The Rebel Education of the Zapatistas


Education is central to the Mayan struggle, as formalized by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Chiapas. In this text, Raúl Romero Gallardo & Xavie Gálvez unfold the structure of self-governance created by the Zapatistas and how education takes its role within it.

Romero Galvez Funambulist 1
Classroom in the Caracol de Morelia in Chiapas, Zapatista Territory. / Photo by Raúl Romero Gallardo (2017).

On the wall of a wooden house, in the mountains of southeast Chiapas, reads the phrase: “Education is the heart of autonomy.” Talking about Zapatista education means also talking about armed struggle, as well as dialogue about and the collective construction of autonomy. To approach education under these circumstances within the struggle, we start this text off with some insights around the historical background and political organization of the Zapatista movement.

In 1983, a small group of mestizos reached the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas with the intention of developing armed struggle.