Rebellion from the Grassroots to the Global

Alex Khasnabish


A critical, comprehensive, and accessible overview of one of the most important rebel groups in history.
In the early hours of January 1, 1994 a guerrilla army of indigenous Mayan peasants emerged from the highlands and jungle in the far southeast of Mexico and declared "¡Ya basta!" - "Enough!" - to 500 years of colonialism, racism, exploitation, oppression, and genocide. As elites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico celebrated the coming into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) declared war against this 500 year old trajectory toward oblivion, one that they said was most recently reincarnated in the form of neoliberal capitalist globalization that NAFTA represented.

While the Zapatista uprising would have a profound impact upon the socio-political fabric of Chiapas its effects would be felt far beyond the borders of Mexico. At a moment when state-sponsored socialism had all but vanished from the global political landscape and other familiar elements of the left appeared utterly demoralized and defeated in the face of neoliberal capitalism's global ascendance, the Zapatista uprising would spark an unexpected and powerful new wave of radical socio-political action transnationally.

Through an exploration of the Zapatista movement's origins, history, structure, aims, political philosophy and practice, and future directions this book provides a critical, comprehensive, and accessible overview of one of the most important rebel groups in recent history.

Author Bio

Alex Khasnabish is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His first book Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility (2008), focuses on the reasons for and consequences of the transnational resonance of Zapatismo and the links between radical political imaginations and global anti-capitalism. His work has been published in AmeriQuests, Anthropologica, Critique of Anthropology, The Globalization and Autonomy Working Paper Series, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Politics and Culture, and Upping the Anti.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: 'Enough!'
  • 1. We Are the Product of 500 Years of Resistance': The Origins of Zapatismo
  • 2. 'Everything for Everyone, Nothing for Ourselves': Zapatismo as Political Philosophy and Political Practice
  • 3. 'Never Again a Mexico Without Us': The National Impact of Zapatismo
  • 4. 'A World Made of Many Worlds': The Transnational Impact of Zapatismo
  • Conclusion: 'To Open a Crack in History'


'Khasnabish's text provides our best lens yet on the twenty-first century's most intriguing revolutionaries.'
Eric Selbin, Southwestern University

'The clearest, most comprehensive account to date of the Zapatista movement. This is a must-read for students, scholars, activists, and anyone who believes another world is truly possible.'
Jeffrey S. Juris, Arizona State University

'This book is a unique testament to the political creativity of the Zapatista movement that has inspired activists and scholars since the 1990s.'
Thomas Olesen, author of International Zapatismo

'It is old-time movement-based theory at its best.'
Richard Day, Queen's University


Publication Date: 11 February 2010
232 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848132085
Hardback: 9781848132078
eBook ePub: 9781848138063
eBook PDF: 9781848132092
eBook Kindle: 9781780327358

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