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Electoral fraud and struggle

Wednesday 26 September 2012, by Héctor Márquez

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In early September, the Federal Judiciary Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) validated the Mexican presidential election of July 1, 2012. Faced with the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to government, the organisation of a workers’ political force is more urgent than ever.

In early September, the last doubts concerning the impartiality of the TEPJF were removed. The National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and the “Progressive Movement” electoral coalition, which supported the candidacy of AMLO, were definitively dismissed in their request for cancellation of the elections. Despite the evidence provided by the centre-left (without any claim to exhaustiveness, let us mention the massive buying of votes, the use of incredible quantities of money of illicit origin and the huge exceeding of authorised campaign costs), the TEPJF declared the elections valid and “exemplary”. After the frauds of 1988 and 2006 which prevented the centre left from coming to power, the resolution of the TEPJF probably puts an end to the hopes of those who thought that a transformation of the country by institutional means was still possible.

What does the PRI return to power mean?

Félipe Calderón, whose militarist “war on drugs” policy, launched at the behest of the US government, has led to the death of 60-80,000 people and the displacement of tens of thousands more, left power after a disastrous six year term. Faced with the erosion of the National Action Party (PAN) after two successive governments, the neoliberal pro-Yankee oligarchy was betting on the return of the PRI, represented by Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), to ensure the continuity of the regime and the continuation of policies in the service of transnational capital. Among the shock policies announced during his campaign was the revision of the Employment Law which would destroy the historic conquests of Mexican workers. by rendering hiring conditions radically more flexible. Other anti popular measures like tax reform or the privatisation of oil also featured in the “structural reforms” that EPN intended to impose. All these measures would have the immediate consequence of rendering still more difficult the daily life of a population which has seen its conditions of existence and survival deteriorate in the extreme. Faced with this situation, an increased in struggles and social conflict is foreseeable in the short term. To contain an ever more explosive social situation, the continuation of the “security” policy decided in Washington appears as an absolute necessity for the regime. To do this EPN has engaged the services of the Colombian Óscar Naranjo Trujillo, ex-Director General of the Colombian National Police. The latter in addition to belonging to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is considered as one of the architects of state terror in Colombia. He is also suspected by numerous NGOs of having links with criminal organisations.

What left reorganisation?

The parties of the institutional left gathered in the “Progressive Movement” coalition were disheartened by the resolution of the TEPJF declaring EPN officially the winner. The priority for them was to put an end to the post-electoral conflict so as to be able to negotiate posts and positions with the country’s new strongman. They did not in any case have any intention of undertaking a frontal struggle against the regime. At a meeting held on September 9th, AMLO announced his separation with the parties making up the PM and the continuation of the work of building MORENA, which will hold a national congress in November which will probably decide upon its transformation into a legally recognised political party. AMLO also announced that MORENA would not recognise EPN as President and presented a plan for “civil disobedience” which is striking in its extremely “legalist” character and which contents itself with denouncing in a symbolic manner the illegitimate character of the President while de facto renouncing a mass struggle to practically prevent his inauguration on December 1st.

AMLO’s announcement throws exclusive weight on the student movement “I am the 132” and on the “National Convention against the Imposition” to oppose the inauguration. It is obvious that to meet the stakes of the situation a united front appealing to the 16 million people who voted for AMLO would have been necessary. Instead, a proposal of a new cross-class party whose programme strongly resembles that of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) from its origins seems entirely inadequate

For the sectors of the anti-capitalist left who supported the candidacy of AMLO, the time to make choices has then come. Faced with the continuation of neoliberal policies the construction of an independent workers’ party with a mass base defending a class programme should be the priority. The new Political Organisation of the People and Workers (OPT), formed at the initiative of the Mexican Electricians’ Trade Union (SME), and since joined by other trade union and popular organisations, represents today the embryonic form of it. It is to the construction of an organisation of this type as an alternative to the parties of the institutional left that the revolutionary and socialist left should devote itself.