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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Mexican Left, The Popular Movements, and the Politics of Austerity


Although a severe economic crisis has rocked Mexico since 1981, neither left-wing political parties nor the organized working class and urban popular movements have managed to mount any serious challenge to Mexico’s political and economic system. A closer look at developments since 1981, however, shows that the responses by the Mexican left cannot be dismissed so simply. The gloominess of the overall picture conceals the development of new tactics, the emergence of major new social actors, and renewed struggle among groups with long-standing traditions of radicalism. These issues, as well as the Mexican left’s general response to the “politics of austerity,” occupied the attention of a workshop held in May 1984 at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, on the campus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). A representative group of Mexican socialists from both academic and mass-organization backgrounds attended the workshop to discuss the situation of the Mexican left. Presented here is their written analysis of the left’s response to the economic crisis.

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