Sunday, November 26, 2006

APPO's Constitutive Congress

Excerpts from
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:


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This crisis of the institutions originates in the fact that they no longer represent the legitimate interests of society, which has made the people stop believing in them.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.


• 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.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Mexico Timeline

Timeline of Recent Popular Resistance in Mexico
by RJ Maccani
(created for the upcoming issue of Left Turn Magazine)

September 19
One of the most devastating earthquakes in the history of the Americas strikes Mexico City. Although the government reports that “at least 9,000” people are killed, many residents suggest that the number reached as high as 100,000. The government fails to adequately respond to the crisis and a surprising “civil society” response emerges to fill the void.

July 6
Cuauhtemoc Cárdenas, candidate of the newly created Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), is leading the vote count in Mexico’s presidential elections. A computer glitch is created and, when the smoke clears, Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the ruling PRI party is declared the president of Mexico. Salinas proceeds to dismantle major gains of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) and the PRD consolidates itself as a “center-left” electoral force.

February 27
In preparation for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Salinas government ends Mexico’s historic commitment to land reform by dismantling Article 27 of the Constitution. Many peasant organizations unravel while the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a clandestine, armed indigenous movement in the state of Chiapas, receives a wave of new affiliations.

January 1
Thousands of members of the EZLN often referred to simply as “the Zapatistas,” emerge to take over major population centers and hundreds of ranches in Chiapas. Releasing their “Declaration of War,” they call on the people of Mexico to rise up with them to depose the PRI and begin a democratic process to elect a more legitimate government. Following the popular sentiment throughout Mexico, less than two weeks after the uprising, the Zapatistas begin pursuing “freedom, justice, and democracy” through political means.

July 2
The National Action Party (PAN), a rightwing opposition party, successfully defeats the PRI for the first time in 71 years. President-elect Vicente Fox promises many institutional reforms as well as solving the conflict in Chiapas “in 15 minutes.”

February 24
The Zapatistas march in caravan from Chiapas to Mexico City to demand the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture based on agreements made between the government and the EZLN in 1996. In spite of the mobilization of millions of supporters, the Mexican congress, including the center-left PRD, instead pass a racist and neoliberal reform that is signed by the president and later upheld by the Supreme Court, effectively closing the door to legal change for the Zapatistas and the indigenous movements of the National Indigenous Congress.

August 9
The Zapatistas announce the creation of Good Government Councils. A deepening of the Zapatistas’ de-facto autonomy, the councils also mark a major step in separating the military organization of the EZLN from the civil life of the communities.

The Zapatistas release the Sixth Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle, proposing the building of a national and worldwide non-electoral and anticapitalist movement “from below and to the left.”

September 16
162 social organizations, 55 political organizations, 453 NGOs, groups and collectives, 103 indigenous organizations and Mexican Indian peoples, and 1,624 individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities join with the Zapatistas to begin a national movement inspired by the Zapatistas’ Sixth Declaration. Playing off of the election year campaigns of the electoral parties, this movement is dubbed “the Other Campaign.”

Jan 1
Subcomandante Marcos, spokesperson of the Zapatistas, takes on the civilian title of “Delegate Zero” and begins a scheduled six-month listening and speaking tour of Mexico to build the Other Campaign.

May 1
Mexican immigrants lead historic mobilizations throughout the US on International Workers’ Day. This “Day without an Immigrant” is mirrored in Mexico under the banner of a “Day without a Gringo.” Having already passed through Mexico’s seventeen southern states, Delegate Zero gives an emboldened speech as part of the demonstrations in front of the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. He announces that a national movement is building that will “expel from this country… the great capitalists, including -of course- the American capitalists.”

May 3
The Peoples Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT), adherents to the Other Campaign from the autonomous municipality of San Salvador Atenco on the outskirts of Mexico City, come to the aid of their members who are being attacked by police for attempting to sell their flowers in nearby Texcoco. The conflict expands as hundreds of federal police arrive to attack and arrest the FPDT. Delegate Zero announces the suspension of his tour and calls for civil and peaceful solidarity actions with the people of Atenco. Solidarity actions spread throughout Mexico and to at least fifty countries around the world.

May 4
Municipal, state, and federal police widen their attack on Atenco and those who mobilized to defend them. The police arrest 207 people (including the leadership of the FPDT), kill two, and rape and abuse sexually 23 women. Delegate Zero places the blame on all three of the major political parties and the commercial media and begins a campaign to break the media distortion of the events and to liberate the prisoners.

May 22
Striking teachers occupy the town square, or Zócalo, of Oaxaca with protest camps demanding a greater education budget for Oaxaca. The teachers belong to Section 22, a democratic current of the National Union of Education Workers that has been carryout protest camps in Oaxaca for 26 years.

June 14
Three thousand state police attack the teachers’ encampment before dawn, firing tear gas from helicopters and beating teachers. Supporters throughout the city come to the aid of the teachers and together they retake the Zócalo and expel the police.

June 17
The state teacher’s union and 85 other social and political organizations, NGOs, collectives, and human rights organizations from throughout Oaxaca join together to form the Oaxaca Peoples Popular Assembly (APPO). The teachers suspend their original demands and join together with the APPO to push for Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz’s resignation or ouster in retaliation for his ordering the police raid.

July 2
Amidst widespread allegations of fraud, electoral officials fail to declare either the populist candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the PRD, or US government supported Felipe Calderón of the PAN, as winner in the presidential elections.

July 30
Obrador calls for a protest camp to occupy the main Zócalo of Mexico City and several major avenues, including Paseo de la Reforma. Unlike their repressive treatment of other recent civil disobedience actions, the city’s PRD government financially and materially supports the massive tent city that emerges. Obrador’s main demand is for a full, vote-by-vote recount.

September 5
The Federal Electoral Tribunal certifies Calderón as the victor in Mexico’s presidential elections. Obrador refuses to recognize the Tribunal’s decision and declares that he will establish a parallel government representing the "true, authentic republic."

September 30
Seven indigenous leaders of the EZLN, taking on the civilian titles of “Delegate One” through “Delegate Seven,” arrive in Mexico City to attend gatherings in support of Atenco’s remaining 30 political prisoners and to discuss the national political context with adherents to the Other Campaign. Delegates One through Three remain in Mexico City while Four through Seven return to Chiapas to report back to their communities.

October 9
With Delegate’s One through Three remaining in Mexico City to agitate for the freedom of the prisoners of Atenco, Delegate Zero resumes his listening and speaking tour, now traveling through Northern Mexico to finish this first leg of the Zapatistas’ participation in building the Other Campaign.

October 19
In a historic gathering, Delegate Zero holds his first meetings in Tijuana at the US/Mexico border with Other Campaign adherents not just in Mexico, but on “the other side” as well.

October 27
After five months of struggle, Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz has still refused to step down and the Mexican Senate has refused to force his resignation. The APPO movement has deepened over the months and is being replicated in many other states of Mexico and in communities in the US as well. The APPO begins a three-day general strike in Oaxaca and is calling for a “popular peaceful insurrection” on December 1st if Ruiz has still not stepped down. This call steps up pressure on President-elect Felipe Calderón, who faces opposition with civil disobedience actions to his inauguration on the same day. After a string of paramilitary killings in August through October, state police and government-aligned thugs kill two people, including NYC Indymedia journalist and activist Brad Will.

October 29
In an echo of the attacks on Atenco, Mexican Federal Preventive Police (PFP) invade Oaxaca City to “restore order” killing two more people and arresting fifty. The police fail, however, to incite a violent response from the APPO or to subdue the popular movement.

October 30
National and international mobilization in solidarity with the people of Oaxaca surges. The Zapatistas call on the rest of the Other Campaign to join them in shutting down roads, highways and the media on November 1 and for a nation-wide general strike on November 20. In the US and elsewhere, the friends of murdered journalist Brad Will join Mexican immigrants, teachers, and left radicals in continuing international solidarity actions with the APPO.

November 2
The PFP fire tear gas into the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca in an apparent attempt to disable Radio Universidad, a key communications tool of the popular movement. After four hours of pitched battles neighbors and students force the police and their riot tanks to retreat. Spirits of the APPO and their supporters rise and many believe that the federal occupation will soon become unsustainable. National and international solidarity and identification with the APPO continues to expand.

November 10
Amidst an ongoing dirty war that has disappeared approximately fifty students and APPO leaders since the PFP invasion, three thousand gather to begin creating a new constitution for Oaxaca. The first step is the creation of a more permanent governing structure with executive and legislative powers. The provisional directorship of the APPO is dissolved and 260 representatives from throughout the state form the State Council of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (CEAPPO). A nationwide National Assembly, modeled after the APPO, is scheduled to take place in Mexico City on November 18-19. At least twelve states are expected to send delegates to the Popular Assemble of the Peoples of Mexico (APPM)

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Monday, November 13, 2006

APPO Report & Updates

Resistance Continues from NYC to Oaxaca!

photo by Rine...taken from Saturday's brief re-occupation of the Charas squat in Manhattan's Lower East Side...part of the weekend's activities honoring the life of Brad Will

This weekend's memorial for Brad Will here in NYC was powerful. Sadly, I was unable to attend Saturday's amazing events but yesterday's Oaxaca Teach-in/Encuentro was great. We were probably pushing a hundred people packed in for almost 9 hours of presentations, popular education activities, and movies about about what is going on in Oaxaca, the meaning(s) of solidarity, the Zapatista women's struggle, and more...

Organizing here in New York City in solidarity with Oaxaca continues with a consulate protest today and later a meeting to build a longer-term campaign. The report below makes clear the necessity of continuing this organizing. The government's war against the Oaxacan people continues and, without increased resistance, could lead to a full-blown massacre.

All that being said, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) just held a Constituent Congress in order to move forward in the most democratic way possible and a call has been put out for a national meeting in mid-November in Mexico City to form a Popular Assembly of the Peoples of MEXICO!

Organizing continues for a Mexican general strike (and accompanying international actions) on November 20th called by the Zapatistas in solidarity with the people of well as the APPO call for a popular peaceful insurrection on December 1st if the corrupt and repressive governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, has not stepped down by then. This coincides with the date that Felipe Calderón is to be imposed as the new president of Mexico and the accompanying protests of Obrador's National Democratic Convention movement. Now here's the APPO report on the situation in Oaxaca...

A Report from the APPO's Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the People

12 November, 2006, 16th day of the occupation of Oaxaca by federal forces
(translation by Colin McKenzie of the Oaxaca Study Action Group)

Whomever has a minimal knowledge of history cannot hear at certain hours of the day the noise of the motor of a spy plane or pass by the historic center of the city, Channel 9, or the Parque del Amor where that federal forces are posted, without thinking of Musolinni, Hitler and Franco and feeling the indignation that is provoked by the attempt of the established bourgeois in Oaxaca to maintain Ulises Ruiz Ortíz in power in order to preserve, at all cost, their privileges, using, in order to do this, the whole weight of the repressive apparatus at their service and the impunity with which they continue transmitting, via clandestine radio, their messages of approval of the presence of the Federal Preventative Police (PFP), their demands for the punishment and lynching of those who fight for the respect of the rights of the people, while the [Mexican federal] Secretary of Governmental Affairs [Interior Secretary] and the Secretary of Communications and Transportation take no notice of the public denouncements of the interference of Radio Universidad.

In this context, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca continues in their third day of the Constituent Congress to confront, with better organization, the neo-fascism that Felipe Calderón is trying to implement in the country and with which he is experimenting in Oaxaca, where the people have demonstrated tenacity and courage in response to centuries of injustice.

Thanks to the popular resistence, the freedom of 131 arbitrarily detained, during the occupation by the PFP, compañeros has been had, even though, in accordance with information provided by human rights organization, through 11 November, the following persons are still detained:

- Humberto Jiménez Ríos
- Jaime Guerrero
- Gerardo Martínez
- Héctor Guzmán Acosta
- Joaquín Benjamín López Castillo
- Marcos García Martínez
- Miguel Angel García
- Valentín Pérez Hernández
- Víctor Hugo Martínez Toledo

The compañeros are being accused of sedition, delinquent association, extraordinary resistance and attacks on the general means of communication and they are confined in the prisons of Tlacocula de Matamoros, Cuicatlán and Ejutla.

Similarly, the following are still disappeared:

- Alejandro Merino García
- Ángel Santos Callejas Rodríguez
- Ángel Soto Gallegos
- Armando o Arnaldo Rojas Galán
- Camilo Domínguez de los Santos
- Erick López Ortiz
- Felipe Pérez Tomás
- Félix Ricardo Méndez Venegas
- Fernando Ruiz Santos
- Isaías Pérez Mireles
- Jesús Martínez Hernández
- Máximo Reyes Pérez
- Pedro "N"
- Teodoro Tiño Verado
- Ubaldo García Guzmán
- Yeni Jarquín Aguilar
- Diego Magdiel Rodríguez Hernández
- 12 more taken from the barricadas of the Felipe Carillo Puerto and Avenida Ferrocarril neighborhoods.

With the appropriate indignation of one who sees their sky, public parks and plazas turned into visible signs of repression...






For the Defense of the Rights of the People,
Constructing the Power of the People!


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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Palestine to Oaxaca

If you are in NYC this Sunday come to the Oaxaca Encuentro that forms part of this weekend 's memorial and convergence in honor of Brad Will.

Here is a true gem of a follow-up to August's
Zapatismo and the Levant post...

The Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Honors the Martyrs of Oaxaca

Jerusalem, November 3, 2006: In this dreadful Autumn of death and destruction, the Palestinian and Mexican people are united more than ever in a common history, mourning and struggle.

In Palestine in the last 48 hours a new massacre has been perpetrated. 20 martyrs from the refugee camp of Beit Hanoun have been added to the hundreds of victims that have been killed since June, when the Occupation forces launched another ruthless offensive in the Gaza Strip.

In the same way, since June the Mexican government has started to use all the destructive force of its military against the 70,000 educational workers in the state of Oaxaca who struggle for their rights. The same government that followed the demands of the US government to send its soldiers to invade and massacre the Iraqi people today turns these weapons against its own people in defense of imperialist interests.

We mourn the dead of Oaxaca as we mourn our own and we take courage from the determination in the struggle that this people has shown in response to the repression. They have united their voices in the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO): some 350 organizations have taken back the city and struggle to overthrow the corrupt government of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

If the government wanted to crush this movement with the invasion of the 29th October and the murder of the protesters, we now know that this goal has not been achieved and that the activists of the APPO know how to respond to the latest brutal attacks.

We know that the Mexican Intifada continues and spreads to other states of the nation.

As Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign representing some 50 popular committees that struggle day after day in the villages ghettoized by the wall and besieged by the complex mechanism of Zionist repression and expulsion, we want to let you know that you are not alone, that your struggle is our struggle.

60 years of occupation, dispossession, daily murder and eventually the attempt to transform Palestine into a giant open air prison were not enough to destroy the determination of the Palestinian people. The majority of our people has been expelled from their land and struggles for the return to their homes, the rest of us resists apartheid and a life in open-air prisons behind walls and razor wire.

The experience of these 60 years of resistance enable us to recognize our brothers in the Mexican indigenous communities who have resisted genocide for over 500 years. We salute the resistance of the people of Oaxaca against a corrupt puppet government and see in it a new point of reference for the struggle against imperialism.

We join the call of our Mexican comrades to demand*:

1. That Ulises Ruiz Ortiz immediately step down from his post as governor of the state of Oaxaca. His authoritarian policies are at the root of the bloodshed and the struggle. His permanent presence is the main obstacle to a political solution.

2. The immediate withdrawal of the Federal Preventive Police from the city of Oaxaca.

3. The immediate end to all forms of repression, the liberation of the arrested and the detained and the return of the disappeared.

4. Unconditional respect for Human Rights and the guarantee of safety for all, in particular the members of the APPO.

5. The punishment of the intellectual and material authors of the murders perpetrated by the paramilitary groups of the state.

*We further remind the Federal Government that it holds the responsibility for the repression and assaults on the population and organizations of Oaxaca.

We join all those that ask a political solution and the respect of the demands put forward by the APPO.

Jamal Jumá
Coordinator of the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bike Ride for Oaxaca a Success!

The original call-out for this action can be found here

Another Strong Action for Oaxaca in NYC

by RJ Maccani
(originally published in the Narcosphere and at NYC Indymedia)

We wondered how many people would show up. The call for Wednesday's bike ride for Oaxaca didn't even get widely circulated until Tuesday afternoon and many of us have been going non-stop since finding out about Brad's death last Friday.

The actions at the consulate on Monday morning were powerful but also draining. A.N.S.W.E.R. held another consulate protest Tuesday afternoon and that night there was a liveley and very visible Oaxaca/Brad Will contingent within Greenwich Village's Halloween parade. So who was gonna come to a bike ride for Oaxaca at 1p the following day?

It turned out beautifully. Over sixty people, including six of the 12 arrestees from Monday's consulate protest, rode through mid-town Manhattan for nearly three hours. We were a colorful mob that couldn't be missed, slowing the city's busy streets just a bit and getting the word out about who killed Brad Will and what is actually going on in Oaxaca.

The police were on us from the very beginning. We had tons of hand-painted signs and one guy even had a second, "ghost" bike attached to his own with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Brad Will painted by Seth Tobocman, local artist and a friend of Brad's since their Lower East Side squatter days. We had a mobile sound system playing what sounded to me to be Oaxaca's Radio Universidad...blasting chants of "Ya Cayo! Ya Cayo! Ulises Ya Cayo!" and urging the Oaxacan people to stay strong.

Manhattan's mid-town is packed at lunch time and, to my surprise, it seemed like many people immediately understood what we were riding about. Getting many supportive honks along the way, we passed out a ton of fliers listing the names of some of the murdered in Oaxaca and asksing people to contact Mexican government authorities and urge them to get rid of Governor Ruiz and pull the Federal troops out of Oaxaca.

Our first stop on the ride was in front of the New York Times building where we denounced their participation in the US and Mexican commercial media distortion around Brad's murder suggesting that it was the result of cross-fire between pro and anti-government forces or, worse, at the hands of the protest movement itself. (Unbeknownst to us at the time, the New York Times finally published an excellent article about Brad today that lays out the facts of Brad's case and the context in Oaxaca pretty well.)

As I mentioned before, the police presence was heavy on the entire ride and it grew as things progressed. Our first incident of the ride occurred when the sign attached to a rider's bike accidently brushed the back of a cop writing a ticket on a parked vehicle. A group of cops made sure we stopped and she was issued a court summons before we continued on...

The second stop on the ride was a victorious return to the Mexican consulate where we found the gated entrance to the building chained shut and with a metal barricade in front of it. By this point in the ride someone had leaked our planned route to the police and this was perhaps a preventitive measure on their part set up shortly before our arrival. Or perhaps this is just the look of an embattled consulate that has seen multiple days of strong protest. Either way, it was nice to see the consulate still behind barricades! And the office staff couldn't help but take notice as we screamed the names of those murdered in Oaxaca followed by "Presente!" before riding on.

On the way to our third and final planned stop, the United Nations building, we happened upon a labor picket. We joined in their chants and passed out spanish-language flyers to the workers. Represented by UNITE HERE! local 100, the workers were clearly cheered up by our surprise visit and we were excited to connect, however briefly, with their struggle.

There was no exit strategy when we arrived at the United Nations. We rolled right up to their door and some attempted to push into the building. If the ride's route hadn't been given away to the cops earlier, there might have been more success in getting inside. Nevertheless, things got a bit pushy with the cops at this point and we made a ruckus that I'm sure the people inside heard loud and clear. After hanging around chanting, passing out flyers, and changing someone's tire, we decided to be done with it and head down to Tompkins Square Park.

The NYPD had, by this time, devoted such a massive number of cops in cars, vans, and on scooters that it is not surprising that they would look for an excuse to make at least one arrest, which they did. Keith Watson was arrested, seemingly for running a red light, while three others received tickets for the same offense. Keith ended up being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and, last I checked, is still waiting to be arraigned.

A group eventually did gather at Tompkins Square Park where the New York Times reporter who wrote that day's good article on Brad Will and Oaxaca happened to be hanging out. In a moment of reconciliation between the protestors and this particular Times reporter, we read the article aloud before splitting up.

The bike ride, inspired by a Zapatista call for actions, turned out to be an excellent form of public awareness-raising and continued to bring heat upon the Mexican government and the commercial media. The Friends of Brad Will, organizers of the ride, will be celebrating the Day of the Dead tomorrow in memory of Brad. On Friday morning some will gather to discuss sending a New York City delegation to Oaxaca and Mexico City.

Many groups have been mobilizing in New York City in solidarity with the Oaxacan teachers' union, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca, and the popular struggle to depose Governor Ruiz. The Mexican immigrant groups, anarchist and socialist organizations, and teachers who have been mobilizing in support of the Oaxacan movements have now been joined by a committed group with a very personal stake in this struggle for justice, the Friends of Brad Will.
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