This AWTWNS news packet for the week of 11 July 2016 contains two articles. They may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as they are credited.
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– Mexico: May the heroic spirit of Nochixtlan herald a liberating revolution!
– US: Building the movement for an actual revolution in Baton Rouge
Mexico: May the heroic spirit of Nochixtlan herald a liberating revolution!
11 July 2016. A World to Win News Service. Striking teachers and other people have continued to block roads connecting southern Mexico and the country’s capital. On 19 June, police and snipers opened fire in an assault on a protest barricade in Nochixtlan, a small town north of the capital city of Oaxaca. Since then teachers, students and many others have occupied the main square in that city. Teachers also blockaded streets, a shopping mall and train tracks in Michoacan, a state in western Mexico. On 1 July, teachers took action in the south, west, center and north of Mexico, including the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Chiapas and Nuevo Leon, and Mexico City.
The government claims that the 400 federal police and 200 state police sent to break the motorway barricade in Nochixtlan were unarmed and the shooting was by unknown snipers – actually, protestors themselves. Yet photos and video footage clearly shows police carrying guns, and, in at least one case, very clearly firing into the crowd, who nevertheless beat back the police attack for several hours. Snipers were reportedly posted on the rooftops of buildings at the entrance to the town. The use of snipers to simultaneously crush demonstrations and create confusion by pretending that the attacks came from protestors is a government tactic that has been infamous since the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968, when hundreds of Mexico City university students were gunned down in the beginning of what was called the “Dirty War” against the widespread radical upsurge of that decade.
Education and specifically rural education has been a crucial issue in Mexican society going back to the days when the country was dominated by Spain, feudal landlords and their all-powerful and soul-crushing Catholic Church. The current government of President Enrique Pena Nieto has adopted a plan to use exams to kick out many teachers, shrink the number of students and eliminate aspects of the country’s educational system rooted in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and later reforms. The government’s response to student and teacher defiant opposition has been to attack the teachers and their union, arresting its leadership several days before the 19 June blockades.
Teachers and especially rural teachers have often been in the forefront of rebellious opposition to the government. This is the second time in a decade that teachers have paralysed roads in Oaxaca. Rural teacher training schools, such as the Ayotzinapa teacher’s college in the neighbouring state of Guerrero, are attended by youth from indigenous peasant familes. Teachers and students have to build their own facilities and figure out how to fund them and feed themselves. Often they turn their schools into local sites of political ferment. In September 2014, in the town of Iquala, 43 Ayotzinapa students on a bus returning from a fund-raising protest were kidnapped by local police acting in coordination with the army and federal government, and never seen again.
Since then hundreds of thousands of people in many parts of the country have filled the streets and plazas demanding that the president and the government either produce the students or account for this crime. Last April, a prestigious international investigating committee declared that the government had thwarted its work through a combination of non-cooperation, attempted intimidation and retaliation meant to drive them out of the country. Evidence against the government, however, is continuing to mount. An analysis of the corpse of one of the kidnapped students’ classmates, one of six kidnapped the day before the others disappeared, and, unlike the others, later found, revealed that he had been tortured to death, according to a report released 11 July by the Mexican National Human Rights Commission. It said that he had 64 factures in his body, mainly his skull. The Ayotzinapa students are only a few of the tens of thousands of people declared to have disappeared during the last decade.
The following is from Aurora Roja, the Website of the Revolutionary Communist Organization (OCR), Mexico (aurora-roja.blogspot.com).
They are a bunch of damned murders! The State sent the federal and local police to smash the motorway blockades and resistance of the teachers and people of Nochixtlan, Hacienda Blanca and other towns in Oaxaca on 19 June in an attempt to teach a lesson to people nationwide: don’t you dare defy the system. Photos and videos taken that day in Nochixtlan and their metadata conclusively show that the police were carrying arms since early that morning and that they opened fire on the crowd from up close, as did snipers on a building rooftop, aiming to kill, leaving 12 people dead and 97 wounded. The authorities stopped ambulances from coming and blocked medical assistance. The police themselves set fire to vehicles on the motorway so that later they could blame the movement. These are new crimes by the murderer State that is trying to intimidate people who will no longer stand for the poverty and oppression imposed by this system, a system that has killed, tortured and disappeared people in Iguala, Tlatlaya, Apatzingán, Tanhuato and committed many other crimes.
We need to get organized for revolution, a liberating communist revolution that will smash this criminal State and put an end to this predominantly capitalist system that in the last few years has killed more than 150,000 people, and disappeared 30,000. Some 30,000 women have been murdered. Instead of this system driven by the need for maximum profits for a handful of people, at the cost of the poverty and oppression of the vast majority, we need a new socialist system that serves the people and the emancipation of humanity.
In Nochixtlan, the people fought heroically and chased off the murdering police. When the police first attacked, the small number of people at the barricades retreated and sounded the alarm. Thousands of people from nearby towns and small cities came to their rescue – women and men, teachers, students, youth, peasants, workers, shopkeepers and others. Armed with slingshots, stones and fireworks, they came to bravely stand up to the repressive forces of the State who were armed with assault rifles, handguns, tear gas and a helicopter. The heroism was amazing. Bullets and murder did not make them give way. This demonstrates the great revolutionary potential that is latent in the people.
Many people are sick and tired and angry, sentiments that are the result of the contradictions and outrages of this predominantly capitalist system that produces a handful of hugely rich capitalists and landowners and a majority of poor people. A patriarchal, male supremacist system that has given absolute impunity to the murderers and rapists of tens of thousands of women, a system based on the oppression, discrimination and plunder of indigenous peoples, homophobia and discrimination against LGBT and other differently-gendered people, the destruction of the environment and the barely disguised and disgusting collaboration between the oppressor government and organized crime. Usually people’s anger at these horrors is suppressed, hidden, because it finds no way to express itself. The great merit of today’s teachers’ struggle is that it has brought forward and brought together the struggle and rebellion of many other sections of the people across the country and even among Mexicans abroad. Now the government will try to use negotiations to trick and demobilize the people. We need to struggle to spread and strengthen the people’ protests and get organized right now for the coming revolution. History has demonstrated that this system and its representatives, even when they are forced to make concessions by the people’s struggle, will never stop exploiting, oppressing, torturing, killing and disappearing us.
The big capitalist media have told lie after lie – it has been really disgusting. They are trying to hide the proven truth, that the police were armed and opened fire on the people, trying to blame the people for their own deaths, defaming the teachers’ movement and inventing lies about so-called “radical infiltrators”. Every day the media shed great tears about how much money the big capitalists are losing because of the protests, and don’t even mention the people killed by the government. They don’t report that it was the police who burned the vehicles or that the authorities prevented the wounded from getting medical treatment, and threaten the people (including many local authorities) and radio stations and alternative media who support the movement.
Now the government and media come and tell us they are going to “investigate”. Of course they will – just like they “investigated” Ayotzinapa, Tlatlaya, Tlatelolco, Aguas Blancas, Acteal, Atenco and so many other massacres and blood crimes they committed with total impunity, crimes that they continue and will continue to commit until the people finally achieve justice by means of communist revolution. It has to be emphasized that these same media, rulers and so-called experts lying to us about the crimes of this system have also lied to us about communism. They tell us “communism is dead” because the end of capitalism terrifies them. Not only is communism not dead, it is advancing, learning from its past achievements and errors. There is a new communism, the new synthesis of communism by Bob Avakian, that is even more scientific, revolutionary and liberating. People need the truth to get free, and the truth has to be taken out to them about the criminal nature of this system and the real revolutionary solution.
The ruling class mass murderers preach to the people that they should avoid violence! After the Nochixtlan massacre, the head of the Employers’ Coordinating Council shamelessly declared, “It is unacceptable for any cause, no matter how just, to resort to violent and illegal means to exercise pressure.” Was he criticizing the State? No, he was praising the murdering police and attacking the movement for which the dead gave their lives. They consider it just fine when the ruling class and their state carry out massacres, torture and disappearances, but if the people so much as put up a barricade to defend themselves against the murdering police, they call this “illegal” and “violence”. What hypocrisy! Their whole system is based on death, on the exploitation and oppression of the great majority of people by a handful. It’s not enough for them that this system’s laws are dictated by the interests of the big capitalists and the imperialists, to protect the system and their property; even so they violate their own laws every day with extra-judicial executions, torture, corruption, their alliance with organized crime and so many other shameful things. It’s intolerable!
Faced with the endless violence, oppression and misery caused by this system, the only way out for the people is determined struggle and revolution. A real, liberating and triumphant revolution can’t be made through foolishness. It requires a scientific understanding of the problem and solution, and leadership, organization, preparation and deep ties with the people. If we don’t want our children and their children to have to suffer the same abuses and worse, until the possible extinction of humanity due to global warming and this system’s other crimes, now is the time for the people to prepare for revolution. This is why we call on you to get together with the Revolutionary Communist Organization of Mexico, get into the new synthesis of communism and be part of fighting the power and preparing the people for revolution. We need to struggle to build a real revolutionary communist party in Mexico that can embrace a wide range of protest, rebellion and dissent and channel it all as much as possible toward a liberating revolution and the emancipation of humanity.
The so-called educational “reform” is a completely reactionary counter-reform. Communist revolution will implement a critical, scientific, diverse and inspiring education. The educational “reform” imposed by imperialist organizations like the OECD and owners’ groups like “Mexico First” is part of a process meant to privatise the educational system, take away teachers’ rights, smash the democratic teachers’ movement, eliminate any critical or progressive aspect of the curriculum and, for the great majority of people, reduce education to preparations to take stupid multiple choice exams. In contrast, as pointed out in the pamphlet A Liberating Revolution, after today’s oppressive system is overthrown, “The educational system will be transformed from top to bottom, providing a scientific and interesting content that will awaken students’ desire to know and change the world we live in and explore the richness of cultures and human knowledge… Students and teachers will no longer be treated as if they were the enemy, with rigid exams and evaluations that discriminate against indigenous people, the poor and women. Instead, students and teachers will be encouraged to cooperate to improve teaching and learning… There will be a transformation of the policies and social and structural factors that close the doors to a decent education for the vast majority of poor and indigenous people.”
US: Building the movement for an actual revolution in Baton Rouge
11 July 2016. A World to Win News Service. Many thousands of people hit the streets in protest in cities and towns across the US after the police murders of two Black men, one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the other in St Paul, Minnesota, the latest of the more than 500 people killed by police so far this year. In Baton Rouge on 5 July police grabbed Alton Sterling, who was selling CDs on the street. They held him down on the pavement, shocked him with an electric Taser and then shot him dead. In St Paul, Philando Castile, who was driving with his girlfriend and her four-year old daughter, was stopped for having a broken tail light on his car. When he reached for his driving license as ordered, police shot him several times. His mother called his killing part of a “silent war against Black people”. Police have been killing about a thousand people a year in the last years, almost always with impunity.
As Revolution, the newspaper and Web site of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA put it, “Despite an incident in Dallas in which five police were killed, this protest must continue and intensify and people continue to seek the cause of the problem and its solution… This chronic police murder comes on top of centuries of the wanton murder of Black people by the official armed forces of the state, by mobs of backward racist white people, and by white individuals – all of which has gone almost totally unpunished. Go back to the slave catchers. Go back to the Ku Klux Klan. Go back to the racist white mobs that drove Black people out of ‘white neighbourhoods’, beating them and sometimes killing them, and not just one or two but dozens and scores and even hundreds at a time. Go back to the lynch mobs and the ‘strange fruit’ [bodies hanging from trees]. Go back to the killings of those who had committed the ‘crimes’ of trying to register Black people to vote, or the ‘crime’ of going to Sunday school while you were a Black 14-year-old girl in Birmingham. Black lives have never mattered to this white supremacist system, except as a means to amass the much vaunted wealth of this capitalist-imperialist, gold-plated hellhole. As BA [RCP Chairman Bob Avakian] has said, ‘There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.’… This violence in turn is part of something larger – an empire, a whole system, which imprisons, drives from their homes, maims, and kills incredible numbers of people” [all over the world]. (See A Point of Orientation for Right Now, revcom.us.)
Resistance continued in many cities throughout the weekend following the murders of Sterling and Castille. Many hundreds of people were arrested as they marched on government buildings and blocked intersections and motorways. “In Baton Rouge, hundreds of people – overwhelmingly Black youth – grouped and regrouped in their repeated efforts to take over Airline Avenue in the face of a heavy, aggressive, and heavily armed police presence,” according to Revolution. “Over 100 people were arrested before the night was over; police brought out armoured personnel carriers and carried automatic weapons; they pointed guns in the faces of angry crowds who tried to prevent fellow protesters from being dragged away. But the people were not cowed or intimidated.” Following is a 10 July Revolution interview with Carl Dix, spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), USA and co-founder, along with Cornel West, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.
Q: How is building the movement for an actual revolution going?
A: The revolutionaries are out in the streets, out among the masses, bringing them the message that this horror is built into the fabric of the system. We’ve been coming off of Bob Avakian’s quote about the role of the police: “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.”
And we are challenging anybody to look at those videos of the murder of Alton Sterling and the aftermath of the murder of Philando Castile and challenge the truth of that statement on the role of the police.
We were at, and part of, a march today that was organized by high school students in Baton Rouge to the State Capitol (which is in Baton Rouge). The march drew out hundreds of people. As people were gathering we took out the loudspeaker and I began to speak on that point and saying that this tells us the role of police and it tells us that this horror, that’s concentrated by these two incidents, these two murders – but is actually in the context of police getting away with murder again and again and again. And this takes us back to the history of centuries of savage oppression – from the slave chasers to the lynch mobs to the police today. That this horror is built into the fabric of the system. And the way to end it and all the other horrors is to make revolution, overthrow this system and bring in to being a totally different and far better system, and that we in the Revolutionary Communist Party are organizing right now for an actual revolution. I was also able to speak to the leadership that we have for this revolution, in Bob Avakian. And that people need to go to the Website revcom.us. After that, several people from the Revolution Club spoke. And we kind of opened the thing up.
And it was actually very interesting – a couple hundred people gathered around and listened eagerly. And I wound my part up with saying you gotta get a copy of this Message from the leadership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, “Time to Get Organized for an Actual Revolution” [text at revcom.us]. And then I said to people, “Hold up that message.” We had a few people out there distributing it and they held it up. People started going to them to get it.
And then some of the mentors of the high school students who had organized this were saying, you don’t want to steal their thunder. They were telling us, this is a high school students’ event and you shouldn’t be trying to take it over, etc. etc… But then even this divided up because one of the mentors came up to me and began telling me that – and I said well, we’re not trying to take it over, but first off, I’m Carl Dix. And she goes, “Ooooh, I’m a fan!” As it turned out, two of the high school students that she had been mentoring had interviewed me at Louisiana State University. That was on the day we got into town and we went to a meeting of a couple of hundred students. We went to the meeting and then afterwards these high school students interviewed me and they were really excited by what they heard and by getting the Message from the Central Committee and they had this woman excited. So she was like, “Oh, that’s who you are, I’m a fan, I’m excited to meet you.”
There’s also this thing of different kinds of people in motion around this murder. All of the speakers at the formal rally were high schoolers. They had told us that at the beginning as part of telling us that I wasn’t going to be allowed to speak. And we thought maybe that’s true, but maybe that’s the way to say, we’re not going to let you speak. It turned out that all of the speakers were high school students. And there was talk about the main thing is you gotta vote, that kind of stuff. But at the same time people were talking about dreaming about a world where this doesn’t happen. And there was a poem about how terrified people are, but also how that terror has motivated them to act because this has gotta stop. So there were a lot of very good expressions from the stage.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about their dreaming of a world where this didn’t happen?
A: Dreaming of a world where this kind of stuff doesn’t happen — referring to the murder of Alton Sterling. So there were different ideas in people’s minds and people are waking up to stuff and grappling with what it’s gonna take. And expressing some things that aren’t gonna to do anything about it, but aspiring to do something about it. It’s a very fertile scene.
This march also brought out a lot of college students, a lot of professional people, and it was very multinational. There were whole lot of Black people, but also a good number of white people, people of other nationalities; there were professional people here. It very much was a diversity of people, coming out to stand against this murder.
It isn’t yet the case that these kinds of people have connected with the people from the base who are out at the site of the murder and down at the police station in the face of the cops around the murder. But they were marching. They are still in motion. People have not been swept aside by the way that the events in Dallas are being used. That’s something that’s pretty evident in everything that’s happened since Dallas.
Q: So let’s go to the resistance. How is that going? The world has seen on TV how police there are aiming rifles, shotguns, pistols at people for demanding justice.
A: Yeah, exactly. I remember being out in the midst of the youth, standing up Friday night at the police station. There was the battle between some of the “responsible leaders”, including people who are actually quite close to the youth. At one point a guy who said he was a principal pointed into the crowd and said, “I see a lot of my students here.” And a lot of people were nodding their heads, like, “Yeah, I am one of your students.” They had a coach get up there and talk about he cared about all of these young people and that’s why he wanted them to go home because the police were gonna f- em up if they didn’t go home and all of this. But then a lot of the youth started saying, “The police are already fucking us up. Us going home ain’t gonna stop that. That’s why we’re here. We’re tired of that and we’re not gonna take it anymore.” And these more defiant youth weathered that storm of all the entreaties and pleas, plus the intimidation to get them out of the scene. They stayed in the street, blocked traffic, and 30 of them ended up being arrested.
Then about 50 people came back the next day. And it was put on TV. At first, it was just these couple dozen people. And within an hour or two it was like 700 people. And we were out at it and we asked people, what brought you out here? And all kinds of people said, I saw on TV that there was people out here. And that’s an expression of the mood: that when people see that there’s somebody out there doing something, they want to connect up with it, they want to run and rush and be a part of it.
And there is a great degree of openness to the message of the revolution. I mean we came down with 2,000 Messages and we had to re-order because we were out of them. We had to get thousands more down here. People want to get it. A number of them have wanted to connect with the revolution but they also need to know what the revolution is. We’ve been working at bringing that out to people and engaging people. Much more needs to be done on that front and can be done.
Q: What about the dimension of peoples’ response to there being a leader, BA, who has dared to identify and beyond that actually answer what it says in the Message: “BA has developed answers to why this system can’t be reformed… how revolutionary forces could grow from weak to strong, and actually defeat the enemy… how people could then build a new society on the road to emancipating humanity throughout the world… and how to wage the struggles of today to reach that goal. BA’s leadership is a huge strength for the revolution: to follow, to learn from, to defend.”
A: It starts with nobody knowing who he is. But also, mainly, OK, so, who is he? What does he have to say? What has he done? And people are interested in hearing about BAsics. We’ve been doing some BAsics quotes, we need to do much more of that.
And we’ve been emphasizing the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which was written by BA. And we’ve been using this thing about how after the revolution people will not be shooting down people – people will no longer be shooting down Black people because we will have defeated these police departments, broken them up and the new public security force would operate on totally different principles — would sooner lose or risk their own lives than kill or injure innocent people. And we trace that to the BA quote that’s in BAsics around Tyisha Miller, we point people to the Constitution.
Q: Is there anything to add in terms of who’s coming forward? You were describing different ways and different levels in which people are coming forward. What’s the mix out there? Seems like a lot of those who catch the most hell every day under this system are in the streets at night. But from what you’re saying, others are taking a stand there as well
A: It shifts a little bit with different activity. Here, this march today, that went to the state capitol building, there was a good representation of white people. I was struck by the diversity of it. This is the march that was called for by the high school students and some college students took it up as well. There were professional people. Three bus loads of people came from New Orleans. There were hundreds of people. Now the thing at night, it is largely Black, maybe overwhelmingly Black. It’s not like there aren’t any white people. There have been some Black college students who have come out. A Black fraternity came out last night to the protest in front of the police station. And it was significant when they came – they came out at 11 PM because they saw it on TV. And what they saw was a confrontation that was a scene of largely basic masses facing off with the police. And this college fraternity, about half a dozen of their members, they came out sporting their fraternity T-shirts. We saw some students from Southern University (Baton Rouge) and from LSU (whose main campus is in Baton Rouge). They were out the night before — again with the confrontation with the police. So there is some mixing.
Q: Let’s go back to what questions do you see people being up against?
A: In a very real sense people are up against a lot of different ways that they should not confront the system over this. There’s the view that don’t do it because it’s not safe. I mean the high school students got told straight up, you don’t want to do anything, because they were going to march to the police station and they got told, don’t do that because you could end up in the same kind of situation as Alton Sterling ended up, so back away from that. That’s also something that people were told at the police station.
And like I said, there’s a very vocal section, of mostly young Black people, but some older Black people as well, who are like, “They are already coming after us.” A lot of the people who are most vocal have been young Black women. When we started with the speak-out down at the police headquarters, I spoke, a couple of people from the Revolution Club spoke, and then we began to offer the microphone to other people. And the most eager takers were some of the young Black women who were there.
It was really striking, the way in which people spoke of their fear of what the police murder of Alton Sterling meant for them, for their children, for their brothers, for their fathers. But it was interesting to see the way in which their fear motivated them to act as opposed to fear paralysing them. It was pretty striking. And one of the things that I think we should do, because a lot of those vocal young Black women signed up that they wanted to find out about the revolution and get connected up with the revolution – we should interview them. That’s one of the things that we have to do more, actually connect with, and talk to some of these people more about what they’re thinking.
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