FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Occupied Campus in Mexico City

Mexico City.

The Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México (UACM) was founded in 2001, ostensibly by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, then mayor of Mexico City, but spurred by the student strike at the much larger Universidad Autónoma Nacional de México (UNAM) a year earlier and by a neighborhood group’s occupation of a former prison.

This group’s demand, “Schools, not prisons,” inspired the creation of a high school and later the university, which has since expanded to five campuses. The UACM is the only university in Mexico with no admissions exam and one of the few that doesn’t charge tuition. None of the majors are business-oriented and, at first, grades were de-emphasized and non-traditional modes of study and earning of credit were encouraged.

The UACM has been immersed in conflict for the past two years as the founding rector, Manuel Pérez Rocha, a fan of Alfie Kohn and Paolo Freire (but also of certain mainstream politicians) retired and biologist Esther Orozco took his place and initiated a series of counter-reforms that culminated in demands for her resignation in April of 2011 and the outbreak of a student strike in recent days.

Orozco is linked to Marcelo Ebrard, former police chief,  López Obrador´s handpicked successor in the mayor’s office who has governed in a more conservative manner as a sort of Guiliani of what passes for the electoral left.

The UACM, like many Latin American universities, has autonomy, which means that, unlike most North American public universities governed by state or city governments through boards of trustees or regents, it is self-governed. Orozco entered with the idea of controlling the university by

1.  Weakening the union (the administration still retains union dues from members’ salaries but hasn’t turned over this money, which belongs to the workers via the union, for about two years)

2. Insulting students, especially those who are activists, who work, or are parents, by inventing a coefficient of student performance  and advancement (CDA–Coeficiente de Desempeño Académico) that ostracizes those who take longer than the “normal” amount of time to graduate

3. Firing dissident workers without due process

4. Engaging in bribery and election fraud to control the university council, more powerful, according to university regulations, than the rector herself

5. Maintaining a network of influence-peddling and nepotism–when Ebrard was a candidate for his party´s nomination for president, Orozco and four members of her family, three of whom are on the university payroll, two under obvious circumstances of sinecure, signed a public declaration of support

The straw that broke the camel’s back came in late August. When long-postponed elections for a new university council were held, people openly critical of Orozco won 33 of the 55 seats. Several days later, at the last minute, an illegally established election board disqualified eight of the winning candidates, mostly students, including some who won by a 4 to 1 margin. (The same student activists later attacked by Orozco fought for and won student-faculty parity on the university council, another rarity in Mexico.)

Activists responded immediately. The dissident elected council members who were not disqualified refused to take their seats, a march was organized that broke the news media´s silence about the conflict, and, at the conclusion of the march, one campus, the one that houses the rectors’ offices, was occupied by students, with two more to follow within days and the other two on the way, though at one of these goons linked to the ostensibly left party, the Partido de la Revolución Democrática, have resorted to threats and actual manifestations of physical violence to maintain the status quo.

Given Mexican labor laws and the attacks against the all-workers’ union at the UACM, professors and other workers feel limited in how they can participate in the strike, but hundreds of faculty members have signed statements in support and have participated in fundraising, workshops, and other activities.

Student organization of life within the occupied campuses is amazingly advanced. the police are gone, drinking incidents are greatly reduced, the bathrooms are cleaner than ever. The movement welcomes expressions of support, suggestions, visits to our campuses in the safest city in Mexico.

JOHNNY HAZARD is somewhere where the banks won’t find him, but he can often be reached at jhazard99@yahoo.com

 

 

 

More articles by:

Johnny Hazard is somewhere where the banks won’t find him, but he can often be reached at jhazard99@yahoo.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 19, 2019
Ramzy Baroud
How Western Media Bias Allows Israel to Getaway with Murder in Gaza
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Kurds is Still Happening
Dave Lindorff
Student Protesters are Walking a Tightrope in Hong Kong
Richard Greeman
French Yellow Vests Celebrate First Birthday, Converge With Planned Labor Strikes
Dean Baker
Impeachment is a Kitchen Table Issue
Walden Bello
Is China an “Imperial Power” in the Image of the West?
Jim Britell
Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots Of America’s Assertive Illiteracy
Sabri Öncü
Non-Financial Private Debt Overhang
John Steppling
Baby Shark Coup
Binoy Kampmark
Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian Universities
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Greece and the Struggle for Freedom
Colin Todhunter
Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter
James Graham
Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the Eve of the Debate
Elliot Sperber
Scrutiny – From Scruta
November 18, 2019
Olivia Arigho-Stiles
Protestors Massacred in Post-Coup Bolivia
Ashley Smith
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Macho Camacho: Jeffery R. Webber and Forrest Hylton on the Coup in Bolivia
Robert Fisk
Michael Lynk’s UN Report on Israeli Settlements Speaks the Truth, But the World Refuses to Listen
Ron Jacobs
Stefanik Stands By Her Man and Roger Stone Gets Convicted on All Counts: Impeachment Day Two
John Feffer
The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Shock Therapy and the Rise of Trump
Stephen Cooper
Another Death Penalty Horror: Stark Disparities in Media and Activist Attention
Bill Hatch
A New Silence
Gary Macfarlane
The Future of Wilderness Under Trump: Recreation or Wreckreation?
Laura Flanders
#SayHerName, Impeachment, and a Hawk
Ralph Nader
The Most Impeachable President vs. The Most Hesitant Congress. What Are The Democrats Waiting For?
Robert Koehler
Celebrating Peace: A Work in Progress
Walter Clemens
American Oblivion
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail