by the Socialist Workers League and Socialist Unity Leage of Mexica
December 2006 issue of Socialist Action newspaper
Following is a joint declaration of the Mexican Workers’ League for Socialism -Against the Current LTS-CC and the Socialist Unity League, condemning Nov. 25 attacks by the government against the people of Oaxaca.
Yesterday [Nov. 25], after a massive megamarch condemning Ulises Ruiz [Ortiz, or “URO,” the governor of Oaxaca state], thousands of federal police (PFP) agents, supported by interior department agents and PRI death squads, cruelly attacked the brave comrades of the APPO [Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca], in what was the most violent day in the last six months of this struggle.
Our comrades in Oaxaca, besieged by the PFP, were attacked with shots fired from rifles, tear gas, rocks, and tanks, and the encampment of Santo Domingo was burned down. A paramilitary group attacked from two pickup trucks, firing more than 100 shots and assassinating three comrades (taking away the bodies of two of them).
Furthermore, as we write this, more than 100 have been arrested and dozens have disappeared.
Throughout the night the police tanks fired at anything that moved in the streets, arresting people left and right while URO’s assassins ran through the streets with their sub-machine guns. The PFP gangs broke into the hospitals to take away the wounded comrades, but were prevented from doing so by the valiant defense actions of the health-care workers.
According to the government and the PFP, their objective is to “restore order” by carrying out all the arrest warrants on members of the APPO, which has become a veritable witch hunt characteristic of the methods used by the old PRI governments of the 1960s and 70s. Nevertheless, our comrades are trying to regroup and resist the brutal attack.
This is how the government of [outgoing Mexican President Vicente] Fox and the PRI are showing that they intend, by means of the most merciless repression, to silence the heroic people of Oaxaca, which is still on the march.
There is a reactionary pact between the PAN and the PRI to liquidate this movement, preventing it from becoming an example for the workers, peasants, and youth of the whole country (and for the sectors that are struggling to defend their rights, like the sugar-cane workers and the high school students).
With this repression, they want to create the conditions allowing the new sell-out pro-imperialist government of [Felipe] Calderón to take power without any troubles this Dec. 1, leaving the way open for the PRI and PAN politicians to go ahead with their designs against the masses in the national legislature. And also to prevent the hated oppressor Ulises Ruiz from being brought down by the resistance of the people, so that later on they can make a deal for an institutional hand-over that preserves the PRI and the anti-democratic institutions in the state.
Against this malicious aggression, the Oaxacan people must resort to its own legitimate self-defense measures and reorganize itself to respond to this wave of murder and repression orchestrated by the Secretary of the Interior, the federal government, Calderón, and the PRI. Active solidarity in the streets is urgently needed throughout the country.
Only the mobilization of workers and poor people will put a stop to the repression against the workers, peasants, indigenous people, and students of Oaxaca. Massive and forceful actions cannot be put off another minute.
The big unions that represent thousands of workers across the country must make effective their class solidarity with our Oaxacan sisters and brothers. The leadership of the SME (electrical workers), the UNT (a union federation associated with the PRD), the miners’ union, the CNTE (a teachers’ union movement) at the national level must call for a nationwide general strike now to prevent a bloodbath, with a program of demands linking the primary and urgent struggle against the repression and in support of the APPO with the demands of the various sectors of the workers against the government (such as the struggle against rising prices of milk and gasoline, against the privatizations).
These union leaders must show that they are on the side of the workers and stop the brutal offensive against the people of Oaxaca. Likewise, the unions, the “Other Campaign” [initiated by the Zapatistas], and the working -lass and leftist organizations, as well as the organizations that call themselves democratic and all those who recently demonstrated against the repression (like the National Democratic Convention, the CND), must organize the mobilization against the repression, with a huge march in solidarity and actions all across the country, putting all our forces at the service of the fundamental task of defending the people of Oaxaca.
Let us put forward a united nationwide plan for mobilization, led by the unions and poor people’s organizations, to stop this attack, starting by forming a national coordinating committee against the repression and in defense of the people of Oaxaca.
Down with the repression and the death squads against the people of Oaxaca! Repressive forces out of Oaxaca! Ulises Ruiz get out! Drop all charges against the members of APPO! Return all our disappeared comrades alive! Immediate and unconditional freedom for all political prisoners!
Manipulated and fraudulent elections have been the keystone of the capitalist state in Mexico since the end of the revolution in 1920 and in particular since the liquidation of the gains of the revolution, beginning in 1940 and culminating in the 1980s with the adoption of a neoliberal agenda.
Mexico is now seething with revolt against fraudulent elections, in particular the election of the PAN (National Action Party) candidate for president, Felipe Calderón, in this year’s presidential election The rise of the PAN is in itself a symptom of the growing political crisis, since it has historically been a minority party, which never held the presidency before 2000.
The Constitutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was the governing party from 1928 to 2000. It was similar to the Communist (Stalinist) parties of Eastern Europe and China in that it served as an organization for controlling society from top to bottom, including the trade-union movement. But by 2000 the PRI had become so discredited that the Mexican bourgeoisie decided to hedge its bets, and allowed the National Action Party (PAN) to take the presidency.
The PAN was a Catholic party that arose out of the reactionary opposition to the Mexican Revolution. In fact, since the 2000 election, the PAN and PRI have worked hand in glove, like the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S., shattering illusions that the PAN offered an alternative.
The PRI and the PAN have been working together to crush the mass movement in Oaxaca, where the state government that is the target of the mass movement is held by the PRI.
Oaxaca is a salient example of a surviving totally corrupt PRI government, in this case presided over by Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO). His sending the police against an encampment of protesting teachers in June ignited long-smoldering resentments against his misrule and led to the formation of the Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO), a united movement based on the social organizations. APPO is demanding his removal.
The Oaxaca state police proved incapable of crushing the mass movement. Then, on Oct. 27, the federal government, held by the PAN, sent the national militarized police, the Policia Federal Preventiva, into Oaxaca to “restore order.” Since then the PFP, along with the state police and right-wing vigilantes, have been deepening the repression, with attacks on APPO encampments, many arrests, and “disappearances” of APPO activists.
The statement on this page by two Trotskyist organizations in Mexico calls for mass mobilizations in support of the besieged movement in Oaxaca. — The Editors