Zapata’s Blood


When it was mentioned in class that this week’s post would revolve around picking a song with meaningful lyrics, I immediately knew what I was doing. I thought back to the class taught by the greatest teacher I have ever had, and probably will ever have. His name is Jan Urban. During my semester abroad last spring in the Czech Republic, I took a class called “Modern Dissent in Central Europe.” Taught by this amazing man, it was unlike any class I have ever previously had. Jan grew up in Czechoslovakia during World War II, his father fought for the Soviet Army. Jan told us about how as a child he would be woken up in the middle of the night by his father’s screams, presumably from nightmares of experiences from World War II. Jan’s father never told him about what happened, but they mystery of what happened still played a huge part in his life.

More about this unbelievable teacher- Although Jan would not give us exact details about his status as a leader during the rebellion that was the Velvet Revolution, it was clear to the entire class that he played a MAJOR role. He was arrested by the secret police more than he can count, and met with some of the greatest dissidents that Europe saw during the 20th century. The most famous of these figures was  Václav Havel (The first president of the Czech Republic). Jan had an endless number of stories about dissenting against the oppressive communist government and about striving for change world wide.

The course was focused on famous dissenters, and how to go about making positive change in the world, especially in dire situations. We spent about a week on one subject, the Zapatista Rebellion (this site has some great info on the EZLN. This is a movement made by the impoverished people of the Chiapas region in Mexico. Although, as Jan mentioned in class, their movement and the ideals that it carries may not be the best or most “important” out there, the way they went about making change through peace is something to admire. They are “led” by a figure head called Subcomandante Marcos, which in Spanish means Sub commander Marcos. His title alone gives enough information about their movement. They want the illusion (and hopefully the reality) that their is no leader of their movement; they are all about equality for the people and taking the power out of unjust military and corporate powers. Their leader is famous for his black ski mask, ak-47 and pipe that is always in his mouth.

The song I chose to post is called Zapata’s Blood, by Rage Against the Machine (RATM). RATM made a small album dedicated  solely to the Zapatista movement. In the song that I chose the important lyrics are at the end of the song when, the lyrics repeat over and over again, “EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE. AND NOTHING FOR OURSELVES. EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE. AND NOTHING FOR OURSELVES.” This song and the whole album is powerful in its backing of the indigenous farmers of Mexico and their movement for equality. RATM has even used the Zapatista Rebellion flag as a back drop for their concerts to further promote their cause. I am sure that I will be the only one posting a song by Rage Against the Machine, but even metal bands can take up worthy causes!

Their “Zapatismo” ideals revolve around traditional mayan practices and libertarian socialism. While, I may mot personally agree with their ideals, I am still impressed by the way their movement took place and the peaceful power behind it. I could even go as far to call their movement a bad idea, with excellent execution.

Link to the song: Zapata’s Blood  

I did not find a consistent set of lyrics; but this one gives a good summary of the general song:

“Zapata’s Blood”

Zapata’s blood
Wasn’t spilt in vain
So now the most poor wage war
To reclaim their nameZapata’s bloodWasn’t spilt in vainSo now the most poor wage war
To reclaim their terrainOn January 1st , 1994
The indigenous farmers of Southern Mexico
Declared war on an unjust
and illegitimate governmentOut of the debt of the most wild, the most poor
Came a just arm struggle
for democracy, justice, and liberty
And it won’t stop until that 65 year old dictatorship,
the Partido Revolucionario Institucional
(Institutional Revolutionary Party) is buried in the
and the people’s voice is heard once again


So check it out:
On January 1st, of 94 they became known as
the Zapatista movement
And they have a saying, and I want you all to
sing along with me real quick.
It goes something like this
It goes everything for everyone…
and nothing for ourselves.
Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves.
Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves.
Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves.
Yeah, sing that shit…
Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves.
Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves.
Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves.
Everything for everyone, and nothing for ourselves..


2 comments on “Zapata’s Blood

  1. I am assuming you could find a concert clip as opposed to a “produced” video. Seems right somehow.

    The Zapatista movement was in the news a good deal in the 1990s. I have heard little since. I wonder what happened since then and if they feel progress has been made or lost.

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