dorset chiapas solidarity

February 9, 2017

Book Launch of “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart” in Oaxaca City

Filed under: Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:31 am



 Book Launch of “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart” in Oaxaca City



On Thursday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m., the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) will launch “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart. The Situation and Participation of Women in Chiapas (1995-2015) “, a diagnosis of the main changes in the last 20 years, at the offices of Consorcio Oaxaca, Calle Pensamientos, 104, Colonia Reforma, Oaxaca City. Join us!





December 2, 2016

By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There

Filed under: gal, Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatista, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:43 pm



By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There





Those of us in the meeting were staring up at the central beam of the shelter. Perhaps we were appreciating the fact that the beam was still up there, sturdy and in one piece; or perhaps we were thinking “maybe it’s not,” and so maybe it’s better to take a seat closer to the door, on the ready to make an exit. “If the beam creaks, that means that it might break,” the person who had the floor at the moment had said.

Earlier, that person had asked us to use our imagination:

“Imagine that the system is like this shelter. It is meant to be lived in. But a large and heavy room has been built on the roof of the house, and inside of that room men and women celebrate their wealth.”

It didn’t need to be said, but the person speaking warned us anyway that the weight was too much for the central beam. The house wasn’t built to support a lot of things on top of it, and the stage where all of those men and women fought each other over the throne was heavy, very heavy, too heavy. So it was to be expected that the beam would groan in protest.

What should we do?” the speaker asked, demanding collective thought.

We considered the options. We could reinforce the beam. If we prop it up here and there, it was said, we might alleviate the weight a bit, but it would reduce the available space inside the house. With more and more reinforcements, the house would be converted into a labyrinth of supports and repairs, making it useless for spending the night, cooking, eating, sheltering oneself from the sun and rain, serving as host to the word and the listening ear, for holding parties, or for resting.

The house wouldn’t be a house anymore. That is, instead of a place to live, it would become something that’s sole purpose is to support what’s above. It would just be another structure. Those who lived within it would do so with the sole purpose of keeping those above up there, initially by working to repair and reinforce the structure, and then by converting their own bodies into another part of that structure. This is an absurdity: a house like that cannot be lived in.

Of course it would have been logical for those who designed the house to have thought to reinforce the lower part before adding weight to the top. But no, in the frenzy of the moment, they added more and more things on top, the majority of which were useless and ostentatious. Then there finally came a time when those above forgot that they were being held up by those below. What’s more, they even started to think that those below existed thanks to the mercy and kindness of those above, and that in fact it was those above who sustained those below.

It’s true that those above were fewer in number, but their things were much heavier.

If they had thought about it a little, with each new weight above, they would have added a reinforcement below. Not only did they not do this, but in their eagerness to accumulate more and more above, they were dismantling the primary supports for the building. As if that weren’t enough all of the beams, especially the principal one, had rotted, because those who had been assigned to maintain the edifice were instead busy stealing parts of the structure and pocketing the money that should have been dedicated to the maintenance of the beams.

These people who claim to manage the building deserve special mention. The main problem is this: they only manage what already exists. But not only that, they also dedicate themselves to looting parts of the building’s structure. And as if some tragic comedy, they compete amongst themselves to decide who will be in charge of that theft.

That is why they go every so often to ask those below to mention them, to applaud them, to vote for them. They want to buy the will of those below with flattery and gifts.

But they get their money by taking it from those very same people below. Then, once they’re settled in to the office, they do nothing but give speeches and steal pieces of the walls, furniture, and even the floor. On top of all that, their very existence is adding more and more weight to the roof. In sum, their essential work is to weaken what is below and strengthen what is above.

Conclusion: it is very likely that the house will collapse. This will be bad for those above; it will be worse for those below. But why maintain a house that is no longer a house? That’s right, collective thought moved from seeking a way to keep the structure standing to questioning the very need for its existence.  Of course, this shift was not immediate. The move started when someone asked:

Okay, so this part above, how is it that it is up there, or for what? What is its function?”

And someone else added:

And those people above who say that their work is to manage the building, which it’s clear they don’t do, why are they up there?”

And to round it off, someone asked:

Okay, since we’ve decided to question, what use is a house like this? What if, instead of thinking about what we should do to keep the part above from collapsing on everything below, we think about how to build another house entirely; that would change how we organize ourselves, how we work, how we live.”

At that moment the central beam creaked. It was soft, yes, but the silence it created allowed us to hear it clearly. Then, although it didn’t have anything to do with anything, someone ventured…

Noah, the ark.”

The story, which can be found in both the Bible and the Koran, is simple: Noah receives a divine warning. God is angry because humanity doesn’t honour the rules and so has decided to punish them. The entire world will be flooded and the only ones who will survive are those who can pilot a boat. So Noah decides to build a gigantic boat, the ark. In it, he puts his people and a pair of each species of animal, as well as plants.

The scepticism of the people around him does not deter him. The deluge comes, the world is flooded and everything on the surface of the earth perishes. Only those who are in the ark are saved. After some time a bird brings a small branch to the ark, signalling that there is a dry place nearby. There, humanity is founded anew.

Hmm…Noah’s ark. Now imagine the debate that would arise in response to this story.

We have the religious fundamentalist: it’s proof of god’s omnipotence, he created the world and can destroy it whenever he wants; it’s proof of his mercy, he chooses a few to survive, the chosen. The only thing to do is praise the Lord for his power and pray for his mercy.

We have the scientist: precipitation with these characteristics is impossible; the surface of the earth cannot be entirely covered with water due to one rainfall. This story is nothing but a good script for a Hollywood movie.

We have the philosopher: in reality, it is an allegory emphasizing the fragility of human beings and the transitory nature of their existence.

The Zapatista listens, but is not satisfied by any of these positions. They think, then think some more, and they conclude: what it tells us is that if you see signs that something bad might happen, then you should prepare for it. So it has nothing to do with religion, science, or philosophy—just common sense. Someone said then,

“It’s a given we’ll share this with the communities, but we also have to let the Sixth1 know.”

“Agreed,” said the collective.

But another voice cautioned that before confirming, it would be good to try to see further, maybe from higher ground, just in case things are not what they seem, that they really aren’t that serious…or that maybe they are more serious.

Either way, that meant climbing up among the branches of the ceiba tree, to the highest part, where the leaves and the clouds compete in their games with the wind. Of course I got tangled up several times on my way up. Let’s just say that the pipe and the nose are no help when you’re moving through the branches. Up there at the top, the cold was even colder.

At the top the clouds had finally cleared and the Milky Way snaked from side to side, like a persistent crack of light in the dark wall of the night. I looked questioningly at the most distant lights, out there where the Hubble space telescope was busy analysing a supernova. I took out my binoculars. I jotted down in my notebook the need for an inverted periscope and, of course, a good microscope.

I descended as quickly as possible, which is to say, I fell. I arrived sore to the tent where my bosses [jefas and jefes] were still discussing the beam and its resistance. I said my part. Nobody looked surprised.

“It is time,” they said, “for the heart that we are to open a space for the word, to speak and to listen. And from among these words, let us choose the best seed.”

That is how the idea of the seminar/seedbed emerged.

They continued to think: It is not enough to tell people what we see. We also have to say who we are that are doing the seeing. Because the changes that we are witnessing are not only out there. Our gaze inward also detects changes, and our gaze itself has changed. So it is clear that to explain what we see, we have to explain our gaze.  Thus before the response to the question about what we see, there is another question: “Who is it that is doing the seeing?”

That is how we constructed the “method” for our participation in the seedbed/seminar. Not only are we drawing attention to what we see on the horizon, we are also trying to account for the gaze that we are. So we saw that history is important: how things were before, what continues on the same, what has changed; that is, a genealogy.

To explain the genealogy, both that of who we are as well as what we see, we need concepts, theories, sciences.  And to know whether these concepts are useful, which is to say that they sufficiently account for this history, we need critical thought.

Because both Zapatista reality and that other reality can be explained in a number of ways. For example, you could say that the eezeeelen is an invention of the government, as they love to say over and over again among the “progressive” intelligentsia. Through the gaze of critical thought then, our movement could be explained in its various parts and in its totality as the product of a governmental conspiracy.

If it cannot be explained as such, then we need to look for a different approach or manner of explaining Zapatismo. For example: it is a scheme created by foreigners; it is part of an alien invasion; it is a vindication of the heteropatriarchal system; it is the cunning manipulation of indigenous peoples; it is just nostalgia for the noble savage; it is a cinematic montage; it is a millennial recurrence; it is the product of brilliant action by a group of enlightened people; it is merely the result of the institutional neglect of the state, etcetera.

Here I have given some of the principal “explanations” for Zapatismo that have been spouted from across the ideological spectrum, as much in academia as in the “analysis” of the private media, as well as among political forces, be they institutional or not. If such explanations or theories are not able to account for Zapatismo, then they are no more than opinions and should be taken as such.

But critical thought can go further, for example, by drawing attention to the lack of concepts in any given characterization—that is, the lack of theory.

If an analysis is not supported by an articulated theory, able to emerge unscathed from a confrontation with reality, then where does this analysis come from? From what source does it draw? Who is it that sees with such a gaze?

If instead of concepts what are deployed are judgments, then little to nothing has been understood. And in that case, there is nothing to be done in the face of this reality, other than suffer it. Or, sure, from this one could also construct entire philosophical systems, or “new sciences,” or tweets (these at least have the advantage of being brief).

This critical thought not only helps us give an accounting of our history, what we were, what we are today, and what we want to be, it also allows us to explain reality, that which is most immediate to our calendar and geography. This is what we try to do with our gaze, both when it is oriented inward and when we are looking outward. This is how we come to realize that we need scientific concepts to explain what we are and how we see.

We need basic concepts to understand the capitalist system and the turbulent march of history. Not only can we not spare these things, but we find them absolutely essential: one or a few telescopes, some good binoculars, as many microscopes as there are geographies, and just as many inverted periscopes to study the roots of the matter.

Faced with reality, one can take many distinct positions; one can provide explanations or opinions. Our collective effort is to explain, to understand, to know, and to transform reality.


An initial assessment tells us that other gazes coincide with ours on something fundamental: a storm is coming.

Knowing that critical thought should inspire reflection and analysis and not blind unanimity, we have selected some of the words that were presented in the seedbed/seminar. They are many and they are important and the majority of them are provocative. And that was the idea, for the word to provoke thought.

The problem of the calendar and of geography is that they make it difficult, in an initial sitting, for one to take everything in. That is why we decided to make a book, or a couple of books, that people can read calmly and then ask questions: who said what? Why? When? From where? For what? These are important questions because we think that they can help make more and better seedbed/seminars in many other places.

This collection consists of three volumes. In this first volume we have included the Zapatista word according to how it was prepared. We did it this way because our word was spun together like a thread, like a sequence that would help to reconstruct not the whole puzzle, but one of its pieces. This first volume includes: a double gaze (inward and outward); an emphasis on the changes we have detected and suffered; “aids” for the gaze (microscopes, inverted periscopes, binoculars, orbital telescopes); and the warnings we now sound.

You will find here almost everything that we have observed from the crow’s nest of this vessel that is the synthesis of calendars and geographies. Although we at first set out to sound the alarm, to blow the conch shell, we soon realized that what we saw also made us look inward, as if the sentinel’s post had inverted its mission and the sentinel is forced to explain, or try to explain, what gives it meaning, purpose, place. We thought then that we could better explain what we saw outside if we first could explain what we see inside. Did we succeed? I don’t know. The answer is not for us, the Zapatistas, to give, but rather for the listener.

We also propose a method and lay out a necessity. The method is that of reflecting on history itself, on genealogy. The necessity is gathering the theoretical elements to do so. Finally, in both the method and the necessity we find the relevance of critical thought.

The texts in this first volume correspond to those that were read or presented from May 2-9, 2015. As the readers will see, this book also contains some texts that were not presented there in their entirety, and one that was not released at all. Readers will also note that they do not match the audios exactly because as they were being read some things were taken out or added.

We have made an effort to assure that our thinking, compiled here, is not lazy or conformist, that it does not fail to account for what has changed and for what remains the same; that it is not dogmatic, that it does not impose its particular time and its particular way; that it is not deceptive, full of lies and half-truths. We hope that these words are food for doubt, inquiry, and questioning.

Apart from that, the storm is coming. We must prepare.

A recommendation: read these texts as if they were one single piece, not as isolated or unconnected interventions. Our words were thought out and prepared as a single unit, as if each part came out of a puzzle that, in the end, would reveal its shape, its intention, and its thought only in relation to the other pieces.

As is the Zapatista way, at the end you will find the beginning: we have to make more and better seedbed/seminars; to make space for practice, but also for reflection on that practice; to understand the need for theory and the urgency of critical thought.

We are not creating a political party or an organization, we are creating a place from which to see. For this vision, we need concepts, not good intentions; we need practice with theory and theory with practice; we need critical analyses, not a priori judgments. To look outward, we need to look inward.

The consequences of both what we will see and of how we will see it will be a key part of how we respond to the question, “What comes next?”

Mexico, March-April-May-June 2015.


The EZLN’s full Book, Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra, from which this is excerpted, was just released, and is available now from PaperBoat Press.


(1) In Spanish, “Sexta” refers to adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. The EZLN uses “la Sexta” to refer collectively to these adherents, which we translate as “the Sixth.”

(2) In May of 2014, the EZLN announced the “death” of the figure of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, at which time, in honour of the recently murdered Zapatista teacher Galeano, the person behind the character known as Marcos took on the name Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. Due to the fact that a number of the texts presented at the seminar, “Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra,” were written prior to the announced “death” of Marcos, the reader will find that some of the texts written and signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos were presented at the seminar and co-signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. The latter often signs texts with the abbreviated “SupGaleano.”

This book will shortly be available in the UK. See:  Or contact us. All proceeds to the Zapatista communities.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



August 12, 2016

Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra II

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:49 pm



Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra II


DSC_0106Mural art at CompArte in the Zapatista Caracol of Morelia, Chiapas.



By: Gilberto López y Rivas / II

Continuing with commentary on the second tome of the work Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra, Sergio Rodríguez Lascano proposes that, faced with the diversity of rebellious processes, the idea of a vanguard becomes obsolete and he replaces it with meeting and sharing, which must also be present within the terrain of ideas. “Breaking with individualism in theoretical elaboration is a precondition of critical thought.” He proposes constructing a world in which the hydra cannot be reproduced. It’s not about conceiving other worlds, but rather about constructing them. “One cannot destroy the hydra if our political and ethical behaviour is based on the same principles that the hydra has imposed, since domination is domination.”

Luis Lozano Arredondo begins with a criticism of the universities, which, he asserts, remain in the comfort of theory, while the knowledge of the communities in resistance advances in the construction of a world of self-management. He exposes how exploitation and dispossession in our country is expressed, to the extent that 85 percent of the population experiences poverty, has lost all its labour rights, and maintains high levels of unemployment and overexploitation. He proposes collaborating, cooperating and sharing our knowledge with other humans to imagine and construct another world.

Rosa Albina Garavito considers that the catastrophe that the Zapatistas announce in reality surrounds us, destroying everything in its path: our labour force –up to 60 percent of the occupied population swelling the ranks of informal employment–, labour stability, working conditions agreed upon bi-laterally, pension funds, salaries, savings accounts, the more than a thousand quasi-state companies, among them Pemex. Health services, education, housing, nutrition have deteriorated; in sum, the capitalist hydra has dismantled without effort the social rights we have won and the only thing left is our dignity and self-organization. She considers autonomy as the project of the future, with dignity and decision-making ability versus the State. With autonomy, the Zapatistas are cutting off many heads of the capitalist hydra. It is the seed of the new country.

Efraín Herrera, from the Callejero Collective, considers that they construct a distinctive aesthetic discourse starting with a rebel attitude in capitalist society, starting with what Bertolt Brecht maintained; that “before being an artist, you are a social being.” It is in the field of rebellion where one finds creative character, imaginative and purposeful. This implies taking an attitude against the State. They found that the pamphlet doesn’t provoke immediate reflection and opted for the metaphor as an effective tool that leaves the door open to a lasting reflection. They are convinced that there is no other alternative than to form more and more collectives.

Eduardo Almeida Acosta considers that we are experiencing the global apocalyptic situation, a capitalist nightmare, now neoliberal, globalizing and extractivist: “The narcissistic zeal or the effort to preserve one’s own existence at the expense of all the others… and to seek its perpetuation as a system without assigning any importance as to whether it implies violence, war and death. That is reflected in our country, the mined Mexico: a bankrupt republic, a country at war with itself; a mafia State and a corporate waster, a dark government, about social control and aligned with speculative business elements and in collusion with criminals.” One head of the hydra is the perversion of politics; another has been the injustice in the treatment of different cultures; a third is the plunder of national sovereignty, of the individual rights and of social and community rights, and a fourth head forms the complex of misadventures that all Mexico suffers due to the impoverishing management of the macro-economy. The injustices of the financial markets are another big head. He wonders: what to do in the face of this devastation? Intensifying rage, putting the body (on the line), challenging everything, inventing new forms of struggle versus domination: another democracy, other forms of autonomy, another anti-imperialism. Dreaming, imagining, ideating other forms of weaving social cohesion.

Vilma Almendra, an indigenous Nasa-Misak woman from Colombia, confronts the four heads of the hydra: terror and war, structural adjustment, propaganda and co-optation and assimilation of struggles. Terror and war as the instrument for dispossessing the communities; structural adjustment between the transnationals and the States for defining all the laws of dispossession and for imposing the agendas of above; propaganda in the communications media, the churches, the schools that seek to dispossess distinctive and critical thought, and the co-optation that robs entire processes, stops the movements, even through concepts like multiculturalism. She criticizes negotiations with governments, which are executioners and that ultimately end up with meeting after meeting, committee after committee, confusing the political agenda of struggle and being subjected to the State’s agenda. Despite it all, she considers that the policies of the transnationals and the bad government are not winning, making a journey through the struggles for Mother Earth / Madre Tierra. “It’s important to see and to know that these struggles, resistances and freedoms, despite the politics of extermination and dispossession, continue flourishing, continue emerging, are there in front of us, versus the capitalist hydra.” She invites re-appropriating words into the walk, in what she names “palabrandar our path of the dignified word.” Revitalizing the assemblies as the maximum authority. She maintains that: “from the territories, and also from academia (it’s about), attaining harmonizing theory and practice, because at times from academia we imprison ourselves in the practices and we convert them into concepts, we are leaving them without wings.” Nevertheless, she rejects that essentialism constitutes a position of the peoples and the communities; “we are not pure,” she asserts.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, August 5, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor amendments by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 12/08/2016




August 8, 2016

Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra

Filed under: Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:22 am



Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra



By: Gilberto López y Rivas/ II

The second book of Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra includes the positions and interventions –among individuals and collectives– of 35 invitees to the seminar which was held under that name in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, from April 29 to May 9, 2015. The compiled texts, which range from greetings, interventions or words to formal positions, touch an extensive variety of themes that, in their majority, try to respond to the call of the Zapatistas around the exercise of critical thought, not idle or routine, much less conformist, which contributes to emancipatory and anti-capitalist struggles, facing that monster with multiple heads: the hydra, which has led humanity, and the planet itself, to the brink of possible destruction.

Different from the first volume, in which are included all the participations of EZLN members, and which is characterized by its internal coherence in its thematic diversity, in this book diverse political positions are exposed, as a group also very heterogeneous about issues that, nevertheless, in the majority express an effort to deepen the diagnosis of the storm in which we are immersed, and in the proposals for the construction of an alternative project to that of capitalism.



The initial words from the parents of the Ayotzinapa students, victims of an enforced disappearance, give an account of those ties of tenderness that unify the struggles in a torrent of dignified rage and reciprocal solidarity faced with a criminal State, some constructing autonomy and others looking for their sons until finding them, “cost what it may!”

Juan Villoro refers to the loss to human beings of the direct relationship with our residence on Earth, absorbed in the virtual world of television and computers (and I would add, the cell phone), that spectral life that produces a new egotism. He reminds us that the material world exists and must be transformed, and he emphasizes the motto of the University of the Earth, “And you what?” At the same time, he questions the erosion of the world on the altars of progress, which now represents madness. He maintains that contemporaneity must be conceived as starting with change, and from that point comes the contemporaneous character of Zapatismo. He asserts that conservative thought takes refuge in the analysis of the present, abdicates its responsibility to face the future and criticizes those who feign their independence in the immobility of not being either in favour or against. He asserts that: “communism was not the bad-tasting cure-all that the Soviet Revolution promised at its dawn, but the necessity of associating thought with the modification of reality has not lost its urgency.” Zapatismo represents a genuine modernity, while the construction of another way of life is founded in community, where the “we” predominates over the “I”. “An ethic of shared values. Within this ambit, power is not an end in itself, but rather a service that is governed by a dialectical motto: to govern by obeying.”

Adolfo Gilly offers a perspective on what he names the “financial unification of the world,” a new epoch of capitalism and of the relationship of domination of capital over work and nature. He maintains that: “we are facing an unedited form of the domination and subordination relationship: the universal domination of the world and the command of finances –global financial capital– over societies and economies… [And] a humanity that sees and experiences the destruction or degradation of their worlds of life.” This has brought with it, he points out, the formation of a new historic subject: the global workers. He maintains that it’s not the time for hope, but rather the time for anger and rage.

Sergio Rodríguez Lascano debates about the power and the left, in that the positions are polarized without abiding by the new reality of capitalism. He asserts that today “the strategy of a good part of the left is not to take power to change the country or the world, but rather to change the administration (not even the government) without touching the power.” He maintains that we experience a cycle of accumulation of fictitious money, of speculative capital and a domination of shadowy finances. The fundamental error of geopolitical analysis is that it continues understanding the world economy as the sum of the national economies, when in reality “it is the sum of the large legal and illegal financial societies and the large industries with organized or disorganized crime.” He maintains that crisis is the permanent reality of capitalism, its very own dynamic, its essence. “This new form of capital –the financial system– levels countries, peoples, cultures, languages ways of life.” In this situation, the Nation-State no longer plays any role that it played before, especially, that of the regulator of investment… The national bourgeoisie is part of the museum of relics.” Just like Juan Villoro, Sergio considers that: “the storm that approaches is not the product of savagery, but rather of… Progress… The catastrophe that approaches is not one more crisis in the history of capitalism. It is an adjustment of accounts between capital and humanity, and it goes beyond good or bad intentions of such and so Government.” He thinks that, in the Mexican case, the storm is already among us. He enumerates the new characteristics of capitalism as a project of domination that: “seeks to disorganize-reorganize the economy of course, but also the culture, the human ties that have been constructed since centuries ago, the moral economy of those that live in the countryside and the cities.” Part of these characteristics are: the concentration of power in around thirty cities, while to the side there are other zones transcendent to the future of capitalism, because the world’s energy reserves are found in them. Here, control of territory is converted into an essential productive factor while it directly generates conditions for engendering value. “This is the day by day scenario of the most significant confrontations between capital and the guardians of the land: the Native peoples.” As for the historic subject of revolution he proposes: “today there is not a unified nucleus of resistance, (but rather) there are many different processes of rebellion.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, July 22, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Minor edits for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




May 29, 2016

2 New Zapatista Books

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:36 pm



2 New Zapatista Books




Two new Zapatista books are now in circulation, Volume II and Volume III of “Critical Thinking Against the Capitalist Hydra,” forming the texts of the contributions to the seminar of the same name which was held from 2nd to 9th May 2015 in Cideci-Unitierra in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.


Volume I, which has 416 pages, has already had its first reprint. It includes the contributions of the Sixth Committee of the EZLN: Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesman for the EZLN, Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, Comandanta Miriam, Comandanta Rosalinda, Comandanta Dalia, Support Base Lizbeth and Listener Selena. They are presented in 4 sections: the first three are – Our Gaze Inward, Our Look at the Hydra and What to Do. The fourth and final section represents the participation of artists and cultural workers, including Oscar Chavez, Guillermo Velázquez and images from 32 visual artists. Volume I is now being translated in to French, English, Italian, German and Greek.




Volume II has 352 pages and includes the contributions from 3rd, 4th and 5th May, and the first part of 6th May: Don Mario González Contreras, Doña Hilda Hernández Rivera, Doña Bertha Nava Ramírez, Juan Villoro, Adolfo Gilly, Sergio Rodríguez Lascano, Luis Lozano Arredondo, Roba Albina Garavito Elías, María de Jesús de la Fuente, C. O’Higgins, Efraín Herrera, Eduardo Almeida Acosta, Vilma Almendra, María Eugenia Sánchez Díaz de Rivera, Greg Ruggiero, Alicia Castellanos Guerrero, Jerónimo Díaz Marielle, Rubén Trejo, Catherine Marielle, Álvaro Salgado, Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces, Pablo Reyna Esteves, Compañía Tamerantong!, Malú Huacuja del Toro, Javier Hernández Alpízar, Ana Lidia Flores, Gilberto López y Rivas, Immanuel Wallerstein, Pablo González Casanova, Salvador Castañeda O´Connor, Michael Löwy, Havin Guneser, Karla Quiñonez, Mariana Favela and Silvia Federici.




Volume III, of 352 pages, includes the participations from the latter part of May 6th and from 7th, 8th and 9th May: Margara Millán, Sylvia Marcos, Juan Wahren, Arturo Anguiano Orozco, Paulina Fernandez Christlieb, Marcos Roitman Rosenmannn, Daniel Inclán, Gustavo Esteva, Manuel Rozental, Sergio Tischler, Diario Modernidad Democrática de Kurdistán, John Holloway, Philippe Corcuff, Donovan Adrián Hernández Castellanos, Jorge Alonso, Raúl Zibechi, Carlos Antonio Aguirre Rojas, Hugo Blanco, Xuno López, Juan Carlos Mijangos Noh, Oscar Olivera, Carlos González García, Jean Roberto, Jérome Baschet, John Berger and Fernanda Navarro.







August 30, 2015

Universities, organizations and groups present the EZLN book “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra.”

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:43 pm


Universities, organizations and groups present the EZLN book “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra.”


Chiapas, Mexico. August 22nd. “We are not making a party or an organization, we are making an observation. For this view we need concepts and not wishful thinking; we need practice with theory and theory with practice; we need critical and not qualitative analysis,” affirm the EZLN, in the text “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra.”

The book, which collects together the participation of the Sixth Committee of the EZLN in the seminar of the same name last May in San Cristobal de las Casas, will be presented both nationally and internationally, by collectives and individuals adherents to and supporters of the Sixth, and students from the Zapatista escuelita.

In this first volume the Chiapas insurgents share their word through the voices of Comandantas Miriam, Rosalinda and Dalia and the Support Base Lisbeth and the Listener Selena, under the heading “Towards a genealogy of the Zapatista struggle.”

Subcomandantes  Moisés and Galeano also expressed their word in the text, explaining about the Resistance and Rebellion of the Zapatistas; their Political Economy; their view over the capitalist hydra; the coming storm; and words in memory of the Zapatista teacher Galeano and the Zapatista philosopher Luis Villoro Toranzo.

At Nemi Zapata

At Nemi Zapata

The presentations will take place next Tuesday 25th August at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UNAM and the ENAH in Mexico City; on the 27th in the Cideci Unitierra in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas; on the 29th in the Tlanezi Calli Community Centre at Iztapalapa in Mexico City, and on the 30th in Escobedo Sur # 414, in the city of Monterrey, and on the 31st at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UANL, in the same city.

“As Zapatistas, our first instinct is to ask questions, but now in the question, you can choose if you seek certainties or more doubts. Like a challenge, as soon as is met, can lead to another. As if the different explanations were the launch pad for further explanations,” they explained in the Rincon Zapatista Zacatecas and the cultural space “Viejo Antonio” last August 18th, reflecting on the text of the Chiapas rebels.

Collectives and individuals have released the text in Colombia and Argentina; as well as Querétaro, Guadalajara and Puebla, according to the collective Pueblos en Camino.


“And if, as is our Zapatista way, the end is also the beginning, we have to have more and better seedbeds; to make a place for practice, but also for self-reflection on this practice; understand the need for theory and the urgency for critical thinking,” point out the Zapatistas in the foreword to the text.

“To look outside, we need to look inside. The consequences of what we see and how we see it, will be an important part of the answer to the question: what next?” add the indigenous Zapatistas of Chiapas.

Times and locations of presentations:




August 1, 2015

Review: Hilary Klein’s Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories.

Filed under: Women, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:49 am


Review: Hilary Klein’s Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories.

Alicia Swords

Zapatista collectve bakery, Olga Isabel, Chiapas, Mexico. (Hilary Klein)

Zapatista collectve bakery, Olga Isabel, Chiapas, Mexico. (Hilary Klein)

Hilary Klein (2015) Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s StoriesNew York: Seven Stories Press.

When poor, indigenous people and peasants took over land and municipal governments in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994 just as the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, the uprising shook the world. Through individual interviews and collective interviews at women’s assemblies, Hilary Klein’s book, Compañeras, charts the changes in women’s roles, leadership, rights, and power in intimate relationships, families, and communities that the Zapatista movement brought.  

The title Compañeras captures the core of Klein’s project, which both describes her subject, Zapatista women and their political relationships, as well as her approach of being a compañera herself by building relationships of trust and mutual support.  From 1997 to 2003, Klein worked in collaboration with women’s collectives in Zapatista communities in Chiapas. She co-developed a project called Mujer y Colectivismo, which supported Zapatista women’s cooperatives with leadership development, popular education materials, regional gatherings, and rotating loan funds.  Regional authorities asked her to teach basic mathematics to women who needed these skills to run their cooperatives.  In times of heavy state repression, she joined human rights delegations to interview women after military attacks on their communities.  In the process Klein developed a high degree of trust with women leaders; she “slept in their homes, worked in their cornfields with them, and played with their children” (p. xxii).  The richness of the interviews and collective testimony through group interviews is based on thattrust.  

Other sympathetic outsiders-with-inside-perspectives and engaged scholar-activists in Chiapas have written about the Zapatistas, including June Nash, Rich Stahler-Sholk, Leandro Vergara-Camus, Mariana Mora, and Shannon Speed, to name a few.  Klein’s work in Compañeras reflects this sort of committed engagement at its best.  

With so much outside interest, Zapatista authorities developed criteria for engagement and meaningful involvement for scholars.  In 2001, Zapatista women authorities in Morelia and La Garrucha asked Klein to conduct a set of interviews in more than two dozen communities to document and teach about the movement’s history from women’s perspectives.  It is significant that Compañeras grew out of these interviews, driven by the movement participants’ own desire to teach the history of their organizing. Unlike descriptions of movements intended solely to inform outsiders, Compañeras addresses questions that clearly matter to the Zapatista women themselves, along with questions that matter to outsiders hoping to bring lessons from the Zapatista movement to their own spheres.  

Each chapter uses both individual and collective interviews. The first three chapters outline the history and emergence of the Zapatista movement.  Wlearn the history of injustices in Chiapas through interviews with mothers and grandmothers of Zapatista insurgents. Women military commanders describe their experiences of the 1994 uprising, and insurgents discuss the challenges of clandestine organizing.  Participants explain the complex relationship between the liberation theology and the Zapatista movement, women’s struggles to rid communities of alcohol, the first above-ground organizing, the 1994 uprising, and the passage of the Women’s Revolutionary Law.

Chapters four and five address how women have changed power dynamics in Chiapas through struggles over land and militarization. Building on historical struggles for land, we see how women participated in the Zapatista land takeovers and current struggles against neoliberal land privatization policies.  We learn of the militarization, the failed San Andrés dialogues, and of confrontations with the military in their communities in 1998

The remaining chapters, six through nine, reveal women’s experiences within the process and structures of the Zapatista movement.  “Women who give birth to new worlds” chronicles the evolution of women’s participation and leadership in the Zapatistas’ political structure, economic cooperatives, and regional gatherings, along with changes in the Zapatistas’ own gender analysis“Zapatista Autonomy” describes a range of women’s experiences in the emerging autonomous systems: Good Government Councils, the community justice system, health care and education.  Transformation and Evolution,depicts the unevenness of changes in women’s rights and their ability to exercise those rights, acknowledging challenges and gaps between rhetoric and reality.  It also highlights new strategies, such as consciousness-raising with men, shifting expectations for men’s involvement in domestic work, and raising children with new gender ideas.  “Beyond Chiapas” shows efforts by Zapatista women to connect with women beyond Chiapas to build a broader movement for justice and dignity.

Maps, a timeline, glossary, and a list of suggested readings make this book an accessible introductory resource on the Zapatistas for students, organizers, and scholars. Throughout, Klein’s account reflects deep respect, comprehension, complexity, and nuance.  She combines systematic research, a genuine desire for the movement to achieve its goals, and the honesty to carefully examine its shortcomings.’s-compa%C3%B1eras-zapatista-women%E2%80%99s-stories



Blog at