Who we are.            
ERPI's origins.
What are our principles?
What is our ideology?
Our internal methodology.
Our relationship to other organizations.
What are our objectives?
Who will be the makers of change in Mexico?
How will change come about?

Revolución Siqueiros










 Who we are
The Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente, the Insurgent People's Revolucionary Army, is a revolutionary organization in Mexico that struggles for a true democracy and profound social change.
We are an army, in which each one of us uses the weapon he or she chooses, be it a gun, a pen, words, organizing, art, intellect, hands...

An army in which political and armed, legal and clandestine struggles come together.

One of the fundamental bases of our existence is the Mexican people's need for self-defense in order to protect their efforts and progress in the transformation of society. Economic self-defense is necessary so as to avoid dying of hunger, to avoid further impoverishment, and to defend labor, peasant produciton, cooperative, ejido, and communal forms of production. It is necessary so as to protect the people against the voracity of banks, to avoid bankruptcies, and to extract our country's economy from dependence and to defend it against multinational pillage, and to impede the theft and fraud of corrupt governments. Social self-defense is necessary so that the large number of those excluded no longer remain in the margins of decision-making and development, so that the indigenous peoples, the poor campesinos, the millions of Mexicans who find themselves in extreme poverty, women, youth, homosexuals and lesbians, street children, retirees, the handicapped, children, and the elderly enjoy a present and future, different from the current marginalization and gradual extinction. It is necessary in order to defend the future generations, for if we fail to build a better world, they will inherit one in such a state of deterioration that few future generations will have the chance to live at all, and to defend our culture and our identity. Political self-defense is necessary in order to retain the rights we have conquered and to not be tortured and imprisoned; to defend autonomous organizations such as municipal and community political institutions among other sovereign popular institutions. It is necessary so that the people's will expressed through the vote is respected, so that the opinions of those never taken into account is heard, in short to defend the popular power that the people are creating. Armed self-defense is necessary in order to avoid being massacred, to avoid being murdered, to defend popular achievements from the state's repression. Defending of the people by the people in all these forms is to practice integral self-defense.  Integral self-defense has a transformative potential that goes beyond the present conditions, promoting and protecting many forms of struggle for social change.
Integral self-defense is broader than just armed self-defense. It comprises self-defense in all areas: economic, political, social, and cultural, as well as military.
As things are now in our country, not practicing self-defense means, for the people, losing yet more freedom, surrendering rights, regressing in living conditions and possibilities for development, and disregarding dignity; further, it means to accept a destiny of being an oppressed, exploited, backward and poor people.



  ERPI's Origins

ERPI comes into existence following a separation from the EPR (Ejército Popular Revolucionario), the product of a process that matured over a long period and that finally materialized on 8 January, 1998. Originally, we had intended not to diffuse this development publicly until conditions were appropriate. Finally, our creation was made public on the occasion of the massacre of El Charco in the Ayutla municipality of Guerrero. Following the death of Captain José, the army located in a backpack a number of documents and letters that exposed the causes of our separation and some of these were published in the press.
Compañeros who have taken part in the popular struggles of the 1970s and 1980s and in some of the armed organization of those years, as well as new compañeros who have joined the struggle recently, constitute ERPI.
What caused our rupture from EPR? The reasons were political. In the beginning, the differences were fundamentally methodological; they later became tactical and strategic in nature, involving differring concepts and visions. We became concerned with the role of the organization in the general revolutionary project in Mexico. Our concern involved the relationship we intended to have with the people, the type of society we wanted to build, and the concept of popular sovereignty, of our organization's internal relations, of revolutionary ethics, and of the strategy to pursue. We were concerned with the lack of growth, the notable centralism and burocratism in the EPR's structure, and the dehumanization of certain methods. It was finally decided that it was necessary to travel different roads.
Motivated by our own experience, by what we have seen inside the general revolutionary movement, and by the experiences of other processes, today we urgently and firmly add another ethical demand to our basic principles: the revolution must be humanized.
NOTE: For more information on the causes of the rupture, see 'Documents' section of this site where you will find letters titles Escuchan Compañeros?, You and Us: Two EPRs, This is not the Party We Joined and others which give a broader view of the caused and context in which the separation process developed.



 What are our Principles?
Among our basic principles are our commitment to the people, popular sovereignty, democracy, flexibility, and humanism.
We came into being as a new organization assuming that our principle commitment is to the people and that this commitment is above all others, including those concerning group or party.
We believe in popular sovereignty and democracy because they are the main political objectives for our organization and because our relationship to the people and our internal relationships are based on these principles.
We believe in flexibility because it characterizes our ways of working and our work relations. This allows to understand that there are principles and grounds which cannot be compromised while there are others which can and should be changed.
We have broken with all notions of vanguardism holding that the revolution needs a select group at the vanguard that represents the people's historical interests.
We have broken with centralist models which are subjecting, which dominate from the top down, and we have adopted more democratic and participatory forms of direction and organization, that is from the bottom up. We attempt to combine democracy with necessary security norms.
We have broken with the model of an organization which fights to take state power and exercise on behalf of the people. We are an organization that promotes the construction of popular power here and everywhere, right now, from below and til the end, leaving no tasks half done. Our form of organization allows our objectives to be realized progressively without waiting until the triumph of the revolution to initiate change.
We have broken with the model which pretended for all to be and think the same, accepting a diversity of ideas and that, while we are united, we are different. We accept each person's characteristics which differentiate him or her from the rest. In short, we value individuality within the collective.
We reject the notion that the end justifies the means or that abuses, crimes, or lies inside the revolutionary movement may be justified in the name of the revolution or the party. In our opinion, an end which is to benefit the people, human and honest, requires being built using methods that are equally good for the people, equally human and honest.
We reject rigidity and burocratism, replacing them with flexibility, agility, and the assumption of the needs and proposals coming from the grassroots and the people.We have broken with any and all forms of dogmatism and with the model which holds that the organization possesses the ideological light or the absolute truth that all others are to adopt.
NOTE: Our fundamental principles are more broadly stated in the document titled Theses  for Change available on this site in the section under the same title.


  What is our ideology?
While some might say that ERPI is marxist, maoist, leninist, trotskyist, luxemburgist, guevarist, gramscian, or even althusserian, and others may find us ecclectic, we prefer to give a special importance to starting from the basis of the reality of our country, the examples from our history. We take up concepts and arguments of all thinkers only if we find they are applicable to this reality, without this implying that if we adopt one thinker's ideas we have adopted his or her entire set of ideas. Thus, our own ideas are influenced by many revolutionaries of the world as well as from our country. This is why we say we are villistas, zapatistas, juaristas, etc.
We have not given up the ideological wealth that comes from knowing the thought of all those who have come before us in the struggle for change, both in our country and in the world. We have given up dogmatism and the notion that we are the possessors of the only correct line of thought.


 Our internal methodology
With respect to our work at the grassroots level, we respect all decisions that are democratically made. Our bases and combatants exercise a relative autonomy in their actions, an autonomy which we promote, strengthen, and defend. Indeed, our decisions are made taking into account and assimilating the opinions and thoughts of the bases, just as our vision reaches them without impositions, but rather as orientation. This manner of conceiving our relation to the bases is an important aspect of our strategy which seeks to promote popular power in the areas in which we work and throughout the country.
This means that we are guided by the mandar obedeciendo principle spread by the EZLN.
As far as the work among our cadres, the organization's internal structure has been democratized (to the degree possible as security and combat effectiveness considerations and demands always impose limits). Our decisions are no longer made in a centralized context but in an atmosphere of participatory democracy. We categorically respect the right to dissent as all opinions and proposals are valid; no elite can impose theirs. Tasks are not imposed either and nor are inhuman and blind discipline demanded of cadres. Tasks are assigned according to attributes, inclinations, and disposition. We appreciate the fact that cadres develop in different rhythms and circumstances. We promote creative initiative and responsibility, characteristics which are fundamental for autonomous participation and for growth.


   Our relationship to other organizations
We do not seek to be the vanguard which directs or imposes the form of the revolutionary process. In the movement for change, we feel there is room for all progressive groups. We do not believe there is only one correct vision, rather that there are many that are equally legitimate. Therefore, we respect the differences which characterize the plurality of positions of organizations and efforts. We in no way intend to subvert, much less sabotage, others' work with the intention of strengthening our own.



  What are our objectives?
Our organization seeks, before all else, to construct popular power allowing for the exercise of popular sovereignty and therefore the democractic self-governance of the people. In other words, we struggle for a revolutionary transformation of society.
Our goal is to socialize power promoting values, practices, mechanisms, and institutions which will permit the free and conscious participation of the people in decisions in all areas and at all levels. With these changes, we seek to democratize the country's social and economic system.


Protection of Nature and the Environment
Peace with Justice and Dignity
End to Exploitation
End to Corruption.
We seek to put an end to the inhuman neoliberal system, reconstructing the national basis of the economy, guaranteeing its management by the people and full coverage of social needs. In other words, finally, the economy is to serve the people and not vice versa.
The economic and political model for the new society can be the exclusive domain of nobody; rather, it is to be the result of the development of the process itself, of the set of proposals of the various forces fighting for change, and, finally, of the sovereign decisions of the people. We can now delineate that the society we wish to construct should be just, human, democratic, free, egalitarian, and sovereign, and should provide the people with economic well-being, free of exploitation and corruption. It is to be a society in which human rights will be fully respected and in which the defense of life and the environment will be priorities, as development will not be synonymous with environmental destruction.
We do not seek to take power for ourselves, nor for any other particular group, nor for power to be exercised by an organization--of any kind--in the interest of the people. Nor do we seek to hand over power to a single social class. We fight for power of the people in its own interest. It is precisely the people who will decide the forms and models of governance, as well as the ways in which it will be watched over by the people themselves. The zapatista maxim all for all, nothing for us expresses these beliefs clearly.
Popular power implies that the people dispose of the access to information and the power to judge, to change, to decide, and to sanction.
We put forth that popular power, basis for the new democracy, will progressively construct, consolidate, and broaden itself from this point forward and not merely after victory. The experience of popular democractic forms created starting now will serve to guarantee to a larger degree the constitution of a popular democratic state.



 Who will make the change in Mexico?
Reform promoted by the government itself is not sufficient for it will always carry out only partial changes in the interests of powerful groups. A change promoted from below that will actually break with old structures and build new ones is therefore needed. Such a change requires multiple efforts.
Civil society's and its organizations' efforts are necessary but insufficient; legal political parties' efforts are necessary yet insufficient; armed revolutionary organizations' efforts are necessary yet insufficient. This massive popular effort will thus need the confluence of all.
We can all contribute to change; we all have some way of struggling. Some will help by disseminating information on reality, refusing to collaborate with injustice and crime. Others will offer solidarity, mobilize, make demands, continue to press for our rights, participate in political organizations, and be present at rallies. Others will propose (and build) solutions to problems such as self-management and productive projects, and still others will organize and participate in popular plebiscites and elections and defend their vote. Some will choose to pick up a weapon to defend the people when necessary and others will educate our children and youth, sing, or make poetry. Others will contribute economically or even resist from prison. In short, everyone can participate in the struggle for change, each according to his or her abilities and possibilities.


  How will change be made?
We must be ready to develop any form of struggle in an effective way.
For electoral and parliamentary struggle, legal political parties are needed. In order to develop political and social struggles, such as boycots, general strikes, peaceful resistence, and civil disobedience, a strong, broad social and political movement and the strengthening of civil society with an increasing number of organizations, and their active participation in the struggle are needed. Also necessary are a galvanizing leadership, a popular identity, and the masses' awareness of their own strength. In order to develop the armed struggle, people's armies, popular structures capable of rising up at a given moment, and adequate and sufficient weaponry are needed. In order to create and spread a guiding ideology, democratic intellectuals willing and able to break with the dominant state ideology and popular and democratic media are required.
We are in no way speaking of physically 'annihilating or exterminating the enemy'. Instead, it's about forming a new historic block and a new culture which will displace the dominant block and its culture. It is necessary to insert the Mexican people's struggle into the global struggle for democracy, life, and well-being.
Four basic elements might summarize an effective strategy: construction of popular power so that the people may direct their efforts and organizations and so that the people may back their political, economic, social, and cultural decisions; self-defensive struggle to protect the initiatives of the people exercising sovereignty; armed struggle which combines the necessary aspects for a drawn-out struggle and inevitable popular explosions; development of a solidary struggle for democratic social change on a global scale.
Such a strategy allows for the construction of Popular Power beginning from the struggle itself and extending to all levels. This way the people will become master of its own destiny.
Presently, each national struggle is a battle in the broad movement for global change.

This strategy also allows for the optimal use of the people's resources. The people will not be mobilized to fight an alien struggle, but rather a struggle in which its vital interests are at stake. Nor is it a struggle in which others make use of the people's resources. The people will be in command of these. Finally, it is not a struggle in which the people will simply obey. Nobody but the people itself will give the orders.

Image: David Alfaro Siqueiros




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E.R.P.I. 2006 La informaciòn aqui publicada es de libre distribucion, siempre y cuando la fuente sea citada.