MEXICO CITY — Amid an intense period of economic and political transition here, 40 comrades from all over Mexico and the U.S. participated in PLP’s two-week Summer Project. It was spread out over multiple regions, with work around industrial factories, community organizations and more.
In one location, 12 PL’ers and friends, more than half of whom were younger than 21, discussed the world situation and our role as communists in our day-to-day struggles. Many were struggling to understand and apply a dialectical (scientific) analysis to the recent Mexican presidential election.
Many here were well aware of the rampant electoral fraud. One worker shared how PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) and Peña Nieto — its “conservative” candidate, and eventual victor — bought votes through “gift cards” for a chain of grocery stores.
When the “liberal” candidate Lopez Obrador and his PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) found out and tried to expose it, entire grocery stores were completely bought out by the next day!
Democracy for Imperialists
This sort of blatant cheating is typical of politicians and their ruling-class backers; this is more than just business as usual. We explained the relationship between elections and imperialism. The U.S. imperialists want to control the flow of oil to China, which has interests in Latin America’s oil resources.
Elections in Mexico are important for the U.S. imperialists, not for workers. China’s foot in Latin America is a threat to the U.S. The PRI has a long history of alliance with the U.S. ruling class, while the PRD might have made new alliances with the likes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has connections to Chinese imperialists.
The rivalry between the PRI and the PRD is not a fight of who can best represent workers, but whether profits are made either by different international profit interests, or by national ones like the world’s richest capitalist, Mexico’s Carlos Slim.
Out of a desire to fight against this electoral sham, a student movement against Peña Nieto called “I am 132” — the number of students who published a video of their protest before it went viral — was born. Comparable to PLP’s work within the Occupy movements in the U.S., it is a mass reform movement where people genuinely want change.
Even though these movements shed light on corrupt electoral politics, they will not achieve fundamental change until they fight to destroy capitalism. We should work with these militant youths who are willing to fight for the change they envision. That is how we build for communist revolution — by building a mass international workers’ party, PLP, through class struggle.
Growing Fascist Conditions
There is fascistic militarization here that workers face every day. Why? The imperialists are preparing for war. In an industrialized area, the community felt no one cared about them. We heard stories about their hardship in getting representation and making their community habitable. For an area that builds bricks, the workers had houses made of the cheapest materials.
Police occupy the streets with huge rifles on their backs at all times. The workers are being conditioned to live under constant fear.
Still, many were enthusiastic about communism and had important political questions. We visited a carpenter and discussed sexism; role of religion; the building of relationships to organize the community; elections and the world situation. We raised the need for PLP to organize our class and prepare for revolution. He came to a PLP study group that night.
We also had a good discussion with a union organizer whose father felt sold out by the leaders of past communist movements in Mexico. The organizer defended the PLP’s analysis of past movements, directly confronting his father’s pessimism, by arguing that we must learn from both the errors and the gains.
He then offered his home for the night, rather than brave the monstrous puddles that plagued the roads that the government refuses to keep up.
All in all, this week was full of inspiring work and great potential. We learned a great deal from workers. In our evaluation, we discussed how we can’t think of ourselves as having all the answers, and that we can learn so much from the workers we visit.
As part of the Summer Project here, we focused on exposing the union as ruling-class collaborators and on fighting against sexist policies in the union. Through our work with teachers, we saw the importance of building within movements in order to fight for communism.
One workshop was “The History of Unions.” Local and international PL’ers discussed with teachers the connections between unions and capitalism. Unions are unable to solve the problems of the working class. Union leadership represents the capitalists and their interests.
Union Leaders Divide Workers
Teachers expressed anger and frustration over union leaders’ betrayal. If one questions the union leaders, the union no longer supports them. One teacher stated, “The union should be supportive in regards to workers’ rights, yet we’re fighting against them and the government.”
Teachers noted that following the 2006 teacher strike and uprisings, unions created divisions between substitute and permanent teachers. This helped to push cynicism among those who feel “they have more to lose” and pessimism among the super-exploited non-tenured teachers.
Many non-tenured teachers want the permanent teachers to join the fight, since employment and benefits are never guaranteed in the face of austerity measures and under capitalism.
Sexist Unions Require Pregnancy Tests
The union is good — at attacking women workers! Female teachers must provide proof of their pregnancy status. If found pregnant, they will be denied employment. Unions form divisions between men and women workers.
This issue led PL’ers to hold a study group on sexism. Forty participated, including some female teachers from the convention. Questions were raised on defining sexism, its effect on workers, how capitalism breeds, and profits from, gender roles.
We all acknowledged the importance of women as leaders in the movement and the importance of working together equally in everything that we do. We will organize a campaign against the sexist pregnancy tests!
Like all PLP struggles, the fight-backs in Oaxaca are for the long haul. The solidarity we have as workers worldwide will allow us to destroy capitalism and build a world in the interests of workers. Hundreds of teachers in Oaxaca sent their support to striking teachers in Chicago and communities fighting police brutality in New York City.
In this Summer Project, we witnessed how capitalism doesn’t work anywhere, and it demonstrated the importance of building one international party.
As one friend of PLP put it, “Since working with PLP I discovered I am not alone in the working-class struggle. This Summer Project gave me the empowerment to envision a better world. I witnessed how we as a class can work collectively. I now envision building for a communist revolution, enabling our class to destroy capitalism to build a world in the working class’s interests.”
We must transform working-class anger here into a fight for communism — a way of life allowing workers to receive according to need and contribute the labor necessary to produce it.
Little by little, these small gains like our Summer Projects can turn into the communist revolution that is long overdue here and worldwide.