The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO)
- Marco Estrada SaavedraMarco Estrada SaavedraCentro de Estudios Sociológicos, El Colegio de México
The summer and fall of 2006 saw a violent, protracted conflict in Oaxaca, Mexico between the state government and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, APPO). What began as a contentious labor negotiation between the local government and the teachers’ union soon developed into a popular protest and mobilization throughout the state, especially in the Valles Centrales region, home to the state capital. The governor’s repressive actions against critics and opponents of his administration led the APPO members to a consensus demanding his removal. The result was a government in paralysis, with none of the three constitutional branches able to exercise their normal authority or carry out their activities. The APPO achieved territorial control by the following means: with the erection of hundreds of barricades throughout the capital to protect it from sneak attacks by irregular units of the state police; with its occupation, operation, and diffusion of public and private media outlets; with a permanent mobilization of its members; and with the construction of a popular government, the Oaxaca Commune, to manage public affairs and services. This experience of popular autonomy involved the dismantling of the local system of domination and also of the authoritarian, clientelist, patrimonialist, and patriarchal relationships within the organizations of the APPO itself. It ended in violent repression.