Anticommunism, Right Wing Dissidence, and the Lexicon of Repression in 1960s Mexico

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 11:10 AM
Salon 12 (Palmer House Hilton)
Luis Herran Avila, University of New Mexico
The decade of the 1960s in Mexico was characterized by the increasing challenges to the political and social edifice of PRI hegemony. While the historiography of the period has emphasized the leftist origins and platforms of these challenges, the Mexican right also populated the universe of critics and dissidents of the regime, providing, in specific junctures, a lexicon of repression and countermobilization that served as a vehicle to express their dissatisfaction with the postrevolutionary state as well as their support for iron fist measures against moderate and revolutionary leftists. This paper examines how dissident right-wing activists and intellectuals used their access to public discourse to reflect on the shortcomings of revolutionary nationalism in cracking down against disloyal, anti-national leftists, and to pose the need to “close ranks” for the sake of national unity. While linked together by the intergenerational memory of the repression of the Cristero rebellion, these groups capitalized on the climate of Cold War anticommunism to legitimize the use of violence to repress the Left, and as a unique chance to “rectify” the path of what they saw as a betrayed revolution run amok.