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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

The Elite Capture of Our ‘Democracy’

We’re now seeing a determined effort to foment a “New Cold War,” with part of the strategy an attempt to divide the world’s governments into two camps: democracies and autocracies. Imperialist countries have invariably anointed themselves with the authority to judge which countries get to be considered democracies. Those nations that don’t abide by the dictates of Washington get labeled autocracies and face punishing consequences.

In México, the political and economic elite has waged a longstanding campaign to smear President López Obrador as a “dangerto the nation, but this elite effort has taken on new urgency in the context of the push for a New Cold War. 

The latest salvo in the effort to paint AMLO and his movement as “authoritarian” for the “crime” of asserting the right of nations to self-determination and sovereignty has come from right-wing Mexican political commentator Denise Dresser, in a piece for the influential US journal Foreign Affairs entitled “Mexicos Dying Democracy.”


The piece suffers from the usual pitfalls of such articles: distortions, dubious arguments, even fake quotes. Dresser makes a deliberate effort to associate AMLO with Trump, even attributing the phrase “make México great again” to AMLO, who never used those words. Many of her claims — that AMLO, for instance, “tolerates criminality and violence to justify the militarization of the country” — should have never made it past an editor.


Dresser, one of the most widely heard voices inside México, firmly defends México's economic elites and the status quo that serves them. She and those elites define democracy as service to ruling class interests. One vivid example: Dresser depicts AMLO’s efforts to restore a prominent role for the state in the energy sector as an attempt to pick “public fights with President Joe Biden.” Europeans these days are learning that the absence of the energy sovereignty AMLO seeks, the lack of control over energy resources, can spell disaster for public budgets and political stability.


AMLO believes México can and must assert its sovereignty to democratically determine national resource policies. Dresser seems to support US efforts to intervene in Mexican domestic affairs. What she calls “trade battles” are actually political fights. She laments AMLOs rejection of free trade orthodoxy, ignoring facts that show that 30-plus years of economic liberalization have failed to deliver the much-promised reductions in poverty.


Dresser also scorns AMLO’s experiments with direct democracy. She stubbornly clings to neoliberal doctrine and reduces democracy to an act of voting once every few years, leaving decisions regarding the distribution of wealth to the free market” and the whims of technocrats.


Earlier this month, Dresser got a taste of what democracy truly looks like after she was jeered during a march to commemorate the Tlatelolco Massacre of pro-democracy students in 1968. She eventually left the main public plaza in México City untouched and unharmed. Dressers friends in the media quickly jumped on the incident. They claimed her expulsion resulted from AMLO’s anti-democratic “polarization” and blasted students for acts of intimidation.”   


But no one is silencing Dresser. Her positions and allegiance to the political parties of the ancien régime make her unwelcome in certain spaces. Her expulsion from the plaza should be understood as a profoundly democratic act. Dresser has ample space on TV and in newspapers. The streets belong to the movements.

Mexican journalist José Luis Granados Ceja is currently studying human rights and popular democracy at the Autonomous

University of Mexico City. His writings on democratic struggles
in Latin America appear regularly online at Antimperialistia.