What the Zapatistas Can Teach us About the Climate Crisis
By Jeff Conant, August 3, 2010
With their 1994 battle cry, “Ya basta!” (“Enough already!”) Mexico’s Zapatista uprising became the spearhead of two convergent movements: Mexico’s movement for indigenous rights and the international movement against corporate globalization.
Skip to 2010: the movements for indigenous rights and against corporate globalization have converged again, this time globally, in the climate justice movement. Following the widely acknowledged failure of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen last December, the greatest manifestation of these converging movements took place this past April at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
While political forces have conspired to make the Zapatistas largely invisible both inside Mexico and internationally, their challenge has always been to propose a paradigm of development that is both just and self-sustaining. It seems fair, then, to see if Zapatismo can shed any light on the muddle of politics around the climate crisis. Can the poetic riddles of Zapatista spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos serve as signposts on the rough road toward just climate solutions?