Obrero and Campesino Movements before Unification in Mexico, 1920–26

Friday, January 6, 2012: 10:10 AM
Old Town Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Miles V. Rodriguez, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego

In Mexico, worker (obrero) and peasant (campesino) movements first organized into powerful national forces in the 1920s, after the Mexican Revolution. By the end of the decade, these separate movements formed into a single worker-peasant movement. This paper treats the early process of worker and peasant movement formation in the 1920 to 1926 period, when the movements were separate and when the first evidence of unification appeared. Tracing the work of rural organizers in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz and union activists in the national railroad industry, this paper demonstrates how the foundations were laid for a national worker and peasant movement. The paper then examines the resulting evidence of a trend toward unity as informal alliances between Veracruz agrarians and railroad unionists began to come into effect. The paper suggests a re-interpretation of the ways in which mass, social, and popular movements formed in post-revolutionary Mexico by focusing on the construction of class and cross-class alliances and commitments.

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