The Zapatistas and the Other Campaign
June, 22, 2013
Instructor: Linda Quiquivix
In this two month summer seminar, students will learn about the Zapatista movement, one of the most dynamic and innovative autonomous movements in Latin America: what its ideas are, what its practices on the ground look like, and its relevance to current struggles for liberation worldwide.
We divide the seminar into two parts. The first part begins a focus on indigenous
struggles for autonomy in Mexico and Central America since colonization. We also engage with
the varied trajectory of Latin America’s left in the 20th century, and how it has evolved in the
post-Cold War context. In the second part of the course, we examine closely the Zapatistas’s
autonomous projects. Here, we specifically cover the following topics:
• Autonomy and self-determination under a neoliberal world order
• The inception and growth of the Zapatista movement
• The regional and global context within which the movement has developed, with a strong
focus on political economy
• The autonomous programs the Zapatistas have created in Chiapas since the 1994 uprising
• The notion of politics “from below and to the left”
• Their innovative uses of communication
• Dignity as a central organizing principle toward liberation
• The national, regional, and global networks the Zapatistas have forged through their
The seminar will meet two times a week at Campus in Camps for two months. Throughout the
summer, we will collectively compile ‘big questions’ our studies trigger for us on the
movement’s possible significance to other struggles worldwide. We will return to these questions each week and engage with them in our final project.
Reading and class participation: In order to get the most out of the course, you are expected to attend all meetings, read the assigned materials before each class, and participate actively in discussions. Final Project: The final project will consist of a written piece in the form of a comparative study, an interview, a dialogue or any literary format which is mutually agreed upon by the course instructor and the student. The theme of this project will aim to think through how autonomy may be at all relevant or desirable in the Palestinian case and whether the experience of the Zapatistas is relevant for making this argument.
Late Policy: Unless you have received an extension from me (only granted for serious/medical issues), lateness will be penalized as follows: each day that you are absent, your final course
grade will drop 1/3 of a letter grade (e.g. from a B+ to a B).
• Attendance, reading, and participation: 60%
• Final project: 40%
We will read selections from the following texts:
Guillermo Bonfil Batalla (1996) Mexico Profundo: Reclaiming a Civilization.
Harry Cleaver (1998) “The Zapatistas and the Electronic Fabric of Struggle,” in Zapatista!
Reinventing Revolution in Mexico.
Harry Cleaver (2006) “Paths of Autonomy,” Keynote address to the Conference on La
Autonomía Posible: Reinvencion de la política y emancipación at the Universidad
Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, October 24-26 2006.
Eduardo Galeano (1997) The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a
Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (2005) “The Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon
Gustavo Esteva (2001) “The meaning and scope of the struggle for autonomy,” in Latin
American Perspectives 28 (120-148).
Gustavo Esteva and Madhu Suri Prakash (1998) Grassroots Post-Modernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures.
John Holloway (1998) “Dignity’s Revolt,” in Zapatista! Reinventing Revolution in Mexico.
Subcomandante Marcos (2002) Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings.Gloria Muñoz Ramírez (2008) The Fire and the Word: A History of the Zapatista Movement.
Raul Zibechi (2012) Territories in Resistance: A Cartography of Latin American Social