The General Summary of Results from the Working Groups of the Constitutive Congress of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca
(translated by Kolya Abramsky, Dean Gibson, and Chris Halvorsen of the Oaxaca Study Action Group)
As the people of Oaxaca and their Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) face brutal repression, I feel it's important to amplify their words now. The APPO, the organizing process of the movement in Oaxaca that is galvanizing resistance throughout Mexico and beyond, held a Constitutive Congress in Oaxaca City from November 11-13th to deepen its role as a democratic governing structure in Oaxaca and to continue the mobilizations to oust the corrupt and repressive governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
At this Congress, the provisional directorship of the APPO was dissolved and 260 representatives from every region of Oaxaca took their place. You can find the complete results of this gathering elsewhere and I'm including excerpts here so that these words may inspire us to continue, join, or build Oaxaca solidarity work in our towns and, of course, continue figuring out what that inspiration means to how we can change things where we're at...and here are the excerpts:
from WORK GROUP TWO:
A CRISIS OF THE INSTITUTIONS
The crisis of the institutions is derived from the crisis of capitalism in its most violent expression. In this economic model the institutions only respond to the interests of the class in power. We are therefore facing a crisis at a national and global scale where the economic, political, judicial and social system is being questioned. And since it is based on corruption, lack of legitimacy and anti democracy it can only remain in power through repression.
This crisis of the institutions originates in the fact that they no longer represent the legitimate interests of society, which has made the people stop believing in them. That is why society itself is looking for new organizational and representative ways, building democratic spaces that would permit them to face this severe crisis.
In the case of Oaxaca, the observed crisis is a result of the authoritarian, corrupt, pro-corporate, and cacique-like politics of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz -- who represents the end of authoritarian governments using corporativismo and paternalism to control people, and the beginnings of those using open repression. That is why the society of Oaxaca is demanding his ouster because he represents the authoritarian regime. [translators note: a repressive authoritarian regime]
It is in this context that APPO appears: the beginning of a new power that transforms from an organizational model, initially defensive, to an organic proposition with ample capacity to summon people to exercise their popular sovereignty.
APPO should strengthen local processes, that Oaxacan society has been building for quite some time, and processes that have been accomplished during the current period of struggle. This should be done through ways that allow us to build from below a new life project, a new social pact, a new convention to write a new constitution and a new way of social living based on justice, democracy and peace.
In this way, APPO has at the moment three urgent tasks:
1. To construct an organization and a space at the state level at the service of the people of Oaxaca.
2. To transform this popular revolt into a peaceful, democratic and humane revolution.
3. To connect and join the national and international context in the fight against neoliberalism and against any form of injustice against society.
from WORK GROUP THREE:
THE POPULAR ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLES OF OAXACA
Part I: DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
• COMMUNITY AND AUTONOMY. The APPO will rebuild the communalism and autonomy of the indigenous peoples in order to strengthen their struggle and guarantee its continuance.
• DISCIPLINE AND RESPECT. The members of the APPO should follow and carry out the agreements of the State Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca and the structures of coordination. Likewise, all APPO members will have the obligation of mutual respect in their actions.
• HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY. These principles will be carried out as norms of conduct for all members.
• REVOCATION OF THE MANDATE. For all the State Council representatives and the other positions in the APPO.
• PLEBISCITES AND REFERENDA. They will be held in order to approve and sanction the fundamental and important decisions of the movement.
• DEMOCRACY. All decisions that are taken by the APPO shall and will be analyzed and discussed in the bases. The Councils and the APPO, in the state, regional, district, and municipal levels, will be integrated in a democratic, honest, inclusive, transparent, and pluralist form.
• NO RE-ELECTION. No member of the State Council may be re-elected.
• EQUALITY AND GENDER EQUITY. All members are equal, with the same rights and obligations, regardless of sex, social condition, or creed.
• EQUALITY AND JUSTICE. All agreements and decisions of the APPO will always seek equality and justice.
• SERVICE. To lead and represent by obeying. To serve to people, without receiving pay for carrying out functions.
• UNITY. All the people, sectors, regions, organizations, communities, municipalities, neighborhoods, colonias, subdivisions, amongst other participants in the APPO, will seek and always prioritize the unity of the movement above all.
• MEMBER AUTONOMY. Each organization, person, community, or collective, will maintain their autonomy without infringing the resolutions of the APPO.
• INDEPENDENCE. The APPO is independent politically, organizationally and ideologically from the state and political parties. There cannot be leaders or members of the PRI and PAN as members of the APPO; this assembly is not a political trampoline
• INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY. The APPO is in solidarity with the struggles of all the people of the world.
• CONSENSUS. All decisions will be made through consensus. The decisions and positions of the APPO will come exclusively from the Assemblies and collective discussions.
• LIBERTY. We will always respect ideological and religious plurality and freedom, when not violating our other principles.
• CRITICISM AND SELF-CRITICISM. At all times we will practice criticism and self-criticism as methods for internal discussions.
• INCLUSIVITY AND RESPECT OF DIVERSITY. The character of the APPO shall be pluralist, broad, popular, inclusive, democratic, multicultural and respectful of diversity, including sexual diversity.
• ANTIIMPERIALIST, ANTIFASCIST AND ANTICAPITALIST, this economic and social model has already assaulted us, and the APPO should look for a new model of life.
• PEACEFUL SOCIAL AND POLITICAL MOVEMENT. The APPO, in order to achieve its goals, should implement dialogue, conscientization and the permanent political-ideological formation of its members.