Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17, 1983: Zapatista Army of National Liberation is Founded

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is an armed revolutionary group based in Chiapas, one of the poorest states of Mexico. Since 1994, they have been in a declared war “against the Mexican state.” Their social base is most indigenous but they have supporters in urban areas as well as an international web of support.

Their main spokesperson is Subcomandante Marcos. The group takes their name form Emiliano Zapata, the anarchist commander of the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution, and thus see themselves as his ideological heirs. In reference to inspirational figures, in nearly all EZLN villages exist murals accompanying images of revolutionaries Emiliano Zapata, Che Guevara, and Subcomandante Marcos.

Some consider the Zapatista movement the first “post-modern” revolution: an armed revolutionary group that has abstained from using their weapons since their 1994 uprising was countered by the overpowering military might of the Mexican Army. The Zapatistas try to garner support by making use of the Internet to disseminate their communiqués. Awareness has also been raised due to the support by the band Rage Against the Machine. The Zapatista feature prominently in the band’s songs, in particular “People of the Sun.”

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