Oaxaca: Solitary in Flames
The Democratic Revolution Party Isn’t Willing, Nor can it Mobilize, to Defend the Popular Movement in Oaxaca
By Adolfo Gilly
November 1, 2006
The entire structure of political organizations and institutionalized labor unions are, in spite of their differences, leaving Oaxaca in solitude during these crucial moments. No great social mobilizations have sprung up, like the ones that were started to stop the war against zapatismo in 1994, not like the mobilizations that arose against the Acteal massacre. The electoral routine, that is, the logic of the existing institutions, has taken over every social mobilization. There are a few declarations and a few protests, but no great mobilization of forces like the one organized in the electoral dispute.
The Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) is absorbed in the congressional aspect of the dispute. In Congress, the PRD voted in favor of the disappearance of power in Oaxaca and asked for a political trial. If that didn’t work, too bad, we saved our honor and we’re off for the extended weekend. All of the governors chosen by the PRD, including the one from the Federal District, signed next to Ulises Ruíz during the Conago (National Conference of Governors). The CND (the National Democratic Convention organized by Andrés Manuel López Obrador), a motive for so many illusions and bewilderments, has demonstrated its inexistence for all practical effects, except the vote recount.
The old pact between the PAN (National Action Party) and the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) has now mobilized in support of Ulises Ruíz and against the people of Oaxaca, making them responsible for fifteen deaths in Oaxaca so far. This has to uphold a repudiated governor and oppose a legitimate social movement of the people of Oaxaca. Now, they have imposed the PFP (Federal Preventive Police) and military soldiers dressed as PFP, another sign of their impotency and discredit, all to achieve political solutions as they were often achieved in the past.
The PRI-PAN pact is no novelty. It comes from the PAN’s foundation in 1939, as the legal inheritor of sinarquismo (a largely religious social movement in the 1920s and 1930s against what would later become the PRI) and of the political voice of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and of Mexican conservatives. This pact always came into action during crucial moments: the repression of the rail workers’ strike in 1959, the student movement of 1968, the dirty war of the 1970s, the neo-liberal restructuring begun in 1982, the 1988 voting fraud (with its sequel of hundreds of PRD members killed as well as others, since political resistance then was no joke), the burning of the certificates of the election in 1991, the disappearance of articles 27 and 130 of the constitution, the signing of NAFTA, the repression in Chiapas since 1994, the rupture of the San Andrés accords and the vote against the Cocopa law, the Fobaproa (the agreement to absorb the private bankers’ debt into public debt), the pact of buffoons where 360 congressmen of both parties voted in favor of stripping Andrés Manuel López Obrador of his political rights to become a presidential candidate (an initiative that didn’t prosper because of massive popular discontent), the refusal of recounting the votes in the 2006 election. The list is endless and without significant exceptions.
Today, the PRD, with both of its masks, the institutional one called the “Front to Extend Progress” and the pseudo-institutional mask called the “Democratic National Convention” isn’t willing, nor can it mobilize the popular forces that it assembled in the capital’s main square in September against the electoral fraud, to support Oaxaca and to repudiate the repression of the federal government. Fortunately, La Jornada and several other medias (including Indymedia, that already paid with the life of one of its reporters), in addition to the innumerable individual voices, preserve information, protest and create indignation (cheers Blanche, always there!). But their task isn’t, and can’t be, the organization of the movement. The task applies to those that were given fifteen million votes in July and that hold, as was confirmed, the right apparatus. But nothing is coming from that way. They simply repeat the same things they said about the Atenco repression.
The letter written by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, published Sunday October 29th in La Jornada, isn’t acceptable. He limits himself to denounce the actions of the police, the pact between the PAN and the PRI, and the “sinister and repressive” government of Ulises Ruíz. He declares that the governor’s resignation is the only possible solution and he reminds the readers that in the July election most oaxaqueños voted for him. That is it.
One would expect that the sequel to these affirmations would be to call for a large mobilization in the Federal District and in other places of the country in support of the oaxaqueño movement, against the murders of Ulises Ruíz’s paramilitaries and against the repression of the federal government. A call like this one, coming from a man that got fifteen million votes, would overfill the capital’s mains square and many other plazas around the country. A mere late accusation, as is written in his letter, is useless.
As I write these lines, Oaxaca is being occupied by federal forces that the PAN government has launched in defense of the murderous governor of the PRI. Today two more people have been killed. I don’t ask the leaders of the CND to mobilize their forces in the public squares and in the places of work and study of the country, first of all because I know they won’t, and secondly because they don’t have the influence to mobilize these forces. Neither do I ask the leader of the opposition, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, since his letter states that he doesn’t have the intention of doing so.
In the presence of the indignation and astonishment of the Mexican people, who once more contemplate how the repressive forces of the federal government attack a massive and legitimate popular movement and try to corner it and drive it to extremes and misbehavior; in the presence of protests, denunciations, mobilizations of popular support, human rights and other organizations – those not counted as major forces – the silence and the passivity of the large organizations leave Oaxaca standing alone, with its own forces, its own courage, its own ability to mobilize and its own and ancient organizational framework.
As in the unforgettable verse of the poet of Muerte sin fin (Death without end), Oaxaca is now the “solitude in flames.” The people of Oaxaca will leave this trial beaten up, but possibly more organized. Meanwhile, the vote collectors will have new occasions to remember other verses: “We are the ones who carry and we ride on the path / and everyone will get what they deserve.”
Translated from Spanish November 1
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