ricardo dominguez on Thu, 13 May 1999 22:44:27 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The Zapatistas & Newton's Apple, May 11 (Part 2)

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

The Zapatistas and Newton's Apple

May of 1999

"The snake
broke the mirror
into a thousand pieces,
and the apple
was the rock."

Frederico Garcia Lorca

Now the moon is a bitten apple.  The burning furnace of
May in the mountain has torn the clothing from the
mother-of-pearl, it has painted it in red,
and a black wind from the west gnaws at it,
 insistently and lewdly.

The moon is saddened, an apple flushed with red,
with her petticoats tucked up, a little out of desire,
a little because of the heat and a little so
that she can hurry along better.

First some clouds, later a rain,
come to cover her roseate embarrassment.

Perhaps it is not necessary to mention it, but it is dawn
in the mountains of the Mexican southeast.  Down
below an obscure figure watches over the watch
and, through the clouds that are created, his lips are

"There are mountains
who want to be
of water.
And stars are invented
above its back.

And there are mountains
who want to have
And the clouds are invented,

Frederico Garcia Lorca.

A little further away la realidad is stirred and cooled
by a sudden wind of men and women of different sizes,
of various colors, of all faces, of many names.
They say they are coming to find each other, although
none of them appear to be lost.

Some of the air that is beginning to exist in la realidad
reaches the strange chamber of the obscure shadow and
disturbs the watchful watch that magnifies shadows.
The figure of shadows breathes deeply or sighs, white
clouds are re-invented and, with stars at his back, he
remembers, he makes memory...

I.  The Gamble

It is Mexico and the year 1999 is going frantically by.
May is the new tyrant on the calendar, but November
has cut in, clandestinely, dressed in rain and black, to
exact sums and subtractions from the already complicated
accounts of the collective resistance and hopes.

And, in order to do sums, it is necessary to do encuentros.
And between the two of them, the one that disturbed
November  and the one that is now keeping May awake,
there were many others.  Small and large, public
and discreet, brief and long encuentros between
those who had not met each other before, because
of the political times that, from above,  put in place
and impose priorities, agendas, themes and absurdities.

All these meetings, big meetings, little meetings and huge
meetings, were, and are, motivated and driven by the Consulta
for the Recognition of the Rights of the Indian Peoples and
for the End to the War of Extermination, convened initially
by the EZLN, and almost immediately appropriated by a
much broader and deeper movement.

In the Fifth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, the
zapatistas called for a mobilization in order to demand
the recognition of the rights of the very first inhabitants
of these lands, and to demand a complete halt to the
government's war of extermination against the
indigenous (whose new phase was inaugurated,
with blood and fire, by Ernesto Zedillo on the dawn of the
22nd of December in the community of Acteal).

With the war now decided on, and all real commitment
to dialogue and a peaceful resolution of the conflict
abandoned, Zedillo's government had buried the San
Andres Accords through his failure to keep his word.
The zapatistas then turned to either side and proposed
another dialogue, one which should, and could, take
place between equals, with respect and

Accustomed to the complicated toss of the coin,
the risk that the zapatistas were taking in front
of the Powers was not small,  with their
call to the Consulta.

The powerful of Mexico had been betting that the
EZLN would by now have lost its ability to convene,
that (given that, for them, it is a mere media phenomena)
the zapatistas would have lost presence in the media and,
therefore, in the thoughts and the hearts of the people,
that the forgetting would have managed once more to
recover its realm of comfortable skepticism and cruel
cynicism, and that the policies that the politicians
of above were making above would have no rival
competing for attention and transcendance.

The zapatistas, those perverse gamblers on the impossible,
were risking everything on the people who are like them
and on the people calling to the people.  Gambling that
they would still have a place in the hearts, the
souls and the minds of many, that the forgetting
would have now lost the final battle with memory,
and that another way of doing politics was
possible and necessary.

Every day, from November until March, the gamble
was renewed.  The Powers put police and armies
on the table, political parties, opinion leaders,
television channels and radio stations, newspapers
and magazines, officials of varying degrees of gray,
money, much money.  The zapatistas had nothing
to put down that they had not already staked that
first dawn of the year of 1994.

But that was before, when the dark-skinned hands
of the zapatistas launched the coin of the Consulta,
betting (as always) everything they had.

In this May dawn, November has come to
demand results, responses.

Eagle or sin?  Face or cross?  Above or below?
Who won and who lost at the gaming table
that is Mexico in the first half of 1999?

II.  The Table

After a disastrous beginning, foreign capital had
managed to momentarily put the national macroeconomy
back together.  The economic bubble that so
excites the Mexican financial rats is inflated
by money that is expected to multiply itself,
without any importance being attached to the
rubble that their profits leave tomorrow.

The rise in international oil prices (as firm and lasting
as an OPEC agreement could be) means a strategic
monetary reserve for the Mexican government that
will not be used - no! - to solve the most pressing
problems of the national economy.  The fate of that
money will be other:  the presidential elections of 2000.
Meanwhile, the budget cuts continue and grow deeper,
and, along with them, unemployment and price increases.

If someone asks why a federal budget, designed
when crude oil prices were low, is not adjusted
"upwards," with prices on the rise, he will not
receive a response.  The most urgent thing now
is to build up the "petty cash" that will be the
main "political platform" of the future PRI
candidate for the presidency of the Republic.

Those rapacious and migratory birds, that
are the international financial capital, have
come to nest in Mexican lands.  But it will
only be for a moment.  The overvaluation
of the Mexican peso and the lowering of interest
rates are good food for those parasites, but
they can only lead to their advantage if the
bubble bursts.  The profit comes from the 'crack,' not
from stability.  And so the bubble in which
Zedillo and his cabinet are getting themselves
drunk is being inflated for the clear purpose of
exploiting it.

In the Mexican Stock Exchange, the rats
are celebrating, and, drunk with the apparent
prosperity, they are forgetting the most basic:
the location of the festivities is a rat hole,
multi-coloured and wrought of fine
crystal, but, at the end of the day, a rat hole.

But, in order for there to be funds left over
from the economic bubble, so that the political
bubble of the Mexican political system can
be inflated, their lungs must collapse.
Determined to make 1999 'their' year, the
Mexican political class has not managed
to do anything more than to turn it
into the year of their most grotesque nakedness.

But, attention!  The rotten apple of Power is in dispute.

Leading all the absurdities, with no one else
having the stature necessary to contend for
the stupidity title, is Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon.
For more than four years he has been trying
unsuccessfully to deceive us all with the story
that he governs this country, and now he is insisting on
something even more incredible:  he will not
designate the PRI candidate for the presidency
 in the year 2000.

Far beneath the new king of grey humor, the
political parties are fighting for second place.

The PRI, reaffirming their vocation as a criminal
gang (we cannot even say "of organized crime,"
because they are so disorganized), where the new
'capo' is more and more convinced that he should
repeat the dose of blood of 1994 in order to control
the more and more frequent rebellions of the
gang members.

The PAN, trapped between the pragmatism that
duplicates powers (the party's leadership versus
the party's legislators), and expressing their
indignation over the lack of fulfillment of
what had been agreed...while they sign a new agreement.

The PRD, with the affectation of one who calls
himself the victim of a conspiracy, forgetting that
the most painful and definitive blows have come
to them...from their own side.

The political class counts on the valiant collaboration
of a good number of the media in this decadent
strip-tease of intentions.  One and another
repeats to us:  this is the year of the political
class, this is the most important, this is the only
important thing, this is the only thing, this
is, this.

But while the gamblers are taking off their
clothes according to whether they win or lose,
forgetting now that it is not the country's path
that is being determined, but only the color of
the flag that will festoon the catastrophe in its
final moments, others have arrived to make them
uncomfortable (with their presence and the
stakes they set), driving the placid little game
of old Mexican politics crazy.

Some of these others are wearing electricians' helmets,
they are wearing electricians' uniforms, they are speaking
like electricians and they are even wearing a little insignia
that says "Mexican Electricians Union," and
so one might assume that these others are electrical
workers.  But these others, instead of checking out
the multi-coloured lights that decorate the
political catwalk, have placed an emphatic
NO on the betting table.  "NO what?" ask those who,
facing the table, are taking off the last of their
clothes.  "NO to privatization of the electricity industry,"
 say these others who are electricity workers, and who,
by saying so, are also saying:  "NO to the selling off of
national sovereignty," "NO to the lie."  And I
do not know if they know it, but I believe they do
know it, that by saying this NO, these others are
saying YES to the morning.

The confusion provoked at the table by the NO
of the others who are electricians is still strong,
when some others appear and plant another NO
just like that.  These other others are dressed like
university students, they are talking like university
students and more than one is wearing a little insignia
with a two-headed eagle and the slogan "The spirit will
speak through my race," and so one might assume
that these other others are university students.  But
these other others, instead of asking to be allowed
in to the political parties who are gathered at the
table, put their NO forward onto the shaky tower
of bets.  "NO what?" ask those who are at the table,
with their flesh exposed.  "NO to the General Payment
Regulations," say these other others who are university
students, and who, by saying so, are also saying "NO
to the privatization of the UNAM."  And I do not
know if they know it, but I believe they do know it,
that by saying this NO, these other others are
saying YES to the morning.

Other ones who are arriving now are fools, inconvenient
ones, breakers of the law, and they are also very short
and dark.  They are dressed like indigenous, they are
speaking like indigenous and everything makes one
assume that they are indigenous.  These other ones,
instead of offering up crafts to the gamblers, or instead
of asking them what they can offer them, show a
red-black NO in their hands.  "NO what?" ask those
who are at the table, naked now.  "NO to the war of
extermination," say these other ones who are indigenous,
and who, by saying so, are also saying "NO to the
forgetting of history," "NO to the lie."  And I do not
know if they know, but I believe they do know it,
that by saying this NO, these other ones are
saying YES to the morning.

More others continue to be added and to take their
seats at the table.  They put down bets and the NO's
are multiplied at an alarming rate (for the old politicians),
and, with a little basic math one could guess the
results, and now it can be seen that the NO's
are going to win and a shudder runs through the
old gamblers with the flaccid skeletons, and then
they pick up their clothes again, scandalized, and
exclaim:  "Conspiracy!" "Strange hands!"
"Politicization!" "Intolerance!"

Up above, far from everything and everyone
and newly ambushed, the grey men of Mexican
politics renew their fight over the worm-ridden
apple of power.

Without old gamblers, the electricians, the university
students, the indigenous and the other very others who
are joining, decide that it is good to be betting now,
and that it is the hour to speak and to speak with,
to listen and to listen to, and everyone begins talking
and listening to each other, and I do not know if they
understand everything, but a terrible troublemaker
was seen, and the intelligent "intelligence services" of
Labastida are paying attention, and they are running
now to inform their superior that there is indeed a
"strange force" behind those movements, and
the Secretary of Government, with his face rigid
from the gravity of the moment ( as well as from
the plastic surgery he had in the hope of regaining
points in the polls), asks:

"Who is it?"

The useless and foolish "intelligence services" respond
with satisfaction:


III.  The Consulta:  the Possible Calculations

The zapatista Consulta provided four questions
in the national arena and five in the international.

For the government, and for the not small number
who were confused (among them, some members
of the Cocopa stand out), the questionnaire was
discredited.  They said the questions were "rigged
and cheating," and that the affirmative response was
already implicit in the way the questionnaire
was drawn up.

The March 21 results demonstrate that it was not so,
there were not a few people who responded NO to
whether or not the rights of the Indian peoples in
Mexico should be recognized, NO to whether or not
the San Andres Accords should be carried out, NO
to whether the Army should withdraw to its
barracks, and NO to leading, obeying.  The
questions were so open that persons such as Dolores
de la Vega, Sergio Sarmiento, Hector Aguilar Camin
and Enrique Krauze, to mention just four of the writers
of the same intellectual capacity, could have responded
NO to the questionnaire.  Others, like Ernesto Zedillo,
Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Francisco Labastida
and Mario Villanueva - to mention just four members
of the PRI of the same moral caliber - could have
done the same thing.

Racism - as the government and media campaigns
against the zapatista Consulta and the March 21 results
demonstrated - does not just exist in Mexico, it was
also made clear that it is not something associated with a
low income or cultural level, and that it is, in truth, a
doctrine in not a few of the high political and cultural circles.

With those questions the zapatistas demonstrated that
they were not only willing to listen to those who
understand and think that this country has a different
and better future, but also to those who hold that there is
nothing better than the present, and that no change
presented would be anything but a "trap and rigged."

A part of a great mobilization and movement in itself,
the great collective that carried out the National and
International Consulta has faces that can
be counted:

Brigades in Mexico: 2,358.

Brigadistas in Mexico:  27,859.

Other countries where the Consulta was held:  29.

Brigades in other countries:  265.

Zapatista delegates in Mexico:  4,996.

Total of munciipalities visited in Mexico:  1299.

Population that was made contact with in Mexico:  64,598,409.

Number of political and social organizations contacted in Mexico:  1141.

Persons involved - in Mexico, and without counting Chiapas - in the
organization and carrying out of the Consulta:  120,000.

Tables and assemblies:  14,893.

Votes in Mexico:  2,854,737.

Votes in other countries:  58,378.

IV.  The Impossible Calculations

But the questions concerning the calculations about
the fundamental part of the Consulta will not have answers.

What does it mean that an organization that is besieged,
persecuted, harassed and attacked, through military, political,
ideological, social and economic means, can prepare
5000 of its members to break the circle and to
cover the 32 states of the Mexican Federation?

What political, social and citizen force would be needed
to pick up those 5000 transgressors of the law in the
mountains of the Mexican southeast and
to take them to all the corners of Mexico?

How was it possible to celebrate the most massive
exercise of dialogue that the history of this country has known?

What is there in the hearts of those men, women, children
and old ones, who defied threats, lies and risks, in order
to meet face to face with the zapatistas, to travel with them,
 to eat with them, to sleep with them, to speak with them,
to respond with them, to walk with them?

Where was the fear of committing themselves, of participating,
of being an actor and not a spectator?

What moved tens of thousands of Mexican men and women in
national territory and abroad to raise the flag of the Consulta,
not only without receiving any money whatsoever, but even
having to pay for it out of their own

How can one count the dignity, the duty, the memory and
the commitment of all those men and women workers,
campesinos and campesinas, indigenous, students, punks,
street gangs, political and social activists, members of
non-governmental organizations, artists and intellectuals,
homosexuals and lesbians, church base communities, priests,
 nuns, bishops, retired persons and pensioners, debtors, men,
 women, children, old ones and young persons?

V.  Weights and Balances

On the scales of the bets in Mexico at the end of century,
the right pan holds the weight of the Mexican political
system.  The rotting apple of Power, oozing blood and
mud, weighs the scales of history dangerously to
one side.

Unexpectedly, the moon of la realidad lets itself fall
and rests her weight and path in the left plate of a
scales at the point of coming down.  Her gesture
balances it somewhat, but not enough for the
scales to move to where it should be, to the morning.

The unstable equilibrium of the Mexican night,
still threatening to fall.  It is obvious that there would
be another history if another apple were to
join with the moon...

VI.  Another Apple, Another Politics

"Adam ate the apple
of the virgin Eve.
Newton was a second Adam
of Science.
The first knew
The second a Pegasus
weighed down with chains.

And they were not to blame.

The two apples were
and new,
but bitter according to legend.

Both the embarrassed breasts
of the child innocence!"

Frederico Garcia Lorca

Scientists, political scientists, opinion leaders, chiefs
of great and small political sects, all have gathered
around Newton's fallen apple.  All of them analyze, discuss,
corroborate.  Hours, days, weeks, months, entire
years they take up.  Finally they come to the
irrefutable conclusion:  the apple has fallen because
the law of gravity so orders it.  It is irremediable,
the apple must fall, and, by doing so, it has done
nothing other than to subject itself to the law of
gravity.  The political scientists congratulate each
other and then begin great essays in order to show
Newton's apple as an example of 'real-politik.'  The
chiefs of state talk of erecting a multiple monument
in all the palaces of Power.

But, among the persons gathered around the future
monument to modern politics, there is a strange person.
He seems to be a shadow, without face and without
name.  If they ask him who he is, the shadow would
respond "zapatista," but no one asks him anything.
Everyone is very busy with
their calculations, plans and programs.

But, while the scientists are making complicated
calculations concerning velocity, trajectory, much
weight, acceleration, wind resistance, impact
and similar etceteras, and while the political
scientists are re-writing Machiavelli and
discussing prices with the modern princes,
the zapatista approaches the apple, he looks
at it, he smells it, he touches it, he
listens to it...

The zapatista understands what the apple
is whispering in his ear.  He understands
the challenge demanded by its cry.  The
apple says that fate does not order it to
fall to the ground, and, since it is a transgressor of
the law who is listening to it, it is about
breaking the law of gravity.

The apple is an apple, but it is, above all,
a lady.  The zapatista is without face or name,
but he is, above all, a gentleman.  And the
paper and pencil come out again, and the
apple explains and the zapatista feels and

This apple that Newton has chained to the
ground has another destiny.  The moon is an
apple.  The scales of history need two apples
in order to be able to look out at the morning

While managing to to work out the reverse
flight of Newton's apple, the zapatista looks
at the apple again, smells it, touches it, and,
what else, gives it a tender bite.

The political scientists continue repeating and
repeating to each other the 'real-politik,' and
the etceteras that already fill the magazines and
newspapers and the radio and television air time.

The zapatista continues making calculations.
To fall upwards, that is the mystery whose solution
 has been proposed...

VII.  The Invitation

Brothers and sisters:

In the name of the men, women, children and
old ones of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation,
we welcome you to La Realidad and we tell you that
this is our invitation for this encuentro:

We invite you, together, to discover and to enforce
the law that returns Newton's apple to its original
vocation, which is evidently none other than,
after having given in to the assault of lips, teeth
and tongue, to fall upwards and reach the sky,
which is where there should be suns, moons,
stars, and all the apples bitten into by history...

Vale.  Salud and we we are letting the supreme
government know that a foreigner has snuck
into this meeting, and, transgessing the laws,
he has participated in it.  His name?  Frederico.
His last names?  Garcia Lorca.  He had to be
disguised as dead and hidden among the pages
of a book, arriving when "...in the slates/the wind,
furious, bites."

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante insurgente Marcos

Mexico,  May of 1999.

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