From 13 to 16 October, in observation of its 15th anniversary, the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC) organized a National Meeting for the Justice and Security of the People together with the Intercultural University of the Peoples of the South (UNISUR) in San Luis Acatlán. More than 3000 people attended the meeting, thus surpassing the expectations of the event’s organizers, as told us by Valentín Hernández, coordinator of the CRAC. “The objective of this meeting–to generate articulation of the social movement–was met.” The subjects discussed in the 10 work-tables were the following: security, justice, and re-education; indigenous rights, indigenous culture, and consultative processes; rights of women and organizational processes; radio and communal communication.
The joint work gave rise to a final declaration denouncing “that the security- and justice-apparatuses of the State are permeated by corruption and are thus incapable of providing security and imparting justice for the people and that they have been used toward the end of decimating, dismantling, and repressing social and communal organizations that with dignity have decided to raise their voices to denounce the abuses of the government and the capitalist system.” Similarly it was denounced that “the social programs of this government are, rather than solutions to poverty and marginalization, a tool of political cooptation and manipulation that decimate our communal identity and organization.” Among other proposals, this communiqué called for the “no-legitimation of laws, programs, public policies, and megaprojects that know us not, as is the case with the constitutional reform being advanced by the dome of power in Guerrero.” Regarding this, Valentín Hernández told SIPAZ that “the CRAC-PC demands that consultation be respected, but we do not need the law. With or without the law we will continue to construct our autonomy.” Regarding the national debate on unitary police, the CRAC-PC summarized its view thusly: “Unitary police: our communal police. Unitary command, the people.”
In the table regarding the rights of women was specifically mentioned the role of women within the system of the communal police. The women who participated in the table expressed their disappointment with the rare recognitions they receive, given that they have always played an important role within the system. In an interview, doña Asunción Ponce Ramos, coordinator of the CRAC, mentioned difficulties that the women encounter in their participation in the system: “One has to be stupid to be in the assemblies of the [PC]; there are macho men who forbid the participation of women. For this reason the CRAC rules must be revised. I am not the first woman in CRAC, for there have been other women, but at times discrimination is experienced, or the women are even expelled. There are some who stayed for one or two years, but no woman has been there for three years. They have granted me now three years, and I hope I will not have any problems.” The table on women’s rights featured the participation of some 10 men within the 80 participants in total; the men were specifically invited to participate in the table. During the table were mentioned repeatedly the importance of men being informed regarding the rights of women, and that they participate in training regarding the subjects of gender, the rights of women, and reproductive health.
On 15 October, the father of San Luis Acatlán began mass by claiming that “this parish, together with the neighboring parishes and the Acapulco diocese, are with you.” Later, Father Mario of Xalpatlahuac spoke to the highly insecure context that gave rise to the creation of the Communal Police: “we thought that the solution would come from outside. We requested the aid of so many governmental institutions before realizing that the solution lies with the people themselves! Only the people can defend the people.” While opponents of the process point to the use of arms to criminalize the Communal police, he claimed that “the objective is not to have arms; the objective is peace. The best weapon is consciousness, organization, and unity. Those arms that [the PC has] are not a crime; rather, they contribute to peace.” He denounced the logic of “if you want peace, prepare for war, in which Mexico finds itself today. 30 thousands dead is not peace!” He closed by quoting the Beatitudes: “You blessed police are the constructors of peace in the logic of peace, not in the logic of war.” This mass was also the moment to remember the 4 communal police-officers who lost their lives in service.
The same day were deployed 600 communal police accompanied and applauded by all those present as well as by people from San Luis Acatlán. Indeed, Valentín Hernández remarked that “one of the gains of the meeting was the integration of people from [Acatlán] in the work of the Communal Police, because they don’t have much direct support [there]. Now the people are present in both the kitchen and the march.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Communal radios and the CRAC urge common defense against common enemy (La Jornada, 14 October)
Joint statement by the organizations and communities participating in the “National Meeting for the Justice and Security of the People” (16 October)
Web-site of the Commuanl Police: http://policiacomunitaria.org/