Defend the Oaxaca Commune

October 29, 2006

Emergency declaration of the Trotskyist Faction for the Fourth International

Stop the repression

Out the Federal Police (PFP) and the Army

In the last few hours, the operation against the Oaxaca Commune has begun, with airplanes and helicopters over Oaxaca and hundreds of agents of the PFP ready to begin the repression, and the government of Vicente Fox has given the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) an ultimatum to abandon the barricades. Effective solidarity from the unions and political, social, and popular organizations is urgently needed to hold back the regime’s repressive attacks.

Over the last five months, the workers and poor people of Oaxaca have given us an example of how to fight against the capitalists’ governments: with hundreds of barricades and the teachers’ strike, and with the militant sit-in that they have kept up outside the Senate in Mexico City. An outstanding part of this is the hunger strike that twenty-one comrades have kept up, demonstrating their decision to fight for their demands to the end, with the most radical of methods. The government, the PAN [National Action Party, a neoliberal/clerical party], the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party, Mexico’s traditional capitalist party], and the institutions want to end the heroic Oaxaca Commune. They oppose Ulises Ruiz [Ortiz or URO, governor of Oaxaca state] resigning, since his resignation would be an example for the Mexican masses to follow.

Ending the struggle of the APPO and disbanding the Oaxaca commune has not been an easy task for the bourgeois parties: they did not want to accept the fall of URO, but neither did they want to risk widespread resistance against an eventual repression. The government and the Secretary of the Interior (SEGOB) have sought to break the movement with blackmail, provoking internal divisions between the teachers and the APPO, setting traps for them at the "negotiating" table that do not resolve the common demands. They are counting on the actions of the leadership of Rueda Pacheco [a teacher’s union leader] and collaborationist sectors of the APPO, which raised expectations for a deal with the senators and the Interior Department, and which in the last few weeks have pressured the APPO to accept the government’s promises and retreat in their struggle. Instead of promoting a program to develop, broaden, and strengthen Oaxaca’s struggle throughout the country, they put all their energy into trying to pass the proposals of the SEGOB!

Meanwhile, URO and his paramilitaries, emboldened by this political direction, unleashed one of the worst attacks that the movement has seen yet, taking the lives of an independent journalist, three comrades of the struggle, and abducting fifty prisoners during the violent day [Friday, October 27]. Now Carlos Abascal, secretary of the Interior, claiming a mandate from the deals made with the teachers’ union leadership, demands that all the "gangs" respect the "rule of law," while Fox has ordered the PFP into the state. Instead of declaring that the teachers should not return to classes until Ulises Ruiz resigns, Rueda Pacheco was in favor off a solution favorable to the government, which denied the central demand of the movement. It has to be stated clearly: Rueda Pacheco betrayed the struggle of the APPO, the heroic resistance of those maintaining the Commune’s barricades, and the dead who gave their lives for this struggle, and now Fox, URO, and the paramilitary groups are emboldened to attack and crush the Oaxaca Commune.

If the PFP enters Oaxaca and imposses a resolution to the conflict "from above," the government which follows will be just as repressive as, and a continuation of URO’s government, a corrupt administrator for the capitalists in Oaxaca. The beginning of the militarization and the policy of Abascal hope to demoralize and defeat the movement with a combination of "dialog" and repression. But the forces that sustain the Commune and the APPO are not the conciliationist union leaders, but the rank and file teachers, the women, the workers, the peasants and indigenous people who day by day have upheld the barricades, the occupied offices, the teacher’s strike, and the sit-in. The power and potential of the Oaxacan masses has its roots in them. This is the force on which we should depend to give a political alternative to the movement. In light of the current situation, we can’t negotiate anything while they are attacking and assassinating our comrades, while they have guns pointed at our heads: the rank and file of the APPO, the teachers, and the organizations must declare ourselves against negotiations while the attacks and threats of repression continue! Likewise we must demand the immediate release of our political prisoners, the return, alive, of the disappeared, and demand punishment of those responsible for the attacks on the barricades.

While the Interior Department props up URO, it falsely and hypocritically says that it wants a dialog: Abascal is accomplice of the attacks, while he orders the repression by the PFP to begin. We must mobilize and fight for the repressive forces to leave the state of Oaxaca immediately! Army and PFP, out of Oaxaca!

Despite the great willingness of the rank and file of the teachers to keep the strike going, the pressure of the leadership and the exhausting months have resulted in the imposition of the supposed return to classes. But the strike, as the hundreds of teachers who sustain it on their feet in struggle know, is a fundamental weapon and the spearhead of the struggle for URO to go. The strike cannot be abandoned; we are with the rank and file and their slogan "Teachers strike until URO falls!" Against the imminent repression which looms over our Oaxacan sisters and brothers, class solidarity becomes fundamentally important. Declarations are not enough. Up to now the unions which call themselves democratic or oppositional [those that are linked to the PRD, an alternative capitalist party], have not organized a strike in solidarity, nor any substantial action. What are the leaders of the SME [electrical workers’ union], the UNT [a union federation], and the CNTE [a teachers’ union] waiting for now to call for a strike? Are they waiting for more of our sisters and brothers to be massacred? Up to now the most important struggle of recent years has found itself isolated at the national level. The declarations of Marcos in support of Oaxaca are well received, but they do not call on the "Other Campaign" to mobilize for Oaxaca. All the organizations must call for the biggest possible mobilizations, to take to the streets in support of Oaxaca and prevent the struggle from being defeated. As part of this, the solidarity and support of the workers, students, and popular sectors at the international level is fundamental. The international organizations that call themselves socialist and revolutionary like the PSTU in Brazil, the PO, the MAS, and the MST’s in Argentina, the POR and the MST in Bolivia, El Militante and the PRT in Spain, the LCR, the LO, and the FLO in France, the SWP in England, the PCROL in Italy, among other groups and their respective international tendencies, must urgently launch a great campaign against the government’s repressive plans and in defense of the Oaxaca Commune, calling on the workers and the youth in every country to take this practical measure of international solidarity into their own hands.

For a government of the APPO and the organizations in struggle

To return to the direction of the last five months, we must fight for a policy different from that of Rueda Pacheco, the conciliatory sectors and the reformists, Proposing that the APPO and the rank and file teachers vote democratically for a program for the triumph of their demands and interests, and a new leadership up to task to the proposed struggle.

It is in this perspective that we of the LTS and the FT-CI propose a program, which in the first place would serve to fight for URO’s resignation and for the workers and poor people to establish a Provisional Government of the APPO and all others worker, peasant, and poor people’s organizations in struggle. In order to do this, the APPO should be transformed into an organization based on delegates elected in their communities, neighborhoods, and workplaces of the entire state, mandated and recallable by their constituents, in which all the steps to be taken are democratically discussed and decided. An organization that expresses with voice and vote those who are on the front lines that turned back the military-police occupation: the barricades and the self-defense units. This was the best way to frustrate the action of the most conciliatory sectors, submitting all the decisions to control and democratic discussion by the working class and the sectors in struggle.

Oaxaca’s struggle is part of a nationwide struggle against the capitalist government and institutions, towards the realization of a general strike that would deal a decisive blow to the current regime and open the way to the establishment of a government by the workers, peasants, and indigenous poor people, based on their organizations of direct democracy and on the expropriation of the expropriators, and which would begin a radical, socialist transformation of society. This is the first battle, and one of the lessons that the vanguard of the workers and poor people must draw is that we cannot allow the energy of the masses to be misdirected by leaderships that come from a reformist and conciliatory strategy, from a position of confidence in the institutions of the capitalist state. Therefore, we of LTS and the FT-CI believe that we must build a revolutionary workers’ party, based in the most conscious and advanced sectors of the working class and the militant youth, with a program and strategy to prepare to be an alternative leadership in the new battles to come.

- Long live the Oaxaca Commune!

- For the fullest international solidarity and support!

- No to the surrender of the APPO’s struggle!

- No negotiations as long as the paramilitary attacks and repression continue!

- Teachers’ strike until URO falls!

- Nationwide strike and mobilization in support of the APPO and against the threats of repression!

Trotskyist Faction for the Fourth International

October 28, 2006

The Trotskyist Faction for the Fourth International (FT-CI) is composed of the PTS (Workers’ Party for Socialism) of Argentina, the LTS (Workers’ League for Socialism) of Mexico, the LOR-CI (Revolutionary Workers’ League for the Fourth International) of Bolivia, the LER-QI (Revolutionary Strategy League) of Brazil, Clase contra Clase (Class against Class) of Chile, the JIR (Youth of the Revolutionary Left) of Venezuela, Clase contra Clase of Spain, and FT Europe.