Vast crowds of protestors, including thousands of doctors, poured onto the streets of Mexico City on Sunday in support of teachers fighting the government's education 'reform' and protesting against the state violence which resulted in up to 12 deaths last week. 4000 police officers were deployed to face the hundreds and thousands on the streets.
Sunday's protests were followed yesterday by the blocking of roads and strategic bridges in the country and the beginning of a motorised caravan to Nochixtlan, Oaxaca where the worst violence took place last week.
This fight against the 'reform' policies of the Nieto government is being led by teachers organised in the CNTE, a dissident faction inside the massive SNTE union which represents teachers all over the country. The leadership of SNTE, while condemning the violence, continues to support the government's education policies. On its website it says:
The social objectives of structural reforms were proposed and supported by the political majority, for Mexico to achieve sustainable economic growth, reduce poverty and achieve integral human development; therefore, the SNTE is part of this effort, in the area of its responsibility, to raise the quality of public education
At best this is a failure to understand the ideological nature of the reforms, at worst it is a gross betrayal of the teachers and their supporters who are putting their lives on the line. As an important article points out, the so-called reform has been generated by institutions of world capitalism, the OECD and the World Bank with the aim of privatising, controlling and profiting from education. The author points out, the reforms:
. . . aim to lay the groundwork to shift education from being a State responsibility to instead being resolved in the realm of the financial market.
One of the state’s actions accompanying the Educational Reform is the issuing of bonds to the speculative market. Just over a year after the adoption of the reform, in December 2015, the first educational bonds or National School Infrastructure Certificates (CIEN) were issued by the Mexican Stock Exchange, which investors BBVA Bancomer and Merrill Lynch purchased for 8.581 billion pesos.
The reason the state is so determined to stop the teachers is because if they can block this 'reform' then all the other structural adjustments which the state is planning, to for example the energy sector are threatened.
The good news is that the fight of Mexican teachers is attracting the attention of the world's media and solidarity actions, particularly in the USA. The corporate project to control and destroy public education is exposed in its rawest form in Mexico. It is regrettable that the global union federation Education International, is taking its cue from one of its largest affiliates, SNTE, instead of from the teachers and communities who are waging their inspiring struggle on behalf of teachers and children not just in Mexico but all over the world.