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Don’t just stand there… do nothing!

1 August 2011

The most powerful woman in Mexico carries $5,000 Hermes purses and can make or break a presidency.

She’s head of the nation’s principal teachers union, the largest syndicate in Latin America, and once gave Hummers as gifts to loyal teachers.

Many in Mexico see her as a symbol of the corruption and monopolistic concentration of power that have long plagued the country and undermined its efforts to modernize and become more democratic. She is widely feared, and no administration has proved itself willing to take her on.

(Tracy Wilkerson, Los Angeles Times)

No administration may be willing to take her on, but it doesn’t mean others aren’t.  Translated from Chihuahua Resiste:

Why a general labor and consumption strike to oust  Elba Esther Gordillo, the leader of Mexico’s most corrupt union?

Because Mexico is supposed fighting a war on drugs, but the violence is affecting us as ordinary citizens.  …  Political repression is constant and has increased the number of missing and dead…

Because we are not a citizens’ movement, but citizens … exercising our rights and freedoms to express our deep outrage over the collapse of the country, spurred by Elba Esther Gordillo, the most corrupt politician in Mexico though her influence peddling, manipulation of elections, and her repression of both teachers and political opponents of the SNTE.

Because citizens are directly affected by the criminal actions of politicians. Their decisions are public, impacting everyone. As do those of Elba Esther Gordillo, affecting all Mexicans, not just teachers and students. Having confessed to dealings with Calderon outside the electoral law, she acknowledges her complicity in the electoral fraud that plunged Mexico into a genocidal war and unprecedented misery.

Any other collective action requires leadership, political pacts, negotiations and agreements. We do not want the ordinary citizens tobe dependent on a partnership with a government that is blind, inept and genocidal.  Our action is anonymous but not secret.  Our action has no leaders, but it requires organization.  Our action is organized by social networks, but call for action in real life.

… our actions do not need the support of the press, nor require the blessings of the intellectuals.  Our actions are those of a people conscious of the need to act in the interests of each and every Mexican:  no press conferences, no fawning on Deputies, nor on the other political predators on our nation’s wealth.

The general labor and consumption strike from 2 to 9 October means not just not going to work, and not just keeping your children home from school, but also not buying from the supermarkets, and turning off the television at least an hour a day in concert with others.   It is coordinated action by civil resistance.  Not a simulated revolution on the Zocalo, or in front to the Secretariat of Public Instruction.

I don’t think this will work (though I could be wrong), but it raises an interesting question for those of us who are foreign residents and cannot take part in Mexican political activities. If I don’t shop at Soriana or Mega between the second and ninth of October, or decide to read a book (or work on one) that week and skip the telenovela, am I taking a political stand or not?

And, who is gonna check?

And, how?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Allen permalink
    1 August 2011 11:40 am

    Sensationallistic actions and attention getting stunts have long been a favourite tool of anarchists and crooks, they have much in common. Perhaps too much credit is given to one union as being the most corrupt as though there is a competition.
    Is Senora Gordillo all that corrupt or does she just stand out, very slightly? Every large union, everywhere, has an element of corruption. Look up “corrupt union leaders ” on Google. No one could live long enough to read all of the results (21,600,000)
    The call for coordinated civil resistance will go completely unheeded, except for the very few. We note that all organized activities, such as the proposed, require time and effort and that usually means money.
    Would we foreign residents get involved if we had the right and political will to do so ?
    Short answer: no.
    The real question is, what can we do to be effective? Those of us with a poltical background know the answer, but be assured, nothing will happen.

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