Inspirational: mexican campesinos say No! to AMLO, many reject voting booths

From Ryan Knight, July 6, 2018: ‘Autonomous Self-Organization Against the Electoral Spectacle in Mexico’, counterpunch
After his two opponents for the Presidency of Mexico had conceded, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) gave a press conference on Sunday night from the Hilton Hotel in Mexico City, and once again vowed to stamp out corruption in the government, and put a stop to the impunity under which the corruption had existed for far too long.  He’d further claimed that said corruption was the principal cause of the social and economic inequality and violence rampant in the nation, and that he meant to make the substantive changes he’d promised.

Most Amerikan MSM progressives (consortium news, TRNN, democracy now!, common dreams, etc. have dubbed him (hooooray!) a ‘leftist’ who will stem the reversal of the ‘pink tide’, the ‘Bernie Sanders of Mexico’, DSA Jacobin Magazine  may be the worst (‘AMLO will win unless the elites take him out first!’), and many reason that AMLO had only courted bidness so resoundingly toward the end of his campaign to get more votes or to ‘calm the markets’.  My take is that he’s more of an Obama hopey-changey con-man sorta guy.  “I’m all that’s standing between y’all on Wall Street and the pitchforks!’

“While giddy progressives have bought into the electoral spectacle, celebrating López Obrador’s victory as a key triumph for the political left in Mexico, a subtler yet ongoing constellation of movements continues organizing from below, out of sight of those looking upwards in search for political and social change. In the days leading up to the election on July 1st, in various parts of Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Indigenous communities refused to submit to the logic of the colonial state, physically preventing the installation of voting booths in their towns, communities and territories. These actions were not temporary spectacles, but part and parcel of enduring movements for community autonomy, self-determination, territorial defense and self-organization.

Demanding respect for their uses and customs—the concept used to recognize traditional forms of decision-making and communal co-existence—Indigenous communities have collectively organized themselves outside of the political party framework, making decisions in community assemblies as their maximum organ of authority. Fundamental to the logic of these communal struggles is the understanding that power is a service to the community, to the collectivity, and not a means to pursue capitalist and self-interests.

In the days and months leading up the election, tension between the logic of the state as embodied in the electoral process, and the self-determined organizational processes of the pueblos came to various boiling points.”  {from Knights links below]:

‘Statement From the Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacán: Long Live the Self-Determination of the Indigenous Communities, July 1, 2018,

“The Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacán (CSIM) is autonomous and independent of governments, political parties and religious orders. We are made up of civil, communal and traditional authorities of the Indigenous communities of Santa Fe de la Laguna, Caltzontzin, San Felipe de los Herreros, Cocucho, Zirahuén, Apo del Rosario, Capácuaro, Huecorio, San Ángel Zurumucapio. Jicalán, Tahuejo, Zopoco, Pamatácuaro, Sicuicho, Cuanajo, Sevina, San Andrés Tziróndaro, Jucutacato, Corupo, Angahuan, Carapan, Rancho Seco, Comachuén, Paracho, Santa Ana, Cheranástico, Naranja de Tapia, San Benito, San Antonio, Aranza, Tirindaro, Agua Verde, Quinceo, Tomendan, Nuevo Zirosto, Condembaro, La Tinaja, Urapicho, Turián Bajo, Santa Rosa, Arato, Pomacuarán, Ahuirán, Sirimicuaro and Etúcuaro. As a Council we present the following:

We commend the Indigenous communities of the CSIM who, as a concrete expression of their self-determination, have not allowed the installation of electoral voting booths in their communities. [This right is protected in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (OIT) of the Declaration of the Right of Indigenous Peoples in the United Nations and the San Andrés Accords.]  “We celebrate the struggle for self-government and autonomy, with decisions made in the general assembly of each community. From here we express our admiration and recognition of the P’urhépecha towns of Santa Fe de Laguna, Aranza, Zopoco, San Felipe de los Herreros, Nahuatzén, Cocucho and San Benito. Their struggle forms part of a long history of more than 500 years of resistance and dignity of the P’urhépecha people.”  [snip]

“Finally, we make clear that we respect the decision of the Indigenous communities and towns that are participating in the electoral process. We reaffirm that regardless of whether you vote or don’t vote, we will continue organizing ourselves, resisting and struggling.

Long Live Zapata, The Struggle Continues!
¡Irékaxatiteru kuájpekua Nitámaxatiteru!”

‘(P’urhépecha Territory, Michoacán) Indigenous Community of Nahautzén Resists Violent State Repression and the Installation of Voting Booths’, July 1, 2018

“We want to state that yesterday at 2:00pm, a government functionary arrived to our community and promised that the INE, the IEM and state government would give a press conference to clarify that there would not be elections in our municipal seat. At 6:30 pm while we remained in the barricade at the exit of the town in the direction of Sevina, a group of politicians and people of other communities, paid by David Eduardo Otlíca Avilés of the PRD, attacked us with bullets, shooting to kill. We retreated. We heard the bullets flying near us when we ran between the hills, corn fields, fences and highway. A compañera was injured by a rock that hit her shoulder. They destroyed motorcycles and the truck of our compañero. Immediately after the attack, the electoral voting booths were brought into our community by vehicles guarded by an armed command accompanied by politicians of all parties. Completely illegal acts endorsed by the bad government.

Afterwards, the entire community gathered in the Communal House and took the decision to burn the voting booths and ballots that were in the Municipal Electoral Institute. Later the decision was made to go to the campaign house of the political parties and do the same with the electoral propaganda. At that moment, it was decided to go talk to the police and tell them to leave the town. However, we did not arrive there because we again received gunfire, resulting in a young person injured in his hand. We collected more than 50 shells of high caliber weaponry of those who attacked us.”

“López Obrador’s first press conference following his election made clear what was already obvious to these communities and movements struggling for autonomy—radical change cannot be implemented from above, but only through the self-organization of the people from below. From the Hilton Hotel the night of the election, López Obrador vowed to protect business freedom, the autonomy of the Bank of Mexico, agreements previously reached with national and international businesses and banks, and of course the rule of law.

While there is a legitimate fear that much of the resistance in Mexico might fall under the spell of López Obrador’s leftist populism, becoming more docile with the promises of meager reforms, it will be the case nonetheless that Indigenous communities will continue carrying the torch of radical social change through their forms of organization, resistance and self-defense. It is the Indigenous communities after all who know first-hand the horrors of the nation-state and capitalism. It is them too who are actively engaging alternative forms of social organization that undermine these institutions and carry the potential for radical social change.

(Ryan A. Knight is a writer, translator and trouble maker working out of Mexico.)

Don Knowland at also watched Obrador’s Sunday acceptance speech and adds more; here are a few o them:

“But in his victory speech Sunday night, AMLO acted with the utmost timidity toward national and international capital. He made it abundantly clear that there would be no deep changes in social or economic policies.

But while there would be no impunity for future corruption, there would be national reconciliation—and no “reprisals”—assuring that corrupt politicians, including past presidents and the current president, Peña Nieto, would not be prosecuted. This means that those responsible for the disappearance and presumed murder of the 43 Ayotzinapa teaching students, along with countless other massacres by state security forces, will go unpunished.

López Obrador went on to assure that all, including “the rich,” would be welcome to participate in his reconciliation of all classes and sectors of society. There would be “business freedom.” Expropriations of businesses and confiscations of wealth were ruled out. Taxes would not be increased. Financial and fiscal discipline would be maintained; government debt would not be increased. Mexico’s Central Bank would remain independent.

Far from implementing his past opposition to the energy reform, oil exploration and production contracts with foreign oil companies would be respected, save for those procured by corruption, which would be attacked, if necessary, only under the law in national or international tribunals.”

He’d named some of his cabinet appointees, and the list of conservatives is gag-worthy by any standards.

“López Obrador opposed the struggles of Mexican workers and oppressed such as the “gasolinazo” protests against spiraling energy costs and the strikes of teachers, instead seeking to deflate them with condemnations or toothless appeals for negotiations.

A López Obrador administration will respond to increasing economic turmoil, and to working class demands, not with significant concessions, but rather with attacks in defense of the interests of the financial elite that now embraces him. This can only lead to a sharp intensification of the crises that have beset Mexico, and new dangers for its working class.

Those who claim to be left or socialist that support López Obrador, whether outright, or even “critically,” are leading Mexican workers into a trap.”

AMLO to Implement San Andres Agreements Signed With Zapatistas’, the agreements were reached between the government and the Zapatistas in 1996 but were never implemented’, July 8

“The EZLN has not responded to the latest developments. However, in a statement issued on Friday and signed by the subcomanders Galeano and Moises, the Zapatistas declared they don’t support AMLO.

They might change the overseer, the butlers and the foremen, but the owner is the same... at least the current illusion soothes that history of failures to which the foreseen disappointment will be added,” it says.

Zapatistas: a  basic primer.

FWIW, this came in on the Popular Resistance newsletter yesterday; it’s long, too long, but it sounds like fifth columnist DSA weak tea as the ‘progressive bloggers above to me:  ‘Mexico: The Popular Will Prevailed at the Polls!’, July 7

“The triumph of AMLO also modifies the political panorama in the whole region. The governments of South American countries, such as Venezuela and Bolivia, welcomed the results, and López Obrador promised that the nation’s foreign policy would change, based on the principles of non-intervention and respect for the sovereignty of peoples.

However, those on top of the social ladder, “the power mafia” as AMLO called them, and behind them U.S. imperialism, can be expected to do everything in their power to stop this upsurge and shut down the opening for the masses provided by AMLO’s election. Trump’s prompt recognition and communication with AMLO is clearly part of an attempt to tie the hands of the next government. In his speech the night of the election, AMLO himself gave signals to reassure the “markets.” He said that the prior “commitments made” to the international financial institutions would be respected, there would be “full freedoms afforded to the employers,” there would be “no expropriations or land seizures,” and “everything [would] be conducted by legal means — including resorting to the international courts…”  yada, yada, pffffft.  The group was heavily into on AMLO’s election.

7 responses to “Inspirational: mexican campesinos say No! to AMLO, many reject voting booths

  1. while most ‘progressives’ seek saviors by way of the electoral circus, these Basta! mexican peasants have made radical moves to create their own societies, economically, agriculturally, cooperatively by way of horizontal democracies some call ‘anarchism’. the closest parallel i can think of in amerika is kali akuno (malcolm x grassroots movement) and allies in ‘cooperation jackson’ in mississippi, even though they may not have their own clinics, schools, land they’d ‘re-appropriated’ from the early common spaces.

    the MXGM’s 2012 operation ghetto storm report on extrajudicial black killings every X hours was likely the actual precursor of the black lives movement.

    the zapitistas first came out of the mountains in 1994 to create their own villages (coracoles), the day nafta went into effect. but now AMLO talked to boss tweet about some more new deals for…nafta. an i’m certain those ‘new deals’ will be favorable to the poor, aren’t you? buffy st. marie had told the ‘priests of the golden bulls’: “Third-worlders see it first:
    The dynamite, the dozers, the cancer and the acid rain; The corporate caterpillars come into our backyards…And turn the world to pocket change
    Reservations are the nuclear frontline; Uranium poisoning kills
    We’re starving in a handful of gluttons; We’re drowning in their gravy spills”

    also from telesur: ‘Mexico Anti-Mining Network To AMLO: ‘Country Not For Sale’, july 7
    “The comment is a response to an earlier remark by AMLO’s future chief of staff, Alfonso Romo, who said Mexico must be “a paradise for foreign investment.”

    In a statement released July 5, REMA said: “We told this to the past government over and over again and now we tell this to you: the country is not for sale.”

    Asked if the new government would support the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) promoted by the outgoing right-wing government of Enrique Peña Nieto, Romo has said: “Maybe we will enlarge them. Everything: Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero. What would you leave out? You can’t leave everything out.”

    To REMA, Romo’s declarations mean the continuation of the neoliberal model that has ransacked Mexico for more than 30 years, an economic model REMA says should be “abrogated.” Mexico shouldn’t be the ‘paradise of foreign investment’ at all, nor should we suffer the imposition of Special Economic Zones.”

    The SEZs were created by President Nieto’s administration as areas enjoying special economic advantages to ‘democratize productivity’ and promote industrialization and commerce.” or…creative destruction…

  2. Good info Wendy. Same story everywhere. I skimmed an article the other day at WSWS about the Podemos of Spain, same old thing. I suppose if you posted this at C99 you’d get accused by the “purity police”. Kind of like that 28 year old new “progressive” hero walking back her bullshit.
    Many Mexicans have the right idea in organizing outside the political election process and refusing to legitimize it by participating in it.

    • woot! a comment! but srsly, i’d thought you in particular might enjoy a view from radical campesino land. ‘autonamous zones against neoliberalism/capitalism (which is all there is by now, of course). glad you came on your own, as i’d forgotten to mail it to you.

      i just hadn’t realized how many other skeptics had followed in the zapatistas’ road. but most also knew the evils of GMO food and seeds, nafta, the rape and pillage of mother earth, what ‘voting’, means to the PTB, and how few the crumbs proffered by the masters of the universe (in whichever nation) amount to.

      as to the purity police over yonder: ‘amlo the magnificent lefty’ was one of the reasons i’d needed to take a bit of a break. yeah, ocasio as well: ‘everything that gets us closer…’ what is this ‘we’, anyway? ack, the tankies on twitter are eviscerating her, but going back six years to her ‘on the square’ or whatever blogsite seems a tad unfair. i used t believe hugo chavez was a thug, lol. media, of course, and otpor! and the albert einstein institute, gene sharp and all. and of course they were all anti-commie organizations on the end, but who knew back then?

      oh, as is Nato, for gawd’s sake. see: accuse russia after the nato and boss tweet/putin’s summits. ( i did stick it on the opcw thread…) and yep to podemos, tsipras, all the ‘we had no choice’ heroes w/ feet of clay.

      thanks for reading and admiring their ‘solutions’, big al.

  3. Ya, I don’t believe we can accomplish anything by trying to elect new leaders. Although, I read an article last night by Stephen Kinzer touting the election results of New Zealand, Ethiopia and Costa Rica.

    Make America More Like New Zealand, Costa Rica and Ethiopia

    But those countries aren’t the U.S. and more than likely money and greed will rule in the end as always.

    I’m interested in the peasants rejection of the Mexican national political system, something that should be done on a major scale here. I firmly believe this system is how the oligarchy, or the rich bastards, maintain their rule and unless it’s changed, nothing good will come from it.
    I think it’s time to get pissed off because those ruling us are criminals who are hurting other humans with much more in store.

    The coming collapse of the American economic system with Richard Wolff

    • i dunno anything about the new ethiopian prez, Abiy Ahmed, but i’ve done a lot of third-hand reporting on the rape and pillage of tiny eritrea with vast…mineral wealth, mainly based on ann garrison and thomas mountain who lives and writes fro eritrea. long story a bit shorter, i checked w/ both of them, and nothing new on the peace deal nor opinions on ahmed. so yeah, caution rules, even though he’s a minority muslim w/ promises.

      the comments were fun, one noting that costa rica has joined the israeli chorus, but i did check, and costa rica wasn’t one f the central american countries that moved their jerusalem. maybe now they will, lol? jacinda: i’d asked janisb at c99 what she thought of her, she said she has a wait and see attitude. but remember, NZ is a five eyes (nsa) nation, fwiw.

      glad i don’t have time for the wolff hedges video, wolff’s voice is soporific, and i loathe chris hedges, although i admit he’s a very good polemicist. sure it’ll blow, it’s just a matter of when, but it’ll be interesting as hell to see when the banks get bailed out again…will enough of the citizenry revolt and (gasp) even break some windows, chris (the-cancer-in-occupy) hedges? guess that’s not what the Ruling Elite mean by ‘creative destruction’, is it?

      sleep well. for tonight’s lullaby, bruce cokburn’s rant against the IMF: (the lyrics)

  4. Speaking of saviors, the 28 year old new Hispanic Bernie savior of C99 is being questioned on C99. The purity police came out quickly. I’ll probably jump in. It’s funny watching people fall all over themselves trying to justify another democratic party politician. Just give her a chance they say, which is really saying, just give the democratic party a chance.
    The demexiters are as hypocritical as it gets. They supported Obama for 8 year and then because Bernie allowed himself to be tanked they decide they don’t like the democratic party.

    As far as the Wolf/Hedges video, I didn’t watch it and rarely listen to or read either one, but the title made be mad. Because they’re messing with our lives and it should make people mad.

    • hold that thought; i was just digging out the intercept interview i have on the open menu for the thread. .. but srsly, it’s getting more hilarious among her…er…detractors in the twittersphere.

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