Teachers protesting in Mexico City

Teachers in the CNTE faction of the union SNTE struck on October 12th in their long running and determined struggle against education 'reform'. The government of Pena Nieto, with the connivance of the leadership of SNTE, has been pushing through reforms which would see the end of the democratic progress made by teachers, particularly in indigenous areas.

In July, Nieto attempted to force through his 'reforms' at the point of a gun, sending 7000 security forces to Oaxaca - one of the main centres of resistance, where teachers were developing a real alternative to neo-liberal and past education models. Their work on bilingual and indigenous education has been described as ground-breaking and is based on the work of theorists like Paolo Freire. Meanwhile the government, encouraged by the World Bank, is determined to bring about reform based on standardised testing, education in Spanish and English only, performance related pay and privatisation.

Teachers from Oaxaca comandeered lorries and blocked the airport at Oaxaca. In states including Chiapas and Michoacan, teachers and their supporters blocked main roads and occupied buildings such as banks and department stores. Many road toll booths were occupied and motorists allowed to go through without paying. The border crossing between Mexico and Guatemala was also blocked. In Guerrero, parents of the missing 43 Ayotzinapa student teachers, students and teachers blocked the main Highway del Sol.

The strike was overwhelmingly supported, despite threats by state governments to stop salaries and despite heavy police presence.

To read more about the history of this inspirational struggle go here