Krauze and the critique of presidential power

My generation, the mid-90s at the Faculty of Political Science at UNAM, did not want to read Enrique Krauze. Everyone wanted (we wanted) to read Adolfo Gilly, embrace his thesis on the interrupted revolution and, if possible, continue it. Our environment was pushing us towards radicalization; our teachers were the radicals of the previous generation and academic freedom gave them the necessary space to anger us against the capitalist regime. Gilly, by the way, was not as obtuse as we unhappy Trotskyite apprentices, and of course he read Krauze and commented on it too. Between them there was intellectual dialogue.

I read “A democracy without adjectives” almost secretly and I had no one to comment on it. Now I reread the essay because it is part of Krauze’s most recent book and I am ashamed of not having been able to defend those democratic ideas in my context of the left dazzled by the Zapatismo of 1994 (it did not take me long to get away from that, among other things because I approached until I burn).

I was there, reading Marcos, criticizing the Salinas, looking for answers in Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. Where was Krauze, today so critical of the federal government? Where was Krauze while the PRI robbed, crushed the opposition and its gorillas displayed shameful personal characteristics? I was doing a biography of power with Clío, who seemed bourgeois to us, yes, but he was also in La Jornada, in Proceso, in Vuelta, later in Letras Libres, reflecting on the present. He was writing, precisely, “Democracy without adjectives” and “Heretical texts”, warning about the historical blindness of Salinism, the pride of the clan and the PRI stubbornness to bring first perestroika (economic restructuring) and then or never glásnot (the political liberalization).

This can be seen by anyone today with the most recent book “Critique of Presidential Power”, in which the historian compiles some of his most emblematic essays on the political future in Mexico since 1982.

They were not modified. The essays are in the present tense; we find ourselves with the look that the author had on each president at the moment when he was in the most powerful chair. The book can be understood as the fourth installment of the “Biography of Power” series, which began with “Siglo de caudillos”, but it has the peculiarity of not being a work of archival historian, but of the present, of the young Krauze who a The late 1960s was marked by student protests and in the 1980s he reflected, from the non-revolutionary wing of his generation, on the Mexican political system, on the omissions and populism of López Portillo; on the democratic value of the PAN and on the fascism that crossed the PAN; on the liberal thrust of the states and on the state chieftains; on the ignorance of Luis Donaldo Colosio and on the double personality of Vicente Fox, so powerful as a candidate and so weak in power.

Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto are not spared. The first for reckless and reckless and the second for opening Pandora’s box of corruption. The last essay is, of course, on Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his destructive capacity, also in the present.

In all the writings, an effort is read to register the positive and period-changing elements, along with the challenges of each period. It is not an opposition libel, they are reflections on our institutional arrangement, our society and our political class, with many of its nuances and some of its anecdotes.

I couldn’t share my Krauze readings when I was 22, but it’s never too late. Today I am encouraged and, in addition, I will chat with him about his book this November 27 at FIL Guadalajara. I invite you to join us and criticize the presidential power. Always.

Ivabelle Arroyo

Political scientist


Ivabelle Arroyo Ulloa is a political scientist and analyst, with 24 years of journalistic experience. He is a jury member of the Walter Reuter German Prize for Journalism in Mexico. He directs a digital magazine about capital politics and writes for Jalisco media.

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