On 23rd of March 2012, ‘Fundacion MEPI’, a NGO that dubs itself as a ‘regional investigative journalism project based in Mexico’ published a report on the participation of youth in the upcoming presidential elections on July 1. Reporting that there will be the decisive number of 24 million voters between the ages of 18 and 29, it however portrayed its own grim outlook on youth, claiming that most of them are not interested in the elections and are not participating. It suggested some gimmick solutions, such as the presidential candidates getting more active on Facebook and Twitter!
This argument of youth apathy and disinterest in politics is repeated in many countries and there is, of course, some truth to it. Many young people, and in fact large sections of working people in general, are sick and tired of the cynical nature of electoral politics. When candidates of the left and traditional organizations of the working class fail to offer a clear-cut Socialist solution to the problems engendered by the capitalist system, it is no wonder that they fail to excite the youth and get them engaged… even at this exciting times of ours, where massive revolutionary movements and mobilizations in almost every corner of the globe are weekly news.
As I arrived in Mexico on May 2nd, it seemed that this mood of disinterest in the elections prevailed within many sections of workers and youth. The polls showed the candidate of the left, Lopez Obrador (AMLO), at a distant third and even many of his ardent supporters were saying they had no hope for an Obrador win or for a repeat of the fantastic 2006 movement against electoral fraud that challenged the establishment.
It was, however, almost overnight that something changed. As I write these lines, about a fortnight later, there are almost daily massive demonstrations of thousands of youth and students against the candidates of the bourgeoisie. The ‘polls’ are being questioned, even by bourgeois ‘experts’. Domestic and international media are talking about a Mexican ‘spring’ (or a ‘hot summer’), styled after the massive uprisings in the Arab World and indignados in Spain. ٍPeople are everywhere eagerly discussing the elections. Perhaps much more than an enthusiastic endorsement of AMLO, we see a surge of hatred for the supposed front-runner Peña Nieto and the current government of the PAN. What happened that led to this change in mood? And why was it that none of the respected opinions of the establishment could predict such a sudden outburst of energy and mobilization against the capitalist candidates by the supposedly apathetic youth?
Before answering this question we should have a brief look at the political landscape of Mexico on the eve of the elections.
Actually the yosoy132 movement is not anti-capitalistic at all. And it was created by the calling of 132 students who protested against the PRI Candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in the Iberoamerican University since he was linked to the killing and repression of Atenco. They bow for a democratic elections were the vote will be respected(unlike the 2006 election were the electoral fraud occurred). Capitalism is not in the agenda of the movement. The most radical people in the movement would call themselves social-democrats. But now there is a real probability AMLO will win the elections as his been rising in the polls lately (which I sincerely hope he does). Plus the polls before were actually bought by Peña Nieto which was proved by a wiki leaks article.
The movement has it’s biggest strength in cities specially Mexico City. The rural areas are so disconnected from each other the effect of this mobilizations is useless. But it would be quite useless as less than half of the population in voting age is registered or will actually vote, and most of them are people living in rural areas.
This is no way compared to the Arab Uprising or the Indignados in the pure massiveness of this other two movements.