A brilliant political philosopher named Montesquieu once said that “when virtue, the basic principle of democracy, disappears the corruption of democracy begins and the republic is at risk of collapse.”
On paper, true democracy is defined as a form of state government where the power lies in its people. Ideally, it should uphold a society that respects human rights, exercises civil liberties, and fights for equal opportunities. However in Mexico, democracy is not exercised the same way.
At a time when Mexico is facing pronounced social and economic instability, political parties should recognize the need for a real democracy, where the country’s people are given the option to help change the status quo in a significant way. Instead, Mexican politicians choose ignore the real issues at hand and decide to leave unchanged the same political and economic strategies that continue to drag the majority of the people down into poverty and inhumane ways of living, and only focus wealth in a small, yet too powerful, group of people.
Unlike these political parties, Mexico’s National Miners Union has a very clear understanding of how democracy should really work. In Mexico the mining sector has risen to become one of the fundamental sectors of the nation’s industry. In this sector, issues of trade union representation and management of economic demands go hand-in-hand; the way we practice democracy closely affects our economic progress. Hence the reason why the National Miners Union, an organization which I am proud and humbled to lead, has achieved the highest increases in overall income for its members. These increases happen to be well above the rate of inflation and higher than the increases achieved by other trade unions in Mexico. This consistent growth and success is mainly due to our functional internal political strategy, a strategy based on transparency, class unity, loyalty, and solidarity – a real democracy.
The National Miners Union’s internal political strategy proves in a smaller scale that exercising a democracy that is solely based on electoral rights, but does not in fact improve the wellbeing of its people, just doesn’t cut it. The same principle can be applied to Mexico’s society as a whole. If the system does not roll up its sleeves and begins to fix the harsh social and economic realities, it is not a real democracy. It has in fact become a system where, its principles have been forgotten and corruption has taken over in the form of inequality and injustice. Therefore, as Montesquieu warned us, the republic will inevitably be at risk of collapsing.
So how can Mexico regain control of a real democracy? Its leaders must rekindle their passion for public service and for their nation. They must be brave enough to see through concrete efforts to rebuild and strengthen the country and its people. But until we put a stop to these circus-like electoral contests that only appeal to people’s emotions and prejudices we will not be able to experience the real democracy that Mexico so desperately needs.