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Capitalists on the Road to Political Power in Mexico: Class Struggle, Neopanismo, and the Birth of Democracy. While democratization was a slow, evolutionary process, the magnitude of change was historically significant.
Mexicans transformed their highly fraudulent electoral system into one that most analysts agree is democratic. While numerous studies have focused on these changes, few have systematically explored what rural movements contributed. This empirical neglect is all the more noteworthy given that peasants and other rural poor registered the highest levels of protest as compared to other social groups in the pre-transition period see figure 1.
Their movements, moreover, provoked a countermovement of economically powerful businessmen. My empirical story begins inlong after a democratically inspired agrarian revolution crystallized into a semi-authoritarian political system. Yet despite being semi-authoritarian, the PRI ruled hegemonically for many of those years; it operated, that is, primarily through mass support rather than force.
Because these corporatist associations were important vehicles by which the state distributed favors to its clients, the PRI had the capacity to broker compromise between the frequently antagonistic social classes it organized. Further, while elections were not serious vehicles for consultation with the masses about policy preferences, they were held regularly every six years for presidential and senatorial races and every three for congressional ones. Until the late s, these mechanisms were effective to the extent that the PRI could rule without relying too heavily on political violence.
But toward the final third of the twentieth century, the postrevolutionary state saw a rapid loss of hegemony, as evidenced by a rising tide of increasingly organized and disruptive political contention. Middle-class students turned leftists, women, teachers, urban dwellers, informal sector merchants, peasants, workers, and even capitalists forcefully and effectively challenged the state. As seen in figure 1, however, the largest and most enduring forms of political contention occurred in the countryside.
As such, my story sheds light on a paradox of twentieth-century Mexican history: In other words, I analyze some key movement-countermovement dynamics that helped to give ideological expression to the social bases of support for the opposition political parties that successfully pressed for electoral democracy.
It also outlines why the state institutions set up to discipline politics and control social groups sowed the seeds of political discontent, and how political protest ultimately contributed wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy a more pluralistic political system.
As the broader theoretical implications about the relationship between social movements wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy institutional political change will be drawn out in chapter 1, I conclude this introduction by defining theoretical concepts, offering a book plan, and discussing the limitations of the data. Their revolutionary potential did not escape the middle-class liberals who, in writing a new constitution, sought bourgeois reforms of the state.
Consequently, these liberals were forced to compromise by modernizing the state while also attempting to demobilize the rural masses with political concessions to their social justice claims. The Constitution, for example, incorporated contradictory economic principles, recognizing such competing wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy of property as private and social property.
While private property is owned by an individual or partnership of individuals with rights to sell, rent, mortgage, or bequeath it, social property was inalienable for most of the twentieth century.
Because it was possessed, as opposed to owned, social property in the form of either ejidos or comunidades could not be sold, rented, wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy mortgaged until the s. The Constitution, moreover, contains various rules for forex micro account domain and clearly stipulates that land and water belong to the nation.
Until the s, it had powerful legal codes by which to redistribute land to those who could prove that they needed it, so long as land was available for redistribution. In theory, land caps were supposed to prevent the reemergence of the latifundio a massive concentration of landthe grossly unequal pattern of landholding that provoked rural dwellers into revolutionary action in the first place.
Like those who possessed ejidos, small rural proprietors were called campesinos peasants because they directly cultivated the soil. The nationalist state further defined citizenship rights as collective social rights Tamayo Flores-Alatorre ; Wada Citizens were promised public education, wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy national health program, food subsidies, urban infrastructure, and labor protections.
And though it is arguably the case that Native Americans were economically and politically forgotten by the Revolution, government officials sought to assimilate them into the nation. Official nationalist discourse generally emphasized some form of indigenism, whether the whitewashing variety that overstated mestizaje racial mixing or the more multicultural kind that formally granted Indians some legal privileges.
But while the Constitution of and subsequent laws codified important democratic and social justice principles, the political institutions that ultimately replaced the Porfiriato were decidedly undemocratic.
To begin with, the postrevolutionary state was a presidentialist system that concentrated power in the executive. For most of the twentieth century, presidents commanded the entire federal state apparatus, controlling the judiciary, national legislature, and military Middlebrook wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy, During their nonrenewable six-year terms, they also wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy over the ruling party.
Worse still, many presidents made arbitrary decisions without congressional consultation and sometimes even extinguished Wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy lives by fiat. This presidentialist system was structurally reinforced by a corporatist system of interest representation. Corporatist organizations are compulsory, state-chartered, interest-representing monopolies.
Their primary function was to exchange votes and wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy legitimacy signs for material favors Mitchell ; see also Williams These trade associations were also compulsory representational monopolies recognized by the state despite their formal exclusion from the ruling party.
In addition, government officials used political office as a selective incentive for those corporatist wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy quasi-corporatist leaders who played by the official rules of the game.
With the power of economic and political patronage, the postrevolutionary state had the capacity to impose tripartite negotiations among the government, capitalists, workers, wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy peasants.
This meant that government officials could compel union leaders and business representatives to negotiate wage rates and labor conditions. The outcome was widespread corruption, given that political advancement depended on being responsive to the PRI and the president rather than on finding solutions to the problems faced by workers or peasants.
It is difficult to overstate the leverage that government officials had over most social groups and classes, including economically powerful businessmen.
Boldly put, the Mexican state had colonized civil society by trying to secure social peace through corporatist cooperation. In doing so, officials neglected to build democratic institutions and processes.
Without politically independent organizations, civil society was weak. Consequently, social groups had little space or capacity to discern, articulate, and assert their interests effectively.
Further, untilthe dominant party controlled the very institutions that decided either the legal registration registro wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy real political parties or the legitimacy of contested electoral results see table 2. Electoral laws also ensured that the ruling party had greater financial resources than its competitors, as well as the greatest share of congressional seats. The PRI even received more favorable media attention than the opposition because the privately owned media were financially dependent on the government.
Journalists who dared to criticize the government were intimidated. From its origins in until the early s, the PAN was ambivalent about legitimating an unfair and fraudulent electoral system, even by participating in elections Crespo ; Shirk Concerned about the threat to democratic appearances if the PAN withdrew from the electoral arena altogether, the regime sponsored satellite parties to offer token competition.
Thus, although held regularly, presidential elections were not used as a serious means for consulting with citizens about policy options. Rather, the electoral system was such that political power at the presidential level did not alternate for seventy-one years and for six decades at the gubernatorial level. While not a true dictatorship, Mexico was clearly semi-authoritarian, even if it ruled hegemonically for most of the years that the PRI held power.
In the absence of a financially and politically independent media, an organized civil society, and truly competitive wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy, Mexicans lacked the capacity to independently formulate and communicate public opinion. This resulted in an almost unidirectional system of communication running from state to civil society see Lawson; Olvera The weakness of civil society was aggravated by the exclusion of some groups from organized political action.
As we shall see in chapter 4, while capitalists had direct access to the president with respect to most economic issues, they tacitly agreed to refrain from organized political activity. Further, the Constitution made it illegal for religious institutions, such as the once powerful Catholic Church, to participate in politics or own property. On the contrary, the exclusion of genuinely alternative political voices from public debate forced political minorities to function outside of the institutionalized political arena N.
As we shall see, the difficulty that social groups faced in articulating their interests independently of the state politicized economic issues or radicalized moderate political ones N. Harvey; Olvera More broadly, much wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy that sought to mollify peasants or workers came at the expense of capitalists, and vice versa.
As a consequence, basic interclass struggles about land or wages became complicated political contestations about Kafkaesque policies, the corrupt or inefficient implementation of policy, or state institutions. Further, social movements were radicalized by virtue of the fact that they were forced to confront corporatism, presidentialism, or both. In other words, movements arose not just at the margins of the political system but frequently in strong opposition to it.
According to Foweraker and Landman, this process was not unique to Mexico. Rather, struggles over material resources turned into movements for civil and political citizenship rights precisely where authoritarian political systems in Latin America and Spain proved intransigent To manage political unrest, presidents resorted to pan y palo tactics the Spanish equivalent of the carrot and the stick ; these consisted of efforts at both co-optation and selective repression.
Until the massacre of students described in chapter 2the state tended to eschew generalized violence except when applied to armed guerrilla movements. Low-intensity selective repression worked through the s but turned into a dirty war as political discontent and protest generalized after Presidents and other state agents came to approve of torture, long-term disappearances, and extrajudicial executions of armed guerrillas and even unarmed radicals after While the armed movements received the brunt of human rights abuses, increasing state repression formed the general political context faced by nonguerrilla activists.
Nonguerrilla activists understood that they could be jailed or even disappear for their political activity. The thesis to be demonstrated, however, is that some of the rural social movements that responded to the failures of corporatism, presidentialism, and dirty war tactics helped to democratize both civil society and the state. I also explain why agrarian capitalists led other segments of the capitalist class in a powerful countermovement.
The leaderships of these movements and countermovements then mobilized their social bases, forming the opposition political parties that weakened the PRI by shaming it in post-electoral mass rallies protesting electoral fraud see Williams When it did, it peacefully removed from power a party that had ruled Mexico longer than a single party had ruled any other nation in the twentieth century. Inthe country underwent a highly competitive, yet remarkably peaceful, presidential election in which the winning PAN candidate prevailed over the losing PRD candidate by less than 1 percent of the vote.
Beyond the presidency, opposition candidates have increasingly won power in municipalities and governorships. Pluralism put an end to the compulsory discipline under the executive and enabled both the legislative branch and the governorships to become efficient political counterweights to balance the executive and revitalize federalism.
In terms of the latter, democratic electoral processes can, by themselves, do little to reduce the poverty, crime, and deadly drug trade—related violence that have brought the nation to the brink of chaos. These problems can only be remedied by policies that lead to the kind of economic development that closes the gulf between the rich and poor, as well as generate the necessary state resources to adequately fund local judicial and law enforcement authorities and public prosecutors see Magaloni and Zepeda In addition, regimes democratize unevenly, and this seems to be especially true at the local level, where much depends on the outcome of local struggles see N.
Thus, even when there are fair and competitive procedures for the alternation of national political power, there may still remain authoritarian relations between patrons and clients, particularly in impoverished rural and urban areas J. Further, unlike the electoral farce ofthe charges of fraud in the election resulted in a serious investigation in which recently independent electoral institutions annulledvotes after a partial vote recount.
According to McAdam, Tarrow, and Tillydemocracy involves a consultative, constitutionally bound relationship between states and people in civil society. Democratic political cultures are those that, at a minimum, value tolerance including tolerance of political and religious differencespractice pluralism, and have nonauthoritarian religious beliefs and traditions.
Combining these two working definitions of democracy makes it possible to analyze changing political wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy. Rather, I will concentrate on some heretofore ignored actors that help to account for the democratic transformation of Mexican civil society as well as its electoral arena.
Specifically, I intend to show that political protest by rural actors contributed to that transformation. The wholesale trade agents and brokers definition of democracy definitions of democracy outlined above simply focus the analysis on some of the changes in the way that the Mexican state relates to social groups in civil society.
Much of this scholarship emphasizes that economic globalization led to the eventual emergence of political liberalism. Specifically, the globalization literature argues that the international pressures that resulted from having to refinance the debt in led to economic neoliberalism, which, in turn, led to political decentralization and eventually electoral pluralism.