Australian Left Review


Enrique Semo


The following interview with Enrique Semo took place at the end o f June after he had spoken at a reception in Wollongong. It took upborne o f the points he raised at the meeting and others which had come up when Semo, a leading figure in the Communist Party of Mexico, was a guest at the Communist Party of Australia’s National Congress in mid- June. The Mexican Communist Party is currently emerging from a period of illegality imposed after the mass struggles of 1968. Australians will recall the shootings and jailings by the Mexican authorities prior to the Olympic Games. Half the Central Committee of the Communist Party was jailed during the illegal period and the party had only 2,000 members (out o f a population of 70 million). Since legality, membership has leapt to around 15,000. The political problems involved in absorbing new cadres are compounded by the class composition of the party. The Communist Party established, or influenced the establishment of, all the major trade unions in Mexico. Their positions of influence were eroded by reformist/populist forces and the long period o f decline, discussed in the interview, witnessed a severe erosion of the party’s working class base. The new influx of members is predominantly from the middle class and the party still faces the task of rebuilding its industrial base. Mexico faces a future o f immense potential development based on oil reserves which make it the “Saudi Arabia of the Americas". In addition, there are huge proven reserves of uranium. The movement against nuclear power has not yet impacted Mexican political life. The direction o f future development, its control and the distribution of its benefits will depend upon the effectiveness o f the Mexican left.



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