Mexico: Zapatistas Are a Weapon of the Ruling Class

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The guerrilla myth continues to be a strong attraction for leftist and petty bourgeois elements in the US. We are publishing here the first installment in a series written by our Mexican comrades exposing the bourgeois role of the Zapatista guerrillas in Mexico.

Ever since the appearance of the guerrilla movement known as the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico in 1994, the ICC has warned of its dangerous meaning for the working class. While the left of capital was thrilled and rushed to shout "We are all Marcos!", revolutionaries clearly defined the National Liberation Zapatista Army (EZLN) as counterrevolutionary, both for its typically petty-bourgeois desperate methods, and its bourgeois rhetoric. This became clear when it: called for an individual use of violence bordering on madness when the EZLN said that an irregular army formed by impoverished peasants armed with sticks could march to Mexico City, when it invoked Article 39 of the Constitution to justify its rebellion, while at the same time proclaiming the "defense of national soveregneity" of the "fatherland" as its principle and motto. It even defined "revolutionary" laws, which, with a radical yet fake pretense to justice, do nothing but validate the exploitation of wage labor.

The EZLN thus represents a structure that is both alien to the essence of the working class, and also totally opposed to it. For this reason, it is impossible to find a common ground between this armed group and the historical combat of the working class.

It's clear that Marcos' speeches and his presence, which are used by the bourgeoisie as a commodity, create a large audience. In the same way, the bourgeois press makes comments about Marcos' silence, or invents news about his health and his love affairs, as it does with any personality in the entertainment industry. This is possible because the EZLN is harmless to capital. In fact, it is in capital's interest that the EZLN spread, because its poisonous ideology confuses the working class' consciousness. Because of this, it is important to re-assimilate and deepen with new elements of reflection the arguments that the ICC has been presenting over the past 9 years in opposition to the lies of the bourgeoisie and its left apparatus. Clearly, the aim is not to start a polemic with "zapatismo." Rather, we want to defend Marxism against the EZLN's constant ideological attack, providing elements for reflection and clarification for the working class; particularly the youth, who, in the wake of the bourgeoisie's campaign against Marxism, and tits promotion of empty myths such as that of Marcos, are trapped in sterile and reactionary ideologies that put a damper on their anger against capitalism, and deliver them into the arms of blind activism, without a perspective for the future all the while trapped in the dream of both the “masked hero” and gradual change.

Guerrillas during the Cold War

During the 60's and up until the beginning of the 80's, several guerrilla groups formed which have their roots in the discontent, the desperation, and the romanticism of the petty bourgeoisie, but also in the confusion spread by Stalinist ideology, in its various manifestations from Maoism to guevarism. Some of these groups were even born outside the integral forces of the state apparatuses. Soon, however, they stopped having an autonomous life because they required economic and logistic support by a fraction of the national bourgeoisie, and, of course, by one of the two blocs. In particular, we will refer to the use the ex-USSR and its allies made of guerrilla movements. This, however, does not mean that the USA gave up doing the same, as was clear, for example, with the 'contras' in Nicaragua.

Recent history has shown that the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, the Salvadoran FMLN, or the Guatemalan UNRG received assistance from states that were in the Russian bloc. What resulted from such a practice is nothing the proletariat can claim for itself. Whether these groups succeeded in taking power or were disarmed, their actions were always aimed at strengthening the structures of capitalist rule. On the one hand, we saw the Sandinistas as well as many Castro-backed movements, which, notwithstanding their radical or 'marxist' rhetoric, have done nothing but reinforce the exploitation of wage labor. They have also become more greatly integrated in international conflicts. On the other hand, groups like the Salvadoran FMLN and the Guatemalan UNRG became fused with the state apparatuses which they had said they were fighting against. This grotesque development reached an extreme in El Salvador, where the guerrillas became cops. This is why the tactics, strategy, program, and practice of guerrilla movements are alien to the proletariat and to Marxism. On the contrary, it is a tool which capital needs.

Guerrillas in capitalist decomposition

The world configuration has been affected by the disappearance of the Soviet bloc. Nonetheless, the laws governing capital and imperialist confrontations become highlighted. This explains why the disappearance of the Eastern bloc - a product of the capitalist crisis - did not bring in its wake a new, peaceful order, as the bourgeoisie had promised. Instead, it accelerated imperialist rivalries. The Western nations, formerly disciplined by the USA, released all the suppressed ambitions and tensions because of the absence of a common enemy, and proceeded in a dynamic of each for themselves. This fact, unprecedented in the history of capitalism, is a clear sign that capitalism had entered the last phase of decadence, decomposition.

Under these conditions, the guerrillas have not stopped being a tool used to clear the path for its rivals. On the contrary, it refines its actions. At the time of the blocs, a guerrilla movement could surge with its own force, while today it is marked by the action of an imperialist power from its inception. It is clear that the EZLN defines the way by which, in the present period, guerrillas act as a detonator of conflicts, not only against the Mexican government, but above all against the USA. In this context, it is easy to understand the motivation of the European bourgeoisie behind its "preoccupation" with the zapatista cause. To mention just a few aspects that allow us to see who's behind the EZLN, we will remember the closeness of EZLN to Mrs. Mitterrand, John Paul II's suspicious attitude during his second to last visit to Mexico (when he unexpectedly denounced the murders of Acteal), and Eloriaga's and Marcos' posturing about wanting to sit at the European Parliament (1996) to "denounce" the Mexican government.

In this way, the EZLN is used by European imperialist powers to defy the USA. However, because of its military nothingness, it is utilized as a source of political pressure. In this way, even though the Europeans cannot strike directly against the US, they can still generate troubles in the American backyard. Even though the North American and Mexican bourgeoisies have been able to utilize guerrillas for their own interests - for example, by strengthening their campaigns around democracy while allowing their presence at the legislative bodies, by press coverage and by protecting their marches and speeches - guerrilla movements continue to be a weapon that the German, French, and Italian bourgeoisies continuously wield. MA -to be continued-.