Workers, Neighbors, and Citizens: The Revolution in Mexico City

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9780803229365: Workers, Neighbors, and Citizens: The Revolution in Mexico City

Workers, Neighbors, and Citizens examines the mobilization of workers and the urban poor in Mexico City from the eve of the 1910 revolution through the early 1920s, producing for the first time a nuanced illumination of groups that have long been discounted by historians. John Lear addresses a basic paradox: During one of the great social upheavals of the twentieth century, urban workers and masses had a limited military role, yet they emerged from the revolution with considerable combativeness and a new significance in the power structure. Lear identifies a significant and largely underestimated tradition of resistance and independent organization among working people that resulted in part from the changes in the structure of class and community in Mexico City during the last decades of Porfirio Diaz's rule (1876–1910). This tradition of resistance helped to join skilled workers and the urban poor as they embraced organizational opportunities and faced crises in wages and access to food and housing as the revolution escalated. Emblematic of these ties was the role of women in political agitation, street mobilizations, strikes, and riots. Lear suggests that the prominence of labor after the revolution was neither a product of opportunism nor one of revolutionary consciousness, but rather the result of the ongoing organizational efforts and cultural transformations of working people that coincided with the revolution.

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About the Author:

John Lear is an associate professor of history and Latin American studies at the University of Puget Sound and coauthor of Chile's Free-Market Miracle: A Second Look.

Review:

"Provides a model for understanding working-class movements in a society that was barely at the beginning of modern industrialization. . . . Very good period maps and photographs add to the attraction of this well-produced book. It is likely to prove an enduring contribution to the historiography of the Mexican Revolution."—Joel S. Cleland, The Historian (Joel S. Cleland The Historian)

“Anyone interested in learning about the 1910 Mexican Revolution and the crucial role workers exercised in that even should read this study of Mexico City’s working class. . . . This volume is well-written, engaging, and an important contribution to international working-class history.”—Norman Caulfield, International Review of Social History (Norman Caulfield International Review of Social History)

“John Lear’s Workers, Neighbors, and Citizens: The Revolution in Mexico City offers an excellent, and much needed history of the Mexican revolution from an urban perspective. . . . Rich in detail, well-researched and very readable, this book is highly recommended to anyone interested in Mexican history in general, the revolution in particular or in comparative studies of urban planning and the impact of rapid industrialization and working-class formation in third world societies.”—Paul Hart, Urban History (Paul Hart Urban History)

"Lear has written with passion and penetrating intelligence to provide us with a new and deeper level of understanding of the Mexico City working class during the revolution. Essential reading for historians and all those interested in Mexican culture and politics."—John Mason Hart, University of Houston (John Mason Hart)

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