ZAPATISTAS: Not to be forgotten

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Thank you for this correction–rather than having “largely fizzled out,” as I suggested in class, some recent events paint a different picture of the contemporary Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico. However, they too seem to be aware of widespread impressions that they faded away, and part of their public demonstration has the purpose of announcing their continued presence. Here are some useful links provided by Kyle McLoughlin:

Zapatistas can still change the rules of Mexico’s politicsA mass silent protest in Chiapas shows the indigenous movement remains a formidable political force.

Luis Hernández Navarro
guardian.co.uk, Monday 31 December 2012

In this beginning of the new Mayan cycle, more than 40,000 members of Zapatista “social bases” (who support the military structure but are not directly involved in it) walked in the rain. They marched with discipline and dignity, their faces covered with masks. They came to the cities from distant mountain communities with no public transport, in the largest mobilisation since the emergence of the EZLN in 1994. When the demonstration ended, the Zapatista general command issued a brief statement signed by their spokesman Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos: “Did you hear? It is the sound of your world collapsing/it is our world coming back.”…

The magnitude of the 21 December Zapatista protest indicates that the counter-insurgency strategy followed by several governments has failed. It shows that the Zapatista project is a genuine expression of the Mayan world and many poor mestizo peasants in Chiapas. Guided by its own political calendar, faithful to its ethical commitments, and with the might of the government against it, the EZLN has reinforced its autonomous forms of governance and kept alive its political authority among the country’s indigenous peoples; its international networks of solidarity also remain active…

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation Announces Next Steps
Published on January 2, 2013, on El Enemigo Común

Mexico
December 30, 2012

To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:

Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and compañeras:

This past December 21, 2012, in the pre-dawn hours, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and we took over, peacefully and in silence, 5 municipal seats in the Mexican southeastern state of Chiapas. In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristobal de las Casas, we watched you and we watched ourselves in silence.

This is not a message of resignation.

It is not one of war, death, or destruction.

Our message is one of struggle and resistance.

Those who bet that we only existed in the media and that with the siege of lies and silence we would disappear were wrong.

When there weren’t cameras, microphones, pens, ears, and looks, we existed.

When they defamed us, we existed.

When they silenced us, we existed.

And here we are, existing….

More Than 40,000 Zapatistas Mobilize in Chiapas
24 December, 2012, People’s Assemblies Network

Able to “appear” quickly, the indigenous rebels “disappeared” as neatly and silently as they had arrived in the early morning in this city that, two decades after the EZLN’s traumatic irruption here on New Years 1994, received them with bewilderment and curiosity, without any expression of rejection. Under the arches of city hall, which suspended its activities today, dozens of Ocosingoans congregated to photograph with cell phones and cameras the spectacular concentration of covered faces that filled the park like in a game of Tetris, advancing among the gardening with an order that seemed choreographed, to go up to the platform installed rapidly since early on, raising their fist and saying, silently, here we are; one more time.

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