back to e-flux.com

A Radical Future for Mexico?


#1

Last Sunday, leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as “AMLO”) was elected president of Mexico is a landslide. At the Verso blog, David Adler outlines the challenges faced by AMLO and his Morena Party in implementing their progressive populist vision. In particular, Adler notes that entrenched government corruption and generalized insecurity will make it difficult for the population to trust strong government action by Obrador. Here’s an excerpt:

AMLO’s victory was, in large part, the product of his policy vision; the “National Plan 2018-2024.” Moving away from Mexico’s clientelistic mode of electoral competition—trading gifts for votes, twisting arms for community support—Morena offered a program that addressed Mexico’s three major crises: crime, poverty, and corruption.

These proposals, and their potential to transform Mexico, were the real triumph of Sunday’s victory. But they are also AMLO’s biggest weakness. Mexico’s institutions are rotten to their core, and the law is almost always contaminated as it moves through them. The country has already enshrined scores of progressive policies on issues like human rights and citizen participation. But without state capacity, they have remained dead letter.

AMLO’s challenge then, is not simply to implement his progressive policies but to reconstruct the Mexican state from the ground up.

Image of Andrés Manuel López Obrador via the Independent.


#2

“AMLO has to reconstruct the Mexican state from the ground up” to achieve anything progressive. Indeed. Good luck with doing that, when the Mexican capitalist class, its hangers-on, and “loyal” state forces won’t allow any of that.
Isn’t this all re-inventing the wheel?
Surely, from the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala in the 1950s, to the CIA’s overthrow of Allende’s “Marxist” government in 1973 with tens of thousands massacred, to the constant attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian (half-way house) Revolution in Venezuela - the Leninist lesson has to be learned that what is needed is REAL revolution and the party-led dictatorship of the proletariat?
What kind of hopeless, middle-class perspective is it that still keeps pretending that there is economic and political room on this US Empire-dominated world (even as Washington’s grip is being weakened by defeat and failure to “hold ground” in the Middle East) for “successful” “left-wing” governments to make progress without facing full-scale efforts for counter-revolution by bourgeois exploiting-class interests but at the same time disappointing the masses because the capitalist class is still allowed to exploit them?
Lenin’s work “State and Revolution” holds the key. Either the temporary half-way house left-nationalist type government seen in Venezuela will go down to counter-revolution or it will have to firm up by bringing the masses of workers into Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (like Cuba) and become a dictatorship of the proletariat - and win the masses over by expropriating the bourgeoisie, and dismantling their media control and any of their remaining loyal state forces. “Smashing the state” as Marx correctly insisted was necessary and imposing the dictatorship of the proletariat. (Pity that the revisionist leadership of real revolutionary Cuba still keeps talking such rubbish on this question and giving very bad advice in favour of “peace talks” that let the death-squad right-wing stay in power - and carry on killing - as they are doing in Colombia).
The immediate question for all “pink” governments is will they firm up in the direction of the dictatorship of the proletariat (unlikely) or will they fail to do this and betray the working people and so remain weak and go down to economic disruption (oil sale embargoes, US sanctions etc) and counter-revolutionary “judicial” coups or violence.
The downfall of other Pink Tide governments in Latin America show exactly this pattern.
AMLO is more likely to turn out to be most obviously a straw man and an attempt to divert the Mexican masses from full-scale socialist revolution - which is what is really needed in Mexico to end poverty, bring on economic development, see off counter-revolution by the US Empire and the country’s entrenched, venal and utterly corrupt rich and their police and army.
Is a mood growing in Mexico and the rest of Latin America for the building of Leninist Bolshevik parties committed to socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat?
Hasn’t there been enough posturing and stupid romantic-literary-fantasising about revisionist “peaceful roads to socialism” and “New Socialist Ways of Thinking” and “Latin American ways of doing things”?
All nonsense. Read Lenin.