Article on Zapatismo in Russian magazine “Vlast” featuring GIAP

Read it on Vlast  

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In the day of the 30th anniversary of the EZLN, Russian magazine “Vlast” has published a report on the Zapatistas featuring GIAP. Below you can find a selection of answers to the editors’ questions.

Hoy, el mismo día en que se celebran los 30 años de EZLN, la revista rusa VLAST publica un reportaje que cuenta con nuestra colaboración de GIAP.

Many thanks to Tanya Dvornikova

(Non-edited text. We apologise for any mistake)

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Vlast: Please, tell us your story connected with the Zapatistas. When did you meet them for the first time?  What do You do now and what have You done before? In Your opinion, what is your role – are you researchers or activists?

GIAP: Since February 2013 we form GIAP, an independent militant research group focusing on political and esthetic aspects of specific social and revolutionary movements of the present, which are developing ideas of “autonomy” in their own theory and praxis. In the last few months our main focus has been the EZLN, especially after witnessing the 21st of December 2012 demonstration where 45.000 zapatistas pacifically occupied the 6 municipalities of Chiapas, which they had taken with the weapons the 1st of January of 1994 – and after reading the communiques that they have issued between December 2012 and March 2013. Since the creation of GIAP we have produced a number of articles of various types and presented our work at different events like the Biennale of Video and new Media and the School of Autonomy organized by sections of the Mapuche movement in Temuco, Chile. As GIAP we have also taken part to the recent Zapatista School for Freedom which has gathered more than 1000 activists from all over the world in EZLN-controlled territories of Chiapas. Our activities are constantly reported and updated in various languages on our blog.

None of us was born in Mexico (Alessandro is Italian and Natalia is Chilean) but we have followed the Zapatista movement since its first “public” appearance: the 1st of January 1994 uprising. Since then the Zapatistas have been of great inspiration for both of us, strongly influencing the way we perceive the world and our own lives. We find their political proposal particularly original and innovative since it develops ideas of equality and social justice, which, to some extent, go beyond the failure of 20th century’s attempts. Sigue leyendo

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DE LA AUTONOMÍA ZAPATISTA A LA AUTONOMÍA MAPUCHE: UN CAMINO LIBERTARIO QUE UNE EL SUR DE MÉXICO CON EL SUR DE CHILE.

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Un día lunes del mes de Octubre recién pasado, GIAP sostuvo un encuentro con secciones del movimiento Mapuche en el Consejo de Todas las Tierras (CTT) en la ciudad de Temuco, Región de la Araucanía, Chile. El evento se contextualizó dentro de la Escuela de Autogobierno que el CTT organiza periódicamente para discutir temáticas relacionadas con el desarrollo de sus propias formas de autonomía y política independiente.

De hecho, en los últimos años, las ideas de autodeterminación han ido asumiendo una creciente importancia dentro del movimiento, abriendo nuevas perspectivas políticas e intelectuales que se encuentran bien resumidas en el recién publicado (marzo 2013) libro del investigador chileno Tito Tricot, “Autonomía Mapuche”, donde traza un perfil de lo que podría genéricamente denominarse Nuevo Movimiento Mapuche Autonomista.

Así mismo, cabe señalar que en enero de 2013, los mapuche han publicado su “Manifiesto del Cerro Ñielol”, por el que a través de una serie de puntos, anunciaron su intención de definir y levantar a mediano plazo un proyecto autónomo y de autogobierno (link).

De aquí surgió el interés por GIAP y la invitación a participar en la Escuela de Autogobierno con el objetivo de discutir el desarrollo de la autonomía zapatista, teniendo en cuenta tanto nuestros propios planteamientos (en parte discutidos en el Diálogo n.1), como nuestra reciente experiencia en la “Escuela Zapatista por la Libertad” en el Caracol III- La Garrucha, Chiapas.

Aclaramos desde luego que nuestra intención fue discutir abiertamente el proyecto autónomo zapatista sin retórica propagandística (es decir, aceptando la presencia de contradicciones dentro de él)  ni con la pretensión de sustituir a los compas zapatistas, siendo conscientes de la parcialidad y subjetividad de nuestros conocimiento y visión. Asimismo, hemos intentado discutir el zapatismo no como un “modelo” que pueda ser reproducido de manera exacta por el movimiento mapuche, sino más bien como una experiencia singular que eventualmente les puede proporcionar nuevos puntos de vista e inspirarlos en su práctica política. En otras palabras, como adherentes a la Sexta y participantes de la escuela zapatista, hemos querido ser esas semillas de las que recién habló Raúl Zibechi, semillas que encontrando terrenos fértiles puedan volverse brotes de Autonomía.

Sigue leyendo

The Occupy Movement as a Politics for All

(Capitulo sobre el movimiento ocupa, del libro Cyborg Subjects recién publicado y disponible aqui – chapter on the occupy movement from recently published book Cyborg Subjects, available here)

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by Alessandro Zagato[i]

Before, I watched television; now television is watching me.

(Egyptian rebel, 2010[ii])

Lost my job. Found an occupation

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For the first time in my life I felt at home

(Banners seen at OWS, 2011)

An insurrection is not like a plague or a forest fire — a linear process which spreads from place to place after an initial spark. It rather takes the shape of a music, whose focal points, though dispersed in time and space, succeed in imposing the rhythms of their own vibrations, always taking on more density.

(The Invisible Committee, n.d.)

The principle of domination according to which just a minority of professional, skilled and eventually elected individuals have the capacity and legitimacy to objectively explain and determinate social reality, to take political and economic decisions which may affect the life of other individuals – this representative and separated idea of politics, from which ordinary people are excluded – was challenged by movements and events which have punctuated recent history with a strength, a scale and through processes somewhat unprecedented.

This is not to suggest that the world is at the verge of “Revolution”, nor to argue that capitalism is being in some way “defeated”. In fact, the situation is suggesting exactly the opposite, particularly in the EU, where austerity measures are being implemented with authoritarian zeal, and in the case of Greece and Italy by non-elected governments.

The idea that I would like to put forward here is that within the sequence that in its last phase named itself Occupy, unexpected steps have been taken forward in the development of a politics that shifts from orthodox and conventional forms and ideologies and, most importantly, makes itself available virtually to anybody.

Syntagma, Tahrir Square, Puerta del Sol, Zuccotti Park, Rothchild Boulevard and so on are names that in the last two years have had a huge resonance in the media. They indicate nodes, “evental sites” (Badiou, 2007, p. 175) where this political subjectivity has mushroomed in a rhizomatic and heterogeneous way. In my view, despite contradictions and differences among and within local initiatives, the leitmotiv of these diverse collective experiments is the simple and powerful idea of a politics which –to use an expression introduced by Judith Balso (Balso, 2010, p. 16)– is virtually “for all”. One that, in other words, responds “to the most fundamental idea of politics: that of the power possessed by those to whom no particular motive determines that they should exercise power, that of the manifestation of an ability which is that of any one” (Ranciere, 2012).

I will argue that the main conditions of a politics for all, such as the one witnessed in the last two years at an international scale, are: a. that it breaks with representation; b. that it   subverts a certain regime of distribution of places and functions; and c. that it provides a space for permanent discussion and decision making where anybody can participate on an equal basis.

1.     Rupture with representative politics

“We do not represent anyone and nobody represents us” (15M slogan)

Spain, 15th of May, 2011: demonstrations are taking place in main cities against the “anti-social” policies implemented by the government to handle the crisis.  Political parties and unions are officially not taking part: just a multitude of individuals and small organisations who have answered the call by newly created online platform “Real Democracy Now!” (Democracia Real Ya!). Protesters call for a radical change in politics arguing that no party represents them. “We are not commodities in the hands of politicians and bankers” reads the slogan shared by all adhering individuals and associations. Sigue leyendo