Mexican President Lopez Obrador is draining the swamp, and Atlanticist media isn’t happy about it. In fact, the New York Times and the Washington Post hate him for it. Right now, to carry Mexico’s Fourth Transformation forward, AMLO requires an additional mandate beyond the movement that put him in power, and this means a referendum that condemns the corruption of Mexico’s past five presidents – Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto. Such a move would solidify a type of revolution underway in the country – a condemnation of the socio-economic course of the past thirty years.
The general view of AMLO and Mexico’s mainstream left including the nationalist left, is that the country took a catastrophic turn towards neoliberalism in 1982. This represented an ideological split in the PRI, leading towards the PAN. This is how Mexico arrived at two neoliberal parties, similar to Democrats (like the PRI) and Republican (like the PAN) in the U.S. AMLO’s mission originally with the PRD in 1989 and then the labor supported, trans-class MORENA (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional) was to return to an older type of PRM/PRI politics before neoliberalism (akin perhaps to FDR in the U.S.). This was envisioned to be in line with social-nationalist greats of the revolutionary period like Lazaro Cardenas.
The politics of MORENA, also meaning a mestizo or indigenous woman, have taken up the banner of ‘national regeneration’ – palingenesis – as the fundamental theme behind the Fourth Transformation. To make Mexico great again also means to drain the swamp.
Draining the Swamp
To arrive at indictments against these past five corrupt Mexican presidents represents an indictment against the control by foreign bankers, against globalization and the globalists behind it, against austerity and capital flight, against the war on the infirm, the elderly, and the weak, against the daily assault on women and children, against the privatization of sovereign resources, against poverty and the brain/brawn drain which is mass migration.
At face value, the ‘editorial problem’ of fake news Atlanticist press is that AMLO agrees with Trump about globalization, Covid, out-sourcing, and immigration, even if his reasoning is quite different. Trump has often times appealed in part to a crime-obsessed electoral base with a particular disdain for ‘sanctuary cities of Democrat strongholds’ which for some Trump supporters carries a tone of moral panic combined with the spectre of an invading swarthy horde. AMLO’s reasoning diverges significantly from these, but aligns with others.
Atlanticism and its media machine have been dedicated to the economic underdevelopment of both Mexico and the U.S., and Trump’s self-professed mission of draining the swamp therefore does parallel with AMLO’s across key vertices. AMLO’s campaign against Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto in that way mirrors Trump’s campaign against Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama.
As AMLO sees it, because Mexico’s economy is growing, a shortage of labor will ultimately hinder this growth. The policy of corrupt Mexican presidents in the past has been to facilitate a general northward movement of labor. Skilled and unskilled Mexican labor went northward, but so did Central American labor. Mexicans seeking higher wages went to the U.S., and Central Americans seeking the same went to Mexico. Business owners, in the short-term, benefited from relatively cheapened labor supplies as American firms hired Mexicans and Mexican firms hired Central Americans.
But this arrangement was ultimately an immigration pyramid scheme, a social-pressure release-valve mechanism to manage boiling poverty and potential unrest in Mexico that came as a result between the collusion between corrupt Mexican political leaders and direct exploitation by American firms in Mexico. Moreover, as a great population replacement/swap campaign it divides both populations in ways that makes it more difficult to build meaningful consensus around larger issues. Immigration isn’t just a wedge issue, it’s a policy that creates many more wedge issues which in turn divide a population against itself, drowning out important conversations that need to happen on a whole range of other political topics – problems – which therefore go unaddressed.
These problems then fester and take on yet a tertiary group of problems in what we might describe as a domino/catalyst mechanism.
Fundamentally, at the level of social ideology AMLO’s policies explode the myth that mass migration outside of natural disasters and calamities, is an inherent and positive feature of the human experience. It exposes the great lie that left to their own devices, people will inherently desire to uproot themselves and become a deracinated collection of individuals deprived of peoplehood and left only as atoms subject to consumerism. In reality, these are all negative aspects of globalization itself. Globalization is not a ‘natural process’ in the pre-sociological sense of the term, but rather a particular social construction with intended goals that has built around itself a base social ideology compatible with that same globalization process. It appropriates for itself the language of the left, while having no relationship to, say, organized labor or the French Revolution. So this is a matter of demagogic expedience, and not its fundamental outcome which to the contrary is oligarchical or plutocratic in its result.
Building a Mexican Middle Class
A big part of the solution for Mexico as AMLO understands it is to build a Mexican middle-class. The gumption is already there among Mexicans – hence migration to the U.S. And so the aim is to retain precisely those Mexicans who are of the type who would otherwise be those who travel far from home and make great sacrifices in order to work, who build their skills in science, business, production and construction, and who have the go-getter mindset of the entrepreneurial economic migrant. To harness that energy and keep it in Mexico, working for Mexicans, would create upstream and downstream growth and prosperity for Mexicans from all walks of life.
And for this, Atlanticist media will always despise AMLO.
As AMLO explains, it was not a globalization process that was observed when we note economic development in the so-called global south, but rather a series of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist successes against globalization. Globalization in fact was a rebranding of the Washington Consensus, and so the neoliberal mask of universalism existed to ideologically conceal the continuation of Anglo imperialism. While it would be technically imprecise, it is not entirely without utility to use the terms Atlanticism, globalization, neoliberalism, and the Washington Consensus interchangeably.
For that reason, Bloomberg castigated AMLO, saying he would have won in 2006 if not for his campaign attacks on globalization, and they absurdly recommend he embrace it now. Their reasoning? That Mexico is a strong export economy, and this requires globalization to do. The glaring lapsus here is that globalization at Bloomberg is defined as simply ‘exporting stuff’. But those criteria more closely define a mercantilism with autarkic characteristics – unrelated to globalization if rigorously defined.
The Atlanticist Media Fix is in for AMLO and Mexico
Mexico will never get a fair shake in Atlanticist media, probably because the entire Atlanticist project involved keeping Mexico as a border-line failed state with such corruption and poverty as to create an endless supply of labor to the U.S. among other sinister plots. Strange, given that the economic theory of Atlanticism was to transform the U.S. into a service economy based on credit lines and imports with prices enforced by gunboat diplomacy, instead of equity building and exports. Strange indeed to require an endless labor supply when U.S. domestic unemployment levels have been in real terms quite high, when we consider real factors like wages and hours.
That means that openly corrupt Mexican leadership in the past might sometimes get a slap on the wrist from American journalism, while maintaining an undeservedly optimistic view that said corrupt leadership is nevertheless committed to ‘reform’ and ‘progress’. In that sense, Mexico gets the Saudi Arabia treatment.
And if it were about giving a fair PR shake to a struggling country, that would be one thing. But the real motives are exposed when someone, an actual progressive reformer, comes along and threatens to drain the swamp. Enter AMLO.
It is a well-known chauvinist trope from globalist Hollywood that Mexico is a giant sombrero wearing nap under a ‘no go zone’ sign nailed to a cactus, a failed state. A hell on earth no doubt ruled by Chalino blasting narco cartels, filmed with a yellow haze lens cover to convey that particular hue of arid hopelessness.
The fashioning of Mexico in such form is precisely the ideological component, made for mass consumption, which complements the steady diet from Atlanticist media. Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? It doesn’t really matter when you control both.
This means that whenever we want to know if Mexico is on the right track, all we have to do is first look at Atlanticist media, we bring the Washington Post and the New York Times in focus.
Atlanticist media likes Mexican presidents like Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto. We’d have to dedicate another piece entirely to exploring what sort of hopeful things were written about these criminals over the years. Of course the ‘corrupt Mexico’, ‘backwards Mexico’, ‘impoverished Mexico’, and ‘narco state Mexico’ line always existed, and yet these five past presidents were treated with kid gloves and treated as if they were a solution to these problems instead of being representative of them.
So it’s no wonder now that AMLO is draining the swamp that they’ve drawn upon their standard tropes, and AMLO is not granted the benefit of the doubt.
You’ll note that the Washington Post criticizes AMLO for his positive approach to Trump and the new USMCA agreement.
WaPo writes, (bolded emphasis is our own):
“For decades, Mexico’s presidents have handed over power peacefully at the end of their six-year terms… Now President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is threatening to shatter that tradition, accusing his five immediate predecessors of corruption or unfair economic policies — and seeking public approval to bring them to justice.”
WaPo presents this as a tradition born of stability and mutual respect, instead of explaining that there are actually laws that prevent the prosecution of past presidents. Well, they also say that much, they simply do it after the initial contaminated impression has been made upon the reader. This paints AMLO as doing something threatening against peace and stability, even though subtle. These kinds of subtle references are smuggled in precisely to paint a picture in one’s mind without being really aware that it’s been constructed such way. Manipulation.
“The 66-year-old populist is asking Mexico’s Senate to back a national referendum on the effort and petitioning the Supreme Court to rule on whether such a vote would be constitutional.”
And there it is – a law would be required to officially investigate and prosecute past presidents. Note the use of the term ‘populist’ – coming from WaPo in the age of Trump, it isn’t meant as a compliment.
“His court petition lays out a bill of complaints against all five men who governed between 1988 and 2018: Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto.
López Obrador won office in 2018 on pledges to fight official corruption and repudiate the neoliberal economic policies of the previous two decades. The charges he has levied include a mix of both.
The petition repeats familiar allegations, never proved, that some of his predecessors took bribes or colluded with criminal groups. It denounces others for incurring onerous foreign debt while the country struggled in poverty. None of the five has been prosecuted.”
The popular allegations have never been proved, and none of the five have been prosecuted, only because there is no law that permits an investigation and prosecution – you know, the process that gets allegations prosecuted and proved. It’s as if the article was re-written by an editor without regard to the very logic of the article and the proposed Mexican legislation which begs the whole question of the petition itself. Absurd.
Imagine a conversation that goes something like –
‘Why would you want to stop the prosecution against this suspected criminal?’
- ‘Oh because the allegations have never been proved’
We’ll close our case about the lack of Atlanticist media love with the most recent headlines – not cherry picked – from The New York Times. They speak for themselves.
“Mexican democrats will not forget Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s reverence to the man who has maligned us.”
“As the first woman and Jewish person elected to lead the capital, Claudia Sheinbaum needs the president’s support. But how close can she remain to a man who has downplayed the pandemic?”
“President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, visiting the White House Wednesday, has avoided fighting the Trump administration. Critics say he is too willing to bend to the American president’s will.”
“The new country President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he is building looks an awful lot like the old one he swore to leave behind in the campaign.”