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One Hundred Days Into the Oaxaca Commune


A Successful Assault on Power is
By Alberto Hijar

September 9, 2006
This report appears on the internet at

Brutal, forced globalization and the downfall of Soviet and European
socialism demand the deconstruction of historical power blocs. In Mexico,
the defeat of the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI in its Spanish
initials) forms part of the corporately legitimized political and economic
liquidation of the so-called welfare state. The Party of the Democratic
Revolution's (PRD's) losses, like those of the rest of the Euro-communist
nationalist and statist socialist leftist parties, are not absolute.
Rather, they are socially maintained by the hope of winning the Presidency
accompanied by corresponding parliamentarian, state, and municipal
representation, where grassroots social organizations faced with
unprincipled political backdoor maneuvering don't fit.

Politics of exclusivity, where a negotiator class operates on behalf of
the state with its back to the people, reduces the place of the people to
the identity offered by the leadership of nationalist state power.
Self-governing and autonomous popular power is reduced to marginality and

The historical bloc of statist leftists define themselves in the struggle.
They are the nationalist part essentially opposed to all organization of
popular power, substituting it with false representations because they
insist on preserving state power at all cost. Here we can see their filthy
alliances opposed to all criticism of their principles and that, in fact,
they are not leftists.

In any event, the Left, faced with the acute crisis of the Nation-State
(not only a crisis of government and not only in Mexico), is defined as
favoring the extinction of the capitalist state in order that the power of
a complete and inclusive nation might emerge. The current historical
phase, according to this strategy, is the construction of popular power
expanded from the power of the proletariat to include those without
traditional employment who are close to or integrated into the so-called
informal economy.

For the false Left deeply rooted in the state and in the defense of its
institutions, the people are passive subjects because they must remain
represented by the leaders. The assembly, the Democratic National
Convention, is a rite, a formality to legitimate those who don't make room
for the practice of popular sovereignty. It's about, in the end,
proclaiming a president in rebellion, or an acting president, or someone
in charge of the government, or provisional leadership, and assuming as a
strategy a personalized struggle accompanied by the unlikely coordination
of the interests of Congress members, senators, assembly persons,
governors, mayors, and the chief of the Government of Mexico City, who are
paradoxically considered legally elected. The contradiction in the
acceptance of one part of the electoral process would be left resolved in
strategic terms by the outside struggle coordinated with the struggle from
inside. What is necessary is a political party clear in its program, in
its strategy, and in its tactics, something that doesn't exist in Mexico.

The platform of the false left is one of nationalism that is close to the
monopolist imperialism of the state. They demand sovereignty in the
management of energy and land without acknowledging the corruption in
PEMEX and the Secretary of Energy. They have high hopes for public
services in compliance with the slogan "first the poor" (under state
control, of course) and at the same time, state reform in order to improve
the corrupt justice system, infringed workers' rights, and the devastated
countryside. But the practice proves a different tendency: like no one
else, the government of Lopez Obrador in Mexico City operated against the
most fundamental labor rights, just as those who have followed him have.
He handed over control of the historical downtown area (the Centro
Histo'rico) to Carlos Slim's corporations, while the popular culture was
subjected to fun diversion in order to attain the Zo'calo as territory of
the industry of spectacles, with massive televised concerts for CD
promotions and with an act of popular agitation here and there under the
control of the social climbers on the bandstand. Symbolism was all that
resulted from a grand march against the desafuero with clamoring
multitudes and brigades of PRD supporters demanding that they silence
their chants. Grassroots organizations were conspicuously absent from the
bandstand, and in their place were hot shots on the rebound from the PRI,
"statesmen" as they like to call themselves. La Jornada's eloquent
exaltation of spectacular figures like Jesusa Rodri'guez, Poniatowska, or
Taibo II makes us believe that the great nine-kilometer-long encampment on
el Paseo de la Reforma is boiling over with cultural activity. In the
presence of neighborhood musicians and the instrumental participation of
groups like the Coro de los Pejeviejitos (Choir of Lopez Obrador's Little
Old Men) is proof of the cultural workers who the Mexico City government
never support or acknowledged. This is owed to the need to contain the
popular organization within the limits of the so-called leadership's

To wait and hope for the disenchantment of the National Democratic
Convention attendees would be criminal. We would be shortsighted if we
though the non-conformists' unhappy consciousness was due to the electoral
fraud and nothing more. Starting now, and even before now, it is urgent
that we construct a genuinely sovereign popular power with a long-term
plan against the oppressor and repressor State. Take, for example,
Peoples' Front in Defense of the Land, which could have been the first
Caracol with its Juntas de Buen Gobierno in the outskirts of Mexico City.
The excessive repression hasn't merited the smallest commentary from the
Alliance for the Good of All (the electoral coalition led by the PRD) -
just the predictable renunciation of Convergencia (a small party that
formed part of the Alliance).

Not a single political party protested the Mexican Interior Secretary's
official congratulation to the murderous repressor of Atenco, Pe~a Nieto,
during the Meeting of Governors (presided over by Vincente Fox) in
recognition of the preservation of law and order. The same could be said
with respect to La'zaro Ca'rdenas Batel, who attacked the miners of SICARTSA
(the La'zaro Ca'rdenas Las Truchas Iron and Steel company) in the place
named after his own grandfather.

Neither does the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca seem to merit
the attention of Lo'pez Obrador supporters, despite the popular power that
was proven by the organization's ability to increase its strength in the
wake of the violent eviction attempt of June 14. The reinstallation of the
encampments, accompanied by the necessary self-defense and the
corresponding security measures, included the occupation of eleven
government offices and the Oaxaca Corporation of Radio and Television,
which was being used by the repudiated Gov. Ulises Ruiz for his
self-exonerating propaganda. This was the response to the attack by
paramilitaries protected by municipal and federal police that burned
buses, threw acid on Radio Universidad's equipment, and shot at
protestors, killing five so far. Now the radio stations La Ley and Oro are
communications media with open telephone lines to receive messages,
commentaries, and criticisms of the movement, which has grown in all of
Oaxaca with the occupation of city halls and local and regional
assemblies. Self-defense tactics have also grown accordingly.

Everything that the enemy privatizes and corrupts must be liberated and
socialized, just as has occurred with the Guelaguetza. What was once a
tourism business has been recuperated as the peasants' divinely titled
land, which calls the producers of all wealth, the workers, to join in the
fiesta that integrates work and pleasure.

The Other Campaign seems to be waiting on the sidelines until the lifeless
bodies of populist statism are taken away, when it will once again raise
the flags of the Left from below. But since the Indigenous Gathering in
Campeche, Delegate Zero has welcomed the APPO and asked that people not be
confused by the silence of those who are liberated from the State's
electoral times, but instead create liberatory times with new territories.
In any case, many adherents to the Other Campaign will be in the National
Democratic Convention, perhaps to denounce the expropriation of the name
given by the EZLN to a meeting held in Chiapas toward the end of 1994.
Since the condition of being adherents doesn't precisely define their
rights and obligations, and since there is no longer any civilian
Zapatista Front, each organization loyal to the Sixth Declaration will act
according to their own knowledge and understanding, creating a complex
relationship with the statist and institutionalist false left.

What is certain is that, in the face of a globalizing corporate rightwing
bloc that has chambers of commerce, monopolies, and cartels that are all
associated with the state (the administrator of maximum concentrated
profit), there is a need to act from now to December 1, when the rightist
puppet will take power amid blood, fire, and televised verbal diarrhea. It
will be necessary to cultivate, in turn, a national program of struggle
from Atenco, Oaxaca, the Other Campaign, the Popular Assembly of
Michoaca'n, and those that follow, workers against union charrismo [the
alliance of corrupt union leaders, bosses, and the state apparatus] and in
favor of workers councils exercising the sovereignty of the people
guaranteed in Article 39 of the Constitution ("...All public power comes
from the people, and it is instituted for their benefit. The people have,
at all times, the inalienable right to alter or modify the form of their

One hundred days into the Oaxaca Commune, a successful assault on power is
possible. The Paris Commune lasted fifty days in 1871, the same number
that the St. Petersburg Soviet lasted in 1905. Eurocentric revolutionaries
offer these events as the example to follow. Today its time to reclaim the
100 days of resistance in Oaxaca as the exemplary point of departure for
the constructive history and geography of the new richly complex and
inclusive nation. The great historical obstacle of the nation-state, still
maintaining the power of conviction, has begun its definitive collapse,
though not without demonstrating the danger of its last recourse: military
and police power along with disinformation broadcasted on the televisions,
radios, and newspapers. It is necessary to act accordingly, opposing the
sermon of the informe [the Mexican president's state-of-the-union speech]
with the information of a people in struggle.