Communique in Solidarity with the National School of Anthropology and History

Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Oaxacan Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory

(Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio, APIIDTT)

APIIDTT | 6 January, 2022

What is the relationship between ethnography and political action?

How can we make our work relevant to those we study with?

Militant ethnography implies a politically engaged and collaborative form of participatory observation carried out from within and not from outside of grassroots movements. Militant ethnography seeks to overcome the division between research and practice. Rather than generating strategic directives and/or general policies, collaboratively produced ethnographic knowledge aims to facilitate permanent (self) reflection by activists on the objectives, tactics, strategies and forms of organization of movements.Jeffrey S. Juris

Given the recent events at the National School of Anthropology and History (Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, ENAH) around the precarious, vulnerable and unequal working conditions experienced by teachers, administrators and researchers of this institution, the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory (APIIDTT), expresses our strong solidarity with the actions taken by the ENAH General Assembly in defense of their labor and educational rights.

We are concerned by the statements made by the current Executive at the January 3 morning press conference. He stated that the budget increase destined for INAH is slated mainly for anthropological and archeological work  specifically related to the advancement of priority megaprojects for his Administration. This underscores and demonstrates that he is interested in financially supporting the INAH and the ENAH only insofar as the anthropological, historical and archeological work serves the needs of the megaprojects of the government in power.

As peoples we realize that, on the one hand, there is systematic job insecurity, not only in the ENAH, where work tends to be  precarious and subcontracted, which is a clear blow to all workers, as are the budget cuts in the name of austerity. On the other hand, there is an increase in the budget for large megaprojects that benefit the national and international political and business class.

The neo-developmental / neoliberal / privatizing onslaught launched by the government of the Fourth Transformation, with its policy of  austerity, deals a hard blow to the working conditions of 350 professors and puts at risk activities that are essential to the functionality and academic quality for students in training at the ENAH. These policies are in stark contrast with the budgets delivered to the megaprojects that are considered a priority for the current government, such as the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec or the Program for the Development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. This year (2022) the government has  authorized 10 billion pesos for this large scale development project –six billion more than last year.  As the peoples of the APIIDTT know,  this megaproject amounts to the ethnocide of the 12 indigenous peoples that inhabit the region of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

 APIIDTT is a grassroots communal organization made up of traditional, agrarian community authorities; assemblies of resistance; and collectives in Zapotec, Ikoots, Zoque and Mixe towns in the region of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. We have been in struggle for more than 15 years, defending the land, the territory and the rights of indigenous peoples, engaging in struggles  against extractive megaprojects and the production of “green” energy.  The  researchers (professionals and students) from ENAH and other schools have provided unconditional collaboration and participation to our organization throughout the years of our struggle, collaborating in the tasks emanating from our assemblies and communities for collective defense of the land, territory and rights.

For this reason, we express our solidarity and support for the call of the ENAH General Assembly to improve working conditions and baseline of teachers and researchers, as well as the demand for a larger budget for the National School of Anthropology and History.

At the same time we call on students, teachers and researchers not to detach their struggle for better educational and working conditions, from the worthy processes of peoples’ resistance that are currently unfolding in the Isthmus region against the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; since the fight for labor dignity, a larger budget and free education for the ENAH and the anthropological sector, must at the same time be a fight for the immediate cancellation of the mega-projects of death promoted by the government of the Fourth Transformation.


Never Again a Mexico Without Us

Assembly of Indigeous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and the Territory


Translated from the Spanish by the Chiapas Support Committee.

Read the original first published in Spanish, here:

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