December 3rd, 2004

bald australia sepia

Subcomandante Zarf

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.