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Mexico: Mobilise the masses and call a general strike to stop the electoral fraud

by By the Editorial Board of Militante Mexico Thursday, Jul. 06, 2006 at 9:52 AM

Despite the fact that the majority of the exit polls gave the victory to Lopez Obrador the IFE (Federal Electoral Institute) and Fox are refusing to recognise the results of the elections and are manoeuvring by delaying their official publication, declaring on the Programa de Resultados Electorales Preliminares (PREP) that they could not define a clear outcome given the supposed narrowness of the results. Parametria gave Obrador a 3.5% lead over Calderon; Telesur gave 42 points to Lopez Obrador and 38 to Calderon; Covarrubias put the PRD, Party of the Democratic Revolution, at 37% and the PAN, National Action Party, at 34%. According to the website “Casa del Plan de los 3 Puntos”, Harvard University gave the victory to Obrador by 7 points. A closed poll by the newspaper Milenio gave Obrador 37% and Calderon 36%.

The IFE has now explained that the overall calculation of the votes is in the hands of the 300 electoral districts in the country. The results will not be released until next Wednesday.

Another element in this manoeuvre is the self-proclaimed victory of the PAN candidate, Felipe Calderon.

It is evident that with this manoeuvre the bourgeois are hoping to gain time to manipulate the figures and obtain a result that would allow them to impose Calderon through fraud. The PRD and Lopez Obrador have publicly stated that they won the elections by “at least 500,000 votes.” These are the words of Obrador himself, who in addition described the results as “irreversible”. Before this Obrador had also asked that the victory of the PRD be respected.

Again the bourgeois is hoping to impose its will on us by means of a fraud even bigger than that of 1988 when the “fall of the system” prevented Cardenas from assuming the presidency and instead imposed Salinas.

The cost of not overturning this fraud in 1988 was extremely high for the workers and peasants of Mexico. Salinas pushed through a savage programme of privatisations, attacks on wages, cuts to social services, etc. And after Salinas came Zedillo, and after him Fox, who continued and extended these anti-working class policies. All of this has meant increased misery, unemployment and a lack of opportunities for the masses.

The imposition of Calderon will mean the continuation of the exact same policies, and this is something we cannot tolerate. The workers’ movement has been on the rise over the last few years, and at this moment this is expressed in the struggle of the students at the Oaxaquena teacher training college and that of the miners. This means that there is no doubt at all that the necessary conditions exist to force the regime to recognise the victory of the PRD. If Lopez Obrador were to make a decisive call against the fraud, the masses would respond with great enthusiasm. The masses are extremely angry after years of attacks on their living and working conditions and would like to throw the PRI and the PAN into the dustbin of history and demand action.

Furthermore, several unions and workers’ federations had announced their support for the PRD candidate even before the elections. Lopez Obrador must base himself on these workers and ‑ we insist ‑ call for a mobilisation and a general strike against the fraud, which would unite the demands of the different sectors in struggle. The trade unions and the PRD have in their hands everything they need to make the bourgeois tremble with fear. That is why it is urgent to put up a genuine show of force make it clear who is who in the country. Lopez Obrador and the other leaders do not have to yield to the blackmail of the frenzied campaign of the IFE, Fox and the printed and electronic media about being “civic minded”. For this gang of hypocrites “civic mindedness” means that the workers must accept the fraud and that we resign ourselves to six more years of attacks.

The PRI, despite supposedly questioning the electoral process, is also taking part in this game of fraud. The PRI, arguing that the election results were very close, applied pressure so that there would be no official announcement of the results by the IFE, justifying and giving the regime the time it needed to manoeuvre. Fox has shown that he heads a weak government. He was defeated by the masses in his attempt to privatise the energy sector, in his attempts to impose Value Added Tax (IVA) on medicines and food, and other counter-reforms. The same thing happened with the desafuero [impeachment] of Lopez Obrador. This means that this electoral fraud can also be defeated. Mobilisation against the fraud is the key, over and above the legal challenges before the Federal Electoral Tribunal (Trife).

The workers must make sure that the IFE does not count the votes without there being any pressure from the streets. We must show Fox and the bourgeoisie that they are very mistaken if they think that by imposing the PAN in a fraudulent manner they can achieve some sort of stability and social peace. The opposite will be the case. Only when Fox and the ruling class fear that they are losing control and that things could go further, will they be forced to accept the victory of Lopez Obrador.

Lopez Obrador must identify where his greatest points of support are, and base himself on these to launch a struggle against the fraud. An analysis of the the results we have from the report of the PREP issued at 3.55am, shows that in those states where the workers have been in struggle over the last few weeks, the PRD got a good result. This was the case in Oaxaca (159,935 votes for the PAN, and 409,484 for the PRD), Chiapas (139,791 for the PAN, 300,696 for the PRD), Tlaxcala (136,000 for the PAN and 176,092 for the PRD), and Guerrero (130,799 for the PAN and 371,380 for the PRD).

In other normally safe PRI states, the PRD obtained a significant increase in its vote. An example of this is Puebla, where in the past in election after election the PRD always came in third place with an extremely low share of the vote. Now the share of the votes is as follows: PAN, 620,359; PRD, 514,922; PRI, 330,258. And in all the states where the PRI had always won, now the PRD is in the lead as can be seen in Quintana Roo (PAN 71,481 and PRD 84,517) and in the State of Mexico (PAN 1,618,266 and PRD 2,225,385).

The common denominator in all the states where the PRD significantly increased its vote and in those where it has taken the lead is the important influence of the trade unions such as the CROC and the UNT, two union federations that called for a PRD vote. Also, in the suburbs of the State of Mexico and the DF (Federal District - which the PRD has swept away from the PAN and where the majority of the workers of the federal administration live, many of whom are members of the trade unions that called for a vote for Lopez Obrador), there are many housing estates and whole colonies of electricians, miners and railway workers.

However, in the State of Michoacan, where the PRD should have received an overwhelming majority, for the moment its share of the vote is not much better than that of the PAN. The PAN received 411,629 against 456,181 for Lopez Obrador. This tendency clearly reflects the price paid for the right-wing policies of the PRD governor Cardenas Batel. However, we have to understand that things could have gone much worse for the PRD had the miners of Sicartsa not launched their “no votes for the PAN” campaign and if an important sector of the Michoacan teacher training college students had not called for a vote for Lopez Obrador.

It is important to emphasise these aspects of the election results because they reveal the strength of the class which could be counted on in a struggle against the fraud. It is also important to understand that the strength of the working class is not only numerical, but also qualitative, and this qualitative strength, which could paralyse the country, is on the side of Lopez Obrador. The power to defeat the fraud lies in the hands of Lopez Obrador and the leaders of the trade unions. We must mobilise around the struggle against the fraud, organise meetings, establish committees in defence of the elections and pressurise the leadership of the PRD and the unions to call for militant action, such as a general strike. We cannot and we must not allow Fox and the ruling class to get their way once again! No to a new 1988!

July 3, 2006

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