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Colombia, labor insurrection and the Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1920s–1930s

Raina Zimmering

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place South America » Colombia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics labor movements, rebellion, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00376.x


Around 1900 Colombia began to industrialize, using compensation payments made by the United States for the separation of Panama. This process engendered huge social struggles as the Colombian economy grew, leading to tension between poor people from rural and urban areas and the oligarchy, which was getting richer and richer. In 1919, there were labor conflicts among urban artisans, textile workers, railroad workers, and petrol workers. In rural areas, the Indian peasant rebellion spread after 1914 under Quintín Lame . Organized labor then struck the capitalist enclaves in oil and bananas after 1925, and a wave of multi-ethnic peasant land takeovers swept across the coffee frontiers. In 1926, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (PSR) was formed, unifying all these social movements under one banner. The PSR was an example of horizontal organization and managed to transcend the traditional division between Conservatives and Liberals. The party was centered in communes in villages and little towns. Important leaders such as Thomas Uribe Márquez and Maria Cano built upon traditions of revolutionary party formation and mass action, leading the PSR in organizing proletarian protests along coffee frontiers and in the multinational export enclaves of the Caribbean. In 1928, the protest wave culminated with the big month-long strike demanding better working conditions on the plantations of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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