Sunday, June 01, 2008

The following news item is from the Lib Com board. There is some dispute about the meaning of this strike, and the reader is advised to consult the article at Lib Com for more details.
Mexico: teachers' strike spreads up the Pacific coast while Oaxaca cautiously holds firm
The annual teachers' strike in Oaxaca has been bolstered by solidarity strikes of other sections of the Sindicato Nacional de los Trabajadores en la Educación (SNTE) stretching up and down the Mexican Pacific coastline, while in Oaxaca itself, occupations and blockades continue apace in support. Most analysts however have already doomed the strike to failure.

On Friday 30th, the strike by the Oaxacan SNTE local (Sección 22, around whose strike coalesced the 2006 revolt) entered its 12th day, with more motorways blocked, more tollbooths closed down and more education buildings occupied throughout the state. Teachers have also managed to close down various shopping malls throughout Ciudad de Oaxaca itself, while the occupation of the Zócalo (central square) is maintained.

Encouragingly, the strike, supported since day one by SNTE members in the state of Michoacán, has also seen solidarity by other SNTE members in the states of Guerrero (directly to the north of Oaxaca) and Chiapas (directly to the south), although workers have now returned to classrooms in both states.

In Oaxaca, the SNTE strike is now an annual event, yet some of the teachers' demands (such as the democratization of the SNTE) are now being picked up by teachers in other parts of the country. In Tabasco, a caravan convoy of SNTE members has now departed for Mexico City, some 1500 km away.

In Oaxaca and Michoacán, responding to criticisms from some quarters which claim that the schoolchildren will lose out on their education, teachers have found various ways to avoid that scenario while maintaining industrial action. In Oaxaca, teachers have held 3 day long strikes each in rotation, depending on their region, with each region marching on the plantón (encampment) in the Zócalo of Cuidad de Oaxaca in order to relieve the last.

Meanwhile, the local government awaits the response of Sección 22 to their latest offer. The strike is still scheduled to run nine more days, but most seem to be relatively confident an agreement will be made before its official end. Indeed, the mood in Oaxaca seems to be relatively negative, with street vendors around the Zócalo and the proprietors of the plaza's various cafes and restaurants joining with the local government to condemn the strike and occupation. For most Oaxacans, the memories of 2006 are still too fresh to even consider this movement going any further.

An informative article about Oaxaca two years on from the revolt:

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