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Self Organization and the Mexican Student Strike 

Left Voice member speaks about the massive 1999 Mexican student strike and the role of assemblies.

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Workers at the City University of New York (CUNY) are over one year without a contract. As the CUNY administration continues to advocate for austerity and threaten regressive measures regarding adjunct job security, the CUNY on Strike campaign – organized from within the CUNY union, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) — is escalating the fight for a fair contract. Amidst this struggle, the CUNY on Strike campaign is tasked with building strike readiness in a way that also builds a more democratic, rank-and-file union. To this end, CUNY on Strike invited Jimena Vergara to speak about the role of assemblies in the 1999 UNAM Strike, where over 300,000 students in Mexico City successfully stopped the implementation of unprecedented university fees. 

The democratic potential of the assembly lies in the way it invites workers, students, and community members to put forward politics, debate strategy and tactics publicly, and vote on how to move forward with the campaign. The dynamic, fluid nature of assembly leadership — which is consistently elected, re-elected, or recalled — ensures that any delegate structure remains representative of the rank and file. This disrupts the top-down, report-back approach of union bureaucracy, which robs the rank and file of becoming political actors in the practice of democratic decision-making. This shift is imperative to the democratization of the PSC union, and creates the conditions for the establishment of workers councils — a key component of international socialist revolution.

You can watch the full panel here: 

Intro
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Jimena Vergara

Jimena is an author of the collection "Mexico en Llamas" and lives and works in New York City.

Left Voice

Militant journalism, revolutionary politics.

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