22nd October March for Ayotzinapa in Mexico City

Thousands of people marched. Thousands chanted. And thousands made their indignation very clear. Students in particular came out in massive numbers to show their solidarity with the students who went missing in Ayotzinapa last month.

The vast majority of protesters simply wanted to let the government know that they are not just going to forget about these students. They wanted to tell their ‘elected’ officials that they were not going to allow politicians to push yet another crime under the carpet. They wanted to simply demand justice.

Since the dictatorial PRI returned to power in 2012 after 12 years out of government, the number of political prisoners has risen. Grassroots social activists campaigning against government dispossession of their land (in cahoots with multinational corporations) have been arrested (see here). On the march today, I personally saw one group of protesters demanding the freedom of Marco Antonio Suástegui (for more, see here, here and here ). There are also people languishing in prison for having taken up arms to protect their communities from the murderous drug cartels that plague Mexico (see here and here).

For those who had simply confused these activists with organised criminals (as a result of misinformation and pro-government propaganda in the media), or who had simply never heard of them, the events of Ayotzinapa (and the rage they have inspired) have made it increasingly difficult for citizens to ignore the corrupt and violent government behaviour that has become the norm in Mexico.

The parents and relatives of the missing students (who are feared dead by many) represent best the sentiments that are growing in the Mexican populous, though. In the Zócalo – the main square of the capital city – these desperate relatives told the crowd of thousands that they were sick of all of the political parties, and that they wanted ‘bad government to die’. One even said that, if the whereabouts of the students were not revealed in the next few days, he would himself rise up against the government. Anger is understandably running through the community where these students were kidnapped, and it has spread into Mexico City too.

Many thousands made it clear that, at the very least, the governor of Guerrero (the state where the students disappeared) should be removed from power. They also blamed President Peña Nieto for the situation currently prevalent in the country, and asked for him to step down from his position.

When Galeano, a Zapatista teacher, was killed in Chiapas back in May by government-backed paramilitaries, Zapatistas spoke of the dignified rage they felt, but also of their “desire for justice rather than revenge”. They knew that it was the government and the capitalist elite that controlled it which had attacked their communities (albeit through desperate, ignorant mercenaries), and they knew that justice would only come by fighting against the capitalist system. It seems that, judging by the march in Mexico City today, there are many thousands of people who feel the same way.

Ayotzi 22MX a Ayotzi 22MX bandera Ayotzi 22MX candles Ayotzi 22MX EZLN Ayotzi 22MX hemiciclo a juarez Ayotzi 22MX hotel Ayotzi 22MX suastegui Ayotzi 22MX UNAM Ayotzi 22MX Zocalo

Posted in Aguirre, Anarchism, Assassination, Autodefensas, Autonomy, Ayotzinapa, Bourgeois Democracy, capitalism, Iguala, mexico, politics, PRD, PRI | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October 12th in Kobanê (Poem)

There are children still here,

To our hearts they bring hope,

Though we wish they were safer,

They help us to cope,

It’s their innocence driving us,

On to defend,

Our freedom, control,

So we do not depend,

We don’t want to be ruled,

Or oppressed from above,

What we want is a voice,

Government of the dove,

As civilians leave shelters,

For a bit of fresh air,

It’s clear that there’s willpower,

Not to be scared,

The defence units,

YPG, and YPJ,

Are resisting heroically,

Every day,

Though, without the Red Cross,

Or Red Moon, anywhere,

Every fighter is precious,

No-one can be spared,

Every heartbeat is precious,

Each brain is a gift,

That will bring us salvation,

And help us to lift,

This whole region from conflict,

Oppression, and hate,

And save our whole species,

Before it’s too late!

Inspired by http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/24/kobane-diary-four-days-inside-city-keeping-incredible-and-unprecedented-resistance-277509.html

Kobane is not alone

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October 11th in Kobanê (Poem)

Nearly six hundred dead,

Since their forces advanced,

Border crossing still ours,

And resistance our stance,

Heavy blows they have suffered,

But the news says they’ve won,

We shout “rubbish!” We’re here!

This has barely begun!

Food is rationed, we have,

Only one meal a day,

But we’re not giving in,

We are here to stay,

The beheadings they show,

Of their innocent prey,

Simply fuel our fight,

To refuse to obey,

We do not want a world,

Of sectarian rule,

With existence determined,

By chauvinist fools,

So we struggle and push,

Though we feel we’re alone,

Isolated, blockaded,

That we fight on our own,

We’ve hit suicide bombers,

Before they’ve arrived,

So we know we can win,

If we just stay alive,

But we need ammunition,

And medicine, and food,

As our neighbours in Turkey,

Stop them getting through.

Inspired by http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/24/kobane-diary-four-days-inside-city-keeping-incredible-and-unprecedented-resistance-277509.html

YPG YPJ Rojava

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October 10th in Kobanê (Poem)

Fascist forces’ objectives,

Civilian homes,

As they roam through the streets,

Passing rubble and bones,

It’s disturbing and messy,

Indescribably foul,

Debris covering faces,

Which lie on the ground,

Though their arms are much better,

Our spirits our high,

So we’ll fight for humanity,

For that fight we’ll die,

We’ll defend human dignity,

Right to the last,

And confine ISIS gangs,

To their place (in the past)!

Although injured, we’ll limp,

To defeat their attacks,

And no words will do justice,

As our heroes fight back,

“Heval”, comrade, I’m with you,

We’ll win or we’ll die,

They cannot break our will,

With their cruelty and lies,

There are lives, many thousands,

We strive to conserve,

Though we urge them to flee,

To avoid getting hurt,

But we’d rather fall here,

Than on streets to the north,

And remain on our feet,

So we’ll keep pushing forth!

Inspired by http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/24/kobane-diary-four-days-inside-city-keeping-incredible-and-unprecedented-resistance-277509.html

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Posted in Anarchism, Autonomy, Democracy, dignity, Kobane, Kobani, Libertarian Communism, Poem, Poetry, Rojava, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October 9th in Kobanê (Poem)

This is no normal war,

What they’re seeking is gore,

To destroy our lives here,

To annihilate all,

Each ten minutes that pass,

We see shells and bombs fall,

Our nerves truly wracked,

As they pummel our walls,

Their unlimited rounds,

Mean they’re firing for fun,

As we ration, aim well,

With each shot from our guns,

We’re all volunteers,

Here to share our resolve,

And whatever we have,

Every heart is involved,

Solidarity fuelling,

Morale on the ground,

Our resistance unlike,

Any other around,

Our political leaders,

Hold guns in their hands,

As they head to the front,

To disrupt fascist plans,

Our medicine, meanwhile,

Is smuggled across,

Though if border guards see us,

Our lives could be lost,

We’re besieged but alive,

Still defiant we stand,

As embargoes and terror,

Seek to conquer our land,

Inspired by http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/24/kobane-diary-four-days-inside-city-keeping-incredible-and-unprecedented-resistance-277509.html73346Image1

Posted in ISIS, Islamism, Kobane, Kobani, Libertarian Communism, Poem, Poetry, Rojava, Syria, Terrorism, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Political Murders of Ayotzinapa & the Solidarity March in Mexico City

Last weekend, 28 charred bodies were found in Iguala, Guerrero, in what was another in a long line of mass murders in Mexico since the drugs trade became more prominent in the 1990s. This time, however, the BBC reported that “there are strong fears” that some of the “28 bodies found in six mass graves on the outskirts of Iguala… may be some of the 43 students who went missing after a protest in the city in which police fired at their bus on 26 September”.[1] On October 7th, Global Voices Online reported that a guard at the burial site claimed the victims had been “burned alive” and that, while “some of the remains were complete”, others “were in pieces”.

The students, who had been protesting “against job discrimination against teachers from rural areas”, were “ambushed by police” whilst on a bus. Three students were “killed at the scene”, along with “a football player who was in another unrelated bus, a bus driver, and a woman who was in a taxi”.[2] The Sydney Morning Herald reported on October 7th that “Mexico’s federal forces [had] taken over security and disarmed the entire municipal police force” in Iguala as a result. There were suspicions that the “gang-linked massacre” involved “police officers”, and thirty people, mostly police officers (though “not the two giving orders”), were arrested as a consequence. The Herald asserted that the police officers “would be sent to a military base to undergo evaluations while investigators checked whether their guns were used in any crimes”.

According to witnesses, “gang-linked officers” had shot at buses in the area because they were thought to contain students from “a teacher training college known as a hotbed of radical protests”. After the attack, many other students were whisked away in police vehicles. As a result of the night of violence, six people were left dead, 25 wounded, and 43 ‘missing’. Inaky Blanco, the chief state prosecutor of Guerrero, said that “a police officer [had] ordered the students [be] detained” and a “local drug boss” had then “ordered them [to be] killed”. Relatives of the students, meanwhile, have said the students “were taken to punish the school”, which is a “rural institution for poor students and a bastion of revolutionary political activity”.

According to Javier Monroy, member of a support group for relatives of the students, said “these are not the first forced disappearances and executions that we have had to deal with”, and that “we are governed by a society of drug traffickers”. One of the students’ fathers, meanwhile, said police officers “go after students, [but] the real delinquents are in the government”. The Herald backs this statement, saying that “drug traffickers have infiltrated many of the state’s municipal police forces, and often work in cahoots with local councils”. More evidence is that, when the students were ‘disappeared’, local PRD mayor Jose Luis Abarca had taken a “leave of absence”, before ‘vanishing’.[3] His wife, meanwhile, who is often guarded by “tough-looking civilians” and has “alleged family ties to organized crime” – particularly with the Beltran Leyva cartel – did the same. She is under particular suspicion because one of her brothers, Salomon Pineda, “was released from prison last year and is believed to be running the Guerreros Unidos cartel in Iguala, an offshoot of the Beltran Leyva group”. Even a PRD senator has said that “nobody did anything” about her connections to organised crime – “not the federal government, not the state government, not the party leadership”.[4] Abarca has also managed to remain as mayor in spite of having “an investigation and accusations against him”.[5] According to a witness, he apparently told the leader of the organisation ‘Popular Unity of Guerrero’, Arturo Hernández Cardona, “I am going to give myself the pleasure of killing you”. Hernández Cardona was later found murdered in mid-2013 along with two of his comrades.[6]

According to the Associated Press, students from the “radical rural teacher’s college” (named after Raúl Isidro Burgos) are “well-known for blocking highways and other protests”. Nonetheless, Monroy has said that “the brutality of the attack [on September 26th] “made no sense””. Blanco, though, has claimed suspects “have testified that as many as 30 members of the local police force were members of the Guerreros Unidos”. The “imprisoned municipal police deny killing anyone”, but they “had bloodstains in the back of their pickup trucks”, and one even “admitted handing over at least 10 detained students to “people he didn’t know””. As the federal forces entered Iguala on October 6th, the connections between the police and the cartel became more apparent, with the drug gang hanging “banners threatening retaliation if the 22 imprisoned police weren’t released”. They said they would “begin to name the people in the government who support us” if the officers weren’t released.

One professor at the teaching college said that “we’ve lived with threats for decades, but nothing like this had ever happened”.[4] Something that may have changed in recent months, however, is that the school in Ayotzinapa has recently strengthened its ties with anti-cartel groups. For example, it has “long been an ally of community police in the nearby town of Tixtla”, according to The New York Times. Last year, meanwhile, these two forces formed a “broad front… along with the teachers union… to expel cartel extortionists from the area”.[7] In recent years, VICE News quotes a former mayor as saying, “Iguala has become a key transfer point for drugs, and, as a result, a battleground for two criminal groups, Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos, which are both offshoots of the crippled Beltrán Leyva cartel”. Consequently, anyone getting in the way of cartels would risk repercussions. In fact, many locals have been forced to stop cultivating food and “become lookouts for the cartels” instead, while two students from the Ayotzinapa campus were killed in “a confrontation with police on a federal highway” in 2011.

In September 2014, though, the situation got even worse. A “Guerreros Unidos leader known as “El Chucky” allegedly gave the order to “finish off” the students that were captured” on September 26th by local police. Survivors of the attacks say that “the students had just been protesting outside an event featuring the Iguala mayor’s wife”, and “had also been in Iguala to solicit funds for supplies for their school”. In order to return to the school afterwards, they ‘commandeered’ a bus (which is a regular practice in the region because of insufficient government funding). The fact is that left-wing groups, opposed to the indiscriminate violence and political corruption linked to drug trafficking, are a threat to the continuation of the trade. And the teaching college in one of the strongest left-wing organisations in the region.

VICE News reported that the “rural teachers college [is] known nationally for the ardently leftist politics that guide everything the students do and study”. The walls are allegedly “peppered with revolutionary slogans and images of Ernesto “Che” Guevara… [and] 1970s Mexican guerrilla leader Lucio Cabañas”. There is even a “sign over the main entrance [which] reads: “Ayotzinapa, the cradle of social consciousness””.[8] Another force that has stood up to the drug cartels in Guerrero (but has been repressed by the government as a result) are the community police forces. And indeed these groups joined the search for the disappeared students at the beginning of October. On October 8th, for example, TeleSur reported on how “two community police groups [had joined] in the search for the disappeared students and [had demanded] the resignation of the governor of Guerrero”, Ángel Aguirre Rivero.

Around 500 community police members arrived from the “Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG)” on Tuesday 7th, while members of “the Regional Coordinating Group of Community Authorities of the Montaña and Costa Chica of Guerrero (CRAC-PC)” demanded Aguirre’s resignation, “charging that he is an “accomplice of organized crime,” whose aim is to “silence social protest”. The CRAC-PC said Aguirre, like President Peña Nieto, is “now pretending to be so concerned about these students after years of stigmatizing Ayotzinapa as a ‘breeding ground for guerrillas,’ just because the young people protest and demand their right to education”.[9]

Mexico’s left-wing is divided, but on October 8th it was unified in its demands for justice for the students of Ayotzinapa, for the release of political prisoners (like Nestora Salgado and José Mireles), and for legal action against those politicians involved with drug traffickers. In Chiapas, meanwhile, the Zapatistas (who have commanded immense respect on the Mexican left since they broke onto the political scene in 1994) marched in silence through the streets of San Cristóbal de las Casas with posters saying “your pain is our pain”. Showing solidarity with the students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos teacher training college, they said in a statement that “they are not alone… their dignified rage is also ours”.[10]

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-29532549

[2] http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/07/with-ayotzinapa-attack-have-violence-and-corruption-reached-a-tipping-point-in-mexico/

[3] http://www.smh.com.au/world/mexico-disarms-police-in-iguala-after-discovery-of-mass-grave-in-search-for-students-20141007-10r71m.html

[4] http://mashable.com/2014/10/07/mexican-federal-police-take-over-iguala/

[5] http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=384083

[6] http://aristeguinoticias.com/0710/mexico/documento-me-voy-a-dar-el-gusto-de-matarte-testimonio-contra-el-alcalde-de-iguala/

[7] http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/28-bodies-found-clandestine-grave-mexico-article-1.1965291

[8]https://news.vice.com/article/inside-the-mexican-college-where-43-students-vanished-after-a-violent-encounter-with-police

[9] http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Guerrero-Community-Police-Join-Search-for-Ayotzinapa-Students-20141008-0009.html

[10] http://www.informador.com.mx/mexico/2014/552895/6/ejercito-zapatista-se-moviliza-en-solidaridad-con-ayotzinapa.htm

Below are photos which I took of the march in Mexico City on October 8th:

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) 19) 20) 21) 22) Lucio Cabanas quote 23) 24) 25) 26) 27) 28) 29) 30) 31) 32) 33) 34) 35) 36) 37) 38) 39) 40) 41) 42) 43) 44) 45) 46) 47) 48) 49) 50) 51) 52) 53) 54) 55)

Posted in #AyotzinapaNoSeOlvida, #JusticiaParaAyotzinapa, #TodosSomosAyotzinapa, #TodxsSomxsAyotzinapa, Ayotzinapa, Drug Cartels, Education, Free Nestora, Guerrero, Iguala, mexico, Mireles, Nestora Salgado, Normalistas, PAN, PRD, PRI, Teachers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kurdish Stalingrad: Kobane and Western Inaction

The struggle in Rojava (Kurdish northern Syria) is really a struggle for humanity, freedom, and human dignity.

The ‘coalition’ and its air strikes clearly do not aim to protect human life, because they’ve been useless at stopping ISIS from advancing on Kobane. The socialist Kurdish peoples’ militias have managed to evacuate all civilians now, but they are going to stay in the city until their last breath. It really is a Stalingrad-type situation.

Turkey, meanwhile, would love to see the Kurdish resistance fail, because if it doesn’t it will encourage the massive Kurdish population in Turkey to demand more autonomous self-government too. That’s why it hasn’t attacked ISIS yet. It’s walking the tight-rope between officially opposing ISIS and secretly opposing Kurdish autonomy. And its Western allies have obliged until now.

The solution has never been foreign bombing. The only solution is residents having the means to defend themselves and govern themselves. Then, they have no-one to blame but themselves if something bad happens – and that is much better than being able to blame someone else. However, the Kurdish militias (YPG and YPJ) have incredibly limited funds and arms that are pretty useless to stop the well-funded and well-armed ISIS from advancing. Those who claim to love democracy and humanity should support them, to allow them to defend themselves effectively.

The West, however, has only funded Kurds in Iraq – because they’re capitalist and they fit the Western model (though they are much less effective than the libertarian socialist Kurds of Syria). Meanwhile, it has ignored those in Rojava in the hope that their alternative model of government will disappear.

All of this is just one more example that Western governments cannot be trusted to ‘do the right thing’. They clearly only focus on their own interests in the region (or those of the capitalist elites that fund and control them). They never do what is best for the people of the region. That’s why we should be extremely critical of their actions.

Posted in Anarchism, Autonomy, Bourgeois Democracy, capitalism, Democracy, dignity, Europe, ISIS, Kobane, Rojava | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment