Submitted by Seth Wigderson, H-Labor
This special number of Mexican Labor News and Analysis is a bibliography of recent books on the Mexican labor movement and on workers published in English and Spanish. This list contains books which will be of interest to labor union activists, members of solidarity groups, and academics in the social sciences and labor history. The books listed here will be of special interest to those concerned with workers' human rights, labor union activism, the theoretical debate about the nature of Mexican labor unionism.
The reasons for producing such a list are several: First, with cuts in budgets for both public and university libraries, many book are not purchased or take longer to catalog. This list may call your attention to books which have not yet appeared in catalogs or reviews. Second, many Mexican publishing houses are small and do not have the facilities to market their books well either in Mexico or the United States, so the public may not learn of their existence. Third, while Mexican labor union activists, academics, and journalists produce many books on the Mexican labor movement each year, because the press run of most Mexican books is small (typically about 2,000 to 5,000 copies of each book), many of these books will never reach most U.S. libraries.
The list produced here is not complete, but I hope that it will be helpful. All the books in this bibliography were published after 1985, most were published in the 1990s. The forty books on this list vary widely in method, content, politics, and quality. Merely listing these books here is NOT meant to constitute a recommendation. Many of these book should be available through inter-library loan from a major university library. Unfortunately in sending such lists by e-mail I have found that boldface, italics, and underlining disappear. I hope to be able to produce other bibliographies on particular issues over the next several months. - Dan La Botz
[Authors are alphabetized by father's last name, which may then be followed by mother's last name.]
S. Lief Adelson and Mario Camarena Ocampo, eds. Comunidad, cultura y vida social: ensayos sobre la formacion de la clase obrera: Seminario de movimiento obrero y Revolucion Mexicana. Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, 1991. 349 pages.
S. Lief Adelson and Mario Camarena Ocampo are academics and professional historians and the editors of this collection of nine essays in social and cultural history of the Mexican working class. The essays deal with workers in the late 19th or 20th century and discuss textile workers, stevedores, and petroleum workers, among others. One essays deals with Mexican immigrants to Chicago, and another with the history of workers in Mexico City.
Javier Aguilar Garcia, ed. Los Sindicatos Nacionales. (A series.)
Javier Aguilar Garcia is a professor at the Institute of Social Investigation at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the editor of this series of books on various industries and national labor unions. Each book brings together a series of essays by authors who are experts on a particular industry or union. The essays deal both with the history and the contemporary situation of the industry and union. Each volume is approximately 300 pages. So far there are five volumes in this series all edited by Aguilar which follow:
Oscar Alzaga and Max Ortega, eds. Trabajo y Democracia Hoy.(Magazine) Las 100 luchas mas importantes del movimiento de los trabajadores. Number 25 (Special). Mexico, D.F.
This special number of the magazine Trabajo and Democracia edited by attorney Oscar Alzaga and historian Max Ortega presents a profusely illustrated history of the 100 most important labor battles in the history of Mexico from 1906 to 1995. There is also a short but excellent bibliography.
Gregg Andrews. Shoulder to Shoulder? The American Federation of Labor, the United States, and the Mexican Revolution 1910 to 1924. (Berkeley: University of California, 1991).
Gregg Andrews is Assistant Professor of History at Southwest Texas State University. His book is an important re-examinatin of the relationship between the AFL and the US government and also looks at the relations between the AFL and the Mexican CROM. The time period as the title indicates is 1910 to 1924. Notes, bibliography, index.
Alberto Aziz Nassif. El Estado mexicano y la CTM. Mexico: Ediciones de la Casa Chata, 1989. 345 pages.
Alberto Aziz Nassif is a researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social (CIESAS) and a columnist for the Mexico City daily newspaper La Jornada. His book is a study of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) and its relations with the state, using as his hypothesis the theory of "corporativism" or state control of the union. The book treats the entire time span of the CTM from its creation in the 1930s until the mid 1980s when the author was writing. Charts, tables, bibliography.
Julieta Campos. ?Que hacemos con los pobres? La reiterada querella por la nacion. Mexico: Aguilar Nuevo Siglo, 1995. 688 pages.
Julieta Campos is a novelist, essayist, university professor, former president of Pen Club (1978-1982), etc. Her book is an encyclopedic discussion of the nature of poverty in Mexico, a wealth of information. The book has notes, index, bibliography.
Barry Carr. Marxism and Communism in Twentieth Century Mexico. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1992. 437 pages.
Barry Carr is labor historian and professor La Trobe University in Australia. His book is a history of the Mexican Communist Party from its birth in 1919 to its demise in 1988, and is included in this list because of the role of the Mexican Communist Party in various labor and peasant organizations. Carr's book is the definitive book in English on the Mexican Communist Party. Tables, extensive notes, bibliography, index.
Manuel Fuentes. La imposicion laboral que nos viene del norte. Mexico: Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos, A.C., 1994. 254 pages.
Manuel Fuentes is a professor of labor law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) since 1981, a teacher at the University Obrera in Mexico, and a member of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights and the National Association of Democratic Attorneys (ANAD). His book A comparative study of Canadian, U.S. and Mexican labor law, looking at the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement upon the workers in all three countries.
Vicente Fuentes Diaz. La clase obrera. Entre el anarquismo y la religion. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 1994. 313 pages.
A history of the early twentieth century Mexican working class putting new emphasis on the role of Roman Catholic political and labor organizations and comparing those Catholic movements to the anarchist labor movement. The book contains four appendices with important anarchist and Catholic labor documents.
Rosa Maria Garza Marcue. El tambor del alba: La tendencia democratica del Sindicato Unico de Trabajadores Electricistas de la Republica Mexicana. Trayectoria y proyecto. Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Antropolgia e Historia, 1990.
Rosa Maria Garza Marcue is an academic at the Centro Regional de Puebla of the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Her book is a study of the Democratic Tendency and the SUTERM electrical workers union in the 1970s.
Elba Esther Gordillo. La Construccion de un proyecto sindical: Mi testimnio. Mexico: Taurus, 1995. 191 pages.
Elba Esther Gordillo is the former general secretary of the Mexican teachers union (SNTE) and a leader of the "Foro: Sindicalismo Ante la Nacion," or the Foro group of unions. Her book is a collection of essays and speeches written in the 1990s, and lays out her views on the need for a new Mexican labor union culture.
Jose Enrique Gonzalez Ruiz. Ruta 100: La quiebra del estado de derecho. Mexico: Grupo Editorial Planeta, 1996. 253 pages.
Jose Enrique Gonzalez Ruiz is a founder of the Frente Nacional de Abogados Democraticos (FNAD), and a professor at the Instituto de Investigaciones Economicas at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He was formerly the rector of the Autonomous University of Guerrero from 1981 to 1984.
His book is an account of the Route 100 bus drivers in 1995 and 96, very sympathetic to the union of the bus drivers of Route 100 and its political leadership. The book contains many appendices with various manifestos, letters from the union leadership in prison, and end notes with references to newspaper articles and other documents.
Maria Luisa Gonzalez Marin. La Industria de bienes de capital en Mexico. Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Economicas of UNAM and Ediciones el Caballito, S.A., 1996. 138 pages.
Maria Luisa Gonzalez is a researcher who has written extensively on industry, unions and workers, including articles on the sugar, steel, textile, and soft drink industries. This book is not about unions, but important for those who are interested in unions. It looks at the impact of free trade and specifically of NAFTA on the Mexican capital goods sector. Notes, bibliography and many useful tables.
Miguel Angel Granados Chapa. El siglo de Fidel Velazquez. Mexico: Pangea, 1996. 136 pages.
Miguel Angel Granados Chapa is a newspaper columnist for the Mexico City daily Reforma and a radio commentator on "Radio UNAM." His short biography of Fidel Velazquez is both good history and an excellent critical account of Fidel. "Fidel Velazquez is the incarnation of that style of labor representation, closer to the bosses and the government than to its constituency, more combative against that unionism which it considers the enemy than it is against the highest cost of living, inflation, or rip-offs." (pp. 9-10.)
George W. Grayson. The Mexican Labor Machine: Power, Politics, and Patronage. (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1989.) 85 pages.
George W. Grayson is Class of 1938 Professor of Government at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is the author of several books on the Mexican oil industry and the petroleum workers union. He also writes for such papers as the Wall Street Journal and has served as a member of the state legislature of Virginia. His book, Volume XI, Number 3 of the Center for Strategic and International Studies "Significant Issues Series," is a very handy overview of the Mexican labor movement. Many useful charts, diagrams, etc.
Angelina Gutierrez Arriola. Los Transnacionales y los Trabajadores. Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Economicas de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and Editorial Nuestro Tiempo, 1990.
Angelina Gutierrez Arriola is an academic and her book is a study of the impact of the transnational corporations on the Mexican working class. The book is divided into three chapters: Chapter I. "La Internacionalizacion del Capital y la Division Internacional del Trabajo;" Chapter II, "La Economica Mexicana y el Proceso de Internacionalizacion de Capital;" Chapter III. "Tercerca Fase: La Economica Mexicana en la Decada de los Ochenta." There are 24 tables and a statistical appendix. No bibliography, but notes.
Carmen Herrera. Derechos Humanos Laborales. Mexico: Centro de Reflexion y Accion Laboral and Universidad Iberoamericana, Plantel Leon, 1996. 178 pages.
Carmen Herrera is an associate of CEREAL, the Center for Reflection and Labor Action, a labor human rights center which grew out of Roman Catholic social activism. Her book is a sophisticated theoretical and legal handbook for teaching workers and worker educators what are workers' human rights and how to fight for them within the Mexican legal system. The book is a compendium of useful information about the legal situation of workers in Mexico, written from a Roman Catholic perspective. Many charts and tables.
Carlos Illades. Hacia la Republica del Trabajo: La organizacion artesanal en la ciudad de Mexico, 1853-1876. Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico and Universiad Autonoma Metropolitana- Iztapalapa, 1996. 230 pages.
Carlos Illades is an academic and a professional historian. His book is a history of artisans in Mexico City in the late 19th century, and argues against the thesis that artisans declined and disappeared in the late 19th century with the introduction of industry. Illades argues that artisans were a vibrant part of the Mexican working class in the 19th century who helped to shape the culture of new groups of workers. An important work of social history.
Dan La Botz. The Crisis of Mexican Labor. (New York: Praeger, 1988.) 206 pages.
Dan La Botz is a former labor activist, writer, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cincinnati. His book is a concise overview of the history of the Mexican labor movement from 1910 to 1988. The book's emphasis is on the struggle of rank and file workers against union bureaucrats, bosses and the state. Bibliography and index.
Dan La Botz. Mask of Democracy: Labor Suppression in Mexico Today. (Boston: South End Press, 1992) 225 pages.
La Botz originally wrote this book as an investigation and report for the International Labor Rights Education and Research Fund of Washington, D.C. The report was circulated to Congress and intended to educate legislators on the conditions of Mexican unions and workers during the debate over NAFTA. The book deals with the history, legal rights, and conditions of Mexican workers with emphasis on the years of presidents de la Madrid and Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The book is fundamentally an indictment of the Mexican government for its failure to protect workers' rights. Extensive notes, index.
Dan La Botz. Democracy in Mexico: Peasant Rebellion and Political Reform. (Boston: South End Press, 1995.)
In this book La Botz attempt to put the Chiapas uprising led by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation into the context of Mexico's other democratic movements. The book is included in this list because Chapter 8 "Workers Plot Rebellion on the Northern Border," is a survey of various cross-border international labor organizing strategies. La Botz look for example at cooperation between the United Electrical workers (UE) of the United States and the Authentic Labor Front (FAT) of Mexico. Notes, bibliography, index.
Jose Luis Manzo Yepez and Rosa Albina Garavito Elias. La Petroquimica Mexicana: ?Industria estrategica o subordinada? Mexico: Instituto de Estudios de la Revolucion Democratica and Editorial Nuestro Tiempo, S.A. 170 pages.
A series of talks delivered at a forum on the petrochemical industry organized by the Instituto de Estudios de la Revolucion Democratica which is a think-tank of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). The eight talks or essays all opposing the privatization of the petroleum industry include presentations by Herberto Castillo and Cuauhtemoc Cardenas Solorzano.
Gonzalo Martre and Angelica Marval. Costureras: Debajo de los Escombros. Mexico: Grupo Editorial Planeta Mexico, 1995. 153 pages.
The authors are journalists. Their book is a collection of newspaper article from September, October and November 1985 from three Mexican daily newspapers: La Jornada, El Universal, and Unomasuno. The first part of the book is reportage, the second part testimonies and interviews.
Jorge Mejia Prieto. Yo, Fidel Velazquez: Biografia Fidelisima de un Lider Obero. Mexico: Fragua Politica, 1993. 96 pages.
The writer Jorge Mejia Prieto has written a short pseudoautobiography of Fidel Velazquez, head of the Mexican Confederation of Workers (CTM), that is a biography written as if it were an autobiography. The book is illustrated with about 20 cartoons.
Kevin Middlebrook. The Paradox of Revolution: Labor, the State and Authoritarianism in Mexico. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1995.
Kevin Middlebrook is Director of Research at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California at San Diego. His book is a study of the relations between the Mexican state and the labor movement from the era of the revolution until today, but with its emphasis on the railroad workers and the automobile workers unions. Middlebrook makes use of government agency documents, such as records of the labor board hearings. The book rejects the "corporativist" view of unions and emphasizes the relative autonomy of workers even within the official unions. A political scientist, Middlebrook has written in an unattractive and inaccessible academic style. Nevertheless this will be the standard work in English on Mexican unions for some time. Extensive notes and bibliography.
Yoland Montiel. Proceso de Trabajo, Accion Sindical y Nuevas Technologias en Volkswagen de Mexico. Mexico: Coleccion de Miguel Othon de Mendizabal (CIESAS) and SEP, 1991. 263 pages.
Yoland Montiel is a researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social (CIESAS). Her book is a study of the worker and union response to technological and work organization changes at Volkswagen of Mexico in the 1970s and 80s.
Victoria Novelo. La dificil democracia de los petroleros: Historia de un proyecto sindical. Mexico: CIESAS and El Caballito, 1991. 162 pages.
Victoria Novelo is a researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social (CIESAS). Her book is a sociological study of the struggle for union democracy in the Mexican petroleum workers union in the 1980s. Bibliography.
Max Ortega. Neoliberalism y Lucha Sindical. Mexico: Cencos and CRT, 1995. 432 pages.
Max Ortega is a university professor at the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) Iztapalapa Campus, best known for his historical work on the railroad unions.
His book is an account of the impact of neo-liberalism on the Mexican labor unions. The book is divided into four long chapters. Chapter I "Corporativismo, reestructuracion capitalist y Estado del bienestar. Consideraciones teoricas generales"; Chapter II "La estrategia economica neoliberal de los gobiernos de Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado y Carlos Salinas de Gortari, 1982- 1992"; Chapter III. "Sindicalismo oficial, 1982-1992"; Chapter IV "La political laboral, 1982-1992." There is an extensive bibliography.
Max Ortega and Ana Alicia Solis de Alba. Mexico: estado y sindicatos: 1983-1988. Mexico: Centro de Reflexion Teologica, A.C., 1992. 125 pages.
Professor Max Ortega and his associate Ana Alicia Solis de Alba propose in this book a global evaluation of the changes in the relations between the state and the unions. The book is divided into three chapters: Chapter 1 "La crisis del corporativismo y los nuevos perfiles organizativos de los sindicatos en Mexico;" Chapter 2 "Modernizacion y reorganizacion del sindicalismo oficial; Chapter 3 "Sindicalismo independiente y resistencia sindical." There is a bibliography.
Jorge Robles and Luis Angel Gomez. De la Autonomia al Corporativismo: Memoria Cronologica del Movimiento Obrero en Mexico: 1900-1980. (Mexico: Ediciones El Atajo, 1995.) 175 pages.
Jorge Robles is a former university researcher and educator and Luis Angel Gomez is a university professor, both have also been activists in Mexico's independent unions. Their book is an interpretive chronology of the Mexican labor movement from 1900 to 1980. There is also an excellent 50 page bibliography. 175 pages.
Cuauhtemoc Ruiz. Sesenta anos del Sindicato de Euzkadi. Mexico: Sindicato Nacional Revolucionario de Trabajadores de Euzkadi, 1995. 44 pages.
Cuauhtemoc Ruiz is a supporter of the Euzkadi rubber workers union. His book is a short history of the Euzkadi rubber workers union, a union which has played an important role in the militant and democratic currents of the Mexican labor movement. Several photographs.
Augustin Sanchez Gonzalez. Fidel: Una historia de poder. Mexico: Planeta, 1991. 287 pages.
Augustin Sanchez Gonzalez is a former university professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, later a freelance writer and the author of several books. His biography of Fidel is a serious, non-academic biography of the leader of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM). Chronology, Bibliography, Index, illustrated with many photographs.
Sergio G. Sanchez Diaz. El "Nuevo" Revisionismo en el Sindicalismo "De izquierda" en Mexico entre 1982 y 1988. Mexico: Cuardernos de la Casa Chata and SEP, 1990. 244 pages.
Sergio Sanchez is a researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social (CIESAS). His book is a study of leftists in the Mexican labor movement in the 1980s, particularly in the Coordinadora Sindical Nacional (COSINA) in 1982 and 83, and the nuclear workers union (SUTIN) in the mid 1980s. Bibliography.
Jose Luis Trueba Lara. Ruta-100: Ruta de la Muerte. Mexico: Roca, 1995. 127 pages.
Jose Luis Trueba Lara is a Mexican journalist. His book is a sensationalistic account of the struggle in 1995 and 96 by the bus drivers of Ruta-100 in Mexico City. It has many photographs.
Francisco Zapata. Autonomia y subordinacion en el sindicalismo latinoamericano. Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico and Fiedicomiso Historia de las Americas, Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1993. 171 pages.
Doctor Francisco Zapata is a professor of sociology at the Colegio de Mexico. This book analyzes Latin American labor unionism in terms of economic models of development and class and populist union models, looking at the twentieth century experience of Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico. The book ends with a discussion of the crisis of labor unionism in Latin America and speculation about future developments. Many useful tables.
Francisco Zapata. El Sindicalismo Mexicano Frente a la Restructuracion. Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico and Instituto de Investigaciones de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo Social, 1995. 179 pages.
In this book professor Zapata presents an analysis of the
impact of the process of economic adjustment (1982-1987) and of
industrial restructuring (1988-1993) on Mexican unions, looking
in particular at the context of the transition from the model of
import substitution industrialization to the opening of the
Mexican market to foreign competition. The book's six chapters
are: Chapter I, "Sindicalismo en Mexico"; Chapter II "Mercados de
trabajo, remuneraciones y empleo en la decada de los ochenta,";
Chapter III, "Politicas laborales y restructuracion economica,";
Chapter IV, "El conflicto laboral: ?arma de lucha o mecanismo de
transaccion?; Chapter V "El debate sobre la reforma a la Ley
Federal del Trabajo (1989-1992); Chapter VI "Sindicalismo y
regimen corporativo." Several useful tables.
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