Monthly Archives: October 2013

Zapatista Movement

Early in the class we had to read about the Zapatista Effect and how the Zapatista Movement was one of the first localized movements to gain a global following.  For 500 years these people were silently oppressed. Their land is very rich in resources like petroleum, which makes the land very coveted on a global scale. The growth in nongovernmental organizations led to civil war which occurred as a display of their opposition to humanitarian laws. The goal of the Zapatista Movement was for a more direct democracy.  This uprising primarily challenged the domestic policies in Mexico, having to do with land and indigenous affairs. The rebellion occurred in Chiapas, Mexico and was sparked by the signing of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) which gave access of their land to North America. The main goal is to support autonomy within, they were not against Mexican society.


*masks become symbol- internationally recognized and understood*

The world started paying attention January 1, 1994 when the EZLN (Zapatista Liberation army) came out of the jungle and took over towns in southern Mexican state of Chiapas. This uprising had one goal in mind, to make the voices of the indigenous people heard at the national level of Mexico. The military clashes only lasted a few days but caused three years of political negotiations. The Mexican government would share videos of the Zapatista movement to the rest of the country, framing them as the enemy. Little did the government know that the internet played in the favor of the Zapatistas.

The Zapatistas wanted their voices heard and wanted the outside forces to stay outside and wanted Mexico to be run by itself and its own people, autonomy within. The computer networks supporting the rebellion evolved rapidly. The internet is the platform where now people are woven together by their opposing, kind of like people coming together against a common enemy. Anti-NAFTA coalition supports and influences the pro-Zapatista mobilization which was able to spread across 5 continents, generating much wider activism. This was successful because the preexisting circuits. There was already and international level between computer rich North America and Western Europe. There was no internet access in the jungles but first hand reporters and observers were able to film and upload them. After that it reach international levels where commentary by specialists and analysts could voice their opinions. The internet allowed them to enter into debates internationally at that instant. These news reports complemented by the first hand videos and reports allowed for the few circuits to blow up. Conferences and webpages were devoted to Chiapas and their democracy struggles. The Mexican government was susceptible meaning they were more worried about what other countries though of them; they were most afraid of protests abroad than protests at home. That is how the Internet became key of the Zapatista movement; through the global awareness and debates the one-party control was eliminated.

this blog is an example of international effect

“The Zapatista Effect” is the evidence of connecting with other social movements around the world, such as the section in the reading titled “Beyond Solidarity: interlinking of autonomous movements against neoliberalism.” With this collaboration over the internet, new organizational capabilities were discovered by the networks of discussion and debates. Due to this others were able to organize themselves. A variety of individuals and groups locally oppose global polies. Hundreds of diverse nations with internet acces are now able to find common points of reference and vehicles for collaboration such as the world bank and are able to draw global responses. The EZLN played no direct role in the proliferation of the use of the internet; efforts were initiated by those first hand reporters and observers made it possible to weave the network of support of the Zapatistas.


Montgomery Bus Boycott v. the revolution in Egypt

The Montgomery bus boycott is one of the biggest events of the U.S. civil rights movements, which was a social and political protest against racial segregation.  This campaign started when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white person. It lasted from December 1, 1955 until December 20, 1956 when the ruling of Browder v. Gayle took effect. This Supreme Court decision declared that segregated buses in Alabama and Montgomery were unconstitutional. The goal of this boycott was to end the segregation on the buses, as well as draw attention the issue that there was not equality among all men.

In 1955, for a protest to be successful, it had to be “city-wide.” In order for that to occur, certain media had to be used to be able to spread the word and ensure collective action. The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was an organization was formed in 1955 by black ministers and was key in success of the boycott, the leader of course being, Martin Luther King Jr. This organization organized carpools and held weekly gatherings. The church meetings they held was a way of keeping everyone connected. Also, when King spoke to thousands, it demanded television coverage. The media used in this time was mostly word of mouth, bulletins, and newspapers. The other way which we discussed in class was comic books. Overall, the more coverage they got, the more people joined in the cause.

The revolution in Egypt was a movement that occurred in a variety of ways such as marches, riots, labor strikes, etc. by millions of protestors from different religious and economic backgrounds with the goal of overthrowing the regime. The reason they wanted to overthrow is was because of all the oppression such as police brutality, political censorship, high unemployment and food price inflation, and overall corruption.


After Khaled Said was killed by police, his face became the symbol of the revolution. The different media used to meet the goal to overthrow the regime was how people were organized in taking these stances and sit-ins. Videos of brutality were shared and pictures such as Khaled Said were spread. Gerbaudo himself witnessed an Egyptian woman take out her phone to take a photo of the attack at the square and tweeted.

The use of media is so important because not only does it aid in organizing revolution but also helps elicit “external attention,” as Gerbaudo phrases. Their goals were met with the assistance of media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is used in order to form these groups and get followers rallied behind one main idea or symbol. It offers connections and gives everyone a voice. Twitter is used in “real-time” organizing such as the woman Gerbaudo saw post the picture of the attack in the square. It informs at that moment. So it is obvious the way media is used now in movements is dramatically different then the way it was such in the example of the bus boycott.

Modern day media is the same as newspapers in that they are the “agitator” of collective action. The media use of the revolution in Egypt and the civil rights movement are the same in that both are channels through which each communicate and mobilize their actions. Meaning newspapers, comic books, and word of mouth give shape to the way in which people come and act together, just as the We are all Khaled Said Facebook page brought people together and called them to action.

The way it is different now is the way in which people talk to each other. Gerbaudo uses the term “horizantilism” to portray that there is no longer 1 leader, telling people what to do instead it is interactive and collective because social media gives everyone a voice. The civil rights movement was obviously mostly led by Dr. King. The revolution in Egypt instead has “soft leaders,” or influential Facebook administrators and activist tweeps who become the choreographers of sit-ins and other protests.

Draft Proposal

Occupy Philadelphia is on-going. The slogan is we are the 99%. The goal of the collaboration is to overcome economic inequality and have included nonviolent protests and other demonstrations. For my final project I would like to create a video timeline of Occupy and discuss what could have made it more successful. This will be done with a myriad of pictures, screen shots of the websites, and other data that can be collected such as statistical slides. The argument behind my project will be a critique of Occupy Philadelphia, naming areas that went well but mostly highlighting the areas which could have been better in drawing more action and ultimately having more of a global impact. That is the ultimate goal of social movements, is to tell their story and make it have global impact or reach to be able to really ignite change.