By Pedro Pineda i Coloch
Mexico is immersed in a generalized social discontent, spread throughout the country, in which the usual demands come to the fore: Justice, Freedom, Democracy. The deep disappointment with which Vicente Fox's "Government of Change" ends is a breeding ground for many protests.
Mexico is immersed in a generalized social discontent, spread throughout the country, in which the usual demands come to the fore: Justice, Freedom, Democracy. As simple as this and as complex as the social network of resistance that exists in the country. One of the movements on the rise is the massive protest against fraud, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador. If it were to get out of partisan control of the former candidate and the Coalition for the Good of All, this movement could lead to an interesting process. Meanwhile, let us critically analyze and respect all the sensibilities the historical moment we are going through.
In previous newsletters we have shown our opinion on the fraud, and we remain convinced that the legitimate winner of the presidential elections of July 2 was López Obrador. In these almost three months since the appointment at the polls, and a few weeks after the official deception of the Mexican electorate was confirmed, we find a certainly historical social movement, which we believe is necessary to analyze and criticize. We will also show a critical look at the position of The Other Campaign in Mexico City regarding the movement against fraud, due to the vital importance that we believe this Zapatista initiative has, and to avoid certain prejudices on the part of Andrés Manuel's supporters towards the criticisms that we can make.
This text, then, is an attempt to take a critical look at both processes, from the deepest respect, without pretending to give lessons to anyone and simply trying to show a reflection from below and to the left.
The massive movement against fraud. A look at his leadership.
After several decades of a state party, clearly rigged elections, and handpicked presidents, it was difficult to expect a protest reaction against fraud of the magnitude of the current one. The mobilizations promoted by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) have broken all the statistics, already since the fight against lawlessness (remember that the Federal Government tried to prevent him from being a candidate). In recent months, many sectors have converged their efforts in the same direction: respect for the vote, which, according to many of us, gave victory to AMLO.
Obrador has acted politically, channeling this discontent to his advantage. He has known like few others to win the affection of the people and to mobilize en masse, again and again, his supporters, in a way that has not been seen before in this country. And, although it is true that the people who support him are mostly grassroots, and that his main demand - effective suffrage - is mandatory for a society that claims to be democratic, there are certain aspects that we must take into account regarding the strategy of the former candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.
One of these aspects, which has caused annoyance or at least surprise in certain popular sectors, is the way in which Obrador has appropriated the Zapatista language, profoundly simplifying its meaning. Thus, baptizing a meeting with the name of "informative assembly", for example, can be strange, and even comical if it is looked at from the perspective of those social movements that are governed more or less in an assembly way. More surprising is, if we go to the roots of the words, the way in which one of the last congregations was baptized in the Zócalo of the capital. Knowing what it was going to be and, finally, seeing what it was, to certain sectors it smells like a joke - regarding democratic values and citizen participation - that the day of social mobilization on Saturday, September 16, was called the National Convention Democrática (CND), in imitation of the Zapatista initiative of 1994, in which the EZLN summoned civil society to meet, get to know each other, build alliances, and in which a true grassroots work was proposed, to prepare proposals by civil society and a democratic way of making decisions. (1)
On the other hand, as was foreseeable, the CND convened for this September 16 was a convention in which the debate tables were absent, in which the citizen proposals, arising from honorable initiatives such as the Democratic University Convention, were practically not taken into account. who were trying to take the path to CND seriously. It was a convention that lacked any hint of common reflection, any serious decision-making process, of elaboration of proposals. Thus, of the less than three hours that this event lasted, which had hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million attendees - called "delegates" - only two minutes were dedicated to reading the resolutions of some work tables, and in In exchange, almost an hour was devoted to reading various "papers", plus another half hour to vote -with a show of hands in a Zócalo to burst along with its surrounding streets- a series of points proposed by the organizers of the event. Most of the points were unanimously approved by the multitude of "delegates" gathered there, but it did not take long to see the democratic circus represented by this CND when, for example, there was a close vote and the preset script was not stopped for affirm "the option - has won by majority." (2)
We observe, of course, many positive signs in these mobilizations, signs that we think will strengthen the democratic health of this country. The last thing these criticisms seek is to detract from the widespread movement against fraud, as well as the millions of Mexicans who, like us, are willing to go to the last consequences to defend their rights and demand respect for the vote. But, before going on to analyze these other aspects, let's take a look at López Obrador's team of collaborators.
Bad company. Refound the Republic?
We are highly concerned about the composition of the group of leaders of this movement. Beyond the good words and the political ability that Andrés Manuel López Obrador may have, the profile of his collaborators is obvious. Without pretending to show a biography of each one of them, some "jewels" within the three commissions of the CND, "recently approved in a sovereign assembly" (political commission, civil resistance and for the organization of the plebiscite and the constituent), commissions that have to guide - so they say - the social movement towards the construction of a new Republic.
Among these leaders who are to re-found the Nation, there are numerous former deputies, former senators and even former PRI governors, such as Socorro Díaz and Layda Sansores (who later joined Vicente Fox's campaign in 2000). Others, in addition to having held these positions, have participated in the governments of Ernesto Zedillo and Carlos Salinas de Gortari, such as Juan Ramiro Robledo, Enrique González Pedrero and Arturo Núñez. The latter two, for their part, were the main operators of the electoral fraud of 1988, in which Salinas was imposed the winner before Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the founder of the PRD. Enrique González, who perhaps fights to win the prize in this display of "jewels", was also Salinas's campaign manager. (3) The old PRI, some remains of the shipwrecked state party, are resurrected around the former PRD presidential candidate.
There are also several cases of scandal and corruption among those who seek to lead the movement for "the salvation of Mexico." For example, Julio Scherer Ibarra, director of the Escorpión Sugar Consortium (Caze), appears to have invented simulated exports to receive government funds and guarantees. For his part, Ricardo Monreal, former governor of the State of Zacatecas for the PRD, among other positions, withheld public money from his administration for two years, apparently giving himself the bank interest (about 480 million pesos). (4) Carlos Imaz was convicted and later rescued by the DF authorities (who obtained his acquittal) for illicit use of public funds - we remember the videos that scandalized the country.
This is the profile of AMLO's collaborators, (5) without forgetting that the same people who today cry out for compliance with the San Andrés Accords are those who voted in favor of President Fox's Indigenous Law, who was unaware of these agreements. (6) Faced with this long list of leaders with uncomfortable and suspicious pasts, the hopes that this social movement - which has all the legitimacy for responding to a gross fraud - will lead us to a real change, go through the boundary or overflow of these supposed leaders, who make up the commissions of the National Democratic Convention. In fact, numerous "delegates" protested the presence of certain figures in these commissions, but it was clear that there was no room for the common construction of the way forward.
There is no doubt that the country needs a change. And it is just as certain that electoral impunity is the worst symptom for the health of citizens' rights, for the improvement of working conditions and respect for Human Rights. But, is this the way, according to López Obrador, to fight against corruption, privilege networks? And even, seeing the credibility and transparency of the team that has chosen to accompany him in the leadership of this CND, is he himself legitimized to criticize Salinism, as he does in his speeches? What credibility can someone who kept silent about the terrible repression in Atenco, one of the most blatant cases of violence and institutional impunity in recent years, have during the presidential debate last June? We must therefore seek our own paths to fight for democracy, beyond more than suspicious leaderships.
Some positive signs. The awakening of consciences.
Beyond following leaders who, as we have seen, are not worthy of the trust that is required, we want to highlight certain symptoms of good health in this movement. Symptoms that are obvious and that, therefore, we do not think it is necessary to delve into them, but to highlight them.
We refer to the participation of many citizens who had never before been part of a political-social movement. We think that the awakening of consciences that has been taking place for a few months now is vital for this country. And the fact is that more and more Mexican citizens are discovering the dirty work of the communication duopoly, Televisa-TV Azteca, and its links with certain sectors of political, financial and business power. Direct participation in a movement allows citizens to easily uncover the informational tricks of this duopoly, by checking how disparate the information presented by the newscasts is with the reality that these citizens are experiencing, thus exposing the manipulative inertia with which they intend keep the national conscience hijacked.
Another aspect that we are looking forward to is the growing allusion that, from the anti-fraud movement, is made to large transnational companies. Traditionally, only from certain sectors had an eye on these large corporations. The "new activists", as we might call those who participate for the first time in a social movement, have already tired of the loss of sovereignty suffered by the Nation. The blatant role that these economic giants have played in the electoral contest, financing the campaigns of certain parties and also financing campaigns of fear regarding the candidacy of López Obrador, has filled the patience of the citizens, who only intend to live in peace and have your most obvious rights respected. From broad sectors, multinationals are beginning to be strongly pointed out as accomplices in electoral fraud, and some boycotts have been initiated against certain companies. From CIEPAC we promote initiatives like these, as well as we monitor and denounce the power and influence of these companies, one of the most prominent common elements of neoliberalism and free trade plans (PPP, FTAA, etc.). (7)
In a country where the mass media set the line for the political authorities to follow, which in turn are closely linked to the interests of large transnational companies, the need to point out and denounce these actors is urgent. Any political initiative that wants to thoroughly clean this country, giving back to its people the reins of their destiny, must fight against these economic and financial giants. It is a relentless fight against an enemy that is devastating natural resources throughout Latin America, destroying social and labor achievements even in the richest societies, and keeping millions and millions of people in misery and subjugated to a dramatic existence. citizens around the world. Let us not hope, then, that this movement will re-found the Nation so easily, as its leaders proclaim, but we receive with hope these signals that come to us from a society that wants to clean up its democracy.
The conflict: the fight against fraud and The Other Campaign. Incompatibilities?
On the other hand, the position of the Zapatistas and La Otra Campaña with respect to political parties and, particularly, towards Andrés Manuel López Obrador is well known. Much has been written about it, and many topics have been dropped. Any criticism of López Obrador has been automatically disqualified. In turn, the harshest attacks on the Zapatistas have come precisely from AMLO's followers, who have accused them of playing the game on the right. It is worth remembering the position of the EZLN in the face of the attempt to violate the law, in which it strongly denounced the parliamentary coup that would prevent the PRD candidate from participating in the electoral contest. He called for mobilization against the lawlessness, and even announced that he would participate in the protests, reaffirming his criticism of the then-candidate. (8) The Zapatistas warned of the serious message that, if AMLO's exclusion from the electoral contest is confirmed, it would be being sent to the Mexicans: all possible ways to access power by peaceful means were closed. They firmly denounced it, in the same way that they have denounced the cheating that occurred before, during and after the presidential elections of July 2. (9)
From the beginning of The Other Campaign, while the preparatory meetings for the VI Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle were taking place in August and September 2005, furious attacks were launched against the Zapatistas, and especially against their spokesman and military leader, the Insurgent Subcommander Marcos. They were accused of an alleged complicity with the right, openly criticizing AMLO and recalling the betrayals they suffered from the party of the Aztec sun. (10) The criticisms of the Zapatistas hit the three major parties, (11) and Despite everything, they were accused of alliances with the PRI and the PAN. It should be noted that the criticisms they launched against the PRD were more numerous, since it is clear that both the PRI and the PAN do not need great criticism. The fascist and retrograde language of these parties, as well as their dirty past - known to all - and their disastrous experience as government parties, mean that they do not need witty criticism. Instead, it was necessary to mark the change in position of the EZLN vis-à-vis the PRD, a former ally, pointing out the betrayals and motives that provoked this new position. (12)
For its part, La Otra Campaña detached itself from the electoral process, precisely to distinguish itself from each other, and clearly show that its struggle continues on another path. Abstention was not called (although various adherent groups did, since the autonomy of all the members of the other was respected), but a call was made to fight from outside the system, without falling into traps or handouts that could offer one or the other. However, there have been some tensions in this regard, showing signs of intransigence on the part of some adherents. Faced with electoral fraud, there were those who felt that they had to fight for respect for the vote (even from openly abstentionist sectors), without playing Andrés Manuel López Obrador's game, and remaining faithful to The Other Campaign.
And, while it is true that there have been opportunists who began the journey of The Other Campaign, and later got on AMLO's boat, it is also true that many activists have remained very critical of Obrador, but supporting the anti-fraud movement, believing honestly that this movement could overflow. Both the position of staying out of this movement - in the belief that it only benefited a leadership of politicians with a dark past - and that of supporting it while waiting for it to end up surpassing these false leaders, are valid and legitimate, but We want to point out that both positions have been shown, too often, to be found and opposed.
From some sectors of the Other Campaign of Mexico City, those who have joined the fight against fraud have been harshly criticized, not helping much to the dynamics of building alliances and spreading the intention of building "something else "from below and to the left. Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos himself criticized, in his speech in San Salvador Atenco on September 15, those who have been manipulating from inside La Otra, to later leave and join the anti-fraud movement. In this sense, it must not be forgotten that many activists sympathize with both movements, with reasons to believe in them, without inconsistencies, and that these activists must be respected. In the same way that, in the face of the foreseeable discontent that may occur among sectors critical of Obrador, in the face of the path that the Democratic National Convention is going to follow, many of the "new activists" can find their space in The Other Campaign, and It will not be easy for them to approach this if the position they receive from it is exclusive and closed to dialogue.
The time to build, together, towards the destination we want.
We must be aware that the country is in a historic moment. The repression is being contested in many places, such as in Michoacán, a state governed by the PRD, where the miners of Lázaro Cárdenas have waged a long fight strewn with blood. The Other Campaign is responding to the wave of government repression with peaceful actions and continuing its organizational path, even in those States where Delegate Zero has not yet passed, and has already achieved some victories, such as La Otra Jovel, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, with the release, on bail, of two political detainees who were going to run the same kind of illegality in the judicial process as so many prisoners throughout the country. In Oaxaca, the popular and magisterial movement maintains its pulse with the Federal Government for the removal of Governor Ulises Ruiz. And the list goes on ...
It is time to build "something else", each in his own way. What should unite us in such diverse ways is honesty and, as Delegate Zero said in the Caracol de La Garrucha in September of last year, loyalty between colleagues. Errors can be corrected, and stumbling blocks will indicate where we must continue; as long as we do not allow that, from above, they mark the way for us and, much less, make us enemies. It is time, perhaps, to build history. We must measure up to the free citizens that we are, and also to those who will pay for our internal disputes. The future passes quickly and it will be many years until an opportunity like this is presented to us at the national level. So let us be consistent with our destiny.
(1) EZLN communiqué calling for the National Democratic Convention in June 1994: www.ezln.org/documentos/1994/19940610.es.htm
(2) In the same vein, the famous and respected Adolfo Gilly spoke shortly before the celebration of the CND www.jornada.unam.mx/2006/09/15/016a1pol.php
(3) A good article on the PRI methods and environments that surround AMLO, from the prestigious Oaxacan newspaper NOTICIAS at www.noticias-oax.com.mx/articulos.php?id_sec=6&id_art=38196
(4) Read about it: www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/318268.html
(5) In addition, regarding the Coalition for the Good of All, led by AMLO, we find it interesting to recall some data. In the events of Atenco and Texcoco, specifically in the latter municipality, the Municipal Presidency, in the hands of the PRD precisely, broke its word given to the Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land, preventing them from carrying out their work in the sale of flowers and carrying carried out, together with the forces of the State of Mexico, a brutal and disproportionate repression, which was the prelude to the events of May 4 in Atenco. Likewise, and to put one last and graphic example of the murky pasts of AMLO's friends, the candidate for Governor of the State of Chiapas of the Coalition for the Good of All, Juan Sabines, who was proclaimed winner in the state elections of the Last August 20, he was Municipal President of Tuxtla for the PRI until the beginning of this year, leaving his term to promote himself to Governor unfinished. A rare change of opinion, although no longer so rare in the PRD ranks.
(6) For several months, the COCOPA (Commission for Concord and Pacification), made up of representatives of all political parties, held a dialogue table with the General Command of the EZLN on the subject of the Rights of the Indian Peoples. The agreements reached at this first roundtable, signed on February 16, 1996 by the Zapatistas and by government representatives, are included in the so-called COCOPA Law Initiative, which should be integrated into the Mexican Constitution. The refusal of the Fox Government, with the complicity of the major political parties, to respect these agreements - approving the Indigenous Law in 2001 instead - led the EZLN to apply them unilaterally in its territory, with the birth of the Caracoles and the Good Government Boards, in August 2003.
(7) For more information on this page, you can read about the Coca-Cola boycott and various materials about the Puebla Panama Plan, the FTAA and other neoliberal initiatives.
(8) See the EZLN's information on the lawlessness against López Obrador:
(9) See the third part of the recent EZLN communiqué, in which it clearly sets out its vision of fraud and AMLO's victory in the elections: Enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/la-otra-campana/463/
(10) See our newsletter on the myths of The Other Campaign: www.ciepac.org/boletines/chiapasaldia.php?id=504
(11) See the EZLN communiqué "The (impossible) Geometry? Of Power in Mexico": www.ezln.org/documentos/2005/geometria0506xx.es.htm
(12) See the letter from Subcomandante Marcos in which he explains why he criticizes the PRD. Among others, it recalls the aggression suffered by paramilitaries affiliated with the PRD, who attacked unarmed Zapatistas in Zinacantán with firearms. These same characters today closely support AMLO in Chiapas. Marcos also recalls the betrayal with the signing of the Indigenous Law, as well as other reasons that explain the change in position of the EZLN before the PRD. www.jornada.unam.mx/2005/08/10/012n1pol.php
Ciepac- San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico