Fourth major party formed as Mexican Congress passes oil legislation

By Don Knowland
11 August 2014

Two-time failed Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has obtained legal recognition as a political party for his Movement for National Regeneration (MORENA). This means that MORENA candidates can run in elections for the national congress and state and local offices in 2015, and that López Obrador will almost certainly run for president again in 2018.

The presidency was stolen from López Obrador in the 2006 election, when he ran as the candidate of the center-“left” Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Felipe Calderón of the right-wing National Action Party (PAN) was instead awarded the presidency, following on the PAN presidency of Vicente Fox.

López Obrador ran again as the PRD presidential candidate in 2012 in another election that saw widespread voting fraud, and again lost. Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had virtually monopolized political power in Mexico for some 60 years beginning in 1929, became president, marking the PRI’s return to power after a 12-year absence.

In response to MORENA obtaining official status as an electoral party, PRD founder Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, who also had an election stolen from him when he left the PRI and ran for president in 1988, asserted that MORENA would only serve “to fragment the Mexican left,” to the benefit of the PRI and PAN.

López Obrador abandoned the PRD after it signed on to Peña Nieto’s so-called “Pact for Mexico” in December 2012, under which the Mexican economy was to be opened up to further penetration by international capital, and labor “reform” instituted, that is, attacks on worker rights. He asserted that the PRD had abandoned its social democratic principles.

López Obrador objected most vociferously to Peña Nieto’s plan to privatize the Mexican national oil company (PEMEX) through inviting foreign oil giants to enter into profit-sharing and production contracts. López Obrador has called this “the robbery of the century,” which he says will cost Mexico $40 billion a year.

Changes to the Mexican Constitution and attendant legislation required to implement the privatization of PEMEX were approved by the Mexican Congress in December 2013. Final enabling legislation was passed on the weekend by the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, and on Tuesday by the Mexican Senate.

It took MORENA over 18 months to qualify with the federal election authority as a new party. To accomplish this it had to show that it held assemblies in at least 20 states and that it had 219,000 members.

In announcing that official status had been obtained, Martí Batres, MORENA’s executive committee president, said that MORENA is a “leftist, democratic, patriotic, socially conscious” political organization “that wants to implement a platform based on equality, social justice, democracy, freedom and national sovereignty.” Batres added that López Obrador “signifies a hope for change, a clean and honest leadership, a closeness to the people, the defense of the nation and a future for Mexico.”

In reality, López Obrador is merely another bourgeois nationalist leader whom the Mexican bourgeoisie will use in the attempt to head off the Mexican working class from social revolution. He and MORENA put forth vaguely reformist demands in order to promote the illusion that mass poverty and unemployment in Mexico can be eliminated by “democratizing” the Mexican state.

The political program set forth on MORENA’s website readily confirms this.

“Corruption, dishonesty and authoritarianism,” as well as the “neoliberal program” pursued for the last 30 years, is said in the program to have benefited only a small layer, rather than most Mexicans, concentrating economic and political power in an oligarchy that controls a corrupted “Mafioso state.”

While that is true, the program merely puts forth a call for a “revolution of conscience,” an utterly idealist formulation. This is said to require “peaceful and democratic control of the government by the people,” and “obeying the laws.”

The program emphasizes that all classes will participate in governance; assurance is given that MORENA is “not against businessmen,” only against “ill-gotten wealth.” It is against privileges to giant businesses, but not to medium and small ones. This language is directed at layers of the Mexican bourgeoisie that have been squeezed out by a handful of billionaires at the top.

While the program purports to oppose “oppression” and calls for “equality, no concrete measures are set forth to eliminate low wages or the poverty of the Mexican masses.

As in the statement of MORENA’s Batres, the program emphasizes defense of national sovereignty, independence and national patriotism. Mexico is not to be subject to any foreign political group, or enter into any agreement with foreign powers. The state is to have a role in planning growth without foreign influence or interference: “No to demands of international finance; for the internal and national market.”

This populist and nationalist demagogy has nothing to do with upholding workers’ rights. The politics of López Obrador’s MORENA serves only sections of Mexican capital, not the Mexican working class.

Peña Nieto’s popularity is hitting rock bottom as the Mexican economy stagnates. In the final analysis MORENA is there to deflect rapidly growing social opposition from developing into a conscious, revolutionary political movement against capitalism. Undoubtedly Mexican pseudo-left groups will flock to MORENA’s banners for that very reason.

What the Mexican working class instead requires is an independent workers’ party armed with a revolutionary program based on uniting the working classes of North, Central and South America for the overthrow of capitalism. Mexican pseudo-left groups are certain to flock to MORENA’s banners for that very reason.

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