We sowed and continue to nurture the seed of the Minga against ‘free trade’ and death. It must be cared for. But it seems that the dirt was not fertile enough to rescue the seed. That’s why it filled us with so much joy to see thousands of farmers from diverse sectors striking across the country. They rose up in rejection of the economic model and so-called ‘free trade’. Español y Francés
We are rising in Minga to no longer be what we’ve never been
When our ancestors discovered the Spanish, America didn’t yet exist. Neither did the infamous date of October 12, 1492. Even now, as communities and peoples, we are still discovering strategies used by the invadors to impose their death projects. We are rising up from our territories in word and action to say to the Conquistadors that we don’t want their Free Trade Agreements, we won’t accept extractivism exercised on our Mother Earth, and we will no longer allow the mirrors of others to be shoved in our faces. Our struggle continues in the defense and construction of life, territory and a peace we dream of — from below and among peoples.
To all the agents of the Death Project, wherever you come from: our Mother Earth is not a commodity. It’s not for sale, and it doesn’t have a price. Despite difficulties and contradictions, our consciousness continues to grow. We continue to resist and are steadfast in our desire to weave with other struggles, to learn about alternatives from other sons and daughters of Mother Earth in every corner of our Abya Yala, those who are moving and walking the word with dignified actions. We insist that our times are not those of dispossession and scorn but of the rhythms of life. We will always insist on this, so that our autonomy exists not only as a matter of discourse — as an empty word and pretext — but as a means for creating and defending further autonomies as a concrete practice that allows us to live in dignity and freedom.
So not only are we going to continue to mobilize against the economic model of extractivism and so-called ‘free trade,’ the terror and war that is killing and displacing us, and the legislation of dispossession that puts us in chains, we are also in the process of building a different, other society, all the while exercising our territorial control from below and against any and all armed actors that seek to challenge the possibility of harmony in our territories. At this moment, there are several examples across Northern Cauca, particularly in Toribío, Canoas, Munchique, and Jambaló among others. Our base communities still say NO to the militarization of our sacred sites; NO to the abuse of a sacred plant and to drug trafficking; NO to the war and the armed actors; NO to mining projects; NO to the privatization of the commons; NO to authoritarian decisions made without consultation. In sum, many NOs to everything that threatens the autonomy of our people and deepens the pain of Conquest, no matter where it comes from.
We are going to mobilize against all the pains sicken us in the territories where we live. We mobilize against the perpetual Conquest. We will continue to insist on autonomy from below. We will denounce everything that challenges the harmony of Mother Earth and puts at imminent risk our Life Plans. This includes the implementation of a model of life based on energy and mining. We are mobilizing because the pain of the farmers in this country, like those of the Afro-Colombians, the Mestizos, and those in the cities, is also our pain. We are moblilizing because the pain of Mother Earth is ours as well, and if she dies, we die with her. We are protesting because life remains at risk.
This same risk has been announced and denounced for decades from diverse communities and peoples determined to confront it. In so doing, we have found our own consciousness and path, both of which were shaped in many ways, including our Popular Consultation Against the Free Trade Agreement with the United States in March of 2005, and the Minga (2004-2008). At every turn, our mobilizations sought ways to transform a country of owners without people into a country of people without owners. Conscious of this latest imposition of the Conquest, dressed up in modern terms and with the euphemism of ‘free trade’, we developed a five-point agenda that came from the pain, word and experience of our communities. Wisely, this agenda warned of impending risk for all life and for our Mother Earth. The agenda also set out the importance of resistance and alternatives to ‘free trade.’ In consequence, thousands of everyday people walked together from their communities and across the country in the Minga of Social and Communitarian Resistance in 2008. This was a mobilization that could not be ignored, and it left the field fertile for further resistance.
What followed were — and are — dark and difficult years of confusion and apparent forgetfulness. We are facing, as we always have, persecution, the manipulation of arguments, deceit, envy, authoritarianism, and control imposed by interests who threaten those of us who think differently and dare to speak our minds. We dare to speak our minds openly, in our communities, and in defense of our spaces of debate and critical reflection. For us, what is more important than power is truth woven into the fabric of our communities. We have felt and still feel the pain of dispossession and abandonment in our life path. The cold calculations of particular interests trick everything they touch, everything they’re in contact with — even our community processes.
We sowed and continue to nurture the seed of the Minga against ‘free trade’ and death. It must be cared for. But it seems that the dirt was not fertile enough to rescue the seed. That’s why it filled us with so much joy to see thousands of farmers from diverse sectors striking across the country. They rose up in rejection of the economic model and so-called ‘free trade’.
It seems the seed found fertile land in the hands of those who work the earth, those who harvest the food we all need to live. It also turns out that they are suffering the consequences of the same Conquest of Extractivism we are opposing. Diverse and dispersed seeds certainly began to sprout in the National Agriculture Workers’ Strike, as workers mobilized with dignity across the country. The word of Mother Earth that led us to the Minga is same word outlining an agenda of resistance against the ‘free trade’ conquest. This word is being walked by the campesinos and is, like ours, in defense of life, and for the reclamation of Mama Kiwe, the origin and destination of our struggle. That’s why our common struggle — this Minga — has neither owners nor authorities. Nor could it ever. For that reason, to rise up in Minga is simultaneously to reject to those who have tried to own us, from wherever they come from. The authority of the community is life itself together with Mother Earth mobilized through peoples in resistance, an authority that we recognize and respect.
Just as we have been saying for decades, we know that what is needed doesn’t yet exist, nor have we found the words to name what is needed. But we know it is in the territories and is among the other goods held in common, like the water. It is one of those things that make life possible. But we still have to be clear: this system, this Death Project we have learned to recognize and name in order to resist, is a system in crisis. In order to save itself, the system needs to rid us from our territories — be they physical or imaginary — from our collective and autonomous wills, recruiting us into a project that will eliminate us and take from the earth its lifeblood. All this to satisfy an insatiable greed: the conquerors and their accomplices live in excess over the people, threatening our consciousnesses, and making life scarce to the point that accumulation seems unstoppable. For that reason it is urgent not only to understand the Death project as a way of resisting it; we must also be constructing alternatives so as to be able to mobilize and weave among diverse peoples, remaking the path towards another possible and necessary world and overcoming the type of confusion that leads to us selling out and surrendering.
There are a few practical lessons we’ve learned from those who have never fallen into those traps, those who have avoided bad governments and their accomplices: “Don’t be sold, don’t surrender, and don’t be fooled.” It is necessary to remember that when we don’t have our own agenda, we will always be subjected to those ready to impose agendas on us. Similarly, if it is not our agenda for which we are mobilizing, we are simply blindly obeying the interests of those who have hijacked us in order to paint us as victims and put our dead and wounded at the service of their particular projects. To walk our word, we must collectively name it, with autonomy and from below. This is the only way to distinguish ourselves from them, from those who use and dispossess us, no matter where they come from.
It seems to us our agenda has become obscured, that we are not observing these important lessons. Mobilizations and actions we partake in are used by some only in order to achieve predetermined results, to achieve goals at negotiation tables with a bad government and, in so doing, undermining our collective decisions and agendas. At the end of the day, we did not fight so as to get our own place within a Death Project, nor did we ever seek positions within a bad government. We fight to ensure that our Life Plans and good governments become perpetual alternatives.
For this mobilization during the month the “discovery”, we affirm that October is the month that ought to call to memory the millions of indigenous peoples exterminated, the cultures and memories buried since the Conquest and dispossession of our Abya Yala. We aren’t celebrating anything. We rise to continue rejecting the Conquest that deepens with new, more sophisticated and perverse strategies to dominate and co-opt us. We mobilize to scream to the world that we have resisted for more than 520 years and that we are both life and future. We will continue walking in defense of life and Mother Earth.
We commemorate a necessary future woven among all of life’s creatures and always from the times in which we live. To do this, we name an impossible date, which neither has nor will ever exist: October 11, 1492. It’s impossible because, until that day, America did not exist. Neither did the almanac of the dispossessor in the time of conquering us. Just as the almanac of the Conquest failed to include it, today we name — without using words — what comes after our uprisings, from a time that is yet to come and that has never left our hearts. It is the time of life and freedom of those from below, of those close to the Earth. Without surrendering, being sold, or being fooled: We are going back home to the great house of Mother Earth.
Tejido de Comunicación – ACIN