Friday, 6 May 2011

A Little More Celebration - editted and improved/ editted and improved again

     New news from the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre is going to encourage everyone who follows this screed....especially those who have spent time as guests  with us.       The big, repeatedly stressed and tortured avocado tree that sits off of the south end of the "long west-facing corridor" has really done yeoman's service in producing a considerable harvest.    Barring some kind of a windstorm or an attack by Superpossum....we should have a middling crop of avocados that appear to be of high quality.   None of this will be cup-to-lip until late June at the earliest (more probably mid-July), but it is some small but significant thing for the Old Gringo....(aka: Gringo Viejo).

      Two other about public schooling (please remember that the Gringo Viejo and all his family are public school products, have many degrees, and have taught in public schools, both at secondary and University level), and the other about chisme (gossip).

     The easy one is of the great Mexican national sports.   On the 2nd of May, there was another of the stupid public national holidays...the Day of the Child.     All these "holidays" are simply commercialization of things that should be practiced daily, hourly, and by the minute by all people who have even the most basic catechism.   In any regard, there were Children's Fiestas arranged by labour unions, State and local governments, fraternal orders, etc. all around the country.   In our locale there were two held, one in our own little "ejido" (rural community).   The word went out towards the end of the day....after the children and families had availed themselves of the little mechanical car rides, the food and drinks, and the general party atmospherics, that all the goodies had been provided by your friendly local drug cartel bosses.
      This news was received with a bit of a shudder by those of us who try to keep up with such things.    But then, a little checking, and guess what?   It turned out that some young punks who think of themselves as gang-members spread the word as a joke.....something akin to spiking the punch in American terms.    The girlfriend of one of the punks, escorted by her mother and father, turned him in by telling the six or seven official Gossipers Committee members, who promptly began to employ the telewoman communication system that functions so well in the Ejido Francisco I. Madero.  
       The Old Gringo knows that this is true because one of the senior members of the Sindicato  de Chismonas de la Republica Mexicana, Local No. 11545   
(National Gossipers' Union of the Mexican Republic, Local 11545), is Alvaro's sister.   He and she do not mix well at all, so if he is giving her some consideration as a source, it is very probable that everything being written here is true. 

      That was (1).   The next topic,  (2) is also about unions ...but this time real unions.   El Sindicato de Trabajadores en la Educacion Publica de la Republica Mexicana, Estado de Tamaulipas, STEPRM has been in one long drawn-out dispute with consituted authority since its incorporation as an active part of the "Institutional Revolution" of the old PRI sixty years ago.  
      Those of us who deal with matters Mexican used to have to smile wryly when "authorities", both left and right, in the United States would point to the fact that "Mexico has no labour unions or protections for the working people".     The fact was and is that one of the biggest contributors to the mis-treatment of the Mexican labouring class was and still is to an extent, the incredibly powerful and corrupt labour unions.     All labour unions in Mexico stem from their foundation in the Workers of the World movement....a marxist group from the late 1890's.   The infamous Flores Magon brothers  were vanguards of the Bolshevik-inspired labour movement.   They anchored much of what was  then radical social thought and their followers inserted their initiatives into the intellectual leadership of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 - 1917.
      Much of the intent of the communist element in the post-revolutionary was embodied in the Constitution of 1917, which required that all labour eventually be folded into the governing party....the Partido Revolucionario Institutional.    The central of three pillars of the PRI was the Confederacion de Trabajadores Mexicanos (CTM) which for years demagogued labour issues and also siphoned billions and billions of dollars worth of union dues and tax money into local labour union leaders'  personal private foreign accounts.
      Other related but semi-independent nation-wide unions, like the Petroleum Workers, Stevedores, and Teachers Unions were equally politicized and corrupt.    The arrogance and level of their corruption is legendary and demogoguic to almost supernatural levels.      
        Huge industrial bulwarks in Mexico trembled at the merest flick of a finger of local, corrupt union bosses everywhere in Mexico for three score years before the establishment,  finally in the 1980's,  of competing, non-Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) integrant unions.  The new labour organizations, as well as company sponsored independent "white unions"   were allowed to exist, by means of a ruling of the Corte Supremo de la Nacion.     Since that time there has been significant improvement in labour - management relations. 
      In any regard, the locals of the  Tamaulipas State's teachers' union are always having "slowdowns"...."special teachers' conference days", marches, demonstrations, letter writing campaigns, etc.   The teachers have thousands of complaints....most of them detailed and very personal in nature.    Of course, the scores of the primaries and secondaries which for years had been much higher than Texas schools at a similar grade....steadily went into the septic tank, especially during the past four years.   All public schools, primary, secondary, preparatory, rural, urban....all of them went to the devil.      This, of course, after a doubling in the last three years of the budget (with a strong peso, to boot).     The number of Guercos (urchins) in the schools is diminishing slowly, due to the ever slowing production of new, replacement the increase in expenditures-per-urchin is even more intense....but to no avail.   Less than half of the urchins are performing at level.    In the 1950's it was 90 per cent performed at or above grade level.....when they were pouring over 90 dollars a year per student into the effort,   (In  Mexico City it was 113 dollars).  The previous sentence is a bit of combined sarcasm and sardonic commentary skillfully blended together as only a professional blowhard can.
        It is pretty clear that Tamaulipas is falling dreadfully behind everyone....other public systems, all private schools, in other words, a disaster.  The only exception in Tamaulipas is their   University system where there are numerous students who "almost qualified" for places in the prestige universities (Monterrey Tech, University of Nuevo Leon, etc.) and over-educated professors who arrived from various big cities around the world to escape urban life.
      One of the things  uninvolved observers point out is that the other States, save Oaxaca (totally communist university environment ....and I mean hammer and sickle communist), have less, little, or none in terms of Union stridency and anguish.

     So, the governor of the State of Tamaulipas has made it his number two priority (Number one is the security issue) to reduce the influence of the  Teachers' Union and to re-instate the teaching and accomplishment method....with the old discipline....and to forget about union politics and "teaching to the tests".   There is a movement to return to the old idea that the only test that counts is the semester grade after averaging each six-weeks and the final exam.     Fred Flintstone and I agree with this approach.

      Anyway....that is what is going on around these precincts.    We shall await comments and questions, as usual and respond to everyone....although my schedule is a little less predictable during the next few days.    We are in our last days of our exposure to Jury Call and we have a university graduation to attend in Central Texas.....lots of driving around.    Send gasoline.     And thanks for your interest and involvement.    
El Gringo Viejo