Lázaro Cárdenas and his Legacy. Modern Mexico, Monday 6 February 2012 . General Cardenas, during the Escobar rebellion, 1929. Early 1930s: the end of the Revolution ?.
“…coincident with Morrow’s presence in Mexico the life went out of the revolution…maybe the revolutionary movement had already run its course. On the other hand it may be that the kindly, sympathetic, well-intentioned, subtly flattering, former Morgan (Bank) partner, by trying to help Mexico put her house in order and to settle everything up in a ship-shape, businesslike fashion, succeeded in putting the breaks on the only real reform movement in the history of the country. It is difficult to conduct a revolution on book-keeping principles… ‘God save us from the friendship of the United States’…contains a deal of wisdom…”.
- From small town of Jiquilpan, Michoacán (1st president not from the North since 1911
- lower middle class background, left school at eleven, set upon becoming a school teacher until joining the revolution after Victoriano Huerta’s coup in 1913-14 ....became a General.
- loyalty to Calles was rewarded with state governorship of Michoacán 1928-1932: showed agrarian and socialist sympathies admired for keeping most of state out of Cristero War and curtailing repression of Cristeros following the 1929 arreglos (Michoacán suffered no “Segunda Cristiada”)
(see Salvador Lemus Fernández, 'A Convention in Zacapu', in Joseph and Henderson (eds) The Mexico Reader),
- by nature a populist (Russian/LA hybrid), a peace-maker and nation-state builder....
- 1929 Stock Market Crash and slump
- mass unemployment in US and Europe
- Liberal capitalism under scrutiny: state intervention becomes the orthodoxy
- Mexico under Calles and PNR since 1924 had become a personalist/caudillist fiefdom, with caciques controlling politics on the local level (much as under Diaz)
- early 1930s, some signs of shift to Left:
- reform to article 27 to allow “peonesacasillados” to bid for land
- Bassols’ Socialist education, as a channel for venting the anti-clericalism of the Revolution, yet more rhetoric than substance
- Calles entrusted succession to Cardenas expecting more of the same...
- Cardenas responded by applying labour and agrarian laws and by transforming PNR from a personalist/caudillist into a corporatist PRM (1942 becomes PRI)
- Six tumultous years and Mexico of 1940 differed markedly from Mexico of 1934
- By 1940 Mexico had become, in Brian Hamnett’s view,
“a curious hybrid of Fascist Italy and the Soviet Union but without either the Fascism or the Socialism”
What was the background to Cardenas’s “re-starting” of the revolution ?
- under Cardenas popular movements were co-opted and subordinated to the state.
e.g. Nora Hamilton, The Limits of State Autonomy
Stinging critique of demoralising effects on labour and capital of government’s pro-labour policies, leading after 1940 to systemic “charrismo” (labour bossism) and violence…
“The Mexican labour movement has come to depend so completely on protection and support from official sources that it has been transformed into a mere appendage to the government, whose every step it follows: good, doubtful and frankly censurable”