Xayakalan Declaration

Xayakalan Declaration

[Translated by Tomás Alberto Madrigal, Accion Zapatista Santa Barbara]

Source: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2009/08/10/declaracion-de-xayakalan-del-cni-9-de-agosto-de-2009/

The Yaqui, Rarámuri, Triqui, Binnizá, Wixarika, Tenek, Nahua, Purhépecha, Ñha Ñhu, Mazahua, Coca, Amuzgo, Tlapaneco, Mixteco and Cuicateco people, hereby join our voices, thoughts and hearts in this Assembly of the National Congress of Indigenous peoples, on this reclaimed sacred mother earth, under the stewardship our Nahua brothers and sisters of the coast of Michoacán, to tell the Indigenous peoples of Mexico and of the world as well as national and international Civil Society that this is our word:

Neoliberalism and global Capitalism, in its different forms and at various stages in our history, from the beginning of Colonization, when the friars and bishops of the Inquisition tortured and decimated the vivid testimony of our peoples, to the present as transnational corporations, governmental programs, political parties, and multiple religions, continue to advance the destruction and dispossession of our communities; Capitalism today is as brutal as ever, with voracious appetite it is intent on exhausting our natural resources, water, air, lives, lands and territories. We will not tolerate this. As was the case for the Zapatistas in 1994, this assembly finds that this moment is a state of emergency for our communities, a time to continue to say, ¡Basta!

As in our past, today our people, nations, tribes and communities across the continent face perpetual systemic violence, a violence that translates into dispossession, evictions, murders, prisons, disappearances, exiles and repressions; this situation can no longer continue, our people are not willing to continue to feel the anxiety, despair, weariness and at times the terror perpetrated by the state, all of which have forced us to stand up and defend our people and our way of life. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the twelve political prisoners from Atenco and the five political prisoners from Candelaria Campeche being held on false charges brought on by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all Indigenous and non-indigenous political prisoners in the country, a cessation of hostilities, continued threats and arrest warrants being ordered against the members of our communities, peoples, nations, tribes and socio-political organizations in this country.

For us, resistance is the Other Politics; the strengthening and nurturing of our communities, the autonomy of the integration of our ways of thinking and our sense of identity, of being indigenous, it is our alternative history, this is the path we are left to take, it is a product of our history. To always resist allows us to conserve ourselves, guard ourselves, persisting, speaking our languages, taking care of our children, our Maize, maintaining our ways of teaching, our stewardship of our mother Earth, this is the Other Politics that honest Mexicans, male and female, indigenous and non-indigenous, must seek out and advance in order to preserve the being and spirit of our people.

Our way of being in our communities is an other way of governance, there is also much to learn, reflect upon and practice for our National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the home of all indigenous peoples of Mexico. We insist that our actions and our principles are those that should guide the development of that new anti-capitalist other politics of all those Mexican who find themselves below and to the left:

1. To command by obedience to the community
2. To come to the level of others and not to dominate others
3. To represent the community and not to supplant community with one’s own ideas
4. To propose and not impose
5. To strive to convince and not to vanquish
6. To be constructive and not destructive
7. To serve others and not oneself.

In order to defend the territory we must defend the people. The self-defense of our communities is a way of organization and action that we seek and exercise as a necessary step to defend and protect our autonomy, our lives, our peoples, nations, communities, tribes and neighborhoods. Our self-defense is not subject to inter-governmental or para-governmental negotiation, it is a life-affirming resource for the struggle for affirmative balanced living in our communities against the destruction and ruin of the environment and the irresponsibility of state security forces, nationally and internationally. Our self-defense is a form of good government (self-governance) by and for ourselves, recognized and respected through our ability to exercise our right to self-determination as a people.

Ostula, Coire and Pomaro, three communities of the Nahua people of the coast of Michoacán have been in these past few days the home and an example of the autonomy of our National Indigenous Congress. We recognize as the indigenous peoples that we are, that they are an example that maintains the strength that their community has given to them. The indigenous peoples of this country, participants in the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), express our unconditional solidarity and support in their process and struggle for autonomy as a people.

We demand that the local government of Michoacán and federal government of Mexico respect and provide the necessary guarantees for community controlled policing of the traditional Nahua people of the Coast Michoacán and the communal guard that protects the territory and the lives of these communities. The participants of this Assembly declare our position against any military, state police or paramilitary operations and incursions in the territory and in the villages and communities along the Nahua coastal mountain region of Michoacán. We call upon all brothers and sisters who are adherents of the national and international Other Campaign and national and international civil society to be aware of the processes and struggles against neoliberalism that Indigenous peoples throughout the country are implementing. On this occasion the peoples and participants in this Assembly denounce the Coahuayana Lázaro Cárdenas freeway project, as well as the Regional Plan for Integrated Tourism Development for the Michoacán coast, currently being advanced by federal and state governments and transnational corporate interests.

“Antes como Antes ahora como ahora” – “Before as it was before, Today as it is Today” (the famous phrase of José María Leyva, Yaqui warrior, known as Cajeme)


Convened at Xayakalan, The Yaqui, Nahua, Ñha Ñhu, Purhèpecha, Binnizá, Triqui, Amuzgo, Coca, Mixteco, Tlapaneco, Wixarika, Cuicateco, and Mazahua peoples.
Signed in Xayakalan, Ostula, Michoacán, 9 August 2009.


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