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Journal of Peasant Studies
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The Chiapas uprising of 1994: Historical antecedents and political consequences
Sarah Washbrook Sarah Washbrook, St. Anthony's College, Oxford. Available online: 24 Jan 2007

To cite this article: Sarah Washbrook Sarah Washbrook, St. Anthony's College, Oxford. (2005): The Chiapas uprising of 1994: Historical antecedents and political consequences, Journal of Peasant Studies, 32:3-4, 417-449 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03066150500266778

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Introduction

The Chiapas Uprising of 1994: Historical Antecedents and Political Consequences
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SARAH WASHBROOK

This introduction examines the historical background and political consequences of the 1994 armed uprising by the Ejercito Zapatista ´ de Liberacio Nacional (EZLN) in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It ´n begins by presenting a chronology of events, and charting some of the impacts of the uprising on democratization and the rights of indigenous peoples and women in Mexico. This is followed by an examination of the debate concerning the origins and nature of the EZLN itself. Also considered are the agrarian reform, state formation, economic crisis and political and religious change in Chiapas over the period 1920–2004. The final section looks briefly at some of the consequences of the rebellion of 1994, which reignited and intensified many of the pre-existing social and political conflicts in the state.
INTRODUCTION

On 1 January 1994, the day that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, Canada and the United States1 came into effect, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), declared war on the Mexican government and seized four municipalities in the southern state of Chiapas.2 Within ten days of combat the federal army had regained control; however, instead of annihilating the rebel army, the fate of similar guerrilla movements in Mexico in the post-1968 era,3 under the pressure of Mexican and international public opinion, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)4 called a unilateral truce on 12 January 1994. In the years that followed, the EZLN became an

Sarah Washbrook, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol.32, Nos.3&4, July/October 2005, pp.417–449 ISSN 0306-6150 print/1743-9523 online DOI: 10.1080/03066150500266778 ª 2005 Taylor & Francis

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important force in Mexican politics, criticizing the authoritarian regime and its neo-liberal economic policies and contributing to anti-globalization campaigns and movements for greater democratization and the rights of women and indigenous peoples, both nationally and internationally. Part of the reason for the success of the EZLN lay in its skilful manipulation of the media, particularly the internet, and the timing of its appearance when Mexican society was still reeling from structural adjustment and increasingly demanding electoral reform and greater democratic accountability. This special issue of The Journal of Peasant Studies seeks to examine some of the social, economic and political consequences of the armed uprising of 1994 and to analyse the phenomenon of Zapatismo in light of the changes that have taken place in Chiapas and Mexico more broadly during the last ten years. Three of the most salient consequences of the uprising of 1994 have been its impact on governability and the rural economy in Chiapas (addressed in this edition by contributions by Neil Harvey, Marco Estrada Saavedra, Heidi Mosknes, Daniel Villafuerte and Gemma van der Haar); democratization in Mexico (examined by George and Jane Collier and Antonio Garcıa de Leo and the rights of indigenous people and women in ´ ´n); Mexico (see the contributions by Xo ´chitl Leyva Solano and Mercedes Oliveira respectively). A final contribution (by Tom Brass) locates their findings in the broader context of debates about nationalism and the peasantry. As will become apparent, there is disagreement among all these contributors as to the nature of the EZLN and its impact on politics and society in Mexico since 1994. In this introduction I will survey the historical and political background to the uprising and set out the terms of the debate by examining five areas of interest: first, the political events following the uprising in January 1994; second, the debate concerning the origins and nature of the EZLN itself; third, the link between economic crisis and political and religious changes in Chiapas between 1970 and 2004; fourth, agrarian reform and state formation in the post-revolutionary era, covering the 1920–94 period; and fifth, some of the social and political consequences of the uprising of 1994 in Chiapas.

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I THE POLITICAL EVENTS OF 1994 AND AFTER

President Carlos Salinas de Gortari came to power in 1988 amidst widespread claims of electoral fraud. In the context of economic crisis and structural adjustment that followed Mexico’s Debt Crisis of 1982 a large number of voters rejected the ruling PRI and voted instead for a leftist alliance led by

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Cuahtemoc Cardenas, ironically the son of President Lazaro Cardenas, who ´ ´ ´ ´ had founded the PRM, a precursor to the PRI, in 1938. However, the computers collating the electoral results crashed just as it was becoming apparent that Cardenas might win, and the final result showed a resounding ´ victory for Salinas. During his period in office President Salinas extended and deepened the neo-liberal economic reforms that had begun during the presidency of Miguel de la Madrid (1982–88). However, by 1994 Mexico’s political system was beginning to crack. Two months after the Zapatista uprising, in March 1994, the PRI’s presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colossio was shot dead, and in September 1994 the secretary-general of the PRI, Jose Francisco Ruiz Masseau, was also ´ assassinated. Nevertheless, the PRI’s replacement presidential candidate in July 1994, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, emerged triumphant. In Chiapas, ´ Eduardo Robledo Rinco of the PRI won the gubernatorial elections of ´n August 1994 amid much controversy. The opposition candidate Amador ˜o Avendan of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which was founded by Cuahtemoc Cardenas after his defeat in 1988, refused to accept ´ ´ the results, and a short-lived parallel government was inaugurated with support of the state’s popular organizations. In December 1995 the Mexican economy was wracked by the peso crisis, when the national currency lost half its value overnight, reducing both the ability of the middle class to repay dollar-denominated debts and the ´ purchasing power of the poor [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 16]. In the following years, President Zedillo instituted electoral reform and worked to modernize and democratize both Mexico and the PRI. In the 1997 National Congress elections the PRI lost its majority in the lower house for the first time, although it remained the largest party, and in 1999 the PRI broke with the tradition of having presidents pick their own successors and held its first presidential primary. Then, in the presidential elections of July 2000, the PRI candidate, Francisco Labastida Ochoa, lost to Vicente Fox Quesada of the National Action Party (PAN), ending more than 70 years of one-party rule. Less than two months later the PRI candidate for the governorship of Chiapas was defeated by Pablo Salazar Mendiguchıa, who was backed by an alliance of eight opposition ´ parties. Despite the ceasefire of January 1994, from December 1994 to February 1995, the territory at least partially under EZLN control grew from four municipalities to 38 as many towns and hamlets declared themselves free from the control of the official municipal authorities. In February 1995 the government, presided over by Ernesto Zedillo, broke the ceasefire and tried to capture the EZLN high command. Although unsuccessful in its declared objective, the army retook large areas of area controlled by the Zapatistas

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´ [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 16–17]. In October 1995 negotiations began between the federal government and the EZLN in the small indigenous village of San Andres Larrainzar (renamed San Andres ´ ´ Sacamch’en de los Pobres by the Zapatistas) near the city of San Cristo de ´bal Las Casas. Four themes were scheduled for discussion, but only the first, on Indigenous Rights and Culture, made it to the negotiating table. An agreement was signed between the government and the EZLN in February 1996, which became known as the San Andres Accords. But the EZLN ´ unilaterally pulled out of the negotiations soon afterwards, claiming dissatisfaction with the implementation of the agreements. During the period of negotiations overt military actions were put on hold, but there was a strong military presence in the central and eastern regions of state and a build-up of tension from late summer 1994 as local political bosses (caciques) associated with the PRI began arming paramilitary groups.5 From 1996 the federal government stepped up its strategy of counterinsurgency through increased military pressure and programmes of government assistance designed to divide and co-opt communities in regions of Zapatista ´ influence and control [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 18–19]. In many parts of Chiapas the result of the conflict between the EZLN and the government was growing levels of poverty and intra-communal violence. Policies of repression and paternalism in the wake of the breakdown of negotiations culminated in the Acteal massacre of December 1997, in which a group of paramilitaries associated with the local PRI entered a chapel in the small hamlet of Acteal in the municipality of San Pedro Chenalho in ´ Chiapas’s central highlands, and massacred 13 men and 32 women, members of ‘Las Abejas’ (the bees) an indigenous non-governmental human rights organization, who were praying at the time (see Heidi Mosknes, this volume). Although tensions in Chiapas eased after Acteal, inter and intra-communal conflict and violence have continued to be one of the most tragic legacies of ´ the uprising of 1994 [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 20]. Following the victory of Vincente Fox in 2000 the military presence was significantly scaled down and the federal government began to seek new solutions to the conflict in Chiapas. After 1994 the EZLN became increasingly identified with the movement for indigenous rights in Mexico (see Xochitl Leyva Solano, this volume). For ´ example, in January 1996, while discussions on Indigenous Rights and Culture were taking place in San Andres, a National Indian Forum was ´ convened, organized and presided over by Zapatista commanders and moderated by EZLN advisors in nearby San Cristobal de las Casas. The ´ forum attracted a large national and international turnout, including numerous indigenous representatives and activists from Mexico and other parts of Latin ´ America [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 17]. In December

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1996 the government announced that significant parts of the constitutional reform, based on the San Andres Accords of February 1996, and put forward ´ ´ ´ by COCOPA (Comision de Concordia y Pacificacion), a mediating body made up of congressional members of Mexico’s main four political parties, was unconstitutional. The government was particularly unhappy with parts of the reform referring to administrative autonomy for indigenous peoples [Rus, ´ Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 19]. After President Fox took power in December 2000 he sent COCOPA’s proposal for constitutional reform to the Senate and the Zapatistas and members of Mexico’s Indian National Congress (CNI) organized a march for Indian rights to Mexico City in its support. However, the proposal was significantly watered down by the Senate, and the new version, which reduced the scope of Indian autonomy, was publicly rejected by the EZLN, COCOPA, and the CNI (see Xochitl Leyva Solano, this volume). Despite ´ opposition from Indian organizations, the law was passed by the Senate on 25 April 2001 and three days later was accepted by the National Congress. It ´ became law in August 2001 [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 22]. Since the defeat of the PRI in the presidential elections of 2000 and the passing of the indigenous law of 2001 the EZLN has become less important on Mexico’s political agenda and lost much popular support. Nevertheless, the EZLN remains of relevance for understanding current social and political events in Chiapas.

II WHAT IS THE EZLN? INTERPRETING THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF REBELLION

Since 1994 the EZLN has often been presented (and presented itself) in the media, as a ‘new’ social movement, which, in contrast to the vanguard parties and class-based social movements of the past, draws its support from the grassroots participation of ‘civil society’ and aims to advance democracy and identity-based claims such as the rights of women and indigenous peoples. Yet, even though it is in those areas that the EZLN has had its greatest impact at the national and international level, many analysts believe that such an image does not accurately reflect the origins and concrete political aims of the organization. Instead, they link the emergence of Zapatismo in Chiapas to class-based demands for social justice in the form of peasant political organizing from the 1970s onwards. Most obviously, the EZLN takes its name from the greatest peasant leader, and socially the most radical figure, of the Mexican Revolution, Emiliano Zapata, and in 1994 the organization’s

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principal social base was among peasant cultivators located in the Lacandon ´ region of north-eastern Chiapas. However, while analysts familiar with Chiapas’s social and political history agree that the EZLN cannot be separated from ‘traditional’ classbased politics, they disagree substantially over the exact nature and origins of the EZLN, and this disagreement influences interpretations of the causes and consequences of the armed rebellion of 1994. As Neil Harvey [1998: 8–9] points out, two currents of opinion have developed. The first, usually associated with anthropologists who have long experience in the field, sees the uprising as resulting from a combination of ecological and economic crisis, the lack of access to resources, the political and religious reorganization of indigenous communities from the 1960s, and the emergence of an increasingly politicized discourse of ethnic identity, all of which were exacerbated by neo-liberal structural reforms in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The causes are thus basically internal, historical and socioeconomic. Other authors, who constitute the second current of opinion, are less convinced that regional social grievances alone were responsible for the rebellion and argue instead that outside activists with roots in the Marxist Left of the 1970s manipulated Indians in Chiapas for their own political objectives. For example, Carlos Tello Dıaz [1995] argues that the EZLN ´ was formed out of the association of revolutionary leftist groups with workers of the Catholic diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas. He therefore ´ considers that the EZLN’s socialist origins are a ‘truer’ reflection of the organization’s nature than its outward discourse of democracy and freedom. The reasons for the disagreement between authors are partly political and epistemological and partly due to the shifting nature of the EZLN itself. Below I will examine in greater depth the diverging interpretations given by Neil Harvey [1998] and Pedro Pitarch [2004a] concerning these issues, both of which throw light on the emergence of the EZLN in 1994 and its subsequent development. Neil Harvey asserts that in 1994 the EZLN ‘was not a small band of guerrillas hoping to incite a popular uprising. Rather it was a well-organized indigenous army with a mass base of support’ [Harvey, 1998: 3]. While he does not dispute that the founders of the EZLN, originally known as the FLN (Forces of National Liberation), were leftist urban guerrillas from central and northern Mexico, he emphasizes the consensual nature of the relationship between the outsiders and independent peasant organizations in northern and eastern Chiapas, which constitute the ‘forerunners of the EZLN’.6 According to Harvey the small group of guerrillas ‘avoided imposing yet another political line or ideology on the indigenous communities’. Instead they attracted recruits because, ‘many of these communities were tired of failure,

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manipulation, leadership rivalries, and ideological disputes. More important they were tired of living in the same poverty and of facing the same repression as had existed prior to their organisational efforts of the 1970s’ [Harvey, 1998: 164]. Regarding the origin of the EZLN, Harvey recounts a version given by Subcommandante Marcos, the organization’s spokesperson, according to which the formation of the EZLN in 1983 was a spontaneous response to the local level repression of independent peasant organizations by members of the official National Peasant Confederation (CNC), endorsed by the state government. The movement, then, was ‘not born as a guerrilla movement with a clear revolutionary strategy for taking power, but as a regional network of armed self-defence movements’. In terms of ideology, Marcos’s Marxist beliefs were transformed by contact with indigenous cultural practices and beliefs, giving rise to the generation of a new political discourse. Similarly the guerrillas’ vertical structures of command were transformed by exposure to the communities’ practices of collective decision-making [Harvey, 1998: 165–7]. As a consequence, in 1994, the EZLN ‘was a new type of political organisation with a collective leadership that transcended the caudillismo typical of armed rural movements of Mexico’s past’ [Harvey, 1998: 7]. According to Harvey, the independent peasant organizations that developed in Chiapas in the 1970s became united by their ‘opposition to rural bossism or caciquismo’, the product of ‘a pattern of clientelistic control, which became institutionalized in the post-revolutionary period’ [Harvey, 1998: 36]. As a result, the struggle for land reform in Chiapas developed into a struggle for civil rights and the democratization of the political system [Harvey, 1998: 199–200]. Yet, the struggle went beyond demanding the individual rights promised by the constitution, to advocating collective rights, such as those of women and indigenous peoples. Consequently, he considers that ‘the Chiapas rebellion can be seen not only as a clear break with the corporate citizenship of the Mexican State but also as a critique of narrow versions of democratic citizenship. The Zapatistas not only exposed the gaps between liberal ideals and the daily reality for most Mexicans; they opened up the possibility for a more radical understanding of citizenship and democracy’ [Harvey, 1998: 12]. Pedro Pitarch presents a radically different picture of the EZLN. According to him, despite its pro-democracy and pro-human rights public image, the EZLN remains, essentially, an authoritarian and hierarchical organization designed to seize power by non-democratic means. He insists that Marcos and the high command of the EZLN are ‘professional revolutionaries’ who projected their own interests and political strategies onto the indigenous population and made it appear that they were the origin of the EZLN’s

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opinions, regarding, for example, NAFTA and neo-liberalism. They thereby gained strong symbolic capital, while beneath it all they remained committed orthodox Marxists with the goal of undermining the Mexican State [Pitarch, 2004a: 109, 115, 122]. Following Tello Dıaz, Pitarch states that until 1 ´ January the EZLN defined itself in terms of an armed revolutionary movement of the left: a vanguard group that aimed to seize state power and install a socialist regime. However, shortly after the armed uprising of January 1994, the Zapatistas presented themselves as an ethnic movement, which sought to defend the culture and tradition of indigenous peoples and advance their human rights. This strategic shift from orthodox Marxism to identity politics was very successful and the EZLN gained massive popular support throughout Mexico and the world. To support his argument Pitarch traces the changing discourse of the EZLN from the Jungle Declaration of 1 January 1994, the document by which the EZLN first addressed the Mexican public, to the constitutional reform of 2001 and after. He illustrates that by January 1994 the organization’s previous Marxist-Leninist discourse of revolutionary armed struggle had been replaced by the nationalist rhetoric of the Mexican Revolution. The Declaration portrayed the uprising as a struggle against an illegitimate government that had betrayed the Revolution and sold out to foreign interests. It included demands for democracy, justice, freedom, education, healthcare, work, land; but did not contain any discourse of identity. In addition, its terms of reference were drawn from an interpretation of national history that had a paradoxical, ambivalent, and, at times, conflictive relationship to the historical experiences of Mexico’s indigenous peoples. Furthermore, among the revolutionary laws promulgated by the EZLN in the months following the uprising, there was no law of indigenous rights [Pitarch, 2004a: 95–9]. It was not until 1995, during negotiations with the government at San Andres, that the EZLN developed a programme of ´ indigenous rights, and even then, Pitarch contends, the discourse of political autonomy, which became the centrepiece of the Zapatista project, came from academic advisors to the EZLN rather than the movement’s social base [Pitarch, 2004a: 120]. Looking more closely at the EZLN itself, Pitarch points out that the high command is composed mainly of mestizos, and that it was only a few weeks before the uprising, probably for cosmetic purposes, that Subcomandante Marcos created the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee (CCRI), an intermediate tier of civilian authority, made up principally of indigenous recruits, still subordinate to the military command [Pitarch, 2004a: 107]. Pitarch asserts that the reason for the shift in discourse was strategic: the fighting was over quickly; military defeat was inevitable; and the group had

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nothing to negotiate (its sole aim being to seize state power by violent means). As a result, the press became a key weapon and, in a political context in which indigenous rights were increasingly on the agenda, the EZLN began to engage with identity politics and to invent its own ‘indigenous’ mythology, language and programme of demands. Because of such media exposure, the EZLN soon became directly identified with all Chiapas’s indigenous people, despite the great linguistic, social, political and religious diversity of the state’s population [Pitarch, 2004a: 102].7 This change in strategy provided the EZLN with much popular legitimacy, although it was surprising and paradoxical for Indians in the organization’s rank and file who had been won over to Marxism-Leninism, identified with a worker-peasant discourse and thought they were fighting for socialism (see Pitarch [2004a: 116], and also Marco Estrada Saavedra, this volume). Yet in the end, the EZLN, by being all things to all people, became a movement without a fixed identity or character, and, after the victory of Vincente Fox in the presidential elections of 2000 and the passing of the constitutional reform of 2001, the organization was left without space on Mexico’s political agenda [Pitarch, 2004a: 110; 126–9]. Needless to say, Pitarch’s interpretation is controversial. According to Harvey, the demands presented by the EZLN in February 1994 in the first negotiations with the government did make reference to specifically indigenous concerns.8 Additionally, various authors [Mattiace, 2003a, 2003b; Burguete Cal y Mayor, 2003] have pointed out that the Tojolob’al Indians of Las Margaritas, many of whom came to make up the social base of the EZLN, first developed a politicized ethnic discourse and a project for regional autonomy in the late 1980s. Furthermore, even if Pitarch’s characterization of the EZLN’s high command is accurate, it may be problematic to reduce the political aims of the movement to an original ‘essence’ or to conceptualize the relationship between the high command and the social base as one of straightforward political manipulation. For, as Harvey states, the EZLN had strong links to earlier peasant organizations, and the political significance of the uprising was much wider than the immediate demands and military resources of the EZLN itself. In a similar vein, Sonia Toledo argues that whatever the origin of the EZLN, in many respects it appeared to be, in 1994, the armed expression of deep social conflict. As a result, the declaration of war by the EZLN set off a resurgence of the peasant movement throughout the state, expressed in the seizure of many lands, and the overthrow of many municipal authorities [Toledo, 1996: 11]. Yet, Pitarch’s arguments are convincing and his position constitutes an important point of reference for interpreting the genesis of Zapatismo and the causes and consequences of the uprising of 1994 in Chiapas (see Antonio Garcıa de Leo and Marco Estrada Saavedra, this volume). ´ ´n

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III ECONOMIC CRISIS, POLITICAL CONFLICT AND RELIGIOUS CHANGE, 1970–2004

While disagreement exists concerning the origins and political aims of the EZLN, there is little dispute that during the period 1970–2000 Chiapas passed through a period of serious economic crisis, which, directly and indirectly, precipitated a political and religious reorganization of rural society. During this period, stagnant or falling commodity prices, rising costs of inputs, scarce and expensive credit and unfavourable exchange rates for exporters contributed to the demise of the plantation economy that had been established in Chiapas at the end of the nineteenth century. Many landowners sold their properties or, prompted by relatively favourable market conditions, converted arable land to cattle pasture. As a result, by the late 1970s the large-scale seasonal migration of highland Indian labourers to lowland coffee plantations had ended, and the growth of jobs in the primary sector during the period 1980–90 was stagnant and fell thereafter. At the same time, petrol exploration and the construction of hydroelectric dams often led to the confiscation of land from peasants (most of whom did not receive adequate compensation). Both the agricultural frontier and agrarian reform reached their limits, and as many as 200,000 Guatemalan migrants – including approximately 80,000 adult men, fleeing repression and poverty in Guatemala – entered Chiapas’s rural labour market in the 1980s ´ [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 6; Viquiera, 2004]. These changes were exacerbated by rapid population growth after 1950, the effects of which continue to be felt today, despite evidence of a ‘demographic revolution’ in Chiapas from 1990.9 Thus, since the 1970s the primary sector has been unable to provide the number of jobs required for the large and growing Economically Active Population (EAP) and investment in other sectors has been very limited (see Viqueira [2004] and Daniel Villafuerte Solıs, this volume). ´ The economic crisis, which has been significant throughout Chiapas, has had different regional expressions and consequences. According to Jan and Diane Rus, the percentage of men seasonally migrating from San Juan Chamula in the central highlands of Chiapas to coffee plantations in Soconusco on the Pacific coast dropped from 40% in 1974 to 11% in 1987. The increase in Guatemalan migrants in 1983 and the collapse of coffee prices of 1987 finally ended seasonal highland migration to Soconusco, a process that was established at the end of nineteenth century and on which the sustainability of rural community life had come to rely. The results were an increase in informal employment, intensive land use, sharecropping on

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lowland properties, and rising levels of poverty. Diane and Jan Rus found that between 1974 and 1998 family corn plots (milpas) became smaller in size and were largely farmed by women. The latter were also increasingly involved in the production and sale of handicrafts. However, as a result of very low prices and the saturation of the market after 1987, handicraft production has provided little replacement income (see also Oliveira, this volume). In 1998 Diane and Jan Rus found that, in the sample under study, only 8% of households earned 1.5 times the minimum wage and above; 39% of households earned less than a quarter of the minimum wage; and many families work only for food. When they returned in 2004, they found that there had been a very rapid increase in migration to the United States, mainly by men and by the most educated and able members of the community, who had experience of working outside the community [Diane Rus and Jan Rus, 2004]. Since 1994 the situation has not improved, and the responses of the rural population have included an increase in urban migration, the seizure of the remaining lands in private hands, and – most notably – a rapid rise in long-distance migration (see Villafuerte Solıs, this ´ volume). Most of the participants in the Zapatista uprising of 1994 were Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Ch’ol and Tojolob’al speaking peasants from central and northern Chiapas. According to Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace [2003: 8–11] ´ after 1970 the economic foundation of Chiapas’s indigenous societies was swept away and indigenous people were forced to search for alternative bases of community and identity. At the same time, the system of state corporatism, first established by the PRI in the 1930s, collapsed.10 For 40 years peasants had been co-opted and controlled by official peasant organizations (most notably the National Peasant Confederation, the CNC), which were dependent on the state and federal governments, and which provided their members with resources, such as land, credit and crop subsidies, in exchange for political loyalty. By the mid-1970s state funds began to dry up, and independent peasant organizations emerged in Chiapas.11 At the same time, indigenous peoples began to struggle against local and regional caciques, including PRI party bosses, for control of municipal government. The state and federal governments responded with a policy of co-optation and the selective repression of peasant and community leaders. However, the fallout of Mexico’s Debt Crisis of 1982 further weakened the PRI and the ability of the system of state corporatism to respond to these new challenges.12 Both Jan Rus [2004a: 210] and Neil Harvey [1998: 26] agree that these developments were part of wider struggles from 1968 to democratize Mexican society and politics and undermine the PRI, which in Chiapas was associated with large landowners and Indian and non-Indian (ladino) political bosses.

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In sum, from the 1970s, in a context of economic crisis and weakening state corporatism, agrarian struggles and state sanctioned repression became increasingly important in constituting the political consciousness of indigenous peasants in the area that would later be most affected by the Zapatista uprising of 1994. Furthermore, as will be shown below, many of the consequences of the uprising, including the seizure of lands, the rejection of the Mexican State, and calls for administrative autonomy, can be conceived as reactions against corporatism, corruption and the repression of independent peasant organizations in the period 1970–94.

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Religious Change in Chiapas Another variable which has become increasingly prominent in political choices and decisions since 1970, and which has informed both Zapatista and non-Zapatista rural community action since 1994, is religion (see Moknes, this volume). During the period 1970–2000 Chiapas underwent significant change in terms of religious affiliation. There was a growth of Evangelical Protestantism from 5% to 22% of the population, a fall in Catholicism from 91% to 65%, and a growth in the proportion of the population professing no religion from 3.5% to 12%.13 According to Carolina Rivera, Chiapas is now characterized by great religious pluralism and fragmentation, with the percentage of each denomination varying greatly in and between municipalities. She considers that Evangelical groups have been successful because they provide security, belonging, fraternity and solidarity, thereby aiding in the construction of new communities in a changing world [Rivera, 2004]. After 1970 religious conversion also constituted a political strategy: by rejecting the traditional civil-religious indigenous authorities, who had often become incorporated into the party-state apparatus (above all in the central highlands), converts were expressing their opposition to state corporatism and caciquismo. The response in many municipalities, most notably in Chamula, was repression. According to Jan Rus, a ‘widespread strategy for punishing dissidents became forced exile’ or expulsion. Thus, he writes, ‘on the grounds that they are defending ‘‘traditional culture,’’ community bosses and their henchman allied with the state government and PRI have threatened, beaten, raped, burned out, and killed such people, with the purpose of driving them from their communities. The state and federal governments . . . have refused to intervene . . . claiming that through the 1980s they could not interfere in ‘‘internal’’ community matters out of ‘‘respect for local culture,’’ and that such ‘‘acts of fanaticism’’ in the 1990s were beyond state control. ‘By 1997 there were over 30,000 exiles in Chiapas, mainly in the central highlands, and a large community of expelled Chamula Protestants resides in San Cristo ´bal de Las Casas’ [Rus, 2004a: 219].

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In Chiapas, as in other parts of Latin America, in the 1960s and 1970s the Catholic Church became an important force promoting struggles for land, social justice, civil rights and the democratization of political institutions. Even before Samuel Ruiz Garcıa, who was named bishop San Cristobal in ´ ´ 1960, attended the Medellın conference of Latin American Bishops in 1968, ´ the diocese had started to create special teams of priests assigned to indigenous regions to preach the Word of God. Around 1968 the diocese began to promote ‘the preferential option for the poor’ and to encourage reflection on the social and political injustices experienced by the rural population of Chiapas. At the same time, with the goal of working within native customs and traditions so as to bring out the message of the bible, the diocese began to prepare young, bilingual and literate catechists from within indigenous communities themselves. Consequently, according to Neil Harvey, from the 1960s the Catholic Church in Chiapas contributed to the emergence of a discourse of liberation struggle and to the creation of a new set of community leaders in reconstituted indigenous communities, above all in the jungle and a number of lowland regions. The political outcomes of these developments were region and community-specific, but in broad terms, the Church’s initiatives encouraged greater political participation and the genesis and/or revitalization of communal structures of decision-making and internal accountability; directly contributed to the emergence of the independent peasant movement in the 1970s and 1980s; and also provided the ‘organizational and ideological basis for the reinvention of ethnic identity’ [Harvey, 1998: 62–5]. The clearest link between Liberation Theology, independent agrarian organizing, political activism, and the development of a politicized ethnic identity is to be found in the Indigenous Conference held in San Cristobal de ´ Las Casas in 1974. By 1974 the Church had over 1,000 catechists in indigenous zones, including municipalities where the state had a relatively weak presence. The governor, Manuel Velaso Suarez, invited the Bishop of ´ Chiapas to help organize the conference, which was intended as a means to co-opt new indigenous leaders into the expanding state apparatus. However, instead of successfully channelling dissent through the corporate system, the conference strengthened the opposition movement. The diocese invited teachers, students and lawyers to give courses in agrarian law, history and economics in preparation for the conference, which provided many community leaders with a broader political education. Most importantly, for the first time, activists and leaders from throughout Chiapas came together to discuss agrarian and labour issues, education, access to markets, public health, and the corruption, arbitrariness and ineptitude of the political authorities. Consequently, they found that they had many common grievances against the state and resolved to remain independent of the PRI and the

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patronage that it distributed. According to Harvey, many of the new community leaders who attended the conference, and who developed new forms of peasant political and economic organizing thereafter, were eventually absorbed into the EZLN [Harvey, 1998: 74, 77–8, 91].

IV THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION AND AGRARIAN REFORM IN CHIAPAS, 1910–94

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In general schematic terms, Mexico experienced armed revolution during the years 1910 to 1920, followed by a period of regime consolidation and statebuilding between 1920 and 1940. Thus, by 1940 most of the corporate institutions that allowed the post-revolutionary state to successfully manage economic growth and political dissent before 1970 had been established. As van der Haar (this volume) shows in following the paradigm of ‘everyday forms of state formation’ developed by Joseph and Nugent [1994], the construction of the post-revolutionary state involved processes of negotiation as well as repression. In rural Mexico the most important instrument for creating a new institutional framework, generating legitimacy, and establishing a political clientele, was agrarian reform, through which land was distributed to peasants in the form of communal land grants (ejidos).14 In Chiapas, which has a varied economic and social geography, the process of land reform was uneven and regionally specific. In addition, in some areas, notably that of the central highlands, the post-revolutionary state had a much greater presence than, for example, in the Lacandon forest, where, from the ´ 1960s, migrants ‘constructed a new social order largely at the margins of the state’ [Harvey, 1998: 66–67]. Many of the social, political and economic relationships that contributed to the emergence of Zapatismo in 1994 and have determined its outcomes thereafter, can be traced to regionally specific processes of state building and agrarian reform in Chiapas between 1920 and 1994. Furthermore the constitutional reform of 1992 which, as part of the negotiations for the free trade agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, Canada and the United States, ended land reform in Mexico, led to the alienation of many peasants in Chiapas and growing support for the armed option offered by the EZLN. The Mexican Revolution in Chiapas The Mexican Revolution, which began in central and northern Mexico in 1910, had little impact in Chiapas until 1914, when the promulgation of a labour law abolishing debt servitude and granting workers the right to a minimum wage and other benefits triggered a counter-revolution by local

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landlords against the government of Venustiano Carranza. In the central valley and the Pacific coast the rebels, who had considerable popular support in their guerrilla campaign against the occupying carrancista army, were known as Mapaches (racoons), while, in the central highlands and northern Chiapas, the rebels, led by Alberto Pineda, were known as pinedistas.15 Prior to 1914, landlords in these two regions had been adversaries; but to defend their local economic, political and social privileges they formed an alliance against the central government that emerged triumphant in 1920. In that year the counter-revolutionaries made peace with President Alvaro Obregon in ´ return for considerable de facto autonomy. They were consequently able to dominate the state government for much of the post-revolutionary period. It was not until the 1930s, under President Lazaro Cardenas (1934–40), ´ ´ when the federal government began to intervene more actively in the regions, that many of the social and political changes associated with the Mexican Revolution arrived in Chiapas. Thus, in the 1930s peasant leagues and unions, which later became incorporated into the PRI, emerged in the central valley and Pacific coast [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 65]. It was also in the 1930s, in the ‘time of Cardenas’ that the Revolution reached Maya peasants in Chiapas ´ in the form of agrarian reform, labour unions and an end to labour contracting by means of debt. However, as Jan Rus states, it was an ‘ambivalent revolution’ that ‘empowered the Indians and brought them new rights’ but at the same time ‘led to a more intimate form of domination’ as the state ‘reached inside’ the communities, ‘not only changing leaders but rearranging the governments.’ This involved, ‘creating new offices to deal with labour and agrarian matters [and] at the same time. . .granting vast new powers to the officials charged with maintaining relations with the party and state’. The result, in many Indian communities, was a renovated form of caciquismo or ‘bossism’, which penetrated ‘the very community structures previously identified with resistance to outside intervention and exploitation.’ Thus indigenous corporate social and political traditions, inextricably linked to local religious beliefs, became the means by which ‘institutionalized revolutionary communities’ were harnessed to the state and the rule of the PRI legitimized after 1936 [Rus, 1994: 266–7]. The corporate system enabled the state to establish a relatively strong presence in certain regions of Chiapas from the mid-1930s, notably in Chamula and other municipalities in the central highlands. It also constituted a means by which local elites were able to co-opt and adapt the potentially more radical initiatives of the central government to their own interests. For example, in 1934 Cardenas promoted the creation of a Department of ´ Indigenous Social Action, Culture and Protection in Chiapas. The department, which was dependent on the state executive, constituted an intermediary organization designed to integrate Indians into national society

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and culture by encouraging agrarian and worker organization. Thus the Union ´ of Indigenous Workers (Sindicato de Trabajadores Indıgenas), which was overseen by the department, was organized to ensure the payment of a minimum wage, the fulfilment of labour regulations and the substitution of collective for individual contracts. However, over time the Union became an agency that operated for the benefit of employers, reducing the bargaining power of workers through corporate control and outright repression. Similarly, in agrarian matters, the department, which at first encouraged production co-operatives and advised indigenous peoples on land reform laws and procedures, became subordinated to the interests of local landowning groups [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 56]. In 1940 these groups also established local cattle associations linked to state unions and the PRI as a way to obtain tax breaks, to pressure the government against agrarian reform and to repress independent peasant activism [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 65].16 As a result, a political and economic elite of prominent cattle ranchers was consolidated in Chiapas in the post-revolutionary period. Tension persisted between the projects and interests of the federal and state governments in Chiapas after the presidency of Lazaro Cardenas. The federal ´ ´ National Indigenous Institute (INI) was founded in 1948 and opened its first regional centre in Chiapas in San Cristo ´bal de Las Casas in 1951. According to Jan Rus [2004a], by 1955 INI’s programme of ‘integrated community development’ in Chiapas was in deep crisis. This programme, which conceived indigenous peoples’ poverty and powerlessness as resulting from their isolation from national society and culture, proposed to reorganize the relationship between indigenous people’s ‘closed’ cultures and the wider economy and society by ‘technical’ means. However, as Rus points out, indigenous people were already well integrated into the regional economy, and in practice INI’s project constituted ‘a direct assault on the interests and prerogatives of the economic and political elites in the regions where INI operated,’ thus provoking great resistance by important state actors against the federal agency. INI employees, who uncovered numerous abuses and illegal practices used to exploit members of Indian communities, clashed with coffee planters and labour contractors over the continued enforcement of debt peonage through state-sponsored violence and over reform of the coffee workers’ union; with the state treasurer and leading distillers over the state liquor monopoly; and with the state governor and local political bosses over native legal rights, land claims and private armies (guardias blancas).17 However, they often received little practical support from the federal government, and conflicts between INI representatives and political and economic elites continued in the 1960s and 1970s [Rus, 2004a: 202–3, 213]. Rus also points out that even though INI provoked considerable opposition in

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Chiapas, its remit in 1951 did not include indigenous people resident on fincas as debt peons (peones acasillados) and wage labourers (jornaleros).18 He suggests that this was because it would have been too politically sensitive to do so, and because these indigenous people, unlike those residing in ‘closed corporate communities’ outside the boundaries of the fincas, were not ‘traditional’ enough to be of interest to anthropologists.19 Therefore, it was not until the 1970s, when many landlords switched to cattle production, that INI, the Catholic Church, and other political organizations finally gained access to these populations [Rus, 2004: 220]. The politicization of former debt peons and agricultural labourers in northern Chiapas after 1970 constitutes an important aspect of the background to the uprising of 1994, and their different regional experiences of the state during the postrevolutionary period help to explain the varied regional manifestations and outcomes of Zapatismo in Chiapas. Agrarian Reform in Chiapas, 1920–92 The social and political consequences of land reform in Chiapas after 1920 are much debated, and new regional studies are emerging which question the commonplace notion that agrarian reform was limited and had little impact on rural society (see van der Haar in this volume). However, the most comprehensive study of agrarian reform in Chiapas, by Marıa Eugenia Reyes ´ Ramos [1992], remains a key text for understanding the scope and nature of agrarian reform in the state. As Reyes Ramos notes, her work is mainly empirical and descriptive because – in the absence of detailed regional studies on agrarian policy, agrarian reform and land tenure in Chiapas – she had to base her study on the analysis of laws and statistics that had not been published or compiled anywhere [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 16–18]. Using these sources, Reyes Ramos shows that in quantitative terms agrarian reform was extensive in Chiapas during the period 1920–88. But, she argues, it did not bring about the end of the finca as a productive unit, act as a force for the modernization of agricultural production, or bring about social and political transformation [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 22]. This was because agrarian reform in Chiapas was principally a process of colonization rather than redistribution [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 125]. Much agrarian reform involved uninhabited national lands, rather than private property, thereby preserving the economic and political power of the landowning elite [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 32]. However, there were regional differences in the timing, nature and extent of land reform in Chiapas. For example, in Soconusco, where, in contrast to other parts of the state, agrarian workers’ unions developed after 1914 and a Socialist party was established in 1921, extensive lobbying resulted in virtually the only land reform to take place in Chiapas before 1930. However, Reyes Ramos contends that the

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establishment of ejidos on peripheral coffee plantation lands worked principally to the benefit of the latter by providing a stable workforce in a context of labour shortage [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 51–2]. In addition, as van der Haar shows in this volume, the redistribution of land and its conversion from private property to communal land tenure was extensive in the Tojolob’al highlands, between Comitan and the Lacandon rainforest after 1930, with ´ ´ different social and political consequences. Looking more closely at the process of agrarian reform in Chiapas, Reyes Ramos identifies two separate phases before 1940. In the period 1920–34 the Mapache counter-revolutionaries who emerged triumphant in 1920 used their power in the state government to limit agrarian reform and to increase their power base in the countryside. In 1921 Governor Tiburcio Fernandez set the ´ upper legal limit for ‘small property’ (i.e. that not subject to agrarian reform) at 8,000 hectares or 20,000 acres. Landlords whose properties were subject to expropriation were to be able to choose the area that they wished to keep; they were also given the chance to subdivide and sell off properties liable for redistribution. In the event of expropriation, moreover, compensation would be paid. The law also permitted the granting of parcels to poor peasants and those who had worked for the ‘benefit of the state’, and allowed peasants to purchase land from landlords and the state government, thereby facilitating the creation of political clienteles. Additionally, in 1922 a federal law exempted coffee, cacao, vanilla, rubber and other plantations from agrarian reform [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 48]. As Table 1 shows, only 46,607 hectares were granted to 5,026 peasants in the period 1920–29 [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 51]. In 1934 agrarian legislation became federal, and debt peons (peones acasillados), who had previously been excluded, were allowed to petition for ejidal grants. In 1935 the upper limits to the extensions of land not subject to land reform were set according to the quality and type of land. But if the land

TABLE 1: LAND REFORM STATISTICS FOR CHIAPAS, 1920–84

Years 1920–29 1930–39 1940–49 1950–59 1960–69 1970–79 1980–84 1920–84

Quantity of Land Granted to Peasants (hectares) 46,607 290,354 468,146 649,631 483,526 569,082 445,292 2,952,638

Number of Beneficiaries 5026 20,000 26,413 27,365 20,940 20,805 23,495 144,044

Source: Compiled from Reyes Ramos [1992: 51, 62, 82, 83, 121, 122, 123].

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was employed productively, it could exceed such limits, and the buying and selling of property potentially subject to land reform and the payment of compensation continued [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 53–6]. As the data show (Table 1), land reform increased considerably between 1930 and 1939, when 290,354 hectares of land were granted to more than 20,000 petitioners in diverse regions of the state [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 62]. Nevertheless, according to Reyes Ramos, in 1940 77% of landowners possessed only 4.4% of landed property, whereas 2.6% of landowners possessed 63%. In addition, large areas of private property remained uncultivated, production was characterized by a lack of diversification and low productivity; and large quantities of land suitable for cultivation remained unutilized [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 65–6]. Systematic agrarian reform only began in Chiapas after 1940, when in Mexico as a whole it was slowing down. Chiapas had a large amount of untitled national land compared to other Mexican States, including big expanses of virgin rainforest, and the state government, which in the 1940s once again came to have a larger role in the interpretation of agrarian policy, favoured opening up and colonizing areas that had previously remained under populated and under cultivated due to poor communications [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 67–73]. Between 1920 and 1984 2,954,699 hectares of national lands were distributed to ejidatarios and individual colonizers. Before 1934 colonization was basically private, and the parcels of land granted were relatively large compared to the period 1934–62. In 1962 private colonization ended, and thereafter national lands served exclusively for agrarian reform and the creation of new ejidal population centres [Reyes Ramos, 1992, 73– 80].20 The emphasis on colonization meant that agrarian reform became concentrated in a few municipalities. For example, in the period 1950–59, 46.1% of the total area distributed was located in 12 municipalities, mainly in the unexploited regions of the Lacandon forest and the frontier. Similarly, ´ 28% of all land granted to ejidatarios in the period 1970–79 and 12% in the period 1980–84 was located in the same region of colonization [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 82; 96]. However, even though agrarian reform was considerable after 1940, it failed to resolve poverty or ease social tensions in the countryside.21 Seven factors stand out which limited the social impact of land reform in Chiapas: their relative importance differed by region. First, there was immunity from redistribution of properties under 300 hectares in size that were engaged in the export of agricultural commodities. Second, certificates of exemption were used (inefectibilidad), first issued in the 1950s to protect livestock ranches from expropriation. The number increased greatly in the 1970s and 1980s, until by 1984 they covered most of the remaining private property in Chiapas. Third, private property was consolidated through individual

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colonization, prior to 1962. Fourth, ejidos were created next to commercial fincas so as to provide a source of labour [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 84–7; 119]. Fifth, quite often land granted to peasants in areas of colonization was either unofficially occupied by cattle ranchers and logging companies, who refused to hand their de facto possessions over to the new owners, or the new ejidos were adjacent to property held by these same interests. Both scenarios created conflicts over territory and resources [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 96]. Sixth, many presidential decrees granting land to petitioners were simply not executed, or there was a long delay between their date of issue and the date on which the land was handed over.22 In 1984 Reyes Ramos found 59 unexecuted presidential decrees covering 792,105 hectares. The oldest dated back to 1920, but more than 70% were from the period after 1960. Seventh, and related to the previous point, the length and complexity of the land reform process itself limited the social impact of these reforms. The legal procedures were an endless source of frustration for peasants and provided many opportunities for landlords, surveyors and bureaucrats to delay. Ramos Reyes found that the average period of time that peasants had to wait from the time that they submitted their petition to the execution of the presidential decree was 7.4 years. [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 100–102]. After 1970 agrarian reform in Chiapas was aimed at relieving growing social pressures in a context of economic crisis and increasing peasant radicalization. In Mexico as a whole, the government of Luis Echeverrıa ´ (1970–76) sought to regain political support after the brutal repression of the 1968 student movement by reviving agrarian reform and encouraging peasant organizing. The practical results of Echeverrıa’s agrarian policies were ´ limited, but throughout the countryside independent organizations of landless peasants, agricultural workers, and ejidatarios began to challenge the CNC as the sole representative of rural demands and to reject co-option by parties and the state [Harvey, 1998: 118]. After 1976, President Jose Lopez Portillo ´ ´ (1976–82) attempted to shift the emphasis of rural policy away from land redistribution and towards the modernization of production and marketing. The result was a downgrading of agrarian reform, preference for production over land-oriented organizations, and a policy of fomenting factionalism and repressing many of the movements that had emerged in the earlier period [Harvey, 1998: 118, 131]. In 1982, the year that Miguel de la Madrid (1982–88) was elected president of Mexico, a hard-line military man from the land-owning elite in Chiapas, Absalon Castellanos Domınguez, became state governor. The next six years ´ ´ saw increasing militarization, state-sponsored repression of independent peasant movements, and rising levels of rural violence as prominent landowning families, allied to the state government, used official peasant organizations to defend their interests [Harvey, 1998: 148–50, 159]. During

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this period, the CNC, which was in decline in Mexico as whole, was strongly supported by the state government and the local PRI as a means to divide and co-opt the peasant movement. For example, members of the CNC received preferential access to land and also benefited from subsidized credit and other inputs [Harvey, 1998: 107–8; Reyes Ramos, 1992: 110–12]. In 1983, the state government was forced to respond to growing peasant mobilization for agrarian reform by formulating a new programme that eventually distributed over 80,000 hectares to 9,000 peasants. However, the programme’s implementation exacerbated rather than resolved existing conflicts [Harvey, 1998: 153]. In the Agrarian Rehabilitation Plan, initiated in 1984, the government purchased land from landowners to sell to peasants whose claims for ejidos had not been resolved through the official land reform process. The programme was initially designed to resolve problems in areas where land invasions were led mainly by independent peasant organizations. But, as a result, the CNC began to carry out its own invasions and to evict many peasant squatters belonging to other organizations. As Harvey points out, although both groups received land, the programme transformed conflicts between landowners and peasants into conflicts between independent peasant organizations and the CNC. Furthermore, landowners received compensation for land that they would have lost anyway or could not use, thereby motivating them to invent land invasions or to create conflicts by evicting peasants who were not occupying their land in order to have the pretext for a claim. In addition land reform officials and members of the state bureaucracy gained another means of corruption and patronage. For these reasons the programme was briefly suspended in 1985 but then reinstated until 1987. At the same time a large number of exemption certificates were issued to cattle ranchers [Harvey, 1998: 153–5]. The repression of peasant leaders continued under Patrocinio Gonzalez Garrido, who became governor of Chiapas in ´ 1988, the year that Carlos Salinas de Gortari assumed the Mexican presidency. In sum, as a direct result of the state government’s agrarian policies, the 1980s and early 1990s saw an escalation of violence amongst peasant groups and between peasants and the state, accompanied by the growing polarization of society between the state government and landowners on the one hand and the diocese of San Cristobal, independent peasant organizations and ´ indigenous communities on the other [Harvey, 1998: 171–3]. These conflicts intersected with struggles for the control of municipal governments, better roads and public services and, in line with events across the continent, the growing politicization of ethnic identity (see Xochitl Leyva Solano, this ´ volume). When in 1992, as part of the negotiations for NAFTA, agrarian reform was officially ended by President Salinas, many peasants in Chiapas

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felt that they had lost all chance of securing land, and became increasingly alienated from the political system and the state. The rebellion of 1994 revived the independent peasant movement and exacerbated social and political conflicts in Chiapas. Peasant groups founded the State Council of Indigenous and Peasant Organizations in late January 1994 and seized approximately 50,000 hectares in the first six months (see Villafuerte Solıs, this volume). However, conflicts soon emerged between ´ independent peasant organizations with ties to the EZLN and official organizations with ties to the PRI, as the government sought to resolve the situation by forcefully evicting squatters and buying lands from landowners to distribute to peasants, as it had in the 1980s (with many of the same problems) [Harvey, 1998: 211–17]. Further schisms developed in 1995 after a number of independent peasant leaders agreed to meet with a representative of the federal government without the EZLN. They were promptly accused of being traitors by the latter, which broke off all relations with their organizations. Subsequently, the period 1995–96 saw escalating levels of violence in countryside between Zapatista and non-Zapatista peasant groups and between peasants and the military [Harvey, 1998: 218–23]. The Histories of Two Distinctive Regions of Zapatista Influence In this section I shall briefly examine the histories of two regions of Chiapas where the EZLN has had much support and influence, both before and since ˜adas of Ocosingo, Altamirano and 1994. The areas in question are: the can Las Margaritas in the Lacandon region of northeastern Chiapas, which make ´ up the geographical heartland of the EZLN, and the municipality of Simojovel and its environs, to the north of San Cristobal de Las Casas.23 As ´ these histories show, although the Zapatista conflict was not the direct result of the relationship of exploitation and subordination established between private finca owners and debt peons at the end of the nineteenth century, both the development of commercial agriculture in the pre-revolutionary period, and the responses of the post-revolutionary state to peasant demands for land and social justice are important for understanding the political context of the uprising and its consequences.24 As Ramos Reyes [1992] emphasizes, the Lacandon region was an ´ important zone of colonization in the post-revolutionary period. The process began unofficially in the 1930s, when former peons from fincas in neighbouring municipalities began to colonize the rainforest. They were joined by landless peasants from other regions of Chiapas, and the first ejidos were granted in the 1940s. At the same time that land was distributed in communal land grants, individual smallholdings and private cattle ranches were also established in the region [Harvey, 1998: 62; Leyva Solano and Ascencio Franco, 1996: 21–2, 53, 92]. In the 1950s and 1960s colonization

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accelerated and the Lacandon region became characterized by rapid ´ population growth and the establishment of a linguistically and ethnically very diverse population. By 1970 approximately 100,000 colonists had settled. The majority were Tzeltal and Chol Indians from eastern and northern highlands, and some were Tojolob’ales from the area east of Comitan, but ´ settlers also came from other parts of Mexico [Harvey, 1998: 62].25 In 1970, 738,000 hectares of land in the Lacandon region was in the ejidal sector and ´ 300,000 hectares in private hands [Leyva Solano and Ascencio Franco, 1996: 83]. In the 1970s and 1980s ejidatarios shifted from subsistence to coffee and cattle production, and by 1990 27% of the total forest area was dedicated to cattle raising and 19% to agriculture. Of land used for rural production 11% was under coffee cultivation, 31% was dedicated to maize and beans, and 58% was cattle pasture [Leyva Solano and Ascencio Franco, 1996: 139]. The region’s economy was adversely hit by structural adjustment and the fall in coffee prices during the 1980s and early 1990s, resulting in falling incomes and rising levels of poverty and environmental degradation. The post-revolutionary state had a relatively weak presence in the Lacando region, and the migrants that poured into the jungle after 1960 ´n established independent peasant co-operatives and new self-governing communities with much more horizontal social structures than the fincas ´ and communities that they had left behind [Rus, Hernandez Castillo and Mattiace, 2003: 12; Harvey, 1998: 62–4]. The development of the community, political and cultural identity of the colonists was strongly influenced by religion. Protestant missionaries were first invited to Chiapas by the Mexican government in the 1940s to assist in the acculturation of the indigenous population. By 1990 25% of the population in the Lacandon ´ region were either Protestants or Evangelical Christians [Leyva Solano and Ascencio Franco, 1996, 66]. Catholic missionaries and Indian catechists also penetrated the region after 1960 to preach the Word of God.26 Unlike Protestant missionaries, they sought to revive indigenous community practices, for example through the creation of village co-operatives [Harvey, 1998: 62]. After the Indigenous Conference of 1974 the presence and influence of Catholic pastoral agents became considerable, and Liberation Theology was increasingly important in fomenting peasant political activism and the development of a militant political and religious community identity in the region.27 According to Pedro Pitarch, many Indian catechists were recruited by the EZLN in the 1980s and 1990s, and their religious beliefs have influenced the public morals of the organization in matters such as the prohibition of alcohol, the strong sanctioning of adultery, and the emphasis on discipline, obedience and cleanliness in Zapatista communities (see Pitarch [2004: 117] and also Marco Estrada Saavedra, this volume).

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The political ideas and practices of Maoism also influenced the communal ˜ identity of the inhabitants of the Canadas. A number of the outside advisers who participated in the Indigenous Conference of 1974 were members of Maoist groups from central and northern Mexico. Soon afterwards, encouraged by subsidies from the government of Luis Echeverrıa, they ´ began to organize collective ejidos in the Lacandon region, where state ´ institutions such as the INI, the CNC and the PRI were weak. In 1980 the Union of Ejidal Unions (Union de Uniones or UU), which had a focus on coffee marketing, was formed from three smaller unions, thereby creating the largest independent peasant organization in Chiapas, with 12,000, mainly indigenous, families in 180 communities located in 11 municipalities. However, the organization was wracked by leadership rivalries and split into two factions in 1983. The bigger faction formed the Union de Ejidos de la Selva (UE), which remained the largest organization in the Lacandon region ´ ´ in the 1980s, and which participated in the creation of ARIC (Asociacion ´ Rural de Interes Colectivo) in 1988 [Harvey, 1998: 79–81, 84, 89, 193; Leyva Solano and Ascencio Franco, 1996: 150–4]. In the 1980s and early 1990s, in a context of economic crisis, structural adjustment, the end to agrarian reform and growing political repression in Chiapas, leaders in these organizations, notably ARIC, were increasingly attracted by the armed option offered by the EZLN, which steadily penetrated and militarized the peasant movement in the Lacando region (Marco Estrada Saavedra, this volume). ´n The EZLN also had a strong influence in and around the municipality of Simojovel after 1994. In the 1990s, social and ethnic relations in Simojovel were still marked by the effects of the coffee boom of the late nineteenth century, which had brought land privatization and migration and precipitated the conversion of the previously free indigenous peasant population to debt peons and labour tenants on ladino-owned fincas [Toledo, 1996: 61–4]. From the 1940s a number of large fincas were subdivided as a result of agrarian reform, and some ejidos were established. However, landowning families still managed to concentrate property as a result of owning many small contiguous properties (ranchos), and to exploit Indian producers by means of moneylending and transport and commercial monopolies. Through political connections to the state government, landowning families were also able to retain land that had been granted to indigenous communities and ejidatarios through the official land reform process. According to Sonia Toledo, between 1930 and 1980 750,280 hectares were granted to peasants, but only 141,383 hectares – 25% of which were already in communal hands – were incorporated into the ejidal sector. In 1980 there were 533 fincas and 10 ejidos in Simojovel and 197 fincas and 16 ejidos in the neighbouring municipality of Huitiupan. At that same conjuncture there were also still ´ approximately 10,000 debt peons in Simojovel [Toledo, 1996: 69–74, 102].

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Thus, although the Mexican Revolution and agrarian reform brought changes to the region, state institutions remained weak, the political control of finqueros, which was exercised through patron – client relations, intimidation and outright violence, remained strong, and the lives of permanent finca workers subject to debt peonage remained little changed [Toledo, 2004]. However, after 1970 a number of developments took place, including rapid population growth, the construction of a hydroelectric dam, and the expansion of cattle ranching, which reduced labour demand and increased labour supply and the competition for land. These changes altered the relationship between landowners and their workforce, precipitating the development of a peasant movement, the invasion of many private properties, rising levels of state sponsored violence and, in the 1980s, the redistribution of much land by the state government [Toledo, 1996: 104–6; 2004]. According to Neil Harvey, the independent peasant movement began in the municipality of Simojovel in 1971 when Tzotzil and Chol Indians, some of whom were permanent debt peons but the majority of whom were landless seasonal workers, undertook a series of land invasions on private coffee plantations in protest against the lack of response to their agrarian reform petitions. After finding the CNC ineffective, they formed an independent peasant organization, which became increasingly important as community leaders trained for the Indigenous Conference of 1974 and, inspired by Liberation Theology, began to co-ordinate peasant activism in Simojovel. As well as becoming influential among finca workers, independent peasant and community leaders ousted priista officials on existing ejidos in the region.28 The response of the state to growing peasant militancy was violent repression by the army in 1976. However, peasant mobilization in Simojovel continued, and became linked to the Independent Confederation of Agricultural Workers and Peasants (CIOAC), a national level peasant and agricultural workers confederation with close ties to the Mexican Communist Party. In 1979 the CIOAC established an agricultural workers union, which in 1981 organized a strike of coffee workers. The organization also co-ordinated peasant protest against the construction of a hydroelectric dam [Harvey, 1998: 92–9]. During the 1980s, in a context of increasing repression, the CIOAC continued to lead land invasions and labour struggles in Simojovel [Harvey, 1998: 157–9].29 Eventually, the state government addressed the conflict by redistributing much of the land that had been invaded to peasants. However, the way that this was carried out exacerbated conflicts between members of the CIOAC and the CNC. In 1994, the Zapatista uprising reignited the remaining land conflicts in Simojovel and intensified the fight for municipal control in a political context where memories of the bitter struggles of the 1970s and 1980s remained strong. However, since then, according to Toledo, the Zapatistas have reproduced much of the hierarchical

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authoritarianism characteristic of local society, and the recent years have seen an increase in caudillismo and corruption in the movement and the erosion of support for peasant leaders [Toledo, 2004].

V SOME LEGACIES OF 1994

After 1994, at the national level, the EZLN contributed to the movement for the democratization of Mexican politics, which saw the ending of the PRI majority in the National Congress in 1997 and the election of Vincente Fox of the PAN to the presidency in 2000 (see Collier and Collier and Garcıa de ´ Leon, this volume). In addition, although the organization eventually opposed ´ the reformed constitutional amendment of 2001, the EZLN was influential on putting the issue of indigenous rights on the political agenda. In Chiapas, the uprising reignited and intensified many of the social and political conflicts that had emerged after 1970, giving rise to land invasions, state sponsored repression, increasing levels of inter- and intra-communal violence, and the establishment of de facto autonomous governments in many regions, which rejected the authority and institutions of the Mexican State. The period since 1994 has also seen continuing economic crisis, plus the accompanying effects of this. Among them have been an increase in the politicization of ethnicity and ‘tradition’, and a decrease in the emphasis on peasant issues.30 In this respect, Chiapas fits into a pattern familiar in Latin America and elsewhere (see Tom Brass, this volume). Also important has been a growing, but limited, awareness of women’s rights.31 An outcome has been the erosion of support for the Zapatistas, and, even though the EZLN has rejected electoral politics (consistently boycotting national and state elections in its area of control), the emergence of competitive elections and political pluralism in many municipalities (see Villafuerte Solıs, this ´ volume). One of the most significant effects of the uprising has been on the governability of Chiapas. In 1994 approximately 40 town halls were seized by insurgents, and 33 municipalities declared themselves in rebellion against the government, and after 1994 political mobilization among those who joined the Zapatistas focused on the creation of autonomous municipalities and regions and structures of governance free from the state. Thus, although Indian autonomy was not a demand presented by the EZLN in 1994, it came increasingly to dominate Zapatista discourse after 1995 and was incorporated into the San Andres Accords of 1996 [Burguete Cal y Mayor, 2003: 195].32 ´ However, the EZLN is not the only group to have taken up the call for municipal autonomy. Other groups, including those allied to the PRI, have

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used the issue of autonomy as a political strategy (in the latter case claiming huge amounts of money and power from the government). In addition, the state government has tried, largely unsuccessfully, to engage with demands for the creation (and often the reconstitution) of municipalities by proposing programmes of re-municipalization that would convert de facto local governments into constitutional ones. Thus, the establishment of autonomous municipalities in Chiapas has been a complex, conflictive, and, at times contradictory process, with a large and diverse number of actors, a plurality of meanings, and a number of far from benign outcomes [Burguete Cal y Mayor, 2003: 191–2; 2004].33 Burguete Cal y Mayor identifies two principal kinds of autonomous municipality in Chiapas: on the one hand, Zapatista municipalities in regions controlled militarily by the EZLN, many of which were dismantled by the army in 1998; on the other, ‘Civilian’ autonomous municipalities, supported by an important segment of the indigenous movement in Chiapas. In the former, the new authorities often have joint civil and military jurisdiction and command, and conflicts, aggravated by the state and federal governments, are common with non-Zapatistas who share the same territory but who do not recognize Zapatista authority or laws [Burguete Cal y Mayor, 2003: 206–9, 213–6]. With regard to the EZLN itself, since the late 1990s the movement has been characterized by divisions in its social base, splits within the leadership, and internal conflicts over land, all of which have been exacerbated by government programmes of social assistance and counter-insurgency. The response in areas of Zapatista control has been the development of autonomous parallel state structures (juntas de buen gobierno), with the jurisdiction to impose taxes, laws and regulations within a given territory, and which provide education, healthcare and other public services. However, Zapatista objectives have become increasingly confused as demands for education, healthcare, democracy, justice, and social and political integration are mixed with the rejection of ‘modernity’ and calls for an increase in tradition and indianidad (Marco Estrada Saavedra, this volume). According to Carmen Legorreta [2004], initially the EZLN generated hopes of liberty and justice, and since the uprising of 1994 Indian municipal presidents have been elected for the first time in the Lacandon region. ´ However, the EZLN has suspended civil and political rights in its own territory, and its vertical command structure had led to the abuse of power and conflicts between its leadership and its social bases. In addition, the Zapatista authorities impose rules and regulations on non-Zapatistas in the same geographical space, and many of those who do not support the EZLN have been intimidated into leaving their homes. Furthermore, the EZLN has distributed land that it seized after 1994 – much of which was already in the

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ejido sector – only to its followers. Finally, the refusal to accept government funding and the paralysis of rural commerce has resulted in economic decline and growing levels of pauperization in regions under Zapatista control. As a result, Legorreta considers that the main goal of the EZLN has become to maintain people in its ranks rather than to improve their lives. Moreover, many of the peasant and indianist organizations that originally supported the EZLN have now distanced themselves from it, with the result that there has been an increase in support for the PRI amongst former Zapatistas [Legorreta, 2004].34 Thus it seems that, while the EZLN contributed to democratization and the furthering of the rights of women and indigenous people in the years following the uprising, in the long run the EZLN has recreated many of the institutions and abuses perpetrated by the post-revolutionary Mexican State. It has also repeated many of the errors committed by the guerrillas of the 1970s in its own territory.
NOTES
1 NAFTA was portrayed by the administration of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari as evidence for the success of the ruling PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or the Institutional Revolutionary Party) programme of pro-market reforms. For a list of all the acronyms used in this volume, see the composite list (Glossary and Acronyms) which precedes this introduction. 2 The four municipalities were Ocosingo, Las Maragritas, Altamirano, and San Cristobal de ´ Las Casas, stretching from the eastern lowlands to the central highlands of Chiapas. 3 In 1968, the year that Mexico hosted the Olympic Games, the Mexican government clamped down sharply on the student movement, which was calling for greater civil and political rights, infamously massacring 300 protesters in Tlateloco on 2 October. The movement was subsequently driven underground and a number of urban and rural armed guerrilla groups emerged in the 1970s, which the state fought through a programme of counter-insurgency that became known as Mexico’s ‘dirty war’. 4 Former President Plutarco Calles established the PRI in 1929 as the National Revolutionary Party (PNR). In 1938 it was renamed the Mexican Revolutionary Party, and in 1946 it acquired its present name. During the rest of the century all Mexican presidents and most officials belonged to the PRI, which was often accused of corruption and electoral fraud. Its victory margins decreased in the 1980s and 1990s, and it lost some state elections to its opponents, but the party still remained Mexico’s dominant political group. 5 According to Jan Rus, these para-military groups were an evolution of the private armies used by landowners and the state to control the rural population in Chiapas after 1940. He contends that: ‘As the ‘‘traditional’’ controls of indigenous people represented by the guardias blancas and expulsions [private rural armies and the exile of political and religious dissidents] have been increasingly challenged by the rise of opposition groups within indigenous communities since . . . 1994 . . . , the state political apparatus has encouraged the formation of extra-official grupos armados, or paramilitares, made up of [indigenous] government loyalists within each community, to restore order.’ These semi-clandestine groups, armed and paid through local officials of the state PRI, have conducted a campaign of violence and intimidation throughout indigenous regions of state – particularly in central highlands and north [Rus, 2004a: 219]. 6 These were the Union of Ejidal Unions and United Peasant Groups of Chiapas (UU) in the Lacandon forest and the central highlands, the Independent Confederation of Agricultural ´

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7

8

9

10

11 12

13 14

15 16

Workers and Peasants (CIOAC) in Simojovel and the Emiliano Zapata Peasant Organization (OCEZ), principally in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza [Harvey, 1998: 36]. According to Pitarch, the voices of non-Zapatista indigenous people from Chiapas or other parts of Mexico were not heard in the press [Pitarch, 2004a: 105–8]. Furthermore, EZLN propaganda rested on an inversion of the negative stereotype of the Indian, which was just as misleading, and which Indians were required to play along with if they wished to gain political influence [Pitarch, 2004a: 118]. The reactions and perspectives of indigenous people to the uprising were complex and varied. For a view of the 1994 uprising from the perspective of an urban Tzotzil Indian from San Cristobal de las Casas see Marian Peres Tsu [2002]. ´ ´ Such as the creation of an independent indigenous radio station, access to bilingual education, respect for indigenous culture and tradition, an end to discrimination, the granting of indigenous autonomy, and curbs on the power of government-backed caciques [Harvey, 1998: 203]. The ‘demographic revolution’ became evident in Chiapas in 1990, ten years later than in the rest of Mexico. The birth rate began to fall around 1970 and the decline accelerated rapidly after 1994: in 1990 on average each woman gave birth to 4.5 children; in 2000 the figure was 2.94 (compared to 2.4 in the rest of Mexico). This drop was not due to later marriage, but because more women started using contraceptives. Nevertheless, because of high birth rates and falling mortality rates after 1950, the current economically active population is relatively large and due to grow 70 per cent between 2000 and 2030, therefore putting severe strain on the labour market [Viqueira, 2004]. ˜ According to Guillermo de la Pena [1986], in rural Mexico the post-revolutionary state’s corporate institutions operated through informal networks of local and regional power. Political power was thus both centralized and dispersed. He characterizes the Mexican political system under the PRI as a ‘hierarchical patronage network’, in which regional brokers were subordinate to the central government and the party but were empowered by that relationship in the local context. As a result, there was an overlap between clientelism and corporatism throughout rural Mexico, and both clientelism and violence were integral to institutional power at the regional level and as a means of achieving centralization [Harvey, 1998: 55]. For a detailed study of how the PRI penetrated the institutional structure of one indigenous community in Chiapas, and the operation of the resulting system of caciquismo, see Rus [1994]. The CNC was the official peasant organization that operated within the power structure: by contrast independent peasant organizations were denied legitimacy and resources and subject to co-option or repression [Harvey, 1998: 55]. Between 1981 and 1987 some 800 peasants were killed in land-related conflicts in Mexico, and many people were imprisoned for political activity in support of landless groups. Most violence was perpetrated against peasant organizations not affiliated to the PRI [Harvey, 1998: 26]. People in this group could be costumbristas (whose religion is a syncretic mix of native and Catholic beliefs), Mormons or Jehovah’s witnesses, and those who have recently changed religion. This could involve the redistribution of private property expropriated from landlords, or, as was often the case in Chiapas, the distribution of public lands (known as ‘national lands’) to peasants. According to Marıa Eugenia Reyes Ramos [1992: 31], throughout Mexico agrarian ´ reform was used as a political weapon by the state and by diverse political and regional groups to define their position and mark out spheres of influence after the Mexican Revolution. See Jan Rus [2004b] and Neil Harvey [1998: 52–54]. For example, after 1940 successive state governments legally authorized rural landowners to hire Mounted Rural Police Corps, also known as guardias blancas, to defend their interests. Although officially designated merely to protect livestock from rustlers, they were primarily used to suppress peasant organizing and protest. Guardias blancas, which were particularly prevalent in the municipalities of Simojovel, the valley of Venustiano Carranza, and much of the central valley region, were implicated in the murder of most of the 132 peasant leaders and activists documented as having been murdered in Chiapas over the 1974–87 period. They

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17 18 19

20 21

22

23

24

25 26

27 28 29

were also involved in the repression of members of opposition parties, independent peasant organizations and NGO co-operatives. After 1994 they often evolved into para-military groups, linked to the PRI, which have been used to evict peasant squatters and suppress political dissent in the countryside [Rus, 2004a: 218]. For more about INI and the state liquor monopoly, see Lewis [1994]. Despite legal prohibitions, debt peonage continued in several remote parts of Chiapas, notably Simojovel and Ocosingo, until the 1970s and 1980s. As Rus points out, although indigenous communities in Chiapas, above all those in the central highlands, were idealized in much early anthropological literature as isolated and stagnant societies, their inhabitants had always participated in wider social, political and economic structures. This they have done not just as ‘traditional’ peasants, but also as migrant labourers, managed by ladino landowners, labour contractors and the state authorities [Rus, 2004a: 199–200]. For example, in the period 1960–84, 83 new population centres were created in Chiapas covering 219,334 hectares and affecting 6,154 beneficiaries, many of whom came from other municipalities and even other states [Reyes Ramos, 1992: 94]. In 1988 virtually the entire ejidal sector was dependent on rain fed agriculture, and of the 3 million hectares held by 200,000 ejidatarios (approximately one million people, if their families are included), only 41 per cent was classified as good for agriculture. On those lands maize was the most important crop, followed by coffee. In that same year only 10% of ejidos had paved roads, 50% had electricity and 35% had piped water [Harvey, 1998: 173–5]. After 1988, the fall in international coffee prices combined with structural adjustment in the rural sector had a negative impact on productivity, output, incomes and the environment in Chiapas [Harvey, 1998: 176–9]. Harvey considers that there was a lack of commitment by the state to help colonists, and ejidatarios in general, make their land more productive, and to allow them to retain enough profits to reinvest in improving their social and economic conditions [Harvey, 1998: 192]. This was the case in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, located in the eastern ´ lowlands of Chiapas, where the Organizacion Campesina Emiliano Zapata (OCEZ) was formed in 1982 out of a local Indian peasant organization that had developed in the 1970s to recover 50,000 hectares of land that had been granted by presidential decree in 1965. OCEZ later became affiliated to the EZLN [Harvey, 1998: 59–61, 99–108, 116, 126, 132–9]. ˜ ˜ The canadas of the Lacandon rainforest can be divided into two subregions: the canadas of ´ ˜ Ocosingo and Altamirano; and the canadas of Las Margaritas. In the former Tzeltal and Chol Indians predominate and the presence of Dominican and Jesuit missionaries has been significant. In the latter context, Tojolba’les are the majority, and priests from the diocese of San Cristobal and Marists were more common [Leyva Solano and Ascencio Franco, 1996: ´ 21–2]. The regions in which the EZLN has had greatest influence since 1994 are either those in which coercive debt peonage increased during the dictatorship of Porfirio Dıaz (1876–1911) – ´ for more on this topic see Washbrook [2005] – or areas that received migrants from such regions in the post-revolutionary period. In 1990 settlers (colonos) from the states of Campeche, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, ´ ˜ Veracruz and Puebla made up 5% of the population of Las Canadas and the adjacent region of Palenque, and 7% were from Guatemala [Leyva Solano and Ascencio Franco, 1996: 51]. For example, from the 1960s Tzeltal migrants, the majority of whom had left nearby haciendas, were accompanied by Catholic pastoral agents, who sought to establish a new Christian community in the Lacandon jungle. The Tzltales began interpreting the process of ´ colonization as a form of exodus that was destined to establish new kind of community in the ‘promised land’ [de Vos, 2004: 219–22]. According to Gemma van der Haar (this volume), by 1974 there were ten times more catechists than schoolteachers in the adjacent Tojolobal highlands. Priistas are members of the PRI. As documented by Sonia Toledo [1996: 106–40], the struggle between peasants and landlords in Simojovel during the 1980s was bitter. Backed by the state government, landlords used

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30

31

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32 33

34

hired gunmen (pistoleros), public security agents, guardias blancas, para-militaries and the federal army to repress, intimidate and dislodge organized peasants and union leaders. Human rights were routinely flouted and a number of peasant leaders were murdered. As Pitarch notes, ‘tradition’ has become increasingly powerful and attractive as a political strategy, and discussions about ‘tradition’ and ‘change’ have become a key aspect of political discourse among Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas alike. Yet, ‘tradition’ in itself is an empty, complex and paradoxical category that can be used either to delegitimize and repress political dissent or as a means of resistance against state penetration and manipulation [Pitarch, 2004a: 105–8; 2004b]. For a different and less optimistic view about the political role of ‘tradition’, see Tom Brass (this volume). The discourse of women’s rights evolved through the process of grassroots organizing by the Church and peasant institutions that took place in Chiapas from the 1970s onwards. After 1994, the Zapatistas provided the space for indigenous women to demand equal participation in their homes, communities, organizations and in Mexico as a whole. However, as Harvey notes, even though the peasant organizations that supported the EZLN began to construct a discourse and agenda regarding women’s rights in 1994, the Zapatista response to its own initiative has been weak (see Harvey [1998: 223–6] and Oliveira, this volume). For a discussion of the wider implications of political autonomy, and the link between this and the formation of indigenous nationalism and ‘peasant nations’, see Tom Brass (this volume). According to Araceli Burguete Cal y Mayor, the struggle for administrative and political autonomy is a reaction against state corporatism, which has its antecedents in earlier struggles for municipal control by the peasant movement of the 1970s and the counter-celebrations in 1992 marking the quincentenary of the conquest [Burguete Cal y Mayor, 2003: 195]. In Chiapas earlier conflicts gave rise to social and political fragmentation and polarization as one group became allied to governmental institutions or the ruling party, and the other group, which was excluded from the social benefits provided by the state, became affiliated to church denominations, opposition political parties, social organizations and NGOs. Thus, before 1994 most communities were already highly fragmented, but ‘the demand for autonomy was eclipsed by peasant organizations that prioritized the agrarian struggle and producer organizations that emphasised the process of production’ [Burguete Cal y Mayor, 2003: 194– 9]. After 1994, as the EZLN and a number of indianist organizations throughout Mexico furthered the development of a discourse of indigenous rights (see Leyva Solano, this volume), autonomy became an increasingly attractive proposal in many divided municipalities. Neil Harvey maintains that support for indigenous autonomy can be seen as ‘a response to the crisis of the institutional sphere and the continuing absence of democratic guarantees in Chiapas’ [Harvey, 1998: 234]. According to Leyva Solano, there has also been the consolidation of Zapatista rule and the ´ resolution of conflicts between Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas living in same space [Xochitl Leyva Solano, 2004].

REFERENCES
Burguete Cal y Mayor, Araceli, 2003, ‘The de facto Autonomous Process: New Jurisdiction and Parallel Governments in Rebellion’, in Jan Rus, Rosalıa Aıda Hernandez Castillo, and ´ ´ ´ Shannan L. Mattiace (eds.) [2003]. Burguete Cal y Mayor, Araceli, 2004, ‘Los nuevos municipios’, conference paper presented at ˜ ‘Coloquio Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos despues’, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, ´ ´ 23 – 27 August. ˜ De la Pena, Guillermo, 1986, ‘Poder local, poder regional’, in Jorge Zepeda Patterson (ed.), ´ Poder Regional en Mexico, Mexico City: El Colegio de Mexico. ´ De Vos, Jan, 2004, ‘El indıgena chiapaneco idealizado: tres aplicaciones del procedimiento ´ ´ lascasiano’, Mesoamerica, No. 46.

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Harvey, Neil, 1998, The Chiapas Rebellion and the Struggle for Land and Democracy, London and Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Joseph, Gilbert M. and Daniel Nugent (eds.), 1994, Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico, London and Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ˜ ˜ Legorreta, Carmen, 2004, ‘Las Canadas: Diez anos despues’, conference paper presented at ´ ˜ ‘Coloquio Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos despues’, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, ´ ´ 23 – 27 August. Lewis, Stephen E., 2004, ‘La guerra del posh, 1951 – l954: un conflicto decisivo entre el Instituto Nacional Indigenista, el monopolio del alcohol y el gobierno del estado de Chiapas’, ´ Mesoamerica, No. 46. ˜ Leyva Solano, Xochitl, 2004, ‘De Las Canadas a las Social Movement Networks: Etnografıas’, ´ ´ ˜ conference paper presented at ‘Coloquio Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos despues’, San ´ Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, 23 – 27 August. ´ Leyva Solano, Xochitl, and Gabriel Ascencio Franco, 1996, Lacandonia al filo del agua, Mexico ´ City: CIESAS. Mattiace, Shannan L., 2003a, ‘Regional Renegotiations of Space: Tojolabal Ethnic Identity in Las Margaritas, Chiapas’, in Jan Rus, Rosalıa Aıda Hernandez Castillo, and Shannan L. ´ ´ ´ Mattiace (eds.) [2003]. Mattiace, Shannan L., 2003b, To See with Two Eyes: Peasant Activism and Indian Autonomy in Chiapas, Mexico, Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. Peres Tsu, Marian, 2002, ‘A Tzotzil Chronicle of the Zapatista Uprising’, in Gilbert M. Joseph ´ and Timothy J. Henderson (eds.), The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics, London and Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Pitarch, Pedro, 2004a, ‘Los Zapatistas y el arte de la ventriloquia,’ Istor, No. 17. Pitarch, Pedro, 2004b, ‘Usos polıticos de la costumbre’, conference paper presented at ‘Coloquio ´ ˜ Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos despues’, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, 23 – 27 ´ ´ August. ´ Reyes Ramos, Marıa Eugenia, 1992, El Reparto de Tierras y la Polıtica Agraria en Chiapas, ´ 1914 – 1988, Mexico City: UNAM. Rivera, Carolina, 2004, ‘Configuraciones del protestantismo evangelico en Chiapas’, conference ´ ˜ paper presented at ‘Coloquio Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos despues’, San Cristobal de ´ ´ Las Casas, Chiapas, 23 – 27 August. Rus, Jan, Rosalıa Aıda Hernandez Castillo, and Shannan L. Mattiace (eds.), 2003, Mayan Lives, ´ ´ ´ Mayan Utopias: The Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Rus, Jan, 1994, ‘The ‘‘Comunidad Revolucionaria Institucional’’: The Subversion of Native Government in Highland Chiapas, 1936 – 1968’, in Gilbert M. Joseph and Daniel Nugent (eds.) [1994]. Rus, Jan, 2004a, ‘Rereading Tzotzil Ethnography. Recent Scholarship from Chiapas, Mexico’, in John M. Watanabe and Edward Fischer (eds.), Pluralizing Ethnography: Comparisons and ´ Representations in Maya Cultures, Histories and Identities, Oxford and Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press and James Curry. Rus, Jan, 2004b, ‘Revoluciones contenidas: los indıgenas y la lucha por Los Altos de Chiapas, ´ ´ 1910 – 1925’, Mesoamerica, No. 46. ˜ Rus, Jan, and Diane Rus, 2004, ‘Treinta anos de crisis entre los mayas de Chiapas’, conference ˜ paper presented at ‘Coloquio Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos despues’, San Cristobal de ´ ´ Las Casas, Chiapas, 23 – 27 August. Tello Dıaz, Carlos, 1995, La rebellion de las Canadas, Mexico City: Cal y Arena. ´ ˜ ´ Toledo, Sonia, 1996, Historia del movimiento indıgena en Simojovel, 1970 – 1989, Tuxtla Gutierrez: Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas. ´ ´ Toledo, Sonia, 2004, ‘De las fincas al nuevo campo de relaciones sociales en Simojovel y ˜ Huitiupan’, conference paper presented at ‘Coloquio Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos ´ despues’, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, 23 – 27 August. ´ ´

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Viqueira, Juan Pedro, 2004, ‘De un censo a otro: Los cambios sociodemograficos (1990 – 2000)’, ´ ˜ conference paper presented at ‘Coloquio Internacional – Chiapas: diez anos despues, San ´ Cristobal de Las Casas’, Chiapas, 23 – 27 August. ´ Washbrook, Sarah, 2005, ‘Exports, Ethnicity and Labour Markets: The Political Economy of Chiapas, Mexico, 1876 – 1911’, unpublished D.Phil thesis, University of Oxford.

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