Striking Mexican teachers are fighting for justice in the classroom - and against Mexico's violent neoliberal order. The violent repression of striking teachers in 2006, ordered by the state governor, launched a social movement - called the "Oaxaca Commune" by supporters - that grew to encompass much more than the local teachers' union. The teacher's movement is also more widespread than in 2006.
El Enemigo Común
(Orginally published in Spanish on SubVersiones, see links at the end.) If the national teachers movement in Mexico manages to bring down the educational reform, there will be a path to bringing down all the structural reforms that are occurring in the country’s strategic sectors, such as the energy sector. This is the assessment that teachers are making. This is precisely the fear of the federal government.
They're peacefully resisting US-style neoliberal measures intended to crush the unions-a backbone of Mexico's social-justice movements. Taking union leaders hostage, murdering unarmed teachers and students, firing thousands, and closing one of Mexico's most progressive institutions are serious violations of human and labor rights, and of the rule of law itself. Now, 200,000 doctors to join teachers in Mexico national strike.
Oaxacans in 2006 tied the repression of education workers to broader frustrations with official impunity and deep-seated social and economic inequality. Those frustrations continue to animate everyday life. In confronting today's new challenges, Oaxacans are doing more than simply “saying no.” They’re drawing from an array of experiences – including that of the Oaxaca Commune in 2006 – to imagine collective alternatives, and make them real.
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Familias Unidas Para la Justicia at Sakuma Brothers Farms are attempting to demolish the dismal conditions of their labor. In doing this they are cultivating a newer and more democratic form of work through their strike. "Viva la Huelga!" is the call of the hour. There is much the labor movement can learn from these striking workers and the long tradition of struggle they come from in Oaxaca.