Conservatism and the anticapitalist left

Maya Train | Tren Maya

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

Given the repeated use of the terms “conservative” or “conservatism” to identify the anticapitalist left, branded as “radical” by opinion writers that boldly defend the current government, it’s necessary specify their multiple meanings, which today refer, in the ambit of politics, to the positions and organizations of the right or the extreme right, supporters of the status quo and enemies of all revolutionary transformation, especially, of a Marxist or socialist character.

Historically, opposition to the French revolution and the Enlightenment, which fought for the restoration of the old regime, gives rise to the use of “conservative” and “conservatism” for identifying this socio-political sector, with peculiarities in different geographical-temporal contexts. In Latin America, starting with the independence movements, conservatism or conservative parties, were usually characterized by nostalgia for the colonial regime, maintenance of rigid hierarchical systems of class and cast and the extreme defense of the properties, authorities and canonry of the Church and the Army.

Thus, it is a contradiction, both historical and conceptual, to seek to pretender classify the anticapitalist left as conservative, when in reality it constitutes its antipode. We are facing the classic Manichaeism of constructing an adversary so that, in reference to the government of the Fourth Transformation (4T), without evidence or arguments, it equates the anticapitalist opposition with that of the old PRI and PAN party structure, holding that the left hides (sic) “behind its radicalism, goals similar to conservatism.”

The problem lies, jointly with these conceptual “licenses” and Manichaeism, in the absence of an in-depth analysis about the nature of the changes that are occurring in the first months of the current government that, according to the 4T legal counsel, represent a rupture with neoliberal policies. As the EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Government Council (Congreso Nacional IndígenaConcejo Indígena de Gobierno) have reiterated, the megaprojects underway, the so-called Maya Train, the dry canal on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (with its railroad lines for containers, industrial corridors, real estate and tourist development, and the certain ethnocide and ecocide damages), the Morelos Integral Project (with the opening of obsolete hydroelectric plants and gas pipelines, and marked with the death of Samir Flores Soberanes and the criminalization of opponents),the new metropolitan airport in military hands, the permanence of mining concessions that cover at least one third of the national territory, etcetera, not only do they represent a line of continuity with the neoliberal policies of past six-year term, but even go beyond what these governments imposed as managers at the service of capitalist corporations. We recall that the Tehuantepec dry canal, with its development plans for the Central American nations was the famous Plan Puebla Panamá, re-baptized the Mesoamerica [project], and that the Morelos Integral Project was also taken from the trunk of previous administrations.

Neoliberalism is characterized, precisely, for wanting the State to act as an efficient mechanism of intermediation that facilitates the process of re-colonization of territories and, in this direction, the fight against corruption and the thinning of government structures, although always positive in the terrain of the national imaginary of indignation given the impunity of the ruling class in the looting of the treasury, paradoxically constitute a factor in favor of Mexico among the national states in competition for a position in the expedited and effective implementation of the neoliberal projects, like those undertaken by the 4T.

The anticapitalist left (yes, radical, but not as a disqualifying adjective, but rather for its analysis that gets to the root of the problems caused by the systems of exploitation and domination of the current phase of necrophile militarized accumulation) does not yearn for the previous governments, which it fought and resisted for decades, at the expense of human lives and suffering that make Mexico one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes on the planet. This left does not seek the human face of capitalism nor does it aspire to be the beneficiary of client and corporate programs that individualize and fragment the communities. On the contrary, it pronounces in favor of the strengthening of its autonomous processes of defense of Mother Nature and her vital resources, in favor of critical (not conformist) thought, with the awareness that it again faces a bad government that insists on declaring war on the original peoples, while validating supposed constitutional recognition of self-determination.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, August 23, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





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