Peace and Freedom Party

California's Feminist Socialist Political Party

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Home About Us Resolutions/Statements Statement on Oaxaca Teachers

Statement on Oaxaca Teachers

Posted on July 17, 2016 by the State Executive Committee

The Peace and Freedom Party State Executive Committee adopted the following resolution on July 2, 2016 meeting.

The Peace and Freedom Party condemns the brutal repression on June 19, 2016 against striking teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico. Federal, state and local police fired on unarmed, nonviolent demonstrators, killing at several teachers and students and wounding many more.

Background

The following excerpts from a June 21 report by the Alliance for Global Justice illustrate the gravity of the situation and the complicity of the United States in promoting and enabling the repression by the Mexican government:

... the dead include 10 in Nochixtlan, one in Hacienda Blanca and one in Juchitán. Many persons have been wounded and at least 23 persons disappeared. Witnesses report that wounded protesters and civillians were being turned away from the hospital at Nochixtlan, only police officers being admitted.

Even before the fatal repression of June 19, 2016, widespread and indiscriminate arrests were among the tactics being used to try to break the the teachers union. Detentions include the capture of the two top leaders of Oaxaca's Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE)... [who] were arrested on June12th and promptly flown far away to the new federal penitentiary. ... This prison, built with funding from the United States government and with US training and accreditation, is Mexico's first privately managed, for-profit prison.

... Much of the weaponry and hardware used to attack the protesters was bought from or provided by the US government. Major components of the educational reform package the teachers are striking against originated in the US. For instance, USAID funded and Washington DC based Partnership for Educational Revitalization in the Americas advocated for firings and measures to dismantle teachers colleges throughout Mexico. Mexico is raising its spending on military equipment mostly from the United States and cutting funding for schools and social services. Meanwhile, the US is in the midst of a project to build 16 new federal prisons in Mexico, giving new gravity to the phrase “school to prison” pipeline.

The CNTE is leading resistance to the implementation of new laws that would result in massive teacher lay-offs; lead to the closure of teachers schools ... and, along with cuts to educational spending, sacrifice indigenous and other cultural and community based curricula. The "reforms" would replace the current educational system with one that de-emphasizes critical thinking in favor of standardized testing. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has refused to negotiate with strikers and has stated that the only way the government would meet with the teachers union is if they return to work and agree to support the educational "reforms". (Note: quotation marks in this paragraph added for clarification.)

Demonstrations have been held around the United States to protest The Mexican Government's repression of protesting teachers. The following statement was issued by Socialist Organizer during a demonstration that took place in San Francisco on June 22:

STATEMENT OF DELEGATION TO MEXICAN CONSULATE IN SAN FRANCISCO ON JUNE 22, 2016

[Note: As a picket line was held outside the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco on June 22, a four-person delegation met with the Deputy Consul inside the Consulate. The four people on the delegation then reported back to the labor and community activists on the picket line. They informed the activists that the Deputy Consul made the commitment to send the statement below to the authorities in Mexico City. They were also told that the Consulate did not have any information on the situation other than what has been printed in the mainstream media, but the Deputy Consul added that the Mexican government had agreed to sit down and dialogue with the leadership of the CNTE without preconditions. The four people on the delegation were Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council; Lita Blanc, president of United Educators of San Francisco; Ted Lewis, Mexico Desk Director at Global Exchange; and Francisco Herrera, member of AFT Local 2121.]

WE DENOUNCE KILLING OF TEACHERS BY GOVERNMENT FORCES IN OAXACA

We are representatives of teacher unions, labor, religious and human rights organizations here at the Mexican Consulate to protest the police attacks since Sunday that have killed more than eight and wounded more than 100 teachers and their supporters in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

On June 19, federal armed forces fired on teachers and supporters in the town of Nochixtlan, killing at least four people and wounding 30 more. More police shootings have followed as protests continue.

The teachers were protesting the imprisonment, in early June, of the top two leaders of the Oaxacan teachers union and the Oaxacan governor Gabino Cue Monteagudo's imposition of a new federal education code. The changes to education law include requiring tests to qualify as teachers. Teachers -- most of them serving in indigenous, bi-lingual classrooms -- say the test do not reflect the needs of their students and are an unwelcome intervention by a hostile federal bureaucracy.

We have delivered a letter to Consul General Andres Isaac Roemer Slomianski calling for an end to the killings, lethal attacks and repression against teachers and their supporters. Demands also include release of the imprisoned union leaders and others detained in the protests, reinstatement of teachers fired for striking, and national negotiations without conditions with the teachers union, the National Coordination of Education Workers (Spanish acronym CNTE).

We also are sending a message to the U.S. Congress to suspend military aid to Mexico until the Mexican government stops these massive abuses of labor and human rights.
Here is something you can do:

Write a letter to the Mexican consulate in your area, with a copy to the Mexican President. In that letter, ask the Mexican government to:

     
  • Stop the killings of Mexico's teachers.
  • Free the Mexican union leaders in Federal prison.
  • Stop the attacks on teachers and students protesting corporate education reform.

 
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