By Wesley Marshall.
Years of cultivating the Jesus look have finally paid off. Thanks to strangers and friends behind lenses and computer screens, my arbitraty detention close to where striking teachers from various Mexican States were confronted by the federales –The Mexican militarized police (PFP) – has launched me into full fledged local social media celebrity status. Many have commented on my brave support of the righteous cause of the striking teachers. Images and social media are stong forces, and a white jesus being manhandled by the government goon squad certainly resounds in contemporary Mexico, where skin color defines many opinions. Yet to accept credit for any part in what is in fits and starts becoming a national struggle against the PRI babysaur’s current version of disaster capitalism would be a lie because I never stood shoulder to shoulder with the striking teachers as many others – much braver than myself – did.
On Friday the 13th, with two hurricanes entering national territory, low flying Black Hawks overhead, and after seeing images on the internet of burning barricades and phalanxes upon phalanxes of men dressed in uniforms of brutality, I was becoming more and more nervous about what would happen to my lovely spouse, who was in the area and in obvious danger. I knew that there was little I could do to help her, but against her insistence that I didn’t even come near the events, my nervous energy led me on my dirt bike (the pedalling kind) to wisk her away if I could. When I got to the main thoroughfare a long 5 blocks from where she was, I found all roads to her blocked by the goon squad. When she made her way out, I picked her up on the back pegs of my bike; among low flying choppers, smoke, explosions, and people running all over the place, we took off Hollywood-style. The excitement of a mission accomplished was short lived, maybe 10 seconds. From the North, after the justifying symbolic violence between government infiltrators posing and acting as young anarchists and the PFP, the latter bum rushed us. We turned to the south and saw the same thing. Nuts, we were all sewn up. We ditched the bike and ran up the sidewalk towards the store fronts. The PFP proceeded to chuck maybe 50 broken cobblestones at the 300 or so of us who were hemmed in and beat the people up front with sticks, tubes, an batons. I saw one PFP with chain in hand.
After letting the injured out, then the women, and then the striking teachers, the only people left were thirty or so poor chumps. Some were in the wrong place at the wrong time, working or buying things. Some were supporting the teachers. None were violent. None could have weighed more than 150 pounds soaking wet (ok, maybe one or twopushed the limits of welterweight status). The PFP rounded up some sticks, tubes, box cutters and knives and put them in front of us. Then the National Human Rights comission came in to ask if we had been injured (once again, the injured has already been loaded onto ambulances, later to be dispatched with a kick in the pants a few miles away). After officially verifying the pacific nature of the PFP’s intervention, the reporters were allowed to take picutres of us. Then we were stuffed in a bus, kicked around a bit, and taken to the PFP bunker, ironically a short distance from where I give classes in Economics at the UAM Iztapalapa.
The message was pretty clear, and has been pretty clear since the 1st of December, 2012, when Enrique Pena Nieto assumed the presidency. The constitutional right to peacefully protest has been de facto revoked. A few people dressed as anarchists throw a molotov cocktail, a few rocks, whatever. Then the goons come along and unlawfully detain leaders of whatever group is protesting, anyone who dares to film or yell at the police during such actions, and any other poor sap that they randomly nab – all to serve as a lesson to the people that they should stay home and watch it all on TV. All politicians renounce the violent vandals, and the poor chumps languish for years in the Mexican justice system, where they’re treated with, ahem, slightly less respect than they deserve.
In 2000, Mexico attempted to copy the democratic farce of the US. In Mexico, people could now decide between the PRI and the PAN, much like the Simpsons could choose between Kang and Kotos (see last minute of Simpsons 8-1), or like Americans can choose between electing a Democrat or Republican. But the farce in now over. Any opposition of the political classes is just show, but they dont even cart out the dog and pony anymore. Eerily similar to Hitler’s subjugation of the German parliament upon his ascention to power, when EPN took control, all three parties, including the supposedly left PRD, signed the Pacto por México. After the brutal repression of the 1st of December, the shock doctrine was once again applied. Labor reform, energy reform, fiscal reform, financial reform and educational reform were rolled out. Energy reform means selling off what can be sold off of State run Pemex – opening up exploration and production rights for oil majors in deep waters and the rights to frack the shit out of the country. Fiscal reform is more taxes. Labor reform is nothing more than the elimination of all benefits and puttting everyone on temporary contracts or firing them. For educational reform, please refer back to labor reform as applied to teachers. Financial reform aims to establish debtor’s prisons. Once again, Mexico blazes ahead towards the 17th century, with Global TBTF narco banks and groups such as the Templar Knights terrorizing the country.
A famous Mexican (very) short story reads: ‘And when I awoke, the dinasour was still there’. The single party dictatorship of the PRI, which reigned for 71 uninterrupted yeras, is now back as the single party of the State. Its new leaders are the babysoars. Much like the American system to which they are an appendage, the babysoards depend on starving the population (austerity) to divide them, misinformation to make sure they hate each other, and guns and violence for when the people see through the Orwellian lies and unite against the common enemy of the government and political classes (here there are a few noble exceptions).
When Felipe Calderon openly stole the election in 2006, a pact began to appear. While at the time the US press couldn’t get enough of the Eurasian color revolutions, here across the border there were millions of people on the streets protesting the obvious fraud, and many stayed on for weeks. But none of this was heard in the international press. When the 2006 Atenco massacre became the real focal point of the 2012 elections and subsequent protests, information was squashed. The last years in Mexico have been absurdly scandalous, but the news doesn’t get out. And that was the pact: an international media blackout provided by the US, along with a similarly sponsored drug war that has ripped the heart out of Mexican society, all in exchange for allowing Calderon to steal the election and sell of the nation’s few remaining assets – foremost among them its people – to the super predators of the private sector.
But Calderon’s PAN was even more inept than a cross between Dan Quayle and Joe Biden. The babysoars of the PRI are much more media friendly and all around a bit better at their job as the local agents of disaster capitalism, sewing chaos and shredding societies as efficiently as possible. The tiny international elite that rules our world has now gone from predatory to downright apocalyptic. The true nature of the US empire can be most easily observed at its fringes, and they are indeed fraying. We have entered into the Mike Tyson zone, where we are dealing with people so crazy that nothing that they do should surprise us.
As I am now officially charged with mutiny, this may not be the most intelligent thing to say, but I can’t help myself. The same nervous energy that made my think that my bumbling and ever more decrepit body could help my spouse still pours out. My very brief experience of being arbitrarily detained, aside from making me appreciate and love my friends and family ever more, has placed me in the difficult corner of moral obligation. As your reading of this proves, I do have a voice. And I feel that I must use it, as my new friends with whom I was detained – the poor chumps who make Mexico such a warm, human, and enriching place to live – have none.