On the 24th of August, some DC area activists staged a public outreach event on 16th st about a block from the Mexican Consulate in solidarity with striking teachers in Oaxaca. Gabino Cue, governor of Oaxaca, has created a new governing body to take control of the schools anbd break the back of CNTE, one of the most militant unions in the world. This is like the Fenty/Rhee school system takeover-except that there are fears that the massive protests it has inspired by again be attacked by the Mexican army. The military has repeatedly been deployed against striking teachers in Oaxaca in the past. Back in 2006, Indymedia photographer Brad Will was shot and killed by “security” forces during a protest supporting striking teachers in Oaxaca.
From DC to Mexico the agenda is the same: racism and privatization. We’ve seen how Fenty, Rhee, and their sucessors have tried to create a segregated school system in DC, so that white “New Washingtonians” would have white schools to send their kids to. In New Orleans after Katrina came the even more radical idea of closing ALL public schools and opening only charter schools in their place. Now we see similar things in Oaxaca, Mexico. On the 21st of July, Gabino Cue, governor of Oaxaca announced the elimination of the State Institute for Public Education of Oaxacva. Police and the military were sent in-and bank accounts belonging to teachers were cancelled. Huge protests have resulted and it is widely believed another all-out confrontation is coming.
Oaxaca is part of a heavily Indigenous part of Mexico with a long history of resistance to control from Mexico City. The central government has never been friendly to Indigneous interests. It was this combined with NAFTA back in 1994 that triggered the armed Zapatista uprising in neighboring Chiapas. In 2006, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) occupied the regional capitol of Oaxaca, setting off months of confrontations during which soldiers opened fire on protesters. Brad Will was killed during one of these incidents. Worse has occurred since then, with reports of death squads and summary executions. Once again, a government founded by setters and colonists is waging war against Indigenous people. Neither the Mexican War of Independance in 1821 nor the Mexican Revolution in 1910-1920 seem to have changed that relationship, any more than the so-called “American Revolution” fought by slaveowners did.