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Related Categories: Americas | International | Anti-War
Relatos Zapatistas April show-Notes on War
by Relatos Zapatistas
Saturday Apr 16th, 2011 10:21 AM
On today’s show, we examine the new geography of war in the context of the “old” geography of Chiapas. We talk with a compa of ours on the ground in Chiapas, who reports on some of the most recent clashes of the low-intensity war in Mitzitón, Bachajón, and Tila. We use these events, and the bigger picture in which they take place, to help us frame the conversation about the new letter by Marcos: “Notes on War.”
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Last month, as we reported on our last show, a new piece of writing by Subcomandante Marcos was released. It was a fragment of a public letter addressed to Luis Villoro, a professor of philosophy at the UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The fragment was one section of the four-section letter. A couple weeks ago, the rest of the letter was finally published on the Enlace Zapatista website (enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx) and now both the original Spanish and an English translation are available on the website of our compas at Radio Zapatista (radiozapatista.org). This is the first piece of substantive writing from the Sup since the publication of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon jungle in 2005, and it raises a number of questions, including: why write again now, after six years? What differences do we see between the Sexta and this letter to Villoro? Why a letter, and who is Villoro?

Marcos’s letter focuses on the question of war. As we discussed last month, the second section of the letter presents a detailed analysis of Mexico’s current narcowar. Marcos makes two key arguments: first, that you can’t distinguish two separate sides in this war, that in fact the lines between government and narcotraffickers are so blurry as to be nonexistent; and second, that the war is a business that primarily benefits the United States, where the military-industrial complex sells weapons to both sides and the demand for drugs drives supply in Mexico.

But the rest of the letter analyzes the context in which this war is taking place. This is a new kind of war, where conventional armies matter less and less and other forms of warfare become increasingly important. Likewise, the battlefield is changing. Marcos describes what he calls a “new geography of war”: in fact, if capitalism is a form of war, then one of its most important effects has to do with terrain, land, and space. It destroys space that have been not only inhabited but lived, experienced, and invested with cultural value and at the same time restructures them in its own image. In other words, the new geography of war maps not only where war happens—North Africa, Afghanistan, and Chiapas, for example—but how war shapes the spaces it touches.

On today’s show, we examine the new geography of war in the context of the “old” geography of Chiapas. We talk with a compa of ours on the ground in Chiapas, who reports on some of the most recent clashes of the low-intensity war in Mitzitón, Bachajón, and Tila. We use these events, and the bigger picture in which they take place, to help us frame the conversation about the new letter: “Notes on War.”

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