A Place Called Chiapas: Zapatista Army of National Liberation

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Zapatista Army of National Liberation

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) is an armed revolutionary group based in Chiapas, one of the poorest states of Mexico. Their social base is mostly indigenous but they have supporters in urban areas as well as an international web of support. Their spokesperson and military commander, although not their leader, is Subcomandante Marcos (currently a.k.a. Delegate Zero in relation to the “Other Campaign”). Unlike other Zapatista comandantes, Subcomandante Marcos is not an indigenous Mayan. The group takes its name from Emiliano Zapata, the most progressive proponent of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920); The Zapatistas see themselves as his ideological heirs, and heirs to five hundred years of indigenous resistance against imperialism. Some consider the Zapatista movement the first “post-modern” revolution: an armed revolutionary group that has abstained from using their weapons since their 1994 uprising was countered by the overpowering military might of the Mexican Army. The Zapatistas have survived because they were quick to adopt a new strategy and garner the support of Mexican and international civil society. They managed to achieve this by making use of the internet to disseminate their communiqués and to enlist the support of NGOs and solidarity groups. Outwardly, they portray themselves as part of the wider anti-globalization, anti-neoliberalism social movement while for their indigenous base the Zapatista struggle is all about control over their own resources, particularly the land they live on, the right to govern themselves according to their own customs and a dignified peace without government interference…Read More

A Place Called Chiapas

Documentary about the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico.

Links:
EZLN official site of the EZLN
Chiapas Indymedia
ZNet Chiapas Watch/Zapatista Crisis page with English translations of EZLN documents

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