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All they are saying… is give violence a chance

4 October 2019

The annual Tlatelolco Massacre memorial march… usually the rationale for attacks against the state, state repression, a few deportations, and numerous arrests and property damages in the millions … was held this week, resulting in… a few broken windows, a handful of arrests, some grafitti washed off buildings within hours, a handful of arrests and three hospitalizations for minor injuries.  A relative success, all told.

But, given that the annual event is commemorating state repression, and on-going resistance to the state… when the state is on the side of the people, the opposition is forced to oppose… I don’t know what to call it… a failure to repress?

Provocateur not getting his way.

What kept the mayhem to a minimum was savvy planning by the Sheinbaum Administration, and a change in attitude towards public demonstrations.  Civil servants and volunteers made up a 12l strong “Peace belt” lining the streets.  Dressed in white tee-shirts, as official escorts, this sent a signal that the Administration was not opposed to the demonstration and, as “eyes and ears” probably discouraged the more opportunistic wannabe looters and vandals any large demonstration will attract, while also providing some security from the “black blocs”.

Whether, as governments in the past, and even now, contend, the “black blocs” are “anarchists” or… as seems to be the consensus (especially on the left) are anarchists being used (or paid) to provoke an confrontation. the purpose has always been to discredit the demonstration in the public sphere, and … if the anarchists do have a cause… it is to create more state repression, hoping to eventually cause a popular uprising against the state itself.

The “peace belt”, standing between the demonstrators and the police… the agents of state repression… for the most part thwarted any effort to provoke violence.  Grafittists were most ignored (with plywood or cheap metal barriers around public monuments and historic facades, and… I think brilliantly… the city had sprayed paint-resistant coatings on the most likely targets.  As it was, the marchers were followed by a continent of street cleaners, including trucks with power washers, there wasn’t much point in spray can walk-by messaging,

Not to say there weren’t SOME incidents… a few firecrackers and smoke bombs tossed, a couple of fist fights, and the like… but not enough violence it seems to meet the expectations… and HOPES… of the opposition.

The opposition parties (the former ruling parties) and much of the major media in this country, perhaps in retaliation for the cut in subsidies and advertising revenue under the new “austerity” programs) , has been desperately trying to paint the new administrations as abject failures, and their programs as wasteful and amateurish ventures into “feel good” populism.  Given the broad public outcry following the feminist demonstrations a few weeks back in which national monuments (like the Angel of Independence) were vandalized or “tagged”) and bystanders were injured, the opposition had hoped that another major incident would turn public opinion toward their contention that the “4th Transformation” is just as repressive as they were during their too long control of the country.  Or… that repression is needed to prevent the threat of… I donno… them losing whatever credibility they still have?

Although the media was able to play, seemingly in an endless loop, the same videos of the same couple of “troubling” incidents (a molotov cocktail being thrown… only reluctantly showing the peace-belters clearing marchers out of the trajectory of said molotov.. and the fireman standing at the ready with an extinguisher… a fist fight, a few taggings) my favorite complaint so far is that a million pesos (or, rather “almost” a million) was spent ot buy the white tees worn by the peace-belters.  Even adding in the cost of overtime for the civil servants, the investments in plywood and old laminate roofing around the monuments, and the 87 pesos (about US$4.50)  each for the very quickly ordered, printed and delivered peace-belt tee-shirts… avoiding damaged to public institutions, the public, and the right to assembly… it was a bargain.

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