Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Petra Rethmann




This thesis is an exploration of what I term the "moment of coincidence" between the Zapatista movement and the independent labour movement in Mexico. The analysis presented here is a product of both research surrounding the Zapatista movement itself as well as six weeks of fieldwork conducted in Mexico City with members of the independent labour movement during July and August of 2000. The phenomenon which has emerged from my research and which I have called the "moment of coincidence" is both the central metaphor and analytical tool within this thesis. As I will argue throughout this work, the "moment of coincidence" exists as a point of intersection between diverse and multiple social movements, each with their own disparate agendas, yet each finding themselves somehow galvanized and united, albeit loosely, at a particular moment in time and by a particular event or series of events. In this case, I argue that it is the Zapatista movement that has served as the catalyst, inspiration, and imagination for this "moment of coincidence" among diverse social movements in Mexico. In tum., this "moment of coincidence" has led to profound challenges to the existing system of social, political., and economic relations in Mexico based as it is upon a radically democratic and inclusive politics. The purpose of this work is ultimately to attempt to illuminate some of the political and social possibilities which have and continue to emerge from this "moment of coincidence" and the alternatives they offer not only for politics of dissent or resistance, but for the envisioning of new social worlds.

McMaster University Library

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