The Neo-Zapatistas, twenty years after – Wallerstein

dorset chiapas solidarity


Their stubborn resistance and political savvy have shown that a different world is possible

May 1, 2014

by Immanuel Wallerstein


On January 1, 2014, the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its uprising in Chiapas. This year, they are engaging in a self-appraisal. In April, in the official outlet of the EZLN, Rebeldía Zapatista, Insurgent Subcommandant Moisés published an editorial about the “war against forgetting.” He says that in a mere nineteen years, the struggle of the EZLN has “held in check” (toreado) the evil system that has been oppressing the indigenous peoples for 520 years.

What has been the achievement of the EZLN? In what sense can it be said to have been a success? The EZLN has been scoffed at not only by the world right but by certain elements of the world left as…

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4 thoughts on “The Neo-Zapatistas, twenty years after – Wallerstein

  1. We managed a bus to Misol Ha in a few days. At the time when it occurred even the locals had no idea what it was all about and the Zapatistas were a small group who keep to themselves. The only news available said that their leader was a well educated man and they did not want a “war”; but rather they wanted to fight for the plight of the Indigenous peoples of Chiapas. The unrest they caused spread to other parts of southern Mexico that summer. There was some delay making connections but travel remained safe.


  2. I was in traveling Palenque when the uprising first broke out. We were peacefully enjoying breakfast that morning as the residents quickly started closing up their shops and running about. A few gun shots could be heard in the distance before I even knew what was going on! One kind shop owner rushed my friend and I in before closing his roll down door. We all waited for the noise to settle down a bit. Then, we persuaded the frightened store owner to let us go back to our hotel. We found out later what was going on. Palenque stayed buttoned up for awhile after that. It was difficult to get transportation anywhere after that! But once we did there were no more problems just talk.


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