The democratic teachers of Oaxaca in Mexico have begun their campaign of resistance to attempts by the federal and state governments to dismantle the education service which they have been struggling to build. The government want to force through corporate reform which would enforce standardised curricula and testing on students, restrict teaching to English and Spanish and destroy teachers' labour rights.

Hundreds of teachers are blocking the seven regional offices of the IEPPO (the education department which has been taken over by the federal government) in Oaxaca and preventing staff from entering. They are demanding talks with the state government. Meanwhile the authorities have started a propaganda campaign aimed at the population - they are sending out text messages at all hours of the day and night, as well as distributing flyers, attempting to explain their actions before the start of the new school year on August 24th. People are also receiving recorded messages on their private phone lines, and when they try to phone back the number is unobtainable. Some residents of Oaxaca are compaining that this is an invasion of their privacy and an abuse of private data and that they want to be left to make up their own minds. 

The teachers of Oaxaca deserve global solidairty, just as they have given it to others, not least because they are faced with the security forces of one of the most brutal states in the world. As we reported last week, in the words of filmmaker Jill Friedberg: 

The Coalition of Indigenous Teachers of Oaxaca (CMPIO) . . .  have been world leaders in their explorations of bilingual education, community-led indigenous education, and new models for developing indigenous educators . . . They have worked closely with Navajo educators in the U.S., and with Maori educators in New Zealand. . .  With this most recent union-busting move . . .they are essentially all being fired, and many of them have arrest warrants. In short, some of the world’s most important work in community-driven public education is being dismantled as we speak, and that part of the story is not being reported.