Added: October 1, 2016 – Last updated: October 1, 2016


Speaker: Vivian A. Newdick

Title: The Scales of Zapatista Justice

Subtitle: Centering Non-Rights Based Claims against Sexual Violence

Conference: Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association: Power, Privilege, and the Pursuit of Justice: Legal Challenges in Precarious Times (May 30 - June 2, 2013)

Session: Emergencies/Emergences: Mass Violence, Impunity, and Impasse

Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Date: June 1, 2013

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: Mexican History


Link: -




»In Chiapas, Mexico, at the margin of state institutions, local forms of adjudication of conflict have flourished, to the extent that they have taken center stage in the practice of indigenous autonomy or self-rule. The autonomous councils of the majority indigenous Zapatista Army for National Liberation link local adjudication with ideals of collective work, assembly-based political leadership, and economic justice at national and international scales. These adjudication practices invite us to rethink the pervasive spatialization of the idea of justice that concepts like “access to justice” imply and bring the ostensibly local to the center of our understanding of justice in times of social crisis.
This paper examines the discourse of three sisters who accused a group of Mexican Army soldiers of rape at a military checkpoint on the outskirts of Zapatista territory in the months following the group’s 1994 armed uprising. I argue that performances and publics of autonomous justice informed the emergence of this extraordinary first person protest against sexual violence, which the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States vindicated in 2001. I show that the survivors’ claims did not proceed from the recognition of rights, but rather existed alongside and in complex, contestatory, and sometimes muted relation to it. The multiplicity of possible bases for claims against sexual violation suggests a critique of the spatial scales implicit in the notions of locality and access to justice, since certain forms of movement knowledge provide the bases for emancipatory new languages of the just.« (Source: All Academic)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of Mexico