Neozapatismo or neozapatism (sometimes mislabelled as zapatismo) is the political philosophy and practice devised and employed by Mexico's Zapatista Army of National Liberation (a.k.a. the neozapatistas or zapatistas), who govern a large territory in Chiapas and have done so since the beginning of the Chiapas conflict. Crucially, it is not an ideology, as the Zapatistas' The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous General Command, has made clear: "Zapatismo is not a new political ideology or a rehash of old ideologies … There are no universal recipes, lines, strategies, tactics, laws, rules or slogans. There is only a desire: to build a better world, that is, a new world."[1]

Far from being some kind of cookie-cutter political ideology or one-size-fits-all program that can be exported elsewhere and applied in all locales then, neozapatismo serves to say something like: this is how we Zapatistas have confronted capitalism and existing power structures and hierarchies here in Chiapas, Mexico, it is up to you to see if, and how, our example of struggle and the lessons we have learned in waging that struggle, can be used to similar ends where you live.[2] Hence the Zapatistas' spokesperson, Subcomandante Marcos (who since 2014 goes by the name of Subcomandante Galeano) has also stated:

Zapatismo is not an ideology,

it is not a bought and paid for doctrine.

It is … an intuition.

Something so open and flexible that it really occurs in all places.

Zapatismo poses the question:

‘What is it that has excluded me?’

‘What is that has isolated me?’

… In each place the response is different.

Zapatismo simply states the question

and stipulates that the response is plural,

that the response is inclusive …[3]

Some have a broader conception of neozapatismo that extends beyond the confines of political-philosophy and practice. For example, for Richard Stahler-Sholk “There are, in effect, at least three Zapatismos: One is the armed insurgency .... A second is the project of autonomous government being constructed in Zapatista ‘support base communities’ .… The third is the (national and) international network of solidarity inspired by Zapatista ideology and discourse.”[4]

Origins and basic tenets [ edit ]

Neozapatismo is generally held to be based to some extent on anarchism, Mayan tradition, Marxism,[5][6][7] the thoughts of Emiliano Zapata, and the thoughts of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. (Unlike Marxism, Maoism, Castroism and Guevarism however, Neozapatismo has no single official founding father, although Emiliano Zapata and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano (formerly Subcomandante Marcos) are considered key figures in its formation.) Neozapatismo appears to have been influenced by libertarian socialism, libertarian Marxism (including autonomism), social anarchism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism, communalism, direct democracy, and radical democracy.

Subcomandante Marcos has offered some clues as to the origins of neozapatismo. For example, he states:

Zapatismo was not Marxist-Leninist, but it was also Marxist-Leninist. It was not university Marxism, it was not the Marxism of concrete analysis, it was not the history of Mexico, it was not the fundamentalist and millenarian indigenous thought and it was not the indigenous resistance. It was a mixture of all of this, a cocktail which was mixed in the mountain and crystallized in the combat force of the EZLN…[8]

In 1998, Michael Löwy, in a short yet incisive article, identified five “threads” of the Zapatismo “carpet”: (1) Guevarism, (2) the legacy of Emiliano Zapata, (3) liberation theology, (4) the Mayan culture, and (5) the democratic demands made by Mexican civil society.[9]

More Recently, Nick Henck has suggested that Subcommander Marcos acted as the shuttle by which the majority of these non-indigenous threads (i.e. Guevarism, the legacy of Emiliano Zapata, and the democratic demands made by Mexican civil society) were woven into the existing fabric of indigenous thought to create neo-zapatismo, and also that the Subcommander himself contributed significant political-philosophical threads to the carpet of neozapatismo.[10] These contributions include: an acquaintance with literature so profound that it forged the highly novel and inspirational language that neozaptismo was couched in; the classical Marxism of Marx and Engels; the structural Marxism of Louis Althusser and Nicos Poulantzas; and the post-structural, post-Marxism of Michel Foucault.[11]

Unfortunately, the indigenous contribution to neozapatismo, which is one of the most (if not the most) important elements, is the least accessible aspect of neozapatismo for those who have not been exposed to the indigenous people of Chiapas’ language or worldview. However, some indigenous political-philosophical concepts and practices that form the core of neozapatismo can be identified: communal consensus decision-making and community-based direct democracy, preguntando caminamos (“asking we walk”), and mandar obedeciendo (“command by obeying”).

The official anthem of Neozapatismo and the Zapatista territories is the Himno Zapatista.

Indigenous components [ edit ]

This may be the most important but least comprehended (and comprehensible) element of Zapatismo due to indigenous peoples’ thinking, language and indeed worldview being largely inaccessible to non-indigenous people. That being said, Subcomandante Marcos/Galeano has striven to be a bridge between the indigenous and non-indigenous worlds, ‘translating’ their cosmovision/worldview, values and key concepts to wider audiences. Furthermore, certain outsiders have also researched into and written about indigenous peoples’ contributions to Zapatismo.[12]

Put simply and briefly, Zapatismo incorporates various aspects or elements of certain traditional Mesoamerican, and especially Mayan, indigenous societies, including (but not limited to): communalism, collectivity, and consensus-building, consensus-agreement and consensus decision-making. Marcos himself has made reference to ‘a tradition of democracy and self-governance…of direct community democracy’ that the Zapatistas encountered among indigenous communities in Chiapas.[13]

Concepts and practices [ edit ]

The indigenous components of Zapatismo involve both concepts and practices.

Concerning concepts, Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater points especially to the Tsotsil concepts of ichbail ta muk’ and lekil kuxlejal. Concerning ichbail ta muk’, Fitzwater renders this literally as ‘to bring one another to largeness or greatness’ and states that it ‘implies the coming together of a big collective heart’ (p. 36). He notes that this is sometimes rendered ‘simply as ‘democracy’ (p. 36), but prefers himself to translate it variously as ‘to develop a collective heart’ (p. 43), ‘autonomous democratic governance’ (p. 45) and ‘a democracy of mutual respect’ (p. 66). Fitzwater observes how this ‘collective heart is made through concrete practices of self-organization’ (p. 52). He further notes that ichbail ta muk’ in turn leads to, or even creates, lekil kuxlejal, which Fitzwater renders literally as ‘the life that is good for everyone’, while noting that ‘it is usually translated as autonomy or dignified life’ (p. 36). Thus Fitzwater concludes: ‘For the Zapatistas, dignity, autonomy, and democracy for each people, as well as the creation of this people as a collectivity, arises through the growth of the heart, through bringing one another into one collective heart, through ichbail ta muk’.’

Regarding practices, the Zapatistas resurrected and revitalized certain traditional indigenous practices that had fallen into abeyance or disuse, in some cases, such as in the case of communal assemblies, making these more democratic by extending participation to women (and not just men, as had been the practice previously). Moreover, the Zapatistas not only expanded participation to include women but also extended this traditional communitarian practice of assemblies geographically, beyond just the individual community (i.e. local) level to the municipal or even regional / zonal level. These communal assemblies as well as being instruments of democratic decision-making are also a concrete manifestation of the generally-existing social relations - typified by collectivity, communality, and mutual respect and agreement - that prevail within Zapatista indigenous communities. Another key practice is a’mtel, which is work that is democratically determined, apportioned, assigned, administered and carried out. Indeed, Fitzwater (p. 159) stresses that ‘The practice of a’mtel is at the heart of Zapatismo.’

Zapatismo also incorporates several principles taken over from certain of Chiapas’ indigenous peoples. Perhaps the most prominent of these are: preguntando caminamos (‘asking we walk’), and mandar obedeciendo (‘command by obeying’). Concerning the latter, there are seven principles of ‘command by obeying’: (1) serve and not be served, (2) represent and not supersede, (3) build and not destroy, (4) obey and not command, (5) propose and not impose, (6) convince and not defeat, and (7) come down and not go up.[14] It is important to note that each Zapatista community while subscribing to the 7 principles of governing by obeying nonetheless has the right to democratically determine its own form of governance, and there is a significant amount of variety in the conceptualization of what constitutes democracy and the forms this takes at the local level.

Zapatismo & governance [ edit ]

Zapatismo draws on traditional indigenous and conceptualizations of, and approaches to, governance. Community members are charged with the task of serving the community by fulfilling certain charges. As such then there is no so-called ‘professional’ political class that is distinct from community members; there is no separation of autonomous government from indigenous community. Community members take turns carrying out their charges, working in service to the community, and thereby experience governing and being an active participant in direct democracy. They are not paid for this service, but are provided with food by community members or their fields are tilled on their behalf by them as recompense for undertaking this service to the community. In this way, the charge is carried out on behalf of the community and the community reciprocates, which exemplifies the truly communal and collective nature of the autonomous Zapatista communities.

Economic components [ edit ]

Flag of the Neozapatista movement.

Agrarianism [ edit ]

Emiliano Zapata, the man after which Neozapatismo is named, was a strong Agrarianist in Mexico. He personally led rebels against the Mexican government in order to redistribute plantation land to farm workers. Zapata began by protesting the seizure of land by wealthy plantation owners, but his protest did not achieve its desired goal, so he turned more violent means. The cause of redistribution was Zapata's true life's goal, and he frequently continues to symbolize the Agrarianist cause in Mexico even today.[15]

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation have made similar Agrarian demands such as land reform mandated by the 1917 Constitution of Mexico. For example, The Revolutionary Agrarian Law, which is longest and most detailed of the ten Revolutionary Laws that the EZLN issued along with its Declaration of Law when it commenced its uprising, opens by stating: "Poor peasants in Mexico continue to demand that the land be for those who work it. The EZLN reclaims the Mexican countryside’s just struggle for land and freedom, following in the footsteps of Emiliano Zapata and opposing the reforms to Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution."[16]

Crucially, Subcommander Marcos argues that the Zapatistas' Revolutionary Agrarian Law that was imposed following the land takeovers conducted by the EZLN and those indigenous peoples supportive of the movement in the wake of the January 1994 uprising, brought about “ … fundamental changes in the lives of Zapatista indigenous communities … ", adding:

…When the land became property of the peasants … when the land passed into the hands of those who work it … [This was] the starting point for advances in government, health, education, housing, nutrition, women’s participation, trade, culture, communication, and information …[it was] was recovering the means of production, in this case, the land, animals, and machines that were in the hands of large property owners.”[17]

In the eyes of Marcos and the Zapatistas, their quest for autonomy — in their negotiations with the government the EZLN did not demand independence from Mexico, but rather autonomy, and (among other things) that the natural resources extracted from Chiapas benefit more directly the people of Chiapas — began with, and was only made possible through, reclaiming land and distributing it to "those who work it".

Libertarian socialism [ edit ]

Neozapatismo often relies of left-wing economic theories. The most well-known concept of Neozapatismo is its opposition to capitalist globalization. On the signing of the famed globalization promoting NAFTA treaty the Zapatista rebels revolted, believing the signing of the treaty to have a negative economic effect on the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. The signing of NAFTA also resulted in the removal of Article 27, Section VII, from the Mexican Constitution, which had guaranteed land reparations to indigenous groups throughout Mexico.[18]

The economics of the Zapatista occupied Chiapas is based on collectivism using the cooperative model with syndicalist aspects. The means of production are cooperatively owned by the public and there are no supervisors or owners of the property. All economic activity is local and self-sufficient, but products may be sold to the international market for fundraising purposes. The most famous examples of this model are the Zapatista coffee cooperatives that bring in the most income for the Zapatista movement.[19] Recently, the Zapatistas have been steadfast in resisting the violence of neoliberalism by practicing horizontal autonomy and mutual aid.[20] Zapatista communities continue to build and maintain their own anti-systemic health, education, and sustainable agro-ecological systems.

Zapatista cooperatives are governed by the general assembly of the workers which is the supreme body of the cooperatives, it is convened at least once a year and elects a new administrative council every 3 years. Through their operation, the workers don’t depend on the local or global market. Through the collective organization and the cooperation with the solidarity networks at their disposal, the workers receive one price for their product or service that can cover the cost of work while also bringing workers a dignified income, which increases over the years[citation needed]. Workers may gain access to common structures and technical support. For as long as the cooperatives develop and improve their functions, they contribute some amount of their income to the autonomous programs of education, health, and to other social structures. Furthermore, the movements that participate in the fundraising solidarity networks of disposal return some amount of their incomes to the Zapatista communities.[citation needed]

Theory of capitalism [ edit ]

The Zapatistas’ political stance is anti-capitalist in general and anti-Neoliberalism in particular, and much of their discourse reflects this position. That having been said, certain writings and presentations by Subcomandante Marcos in particular convey neo-zapatismo’s anti-capitalist message to a greater extent and in more detail than others. Examples of these include the following communiqués: “The Story of Durito and Neoliberalism” (April 1994); “Durito II: Neoliberalism Seen from La Lacandona” (March 1995); “Durito III: The Story of Neoliberalism and the Labor Movement” (April 1995); “Durito IV: Neoliberalism and the Party-State System” (June 1995); “Durito VI: Neoliberalism, Chaotic Theory of Economic Chaos” (July 1995); and “Durito IX: Neoliberalism, History as a Tale . . . Badly Told” (April 1996).[21]

There are also Marcos’ communiqués “The (Impossible) Geometry of Power” (2005) and “The Pedestrians of History” (2006), and his presentations at the December 2007 “First International Colloquium In Memoriam Andrés Aubry: Planet Earth, Antisystemic Movements”.[22] Other notable Zapatista anti-capitalist texts include “The Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle” (2005), and those collected in the book Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra (Durham, NC: PaperBoat, 2016).

However, of all the Zapatistas’ anti-capitalist texts, perhaps the one that has received the most attention is Subcomandante Marcos’ essay titled "The Fourth World War Has Begun" (1997), in which he claims that neoliberalism and globalization constitute the "Fourth World War".[23] In this essay, Marcos compares and contrasts what he calls the Third World War (the Cold War) with what he terms the "Fourth World War", which he says is a new type of war that we find ourselves in now: "If the Third World War saw the confrontation of capitalism and socialism on various terrains and with varying degrees of intensity, the fourth will be played out between large financial centers, on a global scale, and at a tremendous and constant intensity." He goes on to say that economic globalization has created devastation. These views are not shared by all Zapatistas but have influenced Neozapatismo and Neozapatista thinking.

Political components [ edit ]

An image of the origins of the Neozapatismo idea.

Democracy [ edit ]

Zapatista communities are organized in an anarchistic manner. All decisions are made by a decentralized direct democracy in an autonomous manner. The original goal for this organization was for all the indigenous groups in Mexico to have autonomous government, today in the Zapatista territory the Mexican government has no control.[24] The councils in which the community may meet and vote on local issues in the Zapatista Chiapas are called the Councils of Good Government. In a Direct Democracy any issue may be voted on, any issue may be brought up to be voted on, and all decisions are passed by a majority vote. There are no restrictions on who may govern or who may vote. Since December 1994, the Zapatistas had been gradually forming several autonomous municipalities, called Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ). In these municipalities, an assembly of local representatives forms the Juntas de Buen Gobierno or Councils of Good Government (JBGs).

The Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities are run in various communities, the general assemblies meet for a week to decide on various aspects concerning the community. The assemblies are open to everyone, without a formal bureaucracy. The decisions made by the communities are then passed to elected delegates whose job is to pass the information to a board of delegates. The delegates can be revoked and also serve on a rotation basis. In this way, it is expected that the largest number of people may express their points of view.

Unorganization [ edit ]

Any military "commanders" within the movement have no actual power, they may not force anyone to do anything. Military leaders only serve as revolutionary vanguards, to educate those unaware of the movement and to fight for the movement. Some "commanders" are simply spokespeople for the movement, some of the more famed spokespeople like Marcos, are only characters whose public statements are controlled and decided by the leading activists' consensus. If any soldiers of the Zapatista movement act in a brutal or unjust manner, the Zapatistas allow others to act against that soldier. No member of Zapatista forces has any real power over another.

Social components [ edit ]

Feminism [ edit ]

Neozapatismo is a heavily Feminist philosophy. Women are viewed as equals to men and some women such as Comandante Ramona and Subcomandante Elisa were leaders in the Zapatista movement. In the 1990s, one-third of the insurgents were women and half of the Zapatista support base was women.

Even though feminism is seen as a result of Westernization, indigenous Mayan women have struggled to “draw on and navigate Western ideologies while preserving and attempting to reclaim some indigenous traditions...which have been eroded with the imposition of dominant western culture and ideology."[25] Indigenous feminism is invested in women's struggles, indigenous people, and look to their heritage for solutions while using some western ideas for achieving feminism.

Zapatista women are invested in the collective struggle of Neozapatismo, and of women in general. Ana Maria, one of the movement leaders, said in an interview that women "participated in the first of January(Zapatista Uprising)... the women’s struggle is the struggle of everybody. In EZLN, we do not fight for our own interests but struggle against every situation that exists in Mexico; against all the injustice, all the marginalization, all the poverty, and all the exploitation that Mexican women suffer. Our struggle in EZLN is not for women in Chiapas but for all the Mexicans.[26]

The effects of Western Capitalism makes flexibility in gender and labor roles more difficult than the indigenous cultures traditional labor. “Indigenous women’s entry into the money economy has been analyzed as making their domestic and subsistence work evermore dispensable to the reproduction of the labor force and thus reducing women’s power within the family. Indigenous men have been forced by the need to help provide for the family in the globalized capitalist economic system that favors paid economic labor while depending on female subordination and unpaid subsistence labor. These ideals are internalized by many workers and imported back into the communities.”[25] This capitalistic infiltration harmed Gender role, they were becoming more and more restrictive and polarized with the growing imposition of external factors on indigenous communities. Ever since the arrival of the Europeans and their clear distinction in the views of feminine home makers and masculine laborers.

Indigenous feminism also created more collaboration and contact between indigenous and mestiza women in the informal sector. After the emergence of the Zapatistas, more collaboration started to take place, and six months after the EZLN uprising, the first Chiapas State Women’s Convention was held. Six months after that, the National Women’s Convention was held in Querétaro; it included over three hundred women from fourteen different states.[25] In August 1997, the first National Gathering of Indigenous Women took place in the state of Oaxaca, it was organized by indigenous women and was attended by over 400 women. One of the most prevalent issues discussed in the conventions, was the relations between mestiza women and indigenous women. Oftentimes it became the situation where the mestiza women tended to “help” and the indigenous women were the one being “helped.”

The Zapatistas movement was the first time a guerrilla movement held women’s liberation as part of the goal for the uprising. Major Ana Maria[27]—who was not only the woman who lead the EZLN capture of San Cristobal de las Casas during the uprising, but also one of the women who helped create the Women’s Revolutionary Law,[28] ‘A general law was made, but there was no women’s law. And so we protested and said that there has to be a women’s law when we make our demands. We also want the government to recognize us as women. The right to have equality, equality of men and women.’ The Women’s Revolutionary Law came about through a woman named Susana and Comandanta Ramona[29] traveling to dozens of communities and to ask the opinions of thousands of women. The Women’s Revolutionary Law was released along with the rest of the Zapatista demands aimed at the government during their public uprising on New Years Day of 1994.

Women's revolutionary law [ edit ]

On the day of the uprising, the EZLN announced the Women’s Revolutionary Law with the other Revolutionary Laws. The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee created and approved of these laws which were developed through with consultation of indigenous women. The Women’s Revolutionary Law strived to change “traditional patriarchal domination” and it addressed many of the grievances that Chiapas women had.[30] These laws coincided with the EZLN’s attempt to “shift power away from the center to marginalized sectors."[31] The follow are the ten laws that comprised the Women’s Revolutionary Law.

  1. Women have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in the place and at the level that their capacity and will dictates without any discrimination based on race, creed, color, or political affiliation.
  2. Women have the right to work and to receive a just salary.
  3. Women have the right to decide on the number of children they have and take care of.
  4. Women have the right to participate in community affairs and hold leadership positions if they are freely and democratically elected.
  5. Women have the right to primary care in terms of their health and nutrition.
  6. Women have the right to education.
  7. Women have the right to choose who they are with (i.e. choose their romantic/sexual partners) and should not be obligated to marry by force.
  8. No woman should be beaten or physically mistreated by either family members or strangers. Rape and attempted rape should be severely punished.
  9. Women can hold leadership positions in the organization and hold military rank in the revolutionary armed forces.
  10. Women have all the rights and obligations set out by the revolutionary laws and regulations.[32]

Postcolonialism [ edit ]

Zapatismo focuses heavily on Postcolonialism specifically postcolonial gaze. First referred to by Edward Said as "orientalism", the term "post-colonial gaze" is used to explain how colonial powers treated the people of colonized countries.[33] Placing the colonized in a position of the "other" helped to shape and establish the colonial's identity as being the powerful conqueror, and acted as a constant reminder of this idea of subjectivity.

The theory of postcolonial gaze studies the impacts of colonization on formerly colonized peoples and how these peoples overcome past colonial discrimination and marginalization by colonialists and their descendants.[34] In Mexico, postcolonial gaze is being fostered predominantly in areas of large indigenous populations and prejudice, like Chiapas. The Zapatistas not only raised many arguments about the consequences of capitalist globalization; they also questioned the long-standing ideas created by Spanish colonialism.

Cultural component [ edit ]

The Zapatista are famous for their armed revolt against globalization in their uprising, starting the Chiapas conflict. After the revolt the Zapatista controlled territory was mainly isolated from the rest of Mexico. The Zapatistas dislike the continuous pressure of modern technology on their people, preferring instead slow advancements.[35] Most of the locals speak in pre-Columbian languages indigenous to the area, rejecting the Spanish language's spread across the world.[36] The Zapatistas teach local indigenous Mayan culture and practices. Official Mexican schools are criticized as not teaching Mayan heritage or indigenous languages, while teaching of Zapatista evils and beating Zapatista children. In Zapatista schools the history of the Spanish colonization is taught with the history of the Tseltal, and the values of individualism, competition, consumerism and private property are seriously questioned and replaced with values like the community and solidarity.[37] Students are often taught in local indigenous languages such as the Ch’ol language. Although local's culture is held in a prideful light, the Zapatistas are quick to criticize and change culture to fit more leftist ideals. Women in the Chiapas region were commonly forced into marriage, birthed many children, and were told to stay home as home makers. The Zapatistas have attempted to end this tradition and create a sense of Feminism in the local community.[38] See above to read more about endorsed Anarcha-feminist concepts. Neozapatismo in general promotes any local culture as long as it does not impose itself onto another culture and if the culture is open to criticism.

Internationalist component [ edit ]

An image of Subcomandante Marcos with the Anarchist Communist symbol.

The Zapatista movement supports the idea of Internationalism as a means to liberate the world from capitalist oppression as they try to do themselves. As such it promotes cooperation with other similar movements and sympathizers worldwide.

It was clear from the outset of the Zapatistas’ uprising that their horizons were not limited to Chiapas but instead their vision extended to the world at large. In their speeches and writings they talked of changing the world building another world or forging a new world.[39] With the aim of reaching out to those living beyond the borders of Chiapas, and even Mexico, the Zapatistas have organized and hosted many events in their territory to which they invited people from numerous nations, and these have attracted attendees all over the globe.

Some examples of such events include: The First Intercontinental Gathering For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism (1996); The First International Colloquium in Memory of Andrés Aubry: Planet Earth: Anti-systemic Movements; The First Encounter between the Zapatistas and the Peoples of the World (2007); The Second Encounter between the Zapatistas and the Peoples of the World (2007); The National and International Caravan for Observation and Solidarity with Zapatista Communities (2008); The Global Festival of Dignified Rage (2009); The Seminar on Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra (2015); The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity (winter 2016-2017), and The Walls of Capital, the Cracks of the Left seminar (2017).

At The First Intercontinental Gathering For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism, the Zapatistas declared their intention to:

…make a collective network of all our particular struggles and resistances. An intercontinental network of resistance against neoliberalism, an intercontinental network of resistance for humanity. This intercontinental network of resistance, recognising differences and acknowledging similarities, will search to find itself with other resistances around the world. This intercontinental network of resistance will be the medium in which distinct resistances may support one another.[40]

For their part, many people from all over world drew inspiration from the Zapatistas. The writings of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas have been translated into well over a dozen languages, including, in addition to most European languages, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Tamil and Turkish.[41]

Two major book-length studies in English, and one in Spanish, have been published devoted entirely to detailing the international appeal of the Zapatistas. These are: Thomas Olesen, International Zapatismo: The Construction of Solidarity in the Age of Globalization (London: Zed Books, 2005); Alex Khasnabish, Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008); and Guiomar Rovira, Zapatistas sin fronteras (Mexico City: Ediciones Era, 2009). In addition, a 2019 volume of the Mexican journal Contrahistorias contains articles detailing the reception, influence, and impact of neozapatismo in Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba and Iran.[42]. The same year saw the publication of Nick Henck’s Subcomandante Marcos: Global Rebel Icon (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2019) which contained a chapter that summarizes, synthesizes and supplements the work of Khasnabish and Olesen on the international reach and appeal of neozapatismo in general and Subcomandante Marcos in particular.

It is not surprising therefore that Subcomandante Marcos should have declared that “…Zapatismo’s connection was stronger with other countries than with Mexico...those who lived farther away were closer to us…”[43]

The Zapatistas, specifically Subcomandante Marcos, have made statements in favor of the Palestinian people's resistance and critical of Israel's policies in Palestine. He claimed that the Israeli army is an imperialist force attacking mainly innocent Palestinians.[44]

Subcomandante Marcos has also made statements supporting Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban people.[45]

Activist philosophy [ edit ]

The Zapatista movement take various stances on how to change the political atmosphere of capitalism. The Zapatista philosophy on revolution is complicated and extensive. On the issue of voting in capitalist countries' elections, the movement rejects the idea of capitalist voting altogether, instead calling to organize for resistance. They neither ask for people to vote or not to vote, only to organize.[24] The Zapatistas have engaged in armed struggle, specifically in the Chiapas conflict, because they said their peaceful means of protest had failed to achieve results.[46] The Zapatistas consider the Mexican government so out of touch with its people it is illegitimate. Other than violence in the Chiapas conflict the Zapatistas have organized peaceful protests such as The Other Campaign, although some of their peaceful protests have turned violent after police interactions.

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ Quoted in Luis Hernández Navarro, ‘Zapatismo Today and Tomorrow’, (January 16th, 2004) Americas Program, Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC); posted on the Internet at:
  2. ^ For a brief but useful discussion of neozapatismo in English, see Nick Henck, Subcomandante Marcos: Global Rebel Icon. Montreal: 2019, chs. 3 & 4.
  3. ^ In Subcomandante Marcos, Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings. Juana Ponce de León (ed.). New York: 2001, p. 440.
  4. ^ Richard Stahler-Sholk. 2007. “A World in Which Many Rebellions Fit.” Book review: Thomas Olesen, International Zapatismo: The Construction of Solidarity in the Age of Globalization (London & New York: Zed Books, 2005), in A Contracorriente, online journal of Latin American studies, North Carolina State University, Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter 2007: 187-198 (at ;187-188); retrieved from
  5. ^ "Morgan Rodgers Gibson (2009) 'The Role of Anarchism in Contemporary Anti-Systemic Social Movements', Website of Abahlali Mjondolo, December, 2009". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
  6. ^ "Morgan Rodgers Gibson (2010) 'Anarchism, the State and the Praxis of Contemporary Antisystemic Social Movements, December, 2010". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
  7. ^ "The Zapatista Effect: Information Communication Technology Activism and Marginalized Communities Archived 2011-08-16 at the Wayback Machine"
  8. ^ Quoted in Nick Henck, Insurgent Marcos: The Political-Philosophical Formation of the Zapatista Subcommander (Raleigh, NC: Editorial A Contracorriente, 2016), p. 17. Henck (pp. 11-18) collects several of Marcos’ key utterances on the origins of Zapatismo.
  9. ^ Michael Löwy, “Sources and Resources of Zapatism,” in Monthly Review, Vol. 49, No. 10 (March 1998): 1-4.
  10. ^ Nick Henck, Insurgent Marcos: The Political-Philosophical Formation of the Zapatista Subcommander (Raleigh, NC: Editorial A Contracorriente, 2016).
  11. ^ Nick Henck, Insurgent Marcos: The Political-Philosophical Formation of the Zapatista Subcommander (Raleigh, NC: Editorial A Contracorriente, 2016).
  12. ^ See, for example, the very important work done by Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater and John P. Clark, Autonomy Is in Our Hearts: Zapatista Autonomous Government through the Lens of the Tsotsil Language (Oakland, CA, 2019). For a useful discussion of Maya democracy as advocated by the Zapatistas, see Enrique Dussel, ‘Ethical Sense of the 1994 Maya Rebellion in Chiapas,’ Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology, Vol. 2, No. 3: 41-56, esp. pp. 51-53.
  13. ^ "The history of the rebel zapatista Autonomous Municipalities".
  14. ^ See The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Final Public Speeches of Subcommander Marcos. Edited by Nick Henck. Translated by Henry Gales. (Chico: AK Press, 2018), p. 170 and accompanying footnote 2. See too, Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater, Autonomy Is in Our Hearts: Zapatista Autonomous Government through the Lens of the Tsotsil Language (Oakland, CA, 2019), pp. 2 & 66 for these seven principles of governing by obeying.
  15. ^ "Emiliano Zapata". Biography.
  16. ^ In The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Final Public Speeches of Subcommander Marcos. Edited by Nick Henck. Translated by Henry Gales. (Chico: AK Press, 2018), p. 78.
  17. ^ See The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Final Public Speeches of Subcommander Marcos. Edited by Nick Henck. Translated by Henry Gales. (Chico: AK Press, 2018), pp. 81-82.
  18. ^ "Zapatista Uprising 20 Years Later: How Indigenous Mexicans Stood Up Against NAFTA "Death Sentence"".
  19. ^ "Autonomous University of Social Movements". Archived from the original on 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  20. ^ See The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Final Public Speeches of Subcommander Marcos. Edited by Nick Henck. Translated by Henry Gales. (Chico: AK Press, 2018), where Subcommander Marcos talks about Zapatista mutual aid (pp. 67-69) and Lieutenant Colonel Moisé outlines Zapatista autonomy (pp. 123-129).
  21. ^ These are collected in Conversations with Durito: Stories of the Zapatistas and Neoliberalism (New York: Autonomedia, 2005).
  22. ^ Collected and translated in The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Final Public Speeches of Subcommander Marcos. Edited by Nick Henck. Translated by Henry Gales. (Chico: AK Press, 2018), pp. 39ff.
  23. ^ The Fourth World War Has Begun by Subcomandante Marcos, trans. Nathalie de Broglio, Neplantla: Views from South, Duke University Press: 2001, Vol. 2 Issue 3: 559-572. An alternative translation of this essay exists with the title "The Seven Loose Pieces of the Global Jigsaw Puzzle".
  24. ^ a b "Mexico: The Zapatistas' New Fight". 30 November 2001.
  25. ^ a b c Hymn, Soneile. "Indigenous Feminism in Southern Mexico" (PDF). The International Journal of Illich Studies 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  26. ^ Park, Yun-Joo. "Constructing New Meanings through Traditional Values : Feminism and the Promotion of Women's Rights in the Mexican Zapatista Movement" (PDF).
  27. ^ Women in the EZLN#Major Ana Maria
  28. ^ Women in the EZLN#Women.27s Revolutionary Law
  29. ^ Women in the EZLN#Comandante Ramona
  30. ^ Rovira 2000, p. 5.
  31. ^ Rovira 2000, p. 6.
  32. ^ Rodriguez 1998, p. 150.
  33. ^ Said, Edward (1978). Orientalism. Vintage Books.
  34. ^ Lunga, Victoria (2008). "Postcolonial Theory: A Language for a Critique of Globalization". Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. 7 (3/4): 191–199. doi:10.1163/156914908x371349.
  35. ^ Communication, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass. "For Zapatistas, revolution moves at a snail's pace while global appeal endures - Chiapas: State of Revolution".
  36. ^ Gottesdiener, Laura. "A Glimpse Into the Zapatista Movement, Two Decades Later - The Nation" – via
  37. ^ "ROAR Magazine".
  38. ^ "The Untold Story of Women in the Zapatistas".
  39. ^ See Nick Henck, Subcomandante Marcos: Global Rebel Icon (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2019), ch. 4.
  40. ^
  41. ^ See Nick Henck, Subcomandante Marcos: Global Rebel Icon (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2019), p. 82.
  42. ^ Contrahistorias 32 (2019); see
  43. ^ Subcommander Marcos, The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Final Public Speeches of Subcommander Marcos. Edited by Nick Henck. Translated by Henry Gales. (Chico: AK Press), p. 120.
  44. ^ "Zapatista Commander: Gaza Will Survive - Palestine Chronicle". 12 January 2009.
  45. ^ See Marcos’ 2017 communiqué ‘Kagemusha: April is Also Tomorrow’ and Subcommander Marcos, The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Final Public Speeches of Subcommander Marcos. Edited by Nick Henck. Translated by Henry Gales. (Chico: AK Press), pp. 70-71.
  46. ^ SIPAZ, International Service for Peace webisite, "1994"Archived 2015-11-17 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading [ edit ]

  • Gustavo Esteva, Celebration of Zapatismo. Dissenting Knowledges Pamphlet Series, no. 1 (Penang, Malaysia, 2004)
  • Luis Hernández Navarro, ‘Zapatismo Today and Tomorrow’, (January 16th, 2004) Americas Program, Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC); posted on the Internet at:
  • Thomas Olesen, International Zapatismo: The Construction of Solidarity in the Age of Globalization (London & New York, 2005)
  • Mihalis Mentinis, Zapatistas: The Chiapas Revolt and what it means for Radical Politics (London, 2006)
  • Alex Khasnabish, Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility (Toronto, 2008)
  • Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, The Fire and the Word (San Francisco, 2008)
  • Kara Zugman Dellacioppa, This Bridge Called Zapatismo: Building Alternative Political Cultures in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Beyond (Lanham, Maryland, 2009)
  • Alex Khasnabish, Zapatistas: Rebellion from the Grassroots to the Global (London and New York, 2010)
  • Nick Henck, Insurgent Marcos: The Political-Philosophical Formation of the Zapatista Subcommander (Raleigh, NC, 2016)
  • Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater, Autonomy Is in Our Hearts: Zapatista Autonomous Government through the Lens of the Tsotsil Language (Oakland, CA, 2019)
  • Nick Henck, Subcomandante Marcos: Global Rebel Icon (Montreal, 2019)
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