Ten years ago, Mexican society was electrified by the explosive struggle of Oaxaca’s teachers against neoliberal education reform. What began as a teachers’ protest turned into a mass movement of Oaxacan society against neoliberalism and the brutality of the Mexican state. Over the course of six months of struggle in the face of intense repression, the movement — dubbed the “Oaxaca Commune” — captured the world’s imagination and led to the ouster of the state’s governor.
In 2016, under the rubric of “reform” and “accountability,” Mexican teachers are facing a raft of proposals from the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto designed to weaken their unions. After Mexican police opened fire on protesters in the Oaxacan town of Nochixtlán, killing six, Oaxaca’s teachers once more found themselves leading a national movement against neoliberalism in the face of tremendous police violence.