The Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (Municipios Autónomos Rebeldes Zapatistas) (MARZ) are an apparently anarchist structure of government in rural Chiapas, Mexico. I can find very little information about them; the Wikipedia paged (linked above) cites no sources and the Chiapas Support Committee website is not very well updated.

I'm also confused because Wikipedia mentions that in the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (Municipios Autónomos Rebeldes Zapatistas), the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) “does not hold any power”, yet it also describes that “the councils of good government providing low-interest loans, free education, radio stations and health-care to communities”, where the “councils of good govenment” page redirects to the Zapatista Army page.

There have historically been very few anarcho-socialist government areas. The POUM during the Spanish Civil War was apparently libertarian Marxist, the POUM was suppressed first by Stalinists and then by Fascists. Rojava is more recent and ongoing, but operates within the context of the Syrian Civil War, which is a severe confounding factor for any form of development. Therefore, social, environmental, and economic development within the MARZ would seem to provide a unique opportunity to study anarcho-socialism in action.

Are there any independent studies?


1 Answer 1


According to aljazeera, the Zapatistas in the Oventic community have to deal with poverty and live on basic diets of beans and tortillas.

poverty remains a real problem. The Zapatistas reject all government handouts, but rely on aid from sympathisers and are vulnerable to “the economic pressures that push the poor from all over Mexico into migrating to the cities”, said John Holloway, a professor of sociology at the Autonomous University of Puebla

According to Mexican journalist Jose Gil Olmos, many of these communities have "fallen into a natural decline". However, TheNation also paints a slightly more idealistic picture of the Zapatistas communities with a function university called La Universidad de la Tierra in the tourist town of San Cristóbal de Las Casas in Chiapas to learn trades as well as its own well-function banks, hospitals, and arts collectives. However, this supposed improvement of the autonomous zones may be because the Zapatistas continue to "invite thousands of outsiders to visit your communities" and getting donations/money from tourism. According to scholar KE Keller in a paper written in 2019 Walking While Asking:Lessons from Agroecology Education in Chiapas, Mexico, the Zapatistas do increase the quality of life for the indigenous population: "Zapatista education is a vital development for the quality of life in indigenous".

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