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June C. Nash. Mayan Visions: The Quest for Autonomy in an Age of Globalization. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2003

David Carey
University of Southern Maine


Prior to anti-globalization demonstrations in places like Seattle and Prague, the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (Zapatista Army for National Liberation, EZLN), better known as the Zapatistas, became a leader in the struggle against neoliberal economic policies and a model for peaceful change in the twenty-first-century. June Nash's erudite book Mayan Visions: The Quest for Autonomy in an Age of Globalization provides a local ethnographic analysis of the “fissuring and fusing” of the Zapatistas in the context of national and international influences. For example, female Zapatistas, who comprise 40 percent of the EZLN, are not only fighting for national and international autonomy but also for female representation and power in their local patriarchal indigenous communities. These women do not see indigenous rights and women's rights as mutually exclusive; they strive to change the world more radically than most of their male counterparts and in so doing they display how revolutionary movements can simultaneously be agents of change and subjects of reform. Nash adeptly argues that “indigenous peoples will become the chief protagonists of change in the coming millennium” (26) partly because they articulate a plausible alternative to neoliberalism (based on the right of self-determination, moral authority as a means to power, collective strategies for survival, and multiethnic and nonhierarchical worldviews). In fact, the Zapatistas are already changing the face of civil society in Mexico, and their savvy communication skills (led by Subcomandante Marcos) buttresses and protects their organization by attracting those outside the country to their goals and techniques.

CSSH Notes
© 2003 Society for Comparative Study of Society and History

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