The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

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For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
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If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Seccion XXII brings the chaos

I don't get it, but it is sure getting to me.... and many others.  Seccion XXII is making life difficult.  They have shut down roads, streets, shopping centers, and today, the airport.  As you can imagine, it is beginning to get serious.  There are lots of federales here, but still all this stuff takes place.  It is downright ugly.  And it ain't just here.  Lots of other places, too. 
Here, they are protesting in front of a school on Juarez and subsequently, the surrounding streets are either closed or a mess..
If you know Oaxaca, you can recognize the gazebo in the background.  Yes, this is the NW entrance to the zocalo.  Where is that meteor when you really need it?
Here's the thing... I'm a former teacher, a pacifist and a Buddhist, so I wrestle with my feelings of wanting to smack someone up side the head with a 2x4.  I don't like feeling this way.  And I don't even have a dog in this fight.... except I need to take a flight on Saturday.  This is just a small street with a tiny school on it and it is being shut down by teachers from Tlacolula.  This makes sense???
 
And I don't understand the strategy of making life hell for everyone, pissing them off, and thinking that this is progress and will make others sympathetic to the teacher's demands.

4 comments:

James Peck said...

Do you think the teachers now causing the chaos are the ones who have already lost their jobs and have nothing left to lose? Many of them look like hired union thugs, 'porros' I think they call them.

Maude de Valerie said...

Interesting. Was just in Oaxaca, and have been trying to figure out the various strands in this conflict. Just read this article in The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/why-are-mexican-teachers-being-jailed-for-protesting-education-reform/

I have some questions (and note these are not challenges, but rather I'm just interested in understanding this conflict):

--Seems to me if teachers are being murdered and jailed on trumped-up charges they have a legitimate gripe... but you seem to be suggesting they don't necessarily have the support of the populace? In what ways is the union corrupt?

--Of course, dead students can't be returned alive, so I'm assuming that's just their hard-bargaining-position rhetoric, rather than a serious demand. Do you think their strategy and tactics are not well thought through?

thanks!

Valerie

Christopher Stowens said...

I am a respectful guest here and I hardly know all the aspects of this dispute. The teacher's union has been a political force for close to 40 years. Like many thing in Mexico there are elements of corruption. The stories of the union's corruption are well documented and legion. One cannot equate or relate it to labor unions in other countries. I think the story you link to presents one side of the argument, favoring the teachers. You ask how the union is corrupt? Those at the top make more money than seems appropriate. The union regularly engages in less than positive actions like vandalizing offices and theft of materials. They have set up roadblocks and blockades that severely have an impact on everyday life/ For the last three days they have shut down the main road from the DF to points south. They have essentially shut down access to many aspects of city life. It is too long a litany to list. I think their tactics and strategies are ill-conceived and ineffective, but what do I know? I am a guest here... and a former teacher, but through their actions, children and parents suffer. We are talking about generations with poor or no education. I sympathize with some of their issues and demands, but I cannot support their actions. It is all too crazy for me to figure out.

Maude de Valerie said...

Thank you for giving me some more insight. I'm a strong believer in labor unions and in teachers, but if a particular union is not serving the interests of its members or the populace, that's not helping anything--and certainly corruption is troubling.

We left Oaxaca on a day when they had blockaded the road to the airport, yet they parted ways and lifted the banner to let us through, so it didn't seem too serious a blockade. Perhaps because they wished to maintain a good impression by Americans?

In any event, Mexican politics seem very complex. The investigation of the missing students, and the Mexican gov's blocking of that investigation, is troubling. It seems more like the sort of thing that goes on in South and Central American countries, but I know that the rule of law tends to be rather bendable in many developing countries.

Thank you for responding!

Valerie