The strength of this movement is that it has come from many places, that it is a network without a head or a central committee that has successfully united many issues in a combined opposition to what we have been told was unopposable. If the demonstrations of the last years have achieved anything it is that they seized the neo liberal slogan 'there is no alternative' by the throat and dashed it into the ground. From Seattle to Melbourne to Prague hundreds of thousands of ordinary people have stood up and proclaimed, 'here and now we are creating an alternative'.
A few years back Freedom let the primitivists of Wildfire have a page to discuss their ideas. These letters were written in response to their articles. Wildfire, as far as I am aware, is no more -- it's two members went their separate ways quite soon after they stopped writting for Freedom.
A PDF pamphlet which contains two articles looking at the struture of the Zapatistas and their strategy. The first from 1997 was based around interviews done in a Zapatista community and with international peace observers as well as an exhaustive study of material in English on the Zapatistas including all their communiques. The second written in 2005 updates the critique developed in the first in the light of the new direction announced in 2005.
In the late summer of 1996 I was one of the two Irish delegates to the 3,000 strong international meeting held in the rebel areas of Chiapas Mexico. The experience of getting to the meeting through miles of jungle and military checkpoints was an experience in itself but the meetings themselves were an extraordinary thing to find oneself at. For me it was a transformative experience both personally and politically, one of those points at which 'two roads diverge in a wood'.
This report of the second Zapatista encounter in Spain is something of a break with my normal writing style as I got swept up in the romance (and as it happens a romance) of the second encounter in Spain. Don't panic, the center section is a fairly detailed description of some of the actual discussions at the encounter. I spent the last day by the river and hence missed the decision by some to stay an extra couple of days and set up what became 'Peoples Global Action'! Bad revolutionary!
The EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army) came briefly to the worlds attention when they seized several towns in Chiapas on New Years day in 1994. This image of a new armed rebel movement in the period when such movements were meant to have recognised their own redundancy was startling and demonstrated that history was not yet over.
Since then most of the continued support the Zapatistas have received is strongly based on the idea that the Zapatistas are different. Different not just from the neoliberal world order they oppose but, more fundamentally, different from the armed revolutionary groups that exist and have existed elsewhere in the world. [This text as a PDF pamphlet]
This was a talk I gave to the WSM during the spring of 1997 as part of a set of re-orientation talks and debates we were having in that period and which set us up for the Seattle wave. This is perhaps foreshadowed where I wrote "the fact that the Zapatistas have emphasised the need for a global response has resulted in the creation of a global network against neoliberalism ... This network is fragile, .. But the central importance of the gathering is that it is creating a new tradition of international solidarity."
Over the summer of 2005 the Zapatistas surprised their supporters by suddenly declaring a Red Alert out of the blue. After a couple of days of near panic it emerged that this was just because they were undergoing a consulta (a discussion and referendum) which would decide on a new path for the movement. This new path is to once more turn outwards and to aim to build a new alliance across Mexico and beyond.
A review of an excellent 2003 BBC programme on George Orwell.
A review of Paul Krugman's new book (The Conscience of a Liberal), discussing its strengths and weaknesses. It is particularly good on the results of 30 years of neo-liberalism on the American Working Class, plus on the importance of unions for workers. His call for a "New New Deal" should make us aware of why the first one was broken and that we should aim for more...