We have translated the following article on the Mexican election from the Spanish blog Nuevo Curso. We share its estimate that the new government will be as anti-working class as all previous Mexican governments despite the rhetoric of the new President, López Obrador. We also agree that his appeal to the Mexican ruling class lies in his aim to eradicate graft and end the impunity of the corrupt in the system.
These factors are an obstacle to a stable state and to inward investment (60% of Mexican government bonds are already held by foreigners). Currently Mexico is increasingly a failed state. The “war on drugs” has become a civil war. Of the 60 or so conflicts and wars around the planet it currently ranks third highest for the number of its victims according to Wikipedia.
We will be producing our own assessment of the incipient trade war unleashed by the US and its consequences for world capitalism in the next issue of Revolutionary Perspectives later this month. What we would remind readers of is that this new trade war is itself the product of a global capitalist crisis to which no solutions have yet been found. Mexico’s decaying social and political order is just one extreme example of that.
7 July 2018
AMLO or the 'anti-imperialism' of the Mexican bourgeoisie
Today the press around the world led with the overwhelming triumph of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or “AMLO”, in the first round of the Mexican presidential elections. With 53% of the votes he will not even have to undergo a second round to occupy the Palace of the Pines. In addition, his party, MORENA1 , won local power, the mayor of Mexico City and close to the majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
The New York Times, El País, Le Monde and many other international media outlets rushed to write articles presenting the old and rancid nationalist cacique2 as "the champion of the left." It is obvious that there has been a profound shift in the orientation of the Mexican bourgeoisie. Even the old business oligarchy ended up discovering the charms of the "Aztec rooster" and pushing their puppets in the PAN3 and the PRI4 to swell the ranks of MORENA. It cost them, but they were driven by three decisive factors: the trade war with the USA, the degree of decomposition of the state itself and the increasingly active concern of the petty bourgeoisie.
SO FAR AWAY FROM MERKEL, SO CLOSE TO THE USA5
The protectionist reorientation of US capital was bound to be felt as an earthquake in Mexico. The studies circulating last year ensured that if the US broke the free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada ("TCLAN"/”NAFTA”) it would recover from its demise within a year, while Mexican capital would be devalued by at least 9%. But the reality is quickly revealing itself to be much more serious for the Mexican bourgeoisie. Without the need for legal changes, some large manufacturers began to "relocate". The first, Chrysler, relocated its factory to Michigan. This is partly because it calculated the effects of the tax reform that was being proposed at the time, but also because in today's "globalised" Mexico the bourgeoisie has lost sovereignty. It cannot even fix the price of electricity and therefore offer a minimum stable price framework that does not depend on political decisions on the other side of the border.
The first tariff barrage will attack washing machines and solar panels before entering into a renegotiation of the TCLAN tediously occupied in determining, which sex of the angels6 team. As much as the EU was on the verge and might negotiate in a few months an extension of its trade agreement, no matter how much Mexico gave oil concessions to Repsol to create alliances on the fast track ... they could not escape with a feint, because their German allies counted as much as they did on NAFTA.
The underlying problem is that 80% of Mexican exports were, are, to the US. Any "alternative" to the US market requires much more than a feint. The Mexican bourgeoisie needs to place itself in the imperialist game in a completely new way, to understand the map from another side.
SOCIAL DECOMPOSITION AND THE END OF THE PATIENCE OF THE PETTY BOURGEOISIE
Alongside all this, the decomposition of the Mexican state does not cease. To the point that piracy has returned to the Gulf of Mexico. It must be said that the real civil war between and with the mafias has no similarity to the organised crime phenomena dedicated to drug trafficking in Argentina or Europe. The current cartels are the descendants, through Darwinist adaptation, of those fractions of the peripheral bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie that were excluded from the opportunities that the TCLAN/NAFTA brought to the central sectors of the Mexican bourgeoisie at the end of the eighties. This also explains their ability to "infiltrate" all centres of power. From the PAN and the PRI to MORENA, there is no local power family that is not or has been related to organised crime. The electoral campaign itself, turned into a real settling of scores between local oligarchic families, in which almost 130 candidates were murdered.
The small petty bourgeoisie, the "social" jewel of Mexican globalisation, also faces not only the mafias and an always corrupt and hostile state, but a massive lumpenisation that threatens their daily lives. They began the year suffering looting organised openly via Whatsapp. Insecurity is at the level of Syria or Iraq. With 25,000 murders in 2017, violent killings exceed those accumulated in Yugoslavia during the entire civil war. More than half of all companies suffered a serious crime - kidnapping, murder, etc. - during the same period.
AMLO: A NEW CÁRDENAS?
AMLO, the PRI puppy from the petty bourgeoisie of Tabasco7 , leader of the PRD8 , Mayor of Mexico City and unsuccessful presidential candidate never convinced the Mexican bourgeoisie. Provincial, "old" and angry after denouncing the electoral theft of the presidency, he seemed a "potential Chávez". But AMLO has shown better knowledge of the articulation between the state, the big bourgeoisie and the political apparatus than previously thought. His trump card was the wear and tear of the two traditional conservative parties and the collapse of his old party, the PRD, which disqualified it from strong political leadership if the situation with the US became radicalised. López Obrador knew how to stop being the "Aztec rooster", to distance himself from any association with Venezuela - and then with Russia - and become the champion of budgetary control and fiscal orthodoxy. With a new discourse and new aesthetics, and promises to attack the working conditions of the great Mexican working masses with a "hard" speech to the liking of the provincial petty bourgeoisie, how could they not think again about him?
The Mexican bourgeoisie has resolved the reorganisation of its political apparatus with much more forcefulness than its European cousins. With AMLO it gains a left that has been able to involve more workers in the electoral process than ever before. But above all, a champion of nationalism wins, who was also the only relevant leader who for years had proposed a new imperialist orientation for Mexican capital, "spoilt", as Trump said, by agreements with the US and unconcerned about finding foreign markets.
AMLO presents himself as the Lázaro Cárdenas9 of the new century for the Mexican bourgeoisie. Like Cárdenas with the oil nationalisations, he will sell us his shift of alliances as “anti-imperialism” and will increase social control by the state in search of an impossible disciplinary improvement of social cohesion. Surely, he will attempt a poorly timed opening to South America and will try to recover the old Philippines galleon route between Asia and Europe, as a geopolitical objective. What is certain is that none of this can substitute in the short term the role of the US market as a buyer and that the commercial war will increase the instability with even more violence than in South America. And faced with that, AMLO only has one recipe, the same as in all other countries, the "national" exit: attacking ever more directly the living and working conditions of the Mexican working class.
2 July 2018
Original at nuevocurso.org
- 1Translator’s note; AMLO’s party, MORENA, is the leading party in the now ruling coalition, Juntos Haremos Historia, We Will Make History Together.
- 2Translator’s note; “A cacique is a leader of an indigenous group, derived from the Taíno word kasikɛ for the pre-Columbian tribal chiefs in the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. In the colonial era, Spaniards extended the word as a title for the leaders of practically all indigenous groups that they encountered in the Western Hemisphere. In Spanish America, Brazil, Spain, and Portugal, the term also has come to mean a political boss or leader who exercises significant power in the political system known as _caciquismo…_An extension of the term cacique, Caciquismo ("boss rule") can refer to a political system dominated by the power of local political bosses, the caciques. In the post-independence period in Mexico, the term retained its meaning of "indigenous" leaders, but also took on a more general usage of a "local" or "regional" leader as well…. Argentine writer Fernando N.A. Cuevillas views caciquismo as being "nothing more than a special brand of tyrant.” en.wikipedia.org
- 3Translator’s note; National Action Party, a right wing Catholic party which ruled from 2000-12.
- 4Translator’s note; Partido Revolucionario Institucional – Institutional Revolutionary Party operated as a dictatorship behind the façade of a fraudulent democracy for seventy years up until 2000. It returned to power in 2012 until the present.
- 5Translator’s note; a play on the original “Poor Mexico, So Far From God, So Close To The United States”, oft-quoted words of the Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz who ruled up to the 1910 revolution.
- 6Translator’s note; i.e. a pointless discussion[./fn], what aliquot part of the value could be allocated to each country in the manufacture of a car while Trump threatened to "cut to the chase" and to terminate the treaty directly if Mexico, one of the countries with the most xenophobic legislation in the Americas, did not do more to prevent the arrival of refugees and migrants at the wall. That was when the Mexican state bourgeoisie itself began to realise that it was not something temporary that it could "fix". Especially when the war fantasies of the American right began to be staged on the border.
The decisive fact, however, was that the trade war with Europe was taking shape and Trump was focusing on the German car industry. What better place to press Merkel than Queretaro where Germany has invested millions and dragged the whole supply chain industry of other European countries like Spain? In passing he sent a signal to the "Europeanist" temptations of Peña Nieto's
Translator’s note; The Mexican President before AMLO’s recent victory.
- 7Translator’s note; One of Mexico’s 31 states, located in the southeast of the country.
- 8Translator’s note; A social democratic party, The PRD originated from the Democratic Current, a political faction formed in 1986 from the PRI. The PRD was formed after the contested general election in 1988, which the PRD said was rigged by the PRI.
- 9Translator’s note; Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, (May 21, 1895 – October 19, 1970) was a general in the Constitutionalist Army during the Mexican Revolution and a statesman who served as President of Mexico between 1934 and 1940. He is best known for nationalisation of the oil industry in 1938 and the creation of Pemex, the government oil company. He also revived agrarian reform in Mexico, expropriating large landed estates and distributing land to small holders in collective holdings.