Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Alternation or revolution: that is the question

By Gilberto López y Rivas. Translated for Axis of Logic from Spanish by Manuel Talens, Tlaxcala and revised by Les Blough
Jun 6, 2006, 11:00

Gilberto López y Rivas' critical analysis of the Other Campaign delineates its method: "listen to people from below and from the Left wing"

...and it's purpose: "to create a force stemming from below and totally independent of parties, timetables and rules of ward democracy"

a new world-revolution is underway - one that is unprecedented and one that we must first understand ... one to which we must commit ourselves if we are to prevail against the sophistication and power of the dominant capitalist forces.

the world is now revolving away from control by the ruling class to self-governance of the people - and it has no set starting point or place.

The real “national projects”, from the Leftist stand, are socio-historical constructions, elaborated by autonomous socio-political subjects in search of fundamental transformations along the fight against the capitalist-established power and its renovated forms of exploitation and dominance.

Hence, the Other Campaign [1] on its first stage intends to listen to people from below and from the Left wing in order that all sectors suffering from segregation, exploitation and discrimination establish the basis of an anti-capitalist and anti-neoliberal program.

The purpose of the Other Campaign is to create a force stemming from below and totally independent of parties, timetables and rules of ward democracy;

(the institutional left is) a force propitiated by “neoliberal capitalism, and (it)assume(s) a legitimating role of a political system based upon capitalist inequality and exploitation” [3].

..the importance of institutionalized spaces conquered by the Left cannot be neither denied nor underestimated, but these victories are not the “alternative". The Left’s priority is not the exercise of power inside the neoliberal bourgeois alternation, but rather political accumulation aiming at the future revolutionary transformation of society.” [4]

The Other Campaign starts from the assumption that it is impossible to reconstruct the basis of current national states from above. It is necessary to erect a power based upon our own forces,

This is the fundamental reason preventing unity between institutionalized left and anti-capitalist left.

The Other Campaign does not want to be accomplice or victim of a new illusion, of a new mirage.

...having analysed both the meaning of the ethical crisis and terminal limits the institutionalized left has arrived to. Lula in Brazil, Tabaré Vásquez in Uruguay, Bachelet in Chili, even Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua , and Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico represent a Left which satisfies itself with alternation and renounces to carry out structural changes on its respective countries. They do not break-off with the dominant model and they even constitute modern forms of “democratic governance.”

The Other Campaign starts from autonomous power construction expressing itself at the rebellious Zapatista municipalities and through Good Government Councils; it also starts from the ethical coherence of the Zapatista movement which grants it moral authority to make the proposals of the Sixth Declaration. This is not senseless voluntarism, but the result of an experience where everything achieved is due to the towns and communities’ own efforts; and above all it is not due to any government's concession.

The Other Campaign also starts from a detailed analysis of all conquests’ limits. Good Government Councils are a historical achievement but they are not enough and, besides, neo-liberal capitalism seeks to take possession of all indigenous peoples’ territories, resources and know-how. Indians are engaged on a total war in which the widest alliance of all exploited, oppressed, discriminated against and segregated is mandatory; this war is not only about survival of the country, but of mankind as a whole.

...concerning the “seizing of power,” Marcos made recently some important declarations

“And then, once this movement will be built, we think that the government’s problem – and that of the seizing of power – will be reversed: it will cease to be the central objective of a transformation movement and (the government) will transform itself into a mere part of that movement.

And perhaps – we think – we could build a world referent that is not a wall, as that of Berlin. (But) An undefined jigsaw puzzle that keeps modifying itself with each added piece. And as it is happening below, where everyone assures his/her place, the problem we face is not what image it will have at the end, but rather that each one of its pieces has my figure and my colour, that I am on it. And that is what permits that the movement that the Other Campaign... that this jigsaw puzzle continues piecing together below, not above, and, possibly, the government’s piece will fit on it, or the electoral democracy piece, or the [human] rights piece... many things which are there. But, watch out, it is neither the starting point nor the line of arrival. Although we will not avoid it either. That is what the EZLN is saying time and again.” [6]

The Other Campaign seeks an autonomous kind of democracy based upon a construction of power and citizenry from below; as a form of daily life with control and implementation of power exerted by everybody from the duty to be, that is, based upon ethical terms. It is not about an alternation under the ward of capitalism. It is about revolution.

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