[OPE-L] The Oaxaca Commune of 2006

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Nov 15 2006 - 21:26:41 EST

> Oaxaca’s APPO Forms Permanent Government, Announces
> Escalation of Resistance 3,000 Delegates Meet in the Midst of State
> Repression and Reorganize for the Struggle Ahead
> By Nancy Davies
> Commentary from Oaxaca
> November 14, 2006
> Three thousand Oaxaqueños responded to the first call of the
> Asamblea Popular de Pueblos de Oaxaca (Popular Assembly of the
> People’s of Oaxaca, or APPO) on Friday, November 10, to forge
> a new constitution for Oaxaca. The APPO sprang into life in
> the two days following the attempted eviction of
> striking teachers from their zocalo encampment on June 14,
> 2006. It has guided the social movement in Oaxaca since then, and
> now self-dissolves in favor of a permanent structure of
> government which includes an executive and legislative branch.
> The provisional directorship dissolved on formally
> initiating the work of the constitutive congress.
> The new organ is the State Council of the Popular
> Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (CEAPPO, in its Spanish
> initials). It consists of 260 representatives of all the seven
> regions of Oaxaca. Forty seats were assigned to the democratic
> teachers union. The CEAPPO also includes merchants, students,
> bus and taxi drivers, unions, women, non-governmental
> organizations, political parties and social groups. Honorific
> spaces were  reserved for the political prisoners. All members of
> CEAPPO have the same rights and obligations.
> Between 800 and 1000 (depending on sources)  delegates from
> neighborhoods and barricades, political and social
> organizations joined arrivals from the seven regions
> of the  state. Another 100 invited persons joined them,
> wearing yellow  guest badges. The sixty or so national and
> international press people who also showed up were not permitted into
> the working  sessions headed by members of APPO’s provisional
> directors, which include Flavio Sosa Villavicencio, Zenén Bravo
> Castellano, Rosendo Ramírez Sánchez and Marcos Leyva Madrid.
> Zenén Bravo was selected as president of the council. The men
> were nominated by a plenary, along with two vice-presidents
> and four recorders.
> The meetings were held in the auditorium of the
> Hotel Magesterio, which was also the venue for the meeting
> with Delegado Zero of the Other Campaign when the
> Zapatistas visited Oaxaca last February.
> CEAPPO has formed in the face of the extreme
> repression currently underway by the governor Ulises Ruiz
> Ortiz, who operates both through his PRI and paid henchmen and
> police in  civilian clothes. The spirit of the CEAPPO is
> revolutionary, in a pacific, democratic and humanistic stance which
> is openly anti neoliberal and based on the traditional people
> power shown in usos y costumbres (“uses and customs”), a
> method of  governing which is open and face to face. Ample
> provisions for recall of officials, referenda and plebiscites are
> included in  the form of the council.
> In content, CEAPPO supports economic social justice,
> equality of persons, respect for differences, respect for the
> rights of women, respect for indigenous people and their
> autonomy, and development in benefit of the peoples of Oaxaca with
> high concern for sustainability and renewable resources.
> The gathered constitutive congress met for three
> days. On Friday the work began on the registration of
> delegates from different organizations and community leaders, as
> well as  participants on the barricades which the APPO
> designed after June 17. Registration took the whole day Friday, and
> so little time was left for work sessions that the meting
> adjourned.
> At the initial meeting of the first night’s constitutive
> council, which was heavily dominated by men, the
> women present > protested vigorously. Ultimately it was decided that
> a minimum > of 30 percent of the permanent council will be
> women. The > sessions were all lively, with booing down of
> objectionable suggestions and cheers for good ones – participative
> democracy.
> On Saturday, some 600 delegates defined the statues, the
> declaration of principles and the program of action for the
> new body as well as electing the permanent directors who will
> function in a role akin to an executive department.
> Working Sunday and throughout the night, by dawn the
> congress had elaborated its new plan of action, which
> includes continuing the struggle to unseat the governor
> Ulises Ruiz. The departure of Ruiz is “not negotiable.”
> Activities were outlined, such as putting up more blockades, and
> renewing the mobile brigades. This has to take place within the
> uncertainty of the occupying forces of Federal Preventive Police
> (PFP),  who may or may not be withdrawn, and with the dirty
> war underway.
> The Oaxacan movement will also send a delegation to Mexico
> City on November 20 to participate in the protest of
> former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador,
> but only  as a symbolic expression of the struggle for
> democracy. The APPO also agreed to protest the inauguration of
> Felipe Calderon if URO doesn’t leave before December 1.
> At the first meeting, on Friday, the APPO  reiterated, “The
> conditions don’t exist for a return to classes.”
> Nevertheless,  about 70 percent of teachers are returning. Some
> remain in the encampment in Mexico DF. It is expected that returns
> will be  phased in during next week , with the avowed purpose
> of  teaching about what happened in Oaxaca and the
> popular movement. While URO remains in power, this maybe
> very dangerous work.
> While the congress was gathering for its first day  of
> meetings, the zocalo was occupied by the Federal
> Preventive Police, and the tourist area was occupied by the
> APPO and teachers who won’t return to classes while danger
> exists. During the time period of November 1 to November 10,
> about 49  students and APPO leaders were snatched off the
> street without warrants by men in civilian clothing who drove
> unmarked automobiles. Among the apprehended were two minors.
> Civil rights violations perpetrated by the government
> included entering private homes without warrant to arrest the
> highly visible people of the APPO and the teachers.
> Although Human Rights organizations demanded to know
> where and  who was being held, or an account for the dead, it
> was not offered.
> Seeking safety, the most visible of the APPO and
> teachers threatened asked for sanctuary within the church and
> were  granted it by the church official Wilfredo Meyran,
> who a day later was overridden by the bishop of Oaxaca, Jose
> Luis Chavez  Botello. The bishop, in a news conference, declared
> that the church was devoted to the kingdom of heaven and
> could not get  involved in earthly politics. Meyran is a long-time
> ally of former bishop of Chiapas Samuel Ruis, and appeared
> with him when Ruiz was in Oaxaca in support of the APPO.
> University classes were scheduled to resume on
> Monday, but many did not due to the violent conditions around
> the university campus. Some professors decided it wasn’t
> safe; some students made the same decision. At the same
> time, the static blocking of Radio Universidad continued, and
> the  blockade of University City was maintained, so that
> in effect the information coming from the APPO was
> unavailable. The radio broadcasters were unable to leave University
> City for fear of their lives, and remained, living inside the
> autonomous area.
> Radio Ciudadano, also known as Radio Patito,  continued
> broadcasting names of the movement adherents as well
> at those  of teachers, with suggestions to capture or harm
> them. This  station is generally regarded as supported by the
> PRI  government. The names of the Radio Universidad
> broadcasters are well known and have been made public. Human
> rights protests to prevent the pro-government station from
> issuing  threats have been ignored. By the end of the week,
> November  10, the Radio Universidad signal was completely
> blocked.
> At virtually the same time, a nationwide National
> Assembly,  modeled after the APPO, is being constructed. The
> national  convention of state delegates will take place in
> Mexico City on the 18th and 19th of November. It will analyze
> the national  situation, the actual situation of the member
> assemblies,  establish its own form and rules, and plan its
> national action. To date, about twelve states are expected to
> send  delegates to the Asamblea Popular de Pueblos de
> Mexico, the APPM.
> Although Ulises Ruiz in Oaxaca tries to portray in
> the  mainstream media that all is returning to normal
> (the PFP boys eat popsicles while standing on guard blocking entry
> to the  zocalo) my personal observation as your commentator
> is that the movement will remain active and resolute.

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