|English | Español||May 21, 2018 | Issue #55|
Nineteen Appistas Arrested in Palestine Demonstration
Section 22 Demands and Obtains Their Release
By Nancy Davies
Before the APPO protests against the Israeli invasion could get well underway, the Municipal Police of Oaxaca arrested nineteen protesters, with unjustified roughness, according to accounts published by APPO members present, including those from the anarchist group Vocal, the Casota (a Crespo Street house previously raided by police on December 8, 2008 ), and members of the socialist and communist parties. The protesters were taken to barracks of the State Police, located in the town of San Bartólo Coyotepec.
Later reports state that some were beaten, and their belongings stolen.
As word of the arrests circulated, a crowd of APPO supporters soon appeared at the police quarters, and staged a demonstration and meeting outside its doors. The police responded by spraying tear gas onto the more than seventy people present. Among the meetings’ leaders were directors of Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) , including its secretary Gabriel Lopez Chavez. Also present was the ubiquitous Flavio Sosa Villavicencio.
The leaders of Section 22 demanded and obtained the release of the protesters. So here is what seems important to me (besides support for Palestine):
More important, Section 22 declares that APPO is theirs, and any attack on the APPO must be construed as an attack on Section 22. I heard Section 22 Secretary General Azael Santiago Chepi previously say as much, and the Noticias newspaper of January 4, 2009 quotes “An aggression against the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca is an aggression against the teachers union and we are going to respond with that understanding.” (Una agresión a la Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, es una agresión al magisterio y nosotros vamos a responder en ese sentido).
Section 22 has demanded that internal APPO ideological squabbles be subordinated to the political work at hand. Inevitably, the union must look to the upcoming 2009 elections of eleven federal deputies (representatives to the national congress) from Oaxaca. It is Section 22 that set a date for an assembly meeting of the APPO on February 20, 21 and 22, to be held at the teachers’ hotel in Oaxaca, where ground-rules for the APPO will be examined and restated.
The role of the APPO, for the moment, is to act as front line for Section 22’s political positions. That the APPO might change its ground rules and enter electoral politics remains a wide-open question, a true reversal of the people’s original intention. But the harsh reality is that without a broad front, the PRI may re-take control of the Oaxaca delegation to congress, and in 2010 retain the governorship, both regarded as nasty set-backs for the social movement.
The anarchist group Vocal denounced the newer APPO possibilities, calling the leadership of Section 22 “traitors”, but such well-regarded figures as Dr. Bertha Muñoz has, at least for the present, stood by Section 22 because of its insistence on unity. Others, such as the UABJO sociologist Victor Raúl Martinez Vasquez, simply say, “every person is and has their own APPO”.
Whatever the complaints of anarchists such as Vocal may be, at least they are out of prison – due to the actions and demands of Section 22.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism