May: Between Authoritarianism and Resistance

The teachers aren’t defending their privileges, they are fighting in the last trench any human being has: for the minimal life conditions for them and their families. Are you surprised that someone is willing to defend the little they have left? A despicable salary, a few classrooms that look like they have been bombed (and they have been, but by economic bombs), not one but multiple work shifts, excessively large classes? In sum: little pay, bad working conditions, and a shitload of work. Sound familiar? And yet, the teachers show up at their schools and teach the little boys and girls the ways of the arts and sciences.

Notes on the War Against the Teachers in Resistance (The Hour of the Police 3)

There are more and more families helping the teachers, donating support for their trips and marches, becoming anxious when they are attacked, offering food, drink, and refuge. They are families who, according to the taxonomy of the electoral left, have been “dumbed down” by television, or are “sandwich-gobblers,”(i) “deranged,” “sheep,” “people without conscience.” But it seems that the outsized media campaign against the teachers in resistance has failed.

Zapatista school mural @ La Montaña, Chiapas, Mexico

This mural was created in the spring of 2016 as part a collaboration between the students and educators at one Zapatista school and a group of international and Mexican people-of-conscience including students from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. This mural painting caravan was hosted by the Zapatista Education Commission of the Caracol of Morelia and organized by Schools for Chiapas.

The descriptions below of seven sections of this mural captures some of the conversations and understandings during our mural painting collaboration. We appreciate you suggestions and comments; your support for our next Zapatista school mural is also vital! Join us!

Zapatista Food Forests of Today: Recouping Ancient Mayan Knowledge

Beginning in 2015, Mayan students, education promoters, and other Zapatistas began the process of constructing 18 multi-species food forests in several climatic zones of Chiapas, Mexico ranging from a mile-high oak/pine forests to lowlands rain forests.

Food forests represent an ancient, alternative agricultural system which can provide food, medicine, and many other useful products through mimicking the ecology of a young forest. The ancient Mayan civilization was one of many cultures around the world which utilized perennial food forests to meet their basic needs.

For the Zapatistas their efforts to plant food forests today is a recuperation of agricultural practices utilized by their ancestors; it is also a practical response to the bankruptcy of contemporary commercial agriculture and food distribution systems. Within today’s modern Mayan communities, Zapatista educators, students, and activists are uncovering, documenting, and utilizing a rich reservoir of biological knowledge still practiced by their parents and grandparents.

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