|Issue No 62||14 July 2000|
Letters to the Editor
Mexican Greens - A Different Analysis
I was most surprised at the analysis given by the Greens MLC, Lee Rhiannon of the Mexican election. PAN a "left leaning" party? I'm afraid not.
See article below for a very different and more informed point of view.
Here is analysis of Mexican election results from US CWI section. Stephen Jolly, Socialist Party
Preliminary results of the Mexican elections gave the victory - after 71 years in power, 50 years as being the main agent of imperialism and 12 years of crisis of the PRI - to the main, conservative, opposition party.
The fact that Vicente Fox is a former high executive of Coca-Cola is more than symbolic. The PAN has emerged as the main tool of imperialism and Fox victory was greeted by the international markets, big business and both the Democrats and Republicans as the greatest thing on earth since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
But it would be shallow thinking just to interpret this election as the biggest victory of imperialism ever in Mexico. The crisis of the PRI initiated 12 years ago precipitated the need for imperialism and the Mexican bourgeoisie to change horses and privilege the PAN as its main agent in the area. The PAN tamed his "catholic" roots and integrated many cadre from the PRI and its program today - on fundamental issues - is not that different from the PRI's. But the fact that the PRI lost the election effectively ended the one-party regime and opens up a period of political instability in Mexico and most likely of an upsurge of the class struggle.
Fox has announced an aggressive policy of defense of NAFTA and the demolition of the remaining barriers for imperialist penetration in the country - barriers that were significantly lowered during the last three PRI's presidencies.
The victory of Fox will have an effect in the class struggle in Mexico. Will encourage strikes, demonstrations and peasants struggles since the tombstone of the PRI machinery was lifted and the mass movement is now freer to pursue democratic demands with more effectiveness.
Some of the side effects of the PAN's victory is that the "official" links between most unions and peasants organizations with the PRI will be tremendously weakened or even demolished in the next period. The tradition of building independent unions and peasant's organizations will certainly accelerate. Together with that will come the demands of the different sectors. The one-party regime - modified 20 years ago but still in existence until Zedillo took power - is gone. This is an incredible advantage for the mass movement and if anything - the traditions of the Mexican proletariat and the mass movement - will re-emerge in this new situation.
The tremendous defeat of the PRD - which won the elections in 1988 but failed to take power - is just the retarded effect of that betrayal. Yesterday, while Cuahtemoc Cardenas was codemning the victory of Fox - and saying that what happened was a "disgrace" for Mexico - half of the leadership of the PRD were with Fox celebrating his victory. This will bring the possibility of a big split in the PRD and an increase in its left's opposition to the new government. The fact that the PRD won again in the Capital, Mexico City, if not of little importance.
One thing that Cuahtemoc "forgot" to mention yesterday in his interviews with the media is that an year ago he proposed a comon electoral front with the PAN and only retreated from it when it was evident that he would not be the candidate of such a front. Over one million PRD votes shifted sides and voted for the PAN candidate yesterday. Maybe another million or so of PRD followers voted for all the lists of the PAN. After all, they were educated by Cuahtemoc and the PRD - and the left - that the most important thing was to defeat the PRI, independently of what or who would do such a thing. The left accompannied this capitulation by ceasing any independent activity since 1988 and supporting the PRD uncritically and finally dissolving themselves in the bourgeois party.
One sector of the PRD will go to collaborate witht he new government - another will increase its opposition.
What the PRI will do now when it is the opposition is of much relevance as well. An split in the PRI will be on the agenda from tomorrow. The different wings of the bureaucracy, the tradeunions and the popular sectors controlled by the PRI will re-assemble and re-aligned. There are already talks of an agreement between the PRI and the PAN to govern together (Fox announced a government to include all other parties). But any agreement with a sector of the PRI will bring decisive divisions with the "Mapaches" or hard liners and other sectors to the left of the center-right wing of the party which is the only capable of reachign an agreement with the PAN.
Many things in this front will depend on what the PAN does with three issues: a) the administrative corruption at all levels of government institutionalized by the PRI in 71 years in power. If the PAN does attack this corruption, even in a tokenist way, that will trigger huge conflicts. There are hundreds of thousands of public employees and bureaucrats involved and over 1-Million people enjoyed well-paid patronage jobs in Mexico; b) the relationship between the PRI and the drug cartels. This is not exlcusive of the PRI, though. The PAN administrations, particularly in the North of the country had been involved on this relationship as well but they are junior partners compared with the PRI.; c) What the PAN would do in relationship with the unions and peasant/popular organizations tied to the PRI. If it leaves the class struggle to decide its fate, it can re-direct some of these forces to consolidate its power. If it attacks those ties head on will encounter a lot of resistance and will force significant sectors of the PRI to go on the offensive against the new government.
Few weeks before the elections, the remnants of the one time powerful PRT (the USEC section, now reduced to a hundred or so members) and of the POS (the remaining couple of dozen members of the party created by the LIT decades ago) formed a coalition to run a symbolic, unofficial presidential campaign. Too little, too late. The PRT and the POS were destroyed in a decade of political zigzags that included the capitualtion to the PRD, the Zapatistas and lost most of their members to those forces. The POS was also further destroyed with the crisis in the LIT(CI) in 1988, just in the verge of that year's gigantic political and economic crisis. The PRT - who once claimed thousands of members, was also destroyed before the presidential elections in 1988 when its National Committee and most of their main cadre deserted "in masse" to the PRD and became - for a while - even cadre of that organization.
The rest of the left is in no better shape. The PSUM - the Stalinist party and the PMT (a nationalist left wing party) and other big organizations dissolve themselves in 1988 and integrated themselves to the PRD of Cuahtemoc. After the betrayal of the PRD in 1988, many of the cadre of the left emigrated to the Zapatistas furthering the fragmentation and destruction of 60 years of left wing traditions in Mexico. They are today mere appendices of the PRD or the Zapatistas. The EZLN that could have filled the vacuum left by the PRD betrayal in 1988, also crystallized in a regional and isolated movement and lost most of its potential of evolving into a new national left wing formation.
The next year or so will be decisive in the political life of Mexico.
Moreover, this situation in Mexico will have tremendous implications for socialists' political work in the United States especially in California and New Mexico and cities like Chicago and New York.
Interview: Fair Trader
AMWU boss Doug Cameron is gearing for a showdown with the ALP over their free trade agenda. But what's he really on about?
Politics: Free Trader
Trade Minister Peter Cook states his case for coninuting trade liberalisation and why the 'fair trade' agenda is against the interests of Australian workers.
History: Organising - Fifties Style
What do the new wave of organisers do? Pretty much the same hard slog that Audrey Petrie did in the 1950s around Sydney for the Hotel, Club and Restaurant Union (HCRU).
Unions: The Whistleblower
A lone Chinese seafarer is fighting to stop a Panamanian flagged vessel from dumping toxic waste into Australian waters
International: Jakarta Breakthrough
Indonesian workers have just won a new historic bill of rights which gaurantees them legal protections when they form unions.
Solidarity: Rio Versus the Rest of the World
Union members around the world have taken part in a week of international action against the mining giant Rio Tinto. Andrew Casey looks at all the hot spots.
Satire: Amnesty Branch Targets Lazy Letter Writer
Police are investigating claims that the Glebe branch of Amnesty International has captured and tortured a member whose tardiness in letter writing had become renowned.
Review: Little by Little
Clinton Walker's groundbreaking book, CD and video charts the careers of indigenous artists like the legendary Jimmy Little.
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