Educate in resistance: the autonomous Zapatista schools

From ROAR Magazine

by Angélica Rico on January 2, 2014

Post image for Educate in resistance: the autonomous Zapatista schools

Zapatista education crosses wide areas of alternative knowledge and being, and offers a space where collective knowledge is aimed at social transformation.


The first surprise when you get to the Zapatista community of Cintalapa is the contrast between the beauty of the Lacandon Jungle and the Mexican federal army checkpoint, set up outside the ejido.

For the Zapatista children it seems normal that their little bags are reviewed at the checkpoint, or that they are asked questions when they go to the fields with their parents. They have lived through this their entire lives. The adolescent girls seem to be upset that the soldiers look up and down or yell things at them. So the lives of children in the Zapatista territory of tseltales remain full of contradictions.

These are children living between resistance and death, children who attend and together with their parents and siblings build up the autonomous education of the Zapatistas; a form of education based on their own needs and supported by the community through popular assemblies and collective work. Read More


2 thoughts on “Educate in resistance: the autonomous Zapatista schools

  1. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Thank you for posting this. My readers may wonder at my sharing so much on the Zapatistas. This is because so many in the “new age” and in various groups working toward positive changes in modern society are seeking better ways to solve human problems.

    Imho, Zapatistas are one of the best models of
    communities creating solutions to modern problems
    that are firmly rooted in ancestral cultural traditions.

    We have seen the ecological, spiritual and social dead ends that modern/post modern society leads us to thru its insistence on discarding ancestral cultures and their deep knowledge and traditions.

    The cultures that survive the longest are those who are both adaptable to changes ( such as climate changes) while being strongly rooted in the land and the wisdom in living on the land and with one another that was earned thru many generations.

    In the modern world very few have recovered enough from colonization to model these traits as well and clearly as I perceive the Zapatistas to do. At least not in easily accessible media forms-tho peoples from Africa, India, New Zealand, north and south America are all doing similarly wonderful things.

    Just as we watched our parents and elder siblings to learn as children so to can we in the most heavily controlled modern societies watch our elder cultures in recovery from colonization in order to learn how we too can recover and return to sanity.

    The Zapatistas are also interesting for doing these feats of cultural transformation with the colonizer actively opposing them in many cases with violence.

    So we can see that it CAN be done.

    Some new agers believe thst the Mayan people were taken in spaceships-there’s a whole mythology about this which spawns a drive to follow them to the stars.

    Imho, the REAL Mayan people are much more fascinating and instructive to follow than the mythic spacefarers.

    The Zapatistas are leading the way into the real “new age” the one where the people of Earth return to living sustainable lives in richly cultured, joyful free communities.

    I’ve been praying for them since I read the first communique in 94? (I think). I am grateful to see how well their communities have survived and how their example has continually inspired so many of us in “first world” nations despite their isolation.

    Courage is contagious. Lets make it a worldwide epidemic! 🙂

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