BROTHERS [and sisters],
A year ago in the month of June of 1994, we responded NO to the government proposal for the signing of a fake peace. A year ago, the supreme government after responding to our demands for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicanos, with a stack of papers, with the offering of "generous" alms and with the arrogance which took the country to the worst crisis in its history, received the dignified voice of the Zapatistas, the "NO" which indicated we were not willing to exchange our dignity for money and promises.
A year ago the Zapatista Army of National Liberation took the initiative of speaking to the Mexican Nation to demand a national dialogue with all the people, groups and organizations who found common cause in the struggle for democracy, liberty and justice.
Acknowledging that a great social force had manifested itself in the beginning of the year 1994, first to stop the war and next to propel a dialogue, the EZLN acknowledges the power and voice of that social force, civil and peaceful, and called it to dialogue in order to seek and raise a banner, the national banner, and to struggle together for a transition to democracy in Mexico. This call we made in our 'SECOND DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE" and we called this first encounter of the national dialogue:
"THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION"
Two months later, the aspirations of ample sectors of the country to achieve the peaceful transition to democracy led to the birth, on the 8th of August of 1994 and in rebel territory against the bad government, of the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION.
In the Convention different organized efforts converged, citizens' groups, intellectuals and honest artists, political organizations of the center and the left, and a great number of citizens without a party. We recognized one another before a common enemy, the State-Party system, and in the call of the faceless men and women of the EZLN, and agreed on the demand for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicanos. We agreed, but we did not unite. The lack of a program and a plan of common action, allowed the electoral horizon to be converted in an obstacle for the development of the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION.
The dialogue among different forces was and has been difficult. There have been many obstacles and points of stagnation. But the fundamental platform of the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION continues to be viable; the peaceful civil struggle against the party system of the State.
Once the electoral fraud of August 21st was past and the ceremony of neoliberalism continued in our country on December 1 of 1994, the economy burst in crisis, the treacherous war masked in legality continued , as did the obsessive government resistance to a democratic opening and a profound reform of the State, and the shameful sale of national sovereignty and the repressive blows to the popular movements.
In the city and in the Mexican countryside, the popular demands found the same response: lies, jail, death.
Contrary to what was expected and desired by the bad government, the post-electoral miasma was overcome, and to each new blow, the democratic forces responded with rapidity, creativity and decisiveness.
New forms of organization have developed since then; Popular fronts, coordinators, civil associations, citizen's committees, organizational alliances.
Nevertheless, the different initiatives are limited, and waste away in the horizon which produces them. For each blow an organized response develops, For each organized response, the system prepares another blow.
We think that an initiative with a national character is lacking which UNITES and MAKES COHESIVE all the organizational forms which have been until now diffuse. We believed, we pointed out in our "THIRD DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, a NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT was necessary which would unite all the forces, all the citizens and organizations which struggle against the State party system. A movement which finds a unifying point among all the democratic forces. A movement which develops a common program of struggle. A movement which proposes a national plan of action, of struggle for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans and for the defense of national sovereignty.
The discussion about the characteristics of this great national opposition movement postponed its creation. The National Democratic Convention, called to head this ample opposition front, gave in to discussion about whether the front should be based on class or should be broad-based. As though these concepts were mutually exclusive, as though the formation of an ample multi-class movement impeded the generation of a class movement, the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION avoided making a decision in this regard.
The economic and repressive blows of February, March, and April, the widespread popular discontent, the lack of organizational alternatives and the awakening of the workers in the republic, made it clear that it was an error to have postponed the call which, days later, the people of Mexico awaited.
Nevertheless, new actors and new organizational forms began to point anew to the urgency and necessity of an initiative the nature of which could be a Movement for National Liberation.
Today we think it continues to be necessary to form this ample opposition front to the politics of the government.
Today we find ourselves at the beginning of a new effort at a dialogue with the supreme government. Today we renew our demands for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans.
Today we offer, as we did 18 months ago our blood, our voice so that all may speak, our cry so that all may cry, our demands so that all may demand.
Today we demand Everything for Everyone!
Today we demand a national dialogue between those who are opposed to the democratic change and those who struggle to make it a reality. Between the government, on one side, and all the democratic forces on the other.
National dialogue in order to dialogue with the government.
We Zapatistas see this as necessary. We do not want to make decisions without listening to all those who have helped us so much in the search for a peace with justice and dignity. We cannot do what the bad government does, that is, make decisions without asking those who, supposedly, support them.
Brothers [and sisters];
We have demonstrated before, every time that war seemed to engulf our lands, that we know how to listen. Today we want to demonstrate anew and re-orient our path.
That is why we are directing ourselves to the people of Mexico, to the Democratic National Convention, to the different independent social organizations, to the political parties of opposition, to the citizens' organizations, to the non- governmental organizations, to the unions, to the students, to the squatters, to the workers of the fields and the cities, to the indigenous Mexicans, to the housewives, to the intellectuals and artists, to the religious community, to the elderly, to the women, to the men and the children. And we are also calling upon those solidarity committees in the international community, to our brothers and sisters of North America, of Europe, of Asia of South America.
We call upon everyone, legal and clandestine, armed and peaceful, civil and military, to all those who struggle, in all forms, on all levels and in all parts for democracy, liberty and justice in the world.
For us, for the Zapatistas, the voice of civil society is important. The voice of all of you has value and power for the Zapatistas. We want to hear your word and know your thoughts in order to continue ahead.
We are directing ourselves to all our brothers in order to propose a national and international consultation [plebiscite] which will give direction to all of us in order to find the steps we should take and the direction we should follow in this historic moment. We therefore propose the organization of a
GREAT NATIONAL CONSULTATION [plebiscite]
to address the following questions:
1. Do you agree that the principal demands of the Mexican people are : land, housing, jobs, food, health, education, culture, information, independence, democracy, liberty, justice and peace?
2. Should the different democratizing forces unite in a broad- based opposition front to struggle for the 13 principal demands?
3. Should a profound political reform be made in terms which guarantee: equity, citizen participation, including the non- partisan and non-governmental, respect for the vote, reliable voter registration of all the national political, regional, and local forces?
4. Should the EZLN be converted to a new and independent political force?
5. Should the EZLN unite with other forces and organizations and form a new political organization?
There are five questions to be answered "YES", "NO, or "I DON'T KNOW". These are five questions which we need answered in order to continue ahead.
Brothers [and sisters]:
We make a respectful request to the brothers of the NATIONAL CIVIC ALLIANCE to contribute to this peaceful and civic effort in the struggle for democracy, providing their experience in the organization of such citizen consultations.
We make an urgent call to those different groups who make up the Democratic National Convention to suspend their internal purges and take into their hands the organization and realization of this large national consultation.
We call upon the National Convention of Workers to organize the consultation in unions, labor centers and workers' organizations.
We call upon the National Convention of Indigenous Peoples to organize the consultation in the indigenous and peasant communities of the nation, and in the independent organizations of indigenous people and peasants.
We call upon the National Student Convention to organize the consultation in the middle and upper educational centers of the country.
We call upon the National Women's Convention to organize a consultation in the independent organizations of women, in the neighborhoods and with the housewives.
We call upon the National convention of Artists to organize a consultation among cultural workers and to collaborate, with their labor and production, with the realization of this consultation in all the country.
We call upon the solidarity organizations which sympathize with the just cause of the EZLN in the United States, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Chile, Holland, Sweden, Norway, England, Argentina, Venezuela, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Russia, and in all the world to organize this consultation in their respective countries.
Brothers [and sisters];
This is our word. We ask that we organize ourselves in order to ask, that we organize ourselves in order to respond, that we organize ourselves in order to act. We propose that the consultation announce its results by August 8th of 1995 at the latest, first anniversary of the beginning of the national dialogue for a transition to democracy.
The EZLN confirms, with this proposal for a great citizen consultation, its commitment to "command by obeying". It gives a demonstration of its seriousness and its true commitment in the search for a political solution to the war, and calls to a new national dialogue among the democratic forces of the country.
>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,
[signatures] Comandante Tacho, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, Comandante David
Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee-
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation-
Democracy in Mexico, USA. t/f/(915)532-8382, e-mail: email@example.com