Monday, October 30, 2006

Detroit & Other National Demonstrations Against the Siege of Oaxaco, Mexico To Be Held on Tuesday, October 31

Please join us to oppose the Mexican government's crackdown on the teachers' protest in Oaxaca.

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 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

United States

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

11/2 Thursday(?)
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.

Militarizing Oaxaca

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.


Pan-African News Wire said...

Read this excellent letter from
Alan Benjamin:

Mexico City Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dear Supporters of the teachers and popular movement in Oaxaca:

Yesterday afternoon (Friday, October 27) I was at the
Planton (encampment) in Mexico City with the 21 hunger strikers and the 400 remaining teachers and activists from Oaxaca who arrived here October 9 following their 500-kilometer walk.

Just moments after the riot police (granaderos) charged the encampment to dislodge us from in front of the Hemiciclio a Juarez building, we learned that in the city of Oaxaca, armed goons under direct orders from PRI Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz had charged the barricades in a major operation to remove all the Section 22 teachers and APPO supporters from the downtown section of the city, which has been occupied by the movement since June 14.

The teachers union and APPO had called on their supporters to join them in a major mobilization on Friday to demand the immediate resignation of Ruiz Ortiz.

Three people were killed in this assault: IndyMedia photographer Bradely Roland Will from New York, Section 22 teacher Emilio Alonso Fabian and community activist Esteban Ruiz. At least 23 others were seriously injured, and are currently in the hospital. This brings to 14 the number of people who have been killed on the APPO barricades.

We later learned that in the neighboring municipality of
Santa Maria Coyotepec, 20 striking teachers were arrested by the police and carted off to jail. Thirteen of them had gunshot wounds. The teachers and their supporters had organized a protest and encampment in front of the Municipal Building to demand the ouster of Ruiz Ortiz.

The Mexican newspaper La Jornada also reports this morning (October 28) that as many 50 teachers who were on picket duty in front of the office of Ruiz Ortiz in the city of Oaxaca have been disappeared. At this writing, their whereabouts are still unknown.

In a statement issued Friday night, leaders of Section 22
and APPO said this operation was masterminded by Ruiz Ortiz and Elpidio Concha Arellando, state president of the PRI-controlled CNC peasant federation, and was carried out both by plain-clothes cops and members of the CNC and PRI. The movement leaders also said the Friday assault was the first stage of a two-day effort to destroy the movement. They warned that a major police operation could take place today in Oaxaca against the teachers and APPO activists.

Both Ruiz Ortiz and Concha Arellanado had made public statements during the past 10 days warning that the Section 22-APPO downtown encampment would no longer be standing after October 28. Concha Arellanado was the most explicit, stating on October 16 that "we, the PRI activist, will take matters into our own hands in the event the federal government fails to put a halt by next Saturday to the continued occupation and vandalism of our
state by these radical elements; we will carry out any and all actions necessary to restore order, the rule of law and social peace.?"

Indeed, the federal government had hoped the barricades would be torn down and the teachers would be back to work by now. Interior Minister Carlos Abascal Carranza, wielding both a carrot and a stick, had been pressing the leadership of the teachers' union over the past 10 days to agree to the negotiated settlement worked out in common on October 10 in Mexico City.

The carrot was the creation of a Senate Commission to see if there was a basis for impeaching Ruiz Ortiz and a pledge to address some of the teachers'wage and workplace demands. The stick was the deployment to Oaxaca of more than 3,000 Army and Marine troops poised to enter the city of Oaxaca on a moment's notice to smash the strike and the mass movement that was generated to support the teachers.

Abascal Carranza has had a willing partner in this effort to ram through the government's proposed settlement: Enrique Rueda Pacheco, the general secretary of Section 22 of the teachers' union.

The main problem for the government is that Rueda Pacheco has not been successful to date in getting the teachers to end their strike and return to the classrooms. The main problem was that the Senate Commission, as expected, ruled that there was no basis for impeaching Ruiz Ortiz. A full vote by the Mexican Senate ratified the Commission's findings. The teachers'like the rest of the indigenous and community activists in APPO -- are
steadfast in their commitment to get rid of Ruiz Ortiz, who represents the worst of the corrupt and repressive holdovers of the 70-year PRI regime that ruled Mexico with an iron fist. They don't believe it will be safe
for them to return to work as long as Ruiz Ortiz is governor. They fear individual and collective retaliation by the governor and his death squads.

One week ago, Rueda Pacheco succeeded in getting his
union leadership to send out a ballot to all the state's 70,000 teachers that effectively would have ended the strike. But an angry 10-hour session of the Section 22 Delegates Assembly, the union highest leadership body, on October 21 repudiated this maneuver by Rueda Pacheco and his clique. The Assembly called for a new ballot on ending the strike and a new consultation of the members on October 23-24.

The results of that balloting were made public on Thursday, October 27: The Delegates Assembly, held the previous day, certified that 31,078 teachers voted to return to work this coming week, while 20,387 voted to continue the strike. This vote reflected the exhaustion and desperate situation facing teachers after a bitter
five-month strike. For the past two months, the teachers have not received their wages or any funding from their union. Many have lost their homes and cars. Countless families have been broken up.

The Delegates Assembly on October 26 took note of this membership consultation, but it did not vote to return to work on Monday, October 30 as Abascal Carranza and Ruiz Ortiz had hoped. The Assembly said the teachers would return to work ONLY if certain conditions and guarantees were met: the safety of all the teachers had to be guaranteed, all wages lost during the strike had to be repaid, all the political prisoners held in the state of Oaxaca had to be freed, and a government fund had to be set up to cover the long-term expenses of the families of the 11 teachers and activists killed during the strike.

And the Delegates Assembly took another equally important decision. It voted to reject the government's demand to end the encampment and tear down the barricades. The Delegates Assembly stated they would not drop their commitment to remove Ruiz Ortiz from office, even if they were compelled to return to work. They said they remained committed to APPO and would send teachers every day, on a rotating basis, to staff the barricades and encampment.

This last decision by the Delegates Assembly infuriated
Ruiz Ortiz and his supporters, who
expected that a decision to return to work would be accompanied by an end to APPO and to the downtown occupation and encampment.

A meeting was scheduled in Mexico City between the Section 22 leadership and Abascal Carranza for today (October 28) in which the government was to give their
response to the teacher conditions.

In the interim, however, the violence instigated by Ruiz
Ortiz on October 27 has disrupted this attempt to work out the final details of a settlement.

I spoke late last night over the phone with Augusto Reyes Medina, a member of the Executive Committee of Section 22. He said the union leadership was holding an emergency Delegates Assembly today (October 28) to discuss what to do next in light of the new killings and the fact a climate of peace does not exist for the teachers to return to work.

Reyes Medina told me he had met earlier in the evening with dozens of general secretaries of local chapters of the union from across the state.

He and these delegates to the Assembly, he said, had drafted a letter to the Delegates Assembly and to all the teachers in Oaxaca in which they state that the conditions for returning to work stipulated by the October 26 Delegates Assembly do not exist.

No matter what Abascal Carranza tells our Section 22 delegation about ensuring the safety and protection of our teachers, Reyes Medina said, the fact is that he does not call the shots in Oaxaca.

Nor has Abascal Carranza lifted a finger thus far to rein in Ruiz Ortiz, much less get rid of him. As everyone knows, there is an open alliance between the PAN and the PRI on this issue today. As long as the assassins of our 14 teachers and supporters remain unpunished, as long as the No. 1 assassin, Ruiz Ortiz, remains at the helm of the state, we will be gunned down one by one, or in clusters, by the governor and his goons. Of this we can be sure. This is how Ruiz Ortiz functions.

Reyes Medina said he and a large wing of the local leaders of the union would call on the Delegates Assembly to put the decision to return to work on hold until the only real guarantee to ensure the safe return to the classrooms is enacted: the punishment of those responsible for the killings and the removal from office of Ruiz Ortiz.

I will keep you posted later today on the decisions of today's Delegates Assembly.

In the meantime, I believe it is urgent that all supporters of the teachers and popular movement in Oaxaca organize this coming week emergency protest actions in front of Mexican embassies and consulates to demand an end to the repression in Oaxaca and the arrest and punishment of all those responsible for the violence against the teachers and the APPO activists. The earlier these emergency protests, the better.

All the best,
Alan Benjamin

Pan-African News Wire said...

Three thousand teachers from Michoacán state, Mexio,will go to Oaxaca to support

Note by Fred Bergen: What follows is a translation of an excerpt from today's "Political Pulse" column in El Universal (Mexico) by Francisco Cárdenas Cruz.

As Working Class Emancipation stated in its call for solidarity demonstrations, the struggle in Oaxaca is not over, despite the attacks of the state and its
paramilitary thugs and the betrayals by leaders of the
SNTE. Yesterday at noon, I represented Working Class
Emancipation at a demonstration by anarchists and liberals condemning the assassination of comrade
journalist Bradley Will. While they condemned his assassination and the brutal repression of the Oaxaca Commune, I got the sense that they held out little hope for the future of the struggle now that the PFP and Army have entered Oaxaca city. Their main demand
was to pressure the US state department to in turn pressure the Mexican government to investigate the murder of Bradley Will.

We are the first to say that the situation in Oaxaca is critical, in fact, unlike José Luis Zarco García, who, if I understand
correctly, claims to have been "surprised" by the attack that was being prepared for at least a month, we warned that the government's "offers" at the
negotiating table were nothing but traps for the movement. But as long as the people of Oaxaca and
Mexico have not been completely demoralized by the attacks, as long as they are willing to struggle (as they clearly are), the struggle is not over and we
revolutionaries have no business giving up and declaring it over.

There is a way to win, hinted at by
this heroic action of the Michoacán teachers: general
nationwide strike until URO falls! Solidarity actions in the US and elsewhere, centered in the working class and its organizations, have an important role to play in this struggle to defend the Oaxaca Commune, but not by appealing to the genocidal imerialist US ruling
class to intervene! We should not doubt that the CIA is already intervening, on the same side of the barricades as the PFP and the Army.

The recent resolutions by the Mexican legislature calling on URO to resign are too little too late, and offer no solution to current repression or any of the other problems facing the workers and poor people of Oaxaca. As our comrades from the LTS-CC have
repeatedly emphasized, a change in government "from above" would only give a new face to the same repressive bosses' government.

Only a provisional government of the APPO and the worker, peasant, and poor people's organizations that opens the way to a workers' government in Mexico can solve the problems facing the Oaxaca teachers and the rest of Mexico's
exploited and oppressed.

We humbly suggest "immediately" to the teachers in Michoacán deciding when to begin their strike. As the
emergency declaration of the FT-CI asked, what are the union leaders waiting for to call their members out on strike in solidarity with Oaxaca? More murders? More
kidnappings? More incursions by the police and army?

Three thousand teachers from Michoacán state, Mexio, will go to Oaxaca to support the APPO Marches held in various states denouncing the PFP [Mexican Federal Police] incursion

Pablo Salazar [governor of Chiapas state] warns that he will not allow the rule of law to be violated in Chiapas

Section 18 of the National Coordinator of Education
Workers (CNTE, a teachers' union) in Michoacán announced the departure of three thousand teachers yesterday headed for the state of Oaxaca, and an indefinite work stoppage at the over ten thousand schools where the union is represented, in support of
the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).

Representing the teachers and the members of the Popular Assembly of the People of Michoacán (APPM),
José Luis Zarco García declared his non-cooperation with Sunday's incursion into Oaxaca by elements of the PFP.

He pointed out that the entry of state forces into the city was a surprise, since the dialog with the APPO and the Oaxacan teachers had not concluded.

He said that [the SNTE teachers] would not allow the PFP or the Army to stay in Oaxaca, and that "Michoacán is getting organized to add approximately three thousand comrades to the caravan that is leaving the
DF (Mexico City) for Oaxaca."

The teachers of Michoacán and the APPM will declare this Tuesday when the work stoppage will begin in the over ten thousand schools of Michoacán, and will march
from the offices of the Interior Department to Plaza Melchor Ocampo [a central square in Michoacán
adjoining the cathedral]. ...