One more step in the authoritarian drift


Government intervention of higher education institutions is one of the characteristic actions of authoritarian governments and dictatorships. Limiting or eliminating academic freedom, plurality and / or autonomy of universities, as well as controlling the media, is part of the strategy of regimes that fear intelligence, the free debate of ideas, and that seek to impose his vision of the world and his language. The imposition of a director alien and contrary to the CIDE community last week is the most visible evidence (not the only one) of the desire for ideological control of the self-appointed 4T.

Since its inception, through the president, the director of Conacyt and other collaborators, this government has been building a discourse of confrontation against the academy, as a privileged ivory tower, and weakening its institutions due to gradual economic asphyxiation. The attacks on the autonomy of the UNAM, the extinction of trusts intended for research, the persecution of members of the Conacyt Consultative Forum, the attempt to institutionalize discrimination in the SNI against academics from private universities, the takeover of the UDLA in Puebla , the attacks against the members of Conacyt Chairs … combine nationalist and justice demagoguery, manipulation of the law to intimidate and exemplary warnings against any “rebellion” (such as the removal of Alejandro Madrazo and Catherine Andrews, for daring to show solidarity with young researchers / is or defend the regulations).

The government’s closure to the courageous and exemplary defense of the CIDE by its students and teachers would be surprising if it were not already characteristic of the current personal style of governing.

The authoritarian drift against freedom of thought, in the name of a superior good defined by the supreme ruler as a single course, which today seeks to impose the mediocrity of intellectual homogenization, submission to an incomprehensible dogma such as “scientific sovereignty”, the requirement of a blind loyalty to the high-ranking, it reminds us of Franco’s hatred of intelligence, the intervention of universities with military rectors and elimination of social disciplines in the Southern Cone, the purge and persecution of academics and the imposition of censorship in Turkey, the attacks against the Soros Foundation and the expulsion of the Central European University, or the governmental appropriation of the funds of the Academy of Sciences in Hungary. While the interventions and purges in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union may seem far away, the degradation of democratic life evident in Hungary and Turkey confirms the urgency of stopping the escalation against media, NGOs and higher education institutions. None of these measures was sudden, they were chained and accumulated in a strategy of “shock culture”.

Against authoritarianism that seeks to extinguish free thought, in addition to calling for solidarity and joint action by other institutions and citizens, as the CIDE community has done, it is also necessary to dismantle the twisted discourse that seeks to justify these attacks. In a notable and courageous intervention at the FIL in Guadalajara, Mauricio Merino contradicted with the forcefulness of numerous publications the slander that the CIDE had “kept quiet” in the face of corruption and the opacity of previous governments. Thus demonstrating the falsehood of these accusations, when in addition the contrary evidence abounds, is useful and necessary. It would only be necessary to add, it seems to me, that this supposed unforgivable “omission” of the academy is exactly what the government now demands for itself. In fact, he is not interested in transparency or accountability and is irritated by the criticism of militarization and institutional violence, which has also been made in the CIDE.

With its deceptive speech, the government seeks to polarize and confuse in order to better hide the gradual but inexorable suffocation of our freedoms. That is why defending CIDE is defending the right to think and disagree.

Lucia Melgar

Cultural criticism


She is a professor of literature and gender and cultural criticism. Doctor in Latin American literature from the University of Chicago (1996), with a master’s degree in history from the same University (1988) and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences (ITAM, 1986).

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