Friday, 9 March 2012

Festival news Vol 3: 3-hour session on the Zapatista movement

Almost 3 hours lasted the session on the Zapatista movement at the Alter-Globalisation Festival this Thursday. The political sociologist at the UAM and GTA at the Uni of Essex, Rebeca Perez Leon, made a dissection of the social, political and cultural roots of the rebellion in Chiapas. Her presentation - "The EZLN and the struggle for the autonomy of the indigenous people in Las Cañadas of Las Margaritas, Chiapas Mexico" was based on her research in the pro-zapatista base las Cañadas between 2002 and 2004 and 2007 and 2008. Leon's critical approach managed to provoke unseen number of questions and comments among the 30 people who attended the talk.

Rebeca Perez Leon spoke about the indigenous communities of las Cañadas and the formation of the EZ, the zapatista army, as well as the development of the EZ, taking in consideration the positive and the negative aspects of the movement for indigenous communities. She emphasised on the role of the EZLN on facilitating the process of democratisation in Mexico and it's crucial significance for the preservation of indigenous cultural and political identity. At the same time she shared critical points based on her own research on the inability of the Zapatista commandment to establish fully horizontal approach trough the assemblies and ejidos.

Asked how does she see the EZLN in the next years and what is gonna be their role in the political life in Mexico and especially in the indigenous communities she said she believes the Zapatista movement has a really good chance to play even more significant role in the next years and solve some of the unsolved problems in the region. On the question "How do you see the ideology of Zapatismo implemented in other anti-capitalist and anti-neoliberal struggles around the world nowadays?" Leon answered:
"I think that one of the most important lessons and examples we can use is the idea of community and solidarity."

The festival committee continued gathering signatures for the solidarity letter that is going to be sent to the Zapatista communities in Chiapas through the London Mexico Solidarity Group and also handed to the Mexican embassy in London.

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