After characterizing the middle class as a political opponent earlier this month, President López Obrador said Monday that he is seeking to create a new “more humane” and “more caring” middle class that is less susceptible to media campaigns against his government.
“Of course we want a middle class, we want to lift millions of Mexicans out of poverty in order to establish a new, more humane, more fraternal, more caring middle class. That’s what we’re seeking,” AMLO, as the president is commonly known, said at his regular news conference.
The president said that his government wants to raise the living and working standards of the nation’s poor but doesn’t want them to turn their backs on the “dispossessed, needy and marginalized” when their own lot in life has improved.
López Obrador also said he wants a middle class that is “more aware” and “more politicized” so that its members have the capacity to “resist campaigns of manipulation.”
“They shouldn’t be easy prey for the manipulation that vested interest groups – those who don’t want change – orchestrate and carry out,” he said, adding that maintaining the status quo and “the regime of corruption, injustice, oppression and privileges” is in the interests of such groups.
The new middle class has to be made up of people who are “very alert” and “very intelligent,” AMLO said, implying that those who possess those qualities will support his administration rather than the opposition.
“A lot of the time, this is not just related to one’s academic level. There are those who have a degree, a master’s or a doctorate and they’re very susceptible to manipulation,” he said.
The president claimed that there was a “very powerful campaign of manipulation,” or a “dirty war,” against his government and the ruling Morena party in the lead-up to the June 6 elections, especially in Mexico City, where the opposition won nine of the 16 boroughs.
A lot of people who voted against Morena “didn’t even know” who they were voting for or what they stood for, López Obrador said.
“They were very angry … at us, at the project of transformation,” he said, adding that people who voted against Morena are in favor of the continuation of the “regime of corruption, injustices and privileges” his government is abolishing.
“And they want to get ahead. That’s why I talk about aspiration, at any cost, without moral scruples of any kind. Neoliberalism … brought with it a very individualistic, very selfish vision,” López Obrador said.
“A vision that that is very focused on progressing in a material sense – material well-being without worrying out the well-being of the soul. I’ll look after myself even though my fellow man continues to be impoverished …”
The president has faced widespread condemnation for his attacks on the aspirational middle class, including one from 2018 National Action Party (PAN) presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, who is seen as a leading contender to be an opposition candidate at the 2024 presidential election.
“Now the president has really lost his compass. His manner of understanding the election is truly nonsense, complete madness. For him, the narcos behaved themselves well [on election day] and it turns out that the middle class behaved poorly because they turned their back on Morena in Mexico City,” he said in a video message last week.
“… Now it turns out that having aspirations in life, wanting to get ahead is to be selfish,” Anaya said in another video posted to social media yesterday.
The video features several ordinary Mexicans outlining their aspirations in life before the 42-year-old former PAN national president declares: “If being aspirational is to have dreams, the desire to succeed [and] the desire to get ahead, … then add us to the list.”