Oaxaca: Negotiations or Burnout?

By Sare Frabes
Avispa Midia
Translated by El Enemigo Común

Hacienda-Blanca-Blockade-Barricade-Oaxaca

Oaxacan teachers and community members know that it was the assassination of 10 common citizens during recent mobilizations, primarily in Nochixtlán on the 19th of June, which drew  the attention of national and international press to Oaxaca and the CNTE´s struggle, and which gave way to the re-initiation of dialogue committees and government negotiations with the teachers.

Through several sessions in three different dialogue committees (the political committee, the educational committee, and the social committee), on Tuesday the 16th of August the political committee closed its session with no further solutions resolved between the Secretary of Governance and the CNTE.  Meanwhile the CNTE´s assembly, which took place on the 17th of August in Mexico City, agreed upon the re-activation of blockades of major roadways throughout the state of Oaxaca.  They also agreed to not beginning the new 2016-2017 school year until  their demands are met.

On the other hand, the spokesperson for the Section 7 from the state of Chiapas, Pedro Gómez Bahamaca, stated that the union  gave the government an August 22nd deadline to give a favorable response to their demands; otherwise “we have decided to continue an indefinite strike, which includes not returning to work nor initiating the school year.”  The states of Guerrero and Michoacán will also be joining the indefinite strike.

“The government is clever and is trying to wear us out and divide us.  That is why they created the political committee, the educational committee, and the social committee,” pointed out Marcelina Linares Arrollo to Avispa Midia.  She is a PTA member who participated in the Nochixtlán dialogue commission with the federal government regarding the assassinated and injured .

Vicente Mateo Rodríguez Manzano, member of the Asunción Nochixtlán Popular Committee and one of the attorneys who aided families of the assassinated and injured, expressed that the state had to weaken the escalation of demands regarding not only the abolition of the education reform, but also the abolition of the  structural reforms as a whole, which has now become a popular demand for the people of Oaxaca.  “The first division was created when the government opened separate negotiating committees for the injured and the teachers as if the situations were separated.  The situation in Nochixtlán is rooted in the teacher´s struggle.  The end result was the government taking the injured to Mexico City and the people of Nochixtlán no longer had a voice to demand justice.  Once again they are trying to divide us,” stated the attorney for Avispa Midia.

Despite being persecuted and harassed by unknown individuals, Linares speaks with indignation and determination about her experience during the negotiations with the state.  “There is nothing happening within the committees.  When you sit down to speak to them there is no seriousness, respect, truth, or commitment.  All they are looking out for is who they can buy out and who they have to look out for.  That is what they created the committees for.  That is what I felt when I participated.  If the negotiations were public, only then would they offer a serious commitment,” declared Linares.

“We know the government´s strategies very well.  They co-opt, they persecute selectively, they harass, they buy off leaders or incarcerate those who won´t sell out or will not follow their orders,” Linares added.

Hacienda-Blanca-barricade-oaxaca-teacher

What is left to be done

Linares insists that if the people of Oaxaca and Mexico do not take the reins of this movement there will continue to be cases such as in Ayotzinapa which exist in impunity to this very day.  “Today we are strengthening ourselves as parents of students along with the teachers.  In addition, as communities with our municipal and agrarian authorities and with organizations, because the government will not stop until they have divided us once again.”

Linares makes a call:  ” We ask that the community not stop struggling, and we have to raise the blockades once again throughout Oaxaca. People are still not taking into account the serious impact of the structural reforms.  The education reform is just the tip of the iceberg.  We will not forgive or forget nor will we rest until the structural reforms fall apart,” declared the mother.

No to Murat taking office

As part of the agreements taken during the teacher´s state assembly in Oaxaca the 12th of August, the teachers have agreed to continue meeting with municipal authorities from Oaxaca´s 8 regions this Saturday the 20th.  Another decision was to “not allow the new governor to take office.”  Incoming governor Alejandro Murat is set to take office the 1st of December, 2016.

The reform is an international doctrine

There are 11 reforms which accompany the educational reform as part of the Programs for Structural Adjustments (PAE) set into motion by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Inter-American Development Bank.  These reforms were set into motion prior to the 2008 economic crisis.  They follow the line of thinking espoused by Milton Friedman, the ironclad economist who promoted neoliberal politics through terror and violence in Latin America.  He argued that it is important to “wait until a crisis is taking place or a state of shock is initiated, to then sell to the highest bidder the pieces of the state to private agents while the citizenry is recuperating from the trauma, in order to ensure that the reforms will be permanent.”