jueves, junio 01, 2006

Rebeldía Interviews Marcos

Here you have part of the fourth and last installment of Rebeldía's interview to the Delegado Zero:

“If You Listen, Mexico 2006 Seems a lot Like Chiapas in 1992”

An Exclusive Interview with Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos: Part IV

By Sergio Rodríguez Lascano
Rebeldía Magazine

June 1, 2006

Rebeldía: The action by the Mexican State against the people of Atenco seemed like an open attack against the Other Campaign. If one analyzes the type of operation it seems that it was carried out using the manual of scorched earth policy. The matter wasn’t about arresting specific persons, but, rather, to attack a town and together with it all the people that were there in solidarity with it. The brutality of the action was such that today authorities offer their personal opinion that maybe some police officers went too far. What do you think of the kind of operation that was carried out and is this going to be the policy that the State continues to conduct to confront the Other Campaign?

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos: Yes, this will be the policy, but it was not an operation. Mr. Wilfredo (Robledo, chief of the state police) has seen too many films and shows on TV Azteca and Televisa and he conducted the operation for television. It was an operation of punishment and reprisal for the mass media. And that explains why the mass media were there and edited the different clips to be able to say “these revolting rebels that attack the public peace were punished in exemplary fashion.” The operation was very, very badly done, from the standpoints of the goals of arrest, the goals of repression and the goals of imposing fear. Because only 24 hours had passed, when we symbolically retook Atenco. It was, above all, a signal from above recognizing who runs this country. Right now, in the vacuum of governance, it is the mass media. And now that this has turned around on them it is being seen: “well, yes, this is the result of there not being any legitimacy in what we did and therefore the law doesn’t matter, because legitimacy has been lost.” They already lost the ground they had gained, and that happened in the mass media. And to the media, it doesn’t matter to them whether there were violations or not, but, rather, that the common people don’t believe that the police behaved honestly, humanly and legally in the hour that they entered San Salvador Atenco.

This is going to be the policy of the State to confront the Other Campaign and any other social movement; as long as it exists and they try to manage it through the media. And the autonomy and independence that the mass media have — not as a benefit but in order to be able to exercise power however they like — means that there is no defined policy. We don’t know, with the growth that the Other Campaign is showing, with the protest movement to free the prisoners of Atenco, if they are going to respond with repression or if they are going to respond with liberty. What is seen is that the maneuvering room for them to act stupidly is being restricted. That is to say, we see here and here and here that, above all, the mobilizations have grown.

Since long before all this, those in power were going to continue without defining a policy to confront any social movement. I’m not just referring to repressing it, but also to solving its demands. It’s not going to happen. And that is what the three main presidential candidates are proposing. They said, immediately: “I am going to follow this policy,” or “I am not going to follow it,” or “I don’t know.” Well, nobody said they weren’t going to follow it, right? López Obrador said, “no… well….”

So, what is happening is that the operation fell apart already, totally, in terms of legitimacy, and it begins to fall apart in terms of its effectiveness and it is going to disappear at the moment that the prisoners walk free. Then what was it good for? They think that they can’t do it, because that would mean recognizing the mistake. There, above, it doesn’t matter if (state of Mexico governor Enrique) Peña Nieto or Wilfrido pay the price. The joke is that the movement won’t settle for that. At the hour that they fall, that their heads are offered and they tell us to calm down, they will be told NO, not until the prisoners are free. And that will be part of the movement: to punish the guilty and all that. Because they are going to offer that: they will offer punishment to the guilty ones that they choose with the punishment that they choose. And the prisoners? They can’t even be kept there on judicial grounds.

This is not the first time that the state has done it this way, seduced by the mass media. It’s like this: Wilfrido imagined himself being interviewed perfectly by Denisse Mercker, by Ciro Gómez Leyva, by López Dóriga – by all the Pleiades – telling the story about how he established order. The same goes for Peña Nieto. And now they have to face the music and spend money on TV spots to say what they did. That’s when they lost the battle. And in the end they lost it. Because even Wilfrido will never be able to explain it in the face of what people will always say: “couldn’t you have done it cleanly?” With a little more time and more intelligence. They had time, but, no, Wilfrido did not have the intelligence. The Mexican State doesn’t have that intelligence. That is what López Obrador and Madrazo and Calderón are trying to recuperate: “We would have done it right.” It’s not that they are going to stop repressing, but that they are going to do it better. That is how they see it and so they are going to fall wherever the magazine is published.

Rebeldía: At the start of the Other Campaign, you sent a letter to the reporters of the media in which you explicitly signaled that La Otra wasn’t seeking and was not going to capture the interest of the major mass media. Later, the TV wisemen (Denise Dresser, Hernández López, Riva Palacios, Krauze, Carlos Marín, Aguilar Camín) – pack journalism, a friend commented to me – said that the EZLN had not captured the interest of the media, that the Sup didn’t appear on television, on the news, in the press. Without knowing it, or wanting to, they simply confirmed what the EZLN had said in that letter to the reporters. Now, after the criminal action against the people of Atenco, you said that you would participate in a series of interviews with the mass media. Going on Televisa, in particular, unleashed a certain polemic. What was the goal of doing that kind of interview?

SCI Marcos: Prior to Atenco there had been an unspoken agreement: since the Other Campaign was working toward what is below, it was not looking toward what is above. Don’t mess with us and we won’t mess with you. That we don’t go there doesn’t mean that we aren’t criticizing what is up above. We didn’t get involved in the sense that we had clearly defined for quite a while that politics is defined by the mass media. Thus, we didn’t involve ourselves with the mass media, in spite of the fact that ever since we broke our silence there were requests for interviews coming from all of them. That is what those commentators have forgotten. The truth is that some of the same people who were complaining had requested interviews.

We said: well, no, we’re heading down below. We had this understanding: they don’t mess with us and we won’t mess with them. The media only broadcast the hits we made against the PRD or López Obrador, but that’s where it stayed, nothing else was broadcast. They just said whatever they wanted. Then, when the attack on Atenco happened and the mass media turned against not only Atenco but also against the Other Campaign, and together with the political class, we said: Okay, now the truce has been broken. And the truce meant for us here below that we didn’t concern ourselves with the mass media. Because we knew that there had been this interest on the part of the media since even before the Other Campaign began.

We said: the political class is fucking with us with this police operation, so now we’re going to get involved and dispute it with them. Not so much dispute, because what they did had no legitimacy nor intelligence. We were going to see what they didn’t want to see which is the people comparing an honest, articulated, proposal with the lies that they are saying, or the change in direction that needed to happen. So, in that sense, it was decided that those with experience doing interviews with a nose for journalism – because everyone else said it was not news – and the only one that was insisting that there was news here was one with that nose for journalism: it was (Carlos) Loret de Mola (of Televisa). So we decided to give him an interview. But first we gave one to La Jornada in a very different and other understanding. Later, I was scolded because I didn’t mention the Televisa Law on Televisa and all that but the goal of the interview was to change the view regarding what happened in Atenco. That was what was achieved.

A journalist scolded me: “but you had an hour, you could have hit a lot of issues,” and, later, she got an hour-long interview from me and she said, “oh no, there’s not enough time.” And before that, at La Jornada, it also took four hours, but there were many things to talk about. We thought that it had to be done and we had to achieve focus: to put that time at the service of the Other Campaign. Returning to the matter of the correlation of forces regarding what happened in Atenco, and that is how the interview was done. To say: hang on, this is not just any brutality. It’s not about any common violence. There is a total imbalance and that is what the law is supposed to balance. If it also gave greater visibility to the Other Campaign, well good then. But our goal was that. And later, fundamentally, it is coherent because we say that in this country the ones who govern are the media. We went to tell the government to let our compañeros and compañeras go if it doesn’t want trouble. And if it doesn’t let them go, well, these problems are going to keep growing.

There are two major criticisms that are made regarding Marcos’ appearance on Televisa: one comes from the alternative media, who say – although not very convinced – that with that appearance, although it was critical, it endorsed the politics of the media. And, well, this can be debated because it is a criticism from the left. And the other criticism was made the intellectuals made in the media, where there is supposedly an entire spectrum of thought from the left to the right. And fundamentally it all can be reduced to: “Why do you have to mess up the panorama?” As journalists say: Wow, what a banquet, to have someone that you can really interview and to whom the people want to listen. Because who is going to listen to López Obrador or Calderón or Madrazo? Not even if they are paid. I don’t say that this can’t also occur with Marcos, but at that moment, in that interview, it was The Interview, that is to say, a journalist’s banquet.

And the result is that it went well, that many people saw it, that it changed the entire perception of what happened in Atenco, and then they said: oh no, now we have a variable that wasn’t contemplated, that doesn’t have a registered place, that doesn’t even pay for ads and that messed all of it up for us. And if you read the criticisms by the editorialists that say they are of the left or of the right, well, you can change the names and there is no difference whatsoever.

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