Letter from Mexico: Ayotzinapa’s new point of departure?

From the November-December 2015 issue of News & Letters

by J.G.F. Héctor

Sept. 26 marked one year since the forced disappearance of 43 students from the normal school Raúl Isidro Burgos, as well as the murder of another six people in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, by the Mexican state. The crime was remembered at protests not just in the main cities of Mexico, but worldwide. The demands from the demonstrators were clear: the government must present the 43 missing youth alive—since it knows where they are—and punish all the offenders.

Two days before the mass demonstrations, the government held a meeting with the families and surviving students from Ayotzinapa. It turned out to be useless. The parents and schoolmates insisted that the quest for the missing students should continue, supervised not by the government but by a commission of international experts. The Mexican state, at most, agreed to keep on searching, but guided by its absurd investigation hypotheses.

PARENTS WHO NEVER GIVE UP

First, we must say that if the government accepted a new dialogue with the parents from Ayotzinapa—after almost a year of practically ignoring them—it was not due to “good will.” Rather, it was the parents’ uncompromising actions and thoughts—revitalized recently by the results of an international independent commission investigating the Ayotzinapa case, and the wider, deeper support from the masses—that forced the government to meet with them.

Secondly, the persistence of the Ayotzinapa families is not merely an effort to unveil the scientific truth of the forced disappearances of their children. It is a longing for, indeed a search for, a new kind of society in which the state doesn’t disappear or murder youth, the government and the criminals don’t work together, and there would be an authentic, autonomous justice system—briefly, for a non-capitalist, human world.

This constitutes the universality of the movement for Ayotzinapa. The meeting at the end of the Sept. 26 demonstration in Mexico City clearly showed this. The speakers were parents from Ayotzinapa and activists in other social justice struggles throughout the country—that is, subjects of social transformation. This is no coincidence or a mere political or pragmatic strategy. Instead, such a confluence of participants speaks to us of the historical urge to reconstruct society based on the voices and actions of all the people from below.

EMANCIPATORY VISION

How can we begin to achieve this? On several occasions these revolutionary subjects have spoken and written to this point: We need to get organized. This is crucial. Equally crucial is asking what kind of organizations are we supposed to build. We are not referring to the specific forms or structures that such organizations should adopt, but rather asking what emancipatory vision is needed as we construct them.

In its fullness, such an emancipatory vision means working out a philosophy of human liberation, a dialectic of revolutionary transformation, rooted, of course, in the actions and ideas of the masses in motion. This is the historical task to which revolutionary organizations should commit.

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