Tuesday, August 28, 2007

UPDATED - Insurgent Oaxaca: La Lucha Continúa

The struggle of the Teacher's Union and APPO (Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca) to oust the corrupt governor of Oaxaca State, and to construct a new, more justice social order, continues, despite serious repression.

In the summer of 2006, members of Section 22 of the Teacher's Union, other members of the working class, students, indigenous people, peasants and others, took control of much of Ciudad Oaxaca, and other parts of Oaxaca State, in an effort to oust the corrupt and brutal governor - Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. What had started as a teacher’s strike for better wages and improved funding for schools turned into a community wide rebellion and lead to the formation of APPO. As the working class of Oaxaca, in the face of government neglect and incompetence, took power into their own hands, a new future for the people of this long improvised part of Mexico seemed a real possibility. But by the fall of 2006, backed a federal government under the control of a illegitimate president, Ruiz and his thugs resumed control of the state by killing dozens and jailing many more. This past summer, the teacher’s and members of APPO returned to the streets to remind the governor they have not gone away.

During my visit in July, APPO was calling for a boycott of the "official Guelaguetza”. The Guelaguetza, a ancient tradition of the indigenous communities of Oaxaca, has been turned into a commercial, tourist orientated celebration by the state government – a celebration that few indigenous people can actually afford to attend. Last year, when the city was in the hands of the popular movement, a free peoples Guelaguetza was organized. This July, APPO organized the second peoples Guelaguetza, and called for a boycott of the commercial, government sponsored version.

During my visit, I interviewed documentary filmmaker and community radio activist, Jill Friedberg – producer of Granito de Arena, a film about the teacher’s movement in Oaxaca - about the current state of the popular struggle. You can listen to that interview here…

The photos you see here are mostly related to the Guelaguetza boycott campaign, including two marches and the political graffiti that covered almost every wall of central Ciudad Oaxaca...

Photobucket Album

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