|Dan La Botz September 25, 2016|
Michel Eltchaninoff. Dans la tête de Vladimir Poutine. Arles: Solin/Actes Sud, 2015. 171pp.
Michel Eltchaninoff’s prize-winning Dans la tête de Vladimir Poutine—In the Head of Vladimir Putin—is a fascinating examination of the development of the Russian president’s ultra-conservative and nationalist ideology from assuming the presidency in 2000 until today. Eltchaninoff, the author of two books about Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky and many essays, might seem like an unlikely candidate to write an intellectual biography of the twenty-first century president Putin, but as it turns out, Eltchaninoff’s knowledge of nineteenth and twentieth century Russian philosophers makes him the ideal author, for that is where Putin’s ideas come from, Russia’s conservative, religious past.
|Dan La Botz September 25, 2016|
On September 18, I wrote, and the New Politics website of which I am an editor, published an article titled “Mexico’s Teachers Movement; From Class War to Death Squads” that argued that three recent killing appeared to be the result of death squads targeting teachers. While the fact that the three killings took place is not in question, well informed readers in Mexico who have been involved in the teachers movement or in solidarity with it suggest these killings do not seem to be the result of death squads.
These readers argue that while the teacher who was killed may have been targeted for union activity, the other two killings may have had other motives having nothing to do with the union. These readers suggest that while some teachers have been murdered because of their involvement in the teachers movement, many killings that have taken place in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and in other states may have political motives, may be related to the drug cartel violence, or to other violence in the region. I have come to the conclusion that my readers are right and that this article should be corrected: death squads do not appear to be a trend at this time.
I welcome and appreciate your comments and criticisms on the original article, on this correction and the issues raised.
In solidarity, Dan La Botz
|Dan La Botz September 18, 2016|
Mexico’s dissident teachers have been engaged in a strike against the Education Reform Law since May 16 of this year--four months! Their strikes of tens of thousands, led by the National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE), a caucus within the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), have also engaged in protest marches, the blocking of highways and railroads, the commandeering of government vehicles, and the occupation of government buildings.
The government has responded by docking teachers’ pay, firing them, sending the police to beat them, and issuing warrants and arresting teacher leaders. One can only call what has gone on in Chiapas and Oaxaca and to a lesser extent in Guerrero and Michoacán class war.
Now there also appear to be death squads carrying out executions of teachers and their allies. So far at least three assassinations have taken place: a teacher, a parent, and a lawyer for the union. This is an ominous and very dangerous escalation of political violence.
|Lois Weiner September 5, 2016|
In presidential election years, by Labor Day most US labor unions have long halted organizing, shifting most of their human and financial resources to elect a Democrat to the White House. Members are told having a Democratic president will give us — that is, union officials — access to politicians with whom they can negotiate over labor’s concerns.
|Dan La Botz August 22, 2016|
[Stockholm - August 21] The Nobel Prize in economics has been awarded posthumously to Karl Marx (1818-1883) for his book Das Kapital, a decision that has shocked and “dismayed” the economic establishment.
Lars Enquist, spokesperson for the committee, said that awarding Marx represented “an attempt to rectify shameful past errors on the part of the bank’s award committee.” He then read a remarkable statement to the media and the public explaining this year’s award:
On Indigenous Day, David Brooks Admires Native Americans’ Sense of Community—But Fails to Ask What Made It So
|Dan La Botz August 9, 2016|
For a minute this morning, I asked myself if conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks might be about to follow Chris Hedges into the far left. Or perhaps wander off into the woods to find a commune.
Brooks has written an interesting column in which he suggests that maybe Americans, especially millennials, want more than material comforts in our highly individualistic society, that they want community.
|Dan La Botz August 3, 2016|
The last few years of repeated strikes and demonstrations by the teachers of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán, and the government’s violent repression of these protests--including forced diseappearance of students, massacres of supporters, and assassinations of individual teachers--has led to interest in the background of the teachers’ movement. The following article is meant to provide a long historical overview of the Mexican teachers’ movement, together with a bibliography for further reading.
|Dan La Botz July 28, 2016|
For three days the wounded and defeated soldiers of Bernie Sanders’ army, tired and disappointed but still idealistic and hopeful, marched and picketed around the convention center in Philadelphia, while inside many of Sanders’ delegates booed Hillary Clinton’s name every time it was mentioned.
|Lois Weiner July 10, 2016|
An activist/scholar in the Mexican teachers union democratic opposition (CNTE) has asked me to publicize this statement (copied below). It explains the demands the movement is making on the government and fleshes out the short but excellent update on The Real News about the struggle. As this statement shows, CNTE and its supporters are struggling about far more than their jobs.
|Lois Weiner July 5, 2016|
Support for resistance to the current model of education reform in México continues to grow after the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Osorio Chong, issued an ultimatum on Friday, July 1st, to Oaxacan protesters and members of Section 22 of SNTE, urging them to stop their blockade of highways.
|Dan La Botz June 28, 2016|
The Mexican Federal Police and Oaxaca State Police killed nine people and wounded more than one hundred others, while dozens more were beaten and yet others were arrested and jailed in what has been the most violent and bloody attack on teachers and their supporters in Oaxaca since the tremendous upheaval of 2006. Several teachers leaders have also been arrested and jailed on a variety of charges; warrants have also been issued for others.
|Lois Weiner June 28, 2016|
Two new articles provide useful, accurate analysis about what's behind the protests in Oaxaca Mexico about education reform. One explains the economic factors that compel the government to respond with such vicious repression and are behind its refusal to compromise about its policy to replace the existing teacher workforce with contract labor.
|Dan La Botz June 24, 2016|
There are 500 delegates from more than 100 political organizations in the Americas here at the São Paolo Forum being held this year in San Salvador. Yesterday at the opening session I found myself seated next to Julio Molina, a delegate from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) of the host country, El Salvdor. We introduced ourselves and when the session ended went out to talk about our mutual interest in history.
|Lois Weiner June 24, 2016|
To show support for Mexico's teachers, demonstrations are being held internationally, as they are in the U.S. In today's blog about the situation in Mexico, Mary Compton provides background to the current repression and information about how readers can support the teachers.
|Dan La Botz June 23, 2016|
There were demonstrations yesterday at Mexican Consuls in several American cities protesting the Mexican government’s violent repression of teacher protests in Oaxaca. Many of the protests also criticized the U.S. government for supply the Mexican government with military equipment being used in military and police actions against the teachers.
There were protests in New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles among other cities. The one pictured here, which grew to a couple of hundred people, took place in Manhattan at the Mexican Consul.