Mexican Hope

The land of Zapata has once again become a beacon of hope in the middle of the arid desert of corruption which today controls politics as usual in Washington, Mexico City, Ottawa and beyond. While Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto, is busy negotiating deals with international investors and rubbing elbows with world leaders this week at the APEC summit in China and the G20 summit in Australia, his country is exploding at the seams. The good news is that the vast social mobilization engulfing Mexico today holds the seeds for the liberation of Mexicans from decades of political exclusion on both sides of the Río Grande.

Not since the uprising led by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in Chiapas in 1994 has Mexico been convulsed by such a powerful independent citizen movement which seeks to transform the roots of the existing system of repression and inequality. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets throughout Mexico and in over 80 cities abroad. Students have suspended classes in over 50 schools throughout the country in solidarity with their friends and colleagues of the Escuela Normal Rural “Raúl Isidro Burgos” in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero—the principal victims of the massacre of September 26, 2014.

Dozens of municipalities in the state of Guerrero are now under the control of independent citizen groups, frequently armed although peaceful, who refuse to be the victims of the next massacre. Parents of the kidnapped students shut down Acapulcpo’s international airport for over four hours this Monday. Banks, shopping centers, government buildings and highways throughout the country have been targeted by the continuous, spontaneous protests which have gripped the nation for the last month and a half. Mexico City’s international airport may even be circled by protesters at the end of this week when Peña Nieto tries to return home from his trip to Asia.

November 8 protest in Mexico City. Photo by ProtoplasmaKid (Wikimedia Commons)

November 8 protest in Mexico City. Photo by ProtoplasmaKid (Wikimedia Commons)

These protests were detonated by the disappearance of 43, the assassination of six, and wounding of over a dozen student activists by local police in Iguala, Guerrero. As Yoalli Rodríguez has pointed out eloquently, the “normal” schools where the activists studied were created in the 1920s in the wake of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1917 as centers for critical thinking, social mobility and community development for youth from peasant, often indigenous communities.

In recent years, the “normalistas” have been some of the most active groups in defending the progressive ideals of Mexico’s revolutionary Constitution of 1917 against systematic attack by both the Peña Nieto administration’s neoliberal policies and the “drug war” funded by U.S. taxpayers. Before the students were brutally repressed, they were collecting money in order to travel to Mexico City to participate in the annual march in remembrance of the historic student massacre of October 2, 1968.

The way in which the students were tortured and murdered has made the political nature of the crime particularly clear. One 22-year-old student who had just started studying at the school and had a 3-month-old baby, Julio César Mondragón, later appeared with his face brutally skinned and eyes gouged out, sending a clear message that the choice of victims had not been accidental. And this past Friday, government officials confirmed the version which had previously been leaked by whistleblowers that the 43 students were burned alive for over 12 hours in an enormous bonfire without anyone intervening.

If such a crime against humanity had occurred in Venezuela, Russia or Syria, it would have been immediately and forcefully condemned by the Obama administration, the U.S. Congress and the mainstream U.S. media. Only months ago, the kidnapping of children by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria led to an enormous international outcry. But the present case has only been mentioned in passing by U.S. authorities. The principal obstacle to the spread of indignation in the U.S. is that Peña Nieto is a friend of Wall Street, an ally of the Pentagon and promises to open up enormous new contracts for international oil companies. It is time to break through the hype.

Most international accounts of the massacre first followed the official Mexican government line, which tried to place all of the blame on the drug cartels and local officials. But according to Mexican law, organized crime and narcotrafficking are federal, as opposed to local, crimes. In addition, public security in Guerrero has been under the control of federal officials for years and there is an important military base stationed in Iguala itself.

The only way for the drug cartels and local police to be able to operate with such incredible impunity during the Iguala massacre is if they were actively protected by the federal police and the military, before, during and after the terrible events of September 26. This is not just a case of responsibility “by omission” of the federal authorities, but of their active complicity with heinous crimes against humanity.

This perhaps explains why the federal authorities waited a full 10 days before even initiating an investigation of the case. And since doing so, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam has refused to even examine the possibility of federal complicity. During last Friday’s press conference he even publicly applauded the military’s behavior during the massacre, with the clear intention of sending a message of absolute impunity to the armed forces.

Instead of getting to the bottom of the case, the Peña Nieto government has preferred to resort to the classic authoritarian scare tactics typical of his old guard Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Last Saturday, government provocateurs set fire to the doors of Mexico´s National Palace under the watchful gaze of inebriated top military officials from the elite Presidential Guard.

National Palace,,November 8 protest, Mexico City. Photo by ProtoplasmaKid (Wikimedia Commons)

National Palace, November 8 protest, Mexico City. Photo by ProtoplasmaKid (Wikimedia Commons)

Watch these two videos and come to your own conclusions.

And in a particularly worrisome turn of events, on Monday the Mexican military made unprecedented public statements which suggest that they may even be considering organizing a coup d’etat if the situation does not calm down soon. What is particularly remarkable about these new statements is their overtly political nature. They offer to intervene not only to defend against narcotraffickers and organized crime but also to support “the development and progress of the Nation” and, in particular, Peña Nieto´s neoliberal “government project” so that “the country can reach better development possibilities.” They seem to be clearing the ground in preparation for an expansion of political repression.

Meanwhile, Obama and the U.S. Congress stand idly by and continue to prop up a Mexican president who increasingly resembles Augusto Pinochet with his “dirty wars” against the political opposition in Chile during the 1970s and 1980s. The only official reaction so far have been bland statements by the State Department about how the “perpetrators must be brought to justice” and calling for “a full, transparent investigation.” The terrible human rights situation ripping Mexico apart deserves a full condemnation by both the US government and civil society groups.

The good news is that the enormous democracy protests in Mexico could not have come at a better time. The devastating midterm election results in the United Stated combined with a shameful lack of commitment to the Latino population by Barack Obama and most of the Democratic Party, demonstrate that normal institutional channels have failed also north of the Río Grande. As the hope of achieving social change through electoral politics increasingly becomes an illusion, Mexico´s mobilized civil society shows the way for renovating political action in the United States and beyond.

Specifically, by taking to the streets in solidarity with their sisters and brothers south of the border, U.S. Latinos could make an important difference in helping achieve a transition to democracy in Mexico. And such a transformation would in turn be enormously useful for the future battles for authentic immigration reform in the United States. A Mexican government truly accountable to the Mexican people would be an invaluable ally in the struggle to achieve a path towards citizenship for everyone who lives, works or studies in the United States. It is time to act together on both sides of the Río Grande to save North America from the forces of corruption, exclusion and violence.

***

Ackerman Head Shot #1minutoxConsulta Dr. John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Editor-in-Chief of The Mexican Law Review, and a columnist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso Magazine.  Contact: www.johnackerman.blogspot.com Twitter: @JohnMAckerman

email
, , ,
16 comments
Ulisse2015
Ulisse2015

So spoke"His Master's Voice". Maybe the L.A. branch of GuerrerosPRIPANPDUnidos?

ralcarranza
ralcarranza

To anyone reading this column. Please do not continue spreading misinformation presented in this type of articles. Although Doctor Ackerman is a very renowned intellectual in Mexico's academic circle, as of lately, his contributions are exceeding what could be considered "objective". He has a clear disdain for the current administration, which I share, but right now, the last thing we need is for the situation to be out of control with this type of incendiary comments. He is continuously choosing to hide information or manipulate it. Few facts that I will just throw out there for you to decide what to think:


1. The missing students were not collecting money to go to demonstrate in Mexico City. They were kidnapping buses and drivers. This has been their modus operandi for years. Even more, they have characterized themselves for being a violent group, blocking main highways for hours, setting gas stations on fire (there has been at least 1 dead person related to these actions), taking tool booths on main highways and stealing diesel from trailer drivers or extorting other drivers to get money in exchange of letting them through. 


2. Since the tragedy of Iguala, violent groups related to the missing students (namely the professors guild in their state) have not taken over city halls across the state in spontaneous demonstrations, but rather they have vandalized them in very organized ways. Several city and county halls were set on fire as well as vehicles of people unrelated to the government. The governor's house in the state capital and his offices were also assaulted and set on fire, even after he had stepped down. Also, they have looted several stores and encourage people to take everything. And these attacks are not only against major retailers, but a number of small independent retailers have been looted as well. 


3. Federal police has been patrolling different states in the country, but by no means have the local police forces been replaced by them in this state. The town where the tragedy occurred was governed by a person who had been linked to the cartels several times. This was well know, just like dozens of other counties across the country. It is estimated that at least 40% of the counties in the country have been infiltrated by the cartels. However, as bad as our current federal government is, they did not give the order for any of this to happen. Since the investigations started, the entire police force of this and a neighboring county have been arrested. The chief of police and the city mayor have been captured as well. Renowned international forensic groups have full access to the investigation site and are the only ones manipulating any remaining that has been found. The attorney general of the country can be blamed for having an inefficient police force, but this does not mean he does things on purpose. In Mexico there are no agencies like the FBI or the CIA.


4. As in any normal country, military forces cannot choose to act on their own. They do not leave their bases if they are not ordered to. When the crime occurred, the military personnel most likely had no knowledge of what was happening and hence cannot be held accountable for it. It is true that the army has been deployed across the country to combat the cartels, but this does not mean they can act on their own. 


5. There have been large and mostly peaceful demonstrations in Mexico City with several provocateurs among them. And there have been several violent demonstrations in the state of Guerrero, where the tragedy occurred. It is true also that some schools across the country chose to support the missing students by striking (yes, in Mexico students strike) for a day or two. This by no means is a reflection of what happens in the rest of the country. 


6. Few days after the tragedy, a renowned human rights activist (a priest) publicly declared that the missing students had been burned alive. A witness had confess this to him and he tried to go to the police. Unfortunately, the leaders of this school censored him. They stated he was no spokesperson of their group. I believe it to be outrageous that these violent groups and intellectuals are using such a terrible tragedy as this one to further push their own political agenda. During the last two elections, Doctor Ackerman publicly supported the coalition of left wing parties. This is the same coalition that got the mayor of this town and the governor of this state elected. Since the opposition lead quit the main left wing party to create his own, Doctor Ackerman has turned against the parties he once supported and who got the culprits of this massacre to power. Do not forget also, that the main opposition lead, Lopez Obrador, ran police task forces that would kidnap and torture students in Mexico City while he was the mayor, and even with this history intellectuals like Doctor Ackerman chose to show their support to him. I must say though, Doctor Ackerman has publicly stop supporting Lopez Obrador too as Doctor Ackerman is convinced there is no way for the left wing parties to win elections via the democratic vote and Lopez Obrador won't take the violent way. It makes me wonder what Doctor Ackerman suggests as an alternative.



Please know that I am not supporting the current federal administration in any way. I too demand all the culprits of this tragedy to be put on trial, and if there are real proves (not Doctor Ackerman's hypothesis) that show the president to be part of a larger conspiracy, I will demand for him to be put on trial as well. But I totally refuse to blame him just because I dislike his government while supporting violent groups who kill, kidnap and steal, what kind of justice would that be? At the same time I demand that these students and professors are put on trial for their acts. What we need to demand in Mexico is justice for everyone. Not the selective justice offered by the government, and certainly not the selective justice demanded by these violent groups. 


Please think twice before you continue spreading rumors and misinformation.


Thanks.

haroldmperez
haroldmperez

@ralcarranza Where did you get your information? and your regimented attitude? What are your credentials to spread such twisted pov's? very much your own. Provide your background subject to verification in order for anyone reading this to evaluate your opinion.  Thank you very much.


ralcarranza
ralcarranza

@haroldmperez oh sorry Harold, I didn't think I needed to provide credentials to share facts from multiple journals, magazines and independent media in Mexico and the world. Would you like to see my subscription to Jornada, Reforma, Proceso, Universal, Nexos, MX? Or my American or European news media subscriptions?

What is my background? I am Mexican, I have graduate studies and like to be well informed so that I don't end supporting the wrong people. For instance, I like to support Doctor Ackerman's columns when I share his opinion but like to call him out when I don't. I hope you don't mean to tell me this is not healthy in a normal society? And I do the same with other columnists from left and right I read on a daily basis. I must confess, though, that I don't watch TV or believe anything I read on my FB, I just don't trust them as sources of information.

And of course I shared some POVs, but mostly facts. Is there any specific piece you'd like me to support? I didn't know I had to write an academic paper with references for my opinion to be evaluated. Nor I knew that being well informed meant to have twisted POVs? I'd think spaces like this would be more open for discussion, but apparently I came to the wrong place to share my POVs. Feel free to call me out in any piece of information you believe I got wrong. I never meant to say I have the ultimate truth, and I apologize if you felt it that way. I guess I make mistakes like anyone else, so, again, feel free to call me out. 


And where did I get my regimented attitude? What does the way I organize my ideas have to do with anything? I am sorry if it makes it hard to read, but that is how things came to my head when I was writing. 

And finally, yes, that is my full name. What about it? Do you think you will find I am part of a world government conspiracy that spends the day searching the Internet to make comments? I am afraid I will disappoint you. I was just bored at work and checked my tweet feed and saw Doctor Ackerman's link, it was even funny that he tried to disqualify me for commenting in "perfect English", which is kind of flattering, but ultimately false.

Oh, and for @Ulisse2015 , I do not speak with anyone's voice but mine, and I do not live in LA, nor I am affiliated to any political party in Mexico or anywhere else. And well, I guess I should just disregard your jest about me being a member of a drug cartel, it is actually kind of disrespectful to imply I am a criminal. I'd encourage you to continue the discussion if you don't like my comment rather than prematurely disqualifying me just because I don't share your opinions. That is usually how authoritarian government react, isn't it now?

Paz por Tamaulipas
Paz por Tamaulipas

@ralcarranza @haroldmperez @Ulisse2015 I would say is the same story with Televisa , Tv Azteca, they also give their point of view and usually is the one that suits the power. We have a narcogobierno and that is a fact, The army, federal police . local police and governemt are involved. Move to Tamaulipas my friend, the land of the PRI and you won't be so quick saying The president is innocent , he is as corrupt as them all. I am not in favour of  any political party,  and you seem to be removed from reality. This is not only about the missing students , it is about what is really happening in Mexico and about time the world  sit up and take notice. Good luck to you.

ralcarranza
ralcarranza

@Paz por Tamaulipas And I totally agree with you. It is unthinkable for any country to move forward with almost half of the counties infiltrated by the cartels. And it is clear governors are linked to this too along with federal cops and most likely the army (although I have no proves of this) and who knows how far the cartels are entrenched in our political system. And if we are going to accuse the president of corruption I'll be the first to support that, there is a lot of evidence about that. 


But manipulating information about the Ayotzinapa case won't help at all. The world should know how rotten Mexican institutions are. The world should know we have the richest man on Earth living in a country with some of the most underdeveloped regions on Earth, even when compared with African countries. The world should know the government has unleashed a useless war that has taken a huge toll on society and will continue for the foreseeable future. We need the world to know a lot of this and we need their support.

But "sanctifying" the victims of the Ayotzinapa school and their leaders is just a way to legitimize the actions of violent groups. Are you comfortable with violent groups looting, setting buildings on fire or kidnapping? Even if their demands are legitimate, which in most cases are, we cannot excuse their actions. We cannot be act like the government. We cannot complain about how violent the government (all three levels) is, but accept violence from other groups. 

Unfortunately Doctor Ackerman has been keen on apologizing these groups and even calling for them to be the ones approving governors and mayors. And this is what I am calling out. If we start asking the president to step down, who will take his place? What politician out there is an honest man or will work in favor of the people? The most likely thing to happen is that we will create a vacuum of power, a vacuum that will be filled by the strongest and most violent group. Do we want to be the next Libya? The next Egypt? Do we want the 19th century history to repeat itself? 

We need people to be held accountable for their actions and a strong legal system, and that is where I support Doctor Ackerman. But strengthening our institutions has nothing to do with manipulating information and people to achieve our own agenda because that would make us the same as Televisa or TV Azteca. 

@Glenn Stehle - quite the opposite Glenn. I am not managing double standards or being a hypocrite. I too want to see anyone connected to these events to be held accountable - police force, mayor, governor, everyone. But trying to get involved any politician that had little to do with it is a long shot. Can we say the president was involved in this just like the opposition leader Lopez Obrador was involved in this because he appears on a photo? My point is that we cannot use these type of tragedies and try to connect them to people that had nothing to do with it simply because we don't like them. And at the same time we cannot condone a state that does not offer a fair trial and just disappears people who break the law. Just like we cannot condone any violent group breaking the law. They too need to be brought to justice. The fact that these groups have kidnapped for years does not make it right. Following the same logic we should excuse ETA for murdering people because setting up bombs was their form of political protest. In a normal state nobody can be above the law, not the government, not the unions, not political demonstrators. And I am glad you too realize there are other ways besides submission to a corrupt government and violent revolution, but calling for the president to step down while condoning violent protests as Doctor Ackerman is doing won't bring us to that solution. If not, look at what is happening in Guerrero. The new government is completely paralyzed. Public buildings are being set on fire, county halls are being taken, people march on the streets carrying home made bombs and looting has started. Is this not chaos? How is this better than living in submission to a corrupt government?  I am far from being the system sycophant that you think I am, I am just saying that manipulating information to rally supporters will only legitimize groups that act the same as the government we criticize, authoritarian and violent groups.

GlennStehle
GlennStehle

@ralcarranza @Paz por Tamaulipas 

So let me get this straight.  What the normalists did was the same as the ETA, "murdering people because setting up bombs was their form of political protest."

Ever head of "false equivalence"?  Ever heard of "let the time fit the crime"?

But I gotta give you one thing, and that is that you know how to appeal to every rhetorical and logical fallacy in the book.


And one more thing.  The normalists and protesters are to blame for the violence in Guerrero and the fact that the new government of Guerrero "is completely paralyzed"?  Really?  The "immense negative unity" which Stephen Spender speaks of, whereby the majority is already the latent ally of the protesters and clearly refuses to use its power and overpower the disrupters, has nothing to do with it?

You're like some strange atavistic throwback to the 16th century, a repetition of the very worst that the Spanish conquest offered up, a reincarnation of the "might makes right" doctrine of Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda. 

The options the conquistadores gave the native peoples of Mexico were articulated in the Requeriminto, a document which was read to the indigenous peoples by the conquistadores.  The options were two:

 1)  Receive and serve "their Hignesses, as lords and kings, in the way that subjects ought to do, with good will, without any resistance, immediately, without delay," and "of their own free will, without any reward or conditon," or

2) "But, if you do not do this, and maliciously make delay in it, I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their Highnesses; we shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him; and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their Highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us."

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requerimiento

ralcarranza
ralcarranza

@GlennStehle yeah.. it was not meant to be an equivalency, but an analogy.. an equivalency would be perhaps the fire started by ETA at the Corona de Aragon Hotel in '79 where people died and the fire started by the Ayotzinapa students at the gas station in 2011 where people died. And I believe the term you were looking for was "let the punishment fit the crime". And so, yes, again, I agree with you. It is not the same to set up a bomb and to kidnap people. Different acts that legally deserve different punishments. The only similarity perhaps is that both actions are illegal, at least under the applicable laws in Mexico and in both cases the people responsible for these acts need to be brought to justice. Hope this helped you understand a bit better what I meant.

Also, I will just assume that when talking about the "immense negative unity" you are referring to Arendt's paper on violence (as I believe you are almost quoting her, unless, that is, you articulate the same sentences after reading spencer's years of the young rebels). So you are trying to infer that the violence is not caused by the demonstrators? This is exactly what I am calling out, we cannot turn a blind eye on this. They are a violent group that breaks the law. It does not matter how you want to position it, or how many papers you try to reference, the fact is that they are breaking the law. And I am not saying the government is not doing it too. I am trying to explain we should not tolerate either. And it is not the negative unity that stops the government from acting, this has nothing to do with it. How are you trying to extrapolate disrupting classes at a university with riots in a society? The late Jonathan Schell actually explains that when this happens in a society, violent groups end up in power as precisely the vast majority of the people won't stop them because the system is so rotten nobody wants to defend it. So are you really suggesting it might be a good idea to have some sort of neo-jacobins governing in Guerrero? Perhaps in the whole country?

And this is precisely my point, we are risking this by portraying these violent groups as some sort of "defenders of the nation". We need to people to understand that these groups are not much different than the government and we cannot let them impose their will to society, and at the same time we cannot let the government continue sacking the country. I am not saying these are the only two options, I am saying both of these are not desirable options in any case, and that we need to find another way to improve things. So, firstly, please stop implying that I only see two options as this is the second time I try to explain this is not true and this is precisely what I am calling out with my comments. And, secondly, I am not trying you take any side. I am glad if you don't take any side and you also agree that the current system cannot longer support itself and we need something new. I totally agree with you on that. But see the original article, and please try to understand what Doctor Ackerman's call to rally around the Ayotzinapa students really means: that the only way to get rid of our bad government is by supporting violent groups like them. So who is giving only two options?

GlennStehle
GlennStehle

@ralcarranza @GlennStehle 

Once again, what I see you doing is resorting to the use of carefully tailored “facts” which conform to your coherent fiction, consistent talking points and coherent narrative.

For example, you omit some key information about the incident where the gas station worker died.And of course, as always, the devil is in the details:

1) The death took place in a confrontation between normalistas and municipal, state and federal police.

2)In that same confrontation where the filling station worker died, two students of the Ayotzinapa normal, 22 year-old Jesús Alexis Herrera Pino and 20 year-old Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, were also shot and killed by the police.

3)The 48 year-old gas station worker, Gonzalo Miguel Rivas Cámara, died as he was trying to extinguish a fire which had been set by one of the normalists and a gas can suddenly exploded.There was no mens rea – malice or intentionally and knowingly causing the death – involved in the incident.

4)A third student, Gerardo Torres Pérez, was kidnapped and severely beaten and tortured by the police in order to get him to confess that he was carrying an AK-47 and that during the protest he had discharged the weapon.

5)Two years after the deadly events, La Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) released a statement indicating that, as of that date, “the families of the victims of grave human rights violations have had no access to effective justice.”

I know nothing about the fire started by ETA at the Corona de Aragon Hotel in '79.However, I do know that in the death of Rivas and the two students that the events are far more complicated than the simple narrative you present.I also know that there was never an investigation conducted to figure out exactly what exactly did happen that day, in spite of the constant protests by the victims’ families calling for an investigation.So who's fault is it there is no evidence?

And once again, the normalistas “kidnapped” no one, at least not in the sense that word is used in the US.You can keep stating that fiction, portrayed as self-evident and beyond dispute, until you’re blue in the face, but that won’t make it any truer.

Moving the discussion to theory, I really don’t know how we can even begin to talk theory when you and the Mexican authorities have done such a thorough job of debauching the evidence.

Nevertheless, when I speak of the "immense negative unity," I speak of the lack of legitimacy of the Mexican state, and the fact that its popular support is all but nonexistent.The normalistas have way more popular support, both within and without Mexico, than the state does, and the authorities know this.That is why they don’t move violently and brutally against the demonstrators.

The vitiation of the state is especially apparent when it comes to the criminal justice system, security being by far and away the most salient concern for the Mexican people.In 2013, INEGI reports that only 9.9% of crimes were reported in Mexico.The reason?Sixty-six percent said it was because of problems with the authorities, expressing disconfidence in the authorities or that it was a waste of time to deal with them.  That's quite a bit of "immense negative unity."

And I repeat:I resoudingly reject your legalism, which I consider to be the last refuge of the authoritarian personality, concealed behind the letter of the law.“We must never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’,” Martin Luther King said in his rejoinder to Richard Nixons law and order racism.“It was illegal to aid and confort a Jew, in the days of Hitler’s Germany.”

I also do not find it surprising that you accuse the nomalists of “neo-jacobinism.”This has about as much basis in reality as your allegation that “They are a violent group that breaks the law.”Comparing what the normalists have done to what the Jacobins did during The Reign of Terror, marked by the mass executions of over 40,000 "enemies of the revolution,” is another excellent example of the use of false equivalence, and quite an extreme one at that.Do you have no sense of proportion whatsover?Or do you just have a very active imagination that knows no bounds when it comes to demonizing people you don’t like, or when it comes to blaming the victim?

And I hardly believe Jonathan Schell condemned people’s war to the degree you believe he did.“If, to anticípate, nuclear weapons, by spoiling the old final arbiter, conventional war, posed the quesiton of how disputes in the international sphere were now to be settled, then people’s war, though not itself yet the answer the world needed, pointed the way to an answer,” he wrote in ‘The Unconquerable World’.“For while nuclear weapons were producing stalemate people’s war was changing the political map of the earth.”

And I don’t think anyone is fooled by your stealth campaign to keep Peña Nieto in Los Pinos.

For those interested in seeing what this man is capable of, I highly recommend the following documentary, and it most fortunately comes with English bilines:

Atenco: Breaking the Siege / Romper el cerco

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpazIBrlL5c

ralcarranza
ralcarranza

@GlennStehle Hey Glenn, this has been fun, but this will be my last message. I simply cannot continue discussing with someone who accuses me of being part of the government or someone who is promoting a campaign to keep the president of the country in office. Even less of working with the government to debauch evidence. How could I have even done that? Funny enough, when discussing with people who do support the government (because you know, they do exist) they also accuse me of promoting a campaign for him to step down and to be part of the violent groups who I do not defend either. You know, sometimes being in the middle is hard as people on the extremes see you on the other side. And while I am used to it, I won't entertain false accusations. Now, if you have any actual evidence of me being part of any group that supports the government, or you find I am affiliated to any group that supports any government, please do not hesitate to denounce it. People in any forum needs to know who is commenting. Just keep in mind that at any moment I accused you of being part of any group as this is just a way to disqualify the person you are debating with as opposed to actually reject arguments (which you can obviously do, so I am surprised you turn to other methods to disqualify people).

Now, I will try to be as clear as possible. I will stop using analogies as you keep confusing them with equivalences. I will really try to spell it all out.

Yes, I do understand two students were shot dead by civilians carrying guns, and yes, most likely these were part of a law enforcement group, and yes, this is not the way law should be enforced. I have said so many times during this conversation we have to denounce this. As a society we simply cannot tolerate this. 

Now, setting up buildings and cars on fire, taking bus drivers hostages (I see you really don't like the word kidnap, but perhaps hostage suits better?) and force them to drive them wherever they want, taking booth tolls and forcefully taking diesel from trailers, letting people cross a highway in exchange of money (asking for money for a service that was not requested is illegal in Mexico), or looting retailers during a demonstration is also illegal. We can provide all the context we want. We can discuss for hours how much the policy of the government wants to disappear these schools and how that will affect the country and how their demands are legitimate, to which I will all agree. But that doesn't mean their actions are legal. You really can't compare the Jim Crow Laws or the Nurnberg Laws to this. Not even as a metaphor, analogy or equivalency. I will not even try to explain why those laws are not right. I hope you understand the why, so I will just skip it. But as far as I know, a law that prevents groups to organize themselves to loot, steal, setting buildings on fire, extorting people, or taking hostages, does not violate any civil or human right that I know of. And I am quite sure there are no countries in the world that have laws that permit any of these under any circumstance. So, we can provide all the context you want. I know the context, I assume you know the context, and I assume anyone else knows the context of when the students or the professors union break the law. I believe you already provided the context for this specific incident. So, even with that, setting a gas station in fire remains illegal. Now, do not even think of the legality of such an action. Let's use common sense for a minute here. When you set a gas station on fire, what is the most likely thing to happen? Wouldn't there be an explosion once the fire reaches the gasoline? I am sure anyone knows this, even the students who started the fire. So, let's assume they started a fire without thinking of killing anyone. Didn't they think a blast of such a magnitude would kill a lot of people? What if this brave man wouldn't have run back (as documented in numerous media, left and right) to the gas station to stop that fire before it reached the deposits? We would be talking of a major tragedy here. Do we have to wait until such a tragedy occurs before we tell the students that setting up a gas station on fire is not a good idea and actually, you know, illegal? And what about the professors union? They set on fire several county halls and more recently part of the state congress. What is the context to this? There was no police there. No professor was shot dead or repressed. But they still set a public building on fire. Is this not an illegal action? Even worse, is this not an illegal action against the legitimate owners of the public building, you know, the citizens of that State? Or do you want to review how looting a retailer is also illegal? Entering a store, promoting people to take anything they wanted and prevent security or store employees to react is not illegal? do you think people only took food because they were hungry? And the electronics they took, is that a human right that the government is not providing? I will not even try to explain the theory behind why we cannot have a society in which the law of the jungle rules. So, please provide all the context you want, I am not sure any of these acts will be considered legal, and I am pretty sure history will not deemed to be legal in the future. 

And for the last time. I am not saying these groups are the only ones breaking the law. I do understand the government does it too. But we cannot tolerate either. As a society we cannot tolerate anyone who breaks the law. So please refrain from saying that the government also breaks the law by destroying evidence, preventing investigations to occur or any other. I totally understand this and I do agree with you, this is illegal. 



ralcarranza
ralcarranza

@GlennStehle  So, moving to the immense negative unity. I understand the concept. I understand what Spencer and Arendt talk about, although they do apply this term to a situation in which students protest at universities. I also understand that people are not happy with the government and how little they trust the law enforcement agencies and why. I understand this. But let's take one step back. You are stating that Ayotzinapa students have much more support than the government. Which is obviously true. And read this twice please. This is my main point. This is what I am calling out. We cannot manipulate information about these violent groups and portray them as the "good guys" or the "underdogs". It is even immoral to use the tragedy of 43 families to rally supporters inside the country and outside because we need to change the government. 


There is something rotten about the government? Yes. Definitely. I agree with you. We need to change something for this type of situations not to occur again. Yes, definitely. I think we both agree on that. We should show our support to violent groups because they are the "good ones" and the government is the "bad one"? No, of course we should not. We should reject both. We have to find another way, a better way that does not involve being submissive to such a government and does not allow violent groups to do whatever they want without consequences. 

So please explain to me and everyone else, where was the support for Ayotzinapa when these two students at the gas stations were killed couple of years ago? I mean, they were students and they were killed by law enforcement officers (most likely). Why didn't we see the hundreds of thousands demonstrating out on the streets? I mean, it was the same government right? (and I know it was not exactly the same one, but I mean this and the previous government used the same tactics and we equally bad, etc, etc). So, where was your vast majority of people supporting them? I guess the answer is, nowhere. Because only few groups considered the actions of these groups as legitimate. But now there are a bunch of people leveraging the tragedy to showcase how bad the government is. So, tell me. Is it even moral to do that? The lives of 43 people are more valuable than the lives of 2? I have read in countless of comments and media in different countries that they mention the students were demonstrating peacefully when they were attacked. So what I want to do, is to provide context to that. Because I know the context, you know the context. But what about people reading this post in the US? Or people reading posts and notes in Europe or anywhere in the world? This is the first time they hear of Ayotzinapa. So of course, who wouldn't want to show support for a group of peaceful students who are attacked by the government? So, what I am saying is, we need to provide full context of what the government is doing AND of what these groups are doing, and then we can let people decide what to think. Does that sound authoritarian? Am I trying to impose my POVs on anyone? 


So moving to why we can't call these groups legitimate groups, as Doctor Ackerman refers to them. We should not do this because they are violent groups. I can't honestly find another way to express that. We can't have them decide who should be the next governor as Doctor Ackerman suggested in a different column, because they are a violent group. So, going back to my analogy to the jacobins. I am pretty sure the jacobins were regarded as part of the "good guys" before they came into power, I mean they fought against the monarchy, right? They didn't kill 40000 people before the Terror started, right? Their demands were legitimate, right? They also had the immense negative unity supporting them. But that does not mean they were not a violent group before. And that is precisely what I am saying, letting violent groups take decisions for us or overtake an equally bad government will result in the same. I am not saying the students or professors are jacobins or that they have murdered 40000 people. All I am saying is that when we support violent groups to overthrow the government the result is not always as we expected. Even if they have the immense negative unity on their side. I mean, the Nazis had the immense negative unity on their side, and so the jacobins, and so the bolcheviques, but also Gandhi and Mandela had it. So does supporting the group with the immense negative majority is the right thing to do every time? I will let you figure that out. And just to be clear, I am not saying that the students are Nazis, or Jacobins, or Bolcheviques, or Gandhi, or Mandela. I am not saying they will or have killed millions of people or that they should go into history as defenders of their country. I will repeat just to be sure. I am not saying they will or have killed millions of people, or that they should go into history as defenders of their country. I am using it as an analogy for you and anyone reading this to understand that the fact that the immense negative majority is on their side does not mean it makes it right to support them or to portray them as the saviors of our nation.

I will not go into a deep discussion of Schell's book here. But I do believe when he uses the term "people war" he does not refer to actual groups of people committing crimes. But it is interesting that you bring this up. It actually reads as if you were suggesting that "people war" in a broad sense is the way to go. Or at least that is what I understand. But unlike you, I won't take a sentence of your post to claim you are promoting a war (which would be a really easy way out, but the lazy one too).

Instead of doing that, let me ask you a question. What are you proposing would be a viable solution? I am not asking you to take sides. I am not asking you to declare you want war, or that you want to government to step down, or anything. But let's be very clear. What are you suggesting?

To be clear too, my main point in the discussion is that we should not tolerate violent groups or show them support (no matter if their name is police, executive power, Ayotzinapa students, or any other). 


ralcarranza
ralcarranza

@GlennStehle  So I'd like to hear your point. What are you suggesting? It is clear you share Doctor Ackerman's point of view that the president should step down because it is an illegitimate government. That much is clear. So let us hear it. How are you proposing we get there? Should we continue showing support to violent groups to achieve it? Should we rally supporters internationally by portraying the victims of this incident as "the good guys"? 


And furthermore, it is clear you don't like the president even from before. You bring up the Atenco incendent and so. (And please, please, do not say I am supporting the president, which I am not. I did not support the actions of his government during the Atenco demonstrations nor the way he governed his State). 

So why don't you let us know what would be the plan if he steps down. Legally, of course, I know that if he does before December 2nd we will have to call for new elections. So, using my huuuge imagination, let's say this happens. What would happen next according to you? My point of view is that opposition leader Lopez Obrador would easily get into power. My POV. Is this desirable? No. He also repressed students during his time as mayor of Mexico City as documented by the human rights commission in the city. Let's say any of the other parties for some reason obtain the power again. PRI, PAN, or PRD. Are those desirable options? I don't think so either. Or what if anyone else had won the elections for this term? Would that have prevented this from happening? Is it really the person seating at Palacio Nacional or is it the system as a whole? 

So what should happen according to you? Sometimes it is easier to write signs and posts and condemn the government without actually suggesting something plausible.

It is clear your disdain for politicians. You have shown a comment that reads "everyone should go". Ok. So before you answer (because remember I won't answer back myself), I will assume you don't support any party or politician in the country. You don't trust any of them. So, who should be the president then? I mean, it is easy to say we don't want anyone, but what would be the consequences? Or why are you even referring to politicians as if they were something else besides citizens of Mexico? Are they foreigners all of them? Is it not true that they are able to be corrupt because society feeds that? I mean, there are Mexicans in the US, and I am not sure they are more corrupt than the average American. So, is it only that Mexican politicians are corrupt? And yes, I do understand we should denounce this, but I do not believe violent actions like the ones started by Ayotzinapa students or professors are the solution. What is your proposed solution? 

My take? We should strengthen our current system. We should make sure the government answers to the people and that they are supervised properly.

But what is yours?

And for the last time before you hide behind "Ricardo is part of a campaign to protect the president, blah, blah". I am not. I honestly don't care who occupies that office as long as they respond to the demands of the people. I like him? Nope. Do I think his neoliberal reforms are the way Mexico will progress? Definitely not. Do I like how he or his advisers manage this or other delicate situations? No, they are terrible at it. Do I like his links to Atlacomulco group or the main media group in the country? Not at all, I believe the president should not have such links to obscure groups. Do I like his family? Nope, his daughter has shown to be an arrogant kid and I have not met his wife, but I don't think she should be the First Lady. Do I think his time as governor of the State of Mexico was positive? Nope, it was disastrous. Did I vote or encouraged people to vote for him? No, I actually sent a void ballot for presidential elections. Am I involved in any campaign to keep him in office? Not that I know of. I might be accused of being ignorant and indirectly support him by calling people not to support Ayotzinapa group, but other than that no. Do I believe he needs to step down? Not at all. I don't see that solving anything, nor I think he is personally responsible for this tragedy. Although I hold him responsible of the poor response of his government, but this would need an explanation that involves explaining why our government is not efficient at doing anything. Will I support him going forward? I don't think so, no. Will I support a government that is a result of him stepping down and a candidate close to Ayotzinapa students or the professor's guild is elected or forcefully imposed? No. I will be as critic of him or her as I am of the current administration.

So, again, it was a pleasure meeting such a passionate person Glenn, but I won't answer back as I refuse to entertain lies about my activities or my POVs.

Trackbacks