Interview with Sub Comandante Marcos (1997)

Comunique On Independent Media

January 31, 1997

A message from Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos to “Free Media” Teach-In, New York City:

We’re in the mountains of Southeast Mexico in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, and we want to use this medium, with the help of the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico, to send a greeting to the “Free Media” Conference that is taking place in New York, where there are brothers and sisters of the independent communications media from the United States and Canada.

At the Intercontinental Encuentro for Humanity and against Neoliberalism we said: A global decomposition is taking place –we call it the Fourth World War - through neoliberalism, the global economic process to eliminate that multitude of people who are not useful to Power, the groups called “minorities” in the mathematics of power, but who happen to be the majority population in the world. We find ourselves in a world system of globalization willing to sacrifice millions of human beigns.

The giant communication media –the great monsters of the television industry, the communication satellites, magazines and newspapers– seem determined to present a virtual world, created in the image of what the globalization process requires.

In this sense, the world of contemporay news is a world that exists for the VIP’s -the very important people, the major movie stars and big politicians. Their everyday lives are what is important: if they get married, if they divorce, if they eat, what clothes they wear and what clothes they take off. But common people only figure in the news for a moment– when they kill someone, or when they die. For the communication giants and the neoliberal powers, the others, the excluded, only exist when they are dead, or when they are in jail or court. This can’t go on. Sooner or later this virtual world clashes with the real world. And that is actually happening: this clash results in rebellion and war throughout the entire world, or what is left of the world to even have war.

We have a choice. We can have a cynical attitude in the face of the media and say nothing can be done about the dollar power that creates itself in images, words, digital communication, and computer systems that invade not just with an invasion of power but with a way of seeing that world, of how they think the world should look. We could say, Well, “that is the way it is,” and do nothing. Or we can simply assume incredulity. We can say that any communication by the media monopolies is a total lie. We can ignore it and go about our lives.

But there is a third option that is neither conformity, nor skepticism, nor distrust. It’s the opption to construct a different way: to show the world what is really happening, to have a critical worldview, to become interested in the truth of what happens to the people who inhabit every corner of this world.

The work of independent media is to tell the history of social struggle in the world. Here in Norrth America –The United States, Canada, and Mexico- independent media has, on ocassion, been able to open spaces even within the mass media monopolies, to force them to acknowledge news of social movements.

The problem is not only to know what is occurring in the world, but to understand it and derive lessons from it, just as if we were studying, not of the past but of what is happening at any given moment in whateever part of the world. This is the way to learn who we are, what is what we want, who we can be, and what we can do or not do.

By not having to answer to the monster media monopolies, the independent media has a life’s work, a political project, and a purpose: to let the truth be known. This is increasingly more important in the globalization process. Truth becomes a knot of resistance against the lie. Our only possibility is to save the truth, to maintain it, and distribute it, little by little, in the same way that the books were saved in Fahrenheit 451; a group of people dedicated themselves to memorize books, to save them from being destroyed, so that the ideas would not be lost.

In the same way, independent media tries to save history –today’s history- tries to save it and tries to share it so it will not disappear. Moreover, it tries to distribute it to other places, so that this history is not limited to one country, to one region, to one city or social group. It is neccesary not only for independent voices to exchange information and to broaden the channels, but to resist the monopolies’ spreading lies. The truth that we build in our groups, our cities, our regions, our countries, will reach full potential if we join with other truths and realize that what is occurring in other parts of the world also is part of human history.

In August 1996 we called for the creation of a network of independent media, a network of information. We mean a network to resist the power of the lie that sells us this war that we call World War IV. We need this network not only as a tool for our social movements but for our lives: this is a project for life, for a humanity that has a right to critical and truthful information.

We greet all of you, recognizing the work you have done so that the struggle of indigenous people is known, and the other struggles are known, so that the great events of this world are seen in a critical form. We hope your meeting is a success and that it results in concrete plans for this network, these exchanges, this mutual support that should exist between cultural workers and independent media makers. We hope that one day we can personally attend your meeting, or perhaps that one day you can have your conference in our territory, so we can listen to your words and you can hear ours in person. For now, well, we take advantage of the help of the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico to use this video to send a greeting.


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