Interview to Flavio Sosa member of the Collective Direction of the APPO
“The dialogue is urgent, but without one gun to the temple”
(13 novembre 2006)
Claudio Albertani and Gianni Proiettis
How is been born the Appo?
Since the preHispanic age, one great tradition of assemblies exists in Oaxaca. In the communities, the popular assembly is the maximum authority. The Appo is born with the pretension of being the assembly of the assemblies, like between the zapotechi, the mixtechi, mixe and the other original people of the state. The Appo is born, after the brutal repression against the movement of teaching of the 14 slid june, like an exercise of partecipativa democracy between various people, interested communities, organizations to participate in the movement.
It is true that the Appo is formed from more than 350 organizations?
Yes. At first, they have joined communitarian organizations and of quarter, then trade-union mayoralties and confederations, beyond to organizations of the civil society, ong and even associations of aboriginal authorities and unions of professionals. Members are many. Between the 10 and 12 November we have realized our first conference, that one of foundation of the Appo, for give to us one organic structure and one greater solidity, with one platform of principles. To the origin, the Appo has been a popular answer to the aggression triggered against teaching in strike and the search of a common objective, that it is the fall of governor Ulises Ruiz. Later on, the idea is matured to strike to us in order to pull down the governor, but in order not only to try to transform the legal structure of our state, in order to reform the enforced laws, constructing to the bases of one new relation society-government. In this perspective we have organized two interesting encounter a lot with the participation of intellectuals, academics, religious, managing of several organizations in order to discuss the reforms about which Oaxaca has need, towards where must head a plan of new state, than type of government we want. Us already they have been two great arguments with of the conclusions, of the proposals. This is one of the railroads on which the Appo runs. The other railroad is that one of the mobilitations, than they have transformed it in a pacifist movement, but that it has had the ability to answer to aggressions like which we have subìto from part of the Policia Preventive Federal.
How has been formed its direction and in that relation is with the base?
The direction is emerged from a shareholders' meeting, that one of the 20 june. Ê a direction that we call “temporary collective”. In the conference that we have held we have given them a stabler character. They are represented is the various regions that the more active organizations in the movement, because of fact there are different levels of participation. There is who is present at moments, it is withdrawn for little and it returns to participate when there are manifestations and garrisons, to second of the engagement and the possibilities of every organization. Some are located in far regions and in those cases it is not easy to remain permanently in city. The population of the state is much dispersing geographically, in order to arrive from the coast wants 10 or 12 hours to us of travel, the same one in order to catch up some regions of the Sierra. Those organizations cannot maintain permanent representatives in city here. Many efforts have been made, but the regionalization of the consolidated Appo is not still a lot. We are working just to this, to make to arrive the Appo to all the communities.
What can say on the dialogue begun in these days in the library of the former-convent of Santo Domingo?
At the beginnig it had been believed next to a space of dialogue between the Appo and the civil society. The idea was been born in order to try to stop the aggressions when the Policia Preventive Federal has arrived and has begun to irrompere in the houses in order to arrest the popular leaders of some quarters. We have thought that it had to stop the aggression, for this is risen the idea of the dialogue, than at first it was believed in the cathedral. We have proposed to the ecclesiastical authorities of Oaxaca and they have placed to us of the conditions. In spite of we considered them excessive, we have accepted, because the peace to Oaxaca is one urgent necessity. In according to moment, but, after the battle of the university, he is changed the force ratio, the mind of people and, on a national level, the perspective on Oaxaca. With the victory on the Policia Preventive Federal, there is a political situation that puts in argument the same existence of the PFP. To that it serves a anti-riot police who does not succeed to control one putsch? This places us in one new situation in national the political fight and always thinks that the search of the peace is urgent but we are not more on the defensive. Hour we can pass to the offensive and we have demonstrated it with the great manifestation of past Sunday.
That waited for from the dialogue that as soon as is begun?
We think that it is an important space, that it will help to find a way towards the peace and the reconciliation. But we do not abandon the land of the popular mobilitation, on which we continue to press with force. We have also advanced one proposed of dialogue directed with the president Fox but we demand that our prisoners are placed in freedom and that the PFP is gone some. The solution of the conflict is bound to the destitution of Ulises Ruiz and the agreements that go taken in order to transform Oaxaca.
It has sense to converse with a president to the last days of its mandate?
For we the dialogue is urgent, but in conditions of freedom and without one gun to the temple. Until the last day of the mandate there is the possibility to resolve the problem. Our irrenounceable requirement is that the governor goes itself some. In that moment, the tension in Oaxaca would be lowered and the conditions would be given in order to converse in a less conflittivo atmosphere.
You do not believe that if the Pri removes Ulises Ruiz it can put an other personage of the same type?
It is not possible, the oaxaqueños they would not allow it and the government knows it. The day in which will fall Ulises Ruiz to Oaxaca it will make one great festivity. Much people who have up to now not manifested themselves to our favor will come down in road saying: ” We have won! I was with you.” It is a phenomenon that we have already observed in occasion of the manifestations. People do not participate at the beginnig but when she looks at herself in that great mirror that is “mega-marchas” she ends in order to join.
Has been one precise choice that one not to use crews?
Sure. We have given indication to people not to use them. But not rinunciamo neanche to the right to self-defense. If they assault to us, we answer with what we have to hand capacity.
Which are currently the relationships between the Appo and section 22 of the mayoralty of teaching, after that this last one has signed an agreement with the government?
We respect that agreement. That us like it or not, we have the obligation to respect it and we will make it. We know that teaching is a lot engages to you in the movement and not tradiranno it. Among other things, the lessons are resumed in some regions but not in all.
How you would want that the table was integrated of negotiates to you?
As a space to which organizations, intellectuals, entrepreneurs participate and all those interested to find solutions to the problems of Oaxaca. We do not want a dialogue bilateral, but multilateral. We expect to say what we think and that between all it is arrived to a conclusion on which is the way for which to Oaxaca there is peace, of it goes the police and Ulises Ruiz. For less, this is our objective. What we expect from the dialogue are good sense, proposals and one deep reflection. Nobody with a minimum of discernment can say that to Oaxaca not there is need of reforms, of a various regimen that stops to manufacture poor. We will see if we will succeed to understand to us.
It has been a moment in which the Appo species of political control of the city has had one. It can tell something of that experience?
Some are succeed in to you to call it “la comune de Oaxaca”. To the fine August, beginnings september was succeeded in to think next to the exercise of one risen of popular government. It was spoken quite about the emission of government bands, because the movement was wherever and its force was felt. But we considered that it was a process that, once triggered, would have been difficult to stop. In other words, if we had begun to assume the government in several spheres of the public life, people would then not have been able of porsi limit. We have thought that the process had to be more solid. A lot excluded of the society was a field that it was carrying ahead a too much radical speech, that it would have ended in order to exclude other fields in its turn and we do not share this interest. We are for one resumption of the institutional life from a legal point of view, transforming the laws.
We want to make a movement reformer that it turns out revolutionary thanks to the depth of the reforms. And to throw the bases of one new relation society-government and new bases of development of the society, dandogli a legal foundation, but we think that this in immediate for the exercise of a popular government and the democratic. The way is that one to reform the legal life and, for this way, to conquer the power through the mobilitation and the direct and partecipativa democracy. We spoke, as an example, of public safety and the Department of Sanitation, that they were emergent issues. It was succeeded in to propose to reopen the government palace but, after a deep argument, concluded that it was not the better moment. We are for the fall of the governor and the reforms and, in the mid term, the conquest of the popular power and democratic.
Thoughts to transform to you in one risen of political party?
We do not know in that direction will go the argument, draft to listen to itself what it says the base. This movement is born like an answer to a brutal aggression but, endured after, it begins to questionare all.
Questiona the mass media and of ago its some. Questiona the traditional shapes to make politics and expects of proporne of the new. Questiona you leave yourself political and it does not allow to nobody of they to direct it. Questiona the managing groups and even generates one collective direction. Questiona badly a government and proposes to pull down it. To that point it begins to conform as a antisistemico movement and alarms the political class. How it is possible that a public square fight puts in issue practically all the status quo, the same way to make politics?
It is true that there are sends you of capture for the entire direction of the Appo?
It is true, seems that they are more than 300 sends you of capture. Lately, we have known that a new ready search warrant for Universidad Radio exists, to the search of crews and in order to arrest some managing. We limit ourselves not to go to the radio, in order not to supply pretests. The repression has been permanent, has talked nonsense against the main houses of the managing ones of the Appo, has made irruptions in several addresses. He is terrible, seems one black novel. Ulises Ruiz has made of the terror practical politics. It acts is through the police who using sicari. USA also of the judges in order to make to imprison activists with false imputations. Radio is one, Ciudadana Radio, than we call Mapache Radio, that he exhorts to perseguitare the leaders of the Appo, we signal, we say our addresses to us. There are quite two pages in Internet that publish calunnie against of we. The more serious thing is that they try of vincolarci with the guerrilla or the drug traffics. They want relazionarci with criminal activities, crews of heavy caliber. They even use specialist in dirty propaganda. But this is a People's Movement, is like the fights of road in any part of the world.
How thoughts of articulating your fight with the others two great movements that exist in Mexico, that zapatista and what it supports Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador?
Here to Oaxaca Amlo it has stravinto. It is sad to admit it, but this does not re-enter between our priorities. Our hard fight already from six months and people want that Oaxaca lathes to normality. Sure, the engagement is also for the transformation democratic of the country and will see like rendering it effective, but our priority is to resolve the situation of Oaxaca. Ulises Ruiz has torn the social woven one strongly. People have lost workplaces, teaching are not return to you to school, the communities have serious problems, the field of the health are firm. They are damages also thirds party to you, we must recognize it. Many entrances have come less for via of the tourism absence. We live in a emergency situation, we must resolve the local situation. This but does not want to say that we lose interest ourselves in problematic the national one.
One of the critics who make you is that you would please yourselves of the fall of the governor, when also Felipe Calderón is a usurpatore, product of one swindle.
It is true, but it is not our main responsibility, is a fight that regards the national movement. It is not task ours. People are not come down in road because the Appo is the vanguard of the national movement, l `have made in order to resolve the local conflict. We could impulsarlo but it would be a irresponsabilità for our part to want to arrive to one popular war of long duration. She is not in the tradition of our people.
Also the other movements are pacific.
We do not deny a tie, we respect them. Indeed, we consider necessary relazionarci with the zapatista Otra campaña and the Convención Nacional Democrática di Lopez Obrador. Several organizations of the Appo participate to you, but what more it wants people are that to Oaxaca lathes normality. The majority of people has interrupted `its daily existence. The festivity of the dead men is not one here what whichever to Oaxaca, is an ancient festivity and we have abandoned it in order to follow what it was happening. People, instead celebrating 2 November, have gone to fight in the roads, have left all in order to participate to the battle of the university. We have neglected our dead men and this hung to us. They are six months that hard this history and is a lot wearing away. People are not come down in road in order to make the war. She has believed of having the possibility to hunt a government and one has moved in order to demand it. But she did not want the war. They are those of the Pri, the group to the power, that war is transforming this fight in one. Practically we are under an occupation army, that we have one pacifist vocation. That one of Oaxaca is people of festivities. The communities peasants live for the festivities. People buy the new dressed ones for the day of the festivity, the new shoes. The best plates are prepared for the day of the festivity. All the year for having better conditions is lived the day of the festivity. It is believed with this logic, we have one circular conception of the time. The fields are worked in order to collect the product at the end of the year, to save some money in order to pay one beautiful festivity and then to recommence the cycle. People are not convinced of the necessity of one fight to mean or long term for the democratization of the country. It is sure that we will contribute, that we will make our part, but this will decide it people. What to more it imports us is to obtain the democracy to Oaxaca and for this the fall of Ulises is not sufficient Ruiz. It will want an other process to us, but already within normality, without manifestations neither garrisons, without violence, without to expose other screw.
It is said that yours it is a movement of base, not of leader.
It is true. Traditional vision is one that one to always try of the leaders. There are here to Oaxaca of the written ones walls them that they say: “who creates a leader, creates a tyrant. Neither I neither the other companions of the collective direction decide from make themselves. In my case, I have simply the responsibility to speak with the press. In the assemblies, my opinions more are not listened to than those than others. If, as an example, I proposed the companions to dismantle the barricades, they would send the devil. It is important to understand that this is a movement of all the society, not of leader and not even of groups.
Why you have chosen a shape of ancient and symbolic fight therefore like the barricades?
They are fate in spontaneous way like a protection against the “convoys of the dead women”, the cars of the sicari of the governor that talked nonsense to us and already have made 15 victims.
[Integral - translation from the italian language by Lora (edoneo.org)]