35,000 Oaxacan Teachers inician el Paro

 
El Dia de los Maestros, May 15, 2004, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion (SNTE) took up the streets and went on strike (el paro). Over 35, 000 Oaxacan public school teachers decided to go on strike to demand social, educational and economic reforms from the Mexican government. They are also demanding follow through on past promises (sounds familiar, doesn´t it?) Everywhere we turn, there are hundreds of people, of all ages, on the main streets of Oaxaca city, taking a stand against the privatization of education and social services.

Luckily enough, Fer and I were able to come to Oaxaca City at a time when energy is high and political turmoil is at its best. Below is a brief account of what is happening around here. We have plenty of pics of the Che and Zapata images and slogans the strikers have made so I´ll send them to you once I get back, many are amazingly artistic and righteously true.

El Dia de los Maestros, May 15, 2004, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion (SNTE) took up the streets and went on strike (el paro). Over 35, 000 Oaxacan public school teachers decided to go on strike to demand social, educational and economic reforms from the Mexican government. They are also demanding follow through on past promises (sounds familiar, doesn´t it?) Everywhere we turn, there are hundreds of people, of all ages, on the main streets of Oaxaca city, taking a stand against the privatization of education and social services. The teachers who are in huelga are employed by the public school system which encompasses the basic educational level (preschool, primary school and middle school) and some of the high school education.

There are about 70,000 teachers who belong to the SNTE, however, the ones who are here in Oaxaca City, the ones who are sleeping on the streets and using their bodies to block all the economic arteries into the city are the teachers who often work in indigenous and marginalized communities. These teachers are not from Oaxaca City, they live in the rural areas of the state and are the ones who most feel the disparities in education and in living standards. They are the ones sleeping outside, under huge blue tarps, they are the ones who can´t go home and shower or eat dinner in their homes at night. They are the ones sacrificing, along with other supporters, for the change that not only this state and country need, but changes that the U.S. also needs.

Edgar Alonzo Diaz, a teacher of 12-13 year old youth in the San Juan Lealao community, told us more about the conditions he and others want to change and are willing to take a stand for. Diaz described his teaching schedule, one where he would have to travel 7 hours by bus, walk 4 hours after that, and finally arrive his designated community to teach for 15 days. He would then go back to visit his family and return once again to repeat the same schedule over the year. Edgar talked about the lack of resources in the communities he has taught at, such as no electricity and running water. He also pointed out that most of the communities he has taught in have children who do not speak Spanish, they speak their maternal language which is often an indigenous language. ¨Como le puedes enseñar a un niño que 2 mas 2 son cuatro, si no puede entender Español,¨ Diaz stated. But above all, Diaz pointed out that being a teacher in communities like his are not just about teaching, but they are also about providing basic necessities to the youth such as food. ¨Sometimes the kids are not happy to see you because you are going to teach them, but they are happy to see you because you might have some cookies or food to give them,¨ Edgar said.

Overall, the strikers are very organized. During the days they send groups of strikers to block major economic entryways for the government such as: the local offices of the political party the PRI (including the treasury and finance offices), major centers of commercial shopping (Soriana, Sanborn´s, McDonald´s, Sams Club, Gigante and Sears), the quota highway (blocking them off so that the people who take the transportation fee are not able to collect it, thus all traffic traveling on this quota highway are able to access the city for free and the government is not seeing their money), blocking all possible gas stations and banks, and blocking all general highway access to the city.

Another interesting fact of their campaign and message is that they have and are refusing to go by the changes of the daylights savings time policy, a policy which they say Fox and others never asked the Mexican people’s opinion on. They believe that these changes in time, both in winter and in summer, are made to make the working people put in longer hours. As one of the strikers comically shared with us, ¨the gallo doesn´t care whether we are one hour behind or one hour ahead, it´s going to crow whenever it wants to crow.¨ They have basically kept their life schedule according to their own biological clock and have refused to abide by the daylights savings time rule since it´s inception five years ago.

Here is what some of the written materials say around here, put out by the strikers:

NUMERO UNO
Planton de la Dignidad
Delegación D-II-200

Pliego Petitorio Nacional

En lo Educativo
-el 12% del Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) a la educación (currently it is at a 7% level, I think in the U.S. system this would be the GDP or something like it)
-seguro de vida a los estudiantes en todos los niveles educativos
-dotación de paquetes de útiles escolares

En lo Laboral
-establecimiento de una mesa bipartita Secretaria de Educación Publica (SEP)-Coodinadora Nacional de Trabajo de la Educación (CNTE) para resolver la problemática de los trabajadores

En lo Normativo
-saneamiento, reordenamiento, y democratización de la administración educativa de la SEP

En la Seguridad Social
-creación de clínicas del ISSSTE en todos los municipios (Oaxaca currently has 570 municipios)

En lo Social
-rechazo al Impuesto del Valor Agregado (IVA), Privatización de la industria eléctrica y PEMEX
-reorientar la política económica y social

En lo Sindical
-respeto a la autonomía sindical
-desconocimiento de Elba Esther Gordillo del SNTE (she is known to be a teacher who works for the SNTE who has taken advantage of the sindicato, she is protected by the government and thus advocates for the interest of the government)

En la Politica
-alto a la repression de organizaciones socials y al pueblo en general
-libertad a los presos de la conciencia



NUMERO DOS
El Planteon de la Dignidad
D-II-200
Telesecundarias

Editorial

A La Opinon Publica
Al Pueblo en General

El gobierno muestra el estado de cerrazón para solucionar el problema del magisterio y del pueblo; por lo tanto seguimos en pie de lucha bloqueando las casetas que privatizaron los gobiernos prisitas, los grandes centros comerciales de los ricos como CHEDRAHUI, Plaza del Valle, Gigante, Sams Club, para presionar al gobierno hasta obtener una solucion.

Invitamos al pueblo a que se una a esta lucha combativa para obtener el respeto a nuestros derechos individuales y sociales.

¡Luchar, vencer, el pueblo al poder!
¡El IVA, el IVA, nos quita la comida!
¡Exigimos solucion, no queremos represión!

Atentamente, La Coordinadora Delegacional






Á LA OPINIÓN PUBLICA

Los maestros estamos plantados en la capital del Estado, ya el pielgo de demandas no ha sido resuelto por las autoridades, tanto Estatal como Nacional, por ello, hemos tenido que recurrir a estas acciones y presionar para que cumplan con los compromisos asumidos desde el ciclo anterior.

Realizando estas presiones, el Gobierno dará las respuestas positivas, ya que a ellos no les interesan los problemas del pueblo.

Invitamos al pueblo a que se organicen para exigir NO a la privatización de los servicios públicos, la Comision Federal de la Electricidad, y PEMEX.

Que quede claro que al no solucionar los problemas del pueblo y del magisterio, el gobierno muestra su desinteres hacia quienes lo eligieron y deberían de representar.

Atentamente, La Coordinadora Delegacional


(different segment)

¡Abajo las reformas estructurales¡

El neoliberismo es la doctrina para que el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI=IMF), el Banco Mundial (BM=World Bank), Organización Mundial del Commercio (OMC), y el Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLCAN=free trade agreement) se apropien de los recursos de los paises pobres.

En el planeta, con 6 mil millones de habitantes, 358 familias ricas tienen un ingreso mayor que 3 mil millones de habitantes.

En México, 75% de la población padece de pobreza y 800 mil se agregaron al desempleo bajo el ¨gobierno del cambio.¨

Ante ello, el gobierno ha aumentado los impuestos, intenta privatizar la CFE y PEMEX y los servicios de salud.

¡Abajo las reformas estructurales!
¡Si Fox pudiera, a Martha (his wife) la vendiera!

¡Rechazamos el gasto del dinero del pueblo en campañas inútiles de los partidos políticos!



(letrero, public sign)

Al Pueblo General

El magisterio democrático Oaxaqueño nos manifestamos por mejores condiciones de vida y de trabajo.

¡Por la defensa de la educación publica, laica, gratuita, científica, y popular!
¡Luchando unidos venceremos!

[article.email.prefix]: espe0028@umn.edu

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