Support the Just Strike in the
National Autonomous University of Mexico!
It's Right to Rebel!

Revolutionary Worker #1027, October 24, 1999

This leaflet is from Libros Revolución in Los Angeles. It has been translated into English from the original Spanish.:

Support the Just Strike in the
National Autonomous University of Mexico!
It's Right to Rebel!

For over four months the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), in Mexico City, has been closed down by a student strike. Every building, every laboratory, every sports center in the largest university in Latin America is shut down. The new generation is determined to draw the line, to say "Basta Ya!" to the future imperialism has planned for them and for Mexico. They chant against the privatizations: "After education, it's the hospitals and electricity!" Their struggle is like a fresh wind blowing through Mexico and shaking the rickety, decrepit fortress of the Mexican regime. As they march through the streets with their T-shirts that declare "There is no other path but ours" their message of resistance inspires rebellion in other sections of the people.

The Strike Demands

On April 20, 270,000 students of UNAM voted to go out on "indefinite" strike. They raised six demands to abolish educational "reforms" that attack free, public education, a gain won through the 1910 Revolution and formalized in the Constitution of the country. There has been virtually no tuition to attend UNAM for 51 years, and now tuition of $65/semester has been imposed. This is a huge expense in a country where the minimum wage is $4/day and four out of five children in the countryside suffer from malnutrition and most youth have no hope of education. Students attending preparatory schools affiliated with the UNAM have lost the right to an "automatic pass" to the university. Time limits have been set on the completion of a degree, punishing the 40 percent of students who must work and study. The entrance exams and graduation criteria are being handled by an outside firm that works with Bill Gates, the multi-millionaire head of Microsoft.

The just struggle has enraged the ruling class who accuse the students of being "ultras," "intransigent" (or obstinate) "a minority causing irreparable damage to the university." This accusation from the same lackeys of imperialism who are forcing a $900 million bank bailout onto the public and drastically cut healthcare and education! As the striking students say: "If they call us intransigent because we won't accept that the sons and daughters of workers are excluded from the university, because we defend the right of everyone to a higher education, ok then, we're intransigent." (General Strike Counsel--CGH)

Where There's Oppression, There's Resistance

The economic system that benefits only the oppressors of the Mexican people--the imperialists, the bureaucrat capitalists and the landlords--have a big problem: keep stability in the country at the same time as they remold the economy. The privatizations and restructuring of the economy demanded by the imperialist financial institutions have trapped the Mexican people in extreme poverty. The government estimates that just in the countryside, 15 million peasants will be forced off their land as a result of the changes that they are implementing; and that this is an acceptable quantity.

The Mexican government and their imperialist masters are sitting on top of a volcano; they fear the righteous rebellion of the people as well they should. As the year 2000 election approaches, they are more vulnerable than ever as they bite and claw at each other in internal power struggles. They desperately need for the only question on the minds of the people to be "which political party should we choose to oppress us?"

It's Right to Rebel!

This strike has polarized Mexican society in a way not seen since the righteous, armed uprising of the peasants in Chiapas. The discontented population searches for real solutions as the old order is breaking down--hundreds of electrical workers march against the looming threat of the privatization of the electrical industry, while armed guerrilla movements proliferate in the mountains. In the midst of all this, a new generation appears on the political scene that puts its faith in determined resistance. The ruling class fears their determination and that their struggle could spread to other sectors of society. The rulers reacted with fury when two busloads of students traveled to Chiapas to support the indigenous people facing off against the military. Warrants were issued for the students' arrest, the governor shrieked against the "outside agitators." All traffic on the road to San Cristóbal, Chiapas was searched, Mexican Immigration was sent to search for students in tourist hotels deport them back to Mexico City?!

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing Exposed

Cardenas, mayor of Mexico City and presidential candidate for the PRD, the party that likes to pose as a friend to the people, has repeatedly shown that he defends the same interests as the PRI--those of the big capitalists, imperialists and landlords. He upheld the police who beat and arrested the students. Cardenas response was, "The police will intervene whenever necessary." Cardenas together with Mexican President Zedillo, the University Rector Barnes and the police chief were declared "personas non gratis" on campus. In a recent march against repression students carried banners and posters calling out the truth: "Cardenas: Repressor."

As of this writing, threats are mounting against the student strikers. The university rector Barnes has called for federal government intervention to end the strike. Zedillo said in a thinly veiled threat: the government "will resort to another type of solution" if negotiations fail, but is looking for "the consensus of the democratic community of the university" in order to attack. A proposal from famous university professors has worked to divide and pressure the strikers and strengthen the government's hand. The proposal was rejected by strikers because it calls to end the strike "in exchange for a promise" of dialogue.

This proposal has served the government in further pressuring the students to lift the strike, discredit their struggle, and divide the movement and its supporters as well as a possible pretext to justify any aggression against the students as acting in the interest of the majority who are being blocked by an "isolated minority" of "ultras." To attack the strike with brutal force would carry a high political price for the government because the memory is still very fresh of the massacre of hundreds of students and families on October 2, 1968 in the Plaza de Tlatelolco. In this massacre the Mexican government revealed its true murdering and lackey face. Nevertheless, today there are those who openly evoke the specter of the October 2 massacre in Tlatelolco to promote another massacre: the President of the Governing Commission of the Senate chided the Cardenas' Capitol Police to not be held back by the ghost of the October 2, 1968 massacre, and "arrest the delinquents of the CGH." He suggested a joint operation with the new "Preventative Police" whose ranks include 5,000 army troops.

Defend the Rebel Students!

Whatever comes down in this strike, it is clear that it has put up a serious and inspiring opposition to the imperialist's master plan that they want to shove down the throats of the Mexican people and the rest of the people of the world. For this reason this struggle benefits the struggle of the people of the world against imperialism. Long Live the Striking Students! We live in the very country that is the main oppressor of the Mexican people and we have a responsibility and a special opportunity to expose the common enemy and support the just struggle of our sisters and brother in struggle at UNAM. What you can do: Send messages of support to the students and in opposition to imperialism and its lackeys in Mexico. Organize your school or organization, your friends at work or in your neighborhood to support the student strikers: to send solidarity messages and to organize forums and protests. Send banners, artwork, poems and letters of support. People here need to know about the student strike and the struggle of the people of Mexico. Call up the press and demand that they report on this strike. Get in touch with Libros Revolución to get the most current information on the strike and to help get this leaflet out. Send messages of support directly to the student strikers by e-mail: To send messages of protest to the rector of UNAM by email:




Libros Revolución, 312 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014, 213-488-1303

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