Marxism & Communism in Twentieth-Century Mexico

Marxism & Communism in Twentieth-Century Mexico

Marxism & Communism in Twentieth-Century Mexico

Marxism & Communism in Twentieth-Century Mexico

Synopsis

In spite of the significance of the Mexican political left, which has surged in recent years, little information has been available to English-language readers. In this important book Barry Carr describes the Mexican leftist movement's attempts to come to grips with the Mexican Revolution of 1910-20 and the ruling party that resulted, and its own efforts to radicalize and organize Mexican workers. Carr offers intriguing new material on the Mexican Communist party's international relations, especially with its counterpart in the United States, and on the Mexican background to the assassination of Leon Trotsky in 1940. He also examines the non-Communist left as it has emerged since 1960. Based on archival sources, Marxism and Communism in Twentieth-Century Mexico is the first study of the entire spectrum of the Mexican left to appear in any language.

Excerpt

In Western and Central Europe communist parties were created by the radicalizing effects of the First World War and dramatic splits within powerful social democratic movements. Social democracy, in turn, was a major influence on a large industrial working class with a long history of political organization. At the beginning of 1917, however, Marxist social democracy was not widely disseminated among Mexican workers and intellectuals. Anarchist and libertarian precepts still dominated the most radical sector of a working class that was only partially organized and in which liberalism and mutualism were still significant influences.

More importantly, Mexico had only recently emerged from thirty-four years of dictatorship--the porfiriato, or rule of General Porfirio Díaz (1876-1911). Dictatorship did not extinguish all traces of popular political and syndical activity, as the black legend used to hold, but it certainly did not permit the small Mexican working class to develop the rich associational and political life which the franchise and other political conquests (and ruling class concessions) provided workers in some European countries. Workers had gained little from politics, and the memory of state repression was still fresh, so it is not necessary to look to the influence of anarchist and libertarian thought to explain the widespread suspicion of the state and hopes for likely benefits to be gained from the conventional exercise of political power which characterized the radical wing of the Mexican working class for so long.

The presence of Marxism and socialism in Mexico before the revolution of 1910 was weak. Certainly there was a generalized awareness, at . . .

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