Mexico: surprising agreement by the left

The rise and fall of the "party of the democratic revolution" and a new hope in the election year 2012

Things are changing faster in mexico than anywhere else in the world. Through a clever volte-face, the left party succeeds "party of the democratic revolution" (prd) a surprise. Since mid-november 2011, it seems all at once possible to stop the return of the authoritarian former state party pri – which guided the mexican state for more than seven decades. Since 2009, this "revolutionary institutional party" (pri); its return to government seemed inevitable.

The record of the ruling president felipe calderon of the archconservative "national action party" (pan) is devastating and the left camp seemed divided and defeated. But now, all of a sudden, things look different: mexico’s progressive forces have seemingly united overnight and rallied behind the banner of andres manuel lopez obrador, while the pri’s self-destruction.

Above all, the prd succeeds in distracting attention from its own weak. The deep contradictions in which the party has become entangled are by no means over. It is rather due to a clever marketing strategy that left-wing politicians, who actually fight each other to the knife, all at once join hands in front of running cameras and announce a new unity. Under the name "progressive coalition broad front" the prd is now joining forces not only with the small ex-maoist party "party of labor" (pt), the social-democratic "the party is not only linked to the "movement of the state" (mc), but also to the "movement of the state" launched by andres manuel lopez obrador at the end of 2010 "movement of national renewal" (morena). The actors involved even surprised with the announcement of a merger of these forces into a new party after the elections. Whether this is a real prospect or just a campaign slogan remains to be seen.

"With lopez obrador as the joint candidate of the left, there is a hopeful candidate for the presidential elections in july 2012. It is the task of all the progressive forces of mexico to support it in order to stop neoliberalism", said francisco saucedo, founding member and former deputy of the prd. The new situation, however, does not release the political left from its responsibility to undertake a profound analysis of the prd’s crisis. "This crisis is rooted in internal corruption and conformity", added mario saucedo perez, former senator of the prd.

Prd: a new beginning for the left

To understand the current crisis, it is necessary to understand the origins of the prd. The party was founded in 1989 as a fusion of important currents of the mexican social movements and the political left. The interplay of forces from the reformist and revolutionary traditions that come together here is unique. The 1988 presidential candidacy of cuauhtemoc cardenas, the son of general lazaro cardenas, mexico’s only socialist president (1934-1940), played a central role.

The political framework of the second half of the 1980s was characterized by the approval of the "socialist" government "consensus of washington" and the first neoliberal structural anpangsm decreases by the government miguel de madrid (1982-1988, pri). The mexican left sought a common response to this new challenge. Initially, committees were formed to oppose the implementation of the neoliberal agenda, and in 1983 and 1984 political general strikes against the planned privatizations took place as a joint action of very different currents in the labor movement. Another central political experience was the popular movement that formed in the aftermath of the severe earthquake that reduced large parts of mexico city to rubble in 1985. The district assemblies initially resisted government incompetence, arbitrariness and corruption, and quickly grew into a general political movement that questioned the system. There were also rumblings among the students, e.G.B. In 1987, the student body of latin america’s largest university, unam in mexico city, went on strike. These events also found expression within the ruling state party pri.

With the "democratic current" a strong opposition wing was formed, which saw itself in the tradition of the mexican revolution and supported the candidacy of cuauhtemoc cardenas for the presidential elections. Pri officials reacted with shock to the support for cuauhtemoc cardenas, which was shown, for example, in the "march of the "100 hours for democracy" around the zocalo (the central square of mexico city), manifested and excluded him from the party’s internal race for the presidential candidacy.

Deprived of all opportunities within the party, cardenas decided to leave the party and founded the national democratic front. Formally, his presidential candidacy was rejected by the splinter party "authentic party of the mexican revolution" (parm), because independent candidacies are excluded in mexico until today (this should change in the elections 2018). His election campaign focused on three themes:

  1. The defense of mexico’s national sovereignty
  2. An alternative to neoliberal economic policies
  3. For a democratic regime after more than six decades of pri rule

On election day, 6. July 1988, there was a huge mobilization of cardenas’ supporters nationwide. The first election results were televised and he was clearly ahead of pri candidate carlos salinas. But then "system crash". In the end, the electoral authority declared salinas the winner. Protests against this obvious electoral fraud violently suppressed the government of the illegitimate president salinas (1988-1994). The defense of free elections was paid for with blood and deaths and became the central theme of the opposition.

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