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After the declaration of the CNI and the EZLN: the road to a campaign to organize and fight.

Monday 31 October 2016, by PRT, Mexico

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The Partido Revolucionario de las y los Trabajadores (PRT – Workers’ Revolutionary Party) salutes and welcomes the announcement by the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI – National Indigenous Congress) and the EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional – Zapatista National Liberation Army) of the initiation of a consultation on a possible participation in the presidential elections of 2018 with an indigenous woman, a spokeswoman for the CNI. [1]

For the PRT this political initiative can offer an alternative of struggle and organization for those at the bottom, resisting the capitalist dynamic that is expressed in the structural counter-reforms that alienate what is common and public as well as the rights of working people, in ecocidal megaprojects which destroy the biocultural wealth of our country, in systemic violence and state terrorism seeking to maximize profits and minimize costs, according to capitalist logic.

In a country where the spiral of violence is unstoppable, where the ruling castes attain ever more alarming levels of contempt and cynicism toward the people and where the mega-projects of dispossession of resources and territories to benefit imperialist interests are driven and sustained by state power, resistance to the government and/or the legislature (a state outside social control and turned against society) acquires greater national relevance, as asserted by the statement from the CNI. Faced with all this it is urgent now not only to organize to resist, but fight to win and the possibility to do so is provided by having a political force organized nationally. Beyond the debate on whether or not there is a political turn, the Zapatista initiative changes the political coordinates of the presidential replacement. The political chessboard is disturbed by the possibility of the eruption, in this field, of a force which has been absent, and is not invited since it represents not only the strength of the indigenous movement contesting the system but the anti-capitalist left itself.

With this important political initiative we face the possibility of a broad anti-capitalist convergence that, through dialog, can build unity in diversity. The profound transformation that the country needs requires joint efforts as well as frank and open discussion of the strategic scenarios to change everything from below. The initiative, adopted at the consultation of the CNI, would therefore be completed with a call for unity to the whole of the anti-capitalist left also present in many struggles both in the countryside and in the city. Among the indigenous peoples but also between the working class and its organizations of struggle, including trade unions, like the teacher’s movement or the electricians of EMS and their proposal for an Organización Política del Pueblo y los Trabajadores (OPT - Political Organization of the People and Workers). In the workers’ movement but also in other movements resisting the barbarity of capitalism, like the struggle against feminicide, the struggle for women’s rights (which could be represented very well with a female indigenous candidate) and in general against the violence of the state, with its terrible aftermath of executions and disappearances. Obviously, also the solidarity movement with the students of Ayotzinapa and the struggle for the 43 “alive they left, alive we want them”.

The most comprehensive anti-capitalist unity will certainly require dialog and fraternal debate. But the debate that has opened around the initiative should not mean disqualification and slander. That is what it means to say that an independent candidacy of the anti-capitalist left plays the game of the right (to the parties of the Pact for Mexico?) or that it divides the vote of the left and is a manoeuvre against Morena. This insult is not new. Especially from the spokespersons of the institutional left who have claimed to be supposedly the only representatives of the left. Previously, the PRD claimed that they were “the left”. Now Morena says that the PRD is not the left but they are the only true left. In 2006, Lopez Obrador, the PRD candidate, accused the “Other Campaign” of being allied with the right. In 2015, sectors of the movement in the fight against neoliberal power and the structural reforms of the Pact for Mexico did not vote for Morena, but called for abstention or boycott, like the teachers. Lopez Obrador also insulted the teachers’ movement, accusing it of allying with the PRI at a time at which it started brutal repression against the movement. It must be understood that the anti-capitalist left and in general the movements of struggle against neoliberalism are not represented by the institutional left.

Lopez Obrador has, in recent weeks, concerning the protests of September 15th, even opposed the slogan “Peña Out” saying that we do not want a government of rubble and proposing to subordinate every struggle to the election of 2018. On the contrary, we understand the proposal of an independent CNI candidacy as being to organize a movement in struggle against the power of the neoliberal oligarchy, a campaign of struggle and organization, not to subordinate the fight to the elections of 2018. The proposals of AMLO and Morena are different. A transitional cabinet with Peña Nieto is proposed to ensure a “peaceful” transition, therefore offering amnesty to the criminals of the regime. It is proposed to postpone the fight until the vote in 2018 with a transitional cabinet, i.e. a government of reconciliation. In reality this is not the time to define a formula of voting but to continue the struggles against the oligarchic power and its neoliberal agenda, including within the logic of “Peña Out”. But at the same time it is possible to discuss the strategic perspective as it would be with a separate campaign, with registration or without legal registration (as was the case with the Campa in 1976). In contrast the proposal of AMLO proposes maintaining capitalist logic intact, as recently shown in Sonora where its proposal before the extractive dispossession of foreign mining companies was that they simply pay taxes.

A candidacy of this type, such as we had years ago with Rosario Ibarra, the first woman presidential candidate in the history of the country (whose motto in 1982 was precisely “up with those at the bottom”), is a call to organization and struggle from below, but must also be a call for unity of those who today are struggling to change our country to make it independent, fair, equal, multicultural and free of exploitation, dominance and oppression, that is to say in an anti-capitalist logic.

It is of special importance that the announcement of the CNI and the EZLN emphasizes that the candidacy be headed by an indigenous woman. This questions a regime based on authoritarian, patriarchal and homophobic, but also racist and homogenizing bases. And this questioning is even more significant when women not only suffer patriarchal oppression in the family, at work and in society, but an attack on their rights as well as an extremely serious wave of violence whose most inhuman extreme is feminicide.

For the PRT a candidate of this type would become a symbol for the major struggles of indigenous peoples who are not only still struggling for their right to autonomy but face all the projects of dispossession of resources, territories and culture that are being imposed across the entire national territory. It would also be a symbol for the women that today shout their “Enough!” against patriarchal contempt and violence. When politics is built on authoritarian, patriarchal and homophobic bases, to make visible those who bear the brunt of the crisis is also a way to question the bases of a regime that in addition to being authoritarian is patriarchal. It would be a symbol of unity with the struggles of the teachers as well as a symbol of the struggle and dignity of all workers. The candidacy of an indigenous woman would become a symbol for the young and for all those denied, oppressed, despised and excluded by a system in which values only making more money but not life and dignity.

We say that the possibility has opened of a broad anti-capitalist convergence that, through dialogue, can build unity in diversity. Including between the anti-capitalism that proposes the struggle for power and that which does not do so. The profound transformation that the country needs requires joint efforts as well as frank and open discussion of the strategic scenarios to change everything from the base, from below.

Mexico City, October 18, 2016