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The term "Zapatistas" broadly refers to the group of people participating in the anti-globalization struggle for democracy and land reform in Chiapas, Mexico, organized around the EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Front). With the goal of disrupting the state and creating a space for the "democratization of democracy," the EZLN guerrilla forces, in cooperation with indigenous peoples, incited a rebellion in Chiapas in January 1994. Though the signing of NAFTA is generally agreed to be the most direct catalyst for the rebellion, additional significant factors include a combination of ecological crisis, lack of available productive land, the drying up of nonagricultural sources of income,… Read more
the political and religious reorganization of indigenous communities since the 1960s, and the re-articulation of ethnic identities with emancipatory political discourses.
The EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) is a libertarian socialist political and militant group that controls a substantial amount of territory in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. In recent years, the EZLN has focused on a strategy of civil resistance. The Zapatistas' main body is made up of mostly indigenous people. Subcomandante Marcos was the most prominent and frequently identified member of the EZLN leadership. The EZLN takes its name from Emiliano Zapata, the agrarian revolutionary and commander of the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution, and sees itself as his ideological heir. Nearly all EZLN villages contain murals with images of Zapata and Subcomandante Marcos.
While EZLNideology is similar to libertarian socialism, the Zapatistas have rejected and defied political classification. The EZLN aligns itself with the wider alter-globalization, anti-neoliberal social movement, seeking indigenous control over local resources, especially land. Since their 1994 uprising was countered by the Mexican Armed Forces, the EZLN has abstained from military offensives and adopted a new strategy that attempts to garner Mexican and international support.
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