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Zapatismo Beyond Borders

Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility

  • Book Info
    Zapatismo Beyond Borders
    Book Description:

    Examines how Zapatismo, the political philosophy of the Zapatistas, crossed the regional and national boundaries of the isolated indigenous communities of Chiapas to influence diverse communities of North American activists.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8969-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction: Bridges of Imagination, Spaces of Possibility
    (pp. 3-28)

    In his essay ‘A Storm and a Prophecy – Chiapas: The Southeast in Two Winds,’ Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, spokesperson and a military leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in August 1992, writes:

    Everyone is dreaming in this country. Now it is time to wake up ...The storm is here. From the clash of these two winds a storm will be born. Its time has arrived. Now the wind from above rules, but the wind from below is coming ...

    The prophecy is here: When the storm calms, when the rain and fire again leave the country in peace,...

  5. 1 Power, Democracy, and (Re)shaping the Terrain of Political Struggle
    (pp. 29-54)

    I have chosen to begin this chapter with this tale by Zapatista spokesperson Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos for several reasons, which I hope will become clear as my narrative unfolds. For the purposes of clarity, and for those who are not familiar with Marcos’s fables, Durito is ‘sometimes a detective, sometimes a political analyst, sometimes a knight-errant as well as a writer of epistles’ (Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos 2001e, 289). Durito, it should be noted, is also a beetle. Since 1995, Durito has travelled with Marcos, ‘righting wrongs, rescuing damsels in distress, healing the sick, aiding the weak, instructing the ignorant, humbling...

  6. 2 Northern Struggles, Northern Histories
    (pp. 55-83)

    To attempt to synthesize the tremendously diverse and expansive histories of radical political struggle in Canada and the United States – even limiting such a synthesis to the twentieth century – would be impossible to achieve here. Instead, in what follows I aim to provide a backdrop against which to set the transnational resonance of Zapatismo and the attendant political imaginations to which it has given rise. The histories which I engage here are drawn from radical movements and moments in the twentieth century in Canada and the United States with a focus on the period after the Second World War to...

  7. 3 Dreams of Revolution, Myths of Power: Mexican Revolutionary Histories
    (pp. 84-121)

    Revolution is everywhere in Mexico. Or, more accurately, the mythology of revolution is everywhere in Mexico. The myth and metaphor of revolution is woven through and materialized in a tremendous diversity of socio-political forms. As I asserted in the previous chapter, by myth I am not referring to something untrue or something that is merely a constructed foundational story; rather, in the spirit of the work of Roland Barthes (1972), I understand myth as a kind of interpellating mode of signification or speech, one which participates in the forma tion of subjects even as it engages them (124). As I...

  8. 4 Echoes and Openings: Resonance
    (pp. 122-151)

    InThe Dialogic Imagination(1981), Mikhail Bakhtin states that ‘every word is directed toward an answer and cannot escape the profound influence of the answering word that it anticipates’ (280). If this is so, then what answer did the cry of ‘¡Ya basta!’ – ‘Enough!’ – which issued from the mouths of the masked guerrillas of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in the early hours of 1 January 1994 anticipate? What was the nature of the reply that the insurgents and civilian bases of the EZLN hoped to hear? The Zapatistas’ first public word, the Zapatista declaration of war, was...

  9. 5 Imagining Struggle/Struggling to Imagine Imagination and Political Action
    (pp. 152-185)

    In his playAccidental Death of an Anarchist(2003), Dario Fo paints a farcical yet compelling picture of political scandal not as a subversive spectacle but as a spectacle which actually serves to reinforce existing systems of power and privilege. In Fo’s play, based on an actual series of events, the ‘accidental death’ of an anarchist in police custody and the spectacle of the investigation that follows it allow for a moment of critical reflection on the nature and purpose of spectacle in relation to systems of power. As Fo demonstrates so poignantly, rather than undermining the legitimacy of the...

  10. 6 New Horizons: Resonance and Political Action
    (pp. 186-232)

    In their politico-philosophical workA Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia(1987), Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari introduce the concept of the ‘rhizome’ and relate it to socio-political realities. Literally speaking, the rhizome is a tuber or bulb possessing both roots and shoots, but it is also a new way of thinking about socio-political realities, particularly when counterposed to the image of the tree or the root. While the tree grows according to a structured, predictable, and relatively fixed pattern, the rhizome is composed of ‘directions in motion’ (21). As Deleuze and Guattari explain:

    Unlike trees or their roots, the rhizome...

  11. 7 New Terrains: Mapping Emerging Possibilities in a Transnational Field of Action
    (pp. 233-270)

    Zapatismo’s resonance has been complex and unpredictable and to limit its evaluation to the enumeration of the still-existing explicit Zapatista solidarity groups would be to grossly misunderstand the nature and extent of Zapatismo’s resonance. Indeed, the most compelling manifestations of Zapatismo’s transnational resonance and the political imaginations to which it has given rise have yet to be extensively analysed. I argue that it is among the most rhizomatic manifestations of Zapatismo’s resonance – among those collectives, networks, and coalitions that are least explicitly and obviously linked to Zapatista solidarity work – that the truly powerful dimensions of resonance and its political possibilities...

  12. Conclusion: Globalizing Hope
    (pp. 271-280)

    In August 2004, one year after the birth of the Zapatista Caracoles, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos issued a series of communiqués entitled ‘Reading a Video’ that detailed the successes and failures of the Zapatista struggle. In the third part of this series entitled ‘Three Shoulders,’ Marcos notes that ‘the contemporary history of the Zapatista indigenous communities also has its founding legend: those who inhabit these lands now have three shoulders. To the two shoulders that the usual human beings have, the zapatistas have added a third: that of the national and international “civil societies.”‘ This ‘third shoulder,’ writes Marcos, has been...

  13. References
    (pp. 281-294)
  14. Index
    (pp. 295-300)