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Doctor Alex Khasnabish


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In the early hours of January 1, 1994 a guerrilla army of indigenous Mayan peasants emerged from the highlands and jungle in the far southeast of Mexico and declared "¡Ya basta!" - "Enough!" - to 500 years of colonialism, racism, exploitation, oppression, and genocide. As elites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico celebrated the coming into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) declared war against this 500 year old trajectory toward oblivion, one that they said was most recently reincarnated in the form of neoliberal capitalist globalization that NAFTA represented. While the Zapatista uprising would have a profound impact upon the socio-political fabric of Chiapas its effects would be felt far beyond the borders of Mexico. At a moment when state-sponsored socialism had all but vanished from the global political landscape and other familiar elements of the left appeared utterly demoralized and defeated in the face of neoliberal capitalism's global ascendance, the Zapatista uprising would spark an unexpected and powerful new wave of radical socio-political action transnationally. Through an exploration of the Zapatista movement's origins, history, structure, aims, political philosophy and practice, and future directions this book provides a critical, comprehensive, and accessible overview of one of the most important rebel groups in recent history.
Alex Khasnabish is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His first book Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility (2008), focuses on the reasons for and consequences of the transnational resonance of Zapatismo and the links between radical political imaginations and global anti-capitalism. His work has been published in AmeriQuests, Anthropologica, Critique of Anthropology, the Globalization and Autonomy Working Paper Series, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Politics and Culture, and Upping the Anti.
'Khasnabish's text provides our best lens yet on the twenty-first century's most intriguing revolutionaries.' Eric Selbin, Southwestern University 'The clearest, most comprehensive account to date of the Zapatista movement. This is a must-read for students, scholars, activists, and anyone who believes another world is truly possible.' Jeffrey S. Juris, Arizona State University 'This book is a unique testament to the political creativity of the Zapatista movement that has inspired activists and scholars since the 1990s.' Thomas Olesen, author of International Zapatismo 'It is old-time movement-based theory at its best.' Richard Day, Queen's University

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the series i
Acknowledgements vii
Introduction 1
Rebel dignity 3
Twelve days in January 5
Masks and Marcos 11
1| The origins of Zapatismo 21
A struggle for independence – by whom and for whom? 22
The double-edged sword of modernization 27
Revolution on the horizon 29
Land and liberty: Zapata and the Mexican Revolution 32
‘Institutionalizing’ a revolution 42
Fractures 48
The seeds of rebellion in Chiapas 54
Enough! 59
2 | Zapatismo as political philosophy and political practice 62
Fire and word 63
Rebel roots 65
‘A revolution to make a revolution possible’: Zapatismo and women’s rights 74
To change the world without taking power 81
The challenge of Zapatismo: revolutionary action beyond insurgency 85
The politics of ‘no’ 92
3 | The national impact of Zapatismo 96
Zapatismo and rebel Mexico 97
'From the mountains of the Mexican southeast’: Zapatismo’s politics of the word and the deed 107
‘Today we say enough is enough!’ The Zapatistas declare war 109
‘Our sovereignty resides in civil society’: The Second Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle 114
‘Our struggle is national’: The Third Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle 120
‘The Zapatista Front of National Liberation’: The Fourth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle 125
‘This is the hour of national civil society’: The Fifth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle 143
The Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle and the Other Campaign 148
An other Mexico 162
4 | The transnational impact of Zapatismo 164
From the local to the transnational: Zapatismo beyond borders 164
Rebels and the Fourth World War 169
An international order of hope: transnational encounters with Zapatismo 177
Speaking a new language of struggle and possibility 192
Three shoulders 196
Conclusion 199
References 205
Index 215