A Review of John Ross' Zapatistas - by Stephen Lendman
John Ross is a Latin American correspondent and activist who's been living in and writing about Mexico for nearly four decades turning out some of the most important and incisive analysis of events there of anyone covering the country, its history, politics and people. Few writers anywhere make the country come alive like he can. He lives among the people and knows them well including Zapatista leader Subcommandante Marcos who may have given Ross his first ever interview.
Ross has written eight books of fiction and non-fiction and is one of the few surviving Beat poets with nine chapbooks of poetry in and out of print, the latest of which is due out soon called Bomba. He's also been called a new John Reed (who wrote the classic 10 Days that Shook the World on the Russian Revolution) covering a new Mexican revolution playing out around the country from its most indigenous, impoverished South in Chiapas and Oaxaca to the streets of its capital in Mexico City.
Ross' books include the Annexation of Mexico, From the Aztecs to the IMF and his eyewitness frontline trilogy on the Zapatista rebellion beginning with Rebellion From the Roots, Indian Uprising in Chiapas in 1995 for which he received the American Book award; The War Against Oblivion, The Zapatista Chronicles; and his latest work and subject of this review - Zapatistas, Making Another World Possible, Chronicles of Resistance 2000 - 2006 just published. It's subtitle is taken from the misnamed anti-globalization citizens' movement for global justice from Seattle to Doha, Genoa, Washington, Prague, Quebec, Miami, Cancun, Hong Kong and dozens of other locations everywhere where ordinary people are struggling for a better world against the dark neoliberal forces pitted against them.
The book's theme is the heroic ongoing Zapatista struggle for autonomy and liberation as "a dramatic and inspiring effort to make this possibility a reality" matched off against a made-in-Washington world of permanent wars for conquest and domination from the sands and streets of Iraq and desolate rubble of Afghanistan to the Israeli genocidal terror war against the Palestinians to the streets of Mexico City and Oaxaca and the mountains and jungles of Chiapas.
This book comes after Ross' Murdered by Capitalism, A Memoir of 150 Years of Life & Death on the American Left in 2004 for which he received the Upton Sinclair award. Ross is a gifted writer whose prose is passionate and poetic. From its beginning, he documented the Zapatista "rebellion from the roots," and in his latest book covers it from the July, 2000 election of corporatist Vincente Fox through the mid-2006 stolen presidential election, unresolved when the book went to press. He notes like all other elections in the country, it was orchestrated "before, during, and after the ballots (were) cast" just like they are in the belly of the bestial empire in el norte whose current high office incumbent Ross calls "an electoral pickpocket (twice over)."
He also reminds us of past events that may foretell Mexico's future: "The metabolism of revolution in Mexico is precisely timed. It seems to burst from the subterranean chambers every hundred years or so - 1810, 1910, 2010? To be continued." And he notes the theft of the 1910 election from Francisco Madero triggered the Mexican Revolution led by Emiliano Zapata Salazar with readers left to wonder if Subcommandante Marcos is his modern incarnation. Stay tuned. As in Venezuela, the Mexican revolution will not be televised, but John Ross will chronicle it.
The Zapatistas' Chronicles of Resistance - From Its Beginning