Zapatista Army of National Liberation

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The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. Chiapas is one of the poorest states in Mexico[citation needed] and suffers from massive inequality and poverty. Since 1994, they have been in a declared war "against the Mexican state," though this war has been primarily nonviolent and defensive against military, paramilitary, and corporate incursions on their territory. Their social base is mostly rural indigenous people but they have some supporters in urban areas as well as an international web of support. Their main spokesperson is Subcomandante Marcos (currently a.k.a. Delegate Zero in relation to "the Other Campaign"). Unlike other Zapatista spokespeople, Marcos is not an indigenous Mayan.

The group takes its name from Emiliano Zapata, the agrarian reformer[1] and commander of the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution, and sees itself as his ideological heir. In reference to inspirational figures, in nearly all EZLN villages exist murals accompanying images of Zapata, Che Guevara, and Subcomandante Marcos.[2]

Although the ideology of the EZLN is reflective of libertarian socialist politics, paralleling both Anarchist and Libertarian Marxist thought in many respects, the EZLN has rejected[3] and defied[4] political classification; retaining its distinctiveness due in part to the importance indigenous Mayan beliefs in Zapatismo thought. The EZLN aligns itself with the wider anti-globalization, anti-neoliberal social movement, seeking indigenous control over their local resources, especially land. Since their 1994 uprising was countered by the superior military might of the Mexican army, the EZLN has abstained from offensively using their weapons and adopted a new strategy that attempts to garner both Mexican and international support. Through an Internet campaign, the EZLN has begun to disseminate an understanding of their plight and intentions. With this change in tactics, the EZLN has received greater support from a variety of NGOs and organizations as well as increased attention in Leftist and Mainstream media outlets. The EZLN has also entered popular culture thanks in part to the support it has received from bands such as Rage Against the Machine, 47 Ronin, Garotos Podres, Leftöver Crack, Brujeria, Anti-Flag, Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Manu Chao, and Active Member.

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