Tuesday, August 08, 2006


The Mexican insurrection

PRDists took over toll booths for several hours and apparently let people pass for free. The police riot is on in Oaxaca. Thirty police in pickup trucks drove up and began clubbing teachers and members of the Popular Assembly and tossing out tear gas. The protestors responded with a hail of rocks, at which point the cops fired in the air. The police fired in the air. The protestors picked up sticks and pipes to go after them, so the police fired at them. When the protestors hit the deck, the police withdrew. The head of public security says they are planning an operation to displace the demonstrators from public buildings they have occupied. Moving on to Mexico City, Lopez Obrador apparently didn't make the speech I would have, laying out the causes of grievance against the court ruling. This would have set the stage for responding to whatever is found in the recount. Instead, the thrust of the speech was to broaden the goals of the movement to a transformation of Mexico. I hear in this a declaration of pessimism about the legal proceedings and it was unclear to me what the goals of this broader struggle are to be. Perhaps he feels he must prepare his troops for an even longer and more difficult struggle than many of them may have envisioned, but I think this is premature. Unless one understands in detail the "train of abuses" that are leading to a broader social struggle, it seems arbitrary. And the wealthy do their very best not to understand the wrongs they do. But he had an interesting take on the judicial system that was far more than simply a declaration of intransigence. He said that the Por Bien de Todos movement wants more than a ration of democracy-- it wants it in its fullness. He said that the judicial system has, with the one extraordinary exception of the nationalization of the oil industry, always served the wealthy. Shouldn't the judiciary take a larger view of the case than treating each challenged precinct were an individual whose rights had to be zealously guarded and instead act in the interest of the whole nation? This latter point is subtle, but of central importance to our own search for a just society. Legal systems based on Napoleonic law tend to issue rulings on a purely technical basis.If that results in wildly inequitable resulst, too bad. A good example of technicalism is the "three strikes" law. Shoplift three loaves of bread or murder three children and the offense is equal under the law (not quite, of course, but you take my meaning). The English system of law had a broader view, which sought equitable outcomes, even if technically the law was not adhered to. It had the disadvantage of producing different outcomes in different jurisdictions, leaving the higher courts with the difficult job of reconciling the disparate results. Mexico's legal system leans toward the Napoleonic, while the US has long been abandoning equity in favor of technicalism. The operation of vote buying is described and it provides an example of how paper ballots can be as insecure as computers. The vote buyer hands a marked ballot to the seller. The seller goes to vote, picking up a blank ballot to return to the buyer, at which point he gets paid. This is more ingenious than the methods of the old US city machines.
I fully stand by my statemnt on my blog yesterday, the coverage of the Mexican election here is the best anywhere. You are doing wonderful work.
Warmer praise I have never enjoyed, olvlzl.

Thank you!
I just wonder what it will look like on August, 21 when they block the international bridges.

Jorge de la Rosa, told The Brownsville Herald a major blockade of international traffic and trade is planned for Aug. 21 at bridges stretching from Tijuana to Matamoros.
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