La Comuna de Oaxaca: Rebellion, Repression, and Class Consciousness in Tryno Maldonado’s <i>Teoría de las catástrofes</i>
Between May and June 2006, members of the dissident teachers’ union CNTE occupied Oaxaca’s zócalo to demand fairer wages, greater support for their students and more resources for rural schools. However, on Friday 16 June 2006, police stormed the camp. When evidence of brutality against the occupants began to emerge, thousands of Oaxacans joined the teachers, demanding an end to fraud, corruption, and unfettered globalization, as well as the removal of Oaxaca’s Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. What followed is the emergence of the Asemblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO, Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca), a coalition of social movements and left-wing organizations which challenged state and national governments for nearly seven months, occupying radio and TV stations, building barricades to defend the protest and, above all, proposing a model of radical and participatory politics. The events of the 2006 conflict in Oaxaca, the emergence of the APPO, the construction of the barricades, and the repression which followed are the subjects of Tryno Maldonado’s Teoría de las catástrofes (2012). This essay argues that, while the reasons of the protest and the origins of the movement somehow remain in the background, Maldonado’s work can be defined as a novel of political formation as well as a novel about the development of class consciousness. Moreover, it claims that the process of class consciousness is set in motion by an acquired awareness of the history of systemic violence against subaltern social groups, left-wing and anti-capitalist movements and organizations.