Anti-capitalist internet hosting company

Paula went to her friends university to find out more about that thing being prepared for the eighteenth of June. She went through reception. From then on, she had to pretend she was a student. There were some men on high visibility suits building something next to the entrance. She realised they were workers installing barriers and she guessed it would not be long before she could not come here again without some magnetic and valid pass. She now knew her way to the computer room.

She sat on one of the terminals. She input her friend’s user name and password. She was getting faster with the keyboards. She typed the address. A long one. No-one cool had a short internet address those days. When the page loaded completely, she only found vague directions. Nothing useful. Long texts on why capitalism is bad for you. She already knew that. She wanted to find out where she could meet the people who were planning on “doing something” on that day. She wanted to have the kind of conversations she had been having in the basement shop while volunteering, with Salva, with Jose, with Luna. She wanted to make sense of the world again.

But there was nothing there other than a meeting point on the day. It was the 18th of June. A weekday. Right in the middle of the period where, she was told, it was not allowed to have a holiday because the office was so busy. So she was not going to be able to attend. So she needed more information, where could she find those people that was not on that precise day.

The address was long. Some times, it worked to take off bits of the address, get other associated pages. She took off bits. Blank pages; no one had placed any page on those addresses. Finally, when she got to the “root” of it, she got the hosting company. They accepted volunteers. Great. She found a contact address. With her brand new email address, got with the help of the same people who had granted her access to those computers, she wrote to them. She would volunteer for these people who were assisting those anticapitalists.

She wrote them an email.

The answer arrive a few days later, although Paula could only read it the following week, the next time she could get hold of a computer with an internet connection.

Dear Paula,
You are most to come visit us for an interview, and to volunteer with us should you decide to. Our working hours are 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. Please let us know when would suit you within those hours.

Monday to Friday 9 to 5. Those were Paula’s working hours too. For the first and last time ever, after leaving the types of work she had done in pubs and restaurants, Paula wished she was still in one of them. How could they expect lots of people to volunteer, Paula wondered, if they only accepted volunteers “during office hours”?

No mention of the eighteenth of June, either. That seemed like a dead end. And the website itself continued to give any more information than a meeting point in the city, at a time when Paula did not feel she could be anywhere else than at her own job. She could not afford to loose that job, however alienated she felt in the office every day.

Zapatista music

en castellano más abajo

It was difficult for Paula to arrive at the shop on time. It had always been difficult to arrive early to class, and now it was not going to be too different.

Luna and Paula opened the shop at ten o’clock in the morning every day, from Monday to Saturday. They only worked Sunday during the weeks that it took them to extract all the trash from the previous tenants, to condition the walls, to paint them and to furnish the shop with shelves where to exhibit the objects. Also they had to re-condition the toilet room and Jose was pleasantly surprised that they managed to put cement in the stone wash-basin to solve the problem of the cracks themselves. Although they had to do the cement thing once the shop had already been inaugurated.
Most of the volunteers from the Parish came to the inauguration of the shop. Some of them insisted to Salva that he should bless the shop, as he was the priest. Other volunteers begged and begged. Salva said the shop had been blessed already, but Paula doubted this. In the end Salva did a half-hearted gesture of blessing. Paula was not too pleased about this and thought this showed Salva’s disinterest for the shop and thought the half-blessing was also half felt and done only out of political correctness on his part, to not look too rude in front of the parishioners. Luna did not like the blessing either but she appreciated the gesture of not wanting to impose his religious authority on the shop by ostentatiously blessing it and knew that he only half-blessed it to avoid hurting the parishioners’ feelings.

The daily routine consisted of cleaning the glass of the shop window, on the inside and on the outside, sweeping and mopping the shop floor before opening, and up to the portion of sidewalk that was along the door and shop windows.

All this to the sound of the music that they themselves provided.
Paula learned of memory all the songs of those tapes of “Extremo Duro” and “Celtas Cortos”, plus another tape with Zapatista songs that Luna had also bought.

“Why this fixation with the Zapatistas?”
“They contribute many new things.”
“For example? ”
“They don’t want martyrs. It is not possible to fight once one is dead, or in prison. So the goal is not the struggle up to the death. The target is to be still alive, and free, to be able to keep on fighting.”
” Aha. ”
“And they do not want the power. All the revolutions have consisted of changing whom it was in the power, a president for another, a king for a dictator. When taking the power turns into the target, the initial target gets lost, so for it not to turn into a revolution any more that it does not change anything, to take the power cannot be a target. ”
“Ah. And then which is the target?”
” That the community should decide what she wants for her herself. And that the Government should accept those decisions. But that the community, in this case the indigenous community of Chiapas, is who is in charge. ”
“Ah. And that’s why is Marcos is sub-comandante and not Commandante?”
“I do not know.”


A Paula le costaba llegar a la tienda puntualmente. Siempre le había costado llegar pronto a clase, y ahora no iba a ser demasiado diferente.

Luna y Paula abrían la tienda a las diez de la mañana todos los días, de lunes a sábado. Solo trabajaron los domingos durante las semanas que les llevó sacar toda la basura de los inquilinos anteriores, acondicionar las paredes, pintarlas y amueblar la tienda con estanterías donde exponer los objetos. También tuvieron que re-acondicionar el baño y Jose quedó gratamente sorprendido de que lograran poner cemento en el lavabo de piedra para solucionar el problema de las grietas ellas solas. Aunque lo del cemento en el lavabo tuvieron que hacerlo una vez que la tienda ya se había inaugurado.

Casi todas las voluntarias de la parroquia vinieron a la inauguración de la tienda. Alguans de ellas insitieron a Salva para que bendijera la tienda, puesto que era el cura. Otras le rogaron y rogaron. Salva dijo que la tienda ya había sido bendecida, pero Paula lo dudó. Al final Salva hizo una bendición a medias. A Paula esto no le gustó demasiado y pensó que esto mostraba que Salva no estaba demasiado interesado en la tienda y pensó que la media-bendición fue también solamente sentida a la mitad, y realizada solo por corrección por su parte, para no parecer demasiado maleducado delante de las parroquianas. A Luna tampoco le gustó la bendición pero agradeció el gesto de no querer imponer su autoridad religiosa en la tienda bendiciéndola ostentosamente y supo que solo la medio bendijo para evitar herir los sentimientos de las parroquianas.

La rutina diaria consistía en limpiar los cristales del escaparate, por dentro y por fuera, barrer y fregar la tienda antes de abrir, y hasta la porción de acera que quedaba junto a la puerta y escaparates.

Todo esto al son de la música que ellas mismas proveían. Paula se aprendió de memoria todas las canciones de aquellas cintas de Extremo Duro y Celtas Cortos, más una de canciones zapatistas que también había comprado Luna.

“Por qué esta fijación con los zapatistas?”
“Aportan muchas cosas nuevas.”
“Por ejemplo?”
“No quieren mártires. No se puede luchar una vez que se está muerto, o en la cárcel. Así que la meta no es la lucha hasta la muerte. El objetivo es seguir vivo, y libre, para poder seguir luchando.”
“Y no quieren el poder. Todas las revoluciones han consistido en cambiar a quien estaba en el poder, un presidente por otro, un rey por un dictador. Cuando tomar el poder se convierte en el objetivo, se pierde el objetivo inicial, así que para que no se convierta en una revolución más que no cambia nada, no puede ser tomar el poder un objetivo.”
“Ah. Y entonces cual es?”
“Que la comunidad decida lo que quiere para ella misma. Y que el gobierno acepte esas decisiones. Pero que la comunidad, en este caso los indígenas de Chiapas, sea quien mande.”
“Ah. Y por eso Marcos es sub-comandante y no comandante?”
“No se.”


In English below

O” yo puedo hacer algo por ti, tú haces algo para algún otro, y ese algún otro hace algo para mí.”
“Y cómo sabes que esos dos están haciendo algo el uno al otro?”
“No sé. Puede no ser importante. Hay un sistema de contar los servicios o cosas que te dan, y qué haces para otros. Así sabes si estás en deuda o no. Pero se hace con una unidad de servicio, no es dinero.”
“Suena un poco como el dinero.”
“Solo que no produce interés, ni puede ser prestado, no hay ninguna ventaja en la acumulación. Y no hay inflación tampoco.”
“Qué decís sobre el taller del comercio justo, cómo fue?”
“Había esta chica extraña. Hablábamos de las dificultades que estamos teniendo como organizaciones de comercio justo, que resultan ser barreras puestas allí por el capitalismo, las instituciones, las corporaciones. Así que de hecho estamos luchando contra el capitalismo. Y esta muchacha va y dice, el capitalismo no es ese demonio que queremos retratar, que no es ese malo.”
“Hmm. No le has dicho nada?”
“Vaya si le he dicho. Le dije, ‘Si piensas que el capitalismo no es tan malo, entonces no sabes de qué va el comercio justo.’ Porque no lo sabes, no?”
asintieron todos y mantuvieron el silencio; Paula se sentía contenta de haber viajado para aprender tanto.


Or I can do something for you, you do something for some one else, and that some one else does something for me.”
“And how do you know, that those two are doing something to each other?”
“I don’t know. It may not be important. There is a system of counting the services or things you are given, and what you do for others. So you know if you are in debt or not. But it is done with a service unit, it is not money.”
“It sounds a bit like money.”
“But it does not produce interest, it can not be lent, there is no advantage in accumulating it. And there is no inflation either.”
“What about the fair trade workshop, how did it go?”
“There was this weird girl. We were talking about the difficulties we are having as fair trade organisations, which they turn out to be barriers put there by capitalism, the institutions, the corporations. So we are in fact fighting up front against capitalism. And this girl just says, that capitalism is not that evil we want to portray, that it is not that bad.”
“Hmm. Did you not tell her anything.”
“Damn sure I did. It told her, ‘If you don’t think capitalism is not that bad, then you don’t know what fair trade is about.’ Because you don’t, do you?”
They all nodded and kept in silence; Paula felt glad she had travelled to learn so much.