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Commentary :: International : Media : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Chiapas, México: EZLN The Other Campaign begins!
03 Jan 2006
On January 1, 2006, the convoy that accompanied Subcomandante Insurgent Marcos departed from the Garrucha Caracol to San Cristobal de las Casas. With that marked the the first step in the new Zapatista political initiative known as The Other Campaign, which hopes to forge an anti-capitalist alliance of the non-electoral Left in Mexico. The journey culminated with a public rally in the Cathedral Plaza, known as the Plaza of Resistance, where members of Zapatista Command spoke. Nearly 300 people of the Highlands region of the state of Chiapas, who have signed on to the zapatista initiative gathered with subcomandante Marcos, now called Delegate Zero, in his first day of the Other Campaign.
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It's 9:30 in the morning and the cold air is intense. The fog has not yet lifted. San Crisotbal seems like a ghost town at such an early hour in the morning after the new year's festivities. Nonetheless, on the outskirts of town, on the periferico of San Crisis, you can already see a lot of movement. Dozens of pickup trucks arrive with the beds filled with Zapatista comrades, women and men from the bases of support all wearing black balaclavas and red bandanas. Seated a few meters from the periferico, others arrive to wait for the grand entrance of the contingents from the bases of support, arriving from all of the rebel areas to begin the march scheduled for the afternoon toward the center of this city to initiate the departure of Delegate Zero in its journey through the Mexican Republic.

The trucks carrying the Zapatistas brandish banners announcing Long live the EZLN and the Other Campaign! with logos from autonomous municipalities like those from San JUan de la LIbertad or San Andres Sakamch'en de los Pobres. Slogans on the banners also call out: “Here and there the Sexta will live on. The other campaign will unfold without trickery. Peasants and Workers, the other campaign is first. The declared people will no longer be cheated.“ This contingent is the first advance from the nearest villages.

Tzotziles, tzetzales, some dressed in their traditional clothing, left their villages in the early hours of this day. The fog has lifted and the sun is hitting strong. Contingents are still arriving, some on feet and in good formation in an atmosphere that marks with rebellious pride the Zapatista struggle. In some time the march will begin.

Zapatista bases of support arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas Thousands of compañer@s come up to the afternoon's rally in downtown San Cristobal.

San Cristobals's bells ring very early. They won't awaken anyone, I thought, last night was the binge of the end of the year and the tourists rest hungover in the luxurious hotels at city center. They won't wake up But for us, the bell toll reminded us that it was late that the bases of support would have be arriving since the predawn hours. We take the taxi toward Coca Cola plant, the fog extends throughout the outskirts and turning onto Juan Sabines Boulevard we pick out a few figures on the road. Astonished, the taxi driver looked and asked us, “Ah, what's going to happen?“

As they approach, we see hundreds of women and men covered with balaclavas and further back more trucks arrived with their backpens filled to the top with more balaclavas. “They come masked!“ said the surprised taxi driver. After a little examination he concluded, “but they come peacefully, they do not have arms.“

Some meters away from the red letters that announce the soft drink most representative of U.S. capitalism lose their significance. In front of the plant the Zapatistas advanced in cars with banners praying: “Long live the other campaign, long live the EZLN, long live the national tour!“ Beyond them more announced: “Long live the people in resistance!“ “Long live Zapatista women!“

The different indigenous dress indicated that all of the zapatista municipalities had arrived. I approached one of them to ask where they had come from and he told me: “From everywhere, from the jungle, from the highlands.“ He looked toward the front like he was counting, and I asked them how many they were. With a sincere smile he said, “We're a shitload.“ Many left from their communities at four in the morning; at one in the afternoon more trucks continued to arrive.

FOr now the communities wait for everyone to arrive, while some rest to eat soup, others hold regional assemblies, organize their security, but everyone remains patient keeping the moment to leave.

In the center of San Cristobal, meanwhile, the stage is arranged, the people are waiting and ready. It seems like everyone will read the plackard that a young Zapatista carries between her hands: “Here, there, the Sexta will live on.“

Con la celebración del 12° aniversario del levantamiento zapatista también comienza la marcha que recorrerá cada Estado de la República Mexicana y en la que el EZLN, a través de su Delegado Zero, se encontrará con la izquierda "de abajo", conforme a los acuerdos entre los adherentes a la Sexta Delaclaración de la Selva Lacandona durante la Primera Sesión Plenaria por La Otra Campaña en septiembre pasado.
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