Obrador and Mexicos Watershed Election

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1633 ... June 29, 2018

Obrador and Mexico’s Watershed Election:
Uncertainties, Contradictions and Struggle

Richard Roman and Edur Velasco Arregui

The July 1 national election in Mexico is likely to be a watershed in Mexican history. The splintering of the three old parties, their unprincipled tactical electoral alliances across party boundaries, the rapid movement of key party figures from one party to another, have made understanding the labyrinth of Mexican elections even more complex and confusing than ever.

The possibilities of a victory by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), under the rubric of his Morena party, is strongly opposed by most of big business, and needs to be seen in the context of Mexico’s long-term crises-ridden transition toward a not-at-all clear destiny. The destiny promoted by Mexican, Canadian and... U.S. big business and political elites has been that of continental integration within the framework of NAFTA, as part of a neoliberal domestic transformation; a decimation of labour and social rights within Mexico and an extensive market-led regime of accumulation (appropriation of the commons -- oil, minerals, land, and public goods); all legitimated by electoral pluralism safely contained within the bounds of the neoliberal project. This continentalist and globalist perspective is under stress in the U.S. from the hard right nationalist politics of President Donald Trump. although big business in all three countries remains firmly committed to it.

The election is taking place in the context of this set of interrelated crises that is both contributing to the support of an outsider and will also contribute mightily to the dilemmas and challenges that his government would face, if elected. They include a deep fiscal crisis of the state, an economy in long-term crisis, a deeply corrupt state apparatus, and continuing wars within the state-drug cartels complex. They are further confounded by the xenophobic assault on Mexican immigrants by the U.S. government; the possible crisis from U.S. imposed tariffs, potential problems stemming from the renegotiation of NAFTA; and an unpredictable and racist U.S. President. But it is the deep fiscal crisis that will shape the immediate dilemmas and underlying contradictions and ambiguities in the AMLO program and within his diverse set of allies and base of support. All these dilemmas and contradictions would come to the fore in the event of an AMLO victory which itself would greatly raise popular hopes and expectations.

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