Bloody Bourgeois Repression and the «Danse Macabre» of the «Far» Left
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 13; Autumn - Winter 2016)
The Mexican bourgeoisie has once again shown its bloody face.
On Sunday, June 19, at Nochixlan, heavily armed federal police murdered a dozen striking teachers and villagers who supported them in cold blood. They were blocking a highway in the south to prevent federal police from going to the capital of the state of Oaxaca, where striking teachers organized a encampment.
Faced with protesters who had nothing but sticks and stones to defend themselves, cops used tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and helicopters. Police prevented ambulances from accessing the site during the hours of the confrontation and blocked the protesters who were trying to take the injured to hospital.
The massacre of Nochixtlan is not an aberration or an exceptional event, but the symptom of the development of struggles in Mexico and the bourgeois violence that seeks to curb them.
Mexico shaken by bourgeois violence... And workers’ struggles
These assassinations are part of the climate of violence which has affected Mexico for years.
This country of 120 million people has witnessed a capitalist development that makes it the 2nd largest economic power in Latin America (after Brazil), but has been plagued by massacres for years. The proletarians and peasants suffer violent oppression and are also victims of clashes between bourgeois forces (many of which are linked to drug traffickers). The last decade was marked by more than 185,000 culpable homicides in Mexico (and over 30,000 disappearances). But the internal situation is not limited to crime.
The Mexican proletariat is raising its head to face the exploiters. Multiple recent struggles testify to this.
Wave of strikes in industry and agriculture
In the San Quintin valley in Baja California, the agricultural laborers waged a 12 week-long strike against their bosses who impose poverty wages and working days which can go up to 18 hours. They also employ children to pick the fruit and tomatoes crops, primarily for the US market. Farm workers number 80,000 in the valley and many are immigrants, often of indigenous origin, from the southern states. The workers blockaded the main road connecting the region to California, leaving crops to rot and causing millions of dollars in losses to capitalist agribusiness. Despite the brutal police repression, workers have seen their overall situation improve. BerryMex, the largest producer in the region, had to increase wages which have become the highest in Mexican agriculture. Other companies now pay contributions to social insurance and offer certain benefits to their employees. However, many producers continue to refuse to implement the wage increase. The strike also allowed the creation of two agricultural unions independent of the employers and the charros unions («sell-outs» to the State and the IRP (Institutional Revolutionary Party).
Labour unrest also affects the maquiladoras in Ciudad Juarez. The struggles began at Eaton Bussmann, an electrical transformer manufacturer, with the object of increasing wages and improving working conditions (payment of premiums, installation of air conditioning in the workshops ...) Then, workers of the Scientific Atlanta plant, a subsidiary of Foxconn, have mobilized for wage increases, lunch breaks, the end of harassment by foremen, paid holidays, and the right to form a union. Workers at Lexmark manufacturing printers, have at the same time, began protests demanding higher wages and protest against sexual harassment by the company’s agents. Ciudad Juarez workers have suffered severe employer repression which has translated into strikers being fired.
35 000 miners of ArcelorMittal, in the state of Michoacan also embarked on a strike for a week in March 2016. The miners entered into struggle against redundancies and violation of their collective agreement.
The 1,700 workers of the Nissan plant in the «industrial city of Cuernavaca Valley» (Civac) in the State of Morelos conducted a two-day strike in April and achieved a 4% increase and 500 full-time hires.
Workers of the Telmex telecommunications giant, obtained a raise through the threat of a strike, although the mobilization was sabotaged by the yellow unions.
Despite the repression and the maneuvers of the charros, it is clear that the young Mexican proletariat is fighting courageously in a very difficult situation that mixes insecurity, lack of rights and brutal repression. This is also the case with education workers.
A long struggle against the educational «reforms»
Since 2013, the Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) has fought against the establishment of an education reform which, as elsewhere, resulted in lower funding, competition between schools (by measuring the «performance» against each other) and a militarization of teachers with a new evaluation system (which will punish recalcitrants).
This reform is a translation of the «Mexico Plan» that President Peña Nieto signed with his party (the Institutional Revolutionary Party, member of the Socialist International) and its opponents/partners of the PRD (Democratic Revolution Party, also a member of the Socialist International) and the PAN (National Action Party, clerical right).
For months, teachers, breaking with the yellow SNTE union, have engaged in combat against the federal government but also against the regional governments run by the opposition. The fight mainly developed in the southern states, the poorest regions in which the indigenous population predominates.
The strikers attacked the premises of the bourgeois parties behind the «Plan Mexico» but also openly the yellow and ultra-corrupt unions such as the CTM (affiliated to the very collaborationist International Trade Union Confederation) and the SNTE (affiliated to the equally collaborationist Education International). They blocked economic activity (refinery, fuel depots, airports, roads, hydroelectric ...) and occupied symbolic places, like Mexico City’s central square, the Zocalo.
The repression was extremely ferocious even before June 19. Protesters were confronted by hordes of cops. Thousands of teachers have been sacked for refusing to pass evaluation tests or for striking. Hundreds of trade unionists are in prison. This is the case for two leaders of the CNTE arrested June 12 in Mexico City, by six heavily armed men wearing balaclavas, when they were exiting a meeting of the CNTE. They were immediately transferred to the high security Hermosillo.
RECIPES OF THE «FAR» LEFT AGAINST PROLETARIAN STRUGGLE
Faced with this strike, we could see all the components of the Mexican far left take anti-proletarian positions each one no better than the other. These «revolutionaries» agitated in every manner in order not to confront the bourgeoisie and to divert the proletariat from resumption of open warfare.
Recipe n°1: the united front with the bourgeoisie
In this climate of unrest, a new bourgeois party tries to surf the discontent. This is the Movement of National Regeneration (Morena) of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), former leader of the PRD and former head of the Federal District of Mexico.
The leaders of the CNTE, even if they head up a heroic struggle, are advocates of class collaboration. They hope above all for the election of AMLO who now plays the small nationalist and populist music in the style of Chavez. The CNTE organized jointly with Morena a large protest in Mexico against repression. This allowed AMLO to advance his demands, resignation of the Minister of Education, the punishment of the guilty, but also the formation of a «transitional government» with the current president.
Of course, the Trotskyists have jumped at the chance to be the water carriers of the populist demagogue. This is particularly the case of the Izquierda Socialista (member of the International Marxist Tendency) which stands for the establishment of a «national front of struggle of rural and urban workers» that would combine «peoples’ organizations, social organizations, unions, students, farmers and organizations like Morena which have chosen the electoral route»(«Represión en Oaxaca, ¡debe caer la contrarreforma educativa y este gobierno de asesinos!» www.laizquierda socialista. org, June 19, 2016). This «front» aims to bring AMLO to power because, according to the SI, it will be «impossible to win the presidential election without a mass movement in the streets» («Movilización masiva en defensa de la CNTE, hace falta aterrizarla en la acción unitaria, balance de la marcha», June 27, 2016)
Other Trotskyists have not yet pledged allegiance to Morena, but even so defend a nationalist and populist line. This is particularly true of what remains of the two large international Trotskyist currents: the Fourth International (Usec) and the Lambertists.
These Trotskyists have acted for decades as the left-wing of the bourgeois parties, having for a long time being members of the PRD. Today they are trying to regain their organizational independence by creating a Political Organization of Workers and People (OPT), driven by the SME electricians’ union activists. The Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT), affiliated to the Fourth International, the Lambertist Socialist Organisation of Workers (OST) and other Trotskyist groups, but also «activists of the movement of the users of electric power, CUT activists and individuals from the experience of community self-organization of the peoples of Guerrero» involved in the OPT. («Au Mexique, avec ou sans reconnaissance légale, l’OPT est en marche», europe-solidaire.org, 21 February 2014).
The OPT demands «a reopening of the dialog». This is worthy of the worst traitors who weep when they are deprived of the sacrosanct «social dialog»!
Although it calls for a «socialization of the means of production», OPT has a fully bourgeois program: defending national sovereignty, developing the national economy and a «participatory and popular» democracy. The motto that adorns their website is symptomatic: «For national liberation and social emancipation». All this accompanied by a Mexican flag! (Opt.org.mx).
The PRT, the IS or the OST are totally alien to proletarian combat, but they are merely one component of bourgeois nationalism.
Alongside them, other currents wish to be more orthodox but defend equally anticommunist positions. This is particularly the case of the heirs of the Communist Party of Mexico.
Recipe n°2: «people power»
The Communist Party of Mexico PCM, which participates in the «International Gathering of Communist and workers’ parties» with the remnants of the pro-Soviet CP, especially the Greek Communist Party (KKE), strikes revolutionary postures denouncing indiscriminately the PRI, the PRD, PAN and Morena described as «a new social democracy» and asserting that capitalism «is not reformable». It also argues that it is necessary to «end the government of Peña Nieto, but not in favor of an anti-neoliberal government touting supporters of Keynesian management of capitalism» and claims to deny «inter-classist alliances» ( «El PCM con los trabajadores de la educación» elcomunista. nuevaradio. org, 23 June 2016)
These proclamations are strictly for show: the PCM is faithful to the old petty-bourgeois line of «struggle against the monopolies». The Presidency of Peña Nieto is denounced as a «monopoly power» against which we must build an «anti-monopoly, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist front» («El Estado mexicano: violencia organizada para garantizar the ganancia y el poder de los monopolios» May 31, 2016). This front is of course an inter-class alliance because the «PCM is convinced that such a task can be supported by the working class, by all employees, unemployed workers, immigrant workers, forging an alliance with the popular sectors, in favor of workers’ power and a people’s economy»(«El PCM con los trabajadores de la educación», June 23, 2016).
Another CP from Mexico, the PCdeM defender of Cuba promotes the same interclassist line. Its program emphasizes the dictatorship of the proletariat but this is limited to conference documents. Not only does it not defend a class orientation in the current struggle by mixing «rights of workers» and «defense of public education»(« Pronunciamiento del PCdeM sobre la represión en contra del magisterio», partido comunistademexico. wordpress.com, 23 June 2016), but, again, its objective is «to build a national Assembly of People’s power» ( «in lugar de votar, construir poder popular» 30-30, April-May 2015). This «people’s power» is inspired by the legacy of a peasant leader – and not Marxist – of the Mexican Revolution: «The thought and the example of Emiliano Zapata give us many keys that today are fundamental to achieve the unity of all the exploited, (...) and form one great classist front [sic] against the capitalists, where each exploited sector, women, men, youth, Métis, indigenous people, the workers, peasants, etc., has a place in the struggle» (« Emiliano Zapata y su su legado ejemplo a 97 años de su asesinato» April 10, 2016).
Finally, the Maoists of the Revolutionary Communist Organisation defend the same perspective. They advance a populist vision in which the proletariat disappears, «the exploitation and oppression of the vast majority of people by a small class of big capitalists, dominated by the world capitalist-imperialist system» («De Ayotzinapa los «Porkys» crímenes of a perverso Estado al servicio de un sistema oppressive ¡Luchemos contra el poder y la revolución preparemos» aurora-roja. blog spot.fr!). To fight against this, their answer is a «new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian», the caudillo of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the United States. This summary is nothing other than a rehash of the old indigestible plate of the «People’s Republic» and the «united front» of workers / peasants / middle class / middle bourgeoisie (La Revolución Liberadora. Orientación estratégica y programa básico).
In different ways, these rejects of Stalinism dream only of a «popular» capitalism, that is to say a bourgeois regime that would grant a few crumbs to the proletariat.
Recipe n° 3: the constituent assembly
Other organizations take up once again a classic of reformism: the constituent assembly.
This is particularly the case of two groups that seemingly are completely at odds: the PCM (Marxist-Leninist) issuing out of the pro-Albanian current and member of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations, and the Workers’ Movement for Socialism, member of the Trotskyist Fraction - Fourth International, one of the main components of which is the Argentine PTS.
The PCM (ml) and the MTS defend a «political general strike» that would lead to a «provisional government» based on a «popular and democratic» constituent assembly for these «marxist-leninists» ( «De la Asamblea Nacional Popular a la Nueva Constituyente», Vanguardia Proletaria, 15-31 January 2015) or «free and sovereign» for the «fourth internationalists» (from Tribuna Socialista, November 14, 2014).
The constituent assembly can only serve to channel the workers’ struggles into a bourgeois parliamentary and counter-revolutionary solution. As Lenin said in his report to the Third Congress of the Comintern: «The Constituent Assembly is a dirty word for them. Not only for the conscious communists, but also for peasants. Life has taught them a Constituent Assembly and the White Guards, are the same thing; the first inevitably entails the latter»(Report on the tactics of the Communist Party of Russia, July 5, 1921).
This democratic slogan must be firmly fought because it is a dead end diverting the revolutionary struggle to bring down the bourgeois state. This is what the Bolsheviks did in 1917 and it allowed them to overthrow the bourgeois power: without the violent overthrow of power it is impossible that the bourgeoisie leaves power quietly to another power: it already responds with brutal violence to strikes, it will do even more so when it comes to the question of power!
Recipe n° 4: «workers and peasants government»
Finally, the fraternal enemies of the Spartacist Group of Mexico (GEM) and the Internationalist Group (IG) reject the Constituent Assembly to oppose to it the «workers’ and peasants» government.
In the Communist International as in the Fourth International, the «workers’ government» or «workers and peasants» is something other than the proletarian revolutionary power, ie, the dictatorship of the proletariat.
It suffices to cite the Transitional Programme of which the Spartacists wish to be the Temple guardians:
«Of all parties and organizations which base themselves on the workers and peasants and speak in their name, we demand that they break politically from the bourgeoisie and enter upon the road of struggle for the workers’ and farmers’ government. On this road we promise them full support against capitalist reaction. At the same time, we indefatigably develop agitation around those transitional demands which should in our opinion form the program of the «workers’ and farmers’ government.
Is the creation of such a government by the traditional workers’ organizations possible? Past experience shows, as has already been stated, that this is, to say the least, highly improbable. However, one cannot categorically deny in advance the theoretical possibility that, under the influence of completely exceptional circumstances (war, defeat, financial crash, mass revolutionary pressure, etc.), the petty bourgeois parties, including the Stalinists, may go further than they wish along the road to a break with the bourgeoisie. In any case one thing is not to be doubted: even if this highly improbable variant somewhere at some time becomes a reality and the «workers’ and farmers’ government» in the above-mentioned sense is established in fact, it would represent merely a short episode on the road to the actual dictatorship of the proletariat». (MIA, pt.2 «Workers’ and Farmers’ Government»)
This government is the government of the «united front» that is to say a coalition between the Communists and the bourgeois parties that they are begging to «break with the bourgeoisie» to implement state control of the economy, opening the account books or popular credit. This is a perspective that Trotsky advanced with many reservations but that his disciples repeat at any time, it is illusory at best, at worst totally suicidal!
History has shown that it is a slogan of confusion which reinforces the belief in the possibility of the proletarians to rely on collaborationist organizations to fight against capitalism. But this is nothing but a mortal illusion! Advocates of class collaboration will never fight against capitalism: they have always opposed and they will always oppose attacks against the bourgeois system. In fact this slogan is only used to prevent the vanguard elements that emerge in proletarian struggles from breaking with the dominance of counter-revolutionary reformism.
In Mexico, as elsewhere, only ONE ISSUE: the proletarian revolution against all reformist impasses
All these hucksters of the «far» left trying to foist their adulterated junk on the proletarians: national liberation, constituent assembly, popular power, workers’ government ...
Claiming to fight against bourgeois terror, democratization of power and reformists lies, is to confine oneself in the straitjacket that the bourgeoisie wants to impose to exorcise the workers’ struggles. Casting such calls to the proletariat is ask it to commit suicide in order to avoid being assassinated, it is to behave as its worst enemy.
The cycle of struggles for national emancipation has been completed around the world, and the young working class must look directly to the uniquely proletarian revolution. It can only do this against the democratic bourgeoisie and its supporters. Without doubt the proletariat has also the historic task of pushing through to completion, especially in agriculture, «bourgeois democratic» tasks, that is to say, the liquidation of the old pre-capitalist oppression which the bourgeoisie still has failed to achieve. But this second task should be assumed without attenuating or renouncing the primary goal, because it is transitory and subordinated to the proletarian revolution, for which the proletarians of the cities have no other reliable allies than the agricultural workers. The small peasant proprietors will be at best, like all petty-bourgeois, only uncertain fellow-travelers, always ready to turn to the bourgeoisie.
Communists, therefore call on the workers of Mexico as of all countries to reject dangerous reformist illusions and to avoid the grave error of considering those who spread them as possible allies
Revolutionaries say to the proletarians that they must accept the struggle on the terrain where they defy the bourgeoisie, and to prepare the response which will require workers’ self-defense forces capable of responding to violence with violence and to arms with arms. Such a response can only have meaning if it is indissolubly linked to the perspective of the revolutionary offensive, more or less long term, against the bourgeoisie and its state, to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. They call on the most conscious and most combative to participate in the hard work of the constitution of a party genuinely revolutionary and Marxist, internationalist and international, one capable of achieving this preparation and to lead this combat, the party of which the proletariat has been so cruelly deprived for decades.
There is no other way, there cannot be any other way!
July, 10th 2016
International Communist Party