Workers Vanguard No. 916
6 June 2008
Declaration of the Grupo Espartaquista de México
Defend Nationalized Energy Industry Against Privatization!
Only Workers Revolution Can Break Imperialist Stranglehold!
The following is a translation of an April 29 leaflet issued by our comrades of the Grupo Espartaquista de México, section of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist).
The PAN [ruling National Action Party] of Felipe Calderón and the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party] are moving to privatize the nationalized energy industry in a maneuver in the service of U.S. imperialism, which has had its eye on Mexican oil since 1938. The privatization would mean mass layoffs, even more brutal cuts to social spending, anti-union attacks—including against the oil workers union—and higher costs of daily expenses. The working class must mobilize its social power against this offensive!
The working and poor masses of Mexico perceive the oil expropriation as a historic conquest of the Mexican Revolution, touching their deeply felt democratic aspirations, in particular regarding national emancipation. Just as Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the 1917 Russian Revolution, defended the expropriation of Anglo-American oil companies in 1938, we Spartacists defend the nationalized energy industry as a measure of national self-defense of semicolonial Mexico against imperialism. Our defense of the nationalized energy industry is not an end in itself, but an integral part of our fight for proletarian revolution and its international extension, which is the only way to end poverty and to achieve national emancipation.
The bourgeois privatization offensive comes after more than two decades of neoliberal attacks against the exploited and oppressed. The devastation of the economy and of the quality of life of the masses created the conditions for the most important social upheavals in decades. These defensive struggles—such as the powerful Lázaro Cárdenas steel workers strike or the desperate struggles, ultimately defeated, of the Oaxacan and Atenco masses in 2006—are a reflection of generalized discontent. Millions of peasants have been driven off the land and forced to emigrate because NAFTA, a treaty for the imperialist rape of Mexico, has devastated the countryside. The recent implementation of the agriculture provision of NAFTA is the coup de grâce for poor peasants. Down with NAFTA, imperialist free-trade rape of Mexico!
The current neoliberal attacks must be seen in the context of the capitalist counterrevolution in the USSR, a world historic defeat for the working class and oppressed, which has changed the relationship of forces in favor of imperialism. The counterrevolution brought a retrogression in consciousness. Today, the current perception among workers, peasants and youth is that communism was a failed experiment; this has led to a strengthening of bourgeois populism. Latin American populism—prominently represented today by the PRD [Party of the Democratic Revolution] in Mexico and by Chávez in Venezuela, and in the past by Lázaro Cárdenas, among others—is a bourgeois policy that tries to erase class divisions, dissolving the working class into the mass of “the people.” The envelope in which this policy is presented is nationalism, which sells the lie that the working class and the oppressed have the same interests as their class enemy, the bourgeoisie. Chávez and AMLO [PRD leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador] use false democratic and “anti-imperialist” rhetoric combined with concessions to the working class, poor and oppressed, as well as repression. From the UNAM [National Autonomous University of Mexico] strike in 1999-2000 to Lázaro Cárdenas and Atenco, the PRD, PRI and PAN have been partners in capitalist repression.
We warn against any illusions in the bourgeoisie, especially in the populist PRD and AMLO, who oppose the privatization plan and are trying to refurbish their fake “anti-imperialist” credentials. The bourgeois populists, who defend the capitalist system, are no less enemies of the victory of the proletariat than the more right-wing politicians of the PAN. AMLO bases his campaign on the widespread illusion that modernizing PEMEX as a state [oil] company leads to—or safeguards—national emancipation, and that it could become the basis for satisfying the needs of the people.
Similarly, there is a widespread and false notion that PEMEX belongs to “the people” or “the nation.” All of this is a lie. PEMEX belongs to the bourgeoisie, and the Mexican capitalists are split over how to take advantage of the huge wealth produced by the astronomical price of oil. Independently of what they do with PEMEX, or who rules the country and under what program, capitalist Mexico will remain a backward petroleum producer subjugated by imperialism, subject to the crises of the market and the wild fluctuations in the price of crude. The imperialist yoke cannot be broken and the needs of the population cannot be met by capitalism, much less when it is based principally on one extractive industry in one semicolonial country.
Indeed, the bourgeoisies of all the countries of belated capitalist development are absolutely incapable of breaking with imperialism. As Lenin taught, imperialism is not a disposable conjunctural policy but a world system of exploitation and oppression dominated by huge financial monopolies, backed up by their respective nation-states with their armies and fleets, which long ago divided up the world among themselves and maintain the backward countries under their yoke. Thus, Mexico is a country of combined and uneven development, where modern production technology coexists with miserable backwardness in the countryside. The overwhelming majority of industry in Mexico owes its existence to imperialist capital, which has created a powerful proletariat. We Marxists base our entire strategy on the modern industrial proletariat, which has no interest as a class in maintaining the system of capitalist exploitation and production for profit. The working class has the social power and interest to lead all the oppressed in overthrowing capitalism through socialist revolution, abolishing private property in the means of production and the rule of the bourgeoisie, the class that owns the means of production and exploits wage labor.
The enormous dependency of the Mexican economy on oil—which constitutes 40 percent of the government’s income—is an undeniable example of the backward character of Mexico’s capitalist development. It is impossible to achieve industrial development comparable to that of the advanced countries within the framework of capitalism. In his work The Permanent Revolution, Leon Trotsky explained:
“With regard to countries with a belated bourgeois development, especially the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the theory of the permanent revolution signifies that the complete and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving democracy and national emancipation is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat as the leader of the subjugated nation, above all of its peasant masses.”
Upon taking power, the proletariat cannot stop at the democratic tasks, but rather must immediately pass to the socialist tasks—the expropriation of the bourgeoisie as a class, collectivization and a planned economy. Thus, the felt democratic aspirations of the masses, such as for national emancipation, political democracy and agrarian revolution, are a motor force for the proletarian revolution, since they can only be achieved through a collectivized economy. For a workers and peasants government! We fight to build the vanguard party of the proletariat that seeks to win the loyalty of the masses away from the national-populist bourgeoisie, combatting illusions in the democratic reform of the bourgeois state and channeling the workers’ struggles toward the taking of power by the proletariat.
The proletarian revolution must be extended internationally, especially to the American imperialist beast. The survival of the revolution in Mexico and its development toward socialism is unthinkable, economically and militarily, without the help of the multiracial proletariat of the U.S. And a workers revolution in Mexico would provide a powerful impetus to the revolution north of the Río Bravo, especially among black workers and the millions of immigrant workers. The multiracial American proletariat must make its powerful voice heard in joint class struggle with its Mexican brothers and sisters against the capitalist rulers’ designs. As opposed to the rest of the left, the communists of the Grupo Espartaquista de México, alongside our comrades of the entire ICL, genuinely fight for an international socialist economy through new October Revolutions around the world to do away with imperialism, racism and all forms of oppression. If you agree with our perspective, join our struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat, the fundamental basis for universal human emancipation!