Happy Birthday Greetings to MAJ from Subcommandante Marcos

via:  Greg Ruggiero

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Hi All–

I thought you would like this birthday letter written to Mumia ten years ago by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos spokesperson for the clandestine Mexican insurgent group, the Zapatistas. The original letter was written in Spanish. Both the English and Spanish versions were first published here in the books “Our Word is Our Weapon, Selected Writings of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos” and “Nuestra Arma es Nuestra Palabra.”

La lucha sigue!

va un abrazo desde Brooklyn,

Greg


Greg Ruggiero | Editor | City Lights Books | www.citylights.com

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Letter To Mumia Abu-Jamal

April 24, 1999

For: Mumia Abu-Jamal, American Union

From: Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, Mexico


Mr. Mumia:

I am writing to you in the name of the men, women, children and elderly of the Zapatista National Liberation Army in order to congratulate you on April 24, your birthday.

Perhaps you have heard of us. We are Mexican, mostly indigenous, and we took up arms on January 1, 1994 demanding a voice, a face and a name for the forgotten of the earth.

Since then, the Mexican government has made war on us, pursues and harasses us seeking our death, our disappearance and our absolute silence. The reason? These lands are rich with oil, uranium and precious lumber. The government wants them for the great transnational companies. We want them for all Mexicans. The government sees our lands as a business. We see our history written in these lands. In order to defend our right (and that of all Mexicans) to live with liberty, democracy, justice and dignity we became an army and took on a name, a voice and face.

Perhaps you wonder how we know of you, about your birthday, and why it is that we extend this long bridge which goes from the mountains of the Mexican Southeast to the prison of Pennsylvania where you are incarcerated unjustly. Many good people from many parts of the world have spoken of you, through them we have learned how you were ambushed by the North American police in December of 1981, of the lies which they constructed in the procedures against you, and of your death sentence in 1982. We learned about your birthday through the international mobilizations which, under the name of “Millions for Mumia,” are being prepared this April 24.

It is harder to explain this bridge which this letter extends, it is more complicated. I could tell you that, for the powerful of Mexico and the government, to be indigenous, or to look indigenous, is reason for disdain, abhorrence, distrust and hatred. The racism which now floods the palaces of power in Mexico goes to the extreme of carrying out a war of extermination and genocide against millions of indigenous. I am sure that you will find similarities with what power in the United States does with the so-called “people of color” (African-American, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Asians, North American Indians and any other peoples who do not have the insipid color of money).

We are also “people of color” (the same color as our brothers who have Mexican blood and live and struggle in the American Union). Our color is “brown,” the color of the earth, the color from which we take our history, our strength, our wisdom and our hope. But in order to struggle we add the color black to our brown. We use black ski-masks to show our faces, only then can we be seen and heard. Following the advice of an indigenous Mayan elder, who explained to us the meaning of the color black, we chose this color.

Old Don Antonio, this wise elder, died in these rebel Zapatista lands in March of 1994, a victim of tuberculosis which gnawed away at his lungs and his breath. Old Don Antonio used to tell us that from black came light and from there came the stars which light up the sky around the world. He recounted a story of a long time ago (in the times when time was not measured), when the first gods were given the task of giving birth to the world. In one of their meetings they understood that the world needed to have life and movement, and to have life and movement, light was necessary. Then they thought of making the sun in order that the days move and so that there would be day and night and time for struggling and time for making love, and the world would go walking with the days and nights. The gods had their meeting and made this agreement in front of a large fire, and they knew it was necessary that one of them be sacrificed by throwing himself into the fire and himself become fire and fly into the sky. The gods thought that the sun’s work was the most important, so they chose the most beautiful god so that he would fly into the fire and become the sun. But he was afraid. Then the smallest god, the one who was black, said he was not afraid and he threw himself into the fire and became the sun. Then the world had light and movement, and there was time for struggle and time for love, and while it was day the bodies worked to make the world and while it was night the bodies made love and sparkles filled the darkness.

This is what Old Don Antonio told us and that is why we use black ski masks. So we are of the color brown and of the color black. But we are also the color yellow, because the first people who walked these lands were made of corn so they would be true. And we are also red because this is the call of blood which has dignity, and we are also blue because we are the sky in which we fly, and green for the mountain which is our house and our strength. And we are white because we are paper so that tomorrow can write its story.

So we are 7 colors because there were 7 first gods who birthed the world.

This is what Old Don Antonio said long ago and now I tell you this story so that you may understand the reason for this bridge of paper and ink which I send to you all the way from the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

And also so that you may understand that with this bridge go greetings and embraces for Leonard Peltier (who is in the prison at Leavenworth, Kansas), and for the more than 100 political prisoners in the USA who are the victims of injustice, stupidity and authoritarianism.

And with this letter-bridge walks as well a greeting for the Dine (the Navajo), who fight in Big Mountain, Arizona against the violations of their traditional Dine religious practices.” They struggle against those who favor large businesses instead of respect for the religious freedom of Indian peoples, against those who want to destroy sacred grounds and ceremonial sites (as is the case of Peabody Western Coal Company which, without reason, wants to take the lands and the land rights, and the history which belong to the Dine and their future generations.)

But this letter-bridge has more than just stories of resistance against North American injustice. In the extreme south of our continent, in Chile, the indigenous Mapuche women in the Pewenche Center of Alto Bio-Bio confront stupidity. Bertha and Nicolasa Quintreman are accused of “mistreating” members of the armed forces of the Chilean government. There you have it.  An armed military unit with rifles, sticks, and tear-gas, protected by bulletproof vests, helmets and shields, accuse two indigenous women of “mistreatment.” But Bertha is 74 years old and Nicolasa is 60. How is it possible that two elderly people confronted a “heroic” group of heavily-armed military? Because they are Mapuche. The story is the same as that of the Dine brothers and sisters of Arizona—it repeats itself throughout the Americas. A company—ENDESA—wants the Mapuches’ land, and in spite of the law which protects the indigenous, the government is on the side of the companies. The Mapuche students have pointed out that the government and the company with the military intelligence made a “study” of the Mapuche communities and concluded that the Mapuche could not think, defend themselves, resist, or build a better future for themselves. Apparently, the study was wrong.

Now it occurs to me that, perhaps the powerful in North America carried out a similar “military intelligence” study (frankly, this is a contradiction, because those of us who are military are not intelligent, if we were we would not be military) about the case of the Dine in Arizona, about Leonard Peltier, about other political prisoners, about yourself, Mr. Mumia.

Perhaps they made this study and came to the conclusion that they might be able to violate justice and reason, to assault history and lose the truth, and that no one would say anything. The Dine Indians would stand by and watch the destruction of the most sacred of their history, Leonard Peltier would be alone, and you, Mister Mumia, would be silenced. ( I remember your own words: “They not only want my death, they want my silence.”)

But the studies were wrong. Happy mistake? The Dine resist against those who would kill their memory, Leonard Peltier is accompanied by all those who demand his liberty, and you sir, today you speak and shout with all the voices which celebrate your birthday as all birthdays should be celebrated, by struggling.

Mr. Mumia:

We have nothing big to give you as a gift for your birthday. It is poor and little, but all of us send you an abrazo—an embrace.

We hope that when you gain your freedom you will come to visit us. Then we will give you a birthday party, even if it isn’t April 24, it will be an unbirthday party. There will be music, dance and talk, which are the means by which men and women of all colors understand and know one another, and build bridges over which they walk together, towards history, towards tomorrow.

Happy Birthday!

Vale. We greet you and may justice and truth find their place.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, April of 1999

P.S. I read somewhere that you are a father and a grandfather. So I am sending you a gift for your children and grandchildren. It is a little wooden car with Zapatistas dressed in black ski-masks.

Tell your children and grandchildren that it is a gift the Zapatistas have sent you. You can explain to them that there are people of all colors everywhere, just like you, who want justice, liberty and democracy for people of all colors.

Letter To the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, USA

April of 1999

For: Mr. Tom Ridge

Governor of Pennsylvania

United States, North America

From : Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico


To the Magistrate and Governor

Dear sirs:

I write to you in the name of the men, women, children and elderly of the EZLN. Most of us are indigenous Mexicans and we struggle for liberty, democracy and justice.

The purpose of the following letter is to demand justice in the case of Mr. Mumia Abu-Jamal, condemned unjustly to the death penalty in 1982. As you know, the judicial process against Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal was plagued with lies and irregularities: the police who accuse him lied about a supposed confession of his, one of the witnesses has changed testimony and declared that he was forced to lie or face prison, the ballistic evidence has proved it was impossible that Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal fired the weapon which killed the policeman. This should be enough evidence for a new trial, but even this recourse has been denied to Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal. If the Judicial system of Pennsylvania and the governor are certain of the guilt of Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal, they should not fear a new trial which adheres to the truth.

I do not ask clemency, pardon, nor mercy from you for Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal. I demand justice, something which I believe is within your powers. No one within the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania or governor Tom Ridge has anything to lose. A new trial can bring the truth forward, and justice, supposedly, is all that should matter.

That is all. From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos




Check Langalibalele’s Political Journals I & II:
Mbantunyankompong
Kilombo Republic

Kilombo Republic II

Find Langalibalele’s Work also at these Sites:
Whispering Art
Urbanite Dweller
Umshini Wam
Afro Spear
My Train of Thoughts
Assata Shakur Forums


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WELL PAST TIME TO RAISE UP:
Stop the Police State Execution of
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!!!

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A Brief Overview of the Current Crisis

PAIDS, Racism and the Ideological Paradox

This period of capitalism is marked by several key aspects which have been so far discussed and defined, in the main, as challenges which confront the working classes. Summed up in a type of short-hand so as to make for easier understanding, they are as follows:

PAIDS, which is false consciousness amongst the colonized workers
Neo-Colonialism, or the dilution of the concentrated class question
Racism, the Concentrated Class Struggle
The Ideological Paradox: Democracy at work for Neo-Fascist Imperialism
Anti-Imperialism, necessary to downthro Imperialism and birth a new society

To begin with, Politically Acquired Ideological Deficiency Syndrome (PAIDS) means to explain the saturation of false consciousness within the colonized community within the US. However, it can also sufficiently explain all forms of false consciousness within the working classes as well. By false consciousness, PAIDS means any view which identifies with the ruling class and does not help to liberate the oppressed masses. It is marked by either a lack of an anti-imperialist dialectic or outright unity with Imperialism itself.

A seeming paradox posed against false consciousness, racism, as the concentrated class struggle, has simply drawn the greatest volume of discussion and dialog. It seems as tho resistance to a scientific understanding of the class struggle persists. Too many working class people do not seem to grasp that within a class system the class question defines all social relationships.

Neo-colonialism, in all accuracy, does not reflect PAIDS but the dilution of the concentrated class struggle.

To break down racism as an extension of the class question seems to contradict everything that we have been taught about race. Yet people fail to understand that class existed before racial conflict. That is, class societies have existed on every continent on the planet.

They existed prior to capitalism. In slave and feudal societies, caste systems often prevailed. These instance arose when one society conquered another and occupied its territory. The enslaved nationality was subjugated under the yoke of a caste system, its leaders slaughtered and women raped.

Now while this happened under capitalism, and gave the capitalist system its boost and forward momentum, the conquerors no longer occupied neighboring lands. A form of colonialism, they conquered entire continents and transported captives from far away to work the soil. These captives were dramatically different from the conquerors in appearance and culture. So the theory of race evolved.

Having colonized nearly every inch of the Earth, the capitalists codified their domination in laws. In China, the British posted signs stating “No Dogs, and No Chinese Allowed”, as if dogs can read. The US made the transition from slavery to jim crow, having similar strictures. In Rhodesia and South Africa, apartheid was practiced.

The class question became concentrated, focused the way a magnifying glass concentrates the sun, upon the colonized workers. Anyone who says that racism is not the concentrated class struggle has no concept of class, of struggle and of capitalism.

To turn to the economic meltdown, it is just an expression of the Ideological Paradox. People must understand this. The Ideological Paradox is formed from two social phenomenon working in tandem.

Bourgeois Democracy simply allows people to choose their government, then blame them for electing representatives who work against them. Imperialism, international finance capitalism, is the economic system which determines the policy that bourgeois elected leaders must follow. The paradox is that the two are incompatible together, since a dictatorship operated by a small class of financial manipulators ultimately calls all the shots, thereby making democracy an empty ideal.

With the election of a liberal neo-colonial president in the USA, we can define this period as Imperialism thru Democracy. The apparent easing of repressive legislation, the steps and turns to restore a Keynesian economic model, and generally liberalized policies in US society have lifted many fears and apprehensions. However, the policies of previous administrations remain entrenched.

If the crisis in capitalism takes place at the juncture of the class struggle, it bears saying that democracy merely operates as a tool for class domination. Bourgeois democracy simply allows people to choose their oppressor, then blame them for the government they have elected. While the working class continues to comprise the vast majority of people in this country, somehow they have become convinced that the US is a middle class country. More importantly, workers have come to believe they comprise the middle class. This presents more evidence of PAIDS, or false consciousness.

For this reason, they have voted for anti-labor politics over the last thirty years, or Democracy thru Imperialism. Which means spreading democracy thru what appears to be the strength of international finance capitalism. At times, this involves using the military solution to gird strategic interests. Even when democracy appears to spread Imperialism, the military solution never gets taken off the table.

So the anti-imperialist struggle must be waged to counter the parasitic tendency within capitalist society in general, and in the Imperialist system as a whole. While the importance of building workers collectives, cooperatives and communities of resistance (kilombos, palenques and maroon enclaves) must be stressed, other areas of the struggle need be built.

African and other colonized workers must increase the demand for Reparations and working class justice. This takes the form of community control of police, to dilute the power of the ruling class, as well as wealth dilution. This means workers control of plants, businesses, and infrastructure. It means reduction of the banking system and radicalizing a rebuilt union movement. The workers do not have the luxury of allowing the bourgeoisie to define this period. We have to seize the means of production, and exercise power in our own interests.

KILOMBO REPUBLIC

African Dialectics:

Build a Black Revolutionary Palenque

(redacted) (dedicated to Troy Davis — Long Live Troy!)


This article was first submitted to the Sons of Africa discussion board. It was a reply to certain individuals who sought to limit to discussion of the US-led financial meltdown the scientific analysis of the crisis by dumping the solution and posing a metaphysical one. This presented a dilemma. These forces, operating in concert,  substituted semantics to deconstruct the analysis that I offered. This resulted in a minor war of words between several internet identities on the one side and myself on the other. Replying that SOA was not intended for conducting English classes but to disseminate information and views of interest to African people, I composed the following piece on dialectics. Now it appears here rewritten, reedited and amplified, and divided into sections for easier reading.

While the grammarians on SOA dissect my sentences to count my errors, rational overstanding depends on another form of analysis called African (historical) materialist dialectics. That involves the study of history thru the filter of African Internationalism, which proposes to the black world that international African unity is the highest expression of Black Political Power. Dialectics studies motion, change, contradictions, opposites and harmony in society. Dialectics studies the primary movement which defines society. So in that spirit, I strive to extend an analysis which serves Africans and all people in our struggle for bread, peace and Black Power.

I am not trying to invent any new theory here. Yet I hope to amplify, define and clarify positions already staked out in the African liberation movement. African Internationalism is Nkrumah’s Pan Africanism boiled down for the working classes. As articulated by the self-led African proletariat (working class revolutionary), it is Pan Africanism for the masses with an improved class articulation.

This theory also takes from Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Walter Rodney, Abdul Alkalimat, Omali Yeshitela and many others. My contribution to these giants is to simplify the race issue by properly defining it as a question of class. Who ever who learns dialectical-historical materialism gets taught that the class struggle in capitalism defines social relations.

Therefore, all relationships based on racial identity must also be defined in terms of class.

The classic black dialectic on race (this derives from the Stalinist-era CPUSA effort to grapple with the question) is that race reflects the ideology of colonialism or white supremacy. But this is an error. White supremacy is the ideology of colonialism and Imperialism. White supremacy formulated the notion that race forms the basis of conflict in society. White supremacy invented race as a social stratification when colonialism came into conflict with indigenous peoples, or shanghaied whole societies to work as slaves and coolies. White supremacy invented racial stratification as a form of class to maintain power and control over the subjugated masses. It states that whites are the ruling class and all others are enslaved by reason of their inherent racial inferiority. White supremacy has formerly used religion and philosophy to justify relegating even the most talented members of non-white nationalities to the most abject status. Racism concentrates class contradictions by subjugating colonized societies beneath even the lowest strata of the colonizers.

Hence, from these origins, racism arose as the concentrated class question within colonialism. Struggles within capitalist society have always exposed the shallow logic of racism. Firstly, and most importantly, the capacity and resolve of the masses to resist colonialism had an impact on bourgeois leaders. The people’s forceful resistance to press gang work — rendering them for execution as slaves, “zombies” and coolies when no longer useful on plantations and in mines — upset the natural order as seen by the colonizers. It did not fit what their Bibles told them. It contradicted what their leading thinkers had written on the subject. The oppressed should have been happy and content.

This view fit perfectly with the original sin of capitalism, as Karl Marx called primitive accumulation. Capitalism is a form of accumulation. Workers and other groups produce actual value. This means they transform raw materials into finished products. Workers take land and transform it into real estate. They take forests and transform them into lumber and then into products as varied as furniture and houses. The workers dam rivers and make them navigable while also fitting them with turbines, made by other workers, to generate hydroelectric power. So on and so forth, these products have worth created by the workers.

Value, which the workers produce, is stripped away from them as a class. This process occurs at the point of production, where the value is produced and as it continues to produce. The value made by the workers gets transformed and concentrated, that is, it is changed into something workers no longer recognize as something they made. Workers are then given just what they need to exist, while the capitalists who produce nothing live in opulence. Just like the masters taking living off the labor of the slaves. Marx calls this alienation, and it gains a social character. When workers become alienated from value, it is actually their own value which they lose. So the alienation assumes different forms. It has a statistical expression, further signs of how the bourgeoisie have alienated the workers. Suicide rates, unemployment, crime, violence, preventative health problems and all other forms of social instability derive from and are directly attributable to capitalism’s devaluation of the worker as a human being. These antagonisms become intensified, magnified, and even concentrated, amongst the colonized working classes.

So, as in all class societies, one group appropriates the value created by another group. Under capitalism, slaves are the workers who defined organized labor when they rose up and struck against the masters.

Accumulation which is non-capitalist or pre-capitalist in its apparent mode is categorized as “primitive”. This includes all forms of human trafficking such as slavery and serfdom, and prison labor under fascism; primitive accumulation also involves organized crime, plus the theft of land by colonizers. In all these examples, the illogic of capitalist relations expresses itself thru the ideology of white supremacy, anything which justifies, perpetuates or involves an economic empire.

In the Imperialist centers, capitalism has been trying to rectify its idiot-logical theories at every step and turn of its existence. For this reason and a few others, today Imperialism needs to dilute the concentrated class struggle. Neo-colonialism is Imperialism’s dilution of the concentrated class struggle. Diluting the concentrated class struggle works as a two-edged sword. At the same time that it blunts the anti-colonial movement, neo-colonialism also blunts racism itself, thereby effectively removing the material and ideological basis for white workers to support Imperialism.

The second key part of this analysis demands revolutionary action. It is something to the effect that scientific socialists must bring down Imperialism; it cannot just be allowed to fall. To do so will unleash the forces of reaction. Not only that, but we have to destroy the economic fodder of capitalism. We must set about doing this as part of revolutionary activity. That is the gist of it; we must diminish the power of asset-backed paper and all forms of capital, which is simply value in concentrated form. Not because we have significant amounts of paper, since we don’t. But because without so doing the Imperialists will still use money as a function of power. As long as people trade with asset-backed paper of any form, capitalists will buy whatever they need including armies to control communities and exercise force in private as well as political matters. Scientific socialism as a working-class State turns society upside down, and places the masses in power to eradicate the ruling classes.

For this reason, what continues to transpire within the Imperialist economic mode remains of utmost importance for us to grasp. We must not allow Imperialism to collapse, but we must be the agents of its demise. Those who remain interested in the dialectical approach may muster the courage to take on Imperialism. And for those who strive to build a society of maroons or a kilombo republic, that is, a fighting black soviet that we may also call a “community of resistance”, this agitational-organizational work aims to achieve that.