Saturday, November 18, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Some schools still not open; Union violates agreements, punishing non-striking teachers

Ok, some more details are emerging on the 30-50 schools in the central valleys area (that's around here) that have not opened. It seems that parents are angry at the returning teachers -- imagine that!

About a hundred parents blocked 12 returning teachers at a school in Donají. Their reasons were twofold: First, the angry parents objected to the teacher's unilatreal decision to reduce their work hours, which are supposed to be 8-1:00, to 9-12. Uh, according to my Tag Heuer, that's only 3 hours per day. And this after a 4 month long strike. That reminds me of what I used to tell my boss upon occasion. "I came in late but I'm going to make up for it by going home early."

The parents also claim that the teachers take unwarranted time off, "even when there are no marches or encampments". What a hoot.

The teachers claimed that the parents' actions were illegal. The parents then reminded the teachers that Donají, like many rural villages in Oaxaca and Chiapas, is permitted by the federal government to be governed outside of the Mexican federal regulations for municipalities. It is governed by what is called, "usos y costumbres" which means the village residents govern themselves as they did in pre-colonial times, except without the indian emporers, kings, nobility and priests ripping out still-beating hearts. Which really means that they don't govern themselves anything at all like they did in pre-colonial times.

Be that as it may, they operate under the old Athenian "demokratia" style of government. That means every issue is voted upon by all the people, all of the time. It's a bit creaky but quite popular in those areas where people don't have much else to do. There is no representative form of village government. If the majority of the people decide that the teachers have to go, then go they must. (Note: The Greek "demokratia" can also be translated as "mob rule", but that's an argument for another time.)

The parents told reporters that they have asked the IEEPO, the state education secretariat, to replace the entire teaching staff. The outraged teachers, who had fully expected to return to a 15 hour work week instead of the grueling 25 hour pre-strike work week, had this to say:
Indignada por esto, una de las profesoras advirtió a los padres de familia que las consecuencias las pagarán los niños y la APPO tomará medidas más drásticas ante dicha actitud.

Translation: Indignant at this, a female professor advised the parents that the children would pay the price and that APPO would take more drastic measures in light of such an attitude.
Gunfire, blood, death and much weeping to follow, no doubt.

Meanwhile, the Legal Affairs director of the CCL (the non-striking teachers who, when not being ice-picked to death in broad daylight on busy city streets, have tried to carry on classroom activities in warehouses and private homes since September 7) said that there are now more than 200 CCL members who are being sanctioned illegally by school directors as "examples to the rest". She said that CCL members are being punished in two ways. Either they are told there is no longer a position open for them at their school or they are told that they are to report to a different school, usually on the other side of the state.

"It's only a nine hour drive through a hail of bullets, gasoline bombs and homemade bazookas. Hurry now, don't be late!"

She pointed out that the agreement signed by the SNTE strikers stipulated that there were to be no sanctions taken by the union against members who did not agree with it's actions. So far I am unable to identify a single solitary case where either Sección 22 of the SNTE or APPO has complied with, lived up to or followed through on any agreement made with anyone, includinng each other.

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