Place: Mexico

Mexico – Behind the Protests

 ImageTwo new articles provide useful, accurate analysis about what's behind the protests in Oaxaca Mexico about education reform. One explains the economic factors that compel the government to respond with such vicious repression and are behind its refusal to compromise about its policy to replace the existing teacher workforce with contract labor.

#Brexit, Support for Mexico's Teachers, and Solidarity From Below

To show support for Mexico's teachers, demonstrations are being held internationally, as they are in the U.S.  In today's blog about the situation in Mexico, Mary Compton provides background to the current repression and information about how readers can support the teachers.

Demonstrations in U.S. against Mexican Government's Violent Attacks on Teachers


There were demonstrations yesterday at Mexican Consuls in several American cities protesting the Mexican government’s violent repression of teacher protests in Oaxaca. Many of the protests also criticized the U.S. government for supply the Mexican government with military equipment being used in military and police actions against the teachers.

There were protests in New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles among other cities. The one pictured here, which grew to a couple of hundred people, took place in Manhattan at the Mexican Consul.

Mexican Teachers 'Indefinite General Strike' Faces Severe Repression


The National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE) and allied dissident groups in the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE) declared a general, indefinite strike on May 16. Tens of thousands of teachers left their classrooms, shutting down many schools in four states: Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán. There have also been protests in the State of Morelos and the State of Mexico.

Mexico – Plunder and Violence in the New Belle Epoque


This is the third and last of three book reviews that look at what Mexican intellectuals on the left have written in an attempt to understand Ayotzinapa and what it symbolizes and signifies for their country and its future. The first review appeared here and the second here.

Adolfo Gilly and Rhina Roux. El tiempo del despojo: Siete ensayos sobre un cambio de época. Mexico: Editoria Ithaca, 2015. 191pp. Bibliography. Available only in Spanish.

The Dark Night and the Coming Dawn in Mexico


This is the second of three book reviews that will look at what Mexican intellectuals on the left have written in an attempt to understand Ayotzinapa and what it symbolizes and signifies for their country and its future. The first review appeared here. – DL

Manuel Aguilar Mora and Claudio Albertani, eds., La noche de Iguala y el despertar de México. Mexico: Juan Pablos Editor, 2015. Pp. 382. Photographs. Illustrations. Maps. Tables. (Available only in Spanish at this time.)

The Night of Iguala and the Awakening of Mexico (as we translate the title of this book), like Sergio Aguayo’s From Tlatelolco to Ayotzinapa, deals with the horrifying killing of six people and forced disappearance of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in the town of Iguala, Guerrero on September 26, 2014.

State Terror from Tlatelolco to Ayotzinapa – First of Three Book Reviews


This is the first of three book reviews that will look at what Mexican intellectuals on the left have written in an attempt to understand Ayotzinapa and what it symbolizes and signifies for their country and its future. – DL

Sergio Aguayo. De Tlatelolco a Ayotzinapa: Las violencias del Estado. Editorial Ink, 2015. (This book in Spanish is available in several formats including Kindle, which is how the reviewer read it.)

The horrifying killing of six people and forced disappearance of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in the town of Iguala, Guerrero on September 26, 2014 had a dramatic impact on Mexico.

Mexican Education: A Mere Simulation


Like many countries trying to wedge their way into economic prosperity Mexico has affirmed an emphasis on education but in practice has negated its importance. Recently passed constitutional reforms relegate educators to temporary employment controlled by the federal government and private investors who have little or no interest in universal coverage or academic excellence.  A huge portion of federal money designed for education goes to administrative personnel and is not subject to audit.

In Oaxaca, Teachers Won’t Give Up the Fight


Oaxaca’s education workers build on the struggles of 2006 to fight corporate-driven education reforms.

Ten years ago, one of the most radical unions in the hemisphere, the Sección XXII of Mexico’s National Education Workers’ Union (SNTE), led a vibrant movement against the state governor’s heavy-handed rule in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Drugs, War, and Capitalism


Dawn Paley. Drug War Capitalism. Oakland: AK Press, 2014. Notes. Index.

Dawn Paley’s Drug War Capitalism presents an overview of the drug wars in several Latin American countries: Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Mexico receives the most attention, and Paley provides a wealth of information from a variety of sources documenting the impact of the war-on-drugs on Mexican society and on the role of the United States. She focuses especially on the relationship between the drug business, government policies, and the militarization of Latin American societies, elucidating the role of U.S. policies such as Plan Mérida. She demonstrates the nefarious part played by the U.S. government’s overall structuring of both the drug market and the drug war by elaborating on both the military and civilian aspects of U.S policy in an attempt to prove her thesis, which is the war on drugs forms part of a plan—or if not a plan at least a process—that furthers capitalism, especially its expansion “…into new or previously inaccessible territories and social spaces.” (p. 15) Paley’s book contributes to, but does not resolve the debate over the relationship between drug dealers, capitalism, and the state.

Can a Woman Worker Become Mayor of Juarez, Mexico?


ImageAntonia Hinojos Hernandez is in a race against time. Known to her friends as “Tonita,” the Ciudad Juarez mayoral hopeful has until March 7 to gather nearly 30,000 signatures from eligible voters so her name can appear on the June ballot as an independent candidate.

A former line worker at a border assembly plant, or maquiladora, Hinojos does not have the infrastructure of a political party, lacks money to pay signature collectors and is missing the endorsements of influential people and media outlets.

The San Andrés Accords–Twenty Years Later



Twenty years ago the Mexican government signed the San Andrés Accords Regarding the Rights and Culture of the Indigenous that granted autonomy to Indian communities. Yet today, some argue that the indigenous people of Mexico, who represent about 10 to 15 percent of the population of the country, are worse off than they were then. What happened and where are things now?

Pope Francis in Mexico: The Last Come First



The Pope in Mexico Criticizes the Government, Big Business, and the Church Hierarchy, While Siding with Working People, the Poor, Migrants, and the Indigenous

Pope Francis, during his six-day visit to Mexico in mid-February, criticized the country’s political and economic elite as well as the Catholic Church hierarchy for their preoccupation with wealth and power, while simultaneously expressing support for the country’s working people and the poor. The Pope’s presence in Mexico constituted an indictment of Mexico’s ruling elite and of the society of inequality, violence, and corruption that they have created.

The Pope also criticized Donald Trump and other Republicans who call for building a wall between Mexico and the United States calling their views "not Christian."  Said the Pope: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”

Mexico Labor Year in Review – 2015


2015 was another in a series of very bad years for Mexico. Mexican working people continued to experience in 2015 the difficulties of a stagnant economy, the violence of the drug war, repression of the labor and social movements, and the rule of corrupt political parties. Few workers had legitimate labor unions with which to resist employer and government policies, and fewer had the desire to engage in strikes. Yet some workers—teachers in southern Mexico, farm workers in Baja California, and maquiladora workers in Juarez—did courageously attempt to fight for their rights and for greater power. We begin this report with the drug wars that have so dominated Mexican life for the last decade.

What Happened to the Mexican Revolution?


November 20 marks the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution of 1910‐1920. The party created by that event, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is in power today. Yet, over the last nine years 60,000 people have been killed and 25,000 forcibly disappeared in the drug wars, while more than half the population lives in poverty. Foreign investment pours into Mexico to take advantage of wages lower than China’s, while the country is controlled by a handful of billionaires. One has to wonder: What happened to the Mexican Revolution?

Behind Ciudad Juarez’s New Labor Movement


The Mexican and U.S. government first agreed to the creation of the maquiladora plants along the U.S.-Mexico border in 1965 and already by 1975 there were strikes for union recognition. Yet in the last 40 years, thanks to the cooperation of the multinational corporations and the U.S. and Mexican government virtually no group of workers has succeeded in organizing a genuinely independent labor union. Most plants have no unions. Some plants have unions run by lawyers and gangsters who are allied with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the government. A combination of legal chicanery, intimidation, and violence have been used to keep workers from organizing. Now, once again, after many years there are labor protests in Ciudad Juarez one of the major maquiladora centers across the border from El Paso Texas as reported by Kent Paterson of Frontera NorteSur News where this article originally appeared.- Dan La Botz

In a virtually unprecedented development, labor protest is widening in the maquiladora industry of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. While worker dissatisfaction or protest is nothing new in the foreign-owned border factories that produce goods for export to the United States, previous manifestations of discontent in the generally union-free industry have usually been confined to one company at a time.

SOA Watch Calls for Protests as Anniversary of Ayotzinapa Events Approaches


One month from today marks the first anniversary of the horrific state crime perpetrated against the students of the Ayotzinapa teachers' college in Mexico. 

On September 26 and 27, 2014, Mexican police attacked protesting students from Ayotzinapa in the state of Guerrero. The police killed six people, including three students and three bystanders. They forcibly disappeared 43 Ayotzinapa students, who remain missing.

Mexican Teachers Strike as School Year Begins Despite Militarization, Arrests, and Firings


Thousands of teachers in Mexico have gone on strike against the national government’s Education Reform Law, doing so in the face of the militarization and arrest of teacher activists in Oaxaca and firings of teachers who have missed work in other states. The Mexican government and state governments are clearly attempting to break the dissident teachers movement that has for forty years led the fight for union democracy and teacher power.

Oaxaca Braces for Conflict


Mexican teachers are mobilizing once again —demonstrating by the tens of thousands—this time against anti-union reforms and the militarization of the state of Oaxaca by its governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo from the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Nine years after the 2006 teachers’ rebellion, Oaxaca is bracing for another potentially violent conflict.

Mexican President and his Party Victorious in Election; Left Divided and Defeated

Despite widespread dImageisillusionment with the political system, an organized attempt to prevent the election from taking place in a few states, and continuing economic doldrums, President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) were the big winners in the Mexican election, followed by the conservative National Action Party (PAN).

Violence and Protests Derail Mexican Elections as Left Divided


Mexico’s latest elections are threatened by drug cartel violence, social protests, and the mass resignation of election officials. The left, which in the past has succeeded in rallying a third or more of the nation’s voters for a single party, goes into this election deeply divided, prompting expectations of a win for the ruling party.

A hurricane is barreling down on Baja California threatening to interfere with Mexico’s June 7 elections on the peninsula, but the far greater storm is the combination of criminal violence and widespread social protests, which could disrupt and possibly prevent the election in several states.