Monday, November 27, 2006

Mexico: A Shabby Dialectic

Today we engage in two of highwayscribery’s favorite pastimes: the first, interspersing the highway scribe’s musings with those of a more accomplished and renowned thinker/writer, in this case Mexico’s Enrique Krauze; and second, indulging the topic of Mexico, which is covered with regularity on this Web log.

Just scroll and click around for a while and you’ll see analyses of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) promising and progressive candidacy , the
tension-filled presidential election this summer, and on through the rebellion in Oaxaca.

Krauze’s piece ran in the “Washington Post” the other day (okay, let’s check), Nov. 25, and although the scribe has pithy stuff to say for everything that came before it, he’s in complete agreement with Enrique Krauze’s concluding paragraph, which explains why we spend so much time on Mexico around here.

“The United States would do well,” he writes, “to remember that there is a country, not on the Persian Gulf but on the Gulf of Mexico, that has taken a giant step toward political maturity in the space of just one generation – and has done so practically without historical experience. And it would do well to find tangible, direct ways to support Mexico’s economy, just as the European Union supported Spain.”

The article, “What’s at stake in Mexico City,” takes on AMLO’s declaration of himself as the legitimate president of Mexico.

Held on the anniversary of the Mexican revolution, the event represented, “an alliance between the pre-modern and the anti-modern in a postmodern spectacle” that is going to lead to ALL HELL BREAKING LOSE IN MEXICO!

At this point, says Krauze, AMLO has lost a lot of support among original backers, but has a lot of love from “public employee unions, black market peddlers, unofficial taxi drivers, and hundreds of radical groups.”

His tone suggests this panorama is repugnant to the respectable people of Mexico who lord it over this angry army, but from an anarcho-syndicalist perspective, it represents something of a natural historical progression in the organization of human society.

the scribe likes this article for the way it dissects López Obrador’s movement. Krauze writes that this rabble is paid by the Mexico City municipal administration, run by López Obrador’s political organization, the Partido Democrático Revolucionario (PRD), which sort of says it all.

This may be abhorrent to Krauze and to people who run stock markets and live from them -- even to the humble merchants on the streets AMLO’s army acts to ostensibly protect -- but it is supremely democratic in that it places government at the behest of those who are oppressed by the big people.

Government, if you have to have it, should serve as a counterbalance to the lords of the manner.

The movement’s goal, Krauze says, is nothing short of forcing the resignation of the guy who beat AMLO out for the presidency in the dark days of July, Presidente-elegido, Felipe Calderón.

The way these “soft” revolutionaries (Krauze’s word) plan to achieve this, is by using these rebels-at-the-public-trough to shut down important parts of Mexico City and the country in general.

highwayscribery sees naught but more legitimate, if nettlesome, democratic action (Situationists Unite!). Krauze, a better burgher, sees the rule of law’s subversion, which is a nice riff if there were any kind of rule of law in Mexico.

James Cooper’s article in the “San Diego Union-Tribune,” Nov. 27, "Slow Road to Legal Reforms in Mexico," describes a legal system, that is not a system at all, and the deserved object of subversion.

The ongoing obstruction of Calderon’s efforts at governance, “might try to replicate what’s been happening over the past six months in Oaxaca, where a revolutionary group of teachers, infiltrated by the residual guerilla forces that have always existed in the mountains of southeastern Mexico, has been reenacting on a small scale the scripts of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.”

Krauze, author of “Mexico: Biography of Power” and editor of the famous “Letras Libres” literary review, is smarter than the scribe, but may be offline in this characterization.

highwayscribery, finally attuned to such things, sees a classic syndical maneuver marrying union structures and civic organizations, impossible without consent of the grass-roots governed, in a not-unwarranted expression of action by a people tired of waiting.

Krauze thinks Calderón should apply a “restricted, legitimate use of force,” (whatever that means), but fears the student massacre of 1968 makes such a solution a sticky proposition.

As such, Calderón’s resignation at the hands of the mob is not likely, “but not impossible.”

That’s why repression doesn’t pay, rather passes the bill along. And that bill’s due in old Méjico.

Krauze has little truck for why these crazies all over the country exist, and portrays López Obrador as a kind of head without body, declaiming his own messianism without the benefit of loyal multitudes he produces hither and thither.

Of course, if they all went home, AMLO would have to go home, too. Krauze has no solution for sending them home except to place Mexico’s burden on them, as if they didn’t have enough to worry about.

Having been screwed out of an election and had its deputies beaten by federal police outside the Congress, the PRD should now suck it up for the GOOD OF MEXICO.

“In this regard,” Krause writes, “the left bears the greatest responsibility, especially that part of the left with ties to the PRD in the Federal District government and various state governments, the representatives and senators of Congress, and a multitude of journalists, academics, and intellectuals. These people need to distance themselves from the caudillo and modernize their ideological platform along the line of European democracy.”

Or what?

The forced resignation of Calderón and the assumption of power by proclamation, “that ritual out of the Mexican past.”

The very recent past.

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