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  • Centro para el Bien Común Global

Mexican civic sphere recolonized?

Carlos Arturo Martínez Carmona 


The "Fourth Transformation" (4T) consists of the national project of the President of the Mexican Republic Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). This project has the ambition to place itself on the same level as the three historical processes of change in Mexican history: the Independence (1810-21), the Reform (1858-61) and the Revolution (1910-1917). The 4T project seeks to "build a new social pact capable of containing and overcoming the disruption to which the country was led" as an effect of neoliberal policies, "...to achieve a higher goal: the general welfare of the population" (National Development Plan, 2019 p. 7). The 4T assumes a profound change in the country, a structural change that generates a better redistribution of wealth, healthy public finances, and the foundation of an austere, honest and morally based government.



The arrival of AMLO to the presidency and the enunciation of the 4T have as context the bad governments characterized by corruption and impunity, the popular disgust reflected in the ballot boxes that gave the majority in the Congress to the President's party and an overwhelming electoral triumph, it also represents a new event in Mexican contemporary history: the arrival to power for the first time of a left-wing party. During a year of administration[1], since AMLO's triumph was declared at the polls, his government's words and deeds have called into question the current conformation of Mexican civil society when contrasted with the national project of the Fourth Transformation. Since the presidential campaign, AMLO has called civil society "fifi" on several occasions, that is to say, crusaded and shaped by mercantile and conservative interests. On the other hand, different facts and speeches of the executive have implicated civil organizations (CSOs) and social movements either by denigrating them, highlighting the little relevance of their raison d'être, or appealing to join the national project.



As the fourth transformation is presented as a project of national renewal under the premise of wide-ranging reforms, it is necessary and urgent, among a multiplicity of issues such as those discussed in this book, to understand what kind of civil society the president of the republic and his government suppose should accompany this national project. In order to analyze how civil society is visualized, how it should be in accordance with the 4T project, and to identify the implications of the criticisms and proposals, it is necessary to have an approach to the diagnosis that the government makes on the current state of affairs, to contrast it with the initiatives and the should be that the executive proposes in the matter, and to situate these and facts in the conceptual field.


In this chapter, first of all, a set of conceptual approaches on what is understood by civil society is succinctly presented in order to generate an analytical framework to approach the scope of relations and adjustments with the project of the Fourth Transformation. Subsequently, a critical analysis is made of what has been stated and the actions of the executive regarding Mexican civil society. This is achieved by analyzing the discursive production and actions of the federal government one year after AMLO's electoral triumph. For this purpose, we have considered as relevant sources the president's morning conferences, the "100 commitments" exposed in his inauguration, the National Social Development Plan presented in April 2019, and the "Second Quarterly Government Report" of July 1, 2019.


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