The shadows of the future in Mexico under Q4

The shadows of the future in Mexico under Q4

I summarize the essential ideas of the political scientist Roger Bartra, presented in his keynote lecture at the Julio Cortázar Chair (University of Guadalajara: 10-30-2009), for one reason: They reveal the shadows of the future that fall on us to explain the emergence of the 4T and the future it offers for the country.

1. Johan Huizinga, in “his book entitled ‘Between the Shadows of Tomorrow’ (1935), warns against barbarism and points out that culture is steeped in a spirit that exalts myth above logos (knowledge), and that gives existence the primacy over intelligence.”

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2. The future that Julio Cortázar envisioned −in Cuba and Nicaragua− did not arrive. Socialism collapsed and left utopia battered. Because “the future is wayward and deceitful: (and) its path is soaked in blood, cruelty and violence.”

3. Cortazar wondered: “Who knows the parameters of the new (revolutionary) man? There is an illusory scheme that quickly leads to sectarianism and the impoverishment of the human entity: wanting to create a permanent revolutionary type, considered a priori as good. This idealization, Cortázar continued, meant in Cuba “the condemnation of the homosexual temperament, of intellectual individualism when it is expressed in critical attitudes or in activities apparently unrelated to the revolutionary effort, and can encompass in its rejection of religious sentiment considered as a reactionary remnant.”

4. Bartra says, when “I wrote ‘The Cage of Melancholy’ I thought that the crisis of archaic jingoism would sooner or later cause the end of authoritarianism and the advent of political democracy. But a new democratic civic culture that stabilizes the system in Mexico has not yet been consolidated. Thus “The future casts long and disturbing shadows on us.”

5. What left-wing alternatives can we find in this critical situation? “Populism and statist protectionism (à la Hugo Chávez).”

6. “The Mexican right is immersed in the interests of the elites and lacks the imagination and intelligence necessary to do anything other than be carried away by global trends.”

7.Another shadow that is cast is that of a return to power of the heirs of the old authoritarian regime. The PRI “It is seen as an alternative for social sectors captivated by populism, but disenchanted with a left lost in its internal wars and corruption.”

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8. In “Mexico we have suffered the simultaneity of intersecting premodern, modern and postmodern planes. Not all people live in the same ‘now’. And therefore not everyone imagines the same future. This has led to a populist political culture taking deep root in Mexico.”

Since 2009, Bartra foreshadowed the shadows of the future: The 4T fell on fertile ground. The shadows of the Mexican future sheltered its appearance and its possible permanence: Morena is the new version of the PRI that decided not to reinvent itself and ended up capturing the populist, authoritarian, regressive and anti-global shadows. Opposed, of course, to the lights of a political democracy and a democratic civic culture based on a left capable of transcending the hyper-globalized right and the populist version of the old revolutionary nationalism.

Note: The author is director general of ICAI. His views do not represent those of the institution.


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