Zapatistas, Mayan Visions, noble savage, etc.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Dec 13 10:52:37 MST 2002

One review states that "Nash views the Zapatista Rebellion as one
expression of the Maya's attempts to remain true to their culture in the
face of the extraordinary changes taking place in Mexico today. At issue
here are the competing influences of Western modernity and the cultural
traditions of the Chiapas"

While this is somewhat helpful, how much of this is just sliding down
the slope toward a sort of over-idealization and “noble savage”


I have not read June Nash's latest book, but her "We Eat the Mines--The
Mines Eat Us" is an indispensable study of Bolivian miners and the
extent to which indigenous traditions interact with their class status
as wage earners.

You have to remember that anthropologists like June Nash are passionate
defenders of the right of such peoples against forced assimilation. This
is the real issue, not whether "Western modernity" has to be resisted.
Any Indian should be free to use rifles, computers, or whatever tool
that more advanced countries will sell to them. But by the same token,
their children should not be forced to give up their native tongue and
they should not cede land to avaricious multinationals.

Here's my rebuttal to Jerry Mander's "In the Absense of the Sacred", a
green green who argues that computers, etc. "spoil" the natives.

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