On January 1, 1994 the indigenous peoples of Chiapas, Mexico organized into the ELZN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) rose up to demand dignity, justice, and an end to 500 years of racist oppression. sinc then the Mexican military has used U.S. supplied training, weapons, and money to wage dirty counter-insurgency war against the indigenous communities that supported the uprising.
International solidarity work in Chiapas is white dominated. Estacion Libre is a project whose aim is to assist both the indigenous struggles in Mexico and the struggles of communities of color in the United States by facilitating a fruitful interchange of experiences between these struggles.
We agree with the stated belief of Fred Hampton that people learn by "observation and participation." By extending the network of solidarity with Zapatistas into Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Native communities in the United States, we hope to strengthen the struggles of these communities in the U.S. by giving activists of color from the U.S. the opportunity to witness an effective and vibrant democratic and multi-ethnic grassroots movement that has been able to sustain itself in the face of considerable repression. At the same time we want to enable activists of color to make contact with other activists of color from different parts of the U.S. who are similarly inspired by the Zapatistas and to promote multi-racial unity between different communities of color. Experiencing the indigenous struggle in Chiapas for yourself is an ideal way of learning from the struggle in Chiapas in order to bring the profound lessons of those experiences home. Because of the economic obstacles we as people of color face, when possible we provide travel scholarships for delegations (based on need).
The work of Estacion Libre has two main components. The maintenance of a living and workspace in San Cristobal de las Casas for use by activists from communities of color in the United States, and the organizations and specific work projects in the indigenous communities of Chiapas.
WHY PEOPLE OF COLOR SHOULD GET INVOLVED
We cannot remain blind to the fact that racist national policies within the U.S. directly correlate with racist policies abroad. What is happening in Chiapas is of particular importance to communities of color in the U.S., not just because U.S. money is being spent to wage war in Mexico while our communities are being deprived of vital services and not just because we have an interest in standing up in racism everywhere, but more importantly because the Zapatistas are an inspiring example of possibilities for moving forward at a time when we seem to be so desperately defending gains of the past.
The Zapatistas have overcome profound ethnic, religious, and gender divisions in their communities to build a unified struggle around the world. The Zapatistas have also called on people around the world to come to Chiapas to see for themselves what is really happening and to prevent the Mexican government from carrying out its crimes without witnesses.
The power of multi-national corporations recognizes no international borders, making itself felt around the world. We must begin to form the types of alliances necessary for for us to defend ourselves. La lucha Sigue!
GET IN TOUCH WITH US!
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN ONE OF OUR DELEGATIONS
OR ARE INTERESTED IN DOING WORK OR HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVATION IN CHIAPAS PLEASE
CONTACT US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AT:
P.O. BOX 226758
LOS ANGELES, CA 90022
"Los Zapatistas lo pidan es que les reconozcan como fuerza politica..
Pero aparte dicen tambien se tienen que organizar..Entonces es un doble llamado,
a que empecemos a dialogar para ver como podemos hacer esa lucha mundial contra
un enemigo comun."
Coordinador Nacional FZLN
"What the Zapatistas are calling for is to be recognized as a political
force..But they are also saying that you have to organize yourselves..
So it is a double call, that we recognize the Zapatista struggle and that
we begin to see how we can make a world-wide struggle against a common enemy."
National Coordinator FZLN
People of Color in Solidarity