Comparative Analysis of ISIS and Zapatistas
ISIS was formed due to the failure of management by the Iraq government after the strikes by the USA in search of Saddam Hussein. Their basis for fighting is solely to have an international recognition of Islam as the governing and powerful set of rules. ISIS fights for governance, where they seek to have one overall state that is ruled by Islam. Their ultimate objective is to have a state out of the areas they have managed to control. They still maintain the stance that they will be an economic group with a state to control for their sake. On the other hand, Zapatistas is a group of people whose main aim of repelling the government is to stop globalization and the sharing of community lands to individuals who serve their interest with their wealth. The primary goal of their fight is to protect the community sources of income.
The difference between the reasons for the formation of ISIS and the Zapatistas is that the former counters the governmental and state control, while Zapatistas fight to stop seclusion. In one way, the two groups have a political resemblance in their struggle; on the other hand, their economic reasons diverge. In the discussion about the existence of ISIS, there is a temptation to make a conclusion that jihadists in ISIS are modern secular people who have modern political concerns, disguising themselves as religious fighters. In fact, most of their activities look nonsensical, except in the light of a carefully considered and sincere commitment to taking the modern civilization to a 7th century legal arena and ultimately bringing the apocalypse. Looking at the rise of Zapatistas, one can clearly see the economic concerns of the people since they have a solid foundation of their claims.
These people rose to protect the poor farmers in Mexico against the opening of free trade between Canada, the United States, and Mexico in 1994. The participants of the trade agreement meant to do the business between the nations of North America freely so that Mexico was able to work and support its economy. However, the Zapatistas saw the move as a death certificate to the economic status of the small farmers. The fear was that the principal players like the USA and Canada would flood the Mexican market with cheap goods and overtake the little left for the peasants. That reason propelled them to rise and oppose the move. This means that their primary objective was to protect the little left for the poor and not to have control of the government or even the formation of a state of their own. The Islamic State, on the other hand, requires territory so as to remain legitimate and relevant. They fight to have control of a political territory with top-down governance all under their custody.
Unlike the Zapatistas, ISIS has a religious dimension that they use as a tool to gather support from their donors and sympathizers. They advocate strict adherence to the teachings of the Quran, which is the call for the Islamic religions. However, they do not exhibit what they preach since they have been recorded on several occasions executing people against the teachings of Islam. These people are hungry for power since they require a recognized state under their name for them to stay relevant. Followers of ISIS are very well-informed about their faith and exhibit great eagerness about following the letter of the Islamic law. This allows people to perform crucifixions and amputations on the individuals who are considered rebellious to Islam and to establish slavery. In short, politically, ISIS is a group of people fighting to have power and control over a territory and the international recognition as a sovereign country. Zapatistas have a solid base on the plight of the poor people in Mexico, for whom they struggle to liberate from the offensive free trade between the nations of North America.
Over the years, these revolutionists have gotten immense support from non-governmental organizations since they have eliminated violence in their struggle for liberation and anti-globalization campaigns. Zapatistas do not use military techniques; rather they use the word of mouth and the online messaging software and platforms to spread their message. This has successfully gathered support for them and made them advocates of the poor people. On the other hand, ISIS uses war and combats to spread their message to the rest of the world. They have been condemned as one of the most dangerous terrorist groups since their activities do not differ from common terrorists. Due to their intensive combat, they require a lot of funding to keep purchasing arms and explosives. Due to this dire need for funds, ISIS captures people and asks for heavy ransoms from the states, levying illegal taxes on business people, the sale of captured oil, and private donors. Most of their sources of income are illegal and violent, making them only accessible through violence.
Unlike Zapatistas, ISIS controls businesses on their territory by forcing the traders to leave and taking over their domains. They have caused thousands of traders flee from towns where they were doing business. In order to minimize costs, the group has intensified the practice of hijacking military troops and stealing ammunitions from them, taking over state properties and selling them to people who support the group as well as paying petite salaries to people who work for them. Zapatistas are politically known to have goodwill for the nation and particularly the improvement of the poor people’s welfare. This is what has made the government hesitate from launching combat on them since they have very few reasons for war. Economically, on the other hand, Zapatistas support the growth of the towns that they tend to influence, with an aim of preventing the USA and Canada from taking advantage.
Since the day NAFTA was launched in 1994, Zapatistas have been on the same course of stopping globalization from taking advantage of the poor people in Chiapas. It is an economic resistance, while that of ISIS is a self-centered political greed hidden behind religion. Zapatistas have a legitimate cause to be worried, since NAFTA was a threat to peasant farming in Mexico, following the opening of imports from the USA and goods being produced under government subsidies. One thing that makes the political economy for ISIS different from that of Zapatistas is that these people believe in using violence to make people conform to their ideologies, while the others use numbers to influence others. Zapatistas march in the streets to oppose government regulations that are deemed offensive to the indigenous way of living and productions, while ISIS uses combat to capture territories. ISIS uses its strength in the war to force traders to leave the market while making others slaves in their businesses. This is seen as a mechanism of forcing more people to join them for fear of being mistreated.
Currently, ISIS has been able to capture a huge part of Iraq and Syria where they are now fighting to get the appropriate control and governance from the UN. The course of actions for both groups may be different, but there is an underlying similarity in their ideologies. This is seen in the quest for leaving the indigenous way of life without influence from the rich states. ISIS opposes moves by the USA in combating terror and jihadists in the Middle East, while the Zapatistas oppose the USA from taking advantage of the free market and oppressing poor producers in Mexico. The projects of Zapatistas and ISIS are different in that the former struggle to make lives of everyone better, while the later struggles to dominate and force everyone to come to them. ISIS believes that they have a duty to fulfill at the end of the world.
There is a conception that there will be a war between the Christians and the anti-messiah shortly before the end of the world when Jesus will be coming back to pick His church. This is one project that the members of ISIS believe that they will have to take an active role in to ensure that only those under them will survive. This defines the group not only as political but also a destructively minded gang that seeks to make Islam the only religion in the world. Since ISIS has been able to capture a territory and establish a caliphate, their next move is to capture a non-Muslim state and dominate there. This is something they usually do at least twice a year: they invade and behead, crucify and enslave non-Muslims. This has made their activities look offensive, even if they call it jihad.
Zapatistas, on the other hand, work hard to maintain the current means of getting income for the local people by taking over cities from the local authorities and managing them for sustainability. These people do not have a religious dimension in their struggle nor do they invade neighbors for takeover. Based on the history, the future of Zapatistas is not certain. However, they have been able to influence the world through their call for anti-exploitation of the poor people, and the government of Mexico has implemented several policies to safeguard the interest of the people. This is a little success on the side of the rebels, although it only covers little of what they cry for. On the other side, the future of ISIS is doomed since time will come when they will never be able to sustain themselves economically, and the number of people migrating to caliphate will reduce, making them vulnerable to takeover by the governments and the international community. If this happens, the end of ISIS will be extremely painful for them and their followers.
The analysis and comparison of the two groups based on their political and economic dimensions can simply be summarized in the statement that they have similarities in their claims, but their projects are different. Based on the control of assets and territory, as well as the mechanisms used to achieve their goals, the two groups are different. They do not have a lot in common, and their courses of action cannot precisely be comparable. One of the groups seeks to have power and control of more than what they have, while the other one fights to protect what they have from being taken away. This is a definite difference between them. Finally, the ideologies behind their actions are different, although ISIS tends to assume that they are justified in their actions. Economically, Zapatistas are sustainable and justified since they oppose what they consider harmful to their existence and growth through invasion. ISIS, in contrast, does not have any economic justification and cannot be self-sustainable since it relies on rooting, hijacking, and forceful takeover that attract violence toward them.