Workers Vanguard No. 1092

1 July 2016


Cops Gun Down Protesters in Oaxaca

Defend Mexican Teachers Union!

We print below a translation of a leaflet issued by our comrades in the Grupo Espartaquista de México initially on June 16 and then updated with an introduction on June 20.

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JUNE 20—Once again the bloody capitalist rulers have unleashed massive repression against the CNTE [opposition within the teachers union]. Yesterday [June 19], federal and state police attacked the teachers of Local 22 who were blocking a road in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca. The police used firearms as well as tear gas against the teachers and the local residents who were supporting them. According to official figures, six people died, more than 50 were injured and 21 were arrested. Below we reproduce a leaflet that we published on June 16 in defense of the CNTE.

Early last Sunday morning [June 12], the General Secretary of Local 22 of the SNTE/CNTE [National Union of Education Workers/National Coordination of Education Workers], Rubén Núñez Ginés, was violently arrested in Ecatepec, State of Mexico. Francisco Villalobos Ricárdez, Organizational Secretary of the same Local, had been apprehended the day before in the State of Oaxaca. These detentions come on top of that of Aciel Sibaja Mendoza, Financial Secretary, which took place on April 13. The charges against this CNTE leader [Núñez] include money laundering, the same crime that the PGR [attorney general’s office] attributed to Elba Esther Gordillo, the previous leader “for life” of the teachers union. Núñez has been transferred to the federal penitentiary in Hermosillo, Sonora, and the PGR has announced that 24 arrest warrants are pending against leaders and other members of Local 22. We Spartacists demand: Freedom now for all those detained! Drop all the charges!

In recent years, the teachers organized in the CNTE have been fighting tenaciously all over the country against the Education Reform, which attacks union control over hiring and threatens the jobs of teachers through continuous evaluations. Just since August last year, 9,200 teachers have been fired for not appearing for evaluations or for participating in protests. Faced with the mobilizations by the teachers, the federal and local governments, including the PRD [Party of the Democratic Revolution] government of Mexico City, have responded with brutal repression and violent evictions [from protest camp sites]. Aurelio Nuño, Secretary of Education, has threatened that “we will not tolerate any more intimidation” from the CNTE, while he orders the teachers “to get out of the way and not continue with this adventure.” The Grupo Espartaquista de México, section of the International Communist League, solidarizes with the teachers in struggle. The attack against the teachers and against public education is an attack against the workers movement and the poor as a whole. From the destruction of the SME [electrical workers union] in 2009 and the disgraceful “Pact for Mexico” in 2012, the government has sought to destroy the large unions in this country, and unfortunately it has made progress in that direction. Enough! It is in the interest of the working class to defend the teachers. The industrial proletariat should mobilize its powerful muscles through strike actions in defense of the CNTE!

The government of [President] Enrique Peña Nieto had already made clear that it was prepared to smash any opposition to the education reform when it arrested Gordillo at the end of February 2013, after she had declared herself to be against that reform. “La Maestra” [the teacher, i.e., Gordillo] was widely hated for her corruption and murderous violence against dissident members of the union. But these were most certainly not the reasons that the state, which she had so loyally served for decades, was prosecuting her. We had a unique position in opposing her arrest and explained: “State intervention into the unions has nothing to do with ‘democratizing’ them; the bourgeoisie’s goal is to place them ever more firmly under its control. Defending the union movement must include the demand for the immediate release of Gordillo and all arrested union officials” [see “Hands Off Mexican Teachers Union!” WV No. 1019, 8 March 2013]. It is the workers who must clean their own house, throwing out the pro-capitalist union bureaucrats and replacing them with a class-struggle leadership. In contrast, the logic of the declarations at the time by the dissident currents in the SNTE, including the CNTE, was to demand greater state intervention! This attack against the teachers union left Peña Nieto’s government in a much better position to continue with its privatizing and anti-labor plans.

In order to fight effectively against this onslaught, it is necessary to combat the widespread illusions in the bourgeois populism of [Andrés Manuel] López Obrador and his Morena [Movement for National Regeneration], that today pose as “defenders” and “allies” of the CNTE. This posture is transitory. The intention of these populists is to divert struggle and social discontent in the direction of illusions in the democratic reform of capitalism, in order to thus perpetuate this system of exploitation and oppression. López Obrador himself didn’t hesitate to use the bourgeois state to repress social struggle while he occupied the post of mayor of Mexico City. Morena is a bourgeois party, as much an enemy of the victory of the proletariat as are the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party], the PAN [National Action Party] and the now discredited PRD.

The proletariat, because of its strategic position in the productive process, has the objective interest and the social power to lead the oppressed masses in struggle for their liberation, putting an end to this inhuman and irrational system, which is based on the search for profits, and establishing a workers and peasants government. The Grupo Espartaquista de México fights to build the Leninist-Trotskyist workers party that is necessary to lead the working class to victory in a socialist revolution, the only way to finish once and for all with brutal capitalist repression against the workers and the poor.