Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move

Jose Luiz Hernandez Ayala *

The overwhelming electoral triumph of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) -no less than 53 percent of the vote, mostly in the chambers of deputies and senators, at least five of nine governors at stake and countless state congresses, mayorships and councilmen-, expresses the popular fury against a corrupt oligarchic regime, due to the insecurity resulting from the infernal internal war, supposedly, against organized crime and social inequality.

In fact, these elections became a great national plebiscite against neoliberal policies and a rotting political regime.

The two traditional bourgeois parties – the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the National Action Party and their minor partner the Democratic Revolution Party – have received a blunt and humiliating blow. Ricardo Anaya, candidate of the PAN-PRD-Movimiento Ciudadano coalition, received only about 22.52% and José Antonio Meade, candidate of the PRI and two satellite parties, round 16%. These parties, worn out by strong confrontations between the PRI and the PAN, will surely face new internal divisions, ruptures and greater discredit. The ruling class is facing a strong dilemma: try to refound these discredited instruments of domination or invent others.

Intensive division in the elites

This division of the parties on the right, and within them, is a reflection of great conflicts existing within the oligarchy. The strongest conflict was unleashed by the loot of the neoliberal reforms carried out by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, including the privatization of the oil industry, but there are also contradictions between the sectors most linked to the domestic market and the large exporting groups. even for his discontent over the high degree of corruption of the current ruling group. This bourgeois division was the breeding ground that led the support of a business sector to the candidacy of López Obrador and the rest resigned to accept it as the lesser evil.

The great oligarchic power has lost a battle, but not the war. They have been forced to respect the popular will because they know that it was not enough for them to fraud and they wanted to awaken the tiger by ignoring or violating the electoral process.

They know that losing Executive and Legislative power is not losing all Power. They still have control of the high command of the armed forces, the judiciary (especially of a Supreme Court of Justice willing to defend the “legitimacy” of the neoliberal reforms), the high career bureaucracy in all the ministries, the corporate apparatuses, the Church, the media and, above all, enormous economic power.

At first the oligarchy will try to ingratiate itself with the new government, court it and even be willing to change a little so that nothing changes, they will infiltrate (they have already done so) the new party in power and the presidential cabinet to contain, from within, any real change effort that affects their interests and, if all else fails, they will promote a media war and even the coup threat.

The electoral pragmatism that led AMLO to agree with right-wing parties such as the Social Encounter Party (PES) or open candidacies and doors for Morena to defectors of the PRI, PAN and PRD, served to defeat the centenary apparatus of PRI domination, but it is It is completely wrong to think what, in this way, an authentic transition to democracy can be achieved. There are objectives, such as investigating and punishing the enormous corruption in Pemex or auditing the public debt, completely unacceptable to the oligarchy and there is no alternative but to appeal to the popular mobilization to achieve them.

Possibilities and limits of the new regime

To begin the measures you have announced against corruption and waste (reduce to half the salaries of high public officials and eradicate all kinds of privileges, do not steal, sell the fleet of government aircraft and use commercial airlines , eliminate millionaire advertising expenses, review government contracts and concessions and punish bad management, cancel the unpopular and millionaire pension to former presidents, etc.), are points that are able to meet and that would have a great impact on Public opinion.

The central problem of raising minimum and contractual wages is another promise that can be made. The low wages of the Mexican working class are not caused by a supposed “low productivity”, as we have been led to believe, it is a state decision to defend an economic model based on offering cheap labor to transnational companies. This point is one of the most controversial issues in the current renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), where the governments of Trump, Trudeau and the unions of the United States and Canada, pressure Mexico to raise salaries of Its workers are ten times smaller than their counterparts. Even in Mexico, the Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX) has demanded the raising of the minimum wage to strengthen the domestic market. Of course, the employers will not be willing to let wages recover their historical level of 1976, but there are economic and political conditions to press for better wages and this is something that trade unionists should take advantage of.

The proposals to double the pension of senior citizens, extend it nationally and include the disabled, in addition to creating scholarships for all young people, are assistance measures that can be created immediately, another thing is to know if they can be sustained with the current income of the state or will have to charge higher taxes to large fortunes.

The repeal of the “educational reform”, which has not been generalized by the heroic struggle of resistance of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, is an almost a fact, it costs nothing and does provide enormous political benefit among the million 300 thousand members of the teachers’ union.

As part of the fight against corruption and to dismantle one of the basic pillars of the PRI domination system, it is possible that López Obrador tries to build a new relationship with the working class based on agreeing with new union leaders and peasants and not with the charrismo or the caciques of the field controlled by the PRI. This point is crucial so that the working class can recover its democracy and independence, this is the moment that the trade union movement and the independent peasant centrals, should initiate an offensive to regroup and launch an offensive to recover the organizations that are now under control of gangsters or organizing the millions of workers who lack organization.

Another objective that can be fulfilled, this one of greater importance, is to initiate a process of pacification of the country. This could be solved by ending, openly and sharply, with the state’s conspiracy with the criminal gangs; ceasing military protection to the trade and production of narcotics; the army returned to the barracks; clarifying the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa and legalizing the consumption of marijuana.

It is completely true, and in this we agree many groups of the anti-capitalist left, that there are many other demands that the new government of López Obrador can only resolve if he dares to face the voracity of the bosses and rely on social mobilization. Investigate, to its ultimate consequences, the corruptions of previous governments; take down the energy reform that privatized electricity and oil; cancel the construction of the new airport on Lake Texcoco and other megaprojects that threaten the environment; conduct an audit of public and private debt; convene a new constituent to repeal the neoliberal reforms in labor, education, security, etc., are some of them. The best way to give strength to these demands is by making them the flags of broad social movements and not by shouting screams from small groups.

We are facing a new political cycle that opens new and far-reaching challenges for the anti-capitalist left: neither the ultra-left criticism nor the follow-up to the new government are the alternative. We must build a left pole that, without sectarianism, offers an authentic alternative proposal of democratic transition and break with neoliberal policies.

Finally, I believe that the anti-capitalist left should be happy, and not bitter as it is for many people and organizations, that, finally, the outdated and almost centenary regime of PRI domination has received this deadly blow.

(*) Leader of the Syndicate of electricians of Mexico and the Coordinadora Socialista Revolucionaria

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