The term Workerism (English translation of the Italian word Operaismo) refers to a political and cultural tradition that can be traced back to political and theoretical practices emerging in Italy in the early 1960s. Workerism is nowadays a globally well-known current of thought. The publication of prominent works such as Empire (2001), Multitude (2005), Commonwealth (2011), and Assembly (2017) by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri has contributed tremendously to it. Moreover, the publication and translation into English and other languages of seminal works by other workerists such as Christian Marazzi, Paolo Virno, Maurizio Lazzarato, Mariarosa dalla Costa, and Silvia Federici, to name only a few, has established workerism on an international scale. Workerism is not a unitary political theory; it does not refer to a school of thought or to a single political subject. It is rather the encounter of multiple and diversified pathways in which we can recognize some common roots. Workerism pays specific attention to the function of subjectivity; it describes political and social processes as intrinsically ambivalent and considers the ideas of conflict, dissent, or transformation as crucial elements for interpreting the changes of our contemporary societies.

The attention workerists (operaisti) pay to the dimension of subjectivity can be traced back to the primary importance they have attributed to the notion of class composition since the beginning of the movement. This dimension was already important in the Italian workerism of the early 1900s. This was a kind of workerism imbued with the anarcho-syndicalist positions of Georges Sorel and the experience of the newspaper “Ordine nuovo” co-edited by Antonio Gramsci. It referred to the subjective figure of the professional worker, in which the handcrafted skill with its know-how still played an important role, although this professional worker was about to be integrated in the factory.

When the term workerism is employed today, one immediately thinks of the kind of political and theoretical experience which emerged in the Post-War years, or more precisely, in Italy in the early 1960s. Crucial works such as Workers and Capital by Mario Tronti, and the political work around the Italian journal Quaderni Rossi, which counted among its founders Raniero Panzieri, Romano Alquati, and Danilo Montaldi, can be considered as the pillars of the initial experience of workerism. If, on the one hand, the question of class composition and of subjectivity were still crucial in the new form of workerism of the 1960s, on the other the new workerism broke with the previous form since it introduced a new concept and practice centered on the idea of the refusal of work. In the workerism of the early 1900s there was still an idea of the pride of producers towards their own activity. This pride could not but disappear with the theorization of the refusal of work. This refusal was not only a political theorization, but the acknowledgement that the working class refused the work discipline imposed in the factories. Through political interventions in the factories, based on the method of “con-ricerca” (co-research, collaborative research), workerists could show that workers hated their work and refused their condition as workers. This refusal of work functioned as an impulse for political and social transformation. In this connection workerism was breaking with an ideology based on an ethics of work that has been the ideological cement of all socialist and communist traditions.

Workerists paid special attention to the great transformation of the capitalistic mode of production. In the 1960s and throughout the 1970s there were important changes of the mode of organization of work in the factories. A new class composition and a new subjective figure was about to emerge. The traditional figure of the professional worker was disappearing, since automated processes centered on the employment of machines were replacing it. The assembly line, a pillar of the Fordist mode of production, did not require a professional worker anymore, but rather an unskilled worker, who could perform repetitive, alienated and standardized tasks. This new figure of the worker, which emerged in this so-called Fordist stage of capitalism, was centered on the figure of the mass-worker, as the workerists called it.

While the transformation of the reality of capitalism was not at the center of the interest of the classical left wing political organizations, it was, in contrast, the main interest of groups of intellectuals, activists and researchers who conducted their first inquiries in the factories. These experiences contributed to the emergence of the current of Operaismo. The workerists looked at new forms of struggles that were invisible to traditional working-class organizations. Being unable to see the new forms of resistance, of alliances, of active struggle, the classical socialist and communist organizations could assume that struggles were simply not taking place, or that the working class was slumbering. On the contrary, the workerists were able to bring to light the multiplicity of new forms of struggle: refusal of work, sabotage, individual and collective resistance to the organization of the factory discipline. A new microphysical landscape of resistance was emerging. It was this new landscape that the irruption of 1968 couldn’t but enlarge. In fact, 1968 was the irruption of a new cycle of struggles, which were no longer based only on the opposition between the working class and capital, but also on conflicts involving several other issues: culture, imagination, language, forms of life, reproduction.

Until 1968, while analyzing the form of class composition, workerists had focused on the figure of the mass-worker. Mass-workers were migrants mainly coming from the South. The cultural stereotype, still persisting today, consisted in depicting them as “poor guys”, victims of modernity and of under-development. But the inquiries of the workerists produced a completely different account of the situation. To be sure, workerists also described the suffering and the state of deprivation of the migrants. But they also drew attention to the fact that these migrants were forced to move in the search for new forms of life, by desires, needs and curiosity, that gave them the power to flee from the misery of the peasant condition, even though this flight could also assume the guise of an illusory search for mass consumerism. These new subjects were not politicized and did not enter the classical political organizations. Reactionary forces as well as socialist and classical communist organizations targeted them as lazybones, opportunists, and reactionary subjects. In contrast, the workerists understood that behind these forms of “opportunism” there was a refusal of the work and its ethics, and also a refusal of the political and trade-union representation.

As a result, workerism was overturning a picture that had dominated the whole socialist and communist tradition. If the working class has always been presented as a victim, as a passive subject on which the development of capital imposes its own laws, if it has been reduced to an exploited labor force, the operaists were overturning this thesis by showing that capitalist development is subordinated to the working-class struggle. The logic is reversed. Movements, individual and collective resistance oblige capital to resist, to invent new forms of exploitation and new forms of organization of labor in order to bridle the force of living labor.

The mass-worker was a figure on the edge of a structural passage of capitalism. It was a thread stretched  between two processes: if the professional worker had been replaced by the mass-worker through the processes which brought about the factory, the introduction of automated processes, the decentralization of factories, and the diffusion of production in the whole of society were contributing to the disappearance of the figure of the mass-worker and to its replacement through the figure of the social-worker, i.e. the worker who no longer works  (or not only) in the factory, but is employed in different fields in the whole of society. This is what was at issue in several political interventions by Antonio Negri in the 1970s. In particular his long interview on workerism (Dall’operaio Massa all’operaio Sociale), published in 1979, brilliantly sums up the thesis. However, this new figure needed to be better defined. We could say that workerism becomes post-workerism when it starts reflecting on the passage from the social-worker to the definition of a new subject, a new class composition centered on the idea of the cognitive worker or cognitive labor. Post-workerism elaborated on this definition, involving the new characterization of labor activity as centered on cognitive labor. In this connection post-workerism starts analyzing the capitalist passage towards a post-Fordist society. To some extent post-workerism was fueled by the Italian community in exile in Paris, which gave birth, among other projects, to the political experience of the French journal Futur antérieur starting in the early 1990s, which also converged with many other intellectual experiences coming from French philosophical and political discussion.

Post-Fordism appears as the age of capitalism which was able to metabolize the critique and the antagonistic charge of the movements which struggled against Fordist society: the critique of wage-labor, the flight from the factory-prison and from the assembly line, “flexibility” as a keystone of the critique practiced by political movements in the 1970s, were assumed and reversed by the capitalistic counter revolution which started in the 1980s and which brought with itself new forms of exploitation. If flexibility in the 1970s signified the possibility to conquer new spaces of freedom, to liberate oneself from the slavery of the factory regime, then in the 1980s it became a new regime of exploitation that took the form of precarity, a political attack on the conditions of life of people. The passage from Fordism to post-Fordism was orchestrated by the capitalist counterrevolution; but it was orchestrated as an answer to the struggles of the political and social movements.

If the mass-worker was the political subject who determined the crisis of the Fordist society, post-workerism is nowadays struggling in order to define the new political subject who will be able to determine the crisis of the post-Fordist system.



“Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.”

Of the many colorful concepts and metaphors Marx used to articulate as vividly as possible the monstrous nature of capitalism, the vampire has remained one of the most frequently cited, especially as this stubbornly undead figure grew increasingly dominant in 20th-century popular culture. While a seemingly endless torrent of films, plays, novels, comic books, TV series, and video games fueled the vampire’s ubiquitous presence in pop culture, in the academic world an unrelenting series of monographs, edited collections, special journal issues, and conferences has testified to this particular horror trope’s resilience, and more particularly to the public’s ongoing interest in defining its social, cultural, and economic symbolism.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the vampire has remained so deeply embedded in capitalist narratives. Even to this day, it remains difficult to imagine a single figure that more perfectly encapsulates the most basic contradiction of our imagined relationship to capital. From early stage versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula via movie stars like Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee all the way up to more recent vampire heart-throbs like Robert Pattinson and Alexander Skarsgård, the vampire represents a thoroughly decadent, depraved, and immoral parasite who is nevertheless thoroughly irresistible to middle-class audiences with their eternal dreams of upward social mobility. So even if Mark Fisher was certainly more accurate when he compared capitalism’s true nature to the disgusting alien in The Thing (1982), constantly mutating while absorbing everything it touches, the guilty attraction we almost inevitably feel for the vampire better captures our fundamental ambivalence about the workings of capital. With capitalism, as with vampires, our awareness of the mortal danger it poses doesn’t exactly make us better equipped to resist its tempting call.

The way in which these fantasies are informed and defined by questions of class becomes all the more obvious when we consider the vampire alongside its dialectical counterpart: the zombie. While both are supernatural beings caught in a perpetual state of “living death,” the vampire is traditionally connected to the most obvious signifiers of wealth, aristocracy, and individualism. The zombie, on the other hand, uncannily articulates modern fears of an uneducated, mob-like urban proletariat. The tension between these two archetypal horror tropes of the modern age illustrates vividly how our shared fantasies and fears are over-determined by more mundane and material questions of class and labor. Clearly, our guilty but unshakeable dream is to be invited some day to join the vampires’ privileged members-only club, while our nightmare is that we will be absorbed by the lower-class zombies’ monstrous horde. Or, to put it more bluntly: while nobody in their right mind would kiss a zombie, most of us would gladly fuck a vampire.

Beside the ham-fisted obviousness of this allegorical representation of imagined class identities, the vampire/zombie dialectic also illustrates another key weakness in capitalist narrative culture: its insistent focus on individualism. Originally a quite solitary being passing his time in exotic and remote castles, the 21st-century vampire has tended to be at least somewhat more sociable. In the massively popular Twilight franchise, for instance, vampires are even portrayed as functional members of a loyal and loving family group. Nevertheless, the vampire remains grounded in its basic form as an exceptional and identifiable individual, with consistent human traits and a compelling (and appealingly tragic) back-story. This helpfully allows us to understand the very capitalists we both jealously abhor and secretly admire as sympathetic characters who are themselves also victimized by their own infection.

Zombies, on the other hand, are consistently presented to us as thoroughly abject, in the first place because their loss of individuality has made them part of a nameless collective. While we may be tempted to perceive the zombies’ state of living death as a traumatic loss of individual agency, its most horrific aspect is the zombie’s sudden inability to claim ownership of private property. Whereas the vampire not only comes to claim ownership of whomever he or she carefully chooses to infect, the zombie horde consumes indiscriminately, and—most importantly—without any conception of individual ownership. Through this clear juxtaposition, the vampire/zombie dialectic symbolically connects individualism to capitalist conceptions of private property, while the zombie’s inherently collective nature is rendered grossly appalling through its very lack of any such concept. After all, what is more terrifying to the individual capitalist than the loss of those very consumer choices that shape one’s precious identity?

Thus, even as shared conceptions of class identity have become more and more difficult to recognize for many in the era of global capitalism, Marx’s use of the vampire has remained profoundly useful for understanding and expressing capitalist culture’s continuing investment in narrative fantasies that remain grounded in traditional conceptions of class identity. So while neither vampire nor zombie offers the most nuanced expression of the workings of contemporary neoliberalism, they remain vital tools for recognising popular narrative tropes as ideological expressions of capitalism’s most basic cultural logic.

Working Poor

In Capital, Marx suggests that labour-power, like all other commodities, has a value determined by the socially necessary labour-time required for its production and reproduction. Yet labour-power is a peculiar kind of commodity, which is inseparable from the living person who bears it, and so “the value of labour-power is the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of its owner” (1867 [1976], 274). Such maintenance goes beyond mere subsistence: if a worker receives only the value of their “physically indispensable means of subsistence” then the price of labour-power “falls below its value”, and “can be maintained and developed only in a crippled state” (1867 [1976], 277). Moreover, it is one of Capital’s key insights that capitalist exploitation does not, in general, rely on paying less than labour’s value. Rather, labour-power is bought at value, in a “very Eden of the rights of man”, (1867 [1976], 280) and it is only when it is put to work that exploitation begins.

What, then, are we to make of the existence of a substantial group of people who sell their labour-power, yet do not receive from it sufficient means to maintain and reproduce themselves and their families? This is the group labelled by the term Working Poor, an old concept, but one that has made a dramatic return to public discourse in recent years. Broadly defined, it refers to those classified as in work but falling below the poverty-line. More specifically, in the European Union it refers to those living in households with at least one person in work but who earn less than 60% of the national median wage. In the UK, a 2017 report by Cardiff University academics suggested 60% of those in poverty were in work (Hick & Lanau, 2017), while a Manchester charity recently established a hostel specifically for the working homeless. While the British government insists that work is the best way out of poverty, tacitly denying that working poverty is even possible, its critics identify the working poor as a particularly urgent and egregious pathology.

What could Marx say about this group’s existence and the contemporary fixation on it? It is tempting to say: ‘not much’. If it is possible for labour to be sold at less than its value, even less than the basic subsistence which he describes as its minimum limit, then perhaps this shows the paucity of his approach. Indeed, the assumption that the value of labour-power is a fixed constant, a “known datum”, is part of what Michael Lebowitz (2003) calls the one-sidedness of Capital, a simplification that should (and perhaps would) have been abandoned in an adequate study of wage-labour. Yet, as Lebowitz insists, this one-sidedness does not mean that Marxism is completely blind to such questions. Crucially, Marx’s emphasis is on the social determination of the value of labour-power, that it “contains a historical and moral element” depending “on the conditions in which, and consequently on the habits and expectations with which the class of free workers has been formed” (1867 [1976], 275). Such habits and expectations are not static, and, Lebowitz argues, cannot be easily held in check. Capitalism creates a world of new needs and desires in workers, which can only be met through demanding, and struggling for, higher wages. As Tithi Bhattacharya puts it (2017, 82), the worker is “always-already produced as lacking in what she needs.” In this sense, all workers under capitalism are poor, or at least poorer than they believe they should be, and could be.

This should not, though, distract from the specific phenomenon of those for whom wages fall to, or even below, a basic minimum, but a focus on the reproduction of labour-power might help here too. The report cited above made three substantive recommendations for addressing working poverty: tackling high rents, reversing cuts to in-work benefits, and improving the availability of free or affordable childcare to enable more than one parent to work. The third of these is particularly striking, since it points directly to the contradictions Nancy Fraser (2017) has identified in the latest manifestation of capitalist production’s tendency towards crises of reproduction. Capitalist production, she argues (2017, 24), both depends on, and systematically undermines, the reproduction of labour-power, which it approaches with a relation of “separation-cum-dependence-cum-disavowal”. In the contemporary period, social reproduction has been “commodified for those who can pay for it and privatised for those who cannot” while the ideal of the “family wage” has given way to that of the “two-earner family”. In recognising that this ideal is only sustainable in the context of subsidised or cheaply available childcare, the report acknowledges that this is merely deferring a deeper crisis, not merely of care, but of social reproduction. The working poor, then, are one symptom of this crisis, and public concern about them a hazy recognition of it.

Fraser’s work is part of a series of sustained attempts to renew and extend Marxism through a focus on social reproduction. In placing at the centre of analysis the question of how labour-power is reproduced, it allows for a rethinking of central questions of labour, class, and class struggle. First, understanding class struggle as involving first and foremost the struggle of workers to survive and reproduce themselves allows for a recognition that class struggle does not happen merely over wages. Access to healthcare, housing, and social benefits – precisely the things that make the working poor poor – are also significant arenas of struggle. Second, highlighting the importance of reproductive labour shines light on kinds of work that are not directly waged, and thus not officially recognised as such. This might also undermine one of the faulty premises of discussions of the working poor – that there is such a thing as a non-working poor.

A focus on struggle also reveals another important element in forming the working poor. The Cardiff report does not recommend, perhaps unsurprisingly, the strengthening of working-class organisation, consciousness, and solidarity as a solution. Yet if the value of labour is in part determined by the habits and expectations of a working class, then the working poor’s existence must also be seen in the context of defeats and decline that have lowered these expectations. In this sense, the notion of greater numbers of people falling below a poverty-line seems double-edged. On the one hand, it suggests a high watermark which more and more struggle to reach, an acceptance that there is a line beneath which people should not expect to live, but nonetheless do. On the other hand, that we can still see it might suggest horizons have not yet fallen so far. And such horizons can be expanded.





There is no doubt about the current relevance of Marxist thought – as a form of analysis, interpretation and action – in light of the global processes of expansive commodification of all aspects of life and the environment. Without it, it would be impossible to understand the exploitation, dispossession and extermination that the neoliberal model administrates, and to think of possible routes of transformation. However, Marx’s thought has also been limited by its own historical and epistemic margins demarcated by coloniality, Eurocentrism and modernity. Modern ideals of science, progress, development of the productive forces, industrialism, and truth and happiness through abundance – all shared with the capitalist mode of production and way of life – have been fundamental to Marx’s thought (Lander, 2014, 22).

In general, we can say that such beliefs within Marxist thought have led to the reproduction of undemocratic hierarchical structures on several occasions, which destroy the potential for self-determination, organization, decision-making, and action of individuals and the community from above. Marxist thought has projected a vision of a supposedly unique, true, necessary and desirable direction of historical development and transformation that goes hand in hand with an unsustainable relation to, or domination of, nature. Particularly in Latin America, this position has bypassed multiple racialized and hierarchized subjects and communities that together with their self-determined forms of life do not fit into the revolutionary categories of conventional Marxist thought. These other sectors of society, together with their ways of thinking-feeling, living-relating, organizing and resisting intra-, inter- and transnational colonialism for more than 525 years (Pablo González Casanova 2014), have been discarded, or at least underestimated, as political agents for a long time.

This is why Zapatismo is today very useful for updating the meaning of Marxist thought from the perspective of other geographies. I cannot, and I will not, intend to speak for the Zapatistas, as they speak clearly and powerfully for themselves. As a person born and raised in Mexico – male, middle class, urban and “mestizo”2 – I acknowledge the indigenous and colonial histories that precede me, and the erasures, violences and logics that coloniality has imposed among our communities. From that complex and non-fixed position, I look at and listen to the indigenous communities seeking to find ways to overcome the historical, material, and symbolic partitions imposed upon us.

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) is one of the anti-capitalist and anti-systemic movements that have contributed the most to building, from below, something materially and politically “different”: “a world where many worlds fit”3. Remarkably, this has been carried out by mostly indigenous people in very adverse situations, including a masked low-intensity warfare, in a country where the capitalist war – in all its colonial, patriarchal, and racist dimensions – unfolds with extreme violence: Mexico4. Through its demands5 and the ways in which they have been proposed, Zapatismo has developed its universal, deep, lasting and anticipatory character, and at the same time, established a valid international agenda of struggle (Carlos Aguirre Rojas, 2015).

Moreover, the Zapatista movement has been building its own forms of political and material autonomy outside the state and the logics of capital (Gilberto López and Rivas 2011: 103-15, Gustavo Esteva 2011: 117-43, Raúl Zibechi 2017; Pablo González Casanova 2015; Jérôme Baschet 2015), creating its own autonomous municipalities and Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Boards of Good Government). This has also allowed the movement to develop alternative systems of education, health, justice, production, information, and communication, and so on. Autonomy, in Zapatista terms, is not a matter restricted to politics, but rather a matter that operates in all areas of social life. This is expressed in the General Women’s Law published by the EZLN in 1993, and more clearly in the active presence of indigenous women in the ranks of the EZLN since its origin, and the fact that their participation in reproductive, logistical and military work has been fundamental to the movement (Guiomar Rovira 2012). The forms of resistance of Zapatista women have directly influenced, according to researcher María Isabel Pérez Enríquez (2008), the forms of resistance exercised by both the indigenous and non-indigenous of the overall civil society. Moreover, EZLN has contributed to both internationally legitimize the political participation of women, and to include the anti-capitalist fight into the feminist agenda (Sylvia Marcos 2017).

Objectively, the strategy of EZLN has focused on the mobilization of civil society. This became evident the moment when the EZLN underwent a transformation from being an army to becoming a social movement. Examples that testify to this transformation are, among others, the Other Campaign (La Otra Campaña), – together with the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle – and in particular its recent joint project with the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)6. The Other Campaign consisted of many meetings between EZLN and different resistance groups in Mexico in order to create a national anti-capitalist movement.7

The recent EZLN and CNI joint project sought to participate in the next Mexican presidential elections in 2018 through the creation of the Indigenous Governing Council (CIG), with spokeswoman María de Jesús Patricio Martínez ‘Marichuy’ as candidate. Here the purpose was not to win or seize power, but rather to use the elections, that are seen by the Zapatista movement as a bargaining process between political parties and private interests, as a platform to make visible the effects of the capitalist war on indigenous communities and the entire country. A platform, moreover, to denounce the political class in power as responsible for extreme violence, corruption and its own impunity, and, fundamentally, the creation of a gathering of the national, international indigenous and non-indigenous organizations. For this project, the CIG and ‘Marichuy’ realized a national tour – with minimum resources and no state funding, resembling The Other Campaign – in order to both meet with and listen to the different indigenous and non-indigenous communities and their problems; and to share the CIG collective voice. Their project is based on the Zapatista experience of building autonomy, and the EZLN’s seven principles that go by the name of the “rule by obeying”.8 Most importantly, CNI proposes a government from below, where “the people rule and the government obeys”. CIG defines its proposal in a similar way as an anti-capitalist, anti-racist and anti-patriarchal call to organize ourselves. By the end of the pre-campaign period, on 19th February 2018, CNI did not achieve to gather the total number of signatures requested by the state as a prerequisite to register a presidential candidate – a process complicated by several institutional, economic and social barriers.9 But the main goals of the project were met: the situation and problems of the indigenous communities, together with a strong critique of the capitalist system, are brought back to national attention; both CNI, as well as the non-indigenous support networks, grew stronger. Today the project continues to consolidate the CIG and a national anti-capitalist movement and its agenda.10

The thought of Marx is still present in the Zapatista movement and the CNI, but in a constant process of appropriation, decolonization and re-elaboration. Marx’s “objective” and impersonal thought, which is embedded in the coloniality of knowledge (Anibal Quijano, 2000: 209-46), has been contextualized and adapted by the Zapatistas to local needs without missing its global perspective. The development of the movement during its clandestine years, and its subsequent evolution into an international public since 1994, shows the way in which the movement was and is forced to overcome the limits of Marxist thought, and categories marked by eurocentrism and colonial modernity. The conditions that made such development possible are not located in European thought or its margins. Rather, they can be found in the multiple communities –– with their embodied experience, knowledge, and forms of organization – that have resisted the colonial, racist and patriarchal capitalist war and its neoliberal, extractivist, necro- and narco-political versions for more than 525 years.

In 1983, the first EZLN camp was officially settled clandestinely. A few years before that, a group of mestizos with Marxist-Leninist ideas had ventured into the jungle of Chiapas with the intention of forming a revolutionary army to fight against the conditions of extreme poverty, injustice, neglect, exclusion, exploitation, violence, and dispossession in indigenous communities. The first years (1983-1994) of clandestine infrapolitical work (James Scott, 2004), in which the EZLN tried to gain the trust of the indigenous people and build a revolutionary army, served to challenge their urban and mestizo beliefs of being a revolutionary vanguard, and allowed the development of new forms of thought and organization, realities and needs. This is how Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos describes what they experienced:

We really suffered a process of reeducation, of remodeling, as if we had been unarmed, as if we had lost all the elements we had –Marxism, Leninism, socialism, urban culture, poetry, literature– everything that was part of us, and also things that we did not know that we had. They disarmed us and put us together again, but in a different way, and that was the only way to survive (Le Bot & Yvone 1997, 151).

Carrying Marxist thought with it, EZLN is therefore part of a long tradition of indigenous struggles and organizing processes in continuous movement: from the Spanish invasion and colonization, through the struggle for Mexican independence and revolution, to more recent revolutionary movements and the theology of the liberation (González Casanova 2015, 265-92).


 This process ingrained Marxism in bodies, histories and territories of collective living with their own forms of thought and organization which escape the regime of coloniality and modernity. It was necessary, then, to put aside any form of a Marxist revolutionary blueprint for seizing power from above, and to develop the capacity to look and listen to different ways11 in order to begin building “from below and to the left” “a world where many worlds fit”.


The gaze. Toward where and from where. That is what separates us.

You believe that you are the only ones, we know that we are just one of many.

You look above, we look below.

You look for ways to make yourselves comfortable; we look for ways to serve.

You look for ways to lead, we look for ways to accompany.

You look at how much you earn, we at how much is lost.

You look for what is, we, for what could be.

You see numbers, we see people.

You calculate statistics, we, histories.

You speak, we listen.

You look at how you look, we look at the gaze.

You look at us and demand to know where we were when your calendar marked your “historic” urgency. We look at you and don’t ask where you’ve been during these more than 500 years of history.

You look to see how you can take advantage of the current conjuncture, we look to see how we can create it.

You concern yourselves with the broken windows, we concern ourselves with the rage that broke it.

You look at the many, we at the few.

You see impassable walls, we see the cracks.

You look at possibilities, we look at what was impossible until the eve of its possibility.

You search for mirrors, we for windows.

You and us are not the same.


Ejército de Liberación Nacional a través del Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos y del Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. 2013, 92-3.