Who Am I and Why Do You Want to Read This?!
How about we start with a game? It’s a bit of a twist on an old familiar one - we’ll call this version “Where’s RJ?”
You should be able to find me in this photo rockin' my trademark undershirt look... There ya go!
I've been thinking about and organizing towards radical change in the USA and the world since the late 90s. As the title of the blog suggests, the Zapatistas of Southern Mexico have been a big inspiration and reference point for me during much of this time.
This blog is for people who want to stay informed and dialogue on what's going on with the Zapatistas and the national and "intergalactic" initiatives they are building - especially in terms of how these things relate to what we're doing in New York City and, more generally, in the USA. A bunch of different people have said that they need a space of information and conversation regarding this and so here it is.
If you want to know more about where I'm coming from, a good starting place is an article that my partner and I wrote a couple years ago for Left Turn called Global Justice Movement: Beyond the Summits. If you want to know who the Zapatistas are, what they’ve been up to, how they see the world, and what they plan to do in the future, check out their Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. And if you want to catch up on the Other Campaign - the national initiative that has grown out of the Sixth Declaration - then check out this recent interview Mary Ann Tenuto-Sanchez and I did on Against the Grain.
I’ve been doing a lot more writing since the Zapatistas released their Sixth Declaration a year ago. As part of the Ricardo Flores Magón Brigade, I lived in Oaxaca, Mexico at the beginning of the year to report for Narco News on the Other Campaign.
Since returning to Brooklyn, I’ve continued with the usual work to pay the bills and with local organizing work. I've continued to write on the Zapatistas as well, mainly for Left Turn's magazine and web site, and also for Narco News and Critical Resistance Oakland's The Abolitionist.
I've received alot of amazing response on previous pieces and would love for those dialogues to happen more publicly. I'll update weekly and respond to comments as they come along... although I'm not gonna waste alot of time with the haters (especially if you're anonymous).
This is one more space for information and dialogue as the Zapatistas make their biggest moves since rising up over 12 years ago... and invite us to join with them.
Bare minimum, "zapagringo" will be a way for family and friends to keep track of me :-)