On November 5, 2019, women from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) began an all-women’s indefinite strike demanding an end to the ongoing sexual violence on campus. Organized under the name, Mujeres Organizadas de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras (Organized Women of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters), the women have put one of the principal academic departments at the largest university in Latin America to a screeching halt up to the present day.
In the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences on the same UNAM campus, a strike was carried out last year from November 5th to November 16th, 2019 alongside the strike in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. On January 30th of this year, an indefinite strike was declared in the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, joining in solidarity with the strike in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, along with other UNAM faculties, schools and campuses that are carrying out different acts of protest and resistance.
The two faculties on strike on the main campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) are part of a much larger movement that has developed over the last four months which has included actions in around 23 UNAM faculties, schools and campuses.
Yesterday, February 4th, amidst a call for a general strike on university campuses, students mostly from high schools affiliated with UNAM, marched to the Rectory’s office on the main UNAM campus. There, protesters smashed windows, threw Molotov cocktails, graffitied the building and shouted with rage against the macho violence endemic in Mexico.
In response to the protests, university and state authorities have responded by de-legitimizing the protests and the rage expressed by the students; decrying the vandalism of the campus. The rectory responded saying the protests were instigated by provocateurs with interests unaffiliated with the university, interests meant to destabilize the university. The “populist-Leftist” president of the republic, AMLO, responded himself saying that “dark interests” were leading the protests, and that a movement ‘without a cause’ wouldn’t be permitted to stop the functioning of the university.
ALMO was quoted as saying: “We are living in times of freedom, times of justice, of tolerance, of the search for peace. These are new times because there is no authoritarianism, there is no corruption.”
In reality, the resistance is being led by women and directed against sexual violence on university campuses; but despite an attempt by the State and corporate media to demonize it, the movement only seems to be growing. With insults being cast down from university and state authorities toward the young women, and the unwillingness of authorities to take the issues seriously, the protests promise to only gain steam and become more militant as time moves on.