Once Again: Bloodbath, “Disappeared” Victims and Impunity
Mexico: Massacre in Iguala
Mobilization and Workers Revolution
Students from the teachers college of Ayotzinapa blocked a caravan of troops on the Autopista del Sol (the highway to the port and tourist center of Acapulco) on October 5, finally forcing it to leave.
PRI, PAN, PRD:
Murderous Parties of the Bourgeoisie
Forge a Workers Party That Fights For Socialist Revolution!
The following is a translation of a leaflet issued
by the Grupo Internacionalista/México.
In the early afternoon of Saturday, October 4, news dispatches from Guerrero began reporting the discovery of several mass graves on the outskirts of Iguala. As the hours passed, they reported finding first 9, then 20 and finally 28 charred and dismembered bodies in six pits. Many signs indicate that they may be some of the 43 students arrested by municipal police a week earlier. If it is confirmed that the missing Ayotzinapa normalistas were executed, it would be the worst slaughter of students in Mexico since the fateful 2 October 1968 [when hundreds were killed by army and police in the Tlatelolco Massacre].
The mass murder in Iguala is already news around the world. Calls for a “fair investigation” come from human rights organizations, the United Nations and even the United States government (which kills dozens daily in its occupation of Afghanistan and the war in Iraq and Syria). Against this official hypocrisy, relatives of the dead and missing Ayotzinapa students along with militant teachers of the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers (CNTE) have marches and nationwide strikes called for today, October 8. There will also be picketing internationally at Mexican consulates, one of them in New York where our comrades of the Internationalist Group/U.S. initiated an emergency protest on Sunday.
In these mobilizations it is critical to hold the Mexican government and its imperialist masters responsible for the crime of Iguala. The smokescreen about drug traffickers is only an attempt to wash the blood-soaked hands of the government, whereas it is the capitalist state that should be on trial. There have been up to 100,000 killed and many others missing in the “war on drugs” under the government of Felipe Calderón (PAN – the rightist National Action Party) and now Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI – the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party), on orders from the U.S. So long as capitalism persists, there will be bloodbaths, “disappearances” and impunity. Thus a class mobilization of working people against the bloodthirsty state of the bosses is urgently necessary, crippling key sectors of the economy and pointing toward socialist revolution.
Mexican president Peña Nieto sent in the National Gendarmerie (in black uniform, left), a new unit of the National Police, to patrol the city of Iguala together with army troops (olive green uniform, right), the same army responsible for the massacre in Tlatlaya at the end of May. (Above) Guarding city hall, October 6.
The murder of six people in the night and early morning hours of September 26-27 was only the prelude to the carnage. There are pictures of the missing students being transported in vehicles of the municipal police to the outskirts of the city. The official government version of Guerrero governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero (PRD – the supposedly “progressive” bourgeois Party of the Democratic Revolution), is that a kingpin of the drug cartel Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors), a certain “Chucky,” ordered the chief of police to apprehend Iguala students to deliver them to his henchmen, who then executed them. But whatever the role of the drug traffickers in the kidnapping and disappearance of the teachers college students, it should be underlined that the bourgeois state apparatus is directly responsible for what happened.
Why did this heinous crime occur? Initial versions accused the students of having “stolen” some buses to take them home, although it had been negotiated with the drivers. Then it was claimed that the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca Velázquez (also of the PRD), who has been “untraceable” since last week, considered it an unpardonable offense that the students had been collecting contributions in Iguala on the day his wife offered a “gala” event after reading her report as head of the local DIF (the government system for Integral Development of the Family). With his connections to drug trafficking and as a financier for Governor Aguirre, the fugitive mayor thought himself untouchable: last year he reportedly killed with his own hands three leaders of the peasant organization Emiliano Zapata People's Union, with total impunity. Even today, there are still no charges against the mayor for the massacre of September 26-27, according to the federal attorney general’s office (the PGR).
However, the responsibility does not lie solely with the murderous PRD mayor. The PRD governor began his term with the murder by the state (and federal) police of two students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college on the Autopista del Sol (the superhighway to Acapulco). He only had to apologize some time later. The same Aguirre Rivero was head of the state PRI organization in Guerrero in 1995 when the PRI government of Ruben Figuera Jr. massacred 17 peasants in Aguas Blancas. There were never any judicial consequences. Today many demonstrators demand the resignation of Aguirre, but the head of the national PRD, Carlos Navarrete, is opposed, because in that case one would have to oust several state governors. (The mayor of Iguala belonged to same tendency of the PRD – Los Chuchos– as Navarrete.)
Now the PRI president Enrique Peña Nieto has sent in the newly established National Gendarmerie (the body of the Federal Police which he announced with great fanfare at the beginning of his term) to patrol Iguala, along with the army. This is the same army whose members are responsible for the slaughter in Tlatlaya (in Mexico state) in late May, where it executed over a dozen “perps.” But the people of Guerrero have not welcomed the troops, which only promise more repression. Last Sunday (October 5), hundreds of supporters of the Federation of Socialist Peasant Students of Mexico (FECSM), which includes Ayotzinapa and all the rural teacher training institutes in the country, blocked a military convoy on the superhighway and forced it to turn back.
Whatever the immediate cause that triggered the bloodbath of Iguala, the rationale for the slaughter is the demonization of militant students and the commitment of the governments of all the parties to close the rural teacher training institutes. This is part of the privatization offensive against public education ordered by Washington and the global financial institutions. Today, this calamitous policy is being carried out in Mexico by Peña Nieto and his education secretary, Emilio Chuayffet, who was interior minister at the time of the massacre at Acteal in 1997. It should be noted that a lawsuit in the United States against former President Ernesto Zedillo for Acteal was recently rejected because the former president enjoyed “immunity.”
Rural teacher training institutes have been favorite targets of education “reformers,” who label them “nests of communists” or “Bolshevik kindergartens,” as was pointed out by the researcher Tanalís Padilla (La Jornada, 4 October). Their students have been persecuted and brutally suppressed for opposing the constant attempts to economically strangle or close their schools. Elba Esther Gordillo herself, the former “Secretary General for life” of the corporatist National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), an agency for police control of teachers, called for eliminating rural teacher training schools. At a seminar on “new education” this government-imposed “labor leader” who is responsible for hundreds of killings of teachers, said:
“We have raised many times that if the authorities close some of the rural teacher training institutes, there will be a lot of rioting by the youth. Don’t forget that these schools were seedbeds for guerrillas. But if we don’t do this, the same thing will keep on happening. “
–quoted by Luis Hernández Navarro, “Assault on the Rural Teacher Training Institutes”, La Jornada, 10 August 2010
From Rebellious Guerrero to Workers Revolution
Demonstrators outside the Mexican Consulate in New York denounce the “government of murder” over the massacre in Iguala, at emergency protest initiated by the Internationalsit Group/U.S., October 5.
Guerrero has long been the scene of militant mobilizations of “those at the bottom”1, and a vicious cycle of massacres, dirty war and repression by the “those at the top” – the capitalist ruling class. In the rugged Sierra Madre del Sur, isolated villages live as in previous generations from seasonal crops, which are often insufficient for subsistence. Indigenous communities of Nahua, Amuzgo, Mixtec and Tlapanec Indians scattered around in the Montaña region, along with major concentrations of Afro-Mexicans in the Costa Chica, have experienced centuries-old ethnic and linguistic oppression that continues to exist today. In recent years they have also been stalked by illegal loggers and murderous drug gangs.
“Guerrero ready to fight!” goes a popular chant in demonstrations in Mexico City. Indeed it is, and has been since the time of the guerrillas led by Genaro Vázquez Rojas (in the 1960s) and Lucio Cabañas (early ’70s), both graduates of Ayotzinapa. (Cabañas was also president of the FECSM.) Then came the insurgent peasants among the copra (coconut) and coffee growing regions, and the militant mobilizations by CETEG teachers (the local affiliate of the CNTE) and their allies in the teacher colleges. Last year, the CETEG started off the largest and longest teacher struggle in decades, although it was not backed up in time by other sections of the CNTE. However, each of these struggles has remained isolated from the power that actually has the ability to defeat the bloodthirsty capitalists: that of the urban working class.
The state has a remarkable revolutionary history, beginning with Vicente Guerrero, military commander in the war of independence from Mexico, born in Tixtla where the Ayotzinapa teacher institute is located, who became the first and only black president of Mexico (his parents were Afro-Mexican and indigenous) and carried out the abolition of slavery. Unfortunately, Vicente Guerrero also supported the Plan de Iguala which trumpeted the “union” of social classes and subordinated his insurgent army to the royal army of the future “emperor” Agustin de Iturbide. From then up to the installation of governments of the PRD made up of former PRI pols, class collaboration has undermined the rebelliousness of Guerrero. As in Salvador Allende’s Chile, “the people united” is a slogan for defeat. Our call is to Fight, Win, Workers to Power!
Today, it is evident that calling for “clean” investigations and demanding the resignation of a mayor, a governor or even the President of the Republic will not solve anything. The lament and anger of relatives and compañeros of the missing students, who angrily demand on their banners that “they were taken alive, we want them back alive,” will keep on being repeated. The weak Mexican bourgeoisie, subject to imperialism and confronting a powerful proletariat and poor peasantry, cannot do without bloody repression to maintain its rule. As noted by the great Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, founder of the Red Army and the Fourth International, in the imperialist epoch, in semi-colonial countries like Mexico a workers and peasants government is required to resolve the democratic tasks, initiating the international socialist revolution.
There are those who dream of taking to the hills and starting up the armed struggle as in the past. But as in the past, heroic gestures will not achieve victory, because peasants do not have the economic and social power and consistent class interest to overthrow capitalism. We have pointed out that the current “self-defense groups” of the Tierra Caliente of Michoacán are run by the employers, and the indigenous community police of Guerrero are controlled by Aguirre’s government. At the same time, we continue to demand freedom for Nestora Salgado and the community patrol members arrested for carrying arms. From the Zapatista uprising in 1994 to the teachers and popular uprising of Oaxaca in 2006, the lesson of recent years – and of three failed bourgeois-democratic revolutions – is that the next Mexican revolution will be a workers revolution, or it will not be.
It is necessary to break with the PRI, PAN and PRD, capitalist parties whose hands are stained with blood, and also with Morena, the movement of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, one of whose agents in Guerrero, the current state secretary of public health, Lázaro Mázon, is the main political godfather of José Luis Abarca, the murderous mayor of Iguala. We need to build a revolutionary leadership armed with the Trotskyist program of permanent revolution, to build the core of a Leninist workers party like the Bolsheviks in Russia, serving as tribune of the people by leading all the exploited and oppressed to the taking of power.
We send our message of proletarian solidarity from Mexico City (and Berlin and New York) to the battle-hardened teachers college students of Guerrero, to their comrades and parents: “We are with you, now and forever!” And let the governments of the day of the bourgeoisie know, both in Mexico and the United States and around the world, that their crimes will not escape the vigilance of the world working class. For the 2014 slaughter of Iguala like that of Mexico City on 2 October 1968, there will be no forgetting, no pardon ... Fight, win workers to power! ■
- 1. Los de abajo, a reference to the novel of that name by Mariano Azuela, written in 1915 at the time of the Mexican Revolution and translated into English as The Underdogs.