A Bus Burns in the Aftermath of the Police Siege on Oaxaco, Mexico
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File.
Tuesday October 31 at 12:00 noon
Mexican Consulate office in Detroit at the Penobscot Building, 645 Griswold
There will be solidarity protests at the Mexican Embassy in DC and Consulate offices across the U.S.
International Protest Against the Killings in Oaxaca, Mexico & Latest News
Americas Watch - Projects of Peace No War Network
Lists of Protest Cities
URGENT -- Using Brad Will's murder as a pretext, federal troops have been ordered to invade and violently suppress the social movements in Oaxaca. APC's, helicopters, airplanes, armed troops and undercover infiltrators are now attempting to enter Oaxaca. The social movement intends to hold their ground. Indymedia is giving minute-by-minute breaking news and APPO radio is broadcasting as possible -- pick a stream mirror: one two three four
Mexican embassies and consulates around the world are hearing our outrage and grief about the deaths in Oaxaca. There is an international call to action. Email us info we're missing at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find a Mexican embassy in the US/Canada, join the cyber-protest, email the Mexican government
10/29: The circle of police, military and paramilitaries closes over Oaxaca
[Independent Media Center] Currently the people of Oaxaca organized in the Peoples Poplular Asembly of Oaxaca (APPO) are under attack by the mexican federal government. More than 10 thousand milatary sweep the streats of Oaxaca. Headed by water tanks follows by lines of 3,500 riot cops with batons and behind them 3,000 military police with automatic rifles; 5,000 army troups await in the outskirts of the city while paramilitaries continue attacking. There are reports of military tanks a few meters from the pacific protests and urban trucks without logo of the Federal Bureau of Inviestigations of Mexico which remain in the International Airport of Mexico, now converted into military base. Since the morning there are reports of one death.
The air space has been closed for the last two days to comercial and civil flights, only permiting the entry of federal and military agents. Since the morning the army has closed allo roads in and out of oaxaca.
10/30: International Protest Against the Killings in Oaxaca, Mexico
International Call to Action:
Chile, Santiago: 11/1 12PM - general meeting, meet outside the Mexican Embassy at Felix de Amesti 128, Las Condes.
Germany, Berlin: 11/1 more info
Los Angeles, CA:
10/30 Monday 12 pm -- Press Conference -- APPO LA in front of the Mexican Consulate -- 6th St and Park View - Pico Union
11/1 Wednesday at 6pm - Action at the Mexican Consulate - Stop the Repression - Support the Liberation of Oaxaca -- Ulises ya Cayo - Ulises out of Oaxaca, 6th and Park View
Planton - Encampment/Sit In in front of the Mexican Consulate - Dia De Los Muertos -- Stop the Repression in Oaxaca - Ulises Fuera de Oaxaca/ Ulises Out of Oaxaca
10am-9pm, 6th and Park View
San Francisco, CA: 10/31 5pm Tuesday - Mexican Consulate more info
San Diego, CA: MONDAY 10/30 AT &:00 AM and 10:00 AM AT THE MEXICAN COSULATE. 1549 INDIA ST SAN DIEGO CA 92101.
MORE INF 619- 422-0628
Washington, DC: 10/30 5pm The IWW will host a picket of the Mexican Embassy at 1911 Pennsylvania.
New York, NY: Mexican Consulate in New York City
27 E. 39th St between Park and Madison
Monday, October 30th 2006 at 9 am
[Directions: #4, 5, 6, 7 or S to 42nd St.-Grand Central;
B, D, F, or V to 42nd St.-Bryant Park]
Class struggle in Oaxaca, Mexico, raises people’s power
By Teresa Gutierrez
Published Oct 13, 2006 10:20 PM
Revolutionary or mass political and social developments in Mexico are perhaps one of the most important signs that imperialism is in crisis. A question always on the minds of the U.S. ruling class is can imperialism detain and control the class struggle there, can it keep it from bursting into revolutionary upheaval that would inevitably spill over the border, forever changing the political landscape in this country.
So it is with great interest that progressives and revolutionaries monitor the events that have been sweeping Mexico in the recent period. A massive upsurge in Mexico City after fraudulent elections and the advent of people’s power in Oaxaca are two indications that Mexico is in the throes of a massive upheaval.
Which way it will go, no one knows. But the unfolding events are generating great optimism and excitement.
People’s power in Oaxaca
Some alternative media are calling the people’s occupation that has been taking place in Oaxaca since May 22 “the Oaxaca Commune.” They point out that the occupation in Oaxaca has lasted more than twice as long as the Paris Commune of 1871.
The movement against oppression and exploitation in this Mexican state has reached the level that some are saying there is now dual power in Oaxaca. The masses have occupied the center of government and are in control of much of the capital. The governor of the state, Ulises Ruíz Ortíz, who is the prime target of the protests, has, in the words of the Financial Times, been “forced to live out of a suitcase.” The Ruíz administration has gone underground.
The Financial Times declares that Oaxaca has been in a state of “anarchy” for several months.
Behind the crisis in Oaxaca
Oaxaca is one of the three poorest states in Mexico. The other two are Chiapas in southern Mexico and Guerrero on the Atlantic side. The population of Oaxaca is about 3.5 million. It has the largest number of people with indigenous ancestry, about two-thirds of the population. Oaxaca is Mexico’s most indigenous state, home to 17 distinct Indian cultures.
According to a Mexican human rights network, the richest 10 percent of households receive 13 times the income of the poorest 10 percent.
The 70,000 teachers who opened up the struggle with their strike are by far not the poorest. In fact, they can be considered part of the so-called middle class. They are members of the National Union of Educational Workers—El Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Educativo (SNTE)—a large and powerful union but very much a company union, entrenched with the capitalist government historically.
But in Oaxaca the teachers are members of Section 22 of SNTE, which has much more of a radical and militant history. Their strike affects 14,000 schools. It was spurred on by Ruíz, who became governor in 2004 in elections that the people charge were fixed. He is accused of corruption and human rights abuses, brutally cracking down on protests, and encouraging the police to form paramilitary groups to squelch dissent and opposition. The movement charges that Ruíz has ruled with excessively overt terror, carried out kidnappings and jailed people for no reason at all. Charges include torture, killings and impunity for those who carried out these atrocities.
For 25 years, the teachers have gone out on strike every May. But this year was different. The demands of the strikers resonated among a wider section of the population and a movement was sparked.
According to an article by George Salzman, between May 15 and June 17 demonstrations grew from about 50,000 to 400,000. When negotiations between the union and the government stalemated, the strikers and supporters began to occupy the center of the city. (Counterpunch, Aug. 30)
The strikers and their families, including children, along with many supporters, began to camp out. Business as usual was thoroughly disrupted. The movement gelled to the point of forming a massive, statewide people’s assembly. A convention was organized. Out of it, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) was born.
Independent news accounts report that protesters, grouped in more than 350 different social organizations, who had been camping out in the parks and on the streets for over four months, are governing through people’s assemblies. They have taken over radio stations and have expelled public officials from local government posts. Many protesters have armed themselves with sticks and slingshots. Local residents stand guard behind barriers of sandbags, rocks, scrap metal and burnt-out buses. Buses have been commandeered—commercial, police and government vehicles—and are being used to block roads.
“Should federal troops attempt to wrest control of this southern capital from strikers, they’ll face scores of avenues like Calle Almendros, now a gantlet of obstacles designed to slow an advance. Strikers have prepared a 200-yard-long segment by stretching wires across it at neck, ankle and waist height, placing large rocks side-by-side and parking a commandeered school bus sideways to block traffic in both directions. Like many other streets, it has been fortified with small bunkers made of sandbags and stocked with dozens of bottles for Molotov cocktails. Hundreds of smaller rocks were piled up to be thrown or launched by slings.” (San Antonio Express-News, Oct. 4)
In another sign of people’s power, while TV Azteca was interviewing two lawmakers at a hotel, they were hustled out a back door, their departing car pelted with rocks. Unrest has scared most tourists away. Business leaders put losses at more than $300 million.
Crisis for the state
This incredibly untenable situation for the Mexican government takes place amid one of the biggest political scandals in decades. The July presidential elections were tainted with fraud and corruption. All indications are that popular candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador was cheated out of the presidency.
But he did not go back and hide in the corridors of government buildings. Instead, he embraced the mass movement. Since July millions of Mexicans have occupied the Zócalo square in Mexico City and have called for a parallel government headed by López Obrador, the true president of the people.
The situation in Oaxaca is very tense. Every day the possibility that federal troops could be called in to break up the movement becomes more real. APPO refused to attend talks in Mexico City on Oct. 4, called by out-going President Vicente Fox. There have been three failed attempts at talks between APPO and the government in the past few months. Fox has declared the crisis will be over before a new president is inaugurated on Dec. 1.
On Oct. 1 Prensa Latina began to report a strong concentration of troops and military equipment nearing Oaxaca city. Planes flew over Oaxaca’s capital and at least 10 Puma helicopters and two Mexican Army transportation aircraft were parked at the Salina Cruz naval heliport in the international airport.
According to news broadcasts by local media, an indeterminate number of armored personnel carriers, tank commandos and four-wheel vehicles have been sighted, along with Marines. APPO considers the troop movement a prelude to federal intervention. The troop movement takes place in a country whose history is filled with bloody repression. The people occupying Oaxaca’s central square know their lives are literally on the line.
“Compañeros, we don’t want anybody to die, but we’re ready to accept casualties if that’s the way the government wants it,” said one of the movement’s spokespersons on La Ley radio, which has been under the control of APPO since June.
On Radio 710 AM, a pleasant voice says keep calm, there are 3,000 people at each barricade, the troops are probably more afraid than we are, we are on our own turf and they are strangers here.
The helicopters are doing military reconnaissance and are certainly trying to terrorize. A press conference at 6:30 in the Zocalo by the APPO said pretty much the same: We’re ready. Keep calm, don’t give in to provocations.
When the helicopters landed, “¡Bienvenidos, cabrones!” “¡Bajen, aquí los esperamos!” were shouted at them by people carrying sticks and pipes. “Welcome, bastards! Come on down, we’re here waiting for you!”
At 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 7, Saturday night, the APPO closed off the historic downtown area, telling people who were caught away from home to pass as rapidly as possible through the barricades. APPO was determined to fight off any attack, asking people to unite in support, and at the same time telling those outside the city and around the state to organize their defense.
On Oct. 3, APPO issued a communiqué on behalf of the Encampment for Dignity and Against Repression in Oaxaca. It read in part: “The undersigned social organizations and Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) members make an urgent call to the people of Oaxaca, of Mexico, and of the world to come and form an ‘Encampment for Dignity and Against Repression in Oaxaca’; to come out and defend the Oaxacan people and avoid bloodshed due to the lack of vision on the part of our politicians.
“We cannot allow repression to be the solution. Let us all participate in the encampment for dignity and against repression dressed in white, as a clear signal that we are in favor of a peaceful movement and of a political and dignified resolution. Let us also go out into the streets with bandanas of different colors, to send the signal that we are a movement of many diverse actors that are willing to protect our compañeras and compañeros.” Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista National Liberation Army stated: “Oaxaca is not just an emergency, it is also an example to follow.”
Leaders of López Obrador’s national movement pledged to mobilize their followers around the issue and go to Oaxaca as “human shields” in the event of a military intervention.
On Oct. 10, thousands of Oaxacans streamed into Mexico City after marching for several days to take their struggle into the capital. They marched about 300 miles but were not deterred. At least five of their compatriots have been killed since the strike.
U.S. on pins and needles
Not a single economic, political or social development occurs in Mexico without Washington not only paying close attention to it but also interfering so that each outcome is to imperialism’s benefit.
And so it must be with great trepidation that the Bush administration and the entire U.S. ruling class monitor the situation in Mexico today.
All history is the history of class struggle. Right now, the Mexican people are writing a page in history that is putting in jeopardy all those complex financial, agricultural, transportation and other capitalist relations that U.S. imperialism has fine-tuned so well in Mexico.
Despite NAFTA and the U.S. ability to manipulate a constant parade of Mexican leaders who “understand the need for friendly relations,” right now the workers’ struggle is taking center stage.
Once again history shows that the imperialists can write up their economic plans to reap super-profits, but when the masses rise up, those agreements can be thrown into the trash can of history where they belong.
All out to support the people of Oaxaca and all of Mexico.