Tercios Compas December 2023 Zapatista youth practicing a dance-theater-cumbiero for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the war against oblivion. Yes, we don’t understand how this is possible either, if they say that all the Zapatista youth went to the north and there are no more young people – or Zapatistas in general – Mystery, eh? The cumbiero theater? Well, Don Durito (DD for legal matters) said it well: “cumbia is the continuation of politics by other means.” Images courtesy of Tercios Compas, copyleft December 2023. Music: fragments of cumbias by Zapatista sonideros. Pista raza! One …
Along with a few outsiders and many indigenous Zapatistas, I had the opportunity and the honor to attend the burial and contemplate the human issues that always arise when one is confronted with the finality and continuality of death. Throughout that sunny morning and brilliant afternoon, a tumult of emotions and thoughts and impressions flashed across my consciousness and are still percolating beneath the surface. Although I am still sorting out my feeling, I need to share some impressions from that profound experience.
Older folks, both men and women, accompany the hundreds of youth throughout the celebration. These Zapatista authorities from local municipalities work day and night throughout the celebration. The men cook wonderful food which fuels the sports and cultural work of the students. The women and men serving as local Zapatista government authorities seek advice and direction from the Good Government Board about issues facing their communities.
Autonomy is a word readers and researchers on the Schools for Chiapas website will come across often. It is a key concept of Zapatismo: One will come across autonomous zones, autonomous municipalities, autonomous communities, autonomous education, autonomous health…even an autonomous ambulance! The Zapatista project is defined by the demand for autonomy and it is important to have a clear understanding of the term.