like in this context of a scrambled geography (US/Mexico)? “What we try to teach people – and to practice – is modesty. We have to recognize that there are realities that we cannot imagine, just like there are worlds that we cannot imagine; and the fact that we can’t imagine them does not mean that they aren’t possible. This Mexico, so complex in its destruction, could be equally complex in its richness. But we can’t imagine it, because when we try to imagine it, we use referents that we already know.”

(p.30) “We think this is the problem of identity, when one says, ‘Who am I?’ And they skim the yellow pages thinking, let’s see, my referent should be here somewhere. Yet it doesn’t occur to them that this referent doesn’t exist, that it must be constructed. The problem is not if someone is African or North American or Mexican, but rather that one is constructing their own identity and that they define themselves: ‘I am this!'”

(p. 31) “And they start to construct an identity, and they form small collectives, and they

say, ‘Who are we? We are…’ whatever they call themselves. [And when someone asks] ‘But you guys, what are you, anarchists, communists, Zapatistas?’ [They answer] ‘No, we’re such and such collective.’ We think that with regard to communities and collectives, this is going to arise. The world that we are going to construct has no reason to use former national identities or the construction of a nation as a referent.”

(p.39) “…what do you imagine beyond resistance? Rebellion? Constituent power? A massive civil insurrection?”

(p.40) “…we need another way that has nothing to do with the radical Left of armed struggle, or with the reformist left of the electoral realm. We think that this discontent and inconformity exists across the world, and that you have to find it….That is why we say, this isn’t about constructing a world rebellion. That already exists. It’s about constructing the space where rebellion encounters itself, shows itself, begins to know itself . To those that say there isn’t discontent in the American Union, the thing is there is, but we can’t see it. Or we can’t see it because it doesn’t show itself. And it doesn’t show itself because it has no place to do so.”

(p.42) “We don’t want the government. We want another country, another world.”

(p.45) “…as this structure develops, people that are not Zapatistas also begin to recognize them as their legitimate government. So we said, we’re an organization for Zapatistas, but the government isn’t just for Zapatistas. It should be for anyone who wants it.”

(p.46) “They [those in positions of political decision making in the rotations of the Juntas] have to go back and work the land because this is what guarantees that the political class is not corrupted, that there isn’t a political class!”

Zapatistas: ‘behind us we are you’

Argentinian Piqueteros: ‘the other is I’

Black Panthers: ‘I am we’

(p.48) “We think that the only real guarantee of individuality, of subjectivity, is the collective. The problem is how the collective relates to its parts: if it is imposing a hegemony or respecting these differences….Individualism in reality is the negation of the individuality of subjectivity.”

(p.50) “All empires, or all of the great world oppressions, seemed invincible up to the eve of their fall.”

Question #11: “How do you conceptualize [love or respect] as a political concept, perhaps the most important political concept of our times, the concept that lacks nothing?”

(p.57) “The problem of respect is toward the Other. We say that when we as Zapatistas say we love this land, it is that we respect it. And we look for the best for it, not according to our criteria but according to what we understand from [the land] itself. Because it’s not the same to say, ‘I love you and I want what’s best for you but according to what I think is best for you, and I don’t give a shit what you think.’ That’s not respect.”

(p.57-58) “Whatever political relationship that is not based in respect is a manipulation. Well-intentioned or bad-intentioned, it doesn’t matter, because it is a manipulation. If you don’t respect the thinking of the other, of their word, if you don’t speak to them clearly, then you don’t respect them and you are manipulating them.”

“El pinguino:” A reference to the crippled chicken that the EZLN commanders could not bring themselves to eat as they were picking up camp and the rest of the animals were destined for the stew pot, and which became a kind of Zapatista mascot. “El pinguino” waddled like a penguin in its effort to walk upright, and insisted on eating and sleeping with the EZLN commanders. It becomes a symbol for the simultaneous awkwardness and dignity of changing oneself and the possibility of walking with unexpected comrades in the struggle. (footnote #4, p.60)

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One thought on “just some quotes

  1. In my several visits to Northern Ireland, I have been exploring the developing peace process and the reconciliation of warring parties. While a few at the extremes are holding on to violence as a mechanism for their version of victory, the vast majority of people have abandoned the wars and are newly committed to a peaceful, inclusive and democratic way forward. Former combatants have taken some leadership roles in reaching across the divide to develop relationships with their former enemies. Eight hundred years of “bombs and bullets” had not delivered the victory that each side insisted on.

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