Saturday, 29 March 2008

Oaxaca One Year Later: The Mirror of Mexico

by Claudio Albertani, Collective Interventions, June 2007

Translation of “El Espejo de Mexico,” June 13, 2007:

One year after the outbreak of the teachers’ conflict, Oaxaca is the mirror of Mexico. The right wing transformation of the country has advanced by large leaps, but the rebellion has also progressed and sometimes has found new ways forward. The poverty and inequality which 67% of Oaxacans endure means that they are “prevented from playing an active role in society,” according to the World Bank.1

A melting pot of indigenous and mestizo cultures, Oaxaca has been transformed in the past few years into an immense magnet for tourists whose money enriches local, national, and foreign investors, but which reaches few citizens at the bottom. With the arrival of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO) as governor at the end of 2004, this situation has been exacerbated by a new cycle of authoritarian rule, characterized by the discretionary use of public resources, the increase of narco-trafficking, the destruction of the natural and historical patrimony, the harassing of independent means of communication, and every kind of repression. A vulgar and pitiless man, Ruiz Ortiz did not come to power by means of the ballot box, but through fraud.

The Wars of URO

Far from being a residue of the past, the despotism that reigns in Oaxaca synthesizes in an exemplary manner the sharp contradictions of contemporary Mexico. In regards to this subject, certain people have spoken of an embryonic process of increasing fascism in the country.2 Without going deeper into this debate, the fact is that the archaic and oligarchical right wing in power has undertaken an aggressive modernization based on exclusion, while simultaneously there has emerged a broad, unprecedented, and threatening social insurrection. The right in power seeks neither legitimacy nor agreement, but only strives to enrich and perpetuate itself. In Oaxaca and elsewhere, its program is the same: dismantle the last vestiges of the welfare state, and to submit the country to the needs of transnational capital. Political nuances and battles among the elite matter little, although they occur. The right has attached to it not only the PAN, but also a good part of the PRI, as well as what can be called the institutional left.

The perpetuation of URO in office and the support that he has received from two successive presidents (Fox and Calderon) was not so unusual when seen within the national context: the first months of the new PAN presidency (Calderon) were characterized by the militarization of the principal indigenous regions of the country, by numerous assassinations perpetrated by the army, and by the demand of the USA that Mexico adopt its own “Plan Colombia” under the pretext of the fight against narco-trafficking.

In the case of the Oaxacan ruler, his arbitrary character was apparent from the beginning of his electoral campaign. On July 27, 2004, in a proselytizing act committed in Huaulta de Jimenez, his followers beat to death Professor Serafín Garcia, for the reason that he was opposed to Ruiz Ortiz’s candidacy. Like many other crimes in Oaxaca, this one has remained unpunished.

On election day, August 1, 2004, the vote count was stopped three times, in such a way that the “victory” of URO—nicknamed the mapache mayor —was challenged by the «Todos somos Oaxaca» (“We are all Oaxaca”) coalition led by Gabino Cué. This challenge was in vain: the bets had already been placed, with the post of governor being the reward for the dirty war that years earlier URO had coordinated in the state of Tabasco against Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the great enemy of the presidential aspirant of the PRI, Roberto Madrazo.

As we know, the first act of the new governor (Ruiz Ortiz) was to unleash another war, this time against the local independent newspaper, Noticias de Oaxaca, considered to be guilty of the crime of didsidence. On June 17, 2005, thugs at the command of the PRI deputy and “union leader,” David Aguilar, invaded the offices of the paper. Confronted by the refusal of the staff to go on “strike,” the assailants occupied the offices for more than a month.

Nevertheless, Noticias continued to appear, because the newspaper’s staff found a way to produce material by means of the internet, and the paper was printed in Tuxtepec, more than 200 kilometers from Oaxaca. When the police of Ruiz Ortiz started to intercept the vans bringing copies of the paper to Oaxaca, the owner of Noticias rented a small plane with the aid of the teachers’ union so that the vendors of the paper could pick it up directly at the airport. The conflict continued, and the print run of the paper fell considerably, but, in the end, Noticias survived this harrassment. Its editorial line became radicalized, and it became the most popular daily locally. URO had suffered his first defeat.

Another characteristic event was the aggression against Santiago Xanica, an indigneous Zapotec community in the Sierra Sur that has struggled for years to have its collective rights recognized. In December 2004, a few days after URO’s assumption of power, the army began to patrol in the area and the Federal Preventive Police opened fire on 80 indigenous people in a protest encampment near the town hall. In this action, Abraham Ramirez Vazquez, leader of the Comité de Defensa de los Derechos Indígenas (CODEDI—Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights—a part of the Alianza Magonista Zapatista), was gravely wounded. Because in the time of the assassins the victims are always the guilty ones, he has been held without charges—and, as of now, he remains in the Pochutla prison.

A little after this, URO began the costly and environmentally noxious process of reconstructing the zócalo in Oaxaca, an action that cost him the support of the local middle class, but permitted him to distribute an enormous quantity of money to his associates.

By the end of May 2006, there were around 70 political prisoners in Oaxaca. Not satisfied with this, the governor opened hostilities against Section 22 of the SNTE (National Teachers’ Union), a union branch with 70,000 adherents and a long tradition of independent struggle.

For years, as May 15 (the Day of the Teacher) approached, the teachers have installed a plantón (protest encampment) in the city center in order to air their demands. Other citizens complained, but they rarely withheld their sympathy. Catalyzers of social consciousness, devoted to their work, and understanding the local reality in depth, the teachers are very much respected in Oaxaca.

On this occasion, they asked for an increase in their small salary to conform to national norms, a demand that implicated federal authorities. In spring of 2006, however, all doors of negotiation were closed. URO threatened the teachers, trying to manipulate one union faction against another, while the federal PAN government turned a deaf ear, thinking that it would score a coup against the PRI.

The plantón began on May 22, 2006, and at first it did not receive much response from the local population. Encouraged by this, URO ordered the removal of the encampment, trusting in the element of surprise. In the early morning, armed police and paramilitaries—supported by helicopters dropping tear gas grenades—attacked the teachers. Hoping to cause panic among the local inhabitants, the police destroyed all that they could, including the installation of the teachers’ radio station (Radio Plantón). The result was that some 200 people were wounded, with an undetermined number having “disappeared.”

URO showed his talent for confronting social nonconformity, as Enrique Peña Nieto, the governor of the state of Mexico (and also a member of the PRI), had done a few weeks earlier in Atenco, with the enthusiastic collaboration of the federal government. On the eve of the presidential elections in 2006, the governor of Oaxaca had delivered the message of his boss, Roberto Madrazo: the PRI is the party of order. From that time, the election was already stained with blood.

The Fire

What happened next demonstrates once again that when the powerful get too greedy they damage their own interests. The population of Oaxaca, which had remained passive—if not overtly hostile—toward the protest movement, went into the streets in solidarity with the teachers.

The teachers regrouped and attacked the police with sticks and stones, and they were joined at that point by university staff and students, social organizations, and ordinary citizens. In the space of a few hours, this angry multitude had retaken the zócalo and reinstalled the planton, defying URO. As a corollary, the teachers next demanded the resignation of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz as a precondition to any negotiation to resolve their initial dispute.

On June 16, 2006, a mega-march of 300,000 people demonstrated the teachers’ power. Citizen-students, heads of family, workers, bureaucrats and even merchants applauded the teachers, and whenever someone brandished a sign that said “Down with URO,” everyone cheered.

As this was going on, members of UCIZONI (Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo—The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus) staged a protest in Matias Romero, blocking the main road crosssing the isthmus for several hours. These two events were a prelude to what would soon come: more mega-marches in the capital and the spread of the movement throughout the rest of the state of Oaxaca.

On June 18, 2006, The movement took a decisive turn when it announced the creation of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) in which converged, in addition to the teachers, some 350 organizations of a quite varied character: unions; anarchist collectives; old groups of the Marxist-Leninist left; citizen organizations; indigenous people; workers; artists; students; and unaffiliated individuals.

APPO thus arose through the initiative of the teachers, as a means to channel social support on behalf of their protest movement, but it quickly transcended this role. On June 20, 2006, its members decided to create a provisional collective leadership made up of 30 people, who constituted a common front “to begin a prolonged struggle to dissolve existing authority, force the resignation of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and to create a form of people’s power.”
Even if the term “people’s power” is irritating in view of the historical experiences it evokes, it expressed the idea of transforming existing social conditions by establishing the basis for a new relationship between society and government.

APPO quickly created internal committees, including ones for the press, the maintenance of barricades, and propaganda. “We are beginning to establish a network of organizations, and every action that we seek to accomplish must be arrived at through a consultation of the rank and file (base) of the teachers and of APPO.”

According to Gustavo Esteva, three distinct currents of democratic struggle flow within APPO. The first fights for formal democracy: how to improve the conditions of representation; how to abolish electoral fraud, limit media manipulation, and assure the correct functioning of state institutions and the legal system. The second current advocates participatory democracy, that is to say, the reinforcement of popular initiative, the institution of the legal processes of referendum and plebiscite, the possibility of revocable mandates for officeholders, and the introduction of a participatory budget process, so that public services function with the active participation of citizens and not in an arbitrary manner. The third current, that which we can call that of radical democracy, says: we don’t have any need of a power above us; we may have need of some form of administrative coordination, but nothing more. This current fights for a society in which the law resides in the individual and collective autonomy of all human beings. This is a transversal current that in Mexico is inspired by the experience of indigenous peoples, but also by urban struggles and by anarchism.

In the words of David Venegas, a member of VOCAL and an APPO counselor who has been in prison since April 13, 2007, “It is possible to live in a decent social order, emanating from the collective will and not from the imposition of a government that is alien to the interests and needs of the people, a social order where the reigning values are fraternity, solidarity, cooperation and defense of the community, and no longer a social order based on punishment, authority, public humiliation, or prison.”

That which David expresses should be seen in connection with the demand for self-organization and self-government made by the masses who have incorporated themselves into the movement and the desire to create a new world out of the ruins of the old. In addition to explaining how the unions and Marxist-Leninist organizations were eclipsed, these desires are the best guarantee that the danger of fascism will meet an impassable barrier.
Far from being an extremist position, radical democracy is realistic, that is to say, not too removed from the facts. It is not an ideological position, in that it is not identified with any specific organization. Likewise, it is conscious of not being dominant in the whole of the country. In Mexico, there exists a caricature of formal democracy, and a bit of participatory democracy, while radical democracy finds expression in indigenous communities, in the Zapatista movement, and in some urban struggles. Thus, Esteva concludes: “We co-exist with the first two currents, because we live in Mexico. We do not intend to separate ourselves from Mexico. We will continue here and we are going to accept different things from formal democracy, but we are going to try to do these things in our own way.”

The Festival

At the end of June 2006, there converged within APPO not only a multiplicity of organizations, but of approaches, individuals, and sensibilities that harked back to the old libertarian tradition of Magonism (the brothers Ricardo, Enrique, and Jesús Flore Magón, celebrated Mexican anarchists) which remains alive in Oaxaca.

As indignation mounted in Oaxaca, the movement grew in power, creativity, and richness. In relation to the presidential elections of July 2, 2006, APPO urged a vote of sanction against Ulises Ruis. Although many of its members advocated a clearly abstentionist posture—and in spite of the usual electoral manipulations and subterfuges—the result was undeniable: Lopez Obrador [often referred to by his initials, AMLO, Lopez Obrador was the presidential candidate of the institutional left in the contested election in which Calderón was declared the winner] won by a large margin in Oaxaca and the PRI was relegated to third place, something unprecedented in this state.

What followed is a very complicated story, of which we will take up only certain important aspects. From its beginning, APPO was inspired by the democratic practices of Zaptoecs, Mixtecs, Mixes, Amuzgos, and other indigenous peoples. For this reason, APPO quickly changed its name—a bit anachronistic—from Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca to Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca. If the idea of “assembly” in the name of APPO evokes the practices of self-management in effect in 80% of the 570 municipalities of Oaxaca, it is still necessary to note that these assemblies have multiple and diverse characteristics.
Among other things, the capital of the state is an indigenous metropolis in that many of its poorer districts are made up principally of migrants coming from indigneous communities. Many of these people have joined in the protests in Oaxaca. Certain of them are teachers; most are artisans and street vendors. The communities that joined the protest movement brought to it their enormous experience and their inexhaustible memory of injustice, poverty, oppression, and of being cheated and forgotten.

At the same time, the movement also included urban youth whose collective identity has been constructed in the neighborhoods, through music, styles of clothing, and art. “Groups that were marginalized and discriminated against—and not only by the government—such as prostitutes, gays, lesbians, were present, although in a discreet way,” such that “the injustices they suffer were part of the collective cry for justice and freedom for everyone.”

From June until October, 2006, hundreds of thousands of people occupied the streets in a dozen mega-marches on a scale never seen before. Together they forged a plural struggle in which diverse segments of society learned to live together, without renouncing their differences and specificities. Together they forced Ulises Ruiz into hiding, eclipsing by their deeds all official powers. Together they took over public offices, created organs of self-government, and administered justice through the intermediary of the topiles, a popular militia based on indigenous tradition.

This was not a movement based on class in the traditional sense, because the working class is amost non-existent in Oaxaca. It was rather a movement of movements. There were people holding flags with the hammer and sickle next to those with banners of the Virgin of Guadelupe and still others whose emblem was the circle A of anarchism. Most people in the movement identified themselves on the basis of territory: neighborhood, barrio, or community.
Furthermore, it was not a movement that was uniquely local: “The movment that we have today owes a good deal to what has happened in Eucuador, Brazil, and Argentina. We have been linked to all the processes in Latin America and also to the United States through our comrades who are immigrants.”

Although the media immediately found people like Flavio Sosa on whom they could hang a label, APPO was not a movement of leaders. In an interview conducted a few days before his detention, the same Flavio rejected this designation: “When this phrases began to circulate, someone made a sign that said ‘this movement is not made up of leaders, but of the rank and file’ and signed it at the bottom with the name of a group. Immediately, some smart boys added another phrase: ‘It is not made up of leaders, nor is it made up of groups.’ This movement is not made up of leaders, but of the base.”

Still less has it been a movement seeking power, in spite of the Stalinist fantasies of some of its participants. This was shown clearly, for example, by a graffito that one could read as late as October, 2006 on a wall near the historic center of Oaxaca: “They want to force us to govern, but we are not going to fall for this provocation.” What did this mean? Gustavo Esteva responded: “We are not interested in taking over the government; this government is a structure of domination to control people, and we do not want occupy this function.”
In the face of the atrocities of URO, people began an innovative process of self-organization, and for months the capital underwent the singular experience of a life without government and bureaucracy, but open to dialogue and creation. Collective wisdom imposed a peaceful strategy, in spite of the drive-by shootings, forced disappearances, and the violations of human rights amply documented by national and international organizations.

In an authentic social revolution, many people discovered—by taking action—their own hidden abilities. The participation of women was intense. Some of them had voted in the past for the PRI, but the movement awakened a new consciousness in them. One woman, quite old, completely alone, and without any weapon besides her dignity as a rebel, commandeered a bus to put at the service of the movement. And it was a collective of women who operated a television station for 20 days, making an alternative form of communication a reality.

The role of media used by the movement should be studied, because it was the spearhead of the struggle. The seizure of 12 radio stations and the local television channel were defensive measures taken in response to the destruction of Radio Plantón and to the damages inflicted on Radio Universidad, the only independent media in the city. It is evident that the movement could not have developed as rapidly as it did without the radio stations it used.

The star announcer of the movement was 58-year old Doctor Berta, now known throughout the world, who broadcast day and night on Radio Universidad while drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. When she left the station, it was to give aid to victims of repression. I myself saw her distributing water to demonstrators from a Red Cross vehicle.

We all came to recognize her somewhat worn out voice, talking calmly and serenely about what was required to help demonstrators while shots were fired and tear gas rained down. On November 3, the day after the battle around the university that ended in an ignominious defeat for the police, she told me: “At Radio Universidad, like previously at Radio Plantón and Channel 9 television, communication was as it should be: with an open telephone and internet connections for those in other countries. People came and spoke with their words, with their thoughts, but they were very objective. Sometimes they didn’t speak Spanish well, but they knew what they wanted. That is something no one could stop.”

There has been a lot of talk about the barricades, and these have been offered as proof of the “violence” exercised by APPO. The reality is that the barricades arose as defensive measures to contain the assassination caused by drive-by shootings (“the caravans of death” of URO). There were at least 1,500 barricades, although no one ever counted them and we will never know their exact number. It is clear that those who built and defended the barricades—for the most part inhabitants of the barrios—experimented during the long nights with new forms of sociability, a true collective festival.

It seems to me that this festive aspect of the movement offers its only pertinent resemblance to the Paris Commune, which has been called the greatest festival of the 19th century. It is necessary to add that the Commune of Oaxaca, like its predecessor, was also isolated. There were no large mobilizations, either in Mexico or abroad, in favor of APPO.

One should also note that the people of Oaxaca don’t speak of “commune” but of “communality,” a term connected to local indigenous traditions. It is clear that the youths on the barricades were neither “professionals” nor militants in the traditional sense. They were part of the people — including the street kids one can see in the Mal de Ojo video —and knew nothing about urban guerrilla warfare.

And Now?

The big movement that shook Oaxacan society is one of the most important events in recent Mexican history, something that can be compared to the Zapatista insurrection of 1994. The popular resistance to the abuses of URO was as unanticipated as it was massive, creative, and bringing of hope. Oaxacans responded to an ecology of fear with an ecology of festival that is very rooted in local tradition. Against the delirious ambition of those in power, they affirmed their right to resort to a kind of non-violent tyrannicide, one expressed in the slogan, “He has fallen, Ulisses has fallen.”

APPO is the result of a long process of accumulation of historical experiences—of errors and correct answers—that converged in the common objective of democratizing the structures of power. Even if one considers that the content of this democratization has been subject to debate, it is certain that democratization was the axis that unified a multiform movement that cannot be understood in terms of traditional Marxist or sociological analysis.

“That which was begun in Oaxaca is situated in a line of continuity that includes the Paris Commune and the Andalusian, Catalan, and Aragon collectives during the Spanish Revolution of 1936-1938, in which the experience of self-management posed the basis of a new society,” wrote Raoul Vaneigem in an appeal for international solidarity that was published in Mexico by the daily, La Jornada.

Vaneigem is correct in the sense that what happened in Oaxaca in 2006 brought hope to all those looking for alternatives to the reigning barbarism inside and outside Mexico. However, it is also true that the repression has crushed these hopes. I will not evoke the calvary lived by the people of Oaxaca beginning on October 27, 2006, the day Brad Will was assassinated, along with an undetermined number of other people who were shot elsewhere on that day.

The best source on this subject remains the report made by the CCIODH (Comisión Civil Internacional de Observación por los Derechos Humanos—International Civil Commission for the Observation of Human Rights) whose conclusions were:

“The Commission estimates that the facts that have unfolded in Oaxaca constitute a chain linking judicial, police, and military strategies…whose final aim is install the control and intimidation of the civil population in the zones where there has developed a process of citizens’ organization or where there have appeared social movements that are not controlled by parties.”

I participated in this experience and can testify that this finding is moderate in comparison to reality. If we can effectively verify that there were at least 25 deaths up until mid-January 2007 (all the casualties occurring on the side of the movement), we cannot determinee the exact number of the disappeared, who have been numerous since the beginning of the conflict. Why is this? Because the terror has been such that people do not dare to declare someone as being disappeared, even before a body as trustworthy as the CCIODH.

The abuses of the state in Oaxaca were neither “excesses” nor “errors,” but were a cold experiment in social engineering in which the federal authorities acted in coordination with local forces. What did they seek to accomplish? Probably to measure how much repression a people could tolerate, without the situation becoming uncontrollable. Armando Barta expressed this well: “to prepare to confront angry masses of people presupposes that such people are going to appear.”

In Oaxaca, these masses did appear and, as in Central America in the 1980s, the authorities sought to “deprive the fish of water” (according to the doctrines of counter-insurgency), by sowing terror and showing citizens what would happen to them if they did not remain docile. The incredible penalty of 67 years’ imprisonment handed out to movement leaders in Atenco—as guilty as their counterparts in Oaxaca—sheds a sinister light on the Mexico of Calderón.

What is the balance sheet of six months of counter-insurrection? The state of terror continues, despite official declarations to the contrary. In face of the slow retreat of the masses, the advocates of a participatory process in the movement have grown quiet, and the groups of the old left have acquired an influence that they did not have before. Or to put in another way, certain leftist leaders have acquired this influence as legitimate participants in the movement, not as members of this or that group.

Certain of these leftists have worked day and night to transform APPO into a vertical political organization of a Stalinist type. This was seen, for example, during the Constituent Congress of APPO (November 10-12, 2006), or during the “Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Mexico”—an initiative, one that largely failed, to “export” the APPO elsewhere in Mexico—when a representative of the FPR (Frente Popular Revolucionario) declared openly that “the movement in Oaxaca is a movement of leaders.”

In additional to the traditional struggles among organizations that bear on their backs the legacy of 30 years of defeats, there was added—beginning in February 2007—division on the question of elections: to participate or not in the local elections at the end of June 2007. Within APPO, there formed an electoral bloc (FPR, FALP (Frente Amplio de Lucha Popoular), NIOax (Nueva Izquierda de Oaxaca), etc.) which waged a battle to the death against the abstentionist bloc (VOCAL (Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía y Libertad), CODEP (Comité de Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo), CIPO (Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca), POS (Partido Obrero Socialista—now named Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), etc.). Over time, the electoral bloc would fracture, due to its internal conflicts.

With its habitual generosity, the PDR (Partido Democratico Revolucionario—the party of Lopez Obrador gave this electoral bloc only one spot on its ticket. The damage wreaked by this conflict was incalculable, however. One very likely result was the arrest of David Venegas—APPO counselor, elected from the sector of the barricades [and a founder of VOCAL], libertarian, and abstentionist. On April 13, 2007, David was arrested as he was going to an APPO meeting, on the fantastic charge of possessing 30 grams of cocaine and two dime bags of heroin.

Two weeks later, David wrote from prison and made grave accusations against several known leaders of the electoral bloc, whom he accused of responsibility for his arrest. Without going into the details of the matter, the fact is that David was arrested on the same pretext as the accusations that had circulated against him before his arrest. There is more: during the month of March, as part of its counter-offensive, the police had planted explosives in the area of one of the barricades, and David had denounced this frame up in a press conference.

Things being as they are, it would an exercise in futility to search for pure organizations, and to try to separate the “good” from the “bad,” or the “revolutionary” from the “reformist.” The dividing lines do not go between organizations, but through them. Even in the case of the Stalinists of the FPR, there are some good comrades. Reviving the movement is also not an ethnic affair. The support of the indigneous peoples is fundamental, in as much as they are immunized from corruption and the deadly corruption of professional politics.

David suggests that “if the way offered by APPO…is narrow and limited, this historic people will know how to search for and find another way to gain its liberation.” This diagnosis is severe, but it does not seem far from the truth. Therefore, everything is not lost. In Oaxaca, a question circulates: how to recreate the magic moment experienced in the last year? Only the men and women who have participated in the movement will be able to find an answer.

1 Cited in Luís Arellano Mora, “Oaxaca: la pobreza en cifras,”
2 Carlos Fazio, “¿Hacia un estado de excepcíon?”, La Jornada, December 4, 2006
3 La Jornada, June 9, 2007
4 See report by CCIODH, Informe sobre les hechos de Oaxaca:
5 In Mexico, “mapaches” (literally, “racoons”) is slang for those involved in electoral fraud
6 Interview conducted by Albertani with Ismael Sanmartín Hernández, editor of Noticias de Oaxaca, December 29, 2006
7 See: http//
8 CCIODH, Informe preliminar sobre los hechos de Atenco:
9 See Informe sobre les hechos de Oaxaca, op. cit.
10 La Jornada, June 9, 2007
11 Interview conducted by Hernán Ouviña with Miguel Linares Rivera, Mexico City, October 29, 2006
12 Interview conducted by Albertani with Gustavo Esteva, Universidad de la Tierra, Oaxaca, November 3, 2006
13 David Venegas Reyes, letter from Ixcotel, April 23, 2007:
14 Interview conducted by Albertani with Nicéforo Urbieta, May 3, 2007
15 David Venegas Reyes, Letter from Ixcotel, op. cit.
16 In indigenous communities, the topiles are elected in an assembly and exercise their authority without pay and by means of a traditional rod of command. They do not necessarily carry firearms.
17 See “Oaxaca: APPO y el reformismo de siempre”: [This is a link to the text—highly critical of APPO, its reformist nature, and the role played in it by the authoritarian left —published by the Coordinadora Insurreccional Anarquista. An English translation of this text can be found at:]
18 Interview with Maigule Linares Rivera, op. cit.
19 Interview conducted by Albertani with Flavio Sosa, November 4, 2006
20 Interview with Gustavo Esteva, op. cit.
21 Interview conducted by Albertani with Dr. Berta Muñoz, Oaxaca, November 3, 2006
22 See:
23 Raoul Vaneigem, “Llamado de un partisano de la autonomía individual y colectiva,” La Jornada, November 11, 2006. An English translation can be found at:
24 CCIODH, Conclusiones y recomendaciones preliminares:
25 Armano Barto, “El tamaño de los retos,” La Guillotina, no. 56, Spring 2007
26 November 11-12, 2006, Mexico City
27 David Venegas Reyes, Letter of May 15, 2007:
28 La Jornada, April 14, 2007 David Venegas Reyes, Letter from Ixcotel, op. cit.