Reflection on Jill Lane’s Digital Zapatistas

Jin Lane wrote an interesting article about Zapatistas or rather their online activism, since this kind of activity is the main topic of her work. She began with a surprise for readers about Zaptistas’s air force’s. After this, article is more peaceful for readers but that does not mean that less interesting. In this work the writings of two other people were included. Firstly, Electronic Disturbance Theater. Timeline 1994–2002 written by Ricardo Dominguez and secondly Virtual Disturbance written by Diana Taylor. Aside from that article is full of quotes about Zapatistas and things related to them.

Zapatistas is on of the most famous and influential social movement also revolutionary group, based in Chiapas in south Mexico. They are best known for unconventional methods (like those with planes from Lane’s article) and use of the Internet. Especially the last thing brought upon them interest of many in America but also in other parts of the world. The Zapatisas rebellion began in the beginning of 1994 and was related to doings of NAFTA. The uprising was claimed to be on the behalf of indigenous people and included “traditional” civil disobedience. Zapatistas are also known for bringing attention through performances, references to other famous movements (for example image of Che), using masks and their leader Marcos, whose real face is still not known.

From the beginning Zapatistas took the advantage of Internet to “build a global grassroots support network”. This network became massive support for them, although it was build by the most basic digital means like e-mail distribution and web pages. This movement very fast became fluent in using new technologies in support from their revolutionary activities. Use of technologies by Zapatistas brings other interesting issue, since the ones for whom they are fighting, indigenous people, often did not even have electricity.

Zapatistas had aid from The Electronic Disturbance Theater, a group who, for example, helped make non-violent protest in cyberspace, mostly against the massacre of 45 indigenous people (including women and children), by using their program FloodNet, which targeted the servers. But EDT is not only about this kind of activity, for example one of the members of the group, Ricardo Dominguez is known for his “Mayan storytelling”.

Jill Lane in her article shows that Zapatistas can truly be considered as “postmodern” movement, that fully utilize the space and possibilities given by new new technologies, Internet. Zapatistas surely is an intriguing social movement. Despite all are their fame and work they did not gain what they wanted, although considered their social background and influence they acquired, and still have, they are doing quite well.

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