The revolutionary upsurge in Mexico marks a new and dramatic stage in the Latin American revolution. On the very doorstep of the most powerful imperialist state in the world, the masses are moving into action on an unprecedented scale, posing a direct threat to capitalism and imperialism.
Mexico has not seen a movement like this since the expropriation of petroleum in the 1930s. The masses have shown an impressive level of militancy, organizational skill and discipline. Overnight, millions of workers and peasants have been brought to their feet and are fighting for their rights.
What an inspiring sight! What a marvellous example for the workers of all countries! This is the final answer to all those cowards and traitors who argued that after the fall of the Soviet Union, socialism was impossible and that the working class was no longer a revolutionary force.
The struggle began on the electoral plane. The masses were determined to inflict a defeat on the reactionary bourgeois government of the PAN and evict the lackey of Washington, Fox, who had sold his country to the big US monopolies at bargain-basement prices. They rallied massively to the PRD and its leader, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Hegel pointed out that necessity expresses itself through accident. The electoral fraud was the “accident” that brought to a head all the contradictions that have been accumulating in Mexican society for decades: lack of democracy, economic growth that does not improve the conditions of the poor, unemployment and badly paid jobs, universal corruption, millions of Mexicans forced to emigrate to the North – all these factors have combined to create an explosive situation.
At bottom, this is a class question. There is extreme social inequality in Mexico, which has the fourth largest number of billionaires in the world while 50 million people live in extreme poverty. The masses understand perfectly well that the rich control the government, and use this control to plunder the country and enrich themselves. As John Peterson points out:
“The pre-electoral period was marked by extreme polarization, including ferment in the trade unions and student movement, and a series of violent attacks by the state: against the steel workers in the city of Lazaro Cardenas in the state of Michoacan; the repression of supporters of the EZLN in San Salvador Atenco; and raids against an encampment of striking teachers in the city of Oaxaca.” (see: Oaxaca – the Spearhead of the Mexican Revolution)
This explains the burning anger of the masses and their desire to strike a blow against the hated oligarchy and its political representative, Vincente Fox. The elections provided them with such an opportunity and they eagerly seized it. The election campaign had the effect of mobilizing millions of ordinary Mexicans, the workers and peasants, the revolutionary youth, the downtrodden and oppressed masses of poor people and the best of the progressive intelligentsia: in short, all the living forces of Mexican society were ranged against all that was rotten, corrupt, reactionary and degenerate.
They naturally supported Lopez Obrador, the main opposition candidate and leader of the PRD. Lopez Obrador built his support by a campaign of mass agitation and car caravans that crisscrossed the country in nearly ten months of presidential campaigning. He filled plazas with workers, peasants and the many poor people who have fallen further behind under Mexico’s move toward a free-market system. The masses responded with enthusiasm. That is not surprising. The masses always respond enthusiastically when a lead is given.
Lopez Obrador’s programme is really very moderate: “He believes in revolutionary nationalism: big government, social programs, protectionism and being self-sufficient in oil and natural gas,” said George Grayson, a political science professor at the College of William & Mary in Virginia and author of a recent Lopez Obrador biography. This is the programme of reformism. It does not fundamentally challenge capitalism. But it is seen as a mortal threat by the oligarchy and its masters in Washington. For them it is a very simple question: Lopez Obrador is a dangerous radical who is stirring up the masses and must be stopped at all costs.
For the masses it is also a very simple question. They do not read the small print of electoral manifestos. For them, Lopez Obrador is “our man”, he is “for the people and against the rich” and so on. The power of Lopez Obrador does not reside in his speeches, articles or manifestos. The politically untutored masses see in him what they want to see: the chance to change things, to change things radically. What Washington fears is not Lopez Obrador himself but the class forces that stand behind him.
Hypocrisy of imperialists
Washington lives in fear of the growing revolutionary movement that is sweeping Latin America. They are determined to erect a “cordon sanitaire” around revolutionary Venezuela to prevent the spread of revolutionary ideas. In all probability the CIA had a hand in securing the election of Alan Garcia – another of Bush’s stooges – in Peru. But in Mexico, the masses intervened directly to challenge this blatant attack on their democratic rights.
US imperialism and the Mexican oligarchy were determined to prevent the election of Lopez Obrador, terrified of the prospect of a “Mexican Chavez” on the very borders of the USA and to secure the election of Calderon, a former energy minister and fervent defender of free-market policies. The result was the fraudulent 2 July, 2006 presidential election.
These “democratic” ladies and gentlemen are only in favour of “democracy” when it returns a government that defends the interests of the bankers, landlords and capitalists. But when the workers and peasants make use of their democratic rights to elect a government that the ruling class regards as inimical to their interests, they do not hesitate to hatch conspiracies against democratically elected governments. They resort to fraud, corruption, murder and military coups. They murdered Salvador Allende in Chile, they overthrew Arbenz in Guatemala, they attempted to overthrow Hugo Chavez in 2002, and now they have rigged the elections in Mexico to prevent the election of Lopez Obrador.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that Lopez Obrador won the election, and that the Mexican ruling class, with a little help from the US embassy, rigged the result. According to the official results, Lopez Obrador lost by 240,000 votes out of 41 million cast in an election. This would mean that the Conservative candidate Felipe Calderon won by less than 1 percentage point. The fact that the difference was so small indicates that AMLO must have won by a big majority. The bourgeoisie did not dare to go any further than to allege that the PAN candidate had won by the narrowest of majorities. The election was stolen on behalf of Calderon by Fox and his allies.
The scale of the fraud is breathtaking – even by Mexican standards. No fewer than 904,000 votes were not counted in an election supposedly won by a margin of only 243,000. A large number of people that went to vote on Election Day found that their names were not on the electoral roll.119,000 ballots in the sample recount cannot be substantiated ‑ in about 3,500 casillas (polling booths), 58,000 more votes were cast than the number of voters on the voting list. In nearly 4,000 other casillas, 61,000 ballots allocated to election officials cannot be accounted for. Some Mexican newspapers have published photos of dumped ballots boxes.
These irregularities in any genuinely democratic country would oblige the authorities to order a total recount. But the corrupt and reactionary Mexican judiciary refused to do this. Lopez Obrador began to issue legal challenges. Naturally, all these have been rebuffed by Mexico’s electoral tribunal, which on 7 September named Calderon president.
In normal circumstances the masses do not take an interest in politics. They rarely read the newspapers and then usually to study the sports pages. Elections rarely arouse much interest, much less passion. This is especially the case in Mexico, where for decades political parties were only seen as vehicles for the plundering of the state and the enrichment of politicians and their clients. But this is something different.
This blatant electoral fraud immediately brought the masses onto the streets. Starting at the end of July, after a 3 million strong rally, the protesters established a seven-mile encampment in the centre of Mexico City, which has paralysed the traffic. The campers stay up all night huddled around bonfires, prepared to defend their tent cities. Thousands of people camped out in the pouring rain for weeks on the streets of Mexico City awaiting the court’s decision. Thus began weeks of street blockades and protest camps in the centre of the capital that blocked traffic and closed down businesses.
Lopez Obrador has placed himself at the head of the movement, defying the government. As a result, the PRD is advancing. It is now the second-largest bloc in Mexico’s newly elected Congress. In August, the PRD elected its first governor of Chiapas state, defeating a rival who had the backing of a last-minute coalition of PAN and the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which held the presidency for seven decades until Fox’s victory in 2000. This is a resounding reply to those who argue that militancy scares off the electorate!
This confirms the bankruptcy of the sects (and the Zapatistas) who refused to give critical support to Lopez Obrador against Calderon in the elections. These ladies and gentlemen saw no difference between the two, since both were bourgeois. If one takes the programme of Lopez Obrador, it certainly does not go beyond the limits of capitalism. It is a bourgeois-democratic programme. But this fact by no means suffices to characterise the class basis of the PRD. Nor does it entitle us to conclude that there is no difference between Lopez Obrador and Calderon.
This is absolutely typical of the formalistic and abstract thinking of sectarians everywhere, their complete inability to think dialectically and their total inability to put themselves on the standpoint of the masses. The Marxists in Mexico stand, not for bourgeois democracy, but for workers’ power and socialism. This hardly needs to be stated. But, in the first place, unless we are strong enough to take power and replace the rotten and corrupt bourgeois democracy with a superior regime of workers’ democracy, we are compelled to defend whatever rights the workers have won, including the right to vote and to fight against the attempts of the Mexican bourgeoisie to deny the people their right to elect a government of their choice.
In the second place, in order to become strong enough to challenge the existing bourgeois power, it is necessary for the small forces of Marxism to reach the masses wherever they are, to build links with the workers and peasants, to establish a dialogue with them and to reach tactical agreements that allow us to fight together against the common enemy without compromising on fundamental questions. That was always the method of Lenin and Trotsky, and is epitomised by Lenin’s policy of the united front. This, naturally, is a book sealed with seven seals to the sectarian mentality.
Sophie McNeill, a television journalist who visited the encampment in Mexico City and interviewed Lopez Obrador, gives a graphic description of the class basis of the movement from her own observation of his followers:
“Wandering through the camps, you can see how this protest movement has exposed the deep class divide that exists here in Mexico. Obrador’s support base is largely made up of lower class and indigenous Mexicans and they view him as a saviour, the only contemporary figure willing to fight against the corruption of the ruling class. Obrador’s supporters feel like he’s given them a voice and they’re now here to be heard. ‘If we don’t eliminate hunger, we’re going to a have fatal unimaginable disaster,’ a young Indian man from Oaxaca tells me. ‘There’s a lot of blood that’s going to run if we don’t change this country’s economic polices.'” (my emphasis, AW)
The demonstrators blocked the banks and also the tax offices. When the journalist interviews the white-collar workers of the tax office, they refer in contemptuous terms to the demonstrators as “ignorant people with a low income”. “An Obrador supporter sees me talking to the office workers, ‘People are against us because they have everything at home,’ he says. ‘They don’t need anything. We are here because we have a need in my village. Do you understand, they pay 600 pesos Monday to Saturday, from eight am till six pm, 600 pesos!’ the man exclaims, ‘That’s why we are here!'”
This journalist may not be a Marxist, but she has eyes and ears and presents us with a very clear picture of the class nature of the movement. She describes the attitude of the mass of poor and downtrodden people to Lopez Obrador. They feel like he’s given them a voice and they’re now here to be heard. This is a very truthful account of the relationship between the masses and Lopez Obrador.
The sectarian disapproves of this. He shakes his head and tut-tuts. Of course! The masses ought to support him and not Lopez Obrador! “Ought” is a philosophical category that belongs to Kantian idealism, not dialectical materialism. The latter takes the world as it is, not as it ought to be, analyses its contradictory tendencies and shows how it will develop. The journalist continues:
“I notice an elderly Indian couple at the front of the crowd. The husband is missing most of his front teeth and his clothes are ragged. There are tears in his eyes as he joins in the crowd’s chant, ‘Obrador! Obrador!’ His wife looks at me and I can see that she is crying too, ‘The poor people of Mexico need Obrador!’ she cries at me. The man next to her chimes in, ‘The president is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Whether they want it or not!'”
To the sectarian formalist, such attitudes are incomprehensible. Not only do the masses support Lopez Obrador, they do so enthusiastically, with tears in their eyes. What is the secret of this strange chemistry? Only this: that the masses have been aroused from apathy and impelled into the struggle. They are beginning to feel their strength and collective power. And they identify this with the man around whom the movement has coalesced. In their eyes, the figure of Lopez Obrador acquires a mighty, almost mystical significance.
The Nation produced a graphic description of the mood of the people: “They have taken to erecting shrines and altars and are praying for divine intervention. Hundreds have made pilgrimages out to the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, some crawling on their knees, to ask the Brown Madonna to work her mojo. ‘God doesn’t belong to the PAN!’ they chant as they trudge up the great avenue that leads to the basilica. ‘AMLO deserves a miracle,’ Esther Ortiz, a 70-year-old great-grandmother comments to a reporter as she kneels to pray before the gilded altar.”
Some churches have been showing a video arguing that Lopez Obrador would destroy the Mexican family. As a result, some people have walked out of churches. The same report echoes the enormous social ferment that is even being echoed in the churches:
“At the Metropolitan Cathedral on one flank of the Zocalo, a young worshiper interrupts Cardinal Norberto Rivera with loas to AMLO and is quickly hustled off the premises by the prelate’s bouncers. The following Sunday, the cathedral’s great doors are under heavy surveillance, and churchgoers are screened for telltale signs of devotion to López Obrador. Hundreds of AMLO’s supporters mill about in front of the ancient temple shouting ‘voto por voto!‘ and that Cardinal Rivera is a pederast.” (The Nation, 25 August)
The lines reproduced above indicate a profound shift in the mood and outlook of the masses. The people who appear to us in these lines are not political activists but ordinary working class Mexican men and women who have been aroused to struggle not by books and theories but by life itself. They have no clearly defined ideology. They are still under the influence of religion. But so were the Russian workers in the first Revolution.
What has happened in Mexico is a complete confirmation of the Marxist analysis. In the struggle between Lopez Obrador and Vicente Fox, the Mexican Marxists gave critical support for Lopez Obrador. Side by side with the masses, they participated in the electoral campaign, calling for a vote for the PRD candidate while simultaneously demanding a socialist programme. This correct position got a significant echo from the masses who were struggling to overthrow the Fox government.
Immaturity of the masses?
Some left wingers see the influence of religion as a sign of a “low level of political consciousness”. This shows a lamentable lack of understanding of how a revolution works. In January 1905, the Russian working class first came onto the stage of history in a peaceful demonstration, led by a priest, to appeal to the Tsar (the “little Father”). In their hands they held, not red flags but religious icons and pictures of the Virgin.
It took the experience of the Revolution and particularly the massacre of Bloody Sunday to burn these illusions out of the consciousness of the masses. As Lenin used to say, quoting an old Russian proverb, “life teaches”. Both the old woman praying for AMLO in the church of the Virgin of Guadaloupe and the young man who clashes with the Cardinal and is physically ejected from the church are, in their own way, expressing a profound revolutionary process.
Middle class snobs will point to the political “immaturity” of the masses as an argument against the viability of a socialist revolution in Mexico. There were people like that in Russia also: the Mensheviks argued strenuously against the idea that the “backward” Russian workers could come to power in Russia before “advanced” western Europe. History showed that this was false. The Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, basing itself on the living movement of the masses and the revolutionary ideology of Marxism, led the workers and peasants to the seizure of power and transformed the history of the world.
The masses in Mexico have shown a very high level of political maturity, although at this stage their actions are far more advanced than their political consciousness. That is not surprising. In every country, the masses learn not from books but by their own experience, especially the experience of struggle. The workers learn more in one day of a strike than in ten years of normal experience. And a revolution is like a strike on a vast scale. Lenin, who was a very great theoretician, used to say: “for the masses an ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory“. In a revolution the masses learn fast.
Let the petty bourgeois snobs and bureaucrats moan about the allegedly “low political level” of the masses. We Marxists salute the movement of the Mexican workers and peasants. We derive enthusiasm and inspiration from it. And we support it with every fibre in our being. By their every action, the masses are throwing the gauntlet in the face of the ruling class. What began as a struggle against electoral fraud is rapidly developing into a revolutionary situation, in which the elements of dual power are already coming into existence.
The false theory of “two stages”
The problem here is not the “low level of consciousness” of the masses, who are doing everything in their power to change society. The problem is, on the contrary, the low level of consciousness of those who pretend to be the “leaders” of the masses, people who may have read books, but who lack a revolutionary spirit, have no faith in the masses, do not believe in socialism and are corrupted by the poison of scepticism. These miserable ex-revolutionaries, ex-guerrillas, ex-communists who have abandoned the perspective of socialism and gone over completely to capitalism exercise a damaging and corrosive influence everywhere, but particularly in Latin America.
In Mexico these same elements are trying to hold the movement back, confusing the workers and youth with false ideas like the Menshevik-Stalinist theory of “two stages”. According to this pernicious theory, the workers and peasants must not fight for socialism. Instead they must support the “progressive bourgeoisie”, defend “democracy” and then we can talk about socialism – in the dim and distant future. Some sections of the movement, under the negative influence of Stalinism, are striving to restrict it to the narrow limits of bourgeois democracy. That is a fatal mistake. In reality, Mexico has left the stage of the bourgeois-democratic revolution behind long ago. Whatever could be accomplished by the bourgeois-democratic revolution was accomplished after 1910-17.
The Mexican bourgeoisie has had almost a hundred years to show what it can do, and the results are well known to the people of Mexico. To talk now about the need for a bourgeois democratic revolution in Mexico is a shameful deception and a betrayal of the people. What is necessary is not to appeal to the bourgeoisie for “more democracy” but to prepare the conditions for the assumption of power by the working class – the only class that can lead Mexico out of the impasse of poverty, ignorance and oppression into which the degenerate Mexican bourgeoisie has led it.
The present stage corresponds to the initial mobilization of the masses – their awakening to political life. It is quite natural that this stage is accompanied by all kinds of confusion and illusions – especially democratic illusions. The way to help the masses to overcome these illusions is not to deny democracy but, on the contrary, to fight with the utmost determination for all democratic demands, against electoral fraud etc., but to patiently explain that the only way to guarantee democracy and fair elections is for the working class, in alliance with its natural allies, the peasantry and the urban poor, to take power into its own hands. As long as the corrupt Mexican bourgeoisie remains in power, democracy will always be reduced to an empty phrase. This is something every Mexican worker and peasant can understand!
Marxism and democracy
The masses have now received an excellent lesson on the real nature of the institutions of Mexican “democracy”. Incidentally, they are not basically different to the institutions of any other bourgeois democracy – only more blatant and stupid. This is also the case with what is ironically described as the “free press”. There is a the mountain of evidence of violated ballot boxes, stolen or stuffed ballots, altered tally sheets and other bizarre anomalies. Yet of the whole Mexican press only La Jornada saw fit to mention them. John Ross writes:
“The silence of the Mexican media and their accomplices in the international press in respect to the Great Fraud is deafening ‑ although they manage to fill their rags with ample attacks on López Obrador for tying up Mexico City traffic.” (The Nation, 25 August)
Marxists will always fight energetically to defend all the democratic rights that have been won in struggle by the working class. As long as the working class is not in a position to overthrow capitalism and replace the false and corrupt bourgeois democracy with a genuine democracy of the working people, we are duty bound to fight all the attempts of the ruling class to restrict democracy. We will participate in elections and make use of the electoral struggle to mobilise the masses and educate them in the limitations of bourgeois democracy. We will make use of each and every democratic opening that is available to us, including bourgeois parliaments. But we will explain that, in the last analysis, the real struggle will always take place outside parliament – on the streets, in the factories, in the villages, in the army barracks.
The initial starting point for the Mexican revolution is the fight against fraud. This essentially has a bourgeois-democratic character. But in reality this is only a formal question. In essence, the mass movement has gone far beyond the merely democratic stage. It has a logic and a dynamic of its own and this is clashing against the very foundations of bourgeois rule. With every day that passes the question is not for or against Lopez Obrador; the question is: WHO IS MASTER OF THE HOUSE: YOU OR US?
The working class
The workers must put forward their own independent class demands, while simultaneously fighting for the democratic demands and pushing the movement to go further. The workers will support the most radical demands of the peasants and the native Mexicans, of the women and youth. Only in this way can the proletariat win its rightful place at the head of the whole nation.
A key position is held by the trade unions. The unions are the basic organizations of the working class. They have a key role to play in the socialist revolution – both before and after the seizure of power. Unfortunately, it appears that most of the Mexican trade unions (with honourable exceptions such as the teachers’ union in Oaxaca) are not actively participating in the movement.
The revolutionary potential of the masses is being displayed at every step. The trade unions, weighed down by the leaden rump of the bureaucracy, are lagging behind. This is a serious weakness. But it is not without precedent, nor is it necessarily fatal. In the Russian Revolution of 1917 many of the trade unions remained under the control of the Mensheviks until November and even later. The Bolsheviks had to base themselves in many cases on the factory committees, which were closer to the real mood of the working class.
While continuing to work in the unions and doing everything in their power to involve the unions in the revolutionary movement and prepare a general strike, the Marxists must energetically participate in the establishment of action committees, strike committees, popular assemblies and other soviet-type organisms that encompass the broadest masses of workers, peasants, urban poor and other oppressed layers.
The main slogan at the present time in Mexico is soviets. But since the Russian word will be meaningless to the masses in Mexico, it is better to use the terminology that has evolved out of the living revolutionary movement of the masses. Whatever words are used, it will be clear to the workers and peasants that what we are talking about are broad-based, democratic organs of revolutionary struggle, which the day after the victory of the insurrection can be transformed into organs of direct revolutionary democracy. This can be seen most clearly in the revolutionary movement in Oaxaca.
Insurrection in Oaxaca
The revolution has gone further in Oaxaca than anywhere else. The local “caudillo” Ulises Ruiz Ortiz has been responsible for organizing numerous killings carried out by armed thugs tied to the ruling party. His rule of terror included kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, imprisonment, torture, and murder. His armed thugs enjoyed impunity for their crimes against the people. But now the population has turned en masse against him. Two days after the attack on the teachers there was a huge demonstration of over 400,000, demanding the governor’s resignation.
The movement in Oaxaca was met by police brutality, directed indiscriminately against men, women and children with teargas and bullets, even using a police helicopter to spray teargas on the strikers’ camp. This provoked a mass uprising throughout the state and beyond. The teachers fought back, drove out the police after about four hours of fighting, recapturing the city centre. The heroism of the strikers gained the admiration of people throughout the state. They demonstrated their iron determination not to be terrorized into submission.
Here we see the potential for the working class and the trade unions to place themselves at the head of the masses in struggle, while fighting for their own independent class demands. The uprising in Oaxaca was led by the teachers. The teachers’ union (SNTE) was traditionally linked to the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), but in Oaxaca the left-wing CNTE tendency had control of the local section. A similar process will occur in one union after another in the turbulent period of class struggle that has commenced in Mexico.
Under the pressure of the masses, even the most right wing and bureaucratic unions will be transformed from top to bottom. Once the masses are mobilized in struggle, they will inevitably develop a sense of their own power: the power of mass organization. There have been mass demonstrations of 120,000 with a mood of militancy never seen before. Of the June 7 march an eyewitness wrote: “The entire event was permeated with a sense of people’s power“.
The movement of the masses quickly led to the formation of a state-wide assembly – the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (Asemblea Popular del Pueblo de Oaxaca, or APPO). John Peterson writes:
“The APPO has emerged as an alternative and genuinely popular power – the first seed of workers’ power in Oaxaca and Mexico. Representatives to the neighborhood assemblies are elected in every street, which in turn elect representatives to the APPO. These elected and recallable representatives are responsible for security and for ensuring the smooth running of day-to-day life in the neighborhoods and the city.” What is this, if it is not a soviet?
And George Salzman reports: “Though instigated as a result of the teachers’ initiative and the ugly state repression, the assembly went far beyond the teachers’ original demands, which had been limited to educational matters. Ousting a hated governor had been done before on three occasions in Oaxaca. Not trivial, risky of course, but not by itself a revolutionary act”. (“From Teachers’ Strike Towards Dual Power”, Counterpunch, 30 August, 2006)
This goes to the heart of the matter. The revolutionary movement of the masses is going far beyond the original demands. That is in the nature of things. The very logic of the struggle leads the masses to draw revolutionary conclusions. The masses feel the need for organization, expressed in the Popular Assemblies, which are soviets in all but name. These are the organized expression of a new power, which constantly challenges the “sacred right to rule” of the bourgeoisie and its political agents. The two rival powers jostle against each other. The workers and peasants strive to take the running of society into their hands: the old power resists. It refuses to lie down and die. It must be overthrown.
The revolutionary aspirations of the masses were shown by the programme adopted by the first state-wide popular assembly, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, which declared itself the supreme authority in Oaxaca, and asserting the illegitimacy of the existing political structure. This is dual power, with the masses challenging the existing state power.
The Oaxaca Popular Assembly is broadly based – which is correct. But according to some reports it has excluded any explicitly political groups – which, if it is true, would be a mistake. According to a report by Nancy Davies, the initial meeting of the Popular Assembly on 17 June “was attended by 170 people representing 85 organizations.” Included, or at least invited, “were all the SNTE delegates, union members, social and political organizations, non-governmental organizations, collectives, human rights organizations, parents, tenant farmers, municipalities, and citizens of the entire state of Oaxaca.” Its intention was to be open to all the citizens of the state.
There seems to have been no attempt to exclude bourgeois and other exploiters from the assembly. However, in practice, rich people would support the existing regime. They would not want to be involved in a revolutionary organ of power. The leadership initially tried to limit the demands of the Popular Assembly to the demand for the removal of the governor. This demand, absolutely correct and necessary in itself, does not go far enough. The removal of one governor would do little to solve the problems of the people. The masses are striving for power, for a fundamental change in society.
Despite the limitations of the leadership, the workers immediately took revolutionary measures that clearly challenged the existing state power. They strengthened the barricades against future police attacks. They commandeered buses, not only commercial, but even police and government vehicles, some of which were used to block access roads to the zócalo and other encampments of the people, as well as for transportation purposes. They have blocked highways and occupied government buildings. They have prevented the institutional government from carrying out its functions: legislative, judicial and executive (i.e. administrative).
These tactics go far beyond the civil disobedience that Lopez Obrador has called for. These actions of the masses are “illegal” from the standpoint of the bourgeois state. They are also acquiring arms, as George Salzman reports: “Some of them have poles, iron rods, and even machetes, but these are for self-defense. The culture here is not one of ‘turning the other cheek’. They don’t sit down and pray if police attempt to beat them”.
The struggle for the mass media
The attack on 14 June destroyed the teachers’ radio station, Radio Plantón, which had been serving as a source of pro-teacher propaganda since the start of the strike and as a vital communication broadcasting link. In reply, students at the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca (UABJO) seized the university’s station, a licensed station with a much more powerful transmitter, and kept it going non-stop in support of the then rapidly-growing rebellion. However, government agents infiltrated the students and destroyed their equipment on 8 August with sulphuric acid.
The struggle to control the communication media reached a qualitative new stage when a group of women beating their pots and pans with wooden spoons seized the state television and radio stations. The expropriated broadcasting service was dubbed TV Caserolas. During this period the “voices and images of the people” dominated these normally state-controlled airwaves, as Salzman reports:
“Ordinary people in everyday clothes spoke of the reality of their lives as they understood them, of what neo-liberalism meant to them, of the Plan Pueblo Panama, of their loss of land to developers and international paper companies, of ramshackle rural mountain schools without toilets, of communities without safe water or sanitary drainage, and so on, all the needs that could be met if wealth were not being stolen by rich capitalists and corrupt government agents”. (“From Teachers’ Strike Towards Dual Power”, Counterpunch, 30 August, 2006)
What an inspiring picture is painted here! And these broadcasts were not limited to Oaxaca.
The internationalist spirit of the workers and their high level of consciousness was shown by the fact that Channel 9 broadcast a documentary videotape of living conditions of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Channel 9 and FM 96.9 covered the entire state for three weeks, from 1 August until it was re-taken by state forces by an early-morning assault on 21 August. In response to this aggression, the insurgents seized twelve commercial radio stations belonging to nine different companies. The struggle for control of the mass media continues.
The role of imperialism
Calderon has the support of world imperialism. Both George Bush and US Ambassador Tony Garza fell over themselves in their indecent haste to congratulate Calderón following the July 2 election. Now that his “victory” has been confirmed, Washington and European Union members will be queuing up to get their hands on Mexico’s state-owned oil company PEMEX.
The US imperialists are watching developments south of the Rio Grande with growing alarm. According to Air America radio, US Navy patrols have been dispatched to “safeguard Mexican oil platforms in the Gulf”. However, the prospect of an actual armed intervention by US forces is remote. The US army is tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is highly unlikely that they would want to open up another front at this moment in time, and least of all in Latin America.
The strategists of imperialism know that it is impossible to intervene successfully against a revolution. They received a harsh lesson in Iran in the past and have not forgotten how they were humiliated. If they tried to intervene in Mexico they would be faced with ferocious resistance. The Mexican people would fight like tigers to defend their country against a hated foreign imperialism. There would be explosive movements in every country of Latin America – and not only south of the Rio Grande. The recent mass movement of immigrants in the USA itself shows the mighty revolutionary potential of the large number of oppressed Latinos who now constitute the biggest ethnic minority. The imperialists would immediately be faced with uprisings inside the USA itself if they dared to invade Mexico. The enormous discontent that runs deep in US society would coalesce on this issue. The Bush regime could be swept from power, opening up an entirely new situation inside the USA itself.
A direct intervention by the forces of US imperialism is therefore ruled out in the present situation. But this does not in the least signify that Washington will remain with its arms folded. The CIA and the US embassy in Mexico City will be very active, plotting together with Fox and its stooges to crush the revolution. The repeated attacks on the movement in Oaxaca are like reconnoitres in ordinary warfare. They are intended to test the ground for a more serious confrontation. So far, they have been repelled by the militant action of the masses, who have shown their determination to defend themselves.
The Mexican ruling class has a particularly bloody record in suppressing mass protest movements. This was shown in the brutal repression in September and October 1968, just before the Olympic Games were to be begin, when President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz ordered the massacre of striking students in a downtown plaza not far from where the demonstrators are now camped out. As many as 300 were killed in the Plaza of Three Cultures, their bodies incinerated at Military Camp Number 1 in western Mexico City.
The liberal daily La Jornada carried an amateur photo of army convoys carrying soldiers disguised as farmers and young toughs. This indicates that a campaign of systematic provocations is being put into action. López Obrador has compared President Vicente Fox with Díaz Ordaz. The comparison is accurate. If Fox has not yet used the army it is not out of humanitarian considerations but because he fears the consequences. One bloody clash and the whole of Mexico would go up in flames. Some sources revealed that up to 70% of rank-and-file soldiers voted for Lopez Obrador on 2 July.The army would split in pieces and Fox would be swept from power, placing a revolutionary transformation on the order of the day.
The same article by John Ross points to the evolution of the slogans chanted by the demonstrators:
“The evolution of these incantations is fascinating. At first, the standard slogan of ‘voto por voto, casilla por casilla!’ was automatically invoked whenever López Obrador stepped to the microphone. ‘You are not alone!’ and ‘Presidente!’ had their moments. ‘Fraude!‘ is still popular, but in these last days, ‘¡No Pasarán!‘-‘they shall not pass,’ the cry of the defenders of Madrid as Franco’s Fascist hordes banged on the doors of Madrid in 1936–has often been heard.
“In this context, ‘¡No Pasarán!‘ means ‘we will not let Felipe Calderón pass to the presidency.'”
However, on 7 September the TRIFE, despite all the mass of evidence, decided in favour of Calderón. Mexico’s top electoral court has made its decision. Its ruling cannot be appealed. This means that all the legal, constitutional avenues have been exhausted. The only way forward now is revolutionary struggle.
The decision of the electoral tribunal was itself a most blatant provocation. It “noted that Calderón, the PAN candidate who had been declared the winner by the much-criticized Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) by a razor-thin 55 percent of 41.6 million votes cast, had been awarded tens of thousands of votes that could not be substantiated. The TRIFE, in a partial recount of less than 10 percent of the 130,000 precincts held two weeks before the final decision, had annulled 237,000 votes, more than Calderón’s supposed margin of victory.” (Report by John Ross, posted online on 6 September, 2006)
In other words, the electoral tribunal admitted all the accusations of fraud, and then – handed victory to Calderón! Immediately, several thousand AMLO supporters gathered outside the tribunal’s bunker in southern Mexico City shouting “Fraude!” “Rateros!” (Fraud! Thieves!), as the judges were escorted away by military police.
A National Democratic Convention
In the midst of these dramatic events, subcomandante Marcos and his followers have disappeared from the political map. By their false policies, the Zapatistas have doomed themselves to political insignificance. As we predicted, they have been discredited by their scandalous conduct in the election, together with the ultra-left sects who tried to organize the so-called “alternative campaign” directed against Lopez Obrador. By contrast, the Mexican Marxists of Militante adopted a correct tactic, offering critical support to Lopez Obrador, and are now playing an important part in the revolutionary movement of the masses.
Now Lopez Obrador has called for the convening of a National Democratic Convention to decide on the future of the country and elect a legitimate president. This is an important step. But what does it represent? What is the National Democratic Convention for? This question is being debated at all levels in the PRD, especially at the grassroots level. No doubt for the PRD bureaucracy it is merely another mass rally to put pressure on Felipe Calderón. Calderon may offer concessions. He may offer to include some PRD leaders in minor posts in his administration. Since the PRD has been infiltrated by elements from the PRI, who are only interested in obtaining profitable careers for themselves, this could lead to internal conflicts in the PRD.
The PRD rank and file, the workers, the peasants and the revolutionary youth, do not want crumbs from the table of the bourgeois: they want to take power. For them the National Democratic Convention is an alternative government. But since the bourgeois state has already recognised the government of Calderon as the only legitimate government, the declaration of a government of resistance headed by Andres Manuel López Obrador would be an openly revolutionary act.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has promised a “radical transformation” of the country by setting up a parallel government. He said: “We are going for deep change, root change, because that is what Mexico needs. It is a radical transformation. We are going for the construction of a new country that is fair and honourable.” He said: “We will not only decide on our form of government … but something very important will also be defined: the basic plan for the transformation of Mexico.”
That is what the workers and peasants fervently desire! The rank and file of the Party of the Democratic Revolution do not want deals and compromises with the bourgeoisie. The masses who support the PRD do not want the party to behave like the PAN and the PRI. They do not want a party that, when it becomes government, collapses into corruption and careerism. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce a programme that will guarantee that a PRD government will actually represent the people. Such a programme exists. It is the programme of four points that Lenin worked out on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution:
1) Free and democratic elections with right of recall of all officials.
2) No official to receive a wage higher than that of a skilled worker.
3) No standing army but the armed people.
4) Gradually, all the tasks of administration to be performed by everyone in turn (“when everyone is a bureaucrat, nobody is a bureaucrat!).
The question of violence
Lopez Obrador promises to avoid violence. He proposes a non-violent revolution to transform Mexicoand recommends his followers to follow the path of non-violent civil resistance, as pursued by Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. But that does not depend exclusively on the good intentions of AMLO. The bourgeoisie have their own ideas on this subject!
The PRD leader has summoned a million delegates to the Zocalo for a National Democratic Convention on Mexican Independence Day ‑ 16 September, a date usually reserved for a big military parade. The ground is therefore being prepared for a serious clash. Fox is preparing to crush the movement by violent means. He is already using the prostitute press to prepare public opinion for a clampdown and violent repression of the protesters. The bourgeoisie is preparing to act. On the day Fox was scheduled to read his State of the Union address, they surrounded the National Congress with a ring of steel. In a report from Mexico City published in The Nation, John Ross writes:
“The building that houses the Congress in this city’s grand Zócalo Plaza is ringed by two-meter-tall grilled metal barriers soldered together apparently to thwart a suicide car bomb attack. Behind this metal wall, 3,000 visored robocops ‑ the Federal Preventive Police (PFP, a police force drawn from the army) ‑ and members of the elite Estado Mayor, or presidential military command, form a second line of defense. Armed with tear gas launchers, water cannons and reportedly light tanks, this force has been assigned to protect law and order and the institutions of the republic against left-wing mobs that threaten to storm the Legislative Palace ‑ or so the president informs his fellow citizens in repeated messages on national television”. (The Nation, 25 August)
Under these circumstances, it is necessary to avoid falling into provocations. But it is one thing to advise the masses to avoid senseless violence and disorderly clashes with the police and army, which would only provide the authorities with an excuse to launch a campaign of bloody repression. It is another, quite different, thing to create the illusion that the bourgeois state can be defeated by passive resistance alone. The movement must take steps to defend itself. The elements of popular resistance already exist in embryonic form. It is necessary to begin serious and systematic preparations for a people’s militia, ready and able to defend the camps and protect demonstrations against armed provocations.
At the centre of the whole equation is the conduct of the army. In the last analysis, the outcome of the struggle will be determined by this question. The army consists of young workers and peasants in uniform. Will they allow themselves to be used by the bosses’ state to crush the people?
Both sides have appealed to the army. In a pre-recorded speech to the nation on the night of his confirmation, Calderón went out of his way to praise the Mexican military as one of the nation’s most cherished institutions. He is clearly preparing to use the military to evict tens of thousands of demonstrators who are encamped in the capital. For his part, López Obrador has often called upon the generals not to allow the army to be utilized in a political conflict against his people. Will this appeal find an echo or not? That is the question.
In any army there are different layers. There is a layer of backward and declassed elements – a minority of thugs and potential fascists – ready for any act of barbarism. At the other end of the spectrum there is a minority of soldiers who are potential or actual revolutionists. The former would be prepared to fire on unarmed civilians. But most ordinary soldiers would be horrified at such a prospect. They sympathise with the mass movement and would be willing to come over to the side of the revolution. But for this to happen, it is necessary that they see that the masses are determined to go all the way.
The police are always more backward than the army, although even in the police there are different layers. They have attacked demonstrators and beaten people mercilessly; they have fired smoke bombs and hit at unarmed protestors with their batons. PRD deputies have been assaulted. Police water tanks have been deployed in the streets surrounding the Congress building and hundreds of federal police patrol the streets of the capital. In Oaxaca the police and paramilitary forces at their services have behaved with even greater violence.
Marxists do not advocate violence. We agree that a peaceful transfer of power to the working class would be highly desirable. But we have also studied history and learnt a few lessons. The main lesson that the history of the class struggle teaches us is this: that no privileged class ever surrenders its power and privileges without a struggle. The ruling class must be disarmed. That is the only way to prevent violence and bloodshed. But that is only possible on condition that the masses are armed and mobilized for the revolutionary transformation of society. The Romans used to say: “si pacem vis para bellum”: if you desire peace, prepare for war. That is very good advice!
The lessons of Oaxaca
The marvellous movement of the masses of Oaxaca posed a direct threat to the ruling class. But the authorities did not dare to stage a direct attack as they did on June 14. Any attempt to crush the popular uprising by force would lead to a complete explosion. Instead they resorted to selective clandestine operations by hired assassins and police thugs. An article signed by Diego Enrique Osorno explains how the governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruíz, is organizing gangs of armed thugs to crush the movement:
“In addition to hired gunmen, troops from the State Ministerial Police, the Federal Preventive Police and the local municipal police are all involved in implementing ‘Operation Clean-Up.’ A Mexican Army deserter by the name of Aristeo López Martínez is, working out of a municipal office, one of the principal participants in this operation inspired by the ‘Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare’ manual, written by the CIA in the 1980s for the Nicaraguan ‘contras’ in their war against the democratic government of that country.
“In two meetings with other police officials, López Martínez has invoked this counterinsurgency document, which maintains that the battlefield is ‘the minds of the population,’ both those of the enemy and of ‘our troops.’
“The ‘manual’ is full of mostly illegal acts of recklessness. Among the recommended tactics the practice of selective killings through the hiring of criminals; infiltration of the insurgency for the purposes of sabotage is another.” (The Narco News Bulletin, 28 August, 2006)
These armed gangs have already committed acts of murder and sabotage. Faced with the organized violence of the state, the people have the right to defend themselves. In Oaxaca, the APPO has formed a “teachers’ police” which has evolved into a highly disciplined, efficient, and popularly controlled self-defence force, capable of going on the offensive if necessary. That is the way to proceed!
The situation in Oaxaca is not unique: the same basic problems exist in every state in Mexico. Similar insurrectionary movements will inevitably erupt in other parts of the country. The example of a workers’ militia in Oaxaca should be copied, developed and extended to every other area. The popular militia should be organized on democratic lines and closely linked to the workplaces, the local areas, the trade unions, the local branches of the PRD and other popular organizations.
Such a policy has nothing to do with the adventurist tactics of terrorism and urban guerrillaism, which must be firmly rejected. The authorities are attempting to discredit the popular assemblies by linking them (falsely) to groups like the EPR. The same mendacious accusation has been levelled against the Mexican Marxist tendency, Militante.
The tactics of individual terrorism (and urban guerrillaism, which is only another name for the same thing) are completely alien to the working class and Marxism. They constitute a real danger to the mass movement, because of the risk of infiltration by agents provocateurs. The bourgeois state is trying to provoke bloody clashes to provide an excuse to crush the mass movement by force. The danger is that impatient sections of the youth might fall into such provocations, which must be avoided at all costs. But the only way to prevent the youth from moving towards this kind of adventurism is precisely the establishment of a real mass militia movement under the control of the working class and its organizations.
The formation of a people’s militia linked to the Popular Assemblies and other organs of revolutionary democracy is an urgent question. The need to defend the camps and demonstrations flows from the movement itself, and is only justified as an integral part of the mass revolutionary movement.
Popular assemblies spreading
The decisive question is the establishment of organs of revolutionary power (“soviets”) in every state. The movement for the establishment of Popular Assemblies is spreading rapidly throughout Mexico. On Friday, 1 September, the fifth Oaxaca Mega-March called by the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca gathered more than 300,000 as estimated by Las Noticias. The crowd crossed into the centre of the city and finished its lively march by setting down their effigies of the governor in the Zocalo. One hung upside down from a dustbin.
From the Zocalo bandstand the leader of Section 22 of the teacher’s union, Enrique Rueda Pacheco, used the celebrated slogan of Che Guevara, “hasta la victoria siempre,“ when he affirmed that Oaxaca would fight until victory. More significantly, he said that they will fight on the national stage for a people’s government.
“We have a national movement,” he said. “We call for national unity, including the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), the Zapatistas, and all the nation.” But he made it clear that that the APPO has no link to armed groups: “We have no link, no relationship and no coordination with any armed guerilla organization… we respect all forms of struggle; people participate in their own ways.”
Also present were people from Michoacán who will be holding their third Popular Assembly on September 9, and according to Rueda, stand ready for the national struggle. The same idea for a nationwide struggle was echoed by other speakers, including the leader of the Federation of Democratic Labor Unions and Organizations of Oaxaca (FSODO).
This is a most important development, and one that must urgently be taken up and put into practice. Popular Assemblies must be formed at every level: in every town and city, every popular neighbourhood and every village. In the factories and mines also, the workers should elect representatives to factory committees: the students and school students should do likewise. These democratic committees of struggle must be linked up at local, district, regional and state level. Finally, they should come together at national level, to form a genuinely democratic Popular Assembly of all Mexico: a revolutionary people‘s government.
The movement has not ended!
Lenin pointed out long ago that there are four conditions for a revolutionary situation: 1) the ruling class should be split and in crisis, 2) the middle class should be vacillating between the bourgeoisie and the working class, 3) the masses should be prepared to fight and make the greatest sacrifices to take power and 4) a revolutionary party and leadership that is prepared to lead the working class to the conquest of power. In Mexico at the present time all these factors are in existence except the last.
The proclamation of Calderon as President of Mexico is not the end of the matter, but it ushers in a new stage in the revolutionary movement. The opposing classes are moving towards a decisive showdown. This is understood by the strategists of imperialism. The Los Angeles Times (3 Sep.) quoted Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, a Mexico expert for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, as saying:
“The question becomes, is Mexico on the brink of political crisis? And you could say after Friday that it’s entered that realm. There doesn’t seem to be a willingness to negotiate or compromise… It’s like two trains on a head-on collision course.” (my emphasis, AW)
Fox’s term ends 1 December. Between then and now the storm of agitation will continue, with ebbs and flows. The final outcome is impossible to predict with certainty. There are many flashpoints in the immediate period. On 15 September, the eve of Mexican Independence Day, President Fox intends to deliver the traditional “grito” of “Viva Mexico!” from the balcony of the National Palace overlooking the Zócalo. AMLO’s supporters have vowed not to yield the plaza and to proclaim their own grito to the nation on that day.
Another flashpoint will come on 16 September, when a major military parade will be staged to commemorate the 196th anniversary of Mexico’s liberation from Spain. López Obrador has summoned as many as one million delegates from all over the country to converge on the Zócalo that day for a “National Democratic Convention” that is expected to declare a “government in resistance”.
Calderon will probably combine repression with bribes to buy off PRD leaders. Fox’s attorney general, Carlos Abascal, has already warned López Obrador that if he forms a parallel government, he could be tried for usurpation of powers, a crime that carries a long prison sentence. The PRD is being threatened with the loss of its electoral registration for preventing Fox from delivering his State of the Union address. But, as in the past, such threats will only succeed in angering the masses still further and boosting support for the PRD and AMLO.
It is possible that the Mexican ruling elite will decide to remove Lopez Obrador from the scene by more permanent means if he refuses to back down. Alongside electoral fraud and corruption, assassination is a traditional weapon in the armoury of the Mexican ruling class, as was the case with Emiliano Zapata and Francisco Madero.
Whatever happens, Mexico will never be the same again. If the PAN clings to power, the government will be very unstable. It will be shaken by crises and splits, and probably will not last its full term. Mexican society is now profoundly divided on class lines. The polarization will continue to grow, creating big possibilities for the Marxist tendency.
To his credit, Lopez Obrador has stood firm and called for the establishment of a parallel government. But he has not said precisely how such a government could be set up. In the past he has said that his supporters could continue the current street protests for years if necessary.
“With all certainty we can say that we are prepared to resist however long it takes. We could be here for years if the situation requires it!” Obrador declares. But this is not possible. It is essential that the mass movement advances continuously, conquering one position after another. A revolution that does not take the offensive is doomed. It is therefore necessary to work out a strategy with clearly defined aims at each stage, and that every step is in the direction of taking power.
By its very nature a situation of dual power cannot last long. Sooner or later the contradiction must be resolved – one way or the other. Either the workers and peasants will overthrow the old power and take power into their own hands, or else in the end the old power will re-establish itself and liquidate the embryonic organs of workers‘ power. No third way is possible.
The Mexican ruling class is split and in crisis, but it still holds in its hands the state apparatus and all the other levers of power. The masses are on the streets and are establishing the embryonic forms of a new state power. The old order is tottering, but refuses to die. The new order is struggling to be born. That is the essence of the situation. In order to solve this contradiction, determined and far-sighted leadership is necessary. But that is just what is lacking.
Some of the strategists of Capital would probably prefer to hand power to Lopez Obrador, to send the masses to learn a hard lesson in the school of reformism. But the majority have decided to dig their heels in. They fear that Lopez Obrador will not be able to control the masses and that a PRD government would be under pressure to go further than it intends. The paralysing of Mexican society for a few months is an inconvenience to them. But it is also a problem for the masses. The workers and their families must eat. Society cannot exist in a state of paralysis forever. Sooner or later, the central contradiction must be resolved.
So far, Lopez Obrador has continued to maintain the struggle. However, he is under immense pressure. Lacking a revolutionary perspective, the petty bourgeois leaders of the PRD will inevitably tend to hesitate, vacillate and compromise with the enemy.
We will naturally place demands on the leadership and urge them to go forward. If they take even half a step forward, we will say: “Very good! Now let us advance further!” If they take a step back, we will criticise and expose them before the masses, who wish to fight and not to compromise. Only in this way can we carry the movement forward, while simultaneously educating the masses and attracting the most revolutionary elements to our side. There is no other way.
Unfortunately, there are indications that a section of the PRD leaders are beginning to take fright of the mass movement they have conjured up, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Goethe’s famous ballad. They have called into being forces they cannot control. A section of the most corrupt leaders will eventually join Calderon. This will provoke a crisis in the PRD. The rank and file will demand the expulsion of the bourgeois elements in the leadership. It is time to purge the PRD of alien elements: corrupt bureaucrats and bourgeois infiltrators from the PRI!
The Marxists call for a national delegate conference, to which every Popular Assembly can send elected delegates. That would really be a parallel national government – not just in words but in deeds. The proposed National Democratic Convention on September 16, Mexico’s Independence Day, could be the beginning of a real revolutionary challenge. But the PRD leaders have made it an open gathering: that is to say, a mass rally.
A mass rally is not a revolutionary government: it is just a mass rally and nothing more. But in the past few months the workers and peasants have attended many mass rallies. The movement cannot be sustained indefinitely by always repeating the same tactics. It is like running on the same spot without advancing. Sooner or later the masses will get tired of all these speeches and rallies. They will ask themselves: where is all this leading? It is not possible to maintain the masses in a state of white heat indefinitely, without showing a way out of the impasse.
Lopez Obrador wishes to use the masses to pressurise the bourgeoisie into making concessions. That is the real meaning of “passive civil disobedience”. The mass movement is making the normal functioning of society impossible. He hopes that the ruling class will be frightened into giving him what he wants. But this is a miscalculation.
As time drags on with no clear result, tiredness and disappointment will set in. If there is no clear solution, the movement will eventually subside and the bourgeoisie will take back control. There will be a general feeling of disappointment and the mass movement will ebb once more – at least for a time. However, on a capitalist basis no solution is possible for the workers and peasants of Mexico. There will be new crises, strikes, and uprisings. In the meantime, it is necessary to build the revolutionary Marxist tendency in the PRD, the unions and the youth.
The programme advocated by the comrades of El Militante in Mexico is the only one that can guarantee the ultimate success of the movement. It is the programme of a workers’ government, based on socialist policies:
“Only through these measures can we strengthen and consolidate a workers’ government. But the CND must also be very clear on the following point: that all of this struggle, all this effort, will only result in improved conditions of life for the exploited of the country if we carry through a radical change in the economy: a call for the nationalization of the large multinational industries and banks must be made if there is to be a genuine redistribution of wealth. These factories and banks would have to be put under the control of the new state, under the direction and administration of the workers themselves.
“We cannot allow this struggle to reduce itself to yet another parliament – this would simply be more of the same; that is to say, a space dominated by the nefarious PRI/PAN alliance which only approves the laws that benefit them. This struggle must be converted into a decisive struggle against capitalism – the struggle for a better society, for socialism.”
>>>For daily updates, please see the Militante Mexico website (in Spanish).
- Mexico after the Electoral Tribunal’s decision to confirm Calderon as president by Militante Mexico (7 Sep. 2006)
- URGENT APPEAL: Mexican Marxists come under attack by In Defence of Marxism (1 Sep. 2006)
- What attitude should APPO take towards the National Democratic Convention? by Militante (1 Sep. 2006)
- Oaxaca: The spearhead of the Mexican Revolution by John Peterson (31 Aug. 2006)
- Mexico: Mass protests against electoral fraud acquires insurrectionary proportions by Erik Demeester (30 Aug. 2006)
- 1.5 million people march in Mexico against electoral fraud by In Defence of Marxism (17 Jul. 2006)
- Protest Stephen Harper’s recognition of Calderon by Fightback (12 Jul. 2006)
- To defeat electoral fraud in Mexico — call a general strike! by In Defence of Marxism (11 Jul. 2006)
- Lopez Obrador challenges Mexican election results by Rob Lyon (11 Jul. 2006)
- Mexico: Mobilize the masses and call a general strike to stop the electoral fraud by the editorial board of Militante Mexico (5 Jul. 2006)