i went to chiapas with the rage-against-the-machine viewpoint
that the zapatistas are the most revolutionary fighters today and
they are our generation's cuban revolution. i thought i knew it
all then. i still don't, and am way more confused than ever
before. this is the hardest part, because its easy to believe
whats being thrown at you all the time, and being involved in the
rage/east LA loops, you had better be pro-zapatista. maybe its a
matter of ideology, but i think the movement needs to be
in one of marco's communications he said that the zapatistas can
get all their demands under capitalism. but capitalism and
neo-liberalism is what is destroying these people right now. the
zapatistas don't represent a mass movement, at the highest
estimate i heard (from their supporter, the bishop samuel ruiz)
there are 15,000 of them scattered throughout the jungle. when
they took over the buildings and army camps and prisons, they
went in making a statement to the government that they weren't
going to take anymore. ya basta. they didn't attack with the idea
or means of implementing a new government, rather they are an
unorganized group of people who are fighting for just demands but
have made no attempt to gather broad support. marcos isn't
indigenous, he is a college educated mestizo that can write
poetry better than organize a revolution. these people don't need
a fucking poet they need a fighter.
there is a large percentage of the indigenous population that see
the zapatistas as a fringe group of sorts that has brought
nothing but stepped up government repression. and in turn, this
makes it so easy for the government to act the way they do. they
have been able to maintain their pressure against the movement
because of the lack of any strong, well-organized challenge to
its reactionary and repressive rule on the national level. so
many of the indigenous people find the government comforting,
because they think the government is keeping the conflict at a
low. they don't know anything about NAFTA or the effects of the
global capitalism crisis, but what they do know is that the
government is giving arms to non-zapatista indigenous people for
"paramilitary" purposes so they can basically be another sector
of the government and protect their families from the violence.
these villages as you know are dirt poor. the average indigenous
person doesn't have a telephone, a TV, a computer, newspaper...
anything to keep them informed on what's going on. not to insult
their intelligence, but they don't understand that the poverty,
lack of education and water they face is a result of the
capitalist system they live in.
do you know see what i mean? i think the zapatista movement is a
romantic notion for many people. "armed freedom fighters out in
the jungles of chiapas led by the eloquent subcomandante
marcos!" (who many female rage fans thinks is hot)... i know
this is lengthy... but i mean to say that this issue is very
complex. listening to the words of rage against the machine can
be a wonderful thing...it opens up many people's eyes to a world
they would never have noticed. but once we lose our ability to
think critically and question what we hear, even if its from
rage, then it can turn us into another type of mindless cog.
Although you are correct in many ways, you fail to realize that
Marcos, while as you say it is a "poet, not a revolutionary", Marcos
has managed to organize thousands of indigenous people and inspire
them with hope about combating the evils of capitalism.
Don't take numbers as chances of victory. When Castro started the
revolution he suffered numerous early retreats, and was at one point,
only about a hundred scattered guerrilas. The fact that Marcos has
thousands of guerrilas is a good sign---not to mention he has gained
recognition throughout the world for fighting the oppressors.
For the first time ever concern and knowledge of the situation in
southern mexico has come about due to Marcos' victories....
No revolution is perfect, the point is that it is a revolution, and a
revolution is what is needed.
HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!