“When we begin analyzing the social movements in Mexico, we must remember that this country generated the first revolution of the twentieth century anywhere in the world. Different social forces participated in the Revolution of 1910, represented by leaders like Emiliano Zapata, Francisco Villa, and the Flores Magón brothers, and many of the social movements that developed over the following decades drew their inspiration, ideas, and slogans from the 1910 uprising.”
Mexico, as the only Latin American country on the continent of North America, has had historically close ties with the United States: Ricardo Flores Magón and other radical figures of the 1910 Revolution worked with Wobblies and other US leftist movements, and vice versa. Mexico was the birthplace of one of the greatestinspirations for the ‘90s anti- globalization movement, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), whose Subcomandante Marcos, at a moment when all the world considered neoliberal capitalism invincible, spoke for a continental underclass that finally said, “¡Basta!” (Enough!).

Zapatista women in the autonomous municipality of Vicente Guerrero distribute lettuce harvested from their collective garden, 2002. Photo by Hilary Klein.
Zapatista women in the autonomous municipality of Vicente Guerrero distribute lettuce harvested from their collective garden, 2002. Photo by Hilary Klein.

The uprising in Chiapas was met with immediate mobilizations in solidarity, guerrilla uprisings (that were quickly extinguished or disappeared from the headlines), the Barzón, and eventually, uprisings around the country, most notably in San Salvador Atenco and Oaxaca. The political “instability,” or more accurately, “restabilization,” brought a temporary end to the hegemony of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had ruled over the country for nearly 70 years. With the prospect of the return of the PRI, students mobilized under the rubric of “#YoSoy132” in 2012. Drawing inspiration from the 2011 uprisings in the Mideast (“Arab Spring”) and Occupy in the United States, the students carried out massive and creative protests for several weeks before being brutally repressed.

—from Luis Ballesteros’ introduction to the
Mexico chapter of Until the Rulers Obey

Until the Rulers Obey includes four segments from Mexico:

Women in the Zapatista Movement
“We have opened our eyes and opened our hearts.”
Interviews and translation by Hilary Klein, 2001 – 2002,
from Klein’s book Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories (2015, Seven Stories Press)

Voices from the Oaxaca uprising of 2006: Rufino Gutiérrez Hernández, Section 22 of the National Education Workers’ Union (SNTE); Jordi Hernández, Santiago Caballero, and Angélica Dominguez of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO)
“We don’t want a government of murderers that represses people.”
Interviews by Clifton Ross and Patricia Luna, July 2006; translation by Clifton Ross; Flavio Sosa of APPO interview by Hernán Ouvina, translation by Chuck Morse

Jesús Ramírez Cuevas, editor of Regeneración and member of Movement for National Renewal (MORENA)
“Only the people can save the people.”
Interview by Clifton Ross and Luis Ballesteros, August 2011; translation by Luis Ballesteros

“It’s our turn”
Interview by Oscar Bustamante, June 2012; translation by Clifton Ross