Anticommunism and Its Violence(s) during Puebla's “Long Cold War”

Sunday, January 10, 2016: 11:40 AM
International Ballroom A (Atlanta Marriott Marquis)
Gema Karina Santamaria Balmaceda, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
The aim of this paper is to bring to the fore the productive role that anti-communist ideology had in sanctioning and legitimating extrajudicial killings and collective expressions of violence in the state of Puebla during Mexico’s Long Cold War (1930s-1960s). By focusing on different episodes of violence-including lynchings, student confrontations, and riots, I will discuss how anti-communism served to justify fears, moral panics, and conservative conceptions of social order in both the city and the countryside. I will furthermore explain how anti-communism and the violence(s) it authorized can help us characterize the workings of post-revolutionary hegemony under the “avilacamachista” period in Puebla. It will be argued that, despite the repressive character of Maximino Ávila Camacho’s rule, violence was neither exercised in a “top-down” manner nor was it entirely monopolized by the ruling class. Rather, the use of violence was plural and de-centered and it included the participation of students, peasants, workers, pistoleros, vigilantes and lay members of the Catholic Church. Anti-communist ideology was at the core of these plural uses of violence and its justifications.
<< Previous Presentation | Next Presentation