Home > The US left could learn from Mexico’s example

The US left could learn from Mexico’s example

by Open-Publishing - Monday 20 November 2006

Parties Elections-Elected USA South/Latin America Daniel Patrick Welch

Andrés Manuel López Obrador for President (of the US!!)

by Daniel Patrick Welch

Synopsis: Every election cycle, the US antiwar left reconvinces
itself that its best chance of advancing its agenda is to dive once
again into an alliance with the Democratic Party. Poor Charlie Brown!
Is Lucy going to yank the ball away again? No suspense here....

"The only game in town" is just one of the myriad cover stories used
by the vestiges of the US left to justify continued support for the
reactionary (and otherwise moribund) Democratic Party. Nader threw
the election to Bush, not fraud, not the Democrats’ refusal to
embrace a progressive agenda, not decades of cozying up to the
corporate enemies of the people, not the complete alienation of so
many potential voters that a "good" turnout breaks 50%; not the
fascist and racist "cleansing" of released felons in the Old
Confederacy that makes up to 25 % of black males ineligible for the
franchise in 9 states of the unreconstructed south.

But what exactly is "the only game in town?" What irony that the
system that spouts near-religious fervor for entrepreneurial
capitalism is astonishingly stalinist when it comes to political
choice. "You want white bread or buttertop white bread? Is only
choice for customers. We are apologizing for inconvenience, yes?"

The defeatist attitude of those locked in the death-struggle of US
politics would have us believe that no change is possible. Excuse me,
let me rephrase, your honor: the only vehicle for change is the
incremental, subtle pressure from within that one might use to steer
a toboggan. Since this is the only road open to us, we are left
looking at the backs of several 300-pound morons, all leaning hard to
the right. Oh, okay, let’s tilt left and see where the toboggan goes.
What a load of crap.

There are few things more permanent than the PRI, the Institutional
Revolutionary Party that ruled Mexico with an iron fist until a few
years ago. Vicente Fox’s PAN completely destroyed the PRI, much to
everyone’s surprise, and from its ashes rose the popular movement now
headed by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, an authentic partisan of the
Mexican left. When his election was stolen by the ruling plutocrats,
he did not give a neat-and-tidy flag-drenched speech and run off to
teach at Columbia; on the contrary, the fraudulent manipulation led
to a true popular uprising the results of which still remain to be

And this only a few short years after the PRI was the undisputed,
eternal guardian of the Mexican "revolution." To be sure, AMALO has
been helped by struggles great and small in Mexico, from the
Zapatista uprising to the teachers’ strike in Oaxaca—not to mention
the general trend of Latin American elections to begin to throw off
the yoke of US corporate diktat.

Still, the lesson is an important one for those who refuse to end
their love affair with the Democratic Party as a viable conduit for
the US left. It’s not hard to see: it takes a true ostrich
personality, combined with a sort of mass hysteria, to hide the
obvious truth that the ideals of the left are completely incompatible
with the goals of this party. Party Chairmain Dean telegraphs his own
stay-the-course promise by saying that things won’t change
dramatically in Iraq if the Democrats manage to avoid self-
destruction and regain legislative power.

Forget for the moment the obvious foreboding that the media will not
conduct exit polling for House races in this midterm. The anachronism
of exit polling, used successfully to detect fraud in election
monitoring worldwide, no longer has a place in the self-described and
self-delusional cradle of democracy. And such quaint notions must go
the way of the Geneva Convention.

Next, John Kerry is forced to apologize (and does so!) for suggesting
that it is poor kids that get stuck in Iraq. The party hierarchy is
openly hostile to anyone with an antiwar platform, scared to death
that an increasingly antiwar public might have some actual
distinction on which to vote their conscience. God forbid! Three
quarters of a million dead Iraqis are somehow anathema to candidates,
even while the public is finally waking up to the ginormous ongoing
DU-soaked war crime that is the invasion of Iraq. And while the
corpse of this erstwhile force in US politics lies twitching on the
gurney, it is the progressive wing that inexplicably breathes life
into this hopeless frankenstein. Never before have so many been
ignored by so few doing all they can to subvert the will of the many.

It’s a difficult transition for many on the left, constantly trained
and goaded into thinking that if they can just gain power and then
nudge the party to the left from within, all will be well. What a
shame, and a waste of talent and passion to boot. You can’t make a
silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and you can’t steer a toboggan one way
if everyone else on board is leaning the other way.

© 2006 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit
and link to http://danielpwelch.com. Writer, singer, linguist and
activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem,
Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they
run The Greenhouse School http://www.greenhouseschool.org.
Translations of articles are available in up to 20 languages. Links
to the website are appreciated at danielpwelch.com.

from http://danielpwelch.com