Building alternative markets for humans
Schools for Chiapas agrees with the Zapatista movement that the autonomous farming communities of Chiapas offer a vital and sustainable economic alternatives to today’s corporate-driven global economy.
We have seen that the indigenous Mayan peoples of Chiapas, are hard workers and effective producers. These communities feed themselves and regularly produce great amounts of surplus meat and vegetables on tiny plots of land with little or no chemical inputs. These indigenous communities also weave cloth, embroider clothing, write school text books, bake bread, communicate via the internet, raise poultry, produce honey, run large distribution warehouses for manufactured goods, make paper, maintain pick-up truck based transportation networks, work wood, make adobe block, create herbal medicines, and work in many other areas. Indigenous communities are also now growing enormous amounts of high quality organic coffee and cacao.
However the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the government and non-governmental organizations they control neither values, nor respects, the productivity of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas . The alternative offered by these forces is for indigenous people to leave the land and sell their labor (cheaply) in the cities and fields of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
The Zapatista movement encourages the development of an alternative economic development based in the culture and creativity of the Mayan people. Hundreds of small and large Zapatista productive collectives have emerged in Chiapas over the last few years producing, distributing, and selling within the Tsotsil, Tseltal, Chol, Mam, Tojolabal, and Zoque communities. This is a process supported by Schools for Chiapas .
Every collective, and every individual Mayan producer, faces an uphill battle in today’s corporation dominated marketplaces. Many such producers are monolingual, making communication difficult. Many such producers lack math skills, making addition and subtraction difficult. Many such producers are not able to read, making them easy targets for government and business abuses.
Click here to donate in support of education for autonomous production in Chiapas .