FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail