With teachers in Oaxaca and Chiapas going back into their classrooms after another courageous struggle against corporate education 'reform', there are lessons to be learned for those of us fighting for democratic education all over the world.
The 124 day strike, in the face of murderous attacks by security forces, has seen the government having to retreat on a number of issues - the education 'reform' has been frozen, warrants against union members will be suspended, the CNTE's bank account will be unfrozen and the government will have to fund more school infrastructure.
Despite these advances many teachers' leaders are still under arrest and no-one has been brought to justice for the murders in Oaxaca earlier this year, nor have the 43 student teachers been found. Of course given all this and the government's record on education, CNTE has made clear that it will return to the struggle if Nieto reneges on any of its commitments. It is perhaps also significant that only 45% of CNTE members in the latest ballot in Chiapas, voted to end the strike with the rest either voting against or abstaining.
However as an excellent article by Luis Hernandez Navarro points out, the government's duplicity and violence cannot take away from the achievement of the democratic teachers and their supporters. The struggle for public education against corporate 'reform' has been placed at the heart of the national agenda:
At meals and family gatherings, on public transport, at workplaces and in universities the subject became the centre of debate. . . (The teachers' struggle) demonstrated that behind the 'reform' lie the interests of corporations, masquerading as citizens, who are using the rights of children to further their business interests.
Navarro goes on to describe how the teachers' movement has been the main break on Nieto's push for neoliberal structural reform of the whole economy and has played a vital role, through teach-ins, street stalls and occupations in educating the people about the nature and dangers of that reform.
Once again, democratic teachers everywhere should stand in solidarity with and learn from the brave teachers of Mexico.
To read Navarro's article in full, go here.
To read more background to the Mexican teachers' struggle go here.