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New Forms of Revolution (Part 1): The Lacandona Commune

Indigenous

The main challenge in Mexico today is to resist a wave of violence that is dispossessing and oppressing people, and which may precipitate increasingly brutal state repression and even a vicious civil war. At the same time, we need to connect the points of resistance, giving them an organizational form adapted to their nature. What is needed is to build a political force that can stop the ongoing disaster, prevent its continuation, and begin to reorganize society from the bottom-up.

New Forms of Revolution (Part 1): The Lacandona Commune

by Gustavo Esteva
Upside Down World
Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The main challenge in Mexico today is to resist a wave of violence that is dispossessing and oppressing people, and which may precipitate increasingly brutal state repression and even a vicious civil war. At the same time, we need to connect the points of resistance, giving them an organizational form adapted to their nature. What is needed is to build a political force that can stop the ongoing disaster, prevent its continuation, and begin to reorganize society from the bottom-up.

There are clear signs that such a scenario is already developing. Many initiatives are connecting desire to reality, and thus giving a joyful and effective sense to political action. An increasing number of people are ceasing to dance to the tune of the powerful, choosing instead to play their own song.

The primary catalyst capable of transforming society is emerging from the Lacandona Commune in Chiapas. For many analysts, both the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos are history: they lost their opportunity, their time has passed, and they are increasingly irrelevant. The media have ‘disappeared’ them; they ignore the Zapatistas, except to disqualify them. Allies and sympathizers have begun to share this impression. However, for prominent thinkers like Chomsky, González Casanova, or Wallerstein, Zapatismo is today the most radical and perhaps the most important political initiative in the world.

The Zapatistas were the first to challenge an intellectual and political mood in Mexico that had surrendered to neoliberal globalization. From that moment on, globalization represented a promise for some and a threat for others, but everybody took it very seriously. Since 1994, anti-systemic movements have acknowledged that the Zapatista uprising was a wake-up call that "Another World Is Possible," a slogan later coined by the World Social Forum, whose more vigorous and creative sectors were inspired by the Zapatistas.

The Zapatistas have been prominent in the public and media gaze for 20 years. In fact, as surprising as it may seem to those who insist on forgetting them and periodically burying them, no contemporary social or political movement has attracted as much public attention, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

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