by Subcomandante Marcos, edited and translated by Colectivo Relámpago, introduction by JoAnn Wypijewski
In this gorgeous collection of allegorical stories, Subcomandante Marcos, idiosyncratic spokesperson of the Zapatistas, has provided “an accidental archive” of a revolutionary group’s struggle against neoliberalism. For thirty years, the Zapatistas have influenced and inspired movements worldwide, showing that another world is possible. They have infused left politics with a distinct imaginary—and an imaginative, literary, or poetic dimension—organizing horizontally, outside and against the state, and with a profound respect for difference as a source of political insight, not division. With commentaries that illuminate their historical, political, and literary contexts and an introduction by the translators, this timeless, elegiac volume is perfect for lovers of literature and lovers of revolution.
“From the beating heart of Mesoamerica the old gods speak to Old Antonio, a glasses-wearing, pipe-smoking beetle who studies neoliberalism, and both tell their tales to Subcomandante Marcos who passes them on to us: the stories of the Zapatistas’ revolutionary struggles from below and to the left. The Colectivo Relámpago (Lightning Collective), based in Amherst, Massachusetts, translates and comments with bolts of illumination zigzagging across cultures and nations, bringing bursts of laughter and sudden charges of hot-wired political energy. It seems like child’s play, yet it’s almost divine!” — Peter Linebaugh, author of Stop, Thief!
“Weaving ancestral tales and memories from the time of colonial domination with the recounting of the high points of the Zapatista insurgence, this book is a powerful example of historical narrative and myth making. It bears witness to the creativity of the Zapatista movement, and how the defense of indigenous tradition can be the lever for the construction of a new world.” — Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation
“Thinking through the heart. This collection reminds, (re)grounds, and expands our collective sense of possibility—as the Zapatistas so creatively have continued to do for over 27 years. From the alter-globalization movements to the horizontal assemblies in Argentina of the early 2000s, to Occupy and the Movements of the Squares in the 2010s, through our pandemic solidarities and mutual aid networks in the 2020s, prefigurative, autonomous and affective movements continue to move with the Zapatistas in our hearts and minds. The influence and inspiration is beyond words, yet this collection gives words, placing crucial stories of the Zapatista communities in historical context, giving us more lenses through which to see the world and our movements within it.” — Marina Sitrin, author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina
About the Contributors:
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) was the Zapatista spokesperson until May 2014, when the Zapatistas decided that his role had come to an end. While “Marcos” disappeared, he was reborn under a different name: Subcomandante Galeano, again adopting the name of a fallen comrade.
Colectivo Relámpago/Lightning Collective is a translators’ collective of Zapatista solidarity activists based in Amherst, MA.
JoAnn Wypijewski is an independent writer, editor, and journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Mother Jones and The Nation, and she is the author of the book What We Don't Talk About: Sex and the Mess of Life.