Mexican Elections - Analysis

from Justice, US Socialist Newspaper

Preliminary results of the Mexican elections gave the victory - after 71 years in power, 50 years as being the main agent of imperialism and 12 years of crisis of the PRI - to the main, conservative, opposition party.

The fact that Vicente Fox is a former high executive of Coca-Cola is
more than symbolic. The PAN has emerged as the main tool of imperialism
and Fox victory was greeted by the international markets, big business
and both the Democrats and Republicans as the greatesd thing on earth
since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But it would be shallow thinking just to interpret this election as the
biggest victory of imperialism ever in Mexico. The crisis of the PRI
initiated 12 years ago precipitated the need for imperialism and the
Mexican bourgeoisie to change horses and privilege the PAN as its main
agent in the area. The PAN tamed his "catholic" roots and integrated
many cadre from the PRI and its program today - on fundamental issues -
is not that different from the PRI's. But the fact that the PRI lost the
election effectively ended the one-party regime and opens up a period of
political instability in Mexico and most likely of an upsurge of the
class struggle.

Fox has announced an aggressive policy of defense of NAFTA and the
demolition of the remaining barriers for imperialist penetration in the
country - barriers that were significantly lowered during the last three
PRI's presidencies.

The victory of Fox will have an effect in the class struggle in Mexico.
Will encourage strikes, demonstrations and peasants struggles since the
tombstone of the PRI machinery was lifted and the mass movement is now
freer to pursue democratic demands with more effectiveness.

Some of the side effects of the PAN's victory is that the "official"
links between most unions and peasants organizations with the PRI will
be tremendously weakened or even demolished in the next period. The
tradition of building independent unions and peasant's organizations
will certainly accelerate. Together with that will come the demands of
the different sectors. The one-party regime - modified 20 years ago but
still in existence until Zedillo took power - is gone. This is an
incredible advantage for the mass movement and if anything - the
traditions of the Mexican proletariat and the mass movement - will
re-emerge in this new situation.

The tremendous defeat of the PRD - which won the elections in 1988 but
failed to take power - is just the retarded effect of that betrayal.
Yesterday, while Cuahtemoc Cardenas was codemning the victory of Fox -
and saying that what happened was a "disgrace" for Mexico - half of the
leadership of the PRD were with Fox celebrating his victory. This will
bring the possibility of a big split in the PRD and an increase in its
left's opposition to the new government. The fact that the PRD won
again in the Capital, Mexico City, if not of little importance.

One thing that Cuahtemoc "forgot" to mention yesterday in his interviews
with the media is that an year ago he proposed a comon electoral front
with the PAN and only retreated from it when it was evident that he
would not be the candidate of such a front. Over one million PRD votes
shifted sides and voted for the PAN candidate yesterday. Maybe another
million or so of PRD followers voted for all the lists of the PAN.
After all, they were educated by Cuahtemoc and the PRD - and the left -
that the most important thing was to defeat the PRI, independently of
what or who would do such a thing. The left accompannied this
capitulation by ceasing any independent activity since 1988 and
supporting the PRD uncritically and finally dissolving themselves in the
bourgeois party.

One sector of the PRD will go to collaborate witht he new government -
another will increase its opposition.

What the PRI will do now when it is the opposition is of much relevance
as well. A split in the PRI will be on the agenda from tomorrow. The
different wings of the bureaucracy, the tradeunions and the popular
sectors controlled by the PRI will re-assemble and re-aligned. There
are already talks of an agreement between the PRI and the PAN to govern
together (Fox announced a government to include all other parties). But
any agreement with a sector of the PRI will bring decisive divisions
with the "Mapaches" or hard liners and other sectors to the left of the
center-right wing of the party which is the only capable of reachign an
agreement with the PAN.

Many things in this front will depend on what the PAN does with three
issues: a) the administrative corruption at all levels of government
institutionalized by the PRI in 71 years in power. If the PAN does
attack this corruption, even in a tokenist way, that will trigger huge

There are hundreds of thousands of public employees and bureaucrats
involved and over 1-Million people enjoyed well-paid patronage jobs in
Mexico; b) the relationship between the PRI and the drug cartels. This
is not exlcusive of the PRI, though. The PAN administrations,
particularly in the North of the country had been involved on this
relationship as well but they are junior partners compared with the
PRI.; c) What the PAN would do in relationship with the unions and
peasant/popular organizations tied to the PRI. If it leaves the class
struggle to decide its fate, it can re-direct some of these forces to
consolidate its power. If it attacks those ties head on will encounter
a lot of resistance and will force significant sectors of the PRI to go
on the offensive against the new government.

Few weeks before the elections, the remnants of the one time pwoerful
PRT (the USEC section, now reduced to a hundred or so members) and of
the POS (the remaining couple of dozen members of the party created by
the LIT decades ago) formed a coalition to run a symbolic, unofficial
presidential campaign. Too little, too late. The PRT and the POS were
destroyed in a decade of political zigzags that included the
capitualtion to the PRD, the Zapatistas and lost most of their members
to those forces. The POS was also further destroyed with the crisis in
the LIT(CI) in 1988, just in the verge of that year's gigantic political
and economic crisis. The PRT - who once claimed thousands of members,
was also destroyed before the presidential elections in 1988 when its
National Committee and most of their main cadre deserted "in masse" to
the PRD and became - for a while - even cadre of that organization.

The rest of the left is in no better shape. The PSUM - the Stalinist
party and the PMT (a nationalist left wing party) and other big
organizations dissolve themselves in 1988 and integrated themselves to
the PRD of Cuahtemoc. After the betrayal of the PRD in 1988, many of
the cadre of the left emigrated to the Zapatistas furthering the
fragmentation and destruction of 60 years of left wing traditions in
Mexico. They are today mere appendices of the PRD or the Zapatistas.
The EZLN that could have filled the vacuum left by the PRD betrayal in
1988, also crystallized in a regional and isolated movement and lost
most of its potential of evolving into a new national left wing

The next year or so will be decisive in the political life of Mexico.

Moreover, this situation in Mexico will have tremendous implications for
socialists' political work in the United States especially in California
and New Mexico and cities like Chicago and New York.s