Workers Vanguard No. 1054

17 October 2014



Outrage over Police Massacre of Students in Guerrero

MEXICO CITY, October 13—Several mass graves have been found in the outskirts of Iguala, Guerrero, which may contain the burned remains of 43 rural teachers-in-training from the Ayotzinapa teachers college who went missing following clashes with police over two weeks ago. A local drug cartel known as Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors)—allegedly linked to the wife of the Iguala mayor—is said to have collaborated with the police in the attacks on the students, during which at least six people were gunned down, and dozens disappeared. Results of DNA tests have not yet been released to confirm the identities of the bodies in the graves, but many fear the worst. Since the gruesome massacre, Iguala’s mayor and his wife—both members of the bourgeois Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)—as well as the police chief have reportedly gone into hiding.

Events in Guerrero have sparked an international outcry from many different quarters. The Obama administration, which has mercilessly gone after Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for lifting the veil on the dirty deeds of the U.S. imperialists, has demanded a “transparent investigation.” Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) promised that there will be no room for impunity, as he dispatched the newly established Gendarmería and other federal forces to take over police functions in Iguala. As our comrades of the Grupo Espartaquista de México warned in the September 29 leaflet translated below, there must be no illusions that justice for the workers and poor will come from any agency of the bourgeois state.

Several mass protests have taken place in Guerrero state, Mexico City and elsewhere. On October 2, the annual demonstration commemorating the victims of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre of student protesters in the capital became a massive display of solidarity with the Ayotzinapa students and their families. Tens of thousands came out across Mexico and internationally on October 8 to demand that the students be returned alive.

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In three separate violent incidents that began as an attack on rural normalistas [teachers-in-training] in Ayotzinapa, municipal police under PRD command and armed civilians opened fire in Iguala, Guerrero, on September 26-27, leaving at least six people dead and 17 injured, with dozens still missing. The despicable PRD mayor of Iguala ranted that the students from Ayotzinapa “were hired to come and cause trouble.” This is just the latest attack against normalistas, who study in very poorly equipped schools and often graduate only to swell the ranks of the unemployed, while much of the school-age population, especially in rural areas, attends schools without teachers, electricity or even buildings. Workers at the nine rural teachers colleges in Guerrero state went on strike today to protest the attack. Active and massive solidarity with the students of Guerrero is needed: An injury to one is an injury to all!

As we wrote in December 2011: “The demands of rural normalistas have changed very little in the last 50 years, and in all this time the response of the ruling capitalists/landowners—especially but not only in Guerrero—has varied from class disdain to the most vile police/military brutality.” At the time, the police had shot down two normalistas while they were protesting on the Autopista del Sol Highway that ends in Acapulco after winding through Guerrero, one of the poorest states in the country. Lacking any independent social power, these desperate students seek to make their struggle known, often by occupying buildings, taking over city buses or blocking highways—and they far too often face brutal state repression. What is necessary is to link the struggle of these students with other struggles, based on the understanding that the working class has social power. With its hands on the means of production and with its ability to withdraw its labor, the working class can bring down capitalism and the armed bodies of men (the army, the police, the courts and the prisons) that defend capitalist exploitation of labor.

The recent horrendous attack occurred while many thousands of students at the National Polytechnical Institute in Mexico City are on strike, and as workers at Mexico City high schools organized in the SUTIEMS education union were ending their strike last weekend. Both the SUTIEMS workers and the striking Polytechnical students have raised their voices against the government’s anti-education reform, which is really just an attempt to destroy the SNTE teachers union and a reflection of how little the bourgeoisie cares about educating the masses of the population. And education is something that Mexicans care deeply about, seeing it as the ticket out of poverty for their children. The massive strike against tuition at UNAM [National Autonomous University of Mexico] in 1999-2000 attracted wide support, especially among workers and the poor who can only dream of ever attending the elite private universities that the bourgeoisie sends its children to. We stand for nationalization of the private universities, for open admissions and an end to entrance exams, for no tuition and for state-paid stipends for all students. This is the only way that higher education can become a reality for most youth.

Protesters in Guerrero are demanding that the mayor of Iguala resign and that the police be investigated. Twenty-two municipal cops have been disarmed and detained by the government, while the federal police, the army and state and ministerial police have taken control of Iguala. Make no mistake! These forces are fundamentally no different than the ones that were removed—they all serve the same master. The bourgeois state cannot be reformed to serve the oppressed. To end once and for all the murderous state violence directed against workers, poor peasants and other oppressed sectors, the working class must destroy the bourgeois state and replace it with its own class rule: the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasantry. To this end, the proletariat must break with all bourgeois parties—not only with the PRI and the PAN [right-wing National Action Party] but also with the PRD and Morena [former PRD presidential candidate López Obrador’s Movement for National Regeneration]—and forge a revolutionary workers party that can lead the struggle to put an end to capitalism.