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Update from Oaxaca – September 30 September 30, 2006

Posted by raved in Oaxaca.
To update those of you who are not here-

and the mass media misleads all the time, anyway-

The PFP (federal police) are here and waiting

for orders to attack.
La Jornada got information about a big group

of provocateurs, organized by the Oaxaca government

to create chaos and vandalism. Four PRI groups

 – about 300 people– affiliated with CROC and

CTM are ready to start trashing. These are not the


On September 27 we woke up to see that all was well. One big night of threat over with, nothing happened.

My reasoning against attack may be too simple. There are three and half million in the state: the nation’s largest indigenous population, the nation’s largest teachers union, and the nation’s poorest, or close to it. Put it all together and it spells trouble for a repressive force. According to the news, the real deterrent is fear of failure. On the other hand, they might be afraid of success, since we are coming up on Oct 2 which is the anniversary of a Mexico gov’s massacre of students, twenty-some yeas ago, and nobody’s forgotten it.

Thursday was supposed also to be the first of two days of a work-stoppage by the Oaxaca business community. I have not yet figured out why they would want to do that, and I suspect they haven’t either, because only 60% (Noticias estimate, I would say less) actually did close, likewise today. That was a failure, and opening the schools by Government dictum was a failure also.

The popular teachers movement remains consistent, demanding the ouster of URO, the teachers voted once again not to budge until he’s out; then again, on September 27, the most recent teachers vote in their assembly, was not to return to the classrooms until URO leaves. The teachers also demand the release of the movement’s political prisoners, Germán Mendoza Nube, Evangelio Mendoza González, Catarino Torres Pereda y Ramiro Aragón Pérez.

The APPO foot march – Oaxaca to Mexico– changed its route to prudently avoid the state of Puebla, where resides one of the governors who is thought to be “domino numero uno”, if URO goes. The marchers have been fed and brought water and fruit along the way, both by local people and by the vans the APPO sends. They sleep indoors or in vans, off the ground. A photo in Noticias shows them alongside an open truckload of soldiers, who don’t appear to be hostile. Nevertheless, the APPO has designated a contingent of members to walk ahead of the two to three thousand people on the road, (and then I heard 6,000)to act as a “guard”. They are armed with the usual sticks and pipes. Within the state of Oaxaca there are rumors (again) that many police units have signed a document saying they will not shoot to kill their brethren.

That has to be another uneasy feeling for Abascal and Diododoro, and URO.

The teachers remain on “máxima alerta”. The Secretary of Internal Affairs, Carlos Abascal Carranza, stated “we are neither anticipating nor ruling out the use of federal forces”. What’s going on?

The PRI has only the power of alliance, it’s too small to carry off anything on its own.

The PAN needs the PRI vote in the legislature to beat back a surge against its president-elect Felipe Calderon by the PRD, which believes the election was fraudulent. If the PAN lets URO fall, that would be taken as a sign that the PAN won’t support any of the other PRI officials whose heads would roll if a popular movement sweeps the country. Thus far, the PRI has convinced the PAN that of the two choices, to intervene in Oaxaca or not, better to intervene. If the PAN Fox gove doesn’t ok the repression, the PRI will go over to the PRD.

The PRD is quick to point out what is going on. If the PAN cuts loose the PRI, the PAN cannot out-vote the PRD.

The PRD, we may recall, was formed not a decade ago by PRI dissatisfaction, so it’s not as if the PRD is the knight in shining armor. But many of the Oaxaca APPO back the PRD, and expect to be backed in return. This puts pressure on the PRD to defend Oaxaca.

Many of the APPO follow other political currents, many to the left of AMLO, who, after all, is another capitalist, in the populist mode. What kind of currents? Well, the APPO itself is a movement without political pretensions. It’s in a daily battle to rein-in the socialist, communists, Trotskyites, and PRD currents, along with adherents to the Zapatista Other Campaign, so that a focus will be placed on its own popular assemblies.

It is the Teacher-APPO politic that attracts the indigenous and campesino adherents. The socialists tend to be urban intellectuals. The APPO model is what is being presented in other states, and the APPO has sent out delegates to further that work, much as have the Zapatisas, to further their position.

Like the Zapatistas, the APPO is horizontal in structure, or at least it’s trying to be. The “movement leaders” supposedly are dispensable, and like the union assemblies, from which the teachers move their consensus up the ladder from the base, this is what the APPO is all about. That’s why the teachers, the Zapatistas and the APPO fit together in a social movement, altho right now the Zapatistas are sitting this one out The issues of each group, not the method, constitutes their differences. They all are concerned with the poverty of the many and the wealth of the few, and the disregard for the indigenous population. The APPO is openly anti-neoliberal, as are the Zapatisas. Oaxaca majority want URO out.

So what’s a political party to do? La Jornada had a headline yesterday, “The renunciation of Ulises Ruiz never was considered in the meeting carried out at Los Pinos” between URO and Fox. Huh? We also read that URO was offered once or twice a face-saving kick upstairs, but declined. He wants to stay as governor.

Fox and the PRI governors had a new political strategy, which as I read it, sounds like buying off the struggle. Written in La Jornada by Rosa Elvira Vargas: …” a new political strategy to resolve the conflict in Oaxaca…consists of a new economic proposal to the teachers of Section 22… and in an offer to the organizations making up the APPO, to reform various laws and local institutions and solve specific political problems, like the liberation of political prisoners.” It took 11 governors and more than two hours to conceive of this plan: “An integral package which takes care of the demands of Section 22 of the teachers. Second, attending to the social claims and a profound political reform: what the prisoners of Loxicha demand, what the APPO demands, the businesses, all of that is on the Oaxaca agenda. Third, the coordinated, respectful responsible action of all the governments – municipal, state, federal, seeking what is the best policy and the agreements to resolve this conflict.”

A package of reforms of institutions, electoral methods and law of transparency was included. Along with this was the idea that somehow URO would be monitored by the federal authorities, sort of a governor’s house arrest procedure.

This incentive package was followed by claims and disclaimers regarding the use of federal forces. Fox is saying that he’ll resolve the Oaxaca crisis before he leaves office. Maybe.

I appreciate the optimism of people like Tomas, who suggest the APPO has won this round. I agreed as recently as yesterday. Like everyone else’s, my mood swings. Today I can’t believe that Fox will hold back, what with the hounds baying at his heels. But since he SHOULD, maybe he will. This is a losing proposition for the PAN and national PRI, benefitting only local PRI (and the legislators today voted themselves a new extended term of office) and URO, for as long as he lasts.
If the shit hits the fan, don’t believe any media reports except Jornada and Noticias. Those of you who can translate, at that time, perhaps will be kind enough to do so, and I will. We’ll try to keep you informed.

Nancy Davies




1. Renegade Eye - October 1, 2006

Thank you for the informative update.

I posted about Oaxacha at my blog. I don’t have the day to day information.

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