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Mexico, labor movement and protests, 1980–2005

Dan La Botz


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Mexican working people participated in significant social movements in the tumultuous transition period between 1980 and 2005. The context for these movements was a profound change in politics, in the economy, in the structure of social classes, and in the character of social movements themselves. The central issue throughout this era was the struggle over democracy, but also important were fights to stop the privatization of nationalized industry and movements for a living wage. The period opened with a reorientation of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) away from a nationalist political economy and toward open markets and free trade, and reached a turning point in 2000 with the election to the presidency of Vicente Fox of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), ending the PRI's 75-year dominance. The crisis of Mexico's old corporatist order opened with the student democracy movement of 1968 and the police and army massacre that year of hundreds of student activists. Those events polarized Mexican society, producing a new left that broke with the Mexican Revolution's state party and the dominant nationalist ideology. The Mexican new left, variously influenced by Eurocommunism , inspired by Trotskyism or Maoism, or modeling itself after Fidel Castro and Che Guevara , emulating the armed revolutionary tradition of the Mexican Revolution, became active in all ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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