Marxists from Mexico City, Mexico State, Puebla, Hidalgo, Querétaro, Chihuahua, Sonora, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Yucatán met to participate in the 2023 Congress of Izquierda Socialista, the Mexican section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT). It began with a talk on the world situation by Jorge Martín, a leading member of the IMT. The meeting room was full; comrades were excited to discuss what is happening in the world. Although many veteran comrades took part, the congress was notable for the presence of a younger layer, which played a key role in the discussions. There were students in attendance from Mexico’s main universities, as well as young students and workers from a number of different states.
Comrade Jorge began by explaining the ongoing economic crisis around the world. He paid extra attention to the current struggle in France. Despite the huge and radical protests involving French workers and students, the government’s attack on pensions has not relented. This is because the crisis of capitalism leaves no room for concessions and forces the ruling class to go on the offensive. Similar processes are happening all over the world. Jorge gave the example of Great Britain, where the formerly enviable health system is now in crisis, leading to militant strikes by health workers. While in countries across Latin America it is customary for a sector of the population to go hungry, we are now seeing this phenomenon in developed capitalist countries. In Britain, people who cannot afford to eat enough are resorting to food banks. This is a reflection of the decay of capitalism.
The strong reaction of workers and youth against the crisis of capitalism is evident throughout Latin America, but it is not isolated there. In Iran, a huge movement against the oppression of women swept the nation. In Sri Lanka, the masses stormed and took over the presidential palace. The masses had power in their hands, but the absence of a revolutionary leadership prevented them from holding on to it.
Among youth and women, we see a revolutionary ferment, even in developed capitalist countries. In Britain, surveys show that 30 percent of young people see communism as the ideal economic system. Even in the USA, where there has been decades of anti-communist fear mongering, 15 percent of the youth are in favour of communism. Though this is not yet a majority, this still represents millions of young people.
Discussions with the youth
The situation in Mexico is beginning to change. During the congress, students from the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) were staging a series of strikes and protests. Jorge was invited by the League of Revolutionary Women (LMR) to speak at the strike at UAM Iztapalapa. The title of the talk was: “The youth and the struggle against capitalism”. The talk was chaired by comrade Noemí Yeyé, a member of the LMR and the IMT in Mexico, and one of the students’ representatives in the strike. The discussion was very interesting, pointing out that the problem of violence against women is a problem linked to the capitalist system. There was also a lot of discussion about the necessity to unify students with the working class, particularly within the university.
At the National Polytechnic Institute, Jorge Martín spoke about the class struggle in France at the premises of the Student Struggle Committee of the Polytechnic. The audience was composed of students from the main campuses, Zacatenco and Casco de Santo Tomás, as well as teachers and workers from the CENDI (Child Development Centres), who are fighting for their rights.
Unfortunately, a scheduled talk at UNAM did not take place, because it coincided with actions being taken in the struggle to defend scholarships and public education. On the day that a discussion on Cuba was scheduled, a march took place, in which the Marxist Youth participated. In this mobilisation, banners could be seen, with slogans such as: “From the classroom to the class struggle”.
The congress continued on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April at the offices of the Independent Union of Workers of the Autonomous Metropolitan University. Its general secretary, Pamela Suarez, and its financial secretary, comrade Raúl Álvarez, greeted the congress. It is significant that in the same room there were also student activists from UAM Xochimilco and Iztapalapa.
An analysis of the situation in Mexico was presented by comrade Carlos Márquez, who explained that the Mexican economy, in the recent period and under the present government, has increasingly fused with the US economy. Although at the moment there is a certain economic and political stability, protectionism and imperialist greed will affect Mexico enormously, as will a future crisis in the US. There are huge unresolved problems in Mexico, including massive exploitation (a recent study indicated that Mexican workers reproduce the value of their wages in the first 24 minutes of work, with the rest of the day’s labour lining the bosses’ pockets), and violence that is taking on barbaric proportions. Although the president enjoys enormous popularity, the contradictions of the system have not been resolved. This is expressed in the struggles of the women and youth, as well as in the organisation of different sectors of the working class.
Building the forces of Marxism
The congress discussed two aspects of the construction of the forces of Marxism. The first formed part of the international discussion taking place in the run-up to the World Congress of the IMT later this year. This was introduced by comrade Ubaldo Oropeza, who placed particular emphasis on the importance of our work among the youth. The second discussed the organisational aspect, and was presented jointly by comrades Karen Campos and Mayren Padilla, who explained our organisation’s key tasks for the coming period.
The distinctive feature of this congress was its youthfulness. The political maturity of the comrades, as they gave reports or made proposals to the floor, was extremely impressive. This is especially true of the younger comrades and those attendees who have yet to even join the IMT. The young comrades took the floor to provide an analysis of our work, to talk about their interventions in the current student strikes, to give a philosophical defence of Marxism in the struggle for the defence of the environment, to explain the work we have in the different schools, to ask questions, and so on.
This spirit and confidence was reflected in the collection, which was led by Rafael Zavala, a student of the Faculty of Economics of the UNAM, who arrived with the clear objective of convincing the comrades to surpass the financial target we had set ourselves. This was ultimately achieved. We obtained more than 60,000 Mexican pesos (over 3,300 US dollars), from contributions and pledges, which will allow us to maintain our current offices.
Jorge Martín also gave a report on the work of the International, where we have made inspiring advances in countries such as Britain. He showed a poster that our comrades are sticking up in their thousands, calling for young communists to join the IMT. Everywhere there is confidence in our ideas, in our International and in the future of the working class.