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Elsewhere (236)

Graduation Is Hard

Meanwhile, in Mexico City:

A Student Strike Becomes an Occupation, for 17 Years.

Savour that mental image.

It remains unclear exactly who occupies the building and how many members compose the occupying force. Insular and mercurial, they refused repeated requests for interviews. “We’re against the mass media,” explained one occupier, who declined to give his name, saying it was a policy of the occupation not to grant interviews without consent of “the general assembly.” He was standing in what was once the lobby of the auditorium, its walls now covered with insurrectionist stickers, graffiti, posters and murals. “I don’t want to be assimilated into the mass media,” he said.

Oh, there’s more:

Since the late 1960s, the building has been commonly known as the Che Guevara Auditorium. “This has been the most politically symbolic space that the university has had in its entire history,” said Imanol Ordorika Sacristán, head of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s office of institutional evaluation.


For many years the occupation operated as a collective of various radical groups, though its composition mutated, sometimes violently… In 2013, for instance, self-proclaimed anarchists drove other groups out of the building, according to local news accounts. Three months later, however, a band of rivals stormed the auditorium and ejected the anarchists. Later the anarchists — armed with metal rods, fire extinguishers and sticks embedded with nails — violently retook control of the building. The university administration issued a denunciation of the violence and ordered “the immediate surrender” of the auditorium, to no avail.

After several such coups and counter-coups, no-one seems entirely clear what, exactly, the protestors are currently protesting against. However, the building has been unilaterally declared an “autonomous, self-managed workspace,” a leaderless “horizontal organisation,” and is a lively venue for T-shirt salesmen, pamphleteers, and marijuana vendors. And to highlight the occupiers’ immense political gravitas,

A sound system outside the auditorium blasts hard-core punk music.

Via Christina Hoff Sommers