Mexico: The One-Party State Faces a Deep Political Crisis

Against the Current No. 16, September-October 1988

The Editors

THE MEXICAN PRESIDENTIAL election, narrowly “won” by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PR!) through methods reminiscent of the Ferdinand Marcos school of electoral fraud, brought to the surface a deep crisis of the Mexican state.

Reflected in the populist candidacy of Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, who is widely believed to have actually won the vote, the crisis of political legitimacy has its roots in the terrifying social consequences of the “modernization” of the Mexican economy, a process that is described in some detail in the following articles.

The election also divided the Mexican left. Many of the parties and activists of the Mexican socialist movement sup­ ported the Cuauhtemoc Cardenas campaign, seeing it as a vehicle for a unification of the left and a profound democratic opening in Mexican politics. The “Convocation for the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS)” and accompanying article by Arturo Anguiano embody this analysis and perspective.

However, this view was by no means unanimous, especially since Cardenas did not come from a background of struggle–let alone from the left-but from a rupture in the top-level bureaucratic structures of the PRI. The Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT), while viewing the Cardenas campaign as having historic importance, argued that the revolutionary left needed its own independent alternative. Its views are presented here by Manuel Aguilar Mora, a leader of the PRT and author of important works on the Bonapartist character of the Mexican regime and its origins. ATC believes that the perspectives of the Mexican left should be known to a North American audience, particularly given the growing interconnectedness of social struggles throughout this continent For reasons of space we have included the first sections of the viewpoint essays, interpreted differently by the country’s various social classes. Nevertheless, all people understood that day signaled an end to the historic period of a one-party state completely dominated by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Hegel observed that history repeats itself. Mexico is no exception. The twentieth anniversary of the onset of which will be concluded in our next issue.

September-October 1988, ATC 16

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