This new year brings a date that’s worth remembering: the 20th anniversary of the Zapatista Uprising. This struggle to resist NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and neo-liberalism helped to catalyze the global justice movement that went on to challenge the WTO process in Seattle in 1999. The lineage of this movement was evident in Occupy Wall Street, and in the many popular uprisings of the last year.
It’s worth remembering on this twentieth anniversary of the EZLN that the Zapatista struggle was a key expression of Global South environmentalism. As Anne Petermann reminds us in this post published on the eve of the 20th anniversary, the uprising was sparked by a struggle to preserve the Lacandon rainforest from exploitation by multinational companies. The post includes a link to a film that documents the EZLN’s struggle against illegal logging oil drilling, and hydro-electic dams in the Lacandon.
The Zapatistas are still struggling to preserve the jungles in which they live from greedy developers. Their battle reflects resource wars unfolding with greater severity around the world today.