1_zap_bnail Zapatista National Liberation Army


April 21, 2015

To the Compas of the Sixth:

To the presumed attendees of the Seminar “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra”:

We want to let you know that:

As of April 21, 2015, the number of people who have registered for the seminar “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra” is approximately 1,074 men, women, others, i children, and elderly from Mexico and the world. Of this number:

558 people are adherents of the Sixth.

430 people are not adherents of the Sixth

82 people say they are from the free, autonomous, independent, alternative, or whatever-you-call-it media.

4 people are from the paid media (only one person from the paid media has been rejected, it was one of the three who were sponsored by the Chiapas state government to sully the name of the Zapatista Compa Professor Galeano and present his murderers as victims.)

Now then, we don’t know if among those 1,074 who have registered so far there might be a portion who have gotten confused and think that they have registered for Señorita Anahí’s wedding ii (apparently she’s marrying somebody from Chiapas, I’m not sure, but pay me no mind because here the world of politics and entertainment are easily confused… ah! There too? Didn’t I tell you?)

Anyway, I’m sharing the number of attendees because it’s many more than we had expected would attend the seminar/seedbed. Of course now that’s CIDECI’s problem, so… good luck!

What? Can people still register? I think so. I’m not sure. When questioned by Los Tercios Compas, Doctor Raymundo responded: “no problem at all, in any case the number of people who will actually pay attention are far fewer.” Okay, okay, okay, he didn’t say that, but given the context he could have. What’s more, not even the Doc knows how many people are going to come to CIDECI.

In any case, if you are engrossed by the high quality of the electoral campaigns and are reflecting profoundly on the crystal clear proposals of the various candidates, you should not waste your time on this critical thinking stuff.

Okay then, don’t forget your toothbrush, soap, and something to comb your hair.

From the concierge of the seminar/seedbed,
In search of the cat-dog,

Mexico, April 2015.

The Cat-Dog in the chat “Zapatista attention to the anti-Zapatista client”:
(You are currently on hold, one of our advisors will be with you in a moment. If it takes awhile, it’s because we’re on pozol break. iii We thank you for your patience.)






Hello? Can you hear me?”

“Ah yes hello, I would like to register.”

“Listen, are there still seats available?

“Ah okay, but listen, the thing is that I want a seat really close to the front, you understand?

“Hey listen, will there be a chance for a selfie, and autographs, and all that?

“Yes, listen, another question, in the registration process are you giving out some kind bonus, as they say?”

“What! This isn’t the registration for the Juan Gabriel concert?

“Damn! I knew it. I told the gang that if we didn’t hurry up we weren’t going to get a seat.”

“Alright listen, if there aren’t any seats left for Juan Gabriel, then give me one for Jaime Maussan.”

“What, no seats for Maussan either! Alright then, tell me where there are seats.”

“Oh really? So you guys are trying to be really postmodern huh? Very metaFukuyama and all that, right?

“Listen, let me recommend for the subject of postmodernism, José Alfredo Jiménez and his classic aphorism of “life isn’t worth a thing.” That is the real thing, not that nonsense of a nihilism of multi-colored condoms and feminine pads.

Well listen, let me tell you that what is really important is a cultured pragmatism. I mean, appropriately and pleasantly presented. For example, the Araña weaving inconfessable alliances, Meñique [Littlefinger] investing in various “scenarios,” the institutional left doubting whether it should be left or institutional, the Laura Bozzo of the vanguard of the proletariat pontificating, a lot of svelte nudes to remind you of cellulitis and stretch marks, Kirkman proposing fascism as the best option in times of crisis, Rick and Carol exactly like they are, Tyron exchanging Cercei for Khaleesi, the “investigative journalism” searching out who will do their work for them with the slogan “go ahead and denounce, we’ll see if we can get paid for printing it.” Yes, what Alejandría needs are less Latinos and African Americans, and more figures along the line of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. There, you see, even the fucking dragons changed political parties and the Starks are having trouble getting their party registered. And later Mance Rayder wanted to be all freedom loving and all, and they killed him for not wanting to vote. Ah, but in the game of thrones that matters, what’s really worth something is on the island of Braavos. Seven Reigns be damned! Winter is coming and “The Iron Bank will get what belongs to it.

“Anyway, I’d give more spoilers, but better not to. I’ll leave you in doubt, suffering…”

Hey listen, are you sure there aren’t any seats left? Not for Neil Diamond either? Sonora Santanera? Not even Arjona?

Hey listen I’m confused. Isn’t this where you register for shows and performances? You know, like the movies, theater, concerts, comic routines, electoral campaigns, Don Francisco, circuses with animals on the ticket [ballot], candidacies, reality shows, green advertising spots on Imax screens, “Stop suffering” propaganda charged to the public treasury, lose weight by jogging to the ballot box?

“I knew it!” Fucking Peñabots! They have to be promoting abstention. Don’t they understand they’re just playing to the right? Don’t they see the great advances of the progressive governments in the world? I’m sure that you are a renter or have a mortgage to pay, right. And here I am, with my own house, trying to orient and guide you, and you all over there stuck in sadomasochism. I hope you get sick from that sandwich with salmonella! There you have your unlaic [unlike], your mute, your block, and your unfolou [unfollow]! So let’s see how you survive now eh!

(The user has gone offline. The chat session is over. End of transmission).
(sound of liquid being poured).
(voice stage left): Who spilled pozol agrio on the keyboard?! I told you not to let the cat-dog use the computer! Oh just wait until I find him, then he’ll see!

I testify.


Woof! Meow! (And vice versa).

Translator’s Notes:

[i] The text uses “otroas,” to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.

[ii] Anahi is the singer/actress engaged to the Governor of Chiapas. Their elaborate (expensive) wedding will soon take place in Chiapas, one of the country’s poorest states.

[iii] pozol agrio is a drink made from corn



Thursday, April 23, 6pm at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics

Tuesday, April 28, 7pm at The Omni Commons


Zibechi on Eduardo Galeano

Posted: April 17, 2015 by Chiapas Support Committee in Raúl Zibechi
Tags: , , ,


Eduardo Galeano

Eduardo Galeano

By: Raúl Zibechi

Those who listen to the beat from below harbor their sorrows and share their laughs and weeping. Those who make an effort to understand them without interpreting them, by accepting them without judging them, can win a place in the hearts of those below. Eduardo Galeano toured the most diverse Latin American geographies on trains, on the back of a mule and on foot, traveling in the same ways as those below. He wasn’t seeking to imitate, but something better: feeling in his skin the feelings of others to make them come alive in his texts, to help them leave anonymity.

Eduardo was a simple man, committed to the common people, to the nobodies, to the oppressed. His was a commitment to the people of flesh and bone, to men and women living and suffering; much deeper than the adhesion to ideologies that always can be corrupted according to the interests of the moment. The pains of those below, he taught us, cannot be negotiated or represented, not even explained by the best writer. That’s equal to stopping their hopes.

Among his many teachings, it’s necessary to rescue his punctilious attachment to the truth. But he finds those truths far from the mundane noise of the media, in the hungry eyes of the Indian child, in the cut feet of the campesinos, in the candid smile of the sellers, there where the scorned tell their truths every day, without witnesses.

He never had the slightest hesitation in pointing towards those responsible for the poverty and hunger, like these chronicles about the crisis of Uruguayan industry, when at the age of 20 he was the editorial chief of the weekly Marcha, one of the first and best exponents of the critical and committed the press. In them he denounced the powerful with first names, last names and properties, without deviations. Because, as he liked to say: “the media prostitute the words.”

But it was his reports about the struggles and resistances of those below that left an early and indelible impression. Like the one he titled: “From rebellion henceforth,” in March 1964, relating the second “cañera” march (sugar cane workers’ march). His gaze stopped on the more than 90 boys that participated, on Doña Marculina Piñeiro, so old that they had forgotten their age and for whom he seemed to feel a special admiration. “They wanted to conquer us with hunger. But because of hunger what were we going to lose? We are accustomed,” the woman told him, a mother and granddaughter of cañeros.

His pen gave form to the everyday life of the disinherited, but it wasn’t made up of portraying their pain. He toiled at painting –with live colors– the dignity of their steps, their rage capable of overcoming the repression and torture. In first place would appear, always and in each one of his notes, the people that embodied sufferings and resistances. Perhaps because he was obsessed by the indifference of others, which he considered “a lifestyle” whose protective covering we should destroy, that’s why he wrote his articles.

Among the much homage that he received in life, he had the privilege of the teacher at the Little Zapatista School, José Luis Solís López, adopting Galeano as his pseudonym. It is very probable that the teacher was not referencing the writer. Anyhow, Eduardo and Zapatismo knew and recognized each other at once. As if they had been waiting all their lives. Neither a program nor a list of demands called him, but rather the ethics of being below and to the left.

Eduardo Galeano was in La Realidad in August 1996. He participated in one of the tables at the Intercontinental Meeting for Humanity and against Neoliberalism. He talked a little, was clear and said a lot. In those days, and in many more, he planted Galeanos, he infected Galeanos; Galeanos that now walk hoisting their dignity and their Galeano rage. The forever despised carry him in their hearts.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

En español:



Mexico: Ayotzinapa, Emblem of the Twenty-First Century Social Order

Caravana 43 in a recent visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan

Caravana 43 in a recent visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan

By: Ana Esther Ceceña

For Julio César Mondragón, in memoriam

Ayotzinapa is an ominous emblem of the atrocities generated by contemporary capitalism. Ayotzinapa is anywhere in our world where a dissident voice has been raised, a demand, a sign of rebellion in the face of the devastating dispossession and plunder on which the accumulation of capital is based, as well as the networks of power that sustain it.

Ayotzinapa is the end result of a bundle of interconnected events. These, with greater or lesser density and visibility, are part of the essence of Twenty-First Century capitalism, not limited to Mexico but spreading, whether surreptitiously or scandalously, throughout the whole world.

Twenty-First Century capitalism

It is increasingly clear that today’s capitalism runs on two tracks. On the one hand, we have the formally recognized society, with its economy, its organization and confrontation, its morality; and on the other the accelerating growth of a parallel society, whose economy is generically qualified as illegal, that works with a morality, organization and disciplinary methods that are quite different.

There are places in this world, such as Mexico, where the crises of neoliberalism, in addition to provoking substantial changes in their position in the international division of labor, in the definition of their productive activities and in the usage of their territory, have generated a social fracture that grows deeper over time. One of the central issues is that young people have lost their perspectives and a space to occupy. A society has been created with few possibilities for absorbing them, a society in which the chances of work or incorporation have disappeared, in which the horizons have faded out. It no longer had room for many existing workers, and much less so for those arriving on the scene. Some have called this Generation X, a generation that does not know where it is going because it has nowhere to go. The current phase of capitalist concentration has eliminated spaces even as it extends its power. Land, domestic activities, even entertainment were taken over, but growing sectors of the population were eliminated from the benefits, being left on the edge or becoming pariahs.

Given the depth and characteristics of this process, it is no longer possible to speak of a social order.  The existing conditions are rather those of disorder, rupture, decomposition and break ups. That is to say, this new order appeals to authoritarianism, as the only visible way to sustain it.

The militarization of the planet, especially in everyday affairs, has begun to impose itself as the general pattern of the whole process. Stability for this system not only demanded the “open and free market” of the neo-liberals, but the force that can guarantee its functioning. This is a militarized market, whose hands are not only visible, but also armed. This was the path taken by formal capitalism, that which is recognized and, paradoxically, “legal”.

However, the fractures this society has opened up, as if it had been subjected to fracking, have found cover in the development of a parallel society. This society occupied the small niches of the old one, but ended up invading it. It is a society that adopted the hidden trash the old one had -hypocritically- rejected, and made it into a business, an opportunity for accumulation and power.

All forms of illicit trade moved there: the illegal arms trade, drug production and traffic, human traffic, trafficking in valuable and rare species and a great number of variations on these that are the most profitable dealings – in part because they are not taxed – but that established morality is obliged to deny.

Here, the game of mutual confrontation took off, fueling the arms trade, and above all, the practice of extortion, blackmail, kidnapping or any variants on these.

Yet capital accumulation feeds on both sectors. The losers are the marginalized sectors: those economically, socially, politically or culturally excluded – excluded from business at different levels, or from power.

This is where a generous opening for young people came into play: their incorporation into the police or the armed forces provided them with conditions that no productive sector could offer them, and also gave some small recognition and a little power to those who had been categorized as socially useless. At the same time, there were openings in the supposedly contrary ranks. Drug dealers or businessmen engaged in illegal activities also needed their armies of servants or thugs. And these have provided employment over the last two or three decades, creating a new culture: the culture of the mercenary, of arbitrary power, of plunder by extortion.

As the “legal” economy entered a state of crisis, the dark side of the economy grew, operating in some of the same sectors as the “legal” economy, but in ways that are more profitable.

One example is that of undeclared mining operations, that even involve several forms of slavery in their work force. Whether in Africa or Mexico, there are mines operating with forced labor of children or adolescents, who are often kidnapped for this work and guarded by armed bodies, that might be either the army or mercenaries. The mining products are extracted almost without cost because the workers are not paid, without taxes because the products are undeclared and are exported with the complicity of mining consortia and their home States, as well as that of local authorities that take part of the profits for looking the other way or actively protecting the industry.

This kind of two-edged capitalism is thus able not only to survive the crisis, but also to engage in a double exploitation of the population through slave or semi-slave labor, different kinds of extortion, expulsion from land, outright robbery of their property and similar tactics. The key to all this is the exercise of ruthless violence.

Under these circumstances, the State becomes part of the process and society is subjected to warlike conditions in daily life. Violence is installed as social discipline and becomes generalized. In a public-private game those in charge of social control come together around the real sources of gain, be these legal or illegal, and around the configuration of local powers invested through their ability to impose a social order corresponding to these modalities of accumulation.

Diffuse and asymmetric wars

The conditions of concentration of wealth and power in today’s capitalism, associated with growing instability in a broad range of social groups, have driven the system into a state of risk, manifest in permanent conflicts and confrontations that are asymmetric in character, to use the terminology of the Pentagon. Contemporary wars increasingly adopt the notion of a diffuse enemy and take on the character of preventive wars that for the most part are undeclared.

Operations of destabilization and imposition of discipline, episodes of violence unleashed in specific places or of violence metered out over broad areas, are the preferred mechanisms of unspecified wars against diffuse enemies. At the same time, they are ideal mechanisms to open the way for the looting of resources in many regions of the planet, creating confusion that makes social organization very difficult.  The controlled supply of weapons and the provocation of violent situations are allies sought by contemporary capitalism.

There are no declared wars. There are no wars between equals. There is corrosion. A spreading stain of violence accompanies the capitalism of the beginnings of the Twenty-First Century. The institutions responsible for discipline and security of States have been inadequate in the face of the high level of appropriation and dispossession that marks today’s capitalism.  These institutions are reproduced on a local and private level as often as they are needed. “Islamic states”, “private guards”, “cartels” or “gangs” of so-called organized crime, appear as needed, to protect and broaden or deepen the sources of gain, of accumulation, and as such, complement the institutions that are officially recognized for these purposes.  Just as markets required military support, the institutional forces of social disciplining, given the level of appropriation and dispossession, require de-institutionalized support capable of exercising a level and a kind of violence that changes the patterns of social contention.  These are “irregular” forces that, like the state of exception, come into existence to remain in place.  They have become part of the regular forces that make the system function.

Ayotzinapa as the limit

Colombia was in a state of internal war when Plan Colombia was introduced and, in spite of the changed intensity in the violence and the direct and obvious intromission of the United States in the conduct of the conflict, the change in other areas was maybe less visible.  On the contrary, Mexico was celebrated as an emblem of discipline in democracy before the Merida Initiative began.

In less than ten years, the axis of discipline passed from the Institutional Revolutionary Party – the PRI – to the perpetrators of violence, in both State and private hands. The key was in the factors of corrosion that marked the way and in the disproportion of the corrective means employed. Violence exists in all societies, but the scope and methods introduced here imposed a new social logic. In this period, Mexican society had to get used to beheadings, mutilations, burned bodies, repeated disappearances, common graves and the ostentatious complicity of elements responsible for the security and justice of the State.

Estimates already surpass some one hundred thousand disappeared people and news reports start at twenty deaths daily. Mexico has become a cemetery for the poor and for migrants who are extorted, kidnapped for slave labor, savagely murdered in order to terrify and discipline others, or killed en masse. The relation of these actions with the control of migration to the United States is a matter of speculation, but there is no doubt as to the results. What is evident is the takeover of land, of business, of resources and of power that take place because of this. Every day there are more displaced people, more dispossessed people who dare not even complain for fear of reprisal and because there are no institutions of justice that will protect them.

In less than ten years and after much pain, society has been transformed. It is corroded, with clear signs of Balkanization, with growth of local power centers that make their own laws and negotiate with the federal authorities.  Fear has taken root through repeated and explicit savagery, although, through its much repetition, it is beginning to generate the opposite.

Ayotzinapa is the mountain peak. In Ayotzinapa the limits were over-reached. With complete impunity, ostentatious force and total complicity between the State and organized crime, they went against the most vulnerable members of society: poor young people from devastated rural areas, students in teacher training, children of the people known for their joy of living, desiring to change the world, that world that no one wants to accept. In addition, Ayotzinapa is the peak of a mountain of insult, defenselessness and anger. It is the accumulated conscience of ignominy and indignity.  It is the limit, the situation that brought back the energy, vitality, courage and dignity of the people of Mexico and drove them into the streets.  “They have taken so much from us that they have even taken away our fear” was one of the first posters raised by young people everywhere. Julio César Mondragón, a young man who had just entered the Teacher Training School of Ayotzinapa, already a father of a few months, and victim of the most savage tortures that we have seen, because of his pain has become the involuntary detonator of the recovery of strength, hope and decision on the part of the people of Mexico, mobilized today as they have not been for a long time.

Ayotzinapa is a symbol. It is the tip of the iceberg or a cleavage.

Ayotzinapa is the symbol of the wars of the Twenty-First Century and of the new patterns of social discipline that accompany the processes of looting and dispossession in the whole planet. In just ten years, Mexico, which had not experienced the dark night of the Latin American dictatorships, even though it had known dirty wars and massacres, has become a land of pain and common graves. The problem is not “the narco”; the problem is capitalism.

Ayotzinapa is a two-way mirror: that of the path of power is obvious, visible and overwhelming; that of the call to defend life is pallid and discreet, but it will certainly leave footprints.


(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop)

– Ana Ceceña is Coordinator of the Observatorio Latinoamericano de Geopolítica, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She is a member of the Council of ALAI.

– The original text is part of ALAI’s Spanish language magazine América Latina en Movimiento, No.500, November-December 2014, titled “América Latina: Cuestiones de fondo” (Latin America: basic issues).


Published by: América Latina en Movimiento in both Spanish and English

In English:

En español:







SupGaleano (aka Marcos) wearing eye patch with skull.

SupGaleano (aka Marcos) wearing eye patch with skull.

(01001101 01110101 01100011 01101000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01000111 01110010 01100001 01100011 01101001 01100001 01110011 00100000 01000011 01101111 01101101 01110000 01100001 01110011 (note: translate binary code)

April 2015.

We didn’t know anything about this kind of thing. We learned. They explained it to us. We understood even less. But later on, “we grasped the concept holistically,” as they say. That is, not at all. But they were saying something about how we had been victims of a “high level” cyber attack. We of course put on our “no problem” face, the one that says: “the proper measures will be taken” and “we will pursue this case to its logical conclusion.” But really, we were asking ourselves if it happened because of all the times we ourselves go to the page in order to increase the number of visitors. “Some over-enthusiastic clicker” we thought. But that part is confidential, so we’d appreciate it if you didn’t make it public.

Later on they told us that calculations show that in the United States alone, the average annual cost of cyber attacks was 12.7 million dollars in 2014. We didn’t understand, I mean about the quantity. When they explained it to us, we panicked and ran to see if our pozol reserves had diminished. Nope. “Stable levels,” the guard said (this means there is enough for the homages and the seminar). At that point, all was still well. The problem was that in order to celebrate the fact that the cyber attack had not penetrated the solid vaults where we store the “gold of the LXIX century,” we had a party and a dance with the community DJs’ electronic music. The result? The strategic reserves were substantially reduced and now we have to replace them.

But, as they say, now it is official: neo-Zapatismo has entered the 21st century. Okay, okay, okay, we’re late, but keep in mind that it’s only 2015.

Did you think the image of modern Mexico lay in Beverly Hills shopping, helicopter travel, or an electoral ad? Wrong! Error 404! ¡Erreur! ¡Fehler! ¡Oшибка!

The webpage of the eezeeelen was cyber-attacked!

Okay, okay, okay, we don’t really know what that means (being so pre-modern, we’re only accustomed to attacks by soldiers, police, paramilitaries, and various ink-shitters), but it sounds so fancy, so classy, so first world.

Oh, I thought this day would never come! Let Sony, Microsoft, and Apple die of jealousy! Let Obama, Putin, and Merkel turn green with envy! Let Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco, and Metro swell with rage! Let Samsung, LG, and Motorola buy their antacids! Prostrate yourselves cola drinks, junk food and fast food! Don’t hide your humiliation International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization!

We will take it for what it is: a small homage to our humble and quiet work of clicking on the webpage to raise our “web traffic” and soon, we will be collecting payments for advertising self-help courses, language classes in Elf, Dothraki, High Valerian, Klingon, and Na’vi, and of course, online offers from “The Speedy Huarache.”

Well in reality and in La Realidad, all this is nothing but a pretext to send you all an embrace and say:

Thanks to the gang, the plebes, the crew, the barrio, the homies, the brothers, the compas or whatever you call them, who lent a hand, some support, backup, and, as they say these days, “replicated” the content of the pages, the tweets, the Facebook, and the chats closest to their respective hearts. As this is sure to happen again, we want to reiterate once and for all: Thank you (please use the scientific method of “copy and paste” for this note of appreciation because it won’t be the last time you need it).

From the cyber-concierge, protecting himself with the hyper-modern firewall Pozolware 6.9.

SupGaleano, fighting with the cat-dog over the copyleft rights.

(Nah, really we’re fighting over the popcorn…but I got here first!)

Mexico, April 2015.

The CatDog, with paliacate and computer.

Cat-Dog administering the web wearing a paliacate (bandana) and a ski mask.

From the diary of the Cat-Dog:

Looking for who to blame:

-The trendy hypothesis of “Moderate Hysteria“:

It was without doubt the reptile-millennial-illuminati-narco-globalist-party follower-electoralists.

-The trendy hypothesis of “Misogynist High Politics“: It was Frank Underwood, but with bad advice from Claire… Okay, okay, okay, Petrov then?

-Report from Big Brother, received by the Pentagon: (Summary of observations from “The Situation Room” of the “East Wing” of the Zapatista Hexagon. Reporting: Echelon System. April 7, 2015. 2330 hours, Zulu time): Opinions were split: someone said it was us (the Pentagon), someone else said it was the Kremlin. Somebody else said Buckingham Palace, el Palacio de Hierro, [i] Liverpool, or Sears. Nobody said the Eifel Tower (this calmed them down because they were worried about their buddies from Tameratong)?

Some embittered soul said that they already knew that the new season of Game of Thrones was no good at all. Some indescribable character, something like a dog…or a cat…or vice versa, put up a sign that read: “Spoiler Alert.”

It sounded like they were about to come to agreement on something when the sound of a marimba being tuned was heard. The voices in the audio become chaotic, confused, and the only thing that can be made out is a kind of shout: “Pozol Agrio!” It must be some kind of alarm signal because the “Situation Room” and the whole east wing of the complex was quickly deserted.

(End of the report that demonstrates that the budget dedicated to spying is money thrown into cyberspace garbage).

-Section “There is a Trending Topic in your future.” Suggestions for solidarity hashtags:




I testify:

(Grunts and snorts).


[i] “The Iron Palace,” an upscale chain of department stores in Mexico.


Originally Published in Spanish by Enlace Zapatista





Information about the cyber attack on the Enlace Zapatista webpage

Zapatista Compañero

Zapatista Compañero

TO: Adherents to the Sixth

TO: The free media

Information about the cyber-attack on the Enlace Zapatista webpage:

This morning, around 10:30 AM, a ddos attack (denial of service) occurred.

These types of attacks are generated by automatized programs that launch thousands of simultaneous requests at the same domain (the page’s address, in this case), provoking that the server is saturated and is incapable of responding.

The company that houses the server informed us that the attack was being carried out from a large number of IP addresses. Some of the addresses identified are:

  • Range, from Cameroon
  • Range from the United States
  • Range, from Russia.

Before these kinds of attacks, the only solution is to disconnect the equipment.

While the technical team achieves resolving the problem of the attack on the server and given that our interest is that those who want to attend the Critical Thought facing the Capitalist Hydra Seminar do not lose the opportunity, we solicit adherents to the Sixth and the free media to help us by replicating the text of The Storm, The Sentinel and the Lookout’s Syndrome (In English) OR La Tormenta, el Centinela y el Síndrome del Vigía (En español) and also to share the pre-registration formats for the seminar.

On the other hand, if anyone of you has a proposal that might help us fight this kind of problem, we would appreciate it if you would send your ideas to the following email address:

The page’s administration team


Pre-registration forms for the Seminar:

(Admin’s Note: the pre-registration forms are in very simple Spanish)


Originally Published in Spanish by: POZOL COLECTIVO

Tuesday, April 7, 2015






Dear friends and enemies: so… err… umm… the thing is… well… remember that at the end of our March 19, 2015 text entitled “About the Homage and the Seminar,” we said that the organization of the seminar was a mess? Well, we have honored that claim: the email address to which we asked you to send your registration information is wrong, erroneous, in other words, that’s not the one. The correct email is: Okay, okay, okay. It’s on me. Sincerely, yo merengues.

The Storm, the Sentinel, and Lookout’s Syndrome

April 2015.

To the compañeroas of the Sixth:

To all those interested:

Although it may not look like it, the following is an invitation… or is it a challenge?

If you are an adherent to the Sixth, if you are from the free, autonomous, alternative, independent media or whatever it’s called, if you are interested in critical thought, then accept this invitation to the seminar, “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra.” If in addition to accepting this invitation you would also like to attend the seminar, please follow this link:

If you are an invited speaker, [i] a similar letter will be sent to you via the same channels through which you have already been contacted. The difference will be that the invitation letter sent to the speakers will contain a “secret clause.”

Ok then, the invitation is really something like the wrapping paper.

Inside, further down below and to the left, you will find…

The Challenge

Oh, I know. The classic beginnings to a Zapatista reflection: disconcerting, anachronistic, silly, absurd. As if not really putting in any effort, as if just sort of putting it out there, a kind of “we’ll leave you to it,” or “see what you can do with it,” or something like “it’s on you.” It’s almost like they toss out a piece of a jigsaw puzzle and expect that people would understand that they are not just describing one part of reality, but have the entire image in mind. As if they saw the completed jigsaw puzzle, with its precise figures and colors in place, but with the border of each piece still visible, as if to point out that the whole exists because of all the parts, and of course, that each part acquires its meaning in relation to all the others.

As if Zapatista thinking demands that we see that what is missing is that which is not, that there is more than what is, that there is more than what is immediately perceptible.

This is something like what Walter Benjamin did with Paul Klee’s “Angelus Novus.” Reflecting on the painting, Benjamin “completes” it: he sees the angel, but he also sees what the angel sees, he sees how it has been thrown back by what it sees, he sees the force that assaults it, the brutal footprint of that force. He sees the jigsaw puzzle as complete:



“There is a painting by Klee named ‘Angelus Novus.’ It shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something that has him paralyzed. His eyes stare, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one imagines the Angel of History. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees a single catastrophe that piles ruins upon ruins and hurls it at his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and mend that which has been shattered, but a hurricane blows in from Paradise that entangles itself in his wings and is so strong that the angel can no longer close them. The hurricane overpoweringly propels him into the future, to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This hurricane is what we call progress.” (X, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”)


And so, it is as if our reflections were a dare, one of the Riddler’s enigmas, one of Mr. Bane’s challenges, one of the wildcards the Joker pulls while asking, “Why so serious?”

It is as if the cat-dog—at once superhero and super villain, Sherlock and Moriarty—bursts onto the scene harassing everyone with questions: “What do we see? Why? Where to? Where from? For what?”

















It is as if we were thinking the world, questioning its clumsy rotation, debating its course, challenging its history, disputing the rationality of its evidence.

It is as if, for even just one moment, we were…

The Sentinel

You can observe that a military installation will usually have posts set up along its periphery. They’re called “Observation Towers,” “Guard Posts,” or “Watchtowers.” These posts are there for surveillance of the surroundings and access points to the installation in order to know who or what approaches or moves or stays in the surrounding area. Well, these surveillance posts (in the Zapatista camps we call it “la posta” (the post). I’m not sure why; for example, we say, “You take the posta at 0000 hrs,” or “the posta’s shift changes at 1200,” etc.) serve to inform or alert the rest of the installation, and to contain or detain anyone who tries to enter without authorization. Whoever is currently occupying the observation post is the guard, the lookout or the sentinel. In addition to keeping watch and staying alert to whatever happens, the sentinel is the one who sounds the alarm in case of an attack or any other event.

According to us Zapatistas, theoretical reflection and critical thought have the same task as the sentinel. Whoever works on analytic thinking takes a shift as guard at the guard post. I could go into detail about the location of the guard post within the whole, but for now it’s enough simply to say that it is also part of the whole, nothing more, but nothing less. I say it for all those [ii] who would claim to:

– Be either above or outside of everything, as if they were something separate, and hide behind “impartiality,” “objectivity,” “neutrality.” They claim to analyze and reflect from a standpoint of indifference in their impossible laboratory that manifests as science, seminar, research study, book, blog, creed, dogma or slogan.

– Or those who confuse their role as lookouts and instead designate themselves as the new doctrinaire priests. Although they are only sentinels, they behave as if they were the leading brain which mutates into criminal tribunal whenever convenient. From there, they order everyone around, judging, absolving, or condemning. While we recognize the fact that nobody pays any attention to them —reality always being so markedly rebellious— it does nothing to restrain them from their (not infrequently intoxicated) delirium.

The sentinel is related to the observation post in question. But we will return to this in one of the interventions we make in the seminar.

For now, it’s enough to say that, overwhelmed, overtaken by the task of critical observation in a world that is so deceivingly instantaneous, during his shift as guard, the lookout can fall into…

The Lookout’s Syndrome

Well, it turns out that after some time, the sentinel “exhausts” his capacity for vigilance. This “exhaustion” (which we Zapatistas refer to as “Lookout’s Syndrome”) consists of, broadly speaking, the development, after some time spent on watch, of a type of “looped perception” or “recorded perception.” That is, the lookout reproduces the same image over and over in their conscious perception, as if nothing ever changed, as if any changes were part of the image’s normal state of being. It has to do partly, I suppose, with visual perception but it also has to do with the desire to not have anything change up the routine. So, for example, the lookout does not want any danger to appear, and that desire actually affects what he sees. “Everything is fine, nothing bad is going to happen,” he repeats to himself over and over, and this translates into his actual evaluation of reality. His objective is to be able to hand in a brief report about his watch: “nothing new.” All of this that I’m explaining comes from empirical observation, not from a scientific study. Over years and years of keeping watch, it is what we concluded from our own (limited) experience. Having the persistent doubt about whether we should rely on science or on traditions and customs, we asked someone who would know about neuroscience. They told us that the phenomenon does exist, although they don’t know exactly why (before you all pelt me with the different strains and positions within psychology, I’d like to clarify that the only thing that I confirmed is that the phenomenon is real, verifiable). So then, well, why does it happen? Well, you all can figure that out—it would be good if while you’re at it, you come to an agreement on what the object of study is in the “science” of psychology.

So then, that person told us that about something called “selective attention” and sent us a book that was written a long time ago (that is, one that is written clearly and easily understood). In so many words, it is about how we only pay attention to a small part of what we see in a given moment and we ignore the rest. So then, this ignoring the rest is our “blindness to change” or “blindness by inattention.” It is as if, by filtering the parts of the image that we see, we become blind to that which we have not selected as important.

For now we won’t develop this idea further, but, in sum, the “lookout’s syndrome” consists of:

  1. a) Not keeping watch over the whole, but only one part of the whole.
  2. b) When the guard “tires,” the guard does not perceive the changes that appear in the zone under watch because those changes are imperceptible to him (that is, they don’t merit attention).

In order to counteract this, we use various tactics: One of them is indirect observation, “peripheral vision,” or, in colloquial terms, “looking sideways.” The indirect gaze allows the person to detect changes in the routine. There should be explanations for this in neuroscience also, but I think that we lack study in that area.

Other forms of resolving the sentinel’s fatigue are: assign two or more guards to cover the same post; or reduce the time at the post and increase the frequency of shift changes.

Perhaps there are other ways to ensure that the sentinel does his job.

But the important thing is that one must be vigilant for any sign of danger. This does not mean sounding the alarm once the danger is present, but rather to watch for the signs, evaluate them, interpret them—in sum; think about them critically!

For example, those storm clouds on the horizon; do they signal a passing rain shower? How intense will it be? Is it coming closer or moving away? Or, is it something bigger, more terrible and more destructive? If that is the case, one must alert everyone to the imminence of….

The Storm

Okay, so the thing is that we, the Zapatistas, see and hear a catastrophe coming, and we mean that in every sense of the term, a perfect storm.

But… it’s also true that we Zapatistas see and hear that people with great knowledge say, sometimes with their words and sometimes with their attitude, that everything continues on more or less the same.

They say that the reality that we are confronted with presents only small variations that do not significantly alter its path.

In other words, we see one thing and they see another.

We see the tendency to resort to the same tactics of struggle, to continue with marches, real or virtual, with elections, surveys, and rallies. And at the same time and in related manner, we see the development of new parameters for “success,” a kind of applause-o-meter that functions, in the case of protest marches, inversely: the better behaved the march (that is, less protest), the more successful. New partisan organizations are created; plans are laid out, strategies and tactics developed, creating a veritable juggling act out of actual concepts.

As if the State, the Government, and the Administration were all the same thing.

As if the State were the same, and had the same functions, as it did 20, 40, 100 years ago.

As if the system were also the same, and the forms of subordination and destruction the same. Or, to put it the terms used by the Sixth: the same forms of exploitation, repression, discrimination, and dispossession.

As if up there above, Power had continued on without varying its mode of operation.

As if the hydra had not regenerated its multiple heads.

So we think that either they or we have “sentinel’s syndrome.”

We Zapatistas look sideways at these shifts in reality. We pay more attention, climb to the top of the ceiba [tree] to try to see further, not to see what has happened but to see what is coming.

And well, what we see is not good at all. We see that what is coming is something terrible, even more destructive than before, if that’s possible.

But we also see that those who think and analyze aren’t saying anything about this. They keep repeating what they were saying 20 years ago, 40 years ago, a century ago.

We see that organizations, groups, collectives and individuals continue doing the same old thing, presenting false and exclusionary options, judging and condemning the other—that which is different.

And what’s more: expressing disdain toward us for what we see.

So, as you know, we are Zapatistas. And that means a lot of things, so many that in the dictionaries in your languages there aren’t even words for it.

But it also means that we always think that we could be mistaken. That perhaps everything continues on pretty much the same, without major changes. That perhaps the Ruler continues to rule the same as decades ago, centuries ago, millennia ago. That what is coming is perhaps not so serious, but just a minor adjustment, a resettling of the sort that isn’t even worth talking about.

So the options presented are: no thinking, no analysis, no theory, or the same as always.

So we Zapatistas think that we have to ask others, [iii] from other calendars, different geographies, what it is that they see.

I think it’s like when a sick person is told that what they have is very serious, or like we say here, “está cabrón,” and so they have to look for a second opinion.

So we say in this case that there is a failing in the thinking, or theory. That could be our failing or that of others, or maybe both.

So despite being generally distrustful, which is indeed our tendency, we do have some faith in the compañeras, compañeros and compañeroas of the Sixth. But we know that the world is very big, and that there are others who also engage in this task of thinking, analyzing, watching.

So we think that we need to think about the world, and also about each of our calendars and geographies.

We think that, even better, we should have an exchange of thought. Not like an exchange of commodities, like in capitalism, but rather as if we make a deal that I’ll tell you what I’m thinking and you tell me what you’re thinking, like a meeting of our thoughts.

But we don’t think that this is any old meeting, but rather a big one, very big, worldwide even.

We Zapatistas, well, we don’t know a lot. Just a little, and even that with struggle, about our compañeroas, compañeras, and compañeros of the Sixth.

And we’ve seen that in some places, these meetings of thought are called “seminarios” [seminar or seedbed], and we think this is because seminario (seminar) means seedbed, that is, where seeds are started that sometimes grow quickly and sometimes take awhile.

So we think we should make a seedbed of ideas, of analysis, of critical thinking about how the capitalist system currently works.

And that seminar or seedbed is not just one place or time. Rather, it takes awhile and happens in many places.

That’s why we say that it’s a “dislocated” event and that it doesn’t happen in just one place but in many places, all over the place. And we say that it is worldwide because there is critical thinking in all of the worlds that there are, that everywhere people are asking what is going on, why, what to do, how, and all of these things that are thought through theory.

But, we think, this has to start in some place and at a time.

So, this collective seedbed will start in a particular place, and that place is a Zapatista Caracol. Why? Because here the Zapatista communities use the Caracol to call and convoke the collective.

So for example, if there is a community problem, an issue that has to be resolved, the Caracol is sounded and all of the community knows that there is a collective meeting so that thought can be spoken.

Or to see what we will do to resist. So we could say that the Caracol is also one of the instruments of the sentinel; it alerts the community to danger.

So the place is, then, a Zapatista Caracol: the Caracol of Oventik, in the mountains of the Mexican southeast, Chiapas, Mexico.

And the starting date is May 3. Why May 3?

Well, in our communities this is the day of planting, of fertility, of harvest, of seeds. It is the day of Santa Cruz.

Custom in the communities is to plant a cross in the earth at the beginning of the river, or the stream or spring that gives life to the village. This signals that the place is sacred, and it’s sacred because water is what gives life. So May 3 is the day that the communities ask for water for the planting and for a good harvest. The villagers go to the source of the water to make offerings, that is, they talk to the water, give it flowers, a cup of atole, incense, some chicken soup without salt. In other villages they give it a shot of alcohol, but since alcohol is prohibited in the Zapatista communities they give it soda pop. The chicken soup they offer the water doesn’t have salt so that the water doesn’t dry up. While they are carrying out the offering ceremony, they play music and everyone begins to dance, children, young people and old people. When the offering is over the community gathering begins. The food they have brought is distributed: atole agrio, chicken, beans, squash. They eat there together next to the water source, collectively. After that, they go home. And out of pure joy they continue dancing in the village and eat together and share coffee and bread. There are Zapatista compas who are carpenters, and they celebrate this idea too; they say they make a cross out of whatever wood they can find and put it in the ground when they begin construction. They say this is because of the responsibility of the worker—with this act the worker expresses responsibility for the construction and puts effort into it so that it turns out well, because it is on him that it turn out well. So now you know. See what you can do with it. If you accept the challenge or not, it’s on you.

Note: the following is only for those who are going to present. That is, it will only go out in the formal invitations that we send to those who are going to speak. Don’t go around publishing it because it is a….

Secret Clause:

All of this is so that you understand the context, as they say, of the seminar.

What do we expect of you?

We want you to understand that people are coming from very far away, and will have sacrificed pay and time to come listen to what you are going to present. They do not come out of idleness, or because they are going to learn something. They don’t come because it is trendy or because they are ignorant. They come because perhaps they see those storm clouds on the horizon, because the rains and winds are already battering them, because their hunger to understand what is happening is not satisfied, because they sense the storm that is coming.

So just like we Zapatistas respect you, we ask that you respect these people. There will be a gate crasher here and there, but the majority are our compas. They are people that live and die struggling, without anyone, other than us Zapatistas, noticing. For them there will be no museums, no statues, no songs, no poems, and their names will never appear on subway cars, as street names or neighborhood names. They are no one, of course. And not despite that but precisely because of it, for us Zapatistas they are everything.

So don’t be offended, but do not bring with you slogans, dogmas, condemnations, or fads; don’t repeat what others have said before or elsewhere; don’t nourish lazy thinking; don’t try to impose dogmatic thinking; don’t spread deceptive thinking.

We ask that you bring your word and use it to provoke thought, reflection and critique. We ask you to prepare your message, sharpen it and polish it. We ask that you use your message to honor those who will receive it, and not academia or its equivalents, even if that might come in the form of a shaking, a slap, or a scream.

The seed that we ask of you for this seminar or seedbed is one that questions, provokes, feeds, and compels us to keep thinking and analyzing. It is a seed that allows other seeds to hear that they must grow and they must do it their way, on their calendar and in their geography. Oh yes, we know: your prestige will not swell, nor will your bank account, nor your share of fame. Neither will you find new followers, disciples, or flocks.

What’s more, you won’t even see the only sign of success that will come as a result, which is that in other places, on other calendars and in different geographies, others [iv] will challenge it all and discuss, debate, question, critique, imagine, believe.

This is what we ask of you. This and only this.

From the concierge of the Little School, now outfitted as the “Office of Protocol, Design, and Printing for weddings, quinceñeras, divorces, baptisms, frustrated graduations, seminars, and other events.” I am currently hanging signs that say “No credit available today, or tomorrow either,” and “Life vests available upon order,” “Get your pirated telescope very-cheap-everything-legal-my-dear-of-course,” “This establishment does not discriminate on the basis of myopia.”


Mexico, April 2015.


[i] The text uses “invitadoas,” or invited speakers, to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.

[ii] The text uses “aquelloas” to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.

[iii] The text uses “otroas” meaning “other,” to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.

[iv] See iii.


Originally Published in Spanish by Enlace Zapatista