EZLN: 25 years of anticapitalist struggle

Gilberto López Y Rivas

The 25th anniversary of the Zapatista Rebellion on January 1, 1994 was marked by a singular demonstration of the will of anti-capitalist struggle that has characterized the EZLN during these years. Five thousand milicianos and milicianas in disciplined formation listened with enthusiasm to the speech of the political-military organization’s spokesperson, subcomandante insurgente Moisés, in which he sharply reiterated his opposition to the current government, and revealed a virulent campaign of slander, disqualifications and, even, threats of using paramilitary force against the Zapatista Mayas.

It should be noted that the anti-Zapatista campaigns date from the first days of the uprising, and reappear recurrently in certain political contexts and according to the needs of power groups. We remember the diatribes of Octavio Paz criticizing the inopportuneness of the rebellion and the damages that it would cause the country; or the writings of Héctor Aguilar Camín and his group that is made up of representatives of the learned right in its conservative reaction to the armed neo-Zapatista option. Arturo Warman, on the other hand, as a Salinas ideologue, would deny the national character of the indigenous rebels, and, therefore, the authorship of the movement, resorting to the thesis of subjects managed by other actors: “It doesn’t seem to me a movement of the poor but rather the manipulation of poverty, of isolation (…) It is not an indigenous movement, it is a political-military project implanted among the Indians but without representing them (…) We must not confuse: it is not the voice of the Indians, simply some of them are present as in all las expressions of national life.” (Chiapas hoy. La Jornada, 16/01/94.)

At the same time, Mario Vargas Llosa, with the aid of literary assistants working with information from the Mexican police services, contribute to the creation of the myth of indigenous peoples as vulgar “experimental rabbits” that follow the “staging” of the insurgent group’s visible mestizo. Conjecture about the exteriority of the insurrection and the everlasting character of the indigenous as manipulated subject was used by the Army and the Mexican intelligence services, and by “analysts” related to the mass media, to deny indigenous leadership in the origin and development of the Zapatista movement.

Thus, the racist interpretation of personifying in the then subcomandante insurgente Marcos, now Galeano, was installed early on, which in reality has been and is the organizational and political result of a complex and unprecedented indigenous movement that emerged from the bowels of the Lacandón Jungle. The approach repeated over and over again by the gamut of anti-Zapatismo doesn’t recognize that the EZLN is almost entirely made up by indigenous peoples of the different ethnicities of Mayan origin, and it considers that any initiative, declaration or program comes from Marcos-Galeano, against whom attacks and reproaches are launched that cover the entire political spectrum and social psychopathy.

While there is a history of foul designations and all kinds of declarative excesses against Zapatismo during these 25 years, now massively amplified by the social networks and cyberspace, it would not be unreasonable to think about the active participation of state actors in this unusual anti-Zapatista escalation, which President Andres Manuel López Obrador doesn’t seem to control, but rather to tolerate. During these two weeks he has not said anything about the media war, which included the opportunist and irresponsible intrusion of a doctor that threatened to use paramilitary forces in 28 states, which, according to him, would be under his command, “in defense of AMLO” and “against the EZLN.”

So, the unusual miliciano parade and the 25th anniversary harangue constitute the EZLN’s energetic call to attention about the risk to life, territory and self-government involved in the development projects and militarization policies of the current government concretized in the National Guard. They express the unwavering determination to resist the “bad government,” as they have for these 25 years. The National Indigenous Congress–Indigenous Government Council declared: “We warn the bad governments that any aggression against (the EZLN) is also against the CNI–CIG, therefore we make a call to the support networks throughout the country and to the networks of resistance and rebellion in Mexico and in the world to be attentive and organized to act jointly and to construct a world in which we are all able to live.”

Many are the interpretations about the loneliness of the Zapatista rebels alluded to by Sup Moisés after years of fighting a countercurrent. Nevertheless, the solidarity and support for these indefatigable insurgent dream weavers is a provable fact, even in the planetary ambit. The January 1994 slogan of “you are not alone!” continues more valid than ever.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, January 11, 2019


Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



One Comment on “EZLN: 25 years of anticapitalist struggle

  1. Sending prayers and solidarity from Apsaalooke Tribe, Montana, USA!!!!

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