Public middle school English class in Georgia learns a little Tupac
The Zapatistas have sided with the teachers who are engaged in a massive and sometimes violent dispute with the Mexican government. The group released a statement, reprinted in full below. The Zapatistas are a militant group best known for their fight in Chiapas, Mexico. It is unclear if the Zapatistas plan on engaging in any militant actions on behalf of the community.
“Faced with the cowardly repressive attack suffered by the teachers and the community in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca—in which the Mexican state reminds us that this is a war on all—the peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation say to the dignified teachers that they are not alone, that we know that reason and truth are on their side, that the collective dignity from which they speak their resistance is unbreakable, and that this the principal weapon of those of us below.
We condemn the escalation of repression with which the neoliberal capitalist reform, supposedly about “education,” is being imposed across the entire country and principally in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, and Michoacán. With threats, persecutions, beatings, unjust imprisonments and now murders they try to break the dignity of the teachers in rebellion.”
The headlines are terrifying. The images are poignant. A battle in the street between teachers and cops has caught the world’s attention, but the story doesn’t begin there, nor is it likely to end there.
The protests that sprang up recently were triggered by a bizarre series of arrests made by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s President. The arrests targeted leaders of the teacher’s union. By most accounts, the charges are bogus or at least severely inflated. One of the union officials was arrested for stealing textbooks. Even in corruption prone Mexico, a black market for school textbooks has yet to show its face. Unsurprisingly, those arrested were also political opponents of Enrique Peña Nieto. The teacher’s union adamantly opposes the President’s reforms. The reforms are part of the President’s neoliberal campaign promises, and many in the union see them as a death blow to education in Mexico, particularly for the rural and indigenous communities. Some in the union are fearful of massive layoffs.