Teachers organised in CNTE in Mexico are appealing to the global education movement, meeting in Ottawa for support, as they face increased repression. This is a shortened version of a statement from a teachers leader in CNTE.

Everyday in Mexico there is another crime against all social movements in struggle, commited by security forces.  But of course the democratic teachers' movement is continuing with its struggle. 

The announcement of the subsitute of the State Institute for Public Education in Oaxaca (IEEPO) with a new body, will be used to attack teachers labour rights and advance privatisation.

Altough this is being described by the media as being the decision of the Oaxaca government, it is in fact being dictated by the federal government. In advance of the announcement, 7000 federal police were dispatched to Oaxaca, who have taken over the IEEPO to prevent the teachers from occupying and protesting.

This is accompanied by an agressive media campaign against the teachers and their leaders, calling them criminals and blaming them for the 'low standard of education.'

The government is using the same words to describe the democratic teachers as it used against the corrupt and now jailed former leader of SNTE, to justify the stripping away of teachers labour rights. This is yet another attack on the democratic rights of teachers, health workers and other public servants, who work every day with the people and who know what is needed in order to transform the services for which they work. The deterioration of public education is the responsibility of the bureaucrats who have been placed in the ministry of education by the government, who have never taught and who do not understand anything about conditions and processes in schools, and who obey those who have placed them in post and not society.

The government, the media, the OECD and of course private corporations all say they want to purge the democratic teachers from the education department in Oaxaca, as though we were exercising arbitrary power with no education qualification. This is a lie. These are teachers, who have been elected by their colleagues and given responsibililty by the state, and so of course they reperesent the interests of children, parents and teachers.

Now all the new functionaries have been chosen because of their willingness to compromise with the state and federal government and with corporations. Will this improve education? No it is more likely to make it worse.

SNTE, which is at present at the EI congress in Ottawa, is negotiating to legitimise the education 'reform'  and is telling the same government which is responsible for the abduction of the 43 student teachers in Guerrero, that they support the changes in Oaxaca. It has asked the 'true teachers of Oaxaca' to welcome the changes and seize 'the opportunity' which they offer.

CNTE is on high alert both in Oaxaca and in the whole country. There will be mobilisation in many towns but we are in a holiday period. 

We need the following solidarity actions:

  • Let people know what lies behind the government's actions in Oaxaca
  • Share experiences in other countries where the teachers' movement has fought against such attacks
  • Make statements of support for the struggling teachers, students and parents in Mexico, fighting for education as a social right, against privatisation and the use of punitive evaluation methods
  • Pass a motion in those terms at Education International