Monday, April 03, 2006

Media Blackout of EZLN's "Other Campaign"

The Zapatista independence movement in Chiapas, Mexico represents one of the most important and most ignored revolutionary causes in the world. It all began during the ratification of NAFTA in 1994 as thousands of indigenous Mexicans rose up against the neo-liberal policies being forced upon them. Since then the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, or the EZLN, has been at the forefront of creating communities based on the libertarian socialist model. The leader of the movement, Subcomandante Marcos, has also been cautious to avoid cult of personality that surrounded Mao and Stalin, by donning a ski mask to keep his identity secret. Marcos' goal is to provide a face to oppressed peoples around the world. In his own words:

Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal, a gang member in Neza, a rocker in the National University, a Jew in Nazi Germany, an ombudsman in the Defense Ministry, a communist in the post-Cold War era, an artist without gallery or portfolio.... A pacifist in Bosnia, a housewife alone on Saturday night in any neighborhood in any city in Mexico, a striker in the CTM, a reporter writing filler stories for the back pages, a single woman on the subway at 10 pm, a peasant without land, an unemployed worker... an unhappy student, a dissident amid free market economics, a writer without books or readers, and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains of southeast Mexico. So Marcos is a human being, any human being, in this world. Marcos is all the exploited, marginalized and oppressed minorities, resisting and saying, 'Enough'!

Despite the vitality of the EZLN in resisting America's neo-feudal hegemony, the media has all but ignored the crisis in Chiapas. From

In recent weeks, readers throughout the world — in English, Portuguese, Italian, French and German — have suffered the Commercial Media’s Information Blockade of the most important and newsworthy story emanating from Mexico: the daily march of the Zapatista “Other Campaign” through five of Mexico’s 31 states. And readers in Spanish have had to look hard for the coverage among a handful of alternative media and community radio station websites, and the important narrative provided by Authentic Journalist Hermann Bellinghausen of the Mexico City daily La Jornada, almost never on page one, buried in the “Politics” section among the flotsam and jetsam of the money-drenched presidential campaign that will culminate in Mexico in July. Narco News’ coverage by the Other Journalism with the Other Campaign has been sidelined due to lack of transportation for its volunteer reporters — a problem we hope to solve soon — but meanwhile what has happened along the rebel road? What follows is a summary based on reports, in Spanish, by our colleagues in the alternative media.

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