The weekly newsletter of the México Solidarity Project


January 5, 2022/ This week's issue/ Meizhu Lui, for the editorial team

In California, a United Farm Workers union rally, by P.K. Weis, Southwest Photo Bank

The Best Welcome for a New Year: Solidarity, Forever!

It is we who plowed the prairies, built the cities where they trade,

Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid.

Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made,

But the union makes us strong!


Written in the US just over a century ago, Solidarity Forever has become a timeless anthem, sung in many languages and in many countries. In the 1960s, to give just one example, Cesar Chavez and Mexicano field laborers joined in solidarity song to express their solemn determination to build a union of their own.


Singing together brings a lump to our throats and a gleam to our eyes. Yes, we realize, nothing will ever be feebler than the puny force of one.” And, yes, unity — in our workplaces, our industries, our communities large and small — has the power to “birth a new world.” With our voices reverberating, we can feel solidarity’s visceral sensations: the power rising in our guts, the warmth of a fellow worker’s hand in ours.


In the new year ahead, our México Solidarity Project will be doing as much as we can to strengthen the bonds between peoples on both sides of the US/México border. We’re now organizing our first-ever support campaign for an independent union, this one organized by auto workers at the huge GM plant in the central Mexican city of Silao. We’ll be inviting you, in the weeks to come, to join with us on this effort.


And we’ll be bringing you every week, in this México Solidarity Bulletin, interviews that can help build bonds between all our readers and the extraordinary “ordinary people” in both México and the US daring to be doulas — birth coaches — to the new world waiting to be born.


Our Bulletin’s Reflections section, in the meantime, is going to sport a new look here in 2022. We’ll be featuring several regular rotating activist pundits with sharp and often pungent takes on the events swirling all about us. 


Let’s all envision ourselves together this year, relishing our mutual company, raising our voices, our fists, our spirits in solidarity forever. Si, se puede!


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The México Solidarity Project began not long after Morena's smashing victory in the 2018 Mexican elections, a triumph that overturned nearly a century of PRI rule and gave a resounding “yes” to centering the needs of poor and working people. President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador has now begun the second half of his six-year term. What have we learned so far? What can we expect in the year ahead? Several of us who’ve been working on this México Solidarity Bulletin recently gathered — remotely, of course! — to consider these questions. We share here some highlights from our discussion.

What stands out as 2021s most significant development in México?

Sam Pizzigati: I find it quite amazing that AMLO, in the face of an overwhelmingly hostile press and the heavy toll the COVID crisis has taken, continues to have the support of a large majority — some two-thirds — of the Mexican people.

Vicky Hamlin: There’s a perception among ordinary people that this government is actually working for the people. I’ll always remember a Mexican gardener in Oakland exclaiming to me, “AMLO is planting trees everywhere!”

Bruce Hobson: I had the opportunity to be an international observer to México’s 2021 mid-term elections, an experience that invigorated my political spirit. AMLO now plays a leadership role throughout Latin America, in large part because he hasn’t been afraid to stand up to the US on issues like support for Cuba. He’s dared welcome left leaders — like Bolivia’s Evo Morales — ousted by right-wing and US pressure. México’s now a lighthouse.

Javier Bravo: AMLO’s support reflects a series of important changes in the distribution of national wealth. People have stopped normalizing and accepting the corruption of the PAN and PRI political parties. Theyre instead recognizing that strategic natural resources belong to the people, not to the bourgeoisie.

We started the México Solidarity Project when Trump was still sitting in the White House. What has changed — and what has stayed the same — in US/Mexico relations with Joe Biden as President?

Meizhu Lui: Biden’s labor and trade appointees can be credited with supporting independent union organizing in México in a couple of important cases. They’ve started using the labor provisions of the USMCA — the current North American trade deal — to get US companies to back off from unfair labor practices. That would never have happened under Trump.

Bruce: Trump was unpredictable, colonialist, vindictive. Without Trump, some heat has  been taken off of México.


Sam: And other heat is still blowing strong! Many of Trump’s policies around immigration remain in place, and that’s creating a continuing human rights disaster.


Bruce: True, and we can’t forget the role that both Republican and Democratic administrations have played in supporting undemocratic coups, in order to reverse the “Pink Tide.” Biden may prove to be equally hostile to leftists elected to leadership in Latin America, as the Pink Tide floods back in again. 


Javier: Biden may not be putting children in cages, but we must remember that the US state represents the 1 percent. So it does not matter if Trump is gone and Biden smiles at AMLO — the Mexican president should continue being both progressive and cautious.


What challenges do Mexican activists face as they keep working for transformational change? What challenges lie ahead for US activists working to make sure US policies and practices allow México to determine its own future?


Meizhu: We’ve seen gains for women in México — de-criminalizing abortion and legalizing same-sex marriage both count as huge victories — but femicide continues apace. Feminists need to continue to take to the streets to demand an end to gender violence.


In the US, if the polls prove right, we may see a Republican takeover of the House, and that will limit our ability to pass good policies on migration and foreign policy. Strengthening relationships with the Labor Department and progressive appointees may be our best strategy. And given the upsurge in both México and the US toward democratic unionism, a focus on labor may be the place where US supporters can make the most difference.


Sam: The “dark side” to Morena’s electoral success has been the rush of opportunists out of México’s discredited traditional political parties and onto the Morena bandwagon. The progressive activists who’ve built Morena and these opportunists will be battling it out.


Javier: And Morena’s leaders therefore need to understand the importance of educating the Mexican people to embrace an ideology based on the Latin American philosophy of liberation.


What prospects do you see in 2022 for US/Mexico Solidarity?


Vicky: Through my work on this México Solidarity Project, I see more clearly the deep roots of Mexican culture embedded in US social traditions, art, and activism, especially in California and the Southwest. These roots have always been there, and we have an ongoing need for education and information to make the invisible visible. That will solidify ties between our peoples.


Javier: Social movements should connect with their peers across the border in friendship and solidarity. A joint political agenda should be developed to push forward every time we go through an electoral process in either of our countries.


Bruce: In México, people face great poverty, violence, marginal employment. In spite of those conditions, the people see promise and have hope. But in the US, we feel fear and sense peril.


Meizhu: US people on both the right and left have long assumed that we need to “teach” México, to “help” the Mexican people. The shoe is shifting, so to speak, to the other foot. We now have more to learn from México about how to grow real democracy, how to serve the poor, how to make something out of nothing. It’s clearer than ever that solidarity is a two-way street.


AMLO, It’s Time to Call Out President Biden!

Orale AMLO, es tiempo a gritar! It is time for you to speak out to team Biden, time to say Ya Basta to the Yanquis and their racist immigration policies. Back in the Trump years my stomach turned at the sight of photos of children in cages at the US-Mexico border, held in concentration camp-like conditions.


And the sight of those cages revolted not just me. Caravanas to the border protested this disgusting policy: Black Lives Matter activists, Asian Pacific Islanders, trade unionists, progressive white folks, and, of course, Chicano and Latino gentes.

Now I have asco once again, after I saw pictures of Biden’s horse-mounted Border Patrol thugs whipping Haitian immigrants. The Biden administration is even now preparing to expel 14,000 Haitians back to a country still suffering from a deadly earthquake, tropical storms, and armed militias backing a corrupt and brutal Haitian oligarchy. Andale AMLO, where’s your heart?


The administration continues to apply Title 42, the order Trump used to label asylum seekers a public health danger.” Refugees continue to be expelled — without hearings — using the same racist lie that migrants carry disease” into the US. AMLO, you need to speak up, compa!


US policy is forcing desperately poor refugees and asylum seekers out of the US into dilapidated and overcrowded migrant camps in México. There they await deportation back to the poverty and violence they were seeking to escape.


I get it. When Trump occupied the White House, your administration had just taken office. You needed to focus on consolidating Morena’s electoral victories and replace the old PRI/PAN apparatus with your own new governance infrastructure. You needed to move on the issues of economic inequality and corruption you spotlighted in your campaign. And you needed to accomplish all this while Méxicos oligarchy was rushing to undermine you.


I get it, AMLO. I understand why you would try to avoid a showdown with the US superpower with all this going on. And given the US capacity to severely cripple Mexico’s economy with tariffs and embargoes, I can see why Mexico compromised to the immigration demands of the Trump Administration.


But we’re living in a new day, AMLO, and you have to step up. Raise your voice against the continuing racist US immigration policies.  Support the demands of Mexican civil society and immigrant rights advocates in the US. Press Biden to stop using Title 42 and focus instead on rapidly processing asylum claims. Demand that the US reverse the decision to deport the Haitian immigrants and halt the expulsion of asylum seekers into México.


AMLO, you and Morena continue to enjoy enormous popular support. Youve created a relatively stable governing infrastructure and implemented progressive policies that benefit working class Mexicans. You’ve also pursued a progressive foreign policy. Youve won the strong support of the Mexican people, and now you need to leverage that support. Make clear to the Yanquis that the sovereign nation of México honors human rights.


By speaking out, AMLO, you could very well help stiffen the Biden administration spine  against the racist, anti-immigrant Republicans who continue to advocate for the ethnic cleansing of some 11 million undocumented immigrants, with over half being Mexicano. AMLO, see these gentes as familia, my people, your people, our people. Ya basta!

Bill Gallegos, a veteran Chicano liberation activist, environmental justice leader, and revolutionary socialist, has a lot to howl about.


Recent news reports and commentaries, from progressive and mainstream media,
on life and struggles on both sides of the US-México border


Special edition: immigration legislation and border roundup, Border/Lines. An end-of-year appraisal of US immigration policy.


Ryan Devereaux, Silver and Lead: Inside Mexico’s Historic Lawsuit Targeting U.S. Gun Companies, The Intercept. México is accusing some of the world’s most well-known gun companies of lethal negligence on a mass scale.


López Obrador urges Mexican-Americans to shun anti-immigrant parties, La Prensa Latina. US citizens of Mexican heritage, AMLO declares, should not vote for political parties that oppose regularizing undocumented immigrants.


Raúl Romero, Guerrero y la criminalidad de Estado, La Jornada. Un informe nuevo documenta, a través de 119 testimonios, las graves violaciones a los derechos humanos que se cometen contra las poblaciones de 24 comunidades, la mayoría de ellas nahuas.


Jesús Francisco Sánchez Cuevas, El aumento a los salarios con AMLO derrumba mito neoliberal,  Polemón. Con el incremento del 73% a los salarios mínimos que se habrá aplicado en lo que va del gobierno de Andrés Manuel López Obrador — incluido el 22% anunciado para este ya inminente 2022 — se derrumba el mito neoliberal de que éstos son causantes de la inflación.


México president blasts business chiefs, except 'friend' Slim, AFP. The paths of the politician and the billionaire first crossed when López Obrador served as mayor of México City and Carlos Slim invested in development projects in the capital’s historic center.


Joshua Partlow and Chris Mooney, México’s wheat fields help feed the world. They’re also releasing a dangerous greenhouse gas, Washington Post. Emerging scientific evidence suggests that México’s emissions of nitrous oxide are running double or even quadruple what the country reports, a problem the current Mexican government acknowledges.


The Mexico Solidarity Project brings together activists from various socialist and left organizations and individuals committed to worker and global justice who see the 2018 election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president of México as a watershed moment. AMLO and his progressive Morena party aim to end generations of corruption, impoverishment, and subservience to US interests. Our Project supports not just Morena, but all Mexicans struggling for basic rights, and opposes US efforts to undermine organizing and México’s national sovereignty. 


Editorial committee: Meizhu Lui, Bruce Hobson, Bill Gallegos, Sam Pizzigati, Courtney Childs, Victoria Hamlin. To give feedback or get involved, drop us an email!


Web page and application support for the México Solidarity Project from NOVA Web Development, a democratically run, worker-owned and operated cooperative focused on developing free software tools for progressive organizations.