Party, Government and the Labour Movement in Mexico: Two Case Studies

  • Frederic Meyers


This paper will concern itself with certain aspects of the relations between the government, the dominant political party and the labour movement in Mexico. As in most countries, this set of relationships is complex. In Mexico perhaps more so than in many of the newly independent countries they are subtle and difficult to describe adequately. Formal institutions in independent Mexico have grown slowly over a period of more than a century, and below the crust of these formal institutions there has grown a body of custom and living practice, a knowledge and deep understanding of which is necessary to any interpretation of Mexican political and economic phenomena. For this reason, rather than to try to deal with the whole question on an abstract level, this paper will treat it selectively, and essentially by illustration from two cases.


Trade Union Labour Movement Union Leadership Collective Agreement Constitutional Amendment 
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  1. 1.
    See Guadalupe Rivera Marín, ‘El Movimiento Obrero’, in México: Cincuenta Añ os de Revolution, Vol. II, La Vida Social, México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1961, and sources cited there.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For a heroic version of their role, see Rosendo Salazar, La Casa del Obrero Mundial, México, Costa-Amic, 1963Google Scholar
  3. Luís Araiza, Historic de la Casa del Obrero Mundial, México (no publisher indicated), 1963.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For a good account of the constitutional proceedings in labour and agrarian matters see Pastor Rouaix, Génesis de los Artículos 27 y 123 de la Constitución Política de 1917, México, Biblioteca del Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución, 1959.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    See Howard F. Cline, Mexico: Revolution to Evolution, 1940–1960, New York, Oxford University Press, 1962Google Scholar
  6. Robert E. Scott, Mexican Government in Transition, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1959Google Scholar
  7. Raymond E. Vernon, The Dilemma of Mexico’s Development, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1963Google Scholar
  8. Marjorie Ruth Clark, Organized Labor in Mexico, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1934Google Scholar
  9. Alfonso López Aparicio, El Movimiento Obrero en México, México, Editorial Jus, 1952Google Scholar
  10. Guadalupe Rivera Marín, op. cit., and El Mercado del Trabajo, México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1954Google Scholar
  11. Frank Brandenburg, ‘Mexico: An Experiment in One-Party Democracy’, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1955.Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    See Jorge M. Gauzurieta, ‘Legal Proceedings of the Strike and the Activities of the State’, and Francisco Brena Garduno, ‘Causes, Objects and Effects of the Strike’, Papers before Joint Session of the Bars of Mexico and the State of Texas, Mexico, 1962 (mimeo.). The discussion in de la Cueva, Derecho Mexicano del Trabajo, México, Editorial Porrua, S.A., 1961, Vol. II, p. 794, is ambiguous. Since de la Cueva is the most authoritative Mexican labour law scholar, this ambiguity probably points to the rarity of cases. But see case cited inGoogle Scholar
  13. Euquerio Guerrero, Manual de Derecho del Trabajo, México, 1962 (published by the author), Vol. II, p. 172.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    See Jesús Silva Herzog, Historia de la Expropriación Petrolera, México, Cuadernos Americanos, 1963. Silva Herzog’s view of the case is coloured by the fact that he was one of the experts who recommended the decision to the Labour Court as well as by the generally held Mexican pride in its ability in 1938 to take the step in the face of great pressures — the anniversary is celebrated annually, and a fountain in Mexico City commemorates the event. But the account is probably factually accurate.Google Scholar
  15. 3.
    See Rosendo Salazar, La CTM, su Historia, su Significado, México, Ediciones T. C. Modelo, 1956.Google Scholar
  16. 2.
    Philip B. Taylor, ‘The Mexican Elections of 1958’, Western Political Science Quarterly, September 1960. See also Scott, op. cit. pp. 227–228.Google Scholar
  17. 1.
    See Secretaría de Trabajo y Previsión Social, Memoria de Labores, México, 1963, p. 37.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Institute for Labour Studies 1966

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  • Frederic Meyers

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