Place: Mexico

Picturing the Revolutionary Mexican Working Class

A review of “Picturing the Proletariat: Artists and Labor in Revolutionary Mexico, 1908-1940” by John Lear.

On Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma”

On finishing a particularly annoying novel, a good friend of mine once gasped in exasperation: ‘The author’s fingerprints are all over this.’ I can’t say I remember now the book he was talking about, but the phrase has been with . . .

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President Andrés Manuel López Obrador Promises the “Rebirth of Mexico”


Andrés Manuel López Obrador took the presidential oath on December 1 and then gave an hour and a half oration to the legislators as well as another lengthy speech to the people of Mexico City gathered in the zócalo, in which he reiterated his campaign promises to end corruption, to bring about economic prosperity, and to lead Mexico into a new historic fourth period of Mexican history, a period of "rebirth." The speech made clear that AMLO, as he is called by his initials in the press, is a reformer, but not a radical and certainly not a revolutionary as his opponents have claimed. His call for an end to neoliberalism and to corruption are accompanied by invitations to Mexican and foreign capitalists to invest and make a profit.

Mexican Independent and Democratic Auto Unions Form a New Federation


Mexico’s auto workers are for the first time forming a national federation in what is a very significant development both for Mexican labor and for Mexican society as a whole. Ten organizations representing over 25,000 Mexican workers have committed to the new organization.

AMLO, Mexico’s New President, Promises End to Corruption, Makes Peace with Capitalist Class

AMLO and Business: All Peace and Lover - Bloomberg Photo

The leftist candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador, has been carried to victory in the Mexican presidential election by an enormous popular outpouring of voters hoping to improve their lives and those of their fellow citizens. Promising to drive out the political mafia that runs the country, to end the pervasive corruption in government, and to bring an end to the violence that in the last dozen years has taken more than 250,000 lives, AMLO, the left’s perennial candidate, won such a decisive victory this time that the Mexican establishment finally had to recognize his achievement.

Is Change Possible in Mexico?


Mexicans, worse off than at any time in the last 100 years, are asking themselves as the July 2018 elections approach: Can Mexico change? Can an election change Mexico?

Mexico is a disaster. It has become increasingly violent, the economy grows too slowly to absorb the ever-expanding workforce, and wages are below those of China, though costs are more like those in the United States.

Zapatistas Put Forward Indigenous Woman for President

ImageThe Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), which led an armed uprising in Mexico’s southern-most state of Chiapas in 1994, and which has since then spent its time organizing autonomous communities in that state, is now putting forward an indigenous woman candidate for president in the 2018 elections. The Zapatistas hold the Mexican government and the country’s political parties in utter disdain, both for their corruption and for their disregard for the people they supposedly represent. The Zapatistas also reject elections and voting on principle. So, while they are putting forward health worker María de Jesús Partricio for president, they are not actually trying to elect her. 

Mass Protests Across Mexico against Gas, Electrical Price Increases


Tens of thousands in every state in Mexico have for the last week joined protests against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government after it raised prices on gasoline by between 14 and 20 percent and electric rates by 4.5 percent.

The protests so far are not as well organized, as disciplined, or as large as the recent teachers’ strikes over the education reform law or the demonstrations in protest of the forced disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa Teachers College students, but the demonstrations against the gasolinazo are national in scope and involve broader sectors of society.

Correction – Mexico’s Teachers Movement Facing Violence but Not Death Squads

Dear Readers,

On September 18, I wrote, and the New Politics website of which I am an editor, published an article titled “Mexico’s Teachers Movement; From Class War to Death Squads” that argued that three recent killing appeared to be the result of death squads targeting teachers. While the fact that the three killings took place is not in question, well informed readers in Mexico who have been involved in the teachers movement or in solidarity with it suggest these killings do not seem to be the result of death squads.

These readers argue that while the teacher who was killed may have been targeted for union activity, the other two killings may have had other motives having nothing to do with the union. These readers suggest that while some teachers have been murdered because of their involvement in the teachers movement, many killings that have taken place in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and in other states may have political motives, may be related to the drug cartel violence, or to other violence in the region. I have come to the conclusion that my readers are right and that this article should be corrected: death squads do not appear to be a trend at this time. 

I welcome and appreciate your comments and criticisms on the original article, on this correction and the issues raised.

In solidarity, Dan La Botz

Mexico’s Teachers Movement; From Class War to Death Squads

ImageMexico’s dissident teachers have been engaged in a strike against the Education Reform Law since May 16 of this year–four months! Their strikes of tens of thousands, led by the National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE), a caucus within the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), have also engaged in protest marches, the blocking of highways and railroads, the commandeering of government vehicles, and the occupation of government buildings.

The government has responded by docking teachers’ pay, firing them, sending the police to beat them, and issuing warrants and arresting teacher leaders. One can only call what has gone on in Chiapas and Oaxaca and to a lesser extent in Guerrero and Michoacán class war.

Now there also appear to be death squads carrying out executions of teachers and their allies. So far at least three assassinations have taken place: a teacher, a parent, and a lawyer for the union. This is an ominous and very dangerous escalation of political violence.

The Mexican Teachers' Long Struggle for Education, Workers Rights, and Democracy


The last few years of repeated strikes and demonstrations by the teachers of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán, and the government’s violent repression of these protests–including forced diseappearance of students, massacres of supporters, and assassinations of individual teachers–has led to interest in the background of the teachers’ movement. The following article is meant to provide a long historical overview of the Mexican teachers’ movement, together with a bibliography for further reading.

Why Mexico's teachers are fighting: CNTE's program

An activist/scholar in the Mexican teachers union democratic opposition (CNTE) has asked me to publicize this statement (copied below).  It explains the demands the movement is making on the government and fleshes out the short but excellent update on The Real News about the struggle.  As this statement shows, CNTE and its supporters  are struggling about far more than their jobs.

Mexico's teachers face more repression, win more support

Support for resistance to the current model of education reform in México continues to grow after the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, , to Oaxacan protesters and members of Section 22 of SNTE, urging them to stop their blockade of highways.



The Mexican Federal Police and Oaxaca State Police killed nine people and wounded more than one hundred others, while dozens more were beaten and yet others were arrested and jailed in what has been the most violent and bloody attack on teachers and their supporters in Oaxaca since the tremendous upheaval of 2006. Several teachers leaders have also been arrested and jailed on a variety of charges; warrants have also been issued for others.

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.