by La Voz San Jose, Feb 15th, 2015
In recent weeks, workers and youth in México, and hundreds of cities around the world, have been mobilizing in solidarity with the 43 students kidnapped by the municipal police of Iguala in Guerrero, Mexico.
Solidarity at the international level and within Mexico is essential so that the government of Peña Nieto and his partners, the drug cartels, are not able to drown out the people’s denunciations of the disappearances and to get away with this tragic slaughter.
Those of us who are in this fight demand the investigation of the facts, exemplary punishment for the perpetrators and justice for the families and colleagues of the missing students.
After more than three months after the disappearance of the 43 students, they have only been able to recognize the remains of one: Alexander Mora Venancio. Parents continue to demand the living appearance of the rest and thousands of other voices have joined demanding answers for the thousands that have also gone missing in recent years.
Outrage over the government’s inefficiency and impunity, and the corruption scandals of the president’s wife and his officials have hit the nail on Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) and the state as the main responsible for this situation. The strength and duration of the protests, which have grown nationwide, has begun to create a sense of a political crisis. Furthermore, the social uncertainty is compounded further with the news of the fall in oil prices in the international market that makes the Mexican economy more vulnerable.
MEXICO STAND UP!
The struggle against repression and the sequestration of the Ayotzinapa students was the spark that set off the frustration that is contained in large sections of youth and workers in important sectors of the government. Since then, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to organize protests against EPN and the state.
National strikes were called, students occupied schools & universities, and they made massive strikes. The population manifested its support and solidarity with Ayotzinapa.
That means that a new political situation has appeared in México. People are beginning to lose fear for their oppressors, and their taking to the streets to fight for their rights. In order to try to understand more deeply the forces that move the events that have generated the mobilization of youth and the working masses across the country, lets look at the processes that Mexico has in the international context, its economy and how it organizes society around it.
The Mexican Economy in the Sights of the Imperialist Investors
Today more than ever, international finance capitalists, mainly Americans, are looking greedily on how to make more investments in Mexico. Some of these reasons may explain this interest: a) – the vicinity of this country with the U.S. : b) – Mexico’s wealth of raw materials and a large, young workforce: c) – the confidence that the US government has contributes to the docility and submission of the Mexican bourgeoisie and government to implement policies that favor the interests of large corporations. The free trade agreements, especially North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the military cooperation of the Mérida Initiative prove it. But large investors always demand more and more benefits and guarantees, and that’s what previous governments and the new government of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has tried to do.
The first task of EPN in government was to unite the bourgeoisie around the “Pact for Mexico” and this was the basis for the implementation of the “National Development Plan”, which gave way to the approval of the reforms on energy, fiscal, educational , telecommunications, etc. With these reforms, EPN’s administration seeks to remove barriers for foreign investors to invest more freely in the extraction of raw materials, especially oil, flexible labor and to protect more profits. But on the other hand, all these reforms entail the deterioration of the living conditions of workers and the environment. This is the the explanation of such phenomena as: migration to the U.S. and to large cities (for employment and advancement): drug trafficking, with its attendant violence and social decomposition and & the violence and repression by the government to those who come to protest against it. This is what has been happening against the autodefensas [self-defense groups] in Michoacan and Guerrero and what the government did against the students of Iguala. In this dynamic of social conflict, EPN’s new government has been rapidly discredited & there is a growing nonconformity by the peoples. But in response, the government has become more undemocratic and it appeals more frequently the use of military forces to quell the protests. Today, Mexico is completely militarized. Lets look at how the Mexican people’s lives are to understand their reality.
The Mexican Population and the Economy
Mexico is a country of 120 million people. Of these, 89.4% are older than 14 years and 52.4 million are economically active. Of these, 49.7 million are employed and 2.7 million are unemployed. From these figures, the unemployment rate is 5.2% in the country today. Half of economically active persons (24.8 million) are concentrated in large cities with over 100,000 inhabitants. The other half in small cities, towns and villages.
How the Economically Active Population is Distributed in Production
– From 49.7 million economically active people, seven million are engaged in agriculture, mining, fishing, etc, and of these, 2.6 million are salary employees.
-of 12.1 million people who deal in industry and manufacturing, 9.3 million are salary employees
– Of the 30.3 million people that are engaged in the service sector, 21.1 million are salary employees. This gives us a total of 33.4 million salary employees.
On the other hand, only 2.1 million are owners or bosses of means of production (i.e. the wealthy) that contract labor; 11.2 million are self-employed; and 3 million people work but don’t receive a salary.
If we take the 49.7 million economically active people and remove the agricultural sector from the statistics, we get 41.2 million people that are employed. Of these, 4.5 million work in large establishments; 5 million in medium establishments; 7.4 million in small establishments; 19.5 million deal in micro-transactions; and 4.8 million in other economic units.
Mexican Youth and the National Economy
A study of Ciro Murayama, an UNAM professor, notes that according to the National Population Council, between 2010 and 2019, twenty million young will turn 20 years. During that time, the average person between 18 and 29 years will be 23,150,000 people. By August 2014, unemployment among young people of 18-24 years grew from 9.2% to 9.5%. This comes at a time when the economically active population is growing faster than the rate of job creation in an economy that is expanding at slow pace. The Mexican economy grew 1.3% of it’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2013, and in 2014 it did not exceed 2.2%. Young people are affected by lack of middle and high school readiness and this makes them vulnerable to economic and social marginalization, & it drives them to fight. The strength and persistence of the protests about the missing Ayotzinapa students expresses this harsh reality for young people.
The Role of NAFTA in Economy and Society
NAFTA, the free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the US, fulfilled 20 years of operation in 2014. As the principal backbone of the Mexican economy, it’s important to look at its place in has in economic terms and the implications it has on the lives office of Mexico.
According to INEG (National Institute of Statistics and Geography), the exports of Mexican manufacturing companies totaled $ 400,000 million in 2013, while in 1994 it alone was $ 60,000 million. . However, these developments do not meet the expectations of the agreement as the Mexican economy has not grown over 2.6% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) since then. In 2014, employment remained stagnant, wages fell 0.4% & social benefits fell by 4.9%. The number of workers in maquiladoras in 1994 was 1.8 million, and today it is 2.3 million or 20% more than in 1994.
In December 16, 2014 there were 6,126 maquiladoras linked with IMMEX (Maquiladora Export Industry Manufacturing). 81% of that total is dedicated to the production of manufactured goods for export and employs a total of 2,221,322 workers. The wages of workers in this sector are between $ 18,471 and $ 7,444 pesos or a monthly average salary of $ 11,285 pesos, equivalent to $ 861 dollars. By 2015, the minimum wage will increase 4.2% and in 2014 inflation doubled to 4.05%. Maquiladoras are highly dependent on changes in the international market and job instability is latent …
Some of the benefits that NAFTA brings to the US: US trade with Canada and Mexico has grown 3½ times in 20 years to reach $ 1.2 trillion. About 14 million jobs depend on NAFTA and 5 million are the direct result of the increase in trade of this agreement. The export of US goods to Mexico and Canada was $ 428 billion and agricultural exports to Mexico increased fivefold. Service exports to Canada and Mexico tripled from $ 27 billion in 1993 to 82 billion in 2011.
The Informality of Employment: the Face of Labor Casualization
According to ENOE (National Survey of Occupation and Employment), in 2014, informal employment affected 28.9 million people or 58.1% of the total employed population. This figure reveals one of the most serious problems facing the Mexican economy. According to the ILO (International Labor Organisation), informal employment is precarious. The worker has no benefits or rights. Wages are low, there is no job security,no medical or social benefits, and is a breeding ground for activities of drug trafficking and organized crime..
The Struggles and the Need for a Government of the Workers
The Mexican bourgeoisie has implemented all the economic, political and security measures that imperialism imposes on it in favor of large corporations. We saw that of the 120 million inhabitants, only 2.1 million are employers who are the owners of the means of production that employ salaried workers. This class is the one represented by the current government and are those who hold state power. The rulers live in corruption and waste. On the other hand, millions of workers, especially the young, are struggling in poverty in informal work and are prey to unemployment, drug trafficking and violence. Migration, assassinations, & kidnappings, are the daily obstacles for the impoverished majorities in Mexico. The protests in Iguala and the organized mobilization that responded to it across the country showed us that the masses want change, not only in the government but in society. This is reflected in the demands of: EPN Out!! and It was the State!! The change that workers and the masses are aspiring to points to getting rid of the state’s machinery that is at the service of exploitation and oppression, and to reorganize the economy and society on the basis of a democratic & socialist economy to meet the needs of the masses and to leave the backwardness and poverty we’re forced in.
For New Organizations of Struggle and a Revolutionary Party in Mexico
The working class are the majority of the population that creates the wealth of the country every day in factories, in cultivating the land, in making commerce possible, & in lending services. Employers however, are a minority, a handful of the rich, who control the economy and society through the state and the government. They exert repression on workers and people using the army, the police and groups of thugs, such as drug traffickers and paramilitaries, in order to appease their protests. However, daily poverty, unemployment, lack of democracy, and the fight against their repression drives the masses to fight. This struggle has been occurring for years and workers were have organized in different ways. In cities they have organized in unions and political parties that claim to be for workers. In the countryside it has been in rural & indigenous associations and often in armed armies, following the teachings of the Revolution of 1910: these include Lucio Cabanas & his movement, the emergence of the Zapatista Army, and currently the autodefensas/self-defense groups in Michoacan and Guerrero. However, these organizations have bureaucratized and degenerated, first at the hands of Stalinism, and later, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been through the control of the bourgeois parties. MORENA is an example of the latter. Leaders who have resisted and continued fighting have been killed or put in jail, as happened with the Ayotzinapa 43, Nestora Salgado and Dr. Mireles.
At the front of the current mobilization in Mexico, there is a new generation of young fighters that organize democratically and outside the bureaucratic apparatus.
The changes in the economy and politics of Mexico has proletarianized the entire Mexican population – and this proletariat has begun to awaken. Are we at the gates of the emergence of a new revolutionary labor movement in Mexico? This is probable… because the winds of revolution are increasing steadily!!
Peña Nieto Out! For a Government of Workers and & the People!
 These data are from Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI)