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  • Writer's picturePLATEFORMEJAUNE

The Zapatista Revolution in Chiapas: An Experience in Self-Managing Socialism. Direct action paid off in CHIAPAS!


It is in this historical context that the Zapatista revolution appears as a glimmer of hope. By seeking to create here and now a concrete alternative to capitalism, based on a system of self-managing socialism, the Zapatistas reconnect with the emancipatory essence of the communist project. Their experience demonstrates that other paths are possible for building an egalitarian and united society, far from the bureaucratic and totalitarian excesses of the so-called "real socialism" of the 20th century and the deadly state capitalism regimes which have permanently sullied the political legacy of Marx and Engels for hundreds of years, fueling a visceral “anti-communism” within the proletariat around the world. A true tragedy for humanity.


The roots of the Zapatista struggle go back to the historical marginalization of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas, predominantly of Mayan origin. Faced with poverty, discrimination and dispossession of their land by large landowners and transnational corporations.


Under the leadership of Subcomandante Marcos, the EZLN developed a guerrilla strategy that aimed not to seize state power, but to create spaces for autonomy and self-management within the liberated territories. The Zapatistas have established direct management bodies, such as good government councils, where decisions are made collectively by the entire community in popular assemblies.


These direct management bodies are based on the principles of rotation of offices, revocability of mandates and transparency. Delegates are elected for short periods and can be removed at any time if they do not fulfill their mandate satisfactorily. This form of political organization aims to prevent the concentration of power and ensure the active participation of all members of the community.


Economically, the Zapatistas developed a system of production and distribution based on the principles of self-managing socialism. The land, formerly monopolized by large landowners, has been collectivized and is now worked jointly by members of the community. The fruits of this work are distributed equitably according to the needs of each person, with emphasis on meeting basic needs such as food, health and education.


The Zapatistas have also established production and consumption cooperatives, which allow communities to control the entire economic process, from production to distribution, without depending on capitalist intermediaries. These cooperatives are managed democratically by the workers themselves, who collectively decide on the organization of work and the distribution of profits.


Another fundamental aspect of the Zapatista revolution is its commitment to the emancipation of women. Zapatista women play a central role in all aspects of community life, from participation in direct management bodies to the armed defense of territories. They fought for the recognition of their specific rights, such as the right to land, education and a life without violence.


The Zapatista struggle had a profound impact beyond the borders of Chiapas. Their experience has inspired numerous social movements around the world, which see self-management and direct democracy as viable alternatives to neoliberal capitalism. The Zapatistas have forged bonds of solidarity with these movements, sharing their experiences and reflections during international meetings such as the Encuentro Intercontinental por la Humanidad y contra el Neoliberalismo.



More than 25 years after the initial uprising, the Zapatista revolution continues, despite the challenges and obstacles it faces. Zapatista communities face constant hostility from the Mexican state and paramilitary groups, who seek to undermine their autonomy and break down their resistance. They must also overcome economic difficulties linked to the blockade imposed by the authorities and the lack of available resources.


Despite these challenges, the Zapatistas managed to maintain and develop their project of self-managing socialism. They created an alternative education system, based on critical pedagogy and the valorization of traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples. They have also established a network of community health clinics, where traditional medicine coexists with modern medical practices.


The Zapatista revolution also had a significant impact on contemporary Marxist thought. It has contributed to renewing thinking on key themes such as autonomy, self-management and the role of social movements in the transformation of society. The Zapatistas have shown that the class struggle is not limited to the economic sphere, but that it also involves a struggle for the cultural, social and political emancipation of oppressed peoples. In this sense, the Zapatista experience constitutes an important reference for Marxists of the 21st century. It shows that it is possible to build concrete alternatives to neoliberal capitalism, based on the principles of self-managing socialism, direct democracy and the emancipation of peoples. It also recalls the importance of revolutionary creativity and the adaptation of Marxist theory to the specific realities of each context.


The Zapatista revolution is not a model to be copied mechanically, but a source of inspiration and reflection for all those who fight for a more just and more humane world. Its central message remains burning today: another world is possible, and it is in our hands to build it, here and now, through our commitment and our collective struggle.

In short, the Zapatista revolution in Chiapas embodies the possibility of a self-managing socialism, rooted in class struggle and Marxist thought, but adapted to the realities and aspirations of indigenous peoples. Its experience shows that social transformation is not decreed from above, but is built from below, through the active and conscious participation of the communities themselves. It reminds us that revolution is not just an event, but a continuous process of emancipation and the construction of alternatives.

Thus, the Zapatista struggle continues to resonate as a call for commitment and internationalist solidarity. It invites us to rethink our relationship with politics, the economy and society as a whole, from a critical and emancipatory perspective. It reminds us that, faced with oppression and capitalist exploitation, there is no other consistent choice than direct action, struggle, resistance and collective organization to build a new world. Because history testifies that no effort for liberation has been able to escape the use of violence, an incontestable truth in the face of eternity. This reality proves unavoidable, even if it takes the form of a tragedy. No sane person can rejoice in the violence and bloodshed. The Zapatista revolution also offers us valuable lessons about the role of culture and identity in processes of social transformation. The Zapatistas were able to articulate their struggle for self-management and socialism with the defense of the culture and identity of the indigenous populations of CHIAPAS.

They showed that resistance to oppression does not only involve economic and political changes, but also through the reaffirmation of the dignity and cultural specificity of peoples. This cultural dimension of the Zapatista struggle is expressed through numerous initiatives, such as the creation of community cultural centers, the promotion of traditional arts and crafts, and the revitalization of indigenous languages. The Zapatistas understood that the defense of culture is inseparable from the defense of territory and the means of subsistence of communities.

In this sense, the Zapatista revolution invites us to rethink the relationship between class struggle and identity struggles. It shows that these two dimensions are not contradictory, but complementary and mutually necessary. The fight for socialism cannot do without the fight against racism, patriarchy and all forms of discrimination which divide and weaken the working classes. Another remarkable aspect of the Zapatista experience is its capacity to generate new forms of communication and dialogue with national and international civil society. From the start of their uprising, the Zapatistas were able to use modern means of communication, such as the Internet, to disseminate their ideas and rally support beyond the borders of Chiapas.

This communication strategy made it possible to break the isolation of Zapatista communities and to forge links of solidarity with social movements around the world. She also helped popularize the principles and practices of self-management, direct management and 21st century socialism, making them accessible to a wide audience. Finally, the Zapatista revolution reminds us of the importance of utopia and imagination in emancipatory struggles. Faced with the dominant discourse which presents capitalism as the unsurpassable horizon of our time, the Zapatistas have been able to revive the hope of a different world, based on the values of justice, dignity and solidarity.

Their example shows that utopia is not an escape from reality, but a force for transforming the present. By daring to imagine the impossible, the Zapatistas have opened new fields of possibilities for contemporary social struggles. They showed that political realism is not about adapting to the existing order, but about working toward its practical subversion.


In conclusion, the Zapatista revolution in Chiapas constitutes a historical experience of immense richness for contemporary Marxist thought and practice. It testifies to the vitality and creativity of class struggles in the 21st century, and their capacity to invent new forms of organization and social life.

More than a model to reproduce, it is a source of inspiration and reflection for all those who seek to build a fairer and more humane world. It reminds us that social transformation does not fall from the sky! Without revolutionary struggle, without violent insurrection there is no hope. Yes, the Zapatistas suffered human losses and it is a tragedy. But it is the tribe to pay for the liberation.

 

In this sense, the legacy of the Zapatista revolution is a living legacy, which continues to nourish the hopes and struggles of the oppressed and exploited around the world. It is up to us to appropriate this heritage, to make it bear fruit and to reinvent it according to our own realities and aspirations.

Because the Zapatista revolution is not only the business of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. It concerns all those who refuse to submit to the destructive logic of iberal capitalism, all those who aspire to a society based on self-management, direct management and solidarity between peoples.

It also reminds us of the importance of training and popular education in the processes of social transformation. The Zapatistas were able to develop their own tools for analyzing and understanding the world, articulating the contributions of Western critical thinking with the knowledge and experiences of indigenous peoples. They have created spaces for training and transmission of knowledge, allowing everyone to become a conscious actor in their own emancipation. This educational approach is inseparable from revolutionary practice itself. It aims to develop the intellectual autonomy and capacity for initiative of individuals and communities, to enable them to take control of their destiny and participate fully in the construction of a new world.

Finally, the Zapatista revolution teaches us patience and perseverance in the struggle. It reminds us that social transformation is a long-term process, which requires constant and determined commitment. The Zapatistas have kept the flame of resistance alive for more than 25 years, despite the obstacles and difficulties encountered.


Their example invites us not to be discouraged in the face of adversity, not to give in to cynicism or resignation. He encourages us to cultivate revolutionary hope, not as a passive expectation, but as an active force for the transformation of reality. Because the Zapatista revolution is not a distant dream or an abstract utopia. It is a living reality, which is embodied in the struggles and concrete achievements of communities in resistance. It shows us that another world is not only possible, but that it is already germinating in the interstices of the capitalist system.

It is up to us to ensure that these seeds of change can develop and flourish, until a new society emerges, based on the principles of self-managing socialism and direct democracy. It is up to us to take up the torch of the Zapatista revolution, to adapt it to our own contexts and realities, and to make it a tool for struggle and collective emancipation.

Because as the Zapatistas themselves say: "We do not want the world to change. We want to create a new world." This new world is up to us to build, here and now, with our hands, our hearts and our consciences. By drawing inspiration from the luminous example of the Zapatista revolution, by weaving bonds of solidarity and cooperation on a global scale, by cultivating revolutionary hope and determination in the struggle.

Like the Zapatistas who set out to build a “ new world” in opposition to the capitalist system, PLATEFORMEJAUNE aims to initiate a transition towards a communist society free from exploitation and privileges. This transition revolves around the establishment of direct management by workers, organized within federated committees acting according to participatory, elective and revocable principles, to prevent the bureaucratization of the revolution and the rise of "neo -Bolsheviks” of the 21st century, these pernicious elements always on the lookout. We are committed to exposing their maneuvers, ensuring that the lessons of the past are not ignored.

The two projects defend a strong reduction in income inequalities as an intermediate step, with the horizon of the abolition of money and wages in favor of the principle "to each according to their needs" . They advocate solidarity towards people with disabilities or those unable to work.

In short, despite their differences in context, the Zapatista revolution and the YELLOW PLATFORM program converge in their vision of a socialist, united and self-managing alternative to build here and now in the face of capitalism. They trace concrete paths, to be adapted to each reality, to move towards this common emancipatory horizon. CONCLUSION

Comrades, the Zapatista revolution shows us the way to finally realize the old dream of a society without state or bosses, where workers and communities self-organize freely. Gone are the days when a handful of pseudo-revolutionaries traitors to revolutionary socialism, according to the corrupt icons Lenin & Trotskin, in political office claimed to lead the people towards their "happiness" through mass massacre of workers and peasants, and shooting all left-wing opposition...


So let's take inspiration from their example and finally make a mess of this old world that's rotten to the core. Let's screw up the State and Capital, these two old complicit scoundrels, and reinvent life without these parasites! Let us all become Zapatistas, everyday insurgents and poets of the social revolution. Let free communes and workers’ federations flourish everywhere!

The road will be long and strewn with pitfalls, but no matter: as Louise Michel said, “the fight will be daily or it will not be”. So it’s up to us! Long live generalized self-management and long live social! Long live communism!

DOCUMENTARY SOURCES


If you would like to delve deeper into the Zapatista revolution and understand its nuances, we strongly encourage you to visit the Enlace Zapatista website. Immerse yourself in this reservoir of knowledge to expand your understanding of Zapatismo and perhaps awaken an enlightened revolutionary consciousness .



The EZLN is still attacked if we believe this article published in a Mexican newspaper:

ORIGINAL SOURCE


Chiapas: an armed group displaces the Zapatista community La Resistencia

Violence and insecurity have driven hundreds of indigenous communities from their territories. Photo Elio Enríquez/Archive

Elio Henriquez, correspondent

February 3, 2024 3:57 p.m.

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chis . The National Network of Civilian Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TDT) reported that 28 support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) were forcibly relocated from the autonomous community of La Resistencia, located in the region. Moisés and Gandhi, in the official municipality of Ocosingo, “by more than 40 members of the Ocosingo Regional Coffee Producers Organization (ORCAO), who carried guns, machetes and sticks.”


In an “urgent action,” he said that “during the attack, the autonomous primary school and 15 tin and wooden houses were destroyed, in addition to “books belonging to education promoters burned and of a robbed store. He added: "The community was robbed of various material goods: farm animals, work tools, a coffee pulper and presses to make tortillas" , in addition to the fact that the attackers "destroyed the neighboring crops and threw away stored foods like corn, beans.” , coffee and sugar.

He noted that “according to information received, on January 17, 2024, the community was under threat. The attacking group arrived at the Zapatista village of La Resistencia, armed with sticks and machetes. At that time, they declared that the Zapatista bases had two days to abandon their homes.”

He said that "in the same region, on January 19, 2024, 54 people from the ORCAO from the town of Sacrificio La Esperanza came to burn a pasture of the EZLN bases in the town of Emiliano Zapata, leaving the animals on pasture without food. ".

The organization expressed "concern about the permissiveness and overlap of the Mexican State" , since "based on the information received in this office, we document that on January 14, 2024, the Ocosingo City Councilor inaugurated an ORCAO municipal agency in the space stripped for the Zapatista bases in November 2021, where the Zapatista collective store Arcoíris was located, at the Cuxuljá road junction.

He recalled that “the aggressions of the ORCAO against the EZLN have been a constant in the region of Moisés and Gandhi, which has caused a continuity of serious human rights violations in the region such as forced displacements , torture, enforced disappearances and attempted homicides.

He commented that “on May 5, 2022, the community of La Resistencia was forcibly displaced in a similar attack, announced by this organization. On May 23, 2023, Jorge López Sántiz, Zapatista support base, neighbor of Moisés and Gandhi, was the victim of an armed attack that put his life in danger.

The Network demanded that the federal and state governments “guarantee respect for the territory of the Zapatista bases, their free determination and autonomy, as well as a life without violence; that an immediate and diligent investigation be carried out to generate an itinerary that gives priority to the end of this climate of violence and the adoption of actions aimed at repairing the damage and beginning a process of justice" in favor of the 28 displaced people, including ten girls and boys.

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