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A Zapatista Reading List | The Nation

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A Zapatista Reading List

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García Márquez/

Cambio

: Did the existen-tialists and Sartre come into all this?

 

Marcos:

No. We arrived late to that. Explicitly existentialist and, before that, revolutionary literature we arrived at already very "molded"--as the orthodox would say. So that by the time we got to Marx and Engels, we were already very contaminated by the sarcasm and humor of literature.

 

 

García Márquez/

Cambio

: There were no readings of political theory?

 

Marcos:

In the first stage, no. From our ABCs we went on to literature and then on to theoretical and political texts about the time we got to high school.

 

 

García Márquez/

Cambio

: Did your schoolmates think you were, or could be, a communist?

 

Marcos:

No, I don't think so. The most they ever said to me was that I was a radish--red on the outside and white on the inside.

 

 

García Márquez/

Cambio

: What are you reading now?

 

Marcos:

I have Don Quixote by the bedside, and I regularly carry around Romancero gitano, by García Lorca. Don Quixote is the best book out there on political theory, followed by Hamlet and Macbeth. There is no better way to understand the tragedy and the comedy of the Mexican political system than Hamlet, Macbeth and Don Quixote. They're much better than any column of political analysis.

 

 

García Márquez/

Cambio

: Do you write by hand or on the computer?

 

Marcos:

On computer. Only on the march I had to write by hand because I had no time to work. I write a rough draft, then another and another. You think I'm joking, but it's like the seventh draft by the time I'm done.

 

 

García Márquez/

Cambio

: What book are you working on?

 

Marcos:

What I was trying to write about was absurd, it was an attempt to explain ourselves to ourselves, which is almost impossible. We have to realize that we are a paradox, because a revolutionary army doesn't propose to seize power... All the paradoxes we have encountered: that we have grown and become strong in a sector completely alienated from cultural channels.

 

 

García Márquez/

Cambio

: If everyone knows who you are, why the ski mask?

 

Marcos:

A bit of leftover coquetry. They don't know who I am, and they don't care. What's in play here is what Subcomandante Marcos is, and not what he was.

 

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