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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

Looking Back, Looking Forward

from the Jan. 5, 2022 Bulletin

Morena art and culture electoral politics foreign relations immigration and border issues

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.