|The CPGB-ML was invited by the Partido del Trabajo de Mexico (PT) to attend their 15th annual seminar, which took place in Mexico City from 17-19 March 2011. The seminar, designed to debate all the important issues affecting the world today, especially Latin America, attracted delegates from 104 countries, with often more than one organisation in any given country sending a representative, though our delegate was the only person attending from the UK.
Ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives of several countries were present, including Belarus, China, Cuba, the DPRK, Venezuela and Vietnam, as were MPs and senators from numerous latin-american countries. Other distinguished guests included the deposed president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who would have been the president of Mexico had it not been for massive electoral fraud perpetrated with the connivance of the US in the presidential elections of 2006. (See ‘Blatant election fraud in Mexico’, Lalkar, September 2006)
A keynote speech was made by Lopez Obrador, in which he said that, since 2006, a Movement for National Regeneration had been formed that was now active in all parts of the country, and in which the PRD (Party for Democratic Revolution), the PT, Convergencia and others are participating. This movement is successfully mobilising the Mexican masses in support of progressive demands.
Comrade Obrador noted that their opponents, the Mexican oligarchy, consist of no more than 30 persons, comprising 11 corrupt politicians and 6 multibillionaires, including the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, with $50bn to his name, who has a virtual monopoly of Mexico’s telecoms. These 30 people effectively control the entire state machine and maintain a regime of privilege and injustice.
As far as electoral politics are concerned, Lopez Obrador remarked that the rivals to the Movement for National Regeneration, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) and the PAN (National Action Party), were presented to the public as the ‘left’ wing and the ‘right’ wing respectively. In fact, however, their policies are identical for all intents and purposes.
The Spanish language has a word for this: gatopardismo, derived from Lampedusa’s novel The Leopard ( gatopardo in Spanish). The term refers to changes that are only apparent and not real – very much the same as what happens in the UK when Labour substitutes for Tory or vice versa.
Lopez Obrador pointed to the urgent need in Mexico to create jobs. A large part of the wealth of the Mexican super-rich is devoted to speculation rather than to the real economy, as all they are interested in is a fast buck. It is also essential to effect a redistribution of Mexico’s wealth in favour of the poor. This will only be done by organising at grass roots level, from the bottom up. Only the organised people can save the people, and do so without recourse to violence.
This keynote speech was followed by questions and answers. The CPGB-ML representative was able to intervene to say that she wished she were Mexican in order to be able to vote for Lopez Obrador, but her question was whether he could be sure that the Mexican armed forces would obey the wishes of the people. Deposed Honduran President Zelaya nodded on hearing the question. Lopez Obrador’s answer indicated that in his opinion the Mexican army, because Mexico had never had a military government, would obey the instructions of any elected government.
Later on in the proceedings, Comrade Alberto Anaya, the leader and founder of the PT, presented to delegates a copy of a book collecting together important documents from the Vietnam war. He took this opportunity to remind those present that in defeating Japanese, French and US imperialism, one after the other, the Vietnamese people had three essential weapons: the Communist Party, the National Liberation Front and the People’s Army.
The CPGB-ML submitted a paper for the seminar concerned with distortions of Marxism that certain people are endeavouring to smuggle into the concept of ‘21st-century socialism’, but when it came to her turn to speak, the party representative actually spoke in response to some aspects of the lively debate and class struggle that had been taking place at the seminar.
In particular, appreciation was expressed for Comrade Anaya’s distribution of another text, namely, Mao Zedong’s writings on ‘New Democracy’, which pointed to the need, in the fight against imperialism, to maintain, if at all possible, a broad united front of all the various patriotic classes, including the national bourgeoisie, against imperialism. The text had proved particularly apposite since there were representatives at the seminar of minority parties from Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, who took it upon themselves to attack their countries’ progressive anti-imperialist governments because of the concessions that they were being forced to make.
It was pointed out that it was not possible to maintain a broad united front against imperialism without concessions on both sides, with the depth of the concessions that the proletariat and oppressed people have to make being determined by the balance of forces. Comrade Anaya gently suggested to those people, whom he did not doubt had the best of intentions and the interests of the working masses at heart, but who were attacking these progressive governments, to consider whether they might not unintentionally be serving the interests of imperialism.
The seminar concluded with the passing of numerous progressive resolutions by an overwhelming majority, including resolutions in support of Cuba and the DPRK, a resolution urging the Spanish government to accept the hand of peace being offered by the Basque nationalists, a resolution in support of the workers of Wisconsin, and, of course, a unanimously approved resolution condemning the aggression of imperialism against Libya and the illegal resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council, which has absolutely no mandate to interfere in the internal affairs of any country.