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The romance of Elba Esther…

2 March 2013

In The Guardian Jornada editor Luis Hernández Navarro explains the saga of Elba Ester Gordilla and Enrique Peña Nieto in terms the British readership can understand:  the twisted, dysfunctional and destructive relationship of  Cathy and Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights:

Gordillo’s arrest is a political decision justified by legal arguments. An openly political conflict is thus channelled through the criminal justice system.

hcShe leaves the union as she came: as a product of a decision, not by the teachers, but by the incumbent president. At stake in this Mexican version of Wuthering Heights is the future of education in the country and that of the teachers who make it possible. But at the same time a message was sent to all the country’s political actors: the neo-liberal reforms are here to stay.

Getting rid of Elba Esther was easy…  though I might be tempted to see her in terms of another classic of British Romanticism… Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Not so much Gordilla’s freakish lab-created appearance, but a creature meant to be a reflection of the creator, who runs amok when searching for autonomy.

Calderón went after the independent unions (the Electrical Workers and the Miners), and now Peña Nieto, looking for low-hanging fruit and finding it, has started in on the formerly state-controlled (“charro”) unions who might impede the rush to a neo-liberal state.

Whether the neo-liberal reforms are here to stay, I don’t know.  With an administration seemingly hell-bent on adopting neo-liberalism as an ideology just as that ideology is coming into disrepute worldwide, perhaps there’s yet another British Romantic work we might consider: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s England in 1819.

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,–
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn, mud from a muddy spring,–
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,–
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,–
An army which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,–
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless, a book sealed,–
A Senate—Time’s worst statute unrepealed,–
Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst to illumine our tempestuous day.

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