Whither Mexico with AMLO?

Socialist Unity League (LUS), Socialist Workers Party (POS) and La Gota

July 4, 2018

The following declaration was agreed on July 4, 2018, by three revolutionary socialist organizations in Mexico, the Liga de Unidad Socialista (LUS), the Partido Obrero Socialista (POS) and the Revista La Gota. The LUS is a sympathizing organization of the Fourth International.

Two days after the elections in which he had secured a sweeping victory with more than 50 percent of the total vote, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that he will back the government of Enrique Peña Nieto during the transition period prior to the inauguration of the new government. This declaration comes as the culmination of months of negotiation and agreements which ensured the unfolding – relatively free of shocks – of the July 1 election day.

The strident accusations and attacks against AMLO (“a danger to Mexico”) by businessmen, politicians and journalists have been left far behind. The confidence and tranquility of most businessmen before the imminent triumph of López Obrador was shown in that, two days before the elections, the Mexican Stock Exchange closed with a gain of 0.33 percent, and that the peso rose 1 percent in value against the US dollar. The prominent businessman Alfonso Romo, who has been appointed Chief of Staff of the new government, knew very well what he was saying when he affirmed that “There are ‘very few’ businessmen who fear López Obrador,” and that “it is ridiculous to be afraid of expropriations if AMLO wins.”

Those who still have the illusion that López Obrador will lead a grand process of pushing back neoliberalism in Mexico have not paid attention to what its leader has been repeating for years, and very clearly, as he did in his declaration “I will not change the economy” (El Universal, April 13, 2012), during his previous presidential campaign, a declaration he has never repudiated since then.

There has certainly been a change in the public image of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) – the party that AMLO founded and leads – due to the noticeable reduction in the presence and the radical tone of the left intellectuals belonging to the movement. Surely, this is being justified with the famous phrase that “Paris is well worth a mass”. We’ll see what they tell us later; but for the moment the only possible interpretation is that these intellectuals have stepped aside to facilitate the negotiations and agreements reached by AMLO and Romo with the government of Peña Nieto and with business groups.

As things stand, however, there is no doubt that the enormous popular discontent with the Peña Nieto government and the disenchantment with the vast majority of politicians made its way irrepressibly with the vote of over 50 percent for the AMLO candidacy. The population, and especially the sectors that have suffered from inequality and injustice, have felt their strength. Their protest through the vote has left the PRI and the PAN severely damaged, and left the PRD moribund. What we might call the “party system” has suffered a defeat which will require a profound reconfiguration, involving not only changes in the platforms and in the image of the parties we have just mentioned, but also the emergence of new organizations.

Paradoxically, the biggest challenges will be those of MORENA. Not only does it have a very weak structure, but the influence of leaders and members of other parties, with no further identification and cohesion than support for the caudillo who has won the presidency of the republic, means that it will be very difficult for him to control the enormous variety of interests that have lodged in its breast. Inevitably, the president of the republic will more frequently play the role of referee in disputes among the contending parts.

To mention the case of a conflict that may be explosive: the teachers who voted for AMLO, most of whom are organized, are anxiously waiting for the inauguration of the new government to mean the end of the “educational reform” imposed by the government of Peña Nieto. How much will they be conceded? Surely the powerful businessmen, who hold the economic power in Mexico, will not agree with the demands of the teachers, and will do everything possible to obstruct them, or to block them altogether. In other words, this is a conflict between the interests of opposing social classes, and any attempt at conciliation will result in only short-term solutions.

The same can be said of many other unresolved conflicts, in which the more than 50 percent of the voters who voted for AMLO represent interests opposed to those of the capitalists who have opted not to obstruct the arrival of the caudillo to the presidency. Among others, there is the opposition of very important sectors of the population to the “energy reform,” as shown by the outbreaks of discontent with increases in the price of gasoline; and there is also the conflict over the concessions granted to mining companies, as well as the new issue of concessions for the use of water resources.

And it won’t be enough for the new government to launch scholarship or support programs for the less favored social sectors. The conflicts will deepen.

Also present are social conflicts around the right of women to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, in safe conditions and with the best possible medical care. This demand is totally absent from MORENA’s program and proposals, but it is being raised by an increasing number of women.

And what about the rights of the homosexual communities, and of other people oppressed because of their sexual orientation or preferences (LGBTQ+)? The demands of these communities were absent from the electoral campaign.

The contrast is evident between the overwhelming joy displayed by millions of Mexicans who voted for AMLO and the concern expressed at the same time, as everyone realizes that “the difficulty begins now.” And they have every reason. Mexico is going through a very deep crisis in public security, and suffers from very serious vulnerabilities and challenges in the economy (a colossal growth of the public debt), the environment, and profound social problems derived from the deep crisis in which the country is bogged down. Not to mention the tremendous pressures of the powerful neighbor to the north, which with the Trump government has obstructed negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement and put enormous tariffs on foreign trade.

Surely the government that will take office next December will announce a series of plans; but, judging by the proposals presented by MORENA and AMLO himself during the electoral campaign, there is no structured strategy to confront the very acute challenges that threaten the country, much less to act in the face of the complicated international situation.

All of which means that, except for limited measures that serve to project an image of concern for the poor, the incoming government will remain on track in the policies dictated by the big capitalist interests, both national and foreign. This harsh reality is going to be revealed to the majority of the population as the new government takes its course, and the revolutionary socialists will be ready to fight alongside the dispossessed and the oppressed, to forge from today the anti-capitalist, democratic and independent strategy that is needed to achieve the triumph of the workers of Mexico. A revolutionary and socialist strategy that will reclaim the best traditions of struggle of our people and will unite us with the emancipatory and liberating international struggle of the peoples of Latin America and of the whole world.

Mexico City, July 4, 2018