Latines Unides Lecture: Dr. Calderón "Barrio Power: Working-class Youth and Class Struggle in 1970s Mexico"

  • Date: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Location: Center for Faith and Life, Recital Hall

In the 1970s, a new generation of Mexican student militants abandoned nonviolence and embraced armed struggle. Rejecting the “democratic bourgeois” politics of the Mexican New Left, they advocated for a new proletarian revolution and the establishment of socialism. Several regional universities became spaces of smoldering discontent and cradles of a new student dissent culture. At the University of Guadalajara (UG), a group of radical-leftist students, working-class youth, and members of the Communist Youth formed an organization called the Student Revolutionary Front (Frente Estudiantil Revolucionario). The FER entered the political fray to contest the authority of the Student Federation of Guadalajara (Federación de Estudiantes de Guadalajara), a violent nationalist government-funded organization. What began as an attempt by the FER to “democratize the UG,” evolved into a socialist armed struggle against the state. In the case of the FER, barrio consciousness and its working-class origins led to the development of a new way of understanding radical politics in the 1970s and made a substantial contributed to the revolutionary ethos at the time. This talk looks at the relationship between class and armed resistance in 1970s Mexico. It explores how working-class youth contributed to the birth of a new student dissent culture and how they established themselves into a powerful political force against the authoritarian Mexican state. 

Professor Calderón’s research focus has been on Dr. Herrera-Calderón and specializes in Modern Mexican history, political violence, student radicalism, memory, and human rights. His publications include, Challenging Authoritarianism in Mexico: Revolutionary Struggles and the Dirty War, 1964-1982, which he co-edited with Adela Cedillo (2011) and his second book project is tentatively entitled “Contesting the State from the Ivory Tower: Student Power, Dirty War, and the Urban Guerrilla Experience in Mexico, 1970-1982.

Questions? Contact Kelly Sharp, 563-387-1691