Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Fear of Teachers in Mexico

Gloria Muñoz Ramírez

photo: Solidarity Brigade

La Jornada
Saturday June 4, 2016

They are in the right and the State is afraid. The rejection by the National Coordinator of Educational Workers (CNTE) teachers union of the labor reform being disguised by the government under the title of educational reform, is in the streets. 

The mass mobilization this Friday June 3 showed the health of a movement growing despite an aggressive smear campaign. In desperation, the government strategy that has renounced dialogue and opted for threats and beatings led to a dramatic, televised humiliation of PRI teachers who were fleeced and forced to walk barefoot through the streets of Comitan, Chiapas, an action which was blamed on the National Coordinator of Educational Workers (CTNE) union teachers. The fact that some of the victims have exposed the report, denying the  the blaming of CNTE members for the act, has only strengthened the movement and its demands. It was not members of the CNTE who committed act, the perpetrators were agents of the Institutional Revolutionary Party PRI in power and its allies.

Even if you do not agree with the demands of magistrates, teachers should have the right to walk and march through the streets of Mexico City and any other entity; to protest and to demonstrate just as in any democratic state. But apparently not in Mexico, where they are treated as dangerous criminals who must be encapsulated by massive police contingents to prevent their free movement. On Friday the Federal Police boarded public buses, swarmed the Metro, and took literally command of the city, in an operation in accomplice with Mancera police.

Yet in spite of the tactics of government suppression, the teachers were received as “distinguished visitors”, so they were named by the rector of the UACM, Hugo Aboites, and so the should be received by the general population for which whose public education services the CNTE is struggling. That is why the University Council of the UACM, without any ambiguity, received the CNTE with the greatest honors. We are doing what we should and must do: manifesting that the university perform in favor of betterment of social causes, said the rector. 

The threats and harassment by media hacks in service to the government, are playing in favor of the cause of the teachers. Until a few weeks ago one might think that the CNTE did not have public support, but in recent mass mobilizations the common people have taken to the streets to demonstrate their support. It is the ordinary people, but also organizations, which are filling the streets. They are the San Quintin day laborers; the parents of Ayotzinapa normalistas; the Mexican Electricians Union; students of UNAM, of the Poli, of the UAM and the UACM, and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, among many others, who are openly supporting the teachers demands.

The so called legislative “reform” is causing a catastrophe in the education system so that families tend to work overtime to be able to send their children to private schools; or settle for that a lifestyle for their children as constant consumers of television, radio and digital media; or on the street, or even worse than that, as warned the Zapatistas. 

The teachers wave of insurgency is on the rise. The CNTE insists on its willingness to dialogue, while the government sent thousands of police to corral them like cattle, which does nothing but fan the flame of indignation.

Translation: TONATIERRA

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