Internet-Web Encuentro Proposal

(This is an excerpt from a project idea developed prior to the Second Intercontinental Encuentro Against Neoliberalism and For Humanity by some people in Accion Zapatista in Austin, Texas.)


This proposal seeks to electronically link and connect people around the globe for The Second Intercontinental Encounter (Encuentro) for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism to take place from July 25 to August 2, 1997. This international event, to be convened in Madrid, Spain, was proposed in August 1996 at the Zapatista's First Intercontinental Encuentro in Chiapas, Mexico, an historic gathering which brought together over 3,000 artists, activists, and intellectuals from Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Our Internet-Web Encuentro project will develop existing cyber networks, strengthen collective efforts for information exchange, maintain an ongoing encounter within the Zapatista solidarity movement, and link together other grassroots struggles that seek to transform humanity and defeat neoliberalism. A "cyber encounter" will make possible virtual participation for untold numbers of people unable to attend the event in person. Coordinated by Accion Zapatista and the Zapatista Net of Autonomy and Liberation – two Austin groups with expertise in the interface of politics and technology – this precedent setting project will be an important step in the evolution of new technologies and social change.


This proposal is a co-production of ZapNet and Accion Zapatista, autonomous collectives that publish and circulate cultural and political discourse around the Zapatista Movement in cyberspace. Since 1994, we have collaboratively created various print, on-line, and interactive multimedia projects, including an award-winning CD-ROM and internationally renown Web sites. In 1996, we helped design a proposal for an "Intercontinental Network of Alternative Communication” (Spanish Acronym: RICA).

Partners in this project include the Austin Peace and Justice Coalition, The Foundation for a Compassionate Society, and ThingNYC, a consortium of artistic nodes in the United States and Europe. This undertaking will draw on other Austin resources including the Women’s and Latino collectives at KOOP Radio, Women in News Gathering Service (WINGS), and Women’s Access to Electronic Resources (WATER). We are working with Web site and listserv managers, and others versed in digital audio and visual media, in Mexico, other locations in North America, and Europe.

For more information see these Web sites:

• Accion Zapatista:

• ZapNet: http://

• Encuentro Web site:


New computer-based communication and information technologies, like the Internet and the World Wide Web, have dramatically increased people’s ability to communicate with one another on a global level. This increased capability for global electronic communication means that groups and individuals, unlike ever before, may work together, share information, build alliances, create dialogue, strategize, and operate as part of a global community. Moreover, the potential for direct democracy these new technologies provide is especially crucial in an era of corporate dominated media and communication. The proliferation of electronic communication and information infrastructures is now making access to digital media technologies a fundamental human right.

 The Zapatista uprising on January 1, 1994 and the subsequent solidarity movement in support of the EZLN and the indigenous communities of Chiapas illustrates how activists have seized the Net as a means of resisting and struggling on a global level. Only days after the rebellion, the EZLN began their ‘war of words’ and circulated communiqués across international borders. Vital information and pleas for crucial support flowed through pre-existing networks that had been established around the anti-NAFTA campaign and other struggles. The Zapatista struggle against Mexico’s state party system and the devastating effects of externally imposed structural adjustments, or neoliberalism, has produced critical linkages that promise a fundamental transformation of the Mexican polity. In August of 1996, the Zapatistas hosted thousands of activists and intellectuals from Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa for the First Intercontinental Encuentro For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism. This historic gathering continued the Zapatista efforts to encourage dialogue on an international scale. Zapatista-based Web sites in Mexico City, San Diego, Austin, Montreal, Dublin, and Berlin sustained the Zapatistas’ presence in cyberspace and became locations for active participation in an international dialogue that promoted struggle for humanity and resistance against neoliberalism.

 As we approach the Second Intercontinental Encuentro, to be held in Spain from July 25 to August 2, 1997, the global Zapatista movement is represented by well over fifty Net and Web resources. One of the primary objectives of this Second Encuentro, which was first articulated at the culmination of last year's intercontinental gathering in Chiapas by Subcommandante Marcos, is to continue expanding the alternative communication infrastructure needed for circulating global struggle and resistance. As has been demonstrated, broadening the application of Net and Web technologies is vital to continued expansion of this global alternative communication network. By creatively applying these new technologies, and through active collaboration with parallel initiatives, we can advance a "virtual" or "cyber" participation in the Second Intercontinental Encuentro. By creating an interactive environment through a combination of digital text, images, audio, and video this project will enable important dialogue through an "internet encuentro."


This project proposal directed toward the Second Encuentro seeks to integrate a variety of digital media, including text, images, audio, and video. It incorporates interactive environments ranging from simple email capability to more advanced use of Web-based interactive video.

• Multiple-user access to computer and telephone facilities at the Encuentro will allow participants to access basic Internet services such as email and Web browsers, enabling communication with associates at remote locations. People unable to attend the Encuentro will be able send statements to be posted on the Internet and/or in public spaces at the Encuentro sites.

• Texts developed prior to the Encuentro, developed on-site or at other locations during the Encuentro, and written after the Encuentro will be posted to a Web site, that will be linked to other Web sites globally. A search engine will be developed for archival searches of texts on the Encuentro Web site.

• Through the Encuentro Web site people will be able to automatically subscribe to Encuentro email discussion lists. Some Encuentro Web sites may feature scripted interactive applications such as on-line threaded discussion lists and databases.

• Advance announcements, via email or other means, will invite participants to submit texts. Notices that the Encuentro Web sites exist will be widely circulated and people will be encouraged to distribute the information to public sites.

• Photos and images created prior to, during, or after the Encuentro will be posted to central Web sites that will be linked to interconnected Web sites globally.

• Real-audio services will feature live and recorded transmission of key speakers and events at the Encuentro. In addition, people transmitting from remote sites will be able to address the Encuentro, via Real-audio.

• Interactive on-line video transmission, using the CUSeeMe application, will enable real-time video communication between the Encuentro and remote sites, allowing for presentations, meetings, interviews, and performances to be viewed interactively. Remote locations can consist of Web access via private and public locations to CUSeeMe Interactive Spaces at universities, galleries and other wired venues.

• This project will collaborate with managers of email listservers and Web sites to circulate digital texts, images, audio, and video. An important goal is to link digital media available on the Net to more traditional forms of communication like radio and print, so as to make available multi-media representations of the Encuentro, and the intercontinental project for humanity and against neoliberalism, available to the wider public audiences without Internet access.