A leaflet from Workers’ Voice/La Voz – San Jose
February 27, 2014
Today Workers’ Voice joins all who celebrate a year of the emergence of the self-defense groups in México. We stand in solidarity with the struggles of our comrades-in-arms in Michoacan and encourage them to redouble their efforts to help defeat the organized crime and the Government’s attempts to disarm the self-defense groups. At the same time, we invite you to read and discuss our visions and our proposal to contribute to the search for an alternative that allows the advance of the struggles of the exploited masses.
Last February 24th, Michoacan celebrated a year of the emergence of self-defense. IN the beginning of 2013, The towns of the municipalities of Tierra Caliente rose up in arms to deal with and put an end to abductions, the rapes , the murders and the collection of fees imposed to all of the town by “The Knight Templars”. This uprising was also a response to the indifference and the complicity of the Government of Enrique Pena Nieto with the drug cartels, which ignored the calls of town residents to fight against organized crime. The Knight Templars have taken control of the state, the institutions, and have put the governments’ political parties (PRI, PAN, PRD) at their services along with their functionaries. Once the population armed themselves, not only did they have to fight against organized crime, but also against the government and the attempts of the federal army that has sought to disarm the self-defense groups instead of confronting the drug gangs.
A year later, the strength and determination of the masses to get rid of the criminals and to make the government and federal army stop in their attempts to disarm the self-defense forces has brought results, although at a very high price. Many fighters have fallen in the armed confrontations with the drug cartels and many are the widows and orphans left in the road. The repression of the army and federal police against the mobilization of residents and especially the armed community has also left many of them in state prisons. But at the end of the day, all those sacrifices have yielded their results. The self-defense forces, with the support of the population, were able to force the withdrawal of the Knight Templars and thus bringing peace to their peoples, and until now they also have managed to push back the government which wanted to disarm them. But that has not been all. The self-defense forces of Tapalcatepec, La Ruana, Aguililla, Aquila and Coalcomán have served as a support and example to the residents of other municipalities in Michoacan to follow the same path as it has been happening in Guajaca, Guerrero, Jalisco. Although the repression by the army and cruelty of the paramilitaries continues to terrorize other populations in other states, the masses there have been mobilizing and creating their own self-defense forces. In a TV interview by the NTN 24 news channel, on Tuesday February 26, the representative of the self-defense forces in Tepalcatepec, Estanislao Beltrán, was saying that there are more than 15 municipalities with constituted self-defenses with nearly 20,000 armed community members, and that the population who is under the influence of the self-defenses is about 3,000,000 people. Mr.Beltran was saying they will not rest until the 20 municipalities of Michoacán are liberated from organized crime. We would add that this task should be brought to the national level and bring to light the government’s failure and complacency with organized crime. This is a process of the masses that needs to spread to a bigger part of the country.
Agreements that don’t work for the people
Recently a peace agreement was signed between the government and the leaders of the self-defense forces to legalize them under the condition that they become part of the institutions of the state and remain under the command of the army. Nonetheless, these agreements have not been able to be implemented as the government or the leaders want, who are representatives of a sector of the bourgeois class: stock breeders, farmers, merchants, and businessmen. The people in arms say that under no reason to turn over the weapons and that they will not rest until the elimination of the drug traffickers. But the fight doesn’t stop there.The non-conformism of residents who are workers, poor peasants, laborers, and indigenous people against the government grows every day because they see that the government is truly responsible for the hardships they face, especially the poorest sectors. Now that they are armed, they are beginning to make steps to the solution of their problems,-such as unemployment, land for work, education and free health for the poorest population, as well as a plan of development of the infrastructure that will allow them to leave their current under-developed state and abandonment. These claims are beginning to clash with the aspirations of the leaders who want to agree with the government at all costs. After signing the 8 points of agreements with the government, new sectors have appeared that are critical of such agreements because they see them as a betrayal of the movement because the people were not consulted. There has also been an emergence other critics of the agreement in the self-defense groups that pose not only to continue the fight against organized crime but also against government attempts to quell the struggle.
They pose the need to maintain the independence and autonomy from the government , fighting the government’s attempts to disarm them, and that decisions are made using mass democracy- which means that the people should be consulted when making decisions. However, the dangers facing the armed uprising in Michoacan is fraught with challenges and dangers. Nonetheless, the new leaders that are emerging will have to respond to the aspirations and interests of workers and the exploited in order to advance the struggle. This requires that leaders do not lose sight that the main enemy they face is that the current government is delivering not only Michoacán, but all of the country, to the interests of the huge imperialist and national corporations and is responsible for the emergence of drug trafficking. The struggle that began in Michoacán can only advance if the leaders have the ability to seek unity with teachers & the workers in the energy sector who are resisting the government’s privatization plans to help strengthen the fight. They should place themselves in the perspective of fighting for a government of the workers and others who are exploited and oppressed. Workers’ Voice calls for:
No to the institutionalization of the self-defense groups!
No subordination of the self-defense groups to the command of the army!
Support and extend the self-defense groups to other towns and states to eradicate drug trafficking and demand the government to solve the most urgent problems of the working masses .
Freedom to all community members who are fighting against organized crime and the rights of the people.
For the defense and strengthening of community councils and organizations as the organisms that discuss and decide the course of the fight.
To call the soldiers of the army to not harm or shoot at their fellow workers , poor peasants , laborers and indigenous. And on the opposite to form councils of soldiers that are independent from the officials. This is so they can discuss and decide autonomy and democratically on how to defend the interests of the working people & how to fight criminals and the corrupt pro-imperialist government of Peña Nieto.
February 27, 2014