Mexico, the End of the Revolution

By Donald C. Hodges; Ross Gandy | Go to book overview
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5
The Revolution Undermined

In the theater of history, social revolutions may happen in slow motion, taking a century to push a dominant economic class into the background while inching another to center stage. Or the curtain may suddenly fall, only to rise on a new social arrangement: the old ruling classes pressed back into the scenery and new classes running the show. For most interpreters the Mexican Revolution was a rapid change of scene: in the agrarian reform of the 1930s the old landowning class disappeared, and by the early 1940s the native bourgoisie had clearly replaced it as the economic beneficiary of the new capitalist society. In the 1940s and 1950s, U.S. corporations in Mexico took even more of the economic surplus. The PRI government presided over this process, with the top bureaucracy taking a small slice of the surplus as high salaries. During the second half of the twentieth century, according to this standard interpretation, the country was ruled both politically and economically by the main fractions of the bourgeoisie: foreign, domestic, and State. (The State bourgeoisie or bureaucratic bourgeoisie is to be distinguished from the nonbourgeois component in government, the State bureaucracy. The State bureaucracy was presumably a junior partner of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie.)

In this widespread interpretation not only is the Mexican economy capitalist; the essence of the State is bourgeois. Capitalists run the State; and the bourgeoisie—both foreign and domestic—has no dangerous rivals. The Mexican Revolution was a bourgeois revolution, and the

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