Tag Archives: community

The Zapatistas’ first school opens for session

 

ast December, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized, peacefully and in complete silence, to occupy five municipal government office buildings in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. That same day, which coincided with the end of one cycle on the Maya calendar, Zapatistas released a communiqué, asking, “Did you hear it?”

It appears that the answer was yes, because this week thousands of people from around the world are descending on Chiapas for the Zapatistas’ first organizing school, called la escuelita de libertad, which means the little school of liberty. Originally the group allotted for only 500 students. But so many people wished to enroll that they opened an additional 1,200 slots for the weeklong school, which begins on August 12.

Just as the Zapatistas have, for two decades, rejected hierarchical systems, the escuelita will also eschew traditional teaching models. Instead, it will be an open space for the community to learn together.

“There isn’t one teacher,” wrote Subcomandante Marcos, the spokesperson for the Zapatista movement. “Rather, it is the collective that teaches, that shows, that forms, and in it and through it the person learns, and also teaches.”

While attending the escuelita, students will live with a family in a rebel zapatista community and participate both in the school and in the daily life of the community. Participants will cut wood, work in the cornfields and cook and eat with their host families.

Subcomandante Marcos acknowledged that attending this type of school requires shifting one’s way of thinking about learning and indigenous communities. As he asked in a communiqué:

Would you attend a school taught by indigenous teachers, whose mother tongue is typified as “dialect”?

Could you overcome the temptation to study them as anthropological subjects, psychological subjects, subjects of law or esoterism, or history?

Would you overcome the urge to write a report, interview them, tell them your opinion, give them advice, orders?

Would you see them, that is to say, would you listen to them?

Leading up to the school, the Zapatistas published a series of seven communiqués entitled “Them and Us.” These essays illustrated the absurdities of “those from above” — those who hold coercive and repressive power — trampling the freedoms of “those from below.” The writings also spoke to the need to learn by observing and listening in order to build an alternative world. But more than abstractions, the seven publications were a collection of lessons about how everyday life in the Zapatista communities, including how people resolve problems and how they organize themselves into an autonomous networks in which the people rule and the government obeys.

The last installation of this manual, published on March 27, also announced the upcoming escuelita and outlined three requirements necessary for any applicant: “an indisposition to speaking and judging, a disposition to listening and seeing, and a well-placed heart.”

The Zapatistas are unique not only for challenging power or maintaining their resistance for nearly 20 years. What sets them apart is their ever-evolving definition of liberty, and this topic — liberty according to the Zapatistas — will be the central focus of the school. According to Subcomandante Marcos, liberty is “to govern and govern ourselves according to our ways, in our geography and in this calendar.” But the definition also shifts from generation to generation, and Marcos explains that new generations must find their own paths through rebellion and dignity.

The experience of living with Zapatistas and other indigenous families will be another central part of the school. Some students will stay with families living in autonomous rebel communities, while others will be with nearby non-Zapatistas, or even anti-Zapatistas families. These hundreds of families have all agreed on a votán, a person who, in the Zapatista movement, represents a guardian and the heart of the community. The votáns will translate for the families and the foreign students, although Marcos acknowledges that translation itself is an imperfect process.

“In legal cases, do cultures translate?” he questions. “In that sense, one understands that what they call ‘equality under the law’ is one of the greatest travesties of justice in our world.”

As for final evaluations, the school won’t, unsurprisingly, have an exam, a thesis, or a multiple-choice test. Rather, as Marcos explained, the school “will make its own reality,” and the results will be “a mirror.”

The school began after three days of festivals in rebel communities to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the councils of good governance, the Zapatistas’ autonomous governing system in which the community makes decisions and the government carries them out. During the celebrations, one could see empty buses and vans parked along the streets to Ocosingo and Palenque, waiting to transport the 1,700 students from San Cristobal de Las Casas into the rebel communities the following morning.

Earlier this summer, the Zapatistas announced that future escuelitas in the Zapatista communities will be held this coming winter.

reposted from : http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/the-zapatistas-first-escuelita-for-freedom-begins-today/

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Another BBC Program Demonising Benefit Claiments : Only This Time Its Personal

So did you see it? the BBCs new “documentary” Nick And Margaret : We Pay All Your Benefits.  Just reading the title I think we can all see where this program was heading, and it didn’t fail to deliver.  Right from the start we were subjected to language the average Daily Mail reader will be only too familiar with, terms like “striver” “scrounger”

This was never meant to be an honest unbiased look at the whole benefit system. No this program had one aim and one aim only. That was to push the whole right-wing callous capitalist agenda of demonizing the poor and needy. The program stunk of propaganda, from the snide comments the totally “neutral” hosts were making, to the stagnant anti welfare soundbites the so-called “strivers” regurgitated on cue. It could have been written by Ian Duncan Smith himself it was so patronising and dismissive of the people involved.

So why this time is it personal?

Because one of the participants is a long time friend of mine.  Luther the single dad.

I first want to say, well done bro, you did a great job, you came across as the likeable caring chap we all know you are. This despite the editing they did to push their agenda and the serious lack of detail into your predicament.  But of course they don’t want to go into too much detail because that will show the world what a down to earth solid geezer you really are. No they want caricatures of benefit claimants ones that fit into their nasty little pigeon holes they have for us all. They wanted to dehumanize him. Well I’m sorry to say that despite their best attempts they failed.

So why did he do the show, I mean we all knew they would try to paint him in a bad light, after all that is the job of propaganda, to blur the truth and point the viewers towards one conclusion. He knew this perfectly well when he entered into this program but did it because he wanted to do his best to show the world that benefit claimants are human too and to show the audience the  inhuman cruelty that some of these cuts can cause.  So he used this chance to highlight all the problems with this governments welfare strategy. He spoke about the bedroom tax and the benefit cap, the council tax benefit removal, the sterile anti person ATOS interviews and the DWPs twisting of statistics.

unfortunately that would not of served the BBCs political masters for them to show any of that, so instead they cut and edited almost everything he had to say unless it fit with their opinions.

Then they added those patronising comments the hosts made about the people in their car.  But at least he tried hey, at least he took that opportunity and tried to make his voice heard.  The end result though was already a foregone conclusion and that pisses me off.

Things like “he doesn’t contribute to society”  BULLSHIT!  There are many more ways of contributing to society than just being a wage slave.  This is the man who at 16 yrs old took on full care of his new baby boy after its mother just did a runner. Now I’m sure like all 16 yr olds he would rather have been out their partying but no, he manned up and took responsibility.  He as also helped many many other people who have suffered for one reason or another from giving a bed to sleep for people who were homeless to feeding others kids when they struggled to find the money.

The man has basically put other people’s problems before his own because that’s the kind of guy he is.  Now isn’t that contributing to society?  You see society isn’t just columns of figures or records or taxes. It is people real people who look out for each other in order to make a nice loving and safe community.

This is something that the benefit claimants excels at. Helping each other out, building strong community safety nets between themselves. Afterall they have all been there at one point or another so they are the ones who stand up and without thought for themselves give what little they have to help others.

This is something even the Christian Jesus would have approved. I believe he told some parable about the rich man and the poor man and the meek. Ironic then that most of the gov ministers identify with this guys teachings. Shame they don’t follow them.

So fuck their claims of not contributing to society. WE ARE SOCIETY.

Other points that they failed to mention in their puerile hate crusade of a program. The guys disability. I think they mentioned he had a lung problem. What about the hip replacements he had to have while still in his 30s?  The constant hospitalizations, the ages spent on crutches. All this while bringing up 4 lovely children.

You all saw his kids right? Didn’t they look the nicest happiest loving kids you ever seen?  You telling me these parents who spend their entire lives working get to produce such lovely children? Because I am sure that children need a parent around them to teach them and give them the love they deserve. It seemed according to this program that this is no longer the accepted way of child care. No now the government want you to have less of a connection to your kids, they want you out working at all hours. They want you to leave your children to be brought up by carers or nurseries.  They are basically trying to break the bonds of parenthood and replace the parent with the state in the childs eyes. …… ” Dont trust your parents children they are only human so will fail, trust us instead we know whats best for you, we will teach you how to become an uncaring consumer just like us”   This is brainwashing FFS Is this what we want to see the future of our society becoming?  No parental responsibility just a mindless adoration of authority.

It’s not just Luthers portrayal that annoyed me though, the whole tone of the show just oozed stereotypes:  Look at that poor woman. Anyone want to bet she was chosen just because she is a bit overweight?  Then they can show all benefit claimants as greedy guzzlers that get paid far too much or they wouldn’t be fat.  Then there was the usual flat screen TV bullcrap and the smoking and drinking.  They were even picking on the family pets ffs.

If these fuckwits had their way a person on benefits would look like an Auschwitz victim. Would live in a one room shack with no TV, phone, computer or probably even electricity at all.  They would all only get to eat processed food  (did you hear that woman? “why they having two hot meals a day?”  You what? so now feeding your kids well is a crime too?)  Wear only rags. Spend ALL of their time looks at the same six jobs in the job centre and presumably applying for these 6 every day over and over again.  Then of course they would have to be sterilized so they don’t have any kids. Finally they would have to duck out of sight anytime a “real” person walked past because after all who wants to have to look at poor people all day 😛

Sounds horrific or over the top? I guarantee if we don’t rise up on mass soon and do something about this, it will become reality, and its programs like this that will bring it about.

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