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News :: International
The Power of the Oaxaca Commune
24 Sep 2006
The Power of the Oaxaca Commune

By: Andrés Aullet
Source: La Verdad Obrera Nº 205
Friday 22 September 2006

As this edition was closing, the failure of negotiations between the Interior Secretariat [Secretaría de Gobernación] and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca, APPO, was announced. At the same time, threats of repression, with direct intervention by the [militarized] Federal Preventive Police [PFP] are growing. As the power of the APPO grows, the fear by state and federal governments that the example of Oaxaca will spread, is growing. Declarations by Mouriño, chief of the presidential transition team for the fraudulent Felipe Calderón, prove this: "The subject of Oaxaca is different (from the PRD blockades in the capital), there has been violence there, there have been deaths there, there is an obvious challenge to the institutions there." Leaders of the APPO have pointed out that, although the solution by repression was not mentioned during negotiations, it could not be ruled out. Faced with the threat of repression, it is necessary to surround the heroic struggle of the workers and people of Oaxaca with solidarity.

Less than a century ago in southern Mexico, Emiliano Zapata established the Morelos Commune. Today a new Commune is rising in Oaxaca, in the framework of a profound crisis of the regime of alternating parties [régimen de la alternancia] and reminds us of the heroic gesture of the workers of the Paris Commune in 1871. Oaxaca marks the culminating point in the class struggle in the country, the most advanced revolutionary process in the region.

The Zócalo of the city of Oaxaca remains occupied and protected by the organizations of the APPO, that show much combativeness. The people read, comment on, and discuss the press, making blankets and banners. There is an atmosphere of much politicization and militancy, which has prevented the movement from declining or arriving at negotiations contrary to the demands of the APPO. While the federal government tries to revive the Ulises Ruiz Ortíz (URO) administration and the threats of possible repression, a dual power is beginning to extend through the whole state. The URO administration continues to crumble.

People begin to see the APPO as a real government

The power of the APPO is beginning to assume greater character as a popular political organ of decision and representation in the entire state. From distant villages and municipalities commissions arrive at the capital to hand over the founding documents of local Popular Assemblies, thus increasing initiatives toward self-organization and the multi-tendency front established by some union and popular organizations that form the APPO. At the same time, communities that have their own governments send greetings to the APPO in the city and demand the fall of URO. But they also arrive with problems and conflicts for the APPO decide as the government.

These elements of self-organization are beginning to become more extensive and to be expressed with greater clarity in the assemblies of neighborhoods that want to have a certain representation in the APPO, many assemblies until now with a common character. Transportation problems, conflicts between families, conflicts over safety and other conflicts, are explained to the APPO to seek a possible solution. In what it does, the APPO has become an incipient form of government with an embryonic administrative power. In their minds, the people Oaxaca are beginning to see the APPO as a real government, erected on popular bases and, because of that, support has become massive.

This heroic struggle brings up for discussion the seizure of power itself and how to solve the demands of the oppressed and exploited comprehensively. While the leaderships of the movement are seeking a negotiated solution with the federal government, the base of this struggle is making its mark by broadening dual power and diversifying support for the Oaxaca Commune, although it still has illusions in a solution negotiated with the federal government to declare the fall of URO.

While measures to pressure the federal government try to find an echo in sectors of the APPO leadership, that until now has continued to demand the exit of URO (although at the same time it is committed to promote measures to diminish tension), the base is reinforcing its position. In these moments, more city halls and highways have been seized, and paramilitaries are being driven back. What is happening is that federal and local governments are terrified and want to avoid at all costs that the people of Oaxaca should go forward in extending dual power.

"What happened in Atenco is not going to happen here"

Like the Paris Commune, the forces of the right and reaction are clamoring for an "energetic" solution that would return order and tranquility to the ruling class. The parties of the Oaxaca Congress approved a request to the Congress of the Union to send federal repressive forces to keep an eye on the situation and reestablish normalization.

There is a willingness of the people of Oaxaca to confront threats and repression if negotiations fail, since the Interior Secretariat wants and seeks to bring in the federal police forces with the agreement of a sector of the APPO, to "reestablish order." But the will of the people is seeking to turn its struggle into a mass struggle with popular support, that has not been broken, as its showed in confronting the paramilitaries and the death squadron. They say, "what happened to our comrades in Atenco is not going to happen here."

This was what the APPO assembly showed on September 19, where the leadership arrived with a proposal to comply with the "cooling-off measures" that the Interior Secretary proposed to the teachers’ leaders. The base indignantly rejected any agreement aiming at surrendering the movement; it even rejected the blackmail of repression that the leadership attempted.

This is why this struggle must be extended to a national level. And unions like the SME, the UNT and the CNTE must go on strike now, in solidarity with the APPO and the struggle of the people of Oaxaca, unifying the discontent against the fraud and the antidemocratic regime with the demands of workers and campesinos of the whole country.

*Translated by Workers News
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