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Tennis (Court Oath) Anyone?

21 March 2017

DRAT! The “powers that be” thought they’d pull a fast one when, during the course of turning the Federal District into a State, they packed the Constituent Assembly by cutting down the number of citizen-elected representatives, and assigning more seats to the President (and, by default, his party) and our neo-liberal “mayor”. If there was a “conspiracy”, it was to weaken the Federal District’s quirky insistence on being out of step with the rest of the nation… consistently voting for the left, and passing more progressive legislation that only slowly makes its impact felt on the rest of the nation. In other words, the hope was to preserve the status quo.

Intislly, there was just a feeling that the exercise was simply a bit of legislative finagling, without much meaning to the average citizen. However, as Bernardo Bátiz V. writes, things didn’t quite turn out as expected, and that’s all to the good.

An historic break

(Jornada, 20 March 2017  My translation)


Mexico City’s new Constitution is an important and historical document., despite the lack of e interrest in the electoral process by which the 60 deputies were elected to the Constituent Assembly, in addition to those appointed, Only about a third of potential voters went to the polls. But,, once the assembly was in place, various non-governmental organizations, indigenous communities, neighborhood associations, merchants and others, together with many individual citizens, became increasingly interested in the various issues on the agenda and participated in discussions alongside the deputies.

All who asked to be heard were received; Innumerable groups and agencies presented their points of view, objections and contributions. The Indigneous Peoples’ and Original Communities committee held the most wide-ranging consultations, and was recognized for their work by the United Nations. Citizens of diverse political tendencies, from the far right to the far left, thronged Plaza Manuel Tolsá to lobby deputies as they headed from committee meeting in the Palacio de Minería to the Xicoténcatl Hall, hand us leaflets, petitions and even some drawings of late gestation fetuses…

Experts agree that it has been a very long time since a debate of this magnitude has taken place in Mexico outside of parliamentary groups; There was no coordinating comittee that took decisions behind closed doors to be simply ratified by the plenary: the consultations were just that, a place to listen to opinions and arguments, but never to make definitive decisions. Of the ten parliamentary factions in the Assembly, none cast unaminous votes. Within each, there were discussions and disagreements.

The result, celebrated by all, is a novel and advanced document, even though given the heterogeneity of the 100 participants it did not turn out to be an impeccable text from the grammatical or literary point of view. It is, instead, a signpost for what the people of Mexico expect.

The Mexico City Constitution represents a historical break with the neoliberal line of constitutional and legislative changes os the last 25 or 30 years.Indeed, the reforms to the federal and local constitutions and changes in secondary legislation during this period favored neoliberals, the most significant being the “Pact for Mexico” which gave shape to the [Peña Nieto administration’s] structural reforms.

Legislation, from Salinas to Peña, has tended to favor transnational corporate interests and the protection of private initiative The Mexico City Constitution breaks with that, moving towards a law with more social content, and restroring the concept of social law places the supreme value of society, not on the competition so dear to neoliberals, but on collaboration, solidarity and the concepts of equality and social justice.

The present leaders of the system, the unreading rulers of the country, do not know history. They are unaware that the French Revolution overthrew a 900-year-old dynasty after Louis XVI summoned the Estates General never imagining it would end in the Tennis Court Oath. Louis never dreamed that the representatives of the Estates General along with some from the nobility and the clergy would assume their responsibility as representatives of the nation and would not be content to passively accept the mandates of their lords and betters. As representatives of the nation they tried the king, changed the regime, abolished the titles of nobility and changed history.

The capital’s constituent assembly also took our role seriously. We approved an advanced document only after much work, and many debates. The powerful of the regime, who fight against it now, despite the fact that it was they who called the assembly in the first place, are frightened by the change of course, an outbreak of humanism and solidarity so contrary to neoliberal legislation.

They did not expect what happened; For not reading history, did not learn that people get tired, change, correct and straighten directions. The neoliberalism imposed on us from the outside is not the best for the development and happiness of the Mexican people; The capital is giving the signal for the change of course;The constituents were only their interpreters and that can not be supported by the guardians of the economic interests of the potentates.This is the only way of explaining such an excessive and well-concerted raid against the Magna Carta of progressive Mexico City.

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