Twenty Years of Democracy: the call of a world that does not yet exist (‘Zapatismo Urbano’, John Holloway)

POSTED ON March 20, 2014 BY admin


The state- and corporate- media in South Africa won’t let us forget that 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of representative democracy. But the thinking of people’s organisations, and the conditions against which they rebel and organise, remind us just how utterly disappointing and hollow that project of state democracy actually is. For those who respect and hear the Truth of autonomous grassroots thought and action, it is patently obvious that the state can no longer be seriously imagined as a vehicle for emancipatory politics. Furthermore, making the terrain of state politics the primary concern or target of popular protest and power tends inevitably to distort and finally defeat its original emancipatory impulse.

The Church Land Programme (CLP) kicked off 2014 focused not on the false promises of political parties, national elections and state-oriented reformism but rather on a serious discussion about deepening our practice and understanding of autonomous politics. In that light, the twentieth anniversary of democracy that does have real resonance and practical value is remembering the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1994. The Zapatista’ struggle did more than emphatically re-assert the place for organised rebellion against oppression, it inaugurated a fundamentally new and refreshing politics of popular dignity and autonomy ‘at-a-distance from the state’. Marking twenty years of democracy, this edition of Padkos consists of three pieces about the Zapatistas. The first two pieces will give readers a sense of what the Zapatistas are about and how they emerged:

  • in “A brief history of the Zapatista Army of National      Liberation”, Raúl Romero summarises the movement’s antecedents
  • and in “Zapatismo”, the Mexican Solidarity Network      highlights the key developments and ideas of the movement.
  • The third piece is by John Holloway who visited CLP a couple of      years back and who remains a deep inspiration for many of us. His own work      has been deeply influenced by the Zapatistas and in “Zapatismo  Urbano”, John traces the appeal,      impact and potential of the resonances of their struggle for all of us      wherever we are – as he puts it: “it is not a question of solidarity with      the struggle of others, but of understanding that the zapatistas and we,      are part of the same struggle”. 

A brief history of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation 2014

history Zapatismo

Zapatismo Urbano