- Published: 12 January 2017 12 January 2017
By Florentino Lopez Martinez
President, Popular Revolutionary Front (Mexico)
ILPS Vice Chairperson for External Affairs
On 16 September, the end of the sit-in held by the Teachers in Section 7 and 40 of the CNTE ( Coordinating Committee of the National Education Workers), in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, closed a stage of the class struggle launched by the education workers against the privatization of education. The CNTE dealt a major blow to the educational policy of the financial oligarchy by staging the 124-day National Teachers' Strike. The educational counter-reform was struck to the heart.
At the end of the teachers’ strike, followed by 3 months and 15 days of calm, the dispersion wanted to be present among the democratic, progressive and revolutionary sectors of the country, the spaces of the union of the workers, peasants and people were influenced by this dynamics, but they managed to persist and reassemble, proposing a minimum action plan to start the year. That plan is what we now have as National Day of Organization and Mobilization, which begins on January 17 with an anti-Trump forum at the Telephone Workers' Union in Tijuana, BC . It will be followed by the day of protests on the 20th, day of inauguration of Donald Trump. On January 26, the XXVIIIth Day for Ayotzinapa and the National Day of Mobilization on January 31. This small phase will be closed with united events of February 5 in the framework of the Centenary of the Constitution of 1917.
The announced plan would not be different from a series of mobilizations carried out by various organizations every beginning of the year, if it does not find connection with the great social outbreak that has meant the fight against the rise of prices, that is stirring the foundations of rough and proletarian Mexico.
Because of the subjection of the economy to the dependence of the Yankee imperialism through structural reforms, and in particular the energy reform, since January 1 the Mexican people have to face two lethal economic blows: the increase of the prices of gasoline, gas for domestic use and electricity and at the same time, an abysmal depreciation of the Mexican peso against the dollar, as a result of a national-fascist shift in US policy with the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of US in the coming days. These two blows are leading to an endless spiral of rising living cost.
At the same time, since January 1st, a scenario of spontaneous and legitimate mobilizations of the popular masses has been taking place throughout the country, involving all the strata of the petty bourgeoisie that inevitably tends to proletarianize itself and important sectors of the middle bourgeoisie. What has generated a great explosiveness, the mobilization has been taking a character of popular uprising or revolt in several places, Ixmiquilpan and Rosarito, are inscribed in this context.
Ixmiquilpan is a municipality located in the region of the Valley of the Mexquital, of the central state of Hidalgo. Currently it is ruled by the PRI. Previously, the popular sectors had not been able to mobilize strongly in the recent struggles of the Mexican people. But now that repressed inconformity broke out. It is firm, shocking and combative.
The actions began with the occupation of the gas stations, the closing of the main commercial chains: Chedrahui, Copel, Oxxo, etc., the sealing of the bank branches. The people joined massively, the actions became heated, the roads were blocked, among them, the one from Mexico to Laredo, the gasoline pipes were stopped and the fuel distributed to the population. Of all the actions taking place in the country, as of January 4, those of the Mexquital Valley became the most dangerous for the Mexican State.
On Thursday, January 5, the government of Peña Nieto wanted to show Mexico and the world its true response to the widespread discontent. He sent the federal police armed to the teeth to drown that uprising in blood. The popular response was intensified and in the face of the fury of the popular masses, the repressive forces, which were joined by municipal police, state police and the Mexican Army were terrified and fled, leaving behind the equipment and the wounded.
As a result of the police and military violence, two young people were killed, Alfredo Pérez and Alan Giovani Gutiérrez, and thousands were injured . Thus the people of Ixmiquilpan gave an example to be learned by the working class and the people. An example that extends to the imposition by the popular assemblies, a series of decisions not to raise the price of the basic products and avoiding its shortage in the municipalities of Tepatepec and Francisco I. Madero.
Rosarito, a town located a few miles from Los Angeles, California, also joined in this wave of protests. In spite of its inexperience in the popular battles, a call was launched to get together around the PEMEX distribution station, located on the side of the transpeninsular highway, which connects the three parts of California (North, South and United States).
The Mexican State, pretending to be unaware of the atrocities and plunder it has ordered to be carried out in the central area of the country (Puebla, Mexico City and State of Mexico), preferred to use its police forces to unleash another bloody repression against the Rosarian people on Saturday 7 January. Everything began with the landing of a Hercules plane in the airport of Tijuana in the morning. The airplane transported a large group of Federal Police, who, with the support of state and municipal police, tried the whole day to drive the demonstrators back. The demonstrators refused to disengage. On the contrary, the answer was to reinforce the closing of the highway. That unleashed the anger of the fascists, who tried to provoke by using a van to trample some police.
Immediately after the attack of tear gas and police raid, there were more than 70 detainees and beaten journalists. It was another example of the solution of national discontent which Peña Nieto intended to impose. The people of Rosarito gained more strength from within themselves and maintained the protest. They managed to mobilize important sectors of Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate, Ensenada and the laborers of San Quintin. By turning the whole region upside down they forced the Yankees to momentarily close the custom house in the area that connects with Mexico.
Rosarito and Ixmiquilpan, without doubt, are the two examples to follow in the struggle against the rise in prices. If the CNTE managed to throw down the educational counter-reform by staging a National Strike, now from the Mexquital Valley to the northern region, passing through the whole national territory, we have to bury the energy reform and afterward throw away all structural reforms and their defenders. The crux of the matter is to connect through all the threads this struggle with the one of the fathers of the 43, the CNTE, the peasants, the community police, the EZLN, the telephone operators, and other sectors that are fighting against the regime. This will be materialized if the next days of protests, the 15th, 26th and 31st of January are close to the characteristics of a National Strike with the perspective of General Political Strike.
* Florentino López Martínez is the National President of the Popular Revolutionary Front (FPR) and Vice President of External Affairs of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)