the Disillusioned kid: Oaxaca Resiste
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Friday, December 22, 2006

Oaxaca Resiste

Subcomandante Marcos of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN, the Zapatistas) has called for international solidarity with the people of Oaxaca on December 22 (i.e. today):
December 2 of 2006

To the people of Mexico:
To the people of the world:

Brothers and Sisters:

The attack that our brothers, the people of Oaxaca suffered and suffer cannot be ignored by those who fight for freedom, justice and democracy in all corners of the planet.

This is why, the EZLN calls on all honest people, in Mexico and the world, to initiate, starting now, continual actions of solidarity and support to the Oaxacan people, with the following demands:

For the living reappearance of the disappeared, for the freedom of the detained, for the exit of Ulises Ruiz and the federal forces from Oaxaca, for the punishment of those guilty of torture, rape and murder. (en español)

We call to those in this international campaign to tell, in all forms and in all places possible, what has occurred and what is occurring in Oaxaca, everyone in their way, time and place.

We call for these actions to come together in a worldwide mobilization for Oaxaca on December 22, 2006.

The people of Oaxaca are not alone. We have to say so and demonstrate it, to them and to everyone.

By the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.Mexico.

Insurgent Subcommander Marcos.
Mexico, December of 2006
Brownfemipower has suggested (via) that bloggers participate in internet-based solidarity, raising awareness of the issue. Coincidentally, I started writing a post on this way back when in November, but never finished it. So, I dug it out and dusted it down. Hence this post.

Oaxaca is one of those places which most of us could easily go through life and remain entirely oblivious of. Certainly that's been my experience until recently. Inspite of the world's long running disinterest, the city - the capital of the state of the same name - has become the latest front in the resistance to neo-liberalism, global capitalism and state violence.

The roots of the present conflict go back someway, but the defining event was a strike called by Section 22 of the Síndicato Nacionál Trajabadores Educativas (SNTE), the teachers' union. Such industrial action is apparently an annual event and seeks to increase pressure on Ulises Ruiz Ortega (URO) the state governor. The strike began on May 15 and entailed large protests and various direct actions. Strikers also established an encampment in the city's Zócalo square. Early on the morning of June 14, this was attacked. A police helicopter dropped tear gas before 3,000 state police tooled up with riot shields and clubs entered the melee.

There was also an encampment set up by strikers and on June 14 this was attacked by the state. In response to this assault, APPO (Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca) was formed, grouping together hundreds of local organisations, among them CIPO-RFM (Consejo Indígena Popular de Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magón), representatives of whom visited Nottingham almost two years ago.

Rallies, occupations, clashes and paramilitary attacks became the norm over the next few months. The situation flared up in later October when Mexican riot police decided to retake control of the city, leading to oftentimes violent clashes. On October 27 when NYC Indymedia journalist Brad Will was shot, apparently by a paramilitary named Pedro Carmona, ex-president of Felipe Carrillo Puerto de Santa Lucia del Camino, a colonia in Oaxaca. The video he was filming only moments before his death is available online, giving an insight into the reality of the situation on the ground. Sure, enough, Will was not the only or even first person to die as a result of state agression in Oaxaca, but his murder did serve to generate international publicity about what was going on, especially across the global Indymedia network who reacted in the manner you might expect to the slaying of one of their colleagues.

Repression has continued since then, with federal forces expanding their operations to towns surrounding Oaxaca City itself. Police have been arresting large numbers of people, including, in one instance, two documentary filmakers and their translator. Many of those detained report being beaten. Resistance has also continued, but there are suggestions that this has been hindered by Section 22's decision to make a deal with URO, following which its Secretary-General Rueda Pacheco has stated that the union will not participate in any further marches with APPO.

The Oaxaca struggle has been an inspiration to activists around the world and has received solidarity from a multitudinous groups. In Mexico, the APPO have built an alliance with the Zapatistas and Peoples' Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) from San Salvador Atenco, hence the call for solidarity which inspired this post. Elsewhere there have been solidarity actions in such diverse locations as New York and Istanbul.

If you have a blog please consider writing something on this important struggle. Sure, a handful of westerners blogging about the situation isn't about to bring down the Mexican State (more's the pity, I'd suggest), but awareness raising is an important first step.


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