This is the fifteenth diary in a series about my recent trip to Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state, to meet with and learn about the Zapatistas, an indigenous insurgent movement made up of several ethnic groups, and their food and agriculture. On our sixth day, we went to stay with the Zapatistas at Roberto Barrios, near Palenque. This diary is about a poster I saw in their secondary school that explains their philosophy quite clearly.
(I went with the group Schools for Chiapas, an organization that works with and provides aid to the Zapatistas. Check out their website if you are interested in either traveling with them to Chiapas yourself, or simply buying some artisanal goods or coffee produced by Zapatistas. Aside from the obvious politics involved in supporting Zapatistas, you are supporting human beings who live in extreme poverty and work their asses off to educate themselves and their children and provide for basic needs like water and health care.)
The top: "The Current World Turned Into a Disaster"
Along the bottom: "Why do you think society is how it is?"
Yankee Imperialists: The Phantom Captain
He says: "Mmm and the moment has come that the world is mine and I will be the owner of all." and "Pobrecitos [poor people], you have to die so that I can be at peace."
The Rich People (Los Ricos)
"The government of the Republic cares more for the rich and does not care to poor people. They equip many soldiers for their protection so that nobody will limit them or interfere with their work and to control the people, to get richer, without caring that the indigenous live in extreme poverty."
"Also, the rich are the minority in every country and they are the ones who want to rule the world."
"People in rich countries live like this."
The Salaried Workers
"Now people think that the employees working in factories is the only way to sustain themselves. Because people now believe that if they don't have money, they can't eat, and for that reason they are forced to work in the factories even though they suffer exploitation."
In the picture: The workers in the city.
They say: "We don't want more exploitation and we want fair salaries."
"We want to be good workers... so that we can become owners of factories someday."
"Viva the workers in the city."
"Millions who are poor die of hunger, sickness, abandonment, and accidents at work. All so the rich can get richer."
"The poverty that exists is bigger than the world. And because of that, the moment will come when we can organize and we are able to construct a new society."
La Mentira: The Lie
"Religion is where they teach us to respect those in charge and obey because... [son los que nos da dinero]. We are poor because God willed it to be so."
"Education is where the teach people to think like them or they use education to maintain our ignorance."
"In the world ruled by "Hate," the lie is the ambition of the rich." ("En el mundo reina el "odio," la mentira es la ambicion de los ricos.")
"Those who fight for a just life are incarcerated, and those who rob and exploit walk free and go about their business."
"The government controls the entire world through the injustices that they do. They make laws that apply to people who have nothing. But if they commit a felony they are not recognized as criminals."
"The capitalist system enriches itself through violence. We've already been through war, conquest of territory, dispossession of land, using repression to control the people, torture, massacres, and harassment. And so some of us think that to get out of poverty we have to use violence."
"Individualism is a way for the governments and rich people to get richer, to be comfortable, and to not have to worry about people who have nothing. Everyone is free to meet their own needs if they can, and everyone is free to starve to death or die of illness."