Teachers had their hair shorn today. Teachers had their hair cut today.

Teachers punished for not heeding strike call

Women have their hair shorn during Chiapas protests

The teachers’ union and sympathetic organizations in Chiapas today punished half a dozen teachers for refusing to join in the current strike, shearing the hair of two women and forcing all six to march barefoot through the streets of the capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

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The six were reported to have been documenting the names of teachers who had not turned up for classes in the municipality of Comitán de Domínguez. Members of the CNTE local Section 7 and other groups seized their paperwork and cut their hair before forcing them to wear signs proclaiming themselves as “traitors to the motherland,” among other messages.

Teachers have been protesting in Chiapas for two weeks now following the CNTE’s call for a general strike. But according to federal education authorities, most schools — including those in Chiapas — are operating normally.

The union claims that is not the case in Chiapas, and that 98% of teachers have joined the strike. Some reports indicate that teachers are not working for fear of reprisals by the union.

Section 7 general secretary Manuel Mendoza said shearing of the teachers’ hair should serve as a warning to others who are not opposed to education reform, the principal reason for the strike and the union protests.

He claimed it was parents who support the union’s stand who were behind the hair-cutting. But he refused to condemn the action. “I do not condemn it,” he said repeatedly in an interview with Denise Maerker of Grupo Fórmula.

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“What is happening is that the violence is not coming from us, it’s coming from the state.”

Yesterday, dissident teachers seized at least eight gas stations in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and at several offered free fuel to passing motorists.

Source: Milenio (sp), Sin Embargo (sp)

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  • James Smith

    and the police stand off and do nothing.

  • Strong, responsible unions are essential to industrial fair play. Without them the labor bargain is wholly one-sided. The parties to the labor contract must be nearly equal in strength if justice is to be worked out, and this means that the workers must be organized and that their organizations must be recognized by employers as a condition precedent to industrial peace.—Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

    • Doug Harley

      The unions have lost their usefulness years ago. They only protect assholes. All the government is asking is that any teacher must be qualified to teach. That’s all. Period.

    • SraLena

      Obviously, Justice Brandeis and you aren’t aware of the utterly corrupt and irresponsible nature of the education union in Mexico, whose concern is only keeping the graft coming in and unqualifed people with no interest in actually educating in their jobs. What goes on in Oaxaca and Chiapas is the greatest disservice to students imagineable.

    • kallen

      Unions are an anachronism.

      • My guess is that you don’t know the history of why your workplace has benefits. If Unions are “anachronisms,” then please give up your weekend (the workday used to be 6 days a week), medical benefits, retirement benefits, higher wages, and safe work conditions. If you insult unions without giving those things up first, then you are either unaware or ungrateful … or possible both. Chances are you’re a boss or a supervisor, one of those vultures that thrive on making workers’ lives miserable to increase profits.

        • Güerito

          Keith, you’re right on track. So many of these ex-pats who were liberal and pro-union while in the US come down here to Mexico and start talking like Ayn Rand.

        • kallen

          Yeah, unions ushered in some positive changes and indeed they were needed at a certain point in our history just like monopolies in certain industries were acceptable at a certain point in our history (ex Ma Bell) but its not proof that they are needed now. Unions kill jobs and kill industries in a global economy.

          You’re just one of these weak-kneed types who want everyone to pay the price of your social agenda. Luckily, people like you don’t own companies – people like me do.

          • Thank you Kallen for showing the dismissive attitude of a boss. This is why workers strike.

          • kallen

            Strike enough and the jobs go elsewhere. Mexico has already lost many maquiladoras to China. The only reason it still has some is its proximity to the US.

            If you big man of the people were in charge they wouldn’t have any jobs.

        • Garry Montgomery

          In Mexico I believe the majority of workers do 10 – 12 hour shifts, six days a week with the exception being teachers. Is the teachers’ union being unreasonable in its demands when compared with the conditions of other workers? Shouldn’t the union make sure its members are qualified to be teachers?

          • Actually, teachers should be supporting other unionized workplace to help other workplaces lower their working hours to 6-8 per day with an increase in daily wages (it is consumers who drive growth; low paid workers do not stimulate growth).

            As to the qualifications of teachers, it is the job of the schools to hire qualified teachers. So the schools hired the current teachers. It is the job of the union to make sure those teachers are given the support they need to succeed. The union backs the worker not the boss.

    • “Responsible” is the key word.

      • Yes, labor unions are democratic institutions “responsible” to the workers who elected them. They are “responsible” for using their power to garner a quality contract for their members. They are responsible to use the means necessary to stop management sympathizers (scabs and scoundrels) from undermining the efforts of that democratic majority.

        • mikegre

          But what about the people not in labor unions?

          • They should organize a union. They would be able to improve their working conditions and improve their compensation and job security by forming a strong unionized workplace. The reason I know this is that the bourgeois still fear unions. They’re anti-union because unions work for the workers.

          • mikegre

            But if every worker was in a union, the unions would, in effect, be the owners of the means of production. And we saw how that turned out.

            BTW, your use of the terms “bourgeois”, scabs” “boss…vultures” shows me you are an unreconstructed Marxist. How quaint in this day and age!

          • We actually never saw how that turned out. What was displayed on display in the former USSR was State domination. That is socialism “from above,” meaning authoritarian. Socialism “from below,” means with the full democratic participation of all workers arriving at a consensus.

          • mikegre

            Oh, I see. Thank you Keith. I thought that since communism has been around for 100 years or so, sooner or later they would have gotten it right. Silly me!

    • mikegre

      So you’re claiming the hair cutters are “strong and responsible”?

      • If it helps the union protect the rights of the workers, then yes. Is it nice? No, but neither are the bourgeois who fail to provide a safe workplace. It’s not nice to “cut” wages, “cut” safety, “cut” security. At least hair grows back naturally. The “cuts” that the owning class make to the working class never grow back naturally. We, the workers, will lose workplace safety, lose weekend, lose paid time off, lose wages if we play nice.

        • Garry Montgomery

          come on Keith . . . fascism IS fascism. So, you’re admitting that unions are fascist? Beatings next? and the forced feeding of ricino?

          • Thank you for admitting the fascist tendencies of management. Labor historically have dealt with a long train of abuses before responding. The bosses have hired security to act as their goon squads. The Pinkertons got their start this way. Bosses have historically started the abuses and were better funded and often did so with the support of the government. Only by their numbers and their vote and their tenacity have labor been able to overcome the odds. When fighting fascist bosses, sometimes the response seems excessive when isolated outside of the big picture. The Mexican News Daily show their pro-boss bias by isolating this one event outside the broader context.

          • Garry Montgomery

            The only person bashing “management” is you, Keith. The teachers’ untion in Mexico is fascist. Your rants seem to indicate that you’re more socialistic/communistic than just a union supporter. Can I give you some free stuff?

  • Basil

    Vigilantism is always the majority victimizing the minority.

  • Michael C

    In my humble opinion, the shearing action was barbaric and humiliating! ¨Bullying¨ at whatever age, is BULLYING! Some parts of Mexico just have not advanced in human behavior!

    • Bosses bully all the time too, but because they have power and money they get away with it. What I see in this thread are whining privileged people who profit off the underpaid work of the laboring class. They whine because their daily “bullying”is being challenged by the workers.

      • kallen

        My Dad was in the steel workers union near Pittsburgh when I was growing up. He hated it. Its his opinion that the unions drove the steel industry into the ground. After the mills closed all the old union guys had to work for minimum wage: their lives were never the same: its called biting the hand that feeds you.

        • The Unions did not relocate the factories overseas. That was the bosses with the support of the investors who made those decisions. They frequently made that decision with the support of tax breaks for doing so. It was the US government and the big corporations that destroyed the steel industry of the US, not the workers.

          • kallen

            You’re delusional. I grew up in a steel town and my Dad worked in the mills for 30+ years. I saw what was going on. The unions were always on strike and they played hard-ball. I’m sure some did locate overseas but all the ones I knew of went belly up. Guys like you like to blame everyone but themselves.

  • TioDon

    “Traitors to the Motherland”. Hmmmm…..where have I heard that phrase before?? That’s right….from the Nazis! You should be so proud…and the hair cutting is a really nice touch. What, no numbers tattooed on their arms?

    • PintorEnMexico

      I just won a beer you christo fascist. You used Nazi first. Your understanding of history once again doesn’t extend beyond the bible. Nazis referred to their Fatherland, though I guess in your case you are to be forgiven for confusing your mother and father, what with all the facial hair and all.

      • TioDon

        “christo fascist” ???? “..doesn’t extend beyond the bible”????? I think you’ve been smelling the paint too much, you’re babbling. Take a break, inhale some fresh air, then, for a good laugh, read the foolishness that you wrote….come on, deep breaths….

        • PintorEnMexico

          But you conveniently ignore “Nazis referred to their Fatherland…” Proof again that home schooling from the bible by knuckle draggers is not an education.

  • kallen

    Not only is it bizarre but its barbarity is a type one might expect from another much earlier time. More proof that unions are a drag on societal progress. And where’s the police in all this? More evidence of a failed state that is getting worse by the day.

    • michael

      Hating union is not “more proof.” I doubt you have ever been a member of a union and never a representative in a union, nut you hate them. let me remind you that ALL modern day worker benefits came from unions. Just to name but a few===you enjoy over time pay, sick leave, paid vacations, work safety rules, etc. People also died in support of the previous benefits workers now receive and take for grant it.. This is also NOT a sign of a failed state, certainly not Mexico.if that is what you mean.

      • kallen

        My Dad was in the steel workers union near Pittsburgh when I was growing up. He hated it. Its his opinion that the unions drove the steel industry into the ground. After the mills closed all the old union guys had to work for minimum wage: their lives were never the same: its called biting the hand that feeds you. Unions had their time and in that time they were useful but they’re an anachronism now. Things change in this world – unions just kill jobs and industries now-a-days. The teachers unions are the worst.

        Google “failed state Mexico”. I’m not the only one. I love the people (most of the them anyway) of Mexico but the government can’t do anything right.

        • Güerito

          Mexico is a failed state, but not because some teachers got some unwanted haircuts.

          • PintorEnMexico

            I’m going to take exception with the language here my fair skinned friend. What is the opposite of a failed state? I guess it would have to be a non-failed state. Therein lies the problem. The terms are binary and do not allow for any gradations. By painting Mexico with the term “failed” you lump it in with the likes of Somalia, Syria, Eritrea, Liberia, (well you can throw a bunch of other African states there), North Korea, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, and Afghanistan.

            Heck one survey even had Canada as less-failed than the US. So I guess the US is a failed state. 🙂 Mexico might be failing (falling from a previous state of less-failed) or succeeding (rising from a state of more-failed).

            Would so many private corporations, some the largest in their industries with vast resources to conduct economic and political research, invest so much in a state the likes of Congo? No they wouldn’t.

            Is Mexico dysfunctional, no doubt. Ask any of James Smith’s neighbors, they’ll certainly say whatever he wants them to say. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself) So the language needs to come up with some nuance that doesn’t invite a polemic right off the bat. I would guess that the citizens of the states I mentioned above would kill to live in a country so failed as Mexico.

          • Güerito

            kallen used the term “failed state,” and I was just giving a quick response. My point is that Mexico has a lot of serious problems, but this story is not an example of one of them.

          • PintorEnMexico

            I agree, I just thought you would be easier to reason with… 🙂

  • Hailey Mannering

    The teachers either want to teach or they don´t. Those who don´t should resign and let some one serious teach young Mexicans. I also wonder where the police were, during the illegal acts.

    • Jeannie Kezlan

      seems to me that all of these acts of road blocks etc are not illegal in Mexico…….the hair cutting etc I wold think so yes

  • Beau

    Shame on the 6 teachers for allowing such public humiliation when they are most likely the only ones that passed the teacher’s exam.

    • I very much doubt they “allowed it.”

      • Garry Montgomery

        some regions of Mexico are under fascist control . . .

        • Güerito

          The fascist PRI party has been ruling all of Mexico for the last 3 years, and it ruled the last 70 years of the 20th Century.

          • PintorEnMexico

            Too right Güerito!

  • michael

    As a pass president of a labor union I am ashamed for those members that were shamed. That is not what a union stands for. The unions for better and worst will now have to do something…even in Mexico. Zealotry for ANY cause is self defeating. Killing soldiers who won;t fight is the sure sign of a desperate army. Expect big and bad things to come from the government, as I said, ues even the Mexican government.

  • Bob in exile

    CMTE… the laziest union of them all. Just greedy.

  • mikegre

    Aztecs!

  • Greg Thompson

    What bunch of morons, cartels have more rights than teachers do, Mexico will always be a third world country.

    • joesmyth

      Third World countries just called; they are offended by that comparison.

  • Garry Montgomery

    Ah, the spirit of Mussolini is alive and well in the fascist regions of Mexico! Well, I guess he did add beatings and large doses of castor oil, but . . .

  • Jungle Cat

    American Unions are by far worse … Try crossing them… America is as bad as some third world countries….

  • B.Murphy-Bridge

    Cutting women’s hair, parading them through the streets barefoot whilst holding signs reminds one of China’s Cultural Revolution or ” French women who befriended the Nazis, through coerced, forced, or voluntary….” had their heads shaved and paraded through the streets after the war. A Barbaric practise. Astounded that in this day and age it is actually taking place here in Mexico. One can only assume these are brutish, illiterate people doing this and under the umbrella of EDUCATION no less! Truly mind boggling.

  • B.Murphy-Bridge

    Cutting women’s hair, parading them through the streets whilst holding signs reminds one of China’s Cultural Revolution, or ” French women who befriended the Nazis, through coerced, forced, or voluntary…” had their heads shaved then paraded through the streets after the war. A Barbaric practise. I am astounded that in this day and age it is actually taking place in Mexico. One can only assume these are brutish, illiterate people doing this and under the umbrella of EDUCATION no less! It boggles the mind.

  • PintorEnMexico

    I love what unions have accomplished for worker’s rights and conditions around the world. I deplore the intervention by the US after the Mexican revolution to gut them in Mexico before they had a chance to flourish. But, any organization can become corrupted and CNTE is one of the worst. The highest leaders were knocking down 6 figure (in US dollars) incomes. The worst was their withholding of federal stipends to poor students and coercing their parents to leave their villages to participate in encampments and marches. And then this. They are so far below the high ground on this.

    • joesmyth

      Unions have DONE NOTHING FOR workers. Get a clue.

  • Anton A. Haksteeg

    Really what the unions did to those women is an absolute insult. Those who are responsible for this should be punished they committed a barbaric act which shows that they clearly are exploring dictatorial behaviour which is totally wrong. Those women were and are entitled to their own opinion. Those unions are worse than the mafia.

  • mrpoohead

    Good ol’ democracy! NOT. Unions; great idea initially, then either corrupted by Mafia or went too far – sometimes of benefit to companies. Japan and Germany have unions that are very involved in running company – come up with ideas to make companies more productive – in return they get good incentives. Too extreme in Mexico and pointless in the US.

    • joesmyth

      They were/are never a good idea. They are the antithesis of private property, and private business.

      • mrpoohead

        Well I have relatives who are coal miners in the UK, they are all house owners. You know nothing – for the miners they improved working conditions and improved safety. You are a moron, but I think we have already established that.

      • mrpoohead

        ……….and only cowards hide. “Secrecy” – sissy!

  • joesmyth

    Funny how this very “news” outlet has an article extolling how Mexico protects Civil Rights. Clearly they don’t read their own articles.

    • mrpoohead

      Guantanamo Bay?

  • Rob Mellors

    “Traitors to the Motherland”? What, because they didn’t want to go on strike and presumably wanted to keep teaching Mexican children? I would have thought the teachers who are constantly moaning, striking, blocking Reforma and not educating the children of Mexico are the real “Traitors to the Motherland”!

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