The Working Class and the Mexican Revolution, c.

1900-1920 Author(s): Alan Knight Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1 (May, 1984), pp. 51-79 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 13/07/2012 16:11
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The Working Class and the Mexican Revolution, c. 1900-1920

Like any major historical phenomenon, the Mexican Revolution can be viewed from a variety of angles. From one, arguably the most important, it was a rural phenomenon, rightly categorised by Eric Wolf as a 'peasant war', hence comparable to the Russian or Chinese Revolutions.1 From another it can be seen as a generalised social and political (some might like to call it a 'hegemonic') crisis, marking the end of the old oligarchic Porfirian order and characterised by mass political mobilisation; as such, it bears comparison with the crises experienced in Italy and Germany after the First World War; in Spain in the early i93os; in Brazil in the I96os or Chile in the I970s. But what it emphatically was not was a workers' revolution. No workers' party sought - let alone attained -political hegemony. No Soviets or workers' councils were established, as in Petrograd or Berlin. There were no attempts at workers' control of industry, as in Turin, Barcelona - or the gran mineriaof Bolivia. Though the Mexican working class had to confront the realities of the revolution, and thus in turn contributed to its development, its contribution was limited and largely reflexive; it responded to events rather than initiating them. A study of the role of the working class in the revolution may help
1 Eric Wolf, Peasant Wars of the TwentienthCentury (London, 1969). In the course of this paper, relatively few comparisons are drawn with other Latin American labour classes, though some are drawn (perhaps fancifully) with movements/working Europe. In part, this reflects the writer's ignorance; in part his belief that studies of the European working class (by Thompson, Barrington Moore, the Tillys and others) often ask more interesting questions and thus suggest more fruitful lines of comparison. The whole question of the introduction of the time and work discipline of capitalism, now a staple theme in European labour history, has only just begun to agitate Latin American research (e.g. Arnold Bauer, 'Rural Workers in Spanish America: Problems of Peonage and Oppression', Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. LIX (I979), pp. 34-63); as yet, it does not seem to have had much impact on studies of the urban workers which, with some notable exceptions, still tend to concentrate on the rather formalistic political and ideological gyrations of labour confederations and their leaderships: acronyms rule.


Alan Knight

to explain why, but it must be less a study of the dynamics of revolution than of the revolution's impact on the working class, which was to be decisive and formative. Like the peasantry, the working class constituted a diverse social group: part of the analysis must consist of breaking it down into subgroups, and it will become clear that the typology presented here is strongly influenced
by the historical experiences of 1910-20. That is, divisions within the

working class are derived not only from conventional or theoretical axioms (e.g. artisans/proletarians) but also from demonstrable historical behaviour during that decade. In consequence, this analysis is an example of what Hexter calls 'rank' as against 'file' history: it is concerned more with a social totality during a specific, fairly brief period of its development
(Mexico, c. 1900-20, with particular reference to the working class) than

duree.One with the evolution of the Mexican working class over the longue advantage of this approach (and there are obvious disadvantages, too) is that justice can more easily be done to the constraints and pressures acting on the working class from without. The working class (as defined here) was to varying extents distinguished by two characteristics, and moulded by two formative influences: first, an urban environment, and second, immersion in the market, the two correlating closely.2 The significance of the urban environment has often been underestimated: perhaps out of exaggerated fear of theories postulating 'urbanism as a way of life':3 perhaps out of a residual reluctance to admit the gulf (and a ' cultural' gulf at that) which often separated working class from peasantry, or the corresponding bonds which united working class and 'bourgeoisie'. But Barry Carr is surely right to stress the 'growing cultural gap which was separating the world of the urban artisan and workers from the world of the villagers of central and southern Mexico' at the time of the revolution.4 For one thing, the workers shared the higher

3 4

As regards 'urbanism' (which I shall not attempt to define by size of community, etc.), this is a self-imposed, but conventional distinction; it eliminates the agricultural proletariat (who were also immersed in the market) from consideration. The argument does try to take in, albeit briefly, (a) the large intermediate rural/urban sector and (b) the vestiges of 'traditional' or 'paternalist' practice which still characterised industry, to the detriment of a pure free market economy. Both urbanism and immersion in the market, in other words, are ideal types, analytically valid, though often compromised in practice. A. Wirth, 'Urbanism as a way of life', American Journalof Sociology,vol. xLIv, (1938), pp. 1-24. Barry Carr, 'The Casa del Obrero Mundial, Constitutionalism and the Pact of February en la Historia de 1915 ', in Elsa Cecilia Frost et al. (eds.), El Trabajo y los Trabajadores Mexico (Mexico and Arizona, 1979), p. 62I.

which could combine in bizarre but appealing constellations: liberal. socialist. The CristeroRebellion:The MexicanPeople Between I926-1929. 82-2. 1933). 53 literacy rates evident in the cities: in a country where average literacy was working class literacy was nearer 30-35 %. veladas). particularly the artisans. But certainly it was the capital. The plethora of working-class papers and pamphlets (and the letters and comments contained therein). the leadership of the railway union claimed Ioo % literacy. and even Protestant. pp. 'The workers of the big cities'. 632-61. 606. (Cambridge. began as an educational/ cultural organisation. 20. in Frost et al. In the industrial city of Orizaba on the eve of the revolution a million copies of the Constitution were sold at Ioc apiece. vol.famous for its political activism. Roque Estrada noted in 1916. 'Los Escudero de Acapulco'. Outcasts.7 Foreign influences were important. which were most affected. p. Church and State 7 Jean Meyer. Acapulco). pp. Cananea). Leif Adleson. Jose Gutierrez to Madero. Archivo Cananea. in which the urban working class (in contradistinction to the peasantry) played an important. 'Casa'. who 'saw themselves as catalysts for cultural revolution. anarchist. Outcasts I9o6in TheirOwnLand. 'Coyuntura y consciencia: Factores convergentes en la fundaci6n de los sindicatos petroleros de Tampico durante la decada de 1920'.General Gabriel suactuactidnpolitico-militar revolucionaria deBrigada Gavira. but also the powerful educational drive mounted by the workers themselves. p. Juarez. r.6 Thus. p. the urban working class was open to a range of ideas. if dependent role. Tampico. Anderson. in response to what was evidently a strong demand. which carried the stamp of its creators: the tipografosof Mexico City. discussion groups.). 6 GabrielGavira. Historia Mexicana. (eds. pp. INAH. MexicanIndustrial Workers. 8 Mario Gill. 12 June 19II. 7.8 For these and other reasons. 'live in days of it official. Anderson. inI (I953). 29I-308. and communities in the border zone (Chihuahua.does not exercise such decisive influence over 5 Rodney D. . i9ii FranciscoMadero(henceforthAFM). 1976).were all indicative of this trend. the major ports (Veracruz. or social . the cities became the focus for the oppositionist politics of the 19oos. religious. and the authority of the representatives of dogma . duty bound to bring light to those still submerged in obscuratism'. pp. Carr. o08-9. (De Kalb. Catholic (the i90os saw the efflorescence of Catholic social action in Mexico). 9-IO. the educational efforts of mutualist societies (libraries. 1978).WorkingClass and Revolutionin Mexico no more than 20%.5 This reflected not only the significant growth of secular education in Porfirian cities. the Casa del ObreroMundial. but not all-important in this process: working class politicisation cannot be explained by some crude diffusionist theory. It was the Americanworkers who pioneered strike action at (Mexico. 198.

24 April 9 2. Zaragoza. Sanchez Azcona.relatively unfettered by 'traditional' authority.54 Alan Knight them as over the peonaje. II. it seems. M.13 Peasants rebelled in defence of a material and normative status quo ante (in a few instances. Mexico City. Revolucidny RegimenMaderista(5 vols. AG. Histdricos 1G. the cities contained masas disponibles. I July I912. Coahuila. electoral politics flourished in the cities. an American noted. 19 I.10 but these could not compare in numbers and docility with the cuadrillas of peons who turned out for their landlords in Tlaxcalan elections. after the manner of Eatanswill) .or unemployed lumpenproletariat . provided the stimulus to revolt. n. it was the declining artisanate (which had a retrospective point of reference. in parts of Mexico after 19o0. in Isidro Fabela. State Department Archive (henceforth SD). Mexico. if not 9 Estrada to E. forms of 'traditional' authority (the village representatives of Morelos.though not.d. 1978). 988. 964). or who were carted into the towns of Veracruz and there shown how to fill in their voting slips. it was the presence of 'traditional' norms (and their apparently arbitrary violation) which in Mexico. Guzmin to Madero. the poor of provincial towns who literally sold their electoral birthright for a mess of pottage.merits separate treatment (and further research). equally. 10 Report of the ex-Secretary of the Club Politico Libres Mexicanos. (1914) in Archivo de Gobernaci6n (henceforth AG). I did not see any of the lower or "pelado" class voting.'9 As elsewhere in Latin America. but it did not therefore render the urban working class more 'revolutionary'. 33 1-2. turn-out was higher. among urban working-class groups. III.12 To put it another way. I am differentiating them from the urban working class. they received the support of 'worker-peasants').the urban lumpenproletariat . oo/4468. 'Convenci6n Revolucionaria'. Ugarte to J. 'while I saw many well-dressed men seemingly of the professional classes and those of the labouring classes. I960). there were dragooned voters in the cities too (the post office workers mobilised by the government. control was less complete. This had important political implications. and. as defined here.participated: during congressional elections in Mexico City in 1912. Baca Calder6n in Diario de los Debates del CongresoConstituyente 1916-17 (z vols."l In the cities. as elsewhere. as we shall see. and the working class . the under. The whole question ofthepelados . On the contrary. Documentos dela Revolucion Mexicana. Barrington Moore Jr. 812 . Of course.or. the serranocaciques of Durango or Puebla) often supplied a vital organisational prerequisite for protest and rebellion. while the countryside still languished under the control of cacique or coronel . experienced violent rebellion and jacquerie. 23 Dec. 12 Shanklin. and thus excluding them rather arbitrarily from the analysis. 13 and Revolt (London. legajo 873. Mexico. Injustice: The Social Bases of Obedience .. any more than the continued presence of 'traditional' authority in the countryside necessarily rendered the peasantry docile and inert.

85-97. Brading(ed. Smith and Pedro Cano of Huasicancha. the use of the 'rhetoric of constitutionalism' by spokesmen of the English Working Class (Harmondsworth. Peasant Cooperationand Capitalist Expansion in Central Peru (Austin. had no place in the cities. 188. comparable to those of the insurgent peasantry) which showed by far the clearest commitment to violent protest. 539-674.16 The ideas purveyed in the cities were heterodox. which characterised peasant rebellion. the search for 'justice untarnished by compromise'. III.). traditional liberalism exercised a strong and not wholly irrational appeal to the urban workers: workers' demands were frequently couched in terms of constitutional right and the legacy of Juarismo. p. Elsewhere. and working-class ideology was eclectic.Journal of Social vol. working classin the lateeighteenthcentury:E. at the expense of euphony. therefore.17 But there was also a strong working-class attachment to the values of what might be termed. Responsesto Injustice'.vol. as already mentioned. it had a lot in common with progressive 'bourgeois' thought. 15 Reginald E. 95 7-6I). p. and politically disponible. I906-I i'. For all its radicalism. 'Passivity and Protest in Germany and Russia: Barrington Moore'sConceptionof Working-Class History. LIV (I 974).18 or.WorkingClass and Revolutionin Mexico 55 a contemporary capacity for organisation. Injustice. and the same author'ssynthesis. . 254-65. 'Some FactorsContributingto PeasantLand Occupationsin Peru: the Example 17 Anderson. just as it made the working class itself more pliable. Mexcio. 489. 16 Moore. Zelnik. 257. 18 Jesus Reyes Heroles. as Rodney Anderson has shown. pp. The Constitution. the relative absence of both traditional authority and pre-existing traditional norms and expectations made working-class rebellion more difficult and less likely. it provided for democratic representation which (in theory) gave the working class a political voice. pp. First. H. came closest to the model of a classic. The 'moral outrage'. guaranteed freedoms of organisation. 'Peasantand Caudilloin the MexicanRevolution'. by trial and error and imitation..pragmatically. P. had to be built up from scratch . Outcasts. for example. deracine proletariat (Cananea had scarcely existed twenty years before the revolution): 'lacking any history as a group. 14 Alan Knight. 'Mexican Workers and the Politics of Revolution. 233-4. Roberts (eds. I963-8'. 25I.1980). cautiously. Long and B. expression and withdrawal of labour (all of which the Porifirian regime repeatedly infringed). snapped up copies of the Constitution at Ioc apiece. pp. TheMaking of theEnglish uses the term 'social liberalism'in a differentsense.15 Organisation and protest. Hispanic American Historical Review.l4The miners of Cananea. in D. 1978).the workers of Orizaba. 15 (1981-82). 269-74. Cf. 241. after all. Thompson. they began their working lives unequipped with any clear. at some risk of confusion. in N. Caudillo andPeasant in theMexican Revolution (Cambridge.). Gavin A. 1972). El LiberalismoMexicano (3 vols. time-honoured criteria of justice which could provide them with a common basis for protest or rebellion '. 'social liberalism'.

Shaw. with their deferential references to God and their Virgin of Guadalupe banners and badges. of course. J. 607.. artisan circles in Mexico City were preaching thrift. 'The Artisan in Mexico City'. 23 .). social Catholic. ch. I82348. I915. 21 Jan. for the social Catholics) the twin evils which had to be extirpated. pt. pervasive. Director. Diario de los Debates. pp.not. El Demdcrata. 621. Maderista/liberal.not necessarily the Church hierarchy. Workers in the Federal District were offended as much by Zapatista depredations . forthcoming). 1970). I914.. education and hard work. 8 by Zapatista religiosity. The Mexican Revolution(Cambridge. Carr. Carr. the logic of the workers' position gave them a vested interest in 19 Alan 20 21 22 Knight. 24 Ibid.. as early 'developmentalism'. I970). Zapata and the Mexican Revolution(New York. pp. 29 Nov. (eds. and the ephemeral radical papers of the revolutionary decade also displayed a commitment to these values. 'Casa'. while creating a certain identity between working class and bourgeoisie. Historia Modernade Mexico: El Porfiriato.agreed. Moises Gonzalez Navarro. 9.56 Alan Knight or even the Mexican Protestant ethic. that drink was the curse of the working class (though one suspects that many of the working class went along with Wilde's reformulation of the problem). in addition to these ideological factors which sundered city and countryside. and halted construction work . 620.22 And temperance was allied to anti-clericalism: pulque and priests were (for many . 6th direcci6n. too. Hohler. Nowhere was the gulf between the enlightened urban worker and the obscurantist peasant clearer than in their respective attitudes towards . 40I. ix. La Vida Social (Mexico. 371 (Mexico)/24o4. at least. Womak. 7zff. appalled the anti-clerical progressives among the Mexico City working class. p. nowhere else was the barrier between civilisation and barbarism more imposing.24 Elsewhere. I5 April 19I7. 398. p. 9 March 95. 413.23 Finally. in Frost et al. as the 84os. yet neglected themes of the political discourse of the time. the working class literati who publicised them) shared with 'bourgeois' thinkers and polemicists of different political colours: Porfirian/positivist. Mexico City. 5 March 1916.20 The Casa del Obrero Mundial followed suit. tirades against alcohol form one of the most common.which forced the outlying textile factories to close. p. but the Catholic religion. ii. 245. Frederick J. to Secretary of Labour. sobriety.21 All these politically diverse elements 'bourgeois' and 'proletarian' .19 For. for example. London: Public Records Office. curtailed the electricity supply. which the working class (or. there was also a concrete material interest. Hence the Zapatistas. Trabajoy Produccidn (organ of the Uni6n Minera Mexicana) 53. Trabajo I FO 34// 14/22. 'Casa'. p.

Governor of the Federal District. ruralrebellion engulfed the Laguna. were made redundant and. 440-5. I9 March 1912. Anderson. as prices rose. demanding food. after men (in a population of some 5o. enlightened interest in industrial problems and sponsored mutualist societies. 96-8. Ramon Eduardo Ruiz. pp. I956). Historia de la Revolucion Carothers. Labor and the Ambivalent Mexico 191P-23 (Baltimore. Porfiristassaw the 'agrarian question' in purely productive.27 This did not necessarily imply altruism.pp..against rural rebels. They. The regime had been shaken by the 'year of strikes' (I906).the moderate. it was as much as the Army could do to prevent rebel prisoners from being lynched by the city mob.cit. the 'social question' 25 26 Torre6n.pp. 6. 1972). 8I2. Outcasts. Porfirian (even Juarista and Lerdista) leaders sought the political support of the urban working class. state governors like Reyes (Nuevo Le6n). local mines and mercantile houses closed down. took a lively. 1980). 3i. and began to concern themselves with the 'labour question' (in contrast.25 In addition. 176. I73ff. I4. Outcasts. p. Ram6n Eduardo Ruiz. I5. as elsewhere in Latin America. 210-I I. p. could not retreat into their milpas when times were hard. since the workers rightly blamed the revolution for this change in conditions. Manuel Revolutionaries. S. Mexicana en Tabasco(Mexico. Luis Gonzalez y Gonzalez. The workers' hitherto bold attitude towards employers and officials was converted into an enforced dependence. and especially by events at Cananea and Rio Blanco. Gavira. Dehesa (Veracruz). in Mexico. for the the (New agrarian question. workers were prepared to demonstrate and even take up arms to defend the regime . Historia Modernade Mexico: La Repiblica Restaurada. The Great Rebellion.Working Class and Revolutionin Mexico 57 continued industrial or mining production (which they shared with other urban groups). 24 Feb. Gonzalez Calzada.. not benefiting the peasantry by way of reform). and. p.then witnessing strenuous working-class organisation and strike activityproduction fell. A variety of factors thus created a perceived identity of interest between urban bourgeoisie and working class. and. 1976).. 'consumptionist' demands now took precedence over the battle for wages. La Vida Social (Mexico. 342I. politicos like Guillermo Landa y Escandon. And this was a two-way process. 3362.D. In the spring of 19I 2.26 In the 9oo00s Diaz commissioned two major reports on labour.00/3085. at Torre6n . rather than politico-social terms: it was a question of modernising agricultural technology and boosting output. and Bandala (Tabasco) thought it worth cultivating the working class. 27 Anderson. and it made them critical of rural rebellion. Long before the revolution. for example. Mexico Iro/-24 York. . 6. op. we shall note. liberal Madero regime . mobs invaded the streets.

'Passages to Leviathan: Chiapas and the Mexican State' (Ph. unreliability and absenteeism of workers were nothing new: they had been vocal enough in the I84os and before.g. with the rapid growth of industry. or divert it into acceptable channels. 'Time. as Bauer and others have pointed out. On industrial growth during the i89os. clearly attempted to curtail working-class protest. see Anderson. this represents an ideal type: within many factories. some of which the revolution inherited). the inculcation of the time and work discipline of industrial capitalism was still partial.28 Landa y Escand6n. 'Rural Workers'. e. vol. 808-Io. Diss. Friedrich Katz. as well as to create a semi-servile peonage: see Bauer. of course. 47-78. pp. especially pp. Thompson.9. and the conversion of artisans and peasants into proletarians. the market. it was in their interest that he should. 78-I7I. op. 31 Shaw. Past and Present. presage a popular revolution). work-discipline and industrial capitalism'. and here we come to the second distinguishing feature and formative influence. there were still vestiges of peonage. The peasant . like later revolutionary labour reformers. 103.cit. The working class existed within a money economy. Intellectuals... one 'conjunctural'. like many early twentieth-century working classes. since governors and policy-makers themselves resided in the cities. but the urban worker might be converted to civilisation. 1980). I981). but not of suitably motivated 28 Gonzalez Navarro. the seminal statement is still to be found in Max Weber. Outcasts. free labour and the cash nexus. p. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London. 23 Jan. and. And.. op. 1974). 97-8. almost entirely governed by the laws of the market. labour was highly regulated. La Servidumbre Agraria en Mexico enla Epoca Porifiriana(Mexico. pp. Elites. see James 0. on elite responses to the 'social question' in Chile (where it did not. 910o. the cash advance (enganche) may serve as a device to recruit free wage labour (particularly in the face of peasant resistance). one secular. in some cases incipient. Thomas Louis Benjamin. 1966). But the significant fact is that such an attempt was systematically made .58 Alan Knight began to agitate men's minds. 40-2. pp. Michigan State.30 Employers' complaints concerning the fecklessness.D.29 This carried two important implications. Morris. 21-9. Of course. pp. . in recruitment for the mines: El Correode Chihuahua.represented barbarism (Porfirian official thinking was infused with crude Darwinian stereotypes. that of Mexico was still in the making.31 The separation of the worker (artisan or peasant) from the means of production guaranteed an abundant supply of labour. 30 E. First.cit. 416-17. 79-8 I. P. but now. pp. the complaints came thick and fast. even outside. 56-97. even the Mexico City theatre started to explore 'social' themes.and Consenus:A Study of the Social Questionand the IndustrialRelations System in Chile (Ithaca. Both working-class protest and official thinking must be seen in the contemporary economic context. 29 As already a way that was not when the regime confronted peasant protest. pp.especially the indio. xxxvIII (1967).

came to rely less on semi-coercive control than on calculated incentive: paying a premium. emphasising their coercive or oppressive aspects. arbitrary factory discipline (justified on the grounds of the workers' fecklessness) was a source of constant working-class complaint. docking wages. Some (in the troubled textile industry. pp. i8 Oct. 95.typified by the large. Diss.. pp. S. at the end of a full week's work. 37 A. El Correode Chihuahua.. corporate. 35 Ibid. the growth of the market and of proletarianisation did not necessarily dissolve old regulatory practices (which we are here calling 'paternalistic') but often served to distort them. La Servidumbre Agraria. 84-92. 416-19.36 They could count on their own favourable market position (vis-a-vis labour) and their financial resources (oil began to boom as textiles contracted).. Insurgent Governor:Abraham GonadleZand the Mexican Revolutionin Chihuahua(Lincoln. 103-13. I973). 77-8. 'Nationalism. 308. 8 March. 1974). and harsh. protective paternalism was also apparent. this was increasingly exceptional. in two contrasting ways. pp. pp. pp. pp. Outcasts. 323-6. for example. 97-100. the inexorable trend was towards 'stricter industrial regimes for the workers and harsher personnel practices'. 153. April I906. imposing fines.. and employment in these sectors was better paid and sought after. 36 Company auditor's report. the lack of application and initiative. under the pressure of the market. La Servidumbre Agraria. Beezley.35 The more modern industrial enterprises faced similar problems: in the mines of Cananea it was difficult to ensure sustained work. But for a variety of reasons.32 And they responded.19 Feb. compiling complex regulations. Xenophobia and Revolution: the Place of Foreigners and Foreign Interests in Mexico. keeping dossiers of supposed trouble-makers. roughly. pp. I6 Dec. such companies . 9. hacienda and factory alike possessed their tiendas de raya. 76. Employers lamented the chronic absenteeism of their workers. The hated haciendamayordomo (often Spanish) had his counterpart in the hated factory foreman (also Spanish). over the week and the month. the pernicious effects of drink. Anglo-American mining and oil interests . hiring and firing at will.Phil. INAH. they instituted close supervision of the factory. Katz. 130-I. 26 June I9io.34 As in the countryside. I906.cit. the old practice of San Lunes.33 Though (as in some haciendas) a more benign. 159. 33 Anderson. 94..15 '(Oxford D. pp. Katz. Knight. 535-36. 159. 910. op. while stripping away what reciprocity formerly existed. 34 Ibid.. La Nueva Era (Parral). workers complained that 'today in Mexico the patron is not the father that yesterday he was'. r.37 Mexican industrialisation during the Porfiriato can thus be seen (though it has been Gonzalez Navarro. serie Sonora. 78. for example) borrowed the 'paternalistic' ways of the hacienda: that is.Working Class and Revolution in Mexico 59 labour. William H. 32 . 14-1 5.

it must be questioned whether economic indices and cycles (though superficially attractive as 'hard' data) are necessarily so useful in explaining popular protest: not only are they often unreliable. while for mining it rose by a quarter. the fact is that both cushioned the rural population (peon and peasant) against the effects of the market. minimum daily wage is reckoned to have fallen by some third (for agriculture) between i899 and I9I0. More immediately important. though it should be noted that recovery was well under way by I 910 and that . Anderson. so real wages fell markedly.whether the focus is on regions. pp. in considering the role of the working class. as food production failed to keep pace. Historia Mexicana. El Colegio de Mexico. Social reality is more complex than that. and as industry destroyed jobs faster than it created them. Estadisticas Economicas del Porfiriato. pp. were largely detrimental.seems valid. p. mining) . We cannot enter that argument here. El Aspecto Agrario de la Mexicana (Mexico. and these. correlative technique (inflation up two points. alleviated in certain export sectors (e. from the late 89os. recession in 1907. vol.60 Alan Knight little researched) in terms of the secular struggle to implant the ethic of modern capitalism.39The years 1907-8 witnessed economic recession. to which there were divergent responses. 'Anotaciones sobre la produccion de alimentos durante el Porfiriato'.38 But there is little doubt that. nor the prevalence of subsistence agriculture should be exaggerated. as population growth and agrarian expropriation swelled the supply of labour. hence divergent political and economic behaviour on the part of the workers. 148-5 . individuals or social groups political dissidence and revolutionary proclivities usually antedated these years. Coatsworth. in the i9oos. 62. Outcasts. While neither the strength of hacienda 'paternalism'. the experience of Mexico in the years before the revolution is a familar one: economic hardship and unemployment went with a fall in strike activity and decline 38 39 John H. and the workers' economic struggle on the other (measured in terms of strike activity). Revolucidn . positivistic. to the extent that tentative correlations can be established between wages and employment on the one hand. by a quarter for industry. Historians have readily inferred that these lean years provoked the revolution. The real. they are also suggestive of a rather crude.a general fall in real wages. xxvI (1976). government popularity rating down three. and lacking any causal relationship with the phenomenon of protest (it is often just a question of post hoc ergopropter hoc).g. Apocalyptic (but common) assertions of a catastrophic fall in living standards throughout the Porfiriato have been shown to be statistically unfounded. i67-87. 919). 165. I908-9 consecutive bad harvests. Fernando Gonzales Roa. pp. therefore revolution in i9 0). 58. In fact. these figures are open to question but the broad picture .

7-II. pp. but taken alone they tell us little. correctly): the 'moral economy'. . E. broadly comparable variables. the decline in real wages suffered during the 90oos . arbitrary authority.are relevant in considering working-class reactions to the Porfirian regime and the revolution. the imposition of new. a catalogue of bad times . as compared with 67. and analyse how different subgroups reacted to historical change. social groups and political events. 76-136. As regards the much more complex question of popular. 'The Moral Economy of the English Crowd of the Eighteenth Century'. the violation of existing (tacitly) agreed norms of behaviour. therefore. is to disaggregate the working class itself. drawn from the same economic universe. for factory workers (of whom about one-third worked in the textile industry). Mexican Revolution. in my view. 44. vi.Working Class and Revolutionin Mexico 6i in apparent militancy. Ruiz. Scott. The later years of the revolution produced a similar effect. pp. at least. pt. P. low pay. 1976). Labor. 1922). 43 Mexican Year Book (Los Angeles. James C. 42 Cf. Outcasts. 333. pp. The Moral Economyof the Peasant: Rebellionand Subsistencein Southeast Asia (New Haven. carpenters) who. dealing with both peasant and working-class protest. 9. protected by distance. Knight. it is worth bearing in mind that recent work.42 Aggregate economic data . II Despite its gradual decline. Past and Present. The 1910 census revealed between 90. political protest (which underlay the 1910 revolution). such arguments embrace the 'economic'.000 and ioo. therefore. and ingrained 40 41 Anderson. Injustice.may have little explanatory power. vol. 23. the artisanate (broadly defined for the moment) greatly outnumbered the classic proletariat.43 But at least three subdivisions must be made. First.unemployment. but they place it in context and do not exalt it (not even to the status of necessary 'causein-the-last-analysis'). The first task. as it stands. the capacity for 'moral outrage' as a primary impulse and collective organisation as a necessary basis of effective protest. pp. 224. industries. Thomas. L (197I). has emphasised 'non-economic' factors (and. local poverty.illustrating.40Here. atrocious conditions of work . weavers. 341-2. there were village artisans (potters. Moore. As regards the Mexican working class.000 Obviously.000 shoemakers. and they must be interpreted in the light of other more important (largely non-quantifiable) data relating to regions.000 potters (and so on). are being correlated.

229. hats. p. basis). offer the most exquisite pieces of work for the lowest prices imaginable.62 Alan Knight custom. could survive in the face of industrialization. Celaya (and) Queretaro. it was as a result of the general fall in rural living standards. Making of the English Working Class. 213. p. Historians.Felipe Neri in Morelos. The artisans' characteristic response.000:32. and industrial competition (usually emanating from other parts of the country) was intense. I98I. Outcasts.44 If their plight worsened.000: I9. 47 Vitold de Szyszlo. leather goods. 8 . or were fast losing.000 (I895) to 12. p. Orestes Pereyra in the Laguna. candles. i961). wages were depressed. particularly associated with the growth of large landholdings. in terms of both location and organisation. during the revolution. 46-7. and San Miguel 44 Anderson. and Wistano Luis Orozco in the same series. La Cuestidnde la Tierra (4 vols. p. Village artisans often played an important role in rural rebellion: they figured as leaders.000 (I910). shoes. hence travellers observed 'the workers of Leon putting-out working at home in their miserable tenements'. 16. pp. where artisan crafts had long flourished in conjunction with the mines. or were moved by 'the patent misery of the pariah of Le6n. who. Irapuato. 48 Thompson. Alan Knight. a second. 1913). 1966). while the attrition was probably most marked. . paper given to the VIth Congress of Mexican and U.S. II. Reminiscences of the Mexican Revolution(Mexico. Patrick O'Hea. was the urban riot: a form of popular protest. which historians have largely neglected.47 But in Mexico as elsewhere handicraft workers of this kind found it notoriously hard to achieve any collective organisation or mount collective resistance.45 But they were clearly marginal to the urban working class..48 They might share with the peasant a nostalgia for the world they had lost. but now the mines were past their peak. particularly evident in the towns of the Bajio. 349. for these and other figures see Anderson. or as 'village intellectuals' . Sept. engaged in a mortal struggle with factory production: of textiles. 'Intellectuals in the Mexican Revolution'. p. the ratio of artisans to factory workers moved from 41. 46 Aggregate figures are hard to obtain. Penjano (municipal buildings and pawnshops sacked). crucial group was composed of declining artisans. Zapata. Outcasts. The same conditions which made the Bajfo the main source of braceros and of recruits into the Rurales contributed to the immiseration of the artisans (whose work was often done on a domestic. With regard to the towns.. 132. in textiles. 45 Womack. 38-9. In the spring and early summer of 1911 riots hit Ciudad Manuel Doblado (where the mob burned the courthouse and tax office and opened the jail). Dix Milles Kilometres a travers le Mexique (Paris. Toribio Esquivel Obreg6n in Jesus Silva Herzog. but they were less equipped to do anything about it. Mexico.46 Their sad lot was most apparent in the towns of the Bajio. in the stations of the Central Railway. Chicago. 346. i.

pp. 27 May 1911. whether they were 'factory workers' in the strict sense. Sanchez to Gobernaci6n.Primitive Rebels: Studies in ArchaicFormsof SocialMovement in the Nineteenth and TwentiethCenturies(Manchester. Zamora to same. 2I Dec. Trabajoy Produccidn (organ of the UMM). not the new. 3 July 191I. Soto to A.. i June I911. E. J. to Gobernaci6n. 233-5. claiming the usual victims. AG 898. 11/53.but chiefly the miners in the older. F. and at San Francisco del Rincon. 22 July 1911 . Brading. FO 371/1147. where the aim of socialism is said to be that of freeing the worker 'without resort to violence'. to Governor Silva. since San Miguel was though to be 'a fairly respectable surprise town. George Rude. 50 B. The . 1974). reminiscent of Germinal) Concepci6n del Oro.51 It is also worth noting that.53 Similarities between these riotous groups and events and their counterparts in pre-industrial Europe spring to mind. 276. oo/575o0. Pachuca and (a particularly grisly riot. 54 Cf. nor such additional evidence as I have found. because their market in the north had collapsed'. Robles Dominguez (henceforth AARD). shed much light on the precise composition of the rioters (in particular. or some combination of both). with the physical remoteness of their industrial competitors inhibiting outright Luddism. 22 July 1911 . Miners and Merchantsin BourbonMexico i763-18Io (Cambridge. 51 Rowe. the 'faces in the crowd' remain blurred. 23 May 1911.52 But while they followed in the old tradition of the brawling miners of Bourbon Mexico.54 And. the miners' 'leaders advised against violence': Simpich.20780. Manager. 23 March 1911. 27 May 1911. Lizardi to Carlos Robles Dominguez.00/2046. 53 D. or out-workers. Rowe. I08-25. Guanajuato. cf. 3 1 May 19 1. R. to directors. declining centres. Biblioteca Nacional de Mexico. 1 /22. during the one major strike at Cananea during the Madero years.. pp. 'Relaciones con los Estados (Mich.who were most prone to riot: at Angangueo. Cia Minera de los Reyes. Hostotipaquillo. G. AG 14. jefe politico. Crowdin History i730-1848 (New York. 12 Jan. came as a to some. 23 San Miguel petition 11/2. mostly factory workers who could read and write'. Cananea. 17 May I911.. Archivo A. 2 June 9 11.49 Riots were expected and only narrowly averted at Celaya. AG 898. Guanajuato. AG 898. after the artisans.00/20z46. 1912. Robles Dominguez. 1917. 197I).. corporate mines of the north . Soto to Robles Dominguez. officials and retailers were exacerbated by the effects of the revolution (which also afforded the opportunity for grievances to be expressed): at Leon. Neither these reports. 52 Hohler. where the same forces set about 'firmly repressing the workers' movement. AARD 1/69. Mexico City. Aguirre to Gobernacion. the handicraft workers were' on the point of starvation. 63 where a protracted riot. Los Reyes. preventing them from opening the prison and saving business from damage . I964). SD 812. 22 May 191I. it was the miners . SD 821. Hobsbawm.Working Class and Revolutionin Mexico Allende. El Diario del Hogar. their colleagues in the collieries of Coahuila or the copper mines of Sonora eschewed riot in favour of unionisation. SD 812. Ziticuaro. May 191 . AARD 6/1 36.50 It is clear that longstanding grievances against industrialists. for example.)'. where an industrialist 'who is scarcely loved by his workers' hastily summoned the Maderista forces to keep the peace. 49 B.

skilled. L. I960). buoyant sectors of the urban economy (trams. underemployed. Ph. 'Casa'.00/I4073. in preaching to and mobilising the disaffected 55 Hobsbawm. Despite the wide range which these groups spanned . the aspiring. and who merge into the proletariat proper. public utilities. he joined mutualist societies (where he might rub shoulders with the middle class). Something akin to Luddism. L. Puebla.57 Madero. the construction and electricity industries).D. Mi Prisidn. large lumpenproletariat. on the other hand. which they and their families had long inhabited.cit. 'pettybourgeois' artisans. 108. (Council for National Morgan. in preparation). pp. and even prospered during the generation of the Porfiriato. he inhabited the new suburbs of the capital around Buenavista station. Literate. Gavira.56 Typical of this group were Aquiles Serdan. J.and the frequent poverty and insecurity of the first.cit. the artesano culto. I914. they were neither recent rural migrants. however. vi. 1979). La Defensa Socialj la Verdad del Caso (Mexico. appears to have characterised the worker-peasant movement in Tlaxcala/Puebla: Jenkins. p. it extends from those 'artisans' on the one hand who served the new. grew in numbers. contrasting with the relative affluence and respectability of the second . Silvestre Dorador. nor yet were they part of the the unemployed. MonografiaHistdrica sobre la Genesis de la Revolucidn Puebla (Mexico. provided the backbone of the educational and cultural organisations already mentioned. 57 Carr. p.. Ron Tyler. 29 April 1911. op. vagrants. op. aspiring and politically aware. and were familiar with the urban environment. these workers displayed certain comparable political traits. beggars and criminals who constituted thepe/ados. A.55 The third category of artisans is the most diffuse: it embraces those who survived. I916).64 Alan Knight the Bajio artisans (and the' traditional' miners) shared with the pre-industrial mob a concern for issues of consumption (as against production): hence the repeated attacks on shops and pawnbrokers (many of them Spanish-owned). FO 37I/II47. 449-50. .they shared important characteristics: they were skilled or semi-skilled. Gonzalez y Gonzalez. the Puebla shoemaker and first martyr of the revolution. op.. p. nor classic proletarians (in the sense of working in large industrial units). ch. the Veracruzanos Gabriel Gavira (a cabinet-maker) and Rafael Tapia (a saddler). I8523. Veracruz. pp. Silvestre Dorador of Durango. Nunn. The aspiring artisan. 1880-1920' Academic Awards. 124. 72.F. As such. p. literate. 'Economy and Society in the D. thesis. 56 i8 Nov. 6. PP. en el Estado de Atenedoro Gamez.. he may be seen graphically depicted in the woodcuts of Posada. 2. 606. and cast in the image of their Victorian counterparts.cit. SD 8I2. Posada's Mexico (Washington.. printshops. 22-3.

27 Sept. Zapata's included.). who defy precise categorisation (no doubt that reflects upon the categories in use. Knight. Rio Blanco. the Club Obreros Libres had a town merchant and veteran Maderistaas president. it was the Mexico City artisans who pioneered the political alliance between the organised working class and the Constitutionalists. J. 613-14. Archivo del Depto. indeed. 1919. p. I8 (1975). this important social group was typically. Madero. and the Cooperative Mutualist Society.S.however.Working Class and Revolutionin Mexico 65 middle class. Jean Meyer. at Rio Blanco. the question is raised of how legitimate it is to include both the artesanos cultos. notwithstanding its proletarian label. also singled out that 'chosen element of the working class which aspires to improvement' as an important source of support.cit. Again. proved to be. and the 'semi-proletarian' or migrant workers of the north. 61 62 Carr. 437-45.58 In I909 came the rapid conversion of mutualist societies in cities like Puebla or Orizaba into Anti-Re-electionist clubs. de Trabajo (henceforth Trabajo) 34/2/8. From the perspective of revolutionary participation. No. 21. Porfiristaofficials also established relations with mutualist societies. i6 Feb. these groups were of much greater significance than 'pure' working class. i908). I9II. Cananea.Mexico'.. pp. and at Muizquiz (Coa. At the risk of simplification. 25 (1970). 9 July records of the Workers Mutualist Society. Santos Coy to Madero 26 Sept. 59 A. ineradicably urban. we may discern two groups: the 'worker-peasants' of central Mexico. as already suggested. La SucesidnPresidencialen 191o (San Pedro. 60 Gonzalez y Gonzalez.C. vol. RaymondTh. the making of the Mexican working class was very much in progress when the revolution occurred. 26-36. 1911.59 The political involvement of the artisans (nothing new in Mexican history)60 was not confined to Maderismo. and often these included white collar workers and members of the professional and commercial middle class . who supported the Orozquists and Villista movements. But.62 It is worth noting that the worker-peasant was a central 58 Francisco I. who collaborated with the vigorous peasant movements of that region. Les BataillonsRouges'. 'Peasant and Caudillo'. AFM r. and who may best be regarded as elements within the generic serrano rebellion. for example. but for the moment we are stuck with them). 'Les Ouvriers dans la Revolution Mexicaine. Buve. often self-employedcraftsmen. 24I. which it.'Casa'. Caudillosand Land Reform during the revolution (I910-I7) in Tlaxcala. pp. Aquiles Serdan. expd. 2. pp. 426-7. LAS i6 . 'PeasantMovements. AARD 39/Ii. AnnalesE.and (for example)the print workers or tram driversunder the generic heading 'artisans'. furthermore. op.. to Robles Dominguez.the skilled. and five years after the revolution Cananea. As a result there were large semi-proletarianised groups. where. Boletin de Estudios del Latino-Americanosy Caribe.61 With the obvious exception of the village artisans. 1920.

34/1/14/28 . thus. Prior to then. both by time and by region. 3 6. Vuchinich (ed. 64 Buve.66 Alan Knight character in the revolution in Russia. relations between peasant rebels and urban workers were often close (displaying little of the cultural gulf apparent in the D. factory workers also of recent.the shift of peasants into industry (textiles) encouraged a cross-fertilisation of ideas. 'Convenci6n Revolucionaria'. 26 Sept. 1976). where continued ties between village and factory served to fuse the discontents of both groups (elsewhere kept distinct). Pacheco to M. who put out an allegedly 'socialist' programme. hence much less productive of urban revolution. rural origin -gave aid and comfort to Zapatismo. 'The Peasant and the Factory' in Wayne S. 1911. p. Barry Carr.). Zelnik. Altariste to Madero. and where both the nature of the regime (highly autocratic and repressive) and the nature of factory production (large. Military recruitment at Atlixco. F. 13 1-2. B. A. at Metepec and Atlixco.64Tlaxcala consequently witnessed the development of a radical worker/peasant movement. a degree of mutual trust and support. Lopez Jimenez. 30 Jan.66 But this phenomenon . but also of urban political mobilisation. Outcasts. himself an ex-textile worker. 3 7.the collaborative protest of city and countryside.usually acted as a disin- recruitment offered an alternative to unemployment and destitution. 26 Nov. Anderson. and an unusual capacity for collective worker/peasant action. gravely alarmed the owners of property in the state. 65 Ibid.while it lasted . pp. 9I 5.the recovery of land lost to expansionist haciendas . while the Tlaxcalan peasant movement obeyed familiar.. self-contained. loc.was strictly limited. 50-I touch on the largely unexplored question of rural labour recruitment. Puebla. pp. too. In Puebla and Tlaxcala. Trabajo on support for Zapata. El MovimientoObreroy la Politica en Mexico 1910-29 (2 vols Mexico. I 58-90. to manager. for example. 19I I. Fabela. and . p. worker and peasant . as we shall see: the pioneer revolutionary commitment 63 Reginald E. i968).63 In Mexico this phenomenon was much less pronounced. The Peasant in Nineteenth CenturyRussia (Stanford. Outcasts.cit. capable not only of rural insurrection (even in advance of the 'official' Maderistarevolution). did not come until 1914- 5. II. p. regimented units) inhibited the growth of organisations which might ameliorate the workers' conditions or socialise them into urban society. where 'longstanding job mobility between rural villages and urban areas' was evident. and certainly represented the radical wing of Maderistagovernment. 346-8.). agrarian motives .65 In Puebla. AG. 20-2. Banco Oriental manager. 275.. when both factories and workers were facing hard times. ii. 66 Anderson. leading to the election as Governor (on the strength of the operariovote) of Antonio Hidalgo. factory employment centive to revolt. Tlaxcala.

in the mining industry in no sense made it a mining community per se). at least in the Orizabaregion. market-oriented nature of the north also ensured the participation of semi-proletarians. derivative of industrial societies.E. Alan Knight. 3-2 . 'fully dedicatedto their work in a very peaceful manner': J. and Gavira. vol. hence ties between city and village. Vega Bonilla to A.'La Revolution Mexicaine:d'abordune revolution miniere?'. Terrazas.pp. op. 'La R6volutionMexicaine:revolution miniereou revolution serrano?'. there is a risk of over-emphasising it. 30 Nov. Outcasts. Katz. vol. 54-5.68 The semi-proletarian character of the northern revolution has been emphasised elsewhere. rural recruitment.C. and their integration into urban Tomochic . 249-50. liberals. Such an occupational bias. 43-7. some of them classic peasants.the workers 68 in the timber towns (Madera. 232-3. 38 (I983). 1910. 36 (I98I). were weaker. proletarianisation was more gradual yet more complete than in Russia: it built upon a stronger artisanal base (which Russian industry lacked).in its initial phase (I90o-I I) . Annales. migrants. and relied less upon mass. -vaqueros. E. Servidumbre Agraria. 24-5. 7. if sometimes ex-mineros. Knight. op. 225.69But the more mobile.Berkeley.70 This is untenable: it makes the mining tail wag the peasant dog. Many other examplescould be cited from later in the revolution too. worker and peasant.was a revolution miniere.S. some of them motivated by agrarian grievances analogous to those of the Zapatistas.71 To appropriate nothern rebels and rebel communities as minerosis to fasten upon and exalt one factor at the expense of many (for the individuals.Box 28. and jobs were less functionally specific: the curriculum vitae of a serrano rebel should not be read like that of a Sorbonne 67 Even in the rebel heartland of i 91o-I I . 9. Annales. on the sympathy which some Porifirian officials displayed 69 70 71 F. 29-3 I.cit. pp. is inappropriate in societies where the division of labour was less advanced. were mostly rural folk.the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua . 'Peasant and Caudillo'. Zubatov's police unions: Anderson. or persons with a grudge against authority.were also ex-peasants.. Furthermore. for the northern rebels. Landay Escand6n'sGrandMutualistSociety appearsto have had more success than towards the workers. BancroftLibrary. and especially miners. Guerra.Pearson) were reckoned to be gentetranquila. A recent article has even suggested that the northern revolution . for all its black image. and the participation of a community . the Porfirian regime was less intransigent than its Tsarist equivalent: it not only allowed but sometimes positively encouraged the peaceful association of the workers.-X.67 Elsewhere in Mexico. see also pp. too. indeed. -outlaws. pp.S. SilvestreTerrazasArchive.WorkingClass and Revolutionin Mexico 67 of the Tlaxcala worker-peasants was the exception rather than the rule. 3.C. it would seem.

was well inert or politically indifferent. as some villages did (though they might engage in brief.and not wholly proletarianised (or urbanised). German or Mexican . Thompson. fully proletarianised groups. and they were prepared to countenance alliances with parties and regimes of almost any type .the 'making of the working class'. the mines kept working. As Barrington Moore observes in the case of Germany. Roughly speaking. On the contrary. the dangers of violent revolution tended to recede. to the evident satisfaction of their employees. therefore. 135. it was their contacts with or even membership of rural communities the cells of revolution . E. p. what has been called (by a Marxist. right.the railwaymen. As we shall note. be it English. Thus it was possible for groups like the miners of Sonora 72 73 Moore.the result was a diminution. where they were permitted. in The Povertyof Theoryand Other Essays (London. Injustice. 'The Peculiarities of the English'. 1978). when unemployment facilitated rebel recruitment (the Red Battalions were the classic but not the sole example).which. and. 71. mining communities almost never rebelled as collectivities. it is the absence of such revolutionary commitment which is conspicuous. and (proletarian) miners . sindicatos). Serranorebellion obeyed motives which were largely divorced from mining. if the focus is switched to the classic. and centre. with a vested interest in continued industrial production. dockers.p. P. they displayed 'a very marked tendency to associate': first and foremost in 'economist' organisations (mutualist societies. not a Panglossian modernisation theorist) the 'imbrication of working class organisation in the statusquo. throughout much of the revolution. where factory employment could soak up surplus labour . it could not always do . or detracted from their rural. textile operatives.secondarily in political formations.68 Alan Knight professor.which counted. violentjournees). Conversely. admittedly. 'industrialisation solved the problem of the proletariat rather than created it . not an accentuation of revolutionary potential. semi-proletarians participated actively in the armed revolution precisely because they were semi.72 Once the process of proletarianisation . as the development of 'modern' capitalism was matched by the development of 'modern' working-class organisations.left. Thus.73 And this was particularly true during the revolution. while stable employment often made recruitment impossible. and the sporadic participation of miners or ex-miners in such rebellions scarcely imparted an 'industrial' character to these revolts. But the latter were strongly reformist and pragmatic in nature. serranoorigins. This is not to characterise the emergent proletariat . .

76 Tampico. Pdginas de la Revolucion(Mexico. 2901. high wage sector of the national economy) had no inhibition about mixing in bourgeois politics. despite the name).characterised the railwaymen. 1911. pp. (b) to achieve tactical alliances with revolutionary politicians like Maytorena or Espinosa Mireles. p. In fact. coupled with judicious political alignment .achieved real results: Anderson. for example. as the miners of Coahuila did in 1912). of L. Urquizo.76 Even if anarcho-syndicalist ideology exercised an appeal (as it did in some quarters . while demonstrating against revolutionary upheaval and in favour of peace. the intransigence of most employers ensured that this was no soft option. like the Coahuilan miners.75 A similar dual strategy. 77 The railway workers sought not only to organise and improve conditions. Trabajo 1/3 /3/22. the transfer of resources may go the other way. and.F.WorkingClass and Revolutionin Mexico 69 and Coahuila (a) to form combative unions. the city (or factory) is seen as the source of peasant politicisation .C. I965). affiliated to Madero's P. Or. 17 Feb. non-ideological principles as Gompers. 75 Gill. II. 4262. At Acapulco and Tampico. The most advanced sectors of the working class ('advanced' in terms of organisational strength.initiated under Diaz . marched for peace in 1912). Ruiz. but also to supplant the American employees who held the better jobs.economic organisation and wage bargaining. located in the more 'advanced'. it does not fit the prevailing historiography of the Mexican revolution particularly well. 235-4I. And. 'Los Escudero'. . 13 March 19I 3. Tampico. 117-19. 15 June I9I2. Not only are the riotous artisans and (sometimes) the worker-peasants neglected. Groups such as the Jaliscan Railwaymens Club 'Union and Progress'.74 The dockers. SD 812. Outcasts. 9 Dec. if 74 Rafael Sierra Francisco y Dominguez to Trabajo. led by the redoubtable Sam Kelly (a Mexican. behaved similarly. 33. I912. pp. Bevan. the initiative springs from the 'worker(s)' transforming the peasant(s). 28.00/2515.' economist' struggle. incidentally. Miller.P. there is a prevailing assumption that where worker-peasants rebel. industrial sectors of working classes elsewhere. and the A.without which the peasants remain in rural idiocy. 5714. while (c) avoiding active participation in the armed struggle (indeed. who represented one of the most aggressive and developed sectors of the working class. 13 Nov.77 there is also a tendency to stress the role of the industrial proletariat. they progressed from syndical organisation to political involvement: working-class participation in Tampico elections was sustained (and the port workers. in which respect their long struggle . inert and ideologically dumb. Though such behaviour corresponds with that observed in the modern.perhaps not as many as often imagined) it was largely honoured in the breach. as in the crude dualism of vintage development theory. threw its weight behind political candidates according to the same pragmatic. the dockers' union. Labor. as regards the central. 1912.

117. 13.I9I0-14 (Mexico. causal links between them and the successful revolution of 91o0. 127-30. Cananea was staunchly oppositionist .and its local representatives . 82 Ibid. Outcasts. pp. more enlightened. one which sought. 81 Ibid. by means of a lockout. Such incidents reflected badly on the Porfirian regime. at Rio Blanco.. 71-150. did not establish itself as an armed camp. II4-16. . La Revolucion Sonorense. 109. In both cases.were a good deal less hawkish than the employers. p. 131.. the national government. (which anyway recruited more among white collar employees than among rank-and-file proletarians) has in both cases been considerably exaggerated. and bloody industrial disputes (in which the workers were as much victims as aggressors) were not the stuff of mass revolution. I43-54. p. Even Anderson. Meantime. pp. whose excellent analysis dispels numerous myths. the violence itself (which led to repression. for example. 'may well have been the watershed of the Old Regime' (note the subjunctive). Outcasts. corporate management. but it did not go over to the revolution en masse in 9Io0. 133. pp. they were not engaged in subversive political agitation. capricious management.70 Alan Knight only by emphasising the events at Cananea (I906) and Rio Blanco (1907) as decisive antecedents of the revolution. Miners' wages were higher than revolutionary pay anyway. Ibid.79However much both the Diaz regime and later radical historians would like it to have been the case. Aguirre.L. and the company's decision to change shift practices and increase the work load at Cananea. the miners confronted an inept..82 Finally. Hector Aguilar Camin.80 At Cananea. but it is hard to draw direct. pp. against the differential wage scales which favoured American employees. 107.78 In fact. and Diaz's arbitration (which immediately preceded the violence) was not the sell-out to management it has sometimes been depicted. 268-70. and hence the notoriety of the disputes) was precipitated by specific events. I45. it should be noted. American foremen at Cananea). after the manner of the Bolivian tin mines in the 195os. to 'throttle' the workers' incipient organisation and solidarity. and initiated by the company employees (shopkeepers at Rio Blanco. Manuel J. not by the workers themselves. the miners continued to press for 78 79 Anderson. too. the workers were bent on asserting moderate economic claims: specifically against the imposition of fines and other penalties at Rio Blanco. The legitimacy of the regime was at a low ebb in any case. Cananea(Mexico. 80 Anderson. these events do not invalidate the interpretation presented here. INAH.81 In the latter case. the role of the P. pp. Gavira. 121-3.Reyistathen Maderistain I908-I0. cannot altogether rid himself of the idea that Cananea. 1958). I975). 7-9. p.M. and instead continued operations under its new.

Int. 49-50. involvement in reformist politics . 19 o0. 85 Anderson. MovimientoObrero. Given half a chance. Carrancista) to seek a rapprochement with labour.cit. the workers have not been born revolutionaries.I. Canada. 56. lagged behind those of Puebla. Not only were wages raised. . Cananea. i6 Dec.oo/5746 on wages.83 Rio Blanco. op.recruitment picked the even Orizaba but factories then.S. the political order was (broadly speaking) accepted. unions. Mines and Progress: Seven American Pioneers in Mexico 1867-111 (Ithaca.84Thereafter. Pletcher. and received a degree of satisfaction. Outcasts. p. this pattern of development depended on factors outside the control of the workers themselves: it required not only the growth of modern industrial units (many of them foreign-owned and managed) but also the increasing tendency of the government (Porfirian. 308.was cut from 34% (I905) to 13 % (I392). Diaz to M.Working Class and Revolution in Mexico 71 'economist' gains. SD 8 12 . The workers struck against their employers (angling for political support while they did) and did not lynchjefes politicos or ransack Spanish pawnbrokers. 83 Aguilar. Maderista. required that the state meet them at least part of the way. ii: Gavira. 24 Nov. R. L6pez Jimenez.and eschewed both armed revolutionary commitment and violent street confrontations. with growing economic dislocation. up. are evident. the American share of the force . 255. hence full proletarianisation and a complete divorce from the countryside) so the workers' protest assumed 'modern'. 28-9. I912. if only the better thereby to control it. and the vigorous propaganda of the Casadel Obrero Mundial. 122-30 and Simpich. As the comparison with Russia has already suggested. SD 812.00/I4982. pp. associational forms . and David M. N. the organised working class opted for unionism and reformism (sometimes camouflaged under revolutionary rhetoric). Mexique. Archives des Affaires Etrangeres. Carr. 1958). Rails. in Porfirian it was fears still working at 90% capacity in 191o. hopes or March 191 5.85 where links with the campesinado To summarise matters crudely: to the extent that enterprises conformed to the 'modern' industrial norm (large units. pp. 22 March 1915. only when it was brusquely and brutally denied the chance did it entertain risky thoughts of revolution. and preparedness to invoke the authority of the state. Violence was absent.. an advanced division of labour. as on the railways. Paris. pp. Parallels with Europe. Pol. Trabajo 32/1/1/ Cananea. were stronger. 173. 229. and economic grievances focused on questions of production rather than consumption. see also Aguirre. did not live up to either revolutionary though a supposed nest of Maderismo. Historically. but have had revolutions thrust upon them. and the growth of labour reformism there. Mexico City.. a source of discontent . 13 April I915. 84 Lefaivre. when a recent pay rise again made revolutionary recruitment financially difficult. pp. The workers' acceptance of the state.

236-7. the Casa del Obrero in 1912). 58-63. and (3) the phase of Constitutionalist rule. the 86 87 Ruiz. examples of strikes taken chiefly from American which contain abundant information. ultimately disastrous decline of the economy: the collapse of the peso. a trend evident in 1913-14. and two economic (though. the workers contributed to the efflorescence of the press made possible by Maderista tolerance. the political phase can be precisely delimited. The 1910 revolution ushered in a phase of political change. but to explain historical developments in Mexico between c. even before Diaz fell. comments of Jean Meyer in Frost et al.all of which historians have consistently underestimated. 88 Carr. and strikes proliferated in all sectors of industry. popular mobilisation. MovimientoObrero. these developments set the context in which the working class had to act. Mexican Society duringthe Revolution: a Literary Approach (Oxford. 1971). and plebeian optimism . these generalisations must be placed in historical context (whence they were extracted in the first place). 662. consular reports for 1911-12.87Though it had contributed little to the overthrow of Diaz. pp. (eds. p. there occurred the gradual. John Rutherford. and in many respects more important. the mines of Coahuila. as usual. therefore. the urban working class at once began to display its 'marked tendency to associate'. and only showing signs of genuine recovery in 19I8-20.86 But meanwhile. taking advantage of the new. of agricultural and industrial production. precipitate in 1914-16. Labor. of some (not all) exports. liberal political climate. . Finally. is a good but not untypical example. during which political freedom gave way to repression. the revolutionary decade breaks down into three political phases. Indeed. 189.). regional and national labour organisations were Mundial established (the UnionMineraMexicanain 19 i.88The railways of Yucatan were struck. while the economic must be rather arbitrarily sliced): (i) the period of political liberalisation and modest labour reform during the Madero regime (1911-13). aptly characterised as one of revolutionary 'ambivalence' towards the labour movement. Taken together. 1900 and 1920. soon local. economic struggle was less affected. Sonora and San Luis. working-class mobilisation was apparent. the factories of Chihuahua. Torreon and Orizaba.72 Alan Knight III The object of this exercise is not to create another trite typology of 'primitive' rebels and 'modern' reformists. but the workers' capacity to engage in apolitical. So far as the working class is concerned. i. (2) the Huerta military dictatorship (I9I3-14). and thus of living standards.

Hidalgo. too insecure to risk trouble. 67.91 Like Diaz before him. Madero realised that a hands-off policy. SD 812. but proved impossible to implement with any degree of success.00/3361..cit. But. they were also. Wadley and Aguascalientes. Saltillo. 91 Madero to Governor Rosales. and there was no question of the regime conniving at proletarian militancy. too. 1912. 1911. I913. pointing out to them the course they ought to take'.00/2265. the docks at Veracruz. if ideologically sound. defuse proletarian militancy. Despite the plethora of strikes in 191 I-I2. As yet. Manzanillo and Acapulco. and the Department's philosophy in general was epitomised in the two 1912 textile agreements which.89And though the grievances were almost invariably economic (hours. Durango. were attractive on paper. 45.00/2346. Carr. establishing the Department of Labour. working-class gains were very limited. Tampico. however. Manzanillo.partly to defend the economy and the peso. Ruiz. 19 March 1912. Fabelaop. was politically inadequate. Frontera. Movimiento Obrero. 13 March 1913. the government was drawn into industrial disputes and compelled to smooth industrial relations . 32-6. whose brief was to settle disputes. i8 Jan.90 In general. conditions). Puerto Mexico. The second of these objectives was clearly recognised by Labour officials: 'it is an urgent necessity to acquire an understanding of the workers' associations. in seeking to guarantee minimum wages while rationalising textile production. unions had neither the organisational nor the financial resources to sustain protracted strikes. the political authorities were reluctant to repress striking workers: not only did they (the authorities) subscribe to liberal beliefs. 31/3/7/22. it was abundantly clear that these strikes 'would not have occurred except for the condition of political unrest' prevailing in the country. and help rationalise industry to the benefit of all parties. As early as July I9 I it was observed in Durango. SD8I2. Labor. in many cases. Kirk. were those won by syndical efforts on the ground. . For examples of repression. that 'more strikes have taken place in the last two months than in all the history of this district '. Sierra y Dominguez to Trabajo. so. 30 July 1911. they were prepared to call out the troops when they feared damage to property of disruption of public order (which in the current climate was often enough). III.WForkingClass and Revolution in Mexico 73 smelters at Monterrey. ElSocialista. 92 R.92 If benefits conceded from above were elusive. 12 Aug. once again. 16 Jan. i. pay. Trabajo. And Madero went further than Diaz. pp. partly to avoid potentially bloody conflicts. from Madero down. SD 812. 90 Voetter. the abundant labour supply made it relatively easy for 89 Hamm.

C/o USS Des Moines. hence.while in some regions the politicisation of the working class was the dominant feature of the new liberal order. 8 Oct. 1911. Durango. as they did on the Manzanillo docks. Madero's reconstituted liberal party now contained branches with impeccably proleterian names . ii Aug. I912. 95 96 97 E. the urban working class showed a disposition to support the government in the face of sustained rural revolution. successful unionisation and successful political participation were both possible. working-class participation in liberal electoral politics was evident in industrial centres like Monterrey and Aguascalientes. 75). Tampico. The 'tendency to associate' was also evident in the political field. 20. Hanna.00/2346. Hence. Aguascalientes.oo/2346. 2346. meanwhile. Monterrey. became vital elements in the political battle between Portes Gil and Lopez de Lara in Tamaulipas: Adleson. Manzanillo. they 'have continuous work and their wages are above those paid in other parts of Mexico (and there seems to be no idea of revolution)'. Ellsworth. Aug. 20.. for example. 24 Aug. Cd. 94 Schmutz. while revolution jeopardised them..97 Over and above specific political affiliation. Madero. 812. 00/5091. iii. Knight. Mexican Revolution. SD 8I 2 . 25 Sept. 00/ was usually in the more buoyant export sector. SD 812. three years before the Red 93 Kirk.95 At Tampico. where it was encouraged by the new. Cananea. in AFM r. The Tampico workers were now benefiting from the oil boom. SD 1911. there were peace demonstrations in Tampico and Saltillo and. I July 19 12. open (or half-open) politics of the Madero administration. the authorities used all their influence to smooth matters over but did not accomplish much in the way of getting the demands of the strikers satisfied . the centre of the National Railways machine shops. SD 8I2. 27 Nov.. which also boasted the strongest unions. 5195. I Oct. 7 Aug. pt.. 1911. in the mines of Coahuila. Arenas to G. note also the Aguascalientes Tampico. and at the time of the attempted general strike at Torre6n. aspiring to state or national office. 1911. or on the Yucatan railways .74 Alan Knight employers to break strikes. political candidates. SD 8I2.. since governmental stability and peace guaranteed jobs. 1911. 91 i. 633ff. especially Kelly's stevedores. eagerly courted the nascent labour unions. 'in most strikes the strikers gained very little of anything. revived in 1911-12.00/2856. a notable feature of 1909-10.96 In such cases (certainly at Tampico) political and economic muscle went together. 438 I.M\artyrsof Rio Blanco. electoral returns (San Pablo). Schmutz. whose politicisation has already been noted (n. Working-class anti-re-electionism.93 At Aguascalientes.94 Where modest gains were made . ii Aug. Union of Freight Workers . pp. The Tampico workers. . Porfirio Diaz. Hamm. for example. 6. AFM r.

premises. as that shrewd observer Ernest Gruening put it. 17 Feb. p. Urquizo. Leadership p. 7 Nov. 40. but there was no rapid. belligerent. maximum hours. 1911. Constitutionalism appears as a' reforming movement of international importance'.. 33. 99 Pdginas. the Mexican workers were 'government supporters by definition'. 1971). Triana to Gobernaci6n. working-class response. Marcelino Caraveo to Madero. 27 Nov. 1919-20). sick pay. the decline of the economy was beginning to depress working-class economic resistance. AG 14. Buckley (oil company attorney) in US Senate. On the one hand. 'Casa'. favourable arbitration. later in political battles with each other. volunteers came forward from the mines of Coahuila and the docks of Mazatlin. The final phase of the revolution presents a paradoxical appearance. Investigation of Mexican Affairs (2 vols. Porfirio Diaz. 1916. Cd. pp. 39-40. the Red Battalions are recruited to fight for the Constitutionalist cause. 102 Carr. 1914. pp. Fascismand the Industrial in Italy 9191-40 (Berkeley. True. and presses). to its enemies. accident compensation. AG 86/7.l02 And Constitutionalist reformism culminates in the 1917 Constitution. W. offering to help defend the status quo.99 and this in part explains their relative complaisance in the face of Huerta's military coup. AFM r. 98 of which article 123 represents the Magna Carta of Mexican labour. 00/3 34. SD Angel Flores et al. 6I8-19.101 Thus. unionisation and strikes continued. El Democrata. as did the mollifying activity of the Department of Labour. F. 3 Feb.100 But by now. the resurrected Casa receives the blessing of the Constitutionalist leadership (and with it subsidies. con los Estados'. Washington. SD 8I2. an offshoot of 'Trotski's Russia'. to Gobernaci6n.WorkingClass and Revolutionin Mexico 75 Battalions signed up. compete for working-class support with labour decrees offering minimum wages. Huerta was not welcomed. 20. And Huerta (though his supposed reformism has been grotesquely exaggerated by revisionist historiography) had no desire and no need to antagonise the workers: he had enough on his plate with continued rural rebellion and growing American displeasure. 'Relaciones Roland Sarti. 101 M. . it could be said. But. Guadalajara. While working-class political subversives (along with middle-class political subversives) got short shrift (hence the eventual closure of the Casa in May I914). Labor. and Madero was genuinely mourned. 1912.50/3. 827.98 Like Italian industrialists of the time. 14 June Davis. to its friends. x8 March 1912. official patronage of and solicitude for urban labour reaches unprecedented heights. military leaders throughout the country. engaged first in military battles with Villistas and Zapatistas. railwaymenand Cananeaminers also offered to aid the Madero regime militarily: Jose Gutierrez to Madero. Ellsworth. AG Convenci6n Revolucionaria. 7 March I916. p. 8 2 . irrespective of the prevailing regime. 100 Ruiz.

Garzall to Carranza. patiently built up over five years at Cananea.00/I7476. Schmutz. 106 Jefe politico. SD 812. Monterrey. 1919.particularly and embarrassingly so in some sectors under government control. Mexico City. Hence the most common demand was for wages to be pegged to gold. as in all else Mexican. were able to exact better terms from the increasingly profitable oil companies. Yucatan. Campbell. Joseph. were in fact desperate attempts to prevent living standards falling too far.106 This was the basic demand of the miners of Pachuca and Dos Estrellas (Mex. SD 8I2.109 103 104 Ernest Gruening. Aguascalientes. Chihuahua and elsewhere. I7921. FO 36I/3242. Within the general sauvequipeutof these years. the capital. 29 Nov. 25. oil and henequen) managed to maintain living standards. 1880-1924 (Cambridge. M. under Alvarado's 'burgeoning welfare state'. 20 May. I916. unemployment and poverty. Thurstan. 23. Veracruz and Tampico. 9 Jan. Mexico City. even a Constitutionalist officer admitted. 27 Sept. G.. I9943.00/I7729. such as public utilities. some employers fluctuations in the currency). Tepic. Carranza Archive. I916. 27 Oct. Condumez. and the collieries of Coahuila.103 Beneath the rhetoric and official reformism. Adleson.104 But elsewhere times were hard . Rivas to Chamber of Deputies. 109 S. of the Mexico City printers and the machine shop workers of Aguascalientes. as henequen profits were ploughed back into the social infrastructure. by dint of strong organisation and strike activity. even below subsistence. Hermosillo. had never had it so good. RevolutionfromWithout: Yucatan. . the oil workers. dearth. 342. things are not what they seem or what they are declared to be'. p. p. at first sight indications of labour militancy. Hanna. Trabajo 34/2/8. 108 US border report. it prompted a strike by the Nuevo Laredo police. attuned to the 'revolutionary' temper of the times.).76 Alan Knight 'in labor. p. too.. 24 Nov. thus avoiding the constant depreciation of paper wages which. SD 812. was attributed to the 'frightful' In such circumstances. 6 March. 105 F. 'were insufficient to maintain the subsistence of the proletarian classes . the social reality of 1915-20 was one of disease. 00/I8284.Mexico and the UnitiedStates. R. 27 Oct. I982). 8 May I916. malnutrition. 1915. I9I6. 141. Mexico and its Heritage (New York).l05 The frequent strikes of these years. 636. some workers (chiefly those in the flourishing export sectors. 26 Jan. to Gobernaci6n. 107 El Democrata. I9664. c/o USS Marietta. 38000. I916. AG 81/21. or rendered useless (the collapse of a mutualist society. railways. 30 March I916. in Mexico City itself there was an affray when the government tried to pay off striking police and tram workers in virtually worthless paper. 1918.'08 In such circumstances the modest funds accumulated by unions or mutualist societies were soon spent. of the Monterrey smelter employees and even the (militant) workers ofTampico'07 It precipitated strikes in Veracruz.

23 March I917. 148-50. Salazar.the Russian revolution. but this did not solve the problem. El Demdcrata. and some workers even surrendered the battle over wages and besought the government to 'turn its attention to the abuses being perpetrated by the majority of merchants on account of the excessive increase in prices' (an approach which the government. I66. the terms of trade tended to favour the politicos (that is. repressed. 112 Rosendo I 53-4.115Economic weakness implied political deference. L. Carranza Archive doc. Las Pugnasde la Gleba (Mexico. Husk.l13 Thus. 17 Feb. hungry and disillusioned. 12 May I9I5. Piedras if these afforded some solace. Casa-inspired general strikes were broken in Tampico and Mexico City. 5 April I916 SD 812. 1917. the Red Battalions were dispersed. Carr. I0097. Aguilar. Scott Papers.Working Class and Revolution in Mexico 77 now found labour unusually 'respectful'. 1917. while Mexico was in travail. 00/205 3 3. some signs of labour militant and triumphant. even the defensive struggles of the workers seemed treasonable. 1916.g Evolucion(Zacatecas). striking railwaymen alleged that the regime was 'attempting to put the government on the principles of the Diaz administration'. 11 A. pp. and the regime gradually consolidated itself. the C. 113 Decree of i Aug. 114 Blocker. labour agitation in Barcelona and Madrid. 1923). To the government. there was a swift resort to force. I Oct. as a major employer of labour and the sole printer of money.114 The working-class press. Carranza Archive. c/o USS Marietta. Carranza placed the strikers of I9I6 in the same category as the Huertistas of 1913. 110 . strikes in the American copper mines .110 The official press might denounce hoarders and speculators. Box I8. in its numerous but ephemeral newspapers. and exercising only a tenuous control over much of the country. SD 82. 629. In Coahuila.1ll Carranza and many of his colleagues had never warmed to the alliance with the Casa. Though working-class political support was still being solicited. Library of Congress. between I916 and 1918. 'Casa'. labour remained weak. which provided summary execution for treason. and when the latter extended its propaganda throughout the country. its leaders arrested. The 'tyranny of the workers' was denounced in the press and in presidential decrees. Millan to C. was only too keen to encourage). as the economy passed its nadir and began a slow recovery. contemplated global events . pressed to meet its daily commitments to troops and police. its archive destroyed.00/19921. In the course of 1916 the Casa was closed down. and the Department of Labour (the government's chief counter to such subversion) proved incapable of conjuring the threat. 115 E.112In invoking (for the second time) the old Juarista decree of i862. Scott. Tampico. Santa Barbara (Parral) to Gral H. 3 March 1916.

suitably multiplied and accepted at face value. 848-50. And. one that required the workers' repudiation not only of anarcho-syndicalism (witness Morones. labour leaders. By 1919-20. 846.116 Soon after. it. scarcely able to raise a quorum of twelve. whose alliance with the smart young governor of Coahuila. Aguilar. the ideologue and lyrical poet of yesterday. Groups like the Partido Obrero VeracruZano(which.118 The CROM represented the culmination of a long. denounced the present plight of the working class. Obregon. Trabajoy Produccion. paved the way for the CROM's foundation at Saltillo in May 1918. of the handful which did. and some sort of detente between the regime and the workers emerged.I. the economy revived. A. concluding that 'its's more sure that we get bad governors than good ones' . hesitant process of detente between labour and the state: one that had begun appreciably before the revolution (and which had been pioneered by Porfiristas) but which the revolution served to accelerate.78 Alan Knight generals). 118 Diario de los Debates. Carr. Espinosa Mireles. Nicolas Cano. pragmatic as ever. Few working-class delegates had attended the Constitutional Congress at Queretaro. give an impression of labour militancy) were. finally. socialists. 27 Jan. I917. as the organiser confessed. become the labour boss of today) but also of the pristine liberalism promised by Madero. it is worth stressing the role played by both the Mexico City artisans (led by Luis Morones) and the Union Minera Mexicana. . therefore. During the massive settling of accounts. I I March 1918. These events have been well described elsewhere. FO 37I/3243. for a personally graphic but politically haywire description of Espinosa Mireles and his crew of 'demagogues. to which many had eagerly responded in 1909-13. remained a statement of intent.18 Feb. and Bolsheviki'. IWW's. Carranza Archive. 1917. its funds dissipated by fraud and by the collapse of the recent strike against the tram company. in a parlous state: 'almost disorganised'.ll7 The very radicalism of Article 123 could be tolerated by the conservative wing of Carrancismo precisely because the labour movement was then prostrate and in no state to demand its immediate implementation. a promise of better things to come. 129-3 5. see O'Hea. 117 In place of these discarded dreams. in fact. G6mez Palacio. rapprochements and realignments which took place in these years one of the most significant was the foundation of the CROM. with Carranza's term drawing to a close. and its alliance with the national heir-apparent. 60324. MovimientoObrero. pp. it required their 116 D. saw the opportunity for a transacci6n. the most vocal. Article 123 was handed down from on of the last kicks of the old anarcho-syndicalist cause. Jimenez to C.

Skidmore. Increasingly. for example. 121 Ruiz. . Bradford Burns and Thomas E. pp. pointed the way forward. in fact semiauthoritarian and increasingly corporatist. p. 'Elements for an interpretation of the early Brazilian labor movement'. Paper given at the 44th International Congress of Americanists. (Austin and London. reported by the Italian consul at Sao Paulo: Michael Hall and Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. I976). 'the absolute repression by the Brazilian authorities of any attempt at trade union organisation. both. clientelist ally of the state in its battles with the Church and (on occasions) foreign interests. 'Workers and Soldiers: Urban Labor Movements and Elite Responses in Twentieth Century Latin America'. as Mexico became a pais organicado. in E.contained the seeds of its own corruption. headed by new-style caciques. if the workers' relative weakness . But they were not mere lackeys 'at the beck and call' of the regime. for its part. I8Jo-r93o. mobilised. with their pragmatism. 119 Arnaldo C6rdova. bargained and collided. 99-103. formally liberal. 202. neither the revived militancy nor the solid achievements of the I930o would have been possible. Sept. Labor. and were able to play a disproportionate role in post-revolutionary politics. I979). in their different ways. under the controlling aegis of the state. represented not only the workers' acceptance of corporate capitalism (and thus their further 'imbrication in the status quo') but also their conquest of a foothold within the state. the 'modern' workers' associations of the revolutionary decade. the state. 70..WorkingClass and Revolutionin Mexico 79 acceptance of a very different regime. pp. 198 z. 59-60.l19 numbers. therefore. I975). p. had to make concessions and take note of working-class grievances.120 Thus the labour leaders who emerged out of the decade of revolution (like their German contemporaries) traded independence and ideological fidelity for access to power. and in which organised labour in particular acted as a crucial. in which organised blocs. antipathy to mass violence. RecastingBourgeoisEurope: Stabilization in France. nor did they necessarily 'corrupt' the labour movement thereby. Germanyand Italy in the DecadeAfter World War One (Princeton. and access to state power counted. For. associational guise . Cf. organisation. 120 Charles S. Maier. Masses and Modernisation in Latin America. Elites. La Politica de Masas del Cardenismo (Mexico. the labour movement .at least in its 'modern'.121 In its readiness to countenance political alliances and partake of power.cruelly highlighted by the travails of 1915-20 - rendered them dependent allies of the state. The CROM was established in the same years as the Stinnes-Legien pact in Germany. Mimeo Manchester. Skidmore. And had that not been the case. which for workers in many other societies remained a distant dream. even the most peacful'. and Thomas E. and respect for institutional power.