Thousands of women from around the world attended a meeting in Zapatista territory Thursday to hold the “First International Gathering of Politics, Art, Sport, and Culture for Women in Struggle,” hosted by women of the National Liberation Zapatista Army in the southeastern mountains of Mexico.
The meeting is taking place at the Caracol of Morelia, an autonomous municipality in the Mayan Tzotz Choj zone of Chiapas, Mexico, between March 8 and 10, 2018.
"I saw disdain, humillitation, mockery, violence, hits, deaths for being a woman, for being Indigenous, for being poor and now for being Zapatista," said Insurgent Erika during the opening ceremony, "and you should know it wasn't always a man who was exploiting me, robbing me, humilliating me, hitting me, despising me, killing me. It was also women who were doing that, and they still are."
The event is intended to be a celebration of women's struggle for liberation against a “bad system” that exploits, represses, robs and disrecpects women. “Yet we are not fearful, or if we are we control our fear, and we do not give in, we don’t give up, and we don’t sell out,” the invitation read.
The invitation was made exclusively to women on Dec. 29, 2017, aimed at “all rebellious women around the world” who “struggle against the patriarchal and chauvinist capitalist system.”
“So if you are a woman in struggle who is against what is being done to us as women; if you are not scared (or you are, but you control your fear), then we invite you to gather with us, to speak to us and listen to us as the women we are.”
"We can compete between us and the end of the gathering, when we're back to our worlds, we will realize nobody won," said Insurgent Erika in name of the EZLN women, "or we can agree to fight together, as different as we are, against the patriarchal capitalist system that is harming us and killing us."
More than 200 political, artistic and sports proposals had been registered for workshops and showcases, including music, dance, theater, poetry, book presentations, photography, cinema, football and volleyball. Workshops about gender violence, ginecology, menstrual cycle, ecology, cyber feminism, writing, and yoga will take place, among others.
Men were not invited, but Zapatista men will be at the orders of women, who said they were “going to put them to work on all the necessary tasks so that we can play, talk, sing, dance, recite poetry, and engage in any other forms of art and culture that we want to share without embarrassment. The men will be in charge of all necessary kitchen and cleaning duties.”
They also added that “men can’t come unless they are accompanied by a woman.”
A Zapatista woman with her child in the Caracol of La Garrucha. October 16, 2017. | Photo raulfernandopl
The invitation was signed by commanders Jessica, Esmeralda, Lucia, Zenaida and the Defensa Zapatista “on behalf of all the girls, young women, adult women, and women elders, living and dead, councilwomen, Good Government Council women representatives, women promotoras, milicianas, insurgentas, and Zapatista bases of support.”
About 5,000 women from 34 countries had registered for the conference, including women from all over Mexico, Germany, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dinamarca, Ecuador, El Salvador, the U.S., France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, England, Italy, the Mapuche Nation, the Cree Nation, the Ojibwa Nation, the Navajo Nation, Sweden, Nicaragua, the Basque Country, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.