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Marching on

28 May 2011

Despite a small quibble about a questionable assertion (the Zetas may have originally been rogue military personnel, but there is no evidence that they are anything but common criminals, and recruited no differently than any other members of organized gangster organizations), Jason Wallach’s video report on the 8 May “No mas sangre” is well worth re-viewing.

One thing that strikes me is that despite some sense among Mexico watchers that the movement is some sort of failure in that Genaro Garcia Luna has not yet been forced to resign, or that the government suddenly managed to find the presumed assassins of Juan Francisco Sicilia, that the social movement will just fade away… or, as Ganchoblog suggests, needs to become a U.S. style “special interest group” (Patrick seems to be thinking of groups like the Christian Coalition or the Moral Majority) to enjoy success.

On the first point, it appears Javier Sicilia’s call for Garcia Luna’s resignation was meant more as a metaphor for social change, than as a political demand.  While, of course, as the most visible architect of a failed policy (or, more properly, the executioner of the plan) he is more than a symbolic figure.  Had Felipe Calderon given into demands and demanded Garcia Luna’s resignation, it might be seen as a concession to the “no mas sangre” movement, but would have signaled an acceptance of the larger demands for social and political change, and a recognition of the present administration’s failures in other areas like education and national security.  It forced the administration to take a defensive position… in NOT firing Garcia Luna, the administration has been at pains to prove its policies have not failed, and, ironically, to start changing them.  One would expect Juan Francisco Sicilia’s alleged killers would be found.  Which may satisfy (on a personal level) Javier Sicilia, but then forces the government (and Garcia Luna) to start answering questions about the other 34,999+ victims of this adminstration’s militaristic approach to criminal activity.

On the second, it has to be remembered that the U.S. pressure groups had no interest in changing the system, only the agenda.  As it is, groups like the Moral Majority’s tactics were mostly  “under the radar” — running candidates in existing parties (overwhelmingly the Republican Party, which was desperate to redefine itself after Watergate) in local elections, and leveraging local political control to steer private campaign contributions (impossible in Mexico) and voters towards the group’s favored candidates.   Mexican political organization is much more “top down”, but even so, we don’t know how many opponents of the existing political system are running for offices like regidor or presidente municipal, nor on what parties.  The movement appears to have the support of at least the PRD (or a sizable fraction of that party), and in a multi-party state, it it doesn’t require nearly as sizable a faction to take over a party and to drive the national agenda towards a concensus that meets that faction’s demands.

Anyway, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Calderonista regime is on the way out, and at least conventional wisdom is that the PRI will provide the next President.  Specifically that the Carlos Salinas wing of the PRI will provide the next President.  Which may be true, but even they are running away from the “drug war” and as the situation (both in the world of the political class and in the streets) develops over the next year (the parties haven’t even held primaries yet),  the political elites may realign themselves, if only to guarantee their own survival.

More importantly, the Mexican protests were somewhat overlooked because of protests around the world taking place at about the same time:  in the Middle East, in Greece, and now in Spain.  While it is easy to find the differences in the proximate causation they all are rooted in the same discontent with governments that don’t fulfill their citizen’s expectations of protection and economic security, and a better future for their youth.  And, in all of these countries, there is a sense of revulsion at the impunity enjoyed by the political classes.

Equally important is to remember that these “old world” movements are uprisings against the prevailing economic system.  Egyptians, Greeks, Spaniards and Mexicans may have had different specific grievances, but all were based in their respective state’s administration’s willingness to put meeting the expectations of the world’s economic power-elites ahead of the well-being of their own peoples.

Is “no mas sangre” a simple demand for political change?  Perhaps.  But, perhaps more importantly, in common with the Greeks, the Spaniards, the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Hondurans, and others, it is a world-wide demand for democratization and accountability from the leadership… in short… a revolution.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. "craig" permalink
    29 May 2011 2:12 am

    How would Mexico be today if Calderon had poured $1 billion US into schools?
    How would Mexico be today if all marijuana possession had been decriminalized 5 years ago?

    What would Mexico look like today if the USA had simply eliminated corn & ethanol subsidies?
    What would Mexico look like today if the USA had supported the criminal justice system, especially the courts, as much as it has supported the Mexican military?

    What would have changed if the USA had strictly controlled gun sales and smuggling South of the border, rather than worrying so much about poor people *working* North of the border? Or even tried at all to make an impact in the rivers of weapons and ammunition moving south?
    What would have changed if the USA had dropped the eternal “War on Drugs” and replaced a militarized police enforcement model with an education, detox and treatment model?

    What if both Mexico and the USA had seen that their richest resources are their people, not their ‘capital’ and revised NAFTA to make people and workers the centerpiece, instead of corporate profits? (Hint: the strong manufacturing base of every industrialized nation came from protectionist policies supporting industry, internal production, healthy employment, not “free trade”. Free trade is a false construct used solely to manipulate natural resources for maximum profits, nothing more. Free trade is the newest incarnation of colonialism: keep the people down.)

    Calderon’s drug war began 10 days after the disputed elections. Appearing in a military style jacket, he announced the military would take on the cartels. It seemed to be a diversionary move, as much as anything, against stolen election protests with hundreds of thousands in the streets. Was it just intended to be? Or was he really convinced he could win it? Or didn’t he even care?

    How many “second lieutenants” in each of the cartels are there? How many “leaders” have been captured, imprisoned, killed? Has anything changed? More blood, yes. But anything else?

    Any high school kid anywhere in the USA can tell you where to buy pot. And most every other drug.

    All this blood for nothing?
    Or only to benefit one cartel… the one with direct ties to Salinas’ brother… which seems to have the fewest leaders killed and captured… until finally the ignored bus kidnappings turned into mass graves?

    Or for something else? What a senseless waste….

  2. Luis Gutierrez permalink
    1 June 2011 7:35 am

    very well put.
    Indeed, it is hard NOT to see that all the recent revolts around the world are linked to politicians thinking they took office to rule, not to serve.

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