This December 1 marks the one-year anniversary of the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador after a landslide victory with more than 30 million votes in the 2018 elections. The end of more than 80 years of PRI tyranny was made possible by years of tireless struggle by the working class, youth, peasantry and indigenous peoples. We, the oppressed, make clear our desire for profound social change and our great strength.
In these 12 months, the new government has carried out some of the measures demanded by the movement, such as the abrogation of the educational reform or decreeing the obligation to provide public education up to the higher level. There are also social programmes such as support for the elderly, scholarships, etc. which are still insufficient to put an end to the misery that suffocates millions of people in the country.
AMLO focuses all its social policy on the hope of increasing state revenues thanks to the end of corruption, increasing oil revenues, the construction of large infrastructures and the so-called "Republican Austerity".
End the impunity of the corrupt. A nationalized PEMEX under the control of the workers!
To that end, the "fight against corruption" campaign was launched. Its first steps have shown that it is not easy to pass from words to deeds, especially in the battle against gasoline theft to prevent the diversion of oil revenues to organized crime that includes politicians and businessmen. So far none of the 600 arrested is high-profile and 56 percent have already been released!
The government's promise to achieve self-sufficiency in the oil industry will be unfeasible with superficial measures that do not question the functioning of this crucial sector until the end. It is a very serious and long-standing problem that has bankrupted the country's richest sector. The state-owned company has a debt of 100 billion pesos and revenues fell 4.6 percent this year.
First of all, it is necessary to renationalise PEMEX, but this alone will not be enough, we know that before privatisation theft was also systematic. The dome of this industry must be purged of all the thieves who caused its bankruptcy. Who can take on this task? They cannot be the same ones who benefit from corruption or have been tolerating it for decades. It must be the organised workers who do a great clean-up to ensure that the billions generated by oil are enjoyed by the people.
In addition to the theft of gasoline, there is another problem that AMLO does not seem to contemplate, and that is that oil exports are going down. Mexico is no exception; it has experienced falls of more than 29 percent this September. Leaving the future of the majority chained to the decisions of big speculators on commodity prices and the ups and downs of the world economy can lead to more suffering for families.
Not the mega-projects of death!
On the other hand, there are the large infrastructures planned by the government such as the Santa Lucía Airport, the Dos Bocas refinery, the Transisthmian Train, the Mayan Train or the Morelos Integral Project. All based on a combination of private and public investment. In total, it plans to develop 1,600 projects between 2020 and 2024.
One of the serious problems with this proposal is that it involves continuing the depredation of nature and the dispossession that the PRI, the PAN and the imperialists have imposed during their governments. The communities are fed up with so many years of looting that only brings misery, marginalization and the destruction of the environment indispensable for life on earth. This situation explains their discontent, because experience shows them that modernity never comes to improve their lives, but to enrich others.
We cannot accept that in order to try to improve the life of part of the working class it is necessary to turn the life of other sectors of the people into a nightmare. In Mexico there is a lot of money, but it is not in the pockets of poor peasant families, but concentrated in a very small group of wealthy people. At its head is Carlos Slim, the richest man in Latin America in 2019 with a fortune of $64 billion! That's where we need to look for the resources we need.
Only the people save the people!
AMLO proposes to put an end to the gigantic social inequality with the "Republican Austerity", that is to say, to avoid squandering, establish wage caps for high officials and raise the minimum wage. Although different decrees have been issued with this intention, to the extent that the corrupt judicial apparatus remains intact, as in the best days of the PRI, some, such as the wage caps, were not put into practice. Judges and magistrates exceed five times the proposed limit! This pleasant reality for a few contrasts with the rise in the minimum wage, impossible for many workers thanks to legal and illegal corporate tricks.
It is one of the great lessons of AMLO's first year in government: The Mexican state - its laws, its high officials, its armed men's corps - are at the service of the capitalists. How many thieves, rapists or corrupt elite members are there in the prisons?
We also have the reforms on mandate revocation and enquiries passed in recent weeks which, while positive, do not automatically guarantee democratic participation in the decisions of the working class, youth and peasants. The powerful, despite being a minority, have under their control great instruments to create confusion. The big media and propaganda will set out to blackmail the population by threatening that any measure that cuts capitalist profits will bring chaos. This by legal means, but they also have the illegals, they have their thugs to threaten and even murder those who dare to raise their voices.
It would be wonderful to be able to solve the great problems of working families with something as simple as a decree. But experience has shown us that our rights were not and will not be won with this ease. The Mexican oligarchy and the imperialists, with their long history of electoral fraud, corruption, and repression, will resort to any means to guarantee their benefits. The 43 teach students of Ayotzinapa are just one of the painful proofs of this truth.
You can't trust the capitalists
In spite of AMLO's conciliatory disposition and the fact that the measures of the new government has not yet posed a serious challenge to the system, the capitalists are very concerned about the demonstration of strength that we led in the 2018 elections. They are aware that in Mexico we have joined the insurrectionary process that is shaking Latin America. As in Bolivia or Venezuela, the counterrevolution is waiting for a favourable situation to take revenge. The bourgeoisie is not willing to retreat a centimetre in its privileges.
Their offensive is resounding and they do not hesitate to take opportunities to hit the government that the workers feel is theirs. The most recalcitrant right wing begins to reorganize around structures like Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, led by characters like Gustavo de Hoyos and Claudio X. Gonzalez, magnates of large corporations involved in corruption and massive tax evasion.
The strategy to destabilize the government ranges from outright lies to open boycotts and provocations intended to justify the attacks and blackmail by the leadership of the Armed Forces against the government of Morena.
Weakness invites aggression
An example of this strategy was the failed detention of Ovidio, when a sector of the Armed Forces guaranteed the failure of the detention to hold the government accountable for the error and fuel troop discontent towards the government by fuelling a sense of humiliation. This serious incident also served to get the organized crime to give their opinion on the new president. The message was clear: respect me or there will be war. Faced with this challenge, the security strategy of "Hugs, not bullets" will not be effective in fighting the power of drug cartels and their links to the right, the Armed Forces, the judicial system and the financial system.
The leadership of the army and police is not comfortable with this government either. AMLO, instead of purging all these armed institutions infected with corrupts and criminals, relying on the denunciations of the victims and the organization of the rank and file soldiers, is making concessions such as ceding the command of the National Guard to the military.
López Obrador should take note of the tragic experience of Evo Morales, who also tried to win the sympathy of the generals with perks. His manoeuvres did not prevent Williams Kaliman, commander in chief of the Bolivian army, from having the slightest problem in demanding his resignation even though less than a year ago, when he took office, he declared himself a "soldier of the process of change.
It's not revenge, it's justice!
The judges, magistrates and high officials of the Armed Forces are a deeply conservative and privileged sector of the capitalist state. There are examples in Latin America of how these sectors play a key role in preserving the status quo. It is enough to recall the case of Brazil, with the hypocritical imprisonment of Lula while allowing a multinational fraud with Odebrecht.
After many years of suffering, the people are demanding justice against Peña Nieto, Carlos Salinas, Felipe Calderón and all those responsible for the diversion of millions of pesos of public spending that were stolen from lighting, schools and hospitals. Corruption is not the only crime to be prosecuted. An exemplary punishment must be given to those responsible for the disappearances, murders and femicides, which are an open wound for hundreds of thousands of us. We reject AMLO's call to forgiveness and oblivion. We cannot and do not want to forget. Our daughters and sons, our sisters and brothers, will not be forgotten.
We demand the cleansing of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard, as well as the construction of democratically functioning self-defence committees to fight drug trafficking.
Fight the threat of the economic crisis
Two contradictory forces put pressure on Morena's government. On the one hand, its social base, ready to fight to end exploitation, poverty and violence. And, on the other hand, the demands of the military leadership and the big businessmen, demanding that nothing changes. And, this whole panorama would not be complete without including another issue of vital importance for which we have to be prepared. All the most serious economic analysis organizations already accept the perspective of a new setback in the world economy, and for Mexican capitalism, which is enormously dependent on exports, the perspective is even darker.
We already know the capitalist recipes for lean times: let the masses pay the bill for the crisis. The World Bank and the IMF will continue to demand the application of their recipes: lower wages, cuts in health and education budgets, elimination of social subsidies for the most impoverished. You don't have to go far to find out, just ask our Ecuadorian, Chilean, Argentinian and Brazilian sisters and brothers.
It is not only a question of knowing their suffering, but of inspiring us with their heroic action. We must be alert, redouble our organization and be prepared to defend ourselves from the attack of big capital. Mass demonstrations, general strikes, grassroots struggle committees are our best tool.
We are the majority and we are strong
It would be a mistake to underestimate the challenge represented by the counterrevolutionary force, but our mistake would be even worse if we despised the enormous power of the movement to face it. The working class was not only able to defeat the right at the polls; it has then continued its struggle in the field of labour. The victory of the Matamoros Workers' Movement 20/32 marks the way: it achieved a wage increase in more than 90 companies, as well as snatching more than 20 collective contracts from the union gangsters of the CTM.
The union left advances by inaugurating a new stage with a union bureaucratism that is weakened by the hand of the PRI crisis. Three leaders have already fallen in the big unions: Romero Deschamps of the Union of Oil Workers of the Mexican Republic, Joel Ayala Almeida, leader of the Federation of Public Workers' Unions, and Arturo Zamora, who left the National Confederation of Popular Organizations.
The movement for the liberation of working women is also an outstanding protagonist of this new phase, forcing the government to take measures such as the declaration of Gender Alert in the CDMX or the promotion of the legalization of abortion in all states. Both have proven to be merely cosmetic, not only because male violence has not diminished, but also within Morena there are representatives of the most despicable institutional male chauvinism.
The youth is not alien to this whole process either, the students were the first to demonstrate last year against the right-wing batterers.
There will be no real change without breaking with capitalism
There is no time to lose, the need is urgent: poverty covers 42% of the population, the average wage only covers 50 percent of the basic basket, inequality reaches its historical maximum as well as femicides. The sons and daughters of the working class and peasant families are brutally beaten by the drug gangs; almost 150,000 have died since the beginning of the "war against drugs". Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
In spite of the harsh economic situation, the people maintain the spirit and the will to carry out a true transformation. If AMLO in fulfilment of his promises confronts the right, we will be willing to follow him.
On the contrary, if he opts for the so-called third way, like Correa in Ecuador, Lula in Brazil or Evo in Bolivia, sooner or later the reaction will try to crush him. It is impossible to reconcile the interests of the working class with those of the capitalists; the life of the people cannot be dignified without challenging the bourgeoisie and imperialism.
In the face of the coup attempts in Latin America and the right-wing offensive in Mexico, small reforms, speeches or decrees are not enough. We must respond to their attempt to put an end to our movement by overthrowing their system, capitalism. It is necessary to put all wealth at the service of the majority by expropriating and nationalizing key sectors of the economy such as the oil industry and banking under the democratic control of the working class.
Join the Revolutionary Left. Defend the program of socialist transformation of society in the workers struggles, between the youth and the feminist movement against imperialist oppression, gender and racism.