Letter from Mexico: Mexican protests deepen

From the January-February 2015 issue of News & Letters

Mexico City—At the end of the Nov. 20 mass demonstration in Mexico City in support of Ayotzinapa’s missing students, acts of repression from state forces became more open and intense. Federal and city police indiscriminately attacked families, including children and seniors, who were protesting peacefully. As well, the police arbitrarily apprehended 11 young protesters. Their purpose was to frighten people so they would stop demonstrating, and to try and divert the struggle from demanding the return of the missing normalistas (students from the Normal school in Ayotzinapa) toward a strategy for avoiding state violence.

Demonstration in Merida, Yucatan, demanding justice for the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa. Photo by Jessica Ramos http://callejerorev.com/2014/manifestacion-justicia-para-ayotzinapa-fotogaleria/

UNENDING DEMONSTRATIONS

Although such aims were partially fulfilled, the struggle continued to develop and search for a pathway to full freedom:

1) On Nov. 21 parents and schoolmates of the disappeared students declared that they would no longer wait for official institutions in searching for their children. Instead, they announced that “The State was responsible and due to this, they won’t solve anything,” and asked for the help of the community police from Guerrero—an autonomous group created to defend people from narco-traffic gangs.

2) On Nov. 25 there was a significant demonstration in Mexico City demanding the liberation of the 11 youth imprisoned five days before. Parents and schoolmates of the normalistas were again present. This emphasized that their struggle was not separate from the new one for the liberation of the imprisoned, and against state violence. They made clear that the only way to stop state repression was by going out again to the streets, fighting for the construction of a new world.

ALTERNATIVE GOVERNMENTS PROLIFERATE

3) On Dec. 1 another big demonstration took place in Mexico City. At the end, one of the normalistas’ parents announced that people from his hometown in Tecoanapa, Guerrero—one of the poorest in the country—had dismissed the state authorities and begun developing a self-government, based on people’s councils and supported by the community police. Since then, some 28 towns and cities from the state of Guerrero (including Acapulco) have a popular government alternative to the official one. Here, we can’t avoid thinking of the Zapatistas’ experience. After acknowledging that the state would never fulfill their demands, they focused on building Indigenous autonomy.

4) On Dec. 5 the normalistas’ parents were told (via a DNA test on burned remains) that one of their children was dead. Nevertheless, the next day, on the symbolic occupation of Mexico City (one hundred years since the entrance of Zapata and Villa’s troops to the city, in the context of the Mexican Revolution), they stated that they won’t sit and moan for their dead child, but would fight until they found the other 42 missing students alive.

5) Twenty days later, three months after the disappearance of the normalistas, a new global action in support of Ayotzinapa took place. In Mexico, the demonstration ended with a call to continue the construction of the people’s autonomy in Guerrero and to boycott 2015 federal and local elections.

6) In addition to all this, there have been constant occupations of casetas (automobile tax stations) in several states, as well as the free subway brigades in Mexico City. There has been the creation of the National Students Coordination and the preparations for the first National Polytechnic Congress, after the strike in that school (see Nov.-Dec. N&L, p. 11). All these actions are related to the movement for Ayotzinapa.

After Nov. 20 the struggle isn’t stuck in strategies for avoiding repression, but has gone in the search for a new—non-classist, non-sexist, non-racist—world.

—G.W.F. Héctor

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