Debates in Latin American Social Theory

The Uprising of Dignity: The Zapatista Movement and Declaration

Entry Discussion

Pick ONE of the following Zapatistas mottos and discuss your understanding of it based on the documentary and the Zapatista declaration:

.”Another world is possible.”

.”We are making a world that gives space to other worlds.”

.“We learn as we walk, side by side with our education. To educate is to learn.”

.”They could cut all the flowers but the true words… never.”

.“Everything for everyone, nothing for us.”

Zapatista Central Concepts

Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona

.Rebel dignity

Everywhere there are more compañeros and compañeras who are learning to relate to persons from other parts of Mexico and of the world. They are learning to respect and to demand respect. They are learning that there are many worlds and that everyone has their place, their time, and their way, and therefore there must be mutual respect between everyone.

We are also going to go about raising a struggle in order to demand that we make a new Constitution, new laws that take into account the demands of the Mexican people.


.Mal gobierno (bad government)

We saw quite clearly that there was no point in dialogue and negotiation with the bad governments of Mexico. That it was a waste of time for us to be talking with the politicians because neither their hearts nor their words were honest. They were crooked, and they told lies that they would keep their word, but they did not. The politicians from the PRI, the PAN, and the PRD reached an agreement among themselves, and they simply did not recognize indigenous rights and culture. We saw that blood did not matter to them, nor did death, suffering, mobilizations, consultas, efforts, national and international statements, encuentros, accords, signatures, commitments. And so the political class not o­nly closed, o­ne more time, the door to the Indian peoples, they also delivered a mortal blow to the peaceful resolution – through dialogue and negotiation – of the war.

.Neoliberal globalization

Neoliberal globalization wants to destroy the nations of the world so that only o­ne Nation or country remains, the country of money, of capital. And capitalism wants everything to be as it wants, in its own way, and it doesn’t like what is different, and it persecutes it and attacks it, or puts it off in a corner and acts as if it doesn’t exist.

Then, in short, the capitalism of global neoliberalism is based o­n exploitation, plunder, contempt, and repression of those who refuse. The same as before, but now globalized, worldwide.

*See interview with Subcomandante Marcos 7:00-8:15

.Juntas del buen gobierno (autonomous municipal governments)

This method of autonomous government was not simply invented by the EZLN, but rather it comes from several centuries of indigenous resistance and from the zapatistas’ own experience. It is the self-governance of the communities. In other words, no o­ne from outside comes to govern, but the peoples themselves decide, among themselves, who governs and how, and, if they do not obey, they are removed. If the o­ne who governs does not obey the people, they pursue them, they are removed from authority, and another comes in.

All the juntas work toward equitable housing, land, work, food, health, education, information, culture, independence, democracy, justice, liberty, and peace.

Class Presentations

Sanap,Jyoti Shivaji

Sterling Vargas,Lourdes Elizabeth


Zapatistas call their educational practice “otra educación,” another education, based on the video, why do you think they call it that way? How their approaches to pedagogy are different from mainstream educational methods?

Women’s Rights and Leadership

Complete ONE of these sentences.

Zapatista women took conscience of_______.

Zapatista women are organizing for ________.

In conclusion

Ongoing Zapatista Principles 

1 – We are going to continue fighting for the Indian peoples of Mexico, but now not just for them and not with o­nly them, but for all the exploited and dispossessed of Mexico, with all of them and all over the country. And when we say all the exploited of Mexico, we are also talking about the brothers and sisters who have had to go to the United States in search of work in order to survive.

2 – We are going to go to listen to, and talk directly with, without intermediaries or mediation, the simple and humble of the Mexican people, and, according to what we hear and learn, we are going to go about building, along with those people who, like us, are humble and simple, a national program of struggle for justice, democracy, and liberty for the Mexican people.

3 – We are going to try to build, or rebuild, another way of doing politics, one which o­nce again has the spirit of serving others, without material interests, with sacrifice, with dedication, with honesty, which keeps its word, whose o­nly payment is the satisfaction of duty performed.