some thoughts on the Zapatistas

Louis R Godena louisgodena at
Thu Jun 13 13:20:59 MDT 1996

Louis (P) writes:

>I was under the distinct impression that the EZLN had focused on the
>problems of Chiapas and had never projected itself as the leadership of
>the entire Mexican working-class and peasantry. Also, could you actually
>cite an example of their "dismissing" bread and butter issues of the urban
>working-class, or is it a matter of them simply not addressing them?

Following the mass arrest of the leaders of the SUTAUR bus workers union in
Mexico City last year,  La Jornada quoted alleged Zapatista front leader
Javier Elorriaga as pointing out that "their [urban strikers] have their
problems, we have ours.   It is complex, but ours are a matter of life and
death."   And shortly after the steep rise in the price of basic foodstuffs
earlier this spring,  EZLN spokesman Sebastian Entzin dismissed the
resulting waves of urban unrest with an aphorism: "the suffering of the
countryside will sooner or later always make its way to the cities; we have
lived with this and much worse all of our lives.   It is of no special

Ironically, both these gentlemen are now residents of Mexico's prison
system, sentenced along with dozens of others earlier this month for  "links
with terrorists".    Again, the trade union movement, to their shame, has
not raised a murmer of protest.

It is apparent, from the volume of e-mail that I have personally received,
that the EZLN enjoys broad and well deserved support around the world.   I
share those sentiments.    However, internationalism and cross-border
solidarity are inadequate substitutes for a united worker-peasant movement
determined to throw off the shackles of the neo-liberal new world order once
and for all.

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