Saturday, September 09, 2006
Leftist opposition leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that he was temporarily ending a mass protest over disputed election results that had paralyzed much of downtown Mexico City since July 30.
Lopez Obrador, who officially lost the July 2 election by a razor-thin margin to president-elect Felipe Calderon, said the protest would be lifted to allow the popular September 16 independence day military parade to proceed.
The protest has "nothing against" the military, an "institution that guarantees our sovereignty," he told a downtown gathering of thousands of supporters.
However, in a challenge to outgoing President Vicente Fox, Lopez Obrador vowed to deliver a rival ceremonial public call for independence late September 15 at the Zocalo, the giant downtown square where the protests are centered.
TWO POPES IN MEXICO? Felipe Calderon has been declared President of Mexico, but the crisis persists, and may be intensifying:
For an American Leftist evaluation of the nature of the vote fraud that appears to been have perpetrated in Mexico, go here. Anticipating this result, Obrador called upon his supporters to create an alternative government before the result was announced:
Felipe Calderón, a former energy minister and onetime long-shot candidate, was unanimously declared president-elect of Mexico on Tuesday in a court decision that capped a two-month legal battle but did not end the nation's political crisis.
Calderón's opponent, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, refused to recognize the decision. During a fiery address before thousands of supporters in Mexico City's downtown square, the Zocalo, he mocked Calderón as an "illegitimate president" and pledged to create an "alternate government" to "refound the Republic and reestablish constitutional order" before the Dec. 1 presidential inauguration.
Backers of runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador protest at the electoral court in Mexico City. López Obrador had vowed to defy such a ruling and set up a parallel government.
Speaking moments later, Calderón called for conciliation, saying, "Mexicans can think differently, but we are not enemies." He declared that "the electoral process is over and the hour has arrived for unity." The dueling speeches were tracked minutely by Mexicans both puzzled and fascinated by the prospect of two men simultaneously claiming to lead the nation.
Reading this makes me wonder: to what extent do many of the poor, the indigenous population of Mexico already live under an alternative government? In other words, with the implementation of neoliberalism in Mexico since the election of Carlos Salinas in 1988, to what extent do they already have to meet their daily needs of food, shelter, schooling, medical care, transporation and police protection independent of the government? Is it possible that, by depriving Obrador of the presidency, the Mexican elite is accidentally accelerating a decomposition of the Mexican state? Something much greater, much more significant than an electoral dispute could be developing south of the border.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, convinced he won't be awarded the presidency, has vowed to create a parallel leftist government and is urging Mexicans not to recognize the apparent victory of the ruling party's Felipe Calderon.
While his party lacks the seats in Congress to block legislation, Lopez Obrador can mobilize millions to pressure his conservative rival to adopt the left's agenda — or to clamp down and risk a backlash.
Both scenarios are possibilities as the former Mexico City mayor lays out plans to create his own government to rule from the streets, with the support of thousands who are already occupying protest camps throughout downtown Mexico City.
Some predict his parallel initiative — which Lopez Obrador's supporters call the "legitimate government" — could turn those protest camps into the core of a violent revolt, especially if the government tries to shut it down.
Such violence broke out in the southern city of Oaxaca after Gov. Ulises Ruiz sent police to evict striking teachers. Outraged citizens' groups joined the protests, setting fire to buildings and public buses, seizing radio and TV stations and forcing the closure of businesses in a city known throughout the world as a quaint tourist destination.
"Everything we do, from property taxes to permits to natural resources, will go through the 'legitimate government,'" said Severina Martinez, a school teacher from Oaxaca camped out in a tent in Mexico City's main Zocalo plaza. "We won't have anything to do with the official government."
THE STRANGE DEATH OF THE ISRAELI PEACE MOVEMENT:
As reported here at American Leftist, Uri Avnery confirms that there is no significant peace movement in Israel, describing, as I did here, the cynicism of left intellectuals in supporting, and then, abandoning, the war in Lebanon:
Such conduct exposes the reality that Israel now has no intention to relinquish control of the West Bank and Gaza:
WHILE ANALYZING the Second Lebanon War, it is impossible to ignore the role played by the Leftists, with or without quotation marks, during the fighting.
The day before yesterday I saw on TV an interview with the playwright Joshua Sobol, a likeable person known as a regular leftist. He explained that this war has brought us important benefits, and sang the praises of the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz.
Sobol is not alone. When the government started this war, an impressive line-up of writers supported it. Amos Oz, A.B.Yehoshua and David Grossman, who regularly appear as a political trio, were united again in their support of the government and used all their considerable verbal talents to justify the war. They were not satisfied with that: some days after the beginning of the war, the three published a joint ad in the papers, expressing their enthusiastic backing for the operation.
Their support was not purely passive. Amos Oz, a writer with considerable literary prestige throughout the world, wrote an article in favor of the war, which appeared in several respected foreign newspapers. I wouldn't be surprised if "somebody" helped to distribute it. His two comrades, too, were active in propagating the war, together with a long row of writers like Yoram Kaniuk, assorted artists and intellectuals, real or imagined. All of them volunteered for the propaganda reserves without waiting to be drafted.
I doubt that the war would have attained its monstrous dimensions without the massive support of Leftists-but, which made it possible to form a "wall to wall consensus ", ignoring the protest of the consistent peace camp. This consensus carried away the Meretz party, whose guru Amos Oz is, and Peace Now, in whose mass rallies Amos Oz used to be the main speaker (when they were still able to stage mass rallies).
Some people are now pretending that this group was really against the war. To whit: some days before the end they published a second tripartite ad, this time calling for its termination. At the same time, Meretz and Peace Now also changed course. But not one of them apologized or showed remorse for their prior support for the killing and devastation. Their new position was: the war was indeed very good, but now the time has come to put an end to it.
What on earth does Peres mean? Talks about what? The old favorite of American liberals appears to showing signs of senility, but they will no doubt find some obscure logic that evades the rest of us. And, again, here is yet another example of Israel's historic practice to select its negotiating partner, regardless of what the Palestinians think about it. A good way to make sure that Israel remains in the occupied territories permanently.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres has reiterated that his government had abandoned plans to withdraw from most of the occupied West Bank.
"The idea of unilateral disengagement or realignment is over. It is over politically, psychologically as well as operationally," Peres was quoted as telling the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily on Friday.
"There will not be a manifold repetition in Judaea and Samaria (the southern and northern West Bank) of the withdrawal from Gaza. There will not be massive evacuation of the settlements," he added, giving three reasons.
He listed them as continued Palestinian attacks from Gaza despite Israel's withdrawal last year, fractured Palestinian politics with no one to take responsibility, and unfavourable public opinion in Israel.
Peres said Israel would instead hold talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, albeit bypassing the governing Hamas movement that does not officially recognise Israel's right to exist.
Zionism has now been officially reduced, as I posted here earlier, to a social enterprise of militarism and occupation, with the starvation of the Palestinians in Gaza the current objective:
"Women in Gaza tell me they are eating only one meal a day, bread with tomatoes or cheap vegetables," said Kirstie Campbell of the UN's World Food Programme, which is feeding 235,000 people. She added that in June, since when the crisis has worsened, some 70 per cent of people in Gaza could not meet their family's food needs. "People are raiding garbage dumps," she said.
Not only do Palestinians in Gaza get little to eat but what food they have is eaten cold because of the lack of electricity and money to pay for fuel. The Gaza power plant was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in June. In one month alone 4 per cent of Gaza's agricultural land was destroyed by Israeli bulldozers.