Quotes from The Speed of Dreams, by Subcomandante Marcos

“The houses of rich Mexicans are protected with complicated security systems. They fear that the hand that is going to snatch what they have away from them is going to come from below. By exercising their right to schizophrenia, rich Mexicans are revealing not only the real source of their prosperity, but also their shortsightedness. They will be dispossessed, yes, not by improbable popular rage, but rather by an avarice that is even larger than theirs, that of the rich who are even wealthier than they. Misfortune will not enter by assaulting the great mansions at dawn, but through the front door and during office hours. The thief will not have the physique of the destitute, but of the prosperous banker.

The one who will be stripping everything from Slim, the Zambranos, Los Romo, the Salinas Pliegos, the Azcárragas, the Salinas de Gortaris, and the other surnames from the limited universe of wealthy Mexicans, do not speak Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Chol, or Tojolabal, nor do they have dark skin. They speak English, their skin is the color of money, they studied in foreign universities, and they are thieves with cultivated manners.

That is why armies and police forces will be of no use to them. They are preparing and entrenching themselves in order to fight against rebel forces, but their greatest enemy, the one that will annihilate them completely, practices the same ideology: savage capitalism.”

“It is what happens always: A fact is noted, and afterwards it is accepted as fate. Finally it is turned into a flag. If it is discovered one day that the fact was not completely true, or that it was completely false, the flag, more or less faded, would not stop waving.”
Antonio Machado, “Juan de Mairena”

“A bullet, a punch, a penis, prison bars, a judge, a government, in sum, a system, puts on a woman who doesn’t ask for forgiveness or permission a sign that reads, ‘Out of Service. Nonrecyclable Product.’

A woman must ask permission in order to be a woman, and it is granted to her if she follows what is shown in the assembly instructions.

Women should serve men, always following those instructions, in order to be absolved of the crime of being a woman.

Women confront this assembly process twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, from a moment they are born until the day that they die- at home, in the fields, on the street, at school, in the workplace, in transportation, in culture, in art, entertainment, science, government. But there are women who confront it with rebellion.

Women who, instead of asking permission, command their own existence.

Women who, instead of begging pardon, demand justice.

Because the assembly instructions say that women should be submissive and walk on their knees.

And nonetheless, some women are naughty and walk upright.

There are women who tear up the assembly instructions and stand up on their feet.

There are women without fear.

They say that when a woman moves forward, no men move back.

It depends, I say, from my “machismo-reloaded” perspective- a mixture of Pedro Infante and José Alfredo Jiménez.

It depends, for example, on whether the man is in front of the woman who is moving forward.

My name is Marcos; I have the personal flaw of being a man, macho, male. And the collective virtue of being what we are, we who are, zapatistas.

As such, I confess that I am astonished and amazed at seeing a woman raise herself up and seeing the assembly instructions shattering, torn into pieces.

A woman standing up is so beautiful that it makes one shiver just to look at her.

And that is what listening is, learning to look…

Cheers to these women, to our imprisoned compañeras, and to those who are gathered here.

Cheers for your having no fear.

Cheers for the valor that you pass on to us, for the conviction you grant us that if we do nothing to change this system, we are all accomplices to it.”

“If the police and the armies are the stewards of the citizenry’s good behavior in the face of seizure, exploitation, and racism, then who looks after good behavior in intellectual thought and theoretical analysis?

If the legal system, which sees the violent imposition of capital as being “rational and human.” has judges, guards, police, and jails, then what are their equivalent in the culture of Mexico, in research and academia, in theoretical work, analysis, and in the debating of ideas?

Answer: The intellectuals above, who say what is science and what is not, what is serious and what is not, what is debate and what is not, what is true and what is false. In sum, what is intelligent and what is not.

Capitalism doesn’t just recruit its intellectuals in the academy and in the culture; it also “manufactures” their sounding boxes and assigns them their territories. But what they have in common is their foundation: feigning humanism where there is only thirst for profits, presenting capital as the synthesis of historical evolution and offering the comforts of complicity through grants, paying for publicity and privileged colloquy. There is no appreciable difference between a self-help book and the magazines Letras Libres, Nexos, Quién? and TV y Novelas. Not in the writing, not in the price, not in their location in Carlos Slim Helu’s Sanborns. Except, perhaps, in that more of the latter two are sold and read. In the contents? All offer the impossible mirror to those who above are what they are.”

One thought on “Quotes from The Speed of Dreams, by Subcomandante Marcos

  1. pantypopo May 4, 2014 at 04:57 Reply

    I am eyeing my stack of important unread books and knowing I must add another. Bonus incentive: poetic lyricism of the Spanish Language. “All offer the impossible mirror to those who above are what they are.” Be still my beating heart.

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