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[Nettime-bold] [Fwd: En;Cleaver:Virtual & Real Chiapas Support Networks,Pt 4/4]

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beginning of part 4 of 4

>Vicarious Participation
>	The excitement and satisfaction originally inspired by the 
>opportunity to make political use of electronic communication to 
>connect to a "community" of fellow activists continues 
>undiminished for many.   The posting and reposting, the calls for 
>signatures on petitions, adhesions to protest manifestos, the 
>sharing of experiences of mobilization have all worked to create 
>a sense of "connectedness" among progessive people around the 
>world and, in particular, among supporters of the Zapatistas.  
>Indeed, nowhere does the sense of political accomplishment 
>fostered by electronic communication seem keener than among EZLN 
>solidarity activists.  

Why is Hellman so determined to undermine and destroy the 
"excitement and satisfaction"? Normally one would expect someone 
on the Left to revel in such movement of mobilization or to try 
to figure out how to contribute to deepening and broadening it. 
But no, Hellman chooses to dismiss it all as illusion. Why? Let's 
look at how she proceeds.

>	However, much of this sense of connection is illusory 
>because so much electronic communication takes place as a 
>solitary act. When political participation consists of clicking a 
>reply button that adds our name to a list, this act does not 
>necessarily bring people together.    

What is a "solitary act"? A lone individual who acts without 
reference to or input from others does so in a solitary manner. 
But reading a petition written by someone else and deciding to 
add one's name to it is not a "solitary act" in cyberspace, no 
more than it is in other spaces.

>Once support of a petition involved face-to-face encounter with 
>another human being and perhaps a monetary contribution to 
>underwrite the cost of a newspaper ad.  Declining to sign-on also 
>involved at least a few moments of debate with the person passing 
>around the petition.  Now the rejection of a political position 
>can be accomplished in a stroke of the delete button.  

I'm sorry but I find this argument absurd. Support of a petition 
"in the flesh" does not require a face-to-face encounter with 
another human being. It only requires reading the petition, 
deciding to sign or not to sign and turning away --as anyone who 
has ever circulated peititions knows. It is nice when a petition 
leads to discussion but that does not always happen. It happens 
in the flesh, sometimes, and it happens in cyberspace, sometimes. 
Indeed, it probably happens more often in cyberspace because 
those who formulate petitions, or letters of protest, etc. 
sometimes circulate them on the Internet for comments and 
suggestions for modifications before sending them out for 
endorsements -something that never happens on the street. 
Declining to sign a petition "in the flesh" involves nothing more 
than a turning away. Or, worse yet, refusing to even look at the 
petition - that is the equivalent of hitting the delete button, 
and it happens all the time.

>What is more, it could be argued that the extremely low level of 
>engagement required to participate in this fashion produces a 
>political effect that is equally modest.  That is, "sending a 
>message" in this facile way may create an impression on 
>powerholders that is correspondingly reduced when compared to the 
>same message communicated by thousands, or hundreds or even 
>dozens of activists gathered in the same public space at the same 

About all I can say is that Hellman seems hellbent on trying to 
convince people that e-mail petitions are "less impressive" than 
those signed by hand. She has no evidence. As for the greater 
effectiveness of many activists gathered together in the same 
place, well, she displays no recognition of how that is precisely 
one of the things facilitated by the Internet! The First and 
Second Intercontinental Encounters that gathered 3-4000 activists 
in Chiapas and Spain were accomplished in large part through the 
Internet. So was Seattle and Washington and Davos and Amsterdam. 
So too with numerous more local demonstrations and protests. 
There is no either/or here. The people she mocks as lazily 
punching keyboards are the very people who have worked to 
organize such gatherings via the Internet. Once again her 
blindness to this can come only from a lack of real participation 
in such processes. She knows not whereof she speaks. 

>	Moreover, as internet users we enter discussion groups and 
>chat rooms with "compa~eros" with whom we will never really need 
>to work out our differences as we once had to do in political 
>groups.  We are no longer required to encounter each other, nor 
>to work to persuade others of our position.  We can just log off 
>when we tire of the terms of debate on a particular list.(40)

Once again the contrast she tries to draw just doesn't hold. In 
thirty years of political work I have seen thousands walk away 
from meetings as easily as one logsoff from a discussion group. 
In truth a great many of the people in the pro-Zapatista 
cyberspacial networks are also involved in local and national 
groups that have old-style face-to-face meetings and thrash out 
issues just as they always have. The Internet lets such groups 
communicate with each other outside of meetings faster and more 
efficiently, and circulate information more quickly. On a local 
level it does not substitute for other kinds of encounter. What 
it does is put such groups and the individuals in such groups in 
easy contact with others elsewhere, where face to face is 
difficult or impossible. And when Hellman asserts that there is 
no longer any "work of persuading others of our postion" she 
simply demonstrates that she has never participated in any of the 
debates in cyberspace, nor even read them in the archives.

>The anonymity that is provided to us in this form of political 
>participation, the potential for instant withdrawal from the 
>group, the small degree of effort that is required to express 
>solidarity through these means constitute both the attraction and 
>the limitation of internet activism.  Electronic militancy offers 
>a means to be part of a movement and to communicate to 
>downtrodden people around the world that we have them in mind 
>without actually having to bestir ourselves to climb out of our 
>ergonomically correct computer chair to leave the house!

This is fantasy! The only way Hellman can smugly conjure up such 
supercilious images of self-satisfied cybernauts is to do so in a 
vacuum of ignorance about the relationship between cyberspace and 
organizing --in the case of Chiapas and in the case of many other 
struggles. This is gratuitous nastiness against fictional people. 
[BTW, don't we all wish we had "ergonomically correct computer 

>	Lynn Stephen, a widely respected figure in the organization 
>of solidarity activities around Chiapas, has noted another 
>limitation of electronic communication and asks if it is not, in 
>fact, "a roadblock to grassroots activism."	
>Every day, thousands of Americans receive updates from Chiapas, 
>chat with others and feel that they are doing something.  They 
>are informed, but the kinds of actions elicited on the net are 
>far from the tactics which often produce major political 
>pressure.  Feeling connected on the net does not often inspire 
>the kinds of high level, continual political pressure that can 
>have a long-term impact on the United States Congress. ...Meeting 
>in a church basement to work on an information packet to 
>distribute to local congressmen in visits is not the same as 
>sending an attachment to a senator's aid about U.S. participation 
>in the militarization of Chiapas.(41)
And what are these "kinds of actions elicited on the net" that 
produce little political pressure? Sending an attachment to a 
senator's aid? And why would one do that? Perhaps because one had 
done the work to identify which senators and and aides deserved 
attention and because one had talked to said aide and provoked an 
interest in the material in the attachement? What constitutes 
"high level, continual political pressure"? We certainly can't 
tell from this quote, but it sounds like Stephen, and perhaps 
Hellman, have professional lobbying in mind. Perhaps the kind 
that well financed NGOs can afford to carry out? Well, that is 
one kind of pressure. Unfortunately we can only imagine what the 
argument here is really all about, what Stephen and Hellman think 
is really "worth doing." At any rate, as already stated they are 
ignoring the interaction between what people do with the Internet 
and what they do elsewhere, and by so doing they vitiate their 
own arguments.
>Stephen stresses that some types of activity coordinated through 
>the internet can actually "limit grassroots organizing efforts."
>	Civil disobedience campaigns on the net, sending a fax, or 
>voting on a Zapatista ballot by e-mail are important, but are not 
>substitutes for face-to-face interaction and grassroots 
>organizing.  The fact that it took more than four years for a 
>wide-ranging national meeting to be called of all groups involved 
>in Mexico organizing with a strong basis in Chiapas suggests that 
>the glut of information on the internet may have slowed down the 
>urgency for creating a national network.  People felt connected, 
>but this did not result in long-term planning.(42)

It become clear her why Hellman quotes Stephen. Like her he sets 
up a false dichotomy between "action on the Internet" and "face-
to-face interaction and grassroots organizing." As for the "glut 
of information on the internet" getting in the way of the calling 
of  "a wide-ranging national meeting" this is almost humerous. In 
the first place it took no such time period. The National 
Comission on Democracy in Mexico (NCDM), an umbrella organization 
that included lots of groups around the country was organized 
very quickly. The Mexican Solidarity Network (MSN), to which I 
assume this quote refers, was organized later partially as a 
result of dissatisfactin with the NCDM's operations and its 
leadership. It is more accurate to say that the availability of 
the Internet, the flows of information and exchanges of 
experience it made possible acted to undermine the centrallizing 
efforts of the NCDM which proved inappropriate to the new 
situation. Moreover, the organization of the MSN took place to a 
considerable degree through Internet communications. If the ample 
supply of information slowed down the urgency for creating a 
national network it was only because a cyberspacial "national 
network" already existed for the dissimination of information and 
the sharing of experience and some other kind wasn't needed for 
that purpose.

>Even Harry Cleaver, one of the most enthusiastic proponents of 
>electronic political movement, acknowledges some of the 
>limitations of reliance on the internet:
>	The limits to [the power of the Internet] lie both in the 
>limits of the reach of the Internet (as we have seen it does not 
>connect everyone) and in the kinds of connections established.  
>There is already an enormous amount of information in The 
>Internet about all sorts of struggle which have not yet been 
>connected, not to the Zapatistas, not to each other.  The 
>availability of information and a vehicle of connection does not 
>guarantee either that a connection will be made or that it will 
>be effective in generating complementary action.  Even political 
>activists fully capable of tapping all the sources of information 
>about social struggles available on the Net are regularly 
>overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information.  As The Net 
>grows, and as the number of groups involved in struggle that are 
>capable and willing to use it grows too, this problem will grow 

The problem I raise in this passage from a paper that reflects on 
our experiences in the use of the Internet in struggle is quite 
real and continuing. But unlike Hellman, I raise the problem not 
to mock what has been done, but to try to figure out how to do 
better. Therein lies all the difference between a distructive 
mocking of the sort she elaborates here and a constructive 
attempt to identify problems so they can be remedied. It is worth 
noting that throughout Hellman's article her only "contribution" 
to improving struggle in cyberspace is to admonish people to take 
more factors into account: an admonition whose impact is 
seriously undermined by her failure to recognize what has already 
been done. Nowhere does she offer any creative suggestions to 
help improve actual practices in cyberspace.

The problem of activists being overwhelmed with too much 
information (alluded to earlier as well) is quite real. In the 
case of the Chiapas solidarity networks, Chiapas95 was created as 
a first step in solving this problem by filtering and reducing 
the flow of information to more manageable proportions. 
Subsequently, Chiapas95-lite and later Chiapas95-english and 
Chiapas95-espanol were all created for the same purpose of 
reducing the flows to the levels desired by subscribers. There 
have been other efforts along these lines at a broader level, 
e.g., Activ-L which collects stories about struggles from all 
parts of the world and creates digests to help people cope with 
the quantity. It is too bad that Hellman has nothing to ofter in 
helping us deal with this problem, but we will continue to work 
on it. 

>	We have seen that in a variety of different ways, Chiapas 
>solidarity activists have come to depend on the internet to keep 
>themselves informed and to guide their political activities.

This is a curious notion that we have come to "depend" on the 
Internet to keep informed. It is phrased in such a way as to 
imply that there is a "dependency," a weakness, involved here. In 
the past activists have "depended" on newspapers, on libraries, 
on books and magazines for information. Are these weaknesses? Of 
course not. The only problem is that we always, and at all times, 
have limited sources of information and we "depend" on them. What 
the Internet has done is to add a new tool to our panopoly of 
sources, one that dramatically speeds up the circulation of 
information, discussion, organizing, and so on. This is not a 
problem, it is a great leap forward! As for the Internet 
"guiding" our political activities, it does so no more than any 
other of our sources. It does provide a new terrain and 
opportunity for poltical organizing, just as the telephone, 
automobiles, trains and airplanes have done in the past. 
Hellman's attempt to portray us as mindless geeks with our noses 
glued to our computer screens bespeaks only an unfamiliarity with 
our activitives, online and off.

>To a great extent, this new technology has facilitated the 
>international effort to support courageous and highly vulnerable 
>people who are struggling for their rights.  However, rather than 
>linking people in ways that strengthen their capacity to 
>influence events, internet activism sometimes creates an illusion 
>of connectedness and political effectiveness where little exists.  
>The version of events that is transmitted and forwarded over and 
>over may leave solidarity activists feeling overwhelmed by the 
>quantity of material at the same time that the information 
>conveyed is often so partial as to be misleading. The highly 
>simplified version of events communicated about Chiapas makes the 
>decision to weigh in on the side of the oppressed relatively 
>easy, but the question of how to proceed from there, or what is 
>to be done, very difficult.  

No where has Hellman provided any evidence of how the use of the 
internet "creates an illusion of connectedness and political 
effectiveness where little exists." What she has done is present 
an incorrect and misleading portrayal of both what goes on in 
cyberspace and how it interconnects with the rest of people's 
political activities. Her repeated accusation that "the 
information conveyed is often so partial as to be misleading" is 
true of any snippit of information taken from any source, on the 
Internet or off. Information is always partial and that is why 
people are always seeking out new sources and trying to see 
beyond what they know. Decision abouts "what is to be done" are 
always taken on the basis of partial information, today with the 
internet, or in the past without it. This should be obvious. What 
Hellman is blind to is the way the Internet has increased our 
access to information and thus improved the basis on which we 
decide what is to be done. No where does she give any example of 
how the current limits on what we know make figuring out "what is 
to be done, very difficult." If she knew what she was talking 
about she might have. We all can. Knowing lots of details about 
the terrorist measures applied daily to Zapatista communities by 
the government's counterinsurgency campaign gives us what we need 
to reveal to the public what the mass media hides, to bring out 
of the shadows and into the light of day the crimes that are 
commited. It also has suggested that having international 
observers on the spot can frustrate such shadowed efforts. So 
people have written the details for a wider audience (from the 
average citizen to government representatives) and people have 
gone to Chiapas as observers.  But how would more information, 
more precise information about the details of the conflict help 
us discover other methods? What other information would be 
useful? Hellman is no help here at all. Everywhere she complains 
about limits but nowhere does she indicate what concrete 
information that is not available is needed and for what purpose. 
Suppose, for example, we find a detailed study of Muslim 
evangelization in Chiapas and a listserv that details those 
activities. What are we to do with that information? I can 
imagine (making contacts, linking struggles) but Hellman says 
nothing. For those of us in actual struggle, her complaints need 
to be replaced by real understanding and creative thought.

>	A remarkable number of people around the world are prepared 
>to devote a great deal of their time to support the struggle in 
>Chiapas.  The question is whether they might better spend some of 
>that time working to understand Chiapas in all its complexity, 
>the way Chiapas fits into Mexico, and the way Mexico fits into 
>the international order.   The impulse to use the "onrush of 
>neoliberalism" and the "popular struggle against neoliberalism" 
>as organizing concepts by which to grasp the forces at play in 
>the world is very strong.  But these reductionist approaches are 
>bound to lead to the same frustration and failure as the old 
>reductionist models.  What is unfolding in Chiapas today is not 
>reducible to "neoliberal predations" nor even to "indigenous 
>identity issues". And we must be wary of approaches that claim 
>this is the case.

First, spending "time to support the struggle in Chiapas" does 
very much involve "working to understand Chiapas"! To suggest 
otherwise as she does here is groundless and insulting. Second, 
what is "reductionist" about the analysis of capitalist ideology 
and strategy as neoliberalism? What is "reductionist" about 
recognizing how people around the world face similar policies and 
are linking up to counter them? Who thinks that the story of what 
is happening in Chiapas is "reducible" to "neoliberal 
predations"? No one I know. If Hellman has found such a person, 
she has not shared a name with us. To be sure, "let us be wary" 
of such stupidity .... if we ever encounter it.

>	Very basic appeals to respect human rights can be launched 
>with no deeper understanding of the specifics of the situation.  
>But any project that is more ambitious requires serious analysis. 

What more "ambitious project"? What does she have in mind here? 
Who knows? She conjures the vague image of some more 
comprehensive effort, greater and more meaningful because 
grounded in better understanding. But what project? This is 
nothing more than cheap rhetoric by someone with no constructive 
ideas to offer.

>That a lack of awareness and preparation created by the constant 
>circulation and repetition of a small number of superficial ideas 
>about Chiapas has its costs, is illustrated in the backlash that 
>has followed the expulsion from Mexico in May 1998 of 108 of 134 
>Italian solidarity activists. The contradictions of the Italians'  
>"somos todos indios" approach quickly became apparent when they 
>marched into Taniperlas where they were anxious to express their 
>concern and support for beleaguered zapatista women.  The 
>Italians were set upon, pushed and shoved by indios upon their 
>appearance in the town.  These were machete and stick wielding 
>indios who, as PRI supporters, may fall outside of the all-
embracing category that the "somos todos indios" construction 
>proposes - but they were indios nonetheless.(44)

Once again, Hellman's attack on the Italians who went to 
Taniperlas is not only misplaced but misaimed. Why isn't she 
attacking the PRIistas who, supported by the government as part 
of its anti-foreign observer campaign, attacked the Italians? 
Isn't that what you would expect from a "Leftist"? But no, her 
rhetoric echos the worst of the Mexican government's propaganda 
that tries to portray those who go to Chiapas to bring state 
crimes to light as "revolutionary tourists." Who is Hellman 
working for, after all? Did the statesend her a thank-you note 
for aiding its xenophobic campaign to keep its crimes in darkness 
after her article was originally published in Este Pais?. The 
Italians knew damn well of the dangers in Chiapas from PRIista 
indigenous groups -indeed anyone who follows the denunciations 
coming out of the communities and the reports of observers who 
have gone knows of these dangers-but they went anyway. Not 
because they were nai:ve revolutionary tourists but because they 
were willing to take risks to bring more international 
observation to bear on a beseized community.

>	For lack of knowledge and appreciation of the depth of 
>postrevolutionary Mexican nationalism the Italians fell into a 
>trap.  In the end, the event was portrayed as a "foreign 
>invasion" in a country that has known foreign invasion, and it 
>gave the Zedillo regime a nationalist card to play, reinforcing 
>the zenophobia that has been  the regime's only reponse to 
>international concern for Chiapanecans.(45)  This unfortunate 
>outcome was the inevitable result of a kind of solidarity work 
>that is based on a very partial and superficial knowledge of 
>Mexico and Chiapas.  It is the kind of solidarity work that comes 
>out of acquaintance only with virtual Chiapas.

If Hellman had read either the archives of EZLN-it listserv or 
the many Italian web pages and been able to demonstrate that 
nowhere in the materials that had been translated into Italian 
was there any recognition of either the government's or the local 
PRIista indigenous anti-foreign actions, she might have made a 
case that the Italians' actions were based on a "lack of 
knowledge." But she did not do these things (and if she had she 
would not have had any evidence for her claims). As for "giving 
the Zedillo regime a nationalist card to play", well, as event 
after event have shown the government has been playing that card 
again and again regardless of the particular actions of 
particular international observers. It has made an international 
spectacle of itself and brought down the scorn of the world for 
its blantant attempts to hide its crimes by persecuting 
international observers on trumpted up charges. Even the Mexican 
courts have repeatedly ruled against these ploys (most recently 
against the expulsion of Tom Hansen, and many other cases -
including that of the Italians-- are now being reviewed as well). 
Again Hellman attacks the activists instead of the state. What is 
going on here?

>	To be sure, some may argue that the circulation of a highly 
>simplified or flattened version of events is necessary to avoid 
>the airing of differences while war is being waged on defenceless 
>people.  To some extent they may fear that open discussion of 
>differences on the internet may be exploited by the Mexican state 
>to dismiss progressive pressure from abroad, just as many on the 
>left of earlier generations feared that airing differences over 
>the USSR or China would be misused.  This old problem for the 
>left is exacerbated insofar as solidarity activists actually 
>believe that if we do not speak of the conflicts and cleavages 
>among forces on the left, or within indigenous communities, or 
>among NGOs in Chiapas, the Mexican state will not learn of these 
>disagreements and will not have the opening to exploit 
>resentments and schisms in its effort to control the situation 
>and disarm the movement.

Once again, where is there any evidence of any lack of desire to 
discuss differences for fear of state use of such discussion? I 
have never seen such a thing in this context. I have seen it in 
the past. I remember being blasted by pro-Sandinista supporters 
for publically attacking their policies towards peasants and the 
indigenous in Nicaragua. But I have yet to see such attacks in 
the case of the Zapatistas. There have been several attacks 
against the Zapatistas, some from Marxists, some from anarchists, 
but no where have I seen those attacks being rebutted on such 
grounds. When John Ross critiqued the final formulation of the 
San Andre's Accords there were those who disagreed with him, but 
no one I read accused him of helping the state undermine the 
Zapatistas. Hellman here conjures old ghosts for new punishment.

>	In weighing this argument, we must consider that the chief 
>architect of Zedillo's counter-mobilization/counter-insurgency 
>strategy in Chiapas is Adolfo Orive Berlinguer.  Through the 
>1970s Orive was perhaps the single most important figure in the 
>political mobilizations in the highlands and in the coordination 
>between the conscientization activities of the catechists and the 
>organizational efforts of maoists.  Having studied with Charles 
>Bettleheim in Paris, Orive returned to Mexico and became the 
>leader first of the Popular Politics tendency and later the 
>maoist Proletarian Line -- the same movement in which Marcos was 
>formed.  Orive came to Chiapas at the behest of Bishop Samuel 
>himself, to organize a peasant based movement that would bring 
>together maoists, radical school teachers, liberation theologists 
>and labour organizers.(46) 
>	By  the end of the 1980s, however, Orive was working for 
>Carlos Salinas and, based on his detailed knowledge of the 
>physical and political geography of the conflict zone, was 
>recruited by Zedillo in 1994 to direct the counter-insurgency in 
>Chiapas.  Given Orive's knowledge of every schism, historical or 
>current, it is unconvincing to argue that if we do not discuss 
>frankly and openly among ourselves the differences in perspective 
>among assorted actors in Chiapas, then these disagreements will 
>remain a secret from the regime!

What is unconvincing is Hellman's attempt to convince us that 
there is any such problem! More interesting would have been a 
discussion of how not only Orive but a whole series of other 
"Leftists" who started off as student rebels or intellectuals 
wound up serving the regime faithfully. Or perhaps a more 
detailed analysis of the history of Orive himself and how he 
turned coat after having been rejected by the poor peasants he 
was so set on "organizing." Helman is beating a dead horse long 
after it has died.

>	In the end international solidarity is crucial to the 
>survival of the thousands of people who are risking their lives 
>to demand justice.  But support is most effectively given by 
>outsiders who grasp the situation at hand, not by those for whom 
>Chiapas is a trope, or those who content themselves with a 
>virtual rendering of events and actors that oversimplifies 
>reality to the point that it bears only a very vague resemblance 
>to the situation on the ground.  International concern about 
>Chiapas has, unquestionably, worked to restrain and contain 
>aggression against the Zapatistas and their supporters, 
>undoubtedly saving many lives.  But effective human rights work 
>requires, among other things, good and reliable information.  In 
>the end we might want to think less about our own "re-
enchantment" and more about what is really happening in southern 
>Mexico -- even if some of the gritty details are less than 
>enchanting.  To do otherwise compromises the crucial role that 
>foreigners can play in protecting the human rights of people at 

In the end, after reading not only this paragraph but the whole 
article, what I find sad is that for all her misplaced arrogance, 
mockery and bellyaching, Hellman tells us absolutely nothing 
about how foreigners might play a better role in supporting the 
struggles in Chiapas! All she tells us to do is to read things we 
have already read, as if we hadn't read them. Well, according to 
her footnotes, she has read those things. So what has she learned 
from them that the rest of us have missed? What bearing does what 
she has learned have on improving efforts to support those in 
struggle in Chiapas? She cites a web page 
(http://mac.theramp.net/Domcentral/justice/chiapas.htm) of the 
Fray Bartelomeo Human Rights Center that lists ten things that 
foreigners might do to help out. Nowhere does she provide either 
a critique of those ten things or alternatives. She has nothing 
useful to say.

Hellman's footnotes
I would like to thank Silvia Go'mez Tagle, Steve Hellman, Peter 
>Ives, Colin Leys, Leo Panitch, Scott Robinson, Emiko Saldivar, 
>Sid Tarrow, and Charles Tilly for their helpful comments; Douglas 
>Chalmers, Luin Goldring, Ron Hellman, and Ken Sharpe for the 
>opportunity to try out these ideas in seminars; and Steve Hellman 
>and Peter Ives for steady encouragement and the materials they 
>collected for this article.  I would also like to acknowledge the 
>support of Social Science and Humanities Research Council of 
>Canada for financial support of this research.  
1. See Lynn Stephen, "In the Wake of the Zapatistas: U.S. 
>Solidarity Work Focused on Militarization, Human Rights, and 
>Democratization in Chiapas," Paper presented at a Conference 
>titled, "Lessons from Mexico-U.S. Bi-National Civil Society 
>Coalitions," 9-11 July 1998, University of California, Santa 

>2. Il Manifesto, 28 March 1998 .  The debates appeared in this 
>issue and in Il Manifesto, 10 February 1998, and 1 March 1998.

>3. Michael Lowy, "Sources and Resources of Zapatism," Monthly 
>Review, Vol.49, No.10, March 1998, p. 1-2.
>4. Throughout this article, I am using the term "internet" to 
>refer to the most commonly-accessible sites that people 
>interested in Chiapas would be most likely to find while surfing 
>the world wide web. For example, using "Chiapas" as a keyword on 
>various search engines provided in the most common web browsers 
>(e.g. Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, or Yahoo), I found that a semi-
systematic survey of the materials available tends to produce the 
>same sites - and links - over and over. Therefore, the material 
>to which I refer throughout this analysis, would be found on the 
>following sites, or by following the links provided in them.

>Accion Zapatista  

>AMDH Bulletin 

>Chiapas 95 

>Chiapas 1997 

>Chiapas Index  

>Chiapas Menu 
>Zapatista de Liberacion National

>Mexico Solidarity Network  

>SIPAZ Servicio Internacional para la Paz 


>Zapatistas in Cybertspace 

>5. Thomas Benjamin, A Rich Land, A Poor People: Politics and 
>Society in Modern Chiapas, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico 
>Press, 1996); and George A. Collier with Elizabeth Lowery 
>Quarantiello, Basta!  Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in 
>Chiapas, (Oakland, CA: Food First, 1994), pp. 16-7; Neil Harvey, 
>Rebellion in Chiapas: Rural Reforms, Campesino Radicalism and the 
>Limits to Salinismo, (La Jolla, CA: Center for U.S.-Mexican 
>Studies, UCSD, 1994); and Adolfo Gilly, Chiapas: la razo'n 
>ardiente, (Me'xico, D.F.: Ediciones ERA, 1997).
>6. Harvey,  pp.10-14; John Womack Jr. Rebellion in Chiapas: An 
>Historical Reader, (New York: The New Press, 1999), pp. 20-9; 
>John M. Whitmeyer and Rosemary L Hopcroft, "Community, Capitalism 
>and Rebellion in Chiapas, Sociological Perspectives, Vol 39, No. 
>4, pp. 517-38, p. 528-33); and Richard Stahler-Sholk, 
>Neoliberalism and Democratic Transition: Looking for Autonomy in 
>the Jungles of Chiapas, paper presented at the Annual Meetings of 
>the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, 23-25 April 
>1998, p. 1.

>7. Womack, pp. 29-43; Carlos Fazio, Samuel Rui'z: El Caminante, 
>(Me'xico, D.F.: Espasa Calpe Mexicana, 1994), pp. 101-113. Xochitl 
>Leyva Solano, "The New Zapatista Movement: Political Levels, 
>Actors and Political Discourse in Contemporary Mexico," in 
>Valentina Napolitano and  Xochitl Leyva Solano, eds, Encuentros 
>Antropolo'gicos: Power, Identity and Mobility in MexicanSociety, 
>(London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 1998), pp.41-2.

>8. Collier, p. 62-3; Womack, pp 39.
>9. Collier ( p. 63) juxtaposes the demands presented in Chol, 
>Tojobal, Tzeltal and Tzotzil to the 1974 Congress with the EZLN's 
>Thirty-Four Point Agenda for negotiation proposed in 1994 and 
>shows that they are almost identical. Ibid., pp. 64-5.
>10. Neil Harvey, The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and 
>Democracy, (Durham, NC:  Duke University Press, 1998), pp. 86-88.

>11. La Botz,  pp. 26-38 provides an especially clear and useful 
>summary of this extraordinary period of organizational activity.  
>A particularly useful aspect is his explanation for the great 
>enthusiasm for maoism among radical Mexican leftists.
>12. See the debate around the "postmodern" nature of the 
>movement, especially Roger Burbach, "Roots of the Postmodern 
>Rebellion in Chiapas," New Left Review, 205, , 1994, pp. 113-24; 
>and Daniel Nugent's critique of Burbach, "Northern Intellectuals 
>and the EZLN," Monthly Review, Vol. 47, No. 3, July-August 1995, 
>pp. 124-38.  Also see Sergio Zerme~o, "State Society, and 
>Dependent Neoliberalism in Mexico: the Case of the Chiapas 
>Uprising," in William C. Smith and Patricio Korzeniewicz, eds.,  
>Politics, Social Change and Economic Restructuring in Latin 
>America, (Miami: University of Miami, North-South Center Press, 
>1997) pp. 123-49; Whitmeyer and Hopcroft, Lowy, and Susan Street, 
>" La palabra verdadera del zapatismo chiapaneco," Chiapas, Vol 2, 
>1996, pp. 75-94.
>13. Lynn Stephen, "Mexico's New Zapatismo: A Culturally and 
>Historically Embedded Critique of Neoliberalism," Paper presented 
>at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological 
>Association, Philadelphia, 2-6 December 1998, p. 3.

>14. See EZLN, Cro'nicas intergala'cticas: Primer encuentro 
>intercontinental por la humanidad y contra el neoliberalismo, 
>(Chiapas: Planeta Tierra, 1996).
>15. See Harry Cleaver, "The Zapatistas and the Electronic Fabric 
>of Struggle," in John Holloway, ed., The Chiapas Uprising and the 
>Future of Revolution in the Twenty-First Century, html version 
>from Chiapas95 webpage, 1996; Mari'a Elena Marti'nez Torres,  "The 
>Internet: post-modern struggle by the dispossessed of modernity,"  
>Paper prepared for the 1997 Annual Meeting of the Latin American 
>Studies Association, Guadalajara, 17-19 April 1997; and  Manuel 
>Castells's section titled "Mexico's Zapatistas: the First 
>Informational Guerrilla Movement" in his book, The Power of 
>Identity, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), pp. 80-1.

>16. Under the provisions of the agrarian law in place until 1993, 
>this land would have been distributed to landless petitioners in 
>the form of "ejido parcels" that they would be free to cultivate 
>and pass along to one of their offspring, but that would not be 
>available to rent, sell or mortgage.
>17. Until the reform of Article 27 of the Constitution in 1993, a 
>landholding was only afectable or available for expropriation and 
>distribution to petitioning peasants when it exceeded a maximum 
>size established in accordance with the type of agricultural 
>production pursued on that parcel.

>18. That is, illegally large landholdings created out of the 
>concentration of holdings that fall within the legal maximum.  
>Typically, a neolatifundio is comprised of a number of holdings 
>that have been put into various family members' names, although 
>in the commercial export agricultural zones of Mexico it has also 
>been common for individuals to pay trusted prestenombres, or 
>namelenders, to act as the owner of record for a "neighboring 
>farm" that is, in fact worked as part of a single large estate.  
>Salinas's alteration of Article 27 of the Constitution made this 
>kind of subterfuge unnecessary, to the great delight and relief 
>of large landowners everywhere in Mexico.  See Judith Adler 
>Hellman, Mexican Lives, (New York: The New Press, 1994), pp .139-

>19. Collier, p. 48-50.

>20. The minimum size of an ejido parcel differs from place to 
>place in Mexico according to the quality, fertility and access to 
>water of the land that is distributed.  On the sub-division of 
>land parcels into ever smaller holdings under pressure of 
>population growth, see Mari'a del Carmen Garci'a A. and Daniel 
>Villafuerte Soli's, "Economi'a y sociedad en Chiapas," in Mari'a 
>Tarri'o and Luciano Concheiro, eds., La sociedad frente al 
>mercado, (Me'xico, D.F.: Ediciones La Jornada, 1998), p. 352.
>21. Collier writes,  "Before 1974, the Catholic Church had 
>already begun extensive grass roots evangelizing in eastern 
>Chiapas, in part to ward off the advance of Protestantism."  p. 
>62.  Also see Womack, pp.36-43 on this Catholic response to the 
>spread of Protestant conversions.

>22. INEGI, Censos Generales de Poblacio'n y Vivienda, 1990, cited 
>in Garci'a A. and Villafuerte Soli's,  p 364.
>23. Ibid., p. 365.

>24. In interviews conducted in May 1998, the explanation offered 
>to me for the increase in  Mormon and Islamic conversions was the 
>appeal to men of religions that -- as interpreted in the 
>Chiapanecan contest -- not only tolerate, but sanctify polygamous 
>relationships.  Now, instead of having an official wife, married 
>in Church plus a second mujer, and her children "on the side" in 
>the classic casa chica, men can have all their wives and children 
>living with them under one roof.

>25. Mari'a del Carmen Garci'a A., "Las organizaciones no 
>gubermentales en Chiapas: algunas reflexiones en torno a su 
>actuacio'n poli'tica," in Centro de Estudios Superiores de Me'xico y 
>Centroame'rica, Anuario 1997, (Tuxtla Gutie'rrez: Universidad de 
>Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, 1998), p. 50.
>26. The National Institute of Statistics, Geography and 
>Informatics, INEGI reports only 6.5 million because the standard 
>they use is that a person must speak an indigenous language to be 
>counted as an indigenous person.  Meanwhile, the National 
>Indigenous Institute, INI, which has good reasons to avoid 
>undercounting indigenous people, estimates 10 million.  See 
>INEGI, XI Censo general de poblacio'n y vivienda, Me'xico, D.F.: 
>INEGI, 1992.
>27. Cynthia Hewitt de Alca'ntara, Anthropological Perspectives on 
>Mexico, London: Routledge, 1984), p. 53.

>28. Guillermo Bonfil Batalla,  Me'xico Profundo: Reclaiming a 
>Civilization, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996); and Luis 
>Villoro, Los grandes momentos del indigenismo en Me'xico, tercera 
>edicio'n, (Me'xico, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Econo'mica, 1996).

>29. Neil Harvey, "La autonomia indigena y ciudadani'a e'tnica en 
>Chiapas," paper presented at the XX Meetings of the Latin 
>American Studies Association, Guadalajara, Mexico, 17-19 April, 
>1997, p. 10.
>30. Ibid., p. 18. He'ctor Di'az-Polanco, La rebelio'n zapatista y la 
>autonomi'a, (Me'xico, D.F.: Siglo Vei'ntiuno Editores, 1997);  Luis 
>Herna'ndez, "Ciudadanos iguales, ciudadanos diferentes: la nueva 
>lucha india," Este Pai's, febrero, pp. 38-39; Marco Rasco'n, 
>"Autonomi'a para la integracio'n," La Jornada, 16 febrero, 1998, 
>pp. xiii-xvi; Gilberto Lo'pez y Rivas, "Los significados de San 
>Andre's,"  La Jornada, 16 febrero, 1998, p. xii;  Carmen Llore'ns 
>Fabregat and Rosa Albina Garavito Eli'as, "Esencia de los acuerdos 
>de San Andres," Coyuntura 84, enero-febrero, 1998, pp. 33-40.

>31. The rule of strong men or caciques.

>32. This quote is drawn from an interview with Juan Pedro 
>Viqueira, one of the few analysts who spoke for attribution.  He 
>later elaborated these views in "Los peligros del Chiapas 
>imaginario," Letras Libres, enero 1999, pp. 20-8; 96-7.
>33. Alison Brysk, "Turning Weakness into Strength: The 
>Internationalization of Indian Rights," Latin American 
>Perspectives, Issue 89, spring 1996, Vol. 23, No 2.,  p. 46.

>34. John Gledhill, "Liberalism, Socio-Economic Rights and the 
>Politics of Identity: From Moral Economy to Indigenous Rights," 
>in Richard Wilson, ed., Human Rights, Culture, and Context: 
>Anthropological Perspectives, (London: Pluto Press, 1997), 
>summarized in Xochitl Leyva Solano, p. 50.

>35. Lynn Stephen, "Mexico's New Zapatismo," p. 6-7.

>36. Judith Adler Hellman, "The Mexican Elections: Rush to 
>Judgement, " Globe &Mail, Toronto, 2 September 1994, p. 8; On 
>the 1994 elections, see Silvia Go'mez Tagle and Ma. Eugenia Valde'z 
>Vega "Chiapas," in Go'mez Tagle, ed., 1994: Elecciones en los 
>estados, (Me'xico, D.F.: La Jornada Editores, 1997),  pp. 179-209.
>37. It is ironic that on the subject of elections in Guerrero 
>State, La Jornada's position is quite different and the view that 
>the electoral road might be usefully pursued at the same time as 
>armed struggle has gained the approval not only of the Popular 
>Revolutionary Army, that is, the guerrillas themselves, but also 
>of La Jornada.  See Blanche Petrich's interview with Arnaldo 
>Bartra, "En Guerrero, armas y urnas no se excluyen," Sunday 13 
>February 1999, p. 8.

>38. See Cleaver, and Marti'nez Torres.

>39. Ibid.  Also see Castells, pp. 72-83.
>40. A similar point was made by Benjamin Barber with regard to 
>participation in U.S. politics in "Internet: A Place for Commerce 
>or a Place for 
>Us?," a presentation to the Columbia University Seminar on the 
>Political Economy 
>of War and Peace, 28 January, 1999.

>41. Stephen, "In the Wake of the Zapatistas," pp. 14-15.
>42. Ibid.,  p. 13.
>43. Cleaver,  p. 19.
>44. In the detailed coverage given to the event in the pages of 
>the Italian daily, Il Manifesto, indigenous people who support 
>the PRI and oppose the Zapatistas are always referred to as 
>priistas, that is, "PRI supporters," and even as "squadracce 
>priiste." This second term is best translated as "organized 
>squads of thugs" and is usually used in Italy to refer, 
>literally, to fascist gangs.  See Giani Proiettis, "L'esercito 
>minaccia," Il Manifesto, 7 May 1998.  45..Almost a year later I 
>found Mexican human rights specialists divided on the question of 
>the utitlity of an approach that appears to challenge Mexican 
>soveignty at the same time that it tests the constitutionality of 
>restrictions on foreigners' activities in Mexicon and the rights 
>of free association of Mexicans.
>46. La Botz,  pp. 32-34.  Of Orive, Womack,  pp. 221, writes, 
>"The one constant in the movement had been the preeminence of its 
>primary intellect and 'ideological director,' arguably the most 
>remarkable organizer of his generation, Adolfo Orive." 
end of part 4 of 4

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