Oscar Oliva and Zapatismo

Keith Payne

Levels: 9-12

Subject: ELL, poetry, literacy

An introduction  to the Zapatistas, and the Chiapas poet Oscar Oliva.

This is the second lesson in the Occupied on Mayan Time series. By the end of the series, learners will be able to connect the global Occupy Movements of today back to Zapatismo, and further back to the Mayan society that underlies each of them. Links will be made between these social movements and cultures in areas such as leaderless convocation groups, non-violent protest, horizontal forms of organization, a ban on alcohol, citizen assemblies, the decision-making process, direct democracy, citizen involvement, no political party affiliation etc.  It is hoped that a broader understanding of Chiapas and what it actually represents today will follow from this lesson.

Objectives: This series aims to:

a) introduce learners to Mayan culture, specifically the Mayan notion of time and their organization of society.

b) introduce learners to Zapatismo and the Chiapaneco poet Óscar Oliva,

c) introduce students to the 15M and Occupy Movements that began in Europe in 2011, and to show the links between how the 15M and Occupy function and how the Caracoles function, and how both are heavily influenced by Mayan society.

This lesson is based on article from The Irish Times about Chiapaneco poet Oscar Oliva. In 1994, Oliva, from Tuxtla Gutierrez, was requested by the Zapatista movement to form part of the team of mediators between the Mexican government and the Zapatistas in the peace talks that began in 1994. Since that time, Oliva has lived and worked with the Zapatistas in Chiapas and continues to write poetry from the Zapatista and Maya perspective.

See also “Putting Chiapas on the Map”.

Mayan Culture and Society (Lesson One in the series)

15M, Occupy, and Zapatismo (Lesson Three in the series)

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