This article was originally Published by Corriente Socialista de los Trabajadores (CST) in Forja Socialista, No. 10, September 2022.
On Sept. 1, 2022, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as “AMLO,” presented his fourth state of the nation government report. His reports are no different from those of the previous administrations, because they too were plagued with deliberate lies about the economic and social outcomes supposedly backed up by “other data” to which only he has access.
AMLO lied about the levels of extreme poverty into which he has plunged the majority of country, as well as the high levels of inflation which have put the cost of basic necessities out of reach for many. Likewise, he did not address the complete ruin of the Mexican countryside and its peasants as a result of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Instead, he exalted the Mexicans who have emigrated, those who have been forced to leave the country under bleak and dangerous conditions in search of work so that their families won’t starve to death or be persecuted by drug traffickers. He applauded the remittances that arrive from abroad because they represent a fundamental part of the country’s economy, without mentioning that a good percentage of the money comes from drug trafficking.
The report should have discussed the growing unemployment, since the new jobs that he pompously announced are not real, as most of them are informal, temporary, and ephemeral jobs, and were moreover falsely represented by overall employment numbers.
He did not report that in terms of violence, Mexico is breaking world records. The numbers have in fact worsened in these first years of the Fourth Transformation government, and include an increase in femicides, journalists murdered, urban violence, disappearances, and innocent victims killed in confrontations between “institutional” thugs and organized crime elements. Increasingly, huge territories of the country are under the control of drug-traffickers. AMLO boasted in his report that the percentage of premeditated crimes has decreased by 12.8%, a figure which hides the fact that 35,000 people have disappeared during his administration.
One of the main things AMLO bragged about was government investment in social programs, including aid to the elderly and scholarships for young people. However, these investments have been directed to the consumer sector and not to the productive sector, and therefore they will not fight poverty, since the funds only pass momentarily through the hands of the population, which will continue to be poor. On the other hand, they provide the government with social support and votes. They function as a transfer of currency from the people to the pockets of the business sector and are a source of corruption for politicians who keep bribes for themselves.
Militarization has greatly increased despite AMLO’s campaign promise of sending the army back to its barracks. Why is he giving the Army and the Navy control over important administrative sectors and large sums of capital? He does it to buy the loyalties that guarantee political stability and governability during his time in office, and to guarantee they be his repressive arm in the face of growing disenchantment and the loss of his social base amongst the majority of the population due to the non-fulfillment of his promises.
What’s behind his planned mega projects?
- The government of the Fourth Transformation (4T) cannot avoid hiding the fact that its greatest failure has been the AIFA (Airport Felipe Ángeles), a project which has also been granted to the military.
- The Dos Bocas refinery has been a major source of corruption. Despite the fact that it initially boasted an austerity budget, its cost has risen by 50%. In addition, oil experts claim that there are still important parts of the infrastructure that have yet to be built in order to start producing gasoline, and that the budget will surely rise by another billion pesos.
- The Mayan Train, the great six-year project, in addition to spelling ecological disaster for the entire Yucatan peninsula, is a source of enrichment for the Army, the Navy, and the business elite. In addition, it is the launching point for the Transisthmian Canal project—an old U.S. imperial yearning similar to the Panama Canal—and which will mean the environmental destruction of large regions of the Isthmus and an increase in U.S. empire’s control of that area.
Second Mexican Independence
This month we celebrate the 212th anniversary of our Independence from the Spanish Empire. But today there is not much to celebrate, since we are once again a colony, this time of North American imperialism. Although AMLO makes speeches flaunting his supposed political sovereignty vis-à-vis the U.S. government, he cannot hide his role as a submissive colonial servant. It is sufficient to mention four facts:
- He has more than fulfilled Trump’s cynical boast that “Mexicans are going to pay for the border wall.” The 4T government has put up a border wall to contain and control migration: first of Mexicans, and then of all Central American peoples and others. Mexico has in fact helped to pay for the 33,000 aggressive and murderous military agents that guard the entire length of the northern border and from the Suchiate River south.
- He faithfully continues with the privatizing policies of previous governments, converting the state-owned petroleum company PEMEX and the state-owned electric utility company CFE into simple intermediary government ministries that hand over the country’s wealth to the plundering of foreign and national private capital, as he has now announced to do with lithium. The large foreign companies, which the workers kicked out in 1938, today are once again owners of Mexican soil.
- The Mexican government signed an unfavorable and undignified trade agreement, the USMCA, which makes us a raw material exporter and importer of goods from the capitalist market, as well as an exporter of cheap and unskilled labor who will become the most exploited workers in the U.S.
- In terms of foreign policy, AMLO boasts of “nationalist principles and sovereignty” before the North American government. The reality is that the Biden administration’s apparent tolerance of this view is only part of its broader manipulation to position AMLO as the “diplomatic facilitator” in the negotiations with the governments of countries that imperialism finds “thorny,” including those of call Maduro, Díaz Canel, Boric, etc.
Our critique of AMLO’s government is a critique of a government that came to represent the interests of the capitalist system. It arrived in 2018 to contain the discontent of the people who were threatening to rise up. That is why he has not fulfilled the pact he established with 33 million people who voted for him and his promise of “social justice.”
In order to demobilize and disorganize the hopeful masses, he has made a pact with all of the union apparatuses. He also had plans to corrupt other organizations dedicated to the struggle, as he did with a large part of the leaders of the CNTE teachers’ union, or worked to repress and persecute others, such as the SutNotimex media workers, and environmental activists. He even ordered the destruction of MORENA (National Regeneration Movement) Base Committees.
On the other hand, he has respected and been faithful to the pact made with the imperialist and nationalist bourgeois classes. He has continued with privatizations in favor of foreign and national capital, thus enriching them. He has been faithful to the pact in his covering up the corruption of officials in previous governments.
But working people are resisting and becoming aware of the above truths. Under the pressure of the current economic crisis, they have begun to fight to improve their living and working conditions. They have begun the struggle for stability and basic labor rights, a living wage adjusted to inflation, occupational, social health, and safety, social security. The people also want the expropriation of big energy and mining corporations, and for them to be put under workers’ control. Working people support the defense of the rights of Indigenous peoples, the rights of migrants, the environment, and the defense of union and social activists persecuted by this government. The people are also beginning to fight for a Second Independence and to say no to USMCA, and no to the payment of foreign debt in order to finance health, education and housing.
In order to fight for these demands, the development and strengthening of a militant, democratic trade-union movement, independent of business and government, will be decisive.
We need democratic self-organization, the self-defense of our social movements, and the organization of oppressed sectors of the working class.
In order for this struggle to move towards real change in society, it is necessary to build the consciousness of the vanguard of the workers and the oppressed sectors of the working class, and win them over to the program of socialist revolution. For this it is necessary to build a revolutionary party. This is our task.
Photo: Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images