The massive turmoil that has shaken Mexico since presidential elections were held on July 2 is continuing. The right-wing Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) candidate, Felipe Calderón, has claimed victory by the narrowest of margins.

Yet this “victory” was the product of massive electoral fraud, which has provoked an enormous wave of protest led by the radical populist Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known as AMLO. There has been a demonstration of over one million against this stolen election, and thousands have joined in the massive encampments blocking Mexico City’s main streets around the giant Zócalo square.

After weeks of protests, a new, more radical turn is developing, with the PRD leadership reflecting the bitter anger of the masses who supported López Obrador. “If there is no solution, there will be revolution” is one of the most common chants of the mass protests.

The scale of the fraud and its potential consequences in Mexico have provoked alarm by important sections of the capitalist class internationally. The 25 European Union foreign ministers expressed “grave concern” about the situation, in contrast to the bellicose support for PAN by the White House.

Should Calderón assume the presidency on December 1, his government will have no legitimacy. It is certain to come into collision with a new wave of struggles that began to unfold by miners, teachers, hospital workers, and others in the run-up to the election. A measure of the developing mass movement is in the state of Oaxaca, where a massive strike movement of first teachers and now health workers has developed into a popular uprising demanding the resignation of the state governor.

Capitalist High Anxiety
At the same time, the Mexican ruling class also fears – with good reason – that accepting López Obrador as president would be a green light for workers, peasants, and youth to move into action and demand massive reforms and concessions from the ruling class.

Despite his radical populist attacks on the rich, corruption, and U.S. imperialism, López Obrador has also pledged he is willing to work with business and will only take measures against corrupt elements. Yet his radical populist policies would have international repercussions, and very soon would come into conflict with U.S. imperialism. One of López Obrador’s central demands in the election campaign was to call for the renegotiation of the NAFTA trade agreement with the U.S.

Mass pressure has compelled the electoral commission to agree to a partial ballot recount, as opposed to a complete recount of all the votes as demanded by the opposition. The electoral commission is supposed to give its final verdict by September 6.

Given the huge anger developing, López Obrador has been compelled to move in a more radical direction. He has now spoken of building a more “permanent opposition” and threatened mass protests at every event attended by Calderón. López Obrador has declared that “now begins a new period in Mexico …with the sovereign power of the people, we will undertake the changes and transformations that this country needs.” Another mass rally has been called for September 16 – the traditional day of official marches by the military to celebrate Mexico’s independence.

Already, a major clash with the police has taken place in Mexico City, as the government attempted to remove some of the encampments set up by the PRD and its supporters. A major confrontation could easily develop if Calderón is sworn in as president.

Clear Strategy Needed
However, the radical declarations by López Obrador are not enough to defeat the stealing of the Mexican elections. The mass mobilizations already undertaken to challenge the fraud are a step in the right direction, but need to go much further with a clear strategy. Democratically-elected committees need to be formed in all workplaces, universities, and workers’ districts. These should be linked up on a district, city-wide, state, and national level, and a date should be set for not only another national demonstration but a general strike to defeat this massive fraud.

This movement also highlights the need to build a real party for workers, peasants, and all those exploited by capitalism, with a campaign for a workers’ and peasants’ government with a socialist program that can begin to address the issues of poverty and unemployment in Mexico.

However this election battle turns out in the short term, a decisive new chapter has opened in the struggle of the Mexican masses. On the border with U.S. imperialism, this is certain to have major political repercussions in the U.S. – especially among the millions of Latino immigrants – and also in the rest of Latin America, as the mass rejection of neo-liberalism continues to pose the need for a socialist alternative to capitalism.

“We are seeing a big awakening…People have changed”
— Protester quoted in La Jornada

“A lot of us are becoming conscious that the government officials are liars, and we need to join the fight against inequality and injustice.”
— Striking teacher in Oaxaca