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Home arrow Sociology arrow Bourdieu and Social Movements: Ideological Struggles in the British Anti-Capitalist Movement

Zapatismo

The Zapatistas, through their resistance to NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and their subsequent call to other social movements through the encuentros, created solidary connections across the globe. The issues they raised, both through the nonleader, Subcomandante Marcos's writings and their actions, helped to forge an ideological discourse that challenged the harmful effects of capitalism. Marcos claims that it is possible 'to open a crack in history', which suggests that capitalism (much less neoliberalism) is not a historical inevitability. John Holloway (2010) proposes a similar tactic in his book Crack Capitalism. At the centre of these arguments is the idea that resistance through autonomous, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and, generally speaking, anarchist political action, can be used to create a different type of world that is more inclusive and equal, without taking power and, by implication, becoming corrupted by it (Holloway, 2002).

The politics of Zapatistas is complicated and engaging. On the one hand they argue for a pre-industrial autonomy for peasants and indigenous peoples to work their land without being subject to global trade rules. They want autonomy from the Mexican state and the multinational corporations that threaten their livelihood, and on the other hand they recognize that their struggle is the same as that of other oppressed groups all over the world, including those in the post-industrial world. To some extent, the preindustrial autonomous position fits into the ideological category, or mode, of anti-corporatism that Starr (2000) refers to as 'de-linking: relocalization and sovereignty', but not completely. It does to the extent that Zapatismo, as a political course of action, 'articulates the pleasures, productivities and rights of localities'. And that 'corporations appear as threats to locality whose powers can be evaded only by de-linking the local economy from corporate controlled national and international economies' (Starr, 2000: 111). The Zapatistas perceive global political institutions, which allow multinational corporations to expropriate wealth from the developing world, as the enemy. However, they are true internationalists when it comes to forging connections with like-minded politicos in both the global north and south. Their political philosophy suggests that understanding the differences that exist between different peoples' cultures all over the world is an opportunity to learn about the complexity of humanity. They wish for all people to achieve autonomy. 'As the Zapatistas insisted in their Fourth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle in 1996, "The world we want is one where many worlds fit" ' (Womack, 1999: 303, cited by Stahler-Sholk, 2000: 1). In this respect, they do not wish to de-link from citizens, rather, they wish to build international and political solidarity with others both in the global north and south whom they perceive as being exploited and oppressed too. These ideas have had a great impact on the political practices of British anarchist groups.

 
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