Revolution in its Simplicity: Life
The Zapatista’s movement in Mexico and the Zapatista’s perception of power dynamics is essential to understand as their ideologies provide a challenge to the current era of neoliberal globalization. Currently, a system of sovereignty and hierarchies exist globally, allowing for inequalities to further be created. In this system of sovereignty, there is a sovereign power, or ruler, who has power and then those who are ruled by the power. The Zapatistas, however, provide not only a new understanding of power, but also a re-structuring of power dynamics. It would be safe to say that the Zapatista’s idea of power is more of a democracy than any other democracy that exists around the globe.
Essentially, what the Zapatistas are not looking for is a reversal of the power that is held. The Zapatistas would like true freedom in which their own people can actively play roles in their governance; ones in which they can exercise power, rather than taking control of it. Through a non-individualistic approach, the community as a whole would mutually agree on tasks and responsibilities that each person would have autonomy over. Every person would have power over their tasks and have the opportunity to be a delegate in the council that governs, while also completing their daily work. The delegates would cycle constantly so that no one person or group would harbor too much power that would become destructive. An important aspect of this form of power, known as autonomy, is that each individual person in the community agrees to the terms. As well, there is an unspoken rule of not having ill-intentions or to allow for the evil to commence that results in the power dynamics present in the rest of the globe. The form of governance that the Zapatistas would like to uphold relies upon the pillar of a communal system that respects everyone within it. The Zapatistas want nothing more than be respected and to survive in this already harsh world. Truly, they want life…which constitutes freedom — which every human being is born with and should have access to.
The form of governance that the Zapatistas would like to establish for themselves has been successful in implementation in the indigenous communities of Chiapas, Mexico. This is important to note as it provides a model for the rest of the world. As is evident, neoliberal rules functions on the basis that inequality must exist, and the practice of the Zapatistas challenges that. Not only does this provide a model, but also, it provides hope for indigenous communities that are being or have previously been colonized. The Zapatistas are striving for change — for true democracy — that the rest of the inhabitants of this world could use.
Quite literally, this form of autonomy that the Zapatistas would like to establish is a way to de-link from the coloniality of this neoliberal, globalized world. This power dynamic reliant upon community-based living is a revolution that has not been seen in the modern world otherwise, but is one that needs to be taken note of.