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“For the good of all, the poor come first.”

Written By: - Date published: 1:24 pm, December 3rd, 2018 - 23 comments
Categories: elections, im/migration, International, Left, liberalism, Politics, quality of life, social democracy, spin - Tags: ,

When Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) won the Mexican Presidential race, I commented that he was probably no more than a Jacinda Ardern in terms of being “left” but that seeing as how we were talking about Mexico, that was quite a big thing. I was wrong. He’s way to the left of Ardern – he’s left.

And so the international press has offered a rather muted response to his ascendancy to the position of President. Across some 20 articles, there is a common thread that suggests AMLO is out of touch, may be authoritarian, can’t possibly pay for the promises he’s made and is divisive. These days, I guess we really shouldn’t expect much else from mainstream media when it’s commenting on figures from the left.

So, putting aside the supposed analysis coming from such sources as the Wilson Center  who want to cast AMLO as an authoritarian keen to undermine democracy and consolidate power, (that’s the same jokers, who through Professor Anne-Marie Brady, have recently gone all arm wavy about China’s possible influence in NZ btw), here’s a taste of the things AMLO want’s to initiate, pursue and achieve during his six year Presidential term.

From abc7 we learn that AMLO reckons –

“Mexico’s crisis originated not only with the failure of the neoliberal policies applied over the last 36 years,” he said in his inaugural speech, “but also in the prevalence of the filthiest corruption.”

So presumably AMLO will pursue a decidedly social democratic suite of policies and seek to stamp on corruption. Now, of course, that might be about where the screeches about “authoritarianism” begin. After all, if he’s going to stamp out corruption, he’s going to have go full metal jacket and crack a few heads. But as reported in the same piece as above on his inaugural speech to Congress

The rowdiest response from Congress came when Lopez Obrador pledged “not to persecute officials of past administrations,” saying “revenge is not my strong suit.”

That suggests to me something along the lines of a “truth and reconciliation commission” – hardly the preference of a “strong man”.

But look, I’m fairly sure many media and talking heads will stay up late trying to convince all and sundry that everything AMLO does is along the same lines as what Chavez did or tried to do. And since Chavez was successfully portrayed as some kind of a monster, then of course, should any of AMLO’s policies bear so much as a passing resemblance to anything Chavez did, then we should properly view AMLO in similar terms- as a monster.

That shit has already begun with criticism of his intention to back his policies by way of referendums – the referendums will be rigged and suspect – ie, not reflective of what the country’s elites want or desire. The referendum that was run to get a feel for public opinion on the now cancelled $13 billion Mexico City airport is being touted as an example of how suspect and unrepresentative future referendums will be.

Meanwhile he is seeking to convince the US and Canada that they should help fund economic development in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as a way to stem the flows of people seeking to escape the poverty of those countries. It’s a tall order, reportedly involving the injection of some $20 billion. And there’s the clash. On the one side, there’s a President who thinks

…progressive governments, democratic governments respect migrants and respect the right that all human beings have to seek a [better] life, that’s the principle of human rights,”

And on the other, there’s a President who wrongly thinks that immigrants are miscreants.

Alongside policies designed to alleviate poverty, (such as offering more financial assistance to students and raising pensions), AMLO also intends to ban fracking and the growing of genetically modified crops. That’s to happen alongside expanding Mexico’s oil refining capacity (currently at a 20 odd year low) and satisfying international investors in terms of government borrowing, taxes and maintaining an “independent” central bank.

A very tall set of orders I’d have thought. But then, to head up a government seeking to advance any degree of social democracy in this day and age, after some decades of liberal economic prescriptions and social policies scourging a country…well, it’s bound to be a tall order. The good news is that it will get eaasier as the centre continues to come under pressure and collapse. And I guess that might be party why AMLO, in the day before his inauguration said the following of Jeremy Corbyn –

Those from Latin America, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, are our brothers and now the English people will have the opportunity – I hope, I want it with all my heart, with all my soul – to have a prime minister like Corbyn, I don’t know what the laws are, I’m not yet formally the president of Mexico, I won’t be the constitutional president until tomorrow, that’s why I dare to say these things. From tomorrow I have to put a limit on myself but now I say what I think and I have always said what I think,

Did I mention he turned up to his inauguration in a normal car (a volkswagon sedan), is selling the Presidential jet and won’t be residing in the Presidential Palace? I like that kind of shit.

23 comments on ““For the good of all, the poor come first.””

  1. Wayne 1

    He won’t roll back the key elements of “neo-liberalism” which are essentially free trade, moderate tax rates, floating exchange rate, and most parts of the economy privately owned.

    Naturally he will moderate some of these things, but he will not be so foolish as to turn his country into Venezuela. That would imply exchange control, high tariffs, nationalisation, among other state controls.

    • francesca 1.1

      Actually Wayne , it would imply sanctions at the earliest opportunity from the US and support for the right wing opposition

      • Wayne 1.1.1

        francesca,

        Only if the measures breached WTO or nationalised US company assets without compensation would the US act. It is the latter which is the the basis of the Cuba sanctions. Cuba has never offered to pay compensation to the US companies. If they did, the basis of the sanctions would disappear.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.2

      “He won’t roll back the key elements of “neo-liberalism” which are essentially free trade, moderate low tax rates for the wealthy, floating exchange rate, and most parts of the economy privately owned by a small number of very wealthy individuals, degraded public services, low wages, insecurity and low pay for workers, an economy distorted by the financial sector, and deregulation that favours the interests of the rich over the majority and over the environment.”

      FIFY

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Yes, it shows he intends to be a genuine innovator. I wonder to what extent he has entrenched establishment opposing him in that. Definitely a promising start, as I reported on OM yesterday (#9). Launching that new trade agreement with Trump & Trudeau proves he can co-create consensus across the political spectrum.

    Funny thing is, of course, it also proves the same of Trump! Expect a portion of readers to head straight into denial. Without passing go or collecting $200…

    • Bill 2.1

      Launching that new trade agreement with…

      The NAFTA thing (USMCA) was signed off by his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Okay, but it does still make it a consensual thing, eh? Inasmuch as he isn’t rejecting it, he’s accepting it. “Mexico’s first leftist president in seven decades” according to the BBC.

        “Foreign dignitaries including US Vice-President Mike Pence, first daughter Ivanka Trump and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro attended the inauguration”. Perhaps, in a quiet moment, Maduro offered to explain the perils of the socialist path.

        Obrador’s austerity policy has started with “cutting his own salary by 60%.” A powerful signal to send – presumably without actually uttering austerity. Could be deemed a naughty word.

        “He promised that he would “never seek re-election” and more surprisingly, announced his intention to promote a recall referendum during his administration, allowing voters to remove an elected official through a direct vote.” I remember serious discussions of doing so here in the aftermath of rogernomics.

        “President López Obrador has signed an agreement with three Central American counterparts to create a plan to stem the flow of migrants seeking asylum in the US, the Associated Press reported.” Those migrants will be ever so pissed off: the US is the only place they can be exploited by capitalists and ruled by Trump simultaneously. A combined aroma like the ambrosia of heaven…

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Meanwhile he is seeking to convince the US and Canada that they should help fund economic development in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as a way to stem the flows of people seeking to escape the poverty of those countries. It’s a tall order, reportedly involving the injection of some $20 billion.

    That’s just reinforcing the failure of the present system. He’d be much better off creating the money and spending it to develop those areas using local resources and people. The US and Canada would only do anything there if the corporations could make an ongoing profit which will end up hurting Mexico as foreign ‘investment’ always hurts.

    A very tall set of orders I’d have thought.

    It’s pretty much a contradictory set of orders. He’s trying to appease the capitalists while putting in place actual development that will benefit Mexicans.

    Did I mention he turned up to his inauguration in a normal car (a volkswagon sedan), is selling the Presidential jet and won’t be residing in the Presidential Palace?

    Turning up in a Volkswagen just tells us that he wasn’t working on his way there. That’s what limousines are for – allowing those being chauffeured to work.

    Getting rid of the presidential plane could be good – or it could be the death of hundreds of innocents if someone decides that shooting down the plane with the president in it is a viable way to get rid of him. If this guy’s as socialist as you think he is then it’s likely that someone will.

    And the presidential palace is an administration hub. The president is at work and on call 24/7 so having him close is probably a good idea. Yes, it means that he’ll be living in luxury but considering that he and his family will no longer be living a normal life I think even that would be fair compensation for his sacrifice.

    The symbolism works but the practicalities don’t.

  4. Cinny 4

    Woot Woot !!! Good stuff Bill.

    It’s really interesting how the media etc are responding and the narratives that are spinning.

    Very exciting for Mexico. If bolsonaro is the tropical trump then Lopez is like the Bernie Sanders of Latin America 🙂

    The business sector over there is a little bit nervous, but that made me reflect of the same when our coalition government came into power. Had to smile. Don’t worry Mexico, it’s going to be all good,

    Was thinking if he is very left, maybe he will follow a legal drugs model, and just tax them all, less murder, corruption and crime, because sadly that country is absolutely riddled with it.

    Am yet to check out all the links in your post, but here’s one from Al Jazeera

    • Bill 4.1

      I don’t think drug policy was mentioned in any of the links I provided, but yeah, you’d think it would be fairly up there in terms of things to work on/around.

    • Bill 4.2

      Speaking to reporters in Tlaxcala on Sep. 25, AMLO applauded former President Ernesto Zedillo’s recent statement that his hardline anti-drug policy had been a mistake. Zedillo’s admission came as he and other former heads of state presented recommendations to the incoming administration that include the regulation, rather than prohibition, of some drugs.

      AMLO’s response fueled belief, based on comments from incoming administration officials, that he will seek at least to decriminalize marijuana and some poppy cultivation early in his term.

      https://www.americasquarterly.org/content/amlo-update-legalization-debate

      And…well, every time I try to cut and paste, it changes from English to Spanish! Here’s the link.

      http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english/sanchez-cordero-amlo-will-consult-the-un-drug-decriminalization

      • Cinny 4.2.1

        Muchas gracias mi amigo. Esto es bueno 🙂

        Thanks for that info and links Bill, will be super interesting watching Mexico evolve and change. Especially re ‘drugs’.

  5. Ad 5

    It was a good signal to shut down Slim’s airport.

    Hope he continues that kind of fortitude against the monopolists.

  6. Poission 6

    He signed an agreement with other central American countries to limit migration.

    https://www.dw.com/en/mexico-latin-neighbors-sign-deal-to-stop-emigration-rush/a-46542879

    • Bill 6.1

      Two paragraphs, three links and a quote covering that off in the post. You did read the post before commenting, yes?

  7. joe90 7

    The aircraft López Obrador would like to sell, complete with fireplace.

    https://mashable.com/2016/01/15/mexican-president-plane/#ev9BzF2D.aqp

  8. gsays 8

    Thanks for this post Bill. A bright light there in South America.

    Being December and all, just want to say I appreciate your angle on things, the links you provide and your mahi on TS.
    Always something to consider.

    More power to your arm.

    Aroha to you and yours.

  9. Adrian Thornton 9

    Excellent news, thanks for this piece Bill, it had slipped under my radar for some reason, will definitely keep a close watch on developments going forward.

    As far as media response goes, well we all know what biased bullshit that will be, don’t know if you caught this study re; BBC/Venezuela, but it makes for some pretty grim but unfortunately not unsurprising reading…

    “A Decade of Propaganda? The BBC’s Reporting of Venezuela.”
    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/5003

  10. Redlion Seratus 10

    A socialist knife cutting through the neoliberal shite.. no doubt.Great post

  11. Redlion Seratus 11

    & additionally I put a prominent unions’ flag at half mast on my pole the day Chavez died.

  12. cleangreen 12

    Bill,,

    Will the Tax Working Group actually address our own well being and inequality?

    No; – they wont. nor will they repair all the damages NZ suffered since 2008 with all the asset stripping and privatisation.

    With ‘MC Scrooge’ in charge of our public purse we cannot expect a ‘awakening of our past egalitarian society’ any time soon sadly as he should have used the “reserve bank act” to make Government’s own funding available for our massive funding for repairing the damages of the previous nine years of rort and slash and sale of our assets during the John Key years.

    They should have followed what NZ Labour did during the first global depression under Michael Joseph Save in 1935 he used the Reserve Bank Act to fund social changes and enrich New Zealanders wealth and health and so should we now.

    https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/michael-joseph-savage-1935

    “The key election issue was the Social Security Bill, the embodiment of Savage’s welfare vision for New Zealand. This comprehensive policy of looking after New Zealanders from the ‘cradle to the grave’ helped ensure a comfortable Labour victory.”

  13. UncookedSelachimorpha 13

    Amlo sounds very promising – hope it goes well for Mexico!

    “For the good of all, the poor come first” – is a stunning statement.

    Thanks for the post Bill.

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