Category Archives: Schools

Mexican government makes conciliatory moves

The state of Oaxaca has been in a state of turmoil as a result of neoliberal educational “reforms” imposed by the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Members of the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación [CTNE] teachers walked off their jobs and have been staging roadblocks in opposition to the federal measures, and as many as 15 teachers and their supporters have been killed in acts of brutal repression.

Now the central government is finally making some conciliatory feints targeting victims of police violence.

From teleSUR English:

A Mexican government delegation was met by dozens of residents in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca on Thursday with empty bullet cartridges and tear gas canisters used by riot police during the massacre of striking teachers and their supporters on June 19.

The delegation was led by Deputy Interior Minister Roberto Campa, who was sent by President Enrique Peña Nieto to hold talk with villagers and striking teachers from the CNTE dissident union in order to negotiate reparations for the victims and their families.

The meeting, held at an elementary school, was also attended by officials from the Ministry of Social Development and the attorney general’s office, who were both forced out of the meeting by CNTE representatives due to allegations of involvement in the violent crackdown.

Eleven people died and hundreds of people were wounded in clashes between striking teachers and security forces in Oaxaca last month. Authorities initially accused the protesters of initiating the violence but backtracked when eyewitnesses at the scene accused police of triggering the melee.

The CNTE have demanded that a special prosecutor and international authorities investigate the violence to identify both the “intellectual and material authors” behind the “extrajudicial killings.”

More from Fox News Latino:

Mexico’s government will hold roundtable discussions with the families of people killed in a deadly June 19 confrontation with police during a teachers’ protest, Undersecretary for Human Rights Roberto Campa said after meeting with community leaders in Nochixtlan, the town in the southern state of Oaxaca where the clashes occurred.

A so-called Legal Roundtable “will work closely with the investigation to ensure that the inquiry is transparent, effective and can lead to an exact determination of what happened” in Nochixtlan, Campa said in a statement released by the Government Secretariat.

A second roundtable will address the “psychological needs of people, of the victims” and create “a more comprehensive program to care, above all, for the children.”

In response to community requests, “a social welfare package” will be set up that will include “improvements to health clinics, hospitals and roads, as well as social programs.”

Another striking Oaxaca teacher killed in Mexico

The ongoing strike [previously] in the state of Oaxaca against neoliberal educational “reforms” mandated by the government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has claimed yet another victim.

From teleSUR English:

Another teacher in Oaxaca died Tuesday from injuries sustained last month after he was hit in the head when police attacked protesters in Nochixtlan.

Jose Caballero Julian taught Indigenous education and was part of a group of teachers who began a national strike against the new education reform proposed by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto.

The police evicted the teachers that were striking outside the Public Education Institute of Oaxaca when Caballero was hit in the head and later hospitalized.

About 800 policemen cleared the roads blocked by more than 500 teachers in the southern state of Oaxaca. The clash lasted hours, and people were bombarded with tear gas and other crowd control munitions.

Massive Mexico City protest supports teachers

The battle over neoliberal educational “reforms” mandated by the regime of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has caused a walkout by teachers and massive unrest in the state of Oxaca, where as many as a dozen protesters were slain 19 June.

Now thousands have taken to the streets of the nation’s capital in support of the strikers.

We begin with raw video footage from RT’s Ruptly TV:

Mexico: 10,000s march in Mexico City in solidarity with Oaxaca teachers

And the details from United Press International:

Tens of thousands of people in Mexico City protested on Sunday over recent violent clashes between police and a teachers union in the Oaxaca state that killed at least 10 people.

The protest on Sunday was called by Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City, one week after the clashes between the National Coordinator of Education Workers union and Mexican state police.

Authorities said more than 4,000 police officers were deployed to central Mexico City as the march occurred Sunday.

The teachers union, social organizations and local residents held protests and disrupted traffic on a major highway connecting Oaxaca to Mexico City for about a week before violence erupted last Sunday when riot police attempted to disperse the crowds. Authorities said 10 people died, but some witnesses said up to 12 people died. Dozens of civilians and police were also injured.

Peña Nieto doubles down on Mexican ed ‘reforms’

Resistance to the neoliberal educational agenda of the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto has sent thousands of Mexican teachers and their supporters into the streets of Oaxaca cities and towns.

Violent repression by police has led to the deaths of at least nine protestors and injuries to scores more, leading physicians to join in with a strike of their own.

But all the activism has been met with a stone wall of resistance from the capital.

The latest development from teleSUR English:

Mexico “will continue to deepen” the controversial education reform that has resulted in violent repression of teacher protests, Education Minister Aurelio Nuño said on Thursday.

Nuño called the law, which was implemented by President Enrique Peña Nieto, a “central and essential project” that Mexico needs to be successful in the twenty-first century.

The minister gave these statements during a meeting with the head of the government-recognized teachers union, the SNTE.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osoio Chong met with leaders from the radical CNTE teachers union, who have been leading protests against the reform. No agreements resulted from talks, which followed the massacre of 12 people in the southern state of Oaxaca during CNTE-led protests against the reform.

Teachers have been protesting since 2013, when Peña Nieto presented the education reform as part of a set of 11 radical neoliberal reforms in key areas such as finance, health and energy sector.

Meanwhile, strike supporters have joined the protest in New York City.

From RT America:

Protesters gather outside NYC Mexican Consulate in solidarity with 9 killed in Oaxaca

Program notes:

For a second day, demonstrators gathered outside the New York City Mexican Consulate, outraged over the shooting of teachers in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca in southern Mexico. State and federal police are accused of opening fire Sunday on protesters who were expressing their dissent over government reforms to privatize education. Many of the people were teachers in their teens and early twenties. In the carnage nine people died; 100 were injured, including 45 who remain hospitalized; 21 were arrested, and 23 are disappeared. Video and reporting by @RebMyles.

Panoptic corporate imperialism, Googled and Liked

From Dutch public television’s VPRO Backlight comes a remarkable documentary posing a fascinating question: Is the absence of digital connectivity becoming the newest luxury good, a costly product for consumption by the world’s elite?

Consider the case of Silicon Valley, where elites send their children to low-tech Montessori and Waldorf schools where they are disconnected from the web and the incessant call to the iPhone is precluded.

Consider even the case of Mark Zuckerberg, a billionaire thanks to the incessant pull of the digital that has fueled the rice of his Facebook empire.

From BBC News:

A photograph of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg shows tape has been used to cover his MacBook Pro’s webcam and mic.

Facebook has not responded to requests for comment about the picture, shared to celebrate Instagram reaching its 500 million monthly user milestone.

FBI director James Comey has previously said he also covers his laptop’s webcam to prevent hackers spying on him.

And digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said it regularly sold its webcam “stickers”.

Documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden allege US and UK spy agencies intercepted webcam images from millions of Yahoo users around the world between 2008 and 2010.

And a section of the image in question with the tape clearly visible as a square covering the round camera aperture:


And it’s not just digital cognoscenti like Zuckerberg who display obvious concerns about the intrusion of the digital into daily life.

One of those interviewed by VPRO is Birgitta Jónsdóttir [previously], the founder of Iceland’s Pirate Party, now leading in the polls, and the improbable yet distinctly possible pick as the country’s prime minister.

An early adapter, Jónsdóttir played a role in one of Wikileak’s most explosive releases, video of the American helicopter machine-gunning of two Reuters journalists in Iraq in 2010. The video, likely leaked by Chelsea Manning, embarrassed the U.S. government and made Jónsdóttir the target of efforts by U.S. intelligence agencies and federal prosecutors.

Our digital connectivity, she notes, is all about turning us into commodities by exploiting our deepest secrets and relationships as tools for our own exploitation.

And like Zuckberg, Jónsdóttir keeps her laptop lens covered. And she warns that a’ those “smart” connected devices in your home, especially those responding to voice commands, make every aspect of private lived vulnerable to incessant snooping, catching every cry of ecstasy and despair, and with no legislation anywhere restricting corporate use of your innermost desires to seduce your wealth away.

Evgeny Morozov, a scholar and prolific writer who focuses in the social and political implications of the digital world, notes that the drive for global digital connectivity is driven by a fusion of the imperial interests of American corporations and the Washington establishment, with the implicit demand that those corporations are free from legal liability for their actions.

Especially chilling is a brief excerpt from a speech in India by Mark Zuckerberg in furtherance of his ambition to unite that nation in a digital Webb entirely controlled by his company, and effort he never accomplished until popular opposition forced a pullback.

Especially fascinating is way folks of our own ancestry are adapting to the wireless world. Our last name is Pennsylvania Dutch, folks of the Amish and Mennonite persuasion. The documentary reveals that even the Old Order Amish, the folks who still live in gaslit houses and travel by horse and buggy, now have cell phones and computers [though the phones have no internet capability and online computer access is tightly restricted, and the built-to-order hardware comes with no video capability.

There’s much more. . .

From VPRO Backlight:

Offline is the new luxury [VPRO backlight]

Program notes:

To be online all the time and everywhere. It sounds great, but it has its drawbacks. As digital networks are closing in, there are fewer places to be really on your own. Being offline is becoming a luxury. Where can you be offline?

We are connected to the internet even in our bedrooms. It’s the ambition of companies like Google and Facebook to connect the entire world, so that we can be online all the time and everywhere. This month, Google will send balloons up into the skies over Sri Lanka to provide the island state with free Wi-Fi. On the ground, more and more devices communicate through the so-called Internet-of-Things. We are going to be ‘glass citizens’ in a transparent house, connected for life to a wireless intravenous drip and traced anywhere via our smartphones. What does it mean, this shift to 100 percent connectibility of the entire planet?

Mexico police kill teachers protesting reforms

The ongoing violence in Oaxaca, where teachers are imposing a set of neoliberal education “reforms” imposed by the national government, has erupted in deadly violence.

From teleSUR English, a report on a violent confrontation Sunday:

Mexican police attacked teachers striking against neoliberal education reforms in the southern state of Oaxaca, killing at least eight people and leaving dozens more injured.

Police were attempting to evict teachers from a road blockade on the Oaxaca-Puebla highway in the municipality of Nochixtlan when gunfire erupted, leading to violent clashes that lasted approximately four hours. teleSUR Mexico correspondent Aissa Garcia reported that as many as 12 people may have been killed by the state violence.

Teachers from the dissident CNTE union, also known as Section 22, had set up the blockade as part of protests over an education reform implemented by President Enrique Peña Nieto and the arrest of several of the unions’ leaders over the past week.

More from El País:

Local residents complained on social media that police officers were firing live ammunition at the protesters. The Oaxaca police department said that its officers “were wounded by firearms” and the National Security Commission (CNS) stated in a release that federal police were unarmed.

“We are aware that the gunshots originated from individuals not connected to the roadblocks, who began shooting at the population and the federal police in order to create a confrontation,” said the government.

Photographs of the event published by international agencies show several federal police officers holding weapons and pointing rifles from a trench. In a second release, the CNS said that those photographs are “phony.”

But later, at an evening press conference with Governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo, Federal Police Chief Enrique Galindo admitted that a group of officers did use weapons.

Journalist covering protests assassinated

From teleSUR English, a report on another lethal attack:

A journalist in Oaxaca was shot dead Sunday afternoon after covering the teacher’s blockade of a main highway.

Eligio Ramos Zarate, reporter at El Sur that went by the pseudonym Guillermo Parie, was shot in the neck by two motorcyclists who are still unidentified as he was photographing the holdup of a convenient store nearby.

Raul Cano Lopez, brother of the director of Hechos, another newspaper in Juchitan, Oaxaca, was also killed in gunfire. His brother said that he was just sitting at the bus stop. One unidentified person was injured.

The state agency for investigations said it has not confirmed any motive, but that Ramos Zarate had connections to someone who “supposedly committed illegal acts,” reported El Proceso.

Two Oaxaca state ministers resign in protest    

And from teleSUR English once again, one response to the lethal state violence:

Two local ministers have presented their resignation to Oaxaca Governor Gabino Cue following the violent repression against protesting teachers, which left at least 12 dead people and dozens of injured.

The Minister of Indigenous Affairs in Oaxaca, Adelfo Regino Montes, resigned after expressing disappointment for having worked for a government that he described as “repressive” and called for dialogue to solve the conflict with teachers from the CNTE union.

On Tuesday, Secretary of Labor Daniel Gutierrez became the second top official to quit his post, saying he was quitting in protest against the “authoritarian actions that repress and kill Oaxacan people who defend their rights and the government’s negligence to any possibility of dialogue.”

Doctors join in the strike

Finally, another response, also from teleSUR English:

As protests led by the militant CNTE teachers’ union in Mexico continue, the country’s doctors are set to join in the job action, calling for a national strike on June 22 to protest a neoliberal reform to the health system imposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The group #YoSoyMedico17, which is comprised of doctors, pediatricians, surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses, has been joined by more than 200,000 physicians from 32 states in opposing the so-called Universal Health System reform by Peña Nieto. The medical professionals say the measure is a “disguised way of privatizing health in Mexico,” and said doctors were not consulted on the reform, according to Animal Politico.

The doctors’ protest will join the ongoing national general strike by teachers.

Algeria blocks social media in school test scandal

Why are we not surprised?

From BBC News:

Algeria has temporarily blocked access to social media across the country in an attempt to fight cheating in secondary school exams.

Almost half of students are being forced to retake the baccalaureat exam, starting on Sunday, after the initial session was marred by online leaking.

Many students were able to access questions on Facebook and other social media ahead of the exam in early June.

Algeria has struggled with baccalaureate leaks in recent years.

And in other Facebook news

UPDATE, and also from BBC News:

“The fastest-growing industry in America is marijuana, period,” said Jake Bhattacharya, who recently quit his information technology job to open a cannabis testing lab in Upland.

With medical marijuana legal in 25 states and recreational use allowed in four, pot outsold Girl Scout Cookies in 2015, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily, a 5-year-old news website covering the industry.

Pot retail sales are expected to hit $4 billion this year, and Marijuana Business Daily is projecting that number could nearly triple by 2020.

The actual size of the industry may already be much larger, too, since California hasn’t tracked its massive medical marijuana market in the 20 years since it’s been legal. And it could skyrocket if voters here and a handful of other states approve recreational use Nov. 8.