by the Socialist Unity League / August 2006 issue of Socialist Action
Massive protests have been continuing in Mexico against the faked election of the rightist candidate for president, Felipe Calderon of the PAN (National Action Party). Organizers estimated the demonstration in Mexico City at the end of July at 2 million persons, many of whom are still camping out in the city.
Electoral fraud has been a conspicuous feature of Mexican bourgeois politics since the decline in the support of the long-ruling PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) became manifest. In 1988, the PRI obviously stole the election from Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, who ran in the name of the party’s populist traditions, opposing its turn to neoliberalism. In the recent presidential election, the PRI candidate ran a distant third, revealing how discredited the traditional ruling party has become.
Vicente Fox, the candidate of the PAN, a rightist Catholic party, won the last presidential elections in a revolt against the state-party system. But Fox in office has proved to be exactly the same as the PRI presidents that preceded him. In the July 2 presidential elections, the alternative to the PAN-PRI seen by the masses was Lopez Obrador of the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), although the PRD is also a bourgeois party and not fundamentally different from the PAN and PRI.
The PAN and PRI waged a venomous red-baiting campaign against Lopez Obrador, which undoubtedly increased his popularity among the great majority of poor people in the country. Thus, the stealing of the election from the man seen as the people’s candidate crystallized the massive discontent that has been building up for decades in the country.
The following is the leaflet distributed to the protest demonstrators by Socialist Action’s co-thinkers in Mexico, the Liga de Unidad Socialista.
Everyone against the electoral fraud! Recount the votes one by one, ballot box by ballot box! Nation-wide strike in defense of the popular will!
For a Constituent Assembly that will restore national unity and sovereignty!
MEXICO CITY—The fraud perpetrated July 2 was only the culmination of a long, extremely costly, and bungled manipulation of the electoral process by a broad cabal of powerful groups of businessmen (mainly in our country and in the U.S., although they also got support from European capitalists. They all had an interest in deepening the neoliberal plundering of Mexico’s banks and energy resources).
The fraud did not consist only of doctoring the results and inflating some figures. Brutal operations were perpetrated, such as the attempt, which fortunately failed, to knock the head of the Federal District government, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, out of the race.
This fiasco was followed by a campaign for the PAN waged illegally by the office of president. As former secretary of foreign relations Jorge Castañeda told the daily El Universal: “Fox rigged the game for Calderon.” After such a confession by Fox’s pals, there is hardly any need to offer further evidence.
Poisoning of the atmosphere with an absurd labeling of Obrador as a “populist” and a “danger to Mexico” was followed by massive telephone calls and rumor campaigns to instill fear in vulnerable sections of the population, claiming that Obrador was going to take away their houses and institute a tax terrorism if he got into the presidency, and then stick to power “like Chavez in Venezuela.”
(Obviously the big media have been careful not to give accurate information about Venezuela because if they did it would be evident that both in terms of economic growth and human rights Mexico is far worse off than the much maligned but little known country presided over by Hugo Chavez.)
Like gilded youth who think that their families’ wealth and power exempts them from the need to respect the persons and integrity of citizens with low or modest incomes, the ruling class in Mexico wants to mock the voters and the will of the great majority of the population.
Money, the enormous concentration of wealth and power, and the control of the media and the privileges of the big businessmen and their stooges in government are the real essence of the electoral fraud. The field on which the game was played was not “even,” but extremely tilted to the right.
The pretense was designed to guarantee the domination of the ruling class, especially the groups that have been enriching themselves at the expense of the working people through their policies of “globalization” and neoliberalism.
However, the ruling rich were not satisfied with control of the executive branch, the legislature, the media, the buying of votes, and economic pressure against the vulnerable and impoverished masses. To keep the votes of the poor from counting, they used the old, well-known electoral tricks, such as buying representatives, stuffing ballot boxes, altering ballots, and intimidating voters.
Respect the votes of the working people!
We socialists say to the population that we do not think that any candidate in this electoral process represents us. For the July 2 vote, we called for writing in appeals for the freedom of the Atenco prisoners as well as all political prisoners in the country.
But in the face of this electoral fraud, in the face of this mockery that the regime is making of the votes of millions of workers in the countryside and the cities who voted for Obrador, we stand alongside the working people in their fight to win respect for their will.
This new explosion of popular anger at the fraud is simply an expression of irritation and discontent with the neoliberal policies of the PAN and PRI governments. The working people have suffered more than two decades of unemployment, low wages, worsening working conditions (the Pasta de Conchos disaster is only one example), a growing subordination of Mexico to imperialism, increasing cuts in social security, energy supplies, and cuts in workers’ pensions.
Look at the contrast between the super-exploitation of the workers and the extreme generosity that the system has shown to the “poor little” banks!
We are experiencing a crisis of a fragile and soiled “democracy” dominated by money. Whatever the outcome, the situation will become constantly more difficult and complex.
With Calderon as president, the ruling class will have a weak and massively discredited representative in the central political post, a figure subject to all the whims of the imperialists and the looters of the country. But with Lopez Obrador as president, the system is not going to be significantly better able to meet the needs of the majority.
And if an interim president is installed as an alternative to a confrontation between the two leading candidates, that will only be a stopgap. It will not solve the poisoning of political life engendered by the degenerate Mexican ruling class and its U.S. allies.
A lasting solution depends on the mass mobilization continuing resolutely and beginning to generate a political alternative that will lead to independence and a genuine democracy that will safeguard the rights of the underprivileged population.
The immediate tasks are to fight the fraud and stop the privatizations, the selling off of the country, and the super-exploitation of the workers that it is essence of the PRI and the PAN’s policy of capitulation to imperialism. To confront them, we need to organize powerful demonstrations of resistance, such as forming committees against the election fraud in the neighborhoods and throughout the country—leading up to a nationwide strike.
The only solution for taking the poison out of political life, for removing the disunity, and for the loss of sovereignty is calling a constituent assembly. This will lay the basis for a new kind of government, which will organize the actions needed to achieve a free, democratic, sovereign, and independent Mexico.
For a national strike to reverse the electoral fraud!