Signals of Provocation in Oaxaca

“Urgent” bulletins flying over the internet warn of the governor’s plan to incite a violent showdown around Monday July 23, of the Guelaguetza, now being referred to as the “guerraguetza.”

The facts we observe on the ground:

  • military or state police (dark blue uniforms) occupying Fortin are practicing military exercises.
  • the zocalo is heavily occupied by PRI vendors, Noticias says 700 puestos.
  • Noticias says outlying roads are all blocked with military checkpoints through which no-one “suspicious” can pass.
  • The governor is bussing in people from the rural areas (paying them to attend the commercial Guelaguetza),  and advising government employees to not bring their children.
  • the APPO, the teachers, the civil society organizations and even Dr. Bertha Muños are sending messages warning of the government’s intention to provoke an excuse for military crackdown.
  • the teachers assembly scheduled for Saturday afternoon has been cancelled to avoid further arbitrary arrests (I gather at least two “leaders” have been arrested and warrants are out).
According to Víctor Manuel Gómez Ramírez of MAS, (editorial in Noticias) the leaders of the teachers popular movement are taking the movement into a dead end. He sees a lack of coherent policy and lack of any such a policy’s enforceability. The State Council of the APPO has been unable to prevent people from falling into provocations.

My observation regarding the “dead end” is that there is no way to carry out a large-scale assembly under these circumstances, and since there are no leaders anyway, small groups must make their own decisions. Keep in mind that it is not the APPO nor the teachers who are provoking the military attacks – what the hell is the military doing stationed in  the center of Oaxaca anyway? The teachers have the best membership control, but even theirs is not complete. There is now another assembly, that of the colonias  (Asamblea Popular de las Colonias de Oaxaca). They have participated in both the “mourning” marches.

I think the movement moves, and moves at its own pace and in as many directions as it can, seeking cracks in the (government) wall like water, as befits a “popular” movement. However, I do agree with Gómez as follows (my translation):

“ doesn’t take a profound analysis to understand that the puppet governors in the service of the bourgeoisie, whether state or national, always use all  (possible) resources  to destroy whatever puts their interests at risk. Today Felipe Calderón falls back on mafia PRI-PAN-PANAL and the repressive (police) bodies  and the army, to try to maintain himself in the presidency. That shows his weakness.  With this assistance, he tries to continue imposing the policies of neoliberalism, leaning toward the continuing exploitation of the working population and sacking and exploiting our cultural and energy resources.

“Ulises Ruiz and his (dis)government are very weak and incapable of restoring the apparent tranquility in which we lived in past years. As boss (cacique) of the people, aided by the  PAN and some PRD deputies, he is disposed to continue confronting society without concerning himself with consequences. In his small brain he ends up serving his friends, the grand national and foreign investors, who like vultures come to break open the  piñata called the  Plan Puebla Panamá.

“...The people have taken an enormous leap in consciousness to understand and confirm who the historic  enemy is, but it is not enough to change the situation in our state.... The first step is democratic organization everyplace where conditions exist, to overcome dependence on the opportunist pseudo-leaders and organize coordinators or councils of representatives which will truly permit decisions to come up from the base. The next step is the political program, which should be made collectively and should consider everything from the most immediate needs to the most advanced. In this we should inform ourselves how we are going to get potable water...”

He concludes that democratic spaces should be frank and open to all ideas. But the increased repression does not strengthen the movement, he says,  because it gives the government a chance to reposition itself.

Again, this is open to debate (by me!) because I think that while the government is in the international spotlight it cannot achieve its goals of foreign investment. Now, you might point out –rightly– that the mainstream press hides the truth, but my sense of people with money is that they don’t care to be fooled and don’t rely on the mainstream press any more than we do. They rely on the cost-effective analysis of how much to maintain vs how much they gain. In that analysis, the more the people cost them, the more the people gain (or don’t lose).  I don’t feel that any of us are, or could be, callous about the deaths, imprisonment, torture, rape, etcetera, perpetrated by the government. Rather,  I have great respect for the people’s decisions, when it is the people, not paid provocateurs or thugs, who march forward -and that’s sometimes difficult to know. But I bet that when thousands march, that is not a paid provocation.

I also have great respect for the opened civil society, which always comes out against force, as I think they should, and always champions the right of the people to change their government.

About Nancy Davies

I’m a little old lady in sandalias, Plebian Consort of George Salzman on whose web-site some of my essays are posted. I write in every genre, I teach English, I hang out in the Mexican sunshine. I am in love with Subcomandante Marcos although we’ve met only in the noösphere.

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About Nancy Davies

I’m a little old lady in sandalias, Plebian Consort of George Salzman on whose web-site some of my essays are posted. I write in every genre, I teach English, I hang out in the Mexican sunshine. I am in love with Subcomandante Marcos although we’ve met only in the noösphere.