Mexico: National Coordination of Education Workers statement

January 20, 2017


PRESS RELEASE January 9, 2017

Translated by David Turpin Jr.

The National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) recently celebrated 37 years of struggle. Throughout these years we have fought for three strategic objectives: union democracy, democracy in education, and democracy in our country. Within and outside our ranks it is recognized that the CNTE has not only made significant contributions to organizing the struggle, but also to the processes that have generated social transformations in our country.

The current stage of struggle, from 2012 to date, is without a doubt one of the most decisive periods of political mobilization by the teachers’ mass movement; this period has also made clear that there can be no doubts that the education reform launched by the North American Free Trade Agreement is not in the interests of the Mexican people.

Specifically, the mobilizations from May to September of 2016, which demonstrated the strike as the workers’ weapon of choice for the struggle, gave expression to the inconformity of broad sections of the population to the structural reforms. During this period, we not only witnessed the solidarity of unions and popular organizations with the CNTE’s struggle, we also saw the mass participation of the people in defense of public education. During this difficult period, when the brutality of the Mexican state and government were revealed once again through police and administrative repression, and through the murder of our comrades, we were able to articulate actions in defense of public education and to demand health care for all; the teachers’ movement collaborated with and articulated the demands of the peasants, of the electrical workers, and of the urban popular and social movements.

During this period the pedagogical proposals built from the rank and file of the CNTE over the course of decades, in collaboration with researchers and academics in the field of education, were clearly established. We demonstrated to the authorities and the people in general that we have a proposal for evaluations that is most suited to the processes of teaching and learning and to the needs of the National Education System. Upon concluding our third forum to challenge the direction of public education, we can announce that we have a first draft of a proposal for the Project of Democratic Education built by the workers and systematized by a commission of academics committed to public education.

The CNTE’s struggle, against the structural reforms and in particular against the misnamed education reforms, is not over. Beginning in September 2016, we have witnessed a change in methods: in the absence of the teachers’ strikes and national civic strikes, united actions have developed intermittently throughout the country, as the sum of isolated mobilizations and through coordinated mobilizations.

On January 7, 2017, in our National Assembly of Representatives (NAR), we reaffirmed our commitment to the defense of public education for all, we reaffirmed our demand for the annulment of the Education Reform and the immediate and unconditional return to employment of more than 600 of our comrades, with back pay, who were dismissed for their dignified opposition to the failed policies of the education reform.

Given the unpopular and unconstitutional escalation of the price of fuel, which the people refer to as the “gasolinazo,” we have agreed to coordinate with the genuine popular mobilizations against this application of the energy sector reforms. We energetically repudiate the reforms and the government’s efforts to resolve the social conflict by using infiltrators and agents to promote chaos and the looting of retail stores as a justification for both general and selective repression; such policies have already taken far too many lives. It is unacceptable that through iron and fire the government attempts to impose reforms that do not benefit the population, but on the contrary exacerbate the precarious conditions of poverty nationwide.

The actions that we have agreed upon in our NAR are aimed at articulating the popular struggle against the structural reforms and various demands raised by different sections of the population:

1.—Express the political position of the CNTE in a document that we will issue on January 21, 2017, in which we will propose a perspective for the struggle over the coming months.

2.—As of January 12, 2017, engage in community meetings with parents and popular organizations.

3.—From January 15 to 21, 2017, organize actions by the CNTE, in a coordinated manner across the states, against the structural reforms, and in particular against the “gasolinazo,” which is a result of the energy reforms, and in repudiation of the federal government’s policies.

4.—Call for a national assembly of social and popular organizations in struggle. We will propose a National Plan against the structural reforms, and propose that this be discussed in the National Peoples’ Assembly.

5.—Call upon and carry out coordinated national mobilizations for January 20, 2017.

We in the CNTE are clear that the current stage of popular struggles against the reforms and the austerity measures is a product of the people’s anger and their inconformity with these policies. We are also convinced that the time is right to carry out the social transformations required to make Mexico into a new country, where the priority is to attend to the needs of the people. In this sense, we state clearly our commitment with the people of Mexico, and we will not resign from our just struggle. In the coming months we will be carrying out actions at the state and national level as part of the new stage of struggle by the CNTE in the political arena, in the classroom, and in the juridical and legislative processes.






You can read the original in Spanish here.

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