We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Zapatistas on Elections and a Look Toward the Capitalist Hydra

Click here to access article by Zapatistas from Upside Down World

From reading this piece by the Zapatistas, it is clear that the rest of the world's activists have much to learn about participating in capitalist elections, self-governing, and bottom-up political structures from these people in Chiapas, Mexico.

Referring to naive leftist activists and reformers in their area, they say this:
You can see that they don’t realize that that if they get rid of the bad parts of capitalism, then it won’t be capitalism. And I’m going to tell you why: because capitalism is the exploitation of man by man, of the many by the few. Even if they include women, it’s the same. ....

But there are more than the two ways that they describe (the armed path and the electoral path) to get into government. They forget that the government can also be bought (or they’ve already forgotten how Peña Nieto got there?) And not only that, but perhaps they’ve also forgotten that it’s possible to rule without being in government.

If these people say that it’s only possible with weapons or with elections, the only thing that they’re actually saying is that they don’t know their history, that they haven’t studied well, that they have no imagination, and that they have no shame.

It would be enough for them to see just a little of what happens below. But their necks are already cramped from looking up so much.

That is why we, the Zapatistas, don’t get tired of saying organize yourselves, let’s organize ourselves, each person where they are, let’s struggle to organize ourselves, let’s work to organize ourselves, let’s begin by thinking about how to start to organize and let’s gather together in order to unite our organizations for a world where the people command and the government obeys.

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