What’s the government betting on against the CNTE’s demands?
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Pozol. July 28, 2016.
75 days of occupation is not just anything. Nevertheless, despite the respect that this long two and a half-month path of struggle deserves; the State just vacillates without offering serious responses. There is a clear strategy of wear and tear (attrition), there are no responses, only delays to a problem that the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), presents in a precise and simple manner: repeal the “education reform.”
While the government sits down at the table and presents a conciliatory discourse, through its mass media it voices, again and again, that there is nothing to negotiate. There is a joke, a game not just in the management of language and time, also in the hope of the mobilized base. But this joke is not only on the CNTE; it’s also a joke on the people in struggle and on those people that the power names “audience,” “Market.”
You don’t need to be a specialist to know that if the government sat down to negotiate (very reluctantly), it means that it has to offer something in response to the CNTE’s demand that, as already stated, has been very clear. However, away from the table, the government makes it known to everyone that: “the law is not negotiable;” in other words, makes it clear that it’s not going to the table to negotiate, but rather to gain time. The teachers’ movement has evidenced that rough language: the cynicism, peculiar to power and its decadence. But it has left other things in evidence: the ruling classes’ fear of the social mobilization and the patent ineptitude of some upstart business owners/rulers.
Sitting down to negotiate (or simulating negotiations while in your real language, the media, you say something else) and maintaining that negotiating space, indicates that the rulers don’t have the ability to establish another form of domination (although it may be simulated) towards the CNTE. Another form would have “attended to” the problem in other ways without resorting to these bodies. But it has not been capable of that, nor of making use of police repression, or repeating the lie through the mass media.
To those weapons, indeed powerful by themselves, it now adds the shameless pressure of those who really govern this (and any) country: the business class.
The statements of the Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Confederación Patronal de la República Mexicana, COPARMEX), which in recent days have been reiterated, are added to a conjuncture that, presumably, those up there above observe: wear and tear on the movement after two and a half months of struggle (police repression + political persecution + exhaustion + economic wear and tear + social discredit of the movement derived from the permanent and intense media attack).
They think that it’s the time to carry out another repressive offensive (either through their multiple repressive bodies, shock groups, “legal” mechanisms, or some NGO´s, etcetera). More than a month has passed since the attack on the town of Nochixtlán, a month of pause, which they calculated, has passed through the “dialogue-negotiation tables.
So, are they betting that it’s enough time to forget? They have gambled on dividing civil society in solidarity with the teachers with campaigns of hatred and discredit towards the teachers; they have bet on an internally dividing movement (as they have always done in this and in other struggles); they have gambled on exhaustion and fear. What is the strategy now (if there is any): the forgetting and indifference of civil society towards the CNTE to carry out the belligerent orders of the bosses?
If it’s perhaps a theme of memory, it’s convenient that they remember: Nochixtlán, where the people far from fleeing, courageously confronted the police and paramilitaries; San Cristóbal de las Casas, where the people far from turning tail in the face of the police and paramilitary attack, recuperated the roadblock and increased their rage; San Juan Chamula, where their montage, added to the years of sowing hatreds, made everything get out of (their) control and the government was once again left standing idle.
The EZLN warned them. They didn’t understand.
The crisis that prevails now is serious and very complex, but in our territories this complexity also allows the ineptitude of the politicians and business owners that “govern.”
“A dialogue table cannot be maintained with those who, at the same time, remain in the streets violating the law with impunity,” assures Gustavo de Hoyos, head of the COPARMEX. “The Mexican State would seem to be losing the battle versus some that systematically violate the law.” We don’t know if the head of that employers’ association referred to the teachers or to the business owners and politicians whose history of crime, corruption and alliances with organized crime, is an open secret for the population.
“It seems to me that we have learned about the process. At best they should have considered what the different scenarios of consequences could be before emitting the laws. They didn’t do that, and now we are finding out.” It’s plausible that the specialist Sylvia Schmelkes (de facto writer of the education reform) is learning, it’s just lamentable that it’s only now (after so much blood spilled “in that process”) that it occurs to her to suspect what she ought to have done before, what it now seems necessary to do.
“There is nothing to discuss, there is no dialogue with respect to any education reform because that education reform is helping the country, the youths, the children, the teachers, just like there is nothing to discuss with respect to any reform.” If that is what the Secretary of Government, Osorio Chong, asserts to the media, why continue at a negotiating table that justly seeks to abrogate the education reform?
The bosses call the majority that fights for their rights (employment and education) a minority and criminals; the “intellectuals” of the “education reform” are not capable of processing information in a simple interview, or articulating simple ideas when giving answers and they vomit surprising gibberish; the politicians are incapable of generating arguments, or at least disguising them to confuse the people, as is their intention.
Not in the bosses’ belligerence of Hoyos; not in Schmelkes’ intellectual gibberish; nor in Chong’s ineptitude and political ravings; or in the sputtering of “communicators” like Dóriga, do we glimpse serious answers to the dignified movement of the CNTE, and above all, to the dignified support and popular solidarity movement. Up there above there are no merits or abilities, the only weapons they possess are violence and lies, the intellect passes unnoticed.
This corporate-political ruling class seeks to win this war (its war), without a single battle being presented, without brandishing a single weapon and with violence and the lie as argument (baldy employed, for sure). They bet on fatigue, on the error of the other, not on the merits.
There was a time in which those who governed were a class that earned and defended, by force, their titles and their power on the battlefields. Now, there is just a gang of rich kids inheriting places that “they defend” with structures of repression, also inherited, in unequal battles in their favour. There is not a single merit among those that up there above shriek terms like: competitiveness, honesty, efficiency, success, quality, and etcetera.
And, even so, they have the cynicism of judging-for-repressing those who defend the rights they won through long struggles, against unequal odds.
Originally Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Minor amendments for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee