Contradictions in the Oaxacan popular movement

February 10th, 2007 – by Victor Manuel Gomez Ramirez in Noticias: In the development of every social movement that involves different sectors, organizations and individuals, surely a knot of differences and contradictions will come about. When the movement is at its highest points, the discrepancies regularly tend to be diluted so as to give strength to the central tasks or objectives, and when the movement begins to decline or wane, the differences are so emphasized that they may cause a breaking point.

In Oaxaca, this happened in the years 1977-78. In the fight to bring down Manuel Zarate Quino, the unity of the organizations had become extremely tense and when he had just fallen, the break among the different organizations was immediate and allowed the government to regain control of the UABJO (“Benito Juárez” Autonomous University of Oaxaca) and, even more, to beat some and co-opt others. In 2007, after the historic mobilizations and battles against the repressive and decrepit [national and state] governments, and after the harsh repression orchestrated by these governments on November 25th–with the support of some ultra-leftists inside the movement–the movement recuperated quickly, as could be seen in the march on February 3rd.

Nevertheless, it is evident that the movement does not have the same characteristics as it did in July or October of last year. We can appreciate that, even when the vast majority of education workers and popular sectors have made it through the campaign of terror carried out by the state and federal un-governments, we have still not overcome all the reflux to which we were subjected during the bestial and anti-constitutional repressive actions of [November] 25th, and moreover, we entered into a new political juncture, the electoral situation.

The electoral processes are the ground solely of the bourgeois, which they created in order to have the appearance of a supposed democratic process that permits the justification, to the bourgeois and their puppet government, of the political control over the population. After more than 70 years of PRI-ism, these processes found themselves to be completely distorted. Through the “popularization” with which they tried to mask the electoral apparatus, these processes continue experiencing a profound crisis of credibility.

To define a direction, in the face of the current electoral process, we have begun a debate in the State Council of the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca). As we mentioned above, in a process of reflux differences and contradictions come to the surface which are, in this case, expressed in the position of those who still believe that through the institutional path it is possible to advance the movement and bring down Ulises Ruiz, and, on the other side, there are there are those who do not believe in these processes, [but?] consider them convenient to use in order to denounce their fraudulent, corrupt and anti-democratic character, in terms of state and federal legislation, the electoral institutions, and all the registered political parties.

On the front lines are the leaderships of the social organizations that have, for years, participated in these processes, leaderships that have had the opportunity to win, electorally, some municipal presidencies, without there being, in these cases, better options [for leadership] for the towns, but there are others, still, who wait for their opportunity, but their [practices] in other movements, like the teachers´ one, have demonstrated that the only thing that interests them is strengthening their [organizing project].

In Oaxaca we have examples of the results in organizations that [claim to be?] democrats, or of the left, and have involved themselves in electoral processes; one of them is the COCEI, whose directors have ended up involved in corruption; another recent case is that of PUP-MULT, connected to Ulises Ruiz; and there is also the experience of the FALP and their [municipal] governments in Tlacolula and Etla. But there are also the experiences at the national level which can be useful to us, of which, among the recent ones, we can mention the cases of Mendiguchía in Chiapas, López Obrador in the Federal Ditrict [i.e. Mexico City, D.F.], Cárdenas Batel in Michoacán, Amalia García in Zacatecas, etc., all of whom have not been able to resolve the problem of the worker majority and, on the contrary, either their interests as a group or the great national and foreign economic interests have continued benefiting.

I consider that in the current situation in Oaxaca it is necessary to utilize these processes in order to spread a program that encompasses the most deeply felt demands of the worker majority and promote independent or citizen candidates, both for municipal presidencies and local deputies, and these compañeras or compañeros should characterize themselves as honest persons, recognized for their participation in the struggle.

Should the Broad Popular Front [tr.: Frente Amplio Popular] decide to open their lists to independent candidates, we should use them without negotiating our program and political independence, and in this way we should continue to denounce the role that these [political] parties have played against the popular movement in Oaxaca, in the State of México or in Michocán, just like their opportunism in terms of promoting the candidacies of politicians of the right, as in the recent presidential elections and those now in Yucatán.

It is necessary to take advantage of this process to organize our strengths and continue to promote the organized mobilization with assemblies throughout all the Oaxacan territory, in communities, neighborhoods, places of work, unions, schools, universities, with professionals, workers in the arts and culture, small businesses, etc. It should be in these spaces that the proposals to elect the candidates should come about, in order to enrich our political programme.

The worthy people of Oaxaca desire a new form of politics, with clean and democratic ways where the [agreements of the leadership?], the corruptions and all the vices that have characterized governments and political parties end up where they rightly should, in the trash-can of history.

*Member of the Socialist Worker Party-Movement to Socialism APN
*Member of the State Council of the APPO


One comment

  1. The fact that democracy, on many occasion, has been exploited by those in power for their own benefit, does not lead to the conclusion that there is any better way to do things. If APPO expects bring the state of Oaxaca under popular control, then they would be well advised not to open up another front.

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