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The National University (UNAM)

     The UNAM strikers have no respect for the opinions or the interests of the vast majority of students, who voted to reopen the university. Scarcely had this been done than the strikers started direct action" again. From Mexico, were he lives, James Whelan, who has a lifetime of experience in Latin American studies, reports:
     "It was some years ago that I discovered that penchant for nastiness among Leftists. First, when I encountered them as a wide-eyed and quite ingenuous young foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires. Later, during my graduate work in the field of Sino-Soviet studies, tracing the rise to power of Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks. They did not deign to debate or refute those who disagreed with them -- even those of approximately the same ilk, such as the Menshiviks. They sought to destroy their opponents, reviling them with ridicule and scorn, and not infrequently, subjecting them to physical violence.
     The strikers have taken their struggle to raise the academic standards of UNAM to yet another level, re-occupying the School of Science, and failing in their attempt to muscle their way into the Law School. They will now have a second chance to vandalize, loot and sully those premises, declaring them closed anew to such intruders as students and teachers. Meanwhile, ruffians of limited social conscience and vision, celebrated with mariachis the opportunity to return to class -- as though learning were somehow relevant to the purposes of a university.
     The educational system, along with the learned, were among the very first targets marked for extermination by the Leninist liberators of Russia. Almost miraculously, the Mexican Revolution -- that patchwork quilt of lofty slogans and base deeds, of grand designs and hasty improvisations, took another direction, assigning a high priority to raising educational levels. Indeed, the energetic and visionary Vasconcelos even drafted the likes of the educator Lucia Godoy Alcayaga (aka, Gabriela Mistral) to help in that gigantic task. Ironic, now that the discredited and overrated Revolution is attempting to transform itself into a modern and sane political force, the new "revolutionaries" would emulate the commissars of yesteryear in trashing the very centerpiece of learning in Mexico.

     My comment: I knew both Josť Vasconcelos and Gabriela Mistral. They may come up in our later discussions.

Ronald Hilton - 2/15/00