The following text is an excerpt from a talk given by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos to the International Civil Commission of Human Rights Observation in La Realidad, Chiapas on November 20, 1999. The outline for the talk was published in Letters 5.1 and 5.2 in November of the same year, with the titles “Chiapas: the War: 1, Between the Satellite and the Microscope, the Other’s Gaze,” and 2, “The Machinery of Ethnocide.” Any similarity to the conditions of the current war is purely coincidental. Published in Spanish in La Jornada, Tuesday, October 23, 2001.
The Restructuring of War
As we see it, there are several constants in the so-called world wars, in the First World War, in the Second, and in what we call the Third and Fourth. One of these constants is the conquest of territories and their reorganization. If you consult a map of the world you can see that there were changes at the end of all of the world wars, not only in the conquest of territories, but in the forms of organization. After the First World War, there was a new world map, after the Second World War, there was another world map. At the end of what we venture to call the “Third World War,” and which others call the Cold War, a conquest of territories and a reorganization took place. It can, broadly speaking, be situated in the late 80’s, with the collapse of the socialist camp of the Soviet Union, and, by the early 90’s, what we call the Fourth World War can be discerned. Another constant is the destruction of the enemy. Such was the case with nazism in the second World War, and, in the Third, with all that had been known as the USSR and the socialist camp as an option to the capitalist world. The third constant is the administration of conquest. At the moment at which the conquest of territories is achieved, it is necessary to administer them, so that the winnings can be disbursed to the force which won. We use the term ‘conquest” quite a bit, because we are experts in this. Those States, which previously called themselves national, have always tried to conquer the Indian peoples. Despite those constants, there are a series of variables which change from one world war to another: strategy, the actors, or the parties, the armaments used and, lastly, the tactics.