Alexander Aviña (Florida State University) presents his book Specters of Revolution: Peasant Guerrillas in the Cold War Mexican Countryside:
Here is the flyer. I’m currently on the road so I’ll have to send you something on the book later. Thank you!
About the book
Specters of Revolution: Peasant Guerrillas in the Cold War Mexican Countryside
- The first book in English to chronicle both the history of peasant revolutionary movements and the history of state terror employed by the Mexican government against rural civilians during the 1960s and 70s.
- Uses previously classified (Mexican government) spy reports, intelligence reports, and military documents.
Specters of Revolution chronicles the subaltern political history of peasant guerrilla movements that emerged in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero during the late 1960s. The National Revolutionary Civic Association (ACNR) and the Party of the Poor (PDLP), led by schoolteachers Genaro Vázquez and Lucio Cabañas, respectively, organized popularly-backed revolutionary armed struggles that sought the overthrow of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Both guerrilla organizations materialized from a decades-long history of massacres and everyday forms of terror committed by local-regional political bosses and the Mexican federal government against citizen social movements that demanded the redemption of constitutional rights. The book reveals that these revolutionary movements developed after years of exhausting legal, constitutional pathways of redress (focused on issues of economic justice and electoral rights) and surviving several state-directed massacres throughout the 1960s. As such, the peasant guerrillas represented only the final phase of a social process with roots in the unfulfilled promises of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and the dual capitalist modernization-political authoritarian program adopted by the PRI after 1940.
The history of the ACNR and PDLP guerrillas, and the brutal counterinsurgency waged against them by the PRI regime, challenges Mexico’s place within the historiography of post-1945 Latin America. At the local and regional levels parts of Mexico like Guerrero experienced instances of authoritarian rule, popular political radicalization, and brutal counterinsurgency that fully inserts the nation into a Cold War Latin American history of state terror and “dirty wars.” This study simultaneously exposes the violent underbelly that underscored the PRI’s ruling tenure after 1940 and explodes the myth that Mexico constituted an island of relative peace and stability surrounded by a sea of military dictatorships during the Cold War.
“Specters of Revolution offers a penetrating account of guerrilla struggles in modern Mexico. Alexander Avina captures how peasant longings, political repression, and the violence of poverty created a daring movement for justice. The state’s response-a dirty war-evokes the darkest moments of Latin America’s military regimes. At times hopeful, at times tragic, Avina provides a profoundly moving Cold War drama.” – Tanalis Padilla, author of Rural Resistance in the Land of Zapata: The Jaramillista Movement and the Myth of the Pax Priista, 1940-1962
“This book examines a haunting legacy of violence in contemporary Mexico. Alexander Avina writes an engaging and partisan account, but also a serious effort to offer historical clarity on a period that is still too close for detached explanations.” – Pablo Piccato, author of Tyranny of Opinion: Honor in the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere
Table of Contents
Introduction: Guerrilla Ghosts in the Mexican Countryside
Chapter One: Traditions and Legacies of Rebellion
Chapter Two: A Lesson in Civic Insurgency
Chapter Three: A Moment of True Democracy
Chapter Four: Re-treading Old Paths, Forging New Routes
Chapter Five: “There Was No Other Way”
Chapter Six: A Poor People’s Revolution
Conclusion: A Poor People’s Utopia
Epilogue: “The Bones Will Tell Us What Happened”