Permanent Assembly in Mexico City

Federal cops say 180 thousand. Local cops say 2.4 million. Reforma, a newspaper whose owners support the candidate of the right, says 380 thousand. Make up your mind:

http://www.amlo.org.mx/fotogaleria/index.html
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2006/07/31/index.php
http://videos.eluniversal.com.mx/asamblea03ok.html

In retrospect, López Obrador’s speech will be deemed a foundational document in Mexico’s national history:

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/365665.html

I have translated a few excerpts to give you the flavor of López Obrador’s speech (and of the event).

* * *

In a country like ours, with so much inequality and privileges, democracy acquires a fundamental social dimension and becomes a matter of survival. Democracy is the only option, the only hope for the poor, for the majority of the people, to improve their living and working conditions.

If the gates of democracy are shut, the alternative can only be submission or violence. That is why we have to defend and enforce our democracy.

* * *

From the beginning, we had indications of a victory, and today, 28 days after election, we are absolutely certain — we have all the elements and evidence to believe without hesitation that we won the Presidency of the Republic!

As I have said, in spite of a process plagued with irregularities and fraudulent acts, we — women and men — must feel very proud of the fact that they could not defeat us with ballots. That is why they refuse to open the ballot packages and recount the votes, one by one, polling place by polling place.

The most conclusive proof that we won the presidential election lies in the attitude of refusal and rejection that the candidate of the right has adopted in relation to our demand of counting the votes again, one by one.

* * *

I will never admit that this election was clean, free, or equitable. That would amount to self-betrayal. But I have told the candidate of the right that if he declares himself in favor of recounting the votes, I am going to accept the outcome — I am going to stop calling the citizens to demonstrate.

That is a commitment I have been making. They should not be afraid of democracy. I insist, if he believes he won, why the fear? Let there be transparency. Let’s recount the votes. That’s what we’re proposing.

* * *

Mexico, our great country, does not deserve to be ruled — and we won’t allow it — by a spurious president, without legitimacy, without moral or political authority.

We are now waiting for the Electoral Tribunal to make the decision to clean and make transparent this election by ordering that all votes be recounted. That is, I repeat, the most sensible and rational solution. That is the legal and political solution that best serves Mexico and democracy.

* * *

We know that the members of the Tribunal are subject to brutal pressures from the powerful — those who believe they are the owners of Mexico. We must clarify: It’s not that we don’t respect our political institutions. It is instead that, in our country — unfortunately — we have not yet build a tradition that ensures everyone that the people who have in their hands the institutions act with decency and righteousness.

Let’s not forget that in our country simulation has prevailed. Historically, the Constitution and the laws have been enforced only in the surface but have been violated in the substance.

In Mexico, unfortunately, law has meant the opposite of its raison d’être. They invoke a state of laws, but those in charge of imparting justice, instead of protecting the weak, only help to legalize the dispossession and the abuses committed by the strong. The law that has prevailed is the law of money and power, over and above all.

Although we don’t discard the possibility that the magistrates of the Tribunal may act as free men and women, with the moral stature, the courage and patriotism that this moment demands from them; although we still expect from them a responsible and patriotic attitude, we are not going to trust them blindly and we are not going to wait with our arms crossed.

Besides that, our history teaches us many lessons. We must remember that everything, everything that we have attained in our history as far as liberties, justice, and democracy are concerned, has been conquered with the organization and the struggle of the people.

Nothing — or almost nothing — has ever been a gracious concession granted by the powers. We became an independent country not because the Spanish Crown so decided, but because of the popular struggle led by Hidalgo and Morelos.

We had a Reform, not due to the will of the conservatives, but because of the conviction and tenacity of the liberals. And the little or much we attained in terms of social justice, we owe to the Mexican Revolution, to the struggle of Madero, Villa and Zapata — and many other anonymous heroes.

We should never think that democracy will ever be enforced from the top down. This can only be possible with the effort and the mobilization of the citizens. Democracy, like justice or freedom, is not to be begged, it’s to be conquered.

* * *

I am not driven by vulgar personal ambitions. I am not moved by the interest in money and have always said that power only makes sense — and may be even turned into a virtue — when it is placed at the service of the many. I fight for principles and ideals. That is what I deem most worthy in my life. Not public office, not even the most important office in the land.

* * *

I propose that we stay here, that we remain here — day and night — until the votes are counted and we have a President Elect with the modicum of legality that we Mexicans deserve.

I assure you that this effort and sacrifice will not be in vane.

* * *

All the campgrounds will observe discipline, respect, and cleanliness.

We are going to take care of gardens, parks, historical monuments — no public spaces will be defaced or painted with graffiti. We will not fall in any kind of provocation. Our actions will be subject to the principles of peaceful civil resistance within the framework of non-violence. Legally, we will be making full use of the right to demonstrate guaranteed by the Constitution.

While we remain in Permanent Assembly, in all the campgrounds, from the Zócalo to the Fountain of “Petróleos,” we will hold an array of daily artistic and cultural events.

* * *

I will also be living in this place, while we remain in Permanent Assembly.

I know, friends, that what I am proposing will not be simple or easy to carry out, but this is what best serves our cause.

So, again, I will ask for your undivided attention. I am submitting this proposal to your consideration. I ask: Should we stay here? Yes or no?

[People answer “Yes!”]

I will ask again, this time in a different way: Those in favor of staying, please raise your hand.

[The crowd raise their hands]

Please lower your hands now. Now those who are against staying, please raise your hand.

[Nobody raises a hand]

Abstentions?

[Nobody responds]

We stay!

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4 Responses to “Permanent Assembly in Mexico City”

  1. KEN LUSK Says:

    This attitude should serve as a model for american politicians, especially democrats. As far as the Electoral commission is concerned I assume that the bribes they are being offered not to recount are enormous and the temptation not to accept them………well we’ll wait to see what happens.

  2. Plato’s Beard » Blog Archive » Latest from Mexico Says:

    […] El Machete 2006 has the latest update regarding the stolen election in Mexico, including details on the rally and segments translated from Obrador’s speech. […]

  3. Plato’s Beard » Blog Archive » Latest from Mexico Says:

    […] El Machete 2006 has the latest update regarding the stolen election in Mexico, including details on the rally and segments translated from Obrador’s speech. […]

  4. Charles Says:

    It was a tremendously moving speech. I think the key statement was this:

    Democracy is not handed down from above. One does not beseech it to come, one obtains it by conquest.

    This has a profound symbological content for people attracted to the PRD. It is in large measure a movement of indigenous people. Lopez Obrador has framed his movement as a reconquista, of democracy against the iron rule of the conquistadores. There is even a carefully placed shot at the church. Unlike the civil rights movement of the 1960s, AMLO is not trying to pray heaven down to earth. He has symbolically reconquered Mexico for its native peoples, waiting only for the formal surrender of the defeated.

    As much as I talk about symbols, I think the son-of-a-gun is going to pull it off for real.

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