The Zapatista Reader


The electrifying effect the Zapatista peasant rebellion has had on leading figures in the intellectual, political, and literary world since the Zapatistas woke them up on New Year's Day, 1994, has provided inspiration for activists all over the world. A remarkable synergy has also developed between leading writers, novelists, and journalists and Subcomandante Marcos, the enigmatic, pipe-smoking and balaclavered leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, who seems like a character out of a "magical ...
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The electrifying effect the Zapatista peasant rebellion has had on leading figures in the intellectual, political, and literary world since the Zapatistas woke them up on New Year's Day, 1994, has provided inspiration for activists all over the world. A remarkable synergy has also developed between leading writers, novelists, and journalists and Subcomandante Marcos, the enigmatic, pipe-smoking and balaclavered leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, who seems like a character out of a "magical realism" novel. This reader includes a wide sampling of the best of the writing to emerge on the subject. The book is a journey through an insurgent and magical world of culture and politics, where celebrants and critics debate what Carlos Fuentes has described as the world's first ‘post-communist rebellion.' Included are essays by Paco Taibo II, Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, Elena Poniatowska, Ilan Stavans, Carlos Monsivais, Jorge Castenada, Jose Saramago, John Berger, Marc Cooper, Andrew Kopkind, Bill Weinberg, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alma Guillermoprieto and Eduardo Galeano.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Collecting essays, interviews, articles and letters that center on a Latin American guerilla revolution and its hero, Subcomandante Marcos, this anthology is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the movement born in 1983 as the National Zapatista Liberation Army. As Hayden, a California state senator and the author of Irish on the Inside, writes in his introduction, largely because of Marcos, there is "a diary, a poetry, an intellectual account" of the struggles of southern Mexico's indigenous communities to preserve their lands and their rights. Hayden's thoughtful volume is divided into three sections: eyewitness accounts of the movement's most spectacular display (on Jan. 1, 1994, 3,000 Zapatistas took control of six large towns and hundreds of smaller ranches in response to the implementation of NAFTA); the poetic writings of Marcos; and a series of essays by political and intellectual leaders reflecting on the Zapatistas. Since the 1994 uprising, skirmishes between the Mexican government and the Zapatistas have continued lives are lost and lands are stolen, returned and stolen again but the U.S. media reports little of these affairs. This neglect has encouraged Latin American and European journalists and writers to step forward, their imaginations caught up with what many consider to be one of the last revolutions of and for the people. Jos Saramago, Gabriel Garc!a M rquez, Octavio Paz and Eduardo Galeano all weigh in on the insurgency and its mysterious and charismatic leader; it is these essays, along with Marcos's letters and speeches, that make this collection a worthy addition to the canon of Latin and South American literature as well as a valuable historical text. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In June 2001, President Vicente Fox declared that the revolutionary conflict in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas was over and that the world should focus on other challenges facing Mexico. Hayden, a longtime civil rights activist and former California state senator, doesn't agree. In his introduction, he suggests that, despite the worldwide disintegration of the traditional Left during the last decade, the message of revolution is back owing to the Zapatista movement. This movement has set an example by breaking with the traditional Left and focusing not on the transfer of political power but on the protection and continuance of native culture and tradition. Collected here are short articles about the Zapatista movement taken primarily from translated newspaper articles, documents, and a few unpublished works written by many cultural and political writers from Latin America and the rest of the world, including Jos Saramago, Ilan Stavans, Elena Poniatowska, and Enrique Krauze. Much of what is included is not easily available in the United States and will be of value to libraries with Latin American collections. Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The Indian peasant revolt that has been called the world's first "post-communist rebellion" broke out in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1994<-->the year NAFTA went into effect<-->led by the masked Subcomandante Marcos. Through Marcos's words as well as essays and interviews by well-known novelists and journalists (Octavio Paz, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Alma Guillermoprieto), this reader documents the Zapatista movement's effects on politicians, thinkers, and writers in Mexico and elsewhere. The work includes a historical timeline from the 16th century on, but no subject index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Kirkus Reviews
Some of the New and Old World's finest political writers illuminate the many facets of Mexico's Zapatista revolutionary movement-in a collection assembled by veteran activist and former California state senator Hayden (Irish on the Inside, 2001, etc.). The ragtag indigenous army of Zapatistas, who from the impoverished region of Chiapas openly and vibrantly challenged the government of Mexico, captured the international imagination. And if "the seas of ink which darken our newspapers at first produced an intellectual tickle [but now] provoke an invincible yawn" (as Octavio Paz puts it), those seas have washed up some mighty fine material over the eight years since the Zapatistas' Christmas Day uprising in 1993. Hayden has pulled together much excellent writing, including a splendid collection of the powerful communiques and reflections produced by the Zapatistas themselves. He culls material from both likely and unlikely sources. It wasn't much of a stretch to reprint Gabriel Garcia Marquez's interview with Subcomandante Marcos, or one of Alma Guillermoprieto's New Yorker pieces, which paint Latin America with superb expressionistic swipes similar to Ryszard Kapuscinski's writings on Africa. But Hayden has also dug deep into the small-press world and come back with gold: Regis Debray waxing (as he is entitled) on Marcos as a revolutionary figure; Daniel Nugent explaining why the Zapatistas are not the postmodernist darlings some northern intellectuals would like; John Berger fashioning a puzzle to illustrate the nature of the revolt; Naomi Klein, deeply suspicious of the press images, detailing the importance of outsider status. Best of all, these writers depict the future as a riddle,not a certainty, and show the Zapatistas-an indigenous, open, and popular force-busily engaging those riddles with their minds, not just guns. "The military man is an absurdity," says Marcos, "because he must always rely on weapons." In a word: inspirational. In a few more: moody, heartbreaking, revelatory, jubilant.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560253358
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 12/10/2001
  • Series: Nation Books
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,023,994
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Historical Timeline 8
Pt. 1 The Story 17
Opening Shots 19
Zapatistas! The Phoenix Rises 21
The Media Spectacle Comes to Mexico 30
The Unmasking 33
The Marcos Mystery: A Chat with the Subcommander of Spin 45
Chiapas Chronicle 48
Guerrillias in the Mist 51
Women's Battle for Respect Inch by Inch 55
US Trains Thousands of Mexican Soldiers 57
Mexico's Secret War 61
Comic Relief, NEA Style 68
King of the Jungle 72
In Chiapas 76
Mexico's Dirty War 98
Postscript: March 2001 105
The People of the Color of the Earth 106
The Unknown Icon 114
From the Subsoil to the Mask that Reveals: The Visible Indian 123
Marcos Marches on Mexico City 133
Indian Is Beautiful 142
Two Lascasian Poems 145
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation 146
The Twilight of the Revolutionaries? 153
The Invisible Sight 166
Marcos Speaks 178
The Story of the Boot and the Chessboard 190
Words of Comandanta Esther at the Congress of the Union 195
Pt. 2 The Word 205
Testimonies of the First Day 207
First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle 217
Second Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle 221
Third Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle 231
Fourth Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle 239
Of Trees, Criminals, and Odontology: Letter to Carlos Monsivais 250
The Fourth World War Has Begun 270
Marcos on Memory and Reality 285
Marcos From the Underground Culture to the Culture of Resistance 297
To the Relatives of the Politically Disappeared 306
Do Not Forget Ideas Are Also Weapons 311
Conclusion 317
Pt. 3 The Commentaries 321
The Last Glow of the Mexican Revolution 323
A Guerrilla with a Difference 340
Northern Intellectuals and the EZLN 352
As Time Goes By: "Marcos," or the Mask is the Message 363
Once Again, the Noble Savage 367
Voices from the Jungle: Subcomandante Marcos and Culture 373
Chiapas: Land of Hope and Sorrow 382
Unmasking Marcos 386
Chiapas: The Indians' Prophet 395
"Seeds of the Word" In Chiapas: An Interview with Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia 418
The Zapatistas: The Challenges of Revolution in a New Millennium 430
Of Love, Marriage, Children, and War 452
Marcos: Mestizo Culture on the Move 472
Against the Great Defeat of the World 483
Resources 489
Acknowledgments 492
Permissions 493
About the Contributors 496
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