The Internationalist  
  May 2012  

Not One Vote for Any of the Bosses’ Parties!

Mexico Electoral Farce 2012:
Militarization and Anti-Worker Attacks

No to the PRI-PAN Rotation and the “Loving Republic” of López Obrador
Forge a Revolutionary Workers Party!

Caravan of the Federal Police in Ciudad Juárez, 15 January 2010. Now the entire population of Juárez
is demanding the withdrawal of federal forces.
(Photo: AP)

The following article is translated from a supplement to El Internacionalista distributed in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Oaxaca on May Day 2012.

With two months to go until the July 1 presidential elections, the candidates are inundating us with countless radio and television ads whose blandness contrasts with the brutal reality of life in this country. The six-year term (sexenio) of president Felipe Calderón, of the clerical-reactionary National Action Party (PAN), is nearing its end with a balance sheet of 60,000 violent deaths, unprecedented militarization, real unemployment of around nine million jobless and a record-setting pace of attacks on the working class, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in half a century. Moreover, large sections of the country are a literal war zone, a war that the government is not winning.

In this generalized mood of exasperation, the polls have Enrique Peña Nieto, candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) leading by a wide margin. Tied for a distant second place are Josefina Vásquez Mota of the PAN and Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known in Mexico by his initials AMLO) of the “Progressive Movement.” The latter is a coalition of the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD), the Labor Party (PT)[1], the Citizens Movement and the Movement of National Regeneration (MORENA, López Obrador’s “non-party” organization). However, in the tense political atmosphere the bourgeoisie fears that any spark could ignite the tinder of discontent. Above all, the three main bourgeois candidates seek to avoid a social explosion with unpredictable consequences.

Vásquez Mota, whose campaign staff is full of clerical-fascistic and far-right elements, presents herself as Calderón’s second term. Peña Nieto, with the savage repression of the inhabitants of San Salvador Atenco[2] as his calling card, flaunts his ability to impose heavy-handed bourgeois order. For his part, López Obrador, with his talk of “love of the family ... love of the fatherland” seeks to “lovingly” reconcile the exploited with the exploiters. The differences between the candidates boil down to different proportions of the carrot and the stick each proposes.

Two six-year presidential terms ago, the Mexican left, heir to the Stalinist-Menshevik perspective of “two-stage revolution,” foresaw a “democratic revolution” which it identified with the replacement of the PRI in the federal government. Faced with this “democratic” line of argument, many leftist voters chose to cast a “useful vote” for the ultra-reactionary Vicente Fox of the PAN in 2000. The bourgeoisie, on the other hand, hoped to dismantle the old, expensive corporatist apparatus, and replace it with repressive mechanisms more typical of Latin American “democracies,” particularly it was no longer able to give even some crumbs to the workers.

Twelve years of the “rotation” in power have not brought the “democratization” that many had hoped from the displacement of the PRI from the federal executive. In these elections, as the bosses know full well, the workers and the oppressed have no one to represent them. In any event, the workers and oppressed cannot advance toward their emancipation by means of this farcical bourgeois political game. Not one vote for bourgeois parties and politicians!

Mexico is a semi-colony of U.S. imperialism. Besides being a country of belated capitalist development, it has the particular feature of sharing a 2,000-mile border with the imperialist superpower. Economically as well as politically, the Mexican bourgeoisie is completely subordinate to its imperialist masters. Despite having experienced three major social revolutions, democratic rights remain just ink on paper. A century after the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-17, the land still is not in the hands of those who work it. We need a new revolution: the next Mexican revolution will be a working-class socialist revolution, or it will not be.

So how do we get there? First of all, we need to fight for complete class independence from the politicians and parties of the bosses, to build the indispensable instrument for bringing about a proletarian revolution: the revolutionary party of the working class. The aim of the Grupo Internacionalista is to forge the nucleus of this proletarian party on the foundation of Leon Trotsky’s theory and program of permanent revolution. Permanent Revolution came from Trotsky’s analysis of Russian revolution of 1905, confirmed by the revolutions of 1917. In economically backward and imperialist-dominated countries, he wrote, to resolve even the most elementary democratic tasks requires the seizure of power by the working class at the head of all the oppressed, which will immediately find itself obliged to undertake socialist measures and extend the revolution internationally. This was what happened in the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, led by Lenin and Trotsky.

What with its occasionally nationalist and “anti-neoliberal” rhetoric, the PRD – just like the PRI and PAN – represents the interests of sectors of the national bourgeoisie.* Andrés Manuel López Obrador stands for capitalism “with a human face,” seeking to chain the working class to its exploiters under the rubric of “national unity” against a (never identified) venal “oligarchy.” The disastrous role of the bourgeois popular front which he heads was seen clearly in the defeat of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) under Calderón’s assault. Instead of mobilizing the power of the working class in a proletarian counteroffensive, the heads of the “independent” unions (Martín Esparza of the SME, Agustín Rodríguez of the National University Workers [STUNAM], Francisco Hernández Juárez of the Telephone Workers [STRM]) did everything possible to limit the mobilizations to bourgeois pressure politics, and channeled the workers’ anger into AMLO’s electoral campaign.

On the other hand, the corporatist “unions” climbed aboard the Calderón bandwagon without hesitation. The SUTERM, the corporatist instrument which regiments electrical workers of the Federal Electricity Commission, even provided scabs for Calderón’s attack on the SME.

The repressive bent of the coming government will not be only because Peña Nieto or Vázquez Mota is in charge. AMLO has announced that the former rector of the National University (UNAM), Juan Ramón de la Fuente, and the current mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, will serve in his cabinet as ministers of education and interior. De la Fuente put an end to the UNAM strike of 1999-2000 with a massive incursion of the Federal Preventive Police into the Ciudad Universitaria campus and the arrest of almost 1,000 strikers. Ebrard, for his part, has amended the labor laws of the Federal District to reinforce the bosses’ iron control over union organizations, while attacking the SUTIEMS, which organizes teachers and clerical workers in Mexico City preparatory schools, and the SUTUACM, the union of the workers at the Autonomous University of Mexico City.

The Calderón Years: Hunger and Death

Electrical workers of the SME protesting in front of the headquarters of Central Light and Power during
the national work-stoppage, 11 November 2009. The defeat of the SME at the hands of the ferociously
 anti-worker government landed a heavy blow against the whole Mexican working class. The union
leadership at first tried to pressure the authorities of the capitalist state, and then derailed the struggle
in support of the AMLO popular front in the elections.
(PHoto: David Rodríguez/El Universal

Perhaps the most notable aspect of Calderón’s term won’t even be the economic disaster he has generated. Huge swaths of the country are effectively under the control of drug-trafficking cartels. From the Tierra Caliente of Guerrero and Michoacán, to the “Golden Triangle” of Sinaloa and Durango, to Tamaulipas, the armed forces and the various police agencies maintain a massive, but largely token presence.

Last September, in the middle of Boca del Río, Veracruz, a band of assassins dumped 35 corpses onto an important avenue. Similar scenes have unfolded in Guadalajara, where this past March 9 two dozen avenues were blockaded with burning trucks and buses, in response to the capture of an alleged capo. One of these blockades took place just a few blocks away from the Social Sciences and Humanities campus of the University of Guadalajara.

The daily life of millions of people throughout the country has been radically disrupted by Calderón’s militarist campaign. Since the electoral fraud that put him in the presidency in 2006, he has sought to remedy his political weakness with a show of armed force. Dressing up in fatigues and a military cap, he launched a “war on drug trafficking.” Today, more than 50,000 military personnel are deployed in this war throughout the country. The Federal Police [formed in response to the 1999-2000 National University strike) grew from 15,000 in 2006 to 40,000 in 2012, and many state police forces have grown proportionally.

The militarization of the country serves the needs of U.S. imperialism, which uses the “war on drugs” to enforce its control over its Latin American “backyard.” Through the Mérida Initiative, a plan for military collaboration between the U.S. and Mexican governments signed in 2008, vast resources have been funneled into Mexican military and police units. The presence of the army, the marines, and the federal Police has become part of the daily life in Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Veracruz, Durango, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Michoacán and Guerrero. The result of Calderón’s assault is brutal: in addition to the 60,000 dead, over a million and a half people have been driven from their homes.

The themes of “security” and militarization have predictably become the center of gravity of the 2012 election campaigns. And on this point, all the capitalist parties and politicians – of the PAN, PRI and PRD, as well as of the minor bourgeois formations (Greens, PT, Convergencia, etc.) support the repressive forces of capital. Of course Josefina Vázquez Mota has promised to continue the disastrous strategy of Calderón. Enrique Peña Nieto has promised to increase drastically the size of the armed forces and federal police.

Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE marches on 25 November 2011 against the repression of 2006 and in
defense of free public education. In spite of the boldness of the Oaxaca teachers, the union leadership
gives implicit support to the AMLO popular front. They did the same in 2006, in spite of the PRD’s support
for the assassin-governor of Oaxaca, Ruiz Ortiz.
(Photo: Sección XXII, SNTE-CNTE)

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for his part, proposes, under the slogan of “hugs not bullets,” (abrazos no balazos), to create a new federal police force, “efficient, disciplined, honest, and really engaged with society” which would “gradually take over the functions that are now carried out by the army and Marines.” What this means is continuing Calderón’s militarist strategy, but with a police force trained in “techniques of excellence in police work.” What exactly is “excellence” in a police force, the institution responsible for forcibly maintaining the interests of the bourgeoisie?

A justified outcry has arisen against Calderón’s militarization. After the murder of his son in Cuernavaca last year, the poet Javier Sicilia has become the focal point of a “Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity.” Sicilia pleads with the state to “do its job.” But this is precisely what the state is doing: the business of the state is not in “protecting the population,” but in defending the regime of the ruling class. Thus, we insist that the only alternative to militarization is a struggle to sweep away the bourgeois state with workers revolution.

Last fall we wrote that the “war on drugs” is a war “against the poor and for the subjugation of Mexico to U.S. imperialism” (“México: Contra la militarización, revolución obrera,” El Internacionalista supplement, October 2011). Therefore, we insist that it is necessary to eliminate all laws that prohibit or regulate the use, production or sale of drugs: it is not the state’s business to determine what an individual does with his or her own body. We added that “[a]t moments of intensified class struggle, revolutionary communists call for the formation of workers self-defense groups, a slogan that is absent from the propaganda of the opportunist leftists who partake in the movement ‘against violence.” We raised this slogan in Oaxaca in 2006 and in union struggles from Lázaro Cárdenas [the Sicartsa steel plant in Michoacán, where workers expelled a joint police-military attack in April 2006] to the SME. But in the end, the only way to put an end to the violence perpetrated by the state and the ruling class is by means of a social revolution.”

In a curious, belated sequel to the fable of Foxilandia, Felipe Calderón maintains that things are going so well in Mexico that not only has emigration to the U.S. been completely stopped, but many of the immigrants are now considering returning to Mexico. On April 24, speaking to the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Calderón declared that his government is creating employment opportunities in Mexico, opportunities for training and education... health services... for the entire nation” and that all this has generated “a change in opportunities” making returning to Mexico preferable to staying in the U.S. (Milenio, 25 April).

While it is indeed true that the migration of Mexican workers to the United States has slowed, the explanation for this is certainly not Calderón’s fairytale. First of all, the government of Obama has deported a record 400,000 immigrants per year. Second, with a highly militarized border (with regular military units deployed along with “irregular” vigilante groups), it has become considerably more difficult to go north. Finally and above all, the economic depression that has paralyzed the world economy since 2008 has made it harder to find work in the U.S.

Contrary to what Calderón suggests, the effects of the economic depression do not stop at the Mexican border. Far from the cheerful statistics proferred by the government, the Center for Multidisciplinary Analysis of the UNAM finds in its Reporte de Investigación No. 95 that the real national unemployment rate is 18 percent (as against 5 percent claimed by the government statistical office). Disguised unemployment is even higher. The same report finds that more than half of the working population is employed in the informal sector. Calderón, who campaigned as the “jobs president,” is in fact the unemployment president. This isn’t just rhetoric: the intermittent encampment of thousands of workers of the SME in the Zócalo, Mexico City’s massive central square, is vivid proof.

But unemployment is not the only word that can describe current conditions. According to Jaime Vázquez and Luis Lozano, researchers at the UNAM School of Economics, in Calderón’s sexenio “the real wages of Mexican workers have lost 42 percent of their buying power” (La Jornada, 11 April). This is felt in daily life: a kilogram of tortillas has risen from 7 pesos in 2006 to 12 today; in the same period the price of a kilo of eggs went from 11 to 20 pesos, beans rose from 10 to 23 pesos per kilo. Calderón’s government is literally taking food off the tables of working class families.

The reduction of the buying power of the minimum wage that has occurred in the past five years is, however, the continuation of a trend that began in the early 1980s under the last PRI governments: since that time, the purchasing power of workers’ wages has plummeted by more than 80 percent. Today, a workers wage is worth less than it was at the end of the 1930s when the effects of the crash of 1929 were still being felt. As Juan Sherwell, an economist at the Technological Institute of Monterrey writes, in the current period “more than 30 million people spend 50 percent or more of their income on food” (La Jornada, 10 April).

The Return of the PRI

After more than 70 years in power, the regime of the PRI-government arrived at the new century submerged in a terminal crisis. Established in 1929 as a result of a “peace at the top” among the various bourgeois caudillos (strongmen) who had risen to power by smashing the most radical peasant and plebeian sectors of the Mexican Revolution, a bonapartist (and later semi-bonapartist) regime was consolidated based on tight social control through a corporatist system.

In the PRI-government system, everything was decided inside the state party, which incorporated vast sectors of society, particularly the unions, into the bourgeois state apparatus. Despite ruling in the name of the Revolution and wrapping itself in the tricolor Mexican flag, the truth is that the PNR of Plutarco Elías Calles and its successive incarnations – the PRM of Lázaro Cárdenas and the post-war PRI – was the party of those who thwarted and aborted the revolutionary movement begun in 1910.

With the electoral fraud that brought Carlos Salinas de Gotari to power as president in 1988, via the infamous “computer crash” in the vote-counting system, the Mexican bourgeoisie consented to prolong by two more terms the rule of the PRI. With the popular front around Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas (founder of the PRD) acting as a new mechanism for social control inside and outside of parliament, it became possible to opt for the changing of the guard proposed by the PAN. In 2000, the PRI candidate for President of the Republic, Francisco Labastida, lost to Vicente Fox, a former executive of Coca-Cola in Mexico.

The PAN proposed to replace the costly corporatist control mechanism (which included an important system of social security as a counterpart to its rigid state control over the workers movement) with a greater emphasis on open repression. Fox’s term came to an end with an open confrontation with the workers – in Sicartsa, Atenco and Oaxaca – which the government took months to overcome. On taking office, Felipe Calderón turned the guns on drug trafficking. But this backfired, and he is losing the war on the narcos as his term draws to a close.

The PAN is a clerical-rightist party founded in the 1930s by sectors of the bourgeoisie for whom the concessions of the Calles and Cárdenas regimes to the plebeian “mob” were excessive. Reactionary intellectuals, cristeros[3] who wanted to roll back the separation of church and state, and fascistic sinarquistas[4] came together in the National Action Party, to give a political expression to the reaction against the reforms gained in the Mexican Revolution. Viscerally opposed to secular education, the PAN has historically wrapped itself in the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

PAN politicians have ferociously opposed sex education programs, distribution of contraceptives, the decriminalization of abortion and the granting of fundamental democratic rights to gays and lesbians. Communists, in contrast, fight for women’s right to free abortion on demand under high-quality medical care. Even though this is simply a democratic right, the more than 15 state legislatures that have approved “reforms” in the past few years banning abortion under all circumstances show that powerful reactionary forces must be confronted that deny the rights of women in the name of “Christian family values.”

Even though the PAN is now running a woman on its ticket, let no one be mislead: Josefina Vázquez Mota is an enemy of the most elementary rights of women. Her campaign manager is none other than the infamous Juan Manuel Oliva, until recently the governor of Guanajuato, and a prominent member of the fascistic organization “El Yunque.” Under his government, dozens of women were jailed for the charge of “murder of family members,” on suspicion of resorting to abortions to end an unwanted pregnancy.

To impose its reactionary social agenda, the PAN counts on military force. However, despite militarizing the country, PAN governments have been unable to impose order at gunpoint. Weakened and perpetually in crisis, the governments of Fox and Calderón were obliged to lean on the corporatist structures inherited from the PRI regime. This resulted in a curious situation, in which corporatist “union” bosses switched their allegiance from the PRI to the PAN. In reality their loyalty was always to the state apparatus which the PRI embodied. Whoever sat in Los Pinos (the presidential residence), they saw as their chief. Elba Esther Gordillo of the SNTE (education workers) and Carlos Romero Deschamps of the Petroleum Workers were only the two best-known examples of this chameleon-like accommodation.

With the PAN government worn out, the surest option for the bourgeoisie to maintain continuity appears to be the return of the PRI to Los Pinos: Enrique Peña Nieto will continue to rule by leaning heavily on the armed forces, and can count on the continued consent of the corporatist “union” tops. This is what we have called the “Gattopardo rotation,” in reference to the novel of Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa[5] (1957), a tale of the vicissitudes of the Sicilian hereditary nobility after the triumph of Garibaldi’s army in the 1860s, and its opportunist accommodation, under the slogan “everything must change so that everything can stay the same.”

The key sectors of the Mexican bourgeoisie are anxious to regain some kind of stability. In Peña Nieto, candidate of the Altacomulco Group[6], they see a strongman who might be able to negotiate a truce with the narcos. Assiduously built up with an extended television marketing campaign, his candidacy reflects the interests of the sector of the ruling class that has decided that the PAN governments of Fox and Calderón have generated such disgust among the population that a third PAN term could have utterly disastrous consequences.

Break with the Bourgeois Popular Front! Not One Vote for AMLO!

AMLO with Martín Esparza, general secretary of the SME, 4 February. The OPT run by the SME joined
López Obrador’s popular front along with the bourgeois PRD, PT and MORENA.
(Foto: SME)

The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) took office at the state level for the first time in 1997 when Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas became the head of government of the Federal District (equivalent to being mayor of Mexico City). With Cárdenas aging and discredited (especially following the disgusting role as strikebreaker that the PRD played in the student strike at UNAM in 1999-2000), the baton passed to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who became the popular PRD candidate in the presidential elections of 2006.

After the Fox government tried to screw up his campaign with a crude legalistic device (the campaign for his desafuero, or lifting of his official impunity), López Obrador was able to summon massive mobilizations in favor of his candidacy. In the midst of the election year various sharp social struggles exploded around the country. The most important of these were the strike of the steel workers at SICARTSA in Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán state, in April 2006, and the strike of the Oaxaca teachers that drove out the police of the assassin and PRI governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (“URO”) from the city of Oaxaca for almost six months, from mid-June to late November.

In 2006, the social mobilizations led by the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) served to channel electoral support to López Obrador. Section 22 of the SNTE, controlled by the CNTE (National Coordination of Education Workers, an independent opposition current formally within the corporatist SNTE – Section 22 is in Oaxaca) called for “No vote for the PRI! No vote for the PAN!” Everyone knew that this meant they favored AMLO, in spite of the role played by the PRD in Oaxaca as allies of the hated URO. Today, under the same slogan, the “independent” teachers are again supporting the popular-front candidate.

In the current elections, AMLO still brings out large crowds for his campaign rallies, but none of the convulsive mobilizations that supported him in 2006. On the contrary, with the destruction of the Central Light and Power company and the firing of its more than 44 thousand workers, Felipe Calderón struck a huge blow against the working class from which it has not yet recovered. The Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) was, in fact, one of the main pillars of the popular front around the PRD, as one of the unions that had historically been able to maintain a degree (sometimes very small) of independence from corporatist control.

At another level, López Obrador’s current campaign differs from that of 2006, not in terms of its political program (which, as in 2006, favors “social neoliberalism”), but in its tone. Today the perspective of class collaboration and conciliation is presented in the ludicrous blather about forming a “loving republic.” In one of his first TV ads, AMLO extended “his honest hand, as a sign of reconciliation” to anyone who might have been offended by the post-election protests that he led against the fraud that stole his victory in 2006.

López Obrador also lovingly extends his hand to the bourgeoisie that wants to impose order with a heavy hand. In one of his ads, AMLO promises: “Our government will give security to all the families of Mexico. We have experience: we’ve already done it in the Federal District, which is one of the safest cities in the country.” What is he talking about? In 2002 and 2003, as head of government of Mexico City, AMLO was advised by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Together with his then chief of “public safety” Marcelo Ebrard, he put in place a “zero tolerance” policy, with ever-present police surveillance, “surgical” repression and expansion of the police forces.

On top of all that, now the PRD candidate for mayor in the capital city is a cop: Miguel Ángel Mancera, who was district attorney under Ebrard. Under his watch, Mexico City became a living homage to “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s novel 1984, with surveillance cameras everywhere.

The Popular Front is an alliance of class collaboration. Through their organizations, the workers are tied to a sector of the bourgeoisie. Thus, the popular front means the renunciation of the struggle for workers revolution and the adoption of a bourgeois program, usually under the banner of nationalism, that is, of the unity of exploited and exploiters. The principal function of the popular front is to demobilize the workers in struggle and to contain them within the boundaries of bourgeois politics. Its pernicious character has been seen time and again in Mexico, the case of the SME being only the most recent.

After having led the mobilizations of the Electrical Workers into a dead end, with their efforts at pressuring the Supreme Court and the Senate doomed to failure, last year the leadership of the SME formed the Organization of the Working People (OPT – Organización del Pueblo Trabajador) to dissipate the struggle into the electoral campaign. Despite the fatuous hopes of certain leftist groups (the LUS, the LTS, Militante[7] and others) who saw in this new formation the beginnings of a workers party, the OPT never was anything but a vehicle to gather votes for the bourgeois politician López Obrador. Against this bourgeois popular-front program for the defeat of the workers, what is needed is to build a revolutionary leadership of the working class that has the strength and determination to defeat the bosses and will mobilize to do it.

For Proletarian Internationalism! Forge a Revolutionary Workers Party!

It is not by loving their exploiters that the workers will escape from poverty and gain a life of dignity. On the contrary, what is necessary is to intensify the class struggle with the perspective of making a workers revolution that tears private property in the means of production from the hands of the capitalists and collectivizes it. To do this, Trotskyists present a program of transitional demands that serve to connect the most urgently felt needs of the workers to the necessity of a struggle for socialist revolution.

Thus, to halt the ravages of inflation and unemployment, the workers movement must mobilize to impose a sliding scale of wages (indexed to inflation) and a sliding scale of work hours (to distribute all available work among those willing to do it, with no reduction in pay). To prevent hoarding, the unions should organize worker-neighborhood committees empowered to shut down any stores that raise prices on basic necessities. These slogans point toward the need to impose workers control of production and likewise toward the formation of workers councils (soviets) to make decisions and execute them.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador with his ally, the Monterrey businessman Alfonso Romo, at the end of a meeting with members of the Council of Global Enterprises, February 2012.

Various left groups that call themselves socialists will support López Obrador in the July 1 elections. The Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) has the typical slogans, “No vote for the PRI! No vote for the PAN!” In a communiqué dated 21 December 2011, the PCM (m-l) embraces the “Alternative National Project” of AMLO and calls to link the vote for him to street mobilizations to establish a “New National, Democratic and Popular Constituent Assembly that will discuss, approve and promulgate a New Constitution to guarantee and genuinely defend the rights and interests of the broad popular masses of the city and the countryside.” Thus the Stalinists, despite their occasional rhetorical embellishments, do not fight for socialist revolution, but for a “democratic” (bourgeois) revolution. In any case, a new Magna Carta will not make democratic rights a reality, when the entire bourgeoisie opposes them.

This Menshevik program comes with the typical popular-frontist appeal to forge “unity of the people” to fight against “fascism” (supposedly represented by the reactionary government of Calderón). This is nothing but a pretext to subordinate the workers to one sector of the bourgeoisie. Scandalously, the PCM (m-l) and the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR) which it directs, called last year to vote for Gabino Cué, a bourgeois politician presented for governor of Oaxaca on a joint PRD-PAN ticket! This policy of betrayal got the Stalinists a ministerial post, of “indigenous affairs” for Zenén Bravo of the FPR. Nevertheless, the Stalinists’ honeymoon with Cué was short-lived, and Bravo had to resign.

Another example is the two pseudo-Trotskyist currents that resulted from the split of Militante, a group that called itself the “Marxist voice” inside the bourgeois PRD. One side, the group that kept the name “Militante” (they registered it as a trademark with the bourgeois authorities), calls in the latest issue of its paper for “Organization and Mobilization to Stop the PRIAN [PRI/PAN]”. They claim that “to block the advance of the PRI, and of the right wing in general, in view of the elections ..., AMLO must be front and center, openly taking up a program that picks up the demands of the workers movement and the poor peasantry” (Militante No. 206, March 2012).

The other side of the Militante split, now called Izquierda Socialista (Socialist Left), follows the same line and is distinguished only by its privileged relations with PRD figures such as the [Federal District] Secretary of State Martí Batres and the writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II.

Far from realizing the fervent desires of these pseudo-Marxists, AMLO openly calls for collaboration with vast sectors of the Mexican bourgeoisie. Since the end of last year, he has sought (with some success) to gain the favor of the Monterrey magnates. Alfonso Romo Garza, previously a prominent member of the “Friends of Fox” fundraisers, has joined the López Obrador campaign. In an interview with Proceso (16 April), Romo said that “López Obrador is the only solution I see for this country.” Romo is a multimillionaire who made his fortune in financial speculation and was a member of the board of the Mexican multinational cement company Cemex.

So who is fooling whom? AMLO never claimed to be a socialist, nor anything of the sort. What makes Militante think that a bourgeois politician like López Obrador – who openly defends private property and represents a sector of the Mexican ruling class that only wants a few more crumbs from its imperialist masters – could take up “the immediate demands of the workers and peasants”? Far from contributing to strengthening these dangerous illusions among the workers, the task of Marxists is to combat them. AMLO is an old-line PRI politician who has proven to the bourgeoisie his talent for social control.

The remnants of the pseudo-Trotskyist Revolutionary Party of the Workers (PRT) agree with Militante, although they seek to give a “theoretical” justification for their capitulation to the popular front. Their leader Andrés Lund maintains that it is necessary to join with the “social bloc” headed by AMLO in order to “strengthen and reorganize an anti-capitalist and socialist left” (Bandera Socialista No. 37). So will this “anti-capitalist” left include the financier Alfonso Romo?

Other so-called socialist groups have distanced themselves (in these elections) from López Obrador. These include the LTS, the Grupo de Acción Revolucionaria (GAR), the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS – Movement Toward Socialism) and the LUS. Their recent pact is yet another of a long series of propaganda blocs. In a joint declaration titled “The Socialist Left and the Current Electoral Process” they claim to distance themselves from AMLO, but do not call to break with the bourgeois popular front around him. They say, lovingly, “we understand the aspirations of the working women and men who see in MORENA and its candidate an alternative for change” but they do not share such illusions. But it is necessary to struggle openly against these illusions, explaining to the workers in struggle how pernicious, and literally deadly, they can be.

The political logic of these pseudo-Trotskyist organizations consists in begging this or that petty-bourgeois (or even bourgeois) movement, organization or individual politician to adopt a “more leftist” posture. All these organizations have previously come together in one or another “left front” with the Zapatistas (such as in the 2006 “Other Campaign,” until they tired of the EZLN’s “anti-democratic” leadership). They took part in the founding conference of the OPT led by Martín Esparza, and even in the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity of Javier Sicilia.

Even if one or another of these groups talks of the need to form a “political instrument of the workers,” or even (in “theoretical” documents) a workers party, the fact is that they do not struggle for the formation of a vanguard party forged on the base of the Trotskyist perspective of permanent revolution. With their essentially tailist habits, they seek to position themselves ever so slightly to the left of whatever is the hot item in the petty-bourgeois political milieu.

In Mexico, the struggle to forge a revolutionary leadership of the working class calls for waging a no-holds-barred fight against the bourgeois popular front, and all forms of class collaboration. Only through the establishment of a workers and peasants government and the international extension of the proletarian revolution can the exploited and oppressed advance towards their emancipation. The Grupo Internacionalista, section in Mexico of the League for the Fourth International, dedicates its efforts to the program of the October Revolution. We seek to build the world party of socialist revolution, a reforged Fourth International, which would open the way to resolve the historic crisis through which mankind is passing. ■

* While correctly stating that the PRD represents sectors of the national bougeoisie, the El Internacionalista supplement had an imprecise formulation here, saying this was “despite its occasionally nationalist and ‘anti-neoliberal’ rhetoric.” Although at present no substantial sector of the Mexican bourgeoisie advocates nationalist policies, such as Lázaro Cárdenas in the 1930s or Hugo Chávez in Venezuela today, nationalism and opposition to neo-liberalism are, of course, perfectly compatible with capitalist politics.

[1] A bourgeois pseudo-opposition party engineered by PRI president, Carlos Salinas, who governed Mexico from 1988 to 1994.

[2] A May 2006 police attack on market vendors in the town of San Salvador Atenco in the state of Mexico, when PRI candidate Peña Nieto was governor. His state police, along with the police of the PAN federal government and of the PRD municipal government, participated in the deadly attack, during which police arrested approximately 400 vendors, raped 18 women and killed two youths, one of them a student from the National University. Leaders of the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land) which resisted the cop assault were imprisoned for years. (See “Mexico: Oaxaca Teachers Repel Bloody Riot Cop Assault” and “Mexico: Bourgeois Elections and Workers Blood,” The Internationalist No. 24, Summer 2006. )

[3] Veterans of the clericalist Cristero uprising against the Mexican Revolution in the 1920s.

[4] The sinarquista union and its paramilitary “Golden Shirts,” built on the model of Mussolini’s black shirts in Italy, were a clerical fascist movement that was born in 1937 and sympathized with Franco’s Falange in Spain.

[5] Il gattopardo (The Leopard). 

[6] The Atlacomulco Group is a secretive leadership clique in the PRI which  has reputedly controlled the governorship of the state of Mexico since the 1940s and has periodically dominated at the federal level at the head of old-line bureaucrats known as the dinosaurios. The group’s most prominent leader, Carlos Hank González, was closely associated Mexican presidents José López Portillo and Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

[7] LUS: Liga de Unidad Socialista (Socialist Unity League), dissident Mexican supporters of the fake United Secretariat of the Fourth International of the late Ernest Mandel. LTS: Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo (League of Workers for Socialism, Mexican section of the Trotskyist Faction, a split-off from the political current of the late Nahuel Moreno. Militante: ultra-reformist followers of the International Marxist Tendency of Alan Woods.

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