The Massacre of students in Mexico: the real face of rotting capitalism

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On the 26th of September 2014, in the state of Guerrero in Mexico situated about 400 km south of Mexico City, a number of students from the teacher training college of Ayotzinapa went to Iguala, a town some 250 km away in order to prepare with others a demonstration taking place the following week on October 2; a demonstration in memory of the massacre of students on the “Three-Cultures” square in the capital (Tlatelolco) in 1968. This commemoration was taking place in parallel with a massive and spontaneous demonstration of students at the polytechnic school who were protesting against reforms of the education system which, among other things, particularly hit them by re-classifying their future professional qualifications, and thus their future wages, by reducing their grades from engineer to technician.

On their return, in order to pay for transport, the youth from Ayotzinapa “borrowed” a bus. They were then chased and fired on by the municipal police of Iguala. The fusillade killed 6 of the youths. Others were able to flee but 43 more were captured and immediately delivered to the mafia gang “Guerreros Unidos”[1] on the telephone orders of the mayor of Iguala, a member of the PRD[2] and under the cover of the state governor, also a member of the PRD. The narco-traffickers were thus made responsible for making the students “disappear”.

Around the area of the shootings some days later, recent burnt remains were discovered in a ditch containing about 20 bodies, some of whom had been burnt alive and others hideously mutilated – the skin torn off their faces and eyes gouged out – indicating that the victims had suffered acts of the most abominable torture and barbarity imaginable. Under cover of the long procedure to identify the bodies the bourgeoisie talked hypocritically about “looking for the missing” whereas the fate of these unfortunate youths – aged between 17 and 21 – was beyond doubt.

Since then there’s been a loud and sickening daily barrage: on the one side the government of Pena Nieto and his clique in power (the PRI), with his ally the PAN, alongside the public prosecutor who prompted the enquiry saying that “light must be shone” on events and “the guilty punished”, all posing as the real and sole defenders of justice (the supposed boss of the “Guerreros Unidos” was arrested a fortnight later with triumphant zeal!), while the mayor and local chief of police fled and a vast popular and media campaign was launched in order to demand the resignation of the governor. On the other side the parties of the left[3] including the PRD itself, the unions, the leftist organisations and a range of humanitarian organisations (from Human Rights to a whole range of NGO’s) are launching a vast campaign in the style of “clean hands” in Italy, demanding the dismissal of such and such a politician with close links to the cartels, or such and such corrupt policeman. Profiting from the indignation and emotion aroused by this odious massacre, a vast movement to polish up the image of the state is being launched, along with illusions in the clean, impartial state, the defender of justice above classes and guarantor of the “rights of the people” with the aim of drawing behind it the parents of the victims, all the students, a maximum of proletarians and the population in general. At the same time the leading bourgeoisies all over the world, with the whole media at their disposal, wax indignant and point their finger at their Mexican counterparts and the collusion that’s been established between the politicians and drug traffickers in order to better mask the degree of their own corruption and their own crimes.

Since this article was written the former mayor of the southern Mexican city of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, has been charged with the murder of six people who died in the initial police attack. It seemed he ordered his police to attack the students because he thought that they were going to disrupt the attempt of his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, to campaign to replace him as mayor in 2015. The couple’s close links to the “Geurreros Unidos” drug gang, as well as the gang’s previous joint murderous actions with the police have emerged (The Guardian, 14.11.14). Abarca is in jail where he faces charges and Pineda is under investigation with both of them still giving their services, if not voluntarily, to the campaign for the “clean”, democratic state.

In reality, this tragic episode is no aberrant manifestation or any sort of “slip up” of the local or national bourgeoisie but rather an illustration of another step taken in the decomposition of capitalism at the global level, a process dragging society into barbarity and a growing chaos. This is the same spiral that we see in the present exacerbation of imperialist conflicts between states who use torturers and militia armies, terrorist bands of religious fanatics, nationalists, separatists, rebels, etc. This is expressed in a generalised gangsterism of the state apparatus, of the bourgeoisie and all its representatives. Thieves, armed mafia gangs and narco-traffickers have become a regular force of the state as instruments of the violence of its domination and above all as organs for the bloody repression of social movements, just like the police and the army – a repression particularly exercised against the working class and its struggles. It’s quite significant that drugs and arms trafficking, which has taken a preponderant place in international commerce and the national economies, has led to these armed gangs of narco-traffickers becoming indispensable auxiliaries of all the fractions of the bourgeoisie in order to assure their power against their rivals or to exercise a pitiless repression against any threat to the existing order.

But this evolution also implies the absolute rejection of all moral values. Even in the sphere of thievery and gangsterism, there existed, even in clannish and reified forms, a sort of “code of honour”, certain moral taboos. Today these elements have disappeared .They have sunk under the process of social decomposition, of the putrefaction of capitalism dominated by the immediate interest of “every man for himself”, the “war of each against all”, in the unleashing of unlimited violence and terror. This social militarisation, this “banalisation of evil”, according to the expression of the philosopher Hannah Arendt, more and more tends to escape the control of the bourgeoisie itself and takes on an increasingly irrational character. Under the oppression and conditioning permanently exercised by the system it tends to express itself by the brutal explosion of instincts, of individual and collective “mad” slaughter, in a blind barbarity pushed to the extreme, of which Mexico and its thousands of “disappeared”, its hundreds of hidden graves filled with bodies is only one illustration.

We are publishing a leaflet distributed in Mexico by ‘internationalist communist proletarians’. We share their indignation and welcome their healthy and authentically proletarian reaction to the massacre.

The state is the murderer! Justice cannot come from the state!

The way in which the state has murdered dozens of people in Igualada is well known: the police of the “Progressive Movement” encircled and opened fire on the students from the training school of Ayotzinapa. The rest of the deed, which consisted of killing more than 40 students, burning and hiding their bodies, has been undertaken by an armed group linked to the state: the narco group supported by the police of the Iguala Commune. The indignation and rage over this atrocity is indescribable and immense but so too is the hypocrisy coming from all sides, from NGO’s to  the official and unofficial bodies of the state.

“War between state and narco-traffickers” or the state still more closely linked to the traffic in drugs?

The close collaboration between the police of the “Progressive Movement” and the armed groups of drug traffickers doesn’t mean that “organised crime” has penetrated the state. Rather it shows that the bourgeoisie, engulfed by the decomposition of capitalism and gripped by its internal rivalries, is compelled to resort to increasingly violent and criminal practices. Drug trafficking is not a separate sector of the bourgeoisie and the interests of narco-traffic have never ceased to be involved  in the state apparatus, this superior form of class organisation against the working class.

The press, another arm of the bourgeoisie, is trying to reinforce the idea that the police of Iguala were the armed force of the “Guerros Unidos” and that from now, thanks to the army and the police, order is being returned to the streets. Proletarians, remember! The state is a machine for class repression, a machine to subjugate and exploit another class.

The grief of the families is being used in the conflicts between parties and in their internal struggles

The left of capital is pursuing a determined strategy through the media with the aim of whitewashing the image of the PRD and PT of Morena of the “Movimiento Ciudadano” with a view to the next elections. While the families of the disappeared are expressing their suffering, these parties, real cogs in the assassination arsenal of the bourgeoisie, point fingers at such and such a bureaucrat, such and such a policeman while saying nothing about the state being part of and at the origin of the barbarity in which the exploited live day after day. All these political parties form part of the state, not only the PRI and the PAN but those that want to join up with them, trying to profit from social discontent while fighting it with blood, bullets and prison when the occasion is presented.

On what ground do the famous “Human Rights” exist?

Les porte-parole de l'État et leurs officines à visage "démocratique", à la solde du gouvernement ou "indépendants", nous rebattent les oreilles sur les "exécutions illégales" pour inculper tel ou tel fonctionnaire corrompu mais, surtout, pour disculper la bourgeoisie comme classe sociale ayant en charge les tribunaux, l'armée, la police et autres bandes criminelles. Pour ces défenseurs de la loi et de l'ordre bourgeois, il suffirait que les exécutions soient prononcées "dans le cadre de la loi". Ils dissimulent ainsi que la violence et la terreur sont en eux-mêmes la manière brutale dans laquelle l'État garantit le bon fonctionnement des affaires de la bourgeoisie.

The mouthpieces of the state and its “democratic” offices, whether in the pay of the government or “independent”, are assaulting our ears with their noise about the “illegal executions”, accusing this or that corrupt state functionary; but the aim of all this is to give a bill of clean health to the bourgeoisie as a social class which is behind the army, the police and other criminal bands. For these defenders of bourgeois law and order it would be enough if such executions are pronounced “within the framework of the law”. They thus conceal the fact that the violence and terror are in themselves the brutal manner by which the state guarantees the good functioning of the business of the bourgeoisie.

The only aim of the “Human Rights” comedy is the strengthening of bourgeois domination

What’s essential for the capitalist class is to maintain the “prestige” of the state. The comedy of the “commissions of enquiry” and investigations into “Human Rights” is following the same pattern as throughout the history of the criminal enterprises of the ruling class: enquiry – proceedings – appeal – sentences – strengthening of the state. Remember the massacre of the villagers of Dos Erres in Guatemala in December 1982[4], where the army killed 500 men, women and children? Here the conclusion of the bourgeois circus was a macabre sentence: a massive swindle. A “monument” was erected by the assassins to “preserve the memory”, some scraps of paper with the seal of the state were given in order to buy off, keep quiet and render complicit the parents of the deceased. A law was enacted called “National Reconciliation” with the participation of the whole range of organisms defending “Human Rights”. In short,  law ensuring the submission of the parents of the victims to class collaboration and accepting the terms imposed by the assassins. It was a joke allowing the blood to be washed off the hands of the state and the class which it serves: the bourgeoisie.

The only justice: struggle for the destruction of capitalism! Break with all class collaboration!

Being bogged down in the misery and existence of bourgeois society is the cause of a greater decomposition of capitalism which also threatens to destroy those it exploits. Caught up in this situation, the proletariat has met enormous difficulties in developing its struggles, taking them into its own hands, spreading them and breaking with the whole political apparatus of capital. The latter is not limited to the “Rights” industry but integrates all the parties, official or “independent” unions, leftist groups who keep all expressions of struggle in the framework of the bourgeoisie, and who seek to tie the proletariat to nationalism, an ideological instrument based on collaboration with the bourgeoisie.

It’s the left of capital that the working class has to unmask. Its methods lead to a dead-end, keep the struggles of the workers in isolation and thus make them all the more vulnerable to repression.

The difficulty of recognising that student proletarians are part of the working class and need to develop their own forms of struggle which don’t isolate them and separate them from the rest of the class is another obstacle to be overcome.

Social democratic pacifism and minority violence have the same origin: petty-bourgeois thought. The only way to face up to the bourgeoisie is the massive, conscious and organised struggle of the proletariat

Proletarian solidarity is not a blind following of demonstrations and slogans, but criticism without concession of everything which prevents the development of proletarian struggle – as one class on a world level – against the bourgeoisie, capital and the state. It is indispensable to recover these methods of struggle, which are foreign to minority violence and authoritarian and militarist organisation. It’s not a matter of whether demonstrations are “peaceful” or not. It is a question of their content: how they contribute, or not, to the development of an autonomous perspective of the proletariat and its generalisation. By autonomy we don’t mean the regional autonomy typical of the petty-bourgeoisie, but the autonomy of the proletariat faced with other classes. It is a question of retrieving from the history and world experience of the working class the forms of struggle and the methods which really develop solidarity with the rest of the working class, its capacity for serious reflection, its ability to struggle on a class terrain. It is consequently necessary to break with the ideology of martyrdom and blind discipline advocated by the FECSM[5]. Along with these, standing against a real struggle, are the social democratic parties and NGO’s, the tactics of isolation imposed both by the “official” unions and their “rank and file” counter-parts, and the elitist violence of groups pretending to give “an example” with their individual and minority actions to what is supposed to be a “passive and obedient mass of workers”. At the origin of all these practices is the thought of the petty-bourgeoisie and the general framework of the left of capital.

If the working class doesn’t organise itself, if from the outset all the causes of barbarity are not criticised, then all the indignation, all the rage, all the grief, all its force will be diverted towards the strengthening of the state and towards the strengthening of the bourgeoisie.

Justice won’t come from our executioners  -  the state and the multiple fractions of the bourgeoisie that comprise it.

We can’t demand justice from the state, it is necessary to destroy it!

We don’t ask for “Human Rights”, we call for self-organisation in order to satisfy our needs, and for the struggle against capitalism and its whole apparatus, on the left as well as the right!

For the exploited, the best solidarity begins by recognising ourselves as one and the same class: the proletariat.

With the few resources that we have we are making an effort to develop and make known a proletarian perspective. Read, discuss and reproduce this text!

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Izquierda Comunista no es estalinismo ni trotskismo sino Revolucion  Mundial[6]


[1] One of the drug cartels sowing terror throughout the region and already responsible for thousands of deaths in the settling of accounts between gangs which has raged with increasing intensity since 2006 and the era of the Calderon government.

[2] Partido Revolucionario Democratico, among the three big Mexican political parties this one has the reputation of being most to the left with a social-democratic inspiration.

[3] Outside the PRD, we find Morena (Movimiento Regeneracion Nacional) of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an old presidential candidate like the Left Front of Melanchon in France or Die Linke of Lafontaine in Germany, fulfilling the function of a more radical left in opposition in relation to the PRD, with the Movimiento Ciutadino (Citizen’s Movement) or the left-Stalinist PT which distinguishes itself only by it “anti-imperialist” phraseology, that’s to say a more virulent anti-Americanism.

[4] Editorial note: This is only one example among the 626 registered massacres of the civilian population perpetrated by the actions of the “anti-insurrectional” special forces (disguised as guerrillas) which resulted in more than 200,000 deaths in Guatemala between 1978 and 1983 and are still going on to this day.

[5] Federacion de Estudiantes Campesinos de Mexico (Student Federation of the rural region of Mexico, a union for students at the teacher training college since 1935)

[6] Left communism is not part of Stalinism nor Trotskyism but of the world revolution.



Barbarism and Social Decomposition