LESSONS AND OPTIONS
"The ghost of Zapata has been seen again in the countryside. It never completely disappeared, of course, but it is now assuming a stronger presence. The new government will have to face the materialization of this phantom from the past, and the problems of governability that face Mexico's future will have much to do with how the social pacts that have been abolished [between the government and the peasantry] will be reconstructed."
— Luis Hernández of the National Network
of Coffee Grower Organizations (CNOC), March 1994
There is no going back to earlier revolutions or liberal ideologies for answers to today's dilemmas. At best, we can learn some lessons from the past and draw inspiration for the challenges and struggles ahead.
Returning to Anenecuilco, the birthplace of zapatismo, we are reminded that poor campesinos had the conviction and the courage to challenge an exclusive political system and a modernizing economic system that offered no place for the common people. Just as important as their heroic struggles against oppressive governments was the political and social vision of the zapatistas. They proposed an alternative, the Plan of Ayala, that incorporated what they knew was right and just about village life in Morelos with a reform program for the future. Although limited in scope, the Plan of Ayala did identify some of the main development problems of Mexico, including the lack of democracy, political