Escuelita Students Report Back in Oakland

Mural in an Oventic school

Mural in an Oventic school

Several folks living in the Bay Area, California, attended the Zapatista Escuelita, or Little School. Below is a report back given at Oakland’s Qilombo community center by the students. The students talked about some of their experiences from spending time in the caracoles, what they shared while they were in Chiapas and how the journey has shaped their ideas and efforts in building autonomy in the Bay Area.

Though the Little School was in December, the students deliberately waited several months to report back–in order to take time to reflect on their journey.

A brief history of Zapatismo is given at the beginning of the presentation and the QnA session at the end is included in this recording.

For more information, read the latest Zapatista communique here (in English here) and news regarding Galeano’s murder here.

Why The Zapatistas Are Stronger Than Ever

whymarcossteppingdownRaheel Hayat, Reposted from Medium

On May 2, 2014, José Luis Solís López, better known as Galeano was murdered in the community of La Realidad in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Galeano was murdered by three gunshots after he, unarmed, was surrounded by paramilitary troops and refused to surrender. The attack took place on the eve of a meeting that the Zapatistas had planned to hold with other indigenous organizations and indigenous people of Mexico during which spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos had planned possibly to reappear after a public absence of nearly six years. During the attack, a number of people were injured, and a Zapatista school and health clinic in La Realidad, both of which were symbols of the movement’s autonomy, were destroyed.

According to the Good Government Junta, the Zapatistas’ governing body, those responsible for Galeano’s murder were paramilitary forces that came from two rightwing parties, the Green Ecologist Party and the National Action Party, as well as the Independent Center for Agricultural Workers and Historic Peasants. These paramilitary groups responsible for the murder of Galeano were legitimate peasant organizations that struggled for land rights against the local Chiapas Government in the 1970s. Over the years however, they have flirted with the government to try and receive funding and to get their people into government positions.

These are groups that have been coopted by the government of Chiapas in the past several years to oppose the Zapatistas in exchange for funds. This is a counter insurgency plan by the Mexican government and the Mexican Army to combat the Zapatistas outside of direct conflict. All these groups are involved in violent attacks and land occupations of the Zapatistas since the beginning of the Zapatistas movement in 1994. The lands which Zapatistas obtained and hold for the indigenous people of the region with their blood, is been invaded by these groups, that then look for the local government to legitimize their take over of the land and to undermine the Zapatista movement.

Galeano is the first Zapatista from the supportive communities, known in the movement as the “bases of support,” to be killed by paramilitary government forces since 2003. He served as a teacher during the recent escuelita, where thousands of students from across Mexico and abroad came to learn from the movement. His murder further reveals the ongoing counterinsurgent war that is carried out by Mexican government across Zapatista territory. This counterinsurgency, which began after the uprising in 1994, seeks to erode and wear out Zapatistas’ struggle to build autonomous institutions such as schools, clinics, hospitals and its own system of government. After the assassination, some of the Mexican mainstream media reported that the death came from conflict from within the community, without waiting for a statement from La Realidad’s Good Government Junta or from human rights organizations that have mediated conflicts in the area. But in a communiqué, the Zapatistas refuted this account of events.

Read the entire article here.

Read about this in the Zapatistas’ collective words here (or the English translation here).



(Report Back) Freedom According to the Zapatistas : The Launch of the Escuelita

Chiapas Autonomous Region

Written by Andalusia Knoll

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 09:52

“The only thing that you need, objectively, to attend the zapatistas’ little school is Disinclination to talk or to judge, Willingness to listen and watch and a well-disposed heart.” – Comunicado VOTÁN II. The Guardians. Subcomandante Marcos

From August 12-16 the zapatistas opened the doors to their caracoles, communities and hearts to 1630 students enrolled in the first grade of “the escuelita (the little school): freedom according to the zapatistas.”

The escuelita didn’t have formal classrooms with a rigid schedule and teachers imparting their knowledge. Instead it featured immersion based learning, grounded in the daily tasks of constructing autonomy. This included grinding corn, weeding onion crops, collecting firewood, and washing your clothes in the river. Continue reading