The Zapatistas requested that the press and their cameras stay away so The Mud Report won't be showing any of the pictures that were smuggled out though there are many wonderful and inspiring ones on the net. As Jose Marti put it: "con los pobres de la tierra, quiero yo mi suerte echar..."with the poor of the land i want to throw my fortune".
"The anniversary revealed that at 20 years old, this military-political organization that defies easy categorization is what a democracy should be: an ongoing effort at building a better life collectively. When Zapatistas came together from communities throughout their lands to celebrate, the main achievement they marked was the survival of the organization itself — after 20 years of attacks, they’re still there, running their own communities, raising new generations of Zapatistas, and carrying on the dialogue with the outside world that has enriched both sides." - Zapatistas at Twenty
They weren't looking backwards to where they'd been, as always, they are looking ahead to where they are going. Toward, In the words of Subcommandante Marcos, "Hasta La victoria siempre!!"
Marcos and the EZLN have retreated from the media spotlight in recent years but not from their mission. Today there are 27 autonomous municipalities in Chiapas that have withdrawn from 'the grid' almost totally. There are very few roads into the Lacandon jungle that surrounds the highlands where the inspiring spirit of Zapatismo is alive and well. They do have natural health clinics and mid-wives, schools, and a self-sustaining organic agricultural lifestyle based open pollinated seed types that date back eons.
Last year they opened 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. Upon returning to their homes the students recounted the experience enthusiastically, describing how their hosts revealed a world that wasn’t perfect by a long shot, but a world where each person mattered and each effort, each achievement, and each mistake was their own.
Subcommandante Marcos continues to write communiques that primarily circulate within Chaipas, but last year, in preparation for the upcoming anniversary, Marcos published a series of articles titled 'Them and Us'. It's perhaps his best written work ever, it both looks forward over the broad philosophical landscape of revolution in our time and suggests a viable pathway we each of us can follow individually and collectively in our journey toward real social justice and a meaningful life. i highly recommend everyone reads it.
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. No group better exemplifies this ideal through their actions than the Zapatistas.
Viva la Revolución! Viva Zapatismo!