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Rosalio Negrete

Alignment of Forces in Mexico

A New Revolt Is Growing Out of Split in Ruling Party

(September 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 44, 23 September 1933, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The threatening clouds of approaching civil war once more discernible on the Mexican political horizon. The revolution, which since 1910 has cost that country more than half a million lives, with a minimum of benefit for the toiling masses, again shows signs of surging forward.

The attempt of the national bourgeoisie and the newly rich of the revolution, grouped together under the leadership of ex-president Plutarco Mias Calles, to firmly consolidate and perpetuate the one-party rule of the National Revolutionary Party (P.N.R.) at last seems to have encountered an obstacle that may upset their plans for strangling the revolution at its present bourgeois stage.

A strong Left wing led by Adalberto Tejeda, ex-Governor of Veracruz and calling itself the Left Socialist Party, representative of the radical petty bourgeoisie and various peasant groupings, has definitely split off from the dominant party, and has elaborated its platform, which in spite of demagogy and confusion presents certain positive features. This new party has openly proclaimed its intentions to participate in the elections in opposition to the candidate of the official and heretofore almost omnipotent P.N.R. An election in Mexico, especially under such circumstances as those created by the profound economic crisis, can mean nothing but an armed struggle for power between the opposing groups. All the political forces of the nation are now aligning themselves for the impending clash.

The National Revolutionary Party (Calles-Portes Gil-Ortiz Rubio-Rodriguez) has moved constantly towards the Right since 1928, and especially within the last two year period. While the demagogy of the ruling clique has suffered little change unless it be to appear each time more radical in its phraseology, the government of the revolutionary bourgeoisie of 1910, turned counter-revolutionary, has been unable to satisfy the needs and demands of the masses. It has demonstrated its unwillingness and inability to solve the democratic tasks of the revolution, and the stage is being set for the next act. 1924–29 Kuo Min Tang Policy of the C.P.

During the period included roughly between the years 1924 and 1929, the revolutionary workers’ movement, and especially the Communist Party, permeated with a national and peasant ideology, product of the soil of the country itself and strengthened by the opportunist colonial policy of the Communist International, supported with a mildly critical attitude the “revolutionary” bourgeoisie personified in Calles-Obregon. The several counter-revolutionary uprisings, of the clergy and feudal landlords, were suppressed by the government, thanks in large part to the collaboration of the peasant masses led by members and sympathizers of the Communist Party.

Late in 1928 however, with the stabilization of the bourgeois counter-revolution and the adventurist turn in the Communist International (third period) the relations between the party and the bourgeois politicians were rapidly altered.

For several months the party worked with the perspective of an independent armed insurrection to take, place simultaneously with the revolt of Generals Manzo, Aguirre uud Escobar. When this rebellion finally materialized however, in March of 1929, the ultra-Leftist slogans of the “third period” were found not to have completely overcome the prejudices of the majority of the party’s opportunist central committee. What actually happened is that the “party’s” peasants again cooperated efficaciously with the ruling bourgeois faction in putting down the reactionary militarist uprising.

Attempts to Crush the C.P.

Before the last echoes of the civil war in the north had died out, the government drove the Communist party and all of its auxiliaries underground. Several local Communist leaders, most prominent among them, Jose Guadalupe Rodriguez, agrarian leader of the state of Durango and member of the Central Committee of the party, were executed on charges of plotting revolt. Other Communist, trade union and agrarian leaders were murdered, almost all of the foreign comrades were deported and dozens of the best militants of the revolutionary organizations were imprisoned.

A definite period of reaction set in now that the ruling bourgeoisie felt sufficiently strong to no longer require the cooperation of the C.P. and its supporters.

The National Revolutionary Party was then formed in order to better regulate and coordinate the interests of the ruling class and to inaugurate “institutional” rule. Within this party, Calles, while remaining in the background, was enabled nevertheless to dominate the policies, and soon showed himself very adept at playing the different factions within his party against each other, thus assuring his own hegemony over the whole.

Through the enactment of the Federal Labor Code, against which the C.P. struggled valiantly, the labor organizations were placed in a decidedly subservient role in relation to the government.

The “Institutional” Regime and the Crisis

In every other field, the national bourgeoisie of the P.N.R. vaunting its “institutional” program, has attempted to consolidate its position in an attempt to interrupt the permanency of the Mexican revolution, and perpetuate their class rule.

Many enormous difficulties of an economic nature presented themselves. The world crisis has not spared Mexico. The collapse of the petroleum industry and the fall of the price of silver would certainly have plunged the country into turmoil before now were it not for the agrarian base of the country. Large sections of the proletariat are scarcely a generation removed from the peasantry, and by returning to the family corn and bean patch have managed somehow to weather the crisis. It is estimated that there are close to a million unemployed in the republic. Mass deportations of unemployed Mexicans from the United States has not helped matters.

Recovery Ballyhoo of the P.N.R.

Elaborate plans for public works, highways and irrigation projects, and schemes for colonization of the unemployed on farms, have been announced and in some cases commenced. The Mexican bourgeoisie has learned much from the ballyhoo methods of its North American counterpart. Dozens of plans, programs and campaigns have been launched, an enormous amount of money appropriated, most of which promptly disappears into the void.

As in other countries, attempts were made to solve the crisis by a national program of economic self-sufficiency, an idea which is of course inevitably doomed to failure because of the oneness of world economy.

The reactionary character of the government’s program is becoming apparent to the whole nation. Mass discontent and radicalization grows apace, although the Communist party has been unable excepting in isolated cases to break through its shell of illegality, and take a decisive part in the growing struggles of the masses. The sectarian policies of the party with its splitting tactics on the trade union field, and its ultimatistic attitude towards all non-Communist workers, have hindered the party’s growth.

The general sympathy towards the ideas of Communism is growing rapidly. This is expressed in a distorted form through the activities and program of Tejeda’s “Left Socialist Party”.

* * * *

In the forthcoming issues of The Militant, an attempt will be made to analyze the Mexican agrarian problem and the character of the “Left Socialist Party” as well as the role that the Communists must play in the next stage, if they are to assume their proper place as the proletarian vanguard.

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