The article emphasizes the continuity in personnel and policies.

This overview of the Mexico’s context in the last year of the 21st century’s second decade was drafted at the request of a North American comrade who shares the socialist, feminist, and environmentalist ideals, and who knows that the only thing that is realistic is to fight for the impossible.


Mexico’s foreign context continues to be dominated by its dependence on the United States, a country led by an unstable aristocrat whose manner of rule is by threat. He often evokes a chauvinist discourse in which Mexico plays the scapegoat.

The country’s domestic context is a tightly centralized infrastructure in almost all facets of life, which inevitable obliges any analysis to begin with who is adorned with the presidential sash. López Obrador was named the same year as Trump; the country’s two principal financial newspapers, El Financiero and El Economista, reported in the summer of 2016 that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund “have no problems” with him. Other evidence that López was the candidate of consensus by capital is that the stock market (BMV) held steady throughout the year-long electoral circus and the additional half year until he took the oath of office. If that were not enough, his entire first year went without an “December mistake” — the iconic phrase referring to how presidential turnovers since the 1950s were accompanied by currency devaluations, and an especially large one in December 1994 gave its name to the phenomenon.

Not only has there not been any devaluation, in fact the peso has strengthened slightly relative other currencies over the year. This has been no mere happy coincidence, because at the same time interest rates for savings have risen to rival the world’s highest: undisputable proof of confidence among the capitalists of the country and the whole world. (Contrast these facts with how the empire chastises the ALBA countries a thousand ways, financially most of all.)


Other events show how the government is on the side of capital against its own peoples are so numerous that any list of its sins will come up short. These are some of the principal attacks on the rights, stability, and standard of living.

• Internationally, López used the new Civil Guard to implemented Trump’s racist policy to contain migration, not only from Central America and the Caribbean, but also the tens of thousands from North Africa who had flowed freely every year for decades. And as Trump promised but no one believed him: Mexico paid for it!

• López negotiated the USMCA free trade agreement — even before taking office! And apparently did so without even consulting the rich and powerful.

• Turning our attention to within the domestic borders: The military occupation of Chiapas continues to rise. This goes unreported by the press, but the Zapatistas warn of new forces arriving on a nearly monthly basis. Assassinations and occupations continue at the pace of previous administrations. The San Andrés Accords continue to be ignored, despite campaign promises to the contrary.

• Feminicides have risen. During the previous administration of Peña N. sexually-motivated murders of women rose in his home state, but in 2019 they increased throughout the land. This statistic has been occasionally reported by the popular press.

• Civilian deaths by drug traffickers rose in that industry’s regions of the country. This statistic has also been occasionally reported in the popular press

• Economic growth almost stagnated, nearly as poor as the worst years of the PRI and PAN parties.

• Megaprojects continue, notably the huge Maya Train and trans-isthmus conveyor.

• The civilian polls on the Maya Train and Mexico City airport were transparent shams, mere window dressing for decisions the president had already taken. For instance, in the daily press conference on the Friday previous to the weekend poll, president López said, “the Maya Train is going through!”

• The unfinished megaprojects from the previous administration were abandoned with no concern for the rubble. Half-built structures for the massive Mexico City airport and the Mexico City-Toluca bullet train without so much as a plan to pick up the debris, and vehicles are left to rust — just as previous administrations blithely ignore incomplete megaprojects they inherit.

• Every presidential changeover signals a realignment among the sectors; that is how capitalist democracy works, by rotating among the country’s regions and industries, as well as favoring whomever is in ascendency. On this occasion the favored sectors are construction, telecommunications, and finance (owned by Carlos Slim, who in recent years alternated with Bill Gates as the world’s richest man), television media (Emilio Azcárraga Milo), and commerce and banking (former president Carlos Salinas de Gotari).

• In his early months the president showed a startling incapacity to form a cabinet, in some weeks rivaling Trump’s number of “resignations.”

• Among López’s first actions was to go up against the iconic national oil company Pemex in a campaign to end massive theft of gasoline directly from the refineries, (better known by the slangy huachicol). Despite bragging of having saved tens of millions of dollars, the government reduced nearly all social services — education, health care, pensions, labor benefits — in the name of “republican austerity” which was not legislated until late in the year.

• So-called “republican austerity” provoked a massive strike wave in these sectors in the springtime, sectors which had been the strongest supporters of the “hope” promised in Morena’s electoral campaign.

• Many social programs were launched during the year, all of them implemented inefficiently and clumsily, almost to the degree of being counterproductive. For instance, a chain of ghost universities was opened without buildings, without budgets, and with part-time lecturers for teachers. For another example, budgets for public and private research were severely reduced.

• Pensions for the elderly were extended to the entire country, although the age for eligibility was raised to 68. The pensions for youth who study were increased, and pensions for youth who are not enrolled and are not employed were introduced — the latter being higher than the former, creating an incentive to drop out!

• The already existing assistance programs for the elderly and others were reinforced with arrogant youngsters who tried to disorganize everything in their path, despite being functionally illiterate.

• Against the Constitution which obliges using the official minimum wage to calculate economic indices, the practice carries on of using the Measurement and Update Unit (UMA), first introduced toward the end of previous administration which speeds up the decline in buying power for pensions and other social benefits.

• In the closing weeks of last year, the president and other Morena party legislators began to include religious personages into state functions, ignoring the separation between church and state which has prevailed since the 1857 Reform. They act in U.S.-style, invoking the deity in secular ceremonies and openly consulting religious movements on bills. At the same time, fundamentalism preached by U.S. sects persists in Chiapas and is now expanding more quickly nationwide, not only in marginalized areas anymore. This brings to mind how ISIS, Al Queda, Taliban, and other CIA pawns served as pretexts for military interventions.

Even though the list of capital’s attacks last year is incomplete, it behooves us to recognize that not everything is evil. Certain advances occurred, such as these.

• In the first days of 2020 the president announced that oil exploration had resumed in 2019, substantially augmenting the country’s proven reserves for the first time in decades.

• The minimum wage was increased. The rise introduced a differentiation between regions unlike the previous one. For decades, buying power in the cities had been differentiated from rural buying power, creating an incentive for rural emigration to urban areas. Now the northern border was favored, nearly doubling the minimum wage in that region while tending toward merging all other regions.

• Although they came too little, it was a positive step for the president to recognize the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the left wing of the teacher’s trade union (CNTE) as legitimate voices and to hold formal negotiations with them, representing partial fulfillment of campaign promises.

• After having provoked protests and work stoppages the whole year long, many benefits and bonuses that had gone unmet were suddenly paid during the Christmas vacation.

• New pensions were introduced for marginalized sectors. This represents a partial fulfillment of campaign promises, insofar as they were distributed in a strict dependency model, which is to say spreading a few crumbs to keep the people dependent on public assistance.

• It is more than patent that the president has no intent to nationalize any sector whatsoever. What he wishes to reconstruct is something quite different: the “Mexican Miracle” of state capitalism which the PRI organized in its early decades. In that period, certain public companies served as market regulators.


That label of “populism” has so many meanings, the only way to interpret it is to look to who is saying it. The PRI’s populism in those state capitalism years from the party’s foundation to the rise of the Northern Faction in 1982 was to use dependency to “buy a bit of peace” by buying off and coopting nonconformist sectors and movements.

His defenders want for no one to remember that López lived his formative years as a PRI leader. And when he got miffed, just like so many others he broke off to set up his own party, which was the PRD led by Cuauhtémoc Cardenas junior. Now that that yellow and black banner has soiled, he’s set up yet another personal party. The personages who have passed through his cabinet have been his lackeys in the previous parties and advisors to the hyperrich mentioned above. Worthy of special mention is Bertha Elena Luján Uranga who had been a respected fighter for social causes when she led the Authentic Labor Front (FAT), but let herself be coopted back when López was Head of Government in Mexico City and has not been seen in the movement since.

The president provoked a strike wave in broad sectors in the spring and summer. For the rest of the year authorities hid behind clumsiness and lack of procedural knowledge to drag their feet in regaining what was lost or just “not fulfilled.” Yet without any explanation many of those overdue benefits and bonuses were restored in Christmas vacation.

All of this fits with Social Democracy’s historical role of demotivating movements and organizations. Lenin said that politics begins where the masses are, and now millions are coming around to figuring out that this faction of the PRI dyed new colors is not substantially different from the old one. We find ourselves quickly approaching that crossroads that the Fourth International was founded and has been preparing itself for decades: that moment of deep demoralization when the masses march to the left because combative organizations have some successes and can clearly explain social problems, thereby preventing the masses from turning rightward harking to a song of restoring some bygone age when values were pure. This is why the World Party of Socialist Revolution drew the distinction between immediate and democratic demands on the one hand and transitional demands on the other, the latter being the motors that will procure mass pressure.

Sadly, many movements, including partisans of The Fourth, find it easy to label “sectarian” those who do not accompany them in their rightward drift to tailend the party of capital in power under the pretext of “being with the masses”, at least as long as it has not yet expelled them because it’s convenient for the moment to hold up a mask of populism. In December there was even a “Meeting of All the Left” organized by Morena and attended by a wide array of Stalinists, Trotskyists, libertarians, and so on.

Fortunately, one mass movement, the National Coordinating Committee of Users in Resistance (CONUR) that organizes opposition to the privatization of electricity production and distribution, as well as the illegal decertification of the Mexican Electrician’s Trade Union (SME), is in the hands of ecosocialists who are feminists and revolutionaries. CONUR is able to set the pace for this country’s left.