The People and Teachers Unite Against the State and Neoliberalism in Oaxaca

The below article, written in mid-August, appeared in the October 2016 print edition of Maximum Rocknroll. For the latest on the teachers’ strike in Mexico, see my most recent Insumisión column.

March in Oaxaca on August 22.

March in Oaxaca on August 22.

By Scott Campbell

In the fall of 2008 while in the city of Oaxaca, I walked with David Venegas in the plaza in front of the Santo Domingo Cathedral, a massive four-block church and former monastery whose construction first began in 1572. We were returning from the courthouse nearby, where Venegas had to report every 15 days. A prominent member of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and the anti-authoritarian group Oaxacan Voices Building Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL), Venegas was arrested, beaten and tortured in April 2007, held for eleven months on charges of “possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin, sedition, conspiracy, arson, attacks on transit routes, rebellion, crimes against civil servants, dangerous attacks, and resisting arrest,” and eventually conditionally released. Until he was found innocent in April 2009, one of those conditions was his semi-monthly presentation at the courthouse. As with any trip he made in public, Venegas had at least one person accompany him to provide some security against being arrested or disappeared.

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Mexico: Anarchist Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Solidarity with US Prison Strike

freedom-solidarity-political-prisoners

From Noticias de Abajo and Anarchist Black Cross – Mexico
Translated by Scott Campbell

During a press conference on September 28, anarchist prisoners announced the beginning of an indefinite hunger strike. They are compañeros Fernando Bárcenas and Abraham Cortés, prisoners in North Prison, Luis Fernando Sotelo, prisoner in South Prison in Mexico City, and Miguel Peralta, prisoner in Cuicatlán Prison in Oaxaca. The strike is in rejection of the 33 year and five month sentence given to Luis Fernando Sotelo, to mark three years since the arrest of compañero Abraham Cortés on October 2, 2013, and in solidarity with the prison strike underway in the United States against the exploitation of prisoners’ labor and in support of the revolts against the killings of African-Americans by police in the U.S.

The three compas in Mexico City have gone on hunger strike, while Miguel will go on fasts.

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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

Protests in Chilpancingo, Guerrero on September 25.

Protests 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.

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Mexico: Let the Storm Begin! Luis Fernando Sotelo Sentenced to 33 Years

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Originally posted to It’s Going Down
From Anarchist Black Cross – Mexico
Translated by Scott Campbell

On Tuesday, September 20, after one year and nine months of proceedings, our compañero Luis Fernando Sotelo Zambrano was given a sentence of 33 years and five months in prison and a fine of 519,815.25 pesos, for the crimes of attacks on public thoroughfares, first-degree attacks on public order, and first-degree destruction of private property.

This sentence is in line with the Mexican state’s policies of repression and criminalization, starting with Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, who sought to condemn our compañero without any evidence and to place a ridiculous and disproportionate sentence on him.

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

Music on the highway blockade in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca.

Music 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 break down of negotiations between the teachers union and the government and the arrival of hundreds of 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.

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Mexico: Radio Zapote Condemns Government Theft of its Equipment

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Originally published on It’s Going Down
From Radio Zapote
September 2, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell

On Thursday, August 18 of this year, at 11am, Alejo Reyes Ramírez, Ricardo Joaquín Ruiz, Daniel Rodríguez Agonizantes, Mario Antonio Esquivel Medina, Benjamín Quintero Ramos, José Meza Acosta, Adunay Vega Estrada, and Raúl Leonel Muhia Arzaluzlos, who identified themselves as inspectors from the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT); seized the equipment of Radio Zapote, a community, popular, and student radio station.

The officials went to the site where the transmission equipment was located. There they handed to the compañero who received them a document dated August 17, 2016, which indicated that the inspectors were charged with inspecting/checking the broadcast equipment transmitting on the 102.1 MHz frequency. In addition, they intimidated the compañero by threatening to take away his home if he didn’t let them in. Faced with this threat, the compañero let the inspectors in. The equipment removed by the federal inspectors were: a low-power frequency modulation transmitter, a circularly polarized antenna, and a transmission line (RG8 coaxial cable).

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Death and Recovery

For T, J, and E

They found your body a few hours later. Washed ashore, at the bottom of the stairs, bloodying the concrete. You had drowned, fallen, jumped. Medical bureaucracy will assign a cause of death. And it will always be wrong. What extinguished the energy that sparked your sentience is not what killed you. There is no form, no amount of paperwork that can capture the accumulated collisions and constellations culminating in your final denouement. It seems a vain pursuit to even try to ascribe certainty to an incomprehensible situation, one not even understood by its now-deceased narrator.

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Fernando Bárcenas, Anarchist Political Prisoner in Mexico, Calls for Solidarity with September 9 Prison Strike in US

fernando-barcenas-prisoner-preso-freedom-libertad

From Anarchist Black Cross – Mexico
Translated by Scott Campbell

Open letter to compañerxs.

Note: The use of the word prison in this text refers to all artificial environments that domesticate us so as to insert us by force into the capitalist system of production; this is a contribution to deepen the reflection of all living beings in the hands of economic powers and the technological project…

Compas, I greet you with insurrectionary love, that these words of war may reach you; greeting as well the coming days of insurrection, as ideas bloom in the fields like flowers we should not stop tending.

We do not know if there will be a victory, but what we do know is that they will not occupy our dreams and our lives…

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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.

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Mexico: Some Disruptive Reflections on the Murder of Compa Salvador Olmos

protest-huajuapan-chava-salvador-olmos-anarchistOriginally posted on It’s Going Down
From Contra Info
Translated by Scott Campbell

We write this after reading the “Statement from the Huajuapan Libertarian Bloc on the police murder of compañero Salvador Olmos ‘Chava’[more on Chava in English] as we believe given the escalation of the war and advancing repression on anarchist/libertarian settings it is necessary to clarify our positions in the interest of identifying the enemy’s multiple forms, as they are often reduced to criticisms of “government injustices” or simply “to believe that evil is embodied in a person or politician” and not the reality that it is the entire system of rulers and ruled who together actively participate in the maintenance of the capitalist social order.

Let it be clear! The following words are in no way aimed at tarnishing the memory of compañero Chava or to start polemical bickering, nor to cause fighting amongst ourselves, this is above all a reflection from compañeros for compañeros and we hope it is taken as such.

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