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Who are these teachers?

6 September 2013

Paul Imison in Counterpunch on the Mexican teacher-s strike, and the spin put on it by the Mexican and foreign media:

Like everything in Mexico, it’s a case of the haves and have-nots. The teachers I’ve spoken to from the CNTE don’t oppose testing – on the contrary, many want better training and support from the government – but they’re well-aware of the lunacy of applying a one-size-fits-all evaluation to vastly unequal regions of the country. Not to mention that in many of the poorest areas, teachers work outside of the national curriculum, giving classes based on usos y costumbres – traditional customs – to students for whom Spanish is a second language.

To call the CNTE “radical” – as much of the media has done – is laughable. Presumably they’re on the same side as the “radical” students who opposed widespread vote-buying and fraud during last year’s election. This, too, is part of media relations under Peña Nieto. Opposition to the reforms is a sign of backwardness; a failure to embrace the neoliberal future. Private investment in education is also a key element of the reform bill.

This battle between the city and the countryside, corporatization and autonomy, is key to understanding civil resistance movements in Mexico. Only this summer the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas invited journalists and activists the world over to visit their autonomous schools in the caracoles, ahead of the twentieth anniversary of their legendary 1994 uprising.

As such, it’s easy for the Mexican government to turn public opinion against protesters. The CNTE, like the Zapatistas, are “rebels” who refuse to enter the modern world. They don’t speak for the average person, even if very few Mexicans in the short term stand to gain anything from these reforms. What’s lacking, above all, is any honest debate about where the country is headed.

Mexican Teachers Hit the Streets

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 26 September 2013 8:34 pm

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