By Arturo Gallegos – The “Obrador phenomenon” dominates the political discussion in Mexico for a while now, and even more since its overwhelming electoral victory. Same goes for the forces on the right, from the very fascist ones to the moderate ones, as to the revolutionary left.
Critical support where possible, open criticism where necessary, is in order today.
Obrador´s movement poses a complex task of analysis not only ideological but strategic. Nevertheless there are two easy ways out of this problem. The first one is represented by the non-revolutionary reformist left, not being capable and having no interest to unravel the true nature of Obrador´s movement, just simply jumps opportunistically on Obrador´s and Morena´s (National Regeneration Movement Party) wagon, just like it did before with the right. The second easy way out is the one from the so called “radical left” or better said the adventurist left, consisting in openly or secretly rejecting Obrador and the ones like him from the very start and everything for which he stands for. This is made without any scientific analysis nor historical context, so at the end this “radical left” ends up hurting the unity of a possible anti neoliberal front.
It is the responsibility of the revolutionary left to provide the people with a serious and deep analysis of Obrador’s movement. Therefore we need to define the political profile of this new president, and from there we have to decide which elements of his policy we agree to and which we are opposed to.
Lopez Obrador indeed comes from the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), a party that after the Mexican revolution and under different acronyms ruled Mexico for more than 70 years. In 2002 the PAN (National Action Party) won the presidential elections, the party of the pro imperialist bourgeoisie from conservative Catholicism. The PRI had been, for a very long time, the only way someone could ever get into a public office. This party was born as the electoral tool of the national bourgeoisie, therefore was never a class party, even its members bragged at the time of a so called “multi class party”. Because of this, in this party existed not only different political groups and wings, but there was also an unavoidable correlation of forces from within or without the party self. All of them decided at the end of the day, for better or for worse, the destiny of the Mexican people.
The PRI proclaimed itself inheritor of the 1910´s Mexican Revolution but slowly with time consumed its “revolutionary” fire, just like a dead volcano. By the middle 80´s the party just went in a free fall spiral, privatizing the former rights acquired through the revolution. This policy was supported on the basis of Margaret Thatcher’s neo liberalism and was imposed in Mexico by the “Chicago boys”. Finally the PRI ended its dominance with probably its darkest presidency in hands of Peña Nieto, supported by the PAN, and with the most harmful set of reforms in modern history.
With the fall of the Soviet Union and the east bloc, this new ideology met a left in disarray, punched, persecuted, unorganized and unable to confront the pillage of the Nation’s property. The majority of the revolutionary parties suffered more or less from government’s interference, legal stratagems, internal fights, treason, and even police harassment. A whole crisis from which they’re still recovering until this very day. In this context, it took more than 30 years for the Mexican progressive forces to regroup and orient themselves into the building of a wide front (underlining wide) to defend and retake all that was lost or in danger to be lost. This front took the electoral road with Obrador as its leader, who with his flaws and virtues already erected himself as such through his hard work and perseverance.
We can place Obrador in the patriotic and nationalist wing of the PRI, [they before the National Regeneration Movement, he was prominent in the PRD – The Democratic Revolutionary Party – and stood as their candidate a decade ago, robbed by U.S interference and local corruption of a victory that would have placed Mexico as a part of the then ‘pink tide’ – ed, J. Flores] the ideology of those of its members from the first half of XX century. This group never had the goal of replacing capitalism with socialism. Aside from the time of General Cardenas, where under the influence of the union leader Vicente Lombardo among others and because of the correlation of forces would amend article 3th of the constitution to include a “socialist education”, this political project inside the PRI never went further than what we call State capitalism with remarkable nationalist influence and even some anti-imperialist momentum.
At this time it would not only be erratic and paltry for the revolutionary left to minimize the achievements of this wide anti-neoliberal front, which indeed has delivered a brutal blow to the Mexican traditional bourgeois parties that represent foreign capital inside the country, but also it would be completely out of reality to suppose that the revolutionary left is in condition to dispute Obrador’s leading (at this moment) this movement.
The argument that some sort of improvement of the conditions of the working class would act as a mirage and would strip it out of its fighting spirit is not only speculative but also lacks of any theoretical background. Did the Russian people lose its fighting spirit under the provisional Government of Kerensky, which with no doubt was an improvement comparing to the Tsar but not a truly revolutionary one? In any case to deny any bettering for the people, no matter how insignificant or pragmatic it might be, is pure treachery motivated on the basis of egotism and arrogance; these are mistakes that doom any revolutionary struggle.
To cut the public budget of the traditional bourgeois parties by more than a half is not a little thing. By minimizing its presence in the congress to a minority their electoral base and popular support that is based on client corrupt relationship, went broke. This achievements nonetheless doesn’t belong entirely to Obrador, they are such of the Mexican people that bravely decided to end with 30 years of neo liberalism, and that was what Obrador actually offered them in his three presidential campaigns and it’s going to be his responsibility to deliver. Therefore the task of the revolutionary left will be to accompany him on this road as long as he remains on the path that serves the interest of the people, and to point out whenever he doesn’t, by pointing out his mistakes and calling the people to demand the correct policies. This is no pragmatically electoral alliance, but an important, partial, ideological match. The truth is that this alliance makes those concerned with “revolutionary pedigree” tremble, but a true teetotaler doesn’t shake in the presence of a bottle.
Whether revolutionaries think that Obrador is valuable or not, the reaction has already categorized him as a new Hugo Chavez. The bourgeoisie sees in his project the elements that go against their interests, something that the “far-left” pretends not to see or doesn’t want to. True, Obrador doesn’t pretends to fight for socialism in Mexico, but rather to roll back 30 years of neo-liberal policies. The discrepancy between revolutionary aspirations and the realities of Obrador’s project can get us into trouble. Instead these have very pragmatic origins like the composition of the federal and local congresses. The electoral victory was overwhelming but not total. Obrador’s movement still doesn’t have the absolute majority nor the majority of the local congresses that are required to carry on big constitutional reforms. To demand those without having the material conditions would be counterproductive and would only play into the hands of the bourgeoisie, something they already noticed.
In summary, the revolutionary left has to fight disinformation, ignorance and avoid unnecessary criticism, but it should never forget to exercise its criticism and to promote it among the people to create the political conciseness that is lacking at the base level, collectively, and in the masses on the streets and in the public squares. We have to close lines in struggles with common goals and defend the people against any attack, whether it comes from its traditional enemies or from derailing elements of Obrador’s own movement. The revolutionary parties and organizations are independent and we have to keep working in parallel for a true revolutionary transformation of the country, including the elements of the Obradorism and Morena that are attached to the people’s interests and discard those who reveal themselves as traitors to the working class. We shouldn’t be afraid of judging Obrador and his movement wrong. If they fail because of their mistakes or because they betray the people’s confidence, then it will be them that carry the historical weight on their backs. Neither a “back stabbing” nor a “mirage” could ever take the combat readiness from the people or its unavoidable victory.