Thursday, January 12, 2006

Don't Mourn, Organize!

One of my heroes passed away this week.

Comandanta Ramona died, January 6th, after a very long illness. She was an incredible fighter and visionary for another way of doing things. She knew that the world of International Monetary Fund policy and World Trade Organization rules were not simply the natural order. She saw through the lie that there is no alternative to the neo-liberal globalization movement, and she spoke truth to power.

For 12 years now, the EZLN, more commonly known in the U$ as Zapatistas, have been a force to be reckoned with. Women make up about 1/3 of the ranks of the EZLN, and are somewhat more than half of its base of support. Comandanta Ramona’s words lay bare the reason for this when she explained, “Women have been the most exploited . . . We get up at three in the morning to prepare corn for our husband's breakfast and we don't rest until late at night. If there is not enough food we give it to our children and our husbands first. So the women now have decided to take up arms and become Zapatistas."

Comandanta Romona helped to author the Revolutionary Laws of the Zapatista Women, which demand (among other items):
· The married women have the right to use family planning methods-natural or artificial- whichever they decide. The man has to agree with her decision.
· The women have the right to participate in meetings and in the decision-making process, without criticism. The women have the right hold office....
· The woman has the right to support from the husband when she is organizing, and when women go to meetings, men will watch and feed the children and tend the hearth.

Comandanta Romona has been an inspiration to me, as have the Zapatistas overall.

La lucha continua.

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