Wednesday, June 11, 2008

our word is our weapon

as of late, i have been making (a rather sordid) attempt at understanding just what, exactly, my political ideals are. Influences abound...and i am finding myself creating a political philosophy that pulls from the writings of robert heinlein, subcomandante marcos, and a recent re visitation to joe trippi. the common thread among these writtings:
change must come from within. a quote: "god forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion...what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?" -- thomas jefferson. this then ties into mark twain..."when one finds that they are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform."

from marcos:

"zapatismo is not an ideology,
it is not a bought and paid for doctrine.
It intuition.
Something so open and flexible that
it really occurs in all places.
Zapatismo poses the question:
'What is it that has excluded me?'
'What is it that has isolated me?'
...In each place the response is different.
Zapatismo simply states the question
and stipulates that the response is plural,
that the response is inclusive..."

It was once said to me that what happens, economically, to the U.S., hits twice as hard in mexico. this seems to be the reverse of the incitement of political reform/rebellion. surely one cannot deny the correlation between the indigenously driven zapatista movement, and the new "grassroots/netroots" political movement in the united states. (spearheaded by trippi during the presidential campaign of howard dean). dean repeatedly told us "the future lies in your hands, not mine." the unvanquished hunger of the unrepresented began to speak out. more than 640,000 individual donors and supporters rose to the call...more than any democrat before. dean said it himself, that he wanted to "forge a new American century from the bottom up." this is exactly the process by which marcos executed the ezln. describing the revolution as a snail, spiraling outward, enlisting civilian after civilian. (i could easily go on a tangent about the similarities in simple execution of ideas: taking on the advantages of the internet, grassroots campaigning, small budgets, local involvement before national focus, decentralized campaign stratagies, street art and youth involvement, etc etc etc). ( it should also be noted that howard is not the only one to have employed these strategies stateside....ron paul, mike huckabee, and bidden have all made similar attempts.)

"she. has no military rank, no uniform, no weapon. Only she knows she is a Zapatista. Much liek the zapatistas, she has no face or name. she struggles for democracy, liberty, and justice, just like the zapatistas. she is part of what the EZLN calls "civil society"-- a people without a political party, who do not belong to "political society," made up of leaders of political parties. Rather, she is part of that amorphous yet solid part of society that says, day after day, 'enough is enough!'"

this brings me to another comparison: the rise of the female voice. so much of the zapatista movement if focused on women's liberation....on women having a voice and holding rank. it is not surprising, then, that the united states would now have a woman running for presidential office, and a number of women as front runners within the selection of vice presidential nominations. and it is about damn time. but that is another tangent....for my own benefit, i am just connecting threads at this point....

and so how does heinlein tie in?
specifically in "the moon is a harsh mistress" (incidentally written before either of these movements ever began, and a fine example of how sci-fi is one of the best predictors of the future (not just due to the socio-political ideas i am about to discuss, but also technologically....see the recent washington post article on the space shuttle business in new mexico)).

the book begins with the meeting of a revolutionary group composed of citizens of luna. they are making an attempt to overthrow a government that is exploiting not only their labor, but their resources. (sound a bit liek mesoamerica to anyone else?) eventually, the revolution is reorganized by a woman, wyoming, prof. bernado de la paz (translated as bear of peace...or bearer of peace), mike, a super computer (note the correlation between the influence and use of the internet and technology as a presence in reform movements) and mannie, an unsuspecting computer repairman. mannie (i wont read in too much to the verbal closeness to the name marco) lays out a structure which communication among members of the revolution should take place. a "self-healing crystal lattice" which "begins at a single fixture" (mike) and spirals outward. Marcos himself describes the zapatista movement as ...slowly moving forward; ever spiraling outward in a fully participatory democracy. there are more than just verbal parallels. from its onset, one of the main goals of the lunar rebellion is to restore the planets natural resources to the people, while reinstating traditional subsistence methods to counteract the depletion the planet has undergone under the reign of "lunar authority". this same sort of exploitation is what prompted the zapatista movement! the export of resources (more than 100,000 tons of coffee), with little to no return to the farmer, the abolishment of article 27, and government subsidized farming are what lead to the public emancipation from the mexican government. centralized around marcos, and elisa, the zapatista movement was one comprised not of people seeking political ideologies, but people seeking CHANGE. one zapatista stated " i watched m father die because there was no money in our village to buy him medicine for his stomache. That is why i went with the zapatistas....i decided to fight because if we're all going to die, it might as well be for something."
i refer now back to the earlier marcos quote...."zapatismo is not an ideology...." these words remind me of prof. bernado de la paz. wyoming is trying to make him agree to a few basic political tenets. he states "tell me the rule, dear woman, and i will tell you whether or not today i will obey it." this is the mentality of the zapatista. there are not the belief that change can happen....that there is a better way.

and so i cannot help but allow my mind to wrap back to the united states: the voices of the dissatisfied are growing louder. everyone i talk to is fed up with this political folly. our constitution has become a joke, a thing to find loop holes in. our political system is a corporate monopoly, and we are all painfully aware of our lack of connection to natural resources. the looming threat of economic depression has many thinking in "survival mode" and others wanting to flee liek rats from a ship. while some turn a blind eye to our own exploitation, it seems the majority are painfully aware. this excites me...for i can only hope that at some point, the spiral will form. radiating and powerful, perhaps we truly can make a real difference. sans laws and documents. sheer action. without fear of failure, because there can be none...there is only action and the lack of it.

i end with pablo neruda:

"the word
was born in the blood,
grew in the dark body, beating,
and took flight through the lips and mouth.

farther away and nearer
still, still it came
from dead fathers and from wandering races,
from lands which had turned to stone,
lands weary of their poor tribes,
for when grief took the roads
the people set out and arrived
and married new land and water
to grow their words again.
and so this is the inheritance;
this is the wavelength which connects us
with dead men and the dawning
of new beings not yet come to light."

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