Mexican Spring?

A student-led movement is achieving the impossible.


An exciting student-led movement for real democracy has emerged in Mexico. Moving beyond traditional student protests that focus primarily on opposing tuition hikes, Mexican students are instead rallying behind the demand that the mass media be democratized and de-corporatized.

Their goal is to knock out one of the core pillars, corporate television, that props up the corrupt political class. Their sophisticated approach is triggering a popular awakening and, like Occupy Wall Street, taking the old Left by surprise. If the Arab Spring taught our global movement about regime change then the Mexican Spring may teach us a crucial lesson in achieving media democracy.

An interview with Patrick Cuninghame, activist and Professor at UAM Xochimilco (the Metropolitan Autonomous University), offers a compelling snapshot of what’s happening:

It’s really exciting ... I haven’t felt like this for years ... Out of despair has come hope… Occupy Wall Street has introduced this term of the Mexican Spring, but I think it’s too early to talk about a Mexican Spring. Obviously the movement here is not yet as radical or as important as the Arab Spring, especially the one in Tunisia and Egypt. We can’t talk about regime change yet. But, if the impossible happens, and we do defeat the PRI and their attempt to have an electoral fraud...

We are in front of a completely new situation ... The student movement’s main demand continues to be the democratization of the media. But if we really had a democratized media in Mexico, that would be incredible. If you democratized the media anywhere, that would be incredible! There is of course a certain amount of naivety to think that the Mexican media — which is completely under the control of the worst kind of neoliberalism and of the mafia and the drug cartels — is suddenly going to become democratic; it’s just not going to happen. Nor did it happen in the US or Britain or any other so called democracy. The media is not free or neutral in any country in the world, especially not during elections. It’s a naive demand, but in some ways it has opened up the whole election by exposing the dependence of the political class, particularly their candidate Peña Nieto, on mass media manipulation. I would say that as things stand at the moment, Peña Nieto is in trouble. Everywhere he goes now there are thousands of people opposing him, chanting slogans at him, with placards, etc. A week ago, the PRI responded as they always do: with violence. They just send their thugs to attack students who are opposing any meeting of Peña Nieto. Now, that rebounded against them…

I think this movement was born in the middle of a really dull election campaign that seemed dominated by a corrupt, fascist candidate, and they have hit the nail on the head ...

Read the full interview at ClassWarU.