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October 25, 2023/ This week’s issue/ Meizhu Lui, for the editorial team.

A Historical Rupture: A Leader Guided by Love

It’s a cliché to repeat Che Guevara’s words that “a true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” But it’s a cliché worth repeating. And by that standard, AMLO is a true revolutionary. What other president has cut his own salary, turned over the luxurious presidential residence to the public, spoken in common language with the people every morning, met with communities in every part of México, and kept his promise to govern “for the good of all, but first the poor?”


No wonder that the love is reciprocal. The massive pro-AMLO rallies pushing back against the conservatives who want to maintain their privileges are more like love-fests. He’s affectionately called “Amlito,” greeted like a member of the family, and everyone has an AMLO doll that they carry with pride. I look at mine and it makes me smile.


Since his landslide election in 2018, support for AMLO and the Morena party has grown, and as our interview this week with Edwin Ackerman recounts, that support is now solidly from the working class. Though he doesn’t identify as a socialist, that’s a feat any socialist can admire.


Yes, as Ackerman notes, the left has much to learn from AMLO’s strategies for uniting the class behind his reforms  reversing privatization, strengthening the public sector, and affirming national sovereignty. But his biggest lesson is  you have to have heart. A true leader is guided by great feelings of love.


We’re excited to announce MSP member José Luis Granados Ceja’s

in-person US speaking tour!

This accomplished investigative journalist from México City spoke with hundreds of people on his East Coast tour, sparking much interest in México. He spoke about changes in México since AMLO’s election in 2018, and what they mean for México and US progressives. Walk, ride, fly — you won’t want to miss him when he comes to the West Coast, now scheduled for January/February. Stay tuned!!


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AMLOs Presidency Has Been a Success

Jacobins Nicolas Allen spoke to Edwin F. Ackerman to better understand how AMLO has rallied a working-class base around a left-wing platform, and what lessons his Morena government can offer for the Left at large. We’ve excerpted and edited for brevity and clarity.

Edwin Ackerman is an expert on how political identities are formed, articulated, and put into operation, and is the author of The Origins of the Mass Party. At Syracuse University, he’s an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a senior researcher in the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean.

NICOLAS ALLEN: How do you think AMLOs government will be remembered historically: as a new political formation struggling to be born from the ashes of the old Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) one-party system, or something else altogether?


EDWIN F. ACKERMAN: The period beginning in 2000 with Vicente Fox’s election ended 70 years of authoritarian rule under the PRI, and was the start of of neoliberal reforms under the guise of increasing democracy. 


AMLOs 2018 victory came, on the one hand, with the decline of the PRI; and on the other, with neoliberalisms declining legitimacy and then collapse, which manifested itself in the complete decay of the party infrastructure associated with the governing elite. From 2000 to 2018, each successive government was rocked by scandals connected to revelations of massive corruption.


After 2012, when AMLO lost the election on the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) ticket for a second time, PRD leadership decided to sever its ties because they felt that he was weighing them down. They went on to close ranks with Mexicos neoliberal bloc (the PRI and PAN) under the slogan Izquierda Responsable or responsible left. It was meant to distinguish itself from AMLO and signal, We are polite social democrats. Were not interested in taking the streets or aligning with some of the radical elements of the Pink Tide.”


The problem was, by the time 2018 came around, the ruling class to which it had attached itself had been largely discredited. AMLO and his new party achieved victory with a thirty-point lead over his closest competitor in a four-way race. He completely demolished a teetering party system.

The conservative coalition, “Broad Front for Mexico”, PRI, PAN and PRD. Photo: Daniel Augusto /

So López Obrador is right in calling his government a new regime” rather than a new government.” His point is that the party infrastructure and the party system have been completely transformed for the foreseeable future. Thats because all of the mainstream parties of the neoliberal period — the PRI, the PAN, the PRD — suddenly were reduced to tiny formations that on their own could only garner at best 15 percent of the national vote; the only way for those parties to remain competitive is to establish formal coalitions and agree to share power for the sake of winning any elections.

In that sense, the post-2018 party landscape is completely different from what came before: AMLO represents a rupture. 


Ideologically, AMLO is a throwback to what in the twentieth century was known as national revolutionary ideology: a sort of Keynesianism focused on national sovereignty and autonomy from US imperialism, of which Lázaro Cárdenas was the prime example. So AMLO also represents a resurgence of elements from Mexicos history of national revolutionary Keynesianism.


NA: Morena has a strong relationship to the informal workers that line Mexico’s streets, but as small entrepreneurs, they often have been pulled to the right by business interests, right?

EA: AMLO has channeled the interest of low-income business owners into a left-wing project. Look how he protects the public character of the electric company. Big businesses like Oxxo (the Mexican equivalent of 7-Eleven) are in every corner of the country and received subsidized electricity before AMLO. At the same time, the state electricity company was by law forced to buy a certain amount of electricity from the private sector, so essentially, they were using the state to funnel money toward the upper classes.


AMLO says to the small entrepreneurs: In your little corner store, you have to turn off your refrigerator at certain hours of the day. Meanwhile, the 7-Eleven is selling super cold drinks thanks to subsidized electricity. The subsidies to the upper class need to end, and the public electric company must be strengthened to do that.” By reasserting state control of the energy sector, AMLO is able to make a left-wing project appeal to the small shop owner.

NA:  What about his support among middle class progressives?


EA:  If you compare the composition of the constituency that brought him into power in 2018 and the constituency that supports AMLO now, theres been a big transformation. To the degree that AMLO has lost support, it has been from the credentials class,” (those with professional degrees), which was a large base of support in 2018.


In 2018, working-class voting patterns were scattered throughout the different parties. The dispersion of the working-class vote had a lot to do with the legacy of clientelist networks, particularly those connected to the PRI.


In the past years, there has been an increasing base of support for Morena candidates coming from the working classes. The highest levels of support comes from campesinos, the informal sector, and employees, while the lowest levels come from the business sector and people with university degrees.

This is the effect of a wave of pro-worker reforms, from easier rules for forming unions, more mandated vacation days, increases in the minimum wage, direct cash transfer programs, and other things, resulting in increases in the spending capacity of the lowest income earners.


The alienation of the credential class has made for all sorts of odd bedfellows: a big chunk of the self-proclaimed progressive intelligentsia is for all practical purposes being folded into the neoliberal bloc. 

Photo: Edgar Negrete Lira /

For example, this type of Mexican progressive will attack AMLO for his environmental record, taking aim at so-called mega-projects like the Tren Maya. The construction of that project has to go through the rainforest, so theres a clear environmental impact. But then, as a progressive, you would also want a strong state doing public infrastructure and transportation works. These dilemmas are rising to the surface under AMLO, and as they emerge, progressive priorities” are starting to split along class lines.

NA:  Debates on the Mexican left have always had their own peculiarities. The Left is very sharply split between pro- and anti-statist camps.


EA: The challenge of understanding that divide is really about understanding  the history of the PRI: the party was born as the heir of a radical social revolution while, at the same time, the party was in power for decades in a context in which there was a  general 

consensus around Keynesianism. So, there are sectors of the Left that either felt comfortable with the PRI or saw a benefit to having a relationship with the PRI.


Meanwhile, throughout the twentieth century, there were other parts of the Mexican left that developed communal anarchist tendencies. The Zapatistas in Chiapas would be a perfect recent example of that branch of the Left.


While that dispute continues, I would say there is now a third type of Left: a sort of cosmopolitan middle-class left that dreams of a polite, European-like social democratic party. That group feels orphaned by both the national populist left and the rural anarchist left. These are the people who are fixated on false equivalences between Donald Trump and AMLO.

NA: On balance, would you say AMLO’s presidency has been a success for the left? 


EA: I would. There are a couple of things that AMLO has done that are relevant to how the Latin American left might think about its larger project.

Ex-Tamaulipas PRI state governor Eugenio Hernandes Flores, arrested for money-laundering.

One, in particular, is how López Obrador has been able to instrumentalize anti-corruption politics in a progressive direction. Anti-corruption politics has tended to be something promoted by the neoliberal right and strongly supported by the Latin American middle classes. AMLO has figured out a way to use anti-corruption so that it has mass appeal and does not turn into anti-statism or anti-politics.

In fact, AMLO has found a way to use anti-corruption discourse to re-legitimize the state and advance a project against neoliberalism. The way that hes done this is by redefining neoliberalism: neoliberalism wasnt the contraction of the state, as is normally assumed. Instead, neoliberalism was the instrumentalization of the state in the service of the upper class. 

So, the discussion is not about small government versus big government — Mexico was run by big government” during neoliberalism, but it was always in the service of the upper class in all sorts of legal and illegal ways.


In other words, for AMLO, neoliberalism is corruption. Neoliberalism wasnt the separation of the state and market; it was actually their coming together as part of an elite class project.


This holds lessons for the Left at large. Too often, the Left finds itself forced by the historical conjuncture into doing the job of the bourgeoisie, that is, advocating for the separation of the state from the market. But its not really a separation of market and state that were after. We want the subordination of the market to the state, and in his best moments, AMLO has achieved that.


México: Leader in Women’s Political Equality

Renata Turrent is an expert in public policy, and is presently subdirector of the online magazine Sentido Común (Common Sense). She has collaborated with other public and private media. Renata is professor of economic development and an economics postgraduate at the National Autonomous University in México City (UNAM). 

It’s a little known fact that México leads the world in women’s representation in politics. 


In 2019, Congress passed a Constitutional Reform that guarantees women’s equality in elected positions. By law, women must hold at least 50% of the seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In 2021’s midterm elections, México also achieved equality in local congresses. In 2024, we will vote for Congressional delegates, nine governorships, and thousands of local offices, and we expect more women to take office. The cherry on top will be México's first female president — the top two candidates are women — Claudia Sheinbaum from Morena’s left-wing party and Xóchitl Gálvez of the right-wing Alliance.


Even back in 2000 when AMLO governed México City, at least half his cabinet appointees were women. He’s continued this practice as President as part of his women’s equality agenda. For the first time in history, women make up more than half of the Executive’s Cabinet, leading the departmental equivalents to the US Departments of Energy,* Education, and State, among others. A woman also heads the important office of Secretaria de Gobernación (similar to a Department of Interior or Home Affairs). By comparison, according to the United Nations, only 22.8%** of the world’s government ministers are women.


While the discussion about how public policy can achieve women’s equality continues, there is no doubt that the feminist movement’s historic fight for equality has found fertile soil in President AMLO’s administration. Even PRI and PAN, the right and far-right parties, have internalized that women belong to the public sphere, and they don’t reject — at least not publicly — these women’s rights’ policies. A colossal cultural win, no question. 


None of this means that we don’t have a huge problem of violence against women; our country ranks among countries with the most violence. But we have good news too — femicides have decreased during AMLO’s presidency, and knowing we will have more and more women in power gives hope to us in a country that has long struggled with macho culture.


*Rocío Nahle, Minister of Energy since 2018 resigned a few days ago to seek Veracruz’s gvernorship. Her replacement is a man, but she led the Ministry since AMLO took office in December 2018 and is one of the highest-rated public servants in the country.

** UN Women


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

Timothy A. Wise, Mexico’s Corn Defenders Honored with Environmental Prize foodtank. Whatever the courts decide and no matter how a trade tribunal rules, Mexicans will keep resisting the imposition of GM corn.


Georgina Saldierna, Miles protestan en CDMX contra bombardeos de Israel en Gaza La Jornada. En un pronunciamiento leído en el monumento a la Revolución, exigieron una postura férrea de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores y de todo el gobierno mexicano en contra del imperialismo sionista, norteamericano y europeo, así como se ha declarado en Colombia a cargo del presidente Gustavo Petro, en pos de la solidaridad con el pueblo palestino.


Jazmine Ulloa, For Republicans, All Roads Lead to the US-Mexico Border New York Times. Not long after Hamas’ operation against Israel this month, a wave of Republicans reached for a familiar playbook: tying the issue to the nation’s southern border.


Vanessa Romero Rocha, México 2024: Una elección excepcional El País México. En el turbulento escenario político internacional, la alternancia es como una bala de plata que promete terminar con todos los males de una nación en búsqueda de un nuevo rumbo.


Carin Zissis, Approval Tracker: Mexico’s President AMLO AS/COA. President AMLO has commanded approval levels north of 60 percent. And that's where it remains as he enters into the final year in office.


Emir Olivares y Alonso Urrutia, Llama AMLO en Palenque a sumar voluntades y recursos ante la migración La Jornada. El presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador aseguró que el encuentro con delegaciones de la región “es una convocatoria a sumar esfuerzos, voluntades y recursos para atender las causas del fenómeno migratorio”.


LATAM Countries Hold Migration Summit in Chiapas, Mexico Telesur English. Mexican President Andres Manuel Obrador convened today's summit with a promise to bring a common regional position to a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden scheduled for next month.


Develado espionaje militar en caso de normalistas de Ayotzinapa Telesur. El informe deja entrever que el Ejército podría tener mucha más información sobre el caso de los normalistas desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa.


Christine Murray, Female-led presidential race cements decades of action Financial Times. Support for gender parity among politicians became a consensus thanks to dedicated activism and robust implementation.


Eduardo Marsan, Militantes de Morena en EEUU le dan una calurosa bienvenida a Claudia Sheinbaum infobae. Recibió una cordial y cálida bienvenida a Los Ángeles, California, Estados Unidos.



The Mexico Solidarity Project brings together activists from various socialist and left organizations and individuals committed to worker and global justice. We 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, Victoria Hamlin, Agatha Hinman, Peter Shapiro, Courtney Childs.  To give feedback or get involved yourself, please email us!

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