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An essay on the current political situation in Oaxaca, Mexico by David Venegas, former political prisoner, ongoing participant in the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca) and member of Oaxacan anarchist group VOCAL (Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom).


POWER, this monster of one thousand faces of politicians, businesspeople, bishops, and military men, that in 2006 was at the point of being squashed beneath millions of feet in the people's victorious march for freedom; that was burned by the magnificent heat of the millions of good hearts lit up with the fire of rebellion and hope; that hid itself, terrorised when cornered by the thousands of barricades; that was deafened by millions of throats that shouted like never before the slogans of justice, freedom, dignity and peace, words that are naturally opposed to power. That same power that was humiliated and mortally wounded by the insurrectional action of the peoples of Oaxaca, today regroups its forces rapidly and rises furiously from the ground, seeking vengeance.

Meanwhile in 2006 power had as an ultimate refuge the space bought on TV screens and the covers of a few daily papers, the only spaces where it could feel safe, and from there it performed a false show of strength. Today power goes out in the streets to demonstrate its renewed cynicism. The faces of businesspeople and politicians of all the parties that in 2006 looked with skepticism or open disdain at the most violent and authoritarian face of power, of the repressive and murderous governor (Ulises Ruiz Ortiz). In their hypocrisy these faces of power that in 2006 publicly criticised the fascist face of power, negating their common origin, today have reconciled and renewed their compromise to keep their power alive at whatever cost.

Power licks the deep scars left in its skin by thousands of anonymous hands of the people that celebrated its deafening collapse, painting slogans of freedom and justice on its reptile body to the embarrassment of those who thought that power would never succumb, and the happiness of those who thought it was already dead. For this affront power felt a renewed appetite for the blood of the working people, an appetite stimulated by its desire for revenge.

Revenge disguised as reconciliation, power knows that it should show its friendliest faces in order to gain the trust of the people including those that rebelled, power gets closer, close enough to lash out with its claws, and one-time captives return to feeding it their obedience, fear, admiration and their blood. For this, power counts on its most hypocritical faces, faces of leftist politicians, of legitimate deputies, senators and presidents, of leaders of falsely revolutionary social organisations, of bishops, of painters, "philanthropists", of union leaders, of parrot-journalists and even the faces of some that are called "Leaders of the APPO" that with their long serpent tongues speak magnificent discourses of surrender and spit the venom of the demagogy at those that are within reach of their treacherous tongues, fulfilling the vile task of attracting the people that rose up in 2006 to the jaws of power so that they may be devoured by this monster of a thousand heads.

The leftist faces of power that in 2006 sought eagerly to put themselves at the front of the brave actions of the people in struggle, those that when they spoke in meetings or on occupied radio stations pronounced discourses so inflammatory in their revolutionary vehemence that they tore at the hearts of thousands of brave and honest men and women.

Leftist faces of power including those who encouraged people to engage in direct confrontation with the police and military face of power. Today they don't lose the opportunity in calling "radical, violent and police" the people from the struggle in the streets who dare to denounce their treason and opportunism for having become efficient servants of power. There is a powerful reasoning behind these accusations of the leftist faces of power: To discredit, defame and eliminate the social movement which refuses to serve power, those that continue fighting for freedom.

The power which in 2006 showed its most fascist and repressive face, which provoked the forceful action of the people to deeply and mortally wound its ghastly body, has learned the lesson and is ready to add however many faces may be necessary, even many faces of the left, to the monstrous body in which it continues living, this devourer of peoples, nature, culture and future. There are many faces of the left, many of those self-described leaders of the APPO who don't hesitate to become part of the body of power and drink their fill, already they rehearse the gestures, the solemnity and the demagoguery necessary to form part of this monster.

They forget and ignore that the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca is naturally opposed to power. Well the horizontality, respect for consensus and respectful dialogue that are the fundamental principles of the assembly, inherited from the assemblies our indigenous peoples have practised for millenia, the assemblies are precisely the reason for the indigenous peoples survival through the successive invasions, plunder, attacks, colonialism, capitalism and neoliberalism with which the owners of power have attacked them for centuries. Today the assembly remains in force as the communities own form of self-government, but above all as a political proposal of national reach and for the peoples of the world. The APPO is that historic paradigm where the experience of struggle of the peoples of Oaxaca and the different peoples of the world that have struggled for freedom, justice, dignity and peace is combined, in a moment in history where savage capitalism is found in terminal crisis, and power, its bastard son, has shown its most criminal faces.

Power has suffered more than the superficial wounds left on its body by the people's insurrectional action of 2006, and even though it may be adorning its hideous body with words of social peace, reconciliation and development, it will not be capable of curing itself of the most profound wounds caused by the people in 2006, the consciousness gained by our peoples of their unsustainable situation and the necessity to struggle tirelessly until they obtain true justice, freedom, dignity and peace. It is this mortal wound that remains in the heart of power and this is the wound from which it will never heal.

by David Venegas Reyes “alebrije”
Participant in the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca)
member of VOCAL (Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom)
11 July 2008

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