When on May 25, 2006 Nancy Davies published a reporterâ€™s notebook entry on The Narcosphere titled â€œThe Desperate Government in Oaxacaâ€ few observersâ€“ other than Davies â€“ saw the regime of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz as desperate.
Ruiz, since coming to power in 2004, had run roughshod over social movements, imprisoned political opponents (the subject of two Narco News video newsreels last February, â€œPrisoners of â€˜Democracyâ€™â€ and â€œMarcos Goes to Jailâ€), violently attacked opposition journalists, and the movements themselves were historically divided. The teachersâ€™ union known as Section 22 went on strike as it had every May 22 for the past quarter-century, but few expected that the 2006 strike would amount to anything more than modest gains.
Davies began what would become more than seven months of nonstop reports with an opening dispatch: â€œOaxaca is a perfect example of a place where those in power see the collapse of order â€“ their order. The violence escalates more in line with their fear than with ours. When they start beating up photographers and shoving around elderly women, they must be frantic.â€
More than seven months later, Oaxaca is world-renowned for the rebellion through which people took back control of the state capitol and other municipalities for more than four months, chased out the repressive state and city police corps and political bosses, seized control of the radio and television airwaves, and constructed an alternative government from below. It was on June 14, when thousands of striking teachers . . .
NarcoNews is offering advance orders of the book for $20 contributions to its Fund for Authentic Journalism. It’s also a way to gauge the size of print run this small publisher should start with.
Nancy and her partner George Salzman are two Americans living in Oaxaca since 1999. George writes that they first went there to “‘give it a try’ for six months,” and now,
I now think of myself as a OaxaqueÃ±o — yes, still a gringo — but at heart OaxaqueÃ±o.
He and Nancy have been filing reports from Oaxaca for NarcoNews, Counterpunch, and George’s own website.