Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Some Gains for the PRD in Mexico and the Left

Some challenges are coming to Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, that had ruled the country for 7 decades from an uneasy coalition between the the Democratic Revolution Party and the National Action Party (current President Felipe Calderón's party), but particularly from the more left-oriented PRD. From the Financial Times:

"[Newly elected gubernatorial candidate Angel Aguirre] addressed a crowd of supporters in the resort of Acapulco on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and held his hand high to signal a 'V' for victory.

'Tomorrow is the start of a new era,” he said in a sign that he wanted to put behind him what had been a particularly dirty and scrappy election in a state where drugs-related violence has spiralled in recent years. “Today as never before, Guerrero deserves and needs unity and peace.'

The PRD’s win comes not a moment too soon for a party that has ruptured internally and has lost significant ground in Mexican politics since narrowly losing the presidential race [to the PAN].

Yet while both the PRD and the PAN will doubtless take heart from the result in Guerrero, political analysts say that it will probably make little difference to the PRI’s impressive comeback since losing the presidency in 2000 after 71 years of consecutive rule."

Also, February 1st, (from the Latin American Herald Tribune) "a coalition calling itself the National Movement for Food Sovereignty, Workers Rights and Democratic Freedoms [protested; made up of some 30,000 students, peasants, workers and unemployed].

'We’re looking for a new social and economic order for the country, because it’s urgent that we put a stop to price inflation, chiefly on basic necessities, and at the same time do something about the problems of unemployment and crime,” said the leader of the National Confederation of Peasants, federal legislator Gerardo Sanchez Garcia.

'We need a social movement so the government doesn’t forget that he made a commitment to resolve social problems and avoid even bigger crises for the sectors we represent,' electricians union chief Martin Esparza said."

➔ Suggesting further progressive and left unrest in Mexico.

Žižek on the Great Egyptian Revolt

Here, in a op-ed for the Guardian, Slavoj Žižek appears to be affirming a point made by Tariq Ali, in an earlier issue of The New Left Review, but takes it a bit further with regards to Egypt:

"The inevitable conclusion to be drawn is that the rise of radical Islamism was always the other side of the disappearance of the secular left in Muslim countries. When Afghanistan is portrayed as the utmost Islamic fundamentalist country, who still remembers that, 40 years ago, it was a country with a strong secular tradition, including a powerful communist party that took power there independently of the Soviet Union? Where did this secular tradition go?


In order for the key liberal legacy to survive, liberals need the fraternal help of the radical left. Back to Egypt, the most shameful and dangerously opportunistic reaction was that of Tony Blair as reported on CNN: change is necessary, but it should be a stable change. Stable change in Egypt today can mean only a compromise with the Mubarak forces by way of slightly enlarging the ruling circle. This is why to talk about peaceful transition now is an obscenity: by squashing the opposition, Mubarak himself made this impossible. After Mubarak sent the army against the protesters, the choice became clear: either a cosmetic change in which something changes so that everything stays the same, or a true break.

Here, then, is the moment of truth: one cannot claim, as in the case of Algeria a decade ago, that allowing truly free elections equals delivering power to Muslim fundamentalists. Another liberal worry is that there is no organised political power to take over if Mubarak goes. Of course there is not; Mubarak took care of that by reducing all opposition to marginal ornaments, so that the result is like the title of the famous Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None. The argument for Mubarak – it's either him or chaos – is an argument against him.

The hypocrisy of western liberals is breathtaking: they publicly supported democracy, and now, when the people revolt against the tyrants on behalf of secular freedom and justice, not on behalf of religion, they are all deeply concerned. Why concern, why not joy that freedom is given a chance? Today, more than ever, Mao Zedong's old motto is pertinent: "There is great chaos under heaven – the situation is excellent."

Where, then, should Mubarak go? Here, the answer is also clear: to the Hague. If there is a leader who deserves to sit there, it is him."