Dignity cannot be beaten down with impunity, it exists today in the form of the workers of Ruta 100

Mexico, August 3, 1995


Ruta 100 Union
Mexico, DF.


Insurgent Subcommander Marcos


I write to you on behalf of all of my comrades in the Zapatista National Liberation Army to bring you our greetings.

Our silence with regard to the cowardly and treacherous attack on SUTAUR-100 was not because we disdain your struggle, nor because of whatever political differences we may have. We remained silent because we thought that our words could be used against your unjustly imprisoned leaders. They were accused of being accomplices of the EZLN, and being incarcerated, they could be hurt if the zapatistas were publicly to condemn the repressive attack and state their unconditional solidarity with the workers of Ruta 100. That was our thinking at the time, and that was the reason for our silence. But we have now learned that since the cowardly murder of Magistrate Polo Uscanga, it is public knowledge that the accusations against the leaders and advisers of SUTAUR are all lies, and that the true objective of the attack was to decapitate a movement whose combativeness and rebelliousness have been a constant headache for the criminal gang that illegitimately holds the title of "Mexican government."

We think that it is now clear to public opinion that the attack on SUTAUR was not because of some criminal conspiracy, but because of your tradition of struggle, your steadfastness and your unity. That is why we now dare to reach out to you and bring you our respectful greetings, because we believe that it can no longer be used to harm your leaders, because we believe that lies can no longer tarnish the dignity of your movement. This is our message: Brothers, the resistance that you keep up is not only an indication of your combativeness and spirit. It also bespeaks the intelligent way in which you struggle. When the supreme government expected some unthinking reaction to their attack, the resistance you put up was varied and imaginative. Intelligence is always respected, wherever it may be, but all the more when it comes from a sector that opposes the policies of a criminal gang that holds government offices. And when that sector that resists intelligently is part of the Mexican workers' movement, respect becomes hope.

Your movement has not only been intelligent; it has also shown everyone, including its detractors, the strength of your unity. Neither threats nor blackmail nor bribery has been able to break your organization or turn it against itself, which is what the malevolent government wanted.

Intelligence, unity and resistance. These are the three main characteristics of your movement, and indeed, they are the three main lessons that you teach to all those forces who struggle, in different places and in diverse ways, for the democratization of the country.

I don't think I am telling you anything new with the above. You yourselves have become aware of the sympathy the Mexican people have for you. You know that your movement, as one of your leaders rightly pointed out, is not just for the defense of a source of work, but an example that shows how dignity cannot be beaten down with impunity, that dignity is also in the cities, that it lives among the workers, and that it resists today in the form of the workers of Ruta 100. Rest assured that the admiration and sympathy that the urban population has for you are shared by us, the zapatistas.

The unjust arrests of your advisers and leaders have been a hard blow, certainly. But they have not given up, you resist, and above all, your independence and integrity are unquestionable. Unfortunately, in Mexico, for a left movement or a leader to have his honesty recognized, he has to be in jail... or dead.

The enemy's stupidity has made you stronger. The government thought that by assaulting you it would wipe you out. That's not what happened; it made you stronger, and has led sectors in the struggle who once distrusted you now to show nothing but respect for your movement, for your steadfastness, for your resistance.

The government, our enemy, is stupid and cowardly, but it is also treacherous. Its imbecility leads it to carry out absurd and senseless actions, some of which are criminal. We have learned to expect nothing good from the government. It has nothing to offer us but duplicity and death. Brothers, do not be trusting. We will have nothing but what comes from ourselves, the impoverished, those who have nothing, those who do not count, the voiceless, the faceless, the nameless. But just as you had a voice yesterday in the words of the zapatistas and today you speak out again in the shouts of the workers of Ruta 100, tomorrow a great movement will shout down all silence, it will have the face of the faceless, and it will be named after the nameless.

Whatever the outcome of your movement, today you represent what is best about the Mexican working people, you represent the dignity of the workers of the city, you represent the hope of that great revolutionary force which is the force of workers awakened from a long night in which the arrogance of money, the corruptness of phony labor representatives and the criminal action of the government have held down all Mexicans.

Be well, workers of Ruta 100. In our poverty, there is little we can give, but we give it with admiration and respect.

Do not give up; move ahead. Although our voice may have no place in your shout and silence is the support you give us, our heart is with your hearts. And heart, come what may, is what counts.

Carry on, brothers. May your resistance and your pain during this difficult time also be part of the strength that will force this country, at last, to see the dawn.

So long, be well, and may the dignity of workers speak out... and never be silent again.

>From the mountains of the southeast Mexico,
Insurgent Subcommander Marcos.
Mexico, August 1995.

La Jornada, August 9, 1995
Translation 8/14/95 by David Mintz <dmintz@ix.netcom.com>

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