Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Autonomous Mexico

By Thaddeus Russell, Reason

What happened when some indigenous people took their lands back from the state.

I first heard about the autonomous movements in Mexico from my anarcho-communist college buddies in the early 1990s. They loved the idea of indigenous people taking up arms and seizing control of their communities—and of the lucrative natural resources upon which those communities sat—from exploitative corporations and their government enforcers. The Zapatistas of the southern state of Chiapas, with their brazen armed seizures of corporate land holdings, served as the most inspiring example, and their dashing postmodernist leader Subcomandante Marcos became the Che Guevara of Gen X leftists.

Three decades later, I started hearing glowing reports about new autonomous indigenous movements in the central Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacán from a different political crowd: attendees at the Anarchapulco conference, an annual festival of drug- and cryptocurrency-loving anarcho-libertarians held in a resort city that had also become the center of wars between rival cartels and thus the murder capital of Mexico.


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