Students Return Home From the Zapatista's First Seminar in Chiapas With a New Sense of 'Liberty'

The 1700 students leaving the University of the Earth, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas in Chiapas where the Zapatistas’ first seminar on 'Liberty' was centered are returning to their communities, collectives and movements around the world with a new sense of purpose - to pass on all that they've learned from the escuelita.

The focus of the five-day school’s curriculum was liberty according to the Zapatistas. The major difference between this seminar and most was the hands on experience gained by the students who lived and worked alongside their Zapatista host families in their homes and fields as well as attending classes. One student from Argentina explained,"That growing one’s own food is also part of liberty.” Adding, the Zapatistas had shown him that, “To be free is to be able to decide for themselves what lives they want to have.”

The EZLN brought together representatives of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples from all over the world to learn that there is another way to live one's life in peace and liberty through community organization and non-capitalism. The lesson that most impacted Uruguayan Mónica Olaso was when she asked her teacher why they were summoned and what the Zapatistas expected of the students. The response, Mónica recounted, was, “You know, Mónica, a bullet is not going to reach Uruguay. But our word will.”

The Zapatista Way is once again well communicated in a new series of essays by Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN titled 'Them and Us' The series wonderfully lays out the differences between those in power and those who choose to organize from below.

IMO, the 'state' is invulnerable to either democratic change or violent revolution, but it is vulnerable to folks ignoring it, to being undermined by non-participation, to folks simply 'dropping out' and living a different way. Of course folks can't/won't dropout without first turning onto the fact that there is an intractable problem rampant in our current socio-economic system. Then tuning into the details of the problem. Each of these steps is a necessary part of the ontological development that must occur for our species and many others to survive. The Zapatista's escuelita is showing us how.

The Zapatista's ongoing seminar will continue to re-convene in different regions of the Americas and is intended to create a traveling forum and voice for Another Way of Seeing the World and of living in it, while the Zapatistas have announced that they will hold a second escuelita this coming winter.