La Paz Zapotec

From Anarchy In Action

Almost 2,000 Zapotec live in a Oaxacan town studied by anthropologists Carl O’Nell and Douglas Frygiven and given the psuedonym La Paz.[1]

From Peter Gelderloos, Anarchy Works:

The differences between two Zapotec communities illustrates that peace is a choice. The Zapotec are a sedentary agrarian indigenous nation living on land that is now claimed by the state of Mexico. One Zapotec community, La Paz, has a yearly homicide rate of 3.4/100,000. A neighboring Zapotec community has the much higher homicide rate of 18.1/100,000. What social attributes go along with the more peaceful way of life? Unlike their more violent neighbors, the La Paz Zapotec do not beat children; accordingly, children see less violence and use less violence in their play. Similarly, wife-beating is rare and not considered acceptable; women are considered equal to men, and enjoy an autonomous economic activity that is important to the life of the community so they are not dependent on men. Regarding child-rearing, the implications of this particular comparison are corroborated by at least one cross-cultural study on socialization, which found that warm, affectionate socialization techniques correlate with low levels of conflict in society.[2]

  1. Peaceful Societies: Zapotec of La Paz,
  2. Graham Kemp and Douglas P. Fry (eds.), Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution and Peaceful Societies around the World, New York: Routledge, 2004, pp. 73–79. The cross-cultural study is M.H. Ross, The Culture of Conflict, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.