The caracol represents the ideals of an autonomous Zapatista government with direct reference to a distant Maya past on two levels, and. Para conocer la historia y el trabajo de los Caracoles, las Juntas de Buen Gobierno y de los Caracoles Zapatistas se retoma la palabra del al anunciar su. Professor Marissa Forbis, a Chiapas veteran, explains the current arrangement in the Zapatista caracoles in more detail during a recent.

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Autonomy is a zapatistqs that Schools for Chiapas readers and researchers will caracolex across often on the website. It is a key concept of Z apatismo: One will come across autonomous zones, autonomous municipalities, autonomous communities, autonomous education, autonomous health…even an autonomous ambulance! The Zapatista project is defined by the demand for autonomy and it is important to have a clear understanding of the term. A recent blog post here is a case in point: A Schools for Chiapas Mural Delegation had the wonderful experience of the community zapztistas a lavish banquet for them, despite the indigenous families precarious economic situation.

Overwhelmed with gratitude for the gesture, the Schools For Chiapas folks thanked their Zapatista hosts, who replied humbly: And, yes, Zapatista autonomy means having the audacity and reflective strength to mobilize people-of-conscience around the world to build networks — and to forge new paths of resistance — with the absurd goal of collectively healing the holes in the ozone layer and the holes in our hearts.

What is Zapatista Autonomy? | Schools for Chiapas

A good place to start is with the original meaning of the word: This way of defining the term coincides with the dictionary explanation above, but then he develops the idea in this manner: That is, in terms of territory, that as people who live in a region, we get to administer our own economy, our own politics, our own culture and our own resources.

So we can understand from this that Zapatista autonomy is, in theory, self-government, freedom for the communities, and respect for their traditions.

And in practice, autonomy is territorial power and a form of radical grass-roots and participatory democracy. We also understand that the Zapatista concept of autonomy is not about separating from the Mexican state. The Zapatistas are not a separatist movement; they do not zapaistas their own state like, for example, the small separatist movements in Texas or Vermont, or the desire of the Basque people in the Spanish state. Instead, the Zapatistas are clear that autonomy for them is not about separation but respecting traditions and customs usos y costumbres with power being exercised on a community level, as the community sees fit.

Thus, Autonomy is understood as bringing people together, not separating them: The EZLN Autonomous Municipalities declare- Here we are, we are the true representatives of the people, we declare we are autonomous from caradoles corrupt government and demonstrate that we have the right to govern ourselves. And in doing so, they are challenging the power structures of the state government.

Xaracoles challenging the authority of the state, the Zapatistas have suffered military and state repression. The xapatistas has violently entered the villages, closed down autonomous municipal headquarters, zwpatistas beaten and arrested hundreds of people.

But the more the state represses, the more the people resist and demand their autonomy. They actively reject any presence of zapqtistas mal gobierno bad government in their territory, including rejecting—in principle—any form of state financial assistance or development programs. Nevertheless, the Zapatistas are self-proclaimed patriotic Mexicans, and they say their struggle is zapatistqs national project that aspires for a better Mexico, and not simply for their own autonomous enclave.


Mexican analyst and Zapatista advisor, Gustavo Esteva elaborates further —. But how does autonomy function caracolea practice in the Zapatista rebel zone? Grass-roots lawyers from the human rights organization Enlace Civil, based in Chiapas, give an excellent overview:. The communities of an indigenous zone or area are the ones who decide, at an assembly of all their members, whether or not they will belong to the autonomous municipality.

The autonomous municipalities, parallel to the constitutional ones, do not receive any financing from the state, nor do they collect taxes. It is the communities who elect their representatives for the Autonomous Municipal Council, which is the authority for the municipality.

The activities and the responsibilities of each autonomous municipality are dependent on the will of their members, and on their level of consolidation. They do not zapatistax public resources, and their budget, if it exists at all, is very limited, and due to the cooperation of some of their members. Those who hold a zapatistaz on the Municipal Council do not receive a salary for it, although their expenses should be paid by the same communities who request their presence, through cooperation among the members.

In some cases, members of the Council are supported in their farm work, so that they can dedicate themselves to their [Council] work, and not have to go the fields.

The autonomous municipalities resolve local problems of coexistence, relations and exchanges between communities, and they attend to minor crimes. The application of justice is based on customary law. For example, in cases of common crimes, the punishment imposed by the Autonomous Council is reparation of the damages: Professor Marissa Forbis, a Chiapas veteran, explains the current arrangement in the Zapatista caracoles in more detail during a recent interview:.

Within each Caracol there are several autonomous municipalities the number varies. Each municipality is governed by a council made up of community members nominated to serve for two or three years.

Each of the Caracoles has a Junta de Buen Gobierno. These councils are comprised of a rotating group of members who come from all of the autonomous municipalities that correspond to a particular Caracol. There is no standard way that these representatives are chosen — the autonomy is indeed autonomous — but frequently they are people who have served as community authorities, proven themselves, and then been selected to serve at a higher level.

There can be a combination of the community naming someone at an assembly, or someone also desiring to serve and making that known. The number of days this group serves on the Junta varies depending on the Caracol. In some they serve 10, in some 14 days.

They deal with ongoing and new matters brought before them. When they leave, a new group arrives. Municipal representatives serve as a feedback link between communities and the Junta de Bien Gobierno.

For example, in the municipality of 17 de Noviembre, located in the Caracol corresponding to the Morelia region, each community sends men and women as representatives to a municipal assembly.

Sometimes issues discussed at the assembly need to be brought forward to the Junta. Or an issue may be sent to the assembly by the Junta who wants the communities to discuss it and report back. Autonomous governance begins at the community level, moving to the municipality level, then to the Caracol with the Juntas. Decision-making flows back and forth on decisions that are of a movement-level nature or of regional importance. So, there is a lot of consensus decision-making and a lot of consultation with the communities before decisions are taken.


What is Zapatista Autonomy?

Community members who serve in the autonomous governing structures are unpaid, and they rotate frequently so that governance is really a matter of grassroots participation. The autonomous project is proving to be a huge success in the rural communities of Chiapas.

A report by the non-governmental international organization, Sipaz, concludes with the following recommendation on the autonomous municipalities:. They have no resources or real power or legal legitimacy, and they are dying, encircled by hunger, diseases, the paramilitary threat and the security forces.

However, for the indigenous peoples, they constitute an eloquent symbol of a culture which is resisting and defying the dominant culture, making a reality of a different way of understanding politics and of organizing the economy, society, and even human relations. We should have our own territory, our own education, administer our own resources.

In the communities we should have our own government. That they respect us as indigenous people and campesinos, in terms of our land, our forests, our trees, in terms of the social services, and politically that it be understood that our form of government not be imposed, that it be the indigenous people ourselves that will decide who will govern us.

Raul Zibechi — Zapatista Autonomy. Mariana Mora — Indigenous Autonomous Municipalities. I want to donate right now!

Make this a recurring donation All donations are tax-deductible in the USA. We especially welcome you suggestions and support. During Schools for Chiapas will finance the construction of three new classrooms in remote, Mayan communities of Chiapas, Mexico. During Schools for Chiapas will share our direct experiences with autonomous Zapatisa education via face-to-face meetings, social zapatisats, newsletters, and our web page.

During Schools for Chiapas will grow and distribute medical and other useful plants throughout Zapatista communities from The Very Different Nursery. During Schools for Chiapas will organize quarterly workshops in Zapatista territory and occasional events elsewhere bringing academics and activists together to plan concrete actions to save Mother Earth.

During Schools for Chiapas we will produce and distribute an instructional video about the carbon-sink Food Forest farming taking place zapatisras Zapatista schools in Chiapas, Mexico.

Happy New Years from the entire Schools for Chiapas team www. See More See Less. Schools for Chiapas photos Photos of a new Zapatista school construction! In case you missed it! Home Autonomy What is Zapatista Autonomy? However, as we have seen above, the Zapatista use and understanding of the term is more nuanced: A Challenge to the State The EZLN Autonomous Municipalities declare- Here we are, we are the true representatives of the people, we declare we are autonomous from the corrupt government and demonstrate that we have the right zapatisttas govern ourselves.

How do the Autonomous Municipalities function? Grass-roots lawyers from the human rights organization Enlace Civil, based in Chiapas, give an excellent overview: A report by the non-governmental international organization, Sipaz, concludes with the following zapztistas on the autonomous municipalities: Women in the Zapatista Movement. About Schools for Chiapas. Pintando un maestro Zapatista”. Zapatista teacher Galeano video at Zapatietas Subscribe to the Schools for Chiapas email newsletter.