CARDENAS: 1934-40



I. THE FAILED REVOLUTION

A. CARRANZA: REFORM STILLBORN

B. OBREGON: MODERATE REFORMER

1. SOME LAND/LABOR REFORM

2. CONSTRAINED BY NEED TO GET U.S. RECOGNITION/TREATY OF BUCARELI/SURVIVE DE LA HUERTA REVOLT

C. CALLES: FROM RADICAL TO REACTIONARY

1. LEADERSHIP MODERATED BY SELF-ENRICHMENT

2. PERSONAL DIPLOMACY OF DWIGHT MORROW

D. THE MAXIMATO:

1. CALLES CANNOT RULE BY PERSONALISM: FOUNDS PRN AS POLITICAL AGENCY FOR 'REVOLUTIONARY FAMILY'

2. SUCCESSION OF WEAK/INEFFECTIVE PUPPET PRESIDENTS: PORTES GIL, ORTIZ RUBIO, ABELARDO RODRIGUEZ

3. MASSIVE CORRUPTION, CONSERVATIVE DRIFT, DISAPPEARANCE OF LABOR/LAND ORGANIZATIONS (CROM, NATIONAL AGRARIAN PARTY)

II. CARDENAS

A. PICKED BY CALLES AS NEXT PUPPET PRESIDENT

B. ACTIVE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: 6 YR PLAN/ACTIVELY WOES LABOR & PEANSANT SUPPORT

C. BUILDS NEW POLITICAL COALITION FOR REFORM:

1. PURGES CABINET

2. PURGES GOVERNORS

3. PURGES MILITARY

4. PURGES CALLES: (EXILED APRIL 1936)



D. ENACTS REFORMS TO RESTRUCTURE MEXICAN ECONOMIC & POLITICAL STRUCTURE

III. THE REFORMS

A. AGRARIAN REFORM

1. BACKGROUND:

a. Little substantial progress before cardenas

b. Growing agitation in countryside: strikes, land seizures, etc.; land question as basis of growing support for communist party, other radical challenges to political status quo

2. INSTRUMENTS:

a. EJIDO: REVERSION TO COMMUNAL LANDHOLDING SCHEME

b. 45 MILLION ACRES (17 MILLION HECTARES) TO 12,000 TOWNS & VILLAGES

3. WHY/TIMING:

a. POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE

(1) ejiditarios as clients to consolidate Cardenas political power

(2) reaction to substantial political discontent: i.e. Cristero Revolt as land-based social protect movement, lesson that ejiditarios stayed loyal to government

(3) to preempt CP & other political radicals then organizing in agricultural workers/landless peasants, etc.

b. OPPORTUNITY COST LOW

(1) Great Depression devalued importance of export sector agriculture

(2) increased relative importance of urban centers

(3) unlikely to provoke foreign intervention: i.e. foreign capital withdrawing anyway

c. SIGNIFICANCE:

(1) alleviated land hunger: eliminated 'revolutionary factor' in countryside

(2) made peasants conservative: no interest in radical solutions/will support government to preserve ejido lands

(3) converted peasantry & CNC into political clients of Mexican ruling party: i.e. countryside continues to be bastion of support for official party

(4) peasantry integrated/subordinated to government-controlled bureaucracy: ends independence os interest group, i.e. 'captured by state'

(5) kept peasantry separate from labor: workers & peasants continue to have separate, antagonistic goals--i.e. variation of strategy of revolution (i.e. Carranza-urban workers v. Zapata-peasants): variation of theme of divide & conquer

(6) land reform accomplished cheaply: i.e. most land given out was of poor quality; many landowners able to evade laws; resurgence of large-scale commercial agriculture after Cardenas era; no support infrastructure provided for ejido agriculture; i.e. irrigation & credit allotted to private sector agriculture, etc.

B. LABOR REFORM

1. BACKGROUND

a. CTM Organizing

(1) V. Lombardo Toledano

(2) tolerance/support from Cardenas govt.

(3) CTM superseded CROM as dominant organization

b. CTM Strikes

(1) as part of organizing effort/government sympathetic/ strikes not repressed forcefully

(2) sought higher wages/working conditions: often successful

(3) 642 strikes in 1935 (twice combined total of 1928-34)

2. OIL NATIONALIZATION

a. Background:

(1) controversy with foreign-owned oil companies per subsoil rights defined in 1917 Constitution/Article 123 (labor reform)

(2) CTM unions strike oil companies in 1935-37: oil companies reject compulsory government arbitration decisions

b. Nationalization: March 1938

(1) Significance:

(a) marked high point of Cardenas radicalism

(b) tremendous popular support: consolidated Cardenas regime; along w/agrarian reform it rejuvenated ideological legitimacy of post-revolutionary state as manifestation of ideals of social justice promised by 1917 Constitution

(c) like agrarian reform, it subordinated organized labor to government bureaucracy: turned labor organizations/leaders into clients for political purposes; strong support for official party; also provided means with which to discipline/contain labor; preempted radical leftist challenge

(2) Timing/Why:

(a) Opportunity Cost Low: no foreign investment to lose/WW2 already on political horizon

(b) cheap oil/energy as indirect subsidy to promote national industrialization: prices kept artificially low

(c) established authority of state of private interests

C. POLITICAL REFORMS

1. PRN TRANSFORMED INTO PRM: (CORPORATIST STRUCTURE)

a. CTM

b. CNC

c. CNOP

d. ARMY

2. SIGNIFICANCE: BASIS FOR MODERN MEXICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM

a. Authoritarian: power flows from top (i.e. selective restriction of political inputs)

b. After 1940: Army eliminated as formal element/name changed to PRI

c. Mexico industrializes after 1940 with program favoring capitalist development over worker/peasant interests & w/o political chaos or overt, excessive repression

(1) function of durability of political machinery installed by Cardenas

(2) Cardenas reforms rehabilitated myth of Mexican Revolution: incorporated popular organizations into official party: (i.e. PRI had both CONTROL + IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY) (unique in Latin America)

d. Radicalism of Cardenas Era only temporary: most social gains lost in post WW2 era

(1) return of foreign capital: occupies commanding heights of economy

(2) resurgent latifundia: land reform slows/halts; most assistance to private sector agriculture

(3) end of growth of labor movement short of solving problems of Mexican working class: i.e. after 1940s labor never regained its share of national income enjoyed in 1930s

(4) post-1940s redistribution of income: away from labor & peasants & towards industrial capitalists

(5) Business/Private Sector: outside formal structure of PRI: not controlled, but able to influence policy-making process through interest groups

(6) Roots of authoritarianism in Mexico go back to Colonial era/Porfiriato & Cardenas era created principal institutions & structures of Modern Mexico: i.e. Corporatist Integration & Capitalist Domination

(7) Political Characteristics of PRI: authoritarian, stick & carrot (cooptation & coercion), clientelism, commitment to develop/deepen industrial capitalism in Mexico: (new formula was 'state initiative + (indirect) foreign capital = economic growth) i.e. state intervention to build & subsidize construction of physical infrastructure; deficit finance/international loans to pay for development