Mexican Independence Day – The Zapatistas, the Power of Art & Painting Murals in Utica Wednesday, September 16 at 7:00pm – 8:30pm
at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School (500 Plant Street, Utica, NY)
Please join us in celebrating Mexican Independence Day by watching the very short film “Galeano Vive! – Painting a Zapatista Teacher.” This will be followed by a short presentation on the Zapatista village of Oventic in Chiapas, Mexico that educator Brendan Maslauskas Dunn visited this summer, and a discussion of art and murals.
The fast-paced, visually stunning video will teach about the assassinated Mayan rebel Zapatista teacher Galeano while documenting the painting of an astounding mural deep in Zapatista territory. This dramatic artwork was painted by an international team of volunteers from twelve countries earlier this year and now lives on the walls of Galeano’s rebuilt school and clinic in the community of La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico. Discussion will then focus on murals and art in Utica.
Planning is currently underway to paint a “people’s radical history” mural in Utica that people in the community will design and paint next summer under the guidance of mural artists from New York City.
During the last Freedom School class there was a lively discussion about the indigenous Mayan Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico. The originally scheduled event for class this Wednesday is rescheduled until May. Instead, we will watch the film “A Place Called Chiapas.” The film will be screened at 7:00pm on Wednesday, April 15 at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School. The school is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm.
The documentary film was released in 1998. It captures the rise of what the The New York Times called “the world’s first post-modern revolution” in Chiapas. The revolution was launched the same day NAFTA was put into effect on January 1, 1994. The revolutionaries called themselves Zapatistas in honor of the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, a hero of Mexico’s 1910 revolution. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) was organized to spur the revolution forward. Since then the Zapatistas have carved out their own society autonomous from the Mexican state that is based off of principles of collectivism, mutual aid and popular power.
Come join us for a great film and an interesting discussion. As always, we will ask ourselves how this struggle is relevant to us and what we can learn from it.
Join us for class this week as we discuss the Zapatista uprising in Mexico. A Filipino dinner will be served at 6:00pm and class will run from 6:30-8:00pm.
On January 1, 1994 an indigenous rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico took the world by storm. Indigenous Mayans chose the date as the rebellion because it coincided with the day that the trade agreement known as NAFTA was enacted into law in Mexico, the US, and Canada. NAFTA had a disastrous impact on indigenous people, the poor, and the working class in North America. The rebels called themselves Zapatistas after the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. The Zapatistas created a new political system that built grassroots power of indigenous people, peasants, women, and other oppressed people. Their influence on social movements and politics forever changed Chiapas and Mexico and also shaped the alter-globalization and global justice movements. Zapatismo is the set of politics and practice advocated by the Zapatistas which is a combination of Mayan indigenous beliefs, anarchism, and Marxism. It advocates decentralized politics, building grassroots power without seizing state power, participatory democracy, autonomy, liberty, mutual aid, cooperation and dignity. A common saying of the Zapatistas is, “Para todos todo, para nosotros nada” (everything for everyone, nothing for ourselves), which is reflective of their selflessness and vision for a very different world. We will discuss the history of the Zapatistas, social movements in Mexico, and how the Zapatistas have influenced alternative politics around the world. We will also look at the Zapatistas’ ideology, political structures, alternatives, and views on leadership.