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The origins of the Occupy movement

we are everywhere | 09.12.2011 19:41 | Occupy Everywhere | Social Struggles | Zapatista | World

If the catastrophe that is coming is to be avoided and humanity is to have another chance, it will be because the others, from below and to the left, have not only resisted, but are already sketching the outline of something else.

The indignados offer hope for humanity: González Casanova

· He says the real rulers of the world are not governments but corporations
· He considers that the Zapatistas are the seed of the new global mobilizations

Alfredo Valadez Rodríguez La Jornada 17/10/2011

Zacatecas, October 16th. The global mobilization of ‘the outraged’ (los indignados) is a new struggle, which includes all previous struggles for human emancipation; this social upheaval has, due to its strength and worldwide reach, come to represent hope for humanity, said sociologist Pablo González Casanova.

After attending the 30th anniversary of the Graduate School of Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, the academic and researcher said, in an interview, that the new global manifestation highlights the problems corporate capitalism is creating.

Indeed, Gonzalez Casanova affirmed, among the outraged of the world there is a growing awareness that sovereignty is really in the hands of corporate capitalism, which is behind all the actions of governments, and the whole crisis of party and state organizations.

He believes that corporations are the true rulers of the world today, and that this is being discovered in many varied ways. Some understand the whole reality, others see it more vaguely, but what is happening on Wall Street in the United States is one indication of this growing awareness.

The Mexican sociologist and humanist, who has received thirteen honorary doctorates from different universities, said of the demonstrations taking place in dozens of cities around the world against the neoliberal economic model: "There is much to say about los indignados. It is a historical movement of great richness, which represents a new historical project, different from previous ones in many respects; at the same time it marks the development of the historical memory of the wisdom of the people, the experiences of the people, and the imagination and creativity they possess.

"By this I mean that the movement of los indignados has certain common universal features, which make it a historic movement of great importance, corresponding to a new struggle in which all previous struggles for human emancipation are present".
At almost 90 years old, Gonzalez Casanova, who proudly identifies himself as a Zapatista, broke down in detail his view of what the mobilization of the outraged might mean to the world; they [the indignados] are no longer thinking about the forms of democracy that emerged following the French Revolution. Nor are they thinking about the Marxist revolutionary project that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century.

In this movement, he continued, they are not limiting themselves to the approaches that arose from Marxism-Leninism on the one hand, or from parliamentary socialism on the other, nor from the revolutionary nationalism of the early twentieth century. They have a historical memory of these events, often implicit, but they also have a wealth of very profound moral values, much greater than the previous ones. Now they have become the hope for humanity.

In fact, said Pablo Gonzalez Casanova, the Indian uprising in Chiapas in 1994, and the Zapatista ways of thinking and ideology, was the seed of the new global mobilization. This broader approach can be found among the Maya of Mexico who rebel and are known as Zapatistas. They made the first attempts at alternative ways of living and relationships with the land, which have great potential to solve not only the problems of the Indian peoples of Mexico, but those of all the peoples of the world.

These ideas, insisted González Casanova, are part of the contribution made by the Zapatistas to the movement of los indignados, a very rich and pioneering contribution, from which new efforts are now arising; these make us realise that this is a project which has the potential to solve the increasingly acute problems corporate capitalism is creating.

Asked whether the protests in different countries could find common flags, including the struggle against cuts in social welfare and the privatization of profits, González Casanova replied that from his perspective, there are two main objectives.

One is the organization of direct democracy, real democracy, where the people have the power. This is what democracy means in Greek, the etymological root is very good. They [the indignados] want government by the people, he said.

The Mexican researcher, who the previous week had shared ideas with angry protestors under the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Spain, went on to say that the other objective of the new world rebellion is “the creation of secular spaces, spaces for dialogue, spaces for discussion in which different religions and ideologies are respected. And there is another factor to be highlighted, which is the moral weight of the collective decision to struggle”.

To these characteristics of a truly democratic project must be added, he said, the growing perception that corporate capitalism is behind all the actions of governments and all the crises of political parties and state organizations, and that this is really where sovereignty lies.

To emphasise Pablo Gonzalez Casanova’s message, we print below the original invitation, issued by the Zapatistas in September 2008, to the Worldwide Festival of Dignified Rage (Digna Rabia). It reads like a manifesto for the indignados, the outraged, the Occupiers…………

If the catastrophe that is coming is to be avoided and humanity is to have another chance, it will be because these others, down here and on the left, have not only resisted, but are already sketching the outline of something else.

Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation
Sixth Commission—Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN


September 15th and 16th, 2008

To the adherents of the Sixth Declaration and the Other Campaign:

To the adherents of the Zezta Internazional:

To the People of Mexico:

To the Peoples of the World:

Compañeras and Compañeros:

Brothers and Sisters:

Once again here’s our word.

This is what we see, this is what we are looking at.

This has come to our ears, to our brown heart.


Up there, they intend to repeat their history.

They once again want to impose on us their calendar of death, their geography of destruction.

When they are not trying to strip us of our roots, they are destroying them.

They steal our work, our strength.

They leave our world, our land, our water, and our treasures without people, without life.

The cities pursue and expel us.

The countryside dies and we along with it.

Lies become governments and dispossession is the weapon of their armies and police.

In the world, we are illegal, undocumented, unwanted.

We are pursued.

Women, young people, children, the elderly die in death and die in life.

And up there they preach to us resignation, defeat, surrender, and abandonment.

Down here we are being left with nothing.

Except rage.

And dignity.

There is no ear for our pain, except that of the people like us.

We are no one.

We are alone, and just with our dignity and our rage.

Rage and dignity are our bridges, our languages.

Let us listen to each other then, let us know each other.

Let our rage grow and become hope.

Let our dignity take root again and breed another world.

We have seen and listened.

Our voice is small to be the echo of that word, our gaze small for such an amount of rage, a rage with such dignity.

We need to see each other, look at each other, talk to each other, listen to each other.

We are others, the other.

If this world doesn’t have a place for us, then another world must be made.

With no other tool than our rage, no other material than our dignity.

We still must find each other, know each other.

What is missing is yet to come… Falta lo que falta…


Now, three years after the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the EZLN has undertaken a collective assessment, nourished by the broad horizon that our compañeros of the Other Campaign in Mexico and the Zezta Internazional across the world have given us.

What we have seen and heard is not little, sometimes directly, sometimes through the words and the gaze of others.

The rage that we felt and the dignity that we found were so great that now we think we are smaller than we thought before.

In Mexico and in the five continents we have found what we sensed we would when we began our sixth step: there is another world, there is another path.

If the catastrophe that is coming is to be avoided and humanity is to have another chance, it will be because these others, down here and on the left, have not only resisted, but are already sketching the outline of something else.

Something different from what is going on up there.

In the impossible geometry of political power, the fundamentalisms are distributed evenly: the right wing becomes ultra-right and the institutional left wing becomes the impossible cultured right wing. Those who make up the progressive media complain that the fanatics on the mainstream press censure them, twist their words and slander their leader. But they at the same time censure, twist the words, slander, and remain silent before any movement that hasn’t bowed down to the dictates of their ringleaders. And without shame they condemn and acquit to the rhythm of a senseless media rating. Fanatics on one and other side fight over lies dressed as truths and crimes are gauged according to the media time they occupy. But this is nothing more than a pale reflection of what is happening in politics.

Weariness in the face of cynicism and incompetence on behalf of the traditional political classes has been turning into rage. Sometimes this rage still hopes for change following the usual paths and places, and it crashes head-on either with the disappointment which immobilizes it or an arbitrary force which tramples it. The unsettled and brutal North goes back to its old ways. When it is not sponsoring electoral fraud (as in Mexico), it is promoting, encouraging, and financing state coups (as now attempted in Bolivia and Venezuela). War continues to be its primary and favoured form of international diplomacy. Iraq and Afghanistan burn, but, to the despair of those up there, they are not consumed.

The impositions of hegemony and homogeneity on a global scale find their witches’ apprentices in nations, in regions, and in small localities, which rehearse the impossible historic return to a past where fanaticism was law and dogma, science. Meanwhile, the governing political classes have found in the world of bright lights an adequate disguise to hide their full participation in organized crime.

Sickened by so much greed, the planet begins to pay the unpayable bill of its destruction. But “natural” disasters are also class issues and the devastation is felt most by those who have nothing and are no one. Faced with this, the stupidity of Power has no limits: millions and millions of dollars are dedicated to the manufacture of new weapons and installation of more military bases. The power of capital does not worry about training teachers, doctors, engineers, but rather soldiers. It doesn’t prepare constructors, but rather destructors.

And those who oppose this are pursued, incarcerated, murdered.

In Mexico, farmers who have defended their land are in prison (San Salvador Atenco); in Italy those who opposed the installation of military bases are pursued and treated as terrorists; in the France of “liberty, equality, and fraternity”, humans are only free, equal, and brothers if their papers say so; in Greece being young is a vice that must be eradicated; again in Mexico, but now in that city of the same name, young people are criminalized and murdered and nothing is done because it is not on the agenda dictated by those up there. Meanwhile, a legitimate referendum is converted into a shameful way for an assassin-governor to wash his hands off a situation. In the Spain of the modern European Union, publications are closed and a language, Euskera, is criminalized —they think that by killing the word they can kill those who speak it—; in that Asia that is so close, the demands of the peasants are met with armoured nonsense; in that arrogant American Union, born of immigrant blood, the “other colours” who work there are pursued and killed; in the long wound that is Latin America, the brown blood that sustains it, is despised and humiliated; in the rebellious Caribbean, a people, the Cuban people, have to add up to the disgrace of a natural hazard that of an imperial embargo that is nothing other than an unpunished crime.

And in all of the corners of the world’s geography, and in all of the days of its calendars, those who work, those who make things run, are plundered, despised, exploited, repressed.

But sometimes, many times, as many times that a smile sets off, that rage looks for its own paths, new paths, other paths. And the “no” that they raise now not only resists, but begins to propose, to propose itself.

Since our public appearance, now almost 15 years ago, it has been our goal to be a bridge on which rebellions can walk back and forth.

Sometimes we have achieved this, sometimes we haven’t.

Now we see and we feel not only the rebellious resistance that, as sister and compañera, stays at our side and encourages our steps.

Now there is something that wasn’t there before, or that we hadn’t been able to see.

There is a creative rage.

A rage that paints all of the colours of the paths below and to the left on the five continents….


For these reasons …… the men, women, children, and elderly of the EZLN convoke all of the rebels of Mexico and the world to the:

First Worldwide “Festival de la Digna Rabia” (Dignified Rage)

With the theme:

Another world, another path: below and to the left….

we are everywhere


Display the following 2 comments

  1. Tis true — whoslandisit
  2. Twilight of empire. — Knot-Eyed Jaguar.