Our Message To The Zapatistas / Nuestro Mensaje para los Zapatistas

On the 3rd of November of 2021, we met with a delegation of Zapatistas that travelled all the way from Chiapas to meet groups and collectives organising against capitalism in the land formerly known as Europa, which they have now renamed to “Tierra Insumisa” (Insubordinate Land). This came after months of organising and preparation, of which LAFA was part of since the beginning. But it was all worth it when we finally got to meet them at the Old Spotted Dog, thanks to the Brigata Ultra’ Clapton and the Clapton CFC who hosted us. And also thanks to every other group and individuals who worked tirelessly this happen. On that day we were able to listen to their history of resistance, told by the people who lived it. We hope one day soon we can share we heard.

We were also able to tell them about our own history of resistance. Which is of course much shorter and unimpressive. But they still listened to what we had to say and for that we are eternally thankful to them. We hope they found it interesting or useful. We also wanted to share it with you for the same reason. We think that, like the Zapatistas did, is important to share our history. Because the state wants to erase our memory of struggle, so that we forget that things were not always as they are now, that different worlds are possible and that rebellion and ungovernability are always at the grasp of our hands. But we will never forget and we will continue fighting for a world where many worlds fit. Because although we once thought we were from a place called Europe, our compas from Chiapas reminded us that we are the people of the Tierra Insumisa, who can never surrender their past or their future.

And this is our history.

[version en Español mas abajo]

LAFA (London Anti-fascist Assembly) was set up as an assembly of groups to counter the far right and fascist organisers in London. It was a broad alliance of LGBTQIA+, antifascist, feminist, and immigrant groups. The purpose was to counter the far right on whatever platform they appeared. At the start of LAFA, that was mainly done on the streets in big demonstrations to stop the far-right from marching unopposed. But since the start of the pandemic, LAFA went through a process of internal reflection that culminated in changes in the way we organised internally as well as in our strategy for countering the far-right. 

We realised that fascism is no longer just a paramilitary street movement, but a decentralised threat spreading at all levels of our society like a virus, reproducing itself in the white supremacy, the patriarchy and the colonialism inherent in capitalism and the state. The greatest dreams of the fascists of the past are being realised today by way of gentrification, ecological devastation, femicide, transphobia and police violence. All under the auspice and in the name of liberal democracy.

Our focus therefore became to strengthen our own communities to recognise and counter fascist ideas, making them immune to this virus. As well as supporting the struggles of other community groups, specially diaspora communities from the global south that are the main targets of far-right violence and frequently used as escape-goats for the failures and crimes of the state, like we saw during the pandemic with the racism directed at Asian communities.

We have done this by hosting fundraising events to support different struggles and educate people about them. Also by reaching out to marginalised communities and offering then support when they are targeted by the far right, such as Brazilians and Asian diaspora groups organising against fascist and racist violence here in London. We also used our experience dealing with police violence to defend demonstrations and spread knowledge and tactics against them, such as with training on how to de-arrest each other at demonstrations. And we used intelligence gathering to expose them when they try to infiltrate social movement. And finally, we started a project to provide free self-organised feminist self-defence classes, which was a response to the vile behaviour of cis men during football season and the increase in violence against people of marginalised genders during the pandemic. This has allowed us to reach out to people outside our own circles and empower them to defend themselves.

Throughout all our actions the goal continues to be to counter fascism wherever it manifest itself. And what has become clear is that the far-right’s ideas have become very popular, and to counter them we will need to focus on building strong self-organised communities, something that we don’t think has been done recently by antifascists in London. There’s still much we have to learn about how to do this and our journey has only just started. But we hope that this path we are on will lead us to realise what we believe is the true meaning of anti-fascist action: community self-defence in the service of building and protecting autonomy, so that one day we can have the strength to emancipate ourselves from the structures of capitalism, the state and colonialism that gave birth to fascism in the first place, so that we can defeat it once and for all.

Finally, we want to thank the compas from the Zapatistas delegation for being here today with us. Your are an example and inspiration in our own fight for community self-defence and self-determination and we hope we can continue to learn from you as well as from the every other group present here today.

Long live the Zapatista Army of National Liberation!

Long live feminist self-defence!

Long live autonomy!

Death to fascism!

LAFA (Asamblea Anti-fascista de Londres) se creó como una asamblea de grupos para oponer la ultra derecha y el fascismo en Londres. Era un alianza diversa de grupos LGTBQIA+, antifascista, feministas e immigrantes. El objetivo era oponerse a la ultra derecha on cualquier lugar donde se organizasen. Al principio de LAFA, esto se hacia principalmente con grandes protestas para evitar que la ultra derecha marchase sin oposicion en las calles. Pero desde el comiezo de la pandemia, LAFA llevo a cabo un proceso de reflexion internal que culminó en cambios en como nos organizamos internamente y en nuestra estrategia para enfrentarnos a la ultra derecha. 

Nos dimos cuenta de que el fascimos ya no era un movimiento paramilitar en las calles, sino una amenaza descentralizada extendiendose a todos los niveles de la sociedad como un virus, reproduciendose a traves de la supremacia blanca, el patriarcado y el colonialismo inherente en el capitalismo y el estado. Todo bajo el auspicio y en el nombre de la democracia liberal.

Nuestro foco por lo tanto se transformó en reforzar nuestras comunidades para que puedan reconocer y oponerse a las ideas fascista, haciendolas immunes a este virus. Ademas de soportar las luchas de otras comunidades, especialiamente las diasporas del sur global que son las principales victimas de la violencia de la ultra derecha y que frecuentemente son usadas por el estado como chivos expiatorios para sus propios fallows, como vimos durante la pandemia con el racismo dirigido a la comunidad asiatica.

Hemos hecho esto organizando eventos para recaudar fondos para distintas luchas y educar a la gente sobre ellas. Tambien nos hemos acercado a grupos de comunidades marginalizadas para ofrecerlas nuestro apoyo, por ejemplo con grupos de las diasporas brasileñas y asiáticas que luchan contra la violencia racista y fascista en Londres. Tambien usamos nuestra experiencia enfrentandonos a la policia para proteger manifestaciones y exparcir conocimientos y estrategias contra ellos, por ejemplo entrenando en como desarrestar a nuestras compas cuando la policia los intenta secuestrar durante las manifestaciones. Tambien hemos recabado informacion sobre la ultra derecha para exponerlos cuando tratan de infiltrar movimientos sociales. Y finalmente, tenemos un projecto para proveer clases de autodefensa feminista auto-organizadas y gratuitas, que empezamos debido al terrible comportamiento de los hombres cisgenero al salid de los partidos de futbol y en respuesto al incremento de la violencia contra géneros marginalizados que se dió durante la pandemia. Esta iniciativa nos ha permitido llegar a gente fuera de nuestros circulos y empoderarlas a que se defiendan a si mismas.

Durante todas nuestras acciones nuestro objetivo continua siendo oponernos al fascismo alli donde se manifieste. Y lo que se ha vuelto claro es que las ideas de la ultra derecha son mas populares que nunca y que para combatirlas necesitaremos centrarnos en crear fuertes comunidades auto-organizadas, algo que no creemos que las antifascistas en Londres haya hecho recientemente. Pero tenemos la esperanza de que el camino que en el que estamos nos lleve a realizar lo que creemos es el verdadero significado de la accion anti-fascista: auto-defensa popular al servicion de crear y proteger la autonomia, para que algun dia podamos tener la fuerza que nos pemita emanciparnos de las estructuras del capitalismo, el estado y el colonialismo que dieron vida al fascismo en un primer lugar y así poder derrotarlo de una vez por todas.

Finalmente, queremos dar las gracias a los compañeros de la Delegacion Zapatista por estar aqui hoy con nosotras. Son un ejemplo y una inspiracion en nuestra lucha por la autodefensa y auto-organizacion popular y esperamos poder continuar aprendiendo de ustedes asi como de todos lo groups aqui presentes.

Viva el Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional!

Viva la autodefensa feminista!

Viva la autonomia!

Muerte al fascismo!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.