This article examines the Mexican grassroots base of the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM) and PLM members who belonged to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). It suggests that a grassroots perspective, one that is also multilingual and transnational, reframes both the PLM and the IWW. Eschewing an institutional approach, this perspective suggests that the organizational underbelly for much of this work rested with Mexican social networks that formed the labor crews, strikes, foci, and union locals. PLM supporters prepared for a Mexican revolution. Some of them did so while organizing IWW locals. Within the context of the intense migration of the period, labor and revolutionary foci moved across binational space, facilitating the spread of ideas, organizing, strikes, and revolutionary forays that were, in effect, binational “circularities of struggle.” These Wobblies of the PLM challenged industrial capitalism, questioned U.S. imperialism and racism, and helped launch the first social revolution in Mexico. This perspective reframes the IWW as one part of a spectrum of organizations attempting to counteract dispossession; yet it simultaneously reveals the organization as more expansive, diverse, multilingual, and transnational than previously presented. By decentering the United States and Europe, this Mexican perspective contributes to a re-envisioned transnational internationalist Left that includes the Americas and opens interpretative frameworks that cross gender, racial, ethnic, and national categories.
Wobblies of the Partido Liberal Mexicano: Reenvisioning Internationalist and Transnational Movements through Mexican Lenses
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Devra Anne Weber; Wobblies of the Partido Liberal Mexicano: Reenvisioning Internationalist and Transnational Movements through Mexican Lenses. Pacific Historical Review 1 May 2016; 85 (2): 188–226. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2016.85.2.188
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