Emiliano Zapata Bust in Izmir

Emiliano Zapata Bust in Izmir

I was surprised to stumble upon this bust in Izmir. Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919) was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution. Remember the quote: "It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees". That was Zapata. And, he did die on his feet.

In the late 19th Century, the Mexican economical and social system essentially became feudal, with much of the land controlled by large estates and people pushed into peonage (debt-slavery). Zapata became a leading figure in the struggle for the rights of the villagers and their lands, and when the government was slow to respond and favored wealthy plantation owners, he took arms.

Today, we are once again moving towards a type of neo-feudalism - this time here in the United States and all over the globalized world. Big oil, partnered with big banks and the judicial system is in the business of land grabs. Wall Street and deep-pocketed investors, through corporations like Blackstone are collecting hundreds of thousands of cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown, transforming whole communities into "rent slaves". Secret, transnational trade agreements are turning us into wage slaves. Examples of our social and economical neo-feudal conversion are plenty, yet we almost never see it in the mainstream media. If we don't learn from history, there will be thousands of Zapatistas. Viva Zapata!

Update 2014-01-05: Exactly two decased ago, Zapastista's warned the public about NAFTA. Their prediction that neoliberal economic policies such as NAFTA would exacerbate poverty and undermine democracy rings true today.

Song of the Day: Power And The Passion - Midnight Oil (1982)
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