Councils of Good Government

Wall painting in Chiapas. source

The "Juntas de Buen Gobierno" wiki are the most important authorities in the self-governance system of the Zapatistas. The term is translated into English as 'Councils of Good Government' (council = span: consejos). The name has also been given to challenge the "mal gobierno" (bad government), the mexican state apparatus is perceived as. Councils of Good Government are located in base areas called “caracoles”, i.e. "snails". Quincy Saul writes: html :

And here’s the paradox: in the Lacondona, in el Sur, where everything moves slowly, political organization seems so much more advanced; while in el Norte, in the metropoles of the world, everything moves so quickly, and yet our organizations and politics seem so backwards.


# Where?

Chiapas, Mexico, Americas

# When did it start?

1994. It is important to understand, how the claim for autonomy 1980s-90s Mexico Since the 1980s and 1990s, Mexico's economic policy concentrated more on industrial development and attracting foreign capital. The Salinas government initiated a process of privatization of land (through the PROCEDE-program). The direct cause of the Zapatista Insurgency is related to the world-wide first Free Trade Agreement. In 1992, as a (pre)condition for Mexico for entering the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the USA and Canada, art.4 and art.27 of the Mexican Constitution were modified, by means of which it became possible to privatize communal land or ejidos. This undermined the basic security of indigenous communities to land entitlement, and former ejidatorios now became formally illegal land-squatters, and their communities informal settlements. In the Lacandon jungle in Chiapas, the rebellion began to take shape against the marginalization of the indigenous population, the 1992 amendment to the Constitution, and the expected results of NAFTA.

# Inspired by:

Add the theories other (historical) practices this governance proposal/practice draws from.


"Somehow the snail overtakes the locomotive!" (Quincy Saul) [...]

Relationalize Property: land is hold in ejidos (Source ?)

Develop Shared Purpose & Values: Preserve their autonomy and dignity are key to Zapatistas, but it is hard to describe theire meaning making in English or Spanish, as their indigineous languages provide concepts which are not easy to translate. F.i. Tzotzil wiki , has two words for wealth: "takin" meaning money or artificial wealth and "skulejal" meaning.

"natural wealth measured in life, in community, in happiness." (Quincy Saul)

Assure Inclusiveness but Set Semi-Permeable Boundaries: rotation is one of the basic principles of zapatista-self-governance,

"Leadership rotates like crops."

Honor Transparency in a Sphere of Trust: all elected civilian authorities are recallable, diversity is respected and protected.

Assure Commoners' Consent in Decisionmaking: the decision making principle is consensus.

"Everything moves slowly, at the speed of conversation and consensus; poco a poco, or “kun kun” in Tstotsil. Slowly but surely", writes Quincy Saul


# 2. Governing External Relations Beat the Bounds: see the Zapatista insurgency wiki

Emulate & Then Federate: ADD TEXT HERE

Create Polycentric Democracies: The caracol (snail) the Zapatistas use to illustrate their governance regime invokes the “the speed of democracy,” of which government negotiators at the San Andres wiki complained a lot

Accept State Oversight & Support as Needed: As a consequence of the Insurgency, the indigenous peoples in Mexico were granted the constitutional right of self-determination, with the exception of not attempting to destroy Mexico’s sovereignty.


# See also Zapatista Hospital in la Realidad on Anarchy in Action Website wiki Glossary of Backward Looking Words

# Sources Iker Reyes Godelman (2014): The Zapatista Movement, html Quincy Saul (2016): Resurgent Mexico, in Counterpunch article ] Zapatista Army of National Liberation, wikipedia Zapatistas Meet to Elect First Indigenous Presidential Candidate, Telesur, May 27 2017, html