This Saturday, September 26th, is a crucial anniversary for all those who care about democracy, justice and critical education. On this day last year, 43 student teachers were abducted in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero and have not been seen since. The right wing government of Pena Nieto has attempted to pass the blame on to local politicians and drug gangs - but this has not convinced anyone, including global human rights organisations

Protests have been ongoing throughout Mexico all year with the cry: 'It was the state!' Because teacher training colleges like that at Ayotzinapa present a real threat to the government's education 'reform' plans as well as its privatisation of the nations resources. As the lawyer for the families put it:

“It’s a student sector that protests, that goes out in the streets and that also trains critical teachers… And today they’re seriously questioning the structural reforms, seriously questioning the unjust state of affairs. They’ll be professors who go out and establish relationships with the communities, and contribute to the awakening among the people so that later they can defend themselves from injustice. And obviously this makes the state uncomfortable, and that’s why there is a systematic attack against them.”

Yesterday the families of the 43 missing student teachers, started a 43 hour hunger strike, to coincide with their meeting with President Nieto. Meanwhile all around the world, there will be protests at Mexican embassies, demanding the return of the students. In Mexico, tension is mounting - protests have been taking place all week which have often been attacked by riot police. A mass demonstration is planned for the capital, Mexico City on Saturday.

Mexican critical educators, teachers, students and academics are at the cutting edge of the struggle to build an alternative to the Global Education Reform Movement. And they face not only a brutal state but an official union which is silent about Ayotzinapa and actively co-operating with the Mexican government in pressing through its education 'reforms'. It is a union which is a member of Education International, which participated recently in a symposium with SNTE and the Mexican education minister. 

Teachers all over the world who care about democratic education stand with our colleagues in Mexico and with the grieving families.

Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos!