Mexico: It's the bourgeoisie that always wins elections

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Below are some lengthy extracts from an article in our territorial press of the ICC section in Mexico.

The electoral campaign, running from 2017 to June of this year, has been so overpowering and invasive that it succeeded in turning out 56 million people to vote, that's 63.4% of electors which represents the highest level of participation in the history of the country. The six-yearly ritual[1] of promises about change in order to mobilise people has resulted this time in an unusual victory for the candidate "of the left", Lopez Obrador (or AMLO, as he's known from his initials). Everything has been done to feed the image of democracy and elections among the population, in particular among the exploited.

For that, the bourgeoisie has played on the present disorientation of the workers and their difficulties in expressing themselves as an exploited class whose interests are opposed to the capitalist system. Even if the bourgeoisie is also experiencing more problems and divisions in trying to reach agreements and define its choice for the head of the state apparatus (as we've seen with fractures within the PRI and the PAN and the breaking up of the PRD[2], the violence of the confrontations between political clans and the large number of candidates threatened or assassinated during the electoral campaign), it has nevertheless been able to exploit its own difficulties by turning them against the workers, turning these same problems into supplementary arguments to push the population towards the polling booths.

For this reason, even if Lopez Obrador wasn't the first choice candidate of the clans holding political and economic power, the whole of the bourgeoisie has profited from his anti-corruption and patriotic speeches in order to polish up the illusion of change and also reinvigorate an electoral terrain around a population exasperated by violence, permanent insecurity, fraud and corruption.

Through its candidates, its institutions and its media, the bourgeoisie has continually hammered home the idea that voting is a matter of choosing someone and respecting individual will, thus trying to spread the idea that the individual alone and in isolation equipped with "the freedom of the citizen" can transform society, whereas the atomised workers are reduced to maintain the system that exploits them. The bourgeoisie pretends the voice of a worker carries as much weight as that of a capitalist boss and that, consequently, the resulting government is the product of a collective decision and the "will of the people".

It's precisely because of this fallacious image that elections and democracy are the rulers’ best weapons of submission. Let’s recall the words of Lenin on the democratic republic, who said that it was nothing other than: "a governmental machine to crush labour by capital" and that "all the cries in favour of democracy in reality only serve to defend the bourgeoisie and its class privileges and exploitation" (Theses and reports on the democratic bourgeoisie and the proletarian dictatorship, 1919)[3]

Each speech and each appeal is accompanied by summoning up the "citizen's responsibility" and phrases making allusions to the "country",  thus injecting a nationalist poison in order to try to anesthetise the workers and throw them into even greater confusion, preventing them from recognising themselves as a class suffering from misery and condemned to exploitation, but also as the "gravedigger of capitalism". It's for this reason that the nationalist speeches and the use of "patriotic symbols" have been fundamental to the election campaign of Meade (PRI candidate) and Anaya (PAN candidate) and included in this is the most marginal campaigns as those of the EZLN[4] through its candidate Marichuy.

The electoral triumph of Lopez Obrador is the victory of the bourgeoisie not that of the exploited.

Lopez Obrador (standing for the third time for the presidency, this time under the banner his new MORENA [5] party) has thus benefitted from the discontent of the population because of the generalised violence, the precariousness of living conditions and the widespread, open corruption at all levels of previous governments, that's to say from the weariness and frustration expressed towards the traditional parties. Never before have the elections so dominated and weighed so heavily; not in 2000 with the "fight for an alternative" which led to the PAN government with Vincente Fox as president, nor in 2012 with the anti-PRI mobilisations led by the #yosoy132 movement. The context in which the elections took place in Mexico is, as elsewhere in the world, strongly affected by the weight of capitalist decomposition, characterised on one hand by the tendency of the bourgeoisie to lose control of its political apparatus, marked by deep internal fractures and a desperate, competitive fight among the big parties, making its unity difficult; and, on the other hand, a disorientated working class, badly placed to find the ground  to develop its struggle against capitalism.

All this has been utilised and exploited by the bourgeoisie against the workers, strengthening its left political apparatus  and bringing forward a charismatic and demagogic character. In order to convince the whole of the bourgeoisie of  its seriousness to govern, it has profited from these political fractures by offering a hand to various capitalist groups that it was in competition with, even obtaining the support of business sectors who, in previous electoral campaigns in which it took part, accused him of being "a danger to Mexico". Some businessmen, assembled within the Council for Mexican Business (CMN) were until recently stubbornly keeping up attacks on AMLO, but these became counter-productive because it made him look like a victim, adding credibility to his image as the "defender of the poor and oppressed".

By allowing the different factions of the national capital to come to a consensus, the elected candidate looked for agreements and cooperation with big business and his political competitors by putting in these agreements an emphasis on the supposed fight against corruption (while promising to forget about certain indiscretions and wrongdoing of the past) and, above all, the promotion of national unity. In this way AMLO has not only reached agreement with a large number of employers but also with the union leaderships such as the CNTE[6] . This is evidently not a lasting solution but it does allow the Mexican state to better prepare for the ALENA[7] negotiations for example, and in the perspective of an intensification of the trade war, of being able to ride the consequences and justify  the coming attacks on the workers.

In its majority the bourgeoisie was thus convinced that another election fraud was pointless and risky; it was easier to accept the electoral win and that of the new left party.

Its election victory, which has been hyped as a "glimmer of hope", does not change the situation of the millions of exploited who voted for it one iota. There will be no modification in the exploitation of the workers; on the contrary the new government, invoking the defence of the economy and national sovereignty, will try to justify policies making their living conditions worse, claiming the necessity for a "republican austerity" in order to justify job cuts and other measures against the workers. The only thing that will change is the representatives of the bourgeoisie at the head of the state; but the mandate that they must defend is the same as that defended by Pena Nieto and all the governments of the world whether right or left: to maintain and protect the system of capitalist exploitation.

As in all elections it's the bourgeoisie which has won, but the results of this particular election has allowed for the strengthening of patriotic sentiments: the proliferation of national flags and the patriotic cries of "Long live Mexico!", present throughout the campaign and intensified with the victory of AMLO, show that there has been good use made of the emotions behind the victory of the left, aimed at implicating the workers in the defence of capitalism through the call for national unity.

On this occasion, and in a particular way, the elections have deepened the confusions of the workers, and the bourgeoisie is preparing to profit from this in order to strengthen its control and class domination.

AMLO and MORENA, in opposition or government, always the enemies of the workers

The living conditions of the exploited in the towns and countryside, marked by the violence of mafias, the police and the army, as well as the degradation of conditions caused by the advance of the world economic crisis, has facilitated the rise of illusions in Lopez Obrador, as well as the lying idea that capitalism can be "ameliorated" by simply putting a new government into place.

The partisans of AMLO pretend to be "radical" by defending the idea that the main problem of the system is corruption rather than exploitation. It's not surprising that a faction of the bourgeoisie tries to disguise the fact that capitalism is nothing other than a system of exploitation; but it also disguises the fact that corruption, which is the central theme of MORENA's propaganda, cannot be eradicated within capitalism because, like fraud and violence, it is a permanent part of the life of capitalism and more particularly in the present phase of capitalism's decomposition.[8]

Even the groups of the left who pose as critical or sceptical about the promises of the winning candidate collaborate to reinforce this illusion when they present AMLO's motto of "the poor first of all" as contradictory with the fact that he has formed a team (first of all for his campaign and now for government) with businessmen, made alliances with "conservative" groups or strengthened his links with the most rotten figures in the PRI or PAN, the unions, or is engaging with them to follow their economic or "neo-liberal" orientations. These observations certainly illustrate the pragmatism with which he acts and his systematic recourse to lies and hypocrisy, but they hide the bourgeois nature of MORENA and that of its representative, AMLO. If we take what they say then Lopez Obrador continues to be a representative of the exploited classes, but has turned out to be a "renegade" or a "traitor", whereas, in reality, he has never ceased to be an expression of the same corrupt and exploitative bourgeoisie.

The most incisive critique of AMLO came from the EZLN which, in mid-July, made reference to the change of government teams in these words: "the foremen, the butlers and the team leaders can change but the owner of the building remains the same". With this declaration, the EZLN, tried to distance itself from the other cliques of the bourgeoisie's political apparatus, but this guerrilla group itself was a product and integral part of the system which it pretends to criticise. Just remember that in the middle of the 1990's, the EZLN  gave its support to the candidate for the PRD, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, but it also expressed its "respect" for the Chamber of Deputies (in which it took the floor in 2001) and other bourgeois institutions, and it tried to participate in the latest elections...

Faced with the false promises of AMLO, the proletariat has no other way except to struggle

Whereas a few years ago AMLO pretended to send bourgeois institutions to the devil, now  he confirms his position as a defender of capitalism; and he defends it so much better when he affirms that it's necessary to strengthen democracy and its instruments, because that reinforces the bourgeoisie's tools of exploitation and control. When it talks today of the defence of the national economy, it shows its determination to keep capitalism going and in order to fulfil this task, it again takes up, while shaking the dust off a little, the promises made by the PRI over the years.

Lopez Oprador, with his leftist chatter, promises a "fourth transformation" , an illusion and a false promise which is aimed at concealing his efforts to support and maintain the capitalist system. It’s a smokescreen which produces more confusion among the workers and exploited.

But the confusion spread amongst the proletariat today doesn't mean that their capacity for reflection and their will to fight back has been eliminated. We know that the world economic crisis is going to continue and show that all the speeches and promises of AMLO are pure lies; above all it will push the workers to fight because as long as capitalism exists, whether under governments of the left or right, the exploitation of the proletariat will not only continue but can only get worse .The proletariat has no other way to go forward faced with the new government but to once again take up the road to struggle on its own class ground.

From Revolucion Mundial, press of the ICC in Mexico, 20.7.2018


[1]  The presidential elections take place every six years in Mexico (the outgoing president cannot stand again). At the same time, the election of deputies and senators goes ahead as well as the renewal of a part of the governors at the head of the federal states.

[2]  PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) is the faction that's been in uninterrupted power since the "national revolution" of 1910; PAN (National Action Party) is a party of the right and partisans of a close alliance with the United States; PRD (Party of Democratic Revolution), a "leftist" split from the PRI but largely discredited by the "Pact for Mexico" (2.12.12) which it signed with the very unpopular preceding government of Pena Nieto (as did the PAN) at the investiture of the latter.

[3]  This document was written by Lenin in March 1919 and was adopted by the First Congress of the Communist International (3rd International). We republished it in no. 100 of our International Review (1st quarter 2000).

[4]  EZLN: Zapatista Army of National Liberation were the animators of a guerrilla war led by sub-commander Marcos who, after attempting a failed armed uprising in Chiapas in the south of the country in 1994 in the name of the so-called defence of the rights of the local peasants and the indigenous cause, organised a march in 2001 to support signing an agreement with the "Panist" government of Fox, signifying its return to the legal, institutional and parliamentary framework.

[5]  This movement appeared in Mexico during the 2012 elections. It was launched by private university students then joined by public university students. It presented itself as a "citizens’ movement" demanding the "democratisation of the media" and stood against the propaganda of Enrique Pena Nieto, the PRI candidate. MORENA is the acronym for the Movement for National Regeneration showing its strong patriotic connections and how far it is from the preoccupations and interests of the working class.

[6]  National Coordination of Education Workers: a teachers’ union whose ex-Secretary General (also the old Senate deputy of the PRI), Alba Esther Gordillo (imprisoned, amongst others, between 2013 and 2018 for money laundering) has been designated among the ten most corrupt people in the country.

[7]  The turnaround by Donald Trump and the renegotiation of the ALENA (North American Free Trade Treaty) between the United States, Canada and Mexico existing since 1994 notably implies an enormous fight between the US and Mexico, particularly in the automobile and agricultural sectors.

[8]  For example, remember the "clean hands" campaign in Italy which provoked a very severe political crisis between 1992 and 1994 and did nothing to put an end to corruption but on the contrary deepened and spread it. The fight against corruption was thus one of the motifs on which Lula and Dilma Rousseff came to power in Brazil and we've seen that even these characters have recently been implicated in the business of corruption.


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