[Marxism] Mumia Abu-Jamal: The Road From Oaxaca

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 29 16:51:58 MST 2006

[Col. Writ. 11/9/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Several weeks ago, a long, dusty trail of thousands winded their way
from the southern city of Oaxaca, to the capital of Mexico City, some
800 kilometers (or over 250 miles) to support democracy, and demand the
removal of the governor, who got there through a stolen, and deeply
corrupt election.

The marchers, a motley crew of teachers, students, farmers, vendors, and
the like, made their tortuous way over mountain and valleys, through
slashing rains, blistering heat, and numbing cold, marching for 19 days,
to take their complaints to the seat of government.

The group, calling itself the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca
(or APPO, the Spanish acronym for Asemblea Popular del Pueblo de
Oaxaca), has rocked Mexico with its strong, principled insistence that
elections be truly fair and free of corruption, and that the will of the
People be heard.

I've actually been reading about the events in Oaxaca for several weeks,
and every time I read about them, I thought of  Americans, who quietly
accepted the corrupt elections of 2000, and of 2004, like lambs being
led to shishkabobs.

For, the stolen elections of 2000 in Florida, and later 2004 in Ohio,
have done unprecedented damage to the very notion of democracy, and
shattered the faith of millions in the electoral process.

The people of Oaxaca, braving not just the natural elements, but the
political ones as well, indeed, the terrorism of the 'instruments of the
state' (police and military violence), have proven by their march and
protests that true democracy is deeply important to the people.

The APPO, which has sparked resistance throughout Mexico City, and in
other parts of the country, has created a political crisis in the
nation, by its fervent demand for the removal of Oaxaca governor, Ulises
Ruiz, and the restoration of democracy.

The crisis arises from the fact that many of the country's political
parties are doing their damnedest to silence, derail, or intimidate the
people; for if they are successful (they fear) there will be two, three,
a dozen Oaxacas all across the country.

Oaxaca, although the poorest state in Mexico, and one with the largest
indigenous population, is inspiring people far and beyond its southern
Mexican borders.

The Oaxaca resistance was born in repression, when Governor Ruiz ordered
the police assault on the striking Oaxaca teachers' union in June.  The
teachers fought back, and within days, over 300,000 people gathered in a
mass march to support the union.  Out of that massive outpouring of
support came the APPO, the Popular Assembly.  The continuing crisis in
Mexico may push social forces to join the radicalizing efforts of the
APPO, or may open the door to the threatened terror of the 'instruments
of the state.'  To be frank, what began in repression may indeed end in
more repression; but that will not, nor could truly be the end.

That's because the forces that gave rise to APPO are still rumbling
barely beneath the surface, ready to emerge in another state, where
workers and the poor are struggling to resist the ravenous forces of

When the poor are treated poorly, when workers are poorly paid, the
conditions for resistance are already present.

And while the temptation of the State to use its brutal 'instruments'
may be strong, it's also very possible that it may spark more
resistance, deeper and broader.

Oaxaca is spreading like the wind, and the examples of popular and
indigenous resistance from Mexico, like the APPO, and the Zapatistas,
and various struggles from throughout Latin America, are spreading also.

The people of Oaxaca should be supported, not just with words, but with
similar organizing against flawed and corrupt elections, from folks all
over the world.

It should begin with the people of the U.S.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

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