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Raúl Zibechi argues that a new language is needed in opposition to the “vertical, linear eye of our masculine, legalistic, and rational culture.”[i] Instead of trying to reform the state, this new world is being created in horizontal self-organized communities organized throughout Latin America, including Christian base communities in rural areas following liberation theology, indigenous Indian beliefs and insurgencies (as in the Mexican Zapatistas), collective occupation of land by poor landless people (in countries like Brazil and Chile) and revolutionary Guevarism (as in Cuba). A shared characteristic of these communities is reaction to neoliberal capitalism and respect for women and youth and egalitarian relationships in general at work and in home. Zibechi observes that when patriarchy erodes, creative energy flows. A visual representation of horizontalism is members often sit in circles in assemblies, a type of organization more complex than democracy. These kinds of movements helped install progressive governments in Venezuela, Brazil, and Ecuador, but Zibechi believes social movements get diluted by these progressive governments. They probably are rooted in small local groups with common interests and personal trust. He is optimistic that in the last two decades, “The long-awaited new world is being born in the movements’ [occupied] spaces and territories, embedded in the gaps that are opening up in capitalism. It is ‘the’ real and possible new world, built by indigenous people, peasants and urban poor on conquered lands, woven into the base for the new social relations between human beings. . . .”


[i] Raúl Zibechi. Territories in Resistance: A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements. AK Press, 2012, pp. 13 and 20.

 

 

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