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During the late 1980s and early 1990s, many Chiapanecans faced deteriorating economic prospects and a nondemocratic system of local government. Social movements, however, are set in motion by more than social problems and political exclusion. Movements also arise from antecedent popular politics—such as study circles, wildcat strikes, guerrilla cells, political parties, and neighborhood associations—that provide activists with tangible resources, as well as invaluable lessons about what everyday people can collectively accomplish. Student protests and youth culture, citizens’ demonstrations for electoral reform, Catholic base communities, small-business opponents of the Technocrats, and self-help experiments in cities and the countryside all provided frustrated Chiapanecans with slogans and symbols; recruitment networks; organizationally experienced leaders; inspiring stories of collective self-rule; and cautionary tales of failed rebellion. The Zapatista movement grew by drawing from and adapting to this rich soil.
KeywordsCredit Union Business Leader North American Free Trade Agreement Security Force Liberation Theology
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