I mentioned John Giblers book, Mexico Unconquered, in an earlier post and that I admired his work and his analysis but here I want to challenge his assumptions about the APPO uprising in 2006. He writes "The incredible participation and creativity expressed on the streets during the Oaxaca uprising teaches that revolt is not only necessary, it is also possible...we have more ideas, and we will advance them."
What I and many others learned is "creativity" and "ideas " are not nearly enough.I am a strong supporter of the goals of the APPO but critical of the tactics used to achieve them. Between State, Federal and para-military forces, seventeen protesters were killed, hundreds more were abducted , tortured , beaten and wounded. Hundreds were jailed. And nothing was gained, Governor Ruiz remained in power, Fox ( then Calderon) remained in power, the teacher strike was broken, no one in power was punished or held responsible, none of the rest of the country rose up in revolt. Marches and barricades are not an end in themselves.
In Giblers romanticized view, it is a positive aspect of the movement that " it is not a creature of the Mexican Left". Using "de-centralized, horizontal forms of protest..They neither employed traditional Latin American guerilla tactics nor espoused philosophical non-violence. It was -awkwardly and innovatively- somewhere in the middle." He forgets to mention- unsuccessfully as well. Here is what you are up against; besides right-wing para-military there are "several hundred riot police...armed with submachine guns,tear gas grenades, riot shields and batons..military helicopters circling overhead and anti-riot tanks behind." The "resistance" has bottle rockets, sling shots, spray paint, rocks and a few handguns. "Revolt" is "tending to piles of burning tires..brewing coffee...creating protest stencil art and painting city walls...writing new protest songs.. opening spaces of resistance on equal footing- all are members, rock throwers,and coffee brewers alike."
To me this sounds like an anarcho recipe for getting totally fucked. The Greek Black Bloc and student rebels can smash windows and start fires but in Mexico ( or the USA) they don't just slap your wrist and send you back to class. Without a solid theoretical base , a long term organizing plan nation wide, discipline and timing, you only end up setting a bad example, discouraging people and setting the "movement" back. Theory takes work and if you don't like Left theory, fine, come up with something better. Organizing takes work, you need a nationwide strike to enforce your demands, a nationwide student walk-out. Discipline means if you are non-violent you can't have guns, you can't throw rocks (totally idiotic), you can't shoot bottle rockets or destroy property.Strictly enforced. If you are going to use violence, be prepared for the real deal.Incredibly important is the ability to control your media message. It's not a game for tourist revolutionaries and how you govern is different than how you fight. The Israeli Model doesn't care about your horizontal structure. We are all Palestinians now.