We Stand with the Teachers of Oaxaca
A Statement from New Democracy
June 16, 2006



In the early morning hours of June 14, armed federal and state police accompanied by helicopters dropping tear-gas grenades attacked an encampment of teachers in the center of Oaxaca, Mexico. According to news reports, after first being driven out of the town center, teachers armed themselves with rocks and sticks and fought back against the ferocious police assault. Conflicting reports of casualties range from 3 to 11 persons dead, including one child, with many injured or detained.
About 70,000 teachers Oaxaca state have been on strike since May 22 and thousands of them have been camping in the city center to press their demands for a pay raise, greater resources for poor schools, for school supplies and free school breakfasts, and for scholarships for children. The strike is taking place amid increasing state repression against workers and popular activists.
Today, June 16, thousands of teachers reportedly have retaken the zocalo, or central square, of Oaxaca, and have re-occupied their encampment. Apparently the police attacks have sparked a massive popular mobilization. According to one unconfirmed eyewitness report, “In the face of this barbaric repression, more protests have [been] sparked:10 Municipal Presidencies have been taken over, among which are Juchitán, Zimatlán, Huautla de Jiménez, Teotitlán de Flores Magón, Matías Romero, Huajuapan of Leon, Port Angel and Puerto Escondido. Farmers are marching in from Tuxtepec. Inhabitants of San Salvador Atenco make their way towards the State Capital. The future seems uncertain, but hope grows.”
The values and aspirations of teachers and families everywhere are the same: to see the healthy, secure, peaceful development of their students and children to the fullest of their abilities in an environment of mutual support and respect. Everywhere these values and aspirations are under attack: in Mexico, throughout Central and South America, in the United States and Canada, and across the globe. Everywhere too the forces driving these attacks are the same: the forces of corporate power, the forces of capitalist rapacity and repression.
Our young people have aspirations that the capitalist system can never fulfill and abilities and talents the system can never use. Our young people are under attack because the system must crush their aspirations and lay waste their abilities, lest they and their families and their teachers and working people everywhere perceive the simple truth: that our human potentialities far out strip the potentiality of a system built on inequality and greed. Everywhere the answer to our problems is the same: to overthrow the capitalist system and create a new world based on mutual support, equality, and true democracy.
We, the educators and other members of New Democracy, stand with the teachers and families of Oaxaca. Your fight is our fight. With your courage and persistence, you have struck a blow at the common enemy. You inspire us with your leadership. We call on teachers and parents and working people everywhere to support your struggle and to follow your lead.
We call on the Governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and on Presidente Vicente Fox Quesada, to cease these cowardly attacks on you and to grant your just demands.


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