This was a talk I prepared for a WSM public meeting in 1994 based on an analysis of the early information coming from Chiapas. The talk was given in June, some five months after the start of the rising but despite that early date it touches on the essential themes that I return to again and again over the subsequent years in the dozen or so articles I was to write on the topic.
The lack of serious discussion of the Zapatistas by the revolutionary left is surprising. There exists a certain amount of (mostly) uncritical reporting by individuals and a few essays aimed at putting the rebellion in a broader context. But the 'official left' either remains silent, or worse, produces ham fisted and lazy critiques that merely compare the rebellion to Cuba and Ché Guevara and say 'they failed, so will the Zapatistas'.
BETWEEN 1986 AND 1999 Bill Gates, the richest man on earth, earned over 14 million dollars a day from the increasing value of his Microsoft shares alone. Yet over one billion people on this planet live on less than one dollar a day. Some put Gates' wealth down to hard work, but the reality is that some of these low earners are working far longer hours.
January 1st marked the 11th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico. On New Years Day 1994, the EZLN seized a number of towns in Chiapas before retreating into the mountains and jungles in the face of a massive army counter attack. The military phase of the struggle lasted only a few days as millions of Mexicans demonstrated to demand that the army stop their offensive against the rebels.
Saturday March 31st 2001 saw the third Irish anarchist gathering to be held under the title of 'Ideas and Action', this time in the North Star Hotel, Dublin. In terms of numbers this was the most successful gathering to date with around 70 people attending at least one of the three sessions.
The attempt to effectively ban most demonstrations in Dublin O'Conell st collapsed last night (Monday 2nd April 2001 6.30pm City Hall, Dame St.). As the councillors entered city hall they had to pass through one of the largest demonstrations that a council meeting has faced in the last decade. Not surprisingly they then voted 21 - 4 to abandon the plan.
Between a 100 and 150 people march through Cork on Saturday evening in one of most buoyant May Day marches in many years. The annual May Day march took the route from Connolly Hall along Patrick Street to Daunt Square.
The May Bank Holiday in Dublin saw the traditional trade union May Day march and the Hope carnival held by radical environmentalists. The contrast between both events was extraordinary.
The union march which followed a route from Parnell Square to Liberty Hall via O'Connell st was poorly attended in comparison with recent years. The main reason for this is that the organisers were unwilling or unable to tell anyone when the march was to be held until only a few days before the event.
Sunday 3rd February 2002 saw the 30th Bloody Sunday march, held on the nearest Sunday 30 years after 13 marchers were shot dead by the British army and another 14 wounded (one fatally). Somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 people (RTE "more than 20,000 people") followed the original route of the march from the Creggan down through the Brandywell to the Bogside
Around 300 people marched through the centre of Dublin on Saturday 16th Feb 2002 to mark the 10th anniversary of the 'X' case and to support a No vote in the latest anti-abortion referendum. 10 years earlier in 1992 the courts placed an injunction of a 14-year-old rape victim in order to prevent her travelling to England for an abortion. At the time not only was abortion illegal in Ireland but many activists had been prosecuted simply for providing the phone number of British clinics to pregnant women.