Adios, Emilio!

Emilio Anaya Broziak died on Oct. 10. He was the best known trade-union leader of the Liga de Unidad Socialista (LUS), a Mexican revolutionary organization with which Socialist Action maintains fraternal ties.

Emilio also played an important role in the development of other social movements. He was adept in applying the tactic of the united front, and played a leading part in the beginning process of the reorganization of the Mexican labor movement to fight back against the capitalist offensive that has alaready cost Mexican workers more than half of their real wages. He was also a builder of the revolutionary party and a central figure in the LUS leadership team.

The LUS held a memorial meeting for him on Oct. 16 in the Trotsky Museum in Coayacan, now a district of Mexico City. This is their account of the event.

It is hard to say how many people attended our memorial meeting for Emilio B. Anaya on Oct. 16 in the Leon Trotsky Museum in Coyoacan. For almost an hour before 6 p.m., people were streaming into the building. They were personal friends of Emilio, members and leaders of the most significant movements in Mexico, as well as comrades and family members.

The small auditorium, which seats 80 people, was packed, and even opening the side doors that connect with the other rooms in the museum could not make enough room for the overflow.

The work put into building the event was the best demonstration of the great affection that Emilio had earned both inside the LUS and beyond it.

Carmen Aginaga, Diana Gonzalez, and Violeta Ovando had spent days preparing an impressive traditional altar, marked by two big arches of palm leaves and flowers. They were surrounded by the banners of the Intersindical Primero de Mayo [the May Day Trade Union Unity Committee] and of the Matzatlan de Flores Community Assembly [the direct democracy assembly of the Mazateco Indian people in the town of this name].

There was a banner made by LUS comrades in Guanajuato, a big picture of Emilio, and clippings of articles that he wrote for the daily Uno Mas Uno and other publications.

The fruit, sugar cane, and hand-embroidered altar cloths, and the whisky on the altar came from Mazatlan. It would take many paragraphs to describe them, for which there is no room here.

In record time, Manuel Aguilar Mora got out a special issue of our newspaper, Umbral, with a biography of Emilio, which he read. Thanks to special efforts by the printers, the issue arrived in time to be distributed to the audience.

Roman Munguia came from Guadalajara to serve as MC. He was accompanied by two comrades from the Coordinadora Intersindical Democratica Jalisciense [Trade-Union Unity Coordinating Committee for the state of Jalisco], who added their messages to an event rich in memories, anecdotes, and spontaneous contributions.

Melquiades Rosa [a leader of the Mazatlan de Flores Indian community] recounted the Mazateco legend about the reason for death. He also was able to engage one of the small bands that wander through Mexico City, and so the adjacent room echoed with Mixteco Indian music. After Manuel read the biography of Emilio, Reyna, Emilio’s companion and the mother of little Antonio, read an account of his family life. Iliana, a daughter from his first marriage, read a moving letter.

All of us knew, to some extent, that Emilio had been playing a role in the social movements in Mexico. But many were surprised by the extent of the sympathy and influence that he enjoyed.

The list of movement leaders that spoke to commemorate his life started with Ramon Pacheco, the external affairs secretary of the Mexican Electricians Union (SME), who emphasized Emilio’s role in building the National Front of Resistance to the Privatization of the Electrical Industry (FNRCPRIE).

On Oct. 19, the Front of Resistance held its own memorial meeting for Emilio, in which the main speaker was Rosendo Flores, general secretary of the SME.

Ramon Pacheco was followed by Roberto Tooms, who for years had played a preeminent role in building and defending the Democratic Union of Workers in the Secretariat of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP), as well as in the Coordinadora Intersindical Primero de Mayo.

The talk by Penelope Nava from the General Strike Council of the Students at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) made it quite clear that Emilio’s role in the mass movements was not limited to the trade unions.

Penelope described how close Emilio was to the development of the student movement, the fact that he had attended several sessions of the strike council, and the role that he played in the Oct. 2 student demonstration.

It is worth mentioning also that the Intersindical Primero de Mayo paid homage to Emilio with a minute of silence at its Oct. 13 meeting and agreed to cosign the call for the Oct. 16 memorial meeting, to which they brought big banners celebrating Emilio’s memory. On Oct. 27, the Intersindical held its own memorial meeting for Emilio.

The Socialist Coalition (the Partido Obrero Socialista and the LUS), as well as Opinion Socialista (which besides the LUS includes Workers and Socialist Unity, Working Class Unity, and the Revolutionary Workers Party) also signed the call for the Oct. 16 meeting. Enrique Gomez spoke for the Partido Obrero Socialista; Raul Lesca for the Workers and Socialist Union sent a message that he also circulated among fraternal organizations internationally.

Other working-class and trade-union organizations that sent representatives to the event were the Pascual Cooperative, the National Revolutionary Union of Workers in the Hulera Euzkadi Company in El Salto in the state of Jalisco, the workers of Ruta 100 [Mexico City bus drivers], the Academic Personnel Union at the University of Guadalajara, the Democratic Workers Current of the IMSS, the Independent Agricultural Workers and Peasant Union (CIOAC Democratica), and the Academic Personnel Union at the Autonomous University of Chapingo.

Other organizations joined in the message from the Intersindical, as did the Independent Union of Workers at the Metropolitan Autonomous University.

Messages from the Political Committee of Socialist Action in the United States and from Gerry Foley (International Editor of Socialist Action newspaper) added an international note to the memorial meeting.