The above photo shows a row of Mexican police, bound, and kneeling on the ground. Outraged by the brutal attacks by these police on striking students at the local teachers’ college, the population of the village of Tepatepec rose up and overpowered the cops. It then brought them before a “people’s court” and humiliated them.
This is the first recorded popular uprising in Mexico since the indigenous rebellion in Chiapas in 1994. It is clearly a storm warning of growing and deepening anger among the Mexican people against attempts of the regime to suppress protests against declining living standards for the masses and the scandalous enrichment of a tiny minority.
In the Feb. 22 issue of La Jornada, a Mexico City left-liberal daily, Luis Hernandez Navarro pointed to the symbolic nature of the Tepatepec rebellion. Such rural teachers’ colleges were one of the major achievements of the radical Cardenas regime in the 1930s. They have offered the main avenue of social promotion for poor rural youth.
However, as the Mexican ruling class has abandoned the populist experiments of the 1930s and fallen in behind imperialist “globalization,” access to higher education for poor youth has been more and more restricted.
The attempt to impose tuition at the National University in Mexico, which sparked a long struggle that recently led to the arrests of hundreds of students is one example. The fight of the students in Tepatepec is another. They were demanding 200 scholarships, among other things.
The number of such colleges has been cut from 37 to 17. And the closing off of this escape route from poverty for rural youth is one of the causes of growing desperation among Mexican young people and their families.