A spirit of optimistic internationalism permeated the 19th Partido Obrero Socialista (POS) Congress convened the first weekend of August in Mexico City. Participants met downtown at a community center just a few blocks from the Monument to the Revolution. This massive structure pays tribute to the armed struggle of workers and peasants that transformed Mexico in 1910 and was a source of inspiration to the Bolsheviks.
POS members from throughout Mexico attended the congress. Among the guests were members of two other Mexican Trotskyist groups — Liga de Unidad Socialista (LUS) and Coordinadora Socialista Revolucionaria (CSR) — as well as Arturo Campos, a recently freed political prisoner from Guerrero. Campos is a respected indigenous self-defense organizer with Coordinatora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias (CRAC).
Oscar Castro with Argentina’s Convergencia Socialista-La Verdad (CS-LV) and myself, as a representative of the Freedom Socialist Party-U.S., also took part in the proceedings, reflecting our collaboration with POS in the Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR).
Overview of the international situation. POS opened the Congress, as is traditional in the Trotskyist movement, with a discussion of the current international situation, given a continuing worldwide economic crisis and the heightened level of global struggle against capitalism.
An exchange ensued around the nature of world imperialism in light of the election of President Trump, including discussion of the depth of the economic challenge to U.S. hegemony represented by China and other countries. Opinions varied on this question, but all agreed that militarily the U.S. remains the most powerful and dangerous force in the world.
Additionally, Trump’s racist, get-tough policies on immigration, his imposition of tariffs and pretense of U.S. victimization by NAFTA, as well as aggressive renegotiation of its terms, were of grave concern to all present. If anything, the Trump presidency has driven home the need for revolutionaries to work together across the U.S.-Mexican border in order to effectively challenge U.S. imperialism.
Addressing sexual abuse on the Left. In recent years there have been a number of cases of sexual abuse by leaders of various revolutionary and movement groups. In many of them, blind support of the accused, instead of honest investigations of women’s charges, have been the response.
POS and the other members of CRIR consider this a critical issue for the entire Left internationally to address. It is a case of basic human rights and also a strategic question for revolutionaries. Women are rising again today worldwide and demanding an end to all patriarchal oppression. Will socialists lead in these fights or be at the rearguard protecting male privilege?
POS initiated the drafting of a set of protocols for CRIR to address instances of sexual abuse within left parties and in social movements. These protocols reflect a key point in CRIR’s 2013 founding document which declares revolutionary parties must promote the leadership of women.
Women in POS, LUS and CSR took the lead in a discussion of the draft protocols and were strongly supported by the men present in endorsing them. Everyone agreed that sexism drives women out of revolutionary organizations and is a key factor in the weakness of the revolutionary Left.
POS voted to continue their discussion party-wide as part of a plan to adopt the protocols in all CRIR affiliated organizations.
Mexican politics today. Arturo Campos kicked off deliberations on the state of Mexican politics by reporting on CRAC’s history of defending Guerrero’s indigenous communities from drug traffickers and corrupt government officials. The general consensus was that the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president of Mexico was not going to be a solution to the problems facing workers and the poor.
Congress participants viewed the election as a massive rejection of the three major capitalist parties that have ruled the country in the past. López Obrador’s election has lifted hopes for meaningful changes in the lives of the vast majority of Mexicans. However, he is already showing his true colors in his cabinet appointments and his promise of amnesty for crooked politicians and drug traffickers. It is clear that he will prove incapable of delivering on his promises. The inevitable voter dissatisfaction will provide an opening for revolutionary socialists.
Unification of revolutionary forces. The meeting concluded on a high note as the POS voted to deepen its collaboration with LUS, based on the political agreement arrived at during the congress. Hopes are that this will lead to fusion between the two groups in a new, stronger organization.
Get in touch with CRIR via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR) is an effort to bring together Trotskyist organizations of different countries to work jointly toward the foundation of a new socialist international. Read CRIR’s founding statement here.