Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The Red Elvis

Dean Reed - Red Elvis

Plot Tracer looks at a socialist musician who is little known in his homeland of the USA but remains a star from South America to Eastern Europe.

Dean Reed was a Rock’n’Roll star – perhaps, arguably, the most well known rock star in the world. He recorded for Capitol Records, the label who had such artists as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, The Beach Boys and the Beatles, amongst others.

Reed was friends with some of the icons we know from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and the Chilean singer Victor Jara who was murdered by the Pinochet regime. He had been making records as long as Cliff Richard and was much more “credible” than Richard became – he was still being mobbed by teenagers up until the mid-eighties.

Dean Reed was found dead in a lake near his home in June 1986– some say it was suicide and others – including his family – say he was murdered.

Dean Reed was no Elvis, eating his way into oblivion via greed and sitting in front of banks of TV’s watching crap programmes. Dean was known as “the Red Elvis”, but I feel this does not do justice to who and what he was.

Those who were mobbing Reed, tearing a little piece of him as a memento, were screaming and fainting in Red Square and East Berlin as well as Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Honduras and many other non-western countries.

Reed had travelled through South America in the 50’s whilst an up and coming star. He had had a huge hit in South America with “Our Summer Romance” and toured the continent. Like so many people possessed of social conscience at the time who visited the various barrios and indigenous settlements, he was tremendously affected by what he saw and pledged to change the world. He also toured prisons and became a voice against the various right wing military regimes. He promoted support for Cuba, was against American nuclear testing, and opposed the Vietnam War.

Action Hero

In 1966 the Argentinian military regime deported him and he wound up in Italy. There, he made various spaghetti westerns and then did a tour of the Soviet Union where he became a huge star and signed up to the soviet recording studio, Melodyia. He also made TV specials called “A Man From Colorado” in the GDR. He fought as a fedayeen in the Lebanon and had hobbies such as sky diving and motorcycle racing. He was a real Red Action Hero.

At the time of his death he was reportedly thinking of coming home to fight for socialist freedom in his birth country. He was thinking of helping to start a socialist party in the US – one that with the help of his celebrity, could have made some inroads.

Towards the end of his life, he criticised Stalinism in the Soviet Union, but advocated socialism – suggesting to the Soviet Authorities that they adopt a two party system like America, though instead of two capitalist parties, there should be two socialist parties. Until his death, Reed was a Marxist internationalist. He never gave up his citizenship of the country he loved, even though he hadn’t lived there for twenty-five years.

Back in the USA

On a return to the states in the ‘Seventies, he had taken part in a hunger strike after being arrested in Delano, Buffalo, after taking part in a protest in support of local farmers.

He had been thrown off a Denver talk show after an angry exchange over the causes of poverty in Ethiopia. During the argument, Reed had said that the host Peter Boyles sounded “just like the neo-Nazis that killed Berg.” Radio talk show host Alan Berg, one of Boyles’ close friends, had been shot dead in front of his Denver home 2 years previously.

Reed befriended those Americans who took part in the 1973 Sioux uprising in Wounded Knee, South Dakota . He never completed the movie about the uprising, “Bloody Heart,” but the theme song was eventually released with the title “Wounded Knee ’73.”


Some say the KGB killed him, others the CIA. Most who may know are not talking.

Reed physically fought for and was jailed and deported for his revolutionary beliefs. He was slandered and reviled by the right wing in the US and used his celebrity not to feed his face or ply himself with drugs, but to help free his fellow men from the slavery and oppression that is capitalism.


Unfortunately the rights to the movie of his life have been bought by none other than Tom Hanks. Again, I think the treatment of this icon of socialism will be harsh. Few of these self enriching stars and personalities criticise each other for greed and over indulgence (see the reverential treatment of the destructive, right-wing ‘patriot’ Elvis). However, prepare yourself to see a movie about a naïve and self promoting proponent of the crumbling Soviet system – something, in my opinion, that could not be further from the truth.

Reed said of himself, “South America changed my life because there one can see the justice and injustice, or poverty and wealth. They are so clear that you must take a stand. I was not a capitalist, nor was I blind. And there I became a revolutionary.’

This article originally appeared here:

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Monday, 20 August 2007

Craig Murray

Link to Craig Murray's Blog. See article by Plot Tracer below...

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Murder, through the Purple Haze, in Samarkand

By Plot Tracer

The news goes so fast nowadays. Add to that the choice we have not to listen, read or watch it. Things are so different from when I was younger when everything came to a stop for the 1.00pm, 5.45, 6.00, 9.00 and 10.00 news. Real news was reported on the front pages of the newspapers – even on the tabloids. I wonder does my ten year old know what is going on in the world? I remember the news from my childhood – miners trapped down mines, people shot, planes bombed on runways, politicians hauled over the coals for misdemeanours and political faux pas.

Who remembers the prime events leading to the political and war state we are in at the moment? Israel knows that people forget. As did Blair, now Brown and Bush. This forgetfulness is aided by a complicit press. Complicit in blanking our memory with the hashish of Jade Goody, Paris Hilton, Wayne Rooney, the latest mini-celeb from Big Brother and John Prescott’s Jags.

Who remembers the wee boy cowering behind his father as Israeli soldiers snuffed out his little life? Who remembers the little girl crying on the beach in Gaza beside the blown up memory of her normal family life? The Israeli/Palestine conflict is for another blogpost, but I’ll make the point that the most recent excuse for Israeli war – the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers, happened after these atrocities were meted out by their comrades.

M y point is about memory and the “War on Terror”.

Who remembers David Kelly? Who remembers weapons inspectors in Iraq giving the all clear? Who remembers Bush and Blair assuring us that there were weapons and this was beyond reasonable doubt… Who remembers the Gleneagles Hotel Making Poverty History and Bob Geldof even more famous…. (red herring, eh?)

Who remembers Craig Murray?

Those of you who keep up to date with the War on Terror will know who he is. Those of you who trawl the internet for secret documents will know who he is. For the most of us caught up in every day life filled with the noise of advertising ways to a better life and the lives of the select few who show us our inadequacies, Craig Murray may well be a tennis player, a golfer or Paris Hilton’s/Jade Goody’s latest love interest.

In his own words, Craig Murray says, “many would judge that in my private life I have behaved pretty badly. In the small hours of the night, I tend to agree. What I think I did right was to refuse to go along with some absolutely dreadful things the West was at best overlooking, probably condoning and arguably encouraging in the name of the War on Terror.”

A few months back, in the depths of the Scottish Winter, I happened to be in Ayrshire. My visit coincided with a protest outside Prestwick Airport against so called, “Rendition Flights”.

As I stood in the rain, with representatives from across the political spectrum, becoming wetter and wetter even though I was under the protection of a huge SSP golf umbrella (rain in Ayrshire seems to come at almost 90 degrees),

I thought, “What good am I doing?” I thought, “Will anyone listen?” What had started out as an issue a friend had alerted me to through her persistence online seemed to me to be an issue few knew or cared about. This is the lot of the protestor. Alone in a sea of apathy. I used to think apathy was something people chose. I don’t believe that now. I think we are encouraged to be apathetic. Amnesty and lefty journo’s were shouting about it, but few people were raising their heads above the purple haze of petrol prices, the imminent arrival of Santa Claus, Harry Potter and yes, Jade Goody and her men. Few people had heard that America had sent flights through Scotland’s airports, carrying poor souls to be tortured in some of the worlds most selective torture houses and prisons. Few seemed to care that Scotland was being shown to be complicit in torture, rape and death.

Craig Murray was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was removed from his post by the Blair Government. Why was he removed? Did he have his hands in the till? Did he accept bribes? Did he have more than one Jag? Well, the truth is, he found irrefutable evidence that the British Government for whom he worked for, was accepting information obtained from torture victims. He found out that people who demonstrated against the Uzbekistan government, where being chemically lobotomised. He found out that the opposition in exile had been sentenced to death in their absence. He found out that people were being boiled to death. He found out that Muslims were in jails because they were Muslims. And all of this was happening in a country Bush and Blair deemed “friendly” and in fact, a country ruled by a regime funded by the US.

Craig Murray published a book about his findings – a book I read just after publication. Some of his evidence has had to have been left out because of the British Government's tightening suppression of the written word, though the references left out can be easily found online. I find it shocking that so few know his findings – and that the Daily Mail are not up in arms about what he said about the links between our Government and the Uzbekistan Government. But then they are making an honest buck out of absolute disgust at the racism of the “Chav” Jade or the terrible world rocking events in the life of Pete Doherty. I’m glad they are on the case. I know my life is better lived by knowing their disgust at Paris and Lindsay Lohan. Lives will be saved by their investigative journalism.

Murray’s stance is principled in our democratic states’ trudge down the road of authoritarianism. There have been few insiders willing to speak out.

New Labour holds on to power even though week after week our democracy is bled of morality. Bush will go, and in his place will be a clone from the other party who may say things in a slightly different way, but nothing will change. Such is the two in one party state. Britain has shown that is possible. The effect of this will be that, even more than now, ordinary people’s belief is cemented – the belief that they can do nothing about these power hungry and money greedy politicians. We return to the haze of “better” mobile phones, flatter TV’s with more and more channels that lead down the road of apathy; “better” Marks and Spencers; thick shakes and thin fries; IPODS and digital Cameras. Safe in the knowledge that people are having their nails pulled out, faces pummelled and lives cut short in order for us to feel safe buying our slave produced teeshirts off the supermarket rails and our Kylie Minogue fragrance. Somewhere amongst the noise are fearful David Kelly’s and Craig Murrays. Hopefully more will speak out.

“Murder in Samarkand – A British Ambassador’s Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror” by Craig Murray is published by Mainstream Publishing.

This article was originally posted on

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Saturday, 18 August 2007

A reply... Pornography.

This reply is from a friend of the SLLU. He also recommends this addition to the debate:

...the extract below seems to conflate the experiences of women in pornography with that of children.....althought the quote provided from Jensen only refers to women.

There is undoubtedly similarities and some "intertwining" - but I think there is a case to separate discussing pornography involving adult women ( and men ) and that exploiting children.

Extract from Blog -
"Consent and choice have been central notions in debates around wider commercial sexual exploitation of women and children (pornography, prostitution, lapdancing, trafficking and so on), and are at the forefront too, with regards Second Life. Both concepts are intertwined, and, as Robert Jensen, in his book
'Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity' notes,
"A meaningful discussion of choice can't be restricted to the single moment when a woman decides to perform in a specific pornographic film but must include all the existing background conditions that affect not only the objective choices she faces but her subjective assessment of these choices.".

These are serious issues to address , but I don't agree with quote from Catherine McKinnon about all (adult) pornography

And this quote from Catherine Mckinnon-
"Pornography is the perfect preparation - motivator and instruction manual in one - for sexual atrocities" Catherine McKinnon.

Personnally I think a much deeper discussion needs to take place on issues relating to sexuality rather than just demanding the eradication of all pornography and prostitution.


Some extracts from DSP ( Australia ) pamphlet on Pornography and Censorship

Sexual images can be both positive and negative. They can challenge the old stereotypes of women as passive and sexuality as dangerous, presenting instead erotic imagery of women's sexuality as pleasurable and active. Pornographic images can also represent violence, abuse and degradation.

How to deal with the two sides of sexuality and its imagery in today's society has been hotly contested among feminists. Is censorship of pornography the most effective strategy or does it only deal with the images and not the acts of violence directed against women? Or does censorship throw the baby out with the bathwater — sweeping away positive explorations of sexuality through the imposition of a new repressive morality and bolstering the campaigns of the traditional conservative opponents of women's liberation?

..........Both Dworkin and MacKinnon have also argued that women who participate in or enjoy pornography or have heterosexual sex are brainwashed or programmed into these activities by men. In order to maintain this view they have to virtually obliterate the idea that women are active agents in the choices they make about their lives and their sexual activity. Dworkin and MacKinnon instead reinforce the idea of women as victims, as passive and helpless, needing to be guided into an understanding of the "errors of their ways" by those who "truly" understand the nature of sexuality.

.............Arguing against censorship of pornography does not mean condoning, ignoring or de-prioritising campaigns around the often violent and usually misogynist portrayal of women in capitalist society. We have a responsibility to counter in the most effective way images which are exploitative and sexist — not by seeking to have them banned, but by initiating a much more wide-ranging debate about sex; by campaigning for better sex education in schools; and by creating more informed and responsible social attitudes to the expression of sexuality.

However if we are going to effectively fight sexism we can't just focus on sexually explicit portrayals of women. The establishment media, advertising, education system and other institutions, as well as the right-wing moralists who also campaign against pornography, all reinforce women's traditional roles. All objectify and degrade women.

..........We need an analysis of violence that empowers women, not one that reinforces the view that women are inherently powerless, timid, non-aggressive and submissive. Feminism should be a critique of this society, of a society that promotes violence against women in many forms, not a blame-the-indvidual, knee-jerk reaction that looks to the capitalist state for the solutions. Instead, we need a mass, feminist movement that allies itself with all those fighting the system of social relations which perpetuates violence, competition and oppression.
link to full document -

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Saturday, 11 August 2007

Possible rendition aircraft called at Glasgow today (Friday 10 Aug)

Possible rendition aircraft called at Glasgow today (Friday 10 Aug)

A Gulfstream with the ID N475LC flew from Fayetteville (Ft. Bragg, USA) to
Shannon via Bangor, Maine, a few days ago. It is now (11pm Friday)
returning from Glasgow to Fayetteville via Bangor.

The aircraft has been linked to the CIA rendition activities in a reports
published by Amnesty International and the European Parliament. It has
landed at Shannon on a number of occasions. It was then owned by a
company called Braxton Management . An investigation by the Chicago
Tribune newspaper into the company concluded it was a shelf company set up
by the CIA to facilitate operations using "civilian" aircraft. Reporters
for the Chicago Tribune found the company offered no management services,
was registered to a lawyer's office in Montana (who would not return
calls), and operated aircraft which had landed at the CIA's training
facility at Camp Peary, Virginia and at numerous airports in the Middle East

The aircraft is now owned by L 3 IS LLC Corporation, which appears to be
another paper company, whose business address is a different law office in
Great Falls.

The progress of N475LC across the Atlantic can be monitored at
Note that times are GMT - add an hour for BST.

The text of a report logged at 21.05 GMT (22.05 BST) is given below.

SACC's attention was drawn r=to this flight a couple of hours ago by
campaigners in the US - too late, unfortunately, for us to catch it on the
tarmac at Glasgow. The details above about the history of N475LC and
about Braxton Management and L 3 IS LLC were compiled very hastily -
anyone interested could find out mor with a little googling
at 2007-08-10 21:05 -

Aircraft ID N475LC
Owner/Operator L 3 IS LLC

Serial Number 1472
Year Manufactured 2002
Certificate Issued 06/21/2006

Airport most visited: Further details are restricted
Flight Plan Received 2007-08-10 18:48:01 from Boston
Status In Flight
Planned Alt 40000 Feet
Planned Speed M080 kts.
Planned Dep 2007-08-10 19:23
Actual Dep
Planned Arrival 2007-08-10 19:23
Estimated Arrival
Actual Arrival
Latest Speed 428 kts.
Latest Altitude 40000 Feet
Distance to Dest.
Last Update 2007-08-10 21:05
Tracking ID 101023465

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Monday, 6 August 2007

What's The Harm?

Big Brother or essential anti-exploitation measures? – SLLU member Ledoof Constantineau gives her considered view on the Second Life sexual violence debate.

What's the harm? It's a question debated endlessly on Second Life forums and blogs* concerning content and activities inworld that many find disturbing in their potential implications, and others defend resolutely lest the community become, in their eyes, a big brother state. There can be few who have wandered this brave new virtual world without coming upon, intentionally or otherwise, sexualised child avatars, profiles displaying membership for 'rape fantasy' groups, or women in slave poses speaking (when spoken to..) in the third person. As a feminist with a background working in the anti violence against women and children sector, I am firmly in the camp harbouring concerns, and decided to investigate for myself some of second life's more infamous settings.

I spent one day teleporting around hard alley, Gor locations, clubs and other related areas and took snapshots of some of what I found; adding sceenshots of various groups, and profiles, and adverts of interest and relevance. The images are now collated together in an exhibit of sorts and have been added to since then as I, and other people working on the project, have come across more and more content whose main themes seem to be misogyny and abuse of power.

But where is the harm in pixels engaging in what appears to be consensual role-play? It is here that we must revisit longstanding debates on pornography and censorship, as well as examining emerging opinions on Second Life itself (and other virtual worlds). Dutch psychologist Jos Buschman, has been widely quoted recently after stating that second life is "by definition, a school for paedophiles"*. The Home Office in the UK has produced a consultation document investigating potential harm and legislative action around 'non photographic visual depictions ' of children being abused, It states:
"..Police and children’s welfare groups report an increase in interest in these images..(and).. are concerned that these images could fuel the abuse of real children by reinforcing abusers' inappropriate feelings toward children. These images, particularly as they are often in cartoon or fantasy style format, could be used in 'grooming' or preparing children for sexual abuse."*
Second Life, and potentially other virtual worlds, allow the fantasy of pornography to be taken one step further by allowing users to actively participate in that fantasy, and, provides a community of other like-minded people who validate and reinforce that the fantasy is ok. The Save The Children Europe Group position paper on child pornography and internet related sexual exploitation of children reports that,
"..Research has.. shown that some sex offenders will overcome their own internal inhibitors by viewing child pornography. There is some material which suggests that one of the most critical functions of child pornography is as reinforcement and justification of the will to abuse. This contradicts the discredited 'cathartic hypothesis' used to suggest that the use of child pornography will help potential abusers control their urges.."*

Those wishing to role-play child sexual abuse scenarios have found themselves a safe haven in which to operate. There are groups (Candence elementary school - 262 members, Indafamily - 133 members, Hard Alley Family Fun - 60 members, Daddys Toy - 68 members, Gothic Lolita - 476 members, School Girls Gone Bad Detention Home - 1099 members, to name a few) in which members harbouring such fantasies can have contact with each other, and locations (Wonderland in Nemo, Playfair Mansion. Daddy's Darlin’s) which have children’s bedroom designs and sex and torture pose balls within where the role play scenarios can be enacted. If part of training for soldiers can be to utilise immersive MMORPG'S, partly to desensitize and prepare for violent acts, then what is the potential impact of immersion in role-play and abuse fantasy scenarios?

"Pornography is the perfect preparation - motivator and instruction manual in one - for sexual atrocities" Catherine McKinnon

It is beyond the scope of this short article to do justice to the debate on pornography, but if one is inclined to share the point of view of Catherine McKinnon and others (and I do), then the proliferation of violent pornography and associated groups and activities within Second Life becomes, frankly, terrifying in it's potential implications for harm. There is anecdotal evidence of women involved in Gor, for instance, who are, in addition to their daily online rituals of subjection to 'playful' sexual slavery and humiliation, forbidden to leave their PC unless given permission to do so by their 'master'. A BDSM 'master' on the official messageboard openly discussed his success in online training and how some trainees have become excellent slaves in their real lives, partly through his training. This person also talked of the several vulnerable young women in 'real life' who had dropped out of school, had alcohol and/or drug problems, but were now leading constructive lives under his control. The language of pornography (bitch, slut, whore) plays an integral role in reinforcing these fantasies of women, and children, as penis and male pleasure receptacles to be controlled; objects to be used and mastered. It is a language of overt woman-hating, and is both ubiquitous and conspicuous in Gor, in BDSM, in child sexual abuse role-play areas, in sex clubs, in groups.. Everywhere in Second Life. The late Andrea Dworkin, whose work has been central to feminist anti-pornography arguments, captured, for me, its essence and function with the following words.

"Contemporary pornography strictly and literally conforms to the word's root meaning: the graphic depiction of vile whore, or, in our language, sluts, cows (as in: sexual cattle, sexual chattel), cunts.. The methods of graphic depiction have increased in number and in kind; the content is still the same; the meaning is the same; the purpose is the same; the sexuality of the women depicted is the same; the value of the women depicted is the same..".

It is through pornography that the areas of Gor and BDSM and 'ageplay' (specifically child sexual abuse roleplaying 'ageplay') and Dolcett (sexualised cannibalism of women) and Hard Alley's 'rape fantasists' are linked. The audience and particpants for each may differ, the backstories and pseudo-intellectualising justifying each may vary, but they speak the same language and the fantasies are centred around abuse of power. The language takes on more importance, perhaps, in a virtual world environment, where physical harm is not present (but could be should the relationship enter first lives..) but rather emotional and psychological harm, manipulation and abuse, and in some cases, indoctrination into a particular-mind set and way of being.

Consent and choice have been central notions in debates around wider commercial sexual exploitation of women and children (pornography, prostitution, lapdancing, trafficking and so on), and are at the forefront too, with regards Second Life. Both concepts are intertwined, and, as Robert Jensen, in his book 'Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity' notes,
"A meaningful discussion of choice can't be restricted to the single moment when a woman decides to perform in a specific pornographic film but must include all the existing background conditions that affect not only the objective choices she faces but her subjective assessment of these choices.".
We do not know the histories of those who engage in say, a rape role play scenario which ends with their avatar being mutilated and murdered (a scenario outlined by a poster in a messageboard debate), but it seems quite a stretch to agree that this is somehow sexually liberating for women.

The campaign to 'Keep Second Life Free' and 'united protest' are organised and highly visible; their aim to keep second life unrestricted in its content and activities (I came across posters mainly in Gor, BDSM, ageplay, Dolcett, Rape, 'extreme' sex etc areas). Who are we keeping SL free for? Whose interests are being served? Is real freedom the unyielding propagation of sexist, women-hating, violence and abuse ridden fantasy fodder?
My favourite snapshot was taken at a Gorean brothel. Outside the front door was the keeping SL free poster, and, by it's side, a shackling post for kajira (female slave)'Camper Slut' to be trussed up and displayed..


1 Keeping SL Safe Together

Slave Debate

Gor Debate

2 Libbenga, Jan, 'The Register' online magazine (21/2/07)

3 Home Office UK ( 2007)

4 Save The Children Europe Group: Position Paper on Child
Pornography and Internet Related Sexual Expoloitation of
Children (2004)

5 McKinnon, Catherine - source text unknown

6 See 1

7 Dworkin, Andrea, 'Pornography: Men Possessing Women"
(1994 edn)

8 Jensen, Robert, 'Getting Off: Pornography and the End of
Masculinity' (2007)

"..(research).. virtually unanimously shows that exposure to sexually violent material increases the likelihood of agression toward women..(and).. the available evidence strongly suggests the hypothesis that substantial exposure to sexually violent materials.. bears a causal relationship to antisocial acts of sexual violence... report also found that non-violent but degrading pornographic material produced effects similar to but not as extensive as those involved with non-violent pornography.."
Attorney General Commission on Pornography, US, 1986

Please note: This is a personal opinion from an individual SLLU member. We have published it in keeping with this blog's and our organisation's aim to represent and reflect a diversity of left opinions. The opinions contained within this article do not represent an SLLU group consensus, and the article is intended to provoke thought, debate, and further discussion. Please submit YOUR view to SLUL Revolution inworld or post replies to the blog piece.

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Saturday, 4 August 2007

The nature of the world order...

"So let us regard this as settled: what is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious." Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
"A man who has in mind an apparent advantage and promptly proceeds to dissociate this from the question of what is right shows himself to be mistaken and immoral. Such a standpoint is the parent of assassinations, poisonings, forged wills, thefts, malversations of public money, and the ruinous exploitation of provincials and Roman citizens alike. Another result is passionate desire - desire for excessive wealth, for unendurable tyranny, and ultimately for the despotic seizure of free states. These desires are the most horrible and repulsive things imaginable. The perverted intelligences of men who are animated by such feelings are competent to understand the material rewards, but not the penalties. I do not mean penalties established by law, for these they often escape. I mean the most terrible of all punishments: their own degradation."Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
"Find out just what people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." : Frederick Douglass, African-American slave, and later abolitionist.
"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." : Samuel P. Huntington

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Friday, 3 August 2007

Demonstrations in Oaxaca, Mexico - An Article by Ilia Milev

We are delighted to bring you another article contribution from Spanish SLLU member Ilia Milev. This time, he highlights the plight of oppressed demonstrators in Oaxaca, Mexico, and its wider implications.

Demonstrations in Oaxaca (Mexico) were some titles on the news two weeks ago, in small squares and in minor letters. Again, some news explained whether it was an anecdote or at least something not normal. Worst of all, some news in the official media in Mexico said the demonstrators are Mexico’s enemies. But nothing is so far from reality; Oaxaca, it's just the tip of the iceberg in a country where 26 million people cannot receive any kind of medical attention, and where 19 million people cannot eat daily an average meal, while it is in this same country where Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, lives: a very important signal that poverty is absolutely associated to the enrichment of others.

In Oaxaca we have both the protest of public teachers due to their poor salaries and the protest of Indians, an oppressed group, and all this is a replica of the riots that happened last year. This time the tumults happened because the protesting groups were carrying out their own alternative to a very popular tradition called Gelaguetza, and they were repressed by the police and by some paramilitaries.

There is an important lesson to be extracted from here, i.e. attacks against public education occur where the capitalist government wants to repress people, which means an attack against people’s opportunity to emancipate and rise. The attempt to vanish the right to have an egalitarian education is the common behaviour of conservative and reactionary governments. But something else can be found here: the attempt to denigrate people has to do with the business world: what was the source of Oaxaca’s wealth? Much wood in its forests some years ago, but nothing nowadays.

But Oaxaca is not alone, this is a problem that has extended to all Mexico, and a slight majority of Mexicans agree with that protest. Maybe if all people could contrast the information on different media and they could look for the truth, they all would be supporting Oaxaca and they would be starting a new revolution in Mexico (as it could almost have happened with Lopez Obrador's protests). But also in Europe, we must say that they are not alone and we must support them. Everybody remembers Chiapas and Subcomandante Marcos, but we must also remember that the problem is spreading in Mexico: Guerrero, Mitxoacan, Veracruz, Tijuana. Mexico could still give us a lesson to all leftists in the world.

Ilia Milev

Remember, all SLLU members are welcome to use this blog as a platform for raising awareness of social justice issues worldwide. If you would like your voice to be heard, please submit your article inworld on a notecard to higgleDpiggle Snoats, Plot Tracer, or SLUL Revolution. Also feel free to leave your comments here! We would like to encourage debate on any of the issues raised in these articles, and in so doing, to strengthen the aims of SLLU as an international forum for Leftist discussion, education, and exchange of ideas and information.

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