dorset chiapas solidarity

December 10, 2016

Insumisión: Community Self-Defense Against Narcos and the State

Filed under: Indigenous, Migrants, news — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:03 pm

 

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Insumisión: Community Self-Defense Against Narcos and the State

8th December 2016, section on Chiapas from the latest edition of Insumisión

Mobilizations and Repression in Chiapas 

15135762_333477160359078_9061555226324921132_nGathering during the MODEVITE pilgrimage in Chiapas

On November 15, members of eleven municipalities in Chiapas began a twelve-day pilgrimage through communities threatened by neoliberal development projects, ending in San Cristóbal. The Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE) is a project of indigenous Catholic parishes practicing liberation theology, known the Pueblo Creyente, or Believing/Faithful People. “We seek to organize the peoples to construct our autonomy; that our right as original peoples to the life that we want is recognized. We need to join our voices in defence of our forests, our rivers. We demand the governments stop the extractive industry and the mega-projects that are being imposed without consulting us,” said one priest.

After traveling through 11 states, the Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants wrapped uptheir eighteen-day tour in Tapachula, Chiapas on December 3. Forty-one parents from Central America made the trip to call attention to the attacks, murders and disappearances of Central American migrants in Mexico and to denounce Enrique Peña Nieto’s Southern Border Plan, implemented at the behest of the U.S. in 2014, which has gravely increased the risk to migrants travelling through Mexico.

 

mothers-central-american-caravanCaravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants

In the autonomous indigenous communities of Ejido Tila and San Sebastian Bachajón, statements have been issued decrying attempts by local politicians to incite violence in the communities in order to justify the entrance of the state in order to crush their autonomous projects. In Bachajón, the community has identified Juan Jiménez as the one responsible. As it happens, Jiménez is a local leader of MORENA, the “leftist” party of Andres Manuel López Obrador. In Tila, the community has barricaded the entrance to the village to prevent paramilitaries or provocateurs from entering.

During a meeting to resolve a labour dispute in Ixtacomitán, four teachers belonging to the dissident CNTE branch were shot by gunmen linked to local politicians and the mainstream, sell-out SNTE union. Roberto Díaz Aguilar was killed and the three others wounded.

And of course we can’t talk about Chiapas without mentioning the Zapatistas. They’ve released four statements – two jointly with the National Indigenous Congress – in the past three weeks. The first, “It’s Not the Decision of One Person”, is an angry rebuke to mainstream critics of their proposal to run a presidential candidate for 2018. The second outlines the schedule for the conclusion of consultations and the planned announcement on the decision of whether or not to run a candidate. The third is a lengthy “Story to Try to Understand.” At over 30 pages, I have not read it yet, but it is an explanation as to how the Zapatistas arrived at the decision to propose the idea of participating in the presidential elections. The fourth statement denounces the attacks on indigenous peoples in Mexico, and gives a nod to Standing Rock, all while confirming that the community consultations over the proposal continue.

 

https://fallingintoincandescence.com/2016/12/08/insumision-community-self-defense/

 

Update

ezln-cni-conference

On October 11, 500 delegates from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the military command of the Zapatistas (EZLN) met in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the CNI. The opening comments from the Zapatistas were largely a call for indigenous peoples to get organized. It was the closing statement that caught everyone’s attention though. The CNI and EZLN announced they would begin consultations with their communities on the EZLN’s proposal of naming “an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, as an independent candidate to the presidency of the country under the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in the electoral process of 2018.”

The reactions were immediate. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the darling of the liberal electorate, was furious. He blames the Zapatistas for his losses in 2006 and 2012, and now they seem poised to interfere again with his presidential plans. Meanwhile, some anarchists pointed out that this proves the Zapatistas aren’t anarchists and that those who support the EZLN have been duped. Never mind that the EZLN has never claimed to be an anarchist group. On the authoritarian left, Mexico’s Socialist Workers Party could barely contain its glee over the news, emphatically endorsing the EZLN’s proposal.

The Zapatistas responded with a defensive and irritated statement largely arguing that this proposal is valid due to the impact it would have on the spectacle of electoral politics in laying bare the racism and sexism inherent in that process. A few days later, another statement communicated that the CNI and EZLN will announce the decision to run a candidate or not on January 1. They also said the “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” gathering will begin in Chiapas on December 25.

In reading and discussing these developments with compas in Mexico, the generally attitude seems to be to wait and see what happens. Some feel it is a publicity stunt, designed to provoke just the sort of reaction it did, and that this will be made clear on January 1. On the other hand, if a joint CNI-EZLN candidate is put forward, then a re-evaluation by many anti-authoritarians would have to occur. While some of what they are proposing is interesting – to have an indigenous woman as president guided by the decisions of an assembly – to consider entering the electoral arena strikes many as a betrayal and is difficult to reconcile with the EZLN’s strident critiques of the system and power. To flirt with electoral politics even with the goal of détournement is to engage with a system fundamentally opposed to liberation, designed to consolidate power and legitimize repression. Such a move seems more akin to Michael Moore and his ficus plant than the Zapatistas and their uncompromising, decades-long struggle for autonomy and self-determination. Stay tuned.

In related news, a member of the CNI from the autonomous Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón was detained and severely beaten by a group led by a local government official. Two days later, on October 19, 800 police and 400 paramilitaries positioned themselves on the outskirts of that community. Fearing a raid, the alarm was sounded, but it appeared to just be an intimidation tactic. For other Chiapas news, be sure to check out Dorset Chiapas Solidarity’s Zapatista news summaries for September and October.

https://itsgoingdown.org/insumision-fear-resistance/

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November 14, 2016

INSUMISIÓN: REFUSING FEAR, CHOOSING RESISTANCE

Filed under: news, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:53 pm


INSUMISIÓN: REFUSING FEAR, CHOOSING RESISTANCE

November 8, 2016

Originally published on It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

ZAPATISTAS FOR PRESIDENT?

ezln-cni-conferenceZapatistas at the opening of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress.

On October 11, 500 delegates from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the military command of the Zapatistas (EZLN) met in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the CNI. The opening comments from the Zapatistas were largely a call for indigenous peoples to get organized. It was the closing statement that caught everyone’s attention though. The CNI and EZLN announced they would begin consultations with their communities on the EZLN’s proposal of naming “an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, as an independent candidate to the presidency of the country under the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in the electoral process of 2018.”

The reactions were immediate. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the darling of the liberal electorate, was furious. He blames the Zapatistas for his losses in 2006 and 2012, and now they seem poised to interfere again with his presidential plans. Meanwhile, some anarchists pointed out that this proves the Zapatistas aren’t anarchists and that those who support the EZLN have been duped. Never mind that the EZLN has never claimed to be an anarchist group. On the authoritarian left, Mexico’s Socialist Workers Party could barely contain its glee over the news, emphatically endorsing the EZLN’s proposal.

The Zapatistas responded with a defensive and irritated statement largely arguing that this proposal is valid due to the impact it would have on the spectacle of electoral politics in laying bare the racism and sexism inherent in that process. A few days later, another statement communicated that the CNI and EZLN will announce the decision to run a candidate or not on January 1. They also said the “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” gathering will begin in Chiapas on December 25.

In reading and discussing these developments with compas in Mexico, the general attitude seems to be to wait and see what happens. Some feel it is a publicity stunt, designed to provoke just the sort of reaction it did, and that this will be made clear on January 1. On the other hand, if a joint CNI-EZLN candidate is put forward, then a re-evaluation by many anti-authoritarians would have to occur. While some of what they are proposing is interesting – to have an indigenous woman as president guided by the decisions of an assembly – to consider entering the electoral arena strikes many as a betrayal and is difficult to reconcile with the EZLN’s strident critiques of the system and power. To flirt with electoral politics even with the goal of détournement is to engage with a system fundamentally opposed to liberation, designed to consolidate power and legitimize repression. Such a move seems more akin to Michael Moore and his ficus plant than the Zapatistas and their uncompromising, decades-long struggle for autonomy and self-determination. Stay tuned.

In related news, a member of the CNI from the autonomous Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón was detained and severely beaten by a group led by a local government official. Two days later, on October 19, 800 police and 400 paramilitaries positioned themselves on the outskirts of that community. Fearing a raid, the alarm was sounded, but it appeared to just be an intimidation tactic. For other Chiapas news, be sure to check out Dorset Chiapas Solidarity’s Zapatista new summaries for September and October.

 

REFUSING FEAR IN THE FACE OF FEMICIDE

catrina-femicide-mexico

Originating from an Argentinian call for a general women’s strike, on October 19 actions occurred all over Mexico to condemn the ongoing crisis of femicide in the country and the system that facilitates impunity in the face of the epidemic murders of cis and trans women. El Enemigo Común has a round-up of the events of that day and provides context on femicide in Mexico. “The State of Mexico registered 1,045 homicides of women between 2013 and 2015, out of a total of 6,488 women killed country-wide, according to government statistics. Next came Guerrero, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Jalisco and Oaxaca, with 512, 445, 402, 335 and 291 homicides of women reported, respectively, in the same period.” Those numbers a likely low, as it is estimated an average of six cis women are murdered in Mexico daily. The actions on October 19 were given additional urgency following the murder of Alessa Flores on October 13. Flores became the third trans woman to be murdered in Mexico in 13 days, and the 22nd to be killed in 2016.

A week later in Oaxaca, women organized a shutdown of a taxi stand following the sexual assault of a woman passenger by a taxi driver. “We’re very angry and outraged by the increase in sexual violence against women in Oaxaca, but above all by the impunity that reigns and continues to get worse,” an organizer said.

Femicide was also the focus of a Day of the Dead march in Mexico City on November 1. With their faces painted like Catrinas, hundreds of people marched through the city centre. Said one of the marchers, “It felt very important for us to come out today to remember all the women killed by femicide in this country. Today we gather here as feminist women, brought together by the wave of femicides happening all over the country. We came out at this time of night because the streets are ours, the city is ours, the spaces are ours, and we came to prove it.”

 

PRISONERS IN RESISTANCE

fuego-a-la-carcel-768x1024

On September 28, four anarchist prisoners in three different prisons began a hunger strike as an act of rebellion and in solidarity with the prison strike in the US. Throughout the strike, Luis Fernando SoteloFernando Bárcenas and Miguel Peralta wrote various letters, all of which are translated on IGD. Out of concern for deteriorating health and permanent injury, the hunger strike ended after 15 days, though they continue to fast until 1pm each day.

Around the same time the strike ended, a push was underway by liberals in Mexico City to pass an amnesty law for the city’s political prisoners, specifically the anarchists. Instigated by the MORENA party of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, it was an attempt to divert attention from the anarchist prisoners’ strike toward electoral ends and was roundly rejected by the prisoners themselves. Fernando Bárcenas wrote, “We don’t need amnesties because we don’t want or need laws to govern our lives…We want to see the insurrection spread everywhere that destroys centralized power, the common yoke that all of us poor carry on our backs.” And Luis Fernando Sotelo responded with, “I do not want any institution to recognize my freedom if it means that freedom is partial, if not illusionary…I don’t want to be forgiven or redeemed by the machine that torments the people.”

Anarchists in Mexico City expressed their solidarity with the prisoners’ struggle by making it a focus of their annual combative march on October 2, marking the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre – which is distinct from the symbolic, state-facilitated commemorative march on the same day. They also called for militant actions for the following week at two of the Mexico City prisons holding the comrades.

The indigenous Nahua community of San Pedro Tlanixco in the State of Mexico is restarting efforts to fight for the freedom of several of its residents criminalized for their defence of the community’s water. Three are serving sentences of up to 54 years, while three others have been held in prison for ten years without being sentenced. Two more have arrest warrants out against them.

On October 12, hundreds marched in Chilpancingo, Guerrero calling for the release of all political prisoners, in particular the 13 members of the indigenous community police (CRAC-PC) who have been jailed for the past three years on weapons charges. A similar situation is unfolding in the autonomous indigenous Nahua community of Santa María Ostula in Michoacán, where three arrest warrants are out against the commander of their community police. At the same time, drug cartels are reorganizing and threatening the community, who successfully drove the cartels off their lands in 2009. The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress also released a statement in solidarity with Ostula.

STUDENTS ORGANIZING

Students around Mexico continue organizing for a greater role in determining their own education, against state violence, and for access to education and to employment following graduation. As usual, it has been teaching college students (normalistas) who have been taking the lead. In Michoacán, where the state discriminates against hiring normalistas, students have been taking militant actions to demand jobs after they finish school, as well as to fight back against state repression. On September 27, 49 were arrested at a highway blockade in Tiripetío where state police also opened fire on them. In the days that followed, the students escalated their actions to demand freedom for their comrades by blockading train tracks with a burning truck, shutting down the town’s bus station, blockading the highway again, and detaining five police officers. Ultimately they were victorious, as by October 3, all 49 students were released, along with eight who had been imprisoned since August 15.

But events didn’t end there. On October 17, normalistas blockaded another highway, an action that was attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets by police and where 30 students, primarily women, were arrested. They were released shortly after. On October 22 and November 5, normalistas again attempted to blockade the train tracks that run near their school in Tiripetío, only to be repelled by police. Lastly in Michoacán, as of mid-October, aspiring students had occupied Michoacán University in the state capital of Morelia for 50 days, demanding the school accept and enrol more students and reduce application fees.

 

ayotzinapa-funeral-guerrero

To the south in Guerrero, two normalistas from Ayotzinapa were murdered on October 4 while traveling on a bus back to the school from the state capital. Gunmen on board killed John Morales Hernández and Filemón Tacuba Castro and wounded three other passengers. The state is saying it was a robbery, though survivors indicate that the gunmen knew the two were Ayotzinapa students. In other Ayotzinapa news, the state announced on October 21 it had arrested Felipe Flores Vázquez, who was the local police chief of Iguala when the normalistas were attacked and disappeared there on September 26, 2014. The lawyers and parents of the normalistas are demanding the right to participate in the legal process against Flores, though the state has rejected this request. The government is playing up the arrest as a chance to learn what really happened that night, belying the fact that for the past two years it has actively worked to conceal the truth.

Since 2014, students at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico City and an affiliated high school, the Scientific and Technological Studies Center 5 (CECyT 5), have been organizing and striking against cuts and attacks on education and pushing for the removal of the university’s director. CECyT 5 students have been on indefinite strike and their encampment was attacked by 40 to 60 porros (paid thugs) on October 7, leaving many students with serious injuries. In response, students installed barricades around campus, condemning not only the attacks and the administration, but expressing solidarity with anarchist prisoners on hunger strike in Mexico and with the prison strike in the US.

After the disappearance and murder of students and an alumnus of Veracruz University on September 29, students there organized a march against violence and impunity in the state, during which an Amnesty representative commented that “Veracruz has a human rights crisis like we’ve never seen before in the history of this state or in Mexico.” And in Chiapas, 28 normalistas also demanding work were arrested on November 5 and hit with federal charges. Fortunately, word spread quickly and people mobilized, leading to their release the next day.

LAND DEFENCE

penasquito-blockade-mineBlockade of the Peñasquito gold mine in Zacatecas.

Actions in defence of the land continue around the country. In Acacoyagua, Chiapas, the municipality passed a declaration declaring it “mining free” and residents set up two blockades in early October to shut down the Casas Viejas titanium mine. Mining machinery was also set on fire. Around the same time in Zacatecas, twenty communities impacted by the Peñasquito mine, the largest gold mine in the state, blockaded all nine entrances to the mine. A few days later, police removed them from the main entrance, but the communities still held the eight other positions.

On October 22, the People’s Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) in Atenco, State of Mexico, commemorated 15 years of existence. Formed to resist the construction of Mexico City’s new international airport on their lands, Atenco has come to symbolize militant self-determination and autonomy. “There were only two paths: to hand over the lands like merchandise and survive bent over, or to defend them with our lives if necessary. We decided to fight.” They defeated that attempt to build the airport, though are currently battling another. President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was formerly governor of the State of Mexico and whose police deployed severe violence against Atenco in 2006, including systematic sexual assault, the case of which is now before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, is trying again for an airport. Despite work being ordered suspended by the courts, construction continues in Atenco. On October 5, gunmen opened fire on community members as they tried to halt the project.

Clashes between indigenous Yaqui communities left one dead and eight wounded on October 21. The conflict was instigated by Sempra Energy, a corporation based in San Diego, CA, who through their Mexican proxy company, IENova, is attempting to build a natural gas pipeline through Yaqui lands. One community, Lomas de Bacúm, has installed a blockade to stop the pipeline. They were attacked by communities who support the construction, likely due to the benefits promised if they let it be built on their lands. Following the violence, the Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress released a statement in solidarity with the pipeline resistance and condemning the internal division and violence caused by the state and multinationals.

IN BRIEF

Javier Duarte, the former governor of Veracruz who resigned on October 12, and Guillermo Padrés, the former governor of Sonora, are both on the run with warrants out for their arrests for corruption. Duarte fled in a state-owned helicopter, yet the government claims to not know where he is or how he got away. Priest and human rights defender Alejandro Solalinde indicated his likely location in Chiapas, but it has not been followed up on.

As many as 4,000 human bone fragments have been found on a five hectare site in Patrocinio, Coahuila. The state government says not to worry, they all belong to just three people. The group that searched the area begs to differ, as do the neighbors who said that SUVs drove into the site daily and huge fires were often seen burning on the land. PEMEX workers are organizing against the privatization of Mexico’s petroleum industry. A call has gone out among workers to fight back against firings and to take worker control of the Cangrejera plant in Veracruz to prevent its handover to private companies. There’s a good essay, translated into English, examining from a radical perspective the process of gentrification currently underway in Mexico City. In a recent example of that struggle, a group linked to the district government and escorted by police attacked and robbed vendors, who for 111 days had held an encampment in front of a Chedraui in Iztacalco, Mexico City. The vendors were protesting the opening of the big box chain store so close to their market.

That’s all the news for now. Insumisión will be back in about a month but keep an eye on IGD for more translations in the meantime.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

Insumisión: Refusing Fear, Choosing Resistance

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October 3, 2016

Insumisión: It Was the State

Filed under: news, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:43 pm

 

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Insumisión: It Was the State

 

Originally posted to It’s Going Down
September 29, 2016
By Scott Campbell

Several significant events have unfolded during the past couple weeks in Mexico, from an end the teachers’ strike to the commemoration of major key dates for the resistance. As ever, the repression and impunity with which the Mexican state operates has continued unabated. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in.

Ayotzinapa

chilpancingo-protest-molotovsProtests in Chilpancingo, Guerrero on September 25.

 

On September 26, 2014, students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero were traveling to Mexico City to participate in the annual mobilization marking the October 2, 1968 Tlatelolco massacre. They were intercepted by state forces in Iguala, Guerrero, where police opened fire, killing six – three students and three passersby. Forty-three other students were disappeared and to this day their location and fate remain unknown.

The disappearance of the 43 students led to massive, consistent and militant mobilizations around Mexico that have continued until now, as the students came to symbolize the tens of thousands of disappeared in Mexico and the state’s role in facilitating, enabling and participating in a climate of corruption, terror and impunity. This was only exacerbated after the government proclaimed they had solved the disappearance, emphasizing as a “historical truth” that the students were stopped by local police, handed over to a cartel, killed and then burned in a nearby landfill.

Yet, at least three separate teams of independent forensic experts, including one sent by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and another that identifies the remains of the disappeared in Argentina, have declared the state’s version of events to be “scientifically impossible.” The investigators also pointed to the state’s lack of cooperation, manipulation of evidence, torture and outright lies as impeding any hope of revealing the truth. The IACHR team was run out of Mexico due to an intense smear campaign in the media, orchestrated by the federal government. #FueElEstado (It Was the State) has been the rallying cry from the beginning, as 43 families and their supporters have put their shattered lives on hold to ceaselessly pursue truth and justice for their disappeared children.

 

ayotzinapa-sticker-police

 

As the two-year anniversary of the disappearance approached, hundreds of events were planned in every corner of Mexico and the world. And it seemed like the families had achieved a small victory when Tómas Zerón, head of the Criminal Investigation Agency resigned. Identified by the IACHR team as one of the main parties responsible for the cover-up, the families had called off negotiations with the government until he was removed from his post. But the victory was short-lived and the malicious face of the state revealed yet again as the following day it was announced he resigned only to be promoted to the position of Technical Secretary of the National Security Council.

In another shot at the movement, Luis Fernando Sotelo, who was arrested during actions for Ayotzinapa in 2014, was sentenced to an outrageous 33 years in prison on September 20. Another arrestee from an Ayotzinapa action in 2015, César, is currently being forced to pay the state 420,000 pesos or face three years in prison and is seeking support.

 

luis-fernando-fire-prison“Fire to the prison”

 

Response to Sotelo’s sentencing was immediate and took many forms. It was denounced in astatement by the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity and in a joint Zapatista and National Indigenous Congress statement on Ayotzinapa. In the streets, compas wheatpasted and graffitied in support of Sotelo and also put up a flaming blockade on Insurgentes Avenue. A group of anarchists released a video statement demanding his release and gave the state 48 hours as of September 26 to provide answers to the Ayotzinapa families “or suffer the consequences.” Currently, Sotelo is one of six anarchist prisoners in Mexico City who began a hunger strike on September 28 in solidarity with the ongoing prison strike in the U.S. and against his sentence and that of the prisoners from San Pedro Tlanixco. It’s Going Down will have a translation of their statement on the strike up shortly.

If the state hoped to deter resistance with Sotelo’s sentence, they were sorely mistaken. As the father of one of the disappeared said, “What I love is my son. I can’t describe what it feels like for him to be disappeared. I say this to the people who are bothered that we protest and have actions here and there in order to find our children, to demand justice. What would you do if your child was disappeared? Would you remain seated doing nothing or would you search for them? If there was a chance you’d see them again, what would you do?”

The weekend leading up to September 26 saw numerous actions. On September 24, students from Ayotzinapa blockaded the Mexico City-Acapulco highway with commandeered tractor trailers, distributing their contents to drivers. On the same day, students organized a fare-hopping action (#PosMeSalto) in the Mexico City metro. They also took over a toll booth in Puebla

In Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, Ayotzinapa students took their fight to the state, shooting fireworks at a military base on September 24 and heaving molotovs at police amidst a fog of tear gas on September 25. On that day, seven were arrested. All were severely beaten by police, with four requiring hospitalization.

September 26 culminated with thousands marching to the Zócalo in Mexico City for a rally led by the parents that ended with a rendition of “Venceremos” and a count from 1 to 43.

The following day, teaching college students in Michoacán kept up the struggle with a highway blockade that was also calling for more teaching positions for their schools’ graduates. In response, federal and state police drove up to the blockade and opened fire. As many fled into the hills, it is still unknown how many were wounded. Forty-nine students, mainly women, were arrested. In spite of the police attack, the students have said the repression will only cause them to escalate their actions.

 

michoacan-normalista-barricadeHighway blockade by students in Michoacán.

 

Teachers’ Strike

On September 12, teachers in Chiapas blockaded the state capitol building, the state congress, the city hall of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, and the state offices of the Ministry of Housing and the post office, giving the appearance that the teachers’ movement remained steadfast in the southeast corner of Mexico. Yet that same day, Luis Miranda Nava, the Minister of Social Development, flew to Chiapas on the presidential plane to meet with the governor and several other high-ranking state and police officials, as well as the leadership of National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) Sections 7 and 40.

Following that meeting, the teachers held an assembly and decided to seek “a political exit” from the strike. The next day, on September 13, teachers from Guerrero, Chiapas and Michoacán left the national CNTE encampment in Mexico City, leaving behind only a small group of teachers from Oaxaca. In a subsequent assembly on September 15, the Chiapan teachers voted to end the strike and return to classes on September 19. With teachers in Oaxaca deciding to return to classes on September 7, and the teachers in Michoacán also voting on September 15 to end the strike, the 124-day strike can be considered over.

What is the result of four months of struggle? What went right and what went wrong? A critical analysis of events is beyond the scope of this column, though for those who read Spanish, this essay offers an insightful look into the teachers’ struggle in Oaxaca. Those who came out best in the struggle are the teachers in Chiapas, where the government, if it keeps its word, has pledged to not implement the educational reform in Chiapas for the remainder of Enrique Peña Nieto’s term, to unfreeze the union’s bank accounts and pay back wages, rescind outstanding arrest warrants against movement members, and invest tens of millions in school infrastructure. In Oaxaca, the teachers started negotiations with the government again on September 20, but no agreements have yet been reached. As for Guerrero, Michoacán and Mexico City, it’s not clear if negotiations or government concessions occurred.

 

oaxaca-grito-protestBarricades in Oaxaca on September 15.

 

At the end of the day, the educational reform remains in place. Its repeal was the primary demand of the strike. The fact that different states arrived at different arrangements with the federal government in what started as a national strike speaks to a lack of cohesion among CNTE sections. And just as public sympathy and mobilization in support of the teachers was at its peak following the massacre in Nochixtlán, the teachers accepted the carrot of negotiations offered to it by the state. Entering into weeks of fruitless negotiations brought the struggle off the streets and behind closed doors, deflating the momentum it had acquired, just as the government hoped it would. When the CNTE finally had enough of talking in circles, the school year was about to start and the government had thousands of federal forces in place in Oaxaca and Chiapas. Faced with the threat of physical force and the loss of popularity as the strike meant children went without education, one by one the sections returned to class. Lastly, the CNTE stayed true to its roots. First and foremost, it is a teachers union, not a revolutionary movement. While the CNTE adopted more populist rhetoric, calling for the repeal of all neoliberal reforms, and the street responded in support, the street also urged the teachers not to abandon the struggle and to keep in mind the demands and sacrifices of the people. Throughout its history of often impressive struggle, the CNTE has consistently, like a moth to a flame, been demobilized by offers of access to power. To actually endeavor to repeal all neoliberal reforms would essentially mean overthrowing the existing social, economic and political order in Mexico. The CNTE is not built for that, nor as it is currently constituted and functions should it be a desirable vehicle for revolutionary change.

Despite its flaws, the CNTE displayed tremendous fortitude, with the support of many sectors of society, in maintaining a four-month national strike in the face of a massacre, widespread police violence, an intransigent government, powerful business lobbies, firings, fines and imprisonment, and a media apparatus whose sole mission was to defame it. It consistently brought hundreds of thousands of people out into the streets, coordinated national actions, and effectively shut down interstate commerce in Chiapas and Oaxaca at-will. The union displayed a willingness to listen to the people, holding countless meetings and assemblies with parents, workers, farmers, local authorities, indigenous communities, and civil society organizations. It presented an analysis of the educational and economic crises facing Mexico and through collaboration with communities offered alternative proposals. And from the start, the CNTE’s demands went beyond issues of wages or working conditions, but included opposition to neoliberalism, justice for Ayotzinapa, freedom for political prisoners and more. More impressively, they did this without getting paid for four months and with all union bank accounts frozen. For all it may lack, the CNTE also offers important lessons when it comes to confronting capitalism and the state. To truly challenge the neoliberal narcostate in Mexico would require social movements with comprehensive analyses and representation to mobilize with the determination, discipline and support that the CNTE is capable of mustering and providing from and for its members.

Independence?

 

Arturo Lara © Todos los derechos reservados

Arturo Lara © Todos los derechos reservados

 

September 16 is Mexico’s Independence Day. The evening before, the president in Mexico City and the governors in each state give a “grito,” a shout/cry of “Viva México” and the like in each state’s respective Zócalos, imitating the one given by Miguel Hidalgo that supposedly helped jumpstart Mexico’s War of Independence. It’s become a tradition for social movements to hold alternative gritos and/or to try to interrupt the official one, and 2016 was no different.

In Mexico City, around 15,000 people participated in a decidedly liberal march calling for Enrique Peña Nieto to resign for being “inept.” They were blocked from reaching the Zócalo by rows of police, where Peña Nieto gave his grito to crowds bused in from outside of the city.

In Oaxaca, teachers tried to march on the Zócalo to prevent Governor Gabino Cué from giving the grito. They clashed with police, who fired tear gas directly at demonstrators. One teacher was hit in the face and had to be transported to Puebla to receive specialized medical attention. Teachers then regrouped at their union hall nearby and fought back with fireworks. In response, the government cut the signal to the teachers’ radio station, Radio Plantón.

Graco Ramírez, the deeply unpopular governor of Morelos, gave his grito surrounded by police and sheet metal barricades to keep protesters out. Nonetheless, their heckling, whistles and cries of “Graco out!” reached the Zócalo. In Cancún, Quintana Roo, two students were shoved into a police vehicle by plainclothes cops, forced to share the contents of their phones, and were driven around while being beaten before being dumped on the outskirts of the city. All for the egregious crime of holding a protest sign.

The governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco, was forced to hold the grito in Tapachula, as the teachers were still occupying the central square in the capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Tapachulans tried to put a stop to those plans, clashing with police on both September 14 and 15. Meanwhile in Palenque, before the mayor could give his grito, hundreds of masked Zapatista supporters took over the Zócalo and used a ladder to reach the balcony where the grito would’ve be given, where a cry against the state and capitalism was heard instead.

Also in Chiapas, students, professors and indigenous organizations have taken over three campuses of the Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH), demanding the rehiring of 30 fired professors, “respect for the intercultural educational model” and for the university to support the demands of the teachers’ movement. A partial victory was achieved when the president of the UNICH-Las Margaritas campus resigned on September 20. As always, repression continues against indigenous communities in the state. The community of San Francisco, Teopisca, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, denounced a blockade put in place against their community by paramilitaries belonging to the Green Party, the ruling party in the state. In the autonomous community of Ejido Tila, gunmen attempted to assassinate Manuel Martínez Pérez, a local organizer, firing 11 rounds through the window of his home. Meanwhile, two political prisoners from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, Esteban Gómez Jiménez and Santiago Moreno Pérez, are requesting solidarity to end the harassment, assaults and medical neglect they are facing on the inside, just as the community itself is condemning the most recent state police invasion of their lands. Finally, in addition to the statement on Ayotzinapa, the Zapatistas released a contemplative, non-specific “Invitation to ‘CompArte and ConCiencias for Humanity.’”

In Brief

boy-blocks-homphobic-march-mexicoTwelve year old blocks a homophobic march in Guanajuato.

In addition to all of the above, there is more to share from the past two weeks in Mexico. Before wrapping up, here are a few other stories from that time frame. On September 11 and September 24, Mexico saw large right-wing, homophobic “Marches for the Family” take place against gay marriage, adoption rights for gay partners and abortion. A twelve-year-old boy knew just what to do when faced with 11,000 homophobes in Celaya, Guanajuato: block their march. The September 24 march included the participation of neo-Nazis, filmed trying to be intimidating in the Mexico City metro.

On September 13, activist and journalist Augustín Pavía Pavía was killed in Oaxaca. The next day, Oaxacan teacher Jorge Vela Díaz was killed outside his school. Also on September 14, in neighboring Puebla, the editor of El Grafíco de la Sierra, Aurelio Campos Cabrera, was assassinated outside of his home, making him the tenth journalist killed in Mexico this year.

Also in Oaxaca, political prisoner Adán Mejía was released on September 16. On September 19, marches and highway blockades marked three months since the Nochixtlán massacre. While online, numerous independent media outlets published the same article, providing extensive documentation of the police targeting and killing of Yalid Jiménez in Nochixtlán.

The 80,000-strong Independent National Democratic Farmworkers Union (SINDJA) in San Quintín released a statement emphasizing that the boycott of Driscoll’s Berries continues. Recognizing that the many struggles in Mexico and the world are linked, they also expressed solidarity with the #NoDAPL fight and commemorated two years since the disappearance of the students from Ayotzinapa. For those in northern and central California, on October 15 there will be a protest at Driscoll’s distribution center near Watsonville in response to SINDJA’s call to push the boycott forward.

Earlier this month, former political prisoner and indigenous Yaqui leader Mario Luna made a solidarity visit to Standing Rock. In Nayarit, indigenous Wixaritari communities marched from Jalisco to reclaim 184 hectares of their ancestral lands from ranchers, the first direct action in an attempt to recuperate 10,000 hectares. For those who read Spanish, Desinformémonos has put together a look at the impressive self-managed projects and industries that have arisen in the autonomous indigenous community of Cherán, Michoacán since the 20,000 inhabitants kicked out the state and narcos five years ago. In Tocuila, Atenco, State of Mexico, an 89-year-old and his 56-year-old son were brutally beaten in their home by armed men due to their opposition to the construction of a new international airport and their refusal to sell their lands for that purpose. Anarchists placed a couple explosive devices that destroyed two police vehicles in Ecatepec, State of Mexico, then wrote a snarky communique about it. The president of the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos, Alejandro Vera Jiménez, is currently on hunger strike to protest the policies of previously mentioned Morelos governor Graco Ramírez. Labelling the governor an authoritarian liar, Vera said, “He wants us on our knees, he wants us to die of hunger, he wants us silenced, but we won’t allow it.”

On September 19, activists in New York City protested Enrique Peña Nieto outside of a $1,000/plate Foreign Policy Association World Leadership Forum that he was headlining.

And to bring this edition to a close, in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, residents frustrated with the lack of sanitation service decided to “bring the trash to the dump” where it belongs.

https://fallingintoincandescence.com/2016/10/01/insumision-it-was-the-state/

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September 13, 2016

Insumisión: Cracks in the Resistance as the Teachers’ Strike Wanes

Filed under: news — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:06 am

 

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Insumisión: Cracks in the Resistance as the Teachers’ Strike Wanes

 

nochixtlan-blockade-trumpetMusic on the highway blockade in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca.

 

Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

As the teachers’ strike in Mexico continued into the start of the school year, the last Insumisión column noted the tense situation developing, particularly in Oaxaca, with the breakdown of negotiations between the teachers union and the government and the arrival of hundreds more federal forces to the state. While there was a show of force by the Oaxaca state government before dawn on Sunday, September 11, the feared widespread repression did not occur. Instead, the struggle against the neoliberal educational reform and structural reforms in general has lost some of its consistency and coherency as various state sections of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) take different approaches following the start of the school year.

Initially, the CNTE seemed to be holding to its stance that the strike would continue until the educational reform was repealed. When classes were to start on August 22, teachers in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and parts of Mexico City remained on strike. Instead of classrooms opening, mass marches and blockades inaugurated the school year in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Teachers installed 25 highway blockades in Oaxaca that they held for 48 hours, except in Nochixtlán, which lasted for four days. In Chiapas, teachers blockaded four entry points into the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez for two days, not allowing trucks belonging to transnational corporations to pass.

 

13256155_1108276462549543_8841167055482738318_nTeachers march in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.

 

After the first week of school came and went with the strike still on, the government retaliated by announcing it will begin fining and firing teachers. 43,231 teachers were issued fines, most from Chiapas, while 1,225 were slated to be fired in Oaxaca, 570 in Chiapas, and 80 in Michoacán. Despite the legal and military machinations unleashed against the union, the CNTE still appeared firm. A Section 22 assembly in Oaxaca on August 26 agreed that the strike would continue. They threatened that if the government didn’t negotiate seriously, “activities will be carried out that will generate country-wide ingovernability.” They pledged to put permanent highway blockades in place on August 29 and to not allow governor-elect Alejandro Murat to take office on December 1.

Also on August 26, Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño, who was launching a nationwide speaking tour to promote the educational reform, was heckled by hundreds of teachers when he showed up to speak in Ecatepec, State of Mexico. The relentless shouting of “OUT!” by teachers in a state long considered to be loyal to the mainstream teachers’ union and thus to the state, led Nuño to cancel his inaugural speech.

The strike continued into the second week of the school year. In Chiapas, teachers shut down more than 20 Oxxo convenience stores in Tuxtla Gutiérrez on August 29. The following day, the civil resistance organization and adherent to the Sixth Declaration, Light and Power of the People, with a presence in 60 municipalities in Chiapas, urged the teachers to continue their struggle and called for a national long-term action plan to bring down the government: “The reforms will only fall when this system of government falls. So we call on all our people to unite, to organize and to fight together, to control territory and exercise our power rooted in the people. Elections are a farce, we urge you to not allow a single political party into our territories.” The state responded to this steadfastness by sending hundreds more federal police to Chiapas as August came to a close.

Then all of the sudden, Section 22 announced on September 3 it would be returning to classes on September 7. It was said this decision was made during the state assembly, yet no record of it is present in the publicly available notes of that meeting. Rather, that summary says they agreed that the national strike would continue. In a subsequent announcement, Section 22 stated that the return to classes does not mean defeat, but is rather a reorganizational moment in the struggle. It said that a national CNTE assembly on September 6 would define the new path of the movement, however, as of this writing, the results of that assembly have not yet been made public.

Meanwhile, Sections 7 and 40 in Chiapas met to decide whether or not to return to classes. The federal government verbally offered for the educational reform to be de facto suspended in Chiapas through the end of Enrique Peña Nieto’s term in 2018 if the teachers returned to class. Instead, with the continued support of parents and civil society organizations, the teachers shut down three major shopping centres in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and in an assembly on September 9 decided to continue the strike.

 

police-zocalo-raid-oaxacaState and municipal police in Oaxaca destroy the teachers’ encampment in the Zócalo.

 

Section 22 in Oaxaca was given no such offer. Rather, the return to classes seemed to be a bid to get the government to let them back to the negotiating table, though all negotiations thus far have been fruitless. At present, the state has refused to return to negotiations and said that if they do happen in the future, repeal of the educational reform remains off the table. What Section 22 was given was a pre-dawn visit by 500 state and municipal police on September 11, who evicted and destroyed the teachers’ encampment in the city centre of Oaxaca. The raid, which met minimal resistance, was likely conducted to clear the area for the upcoming Independence Day events on September 15. Responses from the communities and organizations whose members struggled and died alongside the teachers to Section 22’s decision to return to classes has thus far been muted. The comings days should reveal if the CNTE does have a plan in hand to continue the struggle or if in the end there will be little to show for the 14 dead and more than 100 days on strike in Oaxaca.

Up in Mexico City, Enrique Peña Nieto continues striving to hit new lows. First he hosted Donald Trump on August 31. The next day, he delivered his fourth annual address in what was promised to be an “innovative” fashion. The innovation was a talk show-style format where he answered vetted questions from young people. Young people, it was pointed out later, who sure looked a lot like PRI functionaries. On the streets, the people gave their response to his speech, marching to the federal congress building only to be greeted by row upon row of police, and also in Oaxaca.

 

Some incidents that didn’t make it into Peña Nieto’s speech are that Mexico has now surpassed dictatorship-era Argentina, Chile and Uruguay in the total number of forced disappearances, with more than 35,000. And that the Global Peace Index ranked Mexico at 140 out of 163 countries in terms of violence, displacement and militarization, only a few spots away from Syria and Afghanistan.

Nor was there mention of the ongoing gentrification projects in Mexico City. In the Copilco neighbourhood, community members are resisting the unpermitted construction of a heliport, antennae, and electrical transmitters for a new megaproject. While in the heart of the historic centre of Mexico City, anti-displacement groups have documented the illegal eviction of at least 38 buildings in the past two months. Though the tenants were in good standing and there was no official eviction order, up to 300 riot police have been showing up at peoples’ doors and forcing them immediately out into the street. In a separate raid, the federal government confiscated transmission equipment belonging to the community and student radio station Radio Zapote. Especially as there was no order to remove the equipment and no laws were being broken, Radio Zapote is condemning the seizure as a robbery.

After Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission found that federal police “arbitrarily executed” at least 22 people in Tanhuato, Michoacán during a raid on a supposed drug cartel operation in May 2015, Enrique Galindo, head of the Federal Police, was fired. Galindo most recently made news by attempting to cover up the Nochixtlán massacre in June, from which a couple new videos have surfaced, one from the police lines showing them firing at protesters, the other taken by medical staff at the Nochixtlán hospital as wounded began arriving – a hospital with five nurses, two doctors, and twelve beds for 45 gunshot victims. As a result, four died there along with seven elsewhere. On September 7, residents of Nochixtlán reinstalled the highway blockade without the support of the teachers to demand justice for the massacre. Available in English is a roughly translated interview with two members of the Citizens Committee in Nochixtlán on how that community has been self-organizing following the June 19 massacre, after which residents ran the elected officials out of town.

Also in Oaxaca, students from teaching colleges (normales) last week blockaded a gas distribution terminal outside the city of Oaxaca and expropriated the gasoline. They also took over several city buses and used those to blockade a major shopping center and the first class bus terminal. The students are demanding the government hire a certain number of normal school graduates every year.

In San Pedro Apatlaco, Morelos on August 30, the community defended itself against a six-hour police attack, which saw many wounded and 14 arrested. For four years they have been resisting implementation of Plan Integral Morelos, “an example of the neoliberal politics, lies, and repression of the government of the state of Morelos, consistent with the politics of the federal government.”

Morelos is governed by the unpopular Graco Ramírez of the supposedly leftist PRD, who along with going after Apatlaco is also defending himself from “conservative forces opposed to a progressive government” in the form of the state university, the Catholic Church, and dozens of civil society organizations. That these groups may be legitimately troubled by the discovery of state-run illegal mass graves full of torture victims in Tetelcingo seems not to have occurred to him. Instead, he just had state police beat up renowned poet and author Javier Sicilia after Sicilia finished giving a press conference denouncing him.

In an incident that has gotten very little attention anywhere, eight people were kidnapped and executed in mid-August in Actopan, Veracruz. Initially reported as another massacre amidst many, it was later revealed that all eight were involved in anti-mine organizing against the planned El Cobre mine in the area, owned by the Canadian firm Almaden Minerals. Also in Veracruz, a group of families whose relatives have been disappeared announced they found 75 hidden graves in the north of the state, with each grave containing at least three bodies.

Sixty machinery operators in San Quintín, where much of Driscoll’s Berries produce comes from, went on strike last week proclaiming that “Driscoll’s wants slaves, not workers.” Recently there has been some confusion about the Driscoll’s Boycott called by workers in Washington State and San Quintín. The workers in Washington won an important victory for a union vote this week, though part of that agreement involved calling for an end to the boycott despite the fact that they previously pledged to uphold the boycott until workers in San Quintín also had a contract. The tens of thousands of workers in San Quintín are emphasizing that the boycott continues and are urging people to spread that information.

 

gas-expropriation-oaxacaStudents in Oaxaca expropriate gasoline.

 

A last few pieces of news. The 115 Tzeltal communities in the Oxchuc region of Chiapas who recently kicked out their elected officials and decided to return to indigenous forms of governance are now mobilizing to oppose the reimposition of those same officials following a federal court ruling. Compas over at Dorset Chiapas Solidarity have put together an excellent summary of recent Zapatista and Chiapas-related news. Days of action are being called for from September 19-23 in support of political prisoner Luis Fernando Sotelo, locked up since 2014 for allegedly setting a bus and bus station on fire during an action in support of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa. And here at It’s Going Down, we’ve translated anarchist prisoner Fernando Bárcenas’ statement in support of the prison strike in the US.

 

oxchuc-rejects-maricc81a-gloriaCommunities in Oxchuc, Chiapas rally against the imposition of politicians.

 

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August 26, 2016

Insumisión: Schools Remain Closed as the State Amasses Forces of Repression

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:48 am

 

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Insumisión: Schools Remain Closed as the State Amasses Forces of Repression

Originally posted on It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

As the strike against educational reform by teachers belonging to the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) in Mexico enters its fourth month, the conflict between the people and the neoliberal narcostate seems poised to take another turn, a potentially violent one. The government is running out of tricks, leaving the likelihood it will return to its old standby, state violence, all the more likely.

When the strike first began on May 15, the government’s tactic was to ignore the teachers, refusing to talk to them. As that failed and support for the teachers grew, it tried brute force, leading to the Nochixtlán massacre on June 19, a day when twelve were killed. That repression caused national outrage and succeeded in turning a teachers’ movement into a popular one. The government then offered up negotiations as a fig leaf, yet meeting after meeting made clear that the state had no actual interest in negotiating anything. The school year started in Mexico on Monday, August 22, but teachers remain on strike and schools have not opened in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and parts of Mexico City.

 

oaxaca-march-school-yearMarch in Oaxaca on August 22.

 

Frustrated in their attempts to crush or wear down the teachers, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on upon the start of classes that, “There will be no more dialogue; education first.” A day later on August 23, Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño stated, “With complete clarity we say, there is no possibility of returning to any negotiations until all children are where they should be, in a classroom. And precisely because the future of Mexico is non-negotiable, the Educational Reform will continue.” The Defence Minister got into the act, claiming the armed forces support the reform and that soldiers want “to serve as an example for others.” Not coincidentally, that same day three airplanes full of federal police arrived in Oaxaca to join the thousands of state forces already stationed there, an indication that Peña Nieto may make good on his statement that “the government has no qualms about applying the use of force” as a means to resolve the teachers’ strike. At least 1,500 more federal police were in Oaxaca by Wednesday, August 24 and helicopter flyovers of the city had resumed for the first time since the Nochixtlán massacre.

In recent weeks, mass mobilizations and movement organizing efforts have continued. August 8, Emiliano Zapata’s birthday, saw upwards of 100,000 teachers and farmers march together in Mexico City. A day later, farmers, teachers and civil society groups took over a toll plaza on the Nayarit-Sinaloa highway, allowing cars to pass for free and asking that instead of paying the toll drivers donate to the struggle. Teachers, civil society groups and prominent academics gathered in Mexico City on August 10 for a twelve-hour national forum to discuss what a democratic and holistic education project would look like. A second forum will happen in September. During this time, for five days in a row teachers in Chiapas blockaded and shut down businesses belonging to transnational corporations and companies who are part of the neoliberal business association Mexicanos Primeros. Another business group, COPARMEX, recently lamented that the teachers’ strike has caused more economic damage than the armed Zapatista uprising in 1994. On August 12, Secretary General Rubén Núñez and Organization Secretary Francisco Villalobos of CNTE Section 22 in Oaxaca were released from prison. And the Guatemalan teachers’ union also expressed their support, shutting down an international crossing with Mexico for the second time on August 13.

 

nayarit-sinaloa-toll-booth-takeoverToll plaza takeover on Nayarit-Sinaloa highway.

 

Following the last round of fruitless talks with the government on August 16, the CNTE agreed on August 18 to not return to classes. They were backed up in Chiapas by parents assemblies that vowed to shut down any school that attempted to open on August 22. Instead, the school year was kicked off in the rebellious south with tens of thousands marching in Chiapas and Oaxaca and the installation of 25 highway blockades for 48 hours in Oaxaca alone.

Peña Nieto is likely seeking to impose a solution to the strike before long. September 15 is Mexico’s Independence Day and an increase in state repression often occurs right beforehand to ensure the reign of social peace for an undisturbed celebration of nationalism. Just down the road, the PRI will be retaking power in Oaxaca under the governorship of Alejandro Murat on December 1, and positioning is already underway for the 2018 presidential elections, with none other than Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño pushing to be the PRI candidate.

One last note about the teachers. Section 22 in Oaxaca previously set up a fund for the survivors and families of the victims of the Nochixtlán massacre. The Mexican government, in collaboration with Santander Bank, quickly shut it down, confiscating the 17,000 pesos it contained. There is again a way to donate to the Nochixtlán fund. For obvious reasons, it is not public. If you or your crew would like to donate/organize a benefit, get in touch at scott [at] fallingintoincandescence [dot] com.

Aside from the teachers’ strike, Peña Nieto has been having a rough couple of weeks in the realm of popular opinion. On August 11, a poll revealed his approval rating to be at a historically low 23 percent. This certainly wasn’t helped when five days later The Guardian reported that Peña Nieto’s wife, Angelica Rivera, has been enjoying stays in Key Biscayne, Florida at a $2 million apartment owned by Grupo Pierdant, a company bidding on Mexican government contracts. This news broke only a month after Peña Nieto apologized for the “perception” of wrong-doing related to Rivera’s $7 million purchase of a home in Guerrero owned by government contractor Grupo Higa. Then on August 21, a widely publicized exposé showed that Peña Nieto plagiarized nearly one-third of his university thesis. While these PR stumbles certainly don’t cast Peña Nieto in a positive light, he still maintains the support of the elite and these incidents pale in comparison to the broader devastation and exploitation he has wrought on Mexico.

 

michoacan-train-track-burning-protestTrucks set alight on train tracks in Michoacán.

 

Challenges to the status quo continue outside of the teachers’ strike as well. On August 11, students from Michoacán’s eight teaching colleges (normales) burned two trucks on train tracks and blockaded a highway. The students were acting in support of the teachers and also demanding the government guarantee a certain number of jobs upon graduation. Currently the state government refuses to hire teachers coming from normales in Michoacán. At a subsequent protest on August 15, while the normalistas were blockading a highway, federal and state police arrived and opened fire on them. Forty-one were arrested and fortunately no one was killed. Eight students remain in maximum security prison.

On that same day, to the east in the State of Mexico, police opened fire on students protesting cuts in enrolment at an extension school of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Naucalpan. The shooting is the first example of the use of the Eruviel Law, which allows police in the State of Mexico to fire live ammunition at demonstrations and punishes police who don’t follow orders to do so.

Atenco, also in the State of Mexico, received a solidarity visit from environmentalists Vandana Shiva and Sebastiao Pinheiro on August 13 in support of the community’s struggle against the latest attempt to build Mexico City’s new international airport on its lands. Construction of the highway to leading to the airport was ordered suspended on July 26, yet crews and machinery began operating again on August 16. Atencans ran the crews off their land and reinforced the encampment in Tocuila, designed to impede construction. On August 18 and 19, construction began again, escorted by a “shock group” of men hired by a local authority. The group tore down and burned the encampment on August 19 and threw stones at Atencans who came out to defend their land. Defiant as ever, Atenco residents rebuilt the encampment the same day.

The state of Morelos, south of Mexico City, saw a massive demonstration of 100,000 on August 16, when teachers, civil society groups and even the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM) called for a mobilization against Governor Graco Ramírez. Protesters were demanding he be removed from office and charged for the ongoing femicides, kidnappings, murders, and corruption. Students also erected an encampment surrounding the state government’s offices. As if to make the point clearer, a report released a week later found that of the 117 bodies illegally buried in mass graves by the state prosecutor’s office in Morelos, 84 showed signs of torture. Naturally, the state’s reply was to issue an arrest warrant for the president of UAEM. In a similar case, Professor Rene Torres in Mexico City has been arrested three times in three days, only to be released without charge each time, in clear retaliation for his support of the student struggle at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN).

A few more pieces to share to round out this latest dispatch of news. The relatives of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa have cut off negotiations with the federal government. They say they will not return until Tomás Zerón, the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (equivalent to the FBI in the US), is removed from his position. To mark 23 months since the disappearance, the families will be holding a cultural, artistic and political event outside of Aztec Stadium on August 26. Environmental defender and political prisoner Ildefenso Zamora was freed after nearly nine months in prison on trumped-up charges on August 13. A report on Radio Zapote documents the ongoing struggle of farmworkers in San Quintín and their primary tool: a boycott of Driscoll’s Berries. While actions are frequent in the US, a Boycott Driscoll’s protest occurred at a supermarket in Mexico City on August 18. On August 22 and 23 the first National Gathering on Forced Disappearance was held in Mexico City.

 

After months of organizing, 105 indigenous Oxchuc communities jointly decided to expel political parties and elected officials from their lands and to return to governing according to the indigenous practice of usos y costumbres. The final event of the Zapatista-initiated CompArte Festival for Humanity occurred in the Zapatista caracol of Roberto Barrios. Here’s a translation of Subcomandante Moisés’ statement at the end of the festival. The National Indigenous Congress, a Zapatista-inspired formation, will celebrate 20 years of existence with its fifth gathering in San Cristóbal, Chiapas in October. In other indigenous-related news, a new report noted that 80 percent of Mexico’s indigenous population lives in “poverty”. A condition that, if you’re Governor Mario López of Sinaloa, exists because of laziness. In response to a report that 822,000 Sinaloans live in “extreme poverty”, López said, “In Sinaloa, if you’re hungry, it’s because you’re lazy.”

 

book-police-face

 

Anarchist political prisoner Fernando Bárcenas released a call for solidarity with the prison strike happening in US prisons on September 9. We’ll have the English translation up shortly. And a group of anarchists offered a difficult but important public reflection on the events surrounding the police murder of anarchist Salvador Olmos in Oaxaca in June, which It’s Going Down has published in English.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 26/08/16

 

https://itsgoingdown.org/insumision-schools-state-repression/

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August 13, 2016

Insumisión: Amidst the Barricades, Building a Movement for the Long Run

Filed under: news, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:40 am

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Insumisión: Amidst the Barricades, Building a Movement for the Long Run

 

guelaguetza-popular

 

Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

Next week, teachers in Mexico belonging to the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) will mark three months on strike. Three months without pay, of sleeping in encampments far from home, of funerals, arrests, disappearances, beatings, fear, uncertainty, and endless hours of marching. Yet the union has remained steadfast in its demand for the repeal of the educational reform and by doing so has created space for a much larger movement to emerge alongside it. What appeared at first as solidarity is increasingly moving toward coherent unity, as the people see their demands reflected in those of the teachers and vice versa. This mutual identification is rooted in an understanding that the forces responsible for creating the innumerable injustices occurring in Mexico can be traced back to neoliberal capitalism as deployed by a corrupt narcostate operating with impunity.

While events in Mexico haven’t been making headlines in the past couple of weeks, the struggle is still on. Along with mobilizing effective displays of its vitality, the movement has been using the decline in repression after the Nochixtlán massacre and the ongoing negotiations with the government to build sturdier foundations for the inevitable confrontations that lie ahead – be they during this phase of resistance or ones that will follow.

Teachers have been particularly active in Chiapas, where on July 25 and August 1, they blockaded access to the international airport in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and during the last four days of July, blockaded the three major shopping malls in that city. They followed those actions up by blockading Torre Chiapas, a skyscraper housing private and government offices in the state capital, on August 2.

 

chiapas-airport-blockadeTeachers in Chiapas blockade the international airport in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

 

Numerous Chiapan civil society groups and networks primarily organized around human rights and territorial defense issued a statement on July 25 announcing their support and unity with the teachers’ movement. And three days later the Democratic State Committee of Parents in Chiapas warned that if the educational reform is not repealed, the school year will not start. They also said they were sending a commission to Nochixtlán to participate in the National Gathering of Parents in Defense of Education and Against Structural Reforms, stating, “we’re going to structure ourselves, above all, to map a path of action to throw out all these reforms and we will walk not just with the teachers, but also with the farmers, the workers, the doctors, the transportation workers, the churches.”

In Oaxaca, the Solidarity Caravan for Freedom and Autonomy, comprised of students from several Mexico City universities and the Supreme Indigenous Council from Xochicuautla, which fought back against significant state repression earlier this year, arrived in Juchitán on July 23 to help out on the barricade and deliver supplies.

As well, the Municipal and Agrarian Authorities Front of Oaxaca held a gathering and decided to build an encampment in front of the old state capitol building in the city of Oaxaca to demand justice for Nochixtlán, the repeal of 12 structural reforms, and freedom for political prisoners. The 97 authorities, seven parents groups, and 19 organizations also agreed to hold a megamarch on August 13, regional assemblies to unite the movement on August 20, create committees to defend education and health care in their communities, visit community radio stations to spread information about structural reforms, and build a union of communities and communal landholders to strengthen territorial defense.

There were large marches in Oaxaca on July 28 and on August 1, when women held a march to mark ten years since a similar march led to the takeover of the state TV station, which was held for the duration of the 2006 uprising and run by women’s collectives.

Also on August 1, the CNTE got up early and installed barricades blocking access to the Cerro del Fortín, the site of the government-run Guelaguetza. As a result, the state-appropriated cultural festival happened in front of a largely empty auditorium.

In Mexico City, 70 people traveled from Nochixtlán to hold a press conference at the monument to the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre on July 25. They denounced that after all this time and despite three meetings with the federal government, the more than 150 wounded have not been provided access to adequate medical care. And in a symbolic victory, on July 28, the teachers finally made it into the Zócalo in Mexico City for the first time in more than a year. Instead of marching towards the Zócalo en masse only to be blocked by police before arriving, they carried out “Operation Ant,” sending people in a few at a time until there were hundreds of them there.

Elsewhere in Mexico, July 29 saw a teachers march in typically quiet Tlaxcala and on August 3, state police attacked demonstrating teachers in Zacatecas, beating, batoning and tasing them.

The actions are clearly having an impact. On August 3, major business associations held a press conference urging the government to take the “difficult actions” necessary against the “impunity” of the CNTE and claiming they will take legal action against the union for “human rights violations.” They also hinted at halting payments to the government’s health care and housing programs. On August 8, with no appreciation for irony, business owners in Oaxaca attempted to hold a strike to demand the use of government force against those on strike. Solidarity among capitalists didn’t materialize and most businesses remained open.

 

cnte-march-chiapasAugust 3 march in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.

 

On the same day as the press conference, teachers in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas held a huge march and replied that, “They’re wrong when they stupidly have a press conference and talk about the damage the teachers have done. Those who have done harm to the Mexican people and who have brought misery, exploitation and subjugation are these rapacious business groups behind the so-called educational reform.”

Meanwhile, negotiations between the state and the CNTE continue. Following a July 27 meeting, the CNTE communicated that the Interior Ministry actually agreed to a few items, including reaching out to the legislature to identify a way to repeal the educational reform, to release political prisoners, to pay teachers their withheld salaries, and to rehire teachers fired for disobeying the reform. On August 11, the CNTE’s negotiating team will be meeting with representatives from all political parties in the Mexican Congress to propose a legislative path to repealing the reform. Where all this will lead and whether or not the government will keep its word remains to be seen.

To demonstrate the careful line the CNTE must walk, following the relative success of the July 27 meeting, it was rumored that the union may remove its barricade in Juchitán, Oaxaca. In response, parents and the Popular Assembly of the Juchitecan Peopleorganized a march urging the CNTE not to do so.

Lastly, the CNTE is organizing a National Forum Toward the Creation of a Democratic Education Project on August 9 in Mexico City to build proposals with input from a variety of sectors of civil society as to what a holistic and democratic educational program would look like. And beginning on August 18 and running through November, Okupa Che is hosting a series of weekly seminars and workshops examining “Education in Our Neighborhoods”

 

As always, there is much going on in Mexico outside of the popular and teachers’ mobilizations around neoliberal reforms.

July 26 marked 22 months since the students from Ayotzinapa were disappeared. There was a march in Mexico City and in Jalisco demonstrators took over three toll plazas in the state, allowing cars to pass for free. On July 29, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission approved a new mechanism for monitoring the Ayotzinapa case, following the withdrawal of its previous efforts due to harassment and non-cooperation from the Mexican state. Both the parents of the Ayotzinapa students and the Mexican government have signed on to the mechanism.

In some good news from Atenco, it was announced on July 27 that the highway being built for the new international airport for Mexico City has been definitively suspended. The communities of Atenco had mobilized against the construction of the highway, burning or appropriating the construction materials, which led to the army and paramilitaries escorting in construction workers, occasionally attacking residents.

On August 7, the Callejón de San Ignacio in Mexico City was taken over for the day and night for a series of cultural performances hosting a variety of relatively well-known artists. The theme was Building the Commons.

Community spaces have come under attack in Mexico City. Radio Zapote, a community radio station on the grounds of the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) first had the administration try to break in using a locksmith and then cut the electricity to their offices.

And on July 31, six members of Okupa Che, an occupied auditorium on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), were severely beaten by campus security, with five requiring hospitalization, and then arrested. Fortunately, the compas were released on August 2, though one of them was deported to Chile. They have been given 15 days to pay UNAM 40,000 pesos for damage UNAM says happened to three of their vehicles, or else they will face charges.

The eight teacher training schools in Michoacán (normales) have been holding down a barricade for a month in the state, taking 116 vehicles during that time to protest the fact that upon graduation the government refuses to hire them. The Mexican state hates normales because they train rural and working class students to teach in rural and working class areas, complete with a political analysis as to the conditions of their marginalization. Recently, former president Vicente Fox said in an interview that, along with Felipe Calderón making him vomit, when he became president he was told that some normales are nothing more than Trotskyist guerrilla training centers. The Trotskyist part might be true in some cases, but that’s about it.

The cold world of numbers revealed in a series of reports over the past two weeks helps demonstrate just why social revolt is spreading so rapidly. An Oxfam report states that 54.4 percent of Mexicans live in “poverty,” with two million joining that category under Enrique Peña Nieto. One percent of the nation owns 39 percent of the wealth, making it one of the 25 most economically unequal countries in the world. Remittances sent by Mexican migrants abroad are the second largest source of the country’s funds. In the first half of 2016, they sent 13.156 billion dollars, an 8.9 percent increase from last year. Through June of this year, 9,615 murders have been reported, an increase of 16 percent from the same time last year. Only 15 percent of the more than 30,000 children who are internal migrants in Mexico have access to education. Sixty percent work in the fields. 13,156 people have been disappeared in Mexico under Peña Nieto, a rate higher than the most violent periods of the “drug war” under Felipe Calderón. On average, a journalist is murdered every 26 days in Mexico, a fact leading the two main journalist associations to come together and in a cry of “¡¡¡YA BASTA!!!” demand an end to the murders. July 31 was the one year anniversary of the Colonia Navarte massacre in Mexico City, when journalist Rubén Espinosa, activist Nadia Vera, and visitors and housemates Yesenia Quiróz, Olivia Alejandra Negrete, and Mile Virginia were executed, likely under the orders of the Veracruz government. Nadia Vera’s mother issued a powerful text on the eve of that commemoration. Speaking of Veracruz, which under Governor Javier Duarte has seen the murder of 17 journalists, a report came out that Duarte annually earns 1,372,744 pesos more than allowed by law.

 

chava-vive-anarchyGraffiti in Oaxaca commemorating Salvador Olmos, anarchist and community journalist, murdered by police in Huajuapan.

 

 

A few more pieces of news. Five hundred miners in Tamaulipas have gone on strike as of July 27 due to unsafe working conditions and worker injuries. The Zapatista-initiated CompArte Festival for Humanity began and is still going on. There are a series of statements pertaining to that on Enlace Zapatista. The autonomous Chol community of Ejido Tila and the National Indigenous Congress are denouncing an incursion into its territory in Chiapas by Marines. A total of 12 events are being held this month in Mexico City to commemorate Black August and mark the release of the book “Agosto Negro: Presos Politicos en Pie de Lucha,” the first book in Spanish to document the Black liberation struggle in the US and its political prisoners. It’s Going Down has translated a couple of recent anarchist texts from Mexico, one examining Telmex’s involvement in the construction of prisons and the acts of sabotage against it. The second is a reflection piece by former members of the Autonomous Cells of Immediate Revolution – Praxedis G. Guerrero, an informal grouping that for five years carried out primarily explosive attacks in and around Mexico City.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 13/08/2016

https://itsgoingdown.org/insumision-barricades-building-movement/ .



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July 25, 2016

Insumisión: from Teachers’ Strike to People’s Rebellion

Filed under: Indigenous, Repression, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:01 pm

 

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Insumisión: from Teachers’ Strike to People’s Rebellion

 

nochixtlan-indigenous-peoples-caravanIndigenous Peoples Caravan passing through Nochixtlán.

 

July 24, 2016

Originally published by It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

With the ongoing teachers’ strike that has morphed into a widespread rebellion, primarily in Oaxaca and Chiapas, we haven’t put together a more general roundup of resistance and repression in Mexico in some time. While that struggle is very much alive and well, the intensity with which it is unfolding has diminished some. This column will first take a look at the past three weeks of that conflict (if you need to get up to speed, check out this piece) and then cover some of the other recent events around the country.

The teachers belonging to the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) have now been on strike for more than two months. Since the massacre by federal and state forces in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca on June 19, in which eleven people were killed, the conflict has taken on an increasingly popular dimension. This has looked like direct actions, marches, material support and expressions of solidarity from across Mexico and beyond, in numbers far too large to recount individually.

By way of example, here are some of the actions that have occurred over the past few weeks. Parents and teachers took over toll booths in both Mexico City and Durango for a day, allowing cars to pass through for free. On July 3, an explosives device was detonated at the headquarters of business associations in Mexico City who have been lobbying the government to crush the uprising. There were three days of intense mobilizations from July 5-7 in Mexico City. On the first day, there were at least 70 simultaneous blockades and marches, followed by four mass marches on July 6, and at least ten blockades on July 7.

The Zapatistas have continued releasing statements in support of the teachers’ struggle, stating, “To say it more clearly: for us Zapatistas, the most important thing on this calendar and in the very limited geography from which we resist and struggle, is the struggle of the democratic teachers’ union.” They also went further and announced that they were suspending their participation in the July 17-23 CompArte Festival for Humanity, which they had called for earlier this year. Instead, they sent delegations from all the Zapatista caracoles to donate the food they would have eaten during the seven-day festival to the teachers in resistance in Chiapas. This amounted to 290,000 pesos (15,600 USD) worth of food.

In recognition of the contribution of the people to their struggle and the fact that the people have demands which extend beyond the immediate concerns of the union, on July 9, Section 22 of the CNTE in Oaxaca called for a gathering of teachers and indigenous leaders to “build a peoples’ agenda against structural reforms.” The union met with authorities from 90 municipalities in the state. Important to note is that these authorities are selected as the moral leadership of their communities not through a vote based on political party, but through nominations, discussions and agreements reached in community assemblies. The first outcome of that gathering was the Indigenous Peoples Caravan, which traveled from Oaxaca to Mexico City from July 17-19, with the participation of more than 120 municipal authorities and the teachers’ union. The union is making a similar effort in Chiapas, where they announced union delegates will visit every community in the state to meet with parents and members of civil society. Also in Chiapas, 52 church parishes, primarily adherents to liberation theology, marched in support of the teachers on July 19.

Along with Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City, Michoacán has been holding it down. On July 11, teachers blockaded train tracks at seven different points throughout the state. (Michoacán is home to Lázaro Cardenas, Mexico’s biggest port and one of the largest seaports along the Pacific.) A week later, on July 19 and 20, state and federal forces attacked teachers’ highway blockades there, with 25 teachers being arrested on July 20. More by coincidence than coordination, an attack also occurred on the highway blockade outside of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas on July 20. In that incident, state and municipal police loaded armed and masked members of the Green Party (PVEM – a right-wing party distinct from international Green Parties) from San Juan Chamula into a tractor trailer, drove it to the blockade and opened it up, providing cover while the paramilitaries attacked and burned the blockade and encampment. Fortunately there were no deaths, though one teacher was shot in the shoulder by a paramilitary. In response, teachers and supporters regrouped in the city center of San Cristóbal, taking over the old city hall and flying a red and black flag from it. (Along with the anarchist connotations, a red and black flag flying from a building in Mexico typically signals that the workers in that building are on strike.) They then marched back to the site of the blockade and built it up once again, where it remains. More context on San Juan Chamula to come later in this piece.

At the same time that all these actions have been occurring, the CNTE and the Interior Ministry have been holding negotiations. They have met a total of six times, addressing political, educational and social issues. At each meeting the teachers come prepared with specific proposals and ask the government to do the same. After each meeting the end result has been the same: no progress. They will meet again on July 26.

In an attempt to subvert the mobilization of the CNTE, the Public Education Ministry has begun negotiations with the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), the union that all teachers in Mexico belong to and of which the CNTE is considered a “dissident faction.” While telling the CNTE that the educational reform is non-negotiable, the government has indicated to the SNTE that is it willing to modify it. The CNTE responded to this by referring, in an official statement, to the SNTE leadership as “the system’s rats” who “are being increasingly exposed as true mercenaries and scabs.”

The last bit of news from the electoral realm is that on July 14, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) – who for Mexican politics is something like a never-ending Bernie Sanders – proclaimed, “You can’t repeal the educational reform; that would be a failure of government and doesn’t serve anybody. There must be authority.” AMLO’s latest party, MORENA (he used to be PRI, then PRD), has tried to capitalize on the teachers’ strike to grow their numbers yet its partisans have been notably silent regarding their leader’s rejection of the main demand of the strike.

In some sad news, a teacher, José Caballero Julián, who was wounded on June 11 when state forces attacked the teachers’ encampment in front of the Oaxaca State Institute of Public Education (IEEPO), died of his injuries on July 5. In addition to the eleven massacred in Nochixtlán, Azarel Galán Mendoza who was killed in Viguera and Salvador Olmos García, the anarchist and journalist murdered by police in Huajuapan, Caballero’s death brings the total to fourteen killed by the state in Oaxaca during the course of the rebellion so far.

While the growing national mobilizations initiated by the teachers’ strike has dominated headlines and coverage from Mexico, there are of course numerous ongoing resistances that at least on the surface can be seen as independent of that struggle. The matter pending before the union and the people in resistance is if and how these fights, most of which are directed against neoliberal capitalism and the state, can be coherently integrated into a broader movement. As mentioned above, steps have been taken in that direction, but for the most part it is still the teachers union at the wheel.

 

okupa-su-destino“Occupy your destiny.” Recent street art in Oaxaca.

Students from the Xochimilco, Azcapotzalco and Iztapalapa campuses of the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) in Mexico City won a major victory earlier this month after occupying the university President’s Offices. The takeover was in response to cuts in scholarships for studying aboard or elsewhere in Mexico. After holding the building and following a twelve hour meeting with the administration, they left with the university agreeing to fund 100 percent of scholarships. Also in Mexico City, riot policeattacked a gathering of indigenous peoples at the Monument to the Revolution on July 15. The organizations and communities were protesting their exclusion and the exclusion of indigenous practices from the process Mexico City is currently going through to restructure its form of governance.

The violence continues unabated in Veracruz, where on July 7, Jairo Guarneros of the Colectivo Feminista Cihuatlahtolli in Orizaba,survived an assassination attempt that occurred one day after he denounced the police murder of a woman riding in a taxi. After killing the woman, the police fled the scene. Pedro Tamayo Rosas became the 17th journalist murdered in Veracruz during the reign of Governor Javier Duarte. Shot eleven times at his home on July 20, Tamayo lived in and reported on the Tierra Blanca region. He had previously fled the state following threats he received for his coverage of the disappearance of five young people by police in that region in January.

With his legacy of oppression, violence and exploitation, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto certainly has a lot to make amends for. So what did he actually decide to apologize for? On July 18, he asked forgiveness for the “perception” of wrongdoing that occurred when in 2014 his wife purchased a $7 million mansion – known as the White House – in Guerrero from a corporation that had tens of millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts. Two days later, the well-known journalist who broke the story, Carmen Aristegui, was sued by her former employer, MVS Radio, to stop the publication of a book on the Casa Blanca scandal. MVS fired Aristegui in 2015 after she first reported on the story. Naturally, MVS and the federal government deny any collusion.

In Cuidad Ixtepec in Oaxaca, organizing continues against attempts by the Canadian mining company Linear Gold Corporation to mine in the area, a project that would not only damage the environment but also archeological sites. On July 12, indigenous women from Ixtepec destroyed a concrete topographical marker put in by the company, followed by a 500-person protest a week later.

This weekend, Oaxaca is seeing three days of festivities for the Tenth Annual Teachers-Peoples Guelaguetza. Guelaguetza is both an indigenous concept and celebration premised on mutual aid and community participation, where communities from around the state come to the city of Oaxaca and hold marches, banquets and dances conveying the traditions of each community. The biggest festival of the year, the Guelaguetza became commercialized by the state, with tickets to attend costing $40, well beyond the reach of the average Oaxacan. Following the 2006 uprising, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) announced a boycott of the official Guelaguetza and ever since the teachers union and civil society groups have been organizing their own free version. Here’s the promo trailer for this year:

As was mentioned above, the Zapatistas stated they were suspending their participation in the CompArte (a spin on the words “art” and “sharing”) Festival for Humanity. In one statement, they offer a breakdown of the original plans for the 1,400-plus artists who were going to participate (along with a video of Zapatistas dancing to Ska-P). In response, CIDECI-Unitierra, who often assists in the organization of Zapatista events in San Cristóbal, announced they’d still be holding an abridged version of the festival. In response to that response, the Zapatistas backed off their decision to not participate at all and invited everyone to come to Oventik on July 29 to participate in a condensed presentation of what they had prepared for the festival.

The last piece of news from Chiapas brings us back to San Juan Chamula, some of whose residents attacked the teachers’ blockade on July 20. Following that incident, several communities in the municipality of Chamula released a statementcondemning the attack, expressing their support for the teachers, and threatening, “The municipality of Chamula will rise up in arms if necessary. If the government doesn’t want peace, then we won’t give them peace.” The Zapatistas also presciently stated, “And some unsolicited advice: don’t play with fire in Chamula. The unrest and division you are inciting in that town with your stupidities could provoke an internal conflict of such terror and destruction that you wouldn’t be able to quash it with social network bots or paid ‘news’ articles or the little money that Manuel Joffrey Velasco Baratheon-Lannister has left in the state treasury.”

And then three days later it happened. On July 23, a group of individuals affiliated with the PRI showed up at the town hall demanding that the mayor – affiliated with the PVEM – pay them the money he owed them for their artisanal work. He refused to do so at that moment and the PRIistas stormed the building. The mayor and his bodyguards opened fire and an hours-long shootout commenced in the center of the town. In the end, five people were killed, including the mayor.

San Juan Chamula is a popular tourist destination due to its religious festivities and proximity to San Cristóbal. It is also a deeply divided Tzotzil municipality. This began decades ago following the conversion of growing numbers of Chamulans to evangelical Christianity by outside missionaries. They clashed with those who remained adherents to the indigenous-Catholic tradition that emerged following colonization, using the pretext of religion to settle disputes over land and territory, leaving dozens dead. Political parties – primarily the PRI and PVEM – have supported or attacked these factions depending on the needs of power, leading to events like the ones seen on July 20 and 23. Another conflict between the PRI and PVEM caused the deaths of two people and the displacement of 81 in Chenalhó, Chiapas on May 26. Manipulation of internal divisions by political parties within a context of neoliberal exploitation is one of the main factors pushing many indigenous communities to organize for autonomy, to ban political parties and to return to making decisions using community assemblies according to practices generically referred to as usos y costumbres.

In our last bit of news, some anarchists in Tijuana published a roundup of some of their activities in recent months, including sabotage attacks and banner drops – some in solidarity with anti-police and anti-fascist mobilizing in the US and anarchist political prisoners worldwide.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 25/07/2016

 

https://itsgoingdown.org/insumision-strike-rebellion/

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June 1, 2016

Insumisión: Strike!

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:06 am

 

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cnte-marcha-huelga

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Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

The last edition of Insumisión started with news of the national teachers strike in Mexico and that’s where we’ll kick things off here. It’s been an intense fifteen days since the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE) began an indefinite strike on May 15, primarily against plans by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to implement neoliberal reforms to the country’s education system.

Since being selected as president in 2012, Peña Nieto has attempted to privatize and standardize the Mexican education system, along with instituting policies to disempower Latin America’s largest union, the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), and its dissident and more radical faction, the CNTE. In 2013, the CNTE mobilized its base to fight back against similar reform efforts. An article I wrote then gives some context to the developments occurring now, as well as clarifying the distinctions between the SNTE, the CNTE, and their relationships to the state.

The current strike is strongest in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Chiapas. On May 15, which is Teachers’ Day in Mexico, 20,000 teachers marched to the Interior Ministry (SEGOB) in Mexico City and several hundred installed a plantón, a massive encampment, on its doorstep. Ever since, the union and the federal police have been playing an elaborate and slow-motion game of cat and mouse in Mexico City. At 2am on May 20, hundreds of federal police rousted the teachers, demanding they leave. Outnumbered, the teachers moved their plantón to Santo Domingo Plaza, where a day later police showed up again at 2am, this time with buses, and notifying the teachers that many of them had arrest warrants out against them, they “invited” them to remove the plantón and get on the bus with the name of their state to be driven home. The teachers said “thanks, but no thanks,” to the ride and instead moved the plantón to Ciudadela Plaza, then for a day back to the SEGOB, then back to Ciudadela, where it is currently located.

 

df-cdmx-cnte-policia

 

At the moment, the conflict is in a holding pattern of sorts, with each side remaining firmly entrenched in their positions while making limited shows of force, hoping that eventually the opponent will blink first. The CNTE operates under the framework that at some point it will have to negotiate with the state, if not during this strike then in future years, and wants to ensure it maintains enough clout and respectability to do so effectively. For its part, the government is aware that it has the military capability to physically remove the teachers from public spaces, but also that it is under increased scrutiny internationally and domestically since the Ayotzinapa disappearances and the universal condemnation of its handling of that act of state terror. And ten years ago, when one state government tried to crush a teachers strike, it led to a five-month uprising known as the Oaxaca Commune. The fallout of conducting a multi-state operation along those same lines is more than the government is willing to risk at this stage. (For a look back at the Oaxaca Commune and an excellent interview with a striking teacher from Oaxaca, check out subMedia’s latest episode.) That could all change quickly, however, as the only negotiations the Mexican state knows how to conduct, in particular the government of Peña Nieto, is through the barrel of a gun – a reality I examined in an article back in February.

In lieu of outright confrontation (with the exception of Chiapas), the state has refused to even meet with the teachers. The Interior Minister and Education Minister both say there is nothing to discuss, while Peña Nieto said he’ll sit down for negotiations only after the teachers accept the educational reform. The government has frozen the CNTE’s bank accounts, meaning teachers are not getting paid and loans, which many teachers acquire through their union, are not being processed or disbursed. Aurelio Nuño, the Education Minister, announced that any teacher missing three days in a row of work will be fired, and so far has announced the dismissal of 3,119 teachers from Oaxaca, Guerrero and Michoacán. Along with harassing and threatening teachers in Mexico City, police have also been blocking and turning back buses of teachers attempting to enter the city to join their comrades. In Chiapas, teachers’ marches on May 19 and May 25 were attacked by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets from the ground and helicopters.

While the state has the guns, the teachers have the numbers, and they’ve been using them. Massive marches have been held in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Following the May 19 repression, as well as earlier repression in April, 200,000 came out to protest in Chiapas on May 23. This was followed up by a megamarch in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez on May 27, with coinciding marches in 30 municipalities. During the march in the capital, teachers briefly took over eight different media outlets, getting on the air to directly communicate with the people. As well, parents’ committees from 82 of Chiapas’ 122 municipalities announced they are joining forces with the teachers. This is up from the parents in 60 municipalities who last week pledged to shut down any school that attempts to open with scab teachers. When the strike started, a spokesperson for the CNTE in Chiapas vowed that for each teacher arrested, the union would detain a government official and hold them in the central plaza of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Eight protesters were arrested during clashes on May 25 and charged with a litany of serious offenses, only to be promptly released before the marches on May 27.

In Oaxaca, Governor Gabino Cué said he had hundreds of police at the ready to remove any plantón or blockade installed by the teachers. The CNTE went ahead an installed them anyway, calling Cué’s bluff (for now). On May 27, they blockaded access to the state’s international airport for eight hours, as well as the highway connecting the city of Oaxaca with the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido. After the federal police showed up at the airport and ordered them to disperse, a group of teachers managed to sneak around police lines and encircle a bus carrying police reinforcements. The teachers refused to let them go until the police stood down. Meanwhile, the head of the CNTE in Oaxaca, Rubén Núñez, warned the governor that, “If there is no dialogue, there will be no elections.” Elections are slated for June 5.

 

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A key to the success of the strike will not only be the ability of the CNTE to sustain its momentum, but to expand its base of support. Despite the mainstream media’s abject loyalty to the Mexican state and its narrative, the CNTE has been able to do just that. In part, this is due to the fact that the CNTE’s demands extend beyond wages and reforms and encompass broader social, economic and political issues, such as freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, increased investment in education, truth and justice for Ayotzinapa and against neoliberal reforms in general. The strike has spread from Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Mexico City, to Guerrero, Veracruz, Mexico State, and Michoacán. Like in Chiapas, 300 representatives of parents’ organizations came out in support of striking teachers in Guerrero on Friday. Commemorating 20 months since the disappearance of their children, the families of the students from Ayotzinapa marched in support of the teachers in Mexico City on May 26. On May 27, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) from Atenco announced their backing of the CNTE strike. While on May 16, students from Chapingo Autonomous University in Texcoco, Mexico State, borrowed some buses and tractor-trailers and blockaded a main road in support of the strike, the ongoing student struggle at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), and against the recent incursion of hundreds of police into Atenco to facilitate the construction of a new international airport. Even the Autonomous University of Mexico City’s University Council proclaimed all striking teachers will be accorded the status of Distinguished Guest should they visit the school.

As for what comes next, the teachers have promised more protests and mobilizations, including a plan to march on Mexico City’s International Airport on Friday, June 3. The state is likely planning to hold off on any major move against the teachers until after the June 5 elections. Regardless, even a small spark could elevate an already tense situation to another level.

 

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While most of this edition has been focused on the strike, there is of course a lot more happening in Mexico, some of which I’ll cover briefly here. Mexico lost its sixth journalist of the year when Manuel Torres was killed in his home in Veracruz on May 14. Torres is the 18thjournalist to be murdered in Veracruz during the rule of Governor Javier Duarte. Also in Veracruz, students and staff at Veracruz University are considering a general strike to force the Duarte regime to pay the 2.5 billion pesos it owes the school. May 18-30 saw events nationwide as part of the International Week of the Detained-Disappeared. Yesterday in Toluca, Mexico State, the Fire of Dignified Resistance hosted the First Popular Encounter against the Eruviel Law – the recently passed legislation allowing Mexico State Police to use live ammunition against gatherings and protests. And around Mexico, 215 communities from 17 states have signed onto the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory. One of those communities is Coyotepec, in Mexico State, which for years has autonomously administered its water supply and resisted efforts to privatize it. Last week, six of its members were detained and the community was besieged by 600 riot police. In response, thousands came out to demand their release and the removal of the police. A day later the police left, but the six remain in state custody.

In southern Mexico, indigenous communities continue to be attacked and continue to resist. The Júba Waijín community in Guerrero won a victory when the courts blocked two mining projects from moving forward. After being displaced from their reclaimed land by police and paramilitaries in Chiapas, the autonomous community of San Isidro Los Laureles is not giving up. Meanwhile, in Oaxaca, the autonomous community of Eloxochitlan de Flores Magón mobilized to demand freedom for its eleven political prisoners. Also in Oaxaca, the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress released a statement condemning the police attack on the autonomous community of Álvaro Obregón. One municipal police officer was killed after community police intervened to defend the community members under attack, leaving many to fear an attempt by the government to crush the entire autonomous project.

Lastly, in memory of Chilean anarchist Mauricio Morales, vehicles belonging to the National Migration Institute were torched in Cancún and a squatted social center bearing Mauricio’s name opened its doors in Tijuana.

May 16, 2016

Insumisión: Reclaiming Life in a Panorama of Death

Filed under: news, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:15 am

 

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Insumisión: Reclaiming Life in a Panorama of Death

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Originally posted on It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

As the violence and repression instigated, permitted and perpetrated by the Mexican State continues to grow, it can become overwhelming to summarize it in these pages in a way that does justice to the victims and survivors of state terror and impunity. Yet as the grim tallies multiply and impact more and more lives, so does the clarity that what the state offers even in its best moments is no solution at all, and from that point resistance flourishes. The sparks of refusal and defiance despite the odds ignite around the country, making meaning out of that which seems so senseless, breathing reclaimed life into a panorama of death. As América del Valle of Atenco said earlier this month, “Even with everything they did to us, we don’t come here today as martyrs. We don’t come to cry…We’ve come here to say NO!” Lxs insumxs. Let’s see what they’ve been up to over the past two weeks.

May Day in Mexico was a fairly calm affair this year, though a few bits of news are included inIt’s Going Down’s roundup. Hopefully folks were just conserving their energy for today, May 15, when teachers affiliated with the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE) begin an indefinite strike against neoliberal education reforms and many other issues, building to a planned boycott of the June 5 elections. The strike could impact the 23 states with CNTE affiliates, though the focus appears to be on Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City. Tens of thousands of teachers will be camped around the Department of Public Education (SEP) in Mexico City.

The SEP has responded by saying that any teacher missing three days of classes will be fired. To which the CNTE said, “We dare them to try. We’re ready for what comes.” Teachers in Oaxaca go on strike annually at this time of year, though usually as a tactic to influence negotiations. This year, there are no current negotiations and Governor Gabino Cué has refused to receive their demands, a stance reminiscent of former governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in 2006, before he sent the police after the teachers and kicked off a five-month rebellion in the state.

A report by Human Rights Watch from last October has been making the rounds in some Mexican media outlets this month, documenting two massacres by federal police in the state of Michoacán. One in January 2015 in Apatzingán left at least eight dead, while the other, in Tanhuato in May, left 42 dead. “In both cases,” the report reads, “multiple witnesses reported that they saw police officers shoot dead unarmed civilians after the initial confrontations were over.” No police have been held to account.

Since the launch of the so-called “war on organized crime,” much of Michoacán has been contested terrain as competing cartels, the police and military, and more recently, armed community self-defense groups – both legitimate and illegitimate, with some being incorporated into the new “Rural Police Forces” – have attempted to impose their will and entered into constantly shifting alliances. Meanwhile, indigenous communities such as Cherán and Santa María Ostula seek self-determination and autonomy in the midst of threats from cartels and the state. Since reclaiming 1,200 hectares of their land from the Knights Templar cartel in 2009, Ostula has seen 34 members of its community killed and six disappeared.

The National Human Rights Commission released the results of a survey this month finding at least 35,433 Mexicans have suffered forced internal displacement, a phenomenon not recognized by the state. The displacement is particularly concentrated in southern Mexico, where even locations previously considered “safe” are seeing drastic increases in violence, usually as the result of an increased presence of the army or federal police. Acapulco, in Guerrero, has experienced 347 killings related to the “war on organized crime” so far this year. A major shootout in the tourist center of the city on April 24 was extensively covered by reporter Francisco Beltrán Pacheco, who for his efforts was gunned down hours later in the doorway of his home.

 

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Also in Guerrero, on May 12 six members of the Regional Coordinating Body of Community Authorities – Community Police (CRAC-PC) were freed after being held for nearly three years on false charges. Gaining their freedom was a major initiative of CRAC-PC commander and recently released political prisoner Nestora Salgado. Speaking of false charges, in another blow to the “historical truth” that the federal government has been offering as explanation for what happened to the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, an investigation found that 32 of those detained by the government for supposedly being involved in the disappearance and (they claim) killing of the students were systematically tortured into signing confessions corroborating the government’s version. This information corresponds with that already put forward by the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Argentina’s Forensic Anthropology Team.

In another case of forced disappearance in Guerrero, one year ago this month, 300 paramilitaries, police and soldiers invaded the city of Chilapa de Álvarez for five days and disappeared 16 people. Local, state and national organizations working on the matter have released a call for all groups seeking justice for the disappeared in Guerrero to unite and organize jointly. Nationally on May 10, Mother’s Day in Mexico, the fifth annual march by the mothers of the disappeared was held in Mexico City and around the country.

In neighboring Oaxaca, the town of San José del Progreso installed a blockade at the main entrance to the Fortuna Silver mine, demanding its removal. Ten other indigenous communities in the state held a gathering at the end of April and announced they will begin, through community assemblies, organizing to oppose several mining concessions on their lands, build cross-community solidarity and strengthen their cultural identity.

Upon news that a major investor pulled out of plans to build yet another multinational wind farm on their lands, the Binni’za in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec noted, “Our struggle isn’t over, the debt that PGGM [the investor] and the rest of the multinationals that have invested in our region, that they have with our communities, is large and growing. We will not tire until they recognize our right to live with dignity as the indigenous peoples that we are.”

Also in the Isthmus, word is coming out of Juchitán that on May 14, local police severely beat two members of the community assembly of nearby Álvaro Obregón. When community police and others from the Zapotec community arrived to intervene, the local police opened fire, seriously wounding three, including a 14 year old.

To the east in Chiapas, attacks on defiant communities have become more frequent and violent. On May 4, as many as 150 paramilitaries entered the town of Simojovel, inciting panic as they stormed the streets and main park shooting fireworks and tear gas and throwing stones and Molotovs. The town has been organizing through its local church to eradicate corruption and combat drug trafficking.

San Sebastián Bachajón, a Tzeltal community adhering to the Zapatista’s Sixth Declaration, announced on May 5 it had recovered more of its communal lands from large landowners. Three days later, off-duty state police attacked a community member. In response, the community detained three state police, saying they would be held until those responsible were punished. At this time it’s not clear how that situation was resolved.

Also on May 5, the Tzotzil community of Cruztón, adherents to the Sixth, celebrated nine years since the recuperation of 249 hectares of its land. Again, days later, one of its members was detained and tortured by paramilitaries from a neighboring town. In response, a community member warned, “Our own hands are the ones that will administer justice, like we told the Public Prosecutor, if they don’t do it…The land is ours, the territory is ours, it is our right and this will be ours, whatever the cost.”

Most recently, on May 12, police and paramilitaries conducted a joint raid on the Tzotzil community of San Isidro Los Laureles. Mentioned previously in this column, this community – adherents to the Sixth – reclaimed 165 hectares of their land in December of last year. Thirty-five trucks entered the community and the passengers opened fire. The community’s homes were ransacked, belongings burned and crops destroyed. As of this writing, San Isidro Los Laureles’ residents are camped nearby and “creating strategies to recover the land taken by the White Guards [private gunmen].”

Not all is bleak in Chiapas, as the Chol community of Ejido Tila has been sending out inspiring updates and maps on its autonomous project. On May 1, it shared news about the collective work being carried out, as agreed upon by its community assembly. This includes: remodeling public buildings, cleaning up rivers, holding children’s festivals, street and highway cleaning, and community security. “Our town is now safer and cleaner, although there are filthy people belonging to political parties who continue to throw garbage in the street to screw things up and because their father, the bad government, got them accustomed to it. They don’t want to take out the trash when the truck comes, but to throw it in the street instead. We gave them a warning that a green pig will be wheatpasted on their homes if they keep acting uneducated, and although they say they are professionals and that it is us peasants who are dirty and ignorant, well, here it shows what their discriminatory, racist, and conflictive educational discourse is good for.” A second update shared improvements on access to water and the communal justice system, among other items.

 

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Some final pieces of news to share. Earlier this month, San Salvador Atenco marked ten years since the brutal repression unleashed on the town by now-president Enrique Peña Nieto. With marches and concerts, they rededicated themselves to seeking justice for the attacks of 2006 and to continue resisting the latest effort to building an international airport on their lands. To that end, they started planting trees in the path of the new highway for the airport, as well as digging ditches and appropriating and destroying construction equipment.

In Chabelkal, Yucatán, the Maya community turned out to stop the eviction of an elder from his home on May 3. The police showed up in 30 to 40 trucks and began beating residents and firing tear gas. Seven were arrested but all were released after 48 hours following intense mobilization and a statement from the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress denouncing the police violence.

On May 4, around 150 people were arrested at various metro stations in Mexico City during a coordinated action by #PosMeSalto (So I’ll Jump), a movement encouraging fare evasion that began in 2014 when the metro fare was raised from 3 to 5 pesos. Also on May 4, the Informal Feminist Commando of Anti-Authoritarian Action claimed responsibility for placing an explosive device at Sacmag de México, an investment and construction consulting firm in Mexico City. And lastly, a new report found that the minimum wage in Mexico should be 16,400 pesos per month ($903 USD), as opposed to the current amount of 2,191 pesos ($121 USD).

This edition has been a bit of a downer. To end with some ánimo, here are some compas discussing the anti-authoritarian practices being utilized in the struggle at the Scientific and Technological Studies Center Number 5 (CECyT 5), a vocational school in Mexico City.

 

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May 2, 2016

Insumisión: Battles Lines Are Drawn in the Face of the Looming Storm

Filed under: Autonomy, news, Political prisoners, Repression — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:22 pm

 

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Insumisión: Battles Lines Are Drawn in the Face of the Looming Storm

 

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Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

Around Mexico on May Day numerous marches are held, primarily organized by the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) and its more radical tendency, the National Education Workers Coordinating Body (CNTE). These marches are usually large, as the teachers’ union requires their members to show up. That extra incentive probably isn’t needed this year, as the teachers are fed up with the state’s repression and attacks on public education. The CNTE has already announced an indefinite national strike for May 15, and as a warm- up held the largest march in its 37-year history in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas on April 22. Stretching more than three miles with 100,000 participants, the march was in response to the repression faced by teachers there the week before. While the CNTE base has consistently demonstrated its militancy, the leadership remains stuck in the politics of respectability, as demonstrated during the April 22 march when they ordered that “no one should commit acts of vandalism and that anyone caught would be detained; that no one would be masked or cover their face.” The gap between the two seems likely only to widen as the union’s actions intensify.

When it comes to teachers and protests, fresh on everyone’s mind is Ayotzinapa. When it comes to a relentless dedication to preserving impunity at all costs, the Mexican state is quite impressive. This was on full display last week as the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) sent by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) released its final 600-page report in a four-hour press conference on April 24. The GIEI’s mandate was cut short by the CIDH following the Mexican government’s consistent harassment, subterfuge and non-cooperation. “The experts assured that the authorities have not followed key lines of investigation, evidence has been manipulated, obstructed and investigative work rejected, officials that would have participated in the disappearance protected, and alleged suspects tortured to obtain confessions that support the government’s version.” The details are too expansive to explore here, but the short version is that the GIEI found the students were under surveillance, the attack on them was recorded and coordinated among local and state police and the army, and that the head of the Criminal Investigations Agency (akin to the FBI in the US) had a personal role in manipulating evidence and illegally detaining and torturing someone who later “confessed” to involvement in the disappearance.

 

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In response, Tomás Zerón, the head of the Criminal Investigations Agency and confidant of President Enrique Peña Nieto, gave a press conference where he lied unapologetically and presented doctored footage to support his deceit. The GIEI immediately responded, notifying Zerón that he is “distorting reality.” The UN High Commission for Human Rights in Mexico “denied” and “disassociated” itself from Zerón’s statements. And to pile on, just days prior, the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team released its report, noting that the government’s version of events “is not possible.” Nineteen months after the disappearances, the students’ relatives continue to mobilize and are now demanding the resignation of Zerón and for the Mexican government to accept a new investigatory mechanism proposed by the CIDH after the GIEI was essentially run out of the country. The government has yet to reply to the CIDH’s offer.

The UN Commission has also been visiting several communities under attack in the State of Mexico, including Xochicuautla and the National Commission for Human Rights has announced it will be taking that state to the Supreme Court in an attempt to block the recently approved Eruviel Law, which allows police to open fire on protests and meetings. One Mexiquense community that knows what it’s like to have the police open fire on them is Atenco – or “riot town” if you’re the BBC – where the government is again trying to move forward with plans to construct Mexico City’s new airport. When construction materials were moved onto their lands, Atenco’s residents responded by appropriating those materials. They have released a call for people to gather in Atenco on May 3 – marking ten years since the brutal attack on their town spearheaded by Peña Nieto – to dig trenches to block the entry of more construction equipment. “The only thing we have to do is to defend our land…we’re not going to let them have even a single fucking meter, let that be clear.”

 

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12963777_1074417585933266_9070676278172917819_nInspired the Basque and Palestinian struggles for their prisoners, social movements in Mexico also mobilized on April 17 to call for freedom for their political prisoners. The ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Zapatista’s Sixth Declaration, called for the release of its three political prisoners in Chiapas. “To be committed to your people doesn’t mean to commit a crime. They are jailed and treated inhumanely for their struggles. They demand their rights, but the government turns a deaf ear.” Relatives and comrades of Alejandro Diaz Santíz, whose case was mentioned in last month’s Insumisión, marked the day by establishing an encampment in San Cristóbal de las Casas. In a statement they said, “To support the resistance of political prisoners in Chiapas, as well as that of Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, jailed in the U.S., of the NO TAV Movement prisoners in Italy, of Marco Camenish and the other persecuted and jailed anarchists in Operations Pandora and Piñata by the Spanish State or of the hundreds of political prisoners of Euskal Herria [Basque Country], is to support the humanity that flourishes and struggles even in the blackest darkness of the dungeons of power.”

Also on April 17, in a community assembly the Otomí town of San Francisco Magú in the State of Mexico decided to not recognize or allow the authorities appointed by the municipal government to operate in its territory. They have taken a building from which to operate their autonomous project, and with it seizing the local water utility. In their next assembly, they vowed to take actions to ensure that their “autonomy is not only respected but deepened.”

In ejido Tila in northern Chiapas, the five-month long autonomous project in the Chol community continues. A recent article, available in English, discusses what the community has done to ensure everything from security and justice to keeping the sewers and streets clean. Without mentioning the autonomous project another translated article provides context about the “new reality” in Chiapas, in particular in Tila, and the inability of the Zapatistas to counter the growing power of narcos and paramilitaries, leading communities such as Tila to take matters into their own hands. A similar situation is unfolding in Simojovel, where a local priest organizing against corruption and drug trafficking reportedly has a one million peso bounty against him. If you have 30 minutes and speak Spanish (or Russian), check out this interview with Subcomandante Moíses from last week talking about the current situation of the Zapatistas. It’s one of, if not the, first interview he’s given since becoming the EZLN’s spokesperson.

In other struggles for autonomy, twelve members of the community assembly from the autonomous Mazatec municipality of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón in Oaxaca have been held prisoner for 18 months. The community has begun to organize a new initiative to demand their release and preserve its autonomy. “Our struggle is for the defence of communal territory. And for the defence of our traditional communal system of assembly and direct democracy, and so that the political parties are unable to establish themselves in our communities…to be not divided and corrupted.” One of the most powerful examples of self-determination and autonomy in Mexico continues to be the small Pur’épecha city of Cherán in Michoacán, who in April celebrated five years since they rose up against the government and organized crime. They stated:

The civilizational crisis we had, that we were looking at before April 15, and that the whole country is still living, a reification and destruction of the environment and of human relationships, made us wake up as a community, as an autonomous process, as rebellion, as a social movement, we can find a thousand names but offer one solution, to return to our roots, to our own principles, to return to something we knew and were living, to set 186 bonfires, to make barricades and community patrols, these aren’t by chance, it is all a response to the cry of depredation and inhumanity we were living in.

 

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On April 24, 27 of Mexico’s 31 states, as well as Mexico City, saw demonstrations to mark the National Mobilization Against Sexist [Machista] Violence. What began as a suggestion by one woman on social media in Tuxtla Gutiérrez was seized upon and led to tens of thousands taking to the streets to protest the relentless wave of gender-based violence in Mexico. A report by Revolution News noted the following grim statistics: “63% of Mexican women report having experienced some kind of sexual violence. The statistics increased to 72% in Mexico City. El Pais reported that various prosecutors’ offices have registered more than 15,000 complaints of rape per year, around 40 women per day. At least six Mexican women die per day at the hands of men. 50,000 women have been murdered over the past 30 years.”

A few more pieces of news to round out this edition. On April 14, all major political parties voted to approve new “Special Economic Zones” in southern Mexico, establishing “preferential conditions for national and foreign private companies” including tax and customs concessions. In Caborca, Sonora, police arrested 11 members of the community resisting the Penmont gold mine, claiming they somehow stole “more than 120 million gallons of a gold-rich cyanide solution, which if managed without proper equipment causes death and requires at least 15,000 cistern trucks to move.” On April 23, journalist Francisco Beltrán Pacheco became the fifth member of his profession to be killed this year in Mexico, in Taxco, Guerrero. And in a couple of attacks on the social peace, Informal Anarchic Individualities claimed an explosive attack against the government-run CORTV media outlet in Oaxaca, while days later in Mexico City the Green Child Cell, Blue Child targeted a car dealership with explosives:

Today, April 26, 2016, at approximately 3-3:30 AM, while the stinking slave masses gather energies in their bedrooms to rise early and work, while many people dream of saving money to buy luxuries and climb the social pyramid, we scurry our plague towards one of the most widely diffused and accepted symbols of techno-industrial, modern, capitalistic society: the car.

Three students remain hospitalized in critical condition in Michoacán after police violently attacked their protest of an appearance by the Secretary of Public Education. Fifty-two other students were arrested. Six years ago, on April 28, 2010, a solidarity caravan headed towards the besieged autonomous Triqui municipality of San Juan Copala in Oaxaca was attacked by government-backed paramilitaries. Bety Cariño, head of Community Support Center – Working Together (CACTUS) and Jyri Jaakkola, a solidarity activist from Finland, were killed. Despite issuing 11 arrest warrants and having knowledge of where the wanted individuals are, the Federal Attorney General’s Office on April 27 instead decided to close the file on the attack and no longer pursue their version of justice. Bety’s relatives stated, “We also want to say that we don’t believe in their justice, which is merely a mask that creates an illusory idea that justice is possible in the capitalist, patriarchal system of death.”

https://fallingintoincandescence.com/2016/05/01/battles-lines-looming-storm/

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