If revolution is a match, then change is the fire within, sparked by quick forward movement. Organised struggle has been an undertaking with many faces and over many lifetimes, but one such movement – the Zapatistas (EZLN) – has been recognised the world over for its distinctness.
A thorn in the side of the Mexican central government, the Zapatistas have dominated the southern state of Chiapas since the mid-90s, gaining significant momentum and controlling large swaths of territory under the banner of indigenous armed resistance.
Emiliano Zapata, one of the founding commanders of the Mexican Revolution, has arguably become one of the most important figures of the organisation, and his legacy follows similar revolutionary paths such as Simon Bolivar, Che Guevara, and José Martí.
Fronted by the voice of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, formerly Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatistas are a socioeconomic melting pot of groups opposing neoliberal exploitation from global corporations and governments under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with a focus on indigenous control of the land and natural resources.
Gone are the divisions between the rich and poor, man and woman, and the ancient and modern. The Zapatistas have struggled to bring about socialism with Mayan characteristics to liberate Mexico’s southernmost state from oppressive, insatiable corporate rule.
Problems across the Chiapas which persisted for too long such as poverty, wealth inequality, land grabbing, and others were effectively challenged under the EZLN, breaking the silence of a voiceless generation with the sound of militant direction, slogans, and battle cries.
Living by the maxim “For everyone, everything. For us, nothing” [Para todos todo, para nosotros nada], the Zapatistas have persisted with its global doctrine of solidarity with likeminded causes such as the Palestinian resistance movement, sustained grassroots activism and outreach to expand its ranks, and advocated land reform and participatory democracy for the people over running for state elections and supporting the Beast within.
Allriot has commemorated the organisation representing the indigenous people of Chiapas with its own revolutionary ringspun tees to honour their battle for self-determination and the fight for sovereignty amidst seemingly insurmountable odds. Despite this, the odds are in favour of the underdog – pure democracy in perpetual motion.