Re: Zapatistas and Peasant Rebellions

8 Dec 1994 23:19 CST

In article <3c7dc0$>, writes...
>After reading (and participating in) the discussion about the Zapatista
>movement, I was led to start off on a related topic. There is an extensive
>literature on peasant rebellions, most notably in the work of Eric Wolf and
>James C. Scott. The question is, how well does the Zapatista movement fit in
>with the "predictions" of that literature? Does anyone out there have any
>evidence on this? I can throw around speculative arguements about the causes of
>the rebellion, based on some knowledge of the area and the documents that have
>been published. However, there are lots of things that I have no clue about,
> 1. What communities are heavily involved in the movement and what
> communities are staying out of it?

Try "Who is Rebelling in Chiapas?" by Frank Cancian and Peter Brown in
_Cultural Survival Quarterly_ Spring 1994

> 2. What demands (beyond the removal of the PRI governor) are currently
> of concern to the Zapatistas?

There main demand is local and fair control of the democratic process.
Political reform for Mexico (end of PRI domination).
Increased social services, such as schools, health care, etc.
Right to subsistence. And more--check Survival Quarterly.

> 3. I guess some summing up questions:
> Are demands focused on issues of livelihood and a revision to a
> moral economy?
> or
> Are they of a more doctrinaire Marxist tone?

No, they are not a bunch of Marxists but a bunch of poor peasants trying to
survive in a global economy. They are composed of the poorest of the poor--
those w/o enough capital to farm, marginalized Protestant converts, refugees
from Guatemala (not a lot, but a few).

Actually, my prof just stunned me in our last lecture (Nafta&Indigenous) by
stating that it wasn't an indigenous uprising! He says its more of a class
thing with many of the countries' poor commiserating. Mexico has been througha aaa such a
rough time with Structural Adjustment Programs of the World Bank enacting
draconian social measures (like the U.S. in the 1980's), and "Salinastoika"
restructuring the whole economy, he may be right. Zedillo better come up
with some *serious* reform or that country may blow. Lay your hands on that
Cultural Survival, you won't regret it.

!Vivan los Zapatistas!