|English | Español||April 19, 2014 | Issue #63|
Mexico Is On the Brink of Its Third Revolution
The Question is Whether That Revolution Will be Peaceful... Or if it Will be Violent with an Uprising of Millions of Down-Trodden Citizens
By Ramón Alberto Garza
Or if it will be violent, through force, with the uprising of millions of destitute people who can’t manage to guarantee their survival in the present, much less bet on a brighter future.
Let’s look at writer and historian Francisco Martin Moreno’s x-ray of the revolutions that forged the Mexico of today. And with the reflections of historians Patricia Galena, Enrique Serna, and Alejandro Rosas, let’s evaluate the similarities of the conditions that would allow us to understand the changes that are upon us. Let’s analyze…
Mexico is on the brink of its third revolution.
Everyone is aware that the political, economic, and social models that the country experimented with in the 20th century are worn out; they’ve expired. They no longer respond to current demands.
The structures forged in political centralism, which manipulates democracy, and in monopolistic practices of an economy that feigns free competition did not produce results sufficient to close the social gap.
At the dawn of 2010, 100 years after the Revolution and 200 years after Independence, the vices that provoked those revolts and that today create an opportune medium for a shake-up of the system and, consequently, the nation is being recycled.
The demands for fiscal autonomy, which was what set off the Independence, are mirrored in the tax centralism of a federal government that is insatiable, obese, and inefficient.
A government that first feeds its noble bureaucracy and then uses the leftovers to buy new regional leaders, the current governors.
The demands for effective suffrage, the same ones that detonated the explosion in 1910, have arisen once again in the face of a party-ocracy that with its self-serving laws kidnaps the political system and impedes that any Mexican could aspire to hold an elected position. It has to be according to its rules, subdued by its rules.
The legislative seats that decide, those that have real power, aren’t won in the ballot boxes. They are pacted as plurinominals by leaders who are co-opted by de facto power. And the votes that decide the winner in many cases are not the citizens’, but rather the unions’ who serve the highest bidder. Who currently represents Mexicans? Congress? Who listens and complies with their wishes?
A handful of dignitaries decide, as if they were colonial or Porfirian lords, the political, economic, and media game that allows them to impose their conditions over public interest. The benefits are for the few who have more. And those who pay taxes or for overpriced goods and services are the many who have less.
And the inequality that pops up in a nation that, 100 years after its great revolution, is incapable of weaving, beyond its recycled discourses, a horizon of hope for its downtrodden.
The registry that over the past few years has gained more followers was not the registry of the electors, nor the enterprisers, nor the creators of wealth, nor the growing middle class, nor the Mexicans with more or better education. The registry that grew more was that of the poor.
One hundred years after the revolution that demanded social justice, one out of every two Mexicans are inscribed on the ignominious list under the seal of “poor.” The country’s viability is at risk.
Even more when there are two powers that have settled on top of those who should legitimately govern the nation.
One is the power of neo-Porfirism; the control of a privileged caste that enthrones itself in politics and the economy after 70 years of rule by the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI). A political and economic elite that closed ranks behind Salinas’ neoliberalism that even today continues imposing its will upon the national routine.
The same men who inherit legislative seats, the same men who dominate public and private businesses, the same men who, installed in union reserves, charge an arm and a leg for their protection. The other is the power of neo-Villaism. That of a handful of bandits labeled as drug traffickers, the members of so-called organized crime, who impose their law upon the State.
The difference is that at least Francisco Villa put forward a social cause in order to justify his capacity as a bandit. The neo-villaists of today only buy the system at all levels.
What hurts the most is that they corrupt the national health promoting addictions.
And social mobility, which was what set off the growth and consolidation of a middle class during the 1950’s-1980’s, is frozen. People work, not to grow nor to be patriotic, but rather to survive, trapped in a spiral of cycles of crisis upon crisis.
And this whole process occurs while in the nation’s classrooms mediocrity and resignation are incubated. The education system is neither creative nor productive. It is a poorly oiled machine of political control that is incapable of preparing world-class Mexican professionals.
The model that dried up with Luis Echeverria in the Presidency. The first outbreak of insurgency occurred with clandestine armed movements that confronted the established order. But the system turned a deaf ear.
Neither Jose Lopez Portillo nor Miguel de la Madrid could rescue it. [Due to] one’s frivolity and the other’s mediocrity, they barely survived their terms. Carlos Salinas de Gortari designed a revolution of institutions with a vision that seemed almost perfect.
But he failed in the implementation. And he wound up trapped in the same vices of the old system built on control, submission, ignorance, and corruption.
Even worse, the riches generated by his term’s favoritism and the fortunes amassed by the politicians of his administration are the moneys that now oil the machinery that armors the status quo that defines their privileges.
The outbreak of a budding Zapatista neo-revolution and the modern version of a Tragic Decade, brought forth with the assassinations of Luis Donaldo Colosio and Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, stopped the modernizing advances of that were occurring at the time.
The privatizations that were praised by the national and international elites ended up in the hands of a few privileged friends, and the crisis of post-Salinasism, aggravated during Ernesto Zedillo’s administration, brought on the neoliberal Santa Anna effect.
The banking system, the economic territory of the national system of payments, was put in foreigners’ hands, the only such case in the world.
Mexican petroleum wound up being processed by multinationals, and the riches generated were consumed by the running cost of bureaucracy.
Even though Ernesto Zedillo understood the signs of the times, and in respecting the results in the 2000 presidential election he de-pressurized the discontent generated by the recurrent crisis, the political transition was aborted.
Vicente Fox remained trapped in the same fears that Francisco I. Madero had. Subjugated by the interests that refused to give up their spaces to make way for the nation’s new model and letting a Ouija board determine the nation’s destiny.
The “Administration of Change’s” hopeful horizon ran into the president’s incapacity to dismantle the complex network of interests that, faced with the lack of will and decision, returned to the hands of the Salinistas.
The modern Limantours took possession of the national Treasury, and the axis of power moved from Los Pinos [the president’s residence] to the unions, the media, the monopolist businessmen’s offices, and the residences of ex-presidents. To all of those who benefited from the old system. The kidnapping of Felipe Calderon through PRIista electoral favors in order to legitimize his win forced him to cede the urgencies of profound changes, those that demanded a revolution of consciences and a shaking-off of the elite’s privileges.
And while the nation is kidnapped by private monopolies, by official [government-controlled] unions, by political parties, and by the Congress who take away whatever margin of maneuvering that channels Mexico towards progress and liberty, which, undoubtedly, is deserved when it takes its place amongst the greats in the 21st century.
That’s why the year 2010 that begins today is more than just a symbolic date. Because, with other names, the landowners and the day laborers persist.
Because with different clothing, those who feel that the nation has been deeded to them survive.
A new revolution becomes indispensable in order to alter the course of history that is being shaped with a very unhappy ending.
To close the eyes to this reality is to bet on a new outburst, a new uprising without control. Because in contrast to the times of the Independence and the Revolution, today the conditions exist to develop a movement that is not armed, but rather a revolution of national consciousness.
A real and substantial change in the national attitude in order to set specific reforms that break up the circles of political, economic, union, and media privilege which inhibit the development of a Mexico that urgently needs to recuperate its global position, which today is taking a nose-dive.
It is curious that without insurgencies or confrontations, Latin American nations such as Chile and Brazil, with leftist governments, are achieving in just a few years a real modification of their political and economic systems, positively reflected in the war on poverty and the recuperation of hope in the national spirit.
That’s why Reporte Indigo today invited Francisco Martin Moreno, one of Mexico’s most read historians and writers. To make an evaluation of the conditions of the conditions that existed in 1810, in 1910, and those that prevail in 2010.
The author of Mexico Negro and Mexico Mutilado also dialogued about the peculiarities of the insurgent movements and the conditions under which we are currently living with three top-notch historians: Patricia Galeana, Enrique Serna, and Alejandro Rosas.
In the dawn of the bicentennial of our Independence and the centennial of the Revolution, we invite you to reflect together with us about where we are and where we want to go.
About how to take advantage of the vast natural wealth, the immense agricultural expanses, the forests, the coastlines and the seas, to generate the wealth necessary to rescue millions of fellow countrymen from misery.
But above all, to try to debate what we need to do to avoid the repetition of the violent cycle that dominated the past two centuries. We still have time to change history.
Ramon Alberto Garza, director of Reporte Indigo
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism