Mexico has been convulsed by rolling protests following the state sanctioned massacre of 43 poor students of a rural teachers college.
The protestors want to see fundamental social transformation in Mexico; the protestors declare themselves to be tired of corruption, repression, drug fuelled crime, rampant inequality, and rapacious neoliberal capitalism.
Some reports suggest that the Mexican army may be mobilised to attempt to crush the protests.
The protest movement has called for a nation wide general strike.
The 43 students had initially demonstrated against the hiring and firing practices of their school. For this crime the students were, upon the orders of the local major, arrested by the police and handed over to the neighbourhood drug cartel.
Thereupon they were murdered, and the remains of one of the students was found with eyes gouged out and the skin peeled off the face. The latter rather than deterring the people of Mexico has seen them rise up in anger and indignation.
It is instructive that the 43 students were also attempting to raise funds to travel to Mexico City in order to mark the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre of student demonstrators in Mexico. Instructive because recently declassified documents from the National Security Archive, George Washington University, show the extent to which the United States supported the Mexican regime of the time;
...“U.S. officials stood resolutely by Díaz Ordaz after Tlatelolco, despite Washington's dim view of his government's actions. One day after Tlatelolco, the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Covey Oliver, wrote the Secretary that, "We believe it important to avoid any indication that we lack confidence in the [Government of Mexico's] ability to control the situation." And in a review of "contingency scenarios" drafted by the U.S. Embassy in November, the ambassador urged Washington to be prepared to grant financial assistance and economic support packages to Mexico in the event of continued or increased student violence, as a way of showing U.S. support for the regime.”...
Mexico is well integrated into the US led regional and global neoliberal order, and doubtless Washington has similar concerns regarding events in Mexico today.
For instance, Mexico is a key partner in NAFTA and the TPP negotiations and a successful social revolution in Mexico would serve as a powerful fillip for the Latin American Left as it gradually works to free South America of US hegemony, and the scorched earth capitalism that the colossus from the North promotes and embodies.
The important points that we in Australia may draw from the Mexican events today are twofold.
Firstly, the 43 students were poor and indigenous and their bravery should serve as an inspiration for us here in relatively more peaceful and privileged Australia; if they have the courage to resist and protest against injustice then why cannot we?
Secondly, despite the size and continued rolling nature of the protest movement it has shown little sign thus far of achieving fundamental social change. The movement is surely correct in calling for a general strike in order to achieve this crucial goal.
Because when the working class collectively organises at the point of production and uses its collective power against the real apparatus of power, namely the owners of the means of production, it is able to exert the required level of pressure necessary to achieve basic changes in the social order. This pressure needs to be exerted in a fashion unmediated, to no small degree, by parliamentary politics, which is largely framed by concentrated centres of private power.
We too must call for a general strike to remake Australia.
The Abbott budget, and other government measures put in place at the behest of the rich and big business, has provoked rolling protests across Australia. These are, to be sure, not on the same scale as the Mexican protests but the sentiments are similar; they want a new Mexico and we want a new Australia.
The end point to take us to our new more just societies should also be the same;