Friday, May 4, 2012

Mexican Left Groups Back AMLO Presidential Bid

Published May 2, 2012 9:32 PM
An International Seminar that the Mexican Labor Party holds each year under the theme “Parties and a New Society” provides the opportunity for the parties and organizations of the many countries that attend to thoroughly discuss various analyses of the current financial and economic crisis and its impact on these countries. The recent 16th Seminar held in March in the Federal District also provided an opportunity to examine in more detail Mexico’s current critical situation.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, better known as AMLO, the candidate of the left-wing electoral front for the presidency in the coming elections in July, was a special guest at the seminar the day following his official proclamation.
Because of the great interest within the progressive movement in the United States, which includes millions of Mexican immigrant workers, this article will focus on the platform of AMLO and the organizations allied with his campaign.
AMLO’s political platform
Sen. Alberto Anaya, leader of the Labor Party (PT), introduced López Obrador as the sole candidate of the Mexican left and the official candidate of the PT.
AMLO addressed the seminar, giving a brief summary of the current conditions in the country. He stressed that “there are many problems, much poverty, unemployment, insecurity, violence, pain and suffering among the majority of the people caused by the lack of development and the prevailing corruption.” What makes these elections “transcendental” is that of the four candidates running, there are “only two projects. Two men and a woman represent more of the same — the continuity of the regime and the corruption, injustice and privileges. We represent the option of a true change, a transformation at all levels of public life.”
The proposal for this transformation, which is the basis of his election campaign, focuses on three aspects, which AMLO calls “Honesty, Justice and Love.”
• Honesty — “Because nothing has damaged Mexico more than dishonesty, the leading cause of social and economic inequality and the cause of the current national tragedy, as corruption remains a big problem.” AMLO proposes an agenda of austerity contrary to the current one: “The national budget is 3.7 trillion pesos [about 284 billion U.S. dollars], but most stays [within the administration]. … They spend 61 percent of the budget on ‘everyday expenditure,’ very high salaries for public officials.” AMLO stressed, “There can be no rich government with poor people.”
• Justice — “We suffer from a monstrous economic and social inequality,” said AMLO. “Since they started to practice the so-called neoliberal policy, money has been accumulated in few hands like never before. However, there has been no development; not even in this period has there been economic growth. In 21 years, the national economy has grown at an average annual rate of 2.3 percent, and if we discount the increase in population, the result is zero growth. And if there is no growth, there are no jobs, and if there are no jobs there is no well-being, and if there is no well-being, there can be no peace and social tranquillity.
“In the last 15 years, only 500,000 jobs have been generated annually and we need 1.2 million. This means that 700,000 Mexicans every year have only three alternatives: [one is] going to find a life on the other side of the border, the USA; this turned our country into the one that exports more labor abroad than any other country in the world.”
On the economic recovery, he spoke of Mexico’s “own model” where there will be no more privatizations. “In practical terms,” said AMLO, “the state was privatized, and in 29 years they have passed reforms to the constitution and laws to benefit those who are proponents of this model. They adjusted the legal framework of everything regarding mining since the government of Salinas [de Gortari] and they began to hand over concessions for mining in the country. Currently, they have made concessions of 50 million hectares of territory [193,000 square miles]. Our country has 200 million hectares. In 20 years they have given away 25 percent of the national territory. They take the gold, silver, copper and pay no taxes on the extraction of minerals. Then, we will solve this issue.”
Regarding the lack of tax payments by large corporations, he said that “we will review fiscal policy so that equal taxes are paid.”
“We are for that, but also the state should rescue those who are currently facing extreme poverty. We propose two things: to revive the economy in order to produce jobs but also that the state fulfils its social responsibility. We propose a social development project to bring 15 million Mexicans out of extreme poverty. Nobody in this country will suffer from hunger or malnutrition.”
About the violence in the country, AMLO said that “the problem of insecurity and violence cannot be solved with coercive measures. If we create an atmosphere of progress and justice, if we look at young people, to whom the doors have been closed and who cannot have jobs or education, if we go door to door incorporating young people into work and study, we will be able to calm the country. Of the 60,000 murders that have occurred in recent years, most were young people. So we have to address the causes. And, of course, not having corruption will help, and also if there is an efficient government, to ensure coordination, where the president takes care of these issues on a daily basis. And we should have a good national police, so that the army is gradually removed from the streets.”
• Love — A Loving Republic, says AMLO, refers to the need to strengthen the country’s moral, spiritual and cultural values.
Role of mass political organization
While the electoral front that propels López Obrador is composed of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), the PT and the Citizens Movement, there are other organizations in Mexico that support him but act independently. The most important is the People’s and Workers’ Political Organization (OPT), which consists of a large segment of the Mexican progressive movement, particularly the courageous Mexican Union of Electricians (SME).
The OPT was formed in 2011 to create a political instrument for the liberation of the workers and the people. Its slogan is “For national liberation and social emancipation.”
Its website reads, “We are leaders and activists of the working class, of Indigenous and peasant communities, students’ and women’s collectives, religious groups, civil society organizations, sexual minorities and revolutionary organizations of the Mexican left, among others, which aspire to build a new political leadership.
“The OPT is a national partisan organization, independent, inclusive and not-for-profit; an instrument of social, civil and political movements and of the Indigenous communities to challenge the government and the power of the capitalist Mexican oligarchy and imperialism.”
The position of the OPT on the electoral situation in 2012 is as follows: “Currently, the legal or political conditions for the Native peoples, the working class and the civil and social movements do not exist to confront the government directly. The monopoly of the electoral processes exerted by the mass media, the oligarchic parties and the liberal-progressive and social-democratic political currents preclude the participation of independent coalitions led by popular subjects. Such circumstances require the construction of an alliance with the liberal-progressives and social democrats who share the presidential candidacy of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his political movement.
“We will participate in a decisive manner because we understand that in 2012 there is a danger that neoliberalism wins legitimacy through the elections and then unleashes an offensive even more violent and effective against us; that the privatization of oil is carried out as well as that of all the riches of the nation that have so far escaped their grasp, thanks to the constant and combative popular mobilizations.”
On April 9, the OPT formed the “Citizen Structure to support the candidacy of AMLO and for an alternative project for the nation.” Its position is that “the only possibility in the electoral arena that can allow the political and revolutionary left to promote a social project is the candidacy of Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the Presidency of the Republic, so it is necessary at this stage to group all the forces around this nomination.”
Joubert-Ceci attended the International Seminar in Mexico City.

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