Letter from Mexico, September-October 2017: Where Ayotzinapa movement can lead

August 31, 2017

From the September-October 2017 issue of News & Letters

Sept. 26 is the third anniversary of the forced disappearance of 43 students from the rural normal school Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, as well as of the murder of another six people (three of them normalistas) by the State. In these three years parents and schoolmates of the missing students haven’t stopped their search for justice.
They have travelled all over Mexico and abroad demanding the government give them back their children: “Alive they took them, alive we want them.” Their journey has given them the opportunity to meet with others who are fighting against injustice and trying to build a new society. (See Praxis en América Latina No. 14, Aug.-Sept. 2017.)


Bertha Nava, mother of Julio César Mondragón, murdered on Sept. 26 2014, and Omar García, survivor of that night (Photo courtesy of Fernanda López).

Bertha Nava, mother of Julio César Ramirez Nava, murdered on Sept. 26, 2014, and Omar García, survivor of that night. Photo: Fernanda López.

In November 2014 the Ayotzinapa parents and schoolmates visited the Zapatistas in Chiapas, who welcomed them with arms wide open, telling them: “It has been you…who, with the strength of your pain and its conversion into dignified and noble rage, have caused many people in Mexico and the world to awaken and begin to ask questions… It is terrible and marvelous that the poor and humble families and students who aspire to be schoolteachers have become the best teachers this country has seen in recent years.” Since then, the Ayotzinapa parents have always been invited to speak and be part of the Zapatista forums.

Other important subjects merged their demands with the movement for Ayotzinapa: the dissident teachers of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) and the students of the other rural normal schools, who have an ongoing struggle for labor rights and for an education for freedom.

An Ayotzinapa parent said of those three years: “We have woken up a lot of organizations as well as brought to light several attacks by the government which were hidden.” “Ayotzinapa has shown the rottenness of the Mexican justice system,” adds Omar García, survivor of the Sept. 26, 2014, attack against the normalistas.


However, as meaningful as this solidarity has been, another kind of solidarity is required if we are to turn this ongoing moment of protest/resistance against the State into a full-blown drive for the construction of a new society: a solidarity of ideas, of a radical emancipatory vision/philosophy that serves as a “guide” in such a task. How can we help to turn the seeds of a new world, already existent in the search for justice by the Ayotzinapa parents, into full-grown trees?

The third anniversary of Ayotzinapa will certainly be one that will appeal to our memory: We should never forget this State crime. At the same time, the best way to commemorate it is perhaps by trying to work out a new kind of relationship between theory and practice, the movements from below and an emancipatory vision that helps us pave the way to revolution. How can organizations/collectives of activist-thinkers take part in this?

One thought on “Letter from Mexico, September-October 2017: Where Ayotzinapa movement can lead

  1. Bertha Nava is the mother of Julio César Ramírez Nava not of Julio César Mondragón. Both were killed on September 26 in Iguala. The mother of Julio César Mondragón is called Afrodita Mondragón Fontes. Thanks for the article on Ayotzinapa. [Editor’s note: Thank you for the correction. The text above has been edited to reflect it.]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *