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Zapatista: The Formation of An Anarchist Army In North America

The State of ChiapasWikimedia

A researcher named Nick Henck from Raleigh, North Carolina wrote about a group of people living in Mexico following an ideology called Neozapatismo. Neozapatismo is an ideology that combines social anarchism (a specific branch of anarchism that view individual freedom as interrelated with mutual aid) with Mayan tradition. This form of anarchism is actively being practiced by a group of people in Mexico living in the Chiapas region and has something interesting that many statists seem to believe is literally impossible: an army that defends the common people while still following anarchist principles and not becoming an all-consuming monopoly on violence.

The Zapatista Army of Liberation (or EZLN) describes themselves as a group that technically has no single leader, but a figure head in the form of a pseudonymous person called the Subcomandante Marcos. Military and organizational matters are generally decided by Zapatista area elders elected into their positions that make up the Revolutionary Indigenous Clandestine Committee – General Command, or CCRI-CG. This particular army has been active from 1994 to today! The goal of the army was to promote their version of anarchism and freedom in the Chiapas region, revolt against neoliberalism, protest the North American Free Trade Agreement (a trilateral trade bloc in North America that is also known as NAFTA for short), and battle against the influence of drug cartels in the region.

This particular anarchist military has been able to hold its own in a series of conflicts known as the Chiapas Conflict. The EZLN not only protect the rights of many of the farmers and indigenous people in the region, but have held their own against corrupt federal forces and organized crime organizations that even give the Mexican government and the United States trouble. For example, the Juarez Cartel is a cartel has been around since 1970 and even has a base across the Mexico-US border from El Paso, Texas. They have powerful connections across Mexico and in several states in the United States. This cartel also engages in many crimes from human trafficking to racketeering, to arms trafficking & briber. Despite all this, they are falling to get a foothold in the Chiapas region as the EZLN and their anarchist army hold them off and keep them from assaulting their anarchist community. This group is an example of how an anarchist army could function & how you have a group of well-trained volunteers fight off a group that has a monopoly of violence or a region to keep the community safe!

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