The Right to Have Rights
Throughout this book all English translations of Spanish quotations
are my own unless otherwise noted.
For the Zapatistas' account of the first days of the uprising and their
military tactics see
(1994) and Le Bot (1997:189-238). See also
Reygadas, Gomezcesar, and Kravsov (1994) and Ross (1995). An in-
dependent, Mexican video company, Canal 6 de Julio, produced several
documentaries on the rebellion, including La Guerra de ChmpasJ which
portrays the armed conflict in the highlands and the bloodiest con-
frontations in Ocosingo. Communiques, letters, interviews, and other
documents were translated to English and published in Shadows
of Tender Fury (Subcomandante Marcos 1995b) and in Zapatistas! Doc-
uments of the New Mexican "RePolution (Autonomedia 1994).
2. Tello's detailed description of the history of the
with names, made no reference to the sources of his information. It is
unlikely that he pieced together such a complex history from a small
number of interviews during 1994. The story has no gaps or contradic-
tions, no competing evidence, and no citations at critical points in the
3. The term imaginary is used here to refer to the development of a
myth that can successfully create and maintain a meaningful set of
ideas, institutions, and practices. New social movements can be said
be "new" to the extent that they break with dominant imaginaries such
as Marxism-Leninism and different forms of populism. In the case of
Chiapas, we can say that the creation of a new myth around the figure
of Zapata reveals both continuity with past agrarian struggles and nov-
elty in the articulation of these struggles with specifically democratic
4. Similarly, Susan Eckstein (1989) stressed that the impact of popular
protest cannot be reduced to social movements alone, but is instead
contingent on elite responses, class alliances, and geopolitical forces.
Despite the broader perspective of Arturo Escobar and Sonia Alvarez,
who stressed the impact of social movements on cultural practices and
everyday life, these authors were also forced to recognize the need for
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