Author Topic: ZAPATISMO  (Read 3164 times)


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« on: February 12, 2017, 12:33:14 pm »
Feb. 14, 1994
                       Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade

1.  The Zapatista uprising in Chiapas has suddenly taken on a certain
importance.  Despite its small scale it has not yet been crushed,
apparently because the PRI fears public outrage.  Moreover, municipalities
in various places in Mexico have been taken over by various groups in
sympathy with the Zapatistas.  This news has been blacked out in the US
media, doubtless for reasons connected with NAFTA.  If the PRI begins to
totter, US involvement becomes probable.

2.  A reading of Zapatista communiques and manifestos (as translated by
the RESIST! group in California) reveals a program completely in keeping
with the principles of Ernesto Zapata himself -- modified for
contemporary relevance but basically anarcho-agrarian -- "Tierra y
Libertad".  As anarchists we should remember that Zapata's goals were
supported by the Flores Magon brothers, who worked behind the front
organization of the "Mexican Liberal Party", but were in fact out out
revolutionary anarchists.  In 1911, European and N. American anarchists
ranging from Individualists to Wobblies participated in the short-lived
Republic of Tiajuana.  The revolt in Chiapas which began last New Year's
Eve would appear to be the first non-authoritarian movement with real
revolutionary potential since Paris 68 or Italy in the early 70s.  We
should not let marxist-leninist groups in the US "monopolize" the
Zapatistas.  We should demonstrate our support, and we should make it
clear that we offer this support as anarchists.

3.  Moreover, it seems possible for ALL tendencies within the anarchist
movement to join in offering this support.  Anarcho-communists, anarcho-
syndicalists, Wobblies, and others with historical reasons to welcome a
rebirth of Zapatismo, will need no convincing.  As for the individualists,
post-Situ's, "Type-3's", etc., we should consider that the Chiapas uprising
is a courageous adventure in the spirit of human freedom.  The Zapatistas
themselves have evoked the romanticism of revolt by choosing their name.
"Romanticism" is a value despised only by those too cynical or too tired
to remember that -- from an "existential" p.o.v. -- revolt is an end in

4.  It's important to note that Chiapas seems to be the first real "post-
1989" radical uprising.  The involvement of the USSR helped change the
Sandinista movement (also named after and anarchist) into an
authoritarian government.  But this time there is no USSR to get involved.
Zapatista documents make no reference to marxist-leninist forms of
organization.  (The New York Times even went so far as to call the
Zapatistas "post-modern"!)  For the first time since 1916 we don't have
to watch our backs or protect our flank against leninism -- or stalinism.
Anarchism is free to act.

5.  Some anarchists may dislike the involvement of "Liberation Theology"
in the Zapatista movement.  But since 1989 the meaning of Liberation
Theology has also changed or shifted.  The Vatican, which tacitly
encouraged Lib. Theol. as a wedge into marxism in Latin America, now no
longer needs it and has virtually reduced it to the status of a near-heresy.
In theory, Lib. Theol. must by now be purged of its "jesuit" wing and its
"marxist" wing, leaving only the sincere radicals.  The religious situation
in Chiapas is very complex, involving Mayan/Christian syncretistic cults,
and other churches beside the Roman Catholics.  As yet the presence of
organized religions in Chiapas seems to offer no real obstacle top
anarchist enthusiasm for Zapatismo.

6.  The Stirnerite anarchist Ret Marut adopted the "existential" position
(see para. 3 above) when he joined the Bavarian Soviet of 1919 with
Gustav Landauer and other anarchists.  Escaping a death-sentence in
Munich, Marut fled to Mexico and changed his name to B. Traven.  In the
early 20s he lived for a while in Chiapas and wrote a book about it
(unfortunately never translated).  Traven went on to write the best of all
anarchist adventure novels - The Deathship, The Wobbly, Treasure of the
Sierra Madre, and above all his Mahogany series, set in Chiapas during the
Mexican Revolution.  When Traven died he was buried in San Cristobal --
where the Zapatista revolt broke out last New Year's Eve.  Traven is
someone we might remember, not only because he was a "gringo" who
loved Chiapas and supported the Revolution, but also because he
transcended all limited "ideological" anarchist tendencies to embrace a
grand vision of human tragedy, endurance, and freedom.

7  As of this writing the Zapatistas have called on radicals outside Mexico
for support but have not yet specified what form they'd like it to take.
Obviously, in light of the media black-out, spreading the word has top
priority.  Sending medicine and supplies, et cetera, may soon become both
necessary and possible.  Given the very great chance of US involvement to
protect the PRI and NAFTA, we should begin the organization of domestic
resistance networks now, so as not to be caught napping again.  The
anarchist press should remain closely informed, and should provide
background as well as news (one of our members is in Mexico now, looking
for real info).  The authors of this letter are prepared to join with any
responsible non-authoritarian support group which might emerge.  If you
are organizing or would like to help organize on behalf of Zapatismo, or if
you have information for broadcast, please contact us.
                     Tierra y Libertad!
Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade
Box 113  WBAI-Pacifica,  505 8th Avenue,  New York, NY  10018