End repression and militarization in Mexico
by Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment
(from Freedom Socialist newspaper, Vol. 39, No. 2, April-May 2018 http://www.socialism.com)
Since the beginning of 2018, the security forces of the Mexican state have launched a general offensive against the country’s social movements. Shortly before the end of 2017, the federal legislature approved the passage of the Internal Security Law (ISL) which beefed up the powers of the armed forces.
This law, for example, will now allow the Mexican military to occupy “zones of conflict,” displacing local authorities wherever “threats to internal security” are identified. With these powers the State can now not only intervene against the drug cartels but also repress legitimate social movements.
In 2006 when the Mexican state launched its “war on drug trafficking,” it freed the armed forces from the confines of their barracks. This situation has now been legalized with the passage of the Internal Security Law. Previously the Mexican army was mobilized as a last resort against political instability. Today it stands on the front line as part of the leadership of the state. The war against the drug cartels has been a complete failure. However, it has served to turn the armed forces into an increasingly powerful, independent force within the state apparatus.
Indigenous peoples and communities in various parts of Mexico, especially in the southern region of the country, have organized to resist the abuses of both the cartels and the military. The state of Guerrero is where the Community Police movement first arose.
Another headache for the government has been the protest movement of dissenting teachers of the National Coordination of Workers of Education (CNTE) against neo-liberal reforms of Mexico’s school system. Both movements reflect an outpouring of protest that threatens to become a widespread indigenous and popular rebellion in southern Mexico—a fact the Mexican state is fully aware of.
Once the Internal Security Law was approved, the armed forces prepared their offensive, not against the drug cartels, but against the social movements. In Guerrero, at the beginning of January, three Community Police were assassinated by the army and more than twenty members of the Community Police of Cacahuatepec were arrested. In addition, Marco Antonio Suástegui, the Cacahuatepec community leader of a struggle against the drive to displace indigenous communities from their land, was sent to prison on trumped up charges of murder after these assassinations occurred.
Suástegui is the leader of the movement that opposes the construction of a hydroelectric dam designed to benefit the tourist industry in Acapulco. Organized under the banner of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), this movement has been a shining example of the power of resistance by small communities against big capital.
In Oaxaca and Chiapas, on the other hand, harassment has increased against the most militant activists of the dissident teachers, among them Mario Martínez, a teachers’ union leader in Oaxaca and member of the Partido Obrero Socialista. Last October, the state police captured Martínez at the conclusion of a peaceful protest, and severely beat him in public. Then in January of this year, the police went to Martínez’s school to haul him off to jail. In both cases, his compañeras and compañeros and fellow teachers defended him. Thanks to this support, he remains free. Mario belongs to a new generation of indigenous wage earners, determined to carry the fight forward against neoliberal policies.
The Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR) wishes to express its opposition to the Internal Security Law and convey that it stands with the movements that are already suffering the consequences of this repressive measure.
At the same time, we denounce the U.S. government for its role in the militarization of Mexico, modeled on the failed anti-drug agenda promoted by Washington, D.C. CRIR opposes every form of state repression throughout our hemisphere.
CRIR also demands that the assassins of members of the CRAC-Community Police be investigated and punished, that Marco Antonio Suástegui be freed, and that the harassment of dissident teachers be ended. CRIR recognizes in Mario Martínez one of its most important members and will defend him with all its modest but combative forces.
Get in touch with CRIR via firstname.lastname@example.org. CRIR is an effort to bring together Trotskyist organizations of different countries to work jointly toward the foundation of a new socialist international. See: https://socialism.com/committee-revolutionary-international-regroupment-crir/ .