FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Zapatistas Set to Change the World Again
OAKLAND - June 30 - In a just released two-part declaration, Mexicos Zapatistas have vowed to renew their 11-plus-year struggle for social and economic justice. The Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona recounts the history of the Zapatista movement, attacks the forms of economic globalization that crush the poor, and calls on indigenous peoples, workers, farmers, students, teachers, urban dwellers, and others to unite.
The declaration came 10 days after the Zapatistas declared a red alert in their territories and convened to determine their future course. It states in part that The hour has come to take a risk once again and to take a step which is dangerous but worthwhile.
On January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, the Zapatistas took their first dangerous step. They seized towns in Chiapas, in southern Mexico, and demanded that the Mexican government honor their political and economic rights. Though the Zapatista army retreated before Mexican troops days later, the Zapatistas continue to occupy much territory in Chiapas and remain a formidable moral and political force in Mexico.
The rebellion also electrified the world and sparked a new global social movement, according to the authors of Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas. The movement that burst forth in protest at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Seattle in 1999 has roots in Chiapas, according to George Collier, author (with Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello) of the book, just published in its third edition.
The result of forty years of research in and about Chiapas, Basta! offers a unique depth of context for understanding where the Zapatistas came from and how their organization has developed since they first rose up.
It will be very interesting to see what the Zapatistas do next, said Kirsten Schwind, Chiapas scholar and program director at Food First, publisher of the book. They have already made great contributions to the formation of the global justice movement; their actions now will have implications far beyond their own borders.
To read an excerpt from the new edition of Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas, go to www.foodfirst.org/bookstore/pdf/basta3_full.pdf. To read the Zapatistas most recent declarations, go to www.foodfirst.org/sixthdeclaration (English) or www.fzln.org.mx (Spanish).