Additional Resources

Chiapas/Zapatista Resources

Enlace Zapatista acts as the official website for the Zapatistas and provides all the latest news, information, communiques, and action alerts. Also offers information about La Sexta, the national and international Zapatista campaign. In Spanish, with a basic English translation available.

Upside Down World covers politics and activism in Latin America and publishes the most contemporary and cutting edge reports from Chiapas in English, usually written by reporters on the ground. Their Mexico archive contains some of the best new writing on Mexico in the English language (Dawn Paley, Laura Carlsen, Andalusia Knoll et al.) as well as top translations of radical writers like Raúl Zibechi, Gloria Muñoz Ramírez and Gustavo Esteva.

El Kilombo Intergaláctico is run by activist residents of Durham, NC, “dedicated to bringing together people from student, migrant, low-income, and people of color communities to tackle the challenges we face.” They provide a magnificent service in translating and publishing EZLN, Zapatista, Subcomandante Marcos and Zapatista-related material. Full respect to the hard-working companer@s at El Kilombo!

Compañero Manuel is the blog of the Chiapas Support Committee (CSC), a grassroots all-volunteer group based in Oakland, California, and serving as a center for education and information about Chiapas, the Zapatista communities and Mexico. The CSC works with and supports Indigenous Zapatista communities to support and accompany their process of constructing autnomous health care, education and economic development. The Committee regularly organizes forums and other events to share ideas, analyses and developments related to the Zapatista communities, Mexico and U.S.-related policies.

Z Magazine consistently publishes news articles about the Zapatista struggle, as well as translated writings of the EZLN, analysis of the conflict, and links with other struggles. A well-established, trustworthy source of progressive news.

CEDOZ – Center of Zapatista Documentation has an extensive collection of Zapatista documents in both Spanish and English. Some of the documents are translated into various other languages and the site is looking for people who can contribute translations. Check it out!

Enlace Civil is a San Cristóbal, Chiapas-based civil society organization working closely with the Zapatista movement, providing on-the-ground information and reports about the autonomous communities in resistance throughout Chiapas. In both English and Spanish.

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Frayba) Center for Human Rights is a vital source of legal defence for the indigenous communities of Chiapas. Founded in 1989 through the initiative of Samuel Ruiz García, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Frayba has a Christian and ecumenical inspiration. Very informative website in both Spanish and English, from the Frayba office which oversees such important grassroots work in the indigenous communities.

SIPAZ, the International Service for Peace, is a permanent observation program in México. Since its formation in 1995 as a response to the conflict in Chiapas,  SIPAZ attempts to play a role in preventing socio-political violence in communities in Chiapas as well as Oaxaca and Guerrero. SIPAZ promotes conflict resolution, runs workshops, provides peace volunteers and  constantly publishes great English language materials about human rights and the political situation in Chiapas with a strong Zapatista focus.

Zapatista Autonomous Rebellious Education System of National Liberation
The education project of the Highlands region of Chiapas is presented here by the indigenous educational promoters themselves. In this manner — the Zapatista educators say — we understand that education can come from and be organized from the heart of our people. To educate is to learn, which is to say, “educate by learning.”

Sk’op Sotz’leb is a Tzotzil language page for beginners. Includes audio files in Tzotzil with English translations. Very useful for any intrepid visitor to the Highland indigenous communities.

COMPPA, or Popular Communicators for Autonomy, is a non-profit organization based in San Cristóbal, Chiapas, which supports community empowerment through popular communications. From their website: Our grassroots initiative seeks to build and strengthen the information capacity of peoples of diverse popular, indigenous and peasant organizations that are involved in struggles for autonomy, social and economic justice, and dignity in the face of mainstream censorship of their historical struggles. By training popular communicators and building communication infrastructure, particularly community radio, indigenous communities and organizations are actively exercising their communication rights, challenging corporate dominated media with alternative grassroots information.

ProMedios is an award winning, bi-national partnership that provides video equipment, computers and training enabling marginalized indigenous communities in Southern Mexico to create their own media. Promedios instructors have worked in close collaboration with autonomous Zapatista communities since 1998. Indigenous youth with little formal education, and often working without reliable electricity, have produced videos on agricultural collectives, fair trade coffee, women’s collectives, autonomous education, traditional healing and the history of their struggle for land. Watch ProMedios’s YouTube channel here,  which includes many videos in English. 

Chicago-based Mexico Solidarity Network campaigns for progressive movements throughout Mexico, especially Chiapas, linking with struggles in the US. From their website: The central work of the Mexico-US Solidarity Network is in impoverished and exploited communities on both sides of the Mexico-US border. In Chicago, the Albany Park Autonomous Center is building strong community through innovative education and organizing processes directed by immigrants. In Mexico, the Network works in solidarity with communities struggling for housing, land, democracy and human rights.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. They are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation’s estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers. They run a campaign for peace and justice in Chiapas with a focus on organic agriculture.

Global Exchange is a San Francisco-based human rights campaigning organization with a close interest in events south of the border. The website contains abundant information about their travel programs and campaigns. They also run Reality Tours to Mexico.

Mujeres por la Dignidad/The Women for Dignity cooperative is run and owned entirely by indigenous women, and has more than 700 members in four municipalities – Chamula, Chenalho, Zinacantan and San Andres Larrainzar. From the website: We produce handicrafts of such outstanding quality that they have been displayed as collectors’ items in museums in the USA – at over twenty times the price for which they were sold in San Andres! In both Spanish and English.

Big Noise Films are the makers of the excellent film Zapatista (1999) plus several shorter films about the 2001 Zapatista march on Mexico City. Schools for Chiapas would like to congratulate Big Noise Director Rick Rowley for his Oscar® Nominated Documentary Dirty Wars. Rick is a long-standing partisan of the SFC project.

Teaching Resources

Teaching Tolerance is a place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools. The website is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, featuring issues of their online magazine, as well as professional development and classroom resources for educators.

Rethinking Schools is a nonprofit, independent publisher of educational materials, advocating the reform of elementary and secondary education. Brazilian educator Paulo Freire wrote that teachers should attempt to “live part of their dreams within their educational space.” Rethinking Schools believes that classrooms can be places of hope, where students and teachers gain glimpses of the kind of society we could live in and where students learn the academic and critical skills needed to make that vision a reality.

The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States and other materials for teaching a people’s history in middle and high school classrooms across the country. The website offers more than 100 free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and reading level. Highly recommended for all educators.

Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world. By drawing direct connections to real world issues, Teaching for Change encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.

Maya Adventure highlights science activities and information related to ancient and modern Maya culture. Maya Adventure includes images from the Science Museum of Minnesota’s anthropological collections and activities developed by their education division. Also featured in the project is information from two exhibits about the Maya developed by the Science Museum, Cenote of Sacrifice and Flowers, Saints and Toads.

Mexican Media

is a Mexican online news service with close ties to the Zapatista movement. (Spanish only) “Desinformémonos es un espacio virtual en formato revista con una periodicidad semanal. Aquí no nos proponemos un periodismo neutral ni falsamente objetivo. Nos asumimos como un espacio de abajo y a la izquierda, fuera del poder y de los poderosos, por la autonomía y por el derecho de los pueblos a decidir su propio destino.”

La Jornada is the best mainstream Mexican daily paper, with extensive coverage of events in Chiapas. Spanish only. Regularly publishes the work of outstanding Mexican journalist, poet, and physician, Hermann Bellinghausen.

El Proceso is Mexico’s leading progressive journal. In-depth reporting with an independent slant. Spanish only.

Revista Rebeldia is a radical political magazine expressing many of the contemporary ideas and debates of Zapatismo. Spanish with key articles translated into English and French.

Radio Zapatista is an alternative radio collective reporting on all-things-Zapatista and struggles inspired by Zapatismo in Mexico, the US, and the world.

Radio Insurgente was the official voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) on FM and shortwave radio, as well as on this website and through its own CD-productions. The popular radio station kept listeners updated about Zapatista initiatives, the work of the Good Government Juntas and the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities. The site now warehouses a collection of some of the station’s broadcasts.

Links to other alternative media in Mexico (all in Spanish):

Hijos de la Tierra
Radio Tlayuda
Radio Zapote
Frecuencia Libre
Ke Huelga
Regeneración Radio
Radio Pozol

Intellectuals/Artists with the Zapatistas

Many prominent intellectuals have lent their support to the Zapatista cause. Here we list some of the more prominent figures:

John Berger is a renowned art historian, writer, academic and close friend of the Zapatistas. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize. Here are some of his finest quotes.  While sharing a platform with Subcomandante Marcos in San Cristobal in 2006, John read sections of this stunning article about Palestine, entitled Undefeated Despair.

Eduardo Galeano is one of Latin Americas most popular and lauded writers. The Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist is best known for Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America, 1971) and Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire Trilogy, 1986), which have both been translated into 20 languages and transcend orthodox genres: combining journalism, political analysis, and history. Famously, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez very publicly gave a copy of Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America to U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, at the 5th Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago. Galeano has written extensively in support of the Zapatistas; one of his essays can be read here in the Schools for Chiapas Library.

Gustavo Esteva is a Mexican activist, a self-described “deprofessionalized intellectual” and founder of the Universidad de la Tierra in the city of Oaxaca. He is one of the best known advocates of Post-Development and wrote, with Madhu Suri Prakash, Grassroots Post-modernism: remaking the soil of cultures, in 1998. He served as an advisor for the Zapatistas during the peace process, 1994-96 and regularly participates in events at CIDECI-unitierra in San Cristobal, a sister college to the Oaxaca university. Read some of Gustavo’s writings about the Zapatistas in the Schools For Chiapas Library here.

Henry Giroux is a specialist in public pedagogy and a progressive theorist in the field of education. A former professor at Penn State and currently the Global Television Network Chair of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, Professor Giroux is author or co-author of more than 50 books, including The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (Paradigm, 2007) and his newest work, Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future (Paradigm, 2013). Professor Giroux calls the educational influence of mass culture “public pedagogy” and has over the years used the examples of Disney films and popular television shows like Mad Men to expose and critique the embedded pedagogy of popular culture.

Antonia Dardar is an internationally recognized scholar, artist, poet, and activist specializing in critical educational theory. Dardar provides support for students, faculty, and community organizations through curriculum design and organizational development. She holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University and is also Professor Emerita of Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sebastião Salgado is possibly the most respected photographer alive today. A Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist, Salgado has visited Chiapas many times, spending long periods in the communities in order to capture the essence of the day-to-day existence of the Mayan rebels with his lens. Some of his most beautiful Chiapas photo-essays can be found in his breathtaking book Genesis.

Paco Ignacio Taibo II (known as PIT) is a much loved Mexican writer and novelist. Among PIT’s most popular works is a series of detective novels with the protagonist, Private Investigator Héctor Belascoarán Shayne. His political works include the authoritative biography of Che Guevara, and a book about his experiences during the massacre of Tlatelolco in Mexico City in 1968, called 68.

In 2004, he co-authored a book with Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, Muertos incómodos (The Inconvenient Dead, or The Uncomfortable Dead), an amusing detective story set in Chiapas in the style of his Héctor Belascoarán Shayne series.

Raúl Zibechi is a prominent journalist, writer and political theorist from Uruguay. His books are essential reading for anybody interested in autonomy and social movements in Latin America today. They include Dispersing Powers: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces (AK Press, 2010), and Territories in Resistance. A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements, (AK Press, 2012). He wrote a short book about the Zapatistas in 1995, called The Streams When They Run Low, the Challenges of Zapatismo. Raúl writes a regular column for the Mexican daily La Jornada and has participated regularly in Zapatista events over the years. Read some of his writings on the Zapatistas here  and here in the School For Chiapas Library.

Naomi Klein is a Canadian author and social activist known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization. Her first book No Logo became an international bestseller, followed by The Shock Doctrine, a critical analysis of the history of neoliberal economics. Although sceptical about the Zapatistas at the start, Klein has since shared platforms with Subcomandante Marcos and written sympathetically about the Chiapas rebels. You can read Klein on the Zapatistas in the SFC Library here and here.

Immanuel Wallerstein, the North American sociologist, historical social scientist and world-system analyst, author of The Modern World-System and many other volumes, has written extensively about the Zapatistas. Wallerstein asserts that “the uprising of the EZLN was the beginning of the counteroffensive of the world left against the relatively short-lived successes of the world right between the 1970s and 1994.” Professor Wallerstein has participated in the formation of the CIDECI indigenous university in Chiapas and has given presentations and seminars on campus. Read him here in the Schools For Chiapas Library.

Manu Chao is a globally-loved musician who is a vocal supporter of the Zapatistas and has incorporated speeches and elements of the indigenous rebel movement into his repertoire. One evening he may be performing before 80,000 people in the Zocalo, Mexico City and shortly afterwards, performing before a rural community of 200 people in the caracol of La Realidad. Manu is a Spanish/French singer/songwriter who sings in French, Spanish, English, Italian, Arabic, Galician, and Portuguese.

Amparanoia is a Spanish singer/songwriter. Having already built up a popular following in Europe, she travelled to Mexico in 2000 and came into contact with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas. On returning to Spain, she organized a sound system mini-tour with like-minded musician friends to raise funds and returned back to Mexico in March 2001 to take part in the Zapatista caravan in Mexico City. Listen to her Chiapas-inspired song Somos Viento here performed live.

Recommended Books

Luchas ‘muy otras’. Zapatismo y autonomía en las comunidades indígenas de Chiapas, un libro coordinado por Bruno Baronnet, Mariana Mora Bayo y Richard Stahler-Sholk. México: UAM-Xochimilco, CIESAS, UNACH, 2011. El archivo pdf del libro está ahora disponible en Internet de manera gratuita.

The Story of Colors is a wonderful folktale penned by Subcomandante Marcos, revealing the down-to-earth wisdom of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. At the same time, it provides us with a fresh perspective on the struggles of the people there, how they fight to conserve their cosmovision which they see as flowering with holiness, “a holiness that cannot be measured in dollars or defined by politics.” English and Spanish.

Zapatistas: A Rough Guide has one of the best descriptions of what it is like to visit the autonomous communities of Chiapas.
From the Introduction: Inspired by the revolutionary vision and actions of the Zapatistas, a group of men and women went to Chiapas in 1998. We have been involved in diverse grassroots campaigns in the UK from ecological direct action to human rights groups, women’s struggles, Reclaim the Streets and abolishing Third World debt.

Zapatista Spring – Anatomy of a Rebel Water Project & the Lessons of International Solidarity by Ramor Ryan. Eight volunteers converge to help campesinos build a water system in Chiapas—a strategy to bolster the Zapatista insurgency by helping locals to assert their autonomy. “In this vivid account of democracy and solidarity in action, the pages overflow with humanity, wit, and the mountains and mud of Chiapas. This candid story should be read by anyone who has been inspired by the Zapatistas.”—Ben Dangl, author of Dancing with Dynamite

Distinguished friends of Schools For Chiapas:

Peggy James, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Law, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, led student service learning tours to Chiapas, Mexico, and initiated a partnership with the Amawtay Wasi, the Intercultural University of the Indigenous Nationalities and Peoples of Ecuador. Peggy was awarded the 2013 Stella Gray Teaching Award, and is a good friend of the Schools For Chiapas project.

Dr Deborah Palmer is an Assistant Professor in Bilingual/Bicultural Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. A former two-way immersion fourth/fifth grade teacher from California, she teaches courses in the foundations of bilingual education, teaching in bilingual settings, and second language acquisition.

Richard Stahler-Sholk is a professor of political science at Eastern Michigan University and serves on the editorial collective of Latin American Perspectives, and on the board of directors of the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ).  He co-edited Latin American Social Movements in the Twenty-first Century:  Resistance, Power, and Democracy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), and also Luchas ‘muy otras’:  Zapatismo y autonomía en las comunidades indígenas de Chiapas (UAM-Xochimilco, CIESAS, & UNACH 2011). Rich is currently on sabbatical in Chiapas, Mexico where he has a research affiliation with the Center for Advanced Studies of Mexico and Central America (CESMECA)

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