Michael Löwy: Land & Freedom 2021! Solidarity with the Zapatistas’ Tour for Life
We are many in this old European continent saluting the Tour for Life of the Zapatista comrades. Due to its global, planetary nature, the Zapatista tour is a historic initiative, without precedent. It is an impressive example of the internationalist force given by the Zapatista experience, which has impacted the consciences of so many people in the most different parts of the world. An experience that, with all its inevitable limits and contradictions, has held the red and black flag of dignity and emancipation high for thirty years.
An expression of this ethical, social, human and revolutionary commitment is the extraordinary A Declaration for Life, which links in a beautiful synthesis the openness to diversity and convergence in the fight against the system.
“It is not possible to domesticate this system,” says the Declaration. Very true! If the system were a wild animal — a crocodile, or a tiger — perhaps it could be tamed. But it is something much worse: a blind machine of destruction, crushing everything in its path. Capitalism — to call it by its first and last name — is an inherently perverse system, whose destructive logic is necropolitical and ecocidal, sacrificing all forms of life, human or not, to the new idols, equivalents of the ancient Moloch, Mammon, and Baal: the Market, Profit, Capital Accumulation.
“The survival of humanity depends on the destruction of capitalism,” says the Declaration. They are a thousand times right! Capitalism, in its destructive dynamics of the planet, is leading us, with an inexorable dynamic, towards an unprecedented ecological catastrophe, which threatens the very foundations of life on the planet: climate change. We need to destroy the system before it destroys us: in other words, we need a revolution. Walter Benjamin, in 1940, defined the revolution not as the “locomotive of history” but as humanity that pulls the emergency brakes to stop the train. Nothing could be more true in our days: we are all passengers on a suicide train, the modern capitalist civilization, which is walking with increasing speed towards a deadly abyss: ecological catastrophe. We have to pull on the emergency brakes of the revolution before it is too late. The Zapatistas are at the forefront of this great planetary fight.
The old slogan of Emiliano Zapata is very current in 2021, engraved with letters of fire on the flags of the Army of the South: Land and Freedom! “Land” in our time means not only the peoples’ struggle for their land – more than ever in the countries of the global South – but also the struggle to save our Mother Earth from the destructive fury of capital. And “Freedom” means not only toppling the various dictators who, like Porfirio Díaz, oppress their peoples, but also liberating humanity from the dictatorship of capitalism, which seeks to lock us all up in a steel cage.
You, comrades of the delegation of the indigenous and insurgents of Mexico, bring us a message of intransigent struggle, of tenacious resistance, but also of hope, of searching for anti-systemic alternatives, of communal ways of organizing life. You represent the oldest -the pre-colonial collectivist and community traditions of the indigenous civilizations of the Americas- and the newest, the self-organization, the self-government of the insurgent communities.
Paraphrasing Che Guevara, I would say that we need one, two, three, a hundred rebellious Chiapas in the world. Perhaps your Tour for Life will help spread, to other places, the will to break with the system, the search for radical alternatives.
Until the Victory of Life, Always!