(This document was drafted in August, 1996, following the First Intercontinental Encuentro For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism)
After calling for the building of a global network of struggles against neoliberalism and for humanity, Marcos proposed a communication network to interlink such struggles:
"Que haremos una red de comunicacion entre todas nuestras luchas y resistencias. Una red intercontinental de communication alternativa contra el neoliberalismo, una red intercontinental de communication alterativa por la humanidad. Esta red intercontinental de comunicacion alternativa buscara tejer los canales para que la palabra camine todos los caminos que resiten. Esta red intercontinental de communicacion alternativa sera el medio para que se commiquen entre si las distnintas resistencia. Esta red intercontinental de communicacion alternativa no es una estructura organizativa, no tiene centro rector ni decisorio, no tiene mando central ni jerarquias. La red somos los todos los que nos hablamos y escuchamos." (3 de agosto de 1996)
The next day, on the 4th of August, a number of participants met in a working group in San Cristobal to discuss possible means of implementing this vision of a horizontal network linking struggles in ways that facilitate exchanges of ideas, experiences and proposals for struggle in ways which can contribute the building a global movement. At the core of that discussion were the various dimensions of the Net --the fabric of electronic computer communications that include a wide variety of networks both local and global.
Beyond the specific issue of Chiapas (and Mexico) there are a wide variety of lists, newsgroups, conferences, gopher sites and web sites concerning many other struggles, of different types (e.g., women, environmental, peasant, student, labor) and different places (e.g., local, regional, national). A great many of these struggles are, effectively, aimed at neoliberalism or some aspect of it and are often devoted to the development of alternatives. Although various momentary links have been made, no systematic effort has ever been made to build a network of relationships among them.
To overcome these limitations the August 4th Working Group has drawn up the following proposal for a "Red Intercontinental de Communication Alternativa" (RICA) which would consist of several elements:
1. Existing lists, conferences, newsgroups, gopher and web sites which consider, or come to consider, themselves as part of such an International Network of Communication against neoliberalism and for humanity.
2. To facilitate a more complete global
diffusion of information about struggles against neoliberalism and for
humanity, we propose to create two new Internet lists (mirrored on the
Association of Progressive Communications networks, e.g., PeaceNet, LaNeta):
a. a news and information list --this list would receive all postings from other lists, newsgroups, etc., of news reports of events, group reports of study or action. The subscribers to this list could be individuals or moderators of other lists.
b. a discussion and organizing list --this list would receive all postings of proposals for action against neoliberalism and for humanity, reports and evaluations of actions, discussions of strategy and so on. The subscribers to this list could be individuals or moderators of other lists.
Both of these lists would be highly democratic with virtually no moderation; all posts would go to all subscribers. (All lists have "moderators" who must handle technical aspects of the lists and who do have the power to remove problems, whether accidental or intentional. The guiding principle is minimal intervention.)
Both lists would be multi-lingual with standardized subject lines that indicated the language being used, e.g., "E; Global Exchange Report from La Realidad", would means an article written in English by the group Global Exchange reporting from La Realidad. There would be no official language and all contributors would be encouraged to submit their information in as many languages as they are able, given time, resources, etc. Even abstracts in other languages would mean that more people would be able to receive more information.
The purpose of these two lists is to provide a pool of information available to any and all who want and need it, a starting place for gathering information and perspectives on the facts of struggle and the possibilities for building a global network of struggles. These two lists are not intended to replace most existing lists for practical reasons. First, most existing lists have been created to serve particular constituencies in particular ways. These two lists would have a vast quantity of information, most of which would not be of interest to any particular individual or group. Every individual or group could contribute and could download and repost any material which seems useful or inspiring. Second, the sheer quantity of information would put a burden upon all those whose Net connection is difficult or costly. They would not want to pay for the connect time to download great quantities of information for which they have no immediate use. Time is also a constraint because scanning through, selecting, deleting, etc. large quantities of postings takes more time than many either have or desire to spend. Therefore, we expect that most subscribers to these lists will be individuals (in groups) who specialize in gathering for local use information about other struggles and in diffusing local information which is judged to be of more general interest. Anyone, however, would be free to subscribe.
3. Associated with these lists would be
a RICA World Wide Web Page, a web site that would include:
a. background information on the struggle against neoliberalism and for humanity --we propose to begin that information with the Second Declaration of la Realidad and hotlink to other information on the Continental and Intercontinental Encounters.
b. purposes of the lists, on how to subscribe and unsubscribe, the formatting to be used in subject lines, information on suggested practices, etc.
c. automatic archives of the lists; all postings would be archived in chronological order
d. special collections of materials, either directly available at the web site or hotlinked from other web sites. The idea here is that individuals and groups are likely to find some threads of discussion or sequences of information on particular topics to be worthy of particular attention. They would be free to gather such materials (postings + new material if desired), prepare an introduction as to the importance of the material and make it available on the web site. If they have their own web sites they could download and prepare such collections and introductions and then merely have a hot link installed on the RICA web page.