Zapatistas

Rahul Mahajan rahul at hagar.ph.utexas.edu
Wed Apr 12 11:56:51 MDT 1995


Several days back, there was some fleeting mention of the EZLN, but it then
died out. I find tis surprising, because I think they are the most
important movement for marxists to understand in the last 15 years, maybe
even longer. What was said about them here seemed mostly complimentary, but
also rather condescending. This is not just some agrarian revolt, arising
out of a new tragedy of the commons. In a nutshell, the Zapatistas are the
first post-
Communist revolutionary movement, and contain at least some of the ideas
that will be a necessary part of any similar movement in the future. They
are avowedly non-Leninist, yet they don't fall into the same trap that so
many anarchists, including the Spanish ones did, of completely disavowing
all established politics or of essentially wanting the new society to be
built by disintegration of all interest groupings. They have the first
vision of a socialist society built on the basis of democratic pluralism.
Granted, the ideas they put forth in their manifestos are not very well
developed, but they probably have more immediate things on their minds at
the moment.
     The Zapatistas say very clearly, "We do not intend to be the state."
They go further and say that, rather than dictate to civil society, they
will simply be an armed guardian/adjunct of civil society. Of course, their
concept of civil society is a very loose one, but I see no reason why an
appropriate definition which excludes the big exploiters but allows the
people's voice to be heard free of coercion is not possible. Unfortunately,
they will not get a chance to develop their political ideas in practice.

Swadesh M. Mahajan: Ph. 512-471-4376, FAX 512-471-6715,
Mahajan at hagar.ph.utexas.edu




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