More about RICA (Intercontinental Network of Alternative Communication)

First proposal published by the August 4th Working Group :

A Proposal for a Red Intercontinental de Comunicación Alternativa (Intercontinental Network of Alternative Communication)


Growing recognition of the importance of international circuits of alternative communication in the struggle against neoliberalism led to widespread discussion during the Encuentro Intercontinental of a need to further develop and interlink such circuits into a world-wide network. Such discussion was given expression both in the reports of the various tables and in the Second Declaration of La Realidad given by Subcommandante Marcos during the closing session of the Encuentro.

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:

“Let's start a communications network between all of our struggles, an intercontinental network of alternative communication against neoliberalism, an intercontinental network for humanity.

This intercontinental network of alternative communication will seek to tie together all the channels of our words and all of the roads of resistance. This intercontinental network will be the means among which the different areas of resistance will communicate.

This intercontinental network will not be an organized structure, it will have no moderator, central control, or any hierarchies. The network will be all of us who speak and listen.” (August 3 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 to the building of 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.

The Proposal

Taking the Zapatista struggle as a point of departure, the August 4th Working Group briefly surveyed the existing array of lists, conferences, newsgroups, gopher archives and web sites in North America and Western Europe. The situation at present is impressive but often lacking linkages which could render various efforts more effective. For example, in North America there are lists such as Chiapas-l, Mexico2000 and Chiapas95 with partially overlapping subscriber lists and duplicate postings. In Europe there is a list that operates out of Brescia in Italy and another out of Barcelona in Spain but with little interaction between them, and with little connection to those in North America. Similarly, there are an array of web sites including ones on Chiapas, on the EZLN, on the American Continental Encounter, on the Berlin Encounter, on the Intercontinental Encounter and so on. There is a wealth of material and opportunity for exchange but there is also considerable disjuncture.

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 Comunicacio'n 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.
  1. 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 mean 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.

  1. Associated with these lists would be a RICA Web Page, a site that would include:
  • background information on the struggle against neoliberalism and for humanity –we propose to begin that information with the Second Declaration of la Realidad and hot link to other information on the Continental and Intercontinental Encounters.
  • purposes of the lists, on how to subscribe and unsubscribe, the formatting to be used in subject lines, information on suggested practices, etc.
  • automatic archives of the lists; all postings would be archived in chronological order.
  • special collections of materials, either directly available at the web site or hot linked 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.

Further information can be obtained at: or e-mail to” 1)

map/global/rica/more.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/20 20:55 (external edit)