Tag Archives: Latin America

“¡Si no hay solución, habrá revolución!”: Recent Developments in Mexico

Zapata 2010In recent weeks, the political crisis in Mexico has deepened in the wake of mounting attacks by the state against labor and progressive/left organizations. Such attacks have only added to expectations of a coming social explosion as the country prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and the 200th anniversary of its War of Independence.

During the weekend of October 11th, the government of President Felipe Calderón staged a military/police takeover of Luz y Fuerza del Centro, the government-owned electric company that employs 43,000 workers represented by the Mexican Electrical Workers’ Union (SME). This was only the latest step in a decades-long offensive by the Mexican ruling class under both the National Action Party (PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to undermine the strength of that union and to privatize the energy industry. With the takeover, all 43,000 workers were immediately terminated. Only 10,000 are expected to be rehired after restructuring by the government, and the remainder are being enticed to take severance packages in an attempt to soften protest against the attack and to divide the workers.

Calderón is claiming this move was necessary because a corrupt union and selfish electrical workers with high wages were bleeding the profitability of the company. Sounding like the U.S. capitalists who pinned the failures of U.S. auto on autoworkers, Calderón lamented that, “Had I not taken this measure, we would have had to raise electric rates or constantly increase taxes.” Most sources point to a set of deeper issues at the root of this takeover.
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What is the meaning of Honduras for Latin America?

honduras_coup-2009With Zelaya’s return to Honduras, for now safely placed in the Brazilian embassy, the coup government have implemented a 45-day curfew, suspending constitutional rights and shutting down all anti-coup media. The situation is coming to a head, with repression by the oligarchy increasing in an attempt to crush the mass resistance and delay until the upcoming election.

Here are two essays that get at some of the dimensions of the meaning and impact of the coup in Honduras.

Coup in Honduras: the return of the gorillas or the tactics of attrition?

José Antonio Gutiérrez D. writes:

“Even when the protesters to call for little more than the defense of Zelaya, and with it, the defense of a rather lukewarm proposed reform it is in mobilizing that people learn to fight and learn to make their own project. Any mobilization contains the potential radicalization of the masses, especially when you consider that this protest was a spontaneous act of defiance to an oligarchy so stubborn and backward as to be criminal. On this mobilization depends the thwarting of the oligarchy’s plan to deter “soften” the political project of Zelaya: on whether it will radicalize the masses and thus driving the process towards the left. This is the factor with which the oligarchy(nor reformism) does not count on . And this is the factor that weighs more in the balance.”

Read the essay at Anarkismo.

Latin America’s future is being played out in Honduras

Roberto Sáenz writes:

“In the context of the region’s political cycle, and the current global economic crisis, the introduction of the military factory contains elements of polarisation of the situation not only towards the right, but eventually also to the left.

Exactly for this reason, this situation has its own flip-side, a concrete danger for those in power: in recent decades the privileged form of capitalist politics has been “mediation” via bourgeois democracy, avoiding extremism like the plague: not only the far right, but also leftists. A year ago we wrote: “The conjuncture of these factors is taking place under conditions of a growing global economic crisis as well as a crisis of hegemony for US imperialism. These global factors tend to the creation of an international situation with more ‘classic’ features, in the sense that perhaps in the near future we will see more conflicts between states and bourgeoisies than we have been accustomed to in the last two or three decades. That is to say, hints of crises, wars and revolutions”[12].

The reactionary course weakens the mediation of bourgeois democracy and introduces an element of unpredictability: the eventuality that among the polarisation will be opened a way forward for the left, a revolutionary opportunity, a factor which has been absent in all these years.”

Read the essay at The Commune.