Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Humanities 110—The Inconvenience of Revolution: Zapatismo, Cynicism, Dignity, and Memory

Christian Kroll Associate Professor of Spanish and Humanities

MARCH 6, 2020

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This lecture was presented by Christian Kroll, associate professor of Spanish and humanities, on March 6, 2020.

The Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN—Zapatista Army of National Liberation), colloquially known as the Zapatistas, entered the Mexican political scene in January 1994. An overwhelmingly indigenous movement, the Zapatista uprising has mainly focused on contesting the Mexican state’s construction of national identity and its marginalization of the indigenous population. Another equally important component of Zapatismo is its critique of the neoliberal economic model adopted by the Mexican state starting in the late 1980s. The Zapatistas currently control large parts of the State of Chiapas, in southern Mexico, where they continue to experiment with forms of self-governance.

Readings for this lecture include an excerpt from the “Fourth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle,” which provides an ethical justification for the Zapatista uprising, and the entire “Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle,” which gives an account of the movement’s history and makes overt their reasons for marching to Mexico City. The other three readings, “Mexico City: We have arrived. We are here,” “The Story of the Questions,” and the “Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary War,” provide different entries to how the Zapatistas have reworked Mexico’s history and national symbols, particularly those associated with the Indigenous pre-Columbian past and the Mexican Revolution, and addressed the country's structural inequalities.