|English | Español||December 9, 2013 | Issue #40|
The Other Campaign is Growing in Oaxaca
Mexico’s Majority Indigenous State on the Verge of Subcomandante Marcos’ Arrival
By James Daria, RJ Maccani, Daniela Lima and Dul Santamaria
Ricardo Flores Magón, 1874-1922
Based in the capital, Oaxaca City (Valles Centrales Region), we are documenting the emergence of “The Other Campaign” in the weekly regional and statewide assemblies being held in preparation for the arrival of Delegate Zero and the Sixth Commission.
One of the poorest states in the country, Oaxaca is home to the largest number of ethnic groups and indigenous languages in the Mexican Republic. Ethnicity, land, education and repression are the foundational issues of the Oaxacan struggle. The Zapatistas, as well as the legacy of the Oaxacan Ricardo Flores Magón and other revolutionary figures, have been a key reference point for pueblos, organizations and individuals alike who struggle here to create alternatives to the existing social order.
From the indigenous and mestizo communities that still govern without political parties through their “usos y costumbres” to the queer “mux’e” communities of the isthmus, Oaxacan social movements have created varied forms of social struggle. It will be our attempt to relate to the readers how these forms of social, cultural and political organization contribute to and grow with “The Other Campaign.”
In the spirit of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the assemblies are attended by women and men, young and old, representing indigenous, campesino, and worker organizations, communist and socialist parties and fronts, anarchist collectives, neighborhood and women’s associations, student movements, independent media and community radio stations, queer rights groups as well as many people coming as individuals to build what they refer to as “La Otra.” And this is no easy task, friends, as we are watching not just those people with “different perspectives” but even rival organizations attempt to build this campaign together. Organizing to host Delegate Zero and the Sixth Commission of the EZLN from February 5th through 10th is the first piece of work that they must accomplish together.
To guide their work, this diverse band of Oaxacan organizers has made some basic agreements:
The Valles Centrales regional organizing assemblies for “La Otra” as well as the Oaxacan statewide meetings are being held weekly here in Oaxaca City. Hosted in the squatted building of the 70,000-member strong state teacher’s union, Section XXII, the Valles Centrales regional assemblies have been attracting between 60 to 70 organizers and the first Oaxacan statewide assembly was attended by over 90 organizers. Though they are reaching agreements, the work of building “La Otra” is no easy task with the average assembly lasting around five hours.
So here is the journey that Delegate Zero and the Sixth Commission will be taking through Oaxaca as agreed upon at the first Oaxacan statewide assembly of “La Otra”:
February 4th: transfer of the EZLN delegation from Veracruz into Oaxaca
February 5th: Tuxtepec (Cuenca del Papaloapan Region)
February 6th and 7th: Isthmus of Tehuantepec
February 8th: Sierra Madre
February 9th and 10th: Valles Centrales
February 11th: transfer of EZLN delegation from Oaxaca to Puebla
This schedule, which leaves out three of Oaxaca’s seven main regions (Costa, Mixteca, and Cañada), was not arrived at without acrimony. Yet the route was set based on the criteria that these were the regions represented in the statewide assembly with sufficient organization to ensure the safety of the EZLN delegation. Security is one of the main preoccupations of those responsible for receiving the delegation, as Oaxaca is considered one of the most repressive states in the country.
Although defeated in the federal elections of 2005, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) still rules in Oaxaca. Amidst charges of electoral fraud, PRI candidate Ulises Ruiz was imposed as governor last year with less than 20 percent of the electorate in favor. Governor Ruiz’s Oaxaca held 152 political prisoners in 2005, attacking with impunity anyone raising their voice against him. Without consultation and against the state constitution, Ruiz has moved the seat of executive power out of the capital city and outlawed demonstration or protest in the Zócalo (city center), where it used to reside. In spite of all this, we are happy to be the first to bring to you the news that, with the arrival of the Zapatistas on February 9th to Oaxaca City, those that are now building “La Otra” will be retaking the Zócalo and opening the stage for the “simple and humble who struggle” – here in Oaxaca, that is – to be heard. We’ll bring you the news as it happens… and sometimes before! Stay tuned!
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism