State repression takes many forms and one of them is to present any form of organisation by the workers and peasants as being criminal or linked to guerrilla and terrorist organisations. As Trotsky said in Why Marxists oppose individual terrorism: "Our class enemies are in the habit of complaining about our terrorism. What they mean by this is rather unclear. They would like to label all the activities of the proletariat directed against the class enemy's interests as terrorism. The strike, in their eyes, is the principal method of terrorism. The threat of a strike, the organisation of strike pickets, an economic boycott of a slave-driving boss, a moral boycott of a traitor from our own ranks-all this and much more they call terrorism. If terrorism is understood in this way as any action inspiring fear in, or doing harm to, the enemy, then of course the entire class struggle is nothing but terrorism."
But the reason for these accusations in the case of Mexico is very clear: to try to prepare public opinion for state or paramilitary repression against known leaders of these organisations, something in which the Mexican state has a long history.
On August 22, Oaxaca State Attorney Lizbeth Caña, described the APPO (Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca) as an "urban guerrilla" rather than a "social organisation". This was a clear sign that the state apparatus had decided to fight against the APPO with the methods of counter-insurgency. In the course of the struggle of the teachers and workers in Oaxaca, a number of leading activists have already been assassinated, and groups of masked, well armed men have been used against the movement (in some cases, later to be found to be police officers). These are therefore not empty threats.
On August 25th, in his regular column in El Universal (one of the main Mexican newspapers), Raymundo Riva Palacio signed an article called "Guerrillas", in which he backed the slanderous allegations about the "guerrilla" character of the APPO, accusing it of being infiltrated by the Revolutionary Army of the People (EPR). He then added the Marxist Tendency "Militante" in his amalgam:
"Reality, however, backs up the accusation of the Oaxaca government that the problem they are facing is one of urban guerrillaism. The EPR has been joined by a number of tactical allies, like the revolutionary Trotskyist current which, through its mouthpiece El Militante, published on August 17th a text about ‘The struggle against fraud and the road of Oaxaca' where it denounces the ‘electoral fraud' allegedly commited by president Vicente Fox, and while supporting the resistance started by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, raises the need to increase the contradictions and the creation of ‘one, two, three Oaxacas'. This support for Lopez Obrador cannot be seen as passengers on the same boat, but rather as a tactical device by the guerrillas, taking advantage of the political conditions created by the candidate of the coalition For the Wellbeing of All [Lopez Obrador]" (http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/columnas/60018.html)
The article then goes on to describe the alleged activities of the EPR in Mexico City where Riva Palacio claims that it has infiltrated the massive tent camp organised to fight electoral fraud. He also makes the outlandish claim that the EPR "organised the failed road blockades around the University City". This is a well-targeted attack that should not be taken lightly. Only two organisations are mentioned in the article, the teachers' union in Oaxaca and the Marxist Tendency Militante.
The reference to the road blockades organised by the students' movement links this article to an earlier attack by El Universal against one of the leading student cadres of Militante. On 11 August, in a column signed by "journalists of El Universal" attacking the protests against electoral fraud, we read the following:
"It is striking to see the impunity with which the leader of this group of youth demanding a place in the UNAM moves. His name is Nahum Perez Monroy and it is known that he is linked to one of the tendencies within the PRD. He boasts about having political influence and likes to spend lavishly. Despite his wanted notoriety, the government's intelligence services say that they do not have a clear idea as to whose orders he is following". (http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/columnas/59687.html)
Nahum Perez is a leading student comrade of the Marxist Tendency Militante, and an elected leader of the Movement of Non-Admitted Students, which has been fighting in the last few weeks for more secondary students to be given access to the UNAM University. He is also a member of the Coordination of Committees of Struggle and Information Against Electoral Fraud (CLICFE), set up in Mexico City and other states around the country.
| Militante stall at the Zocalo square
The comrades from the Marxist Tendency Militante have replied to these attacks by reiterating that they have always disassociated themselves from the methods of individual terrorism and have always defended the methods of struggle of the working class: the mass mobilisation, the general strike and the organisation of the class into committees of struggle, strike pickets, etc. These are precisely the methods that have been used in Oaxaca and for which the APPO is being accused of "urban guerrillaism".
The comrades from Militante have argued within the movement against electoral fraud, for the need to call a 24-hour general strike and to make the National Democratic Convention called for 16 September into a genuine body of workers' power, and for the need to spread the insurrection in Oaxaca nationwide. All this work has been conducted openly, in mass meetings, at the tent camps, in the Zocalo square, in the neighbourhoods, in the schools and universities, in workplaces and trade union branches. These slogans are getting a wide echo amongst the hundreds of thousands and millions who are participating in the mass mobilisations of the last couple of months. A small indication of this is the massive increase in the circulation and regularity of "Militante", their paper, of which tens of thousands of copies have been distributed.
| Demonstration of the MENA students' movement
This is the real reason why they have been singled out for attack. And the attack does not come from one or two right wing journalists. El Universal is a serious organ of the ruling class in Mexico, which is at present extremely worried about the explosive revolutionary situation they are facing. If they attack "Militante" in its pages, then they are either doing so under instructions from the state or are giving the state instructions on whom to target.
Either way, the comrades have replied by redoubling their work in organising a revolutionary Marxist tendency in Mexico that can bring this mighty movement to victory.
We appeal to all revolutionary activists and organisations around the world to support the comrades of the Marxist Tendency Militante by doing the following:
- discussing the issue in their organisations and in the labour and trade union movement,
- passing resolutions in support of the struggle of the people of Oaxaca and the comrades of "Militante"
- protesting to the Mexican embassies around the world, making the Mexican government responsible for the well-being of the members of the APPO and of Militante
- On September 15 and 16 a mass mobilisation has been called in Mexico to declare a National Democratic Convention that would decide over the future of the country's political life. To show support we are appealing for the organisation of pickets of the Mexican embassies worldwide on either of these two days.
You can send messages to the following addresses:
- Raymundo Riva Palacio, El Universal
- La Jornada (progressive national newspaper) http://www.jornada.unam.mx/contacto/ (address your message to the Correo Ilustrado section)
- Secretaria de Gobernación del Gobierno de la Republica de México Secretario: Lic. Carlos M. Abascal Carranza
- List of Mexican Embassies around the world: http://directorio.gob.mx/www.php?categoria=417