Levi Gahman: Dismantling Neoliberal Education – A Lesson From the Zapatistas

Dismantling Neoliberal Education: A Lesson From the Zapatistas
Levi Gahman, Roar Magazine, 4/4/2016

The non-hierarchical education of the Zapatistas cries dignity and suggests that the suffering of the neoliberal university can be withstood and overcome.

“I’ve said it before—in contrast to those traditional stories that begin with ‘Once upon a time . . .’ Zapatista stories begin with ‘There will be a time . . .’ — Subcomandante Galeano (formerly Marcos)”

The story of the Zapatistas is one of dignity, outrage, and grit. It is an enduring saga of over 500 years of resistance to the attempted conquest of the land and lives of indigenous peasants. It is nothing less than a revolutionary and poetic account of hope, insurgency and liberation—a movement characterized as much by adversity and anguish, as it is by laughter and dancing.

More precisely, the ongoing chronicles of the Zapatista insurrection provide a dramatic account of how indigenous people have defied the imposition of state violence, oppressive gender roles and capitalist plunder. And for people of the Ch’ol, Tseltal, Tsotsil, Tojolabal, Mam and Zoque communities in Chiapas, Mexico who make the decision to become Zapatista, it is a story reborn, revitalized and re-learned each new day, with each new step.

It is with this context in mind that I provide a brief overview of how the Zapatistas’ vibrant construction of resistance offers hope to those of us struggling within-and-against the neoliberal university.

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