The Second National Convention against the Imposition was held in Oaxaca de Magón, City of Resistance, on September 22-23, 2012. Its goal? More effective organization against the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto as President of Mexico, along with the regime he represents and the structural reforms he pushes. A tremendous effort was required to reach a consensus on a Plan of Action with certain axes; the Plan will be implemented from now until December 3 by the participating organizations who will first seek approval in their assemblies.
When busloads of Convention members pulled into the Sports Center of the city’s Technological Institute, Oaxacan comrades had already done the footwork necessary for bringing off the event, and the graffiti artists had begun to paint, lending color and a rebellious spirit to the Convention. At the entrance to the grounds, we found out about new independent media projects, like the Nahual Libertario and Radio Totopo. People were also handing out a leaflet produced by the Community Assembly of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, denouncing the persecution of 10 comrades and the arrest and imprisonment of Pedro Peralta by agents of the “parties involved in the Gabino Cué alliance, who aim to divvy up the spoils in 570 municipalities” in the Sierra Mazateca. Welcome to Oaxaca, where repression is alive and well, and the resistance continues.
The 1,500 people and 280 organizations participating in the Convention included representatives of the #I Am 132 movement, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) of San Salvador Atenco, Section 22 of the Teachers’ Union in Oaxaca, Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), Revolutionary Libertarian Alliance, Taxco miners, Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, Indian Organizations for Human Rights (OIDHO), Oaxan Artists’ Assembly, displaced people of Santiago Amoltepec, Peoples’ Front of the Isthmus, University of the Land, and Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land and Water of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala, among other organizations.
It must be said that when we saw the banners of the Central Unitary Workers’ Union (CUT), an ally of Mexico’s Green Party (which has nothing to do with ecology), and the National Organization of Peoples’ Power (ONNP) that supports repressive Chiapas governor Juan Sabines, many of us asked what in the hell are these anti-Zapatista groups doing here?
A little before 11 am, FPDT comrades from Atenco, who have won not only one, but two major victories against the State, greeted people in the huge tent where the Convention was held. Despite the tremendous repression against them and members of the Other Campaign that Enrique Peña Nieto is so proud of ordering, Atenco knows no defeat. Ignacio del Valle asked: And hope? If we don’t create it, who will? With machetes held high, the campesinos stood up at the front alongside singer-songwriter Cayo Vicente, who lifted the spirits of everyone with his songs of rebellion: “If Zapata were alive, he’d be here with us. Zapata and Villa live, the struggle goes on and on”. Cayo is featured in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuhyN4HLbvg
As the Convention members continued to arrive, people took the mike to make denunciations, announcements, and pronouncements. The disappearance of the independent journalist Ruy Salgado was denounced first. Then Lourdes Mejía stated that justice has still not been done for the murder and criminalization of her son Carlos Sinuhé Cuevas, an activist from the UNAM; she announced a march in his memory to be held in October. On the bright side, a #Yo soy 132 comrade from the Mexico City Autonomous University brought the good news that students have been on strike for three weeks, and have taken over four out of five of the college campuses in opposition to the fraudulent imposition of the Director. He urged everyone to support the strike.
At 11:34 am, the Secretary General of Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) Azael Santiago Chepi, read the inauguration statement. He said that “Oaxaca is still a state where injustice and impunity reign…where no punishment at all has been meted out to the material and intellectual assassins of the people of Oaxaca during the government of the tyrant Ulises Ruiz.” He stated that Section 22, an organization that is independent of both the political parties and the government underscores its commitment to “stand by and struggle in an organized way with the #I Am 132 movement.” He stressed that accepting the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto as President of Mexico would mean “the continuation of authoritarianism, repression, and greater subordination of the country to worldwide imperialism, with the subsequent loss of independence and national sovereignty and the continuation of the offensive against the rights of public education workers.” He called on everyone to defeat the labor reforms.
Six discussion tables were established and then another was added for the independent media, with the task of defining the following points of the Order of the Day to be analyzed and adopted in the Plenary Session:
1. Political State of Affairs
2. Program of Struggle
3. Plan of Action
4. Organizational Structure
Fulfilling this mission in two days would be a formidable challenge for any group, even if all the members had the same expectations, the same perspectives, the same political positions, and the same style of work. But this is not the case. There is a wide variety of opinions, experiences and positions among the participants, which can certainly enrich a debate, but doesn’t make it quick or easy. At the work tables of this Convention, the discussion was often lively and enthusiastic, sometimes repetitive and tiresome, and sometimes fierce and angry.
Political State of Affairs
As we wait for the publication of an official report, we can at least mention some of the aspects of the debates in the work tables regarding the Political State of Affairs, based on the reports read aloud in the Plenary Session on Sunday.
With regards to the situation in the country, almost all the tables emphasized the structural crisis that Mexico has been going through for the last 30 years, provoked by the imposition of the neoliberal project through bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the subordination of the country to the interests of United States imperialism. Current conditions include heightened repression, murders, and disappearances in the supposed war against drugs; the militarization of the country; the persecution of migrants; the food crisis; and the looting of the country’s resources by capitalist megaprojects. There was no mention of the grave threat of the massive construction of prisons and their privatization now underway in Mexico under the United States model.
With regards to the state of affairs in the movement, it was noted that the mobilizations have still not stopped Peña Nieto’s ascent to the throne. Many of the participants in the Convention think that the movement should not only be against Enrique Peña Nieto, but against the entire capitalist system and the rotten political class that maintains and defends it. It is important to note the arrests and physical violence against demonstrators in Oaxaca and San Luis Potosí, as well as the disappearance of Ruy Salgado and the extreme hostilities against Adelph Jiménez, which prompted him to go into hiding, giving rise to the denunciations of his disappearance.
In the afternoon a noteworthy document was released, entitled “Statement of the free and independent media of Oaxaca on the National Convention against the Imposition, ” which summarizes the experience of the takeover of the media during the Rebellion of 2006 and speaks of the important role that the #I Am 132 movement has played in unmasking “the complicity of the ‘information and communications’ media with the political and economic powers that be and their ‘bread and circus’ project for the people, denouncing the ‘communications’ media as instruments of national domination and tools at the service of political power.” The statement also questions the #I Am132 proposal of the democratization of the media: “What does it mean to democratize the media? Which media should be democratized? In Oaxaca, we think it’s not so important to focus on those at the top; our reflections take us along other paths, and we believe that it is through strengthening our own media and our own ways of distributing information, of spreading our own words in our own communities and spaces, that we can confront the system of media manipulation that has been forced on Mexican society, and at the same time, we believe it is important to build, from the ground up together with the people, our own truly free informational media. In the face of the imposition, autonomy. And more than democratizing, we say let’s communalize the informational media at hand, and carve out others, creating networks whose emblem is shared work.” To see the entire document, consult: convencioncontralaimposicion.org
At the independent media discussion table, we discussed the need for greater coordination in networks without sacrificing the autonomy of each media project, with the aim of lending force to the movement and pushing for more aggressive action against the State.
Saturday night, we enjoyed a high energy cultural program that included music from Luna Negra, Guilli Ska and Raíces, among other groups. Those who had the misfortune of missing the event can get a taste of it in the following video, made by Scott Campbell, of the Raíces family singing “Son de la barricada” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj0zvAFokkU with incredible street art (and fortunately in the Oaxaca Rebellion there were no teams of ‘good citizens’ who did the State the favor of erasing these images of resistance from city walls). Also check out this trailer of a video made by Manovuelta on the Raíces family http://elenemigocomun.net/manovuelta. And for a taste of the music of Guilli Ska, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-PIYVNICks
Program of struggle
At 7 o’clock Sunday morning most of the work tables continued o debate the current state of affairs and then focused on the indispensable program of struggle, partially formulated in Atenco at the First Convention on July 14 and 14. The discussions dragged out and in some of the work tables got bogged down. Unfortunately, the program of struggle wasn’t even debated in the Plenary Session where those in charge only allowed the presentation of dissenting opinions and a little bit of debate on Point 3, the Plan of Action, and then only because many students demanded it at the top of their voices and one comrade on the team in charge was conscious of the need to listen to and respect the will of the people. There was no debate, and therefore no agreements reached on points 1, 2 and 4. The decision was made to take the reports of the discussion tables to the next meeting of the Provisional Coordinating Body to be discussed and approved ––not by the Assembly as a whole, but by a small group.
Here we share several proposals that came out of the discussion tables for possible axes of the badly needed program of struggle: Down with Enrique Peña Nieto; No to neoliberal structural reforms; Respect for the San Andrés Accords and the rights of indigenous peoples: No to patriarchal domination; Democratization of the country and the news media; Respect for workers’ rights; Rejection of international treaties and policies that subordinate Mexico (Comando Sur, NAFTA, SPP, Merida Initiative); Freedom for political prisoners; Free, public secular education; Defense of Mother Earth against capitalist megaprojects; Free art and culture; Legalization of marijuana; An end to the criminalization of the struggle; Down with political parties; No to the militarization of the country; A new Constitutional Congress and a new Constitution.
With regards to the political prisoners now imprisoned in Mexico, the following were named during the course of the Convention, inside and outside the discussion tables: the 7 Loxicha comrades who have now spent 16 years in prison; Alberto Patishtán Gómez of the Voz del Amate in Chiapas, imprisoned for 12 años; Rosario Díaz Méndez, also of the Voz del Amate, 7 years; and several political prisoners arrested during the past year under the supposedly “progressive” regimes of Juan Sabines, Gabino Cué and Marcelo Ebrard, including the member of the Zapatista support bases Francisco Sántiz López in Chiapas; anarchist Mario López Hernández in Mexico city; Pedro Peralta Castillo of Eloxochititlán de Flores Magón in the Sierra Mazateca, Oaxaca; and the 13 prisoners of Santiago Amoltepec, Sola de Vega, Oaxaca.
Plan of Action
After a heated discussion in the Plenary Session, the Convention was rescued from the fate of being just one more bureaucratic meeting, when the following Plan of Action was adopted by consensus on Sunday, September 23 at 6:30 pm. A long list of ideas suggested in the discussion tables were discarded, including the more radical proposals of taking over gas stations and dispensing free gas, and that of taking the pressure on Congressmen to their lairs. It is significant that the adopted Plan consists of three main axes that highlight a number of national and local actions proposed in the discussion tables, to be carried out according to the conditions and possibilities in each place.
NATIONAL DAYS OF STRUGGLE AGAINST THE IMPOSITION OF PEÑA NIETO AND THE LABOR REFORMS. September 24-27.
September 24-27. Camp outside Congress.
September 27. National marches.
NATIONAL DAYS OF STUDENT, WORKER AND POPULAR STRUGGLE AGAINST THE IMPOSITION OF PEÑA NIETO. October 2-11.
October 2. National student, worker, and popular strike.
October 2-11. Diverse activities against the imposition, including allowing free passage at highway toll booths, media takeovers, distributing information on public transportation, economic boycott against Soriana, and others.
October 11. National march in Mexico City on the anniversary of the blow against the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), with support marches in different states.
NATIONAL DAYS OF STRUGGLE AGAINST THE IMPOSITION LEADING TO A NATIONAL STRIKE. November 20–December 1.
November 20 (Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution). Takeover of public plazas throughout the country.
November 20. Departure of student caravans from different points in the country, headed for Mexico City.
November 20-December 1. Diverse activities against the imposition of Peña Nieto. Raising the barriers and allowing free passage at highway toll boths, media takeovers, distribution of information on public transportation, economic boycott of Soriana, and others.
December 1. Arrival of student caravans in Mexico City; March..
December 1. Takeovers in all states at strategic points for the economic functioning of the country—border crossings, ports, airports, news media. NATIONAL STRIKE UNTIL PEÑA NIETO FALLS.
September 30. Women’s March in support of #I Am 132 movement. Monumento a la Madre, DF, 10 am.
October 1. Takeover of Zócalo on World Homeless Day.
October 12. National mourning for foreign invasion of the country (from 1492 to the present)
October 14. Support for Caravan against Elba Ester Gordillo.
November 12. Takeover of the Agriculture Department, DF.
November 17 and 18. Indigenous and Campesino Congress. Pre Congress in the ENAH.
A total of 15 support statements were also issued, including one against the wind energy megaproject on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, specifically at Barra Santa Teresa, San Dionisio del Mar. A call goes out to the Convention to rally at the Monumento a la Madre in Mexico City at 12 noon in solidarity with the General Assembly of the people of San Dionisio del Mar.
The Provisional Coordinating Meeting of the National Convention against the Imposition will take place in the city of Tula, Hidalgo, on November 17-18, 2012.
And the Third National Convention against the Imposition will be held in Mexico City on December 2 and 3, 2012.
The Second National Convention against the Imposition closed with the Zapatista Anthem.
This post is also available in: Spanish