Fanon's Three Stages Related to the Indigenous People of Chiapas
The passage Shadows of Tender Fury by Subcommander Marcos of the Zapatista Army explains that the people of Chiapas are currently facing a period of revolution. The Zapatista army (consisting of Chiapian campesinos) has risen to combat the intolerant system of oppression by the Mexican government and has attempted to create a better lifestyle for the campesinos of Chiapas. Frantz Fanon's three stages to national culture; assimilation, self discovery, and revolution, relate to the struggle of the campesinos of Chiapas. In the last 500 years, the indigenous people of Chiapas have faced all three of Fanan's stages during their struggle for the development of a national culture.
Five-hundred years ago when the first Europeans came in contact with the Mayan Indians, the first stage of Fanon's theory, assimilation, began formalizing. Throughout history the colonizers of Mexico were more technologically advanced than the natives.
The Europeans had guns, cannons and massive ships. Not only did these possessions enable them to have greater brute force, but it took the white man to the level of the gods in the eyes of the natives. The colonizers could easily take advantage of this reverence. Fanon states 'The effect consciously sought by colonialism was to drive into the natives' heads the idea that if the settlers were to leave, they would at once fall back into barbarism, degradation, and bestiality.'(Fanon
211) The colonizers, believing the natives were savages that needed enlightenment, forced European culture upon them. The Europeans believed that to assimilate the natives to European culture was to help them progress. Therefore, to return to the old ways would have been regressing. When the natives objected to the forced assimilation, the colonizers smothered the rebellious efforts with stronger, more lethal weapons.