Mexico: Open Letter from Workers and Youth to Andrés Manuel López Obrador

For more than 30 years, we — the workers, youth, and women of Mexico — have been the victims of policies that have attacked our social, labor, and human rights in favor of the banksters and their servants in high office, spearheaded by political parties that you have correctly characterized as the “Power Mafia.”

During these years, we have witnessed the loss of our national sovereignty, with the fire-sale to foreign investors of our public corporations and our wealth. We have witnessed the loss of the secular State and public education. We have witnessed the militarization and criminalization of our youth and social movements. And now we are facing the risk of losing our public health systems, just as we face the increasingly open intervention of the U.S. government in our public life.

Today we are at a crucial moment in the history of our country. It’s a moment in which millions of Mexican people have placed their hopes for change in you and in your presidential campaign. However, as working-class activists, we do not see reflected in your campaign platform all our demands and needs; on the contrary, we are concerned that some of our demands are not included — demands that speak to the need for better working conditions, better wages, ending the semi-slave work endured by agricultural workers and their families in the fields of our country, as well as the need to stop the violence, especially the murder of women, and the discrimination against indigenous and sexually diverse communities, etc.

We believe that a platform for change, for the defense of the people and the nation, must include the following planks:

  1. Repeal the Labor “Reform” law. For wage increases, job security, job stability, and the right to free unionization and a real retirement.
  2. Repeal the Energy “Reform” law. Cancel all the laws and agreements flowing from this “reform” that privatize the energy sector. Renationalize PEMEX, CFE [the Federal Electricity Commission], and everything that has been privatized.
  3. Repeal the Education “Reform” law. Cancel all punitive evaluations/assessments. Increase funding for science and technology education. For an education at the service of the workers and people. Not a penny to private schools. No to the privatization of education at any level.
  4. Farm sector. End the slave day-labor conditions in the fields, full labor rights for all farmworkers. End child labor, for the right to maternity. For the right not to migrate. Put an end to the new latifundios [huge private estates]. Accessible credit to the peasants, for the reactivation of the countryside.
  5. Youth. Stop the criminalization of youth, no to precarious jobs, rights for all, promotion of culture and recreation, open enrollment in universities and high schools with scholarships for transportation and mobility.
  6. Women. Stop the feminicides and punish those guilty, defend and expand the rights of women (right to control their own bodies, right to day care, equal access to education and work …).
  7. Popular economy. For socially just, low-cost, and dignified access to housing, electric power, water, and public services. For a program to reactivate the family economy aimed at lifting the majority of the population out of poverty. For fair prices for tortillas and basic foodstuffs.
  8. National Sovereignty. Repeal NAFTA. For an economic policy that breaks with the dictates of the IMF, World Bank, and OECD. Reject the building of the Wall of Shame. Reject the payment of the foreign debt and FOBAPROA, a debt that the people did not contract and from which they do not benefit.
  9. Foreign policy that is independent and in solidarity with the peoples who are fighting for their liberation, with respect for their right to self-determination.

sme_20100606_selok-01We believe that the most economical way to carry out this program is through the recovery of democracy, which for us does not end on Election Day, but whose full expression is the participation of all Mexicans in the political life of the country and in the formulation of its decisions. This requires the building of democratic organizations of workers in the cities and countryside, their regroupment into trade union federations — as well as the organization and recognition of their political expression, including the building of a genuine Workers Party, which has been denied by the corporatist and undemocratic regime.

Today the institutions that govern our country are in the hands of a Power Mafia that has built a whole framework of legislation to prevent a radical transformation of the country. As you have stated, the legislative chambers are moved by groups’ special interests and not by the interests of the nation. The judicial branch has validated every single counter-reform; the courts at all levels have disqualified and rejected the claims and lawsuits brought before them by workers in struggle, be it the healthcare workers of the ISSSTE [healthcare sector for public employees], the electrical workers of the SME [electrical workers’ union], or the teachers of the CNTE [democratic wing of the teachers’ union).

As you have stated on multiple occasions, it is necessary to change the institutions, but we think that this will only be possible through the convening of a New Constituent Congress [Constitutional Convention], which, as in other moments of our history, will give voice to the representatives of the people.

This is why we, the undersigned, are committed to building popular organizations with the aim of making the implementation of this program possible, by forming Committees in Defense of the Will of People and Democracy, as instruments to prepare workers along with their trade union and political organizations for the new situation that is opening on July 1.

TRIBUNA 1

More than 350 unionists and activists gather at the Second Session of the Binational Conference Against NAFTA and the Wall of Shame in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, on March 17-18, 2018.

Committees in Defense of the Will of People, which means committees for a radical transformation of the country, for an end to the PRIAN regime [regime led by the PRI and PAN political parties], for punishing those guilty of leading us into the current morass facing our country.

Committees for Democracy, so that young people, women, indigenous people, and workers can participate in the construction of a better nation, so that democracy prevails in these elections, so that the vote of the majority is respected and upheld. The democratic vote is threatened today by various sectors of the ruling mafia, especially the business chambers, which, aware that their room to maneuver and commit fraud is being reduced more and more even within their own electoral system [given the 20% lead of López Obrador in the polls – Tr. Note], are revealing their true face by sowing fear and calling for violence [López Obrador has received constant death threats – Tr. Note].

Mr. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, we are in time to generate a broad popular mobilization. We are willing to forge a common front of struggle for the demands raised above, for a program to rescue our nation. For this reason we are calling to prepare the defense of the will of the people — and we are calling upon the workers of Mexico, the women and the youth, to form these Committees in Defense of the Will of People and Democracy, in their neighborhoods, communities, schools, and work centers. It is an urgent task.

Initial signatories:

Baja California: LUIS CARLOS HARO (co-coordinator of the Binational conference against the Trump Wall and NAFTA); JUAN CARLOS VARGAS, editor, Transición.

Chiapas: CARLOS MISAEL PALMA (founding member of the CNTE), Organizing Commission of the NCT [New Trade Union Center] in the South-Southeast of Mexico, former Secretary of Labor and Conflicts in Section 7 of the SNTE, secondary level 1989-1991, former candidate for City Council president, on behalf of the PRT-LOM ); CLAUDIA IBETH AGUILAR (Independent Candidate to City Council President of Tuxtla Gutiérrez-OPT); GILBERTO MONTES VÁSQUEZ; RUSSELL AGUILAR BRINDIS (Leader of the UMVO-Anuee, Ocozocuautla, Former Secretary of Relations of Section 7 of the SNTE-CNTE.

Founding member of the CNTE, former candidate for Governor Chiapas for the PRT-LOM, OPT militant; ARIAS TORRES MARTÍN, Chiapas State Coordinating Committee of the OPT; FREDY RODRÍGUEZ MÉNDEZ, Youth Section of the New Trade Union Federation / NCT and activist of the OPT; DANIEL MARTÍNEZ VELASCO, Chiapas State leader of Parents in Defense of Public Education, Organizing Commission of the NCT in the South-Southeast, militant of the OPT.

(titles listed for identification purposes only)

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