During the second half of August, 2014, a pamphlet was published in Mexico entitled “Two urgent tasks to confront the offensive of the neoliberals and imperialists in our country “, printed by Ediciones Vanguardia Proletaria (Proletarian Vanguard Publishers) signed jointly by the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), the Union of Revolutionary Youth of Mexico (UJRM) and our Party, the Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) (PCMML), a summary of which we present here.
Mexico is no stranger to international dynamics, nor can it be as long as it is buried in economic dependence, suffering oppression by US imperialism. The international economic crisis that struck the world meant for Mexico a decrease of approximately 5% to 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2009.
From then to now it has not recovered its growth rate, even when in 2010, there was a growth of 5% of GDP according to government statistics. The ensuing years were not encouraging: in 2011, the economy grew by 3.9% of GDP, in 2012 by 3.8% and in 2013 its growth began to fall again, reaching a growth of only 1.1% in GDP.
When he took over the Presidency of the Republic, as the result of electoral fraud, Enrique Pena Nieto (EPN) stated that with the structural reforms that he imposed, the economy would accelerate its growth. But the fact is that in 2013, the year in which these structural reforms were imposed, the Mexican economy actually was at a virtual standstill, with just a 1.1% growth of GDP.
The Mexican economy has no firm, real basis that could reverse this trend of stagnation and crisis that the country is experiencing. Economic dependency is deepening every day, there is no independent development, the economic plan of the regime is for greater dependency. It is trying to increase the presence of transnational monopoly capital in the country. All its efforts are aimed at guaranteeing foreign investment, maximizing profits for the investors. For example, it has granted concessions of about 30% of Mexican territory, mainly to Canadian and US mining companies. The concessions for electricity generation and exploitation of hydrocarbons will also be to increase the profit of transnational corporations. Economically, the country is increasing its dependency, particularly on the US economy, and therefore its bad situation depends on the law of maximization of the profits of the monopolies of that imperialist country.
The economic outlook for Mexico during this year, 2014, is abysmal and still the depth of the new wave of crisis that has already been announced is not clear, with diminished expectation for growth in the United States.
Politically, after nearly 80 years of government by one sector of the national financial oligarchy, allied to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the alternation in office that the country experienced in 2000 with the arrival of the National Action Party (PAN ) did not represent any change in the direction of oligarchic rule. Moreover, it highlights the political decay and corruption and deepened the neoliberal policies. The defeat of the PRI was not consolidated; only 12 years later, the PRI regained control through a great electoral fraud in the elections of July 2, 2012. The old gang of the PRI, with a new televised image, returned to Los Pinos [residence of the President – translator’s note], in the person of EPN.
Naturally, the financial oligarchy not only planned the return of the PRI to Los Pinos; this was not the end in itself. It also orchestrated the imposition of the dictates of the World Bank, IMF, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and other imperialist financial institutions. That is why, two weeks before the presidential turnover, in November of 2012, the labor reform was approved by the Congress of the Union.
The disagreements that began to appear before the impending election fraud of July 2012 grew with the labor reform. The bourgeoisie saw it was time to close ranks, and it did this through the “Pact for Mexico”, an agreement among the three main political parties of the financial oligarchy, the PRI, PAN and PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution). This ensured them absolute control over the political institutions and powers, such as the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) of that time, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (Judiciary), and the Congress of the Union (Legislature), as well as, the structures of the three parties making up the self-styled Pact for Mexico, all controlled from the Executive in the person of the “President of the Republic”
The imposition of the subsequent structural reforms was only possible with the complete closing of ranks of all the political institutions of the financial oligarchy. The plan was laid out; it had no loose ends. Therefore they continued with the so-called education reform (it was actually the labor reform applied to education workers). The reforms that followed were: to telecommunications, adopted in general in mid-2013; the political reform (second quarter of 2013) and the fiscal-tax reform (adopted in September of 2013), concluding the constitutional reforms with the energy reform (December of 2013). Following these constitutional changes came the regulatory laws for these counter-reforms; so that until the middle of 2014 they are finishing adopting the secondary laws in telecommunications, energy reform and political reform.
In one year 11 structural reforms were adopted! The majority of these reforms were begun more than 20 years ago, but the total offense was unleashed in 2013 and 2014. This means that the regime and its oppressor class is not willing to negotiate more with the proletariat and the masses, it will advance in its offensive if we the exploited and oppressed classes do not stop them and kick them out of power.
The hurricane gales of the crisis are blowing strong in the economic field.
The economic outlook for the country is not encouraging; on the one hand, faced with the possible approach of a new international crisis that is brewing within the imperialist economy; on the other hand are the terrifying consequences of the structural reforms on the conditions of life, work and study of the great masses of the Mexican population.
Let us mention them in order of the economic impact that the major structural reforms will have, starting of course with the energy reforms. Mexico ranks second, surpassed only by Venezuela in the Latin American countries, and as an exporter of crude oil to the United States it is among the top three. The income earned through exports is third most important in the share of GDP; the consequences that this will have on the Mexican economy will be a large hole in the public treasury. Most of the social spending will virtually disappear, leaving no resources in the budget for social security, health care, education, programs for the recovery of the Mexican countryside; in general all social programs will have to be severely cut back as a result of the energy-privatization reform. Until now, the share of the budget coming from the petrochemical industry is more than 30%.
The Labor Reform essentially legalizes a whole series of practices that that the bosses have been implementing in the country for several decades, such as job outsourcing, flexibility, extension the working day, the reduction in workers’ rights, the extension of the legal powers of the bosses, etc. Likewise laws to weaken trade unions and restrict the right to strike were adopted. The education reform is an extension of the labor reform to workers in education. The agrarian reform, which is not yet finished, is actually the legitimization of a process of dispossession of the poor peasants and indigenous people from the land and natural resources of the country, which broke out before the agrarian counter-reform of 1992, with a large offensive against the ejidos, the communities of collective land tenure. Another big reason for the urgency of the neoliberal agrarian reform is that the dispossession from the land and territories through the energy reform will grant concessions right and left to the private capitalists and their transnational and national monopolies. This requires that the Mexican government get rid of the barriers that exist to the use of the territories granted in concessions.
The small and middle bourgeoisie is one of the social sectors most affected by the Tax Reform, which has created new taxes, particularly the so-called System of Tax Incorporation. This is aimed at “formalizing” the informal sectors, with the sole purpose of bleeding their economy through taxation. Moreover all the small and medium business owners will inevitably go to ruin; in fact official data indicate that from January to July of this year nearly 30,000 businesses closed each month, showing an accelerated process of proletarianization of these sectors with tax and finance reform.
Mass consumption in the telecommunications industry and the consolidation of monopolies in that sector are fundamental elements behind the reform in telecommunications, the distribution of production and the market among Carlos Slim (one of the richest men in the world), Televisa and TV Azteca, were the main points of discussion since the debate began in the Congress of the Union.
The reform in the social security system, that began with the reforms to the Law of the IMSS (Mexican Institute of Social Security) and the New Law of the ISSSTE (Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers), imposed since 2008, has not yet concluded. This process of privatization of health care services and retirement funds is continuing, the most recent is the bankruptcy declared by the IMSS and the attempt to replace the rights gained with the so-called “Universal Insurance”.
The factor of the international economic crisis is another element of the outlook of the crisis that Mexico has been experiencing in recent months. In fact, as a consequence of the crisis of 2008, the majority of the countries of the world are over-indebted as a result of injecting resources from the public treasury into the big monopolies. Very soon they will be unable to pay the high interests on the foreign debt to which they have been subjected. The major economies, including the US, China and Europe, are expected to grow less and less; the major powers of the world, except for China, have debts that exceed the value of their GDP. That will actually lead to a new stage of global crisis, which will seriously affect Mexico in the coming months.
A quick look at our movement
In order to pass from the defensive to the offensive, to accumulate forces and resist the neoliberal offensive, one must be clear that the history of Mexico did not just begin. Today we have a wealth of experience, a heritage of organization, and many great lessons from which we must begin to chart our tasks facing the mass movement.
A considerable sector of the organized masses are still under the control and patronage of the bosses of organizations linked to the PRI, such as the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM), the National Peasant Confederation (CNC), the Torch Peasant Movement, the National Confederation of Popular Organizations (CNOP), the National Confederation of Productivity (CNP), among others. These organizations have served to control the movement and in many cases have acted as scabs, strike-breakers and movement-breakers, becoming a form of paramilitarism, depending on the conditions of struggle. It is also the case that the mass movement independent of the bourgeoisie, its state and its political parties has been growing.
Another important block is marching under the banner of social-democracy, reformism and opportunism. However, this sector of the organized masses is tending to disappear; a small part is moving to the right, but the great majority have started to put a lot of pressure on their leaders to call for mobilization and struggle; if they do not do so, these masses in large numbers will abandon the ranks of these organizations that still have an important weight in the mass movement.
A third camp is made up of our democratic, independent and revolutionary organizations. This sector of the organized mass movement is making an effort to unify, by converging all their forces in a great flood of the workers, peasants and popular struggle, advancing a process of accumulation of forces to take the offensive against the regime. This group of organizations is still very diverse, but each one is gaining strength. Although they are still distant from the needs of the growing movement of the masses, they are creating the conditions to contend for leadership with social democracy. Moreover, the last 10 years have been the most successful in the struggle to build the unitary processes or instruments needed for building the united front.
Throughout this time, there have been various experiences, and several of them are still relevant and active, including: the Social Congress towards a New Constituent Assembly (CSHNC), which has held 10 national meetings; the Forum of the Proletarian Left (PIF); the Conference of Socialists and Communists of Mexico (ESyCM); the New Federation of Workers (NCT); the National Coordinator of Workers of Education (CNTE) that has initiated the National Teachers and Popular Conference (ENMP) that has been scattered; the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), its Regional Organizations and its Councils of Good Government; the Popular Movement of Guerrero (MPG); the process of reconstruction of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO); the Popular Front of the City of Mexico (FPCDMX); the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities – Community Police (CRAC-PC); the United Front of Struggle of Baja California, etc.
Beside these movements that have historical roots, there are emerging movements that are jumping into the arena of the class struggle, in a sporadic manner, but with such force that they have helped to revitalize, give new impetus to and inject dynamism and strength into the class struggle of the proletariat. Not even the most aggressive media propaganda, nor the militarization of the police forces, nor the army in the streets, nor the toughening of the laws, nor the control of the masses by the pro-government organizations, could prevent constantly new mass movements from arising that are eager to take to the streets and defend every inch of the rights that they have won.
The contemporary movements have some particularities that we should know how to grasp. For example, the latest movements are strongly interconnected with the new technologies of communication and in particular the social networks and the “alternative” media. None of these movements could be explained without the existence of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsap, and at the risk of being left behind, in most of the emerging movements, in their own names or acronyms they use hash- tags: #YoSoy132 (a movement that arose in the midst of EPN’s presidential campaign, its main objective was to prevent Pena Nieto from taking office), #PosMeSalto (similar to the Free Fare movement of Brazil, it has promoted the jumping of turnstiles in the Metro Collective Transport System in the national capital, as a way to reject the rising price of transportation), #YoSoy17 (a movement of doctors who take as their symbol the criminalization of their professional activity, coming out in the streets en masse after very many years), #PosCirculo (a movement that arose against the extension to Saturdays of the program: Do Not Drive Today (Hoy No Circula), which applied to vehicle traffic in the capital from Monday to Friday, ostensibly to reduce pollution), etc.
Besides, these movements tend to develop at unimaginable speeds; in less than a tweet or a like, the orientation of the mass action can change, can be radicalized or weakened. These and other characteristics peculiar to the movements in this golden age of social networks, which have overly exalted the bourgeois and petty bourgeois intellectuals, with a great number of arguments that seek to avoid firm organization and the continuity of these movements.
It is necessary to master the characterization and peculiarities of the emerging movement in order to influence them, to help them build real, long-term perspectives, because their amorphous spontaneity, the anarchy of their actions and the difficulty in finding which way is up still makes things much more complicated for the working class, its party and the organized movement, to contribute to its strengthening. The petty bourgeoisie and reaction also use precisely these features to exalt the non-partyism and the anti-organization sentiment of these movements, symptoms that lead to disaster, if they do not become aware of the danger of these reactionary positions.
The general evaluation that we make of the current situation in the country is that there is a growing discontent which is multiplying the mobilized forces, against the most varied forms of political, economic and social oppression. There is a rise of the mass movement, every day new sectors are joining the fight against the regime, but they are still very scattered and fragmented. Meanwhile the regime has succeeded in imposing its structural reforms, but now comes the real battle. On the one hand the regime would like to impose its reforms, but it will undoubtedly find the fiercest opposition and resistance of the workers and peoples. Until now the mass movement, despite having already given historical examples of heroism, has not gone beyond actions of resistance, because it still suffers from a number of diseases within the movement: trade-unionism, economism, spontaneity, evils that we must urgently eradicate.
We need a single National Plan of Struggle, built in a collective manner.
It follows naturally that facing a disorganized fight that is growing in the country requires drawing up a Unity Plan of Struggle that would be built collectively with all the forces of the masses, a plan to bring order to the actions, so they can unite in action and organization; that would break with the anarchy of the different calls for the struggle against the regime, but cannot concentrate sufficient forces to make well-aimed blows against the oligarchic neoliberal offensive.
The Plan that we need to build requires making precise the strategic and tactical objectives, that is, the objectives to be achieved in the short, medium and long term; neither confusing nor counterposing any of these objectives. For strategic objectives, it is necessary to be convinced that we want a system change, building in its place a socialist system in the country, with a government of workers and poor peasants, passing through the establishment of a Provisional Revolutionary Government, which would convene the Democratic, Proletarian and Popular National Constituent Assembly, which would enact a new Constitution. Of course this is our contribution to the objectives, there are others; one would have to debate them. But to advance more rapidly in the process of unity, we must clarify the objectives in the medium and short term, that in summary, we all agree that is the struggle to defeat the structural reforms all together and, if conditions permit, to bring down the government of EPN.
The General Political Strike is the form of struggle that will define all the rest.
The General Political Strike [HPG for its initials in Spanish – translator’s note] is a mass action whose objective should be, in the first place, to raise the morale and the building of the power of our army-people and inflict a political, ideological and economic defeat on the capitalist-imperialist oligarchic pole. In the second place would be the total paralysis of the country’s economic activity (production and circulation of commodities) as well as the paralysis of the entire political structure of the capitalist system. Likewise all this would be directed at totally neutralizing the repressive action of state, in such a way that all the actions aimed at achieving this impact would strengthen the HPG.
If we have already learned that the teachers’ struggle and their first two national strikes in 2013 at least put the government of EPN in trouble, if we have been convinced that the actions up to now have not been sufficient to defeat the neoliberal reforms, and moreover we affirm that bourgeois and petty-bourgeois pacifism, as well as parliamentary and legal means, have been exhausted as ways to strengthen the mass movement, then it is clear that the road that remains is to build on the experience of the CNTE, of APPO in 2006 as well as other experiences and to generalize a Political Strike nationwide. If events unfold as up to now, over the coming months, it is very probable that spontaneous and generalized demonstrations will take place throughout the country, in the form of a General Strike. However, they will not achieve specific objectives if they are not the result of a systematic and well organized work. Therefore it is important that they be the result of a single plan of struggle nationwide.
The successful realization of the first HPG will not be the culmination of the class struggle. On the contrary, it will be the beginning of a new stage, more favorable for the revolutionary process, with greater expectations. It will be a demonstration also for the mass movement itself, that the radical transformation of society is possible through the revolutionary action of the masses. The HPG will restore confidence in their own strength to the proletariat and the peoples of Mexico, and it will revive the hitherto dormant strata, so that they will come out to fight alongside us all. The HPG as a form of struggle does not deny or exclude all other forms of struggle; on the contrary, it projects them and defines them around the main objectives of this stage of the class struggle.
We need the formation of a National Assembly of the Proletariat and Peoples of Mexico as a concrete expression of the united front.
For the battles of the proletariat to be successful, a high degree of organization is required, and the higher the degree of organization, the more the masses will be in a position to achieve their victories. Of course, this also involves other aspects, such as correct tactics and clarity in the strategic struggle, but once one has a plan, organization decides everything.
To define the forms of struggle it is necessary at the same time to define the forms of organization. In other words, for the HPG to be successful requires a consolidated process of a united front. In the case of our country, what we propose in order to centralize all the threads of the class struggle, in order to unify our struggle, organize and project it on a national level, requires the formation of a great National Assembly of the Proletariat and Peoples of Mexico (ANPyPM). This would be the organized expression of our tactic of a United Front in Mexico. The ANPyPM would be built with the convergence of all the unitary processes that have so far been built, whether at a national, state, sectoral or thematic level.
The form of organization of an Assembly or Council has a rich history in our country, because it also has deep roots in the communal forms of organization of the indigenous peoples, and in the democratic unions. Therefore, a focus of our plan of work is to build grassroots or popular assemblies, in every factory, in every neighborhood and community, as a solid foundation on which to build a grand National Assembly of the Proletariat and Peoples of Mexico.
Some 40 days separate these lines from the journal Unity and Struggle, from the pamphlet “Two urgent tasks….” However there have been many events that confirm that the analysis that the FRP, the UJRM and PCMML made about the reality and the tasks of our movement continue to remain very relevant. For example: from the side of the regime there has been the disastrous offensive against the people, because the former has increased its deployment by launching its neoliberal reforms. In early September a series of mega-projects were announced, including the new International Airport of Mexico City, which will affect thousands of hectares of land in several towns, including San Salvador Atenco, which 13 years ago prevented the construction of the airport. Several student and popular leaders have been killed. On the part of the movement at this time (end of September, 2014) there have been two major strikes in the capital, that of the students of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and of the Union of the Institute of High School Education, both sketching the perspective of HPG. The process of formation of the ANPyPM is cast, it is a topic being discussed by various forces.
The 10th Meeting of the CSHNC, held on August 30 and 31, with the presence of representatives of important organizations and trade unions in several states, took up the task of building the ANPyPM as well as of preparing the HPG. The teachers of the CNTE also took up as a central point the formation of the united front and a specific plan for the outbreak of the HPG. Thus already these two tasks that we have been pushing can no longer be postponed for an important sector of the organized movement in the country. It is true that there is a long way to go to meet these expectations, but the wheel is turning in our favor, we communists in this corner of the world are now making every effort to fulfill our historic mission with the immortal teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin: to struggle together with our working class for the victory of the tactics and strategy of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism and communism in Mexico and around the world.
Revolutionary Popular Front (FRP)
Union of Revolutionary Youth of Mexico (UJRM)
Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) (PCMML)