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Subcomandante Zarf - The Life and Thoughts of Zach — LiveJournal

Dec. 3rd, 2004

02:07 pm - Subcomandante Zarf

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My roomate revjack, a self appointed reverend, and mutual friend deaconobvious, a self appointed Deacon, Discordians both...suggested that I needed a "religious title" to attach to my Zarf Mouse persona. Now I'm not much for titles and I think the answer that I came up with was pretty presumptuous but I want to share it anyway because the story behind it is very cool and not one I tell often enough in this space.

If I had to choose a title I would like it to be Subcomandante.

Subcomandante Marcos is the highest ranking "leader" of the (largely philosophical and non-violent...many of them carry pieces of wood carved in the shape of guns and their airforce is paper airplanes with revolutionary slogans printed on them) army of the Zapatista movement. He is a subcommander because the Zapatistas are anarchists and his commander is the entire Zapatista community. In fact many individual Zapatistas (mostly women) identify themselves as commanders. All top level military decisions are literally made by a consensus of town councils (every town meets and consenses upon a representative to a spokescouncil, the spokescouncil makes broad decisions for the army, those decisions go back to the towns and are ratified by consensus, then marcos carries them out...needless to say this is not an army that acts quickly or often, but when it does act it is always powerful).

The Zapatista revolution in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994 (the day that NAFTA went into effect) and the amazing outreach efforts that the Zapatistas have sponsored since then (the Encuentros) was really the world-wide rallying cry that united the non-hierarchical anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist movement that culminated in the WTO Protests in Seattle and have been growing and spreading ever since.

Time and again, people have chosen me to be the instrument of executing their collective desire and I strive to respect and represent that collectivity in my actions. Hence, when I am at my best, I hope to be like a Subcomandante.

A military leader in Mexico may not seem religious...but if I've got any kind of religion at all, that is it.


[User Picture]
Date:December 3rd, 2004 11:14 pm (UTC)
I think it's really all about what you identify the most with when you're choosing your counter-culture 'title'. A big difference between you and Jonathan and I, is that we grew up in religion, and from what you've told me, you really never did.

Your framework seems to have turned out a fine man, so I won't dispute.
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Date:December 4th, 2004 12:34 am (UTC)
A footnote to religious leaders in Mexico. In the Aztec Empire, the Emperor was considered the head of the priesthood of Quetzlcoatl and the nominal leader of the other priests. He often oversaw the executions of prisners as they served as human sacrifices to keep the sun rising and setting each day. God, I love my ancestors.
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[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2004 02:51 pm (UTC)
Excellent choice! VERY appropriate.

BTW, I haven't heard squat about the Zapatistas since the late 90's. What's the current situation?
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[User Picture]
Date:December 11th, 2004 04:36 pm (UTC)
I think the situation is mostly that they're hunkered down, still there but not as active. Some villages remain essentially autonomous but others have fallen to the low intensity warfare that Fox has been waging against them.

A friend of mine visited there 2 years ago and that's basically what he said was going on.

I think they had a Zapatista Air Force Action as recently as 2003 or 2002. Zapatistas snuck up to a mexican army base and threw thousands and thousands of hand made paper airplanes with revolutionary/educational slogan into the base over the fence. That is pretty much the coolest thing ever.

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