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Youth resist, organize in Honduras

Published Oct 23, 2009 11:30 PM

Youth and students are an important sector participating in the struggle against the illegal coup d’etat in Honduras. Video after video of the resistance actions that have taken place since the July 28 coup have shown youth in the streets and facing repression as well.

U.S. delegation meet with Honduran youth.
WW photo: LeiLani Dowell

The U.S. Delegation of Labor, Community and Clergy in Solidarity with the Honduran Resistance was able to meet with several student organizers on Oct. 9 and 10. However, as a result of the repression, the delegation was not able to meet with as many youth as expected. On Oct. 9, two men attempted to kidnap one of the student leaders; while the young woman was able to escape with a fractured hand, it prevented her organization from meeting with the U.S. delegation. Instead, they needed to meet collectively to discuss security measures and tactics.

Digna Rodríguez is a student at the pedagogical university, which has become the meeting point for many of the daily marches and rallies taking place in Tegucigalpa. She reported that the entire university has been militarized and used as a detention center by the police, who torture their detainees on the campus grounds. The school administration has threatened students with academic discipline for participating in resistance activities and has denied permission for activities on campus. Meanwhile, teachers in the resistance have also faced harassment from the administration.

A member of the U.S. delegation from the youth group FIST—Fight Imperialism, Stand Together—described the use of massive amounts of tear gas and long-range acoustic devices in Pittsburgh to attack the mostly young protesters at the G-20 summit in September. These same weapons have been used against youth in Honduras.

Ian Díaz, leader of the youth group Los Necios, is a student at the National University, the largest university in the country with some 70,000 students. Díaz told the delegation that the resistance movement at the university includes teachers, students and workers. While the university itself has attempted to hold itself apart from the political situation within Honduras, resistance members on campus work hard to raise the political consciousness of those attending and working at the college. He said that with the extreme violence occurring throughout the country, more students are now able to relate the political situation in the country to their everyday lives.

Díaz explained: “Before, people weren’t aware of theory, of what it meant to belong to a class. Now workers see it very clearly. [President Manuel] Zelaya took politics that had been neglected for a while and pushed for change that affected the biggest sector of society—stopping privatization, raising the minimum wage.

“Over the past three years, people saw that these things were negatively affecting some, and benefiting others. They realized that there were marked differences; that the workers benefited while the businesspeople, the owners of the means of production, were affected adversely. This gave the people their class consciousness—it’s very noticeable who the coup is for. There’s no better way to learn something than through action. You can also see which students are at the marches.”

The two are members of a broader Youth Front against the Military Coup, which is a part of the larger National Resistance Front against the coup and includes students as well as youth from the rural, peasant and Indigenous populations of the country, the majority of whom cannot afford to attend college.

On Oct. 10, the delegation was able to briefly attend a class on revolutionary studies that is organized and held every Saturday afternoon by Los Necios. A class of about 30 youth listened raptly and took notes on Marxist theory. Los Necios (whose name roughly translates to “the troublemakers”) identifies as a socialist organization, taking its ideology from a combination of revolutionaries from Marx and Lenin to Trotsky, Mao and others.

When asked what their message to youth in the U.S. and worldwide would be, a member of Los Necios answered: “Our message would be that youth need to get involved politically. As young people, we are obliged to get involved. Being a revolutionary is a moral obligation.”

Dowell represented the youth group FIST on the U.S. delegation. An interview with her about the delegation’s experiences in Honduras can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/FIST-Youth.